Change of Plans

Jeremiah 29:11

Change of Plans

Have you ever gotten heavily involved in a ministry, only to find that God pulls you away from it?  You may feel disillusioned, disappointed, confused, or even angry.  You may end up asking, “Why?”

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans He has for us.  Notice the word “plans” is plural.  God does not have just one plan for us, but several.

One way to look at it is to view our life in chapters.  Some chapters are long and some are short.  When God pulls us from one ministry, He is simply closing that chapter of our life.  He is moving us on to the next another chapter.

When you read a mystery, the author will usually end each chapter on a suspenseful note, working to keep your interest.  Excitedly, you move on to the next chapter to see what happens.

When God closes one chapter in your life, don’t grow disillusioned, confused, or angry.  Instead, look forward with excitement to see what plans He has for you in this new chapter of your life.

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

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Change of Curriculum

Change of Curriculum

 

God has a curriculum for us to follow in Deuteronomy 6:6-9.  He tells us to talk of His commands when we are at home.  That could easily be done while we are eating our evening meal except that it’s a rare occurrence for the family to eat together these days.

 

We are to talk about God’s Word when we walk along the road.  In today’s society, we could still do this while we are driving the car.  The only problem is that we rarely turn off the radio.

 

We are to talk about God’s precepts when we lie down.  We could do that, but after we hurriedly put the kids in bed with a goodnight kiss, we still have laundry and dishes to finish before we can even go to bed.

 

We are to be talking about God’s ways when we get up in the morning.  Yet, in today’s society, we are so rushed to get out the door that we miss out on this opportunity to impress God’s Word on the hearts of our children.

 

When our children walk into the room, do they observe us looking at our daily planner more than they observe us delving into the Word of God?  Do they see us opting to read the newspaper rather than God’s Word?  Do they see us relaxing by reading romance novels instead of our Bible?

 

Do we need to change the curriculum in our home?

 

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Cannibalism

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Cannibalism

If I told you that many Christians partake in cannibalism, you would likely think I had lost my mind.  Yet, in a sense, when we worry and fret, we are becoming cannibals.  When we neglect to eat on the Word of God, it is easier for our problems to eat us.  The result is that worry lines will begin to eat into our faces.

When Rachel was about four years old, she asked my mother if she would like for her to draw a picture of her.  After my mother told her yes, Rachel asked, “Do you want me to draw you

with your stripes?”  She was talking about the crow’s feet around my mother’s eyes.

We will likely accumulate some lines on our faces through aging.  We may get some caused by dry skin, and we may even develop some from laughing a lot.  However, there is another manner by which we can accumulate those unwanted lines.  It’s called worry.

Proverbs 12:25 tells us that an anxious heart will weigh us down.  One way it can do that is by eating away at our countenance.  You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their countenance.

There is a remedy for that spiritual cannibalism.  We must cast our burdens upon Him, choosing not to let our hearts be troubled.  (I Peter 5:7; John 14:1)  We must look to the Lord and then we will be radiant. (Proverbs 34:5)

Have you been partaking in cannibalism?

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Caffeinated Christianity

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Caffeinated Christianity

I often hear people talk of needing their morning coffee because they need a boost of caffeine.  I used to do the same thing, only my ‘fix’ was iced tea.  It would give me a boost, but only a short-lived one.  By afternoon I’d be physically drained, feeling an intense longing for an afternoon nap.

Iced tea, popular throughout the U.S.

Iced tea, popular throughout the U.S. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I changed my habits, and began substituting lots of water for the caffeine, I noticed an incredible thing.  My stamina was a lot higher in the afternoon.  What made the difference?

When I drank iced tea, I would drink only enough to give me a bit of a boost.  The caffeine in it would dehydrate my body, and that made me very sleepy.  When I began to drink water, I’d drink one glass after another, and I’d continue that cycle all day.  Since I was constantly pouring in refreshment to my body, my body actually began to function better.

We do the same thing in our Christian walk.  We view church as our caffeine, or our ‘fix.’  We go in on Sundays, getting our spiritual tank filled up through praise and worship and hearing the Word preached.  When we leave, we have a ‘spiritually caffeinated’ tank.  We feel spiritually invigorated.  Yet when Monday starts, we think we can live on those feelings until the following Sunday.  In reality, our tank runs out of the caffeine high very quick if we fail to spend time in the Word and prayer.

Can you imagine going a full week without eating any food?  Yet, how many times do we neglect the meat of the Word during the week?  Can you imagine going a full day with nothing to drink?  We’ve all done it when we fail to pick up the living water of the Word.

When we have a caffeinated Christian mindset, we will become double-minded and unstable. We will be more apt to try and carry our burdens all by ourselves instead of taking the yoke that Jesus offers us.  We will trade peace for worry, kindness for grouchiness, patience for impatience, joy for a heavy heart, contentment for discontentment, and end up walking carnally-minded as opposed to being spiritually-minded.

When we are faithful to spend time with God every day, when Sunday comes, we will be able to attend church, feeling full of living water, ready to pour it out on all who come our way.

Are you a caffeinated Christian?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Christmas Devotion

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (Photo credit: Kelvin Servigon)

Christmas Message

With the Christmas season upon us, I wanted to post a devotion that I wrote several years ago that addresses this time of year.

We tend to get caught up in so many things during this beautiful season — so much to the point that we often miss out on the beauty of the season, not to mention the true reason for the season.  I was reading in The Message Bible this morning.  (I am sorry that I can’t give direct scripture references on this because that Bible doesn’t have them.)  In I Cor. 7, it says “Don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily.  Keep it simple – in marriage, grief, joy, whatever.  Even in the ordinary things – your daily routines of shopping, and so on.  Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.  I want you to live as free of complications as possible…..All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.”

Distractions – isn’t that something we all deal with on a daily basis?  Last night at church a lady shared how she takes a notebook with her when she does devotions.  Then, when Satan whispers “You forgot to take out the trash, you didn’t make that doctor appt., you didn’t call that friend yet….”  you can write it down, and then do it later.

How can you minimize your distractions?  What gets your focus off of Jesus during this busy season?  Seek to find a way to have those times of quiet intimacy with our wonderful Master.  You won’t regret it!

I want to share something that I heard a long time ago that has made a big impact on me during the Christmas season.  It’s so simple, but so profound.  When you gaze upon your Christmas tree, with all of the lights and the glitter, remember that it was a tree upon which Jesus died for you.  Let YOUR Christmas tree be a gentle reminder of the great love that Jesus had for you, while you were yet in the midst of your sin.  Let the lights be a reminder of how He wants His light to shine through you to a lost and dying world, and yes, even to your own family.  Let the red ribbons and bows be a symbol of the blood He shed to bring about healing and wholeness to your life.  Let the tinsel be a reminder of the beauty that He wants to give you, instead of ashes.

May this Christmas season be the start of a new way to view the holidays, and may it start some new and lasting traditions for you in the years to come.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

When you need peace–A Season of Peace–Day 9

This post is a great reminder to us in the midst of what is often a very busy, stressful season.

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Christmas is a season of peace.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The…

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Busy, Busy, Busy

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Monday:  baseball practice, ballet lessons

Tuesday:  baseball game, visit library for book report project

Wednesday:  baseball practice, church

Thursday:  baseball game, ballet lessons, return videos to store

Friday:  my turn to play taxi-service after school

Saturday:  ballet, piano lessons, take child shopping for shoes, etc.

Sunday:  church AM/PM, take child to visit friend between church services

Does this schedule look familiar?   Is it like yours at all?   Too many of us are caught in a daily, very hectic schedule.   While all of us want what is best for our  children, it is easy to find ourselves caught up in too many activities.  Maybe it is time to reevaluate WHAT activities we do, and also WHY we do them.

Why are we involved in so many extra activities?   It may be because we did the same thing when we were young.   Or perhaps it is because we never got the chance to do any of these things, so now we feel the need to be sure that our children “do it all.”  While the Bible never mentions that we should get our children involved in so many activities away from home, it does mention many times that we are to train our children.   (Eph. 6:4, Deut. 4:9, 11:19, Prov. 22:6)  While outside activities aren’t bad, we need to make sure that they don’t take away from what is really important.

We may feel pressured to be involved in so many activities because “everyone else is doing it.”  But we don’t have to do things because everyone else is doing it.  Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform after the pattern of the world.  In fact, we are to be conformed to the likeness of Christ. (Rom. 8:29, II Cor. 3:18)  If we are so busy running here and there, how can we be conformed to His likeness?  Can our children be conformed to His likeness when they are too busy doing homework and outside activities?

What kinds of influences are we letting into the lives of our children through these activities?  Proverbs 12:25 tells us that a righteous man is cautious in friendship.   We need to be cautious about putting our children in situations where they are being exposed to things that aren’t godly.  There are many children out there who are not taught the things that we may be teaching our children.  I know that when I was young, it was far too easy for me to be “sucked in” by these kinds of “friends.”  I wasn’t going to have much influence on them, but they were sure having an influence on me!

Romans 16:19 tells us to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.  If we let our children be around many ungodly influences, it is hard for them to maintain that innocence about what is evil.  If they are being exposed to many ungodly things, we may not be protecting them as we should be.

We may get our children involved in so many activities because it boosts our own self-esteem.  Yet, we must remember that love isn’t proud.  If our primary reason to have our children in all of these activities is to stroke our own ego, our motives probably need to be reevaluated.  We need to remember that Proverbs 16:5 says that God detests the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Even if our own motives past the test, we must remember that love protects.  (I Cor. 13)  When children are put into activities, we must evaluate what values they are seeing displayed before them.  Are the activities encouraging responsibility, sportsmanship, and perseverance?  Or do children see pride, selfish ambition, and a lack of concern for others?

Sometimes these seemingly innocent activities can cause financial woes.  Financial trouble can creep in, not only because of the cost of the activities, but also the cost of eating out several nights a week.  It can even spiral into marital trouble, as MOST marriage trouble starts with financial problems.

Satan has many schemes, and we are to be aware of them.   (II Cor 2:11)  We are to be like sheep among wolves – wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.   (Mt. 10:16)  II Cor. 10:5 tells us to demolish arguments and every pretension (thought) that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.   We are also admonished to take our stand against the devil’s schemes.  (Eph. 6:10)  For this reason, it is important to occasionally step back and reevaluate our decisions.  Could the enemy be using these activities to distract us from what is really important?  Could it be that all of this “busyness” is one of his many schemes to destroy us?  Could it be a scheme to destroy intimate family time, to destroy time for devotions, to destroy time to relax and unwind, to destroy our energy in training and instructing our children in righteousness?

I mention this because I have often heard it said that family meal time is almost nonexistent in homes, because family devotions are almost a thing of the past in many homes, because the divorce rate in Christian homes is about the same as it is in secular homes.   I mention it because Rom. 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, yet many of us are so busy these days that we feel like the “walking dead” because we are so tired.

Titus 2:4-5 tells us to encourage young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of our homes, to be kind, to be submissive to our husbands, so that the Word of God many not be discredited.  Can we really be Titus 2:4-5 women with our current level of activity?  We must not let this “busyness” rob from us those things which really are important.

A while back, I received an email that had an acrostic at the bottom.   It was VERY thought-provoking, to say the least:

Busy =

Being

Under

Satan’s

Yoke.

Do you need to reevaluate?

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

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