Posts Tagged ‘Word of God’

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

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

Let’s Start Over!

Jan 09

by Victoria Robinson

In the beginning … ahhh those famous first words recorded in the book of Genesis. Beginnings so often start with a sense of great hope and wonderment. This was the fresh starts of all fresh starts. A blank canvas with limitless possibilities. Girlfriends, don’t you just love a fresh start? A chance to begin anew with no past mistakes. There are times when we just need to start over.

Spiritually speaking, a new beginning is found in the book of John. That new beginning is found in putting our faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The apostle Paul spoke of this transforming faith in the book of Titus. he said, “… a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time …” Acknowledging that a new life is only possible through Jesus Christ is the only way to have a fresh start. In fact, Jesus said to a man named Nicodemus, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Born again—let’s start over! If this is your desire, click on this Heaven link and learn more. Heaven

If you already have a relationship with Jesus Christ then you surely know what a wonderful feeling it is to be able to “wipe the slate clean” and start over. King David came to a place in his life when he desperately needed to start over. Troubles surrounded him due to his disintegration into a sinful life. The enemy of his soul had enticed him to indulge in lustfully gazing upon a beautiful woman named Bathsheba. This led to sleeping with her apart from marriage as set forth in the Word of God. Once it becomes known to him that Bathsheba is pregnant, we see the actions of a desperate man. So panicked by his circumstances that he engaged in a murderous plot to kill Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. If ever a person needed to start over it was King David.

The good news is David repented and turned his heart back to the Lord. David’s fresh start resulted in the Lord speaking these kind words about him after his departure from this world, “… walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness …”

King David whose life was ravaged by his sinful choices, but who got a fresh start from the heavenly Father, has been memorialized by the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus.  He wrote, “David was truly a man after God’s own heart.”

This is an encouraging story when we reach a point in our life where we need a new beginning. If that is where you are today, then praying the very words King David prayed after he repented are appropriate. In the book of Psalms David wrote, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Near the end of Lamentations, a book of poetry written to lament the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah makes a plea to the Lord. He says, “Bring us back to you! Give us a fresh start.” What a wonderful way to cry out to the Lord when we have a remorseful heart and want to start over!

Dearest girlfriends, let us turn our hearts towards our heavenly Father and receive a new beginning.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. ~ Genesis 1:1-2 NIV
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:1-2,14 NIV
 
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, ~ Titus 1:1-2 NIV
 
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. ~ John 3:1-6 NIV
 
… walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness … ~ 1 Kings 9:4 NKJV
 
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, …  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. ~ Psalm 51:1-4,7-12 NIV
 
Bring us back to you! Give us a fresh start. ~ Lamentations 5:21 CEV

The Day the Laughter Died

Jan 05

by Victoria Robinson

Some would say that April 26, 1989 is the day the laughter died. That is the day that the greatest comedienne of all time died. Lucille Ball who spent her life bringing laughter to millions was silenced. My dearest friend Cyndee and I have spent numerous hours laughing while watching I Love Lucy. Who could resist laughing as Lucy and Ethel frantically gobble handfuls of chocolate candy to hide their failure on their new job venture. What about that hilarious expression on Lucy’s face when her boss says, “Speed it up a little!”? But alas, our lives are not always filled with laughter. Life has a way of turning laughter into mourning.

The Bible gives us many examples of times the laughter died. One such was when Sarah had given birth to Isaac. On this joyous day she said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Interestingly the name Isaac is Yitschaq in Hebrew which means “he laughs”. Yet, there would come a day when Sarah would find herself not laughing.  A great feast was held when Isaac was weaned. The truth is Sarah’s distress on this particular day was the result of sin. Sarah had refused to wait on the promise of God to have a child and took matters into her own hands. Subsequently Hagar gave birth to Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. At the feast, Sarah observed Ishmael mocking her son Isaac. Like any mother, this upset her.

Girlfriends, has your laughter died? There are many reasons we  find ourselves not laughing. One is quite simply sin. If this is why your laughter has ceased, then immediate repentance will bring joy to your heart and times of laughter to return.

 Another reason is that our heavenly Father allows difficulties to come into our life in order for His greater purposes to be accomplished. Such is the case of the many hardships Joseph had to endure in the book of Genesis. If this is the reason you have no laughter, then accepting God’s greater plan for your life will bring you joy. Last year in the short span of a week I had three friends lose their husbands. All these ladies have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives and have the comfort only He can provide. However, understandably this was a period in their lives with very little laughter.

The enemy of your soul also wants to steal your laughter. Sometimes he will even convince you of a lie. For instance, “God is not going to bring you through a difficult time.” The only way to prevent Satan from absconding with your laughter is shielding yourself with the Word. The book of Ephesians tells us to take up the shield of faith, with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The word faith in the original Greek is pistis which means conviction of the truth. The way to have conviction of the truth is to immerse yourself in the Word of God.

Laughter is an important gift our heavenly Father has given us. The Word of God tells us laughter can even bring healing to our bodies.
 
While we must recognize the truth that King Solomon told us so long ago—there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, let us examine our hearts to see if and why the laughter has died. If repentance is needed then, let us have a change of heart and watch the laughter return. If we are walking through divinely appointed hardships, let us rejoice in the fact that our heavenly Father knows what is best for us. If we are believing lies Satan is telling us, let us put on the shield of conviction of the truth of the Word of God.
 

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would allow the laughter to return to our hearts and enjoy the life God has chosen for us.

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” ~ Genesis 21:5-10 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. ~ Genesis 50:19-20 NIV
  
So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and sincere grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Then when you realize your worthlessness before the Lord, he will lift you up, encourage and help you. ~ James 7:7-10 TLB
 
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. ~ Ephesians 6:16 NIV
 
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 NIV
  

a time to weep and a time to laugh … ~ Ecclesiastes 3:4 NIV
 
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. ~ Proverbs 31:25 NIV
 
… Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. ~ Luke 6:21 NIV

Girlfriends, Is He Lying?

Jul 27

Girlfriends is He Lying 072711by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, if he’s talking—he’s lying! Our Lord and Savior made this fact clear when He told us, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The enemy of your soul does not have one shred of truth in him so it is impossible for him to tell the truth. Satan is not only a liar, he is actually quite chatty. The very first time we see him, he was chatting it up with Eve. He told her, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” This was in direct contradiction to what God did say. He had told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

I love the wisdom Matthew Henry imparts to us about this tragic series of events.

“O that our hearts were deeply affected with this record! For we are all nearly concerned in it; let it not be to us as a tale that is told.”
Matthew Henry

Before we condemn our sister Eve for falling for such an obvious lie, let us look at our own folly. Have you ever had the thought, “Just inhaling the luxurious scent of chocolate won’t have any calories.”? Then suddenly you find yourself in a daze with chocolate on your lips and fat on your hips! The lie was to believe that toying with your weakness would not hurt you. I am certainly not saying chocolate in itself is evil, but if it is not done in moderation, then it can be a sin.

The apostle paul showed great concern that the Christians in Corinth were susceptible to falling for lies when he said, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

So what’s a girl to do? Take your thoughts captive and do a truth check utilizing the Word of God. Had Eve taken a moment to think on the very words spoken by God, she would have had clarity in the situation and avoided sinning.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be strengthened with the truth of God’s Word instead of believing the enemy’s lies.

… He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ~ John 8:44 NIV
 
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ~ Genesis 3:1-5 NIV
 
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” ~ Genesis 2:15-17 NIV
 
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:3 NIV
 
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie … ~ Romans 1:25 NIV
 
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

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

She’s Just Like Her Father!

Jul 20

She's Just Like Her Father 072011by Victoria Robinson

Have you ever heard the statement, “She’s just like her father!” That can either be a compliment or a disparaging remark depending on the character of her father. Girlfriends, are you just like your father? More importantly, are you just like your heavenly Father? One of the endearing traits of our heavenly Father is his kindness. He is well-known for it to the point of sacrificing His own Son so that we might have the forgiveness of our sins and thus spend eternity in Heaven.

A great story about kindness is found in the book of Second Chronicles. In the town of Shunem lived a woman who showered a man of God named Elisha with hospitality. This kindness continued to the point of her building a room onto her house for Elisha to stay at when he came to town. Because of her kindness Elisha wanted to do something nice for her. She told him no and that she was perfectly content. However, Elisha persisted and asked someone else what he could do for her. His friend told him her husband was old and that she did not have a son. Elisha summoned her to come back and told her “Next year at about this time you shall have a son!”

When you are being kind you are being just like your Father and you never know what He has in store for you. Your motive should never be a material reward, but sometimes as in the case of this Shunemite woman—wonderful things will happen! Yet, the most important reason to be kind is our heavenly Father tells us to. In fact, the Word of God goes so far as to warn us, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be known as ladies of kindness just like our heavenly Father!

… Tell her that we appreciate her kindness to us. … ~ 2 Kings 4:13 TLB
 
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love and his kindness go on forever. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34 TLB
 
Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. ~ Ephesians 1:6-8 TLB
 
One day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman of the city invited him in to eat, and afterwards, whenever he passed that way, he stopped for dinner. She said to her husband, “I’m sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy prophet. Let’s make a little room for him on the roof; we can put in a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, and he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.” Once when he was resting in the room he said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman I want to speak to her.” When she came, he said to Gehazi, “Tell her that we appreciate her kindness to us. Now ask her what we can do for her. Does she want me to put in a good word for her to the king or to the general of the army?” “No,” she replied, “I am perfectly content.” “What can we do for her?” he asked Gehazi afterwards. He suggested, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When she returned, he talked to her as she stood in the doorway. “Next year at about this time you shall have a son!” “O man of God,” she exclaimed, “don’t lie to me like that!” But it was true; the woman soon conceived and had a baby boy the following year, just as Elisha had predicted. ~ 2 Kings 4:8-17 TLB
 
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. ~ Romans 11:22 NIV

H ♥ O ♥ P ♥ E

Jul 02

HOPE 070211by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, there is nothing sadder than having a heart filled with hopelessness. In order to have hope we must, “Hold Onto Promises Eternally”. This is how the patriarch Abraham had hope. In fact the book of Hebrews shows us he held onto promises he would only see in eternity, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”

Job, a godly man found himself in despair and said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.” As his days progress we see the hand of the Lord bringing deliverance to Job. Just as this once hopeless man does indeed live to see better days, so can you and I.

Alexander Pope, the eighteenth century poet penned these wonderful words that resonate with God’s truth.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Alexander Pope

When we find ourselves dealing with a hopeless heart the remedy is to delve deeply into the promises our heavenly Father has given us and focus on His truths. One example of hope was given to us by the apostle Paul on the darkest subject we must deal with—death. He said, “I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.” This promise gives us hope to hold onto in the midst of grief. Another wonderful promise was given to us by our Lord himself when he said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Girlfriends, is there hopelessness in your heart? If so, what is troubling you? Rest assured that whatever it is, the Word of God has promises to hold tightly onto. An excellent resource to search the Word of God is biblegateway.com. You can do a word search on any topic and find hope.

Dearest girlfriends, let us have hope as we hold onto our heavenly father’s promises eternally.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. ~ Hebrews 6:11-15 NASB 

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. … ~ Hebrews 11:13 NIV

My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And are spent without hope. ~ Job 7:6 NIV

And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ~ Matthew 5:4 NIV 
 
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV
 
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. ~ Romans 8:24-25 NIV
 
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. ~ Hebrews 10:23 NIV

Overcoming Youthful Indiscretions

Jun 22

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, from time to time the enemy of our souls will bring accusations to us about our past indiscretions. Shame, discouragement and even depression can result which is exactly the outcome Satan is striving for. While his striving is ultimately in vain, we must not allow these accusations to overtake us. The Word of God so beautifully states wonderful truths to retort back to the enemy and bring comfort to our hearts.

The psalmist was agonizing over his past indiscretions when he said, “Overlook my youthful sins, O Lord! Look at me instead through eyes of mercy and forgiveness, through eyes of everlasting love and kindness.” His request was accurately in line with the will of our Lord. The book of Isaiah makes a comforting promise in this regard. It says, “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth … will be remembered no more …” This truth directly contradicts the accusations of the enemy.

The importance of repentance is the key that will free us of our past indiscretions. The apostle Paul said, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” If you have not repented of your sins the pain you are experiencing is a worldly sorrow. To walk in no regrets requires forgiveness. The apostle John encourages us with these words, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Dearest girlfriends, let us overcome our past indiscretions with a repentant heart and the assurance of our heavenly Father’s compassionate forgiveness.

Overlook my youthful sins, O Lord! Look at me instead through eyes of mercy and forgiveness, through eyes of everlasting love and kindness. ~  Psalm 25:6-7 TLB
 
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. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. ~ Psalm 103:8-14 NIV
 
“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, for your Creator will be your husband. The Lord Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a moment of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer. ~ Isaiah 54:4-8 NLT
 
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. ~ Isaiah 43:25 NKJV
 
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
 
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
 
Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,“It has happened at last—the salvation and power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ! For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth—the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night. And they have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. … ~ Revelation 12:10-11 NLT