Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

An Upside to Your Downside

Jul 26

An Upside to Your Downside 072611by Victoria Robinson

Is it possible to find an upside to your downside? As hard as it can be to understand, the answer lies in a familiar passage that sometimes we love to hate. The apostle Paul said, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” In the midst of dealing with a downside in your life, it can actually hurt to hear those well-worn words. Still, the truth is the truth and there is an upside to what you are going through.

When the apostle Paul who wrote those words of encouragement was suffering through a downside, he focused on the upside. After being beaten and imprisoned we see him praising God. Suddenly the upside of his situation appears! The jailer who was imprisoning him is about to kill himself when Paul stops him. Then the jailer responds, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The truly great upside to this story was that the jailer became filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. And yet to come was that Paul and his companion Silas were released from jail.

Girlfriends, are you focusing on the upside of what the Lord is doing through your problems or are you wallowing in the misery brought about by your downside? The agony of your troubles can cloud your vision unless you stay focused on the unchanging truth of the Word of God. Joseph viewed the lengthy downside he experienced after his brothers sold him into slavery as an upside. He said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” His focus was on the purposes the Lord had in mind and not the suffering of the downside he had suffered through.

Dearest girlfriends, when we are tempted to focus on the downside of our circumstances, let us trust that our heavenly Father has a wonderful upside He is going to bring about.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 NIV

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family. When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.” ~ Acts 16:25-36 NIV

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. ~ Genesis 50:20 NASB

This Is YOUR Life!

May 29

by Victoria Robinson

In the song This Is Your Life, by Switchfoot, the question is posed, “This is your life, are you who you want to be?” Sometimes in life we can develop a “victim” mentality. That is based on the thinking—my life is not my fault. Things have happened to me along the way and I have no choice in what I have become. I can’t help but think about what a certain young man all of seventeen would have said about that idea. At seventeen, this young man was terrorized by his brothers, threatened with death, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, imprisoned, and left to languish in prison by a friend who neglected to help him. This godly man named Joseph did not understand “playing the victim”. Instead, he knew this was HIS life and he took responsibility for his actions. Because Joseph chose to act godly, the difficulties during this period of his life were intermingled with favor from the Lord.

Even after God places Joseph in a prominent position and gives him power over his brothers, there is never ever a hint of unforgiveness in his heart. Instead, once again, he chooses to be a blessing to those who have cursed him. After experiencing seventeen years of a difficult life, Joseph was godly enough to say to his brothers, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.”

Girlfriends, this is YOUR life and you need to behave properly regardless of what others have done to you. Just as Joseph was richly rewarded for his godly actions, so we will experience our heavenly Father’s blessings when we act appropriately.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray our actions would consistently reflect our heavenly Father’s principles no matter what difficulties we are living through.

 … So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” … So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. ~ Genesis 37:17-20,23-24 NIV
 
Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. … Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. ~ Genesis 37:27-28,36 NIV
 
… Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.” When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. … ~ Genesis 39:6-20 NIV
 
But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.” … Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand, but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him. ~ Genesis 40:14-15,20-23 NIV
 
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. ~ Genesis 50:19-21 NIV
 
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ~ Luke 6:27-28 NIV
 
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.” Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. ~ Romans 12:17-21 NLT
 
Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your principles! Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with your commands. ~ Psalm 119:5-6 NLT

Playing the Waiting Game

Apr 30

by Victoria Robinson

Life is a waiting game. All little children are just eagerly waiting to grow up. As they grow there is a series of things they just can’t wait for: going to school, riding a bike, driving a car, their first job, graduating from school (One of the things they were so eager to start!),  dating, marriage, and on and on the list goes.

There was a man named Joseph who played a very long waiting game. Can’t you just imagine when he was little how he must have been just waiting for the day his father told him he could join his brothers at work. Well that day certainly came and ended very differently than anyone could have guessed. (His brothers sold him into slavery!) Then our dear Joseph had to wait for seventeen years for his nightmare to end. Yet through it all he recognized God’s timing was everything. Joseph seems to be one of the most patient men who ever existed. No tantrums, no screaming, no faithlessness—only pure devotion to his Lord.

Girlfriends, what are you waiting for? Do you really believe your heavenly Father is in total control or are you trying desperately to circumvent His ultimate plans for your life? Waiting requires total trust in Him and patience to allow Him to do what is best for us. The prophet Habakkuk wrote this wonderful admonition concerning waiting, “Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would play the waiting game in a Godly manner, trusting in His plans.

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. ~ Psalm 37:7 NLT
  
But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently. ~ Romans 8:25 NLT
 
Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer in large, clear letters on a tablet, so that a runner can read it and tell everyone else. But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3 NLT
 
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. They give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises. ~ Romans 14:4 NLT
 
Soon after this, Joseph’s brothers went to pasture their father’s flocks at Shechem. When they had been gone for some time, Jacob said to Joseph, “Your brothers are over at Shechem with the flocks. I’m going to send you to them.” “I’m ready to go,” Joseph replied. “Go and see how your brothers and the flocks are getting along,” Jacob said. “Then come back and bring me word.” So Jacob sent him on his way, and Joseph traveled to Shechem from his home in the valley of Hebron. ~ Genesis 37:12-14 NLT
 
Let’s sell Joseph to those Ishmaelite traders. Let’s not be responsible for his death; after all, he is our brother!” And his brothers agreed. So when the traders came by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him for twenty pieces of silver, and the Ishmaelite traders took him along to Egypt. ~ Genesis 37:27-28 NLT
 
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh placed his own signet ring on Joseph’s finger as a symbol of his authority. He dressed him in beautiful clothing and placed the royal gold chain about his neck. Pharaoh also gave Joseph the chariot of his second-in-command, and wherever he went the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Joseph was put in charge of all Egypt. ~ Genesis 41:41-43 NLT
 
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. ~ Psalm 27:14 NLT

The Price Is Too High!

Mar 27

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, you were purchased at a high price and to be enslaved by sin is too high of a price for you to pay the enemy to hold you in bondage. The apostle Peter told us we are a slave to whatever controls us. All sin controls us and cost us dearly. Sin always ravages whenever we allow it in. Sounds horrible doesn’t it? Yet because of the high price that bought us out of slavery to sin and death—there is forgiveness. The apostle John reminds us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Now that sounds like a wonderful deal doesn’t it?

Dearest girlfriends, let us stop paying a high price for sin and run to our heavenly Father with a repentant heart and receive His forgiveness and purification.

God purchased you at a high price. Don’t be enslaved by the world. ~ 1 Corinthians 7:23 NLT

… You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. … ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT
 
… For you are a slave to whatever controls you. ~ 2 Peter 2:19 NLT
 
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9 NIV
 
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1 NIV

Living an Undeserved Life

Jan 30

by Victoria Robinson

An undeserved life cuts both ways. On the one hand sometimes we get what we do not deserve, such as God’s generous mercy. All of us who have received the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ have received the ultimate undeserved mercy there is. Though sometimes we get what we do not deserve as in the case of Joseph who was sold into slavery and then imprisoned. The mercy is easy to accept while undeserved hardship is not.

Though it is sad to say, no life is entirely free of undeserved hardships. What is most important is how we handle these situations. Girlfriends,  I wish I could say these hardships are never ordained by our heavenly Father, but that is not the truth. Our unjust sufferings are just one way our heavenly Father helps us to follow in His Son’s steps. Jesus suffered unjustly so that you and I could spend eternity in a place called heaven. That, sweet girlfriends, is how we should look at undeserved hardships. In other words, like Jesus, we should focus not on the pain, but on the beauty of our heavenly Father’s greater plan and the comfort our suffering will bring others. As in the case of Joseph, his entire family was rescued from starvation. Yes, I know, even his wicked brothers who meant to harm him. Yet in his godliness Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Dearest girlfriends, as difficult as it is let us embrace the undeserved life we are living, both in the good times and bad.

… For it pleased God in his kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born! What undeserved mercy! ~ Galatians 1:15 NLT
 
For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon. ~ Genesis 40:15 NIV
 
And so we keep on praying for you, that our God will make you worthy of the life to which he called you. And we pray that God, by his power, will fulfill all your good intentions and faithful deeds. Then everyone will give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus because of you, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the undeserved favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NLT
 
And if they are saved by God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s wonderful kindness would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. ~ Romans 11:6 NLT
 
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. ~ Psalm 103:8-10 NIV
 
For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 NIV
  
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. ~ 1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV
 
His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. ~ Genesis 50:18-21 NIV
  • Afterthoughts …

If you have not received the free gift of eternal life, please click here:  Heaven

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. ~ Hebrews 2:9 NIV