Posts Tagged ‘Victoria Robinson’

A High Price!

Sep 17

SIN 091714by Victoria Robinson

In life we must always consider the cost of our purchases. Sometimes we tend to think that only wrong purchases are costly, but the truth is that our Lord has admonished us that following Him comes with a high price. Oh, but the rewards on that eternal investment are wonderful!

    Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price, a Jewel of inestimable value, which will make those who have it rich, truly rich, rich toward God; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever.
    A true Christian is a spiritual merchant, that seeks and finds this pearl of price; that does not take up with any thing short of an interest in Christ, and, as one that is resolved to be spiritually rich, trades high: He went and bought that pearl; did not only bid for it, but purchased it. What will it avail us to know Christ, if we do not know him as ours, made to us wisdom?
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NASB
    Those who would have a saving interest in Christ, must be willing to part with all for him, leave all to follow him. Whatever stands in opposition to Christ, or in competition with him for our love and service, we must cheerfully quit it, though ever so dear to us. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this pearl of price.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary

Sin also comes with a high price. However, sin does not result in eternal rewards, but comes with a high price of suffering. The Word of God clearly says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” In fact, the ultimate price of sin is death. The book of Romans states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you are dealing with “buyer’s remorse” because you have already paid the high price of sin, take heart—there is hope. Your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally and will never abandon you. This does not always negate the price we pay for sin, but it does give us tremendous comfort in knowing we are loved and will never be cast away. The apostle John tells us that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This promise ensures us freedom from our sins when we confess with a repentant heart.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray the next time we consider sin, we would consider the price too high and would instead look at the rewards of the high price of following our Lord and Savior.

Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ ~ Luke 14:27-30 NASB
 
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?. ~ Luke 9:23-25 NASB
 
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. ~ Matthew 19:29 NASB
 
Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” ~ Luke 18:28-30 NASB
 
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 NASB
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23 NASB

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10-11 NASB
 
Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. ~ 2 Timothy 2:22 NASB
 
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Peter 1:3-8 NIV
 
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. ~ Galatians 6:7-8 NASB
 
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:8-9 NASB
 
If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~ Joshua 24:15 NASB

The Purity of Praise

Nov 16

by Victoria Robinson

The Word of God shows us that God inhabits the praises of His people. Since God is pure, then when we choose to praise Him we are focusing on purity.

The psalmist said, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Wow! If we would align our hearts with this same truth and praise our heavenly Father for how He chose to create us then the purity of praising Him would set us free. Free from thoughts like …

 I hate being short!

 I hate being tall!

 I hate my thin and stringy hair!

 I hate my thick and frizzy hair!

 I hate the color of my eyes!

 I hate my small feet!

 I hate my big feet!

 I hate my nose!

When we use the purity of praise we align with the truth. The truth is that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by our heavenly Father. Therefore whatever height, hair, eyes, and feet we have were designed in perfection. Yet as women we can easily get focused on what we do not like about our bodies instead of understanding the freedom that protects us when we praise God for His wonderful creation.

If you are ready to focus on the purity of praise then Psalm 150 is a great place to start. This psalm is a doxology which is a declaration of praise to God or a brief hymn expressing His power and glory. Within this short Psalm the word praise is found thirteen times! Have fun praising the Lord girlfriends!

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD. 

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. 

Praise the LORD.

Dearest girlfriends, let us focus on the purity of praising our heavenly Father rather than bemoaning the lies the enemy of our souls tells us.

But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. ~ Psalm 22:3 NKJV 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~ Psalm 139:13-16 NIV 

Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! ~ Psalm 147:1 NIV 

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. ~ Psalm 150:1-6 NIV

What’s Lurking in the Shadows of Your Life?

Aug 22

by Victoria Robinson

Shadows can be either beautiful or scary. I get great enjoyment when the trees bring shadows into the windows of my home. When the season changes to autumn I love the rustling of the trees in the wind and the dappling of light as it shifts and sways. For some reason this brings comfort to my heart. However, I do not want my heavenly Father to possess the same qualities. That would be terrifying! Not knowing when the shadows would move and what in the world could be lurking in them.

Fortunately, the Word of God shows us that our heavenly Father does not change like shifting shadows. The apostle James describes God as, “the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Our heavenly Father is totally trustworthy. In fact, in the book of Hebrews we read the wonderful words, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Just like the shadow of trees brings me comfort, knowing that our Lord never changes gives me even greater comfort.

Girlfriends, what shadows are lurking in your life? Is it the regret of your past? The stress of your present life? The fear of your future? If you are dealing with any of these dreaded shadows, then you need to embrace the comfort of your heavenly Father found in His unchanging Word. The Word of God is soothing to our hearts in times of distress. It does not shift or change like a shadow. The apostle Peter wrote a beautiful quote from the book of Isaiah, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

Dearest girlfriends, when we see shifting shadows in our life, lets us place our trust in the unchanging truth of our heavenly Father.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~ James 1:17 NIV 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8 NKJV 

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” … ~ 1 Peter 1:23-25 NIV

What Will Your Restoration Look Like?

Aug 15

by Victoria Robinson

What does restoration look like? Is it an exact replication of what you have lost? Is it being able to reset the clock and go back in time? Being someone who likes antiques, old houses and historic buildings, restoration in my mind tends to go for transforming something back to it’s original state. But alas, that is not always an ideal solution.

In 1929 my grandparents got married and these sweet newlyweds purchased some furniture. One item in particular that I now possess is an oak table. As much as I love my grandmother’s 1929 oak table that graces my breakfast nook, it is not completely original. This precious keepsake has had many transformations in it’s life. It started life being blue with gold trim. Yet when I was growing up it was natural wood. When my sweet grandmother handed it down to me I stained it light teal blue. In one of our moves to a new house we stained it a lighter blue to match the décor. Thankfully, it is now back to a beautiful stained cobalt blue minus the gold trim. Though I am not even certain it is the exact original blue, it brings me joy to know my grandmother’s table is now restored to a darker blue. Our plans include restoring the gold trim.

The truth is, the chairs my grandmother had with the table are long gone, so the chairs I have are antique replacements. My restoration will always be flawed in my mind without those original chairs, yet that is how the restoration process goes. In downtown Tampa we have a historic treasure—a theater built in 1926. It has now been restored, but needless to say everything is not original. The marquee sign is an exact reproduction using the same types of materials. Not perfection, but close to it!

Do you envision restoration entailing whatever you have lost being restored exactly the way it was before? A man named Job and his wife needed restoration desperately, yet their restoration would not look the same as what they had lost in several devastating tragic events. After losing their entire family, possessions and even Job’s health, restoration from the hand of the Lord would come in an avalanche. As suddenly as tragedy overtook them, the Lord healed Job, restored their fortunes and gave them seven sons and three daughters.

Still Job and his wife’s restoration certainly could not change their past. Their losses were still very real. The imperfections of living in a fallen world are what we will have to contend with until our eternal restoration of perfection comes when Christ returns. If you have not personally experienced the restoration of knowing Jesus Christ, you can click on this link and find out how. Heaven

Perhaps your restoration will turn out with you getting back everything just the way it was. In the book of Second Kings there was a Shunammite lady who not only had her land restored, but all the proceeds that had been made on it for seven years. In the book of Joel we see the Lord declaring restoration for Israel when He said, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you.”

Girlfriends, what will restoration look like for you? Whatever restoration your heavenly Father chooses for you will be perfect. Whether your life will be totally different or restored to what you had does not matter. The important thing is that if you need restoration, you seek and trust the Lord to do a wondrous work in your heart.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would allow our heavenly Father to bring restoration to all areas of our lives, letting go of all our past expectations and trusting Him for a wonderful future.

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” ~ Job 1:13-19 NIV

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. ~ Job 2:7-8 NIV

After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years. ~ Job 42:10-17 NIV

Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years. It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.” ~ 2 Kings 8:1-6 NKJV

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.  ~ Joel 2:25-26 NKJV

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. ~ 71:20 NIV

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3 NIV

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12 NIV

Is Your Destination Restoration?

Aug 14

by Victoria Robinson 

Girlfriends, is restoration your destination on this road called life? In the book of Second Kings there is a lady who experienced two major restorations in her life. This story unfolds when the Lord brought the prophet Elisha into her life. This gracious, hospitable lady, approached Elisha and persuaded him to come to her house so she could feed him. She soon came to see his need of a place to stay, so she asked her husband if they could build and furnish a room for him to stay in. The Lord blessed her kindness, and one day Elisha told her she was going to have the son she always wanted. Elisha’s words came true, but tragically her son became ill and died in her arms. This brave lady immediately set out on a journey with a destination of restoration.

Oh what a journey for restoration this would be! When her husband asked her why she was going to meet Elisha she said, “It is well.” That certainly would not have been my response! She saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.”

Restoration for her did not come immediately. When she approached Elisha with her need, he said to his servant, Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” This course of action did not satisfy this grieving mother’s need to see her son brought back to life. She emphatically told Elisha, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. She was a wise lady because as it turned out when Gehazi did what Elisha told him, the boy did not come back to life. It was then that Elisha went in with the boy and prayed to the Lord. He then went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.

Now that is a wonderful ending to her “destination restoration”! However, this lady would once again find herself in need of restoration. Some time later, Elisha instructed her to leave her home and take her family to go stay wherever she could because a famine was coming. Everything worked well except that after seven years when she returned she did not own her home. So she went to the king to make an appeal for the return of her property. As only our Lord could orchestrate, Gehazi was with the king telling him the story of how Elisha had brought a woman’s son back to life. Then Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would seek and allow the restoration only our heavenly Father can give us to bring healing to our lives.

The ultimate restoration we can experience is the eternal restoring of our souls. If you have not personally experienced the restoration of knowing Jesus Christ, you can click on this link and find out how. Heaven

Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, “Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. “Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.” And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, “Say now to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ ” She answered, “I dwell among my own people.” So he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.” So he said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. Then he said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her. And the child grew. Now it happened one day that he went out to his father, to the reapers. And he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “It is well.”Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman!. “Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “It is well.” Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet, but Gehazi came near to push her away. But the man of God said, “Let her alone; for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me, and has not told me.” So she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?” Then he said to Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone greets you, do not answer him; but lay my staff on the face of the child.” And the mother of the child said, “As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, I will not leave you.” So he arose and followed her. Now Gehazi went on ahead of them, and laid the staff on the face of the child; but there was neither voice nor hearing. Therefore he went back to meet him, and told him, saying, “The child has not awakened.” When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in therefore, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. ~ 2 Kings 4:8-37 NKJV

Then Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, “Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years. It came to pass, at the end of seven years, that the woman returned from the land of the Philistines; and she went to make an appeal to the king for her house and for her land. Then the king talked with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me, please, all the great things Elisha has done.” Now it happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored the dead to life, that there was the woman whose son he had restored to life, appealing to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.” ~ 2 Kings 8:1-6 NKJV

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. ~ 71:20 NIV

Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3 NIV

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:12 NIV

The Fragility of a House of Cards

Aug 09

by Victoria Robinson 

My father has a degree in building construction, so he knows of the importance of making sure plans for a building are designed in a structurally sound manner. I on the other hand, tend to focus more on the façade and what looks nice. The trouble with my focus is that without his knowledge of building construction, my beautiful design ideas would be nothing more than a “house of cards”. Intriguing to look at, but fragile in design. 

Just like my earthly father, my heavenly Father is more concerned about solid building principles. Our Lord and Savior told a story of a man who built a house on solid rock. he clearly shows us this was a good foundation that would withstand torrential rains, floodwaters, and winds. He said that though these would come against it—it would stand. He also shows us that if we build on anything other than solid rock, we are building on sand and our house will fall with a mighty crash. 

A sad example of one’s life crashing down is the story of Samson. While Samson was a person with great potential he fell short because of his sin and disobedience. His legacy of mighty physical strength is marred by his weakness in resisting temptation. Before he was even born the Lord told his mother that “No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth.” The cutting of his hair resulted in the loss of his strength. Subsequently the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and put him in prison. The tragic end of his life came as he was holding onto the pillars of the temple. There as a final act of strength he requested of the Lord, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” He also asked the Lord, “Let me die with the Philistines!” The result was that he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. His life literally came crashing down.

Girlfriends, when our lives are structured apart from the soundness of the Word of God, we live in a fragile uncertainty knowing that collapse is inevitable.  What is your life being built on? The Word of God and obedience to it are the solid foundation we should build our lives on if we want to avoid crashing like a “house of cards”.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that we would dedicate ourselves to building our lives on the solid construction of obedience to the Word of God.

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.” ~ Matthew 7:24-27 NLT

“So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ when you won’t obey me? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins.” ~ Luke 6:46-49 NIV

The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” ~ Judges 13:3-5 NIV

Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was tired to death. So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him. Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison. But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. The Death of Samson Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived. ~ Judges 16:15-30

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. ~ Proverbs 14:1 NIV

Que Sera Sera

Jul 25

by Victoria Robinson

In the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Doris Day sang her now infamous song, Que Sera Sera.  She sang these words to her son who at the time could never have imagined he would soon become the victim of a kidnapper. Her idyllic life would soon be transformed into a terrifying nightmare.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future’s not ours to see

 Que Sera, Sera,

What will be, will be. 

This song echoes the divine providence of the Lord in the truth that He is the One who is ultimately in charge and the only One who really knows our future. Our Lord and Savior made this perfectly clear to a man who was rich and was making his own plans. Jesus said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” The apostle James gave us this wisdom regarding our future, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

After Daniel’s prophecy to King Nebuchadnezzar came true this humbled king said of the Lord, “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

While it is true that the Lord will do as He pleases, we as His children are in a wonderful position to approach Him with boldness and confidence and ask for His help. It is of the utmost importance that as we make requests to our heavenly Father, we do it in the same manner as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  When confronted with the horrendous reality of death on the cross He uttered these now famous words, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” This same attitude should be in our hearts as we boldly approach our heavenly Father. As was the case of Jesus, sometimes our Lord will not take the “cup” from us, but allow difficult things to happen in our life not only for our good, but the good of others. 

Then again, there are certainly times when our whole course of life will be altered because of a request we make to the Lord. In the book of James we see  the importance of making requests to the Lord. James said, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” He further states that their motives should be right when asking our Lord for something. 

The infamous story of a lady named Hannah found in the book of First Samuel exemplifies how a godly lady boldly approached the Lord with her request. Hannah was so distressed after not being able to conceive that she came before the Lord in bitterness of soul weeping and praying to the LORD. The Lord not only gave her a son, but God rewarded Hannah’s piety and faithfulness with three more sons and two daughters. While we cannot know for certainty what Hannah’s future would have held had she not cried out to the Lord, perhaps she never would have received the blessing of children. 

So as we ponder the words of Doris Day, “Whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours, to see.” let us trust in the divine providence of the One who created us and has our best interests in mind. 

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would boldly approach the throne of God with our requests understanding that His answer is going to be perfect. 

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ ~ Luke 12:16-20 NIV 

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.  ~ Daniel 4:34-37 NIV 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. ~ Ephesians 3:12 NIV

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. ~ Luke 22:42 NIV

… You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ~ James 4:2-3 NIV 

In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the LORD for him.” ~ 1 Samuel 1:10-20 NIV

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” ~ James 4:13-15 NIV 

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15

The Goodness of Suffering

Jun 29

by Victoria Robinson

Some words just naturally go together. Like …

peaches & cream

dates & romance

ice cream & summer

vacation & fun

chocolate & strawberries

But some word combinations bring to mind the term oxymoron. There are just some word combinations that seem contradictory. Like the words goodness and suffering. Yet without tremendous suffering you and I could never experience the goodness of God. The sufferings of Christ are so descriptively written in the Word of God that I do not personally enjoy reading those verses the way I do the scriptures that paint a beautiful picture in my mind. For instance the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. … Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful.” Now that sounds like fun! 

Yet as a child of God we must come to understand the goodness of suffering. The apostle Peter tells us we should not be surprised by painful trials we suffer. He also tells us we should rejoice that we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. This is really the key to understanding suffering. The fact that everything in our lives is designed to bring glory to God. Again Peter speaks of suffering when he tells us that Christ suffered thereby leaving us an example. 

One of my dearest friends and I, always jest that when suffering comes our way, both of us are quick to look for the exit door. We just want the pain to stop and stop right now. The apostle James said, “As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.” When the apostle James spoke about the sufferings of Job he said, “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” So once again we find a great contradiction in our human thinking. Jobs tremendous sufferings and God’s compassion and mercy. 

The apostle Paul left a legacy of Godly suffering. His life as a Christian began with God saying, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Paul was quick to embrace suffering. He said, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” His focus in life was to share the eternal salvation he had found when he embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior and to help people grow in the grace and knowledge of their Savior. When the Holy Spirit warned him that prison and hardships were facing him in Jerusalem he said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” 

Dearest girlfriends, let us embrace the goodness of God when sufferings come our way and seek to glorify Him. 

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. ~ Hebrews 2:10 NIV 

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. ~ Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV 

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. ~ 1 Peter 4:12-13 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.” ~ 1 Peter 2:19-22 NIV 

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. ~ James 5:10-11 NIV 

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” ~ Acts 9:15-16 NIV 

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. ~ Acts 20:22-24 NIV 

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. ~ Hebrews 10:32-36 NIV 

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. ~ 2 Timothy 2:8-10 NIV 

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. ~ 2 Timothy 1:8-12 NIV

I Wanna Say I’m Sorry

Jun 28

by Victoria Robinson

The words, “I wanna say I’m sorry.” hold a special place in my heart. I have a precious young lady God has placed in my life and though she is now all “grown up” at six years old, when she was younger and would find herself stuck in the corner of the hallway of her home in a timeout, she would utter those sweet words. At times though, it would take some time facing the wall with no toys to play with for her heart to decide to line up with God’s heart. However short or long she waited, she would inevitably have a big smile on her face as she embraced the freedom a right heart brings.

When my heart is not right with God, I am stuck in that same prison my little friend found herself in. With a frown on my face, misery in my heart, and an unwillingness to say to God, “I wanna say I’m sorry.” my life just does not improve.

In the book of Numbers we see an example of a man named Balaam who suffered a crushed foot because of his refusal to have a right heart. Balaam had been summoned by the Moabite king Balak to curse the Israelites before they entered Canaan. Because of a greedy heart, he agreed to commit this evil act. God was clearly not pleased with him and even used a donkey to not only crush his foot, but to literally speak to him. Oh, if only Balaam would have said to God that he was sorry before his foot was maimed!

Along with saying you’re sorry, it is also essential to follow God’s plan. If you are truly sorry then obedience will follow. Just as my little friend would find herself right back in the corner if her behavior did not change, we will find ourselves back in trouble. In the book of Deuteronomy we see a perfect of example of this. The Israelites had chosen not to trust God and go up and take the land He promised them. Upon hearing Moses rebuke of their evil behavior they promptly decided to say they were sorry. However, as soon as they repented, they did not follow God’s advice. They told Moses they would now go take the land despite Moses warning them they would be killed. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against them and chased them like a swarm of bees and beat them down from Seir all the way to Hormah. So, if you have told God you’re sorry, do not try to solve your problems, but allow Him to show you His plan.

Dearest girlfriends, do you need to stop right now and say to God, “I wanna say I’m sorry.”? If so, this is a perfect time to release yourself from an uncomfortable spiritual prison and walk in the freedom  that only He can give.

… yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and … Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 NIV 

Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 NIV

Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”  The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”  ~ Numbers 22:21-34 NIV 

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” … Then you replied, “We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight, as the LORD our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the LORD said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’” So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah.  ~ Deuteronomy 1:29-36,41-43 NIV 

… I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. ~ Acts 26:20 NIV

He Wasn’t Making Biscuits!

Mar 25

by Victoria Robinson

Being a southern girl, I love to make the perfect biscuit. My favorite biscuit recipe yields a buttery biscuit that has a nice crispness on the outside and a flaky and fluffy inside. And … this is very important … a beautiful tall biscuit! You can click on this link to get my recipe. Flaky Buttermilk Biscuit Hearts One of my signature designs in the kitchen is cutting all sorts of foods into heart shapes and my biscuits are almost always cute hearts. Which brings me to the true point of this devotional. Focusing on hearts. Our spiritual hearts.

When we talk about baking, the subject of sifting flour will inevitably come up. Sometimes you need to sift flour by itself and other times it is necessary to sift with other dry ingredients such as sugar, leavening, etc. Jesus talked about sifting when he told Simon Peter he would be sifted as wheat. Just as in baking, sifting can produce a better product, the sifting of Simon Peter would produce a better person.

We also see two other examples where God referred to sifting in the scriptures. In both cases God was sifting a nation. In both of these example we see God declaring He was going to sift the nation of Israel.

Girlfriends, God wasn’t making biscuits when He was allowing Simon Peter to be sifted like wheat. He was concerned with something far more important—the making of a spiritually strong person. The same was true when God sifted the nation of Israel. Is God sifting you today? While the process of being sifted is painful—the results are far greater than a perfect flaky hot biscuit fresh out of the oven. The results are heavenly!

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that just as Simon Peter became a stronger follower of our Lord and Savior, we would also allow God’s sifting process to strengthen us.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” ~ Luke 22:31-32 NIV
 
Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, Burning with His anger, And His burden is heavy; His lips are full of indignation, And His tongue like a devouring fire. His breath is like an overflowing stream, Which reaches up to the neck, To sift the nations with the sieve of futility; And there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, Causing them to err. ~ Isaiah 30:27-28 NKJV
 
“For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. ~ Amos 9:9 NKJV