Going for Broke

It was Mary’s gift to make Jesus happy.

Going for Broke

I love to read the story where Mary, the sister of Lazarus, breaks open her expensive bottle of perfume and lavishly, lovingly, pours in on Jesus. This bottle of perfume is her dowry. It is very costly. To break this bottle of expensive perfume likely means that she gives up the dream that most women have — that of getting married. Back then, if you didn’t have a sizable dowry, you weren’t classified as marrying material. In spite of that, Mary chose to ‘go for broke.’ What a precious gift she gave the Lord.

I love how Mary gave the best she could give, and she didn’t even care what others thought of her. When the customs of that day said that she should have been in the kitchen helping Martha, there sits Mary, at the feet of Jesus, taking in his every word. (Lk. 10:38-43)

In ‘going for broke,’ we can gain so much because we learn to let go of ourselves. To offer something sacrificial to our Lord, it requires us to be broken of our self-centeredness and our pride. It requires us to look beyond our financial needs, looking beyond our fears for the future, and lavishing our love upon Jesus.

When we are broken by God, we experience true joy because weeping endures for the night, but God promises us that joy will come in the morning.

We learn that our life is in the Master’s hands, and He is carefully watching over us, using everything we face to bring about honor to His name. The brokenness we learn from our trials gains us peace that passes all understanding.

Being broken helps to understand that God’s agenda is much more important than my own gives me a greater patience because I realize that I can let my own agenda go.

When I’m broken to the point where I realize that I have no rights, it reduces my urge to compete with others, and that helps me to walk in kindness.

In our brokenness, when God strips away our pride, we realize that within us lies no good thing, and that our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. We learn that any goodness that comes from us is ultimately from Him.

In the midst of deep brokenness, we discover that the greener grass is actually being in the center of His will, even in those times when we don’t understand His plan. This leads us to follow hard after faithfulness. We become faithful and steady even in the hardest of times. What an awesome sacrifice that is to the Lord. He knows how hard it is for us to remain faithful and steady.

When we pour out our fleshly tendencies to the Lord, we realize the depths of our wretchedness. We also see the heights of God’s graciousness and goodness towards us. That works in us a gentleness in responding to those around us.

God gives us all that we need pertaining to life and godliness. We have power to say NO to worldly passion. When that passion is to lose our temper, we react instead of respond to situations. Maybe the worldly passion is spending money that we don’t have, or usurping our authority over our husband. It may even be a passion to have an affair — whether that affair be physical, emotional, or even just in our mind. Breaking open that alabaster box of our flesh can bring us a self-control where we truly want what our heavenly Father wants — obedience.

So many times, when we think of giving a sacrificial gift to God, like Mary did with her alabaster box, we think in terms of something that may cost us financially. We see in I Sam. 15 that to obey is better than sacrifice. Instead of trying to come up with an expensive gift to offer the Lord, why not offer up your sinful flesh? There is nothing more precious in His sight than a child who comes to offer their flesh, allowing Him to cut away those unwanted pieces so that He can make you more like Him. We may discover that sometimes obedience IS the sacrifice.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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Building in Stages

Lots of wisdom here!

Prophetic Voice

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He tells us everything over and over—one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there!” ( Isaiah 28:10) LT

 A good percentage of people live the best part of their lives either regretting past failures or been anxious and dreading the challenges of tomorrow. But neither of these should define us, because the God we serve is not “I was” or “ I will be” but “I AM”. That says a lot about the importance of TODAY in our spiritual growth.

Sometimes we want to get there quicker than God. What then is the importance of getting to our destination and God is not part of it? The Bible says everything we build will be tested and revealed by fire. “The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will…

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Boundaries

Boundaries.wiki.

Boundaries

Is it scriptural to have boundaries in our lives? I did some research in my Bible to see what I could find on this topic.

While the word ‘boundaries’ isn’t used frequently throughout scripture, I do believe that the concept is there. God gave us the 10 Commandments. Those are definitely some boundaries of things we should and shouldn’t do. Saving sex for marriage is another boundary, but it is a very good boundary. You don’t risk catching a sexually transmitted disease, and you don’t run the risk of feeling guilty or dirty for having given your most precious gift to someone outside of marriage. You won’t end up bombarded with dreams over a sordid past if you keep yourself pure, saving your virginity for your husband.

In Ephesians 6:1-3, children are admonished to obey their parents. Staying in this boundary line has a wonderful promise connected to it – that it may go well with them and that they may enjoy a long life.

In Titus 2:3-5, women find some boundaries that tell them to love their husbands and children, to be busy at home, being self-controlled, kind, and pure, and being subject to our husband. What is the result when we choose to stay in this boundary line? The word of God will not be blasphemed. Again, we see another good boundary line.

In I Peter 3:7, we find a boundary line for the husband. He is to be considerate of his wife, treating her as the weaker partner, yet still an heir with him in God’s grace. What is the benefit of not crossing this boundary line? His prayers will not be hindered.

In James 4:7, there is another boundary line in submitting ourselves to God. The result of not crossing the boundary line is that we will be able to resist the devil, knowing that he will flee.

In Philippians 4:6-7, we have a boundary line regarding an anxious heart. Instead of being anxious, we can stay in our boundary lines by praying with a thankful heart. The end result is that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds.

In Philippians 2:14-15 we are admonished not to cross the boundary line and start complaining or arguing. If we stay in the boundary line, and conduct ourselves without giving into the fleshly tendency to complain and argue, we will shine like the stars in the universe.
People will notice when we begin to shine brightly!

Do your boundary lines cause you to shine like the stars?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Praise HIM By Faith

I love this thought! What a great reminder!

Prophetic Voice

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“ Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) 

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Body Building

Body Building

There is a lot of focus on taking care of our physical bodies these days. It seems that body building is the current fad right now, with new gyms popping up everywhere.

As Christians, we are also called to be body building. We are told in Ephesians 6:10 to be strong in the Lord. A few verses later, it mentions how we wrestle against spiritual forces in heavenly realms. One who is weak isn’t going to be very good at wrestling.

My brother is a fire fighter. He has told me how heavy the gear is that they must wear when they are putting out a fire. If they don’t stay in shape, it’s very hard for them to handle moving around with an extra fifty or sixty pounds added to their own body weight. It’s the same with us — we are required to put on the armor of God. If we don’t keep ourselves spiritually fit, we won’t be able to handle carrying the armor.

We are commanded to put on the belt of truth. This requires that we ‘work out,’ meditating and memorizing scripture so that we know the truth of God’s Word. To have the breastplate of righteousness in place, we must work to make sure that we are continually walking in a righteous fashion. If we slip and sin, we need to repent quickly, keeping ourselves ‘spiritually fit’ for the times when we are called to wrestle. We must have our gospel shoes on, ready to share God’s peace and good news. It takes a lot of hard work to continually be at peace with others.

Moving on to the helmet of salvation, which protects our thinking, we must work hard to renew our minds. (Rom. 12) In Phil. 4, we are told to think upon those things which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy. To do these things, it requires diligent body building on our part.

We are told to hold up the shield of faith, but if we aren’t faithful to ‘body build’ our faith, where will our faith be when we need it the most?

We are to work out our own salvation, (Phil. 2:10) and train ourselves to be godly. (II Tim. 4:7) This implies that Sunday morning and Wednesday evening services aren’t enough ‘training’ for us. If we only eat two meals a week, we aren’t going to be very strong. It’s the same in the spiritual realm. If we only ‘eat’ of the Word twice a week, we won’t be building up our spiritual muscles very well.

Colossians 1:22-23 tells us that God has reconciled us by Christ’s death to be holy and blameless in His sight IF we continue in our faith, established and firm. Many times you will see how the diligent work of a body builder has resulted in some very firm muscles. We are to be firm and not easily moved in our faith. To reach that point means that we need to do a lot of work on our inner (wo)man.

To strengthen our physical bodies, we have to go into a strength-training program. The more we continue to work out, the stronger we will be. Col. 2:6-7 tells us to continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up, strengthened in our faith.

Peter tells us that God has given us what we need to escape the corruption in the world. (II Pet. 1:4) He goes on to inform us that we need to make every effort to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Peter tells us that if we possess these qualities in an increasing measure, they’ll keep us from becoming unproductive in our knowledge of the Lord. In verse 10, he tells us that if we do these things we will never fall. Why? Because we have been faithful in our body building and we have become a strong and virtuous warrior for our Lord, strengthened and ready for battle.

Excuse me now as I prepare to do my daily body building.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Blasphemy

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Blasphemy

When we think of complaining, our minds automatically go to the Israelites in the wilderness. We can see where God sent judgment on them several times. At one point, fire came down and consumed part of the camp.

We may breathe a sigh of relief for not living under the Old Testament law. However, we make a grave mistake if we begin to think that God does not look upon complaining with such anger today. First Corinthians 10:1-12 addresses how the things the Israelites faced were written as examples and warnings to us. If they do not pertain to us, then why would we need the examples?

Our God does not change. (Hebrews 13:8) If He hated complaining in the Old Testament times, be assured that He still hates it, and the His anger is aroused by it. Psalm 7:11 tells us that He is a God who expresses wrath every day.

Since we do live in the age of grace, we do not experience His anger through a fire which we can see. Rather, we feel it. The result is that our spirit ends up becoming a dry, barren, scorched land.

I remember hearing someone say that complaining is one of the worst sins in the Bible. Immediately, I thought, “What about blasphemy?” Finally, it dawned on me that complaining is a form of blasphemy. For when we complain, we deny the sovereignty of God in our circumstances, and that is the root of blasphemy.

Jesus tells us that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Mark 3:29) This view of complaining is quite sobering to me, for I realize that I have complained more times than what I care to admit.

This solemn view on the seriousness of complaining has led me to ask the Lord to set a guard over mouth, keeping watch over the door to my lips. (Psalm 141:3) I have also started praying that my words and my thoughts would be pleasing in God’s sights. (Psalm 19:14)

Do you feel like you are spiritually dry? Could it be that complaining has led you to a place of spiritual wilderness?

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

What Kind of a Man a Woman Want

This is a very insightful and powerful post!

The Lily-White Princess

God made me realized that we, women, sometimes fall into the trap of molding the men in our lives into the image that we want them to be for the sake of our comfort and needs. God made men to be so much more. I believe that God made our men strong and able. However, nowadays most our men do not see that the word of God is active and burning within them. Our words as women have a power to encourage them to become a godly man. Women, we are their partners. Believe that they can become something more. It is not having faith in a man, but in what our mighty, amazing, triumphant God can do in and through a man. Let our words bring life and encouragement, not sarcasm and disdain. And together, we testify of the Father’s great love for the lost. No one is perfect…

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