Posts Tagged ‘temptation’

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

When Enough Is Never Enough!

Sep 07

by Victoria Robinson

Three things that come to mind when I think of never having enough are … chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate!!! (Which might explain my hips! LOL) Unfortunately the number one thing most of us tend to think we never have enough of is money and possessions, which really equates to not trusting in our heavenly Father’s provision. King Solomon who was himself extremely rich, said, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”

King Solomon gave us a wonderful remedy when our hearts say, “I don’t have enough!” He said, “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.” Gratitude is so powerful in so many situations, but when it comes to dissatisfaction of our status in regards to wealth—it is a great cure. Another remedy is giving. No matter what the state of your possessions, giving even the smallest of your goods away will help set you free of being discontent. So girlfriends, look at the inventory of your possessions and start thanking and get busy giving!

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would develop hearts of gratitude, giving, and contentement based on scriptural truths.

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. ~ Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV 

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. ~ 1 Kings 10:23 NIV
 
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn’t bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-10 NLT 
 
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. ~ Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
 
Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it is like chasing the wind. ~ Ecclesiastes 6:9 NLT

Lurking in the Grass

Jun 06

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, is something lurking in the grass around you? I have a precious little four-year-old friend who recognizes the scriptural fact that something is lurking in her life. When we have a discussion about sin she tells me the sneaky snake is the reason she sins. My dear little friend has grasped a concept we all need to be mindful of. At all times there is a sneaky snake lurking around you with the intent to entice you into sin. In the Word of God we find a snake as the first and final villain. As the story of Genesis unfolds we see the introduction of a villain—the snake. We read that the snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals. In the book of Revelation we see the final account of this villainous snake also known as the devil. In the final book we see how the snake is restrained.

I love what the great commentator Matthew Henry observes concerning the temptation of sin the sneaky snake tries to pull on our Lord and Savior.

Christ refused to comply with it. He would not command these stones to be made bread; not because he could not; his power, which soon after this turned stones into bread; but he would not. And why would he not? At first view, the thing appears justifiable enough, and the truth is, the more plausible a temptation is, and the greater appearance there is of good in it, the more dangerous it is. This matter would bear a dispute, but Christ was soon aware of the snake in the grass, and would not do any thing, First, That looked like questioning the truth of the voice he heard from heaven, or putting that upon a new trial which was already settled. Secondly, That looked like distrusting his Father’s care of him, or limiting him to one particular way of providing for him. Thirdly, That looked like setting up for himself, and being his own carver; or, Fourthly, That looked like gratifying Satan, by doing a thing at his motion. Some would have said, To give the Devil his due, this was good counsel; but for those who wait upon God, to consult him, is more than his due; it is like enquiring of the god Ekron, when there is a God in Israel.
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible

With precision, our Lord and Savior turned temptation from the sneaky snake into triumph. Having experienced being tempted in every way by the sneaky snake, He NEVER let down his guard. Girlfriends, do not be deceived, the first appearance by the sneaky snake was made in a beautiful and perfect garden setting. When all is going well, it is easy to allow ourselves to mindlessly give into fine sounding arguments, just as Eve did. However, we must imitate our Lord and Savior through the correct use of the Word itself.

Dearest girlfriends, let us be vigilant in looking for the enemy who is lurking in the grass around us.

The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the Lord God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, “Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?” ~  Genesis 3:1 CEV
 
I saw an angel come down from heaven, carrying the key to the deep pit and a big chain. He chained the dragon for a thousand years. It is that old snake, who is also known as the devil and Satan. ~  Revelation 20:1-2 CEV
 
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. After Jesus had gone without eating  for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say: ‘No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.’ ” Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say: ‘God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones.’ ” Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’ ” Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him. ~ Matthew 4:1-11 CEV
 
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. ~Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV
 
Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. ~  Hebrews 4:15-16 CEV