Fine Jewels

Fine Jewels

 

Have you been afflicted with various trials?  James tells us in chapter 1 to count it all joy when you face trials because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Perseverance works forth maturity in us.  Rom. 8:18 says that our present sufferings aren’t worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed in us.  I Cor. 2:9 reminds us that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, BUT He has revealed it to us by His Spirit.

 

In Is. 54:11-12, I found some “revealed” things that I hope will encourage you as you face trials and sufferings.  God will build you with turquoise, and your foundations with sapphires.  He will make your battlements of rubies, and your gates will be sparkling jewels.  All of your walls will be of precious stones. 

 

As we go through trials, allowing God to work all things together for good, according to HIS purpose, we will find our inner being adorned with a beauty that is better by far than the most precious of fine jewels.  We will sparkle radiantly with His glory.  Just as people are drawn to the beauty of fine gems, we will be a gem to which people are drawn because of the inner beauty which God has made in us.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Advertisements

Filthy Rags

Filthy Rags

 

As Christians, we know that we are saved by grace, through faith.  We say we aren’t saved by works, but yet the we live our lives may say something different.

 

Sometimes it’s good to evaluate why we are doing certain things.  Why do we allow our children to be involved in so many activities?  (Activities which require us to chauffeur every night of the week, and several times on the weekend)  Are we afraid to say no?  Are we trying to avoid hearing their whining if we refuse?  Is it to stroke our own ego?  Is it peer pressure?  Why do we feel that we must say ‘yes’ to every person who asks us to do something?  Are we looking for approval?  Do we fear what they may think of us if we say ‘no’?  Are we trying to stroke our ego again?

 

While doing all of these outside activities builds up a very busy schedule, it may not be building a very firm foundation for us.  Paul tells us that we should build a foundation using gold, silver, and costly stones. (I Cor. 3) When we find ourselves wrapped up in too many activities, even good activities, which aren’t God’s will for us, we will find that we are building a foundation of wood, hay, and straw.

 

When we find ourselves doing too many things that aren’t God’s best for us, we cause ourselves undue stress, excessive weariness, and constant strife.  The strife can affect our marriage, family, friendships, and most importantly, our walk with God.  Our aim should be to let God’s righteousness shine through.  When we build a foundation by doing things outside of God’s will for us, we are letting our own righteousness show through, and God makes it clear that our righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags.

(Is. 64:6)

 

Do you need to get rid of some filthy rags?

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Filtered

It’s Been Filtered

 

A few years ago, we got a new furnace.  Along with that, we decided to go with one of the clean-air filters since Rachel and I were both having allergy troubles.  With this filter, as the furnace turns on, the air is filtered before it reaches us.

 

Did you know that God also filters things before they come to us?  In Job 1:6-12 and Job 2:1-6, we see where Satan approaches the throne of God.  When God points out Job, his righteous servant, Satan attacks Job’s character, stating that Job only serves God because God has made things very easy for Job.  God allows Satan to afflict Job’s belongings and Job’s family.  After seeing that Job didn’t sin in all of this, Satan approaches God again.  As the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), Satan declares that if God allowed physical pain and suffering into Job’s life, Job would curse God.  Once again, we see God allowing Satan to bring terrible affliction upon Job, yet Job still didn’t sin.

 

When we face trials in this world, we shouldn’t be surprised.  God uses those trials to let us share in the sufferings of our Lord.  In the end, we will be overjoyed because we will see God’s glory revealed.  When suffering according to God’s will, we need to commit ourselves to God, continuing to do good, knowing that He can work good in us and through us.  Once we come through the trial, we will realize that is was good for us to be afflicted because that very affliction has caused us to learn much more about out God. (I Pet. 4:12-19; Rom. 8:28; Ps. 119:71)

 

Everything you face has been “Father-filtered.”

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Fighting Sleep

Fighting Sleep

 

I remember holding Rachel when she was a baby. Whether it was in the evening hours when she was tired, or at naptime, she would always get all snuggly in my arms, and pretty soon, she would be contentedly sleeping in my arms. I used to love to watch her as she would start to fight sleep, and then even as she fell asleep, sometimes I’d have a hard time wanting to put her in her crib. It was just so precious to watch her sleeping so peacefully!

 

I think we get so caught up in thinking of God in His holiness, righteousness, and in His fatherly role that we forget that He also has the same feelings toward us as we have toward our children, as we watch them, peacefully sleeping. We don’t often remember God has a soft, tender, motherly side to Him.

 

Recently, I overheard a conversation where some ladies were dealing with feelings of guilt for falling asleep at night when they were trying to pray. If that was the only time I talked to the Lord, I suppose I may feel the same way. But since I do talk to the Lord many times during the day, I think of it as a precious time of curling up in my Lord’s lap, letting His arms hold me securely. Before I know it, I am fighting sleep, just the way that Rachel used to do when she was in my arms. Next thing I know, I’m sound asleep, content in Daddy’s arms.

 

In Matthew 23:37, Jesus talks of wanting to gather Jerusalem, as a mother hen tries to gather her chicks under her wings, yet Jerusalem wasn’t willing. Daughter, are you willing to let Him gather you under His wings?

 

You’ve probably heard parents talking about their new baby, saying that the child is ‘the apple of my eye.’ Daughter, you are the apple of God’s eye. (Zechariah 2:8) He delights in watching you, even in those hours when you fall asleep while trying to pray.

 

Have you ever had moments when you sat there, watching your children, unnoticed? We can take great delight in watching them in those moments. They are so precious. God takes great delight in you, dear one. (Zephaniah 3:17) He loves to behold you, even as you sleep.

 

There are those times when a child will come running to Mommy, crying out in disappointment, frustration, or even in pain. Mommy will pick up her baby, hold her close, and whisper, “Shhh, it’s OK.” Sometimes a simple, loving kiss to a ‘boo-boo’ will fix things and quiet them. God wants to quiet you with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17) In those hours when you are finding it so hard to stay awake and focus on prayer, maybe your Father just wants to quiet you with His love, giving you a much-needed peaceful rest.

 

Just as a mother can’t forget the babe at her breast, nor can she have no sense of compassion on the babe, neither can God forget you. He’s even engraved your name on the palm of His hand. (Is. 49:15-16) God uses these kinds of illustrations in His Word to show us His tender heart toward us. Daughter, don’t feel guilty because you may fall asleep at night while trying to pray. God knows you so well. He knows the busy, stressful day you’ve had. Just as we have compassion on our children when they’ve had a rough day, God does the same for us. Look at it as a gift from Him. He knows you need to rest, so Daughter, are you ready to quit fighting sleep and just rest contentedly in your Father’s arms?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Fear Factor

The Fear Factor

 

God gave a very clear directive to Jonah, but Jonah didn’t like what God said, so he thought he’d run away from God. (Ever been there?)  Instead of facing his fears and obeying the Lord, he paid money to go a different direction. 

 

What did his fare buy for him?

  1. He had to face a violent storm while on the wrong ship.
  2. He faced the humiliation of having all of the men on board know that he was disobeying God.  What a wonderful testimony he gave for the Lord!
  3. He got thrown overboard.  He surely didn’t count on that taking place or he would have asked for a discounted ticket!
  4. He caused great fear in the other men when they threw him overboard.
  5. He got to spend three days in the belly of a huge fish, living among all of the putrid stomach acids — the likes of which I don’t even think “Fear Factor” would use on their television show.

 

Finally, Jonah faces up to his sin.  In Jonah 2:8, he mentions that those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  Could it be that fear becomes an idol when it hinders us from doing God’s will?

 

After confessing his sin, Jonah finds himself being vomited onto dry land.  From there, he completes the task God set before him — the very task that had previously left him dealing with the fear factor.

 

If you are battling fear, here are some promises for you:

Ps. 27:1 The Lord is my light and salvation, so whom shall I fear?

Ps. 34:4 God delivers me from ALL my fears.

Ps. 91:5 You don’t need to fear the terror of night, the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the dark, or the plague that strikes at midday.

Is. 41:10 Don’t fear, for I am with you.

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace the woman whose mind is fixed on you because she trusts in you.

Jn. 16:33 In this world you will face tribulations (including battling with fear), but take courage because Jesus has overcome the world.

Heb. 13:5 NEVER will I leave you, NEVER will I forsake you.

Do you need to take a fear factor before the Lord?

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

 

Fearing to Look Younger

I had a very interesting thing happen one weekend.  My husband took us out to eat, and while standing in line, waiting to pay, I saw a face from my past.  It was a girl who beat me up when I was in sixth grade, and she was in eighth. While I went through months of being terrified to go to school each day, that fear no longer grips me.  I even approached this gal and asked if she remembered me.  She didn’t, so I proceeded to tell her where I knew her from, what my name was, and then I added, “You beat me up.”  The look on her face was priceless!  She was so embarrassed!  It gave us both a good laugh.

 

While we can all laugh at a story like that, seeing her again didn’t put fear into me, but sadness.  She is only two years older than me, but she looks about fifteen years older.  I have been praying for her because the hard lines on her face spoke volumes to me as to what kind of life she has lived over the last thirty years. 

 

One thing I’ve noticed about serving the Lord is that it can take years off of your face.  (Thank you Jesus!)  I have been told many times that I look much younger than what I really am.  I give all of the credit for that to my Master.  Jesus wasn’t lying to us when He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Mt. 11:30) While we all deal with fear at some point in our lives, there is another kind of fear that is for our own good.  It is the fear of the Lord, and there are many rewards found in having this kind of fear.

 

Ps. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is pure, and it endures forever.

Ps. 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who walk in the way of His precepts have good understanding.

Pr. 8:13 The fear of the Lord leads one to hate evil.  (When we hate evil, we work hard to avoid it, and it can add years to our life because we aren’t dealing with the guilt and consequences of doing evil.)

Pr. 10:27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life.  (I believe it softens our countenance, causing us to look much younger too.)

Pr. 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death.

Pr. 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom.  (When we walk in wisdom, it can save us from a lot of things that can could otherwise lead to excessive worrying, ulcers, and lack of sleep.)

Pr. 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life.  (Jesus mentions coming to give us life abundantly.  Part of that ‘life’ is learning to fear Him.)

 

Do you want to look younger?  Do you want to live life abundantly?  Get a healthy fear of the Lord, and see what benefits you may reap!

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

False Profit

False Profit

 

Coveting is something that started back in the Garden of Eden. Eve saw that the fruit looked delicious, and she just had to have it – never mind the consequences, or the fact that God told her not to eat it. She thought she would profit from it, but what she gained was ‘false profit.’

 

King Saul became greedy when God told him to completely destroy the Amalekites and everything belonging to them. Saul decided to keep King Agag, as well as the very best of the animals. Saul’s false profit caused God to reject him as king. Later, we see where Saul’s false profit even opened him up to an evil spirit.

 

Nabal was also given to false profit. When King David’s servants went to Nabal, asking for some food, Nabal became very arrogant and selfish, thinking that it would profit him more to hold onto what he had, rather than sharing it. The very next day when Abigail told him how she and servants had helped David, Nabal’s heart failed him, and he died ten days later. Nabal was certainly a fool, just as his name says, and he gave in to false profit.

 

Judas decided that he wanted some profit, so he betrayed the King of Kings for a measly thirty pieces of silver. His false profit led him to hang himself.

 

Jesus told us that it doesn’t profit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul. (Mark 8:36) Too often, we fix our eyes on what is seen, rather than the unseen. We lose sight of eternity, forgetting that our lives are nothing more than a vapor that appears for a short time, and then disappearing. (James 4:14) We struggle with setting our affections on the ‘here and now,’ rather than on things above. (Colossians 3:1-2)

 

We hear stories of men who climb the corporate ladder, not giving much thought to the excessive hours required at the office to succeed in their goal. Their false profit often results in a broken marriage, as well as broken children. After many years of hearing about the women’s liberation movement, we now see many a woman fall into the same trap. She seems to forget, or devalue, the impact that her presence has on her children. False profit can be so costly.

 

Even a stay-at-home mom can fall prey to false profit, thinking that she must put her children in every activity available. After all, the children do need to be properly socialized! Her false profit keeps her children from having time to play, enjoy life, and just plain ‘be kids.’ When they get socialized at all of these activities, mom doesn’t realize that a lot of that socialization is less than desirable. The children grow up, feeling pressures to constantly be somewhere, constantly be performing, or constantly competing. If they don’t meet Mom’s expectations and her agenda, then they have to deal with a very cranky, irritated Mommy. I wonder how many stress-related ailments these children end up with, all because of Mommy’s false profit.

 

King David went after false profit when he beheld Bathsheba. It led him down a sinister path when he discovered that Bathsheba was pregnant with his own child. In the end, he had her husband killed while in battle. His false profit resulted in the death of this baby. But, the story doesn’t end there. David was repentant, and out of that broken, repentant heart, he wrote Psalm 51. David discovered that God’s mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22)

 

It’s the same for us when we’ve chased after false profit. We need to pray for a godly sorrow that truly leads us to repentance. (II Corinthians 7:10) As we humbly repent, God will be faithful to wash us whiter than snow, restoring to us the joy of our salvation.

 

Are you chasing after any false profits?

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller