Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

A Polite Conversation With Him

Jan 07

A Polite Conversation With Him 010712 2by Victoria Robinson

What in the world does learning how to use etiquette in conversation and learning how to converse with our heavenly Father have in common? Actually, quite a bit. Conversations with Him are what we think of as prayer. In the 1896 etiquette book, The Secret of a Happy Home, Christian author, Marion Harland, speaks of the satisfaction in telling one’s woes and sorrows to an interested listener.

“Undoubtedly there is a momentary satisfaction in telling one’s woes and sorrows to an interested listener. When the auditor is a friend, and a trusted friend, whose sympathy is genuine and whose discretion is vast, there is a comfort beyond description in unburdening one’s soul.”

Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

Fortunately every one of us has a trusted friend we can unburden our souls to. King Solomon told us, “… there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The friend  he is referring to is Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Our Lord and Savior gave us detailed instructions on having a polite conversation in prayer with our heavenly Father. He told us, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

“Some people are always bored. May it not be because they look at everything animate and inanimate from a selfish standpoint, with the query in their minds, “How does that affect me?” The old definition of a bore as “a person who talks so much of himself that he gives you no chance to of yourself,” may apply not only to the bore, but to the bored. When you find yourself wearied and uninterested, be honest enough to examine yourself calmly, and see if the reason is not because your vis-a-vis is not talking about anything which interests you especially. Should he turn the conversation upon your favorite occupation or pastime, or even upon your personal likes and dislikes (which, by the way, might be an infinite bore to him), would he not at once become entertaining?”
Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

Listening to the other person is an important key to polite conversation. Nobody enjoys chatting with a boorish person who only is concerned with prattling on about themselves. Your heavenly Father is not interested in having a one-way conversation with you. Besides, if you are not listening during your prayer, you cannot possibly attain His wisdom for your requests. Conversing with our heavenly Father must always include listening. In her 1860 book, The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness, Florence Hartley gives us instruction on the importance of listening while conversing.

“It seems paradoxical to observe that the art of listening well forms a part of the duty of conversation. To give up the whole of your attention to the person who addresses himself to you, is sometimes a heavy tax, but it is one which we must pay for the privileges of social life, and an early practice will render it an almost involuntary act of good breeding; whilst consideration for others will give this little sacrifice a merit and a charm.”
Florence Hartley, The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness 1860

Genuine praise is another important aspect of good conversation. Marion Harland gives an excellent example of developing the habit of praising the one you are talking with.

“Ten girls whom I know formed a society for the repression of unkind criticism. The members themselves to try, as far as in them lay, to speak kindly of people when it was possible for them to do so, and when impossible to say nothing. At first it was hard, for self-conceit would intrude, and it is hard for one girl to praise another who dislikes her. Little by little the tiny seed of effort grew into a habit of kindly speech.”
Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

This story is reminiscent of the hardness that can develop in our hearts and hinder us from praising our heavenly Father during prayer. The enemy of your soul will always point out why God is not worthy to be praised. A direct contradiction to the Scriptures! The psalmist tells us, “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.”

Just as Marion Harland reminds us that no true lady complains while conversing with others, neither should we bring our request to the Lord in a complaining manner.

“But if you do not feel this, for politeness’ sake refrain from making your listener supremely uncomfortable by your complaints. No true lady will so far forget her innate ladyhood as to be guilty of this rudeness.”
Marion Harland, The Secret of a Happy Home 1896

An extremely descriptive picture of the perils of complaining while praying are found in the book of Numbers. The Israelites were whining about not having meat and my oh my did they ever get their request granted! The Lord said, “The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

Polite conversation sometimes involves forgiveness. The person chatting with you may say something offensive and it is important for you to overlook the words that have wounded your heart. The Lord instructed us that prayer also involves forgiveness. In the book of Matthew, Jesus told us, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Our prayers will be hindered if we approach God and have unforgiveness towards others.

Dearest girlfriends, let us endeavor to develop polite conversation when we pray.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. … ~ Psalm 55:22 NLT 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 NLT
 
If you are having trouble, you should pray. … ~ James 5:13 CEV
 
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24 NIV
 
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. ~ Psalm 18:3 NKJV
 
“Tell the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the LORD, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’” ~ Numbers 11:18-20 NIV
 
A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. ~ Proverbs 12:16 NIV
 
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray: ”‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ~ Matthew 6:7-13 NIV
You can read these antique etiquette books from the library of Girlfriend’s Café by clicking on the links below.
 The Secret of a Happy Home
The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette, and Manual of Politeness

Lady Sings the Blues

May 31

by Victoria Robinson

Hannah was a lady who knew how to “sing the blues” because of her troubles. Sadness had overtaken her life to the point that she did not even desire food. What she did desire was unattainable to her. Being barren had taken a great toll on her heart.

As we follow the story of Hannah, we see that the Lord gave her a son named Samuel who grew up to be a godly man. He continued his mother’s legacy of prayer. When the Philistines battled against Israel, Samuel cried out to the Lord and the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines and gave the Israelites victory that day. When you cry out to the Lord in your distress the effects go far beyond Him answering you—you are creating a godly heritage to those in your life. Now that alone is worth “singing the blues” for!

Girlfriends, are you a lady who is “singing the blues”? Is something troubling your heart to the point of utter despair? Then take your burdens and sadness before the Lord and allow Him to relieve your sorrows as only He can. Then, just as Hannah did, you will be able to sing His praises instead of your blues.

Dearest girlfriends, let us “sing the blues” in our times of trouble so that we can sing His praises when He delivers us.

On the day Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the sacrifice to Peninnah and each of her children. But he gave Hannah a special portion because he loved her very much, even though the Lord had given her no children. But Peninnah made fun of Hannah because the Lord had closed her womb. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Hannah would finally be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “What’s the matter, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be so sad just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” Once when they were at Shiloh, Hannah went over to the Tabernacle after supper to pray to the Lord. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied, “I’m not drunk! But I am very sad, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Please don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “cheer up! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad. The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her request, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:4-20 NLT

Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! Oh, how the Lord has blessed me! Now I have an answer for my enemies, as I delight in your deliverance. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. ~ 1 Samuel 2:1-2 NLT

And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” ~ 1 Samuel 7:9-12 NKJV

Then at last his people believed his promises. Then they finally sang his praise. ~ Psalm 106:12 NLT

Relying on the Confidence of His Love

Feb 07

by Victoria Robinson

Your heavenly Father is all-powerful. Therefore, there is naturally a fearful nature of our relationship with Him. The Word of God clearly tells us, “.. what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God …”   However, fear can be a complex concept. While we are to have complete respect and fear for the Lord, we are also told there is no fear in love. His love for us gives us the freedom to not fear Him for the punishment of all our sins, as He has paid the ultimate price through the sacrifice of His Son. His unconditional love assures us we have a secure relationship with Him. In fact in the book of Hebrews we read these wonderful words of encouragement, “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” That is how we can rely on the confidence of His love.

Girlfriends, if you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, you do not need anymore to fear the retribution of your heavenly Father. Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would rely on the confidence of His love and not live a fearful life.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:16-18 NIV
 
Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” ~ Psalm 118:4 NIV
 
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. … “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. ~ Hebrews 10:10,17-18 NIV

Oops … I Sinned!

Jan 13

by Victoria Robinson

Is it possible to sin accidentally? Without wrong intention, how can something be considered sin? Yet, in the book of Leviticus we see several examples of accidental sin and the requirement to confess, present a blood offering, and thus be forgiven. Thankfully because of the gracious sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s blood offering on the cross, we no longer have to sacrifice animals to pay for our sins.

So whether sin is committed accidentally or knowingly, it is important to confess, ask forgiveness, and make restitution when necessary. The final step in the process is to accept forgiveness which sometimes means forgiving ourselves. Rest assured there is not one sin anyone can commit, outside of rejecting the Savior, where forgiveness is not available.

Dearest girlfriends, let us take all sin seriously, whether we have an “oops sin” or whether we have intentional sin. Praise God for His wonderous forgiveness!

You are guilty and unfit to worship me, if you accidentally touch the dead body of any kind of unclean animal. You are guilty if you find out that you have accidentally touched any waste that comes from a human body. … As soon as you discover that you have committed any of these sins, you must confess what you have done. Then you must bring a female sheep or goat to me as the price for your sin. A priest will sacrifice the animal, and you will be forgiven. ~ Leviticus 5:2-3,5-6 CEV

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. … Christ … has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. ~ Hebrews 9:22,26-28 NIV

 Watch out that no one becomes involved in sexual sin or becomes careless about God as Esau did: he traded his rights as the oldest son for a single meal. And afterwards, when he wanted those rights back again, it was too late, even though he wept bitter tears of repentance. So remember, and be careful. ~ Hebrews 12:16-17 TLB

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. ~ 1 John 1:7-9 NIV

What Perfume Are You Wearing?

Jan 02

by Victoria Robinson

Isn’t it wonderful to have someone complement your choice of fragrance? Makes you feel pretty and elevates your mood doesn’t it? What is your favorite perfume? Floral, spicy, herbal, musky, powdery, woody, maybe even sweet? A sweet fragrance is absolutely the finest. I say that with confidence based on the Word of God. In the book of Ephesians it says, “And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him.” The sweet perfume He was referring to was the by-product produced by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins that we might inherit eternal life.

We are called to live a life filled with love for others just like Jesus did. As we live such a life, we wear the same perfume Jesus did. Now that’s a beautiful scent girlfriends! Dearest girlfriends, let us live a life filled with love for others and spread the sweet fragrance of our Lord and Savior.

Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins. And God was pleased, because that sacrifice was like sweet perfume to him. ~ Ephesians 5:2 NLT
 
And now I want to urge you, dear lady, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. ~ 2 John 5-6 NLT
 
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us. ~ 1 John 4:7-12 NLT