Hot Flashes

Hot Flashes
As I began that wonderful process of going through menopause over a year ago, I was finding myself constantly bombarded with night sweats.  I would wake up so drenched that it would keep me awake for several hours.  A couple of friends suggested that I start taking soy.  Within three weeks of having started the soy, the night sweats had stopped and I was also sleeping much better.  Even the hot flashes during the day lessened.

Several months after having started this journey through menopause, I was looking at Rev. 3:15-16 where the Lord says that He would rather have us hot or cold.  He told the church of Laodicea that because they were lukewarm, He was about to spit them out of His mouth.  As I pondered on this scripture, I asked the Lord why He hates the state of being lukewarm.  He asked me how I felt when the soy began to work in helping me not to have so many night sweats. Words like “contented, satisfied, pleased, supplied, fulfilled, at ease” came to mind.  I was contented because I wasn’t waking every night feeling all sweaty and smelly.  I was satisfied and pleased that I was getting good rest again.  My wishes for a peaceful rest were being supplied and fulfilled.  I was at ease with going to bed; I knew that I could sleep well again.  Why did I feel this way?  Was it because of what God had done?  No, it was because I was looking to a pill to meet my needs instead of seeking the Lord to work through the pill.  I began to sing the praises of the soy which I was taking, rather than praising God for the person who was wise enough to see the benefits of soy for menopausal women.  I was becoming lukewarm (satisfied) in what was taking place.

Father asked me what I do when I am cold.  I do everything in my power to warm up (except maybe exercise!).  I will turn up the heat, put on warmer clothing, fix a warm drink, find a heavy blanket.  I won’t rest until I am able to take off the chill.  It’s the same thing when I am hot.  I won’t rest until I find something that will cool me down.  I began to get the picture.  When we are comfortable, we stop working to warm up or cool down.  We are satisfied.

It is the same in our walk with God.  When we reach a place where we are spiritually satisfied with where we are, we are in dangerous territory.  We become “self-satisfied.”  We are coming close to being spit out of His mouth.  I’m not referring to finding contentment in the place where God has called you.  I’m talking about that place where we become slackers at reading the Word.  I’m talking about where we don’t long for His presence because we are at ease with where we are.  We may have even become self-sufficient, thinking that WE are providing for all of our needs, forgetting that it is really GOD who meets our needs.

The Lord reminded me of the drenching from those night sweats.  He revealed to me that He desires for us to be drenched by His Spirit on a daily basis.  In Jn. 7:38, Jesus mentions that if we are thirsty, we need to come to Him and drink.  Streams of living water will flow from within us.  We will be drenched by drinking His water.  In Eph. 5:26, we see that Christ made the Church holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through His Word.  We see the Word “washing” here.  To be thoroughly washed, you must get drenched.  In Isaiah 58:11 it tells us that God will guide us always, satisfying (He is the one to satisfy us) our needs, even in a sun-scorched land.  He will cause us to be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Father, help us to look to You daily for the drenching that comes from Your Spirit.  There is so much around me, trying to seize my focus from You on a daily basis.  Help me to be faithful to hide Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against You.  Help me to depend on You, to submit to Your will every moment of every day.  Holy Spirit, I need you desperately.  Drench me so that my spirit will be saturated with Your presence.  Drench me so that my spirit won’t become parched, barren, unproductive, dehydrated, or withered.  Let me be like the tree planted by streams of water that is able to yield precious fruit.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Homeland Security

Homeland Security

In pondering on terrorist attacks, I realized that not only do terrorist attacks come into our home, but we are capable of launching them ourselves.  Just as our own country now has a department called ‘Homeland Security,’ we also need to devise a spiritual ‘Homeland Security’ plan.

Many of us are entering that stage of life where we may see our husband go through a mid-life crisis.  As men reach the stage of life where the hair begins to thin and the waist begins to thicken, they may suddenly realize that as they go walking down the street, they no longer draw the attention of women.  Ladies who may likely do a double-take when they see a good-looking man, don’t even acknowledge that he exists.  They may get that sudden panic-stricken feeling of realizing that their youth is quickly fading before their eyes.  To top it off, they come home, only to hear the following kinds of comments:
‘Dad, can I have an increase on my allowance?’
‘The washer quit working today, and the car is acting up.’
‘Did you remember to stop by the store and pick up some milk?’
‘Dad, did you write out the check for church camp registration?’
‘I need money so that I can pay the bills.’
‘Junior got put in detention for the second time this week.’
‘Janie got a D on her report card.’

Suddenly, not only does he feel old and fat, but he feels very unappreciated and unloved.  Part of devising a homeland security plan is to be very strategic about the timing of these kinds of issues.  We also need to teach our children to be mindful of how and when they approach their father with these kinds of requests.

Ladies, if we aren’t careful, we can launch a terrorist attack of infidelity.  You see, we are told in Eph. 5:33 that we are to respect our husband, to notice him, prefer him, praise him, compliment him, and admire him exceedingly. (Amp.) When we fail to do this, it can further launch him toward the temptation of an affair.  The other woman never brings him problems (like a broken washer, car repairs, etc.), but she plays up to his ego.  She compliments him, admires him, praises him, notices him, and she even takes the time to listen to him.  She does what we may have failed to do.  When we take the time to give our husband what I call ‘positive strokes,’ we launch a homeland security plan that keeps him coming home to us, rather than looking to another woman.

Continuing on the subject of homeland security, keep in mind that when your husband has been out working all day, he likely sees dog-eat-dog competition, and hears negative talk, criticism, and backbiting, not to mention a lot of ungodly talk in the form of dirty jokes and foul language.  A perfect solution for this would be to give him some time to read the Word when he first gets home.  However, I have heard from many women that their husband won’t take the time to read the Word.  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our own sin, and the Word cleanses us from the dirty things to which we are exposed on a daily basis.  So if our husband isn’t taking time to read the Word, letting it cleanse him from the filth that he’s dealt with all day long, how can we launch a homeland security plan to help him?  We need to counter all of that negative ‘stuff’ when he comes home.  If he isn’t in the habit of reading the Word, we can try to offer a pleasant, wholesome atmosphere in our home.  We can be diligent about reading the Word ourselves, and then sharing in conversation with him the things we are learning, or even letting him know how we are being challenged in our own walk.

Many times in our marriage, our spouse may say something that angers us.  If we don’t quickly crucify our flesh, we will launch an ungodly terrorist attack by lashing out in our anger and bringing up past issues and past hurts.  That kind of attack may cause damage to our marriage that is similar to the Twin Towers when they came crashing down. The very foundation was destroyed.  Rather than destroying the foundation of our marriage in the heat of an argument, let’s determine to have a homeland security plan that shows us to be peacemakers, showing ourselves to be true daughters of God. (Mt. 5:9) We are to make every effort to live in peace with ALL men, including our husband. (Heb. 12:14)

Another homeland security plan that I have enforced is by teaching my daughter that we are to be different — aliens and strangers on this earth. (Heb. 11:13) We don’t dress in hip huggers or low-cut, tight-fitting shirts because as Christian ladies, we are to be self-controlled and chaste in our actions, deeds, and our manner of dress so that God’s Word won’t be blasphemed or exposed to reproach.  (Tit. 2:5) We are to control our bodies in purity, not dressing like the ungodly who purposely dress with the intent to get men to lust for them.  For when we dress and behave immodestly, we defraud young men by getting them to think that we can provide satisfaction for them, and it’s GOD who should bring ultimate satisfaction to them.  God doesn’t take this matter lightly either — rather, He will punish all (wo)men for such sins. (I Th. 4:4-6) By starting the teaching on modesty and proper behavior at a young age, we have engaged a homeland security plan that may help to keep our daughters pure in body, mind, and spirit.  It can help to destroy the terrorist attacks that are so prevalent in the lives of many young ladies in this day and age.

Many times when our hormones are all out of kilter, our tongues can unleash a vicious terrorist attack.  One plan to keep the homeland safe during these times is to meditate on Phil. 4:8.  If we find that our thoughts aren’t true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, or praise worthy, we can go to war and take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (II Cor. 10:5) There is nothing wrong with taking some medication to help us during those time of crabbiness.  I’ve taken herbal medicines, as well as a generic premenstrual medication to help soothe my raging hormones.  I also go on the offensive and warn my family that my hormones are acting crazy.  I ask them to please try to bear with me.  I let them know that if I’m short-tempered and cranky with them, it’s not their fault.  They are much more likely to grant me grace in those times if I simply forewarn them.

In this final lesson on homeland security, we will be discussing how to launch a plan to teach our children faithfully about the Lord.  We will also deal with the overwhelming issue of suffering through depression, even when you have been faithful to read the Word of God.

Another very pro-active homeland security plan is to be faithful to teach our children about God, and how God wants us to live.  So many times, parents leave the spiritual training to the church and the workers at the church.  Having worked in children’s church for quite some time, I can assure you that a lot of time is wasted during children’s church because of the rowdy children.  I know that many times the workers wonder if any of their message came across because of the myriad of distractions they face every week.  I know that we are all tired at the end of the day, and we just want to send the kids off to bed so that we can have some peace, but that is a prime time to talk with the children.  They are very open in those moments.  Don’t let a satanic terrorist steal those moments from you, never to be recaptured.  If you make this a habit, in only a matter of about thirty days, it will become an automatic habit and a good one!  You will never regret taking that time to talk with your children.  Sometimes the subject will get off target, but that’s all right.  Let them talk, and be sure to really listen to them.  If you don’t take time to listen and talk with them about the unimportant issues, they won’t talk to you later about the really important issues.

Too many people are quick to condemn those who suffer with depression.  They leave you with the impression that if you read the Word, it will take care of any depression.  While that is true in many case, it isn’t true in all cases.  Sometimes there are physical things wrong that need to be corrected through medication.  To those of you who may be on medicine for depression, I want to say, ‘Bless you for getting help!’ You may be facing guilt and condemnation from the enemy.  In fact, some of that guilt and condemnation may even be coming from your own church family.  I applaud you for realizing that you needed some help from a doctor.  Because of your wisdom in seeing this need, you may never realize what kinds of terrorist attacks you may have stopped just by simply taking medication to help your body function the way God made it to function.  You have launched an effective security plan for yourself, and for your family.  Don’t feel guilty about being on the medication.  After all, God is the one who gave doctors the wisdom to help you!

Sisters, do you need to start up some homeland security in your home?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Home Court Advantage

Home Court Advantage

I enjoy watching the Pacers play.  It’s always more fun to watch when they have the home court advantage because you get to sense the excitement of the crowd.  Most teams will do better on their home court because they know it well and are comfortable there.

Many of us have forgotten about home court advantage because we are too busy running the children off to ballet classes, gymnastics lessons, piano lessons, soccer practice, basketball or football practice, Bible clubs, Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts, or many other activities that are available to kids these days.  We also have the adult activities that we participate in, so when added together, it leaves very little time to have the home court advantage.  We are so seldom there that we never quite get used to ‘playing the game of life’ together, nor do we have time for ‘practice’ or ‘team meetings.’

The majority of families do not have meal time together in the evening.  If we are there, often the TV is allowed to fill that space, keeping us from talking and connecting as a family.  We are to be our children’s cheerleaders, but when we fail to take time to converse with each other, learning of the struggles or the victories, it’s hard to cheer for each other.

We saw early in the 2004-2005 NBA season what can happen when we are taken away from our home court advantage with the infamous ‘basket-brawl’ in Detroit.  Some of the players, and at least one of the coaches actually feared for their lives.  When we spend too much time away from the home court, our loved ones may wind up in a spiritual ‘basket-brawl.’  The enemy may be devouring them, but we are too busy with our activities to even take notice.  Just as there was a lot of trash and alcohol thrown at the Pacers when they were leaving the court, there are many people out there who would love the opportunity to pollute your child’s mind with trash and alcohol.

There are many advantages of being in our own home court:
1.    Close relationships will build between the parents and the children.
2.    Our lives will be much more relaxed because we won’t be on the run constantly.
3.    There is time for fun devotionals times that teach spiritual principles that will stick with the children.
4.    When we take lots of time to listen to our children, when they face things like sex, drugs, and alcohol, they will be more receptive to listen to us because we have invested hours in that relationship already.
5.    You may find that your children actually WANT to be with you!  Instead of seeing their parents griping about running late, needing to hurry off to the next activity, they can see that Mom and Dad actually know how to play games, joke around, and just have a good time.
6.    You may also find that you will have much less conflict during those turbulent teen years because you have shown your children that they are important, valued, and deeply loved.

How’s your home court advantage?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Hip Surgery

Hip Surgery

After dealing with excruciating pain for many years, my mother-in-law decided to have hip surgery.  I was absolutely amazed when I saw her for the first time after the surgery.  She looked fifteen years younger!  That “pained” look she had worn for so many years was gone and she was standing much taller.

In the Bible we find the story of how Jacob deceived his father into giving him the blessing that belonged to his brother, Esau.  For a very short while, Jacob probably “stood taller” as he gloated in his deceitful accomplishment.

It wasn’t long however, before he was running for his life.  I wonder if he could relate to the words of David during that time.  “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away.” (Psalm 32:3) Did Jacob understand that his deceitful ways were tearing him apart on the inside?

There came a day where Jacob had to face whom he had become.  Not only that, but he had to wrestle with the angel of God.  It left him with a limp for the rest of his life.  Yet, I would venture to say that even with that limp, Jacob walked taller on the inside from that day forth.

After my mother-in-law’s surgery, she referred to her pain as “wonderful pain,” for she knew it was the pain of a body that was healing.  I would imagine that Jacob discovered the beauties of “wonderful pain” after he wrestled all night long to receive the blessing.

The words of Psalm 119:80 (Message) fit so well with the transformation that took place in Jacob’s life that night.  “And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.”

Father, let the words of this Psalm be the daily cry of my heart.  Amen.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

High Tech Busybody

High Tech Busybodies

In today’s busy society, it seems that we have lost the art of hospitality.  People rarely take time to have company over for an evening of fun.
Because of that, it may be easy to think that the nasty habit of being a busybody has died out too.  After all, First Timothy 5:13 describes a busy body as one who goes from house to house.

On the contrary, I think the busy body is thriving in today’s society.  The only difference is that she has become a high tech busy body.  Instead of going from house to house, she now goes from website to website, from chat room to chat room, from one bulletin board to another.

This verse in First Timothy also tells us that she learns to become an idler.  The dictionary describes an idler as one who is useless, not busy, inactive, moving about aimlessly, and one who wastes.

When we think of a Miss Busy Body’s use of the computer, we can easily picture her as one who does not manage her home well. (Proverbs 31) She spends so much time online that she is not busy taking care of her home.  Inactivity in the home tends to lead to piles of dirty laundry and dirty dishes.  There will be dusty furniture and sticky floors.  There will be unmade beds and piles of clutter.  Things in the home continue to pile up while she continues to wander aimlessly around the Web, soon finding herself tangled in that very web.

I can picture her husband coming home to a disorganized home every night, giving her a disgusted look that says, “What did you do all day?”
I would imagine that there is a lot of bickering in the home because the kids are looking for something, unable to find it because of her lack of managing her home.  I can picture her finally getting around to fixing the evening meal, only to discover that she doesn’t have the necessary ingredients – all because she chose to be online all day, rather than fulfilling the ministry of taking care of her home and family.

We can picture this high tech lady rising early, not to get into the Word, but to check out her favorite websites.  She convinces herself she will do devotions later, only to see a hot topic arise on a particular board.  She chooses instead to see what juicy discussions take place.  Little does she realize that those morsels of gossip go down into her deepest parts. (Proverbs 18:8)

It’s no wonder she soon feels empty, void, barren, and dead inside.  Have you ever felt that way?  These words are words used in the Thesaurus to describe one who is idle.

If these words fit how you often feel, could it be that you have become a high tech busy body?  Is it time to turn off the World Wide Web in order to spend time with the Creator of this whole wide world?
© 20006, Stacy R. Miller

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

Children seem to revel in playing hide and seek.  They find such pleasure in this game.  We, as adults, often play hide and seek, but we don’t do it because it’s fun.  In fact, it is an often painful “game” which we play.   We do it because we are trying to hide our hurt feelings, our anger, our fears, our failing marriage, physical or emotional abuse, our sin, and the list could go on and on.  What do you hide behind?  Many times it can be the big things, but sometimes it’s the “little” things that can cause us to hide.  You know, those nagging little things like envy of a friend’s nicer, bigger home, or anger at being treated unfairly, or the jealousy of a friend who has a prestigious job and gets to wear nice clothes all the time……

You may think that you are hiding things very well, but God says:

“For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He carefully weighs all man’s goings.”  Prov. 5:21 Amp. Bible
Ps. 139:2-3 says that God knows when we sit or stand.  God understands our thoughts from afar.  He sifts and searches out our paths and our lying down, and He’s acquainted with all of our ways.
Ps. 139:7 “Where could I go from Your Spirit?  Or where could I flee from Your presence?”  Amp. Bible
Luke 12:2 says that nothing is so closely hidden that it won’t be revealed.
Jer. 23:24 “Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?”  Amp. Bible

Let’s look at some people in scripture who played “Hide and Seek.”  The first game of hide and seek was in Genesis with Adam and Eve. (Gen. 3:10)   The sin which they tried to hide ended up getting them kicked out of the garden of Eden.

Jonah also felt the need to play this game.  (Jonah 1:3-4)  Where did it get him?  He was in the belly of a fish for 3 days and nights.  I was pondering on this the other day, after my husband and daughter went through a bout with the stomach flu.  When you have the flu, you get to the point where you are just vomiting bile, and not only does it taste bad, but it SMELLS AWFUL!!!  That sick smell just seems to linger if you don’t work hard to clean everything.  Imagine what Jonah went through, living amongst the bile of a fish, and for 3 days!!  YUCK!!!!  Sin will surely take you places where you DON’T want to go!

David committed adultery with Bathsheba and went so far as to have her husband killed on the front lines.  He thought that he had done a good job of covering up for his wrong doing, that is, until Nathan the prophet approached him.   Num. 32:23 says to be sure that your sin will find you out.

Hagar ended up running away from Sarah after Sarah “dealt severely with her, humbling and afflicting her.”  Gen. 16:6 (Amp. Bible)  In verse 8, God said to Hagar, “Where did you come from, and where are you intending to go?”  It ended up that Hagar called God El Roi – “the One who sees.”  Gen. 16:13  Even when she tried to hide, God still saw her.

If you trying to play your own game of “Hide and Seek,” I promise you that you won’t win.  Sometimes it is so hard to admit those things which we hide behind.  I know, I’ve been there, and unfortunately, I’ve played this game more than once or twice.  I remember a time when someone at church kept showing me their baby and telling me that I needed one of my own.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I let a stronghold of anger and bitterness develop over it.  I had some serious back trouble at the time which made pregnancy seem like an impossibility for me, not to mention that I had chronic colitis, and was on 6-8 pills a day.  That sure wasn’t a conducive environment to a pregnancy.  (God has since delivered me of the chronic colitis, and maybe one of these times I will share that AWESOME experience.)  It was so bad that God had to remove me from that particular church for a while so that he could get me away from the situation.  For the longest time, I blamed it on the pastor.  “I wasn’t getting fed.”  Ever hear those famous words?  Eventually, I was to the place where God uncovered that “hidden place” in my heart, and I dealt with it, and was very quickly back into my original church.  I have no anger or resentment toward the person who originally offended me.  I can now see her as a very dear sister in the Lord.

If you are playing the “game,” please pray for God to reveal to you what is in your heart, mind, soul, and spirit that isn’t pleasing to Him.  Allow Him to show you where you aren’t clearly seeing things which need to be corrected.  Pray for Him to strip down the walls of arrogance and  fear, and to expose you to yourself.  (That can be scary, but well worth it!)  Pray for Him to give you the desire and strength to correct the error of your ways.  Pray for Him to help you to replace any lies of the enemy with the truth of His Word.

Psalm 32:3-4 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”  (NIV)
Ps. 38:3-5 “Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin.  My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.  My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.  (NIV)  Life is hard enough without adding to the burden by trying to play “Hide and Seek” when there is no way that we will ever win.

When you confess your sin, it’s not like you are telling God something that is going to shock Him, or make Him turn away from you.  He all ready knows about it.  Confession is just admitting to God what He all ready knows, and agreeing with Him that what you did is wrong.  Then comes repentance – truly being sorry to the point of grief, and turning away from it.  I know in my own walk, I can repent, but then I find myself doing the same thing, even though my intention was to truly turn away from it.  When we repent of something it doesn’t mean that we won’t ever commit that sin again.  It simply means that we don’t INTEND to ever commit that sin again.  Anytime we sin, we need to quickly repent so that the death process which has been set into motion will be stopped; for we know that the “wages of sin is death.”  Rom. 6:23.

Prov. 28:13 I am paraphrasing here:  She who continues to play “Hide and Seek” will not prosper, but she who confesses and renounces the game will find mercy from her Lord.

Acts 3:19 paraphrasing again:  Quit playing “Hide and Seek” so that your sins may be blotted out, then will come times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord.

My sisters, time is too short to be playing games in any way with our spiritual walk.  Let’s be diligent in making sure that we are keeping our garments spotless so that we can be unashamed when Jesus comes to take us to that glorious marriage supper of the Lamb.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller