Dynamite

Dynamite

 

Dynamite has been used in very positive ways. It has opened paths in mountains to make roads on which we can travel. It has also been used in the mining business. Old buildings have been brought down so that progress can take place in that location.

 

On the other hand, dynamite can be used in a very negative way. Many stories have been told of bridges being blown up, as well as railroads and buildings. In these situations, the people behind these atrocious acts are bitter and angry, out to seek revenge.

 

One use of dynamite brings very positive results; the other leads to destruction and devastation.

 

Computers can be like dynamite in a spiritual sense. One person can use the computer to help further their education. Another person might use it to start an online ministry. Both of these uses are done in a positive manner.

Yet, someone else becomes addicted to online pornography or online gambling. Another person may connect emotionally with a stranger on the Internet, leaving behind a devastated spouse and children to pursue a sordid relationship.

 

It is amazing how something with so much potential to make life easier and more productive seems to be at the root of so many problems!

 

Paul said that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. (First Corinthians 6:12) I think we would be wise to evaluate our own computer usage. Is it helping us to be keepers at home? Is it helping us to be more productive in our work? Is it fueling our passion for the Lord? Is it spurring us on toward love and good deeds? (Hebrews 10:24) If not, perhaps our computer has become like dynamite in its most destructive form.

 

© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

Dying in Your Marriage

Dying in Your Marriage

 

Marriage is a place of sacrifice.  We sacrifice our single life to merge our life with another person.  We no longer live just to ourselves.  We now have a man who depends on us to work outside the home, (at least until children enter the picture), and still cook, clean, run errands, satisfy him sexually, — need I go on? 

 

Jesus told us that if we want to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. (Lk. 9:23) Paul tells us that we are to die daily. (I Cor. 15:31) Many times, it seems like we are so willing to ‘die daily’ for our career, our boss, our pastor, our women’s group at church, our extended family, yet when it comes to ‘dying’ for our husband, we put up a wall.  Maybe that is why we are specifically commanded in Eph. 5:22 to submit to our husbands.  Yet, notice that the husband isn’t commanded to be the leader of the household.  Hmmmm…..seems to me like God is trying to make a strong to point to that stubborn streak in many of us women.

 

Many of us have fallen into the trap of being a nagging wife.  Dean calls me “Naggy” as a joke because I did have times when I used to be that constant dripping that is mentioned in Proverbs.  While it wasn’t funny at the time to be called “Naggy” (because the truth hurt), we can joke about it now.  Thankfully, for the most part, the ‘naggy’ part of me has died! 

 

I remember how I used to get so upset when Dean would go to his mother’s house.  It wasn’t that I minded when he visited her.  What made me mad was the fact that he wouldn’t tell me he was going, then he’d be out there anywhere from five to seven hours, and I had no idea where he was.  Often, I would have worked hard at the end of a long day to fix a nice meal, only to find that he wouldn’t show up to enjoy it.  THAT is what made me mad.  Also, as a woman whose emotions could run wild, I’d begin to think that something bad had happened to him.   

 

After allowing the Lord to show me how my approach in the matter was wrong, I approached Dean, affirming the importance of his visits with his mother.  He often was going out to mow her yard since none of the other family members will pitch in to help her.  I think it’s wonderful that he cares enough to honor his mother by helping her in this.  I was able to express that it didn’t make me mad when he went there, but that I’d appreciate a phone call, letting me know that he is going out there because then I can fix something really simple for supper, and not worry about feeding him since I know that his mother will take care of that.  In other words, if he simply lets me know that he is going to visit her, I know that I can have an easier evening because I won’t have to be cooking a big meal for all of us.  Now he knows that he won’t face nagging from me whenever he is going to see his mother.  It has brought a sense of peace to our home, knowing that this won’t be an ‘issue’ anymore because we now understand each other’s views on the matter.

 

There are many rewards to be reaped when we learn to die to ourselves and be the submissive wife that God wants us to be.  We will have a gentle and quiet spirit. (I Pet. 3:4) Peaceful tranquility can be an everyday atmosphere in our home, even on really busy days.  Our husbands will be much more relaxed when they come home because they know they no longer live with a nag.  They won’t have to be ‘on pins and needles,’ just waiting for the next blowup to take place.  You will be able to have pleasant and peaceful conversations with each other, instead of the previous harping and bickering.

 

When we learn to crucify our fleshly desires in our marriage, we will learn to be more supportive and encouraging to our husbands.  We will be willing to lay aside our plans in order to do things that could help make his day a little easier.  We will pick up on signals from him that he may be struggling with depression, so we will take time to bake his favorite cookies or do something else that will help to show our love to him.  When we see that he is really stressed about a situation, we will learn to crucify our flesh which may tell us how tired we are, in order to give of ourselves sexually. 

 

We will learn to pray for him more often.  It is a good idea to pray for your husband several times a day.  I bought an Italian charm bracelet, and I’ve added some charms that remind me of my husband.  One of Dean’s morning rituals is to stop at a convenience store and get a cup of coffee.  Naturally, when I saw a charm with a cup of coffee on it, I just had to get it!  I also have one that says “I love my husband” and another which says, “Wife.”  When I look down at them during the day, they remind me to pray for him.  It is also a good thing to try to remember to pray for your husband shortly before he is due home from work.  Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Pray that if he needs an attitude adjustment, the Lord will work the adjustment as he drives home. 

2.  Pray for God to help you to be responsive to his needs that evening.

3.  Pray for God to direct your evening together.

4.  Pray for God to adjust your own attitude so that you don’t take any of your frustrations out on him when he walks in the door.

5.  Pray for harmony between the two of you.

6.  Pray for him to have a peaceful sleep that night.

7.  Pray for the children to be obedient to him.

8.  Pray for him to be responsive to the needs of the family.

 

Do you feel the need to ‘die’ today?

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Drop Your Baggage

Drop Your Baggage

In I Sam. 10:22, it says “he has hidden himself among the baggage.”  Interesting verse, isn’t it?  We can hide behind a myriad of baggage.  It might be past hurts, bitterness, unforgiveness, fear, past failures, or low self-esteem.  We may even hide behind success, wealth, and accomplishments.

While we may put on a happy face and be the life of the party, God sees beyond the facade.  Ps. 139 tells us that our frame wasn’t hidden from Him when we were made, and His eyes saw us before our body even had a form.  He sees all of our baggage; He sees the depth of the fear, despair, and pain.  He sees every emotional scar we bear.

Our wonderful God is patiently waiting for us to drop all of our heavy baggage and trade it for an abundant life.  (John 10:10)  Won’t you let the Lord take your excess baggage so that you are no longer hidden among it?  Let the real you come shining through, bearing His image.

Drop your baggage at the foot of the cross.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Drained and Scarred

Drained and Scarred

 

Several years ago, I began to donate plasma. I wish I could say that I did it to save lives, for that sounds so noble. In all honesty, I did it for the money.

 

After donating twice a week for over a year, there was a period of time where they were having trouble with my veins. This resulted in being deferred from donating for thirty days so that my arms could have a chance to heal.

 

About two weeks later, I realized that I felt so much better! I had much more energy. In fact, I felt like a new person! It dawned on me that donating plasma twice a week had subtly drained my energy level. After discovering that donating had led me to feel like the “walking-dead,” I decided that the money just was not worth the price I was physically paying. After all, you cannot put a price on your life!

 

This experience got me to wondering how many times we allow ourselves to get involved in things which subtly zap us of energy. We may be involved in activities that drain us instead of refreshing us. These are often things which have become a drudgery instead of a delight. Perhaps we have been involved in an area where God is telling us we need to step down, yet we have failed to yield to that call.

 

There may be things that take a lot of our time. Time is a precious resource we need to guard wisely. It is a good idea to evaluate how we are spending our time. I recently had to do this in regard to an activity I was coordinating and leading. After weighing the pros and cons, it was clear that I needed to stop down. Though this endeavor was a good one, it was requiring a lot of my time with very little results.

 

It has been a few years since I have donated plasma, yet I still have scars on both arms from where they inserted those large needles. It is the same with us in a spiritual sense. We can end up scarred when we keep giving of ourselves in areas where we have not been called. When we fail to discern the Lord telling us it is time to leave a certain place of ministry, we can end up with huge spiritual scars because we have failed to obey Him.

 

For instance, maybe you feel called to help in the nursery. After a few years, you have a baby. It could be time to give up that “calling” for a season. Later, when the baby is older, the Lord may draw you back to that place of ministry.

 

Spiritual scars can also develop through words spoken to us. When we choose to harbor bitterness, rather than taking it to the Lord, we can end up scarred.

 

We may neglect to spend time with the Lord, discerning His will for our lives. This not only can lead to more scars on us, but it can also cause us to scar others.

 

Do you need to reevaluate your daily commitments? Are there any activities that drain your energy, your resources, and your time? Are there things in your life that are causing spiritual scars?

 

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

 

Don’t Puke on Me!

Don’t Puke on Me!

 

Have you ever gone to church, looking to be spiritually refreshed, only to find that someone approaches you, and ‘dumps’ on you?  What they had to say may have been gossip or slander.  It may even be a comment that is very critical of you or someone whom you deeply respect.  Maybe you’ve been trapped in a conversation with someone who is always moaning about life.  They have to recite their weekly woes to anyone who gives them an audience.  Suddenly, you find that the anticipation you had of being refreshed has been quenched.  Now you are left with an unsettling feeling in your spirit.  My former Sunday school teacher had a very apt description for this.  He called it being ‘puked on.’

 

We are admonished to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  (Eph. 5:19) Our conversation should revolve around things that are noble, lovely, pure, right, excellent, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  (Phil. 4:8)

 

While it’s so easy to remember times when others have ‘puked’ on us, it’s not so easy to force ourselves to recall times when we have done the ‘puking.’  We don’t want to think that we could possibly have done that, but we need to evaluate what we let slip from our lips.

 

When our husband comes home, do we greet him joyfully? Or do we start unleashing all of the terrible events of the day, thus ‘puking’ on him, before he ever gets in the door?

 

When our children forget their chores again, do we patiently instruct them, giving clear guidelines, with consequences to follow for noncompliance?  Or do we ‘puke’ on them, telling them how sick and tired we are of reminding them?  Do we continue in our tirade, saying words that are emotionally abusive, making them feel worthless and devalued?

 

When we’ve had a spat with our husband just before heading out to the women’s Bible study, do we enter the room and begin to ‘puke’ on all of the ladies who are attending the study?  Do we proceed to carry on about what a moron our husband is?  Do we ‘puke’ bitter, resentful words about him?  So often, when there is a group of women, one bad comment can light a fire, quickly spreading to every woman there.  (Jas. 3:6) Before we know it, the Bible study has turned into a man-bashing session.

 

Vomit is filled with bitter stomach acids and bile.  It leaves a horrendous taste in our mouth.  When we ‘puke’ spiritually, it leaves an awful, bitter feeling in our spirit.  We will begin to feel disquieted and our sense of peace will be disrupted.

 

We are told in James 3:14-15 that harboring bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts is devilish and unspiritual.  James knows that what is stored in our heart will eventually flow from our lips.  (Lk. 6:45) When that happens, we have begun to ‘puke.’

 

When we’ve been ‘puked’ on, we need to wash ourselves with the Word.  (Eph. 5:26) When we’ve been guilty of doing the ‘puking,’ we can find a remedy for it in Psalm 51.

 

1.  Ask God to blot out our sins.

2.  Ask God to wash away our iniquities.

3.  Acknowledge that we’ve sinned against Him.

4.  Ask Him to cleanse us.

5.  Ask God to create in us a pure heart.

6.  Ask God to renew a right spirit within us.

7.  Ask Him to restore to us the joy of our salvation.

8.  Ask God to grant us a willing and obedient spirit.

9.  Ask Him to open our lips to declare His praise.

10. Ask Him to give us a broken and contrite heart whenever we have sinned.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

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Do You Need Help?

Do You Need Help?

 

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees us all; He watches all of us.  No king is saved by the size of his army, nor does a warrior conquer by his own strength.  A horse is a vain hope for their deliverance.  Even in its great strength, it can’t save.  (Ps. 33:13-14, 16-17)

 

As moms, I would imagine that most of us are quick to rise each morning, ready to start tackling the day’s assignments.  If we’re not careful, we can be like the one who rides on a horse, confidently trusting in the strength and ability of the horse.  We begin to trust in our own abilities and in our own strength.  We forget that God is watching us as we scurry along, confident in our ability to get things done.  I can picture Him being saddened when we fail to acknowledge that we need His help.

 

Sometimes we can attack our housework with a vengeance, much like an army goes after their adversary.  While it’s good for us to do our work vigorously (Pr. 31:17), when we fail to invite God to help us, we may switch from attacking the house with a vengeance to attacking others with a vengeance because they have interrupted our cleaning schedule.  We may find that our positive attitude has turned sour, leading us to stinking thinking.  Instead of cleaning as unto the Lord, we may be doing it with an angry, resentful attitude.

 

In trying to homeschool, work on my Internet ministry, and recently launching a home-based business, I have found that I am getting stressed very easily.  My fuse has always been a short one, but lately, it’s gotten worse.  The tiniest offense can set my temper aflame.  As I took time to ponder on what has been happening, I realized that I’m not spending as much time in the Word.  While I resent missing those times with the Lord, I have to admit that it’s not my circumstances that have caused me to miss out on devotions.  It’s my wrong choices, and that has led to being at an emotional low point for several days.  As I read the above scripture, it made me realize that I have been trusting in my own strength to get things done.  Instead of following God’s leading, and asking for His help, I have allowed my priorities to quickly get out of order.

 

When we put our hope in God and rely on His help, here is what happens:

Ps. 33:18  His eyes are on us.

         :19  He delivers us and keeps us alive in famine.  If we look to Him on busy days, even if we don’t spend much time in the Word, He can still keep us from a spiritual famine because we are still acknowledging Him in all our ways.

         :20  As we hope in Him, He is our help and our shield.

         :21  Our hearts will rejoice because we are trusting in His holy name.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Do You Have a Moment?

o You Have a Moment?

 

You feel stressed.  You know that you need to spend some time with the Lord.  Finally, you get a break.  You just get settled down and open your Bible, then you hear,  “Mom can I ………?”  Ok, you get that taken care of, and back to your Bible, then you hear cereal spilled all over the floor by the child who can’t clean up their own mess.  You jump up to clean it before it gets crushed all over the floor.  You tell the kids to please leave you alone for just a few minutes.  Well, a few minutes to you is an eternity to them.  You start to read again, and you hear the famous words, “Wipe me!”  🙂

 

By this time, you are totally frustrated.  You have decided that you aren’t going to get your time with the Lord.  Your spirit cries out, “Lord, I just don’t have an hour of time to spend with you anymore like I used to, and I really miss your presence, and the times where we talk.”

 

Suddenly, you hear the Master’s voice, and He gently says, “No, you don’t have the time to spend an hour, but you do have just a moment.  Want to talk?”

 

As you go about your daily chores and tasks, remember when you are cleaning the toilet, or changing a diaper, or taking out the trash, you do have a moment while doing those tasks.  Use it to talk to the Lord.  Train your mind to fix your thoughts on Him.  Heb. 5:14 says that solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

 

Learn to listen and anticipate God’s voice, reminding you that you do have a moment to spend with Him throughout the day.  As you fix peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, thank the Lord that He is your bread of life, and that He daily gives you living bread.  As you bake cookies, thank Him that as He works His purpose in your life, your disposition will be sweet to behold.

 

Col. 3:1-2  “If then you have been raised with Christ to a new life, aim at and seek the rich, eternal treasures that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  And set your minds and keep them set

on what is above, not on the things that are on the earth.  (Amp. Bible)

To help you keep your mind set on things above, place scripture cards around the house, in strategic locations (by the rocker where you nurse the baby, on the bathroom mirror, at the kitchen sink, on the dash in your car, etc.)  As you focus on these scriptures, and remember to talk to the Lord during those “moments” during the day, you will find that you are able to cultivate a very close relationship with Him.  You will feel Him there with you, helping you, refreshing you.  The scriptures will get deep into your spirit as you meditate on them throughout the day.  Before you know it, you will have a song in your heart and joy on your face.

 

A footnote from Titus 2:4-5 in the Full Life Study Bible says that God has a distinct purpose for the woman in relation to family, home, and motherhood.  His desire for a wife and mother is that her attention and devotion be focused on her family.  The home, husband, and children must be the center of a Christian mother’s world; this is her divinely appointed way of honoring the Word of God.  (In other words, we have a really big job to do, and we need His help!)

 

We all tend to let ourselves run out of “spiritual gas” at times.  If a car runs out of gas, it takes longer to fix it than it would have if we would have just taken the time to pull in the gas station.  It is the same with our spiritual lives.

 

I think I hear the Father now, saying, “You have a moment.”

 

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller