Monday, April 30, 2012

Stress Relief Suggestion #38

Do something that will improve your appearance. Looking better can help you feel better.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:

Today, I am thankful for:

126. Abundance.
127. Lunch surprise with friends.
128. Skateboarding son.
129. God answering prayers in ways beyond my own imagination.
130. Provision.

.copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stress Relief Suggestion #37

Focus on understanding rather than on being understood; on loving rather than on being loved.

Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:
Today, I am thankful for:

122. Growing grass, birds nests, cool mornings and other signs of spring.
123. Learning the love language of others.
124. Faithful servants of God.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Reason for the Season-Part 2

Note: This is part 2 of a sermon that I was honored to give at Litton Springs United Methodist Church during the Lenten Season earlier this year. To read Part 1, go here.

Litton Springs United Methodist Church

Moving back to the Old Testament scripture, we see that God instructs Abram to get certain animals in verse 9. Abram responds to God like he always does: he obeys. He collects all of the specified animals and divides all of them in half, except the birds and places them apart from each other. Is this starting to remind you of the animal that was divided in the marriage ceremony?

At dusk, he is very afraid and goes to sleep. In his dream, he receives prophesy from God about his descendants and their captivity in Egypt and his subsequent rescue of them. But before that, Abram will die at a ripe old age.

In verse 17, a smoking pot descends. The smoke is a symbol of God. This will be apparent again in the Old Testament in Exodus Chapters 18 and 19, where the Lord appears to the Hebrews with fire and smoke. Then the smoking pot passes between the halves. This is symbolic for the promises of God to Abram. Remember, God is the greater party in this covenant, so he makes the offer and the terms and goes first in this exchange. The penalty that would be put on God for breaking his promises to Abram in this covenant is death to God.

If ever I have heard a theological conundrum, this is it. How does someone take the life of life itself?

In this covenant, here is what God promises:
1. To be Abram’s shield and exceeding great reward-verse 1
2. An heir and a number of descendents as many as there are stars-verses 4 &5
3. Land with specific borders-verse 7 and verses 18-21.

To find out the requirements of Abram in this covenant go to Chapter 17, verse 1:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect.

So now we see what Abram had to promise: to be perfect. And what would be his penalty for not keeping  his promise? Death. No wonder he was scared!

In addition to the smoking pot that I mentioned earlier, the text refers to a burning lamp passing between the two pieces. My bible says that the Hebrew says flaming torch.

All throughout the bible fire or flame is a symbol of God. So the flame moving from piece to piece is symbolic of this: God, in his infinite wisdom knew that Abram and his descendants could not be perfect, so this is what he was saying: “Abram, I know you can’t be perfect, so I’ve got your back on this. Rather than you dying for your imperfections or sins, I will give my life in your place.”

This begs the same question as before: How do you take the life of life itself?

Here is the answer: God comes to earth as a human-Emmanuel. He becomes God with us and he lays down his life for man to take. And that fulfills the penalty of man’s breaking this covenant, which God knew that Abram and his descendants would do. 

The whole idea of the death of Jesus as the “Lamb of God” was a secret between God and Jesus before the world was formed. Some scriptures that reference this holy mystery are: Titus 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:9, 1 Peter 1:19-20, and Rev. 13:8. They knew that man would fall, they knew that they would need to provide a solution for sin for reconciliation. And they knew that this was best kept secret so that Satan would not understand what was happening. They tricked Satan into thinking that he had won. But the plan was made before the formation of the world. Isn’t God amazing?!

John 10: 17-18 says
17 Therefore doth my father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh if from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Matthew 5:17 says, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

Jesus died on the cross of his own agreement to fulfill the terms of this covenant.

John Chapter 19:30 says,
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said “ It is finished” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

At that point, the terms of this covenant were satisfied for all who had come before him and all who would come in the future who would take up his cross and follow him.

The birth,
The life,
The death and 
The resurrection of Jesus Christ ties every last letter of the entire bible into one story.

Here is the story in a nutshell:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever shall believeth on him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3: 16

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…

Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:
Today, I am thankful for:

119. Good food.
120. Funny jokes.
121. Help from the Holy Spirit.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Reason for the Season-Part 1

Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. This was a sermon that I was honored to give at Litton Springs United Methodist Church in Litton Springs, Texas during the Lenten Season.

The First United Methodist Church in Brewton, Alabama

When I was a little girl, I attended bible school at the First United Methodist Church in Brewton, Alabama. This is where I learned my first scripture: 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16. 

As I recited this new scripture, the adults smiled these big, toothy smiles as they encouraged me and told me how proud of me that they were that I had memorized this scripture. But the truth was, that I understood very little about what I had learned. I categorized things in my mind as either good or bad. I did not know what a “begotten son” was, but I knew that it must be good because that is what God gave us. I didn’t know what “perish” meant, but that did not sound very good. “Everlasting life” was also a huge mystery to me, but it sounded pretty good. 

Now that I am much older, I understand much more about God and Jesus and these scriptures. But I do have a confession to make: sometimes, when I read scripture, I don’t understand some of them anymore than I understood John 3:16 as a small child. So, when I do receive revelation about one of the scriptures, I get really excited and want to share my new knowledge with others. This is what I want to do today.

I will be focusing on Old Testament scripture today from Genesis, Chapter 15:

6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17. And it came to pass, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto they seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
Genesis 15: 6-18

Now I know that whenever some people hear the words “Old Testament,” they automatically shut down and quit listening or reading. It is as if they have visited a hypnotist who has told them that whey they hear the code words “ Old Testament”, they are to fall asleep immediately.

One lady in my bible study group even shared with the group that in her opinion, the Old Testament is no longer relevant in this day and age. After all, we believe in Jesus and Jesus is a New Testament kind of guy! Right?

Well, for me, while I appreciate her sharing her feelings, I believe that our New Testament guy came for a very specific reason. And to understand part of this reason requires knowledge of this story in the Old Testament. 

The story of the life and faith walk of Abraham is a beautiful one that begins in Chapter 12 of Genesis and ends with the death of Abraham in Chapter 25, verse 8. It is a beautiful love story between God and Abraham that I encourage you to read regularly. 

But to fully understand today’s scripture involves knowledge of covenants in the Old Testament times.  A covenant was usually sealed in blood and became known as the blood covenant.

The covenant at that time was similar to our contracts of the present day, with some major differences. One of these difference is that back then, a covenant was made between two unequal parties; when I say unequal, I mean that one may be rich, and one poor; or one could be royalty and one of peasant-type status. Whatever the situation, one of the parties to the covenant would be considered “greater than” the other and the other party was the “lesser than party.” In our present day system of contracts in the United States, a contract can occur between any two or among more than two parties who have the legal authority and capacity to enter into contract.

Back then, it was always the “greater party” of the two who initiated the covenant. In our present day, anyone can make an offer to another party. And the terms of the covenant were set by the “greater party” as well. There were no negotiations back then. The “greater party” made the initial offer and set the terms. The only power that the “lesser party” had was to either accept or reject the offer and terms. So, in a covenant between God and Abraham, the offer would have to be made by God, as the “greater party”, who would also set the terms of the covenant between him and Abraham.

In our present day, we say that a contract is made, or signed or agreed upon. But back then, a covenant was said to be “cut“ between the two parties.

We say that a contract in our present day creates a “business relationship between two or more parties.” But when a covenant was “cut” in Abraham’s day, it was said to create a “personal relationship” between the parties. There were no comments back then like, “Sorry. It’s only business.” 

In our present day, we establish legal remedies for breach of contract, in the event that one of the parties does not fulfill his or her contractual obligations. Back then, there was only one remedy for breach of the blood covenant: death.  The blood covenant was a serious thing. 

So let’s look at an example of a covenant back in the day of Abram. ( By the way, some of the people in some of the tribes in Israel still abide by this system, but not many.)  For our example, we will look at a marriage ceremony between a young man who is from a prominent family, and a  young lady, who is from a more common family. We are doing this because of the requirement that a covenant be cut between two unequal parties.

In our example, imagine that an animal of size has been sacrificed. After the sacrifice or killing, the animal is cut into two halves. One half is positioned across from the other half in such a way that the blood from the animal is drained into the middle. This blood forms a pool of blood. The groom and his family would stand by one of the halves of the animal. The bride and her family would stand by the opposite half of the animal. 

The groom, being the party that is “greater than” would go first. For a marriage ceremony, the head of the groom’s household, which would usually be his father, would remove his sandals, and step into the accumulated pool of blood. He would then make promises to the bride and her family, on behalf of his son. I don’t know what the promises were back then. Maybe something like this: “My son promises to wed your daughter, to be a good husband and provider, to love and cherish her, and to not take more than 1,000 concubines, and he definitely will not hog the remote control.” (Ok, so some of that was silly, I admit it.)

The reason that the groom’s father stands in the pooled blood when he makes this promise is that the blood symbolizes the penalty for breach of contract: death. If his son does not keep the promises of the father, the life of the father can be taken; not the life of the groom, for he is not the person making the promise. That is a stiff penalty.

In this example, the father of the groom steps out of the pool of blood and now it is the turn of the bride’s family to step forward.  The head of her household would step up. This would usually be her father. He would remove his sandals, step into the pooled blood, and make promises to the groom and his family on behalf of his daughter.

Again, I don’t know specifically what the promises were.  Maybe something like this: “My daughter promises to wed your son, to be his lawfully wedded wife, to love him, and be loyal and true to him and only him, to bear his children, cook the meals, keep the house, and not hog the bathroom.” (Again, a little silliness, I know.) As the bride’s father makes these promises he is standing in the blood to symbolize the penalty for breaking the covenant: death. The family of the groom can take his life if his daughter does not keep her promises.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I think that if I were married and my husband had to make promises on behalf of my son or daughter, and the penalty for him or her not keeping her promises would cause me to be a widow, I would be the most meddlesome mother-in-law that you have ever seen, just to save my own husband. 

(To be continued tomorrow.... To read Part 2, go here.)

Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:

Today, I am thankful for:

114. Old people.
115. Rest
116. My vegetable garden
117. The United States of America
118. Sabbath.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stress Relief Suggestion #36

Do something for somebody else. Make a meal for someone who is in need.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:
Today, I am thankful for :

107. Joining a new, wonderful church.
108. Playing games with kids.
109. Hand-me-downs.
110. Seeing young people being confirmed into church.
111. Witnessing a baptism of three wonderful girls.
112. Sitting on the front porch with a friend.
113. Hearing the powerful testimonies of others.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lunch Treat- Buda Grocery and Grill

I stopped by Buda Grocery and Grill on Main street in downtown Buda, Texas on Monday, April 9, 2012. I was warmly greeted by owner Madeline Uresti as I made my way to the restaurant side of the store.

Different food critics in the Austin, Texas area have stopped in to sample the cheeseburger special that they offer and some have deemed their cheeseburger the best in Austin. But for some reason, none of them have sampled the lunch specials. So that is what I want to do today.

They were featuring a Lasagna special for lunch on Monday, so I ordered it and chatted with some of the other friendly staff and customers while I waited. They have 2 big TV’s mounted high on the wall to watch while waiting and eating.

I also found out that they have Wifi available for their customers. Madeline served me the beautiful salad and plate of lasagna. It looked delicious. I could not wait to dive in. I understand that they make it homemade with their own recipe. They even make their own sauce homemade.

That explained the delicious taste. The salad was fresh, the lasagna was hot and delicious with the cheese and sauce. I had ranch dressing on my salad. The meal was topped off with toasted garlic, buttered bread. All of it was absolutely wonderful. 

I highly recommend Buda Grocery and Grill for lunch, especially on Monday’s when they feature the lasagna, house salad and garlic bread.

The price was great too. Only $6.99 for this wonderful lunch. I was happy to find out that they serve both unsweet and sweet tea. I love sweet tea and it is hard to find restaurants these days that serve it. Many time s they will serve only unsweet tea and make sugar and other sweeteners available. But for those of us who love sweet tea, we know that it is just not the same.

The friendly staff, delicious food, and wonderful atmosphere all converge to make this a great small-town restaurant that is here to stay. 

I understand that they will be opening a Gaslight Courtyard soon in back of the store, with landscaped surroundings highlighted with a working waterfall to provide a relaxing atmosphere for people who enjoy fine dining.

Stop by there when you are in Buda, and let me know what you think….


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare

Today, I am thankful for:

112. Getting things done.
113. Miracles
114. Beautiful music

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Robbinswrites Marketing-The Fifth Challenge

I have started several challenges in 2012. The goal is to complete ten. So far, I have begun five. These include reading books, walking, thankfulness, reading the bible through for the year, and now, the fifth-launching a marketing business. 

I have had a lot of experience with online applications, so it is only natural that I would do for pay what I will do for free. Last month I launched Robbinswrites Marketing, which maximizes online applications to promote specific brands for businesses and non-profit organizations.

Specifically, I  develop and maintain Facebook and Twitter pages for companies. Additionally, I will be doing newsletters and blogging for people with a blog that need assistance in this area.

Many companies start out with Facebook and Twitter pages, and then don’t have the time or the knowledge to maintain them regularly. Usually, business people are busy developing their own business and working. So, that is where I come in. I can maintain these pages for a fee in such a way as to keep the public engaged.

Everybody in this day and time want to find web pages for companies. But whenever someone accesses a webpage, he or she is looking for something specific. That person is coming to the company online. As for Facebook and Twitter, the company is coming to where the people already are. Posts help to keep people mindful of the company activities.

I love playing on Facebook and Twitter. I love doing it for money even more. I invite you to like my Facebook page for Robbinswrites Marketing here. The company name is derived from the name of this blog. I thought it only natural to connect the two activities. 

As for this marketing business, I don't feel that this is my ultimate calling, but an activity to keep me busy until I arrive at the next station of my calling. In the meantime, feel free to send business my way.

Along these same lines, since I am using this blogpost for self-promotion, for those of you who purchase products on Amazon, if you come through my blog and click on one of my book links to access Amazon, I receive a small advertising percentage from the products that you order. You don't have to order the specific product that you click on  through my blog. Any order that you make will be credited to me. I would appreciate your patronage if you would place your Amazon orders through this blog.

Thank you for your patience for my self-promotion.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:

Today, I am thankful for:

107. Miracles brought on by prayer.
108. Rest.
109. Beautiful pictures.
110. Birds singing loudly reminding us that spring is here.
111.Surprised by flowers budding on trees that I didn't even know flowered.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stress Relief Suggestion #35

Take a hot bath or shower ( or a cool one in the summertime) to relieve tension.

Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I  am thankful for:

103. Easter worship at a wonderful church.
104. That He is risen indeed!
105. A beautiful, sunny day.
106. Easter greetings from friends and family.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stress Relief Suggestion #34

Add an ounce of love to everything you do. I love to tell my children that when I cook, my food always tastes different, because I add a special ingredient. They ask what it is and I say "love."


Thankfulness Challenge and Joy Dare
Today, I am thankful for:
99. Wonderful time at the beach with the boys.
100. Seeing the light of Christ grow in my son.
101. Good Friday service with the Body of Christ.
102. Arriving at Hope, the day of Easter with the rest of humanity. The life of Christ in us.

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins