Listen Up!

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Listen Up!

I have a job requiring me to work every other weekend, so I am only able to attend Sunday services twice a month. After missing a Sunday, I am always excited about going to church. I want to catch up with my church family, seeing how things are going for them. I always look forward to the corporate worship times, followed by the preaching of the Word. However, I noticed something in Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 that made me stop and think. It tells us to walk prudently (showing thought or care to the future) when we go to the Lord’s house. Hmm…do I do that? Honestly, I think I approach the house of God with excitement and anticipation.

This aroused my curiosity. Why have that attitude when attending church? The explanation is found in the next couple of verses. First, we are to come near to hear, rather than offering the sacrifice of fools. In other words, we shouldn’t speak hastily. Perhaps you are approached and asked to join a particular ministry. If you speak rashly, you may commit to doing something that is not the Lord’s will for you at that time. That leads you to ‘offer the sacrifice of a fool’ because you are outside of the Lord’s will.

We are to let our words be few because a fool’s voice is known by his many words. I remember a time when a certain lady spoke often of her dreams and visions. They were always the same dreams and visions. She held onto them, but never seemed to move beyond them. With all of her chatter on that topic, it was evident she was trying to impress her listeners. It was all about her and her visions. It was never about the Lord receiving any glory.

In Psalm 81, we discover the Lord has a deep desire for us to hear Him. You can hear the longing of His heart in verses 8 and 13. He wants us to open our mouths so He can fill them. He wants us to learn His ways and walk in them. He tries to get us to listen because if we would listen, then He would subdue our enemies and put His hand against our adversaries. However, when we refuse to listen and heed His voice, we risk being given over to our own stubborn heart, to walk in our ways. That is a dangerous thing because our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9)

How much better for us to have ears to hear our Lord!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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Adrenaline Worship

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Adrenaline Worship

I noticed several years ago that I was leaving church feeling more drained than when I walked in. It took me a while before I “connected the dots.” There is a common thing happening during many church services these days.

When you walk in the doors, and service gets started, they tend to say something which gets the crowd excited. Next, you hear a lot of loud music – the kind like you would hear at an actual rock concert. There is an excitement that arises, but it isn’t excitement about Jesus. It’s excitement about the atmosphere. I recently read a phrase that described it so well: Adrenaline Worship.

I used to be an adrenaline junkie, so I can attest that this description fits it very well. I used to work in the emergency room. I absolutely loved that job! It wasn’t until I read a book about being an adrenaline junkie that it clicked. I knew the craziness of the ER often left me with a feeling of euphoria at the end of a day. I would often get an adrenaline rush that would give me an extra burst of energy. I would then transfer that emotional high and the extra energy into a hard workout or cleaning the house. It was a wonderful feeling to get so much done at the end of a long day at work. However, it wasn’t good for me! It is hard on a body to constantly be in that state.

It is the same with adrenaline worship. It feels good. It is powerful. It appeals to our flesh. However, it’s not good for us. It will eventually leave us spiritually drained and parched because we are told to worship in spirit and in truth. First, true worship is spiritual, not fleshly. There is a world of difference between the two. Secondly, it must be in truth. Honestly, many of the lyrics in today’s “worship” are heresy, not biblical truth.

God is still looking for true worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Can He count on you?

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

If you would like to read more on this topic, please visit the websites below:

https://bereanresearch.org/popular-christian-music-groups-teaching-heresy/https://bereanresearch.org/popular-christian-music-groups-teaching-heresy/

http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/05/04/kari-jobe-dangerous-theology/http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/05/04/kari-jobe-dangerous-theology/

http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/10/should-our-church-sing-bethel-music-worship-songs/7143http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/10/should-our-church-sing-bethel-music-worship-songs/7143

http://www.truthkeepers.com/?p=814http://www.truthkeepers.com/?p=814

Time Out!

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Time Out

Most of us have likely used a time out for a child who misbehaves. Sometimes we use naptime for one who needs a moment of quiet rest to change a bad attitude. Sometimes a child needs to pull away because their environment overstimulates them. Occasionally, adults need the same. Life’s challenges can be rigorous and demanding. It seems there aren’t enough hours in a day to address all of the things that need our attention. It is draining on us – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When you add in a lack of sleep for a brain that won’t shut down when our head hits the pillows, it is even worse.

Jesus recognizes our need to come away from life’s demands. He admonishes us in Matthew 11:28-29 to come away when we are weary and burdened and He will give us rest. You might call it a spiritual ‘time out.’

Most of the time, we will find our best refreshing by getting alone with the Lord and spending time in prayer and the Word. However, there are times when we may need a different approach.

Ladies, we tend to be fixers. We want to jump in and fix everyone’s problems. However, what happens when we are the one who needs some fixing? Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap. The Lord can refresh you during that time. I have even found that when I am in that twilight stage, where I’m starting to wake up, but not fully, the Lord can speak a word to me. Sometimes it is a word of encouragement. Many times, it is a word of clear direction that causes the stress of a situation to dissipate.

Honestly, there are times when the most spiritual thing for me to do is hit the gym and do an intense workout. Doing so allows me to focus the anger, frustrations, and stresses of the day on my workout. By the time I am done, I am completely calm. I can then face other people and not feel like I am going to explode at them.

Do you hear the Father calling “Come” to you? Go on….take your time out. Let Him refresh you.
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Love and Truth

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Love and Truth

I have noticed a common occurrence in many churches today. There is a message being taught that we all just need to love one another. If we just love one another, everything will be fine. Yet, if we look at what the bible actually says about it, we find it is much more than just love.

We are to love with more than just our words. We are to love in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18-19)

True love is walking according to the commandments in scripture. This means love and truth. (2 John 1:6)

If we don’t abide in the teachings of scripture, we do not have God. (2 John 1:9) Once again, we see that love alone doesn’t make everything fine. We must have love and truth.

Jude 4 warns us of those who seek to pervert the grace of our Lord, turning it into sensuality, and thus, deny the Lord. This is happening in churches who allow those living in sexual sin to be involved in ministry. They believe if we accept them as they are, and allow them to be involved in ministry, we are loving them. They are wrong! We must give biblical truth and love! Otherwise, how will they ever see their need to repent of their sin and be saved?

In 2 John 1:7, he warns of many deceivers having gone out into the world. This is why he stresses what true love is. The deceivers will redefine what biblical love is, and it will not line up with scripture.

In verse 10, we are given a strong warning not to receive those who preach something contrary to what we know is true. If we accept them, scripture tells us we take part in their wicked deeds.

Jude 20-21 gives us an admonition to build ourselves up in our faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, and to keep ourselves in the love of God. To do this, it is imperative for us to diligently study the Word. Otherwise, we may easily fall for the deception that is so prevalent of just accepting others and loving them, without giving them truth.

Love and truth – you must have both!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Go and Gather the Empty

Renewed in Knowledge

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Renewed in Knowledge

When we get saved, we are supposed to put off the old man, along with his deeds. Next, we are to put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of our Creator. (Colossians 3:10)

I like how it is worded in the following versions:

You have now become a new person and are always learning more about Christ.   NLV (emphasis added)
 
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.   NLT (emphasis added)

The implication of this verse is that being renewed in knowledge is an ongoing process. We are to be always learning more about the Lord.

When in school, you learn to know things. It is a process. You study and memorize. You learn facts. For instance, think of the times tables. Once you learn one, you move on to the next. Eventually, you learn them all. Do you stop there? No! You continue learning new ideas and concepts in math until you graduate. In other words, you don’t just go to school one day a week, and then you’re good to go.

However, in church settings, it seems the majority of the body of Christ sees nothing wrong with going to church on Sunday, then ignoring anything to do with the Lord for the rest of the week. Yet, that is not what is implied from Colossians 3:10. We are to be always learning. This means that like students who study until their graduation day, so should we be studying the Word of God until we “graduate” from our earthly bodies to our heavenly ones.

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Hanging By A Thread

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Hanging By A Thread

It seems so many people I know are going through some challenging trials. At the time I am writing this, we have been waiting for six weeks to get a new roof, due to a tree falling on our house, leaving nine holes, as well as poking through the ceiling in one place. It won’t stop raining long enough to allow the roofer to fix it. Nothing else can be done on the house until the roof is fixed. On top of that, one weekend all three of our vehicles had big problems which had to be dealt with right away.

The husband of a good friend just underwent open-heart surgery. The week after that, her mother was in critical care with serious heart issues.

Another friend has three adult children who are all facing serious issues right now. On top of that, her mother-in-law was in the hospital for a couple of days.

Life is full of challenges, but it just seems God’s children are really being targeted right now. It can be overwhelming when hit with so much at one time. Do you feel as if you are hanging by a thread? I want to encourage you if you find yourself in a season of struggles.

Deuteronomy 33:27 tells us the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are His everlasting arms. First, God is your refuge in times of trouble. Second, if you do fall, you are going to fall into His everlasting arms. What a great place to be!

He truly is our refuge in times of need!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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