This is a very informative and interesting message.
Devotions written by a Proverbs 31 wanna-be.
23 Apr 2017 Leave a comment
This is a very informative and interesting message.
20 Apr 2017 Leave a comment
To Destroy or to Build up
I did a lesson with young children at church where I took in bubbles and the bubble wand. Of course they loved chasing the bubbles and trying to catch them. I ended the lesson with telling them to go get all of the bubbles and bring them back to me. They got the funniest expressions on their precious little faces! They told me that they couldn’t do that. I explained how it’s the same with words that come out of our mouths too. Once they are out there, we can’t take them back. Oh sure, we can say that we are sorry, but wouldn’t it be better if we had never said the words that required the apology in the first place?
James says in chapter 3 that a word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it! He then goes on to mention how just a spark can set off a forest fire, and compares our tongues to a fire – that with our speech we can turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, etc.
Prov. 6:2 says that we are snared by the words of our lips, caught by the speech of our mouths. — Think about this: Sometimes we can be having a day where nothing is going right. We begin to say aloud that we can’t do anything right. The enemy of our souls hears that, and TRAP! He’s caught us, and sets a snare for us. The next thing we know, we are in the mindset that we are nothing but a failure. Our joy, peace, contentment, and over-all sense of well-being goes out the door in an instant.
Prov. 10:19 says that in the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent. In the Webster’s New World Dictionary, “prudent” means, “exercising sound judgment in practical matters, cautious in conduct, not rash, managing carefully.” Oh, that we could all say that where our tongues are concerned.
Prov. 18:20 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. There are so many ways in which our tongues can speak death. With our words, we can emotionally damage our children, we can kill a friendship, we can cause a huge wall to erupt in our relationship with our husbands (and in a matter of only a few words!), we can even cause physical ailments to come upon ourselves…..and the list goes on. There is a flip side to it though; our words can speak life to people too. (I like this part!) We can speak life to someone who is so discouraged that they don’t feel they can go on. We can encourage our children in their struggles, or even encourage them in what we see as strengths for them. We can lift the spirits of our husbands who can carry such heavy loads at times.
Prov. 10:11 says that the mouth of the righteous man is a well of life.
Prov. 10:14 says that wise men store up knowledge in their heart and mind. Well, what is the wise man going to do with that knowledge? He can use it to speak life to those who need it.
Prov. 10:20 says that the tongues of those who are upright and in right standing with God are as choice silver (the best silver).
Father, may we daily make the choice to let our words be as choice silver, bringing life and joy to those to whom we speak. Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller
15 Apr 2017 Leave a comment
“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
We have discussed this portion of scripture in previous mailings, but as I pondered on it the other day, I saw it in a whole new light. When I have studied this before, I always thought of it as meaning that the older women of the church should be teaching and mentoring ladies like us, who are in the midst of raising our children. And yes, that is true. But let’s look at it from a new perspective. If we are mothers of daughters, then WE are the “older” women, and the daughters are the “younger” women. (For those of you who have sons, please continue reading. You will find some information that can be applied to sons as well.)
We teach our daughters more by example than by our words. We have all heard that phrase “actions speak louder than words.” Children are smart, and they can pick this up at a very young age. So, we need to be very careful of what our actions (and our words) are teaching them. Are we modeling a good example of Biblical love to our husband? If not, then dear daughter is learning an unbiblical way to love her future husband. Are we careful to honor and respect our husband? If not, we are teaching our little ladies to do the same thing when they are older. Do we whine, nag, and manipulate to get our way with our husband? If so, then by our poor example, we are teaching our daughters to do the same thing to get what they want. Do we find ourselves screaming most of the time? If we are, then we are teaching them to react to situations from their flesh rather than responding to them through God’s Spirit who lives in us. Do we refuse to submit to our husbands? Here again, if we struggle in this area, we are showing a poor example to our children.
It is very important for daughters not to be allowed to back talk to their fathers. They must learn to respect Daddy. If we don’t train them to respect him, then how can we expect them to respect their future husband? If we don’t take a strong stand in this area, then they will perceive that this behavior is acceptable in a marriage.
Sons must not be allowed to walk all over their mothers or be disrespectful toward them. This is a critical thing for them to learn. If we don’t train them correctly in this area, we may end up raising a son who could lean toward being abusive to his future wife, be it verbal abuse, mental abuse, or physical abuse.
Let’s keep in mind that a child left to himself/herself disgraces his mother. (Prov. 29:15)
I have read many times that the person who has the most influence on people is their mother. That is a heavy load for each of us to carry. That is why it is so important for us to learn to stay connected to the vine. (Jn. 15) We must remember that apart from Christ, we can do nothing. (Jn. 15) But, with Christ, we can do all things! (Phil. 4:13)
© 2003, Stacy R Miller
10 Apr 2017 Leave a comment
In Christian circles, it’s easy to find ourselves isolated from the world. We surround ourselves with Christian friends, Christian music, Christian television, Christian websites. Because we are around those “Christian” things, it’s easy to begin to feel a little pious about ourselves. After all, we don’t take part in orgies or carousing. We don’t abuse our children. We don’t murder or extort money. In fact, we do pretty good! We teach our children about Jesus. We teach them how to pray. We faithfully attend church, take meals to those in need, lead Bible studies, do volunteer work at church and other places. We’re doing pretty well in our spiritual walk!
All of a sudden, Father comes to talk to us about those “little” things. He says, “Do you remember when you came to just a rolling stop at the stop sign the other day?”
I say, “Oops, sorry Lord. I was in a bit of a hurry.”
Then He says, “What about the words that came out of your mouth when that little, old lady was driving too slow to please you?”
I humbly reply, “Umm, I guess I was in a hurry again. I didn’t give it any thought that I was being rude. I’m sorry, Lord.”
Then He asks me, “What about the lies?”
I come up for air on this question! “What ARE You talking about?”
He gently reminds me, “Do you remember telling the lady at church that you would pray for her? Have you done so?”
Knowing I was caught again, I reply, “Well, I’ve just been busy, and I forgot.”
He reminds me that it’s better not to make a vow, than to make one and not fulfill it. (Ecc. 5:5)
Just as I ask Him to forgive me, He brings up another lie. “What about the words you often tell yourself? You know, the ones about how you don’t have time to read My Word?”
I answer, “Well, Lord, I know I should, but it’s just so busy around here. You know, the spring cleaning, school work, trying to get the summer wardrobe ready for all of us, and then the garage sale this week.”
He replies, “I know that you’ve been busy. I’ve been closely watching. Even in the midst of all the things you mentioned, you still found time to do some leisurely reading, not to mention chatting on the computer. The reality is, instead of saying that you didn’t have the time to read My Word, you should have said that you would rather be doing other things.”
“OUCH!” I think to myself. “Again Lord, I’m sorry. You are right. Will You help me to set the right priorities?”
He gently answers, “Of course, my child. I would LOVE to do that! It’s one of my better specialties. You know, my Son became a human being, never losing sight of His priority to do His Father’s will.”
“Are we done yet, Lord?”
“No, child, we aren’t. Do you remember the phone conversation with your best friend? You began talking about someone. You tried to make it sound like you were really concerned about this person, but you forget, I see your heart. You weren’t nearly as concerned about her as you tried to pretend. You were just wanting to talk about her.”
“Oh, my Lord, please forgive me. I was so wrong in that.”
As I began to ponder on those seemingly “little” things, they seemed to pile up very quickly, growing higher and higher. As I continue repenting, I begin to think about how my loving and precious Savior hung on a cross and went through excruciating agony because of sins like these! Oh, God FORGIVE ME!
I begin to read in Is. 6 where Isaiah cried, “I am a man of unclean lips! I am ruined!” Yes, I was feeling the same thing during my talk with Father. –Or maybe I should say “during Father’s talk with me.”
In verse 6 it tells about how the seraph took a live coal from the altar and touched Isaiah’s lips, telling him that his guilt was taken away, and his sin atoned for. In studying this, the word “guilt” stands for the most depraved or perverse thing we could do. The words “taken away” mean “made to disappear, to be turned off.” The reason that Isaiah’s guilt could be taken away was because the coal which touched his lips was a coal from the altar of sacrifice. There had been an animal sacrificed, and the blood of that animal had touched the coal, which in turn, had been placed on his lips, cleansing him.
Jesus Christ was put on the altar of sacrifice for you. His blood was poured out so that you can be guilt-free and cleansed. That is why Rom. 8:1 says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus bore all of the sin and guilt so that we wouldn’t have to do it!
Thank You, Loving God for your mercy that has been so abundant in my life. It never ceases to amaze me. Help me to think of the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for me each time that my flesh wants to lead me down a path of sin. Give my spirit the strength to do the right thing, and to turn away from sin’s dark path. Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller
05 Apr 2017 Leave a comment
Have you ever noticed how children go through times where you can read them a book, and suddenly, THAT book is the one which you have to read to them EVERY single time? I have never cared for the book Green Eggs and Ham. Back when my nephew loved it, we would try to skip a few pages, here and there, only to have him tell us that we missed a page. Well, would you like to take a guess which book Rachel seems to love? Yes, you got it –
Green Eggs and Ham. What is it with that book? As I pondered on that question, it dawned on me that the first clincher was that it had a character named Sam, (our cat’s name). Then, it was just the humor that children find in such a silly story line. Then it seemed that she liked the repetition because she could remember parts of it and say it along with me. Eventually the thrill of it was that she could read the whole book all by herself. It seemed that there was always something new about this book that thrilled her and gave her such joy, no matter how many times we would read that book.
Oh, that we would have that kind thrill and joy whenever we read the Word!
Oh, that we would forever see new things in the Word, each time we pick it up and read it! So often, we get caught in the trap of reading it just out of “Christian duty.” We seem to fall into this rut of reading the Word, just so we will feel like we are being a better Christian, but yet, we aren’t really getting into the life-giving spirit of which the Word was written. When is the last time that you saw the words of scripture “leap off the page” at you?
The Word of God is His love letter to us. Do you remember when you were dating your spouse? Do you remember how you would pour over the love letters or romantic cards which he bought for you? You could read them a hundred times, and each time they got better. I would bet that there were times that you read them so much that you actually memorized what he had written! This should be the same way in which we approach the Word. Jesus, precious Lover of my soul, gave His very life for me. What love! Now He’s given me a book filled with His love letters to me, and the words in this book aren’t just idle words, they are my very life! Deut. 32:47
In Phil. 2:16, Paul calls the scriptures the Word of life. Heb. 4:12 says that the Word of God is living and active. It is sharper than a two-edged sword, even penetrating to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It can judge the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. — That could very well be why many of us refuse to look at the Word when we know there is something in our heart that isn’t quite right. We don’t want this living Word pricking our hearts, convicting us of what may need to be removed from our lives, our attitudes, or our thoughts.
One thing which I have been doing for many years is “praying the scriptures.” It has caused my devotional times to be richer. When you come to a scripture where you can turn it into a prayer for yourself, do it! I have found that there is nothing as powerful in my prayer life as actually praying the Word over myself or someone else. Here is an example, taken from Proverbs 2:1-5. “Father, help me to accept Your words and to store up Your commands in my heart. Help me to turn my ear to wisdom and to apply my heart to understanding. Help me to search for insight and understanding like I am searching for hidden treasures. Fill me with the fear of the Lord and help me to find the knowledge of God.”
As I have been writing devotions, I find myself doing a lot of typing of the scriptures. This has caused those scriptures to really stick with me because when I type them, I am having to concentrate on each little word. If you find yourself struggling in this area, you might try typing some of Psalms or Proverbs and see if it helps to enrich your devotional time.
Through writing devotions and doing an in-depth Bible study, I have recently experienced a passion for the Word like I have NEVER had before. Instead of grabbing the remote in the evenings so that I can “veg” in front of the television, it’s becoming an automatic thing to pick up my Bible and some paper because I know God has something incredible to show me. When I have spare time, I am running to the Word. There have been many times in recent weeks where I have actually spent over two hours reading the Word. My heart is just overflowing with what I am learning, and the intimacy that I feel with Father is incredible! I don’t share this with you to brag about how “spiritual” I am. God knows how I still fail daily, and sometimes I fail several times. I share this because I want you to sense the passion which His precious Word has stirred up in me, and I want that passion to overflow and spark a flame in YOU!
Ps. 119 has several benefits which we can receive from knowing God’s Word.
1. We are blessed. v. 1
2. It keeps our way pure. v. 9
3. It helps us not to sin. v. 11
4. Our life is renewed. v. 25
5. We are strengthened by it. v. 28
6. We are set free. v. 32
7. It takes away our disgrace. v. 39
8. We’ll have answers for those who taunt us. v. 42
9. It gives us hope. v. 43
10. We won’t be put to shame. v. 46
11. We’ll find comfort in the Word. v. 52
12. We’ll be taught knowledge and good judgment. v. 66
13. We’ll learn to obey. v. 67
14. His Word will become precious to us. v. 72
15. His love will be a comfort. v. 76
16. We’ll learn of His faithfulness. v. 90
17. We’ll be wiser than our enemies. v. 98
18. We’ll have more insight than our teachers. v. 99
19. More understanding than the elders. v. 100
20. Wisdom is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. v. 105
21. God is our refuge and our shield. v. 114
22. We will be delivered. v. 117
23. We won’t be left to our oppressors. v. 121
24. The arrogant won’t oppress us. v. 122
25. We will have discernment. v. 125
26. Sin won’t rule over us. v. 133
27. We will be redeemed. v. 154
28. We will have peace. v. 165 — This verse is a great one. “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (NIV) We definitely live in a time where peace is a wonderful thing to have.
Do you realize that many times we may face trials because we fail to learn of God through His Word? When a sheep strays from the shepherd instead of staying nearby, the shepherd will break the sheep’s leg, training it to stay close to him. God will uses trials to “break” us, getting us to a place where we stay close to Him. By staying in the Word, we allow the Word to reprove and correct us. When we neglect the Word, God will use other methods to teach us and get our attention. Trials are one way He will teach us if we fail to get into the Word.
Precious Father, the lover of my soul, help each one of us to truly see that Your Word is more precious than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. (Ps. 119:72) Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller
30 Mar 2017 Leave a comment
The Warfare of Love
“Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sin (forgives and disregards the offenses of others).
I Pet. 4:8 (Amp. Bible) The KJV uses the term “fervent” love. In the Greek, fervent is translated “to be hot, to boil.”
We need to have a love in us that is hot and on fire. Too often, our love appears as barely observable. Yet, Jesus told us that others would know we are Christians by our love for one another. (Jn. 13:35)
As I pondered on this truth, I thought of the many times that I have popped popcorn in the microwave. I can’t tell you how many times I have burned my fingers, trying to open the bag. Needless to say, I drop the bag very quickly when I feel my fingers being scorched by the steam coming out of the bag. God wants our love to be so hot that we can literally scorch Satan – even before he has his day in the Lake of Fire.
In Mt. 24:12 (Amp. Bible) it says, “And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity.” The church is the “great body.” Even in this day and age, we can look at things that are taking place within the body of Christ and see that the love of many is already waxing cold. I know of a lady whose husband lost his job, where he was making over $150,000 per year. Where they used to be part of the “inner circle” in the church, now they are being scorned. Love has waxed cold in that church.
Look at the divorce rate in the church. Love in marriages is waxing cold.
Look at the children who are in rebellion, even in the church. Love is waxing cold. Have you noticed the materialism that is even creeping in to our churches? How often do we find ourselves falling into that subtle, but snaring trap? So many people in the body of Christ suffer from terrible “I” problems, always thinking of only themselves. Their love has waxed cold. So many people have found themselves in rather troublesome circumstances. It is so easy to be caught up in those affairs, and before we know it, our love toward others has waxed cold.
We need to be praying for God to help us to have an intense and unfailing love toward others, helping us to forgive the sins of others, and to disregard their offenses. It can seem overwhelming to try to walk in God’s love all the time, but He encourages us that we can do all things through Jesus, who gives us strength. (Phil. 4:13)
Father, let our waking thoughts be turned toward You. Show us this day how we can be Your hands and Your love extended to those who will cross our path. Go deeper into our hearts and fill us with Your love. Let there be more of You and less of me. Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller
25 Mar 2017 Leave a comment
Tit. 3:8 tells us to devote ourselves to prayer. Col. 4:2,5 also mentions praying, as well as telling us to be watchful and thankful, and to be wise in the way we act toward outsiders, making the most of all opportunities. Verse 6 tells us to let our conversations be full of grace. There are times when we just don’t know how to answer someone. Being full of grace will help in those times.
Eph. 4:2 tells us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. It goes on to mention that we need to be humble (submissive, unassuming, simple) and gentle, bearing with one another. Jas. 4:10 and I Pet. 5:6 mention humbling ourselves before the Lord.
I Cor. 15:5 tells us to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. For many of us, that “work” is taking care of our families. We need to remember that as we do it for them, we are doing it for Christ.
We are called to love our enemies in Mt. 5:44. In Rom. 12:14 we are told to bless those who persecute us. This can be very hard, especially when our enemies are sometimes in our own extended family. The hurt from those betrayals and persecutions can go so deeply into our spirit.
In II Tim. 2:22 we are told to flee the evil desires of youth and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. II Cor. 7:1 tells us to purify ourselves from all that contaminates our body and spirit. We are to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus, (Rom. 13:14) and live a life worthy of our calling. (Eph. 4:1) We are to live as children of light and to find out what pleases our Lord. (Eph. 5:8, 10)
We are to be made new in the attitudes of our minds, as well as getting rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice. Instead, be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. (Eph. 4:23-32)
Rom. 12 could keep us busy every day, just by itself! It tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Keep our spiritual fervor (enthusiasm, passion). Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. We are told to share with God’s people who are in need, and to be hospitable. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who are mourning. We are to live in harmony with others.
We are to rejoice in the Lord and let our gentleness be evident to those around us. (Phil. 4:4-5) Col. 3 tells us to set our minds on things above. Eph. 6:10-11 tells us to be strong in the Lord and to put on His armor so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Since we have seen here that we have much to do, I think it is feasible to assume that Satan doesn’t want us to get work on this “to-do list.” He will use anything he can to distract us. It may be phone calls, a lack of sleep, moodiness, hormones, fighting children, financial woes, illness, our own busyness, or even our own selfishness. That is why it is so important to daily put on the armor of God.
I heard a sermon many years ago by a man who would physically go through the motions of putting on each piece of armor. Going through the motions, saying the name of armor, and stating what it was for was a good way for him to remember that the battle was not his, but God’s. So many times we struggle in our own strength. Goliath tried that too, and it got him struck down by a little shepherd boy who knew where to go for the right kind of armor. As we daily work on our “to-do list,” may we also declare to our enemy that we come against him in the Name of the Lord Almighty. And may God Almighty go before us, lighting our path and giving us victory after victory.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller