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FAITH---Who knew?

 

As I was reading in Hebrews, I was perplexed as my eyes stalled on the first part of verse 6 in chapter 11, 

 

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him,..." KJV (The Him of course is God.) 

 

Faith. It seems like such a simple thing right? After all, I have faith in God; yet, my eyes were not only drawn to the word faith but also to the word impossible as it hooked into the phrase "to please Him".  I felt inadequate as I realized my faith was lacking.  How could I ever have enough faith to please God? 

 

Jesus said if we had faith the size of a mustard seed we could move mountains. Have you ever seen a mustard seed?  It is pretty small yet  I do not recall moving any mountains lately and I began to panic.  Before letting my imagination take me too far, the Holy Spirit reminded me God would never assign me a task He would not Himself give me the ability to complete.

 

 I stopped reading and began praying asking the Holy Spirit to give me a full understanding of this scripture verse.  I allowed myself to dwell and be completely immersed in the verse.  The words, “impossible to please Him”, pierced my heart. 

 

Like you, more than anything I want to please God every day in my life. I strive to stay in the word, diligently pray for others, attend church, and serve in any capacity that enables me to help further the kingdom of God.  However, this word FAITH joined with the word IMPOSSIBLE hit me like a ton of bricks and I asked myself, literally out loud, 

"Do I have enough faith to please God?" 

 

The answer at first was disheartening and I knew I was going to have to dig deeper into God's Word.  For me this meant back to the original Greek.  It was time to pull out the big guns.  I began to do a little research with my trusty Strong's Concordance and Vine's Expository Dictionary (both of which are available online for free-P.T.L.), and I discovered something very interesting.  The Greek word used in Hebrews 11:6 for faith is pistis (Strong's #4102) and this Strong's reference took me to the root Greek word peitho (Strong's #3982) which translates in English as the word obey.  

Now this made sense! Thank you Holy Spirit. 

This is truth in the life of any Christian, we strive to obey God in all things.  Now the word impossible did not scare me and here is why.  God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, for us to have faith in and it is in this way we obey God by believing in His only Son who died for us all!  This is wonderful news!  We obey by believing in the only begotten Son of God!  Yes, it is this simple!

 

The second part of verse 6: 

"...for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

 

I really want to blow your mind on the rest of this particular chapter and verse in Hebrew's regarding the word 'believe', however it would take too much space for this one entry; so, I will save it for another time. 

Until then, ponder this question; Do faith and believe have the same meaning?

 

Please keep praying daily with me--at 3 o'clock p.m. if you so choose-- to build a closer relationship with our heavenly Father.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins 

FOUNDATIONS

In 2011, I watched on television the devastation caused by twisters up and down the Midwest of the United States.  My heart ached for those enduring the pain and hardship of the destruction the storms left in their wake.


Newscasters described the storms as "apocalyptic destruction" and "scenes from Armageddon".  I remember the flat, monotone, despairing voice of one reporter, “Subdivisions are completely gone. The streets now lined only with foundations where homes once stood."  I too was cast into despair for these people I would never meet because I knew what it meant to suffer great loss.  Things we work our entire lives to build taken from us in the twinkling of an eye.  Tears streamed down my face, when I heard the Holy Spirit speak quietly to my heart and mind, “Where death and devastation reign, God gives a way of hope.  The foundations you see are hope.  God builds on foundations. Once the debris is cleared, God will use His people to rebuild not just homes and buildings but He will rebuild lives.”   


Foundations are crucial. They must be solid and able to take the weight and outside stresses. They must go deep.  The same holds true for followers of Jesus Christ.  We must build firm and solid foundations in our walk with Christ or when the storms of this life come—and they undoubtedly will—we will crumble and not be able to rebuild.


Jesus’ parable, Matthew 7:24-27, tells of two men who built their houses on different foundations. Both men heard Jesus’ teaching and built their lives. Both go through the same experiences in life however we see two very different results as they come out of the storms of life.  Why? Because only one of them built their house on a solid foundation, a rock—a.k.a. Jesus Christ.  


How do we build a solid foundation in Christ?  For me, two ways stand out in the forefront.  Both equally important.  Prayer and studying God's Word.  Today, the focus is on prayer.   


Prayer is the foundation of our Christian walk.  It is a practice of my faith, believing God hears me, and is faithful to answer.  Praise and prayer go hand and hand for me.  Many times I begin with praise.  Sometimes all I do is praise.  It lifts the Spirit inside me.  A dedicated prayer life has given me a deep foundation with God and it can do the same for you too.  

 

My heart breaks when I hear believers say they don’t have time to pray or their prayer time consist of a nighttime ritual.  What a tragedy when prayer becomes a ‘duty’ or just a bunch of words said with remote repetition.  

 

Many of us consider ourselves praying without ceasing when we pray in our cars, in the line at the grocery store, sitting at the doctor’s office, etc…  Have you ever passed by an accident and just began praying for those involved?  I sure have.  These times of prayer are sweet and spontaneous and usually prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Paul speaks of prayer many times in the New Testament.  In Ephesians he asks us to “pray without ceasing for all the saints”.   Why did Jesus however instruct us to pray in this way in Matthew 6:6:

    

      "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.(NASB)

 

Have you ever taken your dad, a family member or friend aside, maybe to a quiet place so you could talk to them in private?  A place where no one might overhear or interrupt?  Jesus wants us to be away from all distractions when we commune with our heavenly Father.  Not for God’s sake but for our own.  For it is here, in this quiet place of prayer where we hear God; a place where God speaks.  1 Kings 19:11-19 says,

 

     Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 

Many books about prayer are written telling us how to have a better prayer life. While I suspect they are all great reads, can I let you in on a little secret?  The only way to develop a better prayer life is to make prayer an important and scheduled time of your day. Yep, that’s right, I said to schedule time for prayer every day.

 

Why would I say schedule a time for prayer?  All of us lead busy lives and if we do not schedule prayer time, we probably will not take time to be alone with God and hear His voice.  However once prayer becomes a part of your daily routine you will soon find you miss it when something hinders or intrudes into your time with God. 

 

I am no famous writer or scholar but here are a few suggestions that have helped me:

 

1.      Schedule a short block of time for prayer.  God literally called me to pray at 3 p.m. (that’s a story for another time though.)  It was extremely difficult at first, right in the middle of my day but it has been so rewarding.  The time you schedule doesn’t have to be long.  I started with 5 minutes and it quickly grew to more than an hour of wonderful worship and communion with our Father.   

 

2.      Respect, honor and covet this time with God.  Get the word out and make sure your family and friends know this is your prayer time. This is not to brag but rather to avoid unnecessary interruptions.  It was amazing to me how many people would call, text or come knocking when I first began to pray.  Now I take nothing with me except my Bible, a notebook, and a pen. 

 

3.      Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. That means no phones—cell or otherwise, TV, radio, kids, neighbors mowing lawns, etc.  I know some people who go into their bathrooms to pray because it is the only place in their home where they won’t be disturbed.

 

 

4.      Believe it or not prayer takes discipline. Don’t give up! Eventually you will find yourself wanting to spend more and more time with God as you begin to listen and hear His still quiet voice.

 

My dedicated prayer time has been the most amazing time and rewarding times of my life.  This does not mean I have not struggled.  I have.  Prayer times for me have sometimes been times of mourning, heart wrenching questioning, crying, etc… But also times of overwhelming joy, peace, understanding, revelation, celebration and just worshipping God.  I know it will be the same for you because God has no favorites.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for all of us.  He loves each and every one of us the same.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori

 

 

THE LITTLE

The Little Things

 

 “Does God care about the small things in my life?”  He obviously wants us to be good witnesses for Jesus and follow His commandments but should we ask God for things of this world or should we believe we are abiding in His perfect will no matter what our situations?

 

A few years ago I decided to do a little undercover Christian prayer research. The test subject? Me. The answer may surprise you as much as it did me, but first, a brief back story.  On March 5th of 2011, hubby and I sold everything we had, except our house, at a publicly held auction. Believe me, when I say we had a lot of stuff, I mean we had a lot of stuff.  Our home was filled to the brim with Tuscan style furniture and furnishings. To make a very long story short— this story would be a novel if told in its entirety—back in May of the previous year, God brought us to our knees and changed our lives forever all for His purpose and glory. P.T.L.  

Below is what God showed me about the small things in life.

 

After living in a large, barren house for five months, my heart began to ache as I watched my husband come home day-after-day from work with nowhere comfortable to sit down.  We did have two desk chairs and a few of those folding metal ones, which we were grateful to have as it beat sitting on the floor; still, I longed for my husband to have a chair to relax in.  One evening in August, hubby came home exhausted after working six days in a row.  Of course he would never complain but as he tried desperately to get comfortable in an office chair, I decided I was going to secretly start praying and asking God for a recliner.

 

For two years I have been praying during the 3 o’clock hour but I have never asked God to replace our stuff.  It was actually very freeing to get rid of all of it and it just was not important to me anymore. This was different though.   In this case, it was ok to ask God to bless someone else, so at the end of my prayer time, I began asking God if He would provide a recliner for hubby. Nothing fancy or expensive, just a chair to sit in that would be a comfortable spot after long days at work. 

 

Four weeks passed and no chair presented itself on my doorstep; my faith began to waver.  Was I asking too much? Maybe God didn’t want us to have a chair?  After all, we had shelter from the elements, food to eat, water to drink and take baths in, a decent job, and I could go on and on. I began to feel guilty at times praying for this chair as I thought about the many others who are without the things I was already blessed with; yet, the Holy Spirit would not let me give up. For almost four months, I prayed for a recliner. 

 

Then God answered in the most amazing way as I was driving home from the grocery store. A sign caught my eye. In big, bold, black letters against a white background were the words—Community Garage Sell this Saturday!!!  

 

Granted, most sane people would not consider a garage sale an amazing thing, and truth be told, they happen all the time in neighborhoods across America but you must understand I had not been to one in over 13 years. Yep, you read that correctly, 13 years. Nor did I particularly want to go to one, so these types of signs never caught my attention before. (Isn’t it so God that on this particular day in November He brought this particular sign to my attention?)  My mom was with me and surprising even me, I blurted out, “We should go to that garage sale.” The words had easily rolled off my tongue and I could feel my mom’s piercing eyes fixed upon me and visualized a shock look on her face. She may have asked, “What did you just say?” but Iknow she was probably too stunned to have actually said anything in that moment.  I quickly added, “God might have a chair for us in there.”  Right then, we made plans to go.

 

The rest of that week I began to notice garage sale signs everywhere I went. What was going on? Garage sale fever was taking place in communities where I had never seen them before, yet every time I saw a sign for one, a bit of excitement overcame me. Surely this couldn’t be an answer to my prayer could it? 

 

The days passed and finally Saturday came.  At the advice of a few die-hard garage sale fanatics, Mom and I headed out early that morning.  In case you are like me and haven’t been to a community garage sell in a while, let me tell you—no, let me warn you—it is war out there!  Hear me on this brothers and sisters, you need to be prayed up for this type of battle and put on the full armor of God.  People are out to stake a claim in this garage sale venture and they do not allow anything, or anyone for that matter, to stand, sit, drive or walk in their way.  Some folks had rented U-haul trailers and flatbeds to load their bounty; others had large, extra heavy-duty pick-up trucks. You know the ones I mean. The ones we see on television commercials where all four doors open simultaneously and four brawly-looking guys jump out before the truck even comes to a complete stop, eager to get things done. Yeah, you get the picture.  This, my friends, was a war zone.   

 

Maneuvering my tiny Jeep Liberty around the monster trucks and trailers was no easy task on the already too narrow streets which now had turned into parking lots as people parked (and I use that term loosely) on both sides of the roadway.  Determined nothing was going to discourage mom and me, we pressed on. We believed, somewhere in this vast neighborhood of chaos and mayhem, an unsuspecting seller was holding hostage a recliner God had commissioned us to rescue. The Lord was going to move in our favor; we could sense it.  

 

I will tip my hand here a bit and remind you of Ephesians 3:20 in which Paul writes, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”

 

This particular Saturday morning God was going to answer my prayer in a big way!  But nothing, dear saints, could have prepared me for just how much our God cares about the little things.

 

 Enter God.

 

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For the exciting conclusion of this story, please read, The Little Things, Part Two.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

Spiritual Study of the word HEAL - part four

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)


“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 

I am so excited to be studying this particular Scripture verse with you today!  When the Lord was working on my heart to return to Him in March 2010, He brought this verse into my life many times. It became clear to me God was calling me to come home. 


In the New Testament, Jesus gives us the parable of the Prodigal Son.(Luke 15:11-32)   In the parable, the young son has squandered all his inheritance and was now serving as a hired hand.  His job made him responsible for feeding the pigs in the fields. The verses tell us, “…he longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating.”  And while this might seem a worthy, albeit dirty, job to us today, we must remember in those times pigs, chazir in Hebrew, was an unclean animal and Jews were to stay far away from them.  Many foods were considered unclean but pigs were the lowest of low. 

 

When I turned away from my Lord ten years earlier, I too quickly fell into the lowest and most unclean place I had ever been.  Many of you who know me would say, “Lori, you were living in a beautiful mansion!  You had everything your heart could have desired!  Travel, cars, money.  How can you say this?”


There is a Jewish folktale I believe would describe where I was at that point in my life and it goes like this:  


                                         A Chassidic Story

There were two brothers, one a wealthy magnate, the other a pauper but a G‑d-fearing person. When the poor brother’s daughter was of marriageable age, he wended his way to his rich brother to ask him for assistance with the wedding expenses. The rich fellow was happy to see his brother again, and invited him to a lengthy tour of his palatial home.

After a while, though, the poor brother got tired of it, and asked his brother to cut it short.

The latter couldn’t understand, “Don’t you enjoy the exquisite beauty of every corner of my house?”

 

“There is a creature,” replied the other, “that wallows in the mud all day. If you ask it what it wants, all it can think of is, ‘More mud!’ You, too, are sunk in the ‘mud’ of material pleasures, and all you want is more ‘mud’ and more possessions, instead of focusing on the truly important things in life.”

 

I was the second ‘brother’ of this tale.  Surrounded by so many material possessions and it was never enough.  There was always something bigger, something better to reach for.  This is the level of mentality I had swallowed.  I was chasing the so called American Dream.   I worked hard and deserved to have the best life had to offer and so did my children.  I had lost my focus.  I had forgotten my God.  I had become the prodigal daughter and my life desperately needed to change.  God, in His incredibly gracious way, showed me through His Holy Scriptures a perfect ‘how to’ answer.  It goes like this:

 

     “If my people, …”   We are children of the most High if we believe in the salvation grace of His Son, Jesus Christ.   

    

     “which are called by my name, …”  We become a child of God( John 1:12) once we accept Christ so we are now children of God.

 

     “shall humble themselves, …”  How exactly does one humble them self? Perhaps we can substitute the word reverence here, however we must read on…

   

      “and pray and seek my face,…”  When I think of prayer, I often envision myself in a kneeled or laying flat on the ground position.  This is also the way I think of the word reverence when it comes to my being in the presence of God.  It doesn’t have to be that way, this is just me.  I did a study once on why slaves bowed with their faces to the ground in the presences of kings/rulers in historical times.  I remember reading placing ones forehead directly of the ground was the ultimate gesture of respect and honor.  I could not think of a more perfect position when in the presence of my Lord. 

 

     “and turn from their wicked ways; …”  When we turn away from something we are literally turning our backs to it and moving in a new direction.  God wants to move us in a new direction.  And while we may not consider our ways ‘wicked’, God does. 

 

     “then …” Why would I pause on this small, seemingly insignificant word?  Have you ever sat and listened to someone tell a great story and just before they get to the climatic point they pause and say, “then” as they stop for just a brief moment.  They have your undivided attention as you sit there with eyes wide open, intently waiting for the rest of the story.  When God says, ‘then’ it is because He wants our undivided attention.  He is about to tell us something important.   In this context God uses ‘then’ because He is giving us a promise. He is about to tell us what He will do if we obey the previous parts of this verse.   

 

     First God says, “THEN, will I hear from heaven, …”  What?  God actually hears us?  You better believe it.  He blatantly says so right here and God is not a liar. (Numbers 23:19)  And not only that…

 

     “and will forgive their sin, …”  He will forgive our sins if we turn from our ‘wicked’ ways.  Through Jesus Christ we can ask for forgiveness of our sins knowing with confidence when we do God will cast them as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)   

 

     “and will heal their land.”  Finally, our study word, HEAL.   Again, the Greek is rapha’.  Here the meaning is found in the Strong’s Concordance Online is most reflective in reference number 3 A (Qal) “hurts of the nations involving restored favour” because it is in reference to their land.   For me personally, it is reference number 4A, which refers to the healing “of individual distresses” where God moved in my life.  I had once walked closely with Him and then I was deceived and walked away.  Fortunately for me, God had other plans for my life and ushered me back in.  Not with a whimper mind you, but with a loud resounding boom!

 

If you are a child of God, He has plans for you too.  All you have to do is follow the steps of 2 Chronicles 7:14.  God heals in many ways.  He heals nations.  He heals land.  And most importantly, He heals people, like me and you physically, emotionally and spiritually.  

 

I am a firm believer God enters our lives for a purpose; His purpose.  Perhaps you are like me and had a relationship with Jesus Christ but have since walked away.  Maybe you do not know how to get it back?  Maybe you have never had a relationship with Christ but would like to?  Will you allow Him to be your healer today?   Allow Him to be your savior once again?  Take a moment and ask Christ to come into your life.  It is not hard.  It just takes a step of faith.  Below is a link to what we call “The Sinners prayer. Just copy and paste it in your browser.  This is a site I visit often with many, many questions and it is truly Biblically based. I believe it will help you to understand and give you direction.  God bless.

 

Always loving our Lord and you,

Lori Robbins

3 O’clock Prayer Ministries

 

https://www.gotquestions.org/sinners-prayer.html   

Scriptural Study of the word HEAL--Part Three

 

Before each lesson, I ask everyone to first take a moment to pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you as you study His Word.  He speaks to each of us exactly where we are if we will open our hearts and minds to His voice.  I pray this blesses you and helps you grow in our Lord.


 

At this time in my Christian walk, I would not dare to attempt a study on Revelation. There are many, many others more capable than I suspect I will ever be; however as our study is on the word heal and its derivatives, curiously our Lord has lead me here to Revelation 22:2.  I was somewhat shocked and honestly questioned my Lord if He really thought it such a good idea?  You see, I am a planner and consider myself to be somewhat of a good organizer therefore I had all good intentions of following the Scriptural uses of the word heal in the order they appear in the Bible.  As He often does, God had other plans.  Let us begin…


Please pray for understanding and then read Revelation chapter 22.

 

Our focus verse for this study is Revelation 22:2:


          (NKJV)In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month.  The leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations.”


The book of Revelation is one of dramatic imagery.  It causes us to reach beyond our usual visual perceptions which often rely only on what we have already seen in our lifetime.  Revelation is much like the book of Genesis, before the fall of man, as both books stretches our minds to see the unknown; maybe even the unimaginable.  From written words, our minds conjure up images as we think of what a serpent might have looked like or a tree with forbidden fruit. 


If I tried to describe something I had made, something you have never seen, your mind would automatically give you an image of something closely linked to what I was describing.  You would undoubtedly ask me questions based on the image you already had.  Of course, it would not be the exact thing I made, however in an effort to understand, the image most likely would be similar.


In the previous chapter of Revelation, chapter 21, John describes the New Jerusalem and continues with his description here in chapter 22.  Verse 1 of chapter 22 tells us of “a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” and almost immediately we can visualize this scene.  I image a slow moving peaceful river, twisting and turning as it meanders through the forest with fallen trees lying across its banks and rocks made smooth by the constant flow of water.


In verse 2 we follow the river as it makes its way down “the center of the main street”.   God has shown John a river very different from the one I had imagined.  Probably very different from those John had seen too.  John describes an easy flowing river traveling in a straight line.  A river with no twists, turns or even gentle curves.  A river with no rapids, trees, or rocks to interrupt its flow.  A river flowing straight from the Father and Son to the people living in this new city.   A crystal clear river which carries the water of life itself.  And on its banks:


“On each side of the river grew a tree of life, …” (NLT)

“On each side of the river grew the tree of life, …” (NKJV)


The Tree of Life takes a prominent position in both Genesis and Revelation.  In Genesis there is only one tree and it is in the center of the Garden of Eden.  In Revelation we know the Tree of Life, whatever their number, are in the center of the New Jerusalem.  This tree must be very important for God to have placed in center stage in both the beginning and ending of His Word.   Let’s take a closer look at the two translations of the same verse.


The NLT version suggests there are only two trees—one on each side of the river—evidenced by the translation of the article ‘a’ before the word tree.  In the NKJV verse however, the article translates as “the” tree where John is describing a particular type of tree and not the actual number of trees.  Commentators agree with the later and also suggest there are many Trees of Life on each side of the river.  These numerous trees each producing the same type of fruit and the replenishing of this fruit every month.  Perhaps the fruit is meant as food just as it was in the Garden of Eden?  Will there even be a need for food when we are in our new bodies and in the New City of Jerusalem?  God’s Word is not specific so speculation is the best anyone can do for now but I am believing there will be food more glorious than we have ever tasted!


“The leaves of the tree were for healing the nations.” (NKJV)


At last, we get to the meat of our study on the word “heal”, but what is John talking about?  If we are in the New Jerusalem City, where pain and suffering is no more (chpt.22, vs 3 says no more curse), why would we need “leaves” for healing the nations? This is going to go deeper than I ever imagined.



Let us look at the NKJV verse as we turn to our trusted Strong’s Online Concordance where we can gain some understanding.  The word ‘leaves’ in our verse comes from the transliterated Greek word:

 


“Phullon (fool’-lon) meaning a leaf. (Strong’s number 5444)


Then Strong’s takes us to the Word Origin better known as the original root word

 

Phule (foo-lay’) meaning a tribe (Strong’s number 5443): in the New Testament all the persons descending from one of the twelve sons of the patriarch, Jacob.  2) a nation; people.


What if the word ‘leaves’ in our Scripture verse is the transliteration of the Greek word Phule?  Is it possible the Trees of Life John sees represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the leaves of the trees represent the nation (the people) of each tribe?  Let’s keep this in mind as we move on.


What about the rest of the verse, “were for the healing of the nations.”   How can that be when the next verse, 3, tells us there will be “no more curse” which means no more sickness/death and His servants shall serve Him?  Without the curse of sickness and death why would the nations of Israel need healing?  I do not think they would so we must look at the word ‘healing’ in its original Greek.  Back to our Strong’s Concordance.  The transliterated word used for healing in this verse is:


Therapeia (ther-ap-I’-ah) Strong’s number 2322; noun feminine and it means

service rendered by one to another; spec. medical service: curing, healing; household service; body of attendants, servants, domestics

 

We then follow the Word origin again trying to get to the root word which takes us to:

          Therapeuo (ther-ap-yoo’-o) Strong’s number 2323; verb and it means to serve, do service; to heal, cure, restore to health

 

Then to:     

     Therapon (ther-ap-ohn) Strong’s number 2324; noun masculine and its meaning:  an attendant, servant: of God (spoken of Moses discharging the duties committed by God)


Let’s dig a little deeper for the word ‘healing (therapeia) as it is used in Rev. 22:2 as a noun.  Strong’s tells us this particular word is the same Greek word used in Matthew 24:45 and Luke 12:42 for the word household (Therapeia).  It is the same word John uses in Revelation 22:2 for the word healing.  The word therapeia can also mean health-giving but the root word therapon means serving or ministering to.


 

If we use the above definitions and instead of saying ‘the leaves were for the healing of the nations’ and replace the word healing with household our verse reads like this:


     ‘the leaves were for the household of the nations’

Which would mean they have some type of function in the communities/nations.




Likewise, if we replace healing with ministering our verse reads like this:

 

‘the leaves were for the ministering of the nations’


 

The healing spoken of in the leaves of the Tree of Life are not for a physical healing because Rev. 21:4 says there will be no more sickness, death, or pain.  The leaves John speaks of may be used for ministering.  Webster’s 1828 Online Dictionary defines the word ministering as:

Attending and serving as a subordinate agent; serving under superior authority.  Affording aid or supplies; administering things needful.


The Twelve Tribes of Israel will be ministering to the nations, administering useful things which will obviously come from the leaves, under the direct guidance of our Supreme God.  Please tell me this blows you away as much as it does me?


Think how wonderfully God has illustrated this for us through the anointed writings and visions of John.  In the Holy New Jerusalem the Twelve Tribes are there (Rev. 21), the Lord Jesus is there depicted by the river of living water that runs crystal clear, God is there as the river flows from the very Throne of God and of the Lamb, the Tree of Life is there in abundance of fruit and leaves.  What a magnificent sight that must have been!


The Tree of Life has great significance in the Christian faith.  It began where life itself began, firmly planted in the middle of the Garden of Eden.  It seems only fitting this same type of tree should take a prominent place in the new Holy City of Jerusalem.  A place where once again its fruits will be enjoyed and its leaves will minister to the nations.


I wish I could tell you what kind of ministering these leaves will serve.  I prayed every time I sat down to write this entry, begging the Holy Spirit to give me insight.  For now, this is all He has given and it was eye opening for me.  The Spirit gave me an understanding of just a tiny fraction of Revelations which had perplexed me before this study.  I pray He has done the same for you.


Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

 

Time out

I am so sorry however i was not able to get the Study done and I did not want to post something just to post something.  

I will continue the Scriptural Study on Heal, Healing, Healed.  I should have a post by March 
2018.
Thank you and please check back then!

Always loving our Lord,
Lori Robbins

Scriptural Study of the word HEAL--Part Three

Before each lesson, I ask everyone to first take a moment to pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you as you study His Word.  He speaks to each of us exactly where we are if we will open our hearts and minds to His voice.  I pray this blesses you and helps you grow in our Lord.


EXODUS 21:18-19

     18 “If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but remains in bed, 19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed.”


Exodus is the story of Moses and how God used him to free the children of Israel.  I have heard various numbers as we try to calculate just how many people there were who left Egypt on that day. Numbers ranging from hundreds, to thousands, to tens of thousands, to a million or more.  For the purpose of my writing, I will say tens of thousands.  I have no reason for choosing this number, it is simply a number I can wrap my head around.  I can actually see this many people if I close my eyes and think of the tens of thousands of people attending Super Bowl games.  I think we can safely assume, God freed a lot of people.  With so many people laws had to be put into place.  Laws for the betterment of society as a whole.  The Scriptural one we are looking at today was no exception.


Take a moment and reread the Scriptures above.  Could we just imagine for a moment how different life would be if we had this same law practiced today?  Instead of going to prison, the person responsible for injuring another individual “shall take care of him until he is completely healed.”  Not just on the road the road to recovery but completely healed.  It would definitely make a person think before hurting someone else wouldn’t it.


Researching this word “healed” caused me a great struggled at first.  Like many of you, I want to see and hear about the miraculous healings of the Old and New Testaments taking place today.  “Lord,” I prayed, “I am at a complete loss here and I desperately need Your Holy Spirit to give me wisdom and understanding.”  A short time later God began to show me just how awesome and wonderful He created us!  He designed parts of our bodies with the ability to heal themselves.


When God heals it is miraculous and usually instantaneous. Sometimes His healing is a process and takes time.  The word healed as it is used here does not deal with miraculous healing but with one of time.  For instance:         

Broken bones can grow back together

Our skin grows back together after a cut or scratch

Our liver can rejuvenate

Our brain can fix itself

Cells in our intestines have a fast turnover rate.  They die and quickly get replaced enabling our bodies to cleanse itself.

Lungs, damaged by environmental issues or smoking, can begin to heal once a person stops smoking or leaves the environmental hazard


I think of my husband who suffered a heart attack in February 2016. The doctor told me a part of my husband’s heart went without blood so there was some damage.  Thankfully, he also said because it was not for a long period of time, the damage would probably not be permanent.  Thank God, it was not and as of the last test his heart is back to normal.  I thank God and think it is so amazing how God created mankind with a body that can heal itself over time.


We all have family and friends with illnesses and we are praying for a miraculous healing.  We should never stop praying for this as God still does the miraculous!  We have a lady in our church who can testify God still heals as can all of those who remained in constant vigil for the Lord to do a miracle.  The doctors gave no hope but God moved and healed her.  It did not happen overnight.  It literally took months and every time the doctors said ‘no hope’ the members of this little church just prayed harder.  I was able to meet this wonderful woman of God and hear her testimony when I started attending this church a little more than two years ago. 

 

I do not know where you are in your walk with our Lord.  Perhaps you are praying for a miraculous healing or perhaps you have had one.  Maybe you are healing from a physical or maybe your healing is an emotional or spiritual one.  Maybe it is something else entirely.  Whichever the case, there is one think I know for sure, God is able.  He will not leave you nor will He forsake you.   Jesus said He would send us a comforter, the Holy Spirit.  My prayer today is for the Holy Spirit to comfort you in whatever it is you are going through.  May you lean on Him.

 

Always loving our Lord,

 

Lori Robbins 



Scripture Study of the word Heal--Part Two

Before each lesson, I ask everyone to first take a moment to pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you as you as you study His Word.  He speaks to each of us exactly where we are if we will open our hearts and minds to His voice.  I pray this blesses you and helps you grow in our Lord.


Genesis 20:17-18

     “Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children. (18) For the LORD had caused all the women to be infertile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.”


According to my research in the Strong’s Concordance Online, Genesis 20:17 is the first book of the Bible which uses of the word “heal”, or in this case a derivative of the word, in the King James Bible.  While it does tell of a physical healing, the surrounding Scripture offers a deeper glimpse into a healing which goes beyond the physical.  Please take a moment to read the entire chapter of Genesis 20.  It is only 18 verses so it will not take you long.  I will wait for you right here ……..


Yay, you are back!  Good stuff, right?  Does it sound vaguely familiar?  


Back in Genesis 12:11-13, Abram told, and then instructed Sarai his wife to tell, this same half-truth because he feared death.  Even after all the things God had spoken and promised to Abram; Abram had lost faith in God protection. 


Looks like history really does repeat itself because here in Genesis 20 once again we see Abraham telling a half-truth, and Sarah again going along with it. (Take note Abram is now called Abraham and Sarai is now called Sarah.)  This half-truth could have caused another man, King Abimelech, to commit adultery which was a very serious sin in Biblical times.  Mind you, Abimelech is completely innocent because he has been lied to by both Abraham and Sarah. (chpt. 20 vs 5)   


We don’t really know how long Sarah was in King Abimelech’s palace.  What we do know is what verse 18 of Genesis chapter 20 tells us,


      “For the LORD had caused all the women to be interfile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.”


I believe we can safely assume it must have been some amount of time.  Perhaps Sarah was going through a ritualistic cleansing before becoming one of the King’s harem? 

We really do not know. What we do know is one evening Abimelech sends for Sarah and brings her to his palace; however, he did not sleep with her.  God protected Abimelech from sinning with Sarah.  That same night God comes to Abimelech in a dream and reveals Sarah is a married woman.  God proceeds to give Abimelech an ultimatum.  He can return Sarah to Abraham or King Abimelech and all his people will die. 


Isn’t it amazing God prevented Abimelech for unknowingly committing a sin?  Vs. 6

“Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her.”


Abimelech had no idea what he was about to get himself into yet God, in His gracious mercy, stopped him.  It makes me ask myself how many times has God intervened in my life without my knowing.  How many times has He stopped me from unknowingly committing a sin?  The Bible tells us God is always with us so He can be sure He is working in ways we can and cannot see.  I do not know about you, but this brings great comfort and peace in my life.


So where does the healing part in this story come in?  Genesis 20:17


     “So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.”


At first thought, I wondered, “Why would God punish Abimelech when he had not done anything wrong?”  We read in verse 17 “… and God healed Abimelech …”   As I studied and prayed, I soon realized God was not punishing Abimelech, He was protecting him from committing the sin of adultery. 

God was also protecting Abraham and Sarah.  He had promised Abraham that He would make his descendants as numerous as the grains of sand on the shore.  He promised him a son.


Strong’s Concordance number 07495 list Rapha’ (raw-faw) as the root word for healed used in the context of Genesis 20:17.  One of the definitions listed is a figurative meaning---healing of individual distresses.  Perhaps this meaning best fits this particular word for healed in our Scripture study.


Abimelech was terrified when he learned in a dream from God that Abraham and Sarah were married.  Perhaps he realized at this very moment why he was not able to have children.  Remember the Scripture later says “God healed Abimelech.”  What did He heal Abimelech from?  Of course we do not know because the Bible does not tell us but let’s think about it for a moment.  If God had made Abimelech impotent this would be absolutely devastating for a King!  It meant no heir to his throne.  


God was not punishing Abimelech; God was protecting him, and His promise to Abraham and Sarah, by intervening.  God made Himself known to Abimelech in a real way.  I think we can deduce Abimelech realized Abraham’s God was powerful after his encounter with God in a dream.  My guess, a very vivid dream.  The kind of dream you wake up from and never forget.  I wonder sometimes if we realize just how powerful and hands-on our God really is.  His plan exceeds anything we could ever imagine. He is always at work behind the scene, protecting us from even ourselves.


Thankfully, this story had a happy ending.  We read in verse 17 Abraham prayed for Abimelech and God healed him.  What gets me here is why did Abraham have to pray in order for God to heal Abimelech?  God could have instantly healed Abimelech and his entire palace once Sarah was safely back in her husband’s arms.  So why did God tell Abimelech in vs 7 “…for he is a prophet, he will pray for you and you shall live”? 


I believe God reveals Himself to each of us based on our individual personalities.  Abimelech needed to know the God of Abraham.  God revealed Himself in a dream and then, after a prayer from His prophet Abraham, God revealed Himself through healing.  


How does God reveal Himself to you?  Are you listening and watching for Him in your life?  Sometimes things in our lives are not as we first perceive them.  We must always remember what Paul says in Romans 8:2 

“For we KNOW that ALL things work together for GOOD to them that love GOD…”


God’s first concern for us as believers is always our Spiritual well-being.  The same could be said for Abimelech.  “…God healed Abimelech, …”  He healed Abimelech spiritually by helping him NOT make a very big mistake then God healed him physically through the faithful prayers of Abraham, His chosen one.


Always loving our Lord,


Lori Robbins

Scriptural Study of the word HEAL--Part One

I cannot believe it is already the middle of January 2018.  I had all good intentions of writing at least one post a week this year and already I have missed the mark; however, I will not allow that to discourage me.                                                          


Yesterday morning, as I diligently walked my 30 minutes on the treadmill, I silently asked God to give me a word I could do a Biblical word study on.  This is not something I am in the habit of doing. I think I was hoping for words like conquer, overcome, or strength instead the word 'heal' came to mind. 

As I pondered the word heal for a few moments, the only way I could define 'heal' in my mind was as in a healing for a sickness, spiritual or emotional healing.  Pretty common way to understand heal for most of us, right?

Strong's online concordance is my go to when I am searching the Scriptures for particular words or phrases and this morning I searched heal. To my delight there are 39 Scriptures listed for heal, 13 for healing and 77 for healed. Looks like we have our work cut out for us.    

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."(KJV)  

Thus begins my study.  Each week I will study Scripture verses which either use the word heal or its derivative. I will be praying and seeking the Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding, and hopefully I can share what I learn here on this page in a way you too can gleam understanding and wisdom.  

Be advised I have never done this before so I am asking for each one who reads this to extend me grace as I muddle my way through.  I will look into setting up a group FB page in order to open up some discussion as we can all learn from each other.   

The first Scripture recorded in my Strong's search for the word 'heal' or a derivative is in Genesis 20:17.  I will do some study and begin my first post next Friday.  

Lastly, I covet your prayers as the Holy Spirit teaches me.  I ask for an open heart to hear the voice of my Father, wisdom to understand His Word, and understanding to use His Word in my day-to-day walk with Him.  
May God bless the reading and study of His Word.

Always loving our Lord,
Lori Robbins  




  



Hearing is Believing

“My sheep hear my voice.”  Hear is an action verb and is defined by Webster’s 1828 dictionary as:

1. To perceive by the ear,

2. To give audience or allowance to speak.

3. To attend; to listen; to obey.


Dear Sisters,


Like many of you, there are times I feel my prayers only reach the ceiling of my prayer closet and no further. I do not feel His presence and I do not feel He hears me.  


Yet, I have learned God’s presence is always with me.  It is not a feeling at all.  His word says, “I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.”  So on those days when the enemy tries to put the thought into my head that "God does not hear me, or God does not see me", I must stand on God’s Word and not rely on my feelings.  (Truth be told, I quote God’s word out loud when I pray because faith comes by hearing right?) 


We must NOT rely on our feelings (aka emotions) when it comes to hearing God’s voice.  Does Jesus say “My sheep will sometimes hear my voice” or “My sheep may hear my voice”?  NO!  Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.”  It is a definite statement, not a suggestion.  


Jesus tells us exactly whose voice we have to listen to and it is HIS voice.  There are so many opinions floating around in the air waves all battling for our ears to pay attention to, however who does the Bible tells us is prince of the air?  (see Eph. 2:2 for the answer.)  The only way to hear Jesus’ voice is to listen for it.


Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition #3 for hear above is broken into three part.  The first one is 'to attend'.  If we are attending something then we are going somewhere right?  We can and should apply this to our going to our prayer closet and getting one-on-one with our Father.  We are to be in His presence.  We are to be in attendance with Him.


The second part of #3 is 'to listen'.  Once we are in His presence, what do you think would happen if we sat quietly for a while and just listened for our Father’s voice?   I am not talking about meditation or a clearing of the mind.  I am suggesting you allow God time to speak to you and answer your questions, concerns and prayers.  We are not to ramble on in vain repetition are we?  No.  So once we have prayed maybe we should just sit still and listen.


Third Webster says 'to obey'.  By far the hardest thing we do as believers.  Many times we exit our prayer closets questioning whether or not we really heard God’s voice and what we thought He said to us.  Doubt is the enemy’s biggest weapon against us.  He used it in the Garden of Eden against Eve and he is still using it today against us. 


Eph 6: 12 tells us “our struggle is not against flesh and blood”.  So how do we fight the spiritual warfare? Going right back to Ephesians 6…We put on the Full Armor of God.  We stand against doubt because Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”  Does Jesus lie?  NO!  We can be confident in that.  As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, must stand on God’s word and in it He says we WILL HEAR.   Never were such sweeter words ever spoken by our Lord.  It is music to my ears (and heart) our Lord and Savior promises we will hear His voice.  This is sure thing for us as believers; we just need to learn and practice listening.


I close by encouraging you in these times we are now enduring, to cling to Christ as I know you are.  Hold Him to His word, with respect of course, when you pray to our Father in heaven, never doubting in your heart He hears you and you will hear Him too.


Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

FAITH---Who knew Part Two---BELIEVE WHAT?

BELIEVE WHAT?

Faith Who Knew Part Two

 

 

In my last blog entry we were talking about the words “faith and believe” as they relate to Hebrews 11:6

Let us move on now to the second part of this Scripture:

 

"...for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

 

As I was studying these two apparently simple words--faith and believe-- I was utterly stunned at their meanings in the actual Greek language.  We have already discussed how the word faith goes back to the Greek and translates as to obey. That alone was an eye opener right? ‘For without faith (obeying) it is impossible to please God' 

 

Now we come to the word believe in our passage: "for he that cometh to God must believe that He is (little word, BIG meaning), and that He is (not the same meaning as the previous word is) a rewarder of them that diligently seek him"(Hebrews 11:6 KJV emphasis added are my own). 

 

The word ‘believe’--used here as a verb-- translates as "to place confidence in".  So this is what the Holy Spirit showed me as I studied this one little verse of God's word:  if I do not obey God then I am not pleasing to Him and when I do come to Him (God) and I am ready to obey, I must place my confidence in the fact that He is.  

 

I found it odd the Strong's Concordance highlighted the word "is" twice in this passage.  Seems like just a 'form of B verb' when I first read the passage. To my surprise, it is not!  Strong's 2076--Esti which takes us to Eimi Strong's 1510-translates this simple little word ‘is’ like this: to be; to exist; to happen; to be present.  The word 'is' just gives me such a sense of excitement now because now I understand when I come to Him, I have confidence He exists and He is present all the time!   

 

Paul goes on to say  "and that He (God) IS a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."   Well, do not let the word 'is' take a back seat here either gang.  In this passage the Greek word is givomai (transliterated as ginomai; Strong’s number 1096) and literally means: to become: i.e. to come to pass, happen of events.  

 

As we understand these little words in Scripture we learn God then brings something to pass (makes something happen) in our lives when we have confidence that He is present.  First we come to God believing that ‘He Is’ and then God does something….Good stuff right? 

 

And what does God make happen?  The scripture says He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.  Yep, back to the Greek. Misthapodotes--Strong's 3406-- which means: one who pays wages and then we are taken to Strong's 591 Apodidomi --which translates:  to pay off, discharge what is due. Are you kidding me!  This is the very thing Christ did for all who would come to know and accept Him as LORD.  He pays off every debt we have had, have now, and are ever going to have!   Now this just makes me want to stand up and shout for joy!  Hallelujah and glory to God!  I just love it when God opens my eyes and my heart to new and exciting things in His Word, don't you? 

 

I pray as you go about your day today, you will pause for just a moment and ask yourself,  "What does faith and believe mean in my walk with Christ? Do I truly understand that He IS?"

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

 

FAITH---Who knew?

It seems strange to me a little word like 'faith' can have such a large impact on our lives with very different meanings. Every day I have faith in lots of things.  I have faith my car will start when I turn the key and that hot water will come out of the pipes every morning so I can take a warm shower.  I have faith food will be at the grocery store when I get there and gasoline will be available to me when I go to the gas station. 

 

As I found myself reading in Hebrews, I was perplexed as my eyes stalled on the first part of verse 6 in chapter 11,  "But without faith it is impossible to please Him,..." KJV (Him of course is God in this verse.) 

 

Faith. It seems like such a simple thing right? After all, I have faith in God. Yet, my eyes were not only drawn to the word faith but also to the word 'impossible' as it hooked into the phrase "to please Him".  Suddenly, I felt inadequate as I realized my faith was lacking. How would I ever have enough faith to please God? 

 

Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we could move mountains. I don't recall moving any mountains lately but I know God would never assign me a task He would not Himself give me the ability to complete so I stopped reading and began praying. I asked the Holy Spirit to give me a full understanding of this scripture verse and a few minutes later, I allowed myself to dwell and be completely immersed in the verse. 

 

It was the words 'impossible to please Him' which pierced my heart and caused me pause. More than anything, I want to please God every day in my life. I strive to stay in the word, diligently pray for others, attend church, and serve in any capacity I am able to help further the kingdom of God.  This word FAITH joined with the word IMPOSSIBLE hit me like a ton of bricks and I asked myself the hard question out loud,

"Lori, do you really have enough faith to please God?" 

 

The answer was disheartening.  I knew right then and there I had to dig deeper into God's word by going back to the original Greek. It was time to pull out the big guns. I began to do a little research with my trusty Strong's Concordance and Vine's Expository Dictionary (both of which are available online for free-P.T.L.), and I discovered an interesting fact. The Greek word used in Hebrews 11:6 for faith is pistis (Strong's #4102) and this Strong's reference then took me to the root Greek word peitho (Strong's #3982) which translates in English as the word 'obey'. 

 

Now that made sense to me! Thank you Holy Spirit.  This is truth in the life of any Christian, that we obey God in all things. Now, the word ‘impossible’ did not scare me so much.  God gave His son for us to have 'faith' in and in this way we obey God by believing in His only son.

 

On to the second part of verse 6: 

"...for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

 

I really want to blow your mind on the rest of this particular chapter and verse in Hebrew's regarding the word 'believe', however it would take too much space for this one entry; so, I will save it for next time.  Until then, ponder this question;

  

Do faith and believe mean the same thing?

 

Please keep praying daily with me--at 3 o'clock p.m. if you so choose, to build a closer relationship with your heavenly Father.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins 

Do You Hear What I Hear--Part TWO

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR—Part Two

 

In part one of Do You Hear What I Hear, we read in Jeremiah 37 about King Zedekiah and how he allowed himself to be swayed by whatever the public opinion was at the time.  He was what we term today as ‘fickle’.  We also took a look at Noah Webster’s 1828 Online Dictionary and learned the first definition of the word listen. The first meaning is to hearken; to give ear; to attend closely with a view to hear.  We discussed how in the early centuries people did not have the written word as readily available as we do today so pastors/priests read the word out loud.  Let’s take a look at another definition for the word listen.

 

The second definition Webster gives for the word listen is --- to obey; to yield to advice; to follow admonition.  This definition is perhaps not as easily followed as the first.  While we can hear what is being said to us and read God’s word thoroughly, we do not always obey/yield to what the Lord tells us to do.  Have you ever done that?

 

This is a constant battle for me.  I listen, or at least I try to, but then I always want to do my own thing.  I sometimes break the rules—just in small ways mind you. Like when my kids were young and they would ask for a cookie.  Instead of being a parent and dealing with the fits and tantrums because I said they could not have another cookie, I would say things like, “All gone. No more cookies in the jar.” knowing full well there were cookies.

 

Trivial you say?  It is these so called trivial things in our lives that will define who we are in Christ. Am I obeying God’s word which directly says I should not lie?  If I make compromises here in such a trivial matter, it is a safe bet I will make excuses in other areas of my life as well. I must make sure while reading and listening to God’s word, I am obeying and yielding to God’s word in every way.

 

It is this second definition which brings me to prayer. Once we listen (with our ears) we then must listen (obey) the words God gives us.  According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Online, the word pray --or a derivative thereof- is used 430 times in the KJV Bible.  Jesus thought prayer so important that He did so daily.  He asked His disciples to pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane.  He thanked His Father in heaven through prayer. He asked His Father to forgive in prayer. Jesus gave His disciples a model prayer in the book of Matthew chapter 6, but He did so much more. Jesus modeled prayer with/in His very life.

 

If our Lord and savior, the Son of the one, true, living God, sought out His Heavenly Father’s direction through prayer and our God inspired the many writers of the Bible to include prayers and record occurrences of various prayers in both Old and New Testament scriptures, shouldn’t we consider the possibility God wants us to pray in a true and meaningful way every day?        

 

When I was a young girl, my mother worked but would leave a note on the kitchen counter telling me what chores needed to be done when I got home from school. I would of course read the note and then go about watching TV, eating a snack, playing outside with friends or whatever else I could find to do before completing my chores.  I always honored my mother and carried out her words; however, the note did not have the same impact on me as when my mother was actually home and verbally telling me the same things written on the note. There was something about her presence which caused me to pay closer attention and to obey her words immediately.  This is so true with our Heavenly Father too!

 

When I pray, God’s writes His words on my heart. I know He speaks to me through His word but God speaks to me through prayer too.  Prayer is how I get forgiveness of sin because I confess my sin every day and ask Him to help me follow His will for my life. Prayer is how I build a relationship with God and Him with me. The more I pray the better I become at hearing God’s voice.  Just like hearing my mom’s voice resulted in my immediate action, hearing God’s voice has an immediate impact on whether or not I obey Him right away or put things off.  His Holy Spirit moves me to act on the words God has spoken to my heart that day.

 

Do You Hear What I Hear is one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Every stanza begins with the word “said” which means ‘declared’.  When someone declares something we usually give them our attention.  Through a dedicated prayer life, God will declare His plans for us and all we need to do is listen.  It takes practice and daily dedication but if we are faithful we will hear His voice and obey His words.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins 

Do You Hear What I Hear--Part One

King Zedekiah was what one might consider a fickle individual.  He seemed to be constantly swayed by public opinion. At first, he listened to Jeremiah, then he allowed Jeremiah to be thrown into a cistern where he was left to die.  Later he sent 30 of his men to pull Jeremiah out of the cistern and returned him to the palace prison. It seems Zedekiah had a very difficult time deciding between what people were saying to him and what God was telling him to do.  And they say women are fickle!

 

In Jeremiah 37: 2, King Zedekiah did not want to listen to what God had to say through Jeremiah the prophet.  We read in vv. 3 this same king sent two men, Jehucal and Zephaniah the priest, to ask Jeremiah to pray to the Lord on his behalf.  “Please pray to the Lord our God for us” he asked.   Odd don’t you think that King Zedekiah did not want to serve God but believed God existed and did answer the prayers of His children?  

 

Are Christians today duplicating King Zedekiah’s thoughts and actions?  King Zedekiah had “the God in my pocket” syndrome.  The king wanted God to provide everything he asked for but did not want God to require anything from him in return. He was not looking for a relationship with God; he only wanted the blessings God had to offer. 

 

Can we connect with that—even if just a little—to King Zedekiah?  It certainly has been true in my life.  While I called myself a child of God, I neglected having a relationship with Him. I would listen to what people were telling me rather than what my Lord was saying because the things friends were telling me all made perfect sense. Still there was something deep inside me, a gentle voice which kept whispering to my spirit “follow me; trust me”.  Like King Zedekiah, I soon found myself wishy-washy; swaying back and forth like a reed in the wind. I became so confused and frustrated.  Has that ever happened to you? 

 

Dear readers, when confusion starts to set in, it is time to just STOP!

Confusion is NOT of God, nor is it from God. 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is NOT the author of confusion, but of peace …” The best thing to do when you are confused about something is to stop, pray about the situation and wait on God to answer.

  

How long should you pray? Until you get a peace from God.  How will you know? Because God will get your attention in everything you read, see, hear and do.  It sort of like when you finally buy that new car and all of a sudden you begin to see them everywhere.  God will use every day things in your life to point you in the direction you should go. Things like Bible studies, television shows, songs on the radio, books, people, etc… He will tug, pull and push you down the right path if you are seeking His will. ‘Seek and you SHALL find’ that is one of God’s promise to us.      

 

Then a twist comes. Have you ever noticed God walks us along a path which most people would consider a bit rocky and risky?  And well meaning brothers and sisters in Christ begin asking, “Are you sure this is what God is telling you to do?”   

 

This question was asked of me over and over by well meaning believers who were concerned for my well being as my husband and I learned to hear and listen to God’s voice in our lives. At first there was no doubt in our minds of what God wanted us to do, however as we began listening to reasoning and logic, we started looking at things with worldly eyes.  Did you know God does some pretty illogical things when it comes to world views?  Listening to those types of views caused confusion so Hubby and I would once again get face down before our Lord and ask, “Is that really you Lord?”  We knew by countless confirmations through each other—and many other things too—we were walking in the path God set before us, yet as we looked at the things swirling around our heads, we got dizzy.

 

Agreed our brothers and sisters hearts were in the right place; they could not imagine why God would ask us to do such a thing.  In their minds it did not make any sense.  As I continued to pray and seek for direction, this thought came to me, “ Are these well meaning believers sincerely spending time in prayer over my family’s situation before giving us their counsel?”

 

Nothing they told us was wrong per se; however, often times our love and concern for family and friends blinds us to the more perfect things God has for us. More often than not, God’s ways are not our ways. He takes our weaknesses and uses them in mighty ways so He receives the glory. Ways we cannot fathom the hows or whys of our God.  It isn’t until we look back over our journeys we realize His ways are always for His purpose.  We must understand God’s will in our life is going to take place if we are seeking His will for our life. We are assured He works all things for our good in Romans 8:28.  If the path you walk now may not be as comfortable as you think it should be, rest assured if you are walking in Christ, He is in control.

 

We now read of the history of God’s children in our Bibles, but once—and not that long ago—it was shared not by reading but by listening to God’s word. Webster’s 1828 online dictionary defines the word listen as:  To hearken; to give ear; to attend closely with a view to hear.

 

In ancient times before we had the written word, a priest—just like a pastor today--opened the scrolls and read them aloud to the congregation. The people sat and listened intently.  They tuned their ears to the spoken words.  They listened.  When you sit and listen to your pastor this coming Sunday—or whenever/wherever you listen to God’s word—pay attention.  Listen intently and with purpose.  Pray and ask God to open your heart to His Word.  This is one way to hear Gods’ voice.

 

This particular post is becoming way too long, so I will stop here.

My next post will be about the second definition given to us by Noah Webster almost 200 years ago.  If you simply need to have the second definition now, please go and look it up.  You can Google search it online.  Until next time then!

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins  

EL ROI - THe God Who Sees Me

EL ROI—THE GOD WHO SEES ME

 

I believe and teach God is Omnipresent—

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines omnipresent as-- Present in all places at the same time; ubiquist (One who exists everywhere); as the omnipresent Jehovah.

 

We first learn of this character/name for God in Genesis 16.  Before we read this chapter, let me remind you that in the previous chapter—15—is where God promised Abram a son.  God made a covenant with Abram and Abram believed God. 

 

STOP AND READ CHAPTER 16

 

We read of Sarai and Hagar, Sarai’s handmaiden.  Hagar begins to be prideful of her pregnancy; Sarai retaliated and treated Hagar unkindly so Hagar ran away.  But God (YHWH) found Hagar.    I love how the verb found-- implying lost—is used here.  Hagar probably did not feel lost.  She was hurt and felt utterly alone.  I think we could even say she was downright mad at both Abram and Sarai. Hagar was not thinking clearly.  She allowed her hurt and anger to overcome her sense of good judgment.   Commentaries tell us Hagar was going back to Egypt. The journey she was embarking on was about 150 miles across a desert—an in-hospitable place filled with danger especially for a woman traveling alone and pregnant.  She probably would not have survived such a journey and would have died but EL ROI (The God Who Sees Me) had other plans. 

 

Three people-- Abram, Sarai and Hagar-- made a complete mess of things.  Sarai decided to offer her maidservant as a surrogate mother; Hagar was prideful and hateful to Sarai thus causing strife amongst the three of them; Abram—a man of faith-- did not take responsibility for the problem he helped create.  Instead of accessing the situation from the beginning and seeking God and asking “Is this right?” he went along with Sarai’s plan to have a child with a slave girl.  Hagar ran from her problem instead of submitting to authority and her position in life as a surrogate mother.  YET, God took the mess these three created and demonstrated His ability to work things out for good. (Romans 8:28)

 

God saw Hagar and had a plan for her, and her unborn son Ishmael, far above what this young mother could have ever imagined.  If we read further in Genesis we find out one of Abraham’s grandsons, Esau, married Ishmael’s daughter and it was the Ishmaelite traders, themselves descended from an Egyptian slave girl, who transported Abraham’s great-grandson Joseph into slavery in Egypt.  And we all know how God used Joseph in saving the remnant Israel, God’s chosen people, from starvation. 

 

El Roi sees us.  Many times we find ourselves in situations—some situations caused by us as in the story of Hagar, some caused by others and some just happen. We too react to a situation and sometimes do foolish things; things that could cause more harm than good.  We can be sure no matter what we are going through, El Roi (the God Who Sees) sees us and comes to our rescue.   

 

LADIES--GOD ALWAYS HAS A PLAN FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US!  He knows the beginning from the end and He sees every tear we shed, every temper tantrum we have, and every obstacle we face.   The next time you feel like God does not see, be reminded of the story of Hagar and these scriptures as well:    

 

Jeremiah 23:24

Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.

 

Hebrews 4:13

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account

 

Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

But now, this is what the Lord says—

He who created you, Jacob,

He who formed you, Israel:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine

 

Hebrews 13:5 the Message Bible

Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?

 

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

 

 

God rejoices over us.  He longs for an intimate relationship with His bride.

For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
Isaiah 62:5

 

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

 

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8

 

Elohim, created of everything, is El Roi, our God Who Sees Us and we are all precious to Him.

 

Always loving the Lord and you,

 

Lori Robbins

Elohim-Lesson Four

Good Morning Ladybugs.

 

We all know a promise is only as good as the person who makes it.  My favorite line in the Sound of Music is when Julie Andrews says, “That’s a pie crust promise-- easily made, easily broken.”   Many of us ourselves have broken promises whether intentional or otherwise. 

Aren’t you grateful we serve ELOHIM—Mighty Creator—a God who never breaks a promise?   Over and over in the Scripture we read of how God fulfilled every single promise and guess what?  He will continue to do so.

 

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

 

As we continue to grow in the situation our God has placed us in—good or maybe not so good in our eyes right now—remember this… He is working all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)

 

We are children of Elohim—grafted by the blood of Christ into the throne room of the Might Creator, God.  We bear His image. Take this knowledge with you in your prayer time this today.  Be confident that Elohim is in control and He never breaks His Word.

 

Read and reflect on:

Isaiah 40:28-29—Elohim is the everlasting God, Creator of the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 41:10—So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.

Genesis 28:15—I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

 

The old cliché goes—Stop and smell the roses.  Today I challenge you to look at your personal world today through the eyes of Elohim—Mighty Creator.  Everything He created is a rose of sorts.  Remember in Genesis Elohim said, “He looked on everything He had made and it was very good...” (paraphrased)

 

A CHALLENGE:

For the next three days, try to reflect on Elohim’s creations of all sorts---plants, animals, the sky, the rain, the person with the little sign along the side of the road asking for donations, the neighbor who always seems to annoy you, all the people in your life and those the Holy Spirit will bring you into contact with today.  Remember all things are His creation, just like we are.

 

Have a blessed day! 

 

Always loving the Lord and you,

Lori Robbins

 

ELOHIM LESSON THREE

Hello Ladybugs,

 

Have you been experiencing the power of Elohim this week?  I sure have!  As things in my life start to change—some good and wanted, others unwanted—He has reminded me He never changes.

 

Please read Psalm 102:25-27a 

 

Most of us do not like change but wouldn’t life be boring without?  Without good change, we would not have a reason to rejoice. And without some not-so-good changes, we would not a reason to hope in Elohim. 

 

Change is how we grow and improve ourselves no matter how young or old we are.  It is how God molds us to be everything He has created us to be.  While He continues to mold us throughout our lives, He is already perfect.  His love for us is perfect and His will and path for our lives is perfect. 

 

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

These are some of the most encouraging words I have ever memorized in all scripture as unwanted change happens in my life.  But as children of the most high God (ELOHIM) and followers of His son, Jesus Christ, we can be sure when change happens in our lives, Elohim is in total control and it is for our good and His perfect will as we walk with Him in inside of us.

 

Take courage ladies, God never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  As you face challenges and changes in your life, lean on Elohim—God, Mighty Creator.

 

Prayer Time

Reflect On:  Psalm 102

Praise God: For His unchanging nature—no matter what happens to us or to the world around us, God remains the cames.

Confess:  Any tendency to place God on your own level, as though He is subject to the same laws and limitations of creation as you are.

Ask God:  To help you perceive His greatness more fully so that you will stop projecting your own feelings and judgments on Him.

Offer Thanks:  That our Creator is perfect—nothing could be added to or subtracted from Him to improve His nature.

 

Have a blessed day!

Always loving the Lord and all of you,

Lori Robbins

ELOHIM--LESSON TWO

Characteristics of God

ELOHIM-Part Two

 

Hello Ladybugs,

 

I trust you have been doing your homework and ELOHIM is opening up your mind to understanding and grasping the power of His character in your life as you begin to establish an intimate relationship with Him.

 

Did you know, Elohim is the very first name for God recorded in Genesis?   It means God, Mighty Creator. 

 

 

Today, let’s read Genesis 28:10-22 and 35:1-8.

 

The story is about Jacob.  The very name Jacob means—‘supplanter" or ‘to trip up, overthrow, liar.  Jacob was not a very trustworthy person in the beginning of his life was he? 

 

He stole Esau’s blessing and then had to run for his life to Haran. (Genesis 27:41)  On the way, Elohim reveals Himself to Jacob in a dream (remember the ladder?); the next morning Jacob sets up a temple of sorts and proceeds to make a deal with God.  Don’t you just love it? Have you ever tried to do make a deal with Elohim?  I confess.  I am guilty of trying to make deals with God.  I have prayed things like, “God is you will just do this one thing for me, I promise I will (insert verbiage here).”  More often than not, they do not work. 

 

Yet, it is important for us to understand, this is the beginning of Jacob’s growing trust in the presence and protection of God. The next fourteen years are growing pains for Jacob.  Laban deceived Jacob many times.  First by switching daughters under the disguise of marriage.  Then Laban used Jacob to multiply his own wealth. 

 

In Genesis 31:5 Jacob tells Rachel and Leah, “... the GOD (ELOHIM) of my father has been with me.”  He goes on to tell them how GOD (ELOHIM) protected him from Laban and how Elohim has blessed him.  (Take notice of the spelling of “GOD” here.  In the Hebrew Scriptures this is important and will be to us as well.) 

 

As we read, we can see how Elohim was establishing a relationship with Jacob.  Jacob was taken from everything he knew (yes because of his own deception but don’t forget, ELOHIM was in complete control).  God placed Jacob in a place where he had to learn to trust in HIM.  Some of us may be in that place right now.  We have created a mess in our own lives and just started running.  Perhaps we don’t even know where we are running too?  All we know is things have begun to spiral out of control and all we want is to escape and start over somewhere new.    

 

Let me encourage you right now, ELOHIM loves us and He wants to assure us HE is in total control of whatever situation we are in.  He created the universe simply be speaking the words, “let there be…”   He is powerful.  No matter what the circumstances, He can, and desires, to help you get through them.  All you have to do is allow Him to do so.    

 

OK, fast forward to chapter 35.  After fourteen years of deceiving, and being deceived by Laban, Jacob—who now has two wives and two concubines, which between them have born him 12 sons—has to again run for his life.  This time though, he is going home and he is a very wealthy man in more ways than one.  All those years spent in Haran was a training ground for Jacob.  He learned to trust in the power of Elohim.  Jacob learned of God’s character.  Nothing is too difficult for Elohim. 

 

God gave His blessing to Jacob even though he lied, was deceptive and manipulative.  In the end, Jacob learned to depend totally on Elohim.  He established a relationship—a bond with God—and God saw this transformation and changed his name (Genesis 35).  Jacob the deceiver became ‘Israel’ which means God contender. 

 

We too can learn Elohim is powerful enough to get us through even the toughest of times we may be experiencing right now.  Perhaps, like Jacob, we too have created our own set of circumstances.  Spiritual maturity is a long journey but rest assured Elohim is able and willing to walk with us.  He wants us to learn to rely totally on Him instead of worldly wisdom.  As you pray to Elohim today, ask Him to help you move from self-reliant life to a God-reliant life.

 

Please continue the homework of praying every day for 3 minutes and to write a few sentences in your daily prayer journals.  This will be become an important part of your learning experience. 

 

PRAYER TIME:

(Taken directly from Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler)

Reflect On—Genesis 28:10-22; 35:1-8

Praise God—Because he not only created the world and everyone in it but continues to sustain it through his creative power

Confess—Any tendency to take God’s earthly blessing for granted

Ask God—To increase your desire to bless others with the gifts he has given you.

Offer Thanks—For the way God has blessed you with the good things of the earth.

 

Always loving the Lord and all of you,

Lori Robbins

 

PS-- 

Ladybugs are pretty, graceful, and harmless to humans; they are also valuable to farmers because they eat aphids and other plant-eating pests. Sort of a duel personality wouldn’t you say?  Ladybugs are happy in many different habitats, including grasslands, forests, cities, suburbs, and along rivers. A female ladybug will lay as many as 2,000 eggs in her lifetime.

I find Ladybugs fascinating as I connect them to my walk with Elohim.  I want to be pretty (on the inside), graceful, harmless and loving to humans; however, I will take a defensive stand for Christ when prompted by the Holy Spirit.  I find I am at home any place Elohim chooses to plant me and I want to touch as many lives as I can with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I hope you all do too.

Lesson One-Praying the Names of God

Good Morning Ladybugs,

 

Thank you so much for joining me on this blog.  I am so excited to take this journey together as we learn the characteristics of God and establish a closer relationship with Him. 

 

This week we are learning how powerful ELOHIM—God, Mighty Creator really is.  He spoke the universe into being out of nothingness.  Now that is power! While we can make things out of materials which already exist, we are unable to create something out of nothing.

 

God could have created us however He wanted, but He choose to create us in His image. 

In the past I have been guilty of looking into the mirror in the morning and instead of seeing a beautiful creation of God, I saw large hips, a big nose, stingy hair, etc...  Have you ever done that?  This affected to me to the point where at 37 years old, I became an anorexic and weighed 97 pounds.  Slowly destroying my body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Elohim gently reminded me I was created in His image and began to show me everything He created is beautiful.  While I may not be beautiful to mankind or meet the image of beauty constantly shoved in our faces via media of all sorts, I am a creation of God.  He knit me in my mother’s womb.  When I began to truly grasp this, the mirror no longer was able to lie to me.     

 

As we soak in the knowledge and grasp a full understanding of Elohim this week, may we lay every situation we believe is impossible or too difficult at His capable feet today. Surely our God—Elohim, the Mighty Creator—is able to take care of any problems we are experiencing in our lives.  In fact, He wants too. “Cast your burdens on HIm, for He cares for you.”

 

Understanding His power, reminding yourself of it throughout every day this week, and reminding the enemy even he was created by God will solidify the name and character of God in your hearts.  You can and will walk in boldness remembering “No weapon formed against you will prosper.” 

 

PRAYER TIME

Begin your prayer time this week with 1 to 3 minutes of just praising God.  Elohim inhabits the praises of His people.  We were created to praise Him. Then  

 

Reflect today on Genesis 1:26-28

Praise Elohim for His power in creating the heavens and the earth out of absolutely nothing

Confess to Elohim any tendency to forget that every human life, including your own is sacred

Ask Elohim to renew your sense of wonder and gratitude for the things he has made.

Give thanks that Elohim has only created you, but made you in His own image.

(The above directly from the book, Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler; ponder them today during your prayer time.)

 

Always loving the Lord and all of you,

Lori Robbins

 

Homework:  Take 3 minutes each day this week to stop and meditate for those few moments on the name of God-Elohim = strength and power.  Try praising Him with His name Elohim instead of just using God. (This exercise will become clearer as we learn other names for God.) Reflect on His creations.  Take confidence in knowing God is powerful.  God is strong.  He is able. 

 


Afterwards, write in your journal any thoughts that popped into your mind during mediation.  Doesn’t have to be complete paragraphs, just anything you were thinking or feeling.   

WHAT IS IT YOU WANT?

What is it you want?

 

Nehemiah 2:4-6:

 

“The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.”

 

As I read these verses of Scripture today, the Holy Spirit began to have a conversation with me.  His first question to me,

 

                                                               “What is it you want?” 

 

Funny thing, just the other day hubby and I were driving and talking about life.  You know, questions like, “what do we do now?” “where do we want to spend the rest of our lives?” “how will we do this or that” kind of questions.  My answer to hubby, and now to the Holy Spirit were the same.  

 

                                                                    “I really don’t know.”

 

I know the story of Nehemiah as it is probably my favorite book in the entire Bible.  When God called me to pray more than seven years ago, I spent many, many weeks studying Nehemiah.  It seemed as if God were bringing it to my attention at every turn.  Every church I visited and every radio study I heard when I got in my car seemed to be about Nehemiah.   Now, here I am again. Only this time, the Holy Spirit was not revealing history to me.  I wasn’t learning about culture and the times of Nehemiah.  I wasn’t cross referencing Bible Scriptures or looking up the original Hebrew on the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I think I must have actually been stunned because He gently put the question to me again as I sat perplexed, and no doubt dumbfounded, by the question:   

 

                                                                     “What is it you want?”

 

Friends, when the Spirit asks this question, it is not a question one should take lightly. I did not know how to answer so I gave the answer I thought He wanted to hear:

 

“I want to be closer to God.  I want Him to speak to me. I want to hear His voice and for Him to use me for His glory that He will be glorified in my life. ”

 

And while all these things in my heart are true, instantly I knew the Holy Spirit was really not requiring I answer the question directly.  I needed to search inside myself and be specific.  If I truly wanted God to use me for His glory, what did that look like?  What did that mean?

 

In the previous chapter of Nehemiah, chapter one, we read Nehemiah had received bad news concerning Judah and the children of Israel.  The situation looked bad and Nehemiah desperately wanted to do something about it.  His heart ached for his people and the only way he could help was to go to the king and ask for it.  Nehemiah first went to God.  The very last thing he prayed was,

 

“Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”    

 

Nehemiah was clear on what he wanted God to do and he asked specifically for …’favor with the king’.   He believed God would answer and provide the right opportunity.  He started planning.

 

                                                     “What is it you want?”

 

Like Nehemiah, and probably many of you reading this, I want the favor of God in this life, the one I am living right now.  I want His blessings in a tangible way.  Of course, I look forward to heaven.  Of course, I know we will have trials on this earth.  Of course, I know His grace is sufficient for me.  BUT the Holy Spirit of my Heavenly Father was asking me a direct question.  A question I needed to think about and pray about.  And answer carefully with much forethought.       

 

Nehemiah Chapter two tells us several months later, while in the presence of the king, Nehemiah looked sad.  The king asked him why he looked so deeply troubled.  Nehemiah knew God had granted him his request but he was “terrified”.   He managed the courage to speak and began telling the king about the condition of Judah and his countrymen.  The king was favorable to him and asked, “What is it you want?” 

With a prayer to the God of heaven,” Nehemiah began telling the king his story.  He had been seeking the Lord for months previous to this encounter with the king.  He had come up with a plan but right before he makes his requests known to the king, Nehemiah says a little prayer to God.  We have no idea what it was, Scriptures do not say.  Perhaps it was for courage as we read in the previous verse, “Then I was terrified”.  Perhaps it was for God to help him remember all the things he would need for his trip.  After all, he didn’t pull a list of things out of his pocket and start checking them off. 

 

I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to think deep and hard about His question “what is it you want”.   What is it that I really should be praying for?  When the Lord calls us to search our hearts for what it is we really want, we must begin the search.  It may take a while.  It may not.  I call this committed prayer.   Once we determine what it is, we need to prayerfully come up with a plan in order to implement it in our lives.  Once we know what it is we want, we make a plan, just like Nehemiah did.  It may take months or even longer to come to fruition.  This is because of God’s perfect timing.  Yes, I am going to say it now.  We MUST WAIT UPON THE LORD!!!  I cannot stress this enough. 

 

As children of the most High God, we know God is orchestrating our lives.  Not just ours, but others as well.  He provided just the right time for Nehemiah to present his proposal to the king.  Once we are ready--which entails knowing what it is we want and having a plan--God will present the opportunity.  He will open doors no man can shut.  When he does, let us be ready!

 

Always loving our Lord,

 


Lori Hutchinson Robbins  

Where is Your Focus



"On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad for the good things the LORD had done for David and Solomon and for HIS people Israel"

The Holy Spirit does not mess around when we ask God to reveal His Word to us as we begin to pray and study the Scriptures.  These verses were a part of my Bible study today.  They caused me intense grief in my spirit. At first, all I wanted to do was close my Bible and walk away as tears swelled up in my eyes and gently slid down my cheeks.  "Lord," I asked God, "why am I not joyful and glad for the good things You have done for me?" With an ever so gently nudge, the Holy Spirit answered my question with a question, "Where is your focus, Lori?"

BAM! Reality check as I pondered the question God was asking me. Where has my focus been?  Have I been focusing on the wrong things?  Sadly, the answer is yes.  

Let me explain:
There has been great loss in my life over the past seven years.  So, so many losses. This month, another loss was finally coming to an end after a five year court battle that we are obviously going to lose. The appeal date is coming July 6 but honestly we have no faith in our judicial system to do what is right and uphold the law. 

Clearing out our home of 30 years is not difficult because in 2011 we sold every piece of furniture, every knick-knack, rug, painting, home interior decoration, etc. at an auction house.  The money was used to buy food and pay a few bills. It lasted just long enough for hubby to get a very, very low paying job as a handyman. It was enough to buy food. 

This month, I have not been able to think of anything but the losses we have suffered. Worrying constantly about what the future will hold for us this late in our lives. (Hubby is 67 and I am 55)  Focusing on the losses we would never be able to recover.  The company we will never be able to rebuild. The savings we would never be able to replace. The loss of the American Dream. And every time I drive to our old house to retrieve something, my heart sinks. There is no money for the upkeep. Like the children of Israel wept for Solomon's temple and its glory days, I weep seeing my home as it falls deeper and deeper into disrepair, knowing I can do nothing about it.

"Where is your focus, Lori?"  He asked.  My focus lately has been on the losses.  There is no joy in loss.  No matter what type of loss it might be--death of a loved one, financial, home, etc... if we dwell on the loss, we will live in defeat.  I began to pray.

"Help me Lord," I said crying out to God, "remind me of your goodness so I too can come home joyful and glad for the good things you have done."  I sobbed. It was not a pretty cry. It was an ugly cry.  And when the tears finally stopped, little things began to pop up into my mind.

"Remember the job I gave so you would have food?" he reminded me.

"I remember Lord, I was so overjoyed at the time. You literally brought a job right into his hands.  And it was right at the time we needed it most. We danced for joy we were so excited!"

"Remember when they brought the foreclosure papers to your door, how I directed you to a law firm who would help sustain you until I was ready to move you?"

"Oh Lord, I do. I do.  We had no idea what to do or how to fight it so I locked myself in the basement and prayed. It was Thanksgiving week.  You spoke to me and said everything would be OK. Then later, you led me to information I would never have found on my own and to people who could help us."

Little by little, He reminded me of the little things I could be thankful for.  The little things had gotten lost in my memory because all I could focus on was the loss. While we are to grieve, and take as long as it takes, we are not to focus on it.  The Scriptures say, "Give thanks to the LORD for He IS good."  

When I turn my focus on the good things He has done for me, I honor God. BUT it is not for His benefit I thank and praise Him, it is for mine. Focused grief can led me into the pits of hell if I allow it to.  It can cause me to question God. It can led me to unbelief because things are not happening the way I think they should.  In the time frame I think it should.  When I can praise God in my grief, focus my thoughts and offer my thanks for His goodness, the Holy Spirit moves in marvelous ways. 

The God I serve, through my salvation in Jesus Christ, is good.  All the time.  Sometimes I need Him to remind me of this.  Sometimes I need to remind myself.  How about you...do you believe God is good?

Always loving our Lord,
Lori Robbins 

I KNOW, I KNOW!!!

I know, I KNOW!


How many times have I said how important it is to have a personal prayer relationship with our heavenly Father?  10 times? 100 times?  1000?  Well here I go again.  Only this time I have some new insight I am gaining for author Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Evangelist Billy Graham, and her book The Daniel Prayer.  If you haven’t heard, Anne is doing an online Bible Study on this book with an accompanying study guide, and so far I am blown away at how the Holy Spirit is revealing some pretty insightful things to me.


First, Anne gets to the heart of prayer and puts it first.  A book on prayer which begins by asking us to pray before we study who would have thought?  I am a strong believer if we will pray and seek God before we begin to study HE will make HIS Word come alive in us!!! 

Yes, Strong’s and Commentaries are necessary, however one of the things I have noticed in many, many women’s Bible studies I have attended is the women seem to be focused on the process of the study instead of personalizing the Word of God.  Just something to cross off their Christian To Do List.   And until about a year ago, I would have to include myself in this group.  Did we pray before we studied? Of course we did but it just seemed to me like one of those “now I lay me down to sleep” kinds of prayers.  You know, the prayers we pray because we are suppose to.  Anne encourages readers to really seek the Holy Spirit before we study God’s Word.  The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us insight to God’s Word.  He lives within EVERY believer and follower of Jesus Christ.   1 Corinthians 2:14 says,


           “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”   Without the Holy Spirit in us, we could never understand God’s true meaning in the Scriptures. 


PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT criticizing anyone here; simply making a statement from my own observations.  God’s Word is “alive and sharper than any two edged sword…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)   If we are so focused on the outward Biblical surroundings, are we allowing God’s Word to search our hearts?  When we study is it just to get historical information or are we believing God will speak to us on a personal level even if it is something we don’t want to hear? 


Second, Anne’s approach to Bible Study is very different, in a GOOD way, than my usual Berean way of studying.  Not that my study habits are bad mind you.  After all I am a writer so getting facts correct are important to me.  BUT this study so far, and it has only been one session but I am fired up, Anne has shown me how to make the Word very personal.  How?  She has a unique, simple way of study that guides me through short sections of Bible passages at a time and then allows me to break it down into my real life through revelation of the Holy Spirit.  I couldn’t begin to go through it here, and I wouldn’t as I respect her work and writings as an author, but this approach really helps me to take God’s Word and on a much deeper and personal level.  Do I still look up things? Honestly, I try not to, at least not during my prayer/study time.  I believe this allows me to be open to what my heavenly Father is speaking to my heart.


Third, God brings things into our lives and it is up to us to respond to them.  I firmly believe God has brought this study into my life at this particular time in my life to help me build a better relationship with Him.  If you would have asked me one week ago how my walk with God was I would have told you great!  And it would have been the truth at that time.  After just one week in the Daniel Prayer, God has spoken to me and said, “Lori, there are some things we need to work on together. Are you willing?” 


My response, Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.  With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death.”

 (Psalms 86:11-13)


Perhaps you are reading this and the Holy Spirit is speaking to you right now.  Maybe God desires a more personal relationship with you? Maybe you know the Word inside and out but are still lacking something.  If this is true for you, please don’t delay. Pray right now and ask God if He is directing you to a more personal life with Him.  You will be glad you did!


If you are interested in joining the Daniel Prayer online study please contact them at the web address below.  I have absolutely nothing to do with this organization or with Anne—although I wish I did…lol.  God Bless.


https://www.studygateway.com/online-bible-studies/daniel-prayer-registration/

 


Always loving our Lord,

Lori Hutchinson Robbins

Biblical Covenants, what's that got to do with me?

 

The one thing I love about my God is He teaches me something new almost every day. Hence the Scripture, “seek and you will find…”

 

Over the past several weeks I have been learning about Biblical Covenants.  At first, if I am being honest, I thought this particular class was just some FYI type stuff.  I mean covenants are Old Testament stuff, right, so who really cares?  WRONG.

 

I am going to dedicate the next few blog post to this study on two of the seven covenants I have been learning about.  First is the Adamic Covenant or The Covenant of Works and second is the New Covenant or The Covenant of the Christ.  These are the two the Lord spoke to me about in specific to share with anyone who the Holy Spirit brings to this prayer site and reads this.  You will understand why as the blog progresses so don’t miss one, ok?

 

What is a covenant anyway?  Webster’s dictionary defines covenant as:

 

 “a formal agreement or promise. Law: a formal written agreement between two or more people, businesses, countries, etc.” 

 

According to Strong’s Concordance Online the Hebrew word for covenant is Berith and appears 280 times in the Old Testament.  The Greek word is diatheke and is used approx. 33 times in the New Testament. There are of course variations of the word covenant but I shall allow you to dig deeper into this on your own.

 

In my studies, I have found there are two types of covenants (websites are not sited as there are many which use these exact same explanations):

1) Conditional Covenant—a bilateral covenant in which a proposal of God to man is characterized by the formula: if you will, then I will, whereby God promises to grant special blessings to man providing man fulfills certain conditions contained in the covenant.  If man fails to honor his part of the covenant then the result is punishment.  Blessings are secured by obedience and man must meet his conditions before God will meet His. (Some might refer to this definition as an oath.)

 

 

2) Unconditional Covenant—a unilateral covenant which is a sovereign act of God whereby He unconditionally obligates Himself to bring to pass definite blessings and conditions for the covenanted people.  This covenant is characterized by the formula: I will, which declares God’s determination to do as He promises.  Blessings are secured by the grace of God.  There may be conditions in the covenant by which God requests the covenanted one to fulfill out of gratitude but they are not themselves the basis of God’s fulfilling his promises. 

 

 

As we begin with the Adamic Covenant, I believe it is important for us to understand God has always had a plan.  While things may come into our lives that surprise us, this is not the case for God.  He is omniscience, an all knowing God.  He knew Adam would fall and He already had a plan for mankind.  This is what the Holy Scriptures are all about, God’s plan.  Nothing could have driven this home for me more perfectly than this study God brought into my life.  This deepens my desire to know God’s Word even more fully. 

 

The Adamic Covenant is one God made with Adam.  When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they had all they would ever need. This place was paradise, y’all!  It was beautiful, food was everywhere, tilling the ground was easy, and they wanted for nothing.  The only restriction God gave Adam and Eve was they were not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden.  There was no misunderstanding in what God meant.  There was no failure to communicate here.  Eve herself repeated God’s instructions to the serpent in Genesis 3:3,


    3 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.


Not only were they not to eat it, Eve added they were not even to touch it!  We all know the story, the serpent deceived her and she ate the tree’s forbidden fruit.  She then gave the fruit to Adam who willingly ate the fruit he knew was prohibited.  Outright disobedience. 

 

God gave Adam a conditional covenant.  The terms were simple. Adam was not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden.  The condition was if he did eat from it then he would die, not only physical death but spiritual death.    

 

God’s promise to Adam, if he had obeyed, was everlasting life in a protected place.  A life in a garden where God provided His presence, His power and His provisions for Adam and Eve.   Adam possessed a perfect life without defect.  There was no deterioration, no curse, nothing undefiled and no aging.  His emotions were never wounded, or harmed.  God walked with him in the garden. (Genesis 3:8)  They were friends.

 

When Adam ate from the fruit, he lost the Holy Image of God.  He lost his friendship with God and he lost his authority over all the things God had given to him.  Once this happened, then the curses began and God began with the serpent.  Have you ever wondered what does this have to do with us? Everything. 

 

Adam had one command—to not eat from the tree.  He broke it.  By doing so he passed sin on to all of us.  To put it mildly, things changed for all mankind.  We are now apart from God.  How are we ever to get back in communion with God?  Thankfully God has a plan.  (BTW—He always does.)  

When God curses the serpent in v.14-15, He reveals His plan.  (hint...Look closely at v. 15):


14Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.”

 

In verse 14 God is cursing the serpent however in verse 15 many believe there is a significant switch and God is now cursing Satan.  The last part of verse-15- is often labeled the protoevangelium or the first gospel.  Adam’s sin and God’s provision of a Savior who takes the curse upon Himself.    The ESV Commentary says this:



“…it has traditionally been understood as pointing forward to the defeat of the serpent by a future descendant of the woman, and this interpretation fits well with the words and context. This defeat is implied by the serpent’s being bruised in the head, which is more serious than the offspring of Eve being bruised in the heel….This interpretation requires that the serpent be viewed as more than a mere snake, something which the narrative itself implies, given the serpent’s ability to speak and the vile things he says. While the present chapter does not explicitly identify the serpent with Satan, such an identification is a legitimate inference and is clearly what the apostle John has in view in Rev. 12:9 and 20:2.”

 

We must always take God’s Word as a full text.  He has a beginning plan and an end plan.  His plan started with Adam.  Adam failed but God provided an escape plan.  God’s plan ends with Salvation through His one and only Son Jesus Christ. 

 

Tune in next time for the New Covenant/The Covenant of the Christ.  It will knock your socks off!

 

Always loving our Lord,

 

Lori Robbins  

Pennies from Heaven

I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. We were a poor family of six—daddy, mama, two brothers, one sister and me. Dad worked hard and also volunteered as an associate pastor at our local Baptist church. My brothers, sister and I spent every Sunday—morning and evening—and every Wednesday night perched on the front pew of our little church listening to daddy deliver the message of the day. Mama sang and played the organ for the congregation. (She also worked as a short-order cook to help pay the bills.) During that time in my life, we were very close to our many relatives--daddy had ten brothers and sisters so family gatherings were very large when aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends all got together. Our paternal grandparents lived right next door at the time and went to church regularly with us. When grandma passed on it seemed the entire family fell apart and scattered around Florida.  Daddy stopped preaching and mama went to working afternoons and evenings shifts as a night cook. We too moved shortly afterwards. Times were rough financially for my family pretty much my entire life but the Lord always made sure we had our daily bread in ways I never even realized at the time. 

 

 

As a young girl of ten or eleven, I remember walking along the side of Interstate 275 –an interstate just across the street from where we lived in Tampa--alongside my daddy and younger sister picking up tossed out soda bottles. My sister and I struggling to pull our little red wagon through the soft, sandy dirt as daddy picked up dusty glass soda bottles of various types and gently placed them in the wagon. Many times I watched daddy jump over the flimsy chain link fence which separated us from the oncoming traffic to fetch a bottle that didn't quite make it to our side when tossed out of a speeding vehicle. My heart would pound as the cars whizzed closely by him, some never realizing his presence. Even as a young child I understood the danger my father risked to provide for his family. Worth a meager 5 cents apiece, that tiny amount meant a loaf of bread or gallon of milk to us.

 

 

The summer months were probably the most unbearable ones with the sun beating down upon our heads and the hot wind bristling over us as cars rushed by. This could have made bottle hunting an unpleasant task were it not for my dads always quick wit to make our endeavors fun. When he would find a bottle, he would rub it like a magic lamp and pretend a genie would come out.  My sister and I would laugh as he encouraged us to make silly wishes.  Daddy always told us our little wishes were prayers to God's ears and one day He would answer each of them if we would just wait on God.    

 

 

Once collected, the three of us would take the bottles back to our house and wash them inside and out with a garden hose. Then, we would go inside and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while the soda bottles, left perched on a little stand daddy had made, were turned upside down to dry out. Once dry, we walked to the grocery store and exchanged them for money which was then used to buy food. As a reward for all our hard work, daddy always let my sister and I pick out a few pieces of penny candy.  "See what happens when you work hard; you get a little something special," he would say with a little wink of the eye.  Funny thing is, I never really thought of it as work.

 

 

 

I always enjoyed being with my dad. He was such a humble man, full of the love of God and had a personality like that of Don Knotts portrayed in all the movies. (People often told him he looked like Don Knotts but I think it was more that he acted like Don Knotts.)  I never felt safer or more loved in my entire life than when I was with dad or in his arms. It was the way my father loved that has always made me know the love I have in Christ. I saw the love of Christ everyday exhibited through my dad.

 

 

Who would have thought God could bless and feed a family by using what other people threw out of their car windows as trash.  As I grow older now and these memories of gathering soda bottles come to mind, I smile and think of Ruth who was allowed to gleam the fields of Boaz for stalks of barley because of her kind heart and the way she loved. She was experiencing hard times just like us but God says He is always with us and promises us in Isaiah 43:2 that "When thou passes through the waters, I will be with thee..." 

 

 

For my parents, who had the task of feeding and clothing four children, those were trying times but they are wonderful memories for a woman who now cherishes them as life lessons from our heavenly Father through an earthly one. 

 

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

GOOD GRIEF?

 

When I think of the word grief I normally do not associate it with the word good.  In fact putting those two words together is what one might call an oxymoron.  You know like “girly man” from that movie Renaissance Man with Danny Devito.  But what if I approached it from a Biblical perspective?  Can grief work for my good?


 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


Does Romans 8:28 apply in my life even when I am grieving about something? 


Let me digress here a moment.  One can grieve over many things. Of course, the loss of a loved one is the one most people associate with grief, however there are other reasons we grieve.  Broken relationships (betrayal), loss of a home (foreclosure), loss of a job (retirement or layoff), infertility, chronic pain, rebellious children, and even the loss of a life-long dream—just to name a few-- can cause us to grieve.  


There were many people in the Bible who grieved over the loss of a loved one.  David grieved Jonathon, Naomi grieved the loss of her husband and her two sons, Jesus grieved Lazarus.  And others who grieved for various other reasons:


1 Chron. 4:10 Jabez cried out to God seeking blessings so he would not grieve:

"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!"


1 Samuel 1:16 Hanna grieved over infertility


“Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.


The Bible tells us over and over how God was grieved by mankind going all the way back to Genesis 6:6:


“The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.


How does God work grief together for our good then? I think we need to keep it in perspective and realize when we suffer a loss, grief is the natural response.  While going through losing our home of 30 years to the foreclosure process, a dear friend told me I needed to allow myself to grieve this loss.  At first I thought it sort of silly however I realize my response was a prideful one.  As I begin to move our belongings to a rental house, I am grieving.  There are many precious memories in the old house.  It is the longest I have ever lived anywhere in my 55 year lifetime.  The plan all along was to sell the old house and use the money to retire into a smaller place either by the beach or in the mountains.  I have lost both my home and my dreams.  So yes, I have given myself permission to grieve.  Thank you friend for that wise counsel. (You know who you are J


There is a purpose in grieving. For me, it is leaving the old and moving towards the new.  The rental house is a resting place for me for now.  A chance for me to pray and ask God to help me see the good in all that has transpired over the last five years.  It has been a battle and I am bruised but not broken.  While yes I am sad, I know if I will allow myself the time to grieve, and sometimes it comes in stages where I can be euphoric one minute and deeply saddened the next, and then I am reminded “this too will pass”.   


God is His wonderful mercy will never place on us more than we can bear. God is always faithful.  He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. I come into His presence and He holds me. He wipes the tears from my eyes but I like to think He also captures the praises from my lips to Him too.  He is my hope in times of trouble and sorrow as well as times of peace and prosperity.   He knows my future and I know He loves me.  He gave the most precious gift of all to me, His one and only Son. So that I might live eternally in heaven with Him.  I know He must have grieved for His Son. That is grief that works for good, isn’t it?


God works this grief for my good because it is in these times when I seek Him the most.  It is in these times He brings friends to walk along beside me, to pray with me and to counsel with me.  He works it for my good because I begin to realize He has plans for me I am not able to grasp; plans for a future and a hope. To prosper me and help me grow closer to Him. 


Perhaps you are experience grief in your life right now?  I don’t know what grief you are going but if you are reading this I can tell you we have hope in Jesus Christ.  He carried our sins and can surely carry our grief. He is able to do more than we could ever think to ask.   He can, and if you will allow Him to, will use this grief to work for good in your life.  In my situation, at my and my husbands ages, we will never recover from this financial setback, YET I can honestly write these words to you because I believe them now more than ever:


And  I KNOW that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (word change and emphasis are mine.)


Always loving our Lord,


Lori Robbins

THE LITTLE THINGS--PART TWO

The Little Things, Part two

 

Enter God.

 

The second house we stopped at that Saturday morning did not have much outside to look at; however, staked in grass was a small, hand-made sign peeking out which read ‘Furniture for Sale’.  We peered down the long driveway but saw only a jungle of plants of various varieties. We were too late. Disappointed but not discouraged, I was ready to drive on to the next house when mom said, “Let’s just get out and take a look. It will only take a minute.”  We did.

 

Our chins hit the pavement and we couldn’t believe our eyes as we walked up that driveway. There in the garage, placed side by side, was not just one single recliner but two love-seat recliners with a for-sale sign taped on them.  In case you are reading this in the morning and before you have had your coffee, that equals four reclining chairs in all!  And they were in perfect condition.   But this only gets better because God has entered the scene.

 

All the cash I had in my pocket was $200.00.  I sheepishly asked the man in charge how much for one love-seat fully expecting it to be all my money as these recliners were in pretty much mint condition.  Tears swelled in my eyes and trickled down my check before I could stop them as the guy told me I could have them both for…wait for it…wait for it…only $150.00. 

 

Glory to Jehovah Jireh, our provider!  We serve an amazing, awesome God who really, really does care about the little things in life like a comfortable chair to sit on. He goes beyond what we might think or ask.  I had only been praying for a recliner for hubby but God, in His goodness and mercy, blessed me with four.  We were all—Jerry, mom, Tiana and I—going to have a recliner to sit on.

 

But God didn’t stop there, I mean after all this is God right?  Abundantly more, right? 

 

After getting the recliners home, and being ever so grateful, I still had $50.00 left.  By now it was 11:00 a.m. and true garage sell fanatics will tell you the good buys are gone quickly. Still, I sat on one of my new recliners, which now occupied the entry way of my home as they waited to be put into place later, and thought very briefly, “A table to eat on would be nice Lord.”  While I can’t say for sure I was prompted by the Holy Spirit, mom and I ventured back out into the pandemonium without expecting to find much. 

 

We went to the same neighborhood sale and made a left hand turn this time on the main road.  Driving around about fifteen minutes or so I decided to count my blessings, not be greedy, and celebrate with lunch at Firehouse Subs with some of the money I had saved. God had other plans. 

 

As I made my way around a cul-de-sac, there sitting all by itself, on the driveway of a house that was not participating in the ‘garage sale-a-monia’, was a country-style, wooden table.  Taped to the table was a hand-written sign in black sharpie marker on white copy paper the word FREE.  I could not believe my eyes!  Immediately, mom and I jumped out of the car and claimed our miracle. Not only did my Lord care about a chair, He did abundantly more by giving me something I hadn’t even asked for until that very morning.  For this table to still be sitting there with the word free taped to it and not one person in all their trailers, u-hauls and pick-up trucks scurrying around that neighborhood had picked it up, could only be explained as a miracle from God.  God put that table there for me and my family.  I graciously and humbly received it as I realized YES dear saints, the God we serve does care about the little things and so much more.

 

I had expected to be sitting on a metal chair this month typing out a blog entry for this site; God had other plans. It is by His grace, love and caring about the little things in my life—and yours—that I sit comfortably—and tearfully—sharing with you God’s goodness in my life.

 

I pray this story—long as it is—will encourage and strengthen your faith in the fact our God does indeed do exceedingly and abundantly more than we might think or ask.

 

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins     

The Little Things--Part One

This is a repost because I really felt someone needed to hear this.

The Little Things


 “Does God care about the small things in my life?”  He obviously wants us to be good witnesses for Jesus and follow His commandments but should we ask God for things of this world or should we believe we are abiding in His perfect will no matter what our situations?


Four months ago I decided to do a little undercover Christian prayer research. The test subject? Me. The answer may surprise you as much as it did me, but first, a brief back story.  On March 5th of 2011, hubby and I sold everything we had, except our house, at a publicly held auction. Believe me, when I say we had a lot of stuff, I mean we had a lot of stuff.  Our home was filled to the brim with Tuscan style furniture and furnishings. To make a very long story short— this story would be a novel if told in its entirety—back in May of the previous year, God brought us to our knees and changed our lives forever all for His purpose and glory. P.T.L.  

Below is what God showed me about the small things in life.


After living in a large, barren house for five months, my heart began to ache as I watched my husband come home day-after-day from work with nowhere comfortable to sit down.  We did have two desk chairs and a few of those folding metal ones, which we were grateful to have as it beat sitting on the floor; still, I longed for my husband to have a chair to relax in.  One evening in August, hubby came home exhausted after working six days in a row.  Of course he would never complain but as he tried desperately to get comfortable in an office chair, I decided I was going to secretly start praying and asking God for a recliner.


For two years I have been praying during the 3 o’clock hour but I have never asked God to replace our stuff.  It was actually very freeing to get rid of all of it and it just was not important to me anymore. This was different though.   In this case, it was ok to ask God to bless someone else, so at the end of my prayer time, I began asking God if He would provide a recliner for hubby. Nothing fancy or expensive, just a chair to sit in that would be a comfortable spot after long days at work. 


Four weeks passed and no chair presented itself on my doorstep; my faith began to waver.  Was I asking too much? Maybe God didn’t want us to have a chair?  After all, we had shelter from the elements, food to eat, water to drink and take baths in, a decent job, and I could go on and on. I began to feel guilty at times praying for this chair as I thought about the many others who are without the things I was already blessed with; yet, the Holy Spirit would not let me give up. For almost four months, I prayed for a recliner. 


Then God answered in the most amazing way as I was driving home from the grocery store. A sign caught my eye. In big, bold, black letters against a white background were the words—Community Garage Sell this Saturday!!!  


Granted, most sane people would not consider a garage sale an amazing thing, and truth be told, they happen all the time in neighborhoods across America but you must understand I had not been to one in over 13 years. Yep, you read that correctly, 13 years. Nor did I particularly want to go to one, so these types of signs never caught my attention before. (Isn’t it so God that on this particular day in November He brought this particular sign to my attention?)  My mom was with me and surprising even me, I blurted out, “We should go to that garage sale.” The words had easily rolled off my tongue and I could feel my mom’s piercing eyes fixed upon me and visualized a shock look on her face. She may have asked, “What did you just say?” but Iknow she was probably too stunned to have actually said anything in that moment.  I quickly added, “God might have a chair for us in there.”  Right then, we made plans to go.


The rest of that week I began to notice garage sale signs everywhere I went. What was going on? Garage sale fever was taking place in communities where I had never seen them before, yet every time I saw a sign for one, a bit of excitement overcame me. Surely this couldn’t be an answer to my prayer could it? 


The days passed and finally Saturday came.  At the advice of a few die-hard garage sale fanatics, Mom and I headed out early that morning.  In case you are like me and haven’t been to a community garage sell in a while, let me tell you—no, let me warn you—it is war out there!  Hear me on this brothers and sisters, you need to be prayed up for this type of battle and put on the full armor of God.  People are out to stake a claim in this garage sale venture and they do not allow anything, or anyone for that matter, to stand, sit, drive or walk in their way.  Some folks had rented U-haul trailers and flatbeds to load their bounty; others had large, extra heavy-duty pick-up trucks. You know the ones I mean. The ones we see on television commercials where all four doors open simultaneously and four brawly-looking guys jump out before the truck even comes to a complete stop, eager to get things done. Yeah, you get the picture.  This, my friends, was a war zone.   


Maneuvering my tiny Jeep Liberty around the monster trucks and trailers was no easy task on the already too narrow streets which now had turned into parking lots as people parked (and I use that term loosely) on both sides of the roadway.  Determined nothing was going to discourage mom and me, we pressed on. We believed, somewhere in this vast neighborhood of chaos and mayhem, an unsuspecting seller was holding hostage a recliner God had commissioned us to rescue. The Lord was going to move in our favor; we could sense it.  


I will tip my hand here a bit and remind you of Ephesians 3:20 in which Paul writes, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”


This particular Saturday morning God was going to answer my prayer in a big way!  But nothing, dear saints, could have prepared me for just how much our God cares about the little things.


 Enter God.


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For the exciting conclusion of this story, please read, The Little Things, Part Two.


Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

God's Will Be Done

 “What is God's will for me?” This is an age old question.

The answer, however, is simpler than you might think.  It all boils down to this…God's will is for us to obey His Word.  Many of us have a problem with the word obey but did you know the Hebrew root word for obey is shama and it literally means ‘to hear’ or ‘to be heard’? 

Often times we can hear but not obey God’s Word.  He always gives us a choice.  If we choose ‘to hear’ Him then we are in God’s will.  If we choose to not ‘hear’ Him then we are not in His will.  God desires for us ‘to hear’ Him.  When we do, we can rest assured we will be in His will.  He will always be with us in every area and aspect of our life—the good, the bad and even the ugly.    Simple, right?  

So how do we ‘hear’ God is the next question begging to be asked? 

Again, it is simple.  First, we must know God’s Word because most of the time this is how He speaks to us.  The Bible answers every single question about God’s will for us as believers all we have to do is search and we will find the answers we are looking for. The Second, and just as important as knowing the Word, is PRAYER.  In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says, “Ask, and it WILL BE given to you; seek, and you WILL find; knock, and it WILL BE opened to you.”  This commentary from Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says this about Matt. 7:7:


The words of Christ teach, (1) that discernment will be given, among other “good things,” in answer to prayer; (2) that prayer in itself implies fitness, because it implies desire for such truths.


Yes, we must pray and seek Him through prayer.  Jesus says ‘to ask’ and the only way I know how to ask God for something is through prayer.  Not ‘a genie in a bottle’ type of prayer but a knowledgeable prayer that comes from God’s own Words.  Praying God’s Word back to Him is one of the most important things we can do in our prayer life and our walk with Christ.  So many times when I pray, I use Scriptures the Holy Spirit lays on my heart during my prayer time.  Obviously I can’t remember them all so I do a word study and find any Scriptures relating to what I am praying about. For instance, if I am praying for direction, I do a Strong’s search on the word direction or path.  If I am dealing with healing, then I search healing.  You get the ideaJ    


Think about this, Jesus quoted Scripture when being tempted by the evil one.  Peter and John quoted Old Testament Scripture when they prayed and praised God. (Acts 4:25-26)  The Palmist said in 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Key word here is hidden but translated from Hebrew it means ‘treasured’.  When we hide something it is usually because we treasure it.   Have we as believers forgotten how to treasure God’s Word?


I don’t want us to go all Sadducee and Pharisees here because some people can get so caught up in just studying God’s word they miss the main purpose of why God gave it to us to begin with.  God wants us to KNOW Him and what better way to know Him than to read about Him?  I realize this is a very simplistic explanation of trying to make my point.  I have kept a journal for several years.  If my closest friend were to get hold of it and read it, she would find out so many deeper things about me.  Every time I read God’s Word, I find out deeper and deeper things about Him.  About His love, mercy, and yes, even His anger and judgment.    


God’s Word is alive and does not change.  God does not change.  God—ok listen to me now—God DOES NOT change His mind.  I know some teach this concept however when we really study God’s Word we realize a few things. One there are NO contradictions in the Bible and two God does NOT change His mind.  I cannot go into theology here but this is a great website that gives a wonderful biblical response--using Scripture to explain Scripture--to this age old question:   https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/does-god-change-his-mind/)   


Does God speak to us in other ways?  I believe He can and does.   After all He used a donkey to speak to Balaam. (Numbers 22:28)  We all know donkeys can’t talk or reason yet this animal did so it is obvious God himself was using the donkey to speak to Balaam.  (Why would God do this?  Because Balaam was an evil man and refused to obey God. Just read the story ok ;-) However, we MUST know and understand the Scriptures because if we don’t then we will be confused and the Bible specifically tells us “God is NOT the author of confusion.” (1 Corinthians. 12:43)  If someone—anyone—tells you something saying it is from God then it had better line up with God’s Word or believe me it IS NOT from God.  He will NEVER go against His Word. 


I close with this.  When we pray, we must be sure to save some time to get quiet and just listen for God’s voice.  Often times this is when we hear from God.   In 1 Kings 19:11-12 we read how God spoke to Elijah: 

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 


It wasn't in the strong wind, an earthquake, or even a fire where Elijah heard God’s voice.  It was a ‘gentle whisper’.  Why do you think God whispered when He could have yelled?   As a past elementary school teachers aide/substitute teacher, I can tell you when I wanted the attention of 20 to 25 seven, eight, or nine year old children all I had to do was start speaking in a whisper.  Every single time, the entire class would get quiet and really listen.  Perhaps God wants us to know we don’t need dramatic occurrences or supernatural manifestations in order to hear Him.  Zechariah 4:6 tells us God’s work is “…by (His) Spirit,” and I have come to realize the Holy Spirit always operates in a gentle fashion.  He is always a gentleman. 


Of course the decision to obey God and His word rests with us. We choose to be either in or out of His Will for our lives.  It is a daily decision and for some of us even an hourly one.  My prayer today is that you will choose to live in His merciful will for your life.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins    

 

The Rock

Guest Blogger: Tiana Akers

It's long... it's sooooooo long and I'm so sorry!

On June 25th, 2016, I stood on the shore of Coca Beach at night looking at the moon hovering over the horizon line. At this particular moment in time I received news that left my heart throbbing with pain. My breath was short, my head was spinning, and crying seemed to be the only physical thing I could do. A good friend of mine walked along the shore with me as I processed a new wave of disappointment, rejection, hurt, disrespect and abandonment. I looked to her, asked for a moment alone, and proceeded to walk a few feet into the water. As the tiny waves gently brushed my feet and the sounds of the crashing waters filled the air, I took a deep breath and stared at the barely visible horizon line. The moon was bright and illuminated just enough to make out the shadows of this vast ocean of which I could only see a portion. I’d spent the entire weekend on this beach developing new friendships, finding myself, and learning more and more about the God of the universe. He and I started a journey just a few months prior, but now He brought me to a place where I knew what I had to do. Through the tears rolling down my cheek with hardly any voice, I softly cried to him and said, “Father… I will leave everything on this shore. I will leave it all here and go as far into this ocean as you want me to go. Just please. Don’t. Leave. Me.”

I wish I could say what happened next was something that is only seen in a movie. That a shooting star traveled across the sky. That the moon flickered for a moment. That a dove landed by my feet. None of that happened. So what did happen? I cried more and let it all out, and then peace took over my anxious thoughts. Peace that said, “Everything is as it should be. Take my hand and let’s go into this ocean together.” Figuratively y’all…not literally. I did NOT proceed to walk into the ocean. But I accepted what was, turned back to my friend and walked back to our hotel, a new sense of hope stirring in me. Not hope that everything would go my way, but hope that everything was going to be okay.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I’m sitting with two amazing women and the next thing I know, I’m sobbing to them. The previous week had brought many many trials. My mentor is comforting me and telling me how right now I’m being hit with one wave after the other. Suddenly I had a vision. Not one of those everything fades and before me I see, hear, taste and smell a new thing. No. Just a very vivid image in my mind of an ocean. After all, just seven months (and some change) ago, I told God I would go as far into the ocean as He wanted me to. At this point, I’m pretty far out in the ocean! But I figured I would be walking on water, skipping even! Instead, the sky is grey and the clouds are thick and ominous and the waves are violent. I’m hit with one wave and I go under, holding my breath. I surface. Just before I can take another breath…another wave. Under I go again, but it hurts to keep holding my breath. I resurface and exhale…inhale…boom! Another wave, this time filing my lungs with water. I cough and try to keep afloat and yet another wave hits, this one stinging my eyes with it’s saltiness. Over and over, wave after wave they come. “LORD! THIS IS NOT WHAT I MEANT WHEN I SAID I WOULD GO!!!!” ….. Ohhh it never is, is it? As I’m visioning this, my mentor goes on to remind me of something said at our Bible study lecture that morning. “We do not run from circumstances. We hold His hand through them.”

A rock. I kid you not. Now there is a rock in the middle of this ocean… but hey, it’s something. So I grab on… and I am holding on for dear life. As wave after wave hits, I cling to this rock for safety. It’s all I have…..

I find it interesting that’s the vision I would have considering my declaration to God about going deep into the ocean with Him. It’s as if He knew what was to come…huh… go figure. But I want to take this to the Bible and explain why this vision is so important to me and how I hope it can help someone else who may be reading this going through whatever trial you’re going through.

THE ROCK (Y’all, I LOVE how God has created everything to symbolize Himself, ourselves, our trials. Every bit of creation is used to help us see Him)

Rocks have some major meaning in scripture. The word is used 142 times in scripture, typically referring to God. A lot of imagery uses rock to describe the Lord. Psalm 18:2, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” He is referred to as the rock of strength (Isaiah 17:10) or the rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:2). Rock was often a place of refuge, providing shelter or shade. Rock also represented hardness, demonstrating the power of God who breaks the rock. Rock is also a symbol of endurance. Refuge, shelter, comfort, power, endurance. So… here’s this rock in the middle of my ocean. What’s awesome about that? Ever see those beautiful photos of those massive rocks in the ocean in like California I believe? Other places too, but that’s what I remember. What we see is the top…but it goes deep. It goes all the way down until it blends with the earth. It’s solid. It’s a foundation. The rock. Won’t. Move. So here I am being tossed about in the ocean and what does God give me? His hand. A rock. A solid foundation to which I can cling to for safety, shelter, strength, comfort. And it’s not going anywhere. It won’t be moved. HE won’t be moved. I can hold on to this rock as wave after wave hits and it will remain steady. It won’t let me go. But hang on…it gets better…..

PETER!!!!!!!! Whaaaaaaaat? Random, right? Except not! What does Jesus say to/about Peter????? Matthew 16:18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Remember up until now he was Simon, son of John. But because of his bold declaration “YOU ARE GOD,” (Matthew 16:16), a declaration that would have been punishable by death, he is then given the name Peter (Cephas…meaning rock). Peter means rock! Ok…cool…where are you going with this T-Square???? It all comes back to the ocean!

Ok…not really an ocean. It was a sea…more so a really big lake. But it’s big! And it’s a stormy night, the waves are going nuts and the disciples are freaking out. As they look out upon the water they see a ghost! Ok it’s Jesus, but they THINK it’s a ghost. Bla bla bla, some conversation later, whoooooo steps out into the water? Who says, “Tell me to come out there to you!”? It rhymes with Peter…. PETER!!!!! Peter… Cephas… rock. ROCK. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THE ROCK IS NOW IN THE OCEAN! But…slight glitch. Peter takes notice of the storm around him, becomes filled with fear and begins to sink. So what does he do? He cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:31-32 “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said. ‘Why did you doubt.’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” So here’s the funny thing… Jesus rescued him. Great, awesome. But…they climbed back into the boat. So like, one of two things had to happen here. Either Peter stood up again and walked on water once more, this time WITH Jesus, OR, Jesus carried him back. Peter was never left alone.

So what’s my point in this? What’s the direct correlation?

GOD CALLS US TO DEEP WATERS AND IT’S SCARY. As lovely and as comforting as the shore is, He has no intention of us staying there. He wants us to step out into the waters. Go deep into the ocean. And the truth is when you get out there, you are going to find storms, and storms are strongest when they are over the waters (scientific fact, I won’t go into full explanation so I can spare you another 20 minutes of reading. Which, by the way, thank you for sticking with me this far). It’s not going to be easy. You will be hit with wave after wave after wave of trials and hardships and hurt and lies. But that is where God is calling you to.
GOD WALKS WITH US. Matthew 14:31 says Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out his hand. He didn’t just stand there and stare at Peter while he sank below the surface of the water. No! He immediately extended His hand and Peter grabbed on. Mind you, the following verse tells us that the winds didn’t calm down UNTIL they climbed into the boat. This probably means that as they were heading back to safety, the storm was still raging. Jesus didn’t take away the storm. He walked with Peter THROUGH the storm. 
GOD IS THE ROCK. Two chapters later, Peter would declare Jesus as Lord and become the rock upon which Jesus would build His church. Obviously Peter is not a literal rock nor was any sort of structure built on top of him or in his name. So what did Jesus mean? Peter made a statement and a bold one at that. Like I stated earlier, he was calling Jesus God which in those times was a sin punishable by death. Peter was putting his life on the line. But I suppose if I walked on water and had Jesus save me, I would probably make the same declaration. It was Peter’s faith that changed his name. I believe it is on this faith that Jesus plants his church. Not the building in which we gather to fellowship and worship, but the Spirit and the foundation. I believe Jesus was saying that our faith, our declaration that He is Lord, is the foundation on which we build our church, our relationship with God. Our declaration of faith becomes this rock which we can hold on to in a sea of crazy storms.

So if you’ve journeyed out into the water, and you are hit with wave upon wave of trials and tribulation, know that your faith is something you can call upon. The name of Jesus is one you can use and immediately, He will be that rock in the middle of your ocean. He won’t make the storm go away, but He will be there for you to hold on to for shelter and comfort as it passes by. And you will either walk on water again…or He will carry you back to safety.

Tiana Akers

God Reminds Us

January 2013 seems like ages ago now as we quickly move through 2017.  After three long years of living somewhat apart due to his job at the USPTO and my having to stay at the house in Florida, I am happy to say, we no longer have to be apart.  2016 was a rough year on both of us, yet God constantly has reminded us that He is with us.  Sometimes I forget this, so many times I go back to my journal entries and my blog entries as they remind me of how God is always with me.  How He is always watching over me, providing exactly what I need in the most trying moments of my life.  This one brought tears to my tears at I read it today.  My prayer is it will do the same for you. Not tears of sadness, but tears of joy as God reminds each of us, He is Always With Us.

Always loving our Lord,
Lori Robbins
FEAR

 

FEAR

 

“I prayed to the LORD and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” (Psalm 34:4-7 NLT)

 

 

The ambulance ride over was frightening.  My blood pressure had spiked and the paramedics feared I might have a stroke. More than that though, there was the fear that no one would be there waiting for me at the ER. No one would be there to hold my hand, to tell me everything was going to be alright.  My husband was at work and could not be reached. My mom was in Texas, my daughter in Florida, and my son in North Carolina.  These thoughts sent me into an all out panic.  I felt so alone.  Fear tightened its grip as the ambulance doors opened and I was rushed into the hospital.

 

I desperately tried to calm myself, silently repeating over and over, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, joy and a sound mind.”  Fear does not come from God I reminded myself.  I know God’s word and believe every line of it, still I was overcome with fear. 

 

Triage was my first stop. The nurse took my vital signs and checked the IV the paramedics had managed to get into my veins.  My blood pressure had dropped from 235/145 to 195/113.  I must have been quite a sight as I struggled to fight back the tears trickling down my cheeks. A sweet nurse patted me on my shoulder saying, "Don't worry.  You are going to be ok."  Then placing me in an empty waiting room to sit alone to wait for a bed in ER to become available.  


As I sat there, I realized death was not the reason I was afraid.  I knew I would be in a better place.  What I was afraid of was dying alone.  I was afraid God had left me.  Have you ever felt like that?

 

About fifteen minutes later—which seems like an eternity when you are alone and afraid—another nurse came and took me to get an EKG and finally to an ER bed.  You know the place right?  Where all that separates you from everyone else is a thin, opaque white curtain.  Others were in beds that lined the hallways as all the rooms were full.  I quickly realized the hospital was understaffed and people, literally everywhere, were all waiting to see a doctor.  As I moved off the gurney and onto the hospital bed, I tried to be strong.  I was still crying and silently began to pray, “Lord, I know you are always with me but right now I am unsure and afraid.  Please help me to calm down and make me more aware of your presence. Amen.”

 

At that very moment I could hear her.  I know it sounds cliche but the voice of angel. Her beautiful voice washed over me as she softly sang hymns to the Lord.  The curtain drawn between us shielded me from ever seeing her face but her songs of praise and thanksgiving drifted up and over into my little space as they made their way to heaven. 


The words she sang were so pure and sweet.  Without realizing it, I began to focus on her songs and off my fear.  The lyrics and melodies brought so much comfort to me as I lay there listening to her and my tears had stopped. God had placed me in this section of a very, very large ER--that was packed with sick people--next to a young woman—who by-the-way was pregnant and at risk of losing her baby—that put all her faith in God.  There was no one with her.  No husband, no mother, no other children yet she was not afraid because she knew she was not alone.   

 

A few hours later, I was released with more medication to help control my high blood pressure, but the entire time I lay there in that bed, this young woman sang.  Each time someone came into her room and left she sent them on their way with a “God bless you” all the while not knowing what a blessing and the comfort she had brought into my life.  I never saw her face, yet God had used this precious young woman of faith to affirm to me He was with me.  


As I got into a cab to make my way back to the apartment, the cab driver could see I had been upset.  He looked at me through his review mirror and said to me,  "You are not alone you know?"  I confidently replied, " Yes, I know."

 

That was yesterday.  This morning I was reading in John chapter 6 of my Bible.  As I read about Jesus walking on water during a storm, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.  It is here where Jesus says to his disciples, “Do not be afraid, I am here!” (vs 20)  Truly I can say unto you, “He is.”

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

BASIC TRAINING

BASIC TRAINING

 

 My Bible reading took me to the book of Hebrews.  Chapter 10 in particular really spoke to my heart.  Verse 31 says:

 

       31Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ.

 

Talk about BASIC TRAINING! Do you remember when you were first saved? If you were anything like me you wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  The light of Christ burst forth within me so strongly it must have shown on my face because the women I worked with began asking me if I was pregnant again.   

 

My faith was basic, pure and unwavering.  I saw and experienced the majesty of God and began my basic training of reading the Bible every day.  The Lord poured Himself into me, and like a thirsty woman who had been wondering in the dessert for years, I drank it in.  With child-like faith, I accepted God’s word.  I did not question it; I just believed it.  Over the next twelve years of my life I learned how to study the Bible using commentaries, concordances, Vine’s expository, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, and many other resources. 

 

Time passed.  The enemy began attacking so covertly I never saw it coming.  It was those tiny fiery darts I missed.  As the years passed, little by little, he stole my joy, my ministry and my family.  Of course I blamed God and after 12 years of service, I walked away from my heavenly Father spending the next 12 years wandering in the wilderness searching for the things of this world I thought I had been missing out on.  

Satan fooled me and robbed me of God’s blessings.  But God, in His gracious mercy, gently began to move me back towards home.  In March of 2010 this prodigal daughter started back on the pathway God had laid out for her. The way did not begin with the basics of Bible study this time.  I knew God’s Word.  This prodigal daughter was called to pray every day at 3 p.m.  It was time for knowledge to step aside and time to build a relationship with my Father by learning to hear His voice.  

 

The first few months were intense and prayer time was short.  I fumbled and prayed the only way I knew how.  My basement became my prayer closet where I prayed out loud.  It felt awkward and admittedly I felt a bit foolish at times.  Some prayers were recited over and over like the Lord’s Prayer while others were request from family and friends and their needs for healing, jobs, homes, cars, etc….  Praying at 3 p.m. every day was no easy task. 

 

As time passed God began to teach me how to surrender to Him and showed me how to have a deeper relationship with Him through prayer.  As I learned to enter His Holy of Holies and how to be in His presence, He taught me who He really was in my life.  A life He orchestrates.  A life where He cares about everything that happens to me.  

 

My journey with God called for the release of all the false gods of the world I had accumulated during my twelve years in the desert.  All the treasures I stored up here on earth were now packed in boxes and sold at auction on March 5, 2011. (Yep, it took almost an entire year for God to bring me to a place of release.)  I did not attend the auction as I had released everything into the capable hands of my heavenly Father.  He in turn showed me exactly how worthless my treasures were when the auction house presented me with the proceeds of the sale.  The money really did not matter but it was a shocking reminder of how worthless the ‘things’ we store up truly are.  I was happy to be in my Father’s house again knowing He would take care of everything.    

 

As I have walked with God down the path laid before me, I have found Prayer—a very basic practice—is the strength in my Christian walk.  When I am confused, God gives me clarification through His word. When I am hurting and an emotional wreck, sobbing at His feet, He strengthens me and holds me in His arms, gently wiping my tears.  When I am angry and upset with Him because I cannot understand why things happen the way they do, He reminds me He is “the AM that I AM” and the sacrifice He gave so I might live eternally with Him.  

 

One afternoon while reading in Romans, the Lord reminded me of the times He had been faithful through some really tough times in my life. He reminded me had my brother not been nudged to turn around some 38 years ago, I would have drown after falling off a floating dock into a 30 foot deep spring without knowing how to swim.  Things faded to black when suddenly a hand grabbed me and literally pulled me to safety by my hair.  God reminded me how He comforted me in His arms when my 7 year old son stepped on a used hypodermic needle outside our apartment complex.  God was with me as we endured Aids testing every three months for the next year of my son’s life praying constantly my son would not be infected with the HIV virus.  God reminded me had He not intervened through the death of my father (now resting with Christ) in December 2005, hubby and I would have been divorced and hubby might not have ever come to know Jesus Christ as his personal savior.  God reminded me through all these times, and many others, He had been with me even during the times I was NOT walking with Him.  

 

As I read verse 34 of Romans chapter 10, I fall face down before our all mighty God and weep:

      

34You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all that you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.

 

 Our heavenly Father, who knows the weaknesses of mankind, reaffirmed things for me. He spoke through His word and reminded me there are better things waiting for me. He went on to say:

 

35So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

 

Every day I ask God to help me and strengthen me with patient endurance.

 

If you are struggling and wondering where God is during troubling times—whether they are big or little struggles—take a moment to go back to the basics. Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Think back on those times He was holding you in His arms. Remember when you had the faith God truly could do anything?  Remember today He truly can.  Great is our God!

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

When Desire becomes Lust

When Desire becomes Lust

By Lori Robbins

I was having a bit of a Bible study with Jerry this morning and was amazed at how God spoke to my heart concerning a certain someone I had spent some time trying to counsel but felt inadequate in doing so yesterday.  After they left, I spent a while in prayer asking God to help me help them understand what I had said.  I am not a Bible scholar but I know God’s Word holds secrets for those of us who belong to Him yet I failed this person by not doing just that---going to His word.  Odd right?  

God later spoke to me through my husband and a particular passage of Scripture he shared with me.  

PLEASE PRAY before reading the rest of this blog.  Be receptive to God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.  Take a deep breath and then finish reading this.

YOU DID WHAT I SAID RIGHT?  Ok, now go read Numbers chapter 11.  Yep the entire chapter.

You read it right?  

Basically, the Israelite's were complaining to Moses about food even though God provided for them with manna from heaven.  Still the people were not happy with how God was providing.  They wanted meat. Moses then gets so fed up he starts to complain too but he goes and complains to God as if God does not already hear the moans of these ungrateful children already.  

Moses was aggravated, probably in a state of exasperation, and surely overwhelmed because we must remember there were about 2 million people all standing in the doorway of their tents complaining and murmuring.  Can you just imagine the noise from 2 million whining people!

Moses says to God in verse 15 after a good pity party, “If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me.  Do me a favor and spare me this misery!” 

Ever felt like that?  I sure have and probably pretty recently.  God helps Moses by telling him to choose 70 men to help him–you can re-read this in verses 16 through 20.

In verse 21& 22 we read where Moses—who BTW audibly heard God’s voice, who experienced the burning bush, who wrote as God Himself dictated the Ten Commandments--not once but twice, who followed God through fire by night and a cloud by day as he led 2 million people to freedom, who had a deeply personal relationship with God—still Moses questioned God’s ability.  This man saw God as no one had before.  He was even allowed to see God’s backside!  I do not know about you but I am guilty of saying, “Boy if I had experienced God the way Moses did I would never question His existence. ”  Yet here was Moses questioning God’s power after experiencing it in many miraculous ways.  

Take a moment and think back on the miracles God has already performed in your life.  I remember a big one in my life.  My daughter and I had spent three days fasting and praying together for a particular wrong that occurred in her life.  She was being mistreated and was crushed. I was a mama who was mad God allowed this to be especially in a place of ministry.  She and I took it to God.  

After three days, God spoke to us during an intense prayer session.  One year later—almost to the day—He did exactly what He said He would do during that prayer session.  There are so many other things I have prayed about and God, in His grace and love for me, has answered in my favor yet still I have days where I felt like Moses.  Have you?

Now here is what really spoke to me.  In verse 23 God is speaking and He asks Moses this question, “…Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!’”

BAM!  What happened here?  Moses had lost his faith in God.  Did God change suddenly after all the previous miracles He had done? Did He lose His power?  

It is easy to trust God when we see His mighty acts—as Moses and the Israelite's did time after time—and answers our prayers speedily, but after a while, while performing the routine of our daily lives, His strength may appear to us as diminishing.   Listen, God does not change but our view of Him often does.  Our day-to-day living lulls us into forgetting how powerful God can be especially when we pray.  

As Moses learned, God’s strength is always available. We read about this in the remaining verses as God pours out His Holy Spirit—the same Spirit He gave to Moses—upon 70 other men.  God provided the help Moses’ needed and He will provide the help we need too!

Does the story end there?  Unfortunately it does not.  

While God did provide the meat the Israelite's were crying out for, in verses 31 through 35 we read about how the people became lustful for meat.  The manna God was already providing had ceased to be enough for them.  (BTW--Lust does not have to mean sexual.)  The people did not gather just enough meat to satisfy them for the day—which is how God had instructed them concerning the manna—the people got greedy.  They gathered much more than they needed and gorged themselves on it and many became sick and died.  Not the happily ever after ending we all hope for yet teaches us a valuable lesson.  

God promises to provide for us daily.  He knows what we need before we even ask.  He wants us to trust Him in and for everything but on a daily basis.  You see, the children of Israel desire for meat was not wrong in and of its self; however, their sin was allowing their desire for meat to turn into a lust for meat was evident by their constant complaining and groaning.  They were not thanking God for the food He was already providing because they grew tired of it.  They felt they had a right to have fine food and they became so lustful for it they could not think of anything else and allowed it to consume them.  

Often times we do the same thing.  As believers we think we have a right to something—a healing, a better jobs, better life circumstances, etc.  We grow tired of where we are instead of thanking God for where He has us.  And when we become so preoccupied with something and allow it to affect our perspective on everything else especially things concerning our relationship with the power of our heavenly Father, we have moved from desire to lust.

God says He wants to give us the ‘desires’ of our hearts not the lust of our hearts.  We must not allow our desires to become lusts for if we do we can be sure our Father in Heaven-who wants nothing but the best for us--will chastise us in order to bring us back into communion with Him. We must have faith He knows better than we do what is best for us and desire more of Him in our lives.  

Should we desire a healing?  Should we desire His blessings?  Of course we should so long as our desires do not become lust as lust can then become an idol because we place it before the power of our God.  As believers we have to have a faith which understands and believes God is in control of every single area of our lives.  He truly does have it all under control.  

Always loving our Lord,
Lori Robbins

TONGUE IN CHEEK

TONGUE IN CHEEK

This morning my day started out with tears.  Tears of gladness and also of humility.  You see we are in a place financially where every penny we spend is accounted for. So when mom and I decided to treat ourselves to a couple of Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Decaf coffees and breakfast sandwiches you need to understand we did not do so lightly.  Fifteen dollars—about what this would cost us—needed to be considered.  We struggled thinking maybe we should just get the coffee to keep the costs down?  In the end we conceded--the coffee and the sandwiches won.


Thankfully Starbucks is close by as gas is still not cheap, and it has a drive-thru.  Ok, so maybe we should have gone in to save on gas; however, in our defense we had our dog in the car and neither mom nor I was presentable for a public appearance of any kind. 


As usual the line was long and we had not had any coffee yet so the word cranky took on full meaning for both of us. We were treating ourselves this morning so tried to take everything in stride.  At least at first.


You see there was a younger woman in a really nice white, BMW SUV in front of us and she was—like all young women now-a-days—texting while waiting.  Now you realize of course this makes the line move rather slowly, right?  And did I mention we had not had any coffee yet? 


Texting, even while sitting at a drive through, or at a red light for that matter, needs to be done with thoughtfulness for the person, or persons in this case, in the car behind you. You understand?  


For instance, if I am texting at a red light I need to be constantly looking up and down so when the light changes I am fully aware and begin moving so as not to cause the person behind me the stress of missing a green light because I am slow on the gas.  Got it?  Okay, moving on.


So this woman in front of me was not paying attention to the ever growing line of cars behind her. And I, being the voice of reason here, got extremely close on her bumper hoping she would get the hint.  You see, I am the kind of person who likes things to keep moving in fear that all the balls I am ‘air juggling’ will fall if I stop for just one moment and smell the roses.   Can you relate?  Of course you can.  We all do it.


In fairness, I should tell you this young woman was not actually lagging all that much.  She just wasn’t as close to the car in front of her as I thought she should be and she wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted her to when the cars ahead of her moved.  


I, however, became very impatient and started making comments.  Not anything terrible you understand.  Just little comments like, “What is wrong with this woman?  Is she afraid to drive her car?”  Mumble, mumble.  “Can’t she judge the distance of her front end?  Oh, I see now.  She is texting.  Probably getting orders for friends" I grumbled to mom.  Of course my windows were up, and so were hers, thankfully she couldn't hear me.  That makes it OK, doesn't it? 

   

I just kept going, “You know, drive thru should be limited to only like two orders per car, don’t you think?” I asked my mother.  Now getting my mom on board with my grumbling.  “Starbucks takes long enough as it is but when someone goes through a drive-thru and orders like four and five blended coffees that is just inconsiderate. They should go in.”


Can I just remind you this was a special treat morning —a special blessing from God morning—for mom and me; yet, here I was sitting in my car mumbling at the lady in front of me for not getting as close to the car in front of her as I thought she should be.  Did I mention I got extremely close to her back bumper thinking I could get her to move closer to car in front of her?  I was after all thinking of the others behind me and trying to make room for them who were trying to get out of the road and into the now very long line.  


Maybe some of you reading this can relate and have exercised the same kind of behavior as I did this morning. (Behavior by-the-way I am not proud of so please don’t judge me.) 


But you know what I love about our God?  He always teaches us a lesson in humility when we think we our mornings are more special than other peoples mornings.  Honestly, that is what this boiled down to for me.  I wanted to have a great ‘blessings’ morning and in my eyes this young woman—who had no idea who I was, what my struggles have been over this past year, or just how important and special this particular visit to Starbucks was to me and my mom—was spoiling my ‘blessing’ morning.  It was all about me.  Yet God, in His amazing grace and love for me, decided to teach me a lesson in humility. 


Finally, after what seemed an eternity—funny how when we are grumbling things seem to take forever isn't it—I was able to place my order and still the woman in front of me was ‘lollygagging’ on her phone.  She paid—via her smart phone I might add—and received her coffee.  Then to add insult to injury she apparently needed an empty cup and held out her phone to again pay for the cup.  Did she do this on purpose just to irritate me a little more?  Honestly, this is what I thought.

As I drove up to the window to get my coffee and sandwiches I got the payment ready.  The cashier did not follow the usual procedure of taking the payment first. Instead, she handed me our sandwiches and a few seconds later our coffee.  I started to give her my credit card, thinking she had been so busy she forgot to get payment, when she looked and me smiling broadly and said, “The lady in front of you paid for your breakfast this morning.” 


“What?” I asked completely flabbergasted and totally embarrassed.

“Yes, ma’am.  You are good to go. And she said to tell you to pass it on when you are able.”

“Oh my goodness," I gasped, "thank you.” 

The cashier smiled and said, “Have a great day!”


As I drove away I looked at mom and we both said at the same time, “Praise you God” and thanked the young woman in the car who was now well on her way.

Then I started to cry.  Not because of the lady’s generosity, although I was exceedingly grateful, but because God had taught me a very important lesson that hit home instantly with me. 

You see He had already tried to give me a blessing by allowing us to be able to go out for a special treat.  I focused instead on my lack of patience.  Instead of being joyful for what God was doing for me at that moment, I allowed the enemy to steal my joy using my own lack of self-control to take away a blessing.  God, in His perfect way, reminded me His blessings are not to be taken lightly or without gratitude.   


As you celebrate this Christmas season, remember the blessings God has given you this past year and look forward to the many blessings He will bring to you in the many years to come. And if by some chance you are the recipient of one of the blessings like I experienced today, be sure to thank God and ask Him to bless the giver.  Then, pass it on whenever you get the chance.  


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who read this!


Always loving our Lord,


Lori Robbins

Battle of Oppression

Sunday morning was an exciting morning for me.  I was anxious to get to church.  Today was an exceptionally good day though.  Today was the day that we were finally going to be able to give back to our Lord.  He had been so good to us and it was a blessing to be able to show our appreciation by giving back to Him on a faith promise we had made two years earlier.  We had struggled to pay a little of bit of it here and there but today…well, did I say I was excited? 

The service began just as mom and I walked in and because I was sick with the remnants of a cold, we sat in the back.  The music was uplifting—not that I needed to be uplifted today—and I could not wait to make my offering and thankfulness to God. 

Finally, it was time to give and I joyously walked up the aisle and placed two envelopes in the plate—one had my weekly tithe while the other carried the ‘Faith Promise’.  Joy overcame me—and maybe even a little bit of pride—as I walked back to my seat, thanking God for the ability to make at least a small dent in my commitment.  Our pastor then prayed over the offering and worship began.

At our church our Pastor invites anyone wanting to come down front to the altar to worship the ability to do so.  I really like that.  So as usual I walked up to the front.  Not to be showy but as a sacrifice of praise and worship to my heavenly Father.  

Ok so, me I like to worship.  I may not always sing on key but God—and thankfully so—hears my heart.  Today, I was especially ‘high’ on God.  I mean I am high on God everyday but today I was on cloud nine.  Or so I thought.

As I began to worship, I became overwhelmed with emotion and not is a good way.  I was singing and worshipping but at some point I felt as though my words were just words that had no meaning to God.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a believer in our Lord and have been a Christian for a long time.  I was not doubting my salvation or my faith, but somehow I felt as if God had turned His back on me.  Not like He wasn’t hearing me, but like He wasn’t seeing me.  Like He could not look at me.  

I began saying all the scriptures that I could think of.  I asked Him to show me if any sin was keeping me from Him.  I begged Him to look me; to see me.  I asked for forgivness for anything that might have separated me from Him.  I wept and the anguish in me was so deep I could hardly breathe.  I prayed in the Holy Spirit.  Still, my eyes flooded with tears that leaked out from my eyes and streamed down my face.  The only word I know to use to describe how I felt is anguish and it was overpowering me.

Our Pastor—under the direction of the Spirit—called up the elders to pray with anyone needing prayer.  I stepped forward without really understanding why.  I did not feel like I needed prayer yet I so painfully desired someone to lay hands on me and take this heart-wrenching feeling from me.  I had no idea what was happening all I know is I did not like it and the tears would not stop.  I was in despair and I had no idea why.

After the worship we were asked to take our seats and I wept all the way back to my seat.  I could not stop it.  It was as if I were cut off from God and it was a horrible feeling.  I quickly grabbed my things and whispered to my mother, “I need to go right now!” and ran out for fear of disturbing the service with my uncontrollable sobbing.  Once outside, I leaned up against a concrete column and allowed the anguish to be released.  I sobbed heavily and the groaning's were coming from somewhere deep inside me.  The despair was again overtaking me.  I got into the car—mom in tow—and sat with my head resting against the steering wheel trying to grasp what was going on with me.

Several minutes passed before I was able to get a little bit of self control so I started the car and began heading for home.  I told mom I did not understand what was going on.  I told her I had never felt so forsaken in my walk with God.  I almost did not want to speak the words because it was like blasphemy on my lips but I settled down and we decided to go get a bite to eat thinking it might help me calm down.  It did not.  I should have gone straight home and into prayer but instead in my anger and confusion, I had a terrible meal and perhaps made a spectacle of myself.  It was awful.  I knew what I was feeling but I could not put it into cohesive words.

Once home I called my husband—who is working in DC at the moment—and tried to explain it to him.  He did not understand but prayed for God to give him the words that I needed to hear.  He led me to the book of James.  Long story short, I promised him I would read the book and hung up.  Then, got out my Bible and began reading in James.  Truth be told, I just skipped through it but parts jumped out and I began praying over what I thought the Lord was showing me. 

As I prayed and cried out to God with many questions and quoting His word—all the familiar one’s we know and love like: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  “God works all things together for our good…”, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”  --vocally saying these out-loud to Him all the while questioning why He turned His back to me—I could feel a battle raging all around me.  In that same moment, and it absolutely had to be the Holy Spirit, I realized this struggle waging war inside me was not one of flesh and blood but “against powers and principalities in the heavenly realm”. 

The Holy Spirit brought to mind Ephesians 6: 10 – 20.  These were the scripture verses a previous pastor from five years ago—Pastor Joel Anderson—challenged his entire congregation to remember and my husband and I took the challenge.  We had one month.  It was hard at our age—60 and 49 respectively—but we did it…and Praise God we did because these verses are etched in our hearts and minds. Today, the Holy Spirit brought them deep into my soul when He made me realize and assured me God had not turned away from me.  The Holy Spirit reminded me where this battle was taking place.  The enemy—who is a liar—oppressed me with his lies and had placed such a heavy yoke around my neck that the weight of it cause me to stumble.    

As I write this, I ask myself, “Why did I not realize it right when it was happening?” 

Can I just tell you I have NEVER in my Christian walk gone into a battle like this!  It was frightening.  It was hard.  It was exhausting.  But that was because it took me a while to realize what was going on.  I truly was utterly confused.  I was not blaming God for anything but I was begging Him to see me.  I honestly sensed as if He could not see me.  That He did not want to see me. I was in total despair. 

God, however, had prepared me for this battle five years before and through His love, and the Holy Spirit who resides within me, He reminded me where the battle was taking place. 

The battle was not in my heart. My heart was pure and I was not without hope and the salvation of Jesus Christ.  That was never a question.  It was not in my head.  My head was filled with His holy Word through the study of Scripture and daily prayer.   This battle was in the heavenly realm…Eph. 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,”

Once I realized this and prayed the scripture I began rebuking the enemy and his demons…and thank God also for Deuteronomy 28:27, “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways…”   because this was one of my shields--- it did not take long for that terrible, overwhelming and despairing battle to end.  Praise be to God!

I tell the women I am so blessed to share God’s Word with that we must ‘hide His Word in our hearts…” not only to shield us from sin but it is His Word that fills our quiver.  It is our weapon.  It is His Word that causes the enemy to flee.  Why do you think Jesus used it in His struggle in the desert?

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins 

Where are you Lord?

WHERE ARE YOU LORD?

Where is Jesus Christ in our life when facing trials of various kinds?  Does He seem far away?

We all face trials and many times each one of us has probably asked, “Lord, where are you?” I know I have.  I am embarrassed to admit that sometimes I have even asked in an angry way.  Stupid perhaps, but none-the-less true. 

Often times I am drawn to James when I am in a storm of life.  His words remind me I am honored to be in trials because it is the testing of my faith.  Why?  You see, it is in the trials of our lives when we begin to seek God the most.  Have you ever noticed that?  We earnestly seek God with all our hearts and we pray with sincerity and honesty.

For me, it sometimes seems as if God does not hear me.  I will plead and beg and ask, “God can you hear me?”  All the while knowing inside He does hear me because His Word says He does. And Jesus says He will never leave us or forsake us because His Holy Spirit lives IN US. 

Just let that sink in for a moment.  Christ lives in YOU and Me!  This is our hope:

For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. Colossians 1:27

These words from Paul, once a persecutor and murderer of those who believed in Christ, a man who knew the Torah and Laws forward and backward; a man who experienced the resurrected Christ like no one else ever had.  He knew that Christ was IN him. 

This little phrase “Christ Lives In You” is life changing.  It reminds us daily Christ is always with us, in everything.  In every trial we endure for His glory. In every dangerous situation we face for His glory. 

So if you ask, which I do, “Jesus where are you?” during times of trial, just take a breath, look in the mirror deep into your eyes and say, “Oh, there you are!”

I close with this familiar song changing the verb was to the verb is…He is there all the time, He is there all the time, Waiting patiently in line, He is there all the time. (by Connie Smith)

God bless you today as you seek to know Him better.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

LAPPER OR KNEELER

Quick background check on Gideon: Book of Judges, 6th chapter. 

God gave Israel over into the hands of the Midianites for seven years because the people did not listen to God’s voice. Gideon is later known in his tribes as Jerub-Baal (read chapter 6.). Gideon is visited by ‘the angel of the Lord’ in the bottom of a wine press where he is threshing wheat.  Not a common practice unless of course you are hiding from the Midianites who are trying to steal your food. That is not all he is hiding from, Gideon was full of doubt and felt God had abandoned the Israelites.  He had no idea this was an angel because he refers to him as “my lord” which was a common greeting in those days. Gideon questions his visitor, “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us why has this happened to us?”  I am sure none of us have ever felt like this, have we?  

 

God’s word tells us Gideon was feeling weak and like the least in his family.  Often time when we lose faith we do start to feel useless but God says, “in our weaknesses HE is made strong” and God had chosen Gideon to be yet another deliver of Israel. 

 

Gideon though is a disbeliever and needs proof so he asked the visitor—again using the terminology ‘my lord’--to stay until he returns with an offering. Gideon is not really sure who this is so he puts down what I consider to be his first fleece. Gideon had already stated he believed God had abandoned Israel so he wanted to be sure this was in fact ‘an angel of the Lord’ speaking this prophecy to him.  Gideon was a kneeler, always seeking signs.  I think I too have done exactly the same thing only in a little different way.  I have asked God for signs of one kind or another; asking in fact for Him to prove Himself to me.  Anyone else do that?

 

God had an important job for Gideon so He waited for Gideon to return with his offerings.  God consumes the offering and later that evening gives Gideon a job to do.  

 

OK, got all that? Let’s turn now to Judges chapter 7.  Once again we find God speaking to Gideon (aka Jerub-baal) concerning the warriors he has gathered to fight for Israel.  There was an army of 100,000 Midianites standing against Gideon and his men of only 32,000.  The odds were NOT “incredibly in their favor”.  Gideon must have felt like there was no way he could win this one but of course he has his fleece to fall back on; a fleece God answered not once but twice.

 

God wants Gideon to whittle down the Israelite army, an army already one third the size of the opposing army.  You see God does not want Israel to boast in their win; He wants them to know without a shadow of a doubt their God had not abandoned them.  22,000 thousand men went home that day but even after narrowing down the army to 10,000 men God says STOP! There are still too many.  Let’s read 7:4-7:

 

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”


Why did God say to keep the men who drank water from their “cupped hands, lapping like dogs”?  Because these were the men aware of their surroundings!  These were the ones keeping a watchful eye while they drank. The enemy overtakes us when we look away EVEN if it is for brief moment.  One of the worst things you can do when you are in a battle is to get down on your knees!  I am not talking about prayer here…which by the way you can do standing up, sitting down, walking, running, etc…   I am talking about being a LAPPER. 

 

Many of us are fighting battles in our lives—financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual ones.  Maybe some feel like there is no chance of ever winning.  Perhaps you feel hopeless and maybe even tired of praying and asking God to intervene. Gideon felt the same way, like God had left them.  Believe me, God has not forgotten you! He hears you and is moving on your behalf.  You must keep a constant watch as you go about your day to day life and be ready. 

So how do we do that:?


1) PRAYER—our first weapon...Always seek God’s guidance in EVERY situation.  We MUST have a dedicated PRAYER TIME everyday!  This is the way we cry out to our God. This is the way we praise our God. This is the way we communicate with our God. AND this is the way our GOD communicates with us!  JOHN 10:27 JESUS says, “My sheep HEAR my voice, and I KNOW them and they FOLLOW me.”  IF you are not hearing HIS almighty voice then you need to get into the habit of listening a little more than speaking during your prayer time with your heavenly Father.   GOD STILL SPEAKS TO US.

 

2) GOD’S WORD—this is our SWORD!  This is what Jesus used against Satin while in the dessert for 40 days and nights.  He was weary. He was hungry. He was down-hearted.  OH, you don’t think He was down-hearted?  Well you better believe it because he was human in EVERY sense of the word.  MATT 4:4 Jesus fights Satin with God’s Holy Word saying “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

 

IF you are not studying---and I do not mean just reading a few verses here and there and ticking it off your to do list---but truly studying God’s Word—digging deep, and allowing the Holy Spirit within you to instruct and teach you—then you are missing the second greatest weapon in your arsenal

 

3) FIGHT—We have the HOLY SPIRIT of the ONE TRUE GOD living inside us and HE is our shield.  We serve an AWESOME GOD and HE is not going to allow us to suffer defeat.  If you are feeling defeated recognize that the enemy is in your camp and you need to dispose of him quickly! 

 

REMEMBER what JESUS said to Peter in Matt 16:18 “ Upon this rock I WILL build my church and the all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” 

 

EPH 6: 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

 

Our GOD is NOT going to allow you to lose because if you lose then HE loses and nowhere in Scripture is it EVER recorded our God lost anything. Not any battle, not any person.  NOT EVER!!!  He gave HIS ONLY SON so “none should perish”. So stand on HIS promises.  Gideon’s men did not have to lift a finger.  Instead they broke jars and blew trumpets causing the Midianites to scramble and fight themselves and then run for the hills. God will fight for you too!

 

As you fight whatever battle you are in right now I want you to remember the most important thing in your Spiritual Life… your GOD has not left you weaponless however  HE HAS left it up to you to pick them up and use them.

 

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

 

 

SPIRITUAL SNOBBERY

SPIRITUAL SNOBBERY

James 1: 26

 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain” KJV

Over the course of the past four years the Lord has blessed me with a gift of time.  I have had the opportunity to sit down and study the Word and blessed with the time to commit to a dedicated daily prayer life.  I was very much an infant in Christ but through this time our Lord has grown me spiritually.   Not a lot mind you but God has opened my heart and mind to come to understand His written Word in ways I never thought possible.  I have also come to realize there is such a thing as “Spiritual Snobbery” and I believe the above passage may just put this in perspective.

I believe James goes deeper in regards to just bridling the tongue however this is of most importance when it comes to believers.  Here however I think we need to dig a bit deeper.  Many believers, and especially those of us brought up in the church, have come to position ourselves above others spiritually.  I do not believe we do this on purpose mind you but rather have come to think of ourselves as a little bit holier because we have been spared the worldly traps of life other believers may have had to overcome before accepting Jesus as their savior.  There is great danger in for us when we “consider (our self) religious” .

When we believe we are more religious than we really are, it may be a sign our religion is boastful or arrogant.  If we find our self ready to speak of the faults of others—especially those who have only been followers of Christ for a short while—and thereby judging their past life, a life before Christ came into it, and we chuckle inwardly or outwardly (even though it may seem innocent enough) at their lack of Biblical wisdom these are signs that we may just be Spiritual Snobs. 

A Christian who thinks they are better than others and then speaks wrongly or worse yet accusingly of other, less mature, believers has a judging heart and this my friends is not gracious or loving.  We must remind our self that we are not to judge others but our goal as mature believers is to help younger ones grow in Christ. And how can we do this if we are continually reminding them of their past or worse yet judging them for it.  When we judge the enemy uses us to stop the change Jesus is working in their lives.  This is the danger of being a Spiritual Snob and not bridling the tongue.

Now I am not talking about gossip here.  I am writing about a mindset whereby we believe—or perhaps we do not even realize we are doing it— someone who has lived a life in the world and done things they would not be proud to admit, but do so expecting other believers to understand and not hold it in judgment against them, has less grace in the eyes of Christ than the rest of us. 

Did you know that James, the half-brother of Jesus and writer of the Book of James, was an unbeliever?   It is true.  John 7:5 says, “for not even his brothers believed in Him.”  And if you read the verses before you can get a feel for the tone—a tone of mockery—these brothers toward Jesus.  It is also believed that James was the older of the brothers.  In Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 we are given a list of the names of Jesus’ brothers and in those days in time children were almost always listed in birth order beginning with the oldest.  It may have even been James who spoke these words in John 7:3-4.  But we also know that Jesus came back and showed His resurrected self to James. (1 Corinthians 15:7 “then He appeared to James.”)  James was not saved because he grew up with Jesus…he was saved because of the forgiving grace of Jesus. Isn’t that true for all of us too?

Spiritual Snobbery has no place in the walk of any believer.  Whether you were brought up in the church or out of it; whether you have walked with Christ since you were three years old or you just received Christ three days ago we are ALL saved by Grace.  And once that happens “old things are passed away behold all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) 

Just something we should all think about before we put on that robe of piety.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

MANY QUESTIONS

MANY QUESTIONS by Lori Robbins

It has been a while since my last post and the only reason I can honestly give is this: I was in a place spiritually that I needed to work through with my Lord.  He understood very well; I however did not. 

Suffice to say I am not the only person in Christianity to have ever had a ‘slump’ if you will.  It lasted a few months.  I prayed. I studied God’s Word.  I prayed some more.  Still I could not get past the emotions which kept me in a place of questioning.  Please understand I am NOT saying I lost my faith or turned from God. That never happened.  I just had so many questions that begged answers.  Sometimes the answers were long in forthcoming.  Some questions I still have no answers to.

My questions were simple and honest.  They required me to search God’s Word and beyond to gain understanding as to why a Christian would ask such questions to begin with.  They required too that I search my own heart and determine my motives for my Christianity.  Was I serving God only to be served by Him?( i.e. answered prayers for my personal life and needs while throwing in a few requests for others and perhaps our country and the world.)  Perhaps my Christian life leaned more toward having laws to follow and rules to adhere to? Someone to set limits for me if you will keeping me on the straight and narrow.  Was I truly willing to “sell all I have and follow Jesus” or is this something I liked to think I would do if required to do so?  It was so easy to speak of my faith in Christ but was I more like Peter when it came down to it?  Would I have denied Christ three times?  If I had the testing God required of Job would I have ‘cursed God and died’ like Job’s wife suggested?

Needless to say something happened in my life these past few months which brought these questions and many more to mind.  My faith was, and quite honestly still is, being tested.  While I am not in the ranks with Job—because my faith is not that strong obviously—God, in my personal opinion, does become silent for a while to help us grow in hearing His voice. 

“How so,” you might ask?  Because it is precisely these times when I dig deep for the answers!  I know God’s Word is not a lie.  He says He will never leave or forsake us.  He says if we ask, he will answer.  So the questions, then, become a ‘throne in my side’ and I simply must search to get to the truths.  Many times these truths were only found when I searched deep inside myself.  Times when I prayed and cried out to God and He allowed me to sit in quiet muddling over and over in my mind the questions in my heart. Then He in His mercy—and sometimes I think perhaps His pity for my small human mind—gives me wisdom and suddenly the answer jumps into my mind.

Now before you think I am some nutcase let me point you to a bit of Scripture here.  Nehemiah said, “Then the Lord put the idea into my head...” (Nehemiah 7:5 (G.W.T.) so if God put ideas into Nehemiah’s head, and God is the same yesterday, today and forever, then why wouldn’t God do the same to me? Or you?  The answer is He would.  Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.”  (John 10:27)  So it just makes sense God still speaks to us—puts ideas into our heads—aka answers our questions.

Then there are times God wants me to search for answers.  “Seek and ye SHALL find.”  And that is why I have been away for a while.  I have been intensely seeking.  I am still seeking for some answers.  Sadly, some questions may never be answered until I am in glory sitting in the throne room and at the feet of my heavenly Father.  Truthfully I wish that were not the case.  I have an inquiring mind and inquiring minds want to know.  But it is what it is.  That does not mean that I will stop seeking.  It just means I will be seeking for the rest of my life and I come to reason that this may not be a bad thing.

Are you struggling with questions?  Maybe you are lost and confused with your Christian walk.  Maybe you do not understand why you are not being healed.  Maybe why you have not found that special someone, that soul mate.  Maybe God answers your prayers for others but not the ones you pray for yourself.  Maybe you want to be in ministry but no doors seem to be opening up.  Maybe you have sold all that you have.  Maybe you have ideas in your head that just are not panning out yet.  Maybe you need to know what to do about a situation you are struggling with.

We all have so many questions we feel we need answers to.  These questions exist in all our lives.  I wish I could say your answers will come. Truth is some questions may get answers while others may never be answered in this lifetime.  Faith means we trust.  We must trust “God is working all things together for our good…” including all our questions.  It is hard for us not knowing the answers however you can find peace realizing God has all the answers.  He had them even before we had the questions.  Now that, my friends, is good to know.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins 

MANY QUESTIONS

Blog here.

MISTAKES

MISTAKES

by Lori Robbins

Good Morning Ladies,

Have you ever felt like you are off track with God?  I know I have.  Many years I spent in ministry and suddenly I found myself far away from my Heavenly Father.  Old and trusted friends I once hung out were replaced with new ones who barely knew me.  I made alliance with those I thought were on the same side I was only to discover the stark reality of differences in beliefs.  Soon my values that I once held so dear to my heart were compromised and I began to spiral downward desiring not the things of God as I once had but the things of this earth.    

The king of Judah, King Asa (2 Chronicles 14), did the same thing. For years he obeyed God. It is recorded in 2 Chronicles 14:2-5:

 

2 Asa did what was pleasing and good in the sight of the Lord his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the pagan shrines. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded the people of Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his law and his commands. 5 Asa also removed the pagan shrines, as well as the incense altars from every one of Judah’s towns.

King Asa walked with God for a time.  Then a condition came from God through Azariah to Asa.  The message from God was clear and concise,

 

Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you…7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded”(2 Chronicles 15:2,7)

It was our gracious heavenly Father sending a warning to King Asa.  So what happened?  Moving to chapter 16 we see a situation arose and King Asa choose to make deals with man rather than trusting God. Suffice to say Asa chose the easy way instead of the right way.  He aligned himself with a pagan nation.  God alone had helped Asa defeat the Ethiopians yet Asa lost sight of this and sought a human solution of treaties rather than seeking and trusting God.  And when the prophet Hanani confronted Asa, he threw the prophet in jail.  This tells us a lot about how deteriorated Asa’s relationship had become. 

I too went through a period of time in my life and stopped listening for my Father’s voice and aligned myself with people whom I thought were helping me through a difficult time.  While it is not sinful to obtain council from others, it is sin to trust them more than God.  Perhaps their intentions are well-meaning but when we begin thinking their ways are better and scripture is not the guiding light in their suggestions then we leave God completely out of the picture as we go through the problem-solving process.  

That is what King Asa did.  After some 35 years of righteous living King Asa left God out of the picture.  He did not go to God and seek Him for deliverance and answers.  God sent Hanani to King Asa with a message:

 

9 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”   

King Asa put Hanani in prison and then the word says, “At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.”(1 Chronicles 16:10)  Perhaps these were advisors or friends who were trying to show Asa the errors of his ways?  How many times have we turned away from a Christian Brother or sister because they were not telling us what we wanted to hear?  As I look back I can see where true friends tried to get me to see things God’s way and I simply refused to listen to reason.  I told myself they did not know all the facts so could not possible advise me on matters they knew nothing about. 

God gave King Asa yet another chance to seek Him.  Asa became inflicted with a severe disease in his feet but even in his illness Asa sought out the help of doctors rather than praying to the God he had once served so faithfully.   The Bible says two years later King Asa “rested with his fathers …”  The scriptures do not tell us if Asa ever repented and turned his heart back to God. 

God has taught me a valuable lesson over the years and it is this, what sometimes appears to be an easy decision is not necessarily the right one.  God wanted me to trust and wait on Him.  At that time in my life, I choose not to do so and the repercussions were devastating.  Thankfully and gratefully we serve a God of forgiveness.  Unlike Asa, when God gave me a second chance to seek Him I fell on my face, asked for forgiveness and thanked Him for His everlasting mercy, for His grace and for His unconditional love. 

I know the things and ways of this world can sometimes look good and pleasing however please do not be fooled.  If you find yourself facing difficult situations and decisions please pray to your Father in heaven and ask Him to reveal His will to you. And know this if anything is contradictory to God’s word then it simply is not from God.  Afterwards go to your Pastor or a few women grounded solidly in the Word of God and seek counsel over what you believe the Lord has spoken to you and ask them to help you discern what you heard.  Take what they say and compare it to God’s word.  This seems like a long drawn out task to undertake, and it is, but that is a good thing as it keeps us from making rash and emotionally charged decisions.

God bless.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori

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GRIPPED BY FEAR--PART TWO

GRIPPED BY FEAR—IS FEAR AN EMOTION? NO!

 

I have heard it said fear is an emotion.  I have to question this.  I have also heard it said we made in the image of God by Mind, Will, and Emotion.  So, if our emotions come from God and God says He has not given us the spirit of fear then how can fear be an emotion? And while there are some emotions we can control fear is definitely not one of them, at least not for me. When fear grips us—and I have had it happen on several occasions—there is no talking ourselves out of it.  How are we supposed to fight fear—a spiritual enemy we can’t touch or see?  Thankfully our loving heavenly Father gave us an instruction manual on how to fight a spiritual battle through Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.  He instructs us to:

 

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

In my life –after you have done everything—meant my going to the doctor and having the necessary medical testing I needed without fear of the outcome.  It means having the courage to walk the path God sets before us and standing with confidence knowing He works all things together for our good. 

 

14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  

 

It means knowing God is in control of our lives and to stand with Him when the spirit of fear wages war against us.  We must read, understand and use God’s Word—the sword of the Spirit—for the spiritual battle in the heavenly places.  The Word is our only weapon against the spirit of fear.  We cannot simply will it to be gone in our minds.  It is NOT a case of mind over matter.  It is a battle and we have to stand and fight.  Even when the Israelites were at the thresholds of the Promised Land they had to fight in the name of God to get what was promised to them.  We too must fight this spirit and victory will be ours through our God’s mighty power.

 

 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

 

And we must “pray in the Spirit on all occasions”.  The Holy Spirit is the power within us and will pray for us when we are afraid or feel the situation is more than we can bear.  We can always call on the name of our GOD.  He helps us when we are too weak from battle and we feel as if we are losing, when our words just do not seem sufficient enough, or when we do not know what to pray.  Moses had Aaron and Hur hold up his arms when he grew weary during a battle with the Amalekites.  After God gave them victory Moses built an altar and named it Yahweh –Nissi, The Lord is my Banner.  In Romans 8:26 we have the Holy Spirit to hold us up and pray when we do not know what to pray anymore.  When our words seem repetitive and without meaning we can ask the Holy Spirit to pray for us.  He becomes strong in our weakness.  He intercedes for us:

 

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness ; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for word;”

 

That Sunday evening before my nuclear stress test I found myself alone and afraid.  All I could think about was my dad—now with our Lord.  He was the age I am now when he had his first heart attack and was 51 when he had his first open heart surgery.  I remember all too well the pain he endured afterwards.  All my life people told me how much I look like my day in stature and mannerisms.  Now, I wondered would I suffer the same fate he did?  Would I have to have open heart surgery due to coronary heart disease?  I too had smoked for many years.  I too ate the same foods my dad ate; lived the same basic lifestyle he did.  Would I die at an early age too? The spirit of fear was winning that night and I knew it.

 

Praise God for He is always faithful to His children.  He will not allow us to lose.  He came to my rescue upon my admitting to Him I was losing and only He could relieve the torture I was going through mentally by this spirit of fear.  God brought the Ephesians verses to my mind.  I had memorized them as a challenge issued by my pastor a few years earlier.  I took out the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and began reading out loud as I walked around the house.  For hours I read and walked.  I did not call/text friends and ask them to pray as this battle had only three participants—God, me and a spirit of fear.  I confronted the spirit of fear and prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit to intervene for me and for the peace God to consume me.  Exhausted, I went to bed and had a pretty sleepless night. 

 

THEN GOD MOVED!

 

When I awoke on Monday morning I was euphoric.  Actually human words could not begin to express how I felt.  Truly JOY does come in the morning!J  God gave me a peace which goes beyond what human words are capable of defining and I went into testing that morning knowing whatever the outcome God had it all planned out and it would be ok either way.  My night long fighting might have left me exhausted however GOD woke me invigorated.  The nurse giving me the IV with the nuclear dye must have been guided by an angel because I honestly did not even feel the needle go in.  I walked the treadmill and did not get the slightest bit winded or out of breath.  Lying under the x-ray machine for 40 minutes as it took pictures of my arteries and heart I thanked God for His Holy Spirit covering me in such a way I felt cocooned in the warmth of His love.  And the results given to me that afternoon showed all veins and arteries clean and clear.  My doctor told me my heart was in excellent shape—good, strong and pumping beyond the average.  I immediately gave God the glory right there in the doctor’s office.   

 

Understanding through God’s word fear is not an emotion but a spirit gives us an advantage as believers when we are under attack from the enemy.  Fear is not something we can talk ourselves out of—mind over matter type stuff.  It is an enemy and must be treated as such.  God’s Word and our faith in Him and His word always defeat the enemy.  

 

If you are battling against a spirit of fear I hope this post encourages you.  Go into battle, take out the Sword of the Spirit and fight in the name of your God.  STAND FIRM for we are more than conquerors through the blood of Jesus Christ.  I promise He will not let you lose.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins      


GRIPPED BY FEAR--PART ONE

GRIPPED BY FEAR—PART ONE

 

My heart raced as sweat dripped from my chest and forehead.  A burning sensation radiated through the back of my head and down my neck.  The pulsating, pounding rhythm of my heart beat against my chest and between my upper left shoulder blade and spine.  My legs felt strange and weak pushing me deeper into panic mode as my breathing labored and I struggled to fill my lungs with air.  I felt sure I was having a heart attack.  

 

After two and half hours of waiting in the packed lobby of the ER followed by three hours of lying on a bed waiting to see a doctor allowed plenty of time for me to reassess exactly why I had come to the hospital in the first place.  The only remaining symptom in my body was the continuous burning sensation in the back of my head and down my back.  Add to that an IV in my right arm—causing a new source of pain as it was incorrectly inserted and through which nothing was being administered from it in the form of medication or even a saline drip—I quickly became suspicious my supposed heart attack—with all symptoms pointing that direction—was nothing more than a panic attack, a.k.a. FEAR.

 

As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—and the Bible being God’s inerrant Word, I lay in that hospital bed feeling ashamed.  Why had the enemy gotten such a strong hold on me this particular night to the point where I looked for safety in a hospital emergency room?  I thought I had a strong walk with my Lord.  I heard His voice clearly many times over the past three and half years but this particular evening I felt alone, forsaken and afraid.  I had prayed and prayed.  I texted and had many others praying for me; still fear gripped me when I felt my life was in peril.  And to add insult to injury, turns out I only had a pulled muscle in my back causing the burning sensation in my head and neck.  All the other symptoms were caused by anxiety, a.k.a. FEAR.

 

Sunday this week, FEAR surfaced its ugly head again but much stronger than before.  I had had a meeting this past Friday with my cardiologist to discuss the results of some preliminary test I had taken concerning my heart and coronary arties.  Although my heart itself proved strong the stress test showed some abnormalities. The doctor wanted to do a nuclear stress test as soon as possible and tried consoling me with, “It is probably nothing.  A false positive reading happens many times.”  The test was set up for Monday morning and the weekend that followed was torturous.  By Sunday evening I was fighting a spiritual battle like never before.  I spent the evening in prayer and reading God’s word out loud as I walked around my house for hours then went to bed.    

 

Today, the day after the stress test, I woke up compelled to begin a search for answers about fear and the Lord started my quest in 2 Timothy.  As believers we often refer to 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind” when we are struggling with fear in our lives.  I have quoted this verse many times myself in the context of overcoming fear.  You probably have too.

 

A deeper look into the scripture revealed to me Timothy seemed to be experiencing timidity or shyness about proclaiming Christ—emotions we can perhaps all relate to.  Paul encouraged Timothy to continue in the work of the teaching and spreading the gospel of Jesus.  Paul cautions Timothy to “not be ashamed to testify of our Lord” and to not be ashamed of him (Paul) even though he was in chains for Christ. (vs. 8)  I too have suffered from timidity when it comes to being a witness for Christ and although this verse often gives me strength when fighting a spiritual battle, Paul was not talking about the same kind of fear I had experienced earlier in the week.  I was scared I was going to die in a very painful way—a heart attack.

 

I have often said I am not afraid of dying but I am very afraid of the way I am going to die.  Of course I know I am a child of God and will be in paradise with Christ but still the thought of pain does not thrill me even if it is just for a few seconds.  Can we call this fear? And if we can then how do we battle against it?  What can a believer do when fear grips them so strongly they feel as if God has forsaken them?  What happened to me—a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, studier of the Word of God, and one who believes strongly in the power of prayer?  Why did I succumb to a fear so strong I ended up in the hospital because of it? 

 

Ephesians 6:10 gives some answers.  Paul writes,

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power.” 

 

The Greek word used here for strong is the transliterated word is Endunamoo (pronounced en-doo-nam-o'-o) and according to Strong’s Online Concordance it means:

to be strong, endue with strength, strengthen

to receive strength, be strengthened, or to increase in strength. (Strong’s #1743) 

 

First we must be strong in the Lord and according to Strong’s 2nd definition we can expand the scripture to read,  “Finally, be strong (receive strength, be strengthened or increase in strength) in the Lord.”  In essence Paul is telling us to receive strength from our Lord for He is our strength.     

 

Secondly we must realize the power of God.  Paul says “in HIS mighty power.”  The concept, and saying, of mind-over-matter has never worked for me.  Does it work for you?  It is only God’s power from which we can draw strength, not from ourselves.  As believers of Jesus Christ, we belong to Elohim—Mighty Creator—the one and only true God who simply spoke and out of nothingness the universe and everything in it was formed.  Now that my friend is power!  Who or what can conquer God?  Nothing/nobody can do that.  We must believe in the mighty power of God with more than just with our heads; we must believe it in our hearts and let this knowledge penetrate deep inside.  Jesus said in Luke 24:49 He was sending power from on high.  This power is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in us when we accept Jesus Christ as our savior.  God’s power resides within us through His Holy Spirit.

 

Thirdly, and getting more to the point, when we battle fear it is not an earthly battle or an inner battle and it does not come from God.  Did God intend for us to live in fear?  No. The Word says, “God has not given us the spirit of fear.” So where does this fear come from?  Fear is a spirit, and as you have probably experienced in your life too, it is not good nor is it from God.  I submit to you fear is a spiritual force of evil which Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6:12:

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (emphasis mine)

 

Fear is the ultimate weapon our enemy uses against us and it stops many of us from trusting God and His will for our lives.  It stops us from moving forward with the things God has called us to do.  It seems to me once we begin to follow God’s will for our lives fear creeps up inside us simply because things are not going the way we thought they should.  We begin to question whether or not we are in God’s will because of fear.  We say things like, “If God really wants me to do this then why is it so hard? Why does it seem like everything is against me?  Why is God taking so long?  Did God really speak to me?” 

 

This is madness sisters and brothers!  When God lays it on our hearts to do something—no matter how big or small—after we have sought Him and prayed sincerely about it, He will not allow us fail.  We should not—we must not—change paths unless we have again sought God in prayer and we clearly hear directly from God to do so.  If God has not given you a new direction then do not change directions simply because of fear things are not working out the way you planned.  Jesus Christ died to break these strongholds in our lives.  God’s plan never failed in the past for those who heard His voice and followed His direction and it is not going to fail now.

 

PLEASE READ PART TWO –GRIPPED BY FEAR--IS FEAR AN EMOTION?  NO!

 

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins


EXPERIENCING TECHNICAL PROBLEMS--STAY TUNED

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SHEILDS UP!

SHIELDS UP! HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE

Have you ever been to a place in life where so many things are going wrong it just seems ridiculous? A place where you have cried all the tears you could possibly cry, cried out to God for help in more ways you thought humanly possible and still the attacks keep coming? Some of the attacks are big while others are little nuances the enemy keeps pelting you with to the point where all one can do is laugh. I am so there!

The enemy has been throwing arrow after arrow at me to the point where what is called Murphy’s Law has become very real to me. Everything seems to be going wrong and just when I think nothing else can go wrong it does. I will not bore you with the details but the one that put me over the edge was July 9 when I literally flushed my cell phone down the toilet. It just fell out of my back pocket as I turned and pushed the handle down to flush. Before I could react, my phone—that basically carriers my life on it-- went swirling through the pipes and into the septic tank. I thought it might have gotten stuck but in case you did not know, moving water is a strong force. As I went out and told my family what had happened I began to laugh. I could not stop laughing. I laughed so hard I began to cry. Tears streamed down my face and I tried desperately to tell these people, who must have thought I had gone completely mad, that I had flushed my phone down the toilet. Their response, almost in unison, was, “Why did you do that?”

A phone may not be a big deal for most, however I am on a very strict budget and a new phone was not part of the plan. However the phone was just the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’, and any other cliché you can think of. To give you a visual of the constant attacks just imagine a rock slide that starts with a tiny pebble at the top of a mountain and suddenly, as it begins to roll down you look up and there are thousands of tiny pebbles coming at you. There has been so much stuff coming my way lately I now quote a dear friend who always says, “You just can’t make this stuff up!”

To make matters worse, for the past few days I have been ill with some type of summer flu. I do not know about you but I am really such a baby when I get sick. Usually my husband or my mom are here with me and pamper me by making sure I have medicines, food, lots of water and rest. Not this time.

As I lay in bed last night feeling sorry for myself I began reading through my journal which I have kept for the last three plus years. My journal is basically a history of how God has moved and been with me through everything. I read about the times the enemy had attacked me and how my heavenly Father, in His mercy and love, put out each and every arrow. Don’t get me wrong the enemy is still trying to penetrate the shield of faith God has provided me with however he will never win. God informs us in Ephesians 6:12 our “struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.” (NIV)

I started reading in Deuteronomy this morning. Have you ever noticed the second through the fifth books of the Bible are not exactly favorites among many Christians? Well this is where the Lord led me so that is where I began reading. As I read the outline under what my study Bible titles Megathemes the first theme was history and immediately a cord was stuck within me. Can you guess why? Chapters one through four of Deuteronomy consist of Moses’ first address to the children of Israel. In these chapters Moses reminds God’s children of all the things God has done for them and all the things God had brought them through. All the prayers God has answered for them, all the victories in battles God gave them, and of course loving and caring for them even in their rebellion. God was always with them.

God sent me to my journal last night because I needed to be reminded that He is still on the throne. He is still in control even when things in my life seem to be out of control. He confirmed it was Him speaking to me last night but bringing me to His word and showing me there how no matter what He is with me.

I would like to encourage anyone going through a fiery time in their life today to stop and take a few minutes to look back at how God has brought you through many trials already. Our heavenly Father says He will never leave us or forsake us. That is a promise He gave to me and you. Take up the shield of faith with me and hold it high in the air because we can put out all the fiery darts of the enemy clothed in the full armor of God.

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

3 O’clock Prayer Ministries Inc.

IT IS ALL UNDER CONTROL, RIGHT?

IT IS ALL UNDER CONTROL, RIGHT?

BY LORI ROBBINS


I was having a bit of a Bible study with Jerry on the phone this morning and was amazed at how God spoke to me concerning someone. I had spent some time trying to counsel them but felt inadequate in doing so. So after they left, I spent a good 30 minutes in prayer asking God to help me help them understand. I am not a Bible scholar but I know God’s Word holds secrets for those of us who belong to Him yet I failed this person last night by not doing just that---going to His word. Odd right?


The next morning God spoke to me through my husband and a particular passage of Scripture he shared with me.

OKAY STOP and PLEASE PRAY before reading the rest of this blog. Be receptive to God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Take a deep breath and then finish reading this.


YOU DID WHAT I SAID RIGHT? Ok. When you have a free moment go read Numbers chapter 11. Yep the entire chapter.

You read it right? Ok read on.


Basically, the Israelites were complaining to Moses about food even though God provided for them with manna from heaven. Still the people were not happy with how God was providing. They wanted meat. Moses gets so fed up he starts to complain too but he goes and complains to God as if God does not already hear the moans of these ungrateful children already. Moses was aggravated, probably in a state of exasperation, and surely overwhelmed because we must remember there were about 2 million people all standing in the doorway of their tents complaining and murmuring. Can you just imagine the noise from 2 million whining people?


Moses says to God in verse 15 after a good pity party, “If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”


Ever felt like that? I sure have and probably pretty recently.

So God helps Moses by telling him to choose 70 men to help him–you can re-read that yourself in verses 16 through 20.

Then in verse 21& 22 we read where Moses—who BTW audibly heard God’s voice, who experienced the burning bush, who wrote as God Himself dictated the 10 commandments not once but twice, who followed God through fire by night and a cloud by day as he led 2 million people to freedom, who had a deeply personal relationship with God—still Moses questioned God’s ability. This man saw God as no one had before. He was even allowed to see God’s backside! I do not know about you but I am guilty of saying, “Boy if I had experienced God the way Moses did I would never question His existence. ” Yet here was Moses questioning God’s power after experiencing it in many miraculous ways.


Take a moment and think back on the miracles God has already performed in your life. I remember a big one in my life. My daughter and I had spent three days fasting and praying together for a particular wrong that occurred in her life. She was being mistreated and was crushed. I was a momma who was mad that God allowed this to be. We took it to God. After three days, God spoke to us during an intense prayer session and then one year later—almost to the day—He did exactly what He said He would do. There are so many others things I have prayed about and God, in His grace and love for me, has answered in my favor yet still I have days where I feel like Moses.


Now here is what really spoke to me today. In verse 23 God is speaking and He asks Moses, “…’Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!’”


BAM!

What happened here was Moses had lost his faith in God. But did God change? Did God lose His power? It is easy to trust God when we see His mighty acts—as Moses and the Israelites did time after time—and answers our prayers speedily, but after a while, while performing the routine of our daily lives, His strength may appear to us as diminishing. God does not change but our view of Him often does. Our day-to-day living lulls us into forgetting how powerful God can be especially when we pray. As Moses learned, God’s strength is always available. We read about this in the remaining verses as God pours out His Holy Spirit—the same Spirit He gave to Moses—upon 70 other men. God provided the help Moses’ needed and He will provide the help we need too!


Does the story end there? Unfortunately it does not.

While God did provide the meat the Israelites were crying out for, in verses 31 through 35 we read about how the people became lustful for meat. The manna God was already providing had ceased to be enough for them. (BTW--Lust does not have to mean sexual.) The people did not gather just enough meat to satisfy them for the day—which is how God had instructed them concerning the manna—the people got greedy. They gathered much more than they needed and gorged themselves on it and many became sick and died. Not the happily ever after ending we all hope for yet teaches us a valuable lesson.


God promises to provide for us daily. He knows what we need before we even ask. He wants us to trust Him in and for everything but on a daily basis. You see, the children of Israel desire for meat was wrong in and of its self; however, their sin was allowing their desire for meat to turn into lust for meat which was evident by their constant complaining and groaning. They were not thanking God for the food He was already providing because they grew tired of it. They felt they had a right to have fine food and they became so lustful for it they could not think of anything else and it consumed them.


Often times we do the same thing. As believers we think we have a right to something—be it a healing, a better jobs, better life circumstances, etc. We grow tired of where we are instead of thanking God for where He has us. And when we become so preoccupied with something and allow it to affect our perspective on everything else especially things concerning our relationship with the power of our heavenly Father, we have moved from desire to lust.


God says He wants to give us the ‘desires’ of our hearts not the lust of our hearts. We must not allow our desires to become lusts for if we do, God will chastise us in order to bring us back into communion with Him. Our desire should be for more and more of Him. We must have faith He knows better than we do what is best for us.


Should we desire a healing? Should we desire to prosper? Of course we should so long as our desires do not become something we lust after because that lust can then become an idol because we place it before the power of our God. As believers we have to have the faith that understands and believes God is in control of every area of our lives. He has it all under control.


Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

3 o’clock Prayer Ministries

BASIC TRAINING

BASIC TRAINING

 

 

A couple of years ago I heard a sermon by James McDonald titled ‘Pulling Over’ which translated in my mind as ‘Basic Training’.   At the time, I was struggling with the enormous amount of work it was going to take me to pack up literally all my earthly possessions and ship them off to an auction house.  It was a very long and exhausting day.  The next morning my Bible reading took me to the book of Hebrews, particularly when God—in  in His ever so loving way—spoke to my heart in the 10th chapter:

 

          31Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ.

 

Talk about BASIC TRAINING! Do you remember when you were first saved? If you were anything like me you wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  The light of Christ burst forth within me so strongly women I worked with began asking me if I was pregnant again.  My faith was basic, pure and unwavering.  I saw and experienced the majesty of God and began my basic training of reading the bible every day.  The Lord poured Himself into me, and like a thirsty woman wondering in the dessert I drank it in.  I accepted God’s word with the heart of a child.  I did not question it; I just believed it.  Over the next fifteen years of my life I learned how to study the Bible using commentaries, concordances, Vine’s expository, Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, and many other resources. 

 

Time passed and after fifteen years of service in Children’s Ministry, Praise and Worship Team, Choir, and Women’s Ministry I walked away from my heavenly Father spending the next fifteen years wondering in the wilderness searching for the things of this world I thought I had been missing out on.  Satan fooled me but God, in His gracious mercy, gently began to move me back towards home.  In March of 2010 this prodigal daughter started back on the pathway God had laid out for her. The way did not begin with the basics of Bible study this time.   I knew God’s Word.  This prodigal daughter was called to pray.  Not intercessory prayer, although God has used me as an intercessor, God called me to a prayer time that literally changes my life.   

 

The first few months were intense and short.  I fumbled and prayed the only way I knew how.  My basement became my prayer closet where I prayed out loud where no one could hear me yet still I felt awkward and admittedly a bit foolish at times.  Some prayers were recited over and over like the Lord’s Prayer while others were request from family and friends and their needs for healing, jobs, homes, cars, etc….  Praying at 3 p.m. every day was no easy task either. 

 

As time passed God began to teach me how to surrender to Him and showed me how to have a deeper relationship with Him through prayer.  As I learned to enter His Holy of Holies and how to be in His presence, He taught me who He really was in my life.  A life He orchestrates.  A life where He cares about everything that happens to me.  

 

 

The journey God led me on called for the release of all the false gods of the world I had accumulated during my fifteen years in the desert.  All the treasures I stored up here on earth were now packed in boxes and sold at auction on March 5, 2011. (Yep, it took almost an entire year for God to bring me to a place of release.)  I did not go to the auction because I had released everything into the capable hands of my heavenly Father.  He in turn showed me exactly how worthless my treasures were when the auction house presented me the proceeds after the sale.  The money really did not matter and I was happy to be in my Father’s house again knowing He would take care of everything.    

 

 

As I walk with God down the path laid before me, I have found Prayer—a very basic practice—strengthening my Christian walk. When I am confused, God gives me clarification through His word. When I am hurting and an emotional wreck, I cry out to Him in prayer and He strengthens me and holds me in His arms.

 

 

One afternoon while reading in Romans, the Lord reminded me of the times He had been faithful through some really tough times in my life. He reminded me had my brother not been nudged to turn around some 38 years ago, I would have drown after falling off a floating dock into a 30 foot deep spring without knowing how to swim.  Things faded to black when suddenly a hand grabbed me and literally pulled me to safety by my hair.  God reminded me how He comforted me in His arms when my 7 year old son was stuck with a used hypodermic needle outside our apartment complex.  God was with me as we endured Aids testing every three months for the next year of my son’s life praying constantly my son would not be infected with the HIV virus.  God reminded me had He not intervened through the death of my father (now resting with Christ) in December 2005, hubby and I would have been divorced and hubby might not have ever come to know Jesus Christ as his personal savior.  God reminded me through all these things, and many others, He had been with me even during those times I was not walking with Him.  Now, as I read verse 34 of Romans chapter 10, I fall face down before our all mighty God and weep:

         

34You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all that you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.

 

 Our heavenly Father, who knows the weaknesses of mankind, reaffirmed things for me. He spoke through His word and reminded me there are better things waiting for me. He went on to say:

 

35So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

 

Every day I ask God to help me and strengthen me with patient endurance. If you are struggling and wondering where God is during troubling times—whether they are big or little struggles—take a moment to go back to the basics. Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Think back on those times He was holding you in His arms. Remember when you had the faith that God truly could do anything?  Remember today that He truly can.  Great is our God!

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

 

 

 

 

KNOWING GOD

KNOWING GOD

 

I am not a history buff but I do love history.  I also love reading and studying God’s word every day.  Some days I probably spend more time studying the Word than I should as household chores do not get completed.  Thankfully I have a husband who –so long as there is food on the table when he gets home—doesn’t seem to mind when things are out of place, laundry hasn’t been washed, etc… (What a blessing my hubby isJ)  Historical and biographical data can help us learn a lot about a person, place or situation; however all the information in the world will not help us to actually know someone better, in order to know someone we have to spend time with them.

This is the way we should look at our relationship with God. 

 

We learn much by reading God’s word.  We can visualize Him through portrait words in Old Testament scriptures where authors describe in eloquent detail their encounters with His being and essence.  We see unending His mercy with Israel, relating as a mothers, when time after time He forgives the very children who constantly disobey and deny Him.  We experience His gentleness as He disciplines with a firm hand then lovingly supplies all the needs of human frailty like food, water and shelter, taking it one step further by providing their additional wants even when they are thankless for what He has already provided.  We feel God’s unconditional love as He allows the sacrifice of His only son, Jesus Christ, knowing full well His chosen children will not accept Him.  We feel the compassion Jesus had as He looked upon the widow who placed her last coin in the offering, giving more than she could afford.  We realize the sacrifice as Jesus, crucified on a cross for us, looked up into heaven and said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”  These are the characteristics of God, our father in heaven, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom we have committed ourselves for life. 

 

It was not however by my reading God’s holy word that I came to truly know who my redeemer is.  I would whole-heartedly agree the Bible is more than a Christian’s history book and should be studied daily for as much time as one can possibly give.  I agree God definitely speaks to each of us through His word.  For me, knowing all the characteristics mentioned above only deepened my desire to truly know God more and that is when I realized the need to spend time with Him in PRAYER.  Prayer made the difference between my knowing God instead of my knowing about God. 

 

Is this the difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge?  Knowing God or knowing about God?  In my humble opinion only when we are referring to a non-Christian. These however are not the ones I am writing to on this blog page and it is not what I am writing about.

 

What I am saying is reading the Bible is no substitute for Prayer.  If you spend more time in the word than on your face before our Lord I would challenge you to stir things up in your walk with Christ.  Try spending as much time on your knees talking with God and getting to know Him as you spend knowing more about Him through His word.  

 

I am not one to harp on quality vs. quantity and I hope you would agree—at least when it comes to prayer—it is the quality.  In this case the quality refers to the condition of the heart as one enters the throne room of God.  Yet for me the two seem to go hand in hand.  There are times when my prayers consist of worship and adoration for my Lord and I am so consumed in His presence I do not want to stop praising Him; I could literally go on for hours.  At other times I am in intercessory prayer and I am not finished until the Holy Spirit releases me.  Still other times, I am in prayer for my family and the problems and situations we face on a day to day basis as we live and breathe in this world. (Although I have to admit, these have become less and less in my prayer life as I trust God more and more with all these things.)

 

As Christians we know about God. We learn about Him in the Word, in our Bible study classes, and through the wonderful pastors God uses every Sunday morning to teach us as we worship Him together.   The question is do we really know God?  Can we hear His voice?  John 10:27 says,

 

“My sheep hear my voice.” 

 

Do you hear God’s voice?  Ask yourself “Do I know about God or do I know God?”  Can I hear when God is speaking to me?”

 

Take my challenge above and I promise you God will honor your time with Him and you will learn to hear Him in new and wondrous ways. He desires that you know Him.    

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

FOUNDATONS

FOUNDATIONS

 

As I watched the devastation caused by the twisters up and down the Midwest, my heart ached for those having to endure the pain and hardship of the destruction these storms left in their wake.  Diane Sawyer of World News Tonight used words like "apocalyptic destruction" and "scenes from Armageddon" to describe the devastation.  Another reporter, in a flat, monotone voice told viewers, "Subdivisions are gone. The streets now lined only with the foundations where homes and schools once stood."  And in the word foundation, dear friends, is where we find a ray of hope.  Those very foundations will be used to rebuild lives once the debris is cleared away if they were built solid enough.  

 

 

Foundations are crucial.  Like the roots of the trees of Lebanon, they must go deep.  They must be solid, strong and able to carry the weight of outside attacks.  This holds true in our Christian walk as well. We must build firm and solid foundations in our walk with Christ or when the storms of life come—and they undoubtedly will—we will crumble.

Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7:24-27 tells of two men who built their houses on different foundations.  Both men heard Jesus’ teaching and built their lives.  Both go through the same experiences in life:

 

 

            25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house: and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.

AND

             27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

 

 

However, we see two very different end results.  One man’s house stood strong, while the others fell and “great was its fall”. Why? Because one built his house on a solid foundation, on the rock Jesus Christ while the other did not.  How do we build a solid foundation in Christ?  I can only think of two ways and they are both equally important.  We must pray and study God's word.

 

 

Why pray first?  Prayer is the very foundation of our Christian walk and many times in Scripture God tells us to pray first and also to pray without ceasing.  Having a dedicated prayer life establishes a deeper relationship with God.  A great tragedy occurs when prayer becomes a duty or a bunch of words said in remote repetition.  If as children of the most High we have lost our desire to pray it should be an immediate sign to us something is wrong and we should deeply search our hearts to find out what it is.  (Reader, if you find yourself in that position, may I respectfully suggest you stop reading this right now and go before God asking Him to show you what is hindering you from communion with Him.  And stay in His presence until His Holy Spirit reveals to you what it is.)

 

 

The only way to develop a better prayer life is to make prayer important and schedule a time in your day for it. Yep, that’s right, I said to schedule time for prayer every day.  Did you know even in New Testament times people followed a scheduled time for prayer?  Though there are various opinions regarding the number of times and when those times were, the most accepted is sunrise prayer, 3 o’clock p.m. and at sunset. 

 

 

Let’s face it, most of us lead busy lives and if we do not schedule prayer time, we probably will forget.  However, once prayer becomes a regular part of your day you will soon find you miss it when something hinders and intrudes on your time with God.  And just because prayer time is scheduled does not mean it should become a ritual or just something you have to do.  I can attest that once you set aside a time to meet with God and are faithful to it, God will show up and “tell you great and mighty things that you do not know (Jer. 33:3).”

 

 

Here are a few things I did when I first started:

 

·       Schedule a short block of time for prayer.  The time you schedule doesn’t have to be long.  I started with 5 minutes. 

·       Choose a time carefully and be prepared to protect it.  As soon as you choose a time, I can almost guarantee the enemy will do everything possible to stop you.  Respect and honor this time with God and I promise you He will meet you.

·       Get the word out and make sure your family knows this is your prayer time. This is not to brag but rather to avoid unnecessary interruptions.    

·       Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. That means no phones, (cell or otherwise), TV, radio, kids, neighbors mowing lawns, etc.  I know some people who go into their bathrooms to pray because it is the only place in their home where they won’t be disturbed.

·       Dedicated prayer takes practice.  Don’t give up and soon you will find yourself wanting to be in God’s presence more and more.

 

 

If I can be of any help or answer any questions regarding how God has anointed my time in His presence please email me at lori@3oclockprayer.com.  I am not an expert, just a servant of Christ but I can encourage you and attest to the fact God will honor your commitment to Him. 

 

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori

"God, Please Change My Life?"

God Please Change My Life

 

“Are you living the life God has given you or are you praying for God to change it?” 

 

The question boomed out of my car radio the second after I started the ignition and it danced around in my head.  It seemed so philosophical yet at the same time so very simple.  Immediately all the prayers I had prayed over the last few months boggled my brain.  I was not living the life God had given me.  I was fighting it.  Do you know what I mean?

 

I was not trying to fight you understand.  I was simply exercising my right as a believer and praying for God to change things.  Everything actually; I wanted Him to change things about me. I wanted to be a better Christian, a better wife, mother, writer, more organized, more in control over my emotions and my tongue.  I prayed for God to change my finances which are in dire straits, my house, my husband’s job, and the list could go on.  My stressed out life had become more than I could bear and I wanted—no needed—a change.  I prayed and knew only a miracle from God could change things. 

 

Imagine my surprise when God spoke to my heart through a voice on the radio, “Are you living the life God has given you….?”  I definitely was not.  I had become so wrapped up and busy in ‘life’ that I wasn’t ‘living’ life.

   

Oh, I thought I was living for God.  I teach Bible study, go to church, read scripture, pray and praise daily, keep up with devotionals, write a blog (obviously that fell behind), operate a prayer ministry, and tithe.  But this particular day the Holy Spirit spoke and He wasn’t talking about all these things.  He was talking about trust and acceptance.  Trusting and accepting the fact that  where I am in my life right now, at this very moment, is exactly where God wants me and praising Him is exactly what He requires me to do.

 

God showed me the key is not praying for my life to change but learning to trust Him in all things with the life He has given me.   God says in Jeremiah 29:11:

 

“11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

 

If I believe God’s word—and I absolutely do—then my prayers must be for God to teach me all His ways so I might delight in Him.  My life must honor and trust Him even when things are not going as I would like.  My life must reflect my Saviors life.  His was a life with many miracles but also many hardships yet Jesus never questioned God concerning the trials He faced.  Should our lives be any different?

 

As we live the life God has given us let’s be a blessing to God in all things.  We can rest in the shadow of the Almighty and know He will work all things together for ‘our’ good.

 

Always loving the Lord,

Lori Robbins

 

Encouraging Words from Christ

Dear Sister in Christ,

 

At the risk of sounding rhetorical, God always sees and is involved in our lives—especially during times of tribulations—to the extent we allow Him to do so.  He has taught me over the years the importance of spending time in relationship with Him through a daily dedicated prayer time.  During prayer time I do not seek things but rather just spend time being in His presence; praising my God and Father and focusing on His grace, His mercy, His attention, and most of all His forgiveness.  I find myself so humbled in His presence my emotions often overcome me.  I have experienced weeping so deeply for lost souls I do not even know until I thought I could bear it no longer.  I have been so overjoyed and thankful for answered prayer I laughed with His Holy Spirit until I felt like my sides would burst.  I have felt His disappointment with His children (aka Christian’s) for our country (America) who have turned their back on their on Savior by being ‘tolerant’.  I have questioned Him with respect and trembling and I have even gotten arrogant enough to try to lecture my Almighty God who immediately lets me know I need to consider who I am speaking to.  I have been the demanding spoiled brat but mostly I have been humbled—over and over again—to bask in His presence.    

 

During all the above mentioned times He has spoken to me in still quiet ways to my heart and mind through His word as I read the Holy Scriptures and through songs and sermons delivered by His servants in churches, on the radio, on the internet and DVD’s.  Many times He gives me Words of Knowledge for others—sometimes I know the people and their circumstances and other times it is for a total stranger I meet on the street or in church.  He has even blessed me with wonderful and vibrant visions but not very often. 

 

I am not special or chosen by Him for some special calling.  We all belong to Him as believers in His son Jesus Christ.  He desires we all take the time to hear our Father’s voice.  We must shut out the world and shut out the lies of the enemy when we pray.  We must reestablish our personal prayer closets because when we are in the presence of the Almighty God, His voice IS the one we will hear.  He tells us so in His word. Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.”  These are not idol words dear sister. These are words of definite promise and without question.  We must NOT read them as passive or meek but with assurance that our Lord does not lie.    

 

My sheep hear my voice,” Jesus says.  He is speaking to Christians, those of us who call upon the name of Jesus Christ.  Those of us who believe He will return and those of us who trust in the one true living God who created all things.  We are the ones Christ is talking to here. 

 

“My sheep hear my voice.”  Hear is an action verb and is defined by Webster’s 1828 dictionary as:

 

2. To give audience or allowance to speak. 

3. To attend; to listen; to obey.

 

Then dear sister like you there are times I feel as if my prayers only reach the ceiling of my prayer closet and no further. I do not feel His presence and I do not feel He hears me.  Yet I have learned God’s presence is always with me.  It is not a feeling at all.  His word says, “I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.”  So on those days when the enemy tries to put the thought in my head "God does not hear me, or God does not see me" I must stand on Jesus’ words. (And truth be told here, I quote God’s word out loud when I pray. Didn’t Jesus do the same thing when he was tempted?)  We must not rely on our feelings (aka emotions) when it comes to hearing God’s voice.  Does Jesus say “My sheep will sometimes hear my voice” or “My sheep may hear my voice”.  NO!  Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice.”  It is a definite promise and we must accept it without question.   

 

“My sheep hear my voice.” Jesus tells us exactly whose voice we need to hear, HIS VOICE.  There are so many opinions floating around in the air waves but who does the Bible tells us is prince of the air?  (see Eph. 2:2)  The only way to hear Jesus’ voice is to listen for it. 

 

Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition for hear #3 above is broken into three part.  The first one is 'to attend'.  This means we are to go to our prayer closet and get one-on-one with our Father.  We are to be in His presence.

 

The second one says 'to listen'. Once in His presence, we should just be quiet for a while and listen to the voice of our Father.  I am not talking about meditation here or a clearing of the mind.  I am suggesting you allow God time to speak to you and answer your questions, concerns and prayers. 

 

And thirdly Webster says 'to obey'.  By far the hardest thing we do as believers.  Many times we exit our prayer closets questioning whether or not we really heard God’s voice and what we thought He said to us.  Doubt is the enemy’s biggest weapon against us.  He used it in the Garden of Eden against Eve and he is still using it today.  We can however stand against doubt because Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.”  We, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, must stand on God’s word and in it He says we WILL HEAR.

 

Oh Sister never was such sweeter words even spoken by our Lord.  It is music to my ears (and heart) that our Lord and Savior promises we will hear His voice.  I ask however would we make it in this world if we could not hear our precious Savior speaking to us? 

 

I close by encouraging you then, in these times you are now enduring, to cling to Christ as I know you are.  Hold Him to His word with respect when you pray to our Father in heaven, never doubting in your heart that He hears you and you will hear him.

 

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins

(This letter was meant for a friend but the Holy Spirit took over and I felt led to post it online.  My hope is the Spirit will use it to speak to many.)