I Got a Rock

“I Got A Rock”

Do you remember in the Peanuts cartoon when Charlie Brown went trick-or-treating and he got a rock?  Each time, he would sadly say,”I got a rock.”  Well, I got a Rock too, and He sure doesn’t leave me depressed!

Deut. 32:31 says that their rock is not like our Rock.
Ps. 18:2 says that the Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.  (Amp. Bible)
Ps. 62: 2, 6 says that He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be greatly moved.

We all go through trials, and we need our Rock to help us in those times.  There is so much that He desires to teach us in our trials, but many times, we are not willing to take the time to listen to what He desires to teach us.  I want to share one of my big struggles, in hopes that it will encourage others out there who may struggle with the same kinds of issues.

I didn’t become a Christian until I was 19.  I am sad to say that before that, I was  promiscuous.  Those sinful acts continued to haunt me, even though I have now been saved for over 19 years.  (Yes, now you know how old I am.)
🙂  I would have lots of dreams about past relationships, built on nothing but fleshly lusts, and when I would wake up, I would feel so dirty.  I could be sitting in the sanctuary worshipping the Lord, and in an instant, a dark thought would enter my mind, reminding me of that sordid past.  It was a constant struggle.  Even though I realized that these thoughts were an attack of the enemy, and not my own thoughts, I would think of the scripture that says that you reap what you sow.  To me, I was just receiving payment for my past failures and sins.

I so desperately want to be a woman of purity, and I just saw no way for this to happen.  I even talked to my pastor’s wife about this.  She assured me that it could and would happen.  I didn’t put much thought into what she said because she “saved” herself for marriage, so how could she possibly understand the issue of purity…

There is a couple who attends my church who were expecting a baby before they got married.  Many years have past since their “failure.”  They are both heavily involved in ministry, and have been such a blessing to me.  Having watched them over the years, I am just in awe of how they have allowed the Lord to use them in spite of their mistake.  I have talked to both of them to let them know how much of a blessing that they have been to me, in spite of what they could have allowed the enemy to do them because of their past.

One night, after having talked to one of them, I was having some quiet time with the Lord.  He spoke to me and told me that I could have the same thing that they have.  That was all He said at that point.

The next day or two, I kept pondering on what the Lord spoke to me.  I knew I was close to a major breakthrough.  Then, all within a matter of a few short hours, the TV went out, the microwave quit working, the “service engine soon” light came on in the car, and I broke something else, which at this point, I don’t even remember what it was.  My tendency when things like this happen is to just go off on anything and anyone.  I have a very short fuse.  But this time, I didn’t do that – I was so focused on what God had spoken to me, that I just clung to my Rock.  I really felt that if I was to have the spiritual breakthrough in this area, I would have to crucify those fleshly ways.

Within a few days, the Lord took me to the next step.  I was reading in the Amplified Bible.  II Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore if any person is engrafted in Christ, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old (previous moral and spiritual condition) has passed away.  Behold, the fresh and new has come!”  I had read that several times before, but this time, the words seemed to leap off the page at me.  I suddenly realized, that yes, we do reap what we sow, but Jesus came to remove the curse of sin from us, and so I was indeed a new creature, no longer bound by that awful past.  I felt such freedom!  Then the neatest thing happened…..

As I began to share this with other women, they would tell me that they saw me as a woman of purity, and they couldn’t believe that I didn’t see myself as that.  Over time, I have been able to look in mirror and actually see myself as a woman of purity.  As I have begun to walk in the truth which the Rock revealed to me, the awful nightmares, flashbacks, and bad thoughts have all begun to dissipate.  You see, Satan’s biggest weapon is a lie.  I believed the lie, so he was able to use it against me in a powerful way.  And just like with Eve, he used what God had said, but he twisted it.  Now that his lie was exposed, he was disarmed – disarmed by the Rock!

Ps. 18:31 says “For who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the Rock except our God?”  (NIV)

What lies of the enemy have you bound?  Is there a scripture that runs through your mind, that could be twisted by the enemy?  Our Rock came to break the chains of bondage and to let us walk in freedom.  Not freedom to do our own thing, but freedom to do the right thing, freedom that brings us life, and life abundantly.

May you find freedom, the true freedom that Jesus wants you to walk in each, and every day.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

I Choose to Die

I Choose to Die

I write this devotion only six days after having seen ‘The Passion of the Christ.’  Today was ‘Communion Sunday’ at church, and I can tell you that it is my deepest prayer that every time I partake of communion, that I will be as broken before the Lord as I was today.  As we partake of communion, we are admonished to do it in remembrance of Jesus. (I Cor 11) As the images from the movie ran through my mind, I began to weep.  Just as I thought I was done crying, another wave of tears would wash over me.  To think of what Jesus went through to save me from my sin — it’s simply amazing.

In light of this fresh revelation of what my Savior did for me, what do I do now?  I now see sin in a different way.  If I think of sinning, I picture a nail being viciously hammered into the precious hand of the One who created this very earth on which I live.  I see blood spurting out of the hand of the One whose very hands fashioned me within my mother’s womb. (Ps. 139) I pray that this vision NEVER leaves me!

Thinking upon His wonderful, loving sacrifice, there’s only one thing I can do.  I choose to die.  I choose to put to death the misdeed of my body. (Rom. 8:13) I choose to die daily (I Cor. 15:31) that in the end, I might live.  This fiery temper that tries to entangle me in bondage upon bondage is dying.  I choose to nail it to the cross where my Jesus paid my debt in full, declaring that IT IS FINISHED! (Jn. 19:30)

When my flesh wants to gossip about another person, may I remember the stripes on His back, the crown of thorns on His head, and the nails in His hands and feet.  When my flesh wants to rise up instead of bowing in humble submission to my husband, may I remember the gentle submission of the Lamb of God.  When I want to defend myself against taunts, threats, or unjust criticism, may I remember my loving Lord, who never spoke a word in His own defense.  When I want to pull back and go “AWOL” from God’s army, may I remember Him who said, through tears and sweat that was like drops of blood, “Nevertheless, not my will, but YOUR will be done.”
(Lk. 22:42)

Whenever my flesh tries to rear its ugly head, may my spirit boldly cry out, “I CHOOSE TO DIE!”  What about you?  Do you choose to die?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

“I” Check-Up

“I” Check Up

We could probably all name someone we know who has an “I” problem.  You know the type -– they constantly toot their own horn, bragging about their new car, new house, new clothes, closing their latest business deal, or how they just got promoted to a new position.  It is really easy for us to spot the speck in someone else’s eye, but it is much harder to look and see the plank in our own eye.  (Matthew 7:3-5)

I think of the times I have thought, “I want to sleep in.  I need the rest.  I’ll read my Bible tomorrow morning.”  Or maybe my daughter wants me to play with her, but I refuse because I would rather check my email.  How many times have I gone to church, but somewhere along the line, I have copped a bad attitude, so I refuse to enter into worship?  What about the times when I have thought, “I do not want to forgive him/her.”  What about the many occasions when I knew I should refrain from eating another piece of candy, yet I ate it anyway?  What about the moments when I have selfishly spent money on myself when it could have been better spent on something else.  The list could go on, but I am not sure that my toes could handle being stepped on anymore.  How about yours?

Notice that the choices made in the above situations have all been very selfish.  Maybe you can see yourself in some of the examples.  If so, it could be that you, too, are struggling with having an “I” problem.  However, do not be discouraged!  There is a remedy for this condition in Romans 12:3.  It tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.  Instead, we should be thinking of ourselves with sober judgment.   We should think of ourselves with a serious, clearheaded awareness, realizing when we need to occasionally step back and re-evaluate our priorities.  Taking the time do to do a careful analysis of our lives will assist us in staying on the right track, as well as helping us to take on the nature of a servant, just as Jesus did.  (Philippians 2:5-7)

Do you need an “I” check?
© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

I Can’t Hear You!

I Can’t Hear You!

Most parents find that it’s hard to let go of our children when they become more independent.  To help me feel a little more secure in letting Rachel ride her bike around the block, we use two-way radios.  If she crashes, and needs me, it’s easy for her to call for help.

One thing I’ve learned about those two-way radios is that if Rachel is trying to talk to me while I’m trying to talk to her, I can’t hear her.  I have to be careful to wait until she is finished talking before I start talking.  Otherwise, we can’t hear each other.

Have you ever known someone who was always thinking about the next thing they were going to say, rather than listening to what you were saying?  I wonder how many times we do this to the Lord.  While you are trying to listen to the Lord, you probably find yourself thinking about the dishes that need washed, the bill that needs to be paid, something you need from the grocery store, the card that needs to be sent, and the list goes on and on.  I wonder what God was trying to say when we were thinking about our to-do list.  Just when we think we can listen, we think of some other prayer request, so we begin to talk to the Lord about that one.  Again, I wonder what God was trying to say.  It’s a good idea to keep a pen and paper handy when we get alone with God so that when the to-do list comes to mind, we can jot it down, then take care of it later.

Is. 6:9 talks about people who will be ever hearing, yet not understanding.  They will be seeing and not perceiving.  Can Father say this is true of us?  Are we hearing other things instead of His voice?  Are we perceiving our own wants and desires while neglecting His wants and desires?

Father, help me to not be like the people mentioned in this verse.  Help me to have ears to hear whatever it is You have to say.  Help me to have a heart that will obey what You speak to me, no matter the cost.  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

How Do I Look?

How do I Look?

Have you ever gotten dressed for a special occasion, then asked your husband,  “How do I look?”  We like to be assured that we look nice.

In I Peter 3:4, it mentions a meek and quiet spirit.  Meekness is often looked upon by the world as being weakness.  How wrong they are!  Jesus was certainly meek, but He was definitely not weak!  Meekness means that we aren’t easily irritated or provoked.  (I know, some of you are wanting to stop reading right now, aren’t you?  Believe me, I’m speaking this to myself, even as I sit here typing it.)  Quiet refers to being peaceful, at rest, not troubled.

When someone offends you, or does something which really irritates you, do you keep your mouth shut?  Even if you manage to keep your mouth shut, are you inwardly fuming?  Were your thoughts less than holy?  If so, while it ‘appears’ that you are being meek, reality tells a different story.  It says that you are just a very good actress.  In other words, you are really good at ‘faking it.’

So, how is your appearance?  Do you appear before others as one who is meek?  How do you appear before the Lord?  Remember, He sees what our inward thoughts and attitudes are, even when others can’t.

Father, help me not to be easily provoked, whether outwardly or internally.  Help me to respond, rather than react.  Help me to give a calm response in those situations which try my patience.  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Housework – The Thankless Job

Housework – the thankless job

We clean and we clean, and nothing ever stays done.  We clean and we clean, and no one ever seems to appreciate it.  It’s easy to cop a bad attitude if you dwell on that fact.

God has placed us in our homes to be homeworkers, and we need to keep our focus in the right direction.  Psalm 16:6 says that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage. (Amp. Bible)  Do you really believe that the lines have fallen in good places for you — even while you are doing housework — the job that seems so “thankless”?

Jesus calls us to be faithful in the small things. Luke 16:10 says that he who is faithful in the very little things is faithful in much.  Sometimes the small things for us may be cleaning the toilet, wiping a runny nose, filling up a sippy cup, or taking out the trash.  You see, those “little things” do matter to God.  God entrusts the little things to our care to teach each of us faithfulness in bigger things.  He also wants you to see how even those little things can have an eternal effect.

Matt. 25:34-36 says “…for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me.” (NIV)
Think of it this way:  When you give your child a bath, you do it for Jesus.
When you scrub the stains that are so often on the clothing of small children, you do it for Jesus.  When you sew a button on hubby’s shirt, you do it for Jesus.  Even speaking a word of encouragement to someone can have an eternal impact.

A word of caution though – Col. 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord, as a reward.  It is the Lord you are serving.”  (NIV)  So, what is your motive and your attitude when you do these “little things”?  If we grumble and complain, or do it to receive the applause of man, we can’t expect a reward.

