Friends, Foes, and Fellowship

The world, the worldly, and sometimes even fellow Christians tell us that we are not enough, not worthy, not wanted, not liked or loved, and just not a good fit to be in their fellowship and with their friends. The message is rarely overt, but none the less, the message is as crystal clear as a dinner bell. Some may not know or realize what they are saying or doing when they snub someone or are silent. Some do.

Over the past year or so, a lot of relationships have changed or even ceased among our friends and families. Social isolation drove many to social media platforms for connections and to meet our needs for value and validation. Unfortunately, social media platforms and an expanding worldly worldview among our population has spurred trends among our young people (and some of us older ones, too) for increasing cases of depression, malaise, anxiety, and even suicide.

The devil often uses our pasts, our insecurities, and our many faults to trip us up. He even uses those we call friends to intimate to us and whisper softly to others that we aren’t quite good enough and that we aren’t worthy to be in their company, to be their friend, or to share in their fellowship. Clicks and clubs among other groups and methods have been a way to exclude and reject for a long time. The cancel culture is even seen among the members of Christ’s church. There is really nothing new under the sun, but these things are still hurtful and even harmful, especially to young girls and women.

On the day after Jesus fed over 5000 men with only five barley loaves and two small fish, the crowds followed Jesus across the sea to Capernaum. As Jesus was questioned by the crowd, he questioned the crowd’s motives for following Him. Did they just want free food and a miracle or two? He taught them clearly in John 6:29, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” The crowd that followed Jesus found His teachings difficult to understand and accept. Jesus didn’t quite meet their expectations of who He was or how He should be. His mission didn’t fit in with their mindset or worldview.

In John 6:66 the writer says, “From that time on many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.” When push came to shove, Jesus, God’s own and only Son, sent with a message of love and reconciliation for all mankind was rejected by most. In this passage, Jesus seems sad and even dejected by the reaction of those precious souls He loved and came to die for.

After the crowds left from following Him, Jesus turned to the twelve and asked if they wanted to leave Him too. Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.” They understood. They listened to Him. They believed in and appreciated Him, but most didn’t.

Sometimes today, just like in Jesus’ day, who we are and what we are about doesn’t meet the standards and expectations of others. Some people just won’t get us or our mission. Not everyone will like us. We’re not their flavor, style, type, or cup of tea as a person. We are and will be rejected, deemed unacceptable or unworthy to be in their company or at their party or event. We are not invited. We are summarily disfellowshipped, and removed or isolated from their presence, often without a hearing or even knowing why. We are just excluded.

It doesn’t matter that we said something awkward, dumb, or even the wrong thing at the wrong time in the wrong way and didn’t realize it. It doesn’t matter that we are sorry when we have a faux pas or unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings. Cancel culture has no room for mercy or grace – much less real forgiveness. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know how to be the life of the party or even if we do. Whether too serious or too silly, we somehow don’t stack up to be selected for the group, team, meeting, event, click, or whatever.

It can be very painful from the outside looking in, knowing that friendship and fellowship are out of reach and withheld from us in our families, among some we consider our friends, and even within our congregations of Christian brothers and sisters.

The devil wants us to feel alone and isolated. He’s happy to divide and destroy relationships and reputations. He will use any and all methods, including our families and friends, to discourage and depress us. The devil wants to distract us from what is important and dissuade us from doing and following the good and perfect will of God, our Father. The devil used the same techniques on Jesus during His life and ministry here on earth. In His last moments on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” The agony of all the sins of every person past, present, and future fell on Jesus’ shoulders on the cross that crucifixion day, and though God can not be in the presence of sin – God didn’t forsake Jesus. God, through Christ and the cross, worked out and fulfilled His wonderful and perfect plan of salvation for us.

When rejected, let’s remember what Jesus said in John 15:18 and following: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

Sometimes people will hate us without reason also. Sometimes the reason we are rejected and excluded is because we do belong to Christ, and that makes some uncomfortable. Sometimes people are just flat out mean, and mean to be hurtful. Sometimes they are simply thoughtless and careless of their words and actions.

In any case, the devil will take any and every reason and opportunity to hurt and dishearten us. That’s why we must keep in mind that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is not with the people who reject or exclude us. Our battle is with the devil and spiritual forces of evil. That’s why God tells us to put on our armor and be fully dressed for when (not if) the battles of this life come. The devil loves to hurt us and will use family, friends, and foes to do it.

The key to dealing with this issue is to keep ourselves in the Word of God and recognize the ways the devil schemes. When we hold up the shield of our faith, the Bible says that we “can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” We must keep top of mind that on our heads we wear the helmet of salvation. Our destiny and eternity with God are sure. Lastly, with the sword of the Spirit, “which is the Word of God” we can go on offense to counter the lies the devil tells us – even and at times, through those we know, love, admire, and respect.

With our armor on, we are instructed next in God’s word to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” How often do we try to solve our own problems not remembering Matthew 11 which says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Let’s lay down our yokes and burdens and take the one Jesus offers. Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

God cares for us down to the hairs on our head and knows exactly what we need. Sometimes what we think we need, isn’t really what we need. Perhaps God prefers we seek His fellowship over that of those we would want as friends. In our prayers, let’s trust Him. Romans 8:26 tells us that we have an advocate in the Holy Spirit. The verse says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” For those in Christ, God is for us. In fact the Bible says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” How awesome is that?

The answer to feeling rejected, ignored, disliked, unwanted, unloved, unworthy, etc. is to get dressed with God’s protective armor, hold up our shields, rightly wield our swords, and pray at all times in the Spirit. This gives us the protection and the provision for the battles in this world with both ‘friends’ and foes.

We can not “make” others act rightly or follow the Lord or His commands. We can only and must focus on what we can do. Our focus needs to be on our relationship with Christ following and obeying our heavenly Father. Jesus said in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” That’s how we need to respond to rejection. Jesus said in John 15, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” We need to follow Christ’s lead and act with love towards others – whether family, friend, or foe. Remember, we are only responsible for our actions, not theirs.

In conclusion, I Peter 3:8-17 says, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

Let’s remember these verses. Let’s look to the Lord for our identities, our value, and our relationship needs. He is able. He loves us. He wants us. He valued us more highly than His only Son. He has set a table for us – even in the presence of our enemies. He is the only One who will never let us down and always has what is for our best in mind. Trust Him. Depend on Him. He will be there for us, even when or if one else is.

I am thinking on these things…

Robin Robbins House

Supreme Court Arguments For and Against the Right to Life

Arguments at the Supreme Court for abortion say that 1 in 4 women in America have had an abortion. It is a big issue in our society. The argument that unplanned pregnancies should not have to be continued is one of the primary arguments for the right to abort a child and is being made.

Pregnancy is in most cases a result of a voluntary choice to engage in behavior that brings an egg and sperm together. Women do have the right (morally or not in our nation) to engage in an activity that would bring their egg in contact with a man’s sperm. But once the egg is fertilized by the sperm, a new — and completely separate from the mom — individual life with its own unique DNA begins. At that point of conception, the child exists, and he or she should, in my opinion, be afforded the right to live as the Constitution promises to all of us the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

The argument for a woman’s right to choice to end the life of her child must acknowledge that the woman’s choice ends when it infringes on the rights of life and existence of another separate individual. The conceived child is such an individual

Most often in the cases of abortion, women choose to participate in behavior that could render them with a child. To be blunt, many women want to have sexual relations without the consequences of what naturally occurs with the behavior. Some women seem to want to do the things that can result in a pregnancy without dealing with the consequence or responsibility to the other separate unique individual who has been formed by the woman and man.

The baby in the womb is treated by many as having no standing or rights as an individual. Though a child can not form itself and does not ask to be conceived, he or she is a person and entitled to the right to life, the right to choice over their bodies, and the right to live as they choose – just like the mother.

Our rights end at the point when they infringe on someone else’s rights. We can not harm or cause the death of another without consequences in the law. Why is there a difference in protections and rights for an unborn child – a child who is unable to speak up for themselves? We know that just because someone is bigger, stronger, or can exercise dominance over another person that does not mean that they should exert their will over another or that it is right to do so.

The science is clear that what is conceived in a woman’s womb is a living human being. More and more we have learned and understand the intricacy and individuality of every single person from the time they are conceived. The Bible says we are knit together by God in the womb and that He knows us and has plans for us before we are born.

I’m praying that our nation will turn back to following God. I’m praying that those with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies will choose to let the life of their children continue. I’m praying that those who do not want to keep or raise the children they conceive will give them through adoption to those who do want children and will care for and love them to help them grow.

We are all made in the image of the almighty God. I hope more will gently and lovingly discuss this topic with their children, friends, and families and teach the truth and the value of life — of every single life.

I hope you will pray with me and think on these things…

Lessons learned at the check out line

Today I was in a grocery store, and as I was checking out, the man who was sacking my groceries said, “I didn’t like that woman that came before you.” He went on to tell me how she approached the cashier and complained about how he checked out her items and was irritated when he did not get her loyalty number down right the first time. He said that she was peeved that she had to repeat her phone number. He went on to say that she was rude to him too in the way she asked for a bag for her items. I said that maybe she was having a hard day. The sacker didn’t buying my excuse for her.

As I completed my purchase, I told him that I thought I could carry everything to my car by hand, but he said no and that he wanted to go outside anyway. I told him thanks and as we walked to my car I remarked that it was sad that some people couldn’t or wouldn’t take the time to be kind and polite and be respectful of one another. He agreed.

It doesn’t take that much more time to be kind, yet I know there have been times when I have been short with someone or expressed my frustrations and exasperations. There is no room for me to point any fingers. Today was really more of a reminder for myself as I spoke to the gentleman that helped me get my groceries to my car during this hectic season of holidays about “giving.” We went on to talk about what a pretty day it was and other small talk as he helped me load the groceries in my car and parted with a have a great day to one another.

When I think about Jesus, He came as God to become a man – initially as an infant. God got down in the dirt with sinful man to live among us, serve us, and show us the way of salvation through His love for the Father and obedience to His will. Why should I complain? Why should I expect anything really? Jesus, who never sinned and lived a perfect human life, was misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, and ultimately selected to be executed in the place of a murderer.

What a Savior! What an example. Jesus said that as His disciples we shouldn’t expect to be treated any better than He was, but don’t we … When we remember who we are and whose we are, a lot of things really won’t matter or shouldn’t. The way others treat us is more of a reflection on who they are than on who we are. When we remember this and consider what God’s own Son went through, we won’t care so much that we had to deal with a long line, repeat information a second or third time, or that we need to ask for something that seems obvious to us, but is oblivious to someone else. When we remember that we, as Christians, are dead to our selves — to our will, ways, and wants – we will have the ability to focus on others and their needs. We will notice their needs, respect their efforts on our behalf, notice when they are having a difficult day, and show the common courtesy that isn’t so common anymore.

There are a lot of people weighed down with the worries of this old world today. There are many who don’t know what to do or where to turn. Life is tough for them. With a smile, kind words, a little empathy, and genuine love for our fellow man (all of whom are equally valued by God and worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice), we can show them the light, the way, the truth, and how to spend an eternity in heaven with God.

I’m talking to myself here — I pray that I can look outward to others and their needs over my own. I hope I can lift someone’s spirits and perhaps even make their day with something positive or good. Sometimes it is just the simple things, the little things, and a smile, a thank you, or an excuse me, please that can show someone that they are valued and appreciated. I’m going to work harder on remembering all of this and my experience at the grocery store today.

Lastly, I am reminded of Philippians 2. This scripture challenges me so very often. It says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” I’ll be thinking on these things… I hope I have encouraged you to think on them too.

Love Your Neighbor

In Mark 12:28-31, a scribe comes up to Jesus and asks, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

After putting God first and loving Him, Jesus says the second command is that we must love our neighbor. But HOW? How can we do this? The verse tells us when we look closely. It says we must love our neighbor ‘AS yourself.’

Unfortunately, many of us don’t love ourselves. It’s not necessarily because we don’t want to but that we just don’t know how to love ourselves. Some of us grew up with constant criticism and correction and are caught in a cycle of crummy thinking. Some days our self-esteem wouldn’t reach the baseplate threshold of the front door frame. We know quite well our shortcomings and sins. They loom large before us as we replay the records of the words of relatives who told us we were worthless. We hear loudly and clearly the whispered words of the father of lies (the devil) who unceasingly says that we’re not good enough and never will be. But, our physical fathers, forefathers, and the father of lies are not the measure or standard we need to heed.

When we look up at the the Lord of Love and remember the greatest command, we will see things differently. When we choose God for our Father and His Son for our Savior, we are blessed beyond measure. We are bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, who willingly laid down His life as an exchange for our sins and shortcomings. In Christ, we are a new creation and a called child of the Living God. We are adopted into God’s family, and He lets us and wants us to call him ‘Abba, Father.’ In Mark 14:36 as Jesus was dying on the cross He called out, “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus took the cup, followed His Father’s will, and gave His all for you and for me.

In light of this, how can we fail to see that the God, who created the universe and everything in it and the God that holds it all together in his power and might, loves us. He loves you, specifically! He loves me, specifically! He knows the number of hairs on each of our heads. He knew all our days before they began. God is a Father like no other. He declares that we are worthy. He says that we are valued. He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says we are His. Stand tall my sister and brother. Bask in His great love. Put your hand in His and walk with wonder with the One who loves you more than the life of His own Son.

How can we love our neighbors? It requires that we must love ourselves. We must love ourselves, not because we are ‘all that and a bag of chips’ that but because of what God did to transform us into His pure, holy, and perfect children.

Today, as His beloved children, God calls us to take the cup of Love He gave for us and share that Love with one another. We can only do that if we love ourselves and see ourselves as God sees us.

The next time you look in the mirror, I hope you will look into your eyes and say out loud, “God loves me!” Let your voice speak clearly, “I am worthy, because Jesus gave His life to save me!” Tell yourself, “I am wanted and valued, because the God of the universe chose me and adopted me as very His own child.” I John 3:1 says, “See how great a love the Father has given us, that we would be called children of God; and in fact; we are.”

