Posts Tagged ‘words of the prophet’

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

What Misery is Mine!

Jun 09

by Victoria Robinson

Girlfriends, when misery beckons, it is easy to feel like uttering the heart wrenching words of the prophet Micah who said, “What misery is mine!” In his tremendous despair, Job poetically spoke these words, “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas …”

If “misery loves company”, and you are experiencing some misery, then you are certainly in the company of two fine men—Micah and Job. Micah was a prophet. Job was a godly man who feared God and through his gut wrenching ordeals did not sin. A character trait we should desire to display when we are in misery.

All that aside, what is the answer to dealing with misery? Certainly not an easy question to answer. One thing we do know from looking at the Word of God is that even in misery, sin is never the answer. Also, focusing on ourselves always compounds the misery. One remedy is to look around and see who we can pray for in their time of trouble.

Above all—trusting our heavenly Father is in control and will only allow what is in our best interest. My precious friend Ann, who is a professional caterer and baker, frequently says, “God has everything under control.” An essential character quality for someone who has chosen a profession filled with urgent deadlines and unexpected emergencies. Oh my sweet Ann—how her godliness has taught me so much.

We cannot overlook the sad truth that our misery might be caused by sin and therefore relief will only come upon repentance. The great news is, outside of the rejection of Christ and His salvation, there is no sin so atrocious that can separate us from our compassionate heavenly Father. His love for us is unconditional and if only we will acknowledge our wrongdoing, we are at once forgiven. Micah so wonderfully stated, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Dearest girlfriends, I pray that in times of misery we would find our hope and allow our actions to be guided by our Savior’s life changing Word.

What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. ~ Micah 7:1 NIV
 
If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas— no wonder my words have been impetuous. ~ Job 6:2-3 NIV
 
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. ~ Job 1:22 NIV
 
Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? ~ Psalm 44:24 NIV
 
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. ~ Micah 7:18-19 NIV
 
And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. ~ Exodus 4:31 NIV

Who’s Misleading You?

Jan 17

by Victoria Robinson

Ultimately you know who the misleader is—the enemy of your soul—Satan. It is nonetheless important to consider who he uses to do his bidding. It could even be your very own friends. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “They misled you and overcame you— those trusted friends of yours. Your feet are sunk in the mud; your friends have deserted you.” The apostle Paul warned us when he said, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

After Jesus had fasted and prayed for forty days, the devil tried to mislead Him by telling Him Scripture. Hmmm… scary thought that the devil uses Scripture himself to deceive. Just because a friend, preacher, or teacher uses Scripture does not mean they are not leading you astray. You must examine the Scriptures yourself to understand the truth. This is also your only defense against the enemy. Jesus knew the Scriptures and spoke them back in correct context to the devil. Girlfriends, don’t go about being defenseless because you are not aware of the Word of God.

It is essential to examine your life and recognize who might be used of the enemy to mislead you. Jesus did this when He told his good friend Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

What about you? Have you ever been the misleader in your friend’s life? Anytime you do not have in mind the things of God, you influence on your friends can be damaging to their souls.

Dearest girlfriends, I pray we would be alert at who’s misleading us and be careful not to be an instrument of the enemy to mislead others.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NIV
 
… “Obey the LORD by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. But if you refuse to surrender, this is what the LORD has revealed to me: All the women left in the palace of the king of Judah will be brought out to the officials of the king of Babylon. Those women will say to you: “‘They misled you and overcame you— those trusted friends of yours. Your feet are sunk in the mud; your friends have deserted you.’ ~ Jeremiah 38:20-22 NIV
 
 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading. ~ Lamentations 2:14 NIV
 
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ”‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” ~ Matthew 4:5-7 NIV
 
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. ~ Acts 17:11 NIV
 
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” ~ Matthew 16:21-23 NIV
 
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. ~ 1 John 3:7-8 NIV