Let’s look at some of the things which Jesus did.
1.   He helped to settle arguments between people.  (Mk 9:34-35)  Any mothers out there who have done that recently?  🙂
2.   He served a meal to others. (Jn. 6:11)
3.   He even cleaned house, so to speak.  (Jn. 2:15-16)
4.   He washed feet.  (Jn. 13:5)
Do you see it?  Jesus did the SAME LITTLE THINGS which we are doing, and we get the privilege of doing them on a daily basis!

Get this in your spirit, and remember that when you are cleaning the house, you are doing it for Jesus, and He does care that you are doing it, He does see that you are doing it, and He does appreciate that you are doing it, as long as you do it with a joyful heart, and with the right motive.  I had to learn this recently because I was really getting a bad attitude.  It has really changed my way of thinking.  I have a whole new attitude when I approach housework now, and it is absolutely wonderful!

That’s all for this time.  I think I’ll go scrub a toilet!  🙂

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock

When my daughter was a toddler, we frequently sang a song about the wise man and the foolish man.  She loved doing the hand motions for the house that was built on sand.  I had no idea how the truths of that song would affect me in years to come.

Part of keeping our house on the rock is to make sure that we don’t choose the better over the best.  Sometimes I see the need to give up some very good activities so that I am able to grab hold of the best.  In my quest to try and keep my house built on the rock, I will frequently assess the activities in my life.

For instance, I was looking forward to attending a dinner for our women’s group at church.  It was the first opportunity that the ladies would have to hear our new pastor’s wife speak.  That same evening my daughter had gym class.  This was only the second time our homeschool group had met to have this class, and my daughter was really looking forward to participating.

I had to make a choice.  I could serve myself and enjoy the women’s function, or I could set my own needs and wants aside and serve my daughter.  Since my daughter is higher on my list of priorities than the women’s ministry, I chose to take her to gym class.  This helped me to keep my house on the rock because I chose to invest in my daughter, showing her that she is more important to me than the women at church.

My normal habit is to attend church on Wednesday evenings.  However, one Wednesday, I could tell that my husband was incredibly stressed.  Since he is higher on my priority list than my church attendance, I decided to have a friend take our daughter to church so that we could have some alone time – a huge rarity in our house.  I wish you could have seen my husband’s face when I made the arrangements for Rachel to attend without me.  He was very pleased.  Later when we were alone, I got out the massage oil and gave him a wonderful treat that he didn’t soon forget!  Once again, my choices helped me keep building on the rock, rather than shifting sand.

Another opportunity came when I found out that my friend’s son had a cyst on his brain.  I had not been able to get in touch with her, so I left a message on her answering machine, asking her to return my call.  Since she knows that I am adamant about not taking calls during our homeschool hours, I also told her that I would pick up the phone if I heard that it was her.  Now, while homeschooling is very high on my priority list, that particular day, I felt the need to drop it down a bit so that I could minister to my friend, as well as find out the details on what was taking place with her son.

Writing devotions is a passion of mine; however, I must not make the mistake of allowing it to come before the Lord.  Nor can I let it come before ministering to my husband, my daughter, or even keeping the household running.

Recently, I went through a season where I wasn’t writing at all.  Other things were just consuming my time.  During that time, it would have been very easy for me to become frustrated over not having any new material ready to send out to those on my mailing list.  Instead, I focused on continuing to build my house on the rock.  I knew that if I kept my priorities in order, God would honor those decisions.  Finally, I sat down one evening and grabbed my pen and paper.  Very quickly, I had written and typed up six devotions.  I was even able to write four more the next day.  I couldn’t seem to write fast enough to get my thoughts on paper.

As I’ve had to set aside a few of the things that I really wanted to do in order to choose God’s best for our family, I’ve had no regrets.  God is so faithful in pouring out His peace and joy when we are obedient to His Word.  The sense of balance that I have felt when I know that I have made choices that honored Him has been marvelous.  It makes it easier for me to say “no” to shifting sand.

Are you making choices that help you to build on the rock?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller