Job Training

Job Training

Years ago when I was hired by the phone company as a service representative, I went through the company’s intense nine week training program.  The course was so difficult that at least thirty percent of those who start it would never complete it.  If they had put me at a desk without proper training, I wouldn’t have known how to answer any of the questions asked of me.  I also wouldn’t have been able to assist those who wanted an extension on paying their bill, nor could I assist those who needed to set up new phone service or a transfer of service to a new residence.  Only as I was diligent to get that training deeply imbedded, was I able to assist and instruct my customers.

As Christians, we are supposed to let the Word have its home in our hearts and minds.  The Word of God is to dwell in us richly. Only as we get the Word deep inside us are we able to fulfill the commands to admonish, teach, train, and encourage on another. (I Thessalonians 5:11; Colossians 3:16)

On my job, I needed to be thoroughly equipped to handle the myriad of requests that customers had over the course of a day.  Every day finds us facing new challenges and new requests of people.  We need to be confident that we have taken the time for correct training so that we handle these situations correctly.  God’s Word is our training manual – useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that we are thoroughly equipped.

As wives, mothers, and Christian women, we are constantly being called on for help.  It may be in dealing with a discipline issue, or it might be in how to help a sister whose husband has been unfaithful.  It may be in how to help our husband during a stressful time at work.  We must daily set priorities for the things on our to-do list.  If we haven’t been getting proper ‘job training’ from the Word, we will easily be led astray by our emotions, rather than responding the way God desires.  Our priorities will be out of kilter, and our flesh will rule our day, rather than our spirit.

Do you need more job training?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Into the Fire

Into the Fire

My daughter has done a ceramics project the last two years for her 4-H project.  The process she uses to make her craft is very similar to some phases we go through in our walk with the Lord.

The first phase of making a ceramic is to take the clay and mold it into something useful.  It takes a lot of work to mold the clay because it is cold, hard, and stiff until you start working with it.  I have gone through spells where my heart would become rather cold toward the things of God.  The only thing that would change my cold heart was to let God take my heart in His hands, and warm it with His touch and His Word.  I have also had times when I was very hard toward things the Lord wanted to do in my life.  I fought the work He wanted to do in me.  The longer He held me in His hand, the softer and more pliable I became, until He could finally mold me into what He wanted.

Once Rachel had finished the molding process in making her ceramic, she would have to set it aside for two weeks so that it could dry.  I have often heard people say that God has times where He puts us on a shelf.  I don’t believe that.  I believe that even when we may feel like we are just sitting there, God has a specific purpose in mind.  Just as Rachel’s ceramic had to set for two weeks so that it could absorb the shape she created it to be, God’s molding process in us may require that we sit for a while, just absorbing the work that He has done.  It may also be a time for resting, preparing us for the next phase of our journey.

In the second phase of making ceramics, the ceramic must go through the fire.  We also need to go through the fire at different times throughout our lives.  The fire is the process God uses to refine us.

In the next phase of making ceramics, you must paint the item.  It requires three coats of paint, letting each coat dry before you apply the next coat.  This would be similar to how we come through fiery trials.  As we are faithful to God, allowing Him to teach us during the fire, He ‘paints’ us with the colors of His glory. (II Corinthians 3:18)

After the paint dries, the ceramic must go through the fire once again.  As the ceramic goes through this last phase of entering the fire, the paint will become vivid in color, as well as developing a beautiful shine.

When we go through the fire, our ‘paint’ is the genuineness of our faith.  Once our faith is tested and proven real, our countenance becomes vivid, just like the paint on a ceramic.  We will glow with God’s glory.  (James 1:2-4; I Peter 1:6-7)

How is your ‘paint’ doing?  Is it vivid in color?
© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

Do you ever feel intimidated by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31?  I sure have!  She was the model of perfection.

I remember going through a time when I couldn’t seem to do anything right.  I went to cut off a pair of Rachel’s pants to make Capri’s out of them.  I cut the same leg twice!

Another time I got really energetic and was trying to do some in-depth cleaning.  In my haste to get as much accomplished before my energy level dropped, I used the wrong cleaner on a door and ruined the finish.  Shortly thereafter, I ruined our evening meal.

Everything within me was screaming, “YOU ARE A FAILURE!”  I had to stop and tell myself the truth.  While Rachel was not going to have Capri’s from that one pair of pants, she was able to have a pair of shorts.

So maybe the finish on the door was ruined, but that is something which can easily be corrected.  Plus, I looked at all of the other things I accomplished that day.  I wasn’t a failure!  Actually, I was quite productive!

I ruined one meal out of how many?  In other words, that meal was a failure, not me.

Now back to that virtuous woman….She may appear to be the model of perfection.  In reality, she had mastered being perfect as our Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) In this verse, “perfect” means mature.  The virtuous woman learned not to let mistakes master her.  She learned what she could from them, and that is what made her perfect.

Instead of being intimidated by her example, we need to follow her example.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

Interior Decorating

Interior Decorating

I have always enjoyed decorating my house.  When we first got married, money was tight.  Since I couldn’t afford to spend much on decorating the house, I would go to garage sales, looking for little items that would make our house have a “homey” look to it – warm and inviting.

Before we came to Christ, our interior may have been decorated with such things as these:  sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and more.  (Gal. 5:19-20)

While we became a new creation the very instant that we got saved, (II Cor. 5:17), holiness is a process.  II Cor. 5:21 tell us that God made Jesus to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.  II Cor. 3:18 tells us that we are being transformed into His likeness from glory to glory.  In II Cor. 4:16 we see that outwardly we are perishing and wasting away, but inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.  This “decorating” is clearly a life-long process.

In the process of redecorating, God desires that we have these ornaments gracing our lives:
Gal. 5:22-23  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
II Pet. 1:5-7  Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
I Cor. 13  God desires to transform our way of loving.  He wants our love to be patient and kind, not envious or boastful, not proud or rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered or provoked, not keeping record of wrongs, nor delighting in evil, but rejoicing in truth.  Our love is to protect, trust, hope, and persevere.
Col. 3:12 in the Amplified Bible describes patience as being tireless and long-suffering, having the power to endure WHATEVER comes, and with GOOD TEMPER.
I Pet. 5:5 Humility toward others and a submissive heart.
Rom. 13:14 tells us that we should clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus.

I have often heard it said that the “pastor isn’t feeding us.”  Feeding us, so that we can grow, is not the primary job of the pastor.  Most of that responsibility falls on us.  Let’s take a look at several scriptures that make this clear to us.
Ps. 119:11 I have hid Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.
II Tim. 2:21  If a man cleanses himself, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, useful to the Master.
Jude 21  Keep yourselves in God’s love.
Col. 2:6-7  Just as you received Christ, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in your faith.
Col. 1:22-23  Now He has reconciled you by Christ’s body, through death, to present you holy and blameless — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not being moved from the hope of the gospel.
I Tim. 4:7  Train yourselves to be godly.
Phil. 2:12  Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
II Cor 7:1  Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates our bodies and our spirits.

The scriptures make it plain to us that we have much to do in this “interior decorating.”  Unfortunately, we can’t go to garage sales and find a “quick fix” to help us on this kind of decorating.  We also won’t find it in the quick “drive-up” fashion where we get so many things these days.  BUT, as we strive to add the touches of redecorating to grace our lives, we have the wonderful promise of Phil. 1:6 which tells us that He who began a good work in us will also carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Remember, ladies, we aren’t alone on this journey!

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

The Insignificant Things

The Insignificant Things

Jesus was constantly sought by the multitudes, yet when they interrupted Him, He took care of them, even if it meant a considerable cost to Himself.  He was the perfect example to us of unselfishness.

There were times when the disciples wanted Jesus to send away the crowds so that they could have some ‘down time.’  (Mt. 14:15-21) In Jn. 6:5, we see where Jesus asked the disciples where they could get food to feed the crowds.  In verse 9, Andrew mentions the young boy who had five loaves and two small fish (this was the typical bread of the very poor who lived back then).  Andrew then mentions the word ‘BUT.’  “But how far will they go among so many?”  (NIV)

The disciples were focusing on the multitudes rather than the Master of the multitudes.  They were overwhelmed, yet a poor, young boy decided to give the very little, insignificant meal that he had, even if it meant more hunger for himself.  There is a lesson to be learned here.  Jesus doesn’t ask us to give what we don’t have.  He only asks us to give that which we do have, however insignificant it may seem.

Sometimes we focus on conquering world hunger, which isn’t going to be cured by one person.  Because of the enormity of the task, we shrink back, often doing nothing.  Again, Jesus doesn’t call us to give that which we don’t have, but He does call us to give that which we do have.  I may not have thousands of dollars to give to a food relief organization, but for my neighbor who has lost his job, I can give them some groceries, or even make them some cookies.  When I do these things, it’s the same as doing them for Jesus.

Do you know of a family who is going through some tough times right now?  Could you give them some of the clothes which your children have outgrown?  When you give of those items, to clothe someone else’s children, it’s as if you were clothing the Master.  You may be thinking that it would be better to save the items for a garage sale so that you can make some money from them.  If you give them to someone else, with the right attitude, the return which you will get from God will outshine any amount that you’d make at a garage sale!

One thing many of us can do is volunteer some of our time to help make some food baskets for those less fortunate than us.  All it requires is a little bit of our time.  You see, Jesus isn’t asking you to make their mortgage payment or to pay their utility bills.  He is only asking you to do what you can do.  For some of us, it may simply be donating our time, rather than our resources.

What seemingly insignificant things do you have that could make a big difference in the life of someone else?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Infected

Infected

The writer of Psalm 119 knew well that bad company corrupts good character.  In verse 115, he told evildoers to get away so that he could keep God’s commands.

I got to thinking about how some of my activities pull me away from God’s commands.  Now, I’m not referring to what most of us would classify as “big” sins such as adultery, murder, or homosexuality.  I am thinking of seemingly innocent things like using the computer.  While the Internet can be a wonderful tool, how many times do we find ourselves spending more time there than necessary?  After all, we could be spending that time in the Word or in making the house look nice for when our husband comes home at the end of a long day.  We could have spent that time reading to our children or playing with them.  When we realize we have wasted too much time on the computer, our attitude usually changes for the worse.  We realize that we are suddenly pressed for time in getting the evening meal ready or whatever the case may be.  The result is often that we tend to get crabby.  Add a short fuse to our temper, and we can quickly infect those around us.  Before we realize it, the whole family is in a bad mood, thus slightest offense leading to much bickering.

I admit it – I am a FOX news junkie.  With all that is taking place in the world, I find it difficult to turn off the television.  Yet, when they begin to talk about Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, do I really need to hear it?  To put it bluntly, it is gossip, and God’s Word tells me to avoid it.  If I ignore His commands, I become spiritually infected.

A real wake-up call to me was one morning when I told my daughter that I had a nightmare about Muslims the previous night.  She had an astonished look on her face and replied, “So did I!”  My husband and I knew immediately that the excessive watching of the TV news was not only infecting us, it was also infecting her.

You see, when we allow spiritual infection into our lives, it doesn’t just affect us.  It affects others.  Just as the psalmist took a stand against spiritual infection, we also need to do the same.

Do you need to treat any “infection” in your life?
© 2007, Stacy R Miller