As we learn to love ourselves in the right context and way, we will be better able to love our neighbors and share the Gospel with them. Most people still don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Let’s learn to care for ourselves and when we do, we will be able to truly love our neighbors as ourselves.

I think on these things…

Robin Robbins House ©️
07/13/2021

Gratitude Attitude

On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee and encountered ten lepers. The ten lepers stayed at a distance from Jesus because they were considered contagious. The Bible does not name these ten lepers or fully describe their conditions, but they knew that they were doomed to be isolated from their families and society because of the destructive and debilitating disease of leprosy.

During Bible times, there was no cure or treatment for leprosy. The old testament law prescribed that those with skin lesions must go before the priest to be examined. Those with potentially contagious diseases were isolated from their community for a time, but many with leprosy were isolated for the rest of their lives. The priest in the Jewish culture was the one person to examine and say whether someone was clean (or free from disease) and able to return from isolation or remained unclean and had to continue their isolation from family and friends. It was often quite devastating to families to lose a family member to leprosy. Lepers often could not continue in their workplace and some lived in leper colonies where everyone had the disease. Lepers who traveled were required to notify those that may come near them by shouting “unclean, unclean” so that others without the disease wouldn’t be exposed to them. There was a considerable stigma for the leper in addition to the disability, deformities, and destruction of the body that came with leprosy.

The ten lepers discussed in Luke 17 had heard enough about Jesus that they called out in a loud voice saying, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” A few things are very interesting about their statement. First, it seems that they all in a coordinated fashion shouted out to Jesus. They seemed to know or have heard who Jesus was and called him by name. Second, they call Jesus Master indicating that they consider him to have rule and power over them. Not everyone considered Jesus their Master or respected his authority, but these ten lepers did. Third, the men don’t specifically ask to be healed, but that Jesus have pity on them. Leprosy can be a severely debilitating causing terrible skin lesions, vision problems, muscle weakness, nerve damage, and the loss of limbs. We don’t know what stages of leprosy these ten men were in, but they begged for pity. Pity is said to be a sympathetic sorrow often leading to relief, aid or mercy. The lepers wanted that. They knew they had an incurable disease, but they wanted whatever Jesus could do to give them relief, aid, and mercy.

Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t say he will heal them, but he says, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” Jesus knows that to be accepted back into their culture and society, they must be approved by the priests. Luke goes on to say that “as they went, they were cleansed.” All ten left Jesus headed to the priest with their leprosy, but on the way, they were cleansed. Leprosy leaves many marks on the skin, but after encountering Jesus, they knew before they had time to get to their priests that they had been healed. All ten of them. What an amazing miracle and wonderful thing for these men to know that soon they would be allowed and welcomed back into their communities and families.

One of the lepers, when he saw that he was healed, came back praising God and threw himself at the feet of Jesus thanking him for healing him. The Bible describes this thankful leper as a Samaritan. Most Jews didn’t and wouldn’t associate with Samaritans, but Jesus did. It is assumed that the other lepers were probably Jewish, since other nations did not have in their law to present themselves to the priest to be judged unclean or clean.

Next, Jesus asked the thankful Samaritan praising God at his feet, “Were not all ten cleansed?” It seems a rhetorical question as Jesus goes on to ask, “Where are the other nine?” And “Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Jesus intimates that the Jewish lepers should have known to praise God and be thankful for healing. It seems that Jesus would have expected the Samaritan to not praise God or thank him, but Jesus is surprised at his own people. They had all just called him ‘Master.’ They all had some expectation that Jesus could help them or they wouldn’t have cried out. Yet when Jesus did help them, nine of the ten didn’t take the time to be thankful to him. They couldn’t be bothered to go back and show their gratitude.

What about us today? Do we pray for God’s help and never acknowledge that it came? Do we ignore the blessings our heavenly Father brings us each and every day? Do we give credit to someone or something else, after we’ve made our appeals to God for healing? Do we assume it is simply our good luck that helped things turn out well? Do we ignore God after our appeals to Him?

Look at the statistics of gratitude in this story. Only one out of ten said thank you. Jesus never heard back from 90% of those he healed in this case. Why? Were they just that selfish or self-centered? Did they not connect their request for pity with the removal of the plague of leprosy from their bodies? Do we sometimes get so excited that a trouble or trauma is over that we just want to move on and forget it? Jesus seems disappointed and specifically disappointed in his own people as he asked, Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” What does this say about God’s people, who supposedly know and follow him? What does it say about the foreigner?

In the region of Tyre and Sydon, another foreigner came to Jesus for help and healing. She was a Canaanite mother begging Jesus to help her daughter who was demon possessed and suffering terribly. Jesus said that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, but as the woman begged, “Lord, help me.” Jesus explained again that it was not right to take the children’s bread and give it to dogs. But the Canaanite woman said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Jesus replied to the woman that she had great faith and granted her request and in that moment for her daughter’s healing.

The Jewish teachers and leaders of Jesus’ day often claimed to be the children of Abraham and to only worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were a proud people and boasted in their Jewishness and relationship with God, yet they weren’t really obedient to him, following him, or even grateful to him for his blessings. God addresses this many times with them, and I see a lesson here for us, as Christians.

Are we grateful? Are we thankful? Do our friends and family know that we hold God and Jesus Christ in high esteem? Do our friends, family and others know that we give thanks to God for the food we eat? Do our colleagues, customers, and even those who can’t stand us, know who we call Lord? Do we thank God for our jobs and financial provision? Do we praise God for healing after we’ve prayed for it, or do we assume it was the doctor’s skill, or the new medicine, or luck, or a simple quirk of ‘nature’ that healed us or our loved one?

If you were one of the ten lepers, what group would you be in? Would you be like the one Samaritan or the nine Jews?

We pray to God for help, then don’t acknowledge that He did help. Why is that? Are we embarrassed? Do we really believe He can, will, and does work today in the lives of men and women? If we don’t believe He is working and answering prayers today, why do we pray? Do we or can we understand how everything works? Of course not, but if we have prayed for something to happen and it happens, why not assume it is from God? He is, by the way, in charge of EVERYTHING! God cares for us down to knowing the number of hairs on our head. As we clean the lost hairs out of our hairbrush at night, do we understand that God knows how many hairs are in the brush and how many hairs are left on our head? Do we see the detail, care, and specificity with which the God of the universe has for each and every person? Matthew chapter 10 says that not one sparrow falls that God doesn’t know about it, and goes on to say that each of us are worth more than many sparrows.

For those who don’t know Jesus, He is the good news/the Gospel. No more is there a separation between people groups. Jesus came for all – for Jew and Gentile, slave and free, for you and for me.

All of us are sinners and have rebelled against God. All of us are on our way to Hell. Hell is the just destination and penalty for our sin. All sin is rebellion against God and His authority. All of us – (every single person and all of mankind throughout every age) have committed treason against the Lord. Our rebellion is clear, but thanks be to God, the penalty and just consequence for our sin has been paid by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

An eternal death separating us from God for all time is no longer necessary, if we will accept the gift of salvation that comes through Christ Jesus alone. The choice is ours. God will not force us to accept salvation from our sin. He will allow us to proceed on our own way, if that is what we choose. God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. People choose to go there of their own accord. God stands at the door and knocks, but He will only come in if we open the door to accept and surrender to His will and way. That’s the deal. We can go our way or His way.

Long ago, some lepers were healed from a physical disease because they sought help, cried out, and asked for mercy from the Lord. Long ago, a mother secured health and safety for her child from demons because she had faith in and sought help from the One she knew had the power to save her child. Today, God still waits and wants all who will come to Him in faith with submissive and grateful hearts to live in His way and walk in His will in this life. Won’t you come like the leper and the mother to the feet of Jesus? Won’t you look to him for help and healing? Won’t you give God all praise for all He has done and is doing in your life? Won’t you trust and draw near to Him? He loves and cares for you more than you can even imagine?

Won’t you, think on these things…

Robin Robbins House ©️

Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

Spring

There’s a yellow mist
Of pollen in the air.
The flowers are all blooming
Without a worry or a care.

The rain clouds loom heavy
Making the sky look dimly gray,
As the wind blows so gently
Through the trees and shrubs today.

The miracle of life
Is seen in every spring,
From the flowers that grow
To the birds that sweetly sing.

Life is renewed
After the long winter cold,
As spring shows off
With colors so bright and bold.

And so it was like spring
Many centuries ago
When God brought forth His Son
For all man to see and know.

God’s plan so full of hope,
So bountiful and free –
Bought by Christ’s own blood
On Calvary’s cursed tree.

Through Christ’s death on a cross
Eternal life came to man
After the winter of sin and death.
Hope and new life springs forth again.

So when you think of springtime,
I hope that you will see
God’s gift and gracious plan –
Redeeming love – for you and me.

Robin Robbins House ©️
04/07/2021

Listening to and for God

Recently, my husband I went for dessert at a restaurant in Augusta, Georgia. The building was old and in the same family for generations. A small place, it was know for its regional foods and colossal deserts. We had eaten dinner at another place, but my husband wanted coffee and dessert. When we arrived, the staff was busy, and we had to wait a few minutes for a table. The bartender seemed to be the host as well. He took us around the corner to a booth made for six. The desserts looked great. My husband ordered coffee and key lime pie while I had carrot cake. The cake was delicious. He ate all of his pie, but because I was still full from supper, 90% of my cake was boxed for a treat to eat the next day.

The next day around 1 PM, I left the hotel and walked along the Savanah River. The view of the river and homes along the bank were beautiful. Few were about as I explored the area on the bright, but cold, January afternoon. At one point there was a wooden swing that I took the time to swing in while overlooking the river. It was very pleasant, but my stomach, which had not enjoyed a breakfast was clamoring for lunch. I’d heard that there were a lot of restaurants along Broad Street a few blocks away, so I headed there on foot. Like many downtowns in America today and in the aftermath of almost a year of Covid lockdowns, the street was lined with a mixture of open and closed businesses. I didn’t see anything that looked inviting. Circling back toward my hotel I remembered a Quiznos sandwich shop sign in the hotel near mine. Approaching to find the doors locked, I realized that even this chain store didn’t make it through the pandemic.

Across the street was the restaurant my husband and I had eaten dessert at last night. Hunger called again, so I crossed the street to climb the three steps up to the restaurant and wait to be seated. A woman greeted and seated me (a party of one) at the exact same table where we ate the night before. It seemed a bit odd to be seated at the same table, and I wondered if we’d have the same gentleman server, too. Separate menus with one for food and another for the desserts were placed on the table as the hostess told me my server would assist me soon. The server was a young woman this time. She had dramatic eye make up and eyeliner that curved way out with a swooped flair that I could never dream of applying to myself without looking like a child had used an oversize crayon on my eyes. As the server greeted me, I explained that my husband and I had been there the night before and enjoyed their dessert menu resulting in a huge piece of cake left over in my hotel room for me to work on after my lunch today. After she brought a coke and some water, my server took my order for corn chowder and a club sandwich on their fresh baked honey wheat bread. The food was good, and I enjoyed sitting there resting from my long walk beside the river and along downtown’s Broad Street. During the meal, the server came by several times to check on me and asked me at least twice if I wanted dessert. I explained over again that my dessert I couldn’t finish the night before was waiting on me at the hotel. As I finished up, I asked my server for some napkins, a box for the second half of my sandwich, and a coke to-go. I thought for a while she went on break or something, because she was gone for a long time. When she finally returned, she brought the box but no napkins or the to-go coke. She apologized and got the napkins and left for the coke. When she came back, she brought the ticket but no coke. The next time she came by I asked for the coke to-go, and she said that she was sorry and somewhat frazzled today. As she left to get the coke, I fished for the cash to pay the bill. It was after she left that I had a distinct feeling and thought that I should pray for my server. She came back after about five more minutes with the coke and took my cash for the bill, but I said nothing. She walked by another time, and I didn’t stop her or say anything about the prompting to pray for her in my mind. That would be weird I thought. When she brought my change saying that she had rounded up my return cash, and that she was sorry that she was so scattered today. I thanked her, and once again, I said nothing about the prompting I felt.

As I counted out my change and figured her tip, I felt clearly a prompting in my spirit once again to pray for this young woman. She’s gone now Lord, I said in my mind. I had paid cash, and I was ‘done’ as far as dealing with the server or waiting on anything else. My server wouldn’t likely come back by, but I hesitated to leave and waited. This time, as she walked by, I asked if I could talk to her. As she turned and leaned down, I began nervously and feeling very awkward to explain. I told her that I felt called to offer to pray for her. After her exaggerated look of surprise, I asked if I could pray for her, but she became animated and had something to say first. I could have never imagined what she would say next. She said, “This is so strange. You are the second person today to ask to pray for me.” She said that she just didn’t understand it. I saw tears in her eyes as she continued and the conversation became so surreal that I don’t remember exactly everything we said, but I can convey the message of what we discussed.

My server started telling me about herself. She said that she’s not a believer, at least not anymore. She said she used to believe but had gone away from that to do her own life. Almost apologetic, she said that though she didn’t hold to a belief in God anymore that she did respect other people’s religions and beliefs. As the manager walked by, I hoped that my conversation with her would not get her in trouble and that no one was waiting to sit at my table. She went on to say again that it was so odd that another person that very day had asked to pray for her. I told her that I felt a bit weird asking to pray for her. I also told her that I felt compelled so that I had to ask to pray for her. The experience is so hard to describe as two souls met in that moment on another plane. After what she told me, I asked again if she would like me to pray for her, and she said yes.

Next I asked her name so that I could pray for her by name. I won’t tell it to anyone reading, but she gave it. I then asked my next question. I asked if she would like me to pray for her privately on my own or right there in the restaurant with her and out loud for her to hear. I was prepared to honor either way. She said out loud and to pray now was fine. So I bowed my head and began.

As I prayed, I asked God’s blessing and guidance for her. I asked God to show her how much he loves her. I can’t remember exactly what all I said, but my prayer was from the heart and though it seemed longer was over in just a few heartbeats. I think she thanked me for praying, but I really can’t remember. It didn’t really matter. It mattered that I did it. As I left, I remember telling her that I hoped she had a good rest of her day. That’s it. I walked to the door, down the steps and out onto the street to go back to my hotel with a few tears in my eyes.

Why did I feel called to pray for the server in that restaurant on that day? What did God want of me? Was it to just pray? Was it so that a lost or hurting soul would know someone cared or that two people on that same day cared and spoke of God to her? Did I do all I was supposed to do in that moment? Was it enough? Did I please my Master? Was I a fool for Christ? Were those few moments and prayer a message for a drifting soul of God’s care, love, and grace? Will she come back to and seek the Lord? Was the lesson for me to see if I’m listening to the Lord and willing to follow His lead? To all these questions, I don’t really know. All I know is that I (very reluctantly) listened to the quiet voice of the spirit within me and let myself be led and used (after a couple promptings) to serve and praise God through a prayer for a server who was a stranger to me while I was very briefly in a strange city where I knew no one.

Who can fathom the mind of God or know his ways? Romans 11:33-34 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

Perhaps the point of what happened is for me to write about it and share it with you, my readers. Perhaps it is to encourage you to listen to the still, small voice of God to do good in your life and to your neighbor. We’ll probably never know, but I hope you, like me, will ‘think on these things’….

RRH 01/16/2021

Bible verses to think on…

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:4-5 (ESV)

“For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds,” Job 333:14-15 (ESV)

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 (ESV)

“But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21 (ESV)

“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 13:4 (ESV)

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (ESV)

“But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 (ESV)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

“As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:15 (ESV)

Let’s have some P’s please!

1. Pause and pray for our nation, its citizens, and our duly elected leaders.
2. Place your confidence in Christ.
3. Pledge your loyalty to God and no other.
4. Plan to do what is right, even if no one else does.
5. Prepare promptly in place to provide and protect your family and friends.
6. Promote peace in all conversations and activities as you pursue and point out what is true and right.
7. Pick your friends carefully.
8. Pray for your enemies.
9. Prevent dissension at home and work during tumultuous times. Don’t go into crowds or around anyone demonstrating about anything as many have no self-control or sense of right and wrong in their behavior within crowds.
10. Persuade those who don’t know God to seek Him through your godly behavior and love. John 13:35
11. Produce the fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
12. Pursue what is true, honorable, ethical, and right.
13. Prohibit yourself from negative thinking, self-talk, and talk. Think and speak positively.
14. Persist in studying the Word of God and the hope within found in a relationship with Christ.
15. Present your bodies every day as living sacrifices in the service of the one true God and only King of kings and Lord of lords.
16. Praise God at all times.

RRH 01-18-2021

How can we run and not get weary? Isaiah answers.

Isaiah 40 says, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem,lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD, or instruct the LORD as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple. Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV)

When our hope is in the Lord, He will sustain us. He will help us be strong. He will help us soar and succeed. Trust in the Lord. Give Him your burdens. He can handle it all, and He will.
RRH 01/15/2021

Censorship and cultural chaos: What’s next?

FB says it is not an editorial group, yet they edit. FB says it is not responsible and has no liability for people’s posts, yet they take responsibility without any liability by deleting, suppressing, banning, censoring, putting up warnings, and limiting the reach/spread and comments of certain posts. FB says certain people, thoughts, ideas, words, and specific phrases are unacceptable and not allowed in our society as determined by their own unknown, unaccountable censors and mathematical algorithms, but other people, thoughts, ideas, words and phrases are acceptable and promoted by these oligarch, tyrannical, tech titans.

Perhaps these Goliaths are pure as the driven snow in their motives and actions – or maybe they are not. Why did T (twit) leave up a post calling for the VP to be hurt? Why are illegal activities including the sale and harming of precious children tolerated on these platforms while Bible verses, godly ideas, ethics, morality, and political opinions that do not call for harm to anyone at anytime or anywhere banned? Why can leaders of other countries call for the elimination of Israel and the death of all her people on their platforms without constraint? These are critical questions that demand an answer. Who decides what is allowed or not, what is right or wrong, and what is truth or a lie? Who is the true arbiter? Who today thinks and acts as if they are the arbiter for our society?

How can liberty, free speech, independence, and peace be preserved, protected and safeguarded in our nation? It will not be on or through these Goliath sites. Shut downs of certain people as well as billion dollar corporations and multiple mom and pop small businesses on A, G, T, and F show clearly that the ‘thought police’ are serious about suppression of truth, prevention of equal and fair trade, and the limiting and elimination of the exchange of ideas. They seem to want to “adjust” what is ‘right’ in their minds and ours including reality.

The removal and revision of actual historical facts, documentation, and evidences has been clearly seen over the past year in the anarchist movements to destroy monuments, buildings, cities, people, and ideas. George Santayana is quoted to have said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” When we do not learn from our past including the mistakes, we will be destined to revisit the same issues and problems again and again. Why is it that some leaders are speaking of and promising a “dark” winter and “dark” times ahead? Must we leave the enlightenment of truth and knowledge including learning the lessons of our past to go back into the dark ages of the past? Why, when there is so much knowledge and information available, do we see a limitation of information and repetitive articles of only one viewpoint? Why are current events on the news not current?

There is a serious movement in our nation by some to “deprogram” and “reprogram” those who do not think like “they” think some should. This is serious. Communist China has almost complete censorship of its society including the ability to cut off one’s ability to buy food and travel. They send citizens to thought reprograming camps. There is censorship of and the elimination of churches throughout the country as Christians are terrorized and tortured by the powers that be. There is even evidence that China is harvesting organs from live political dissidents and prisoners. Is that where we are going?

Reports on the news this day are calling some U S Senators terrorists for their opposing political opinions. Businesses are being called upon by Forbes to never hire anyone with certain ideas or thoughts. Media companies are cancelling people and businesses in political vendettas. The blame game continues. When party “a” in power says we need to get back to work in our economy, it is atrocious, but once party “b” comes to power, it is suddenly a great idea to get the economy back to work. Really?

What is happening in our United States? Over a million Americans have given so much for our freedoms up to and including their last drops of blood. Have we taken these freedoms for granted too long? Perhaps we haven’t held it dear enough and that is why it is almost extinguished and extinct. Abraham Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Are we destroying ourselves from within today? If freedom in America is not defended and protected, it will be lost.

I know many that read this post will be just like a child warned by a parent or authority figure in a crystal store to only “look and not touch.” Many who read my words will not touch this post with a ten foot pole much less a comment, ‘like’ or any other such expression of feeling for fear of retaliation or being singled out and cancelled out. That’s sad. So many are living in fear today and have no faith. They have believed the rampant fomenting of fear through the media reports from the pandemic to the political and cultural unrest.

I’d like to encourage you to look to the Lord for answers. Read the Word of God. Learn His will for your life. He wrote the book on us. His Word is of peace, reconciliation, love, freedom, and a bright and wonderful eternal future. Cast all your anxieties upon God. Seek your rest in the salvation freely offered through Jesus Christ. Give yourself fully and completely into his service and care. God loves and cares for you and is the only true and real and complete answer to all the ills in our lives and in this world. Don’t live in fear. Live in faith.

Put on the full armor of the Lord like it says in Ephesians 6:10-18. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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.”

For those that want in this earthly life and in this country freedom, peace, and a real “united” states in America again, I have this to offer. Spread the “gospel of peace.” Stand up for truth. Speak clearly what is right. Do right and be ethical in your businesses and personal dealings. Conduct yourself as the Lord would want. Be honest. Be faithful. Be better not bitter. Be holy as the Lord is holy. Love your family. Raise your children to know and love the Lord. If we don’t raise our children to be godly, then they will be ungodly. That’s just how it is. We will be either a godly or an ungodly people. We cannot be both. Love your neighbors as yourself. Pray for your enemies. Show kindness and courtesy to all. I don’t like to say it, but be patient. I know it is hard to be patient. I want things fixed now and before now would have been better in my mind. In fact, why did America have to go down this road? I think it is because we, as a nation, have rejected the Redeemer to make our own rules and self-righteousness. This is idolatry, and God won’t stand for it.

To those who are Christians, remember that Christians will be hated and persecuted. No surprise here. Jesus, the holy, sinless Son of God, was hated, reviled, rejected, and relegated to death on a cross. All Christ’s followers should not be surprised that they may be persecuted. Don’t fear. Don’t give up. God was willing to save even Sodom and Gomorrah if only 10 righteous were found in its midst. Don’t back down. Be peaceful not pugnacious. Never run away, for your Father in Heaven is Sovereign and we are in His army. Walk in the Light. Live confidently in your faith. Supplant every fear with faith. Have joy in the Lord. Pray without ceasing. Let the Spirit work in you and through you for His will and way. Always move forward in the power of His might and not your own.

Remember that the ‘world’ will not understand or ‘get’ you. God still uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. (I Cor. 1:27) Do what you are called by God to do, and then — be still and KNOW that GOD is GOD. God’s got all this. May God bless our nation and you in His will. RRH 1/12/2021