Unopened Gifts

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Unopened Gifts

We don’t often hear people talk these days about being lazy.  Instead, they always talk about how busy they are, reciting the myriad of activities that have taken them captive.  They make it sound as if they are being very productive because they are constantly doing something.

As I was studying about a sloth, I discovered that even in our busyness, slothfulness can thrive, simply because we are failing (or refusing) to do what we should be doing.  For example, a farmer decides that he doesn’t want to harvest the crop.  Instead, he chooses to watch the latest sports team on TV, he goes to the local bookstore in search of a treasure to read, he joins the local men’s club to get some exercise, where he meets another man who encourages him to join the local bingo clubs.  This man finds that he is suddenly busy every night, however, he isn’t busy doing what he should be doing — harvesting his crops.

Proverbs 31:16 (AMP) sheds some interesting light on this subject.  “She considers a field before she buys or accepts it, expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties.”  Again, we see a pattern here for a sloth — she who doesn’t do what she should be doing is giving herself over to slothfulness.

Have you lost a sense of purpose, zeal, and joy in your life?  Do you feel as it you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere?  It could be that you’ve opened yourself up to slothfulness in some area of your life.

Busyness can keep us from opening our gifts from the Lord.  Slothfulness can bury our gifts and talents from God.  Sometimes our talent gets buried because we are doing someone else’s will for our life instead of God’s will for our life.  It can cause us to leave our gift unopened.  You can’t treasure an unopened gift because you have no idea what the gift is.  It’s only as you open the gift that you discover what it is, how to use it, when to use it, and then begin to practice using it, perfecting it with constant use.  You learn to fan into flame the gift of God.  (II Tim. 1:6)

I know that in my own life, had I done the will of other people, I could never had opened the gift of writing devotions.  It takes a great deal of time to write devotions, researching each topic, typing them, getting them copyrighted, and posted on my website. Doing someone else’s will would have left this gift unopened, and I would missing out one of the most treasured gifts of my life — a gift I not only enjoy, but find very relaxing and invigorating at the same time.  I share this with you to stir you to thinking about whether you are missing some great treasures in your own life.

Do you have any unopened gifts which need your attention?  Do you need to start fanning the flame of a buried gift to stir it up once again?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Unity

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Unity

Unity is something which God truly desires for His church, yet very few churches have a strong sense of unity.  I came up with an acrostic to help us in striving to remember what unity is all about.

Use your gift and talents for God’s glory and never for your own.
Never put someone else down to try and elevate yourself.
Invite the help of the Holy Spirit so you will only speak that which is edifying.
Trust in the Lord at all times, even when you do not understand what He is doing.
Yearn for God’s presence to saturate you every day.

Remember that any gift or talent you have is from the Lord.  Every good gift comes from the Father. (James 1:17)

We are to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but consider others better than ourselves.  By keeping an attitude of humility, we will protect ourselves from a prideful heart that tries to make us look good on the outside, while polluting us on the inside.

The place where I struggle the most is with my words.  If I do not diligently seek the help of the Holy Spirit, I will easily be swayed to complain.  I am more likely to be critical if I am not mindful of the Lord.  If I fail to be faithfully in the Word, I resort to my “B.C” (before Christ) language – a language which should be completely foreign to me now.

Many times we see things in the church which we do not understand.  Rather than grumbling or gossiping about it, we need to trust the Lord to work out the situation for His glory, and our good.

When the body of Christ yearns for God’s presence seven days a week, great things will take place.  Relationships will be healed.  The sense of Christian family will grow stronger within the Body of Christ.  Visitors will not only sense God’s presence, but they will see His presence in our love toward one another.  Factions, dissensions, and gossip will cease.  We will be concerned about the Father’s business, rather than our own agenda.

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

Unappreciated

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Unappreciated

A common thing experienced by women is feeling unappreciated as a wife and mom.  Yet God still sees EVERYTHING you do.  He sees your faithfulness in serving your family, and He sees the loving way in which you do it.  Though it may often go unnoticed by others, it will NEVER go unnoticed by your Father.

While you may get weary and worn in your daily duties, many of which can be very mundane, God sees your perseverance, even on those days when you are absolutely exhausted.

He sees you when you are up all night with a sick child.  He sees you on your knees in prayer over a wayward child.

He sees when you wash that load of laundry you would rather leave undone.  He sees when you wash that load of dishes when you would prefer to be reading a book or taking a nap.  He sees you cleaning the house when you would rather eat a good candy bar while chatting with a friend.  He sees you on those days when you feel so lonely, lost in the myriad of tasks which are part of motherhood.  In those times, He reaches out to you, saying, “My precious daughter, I am here.  Listen for my voice, for I am always trying to express my deep love for you.”
© 2007, Stacy R Miller

Trashy Love

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Trashy Love

One day while running errands with my mother, I mentioned something to her about some girls I knew who dressed so trashy.  As Rachel sat in the back seat of the car, listening to our conversation, she said, “Mom, how are you better than them when you talk about them like that?”  Busted!

Just as these girls dressed trashy, I was being trashy with my love toward them.  How often do we offer trashy love to others?

Instead of patience, we offer impatience.
Rather than being kind, we choose to be rude.
When we should rejoice in God’s blessing to someone else, we become envious.
Rather than having a humble attitude, we become puffed up and proud.
It seems that our motives are often self-seeking, instead of seeking the good of others.
While true love isn’t supposed to be easily angered, it seems that our temper can flare up in an instant.
We aren’t supposed to keep a record of wrongs, but when someone ruffles our feathers, we can quickly recite a list of wrongs done to us by this person.
Love is supposed to protect.  Yet, how many times do we hang up the phone, only to call two or three people and share something that was told to us in confidence?
Love is supposed to persevere, yet we live in a society that believes in giving up as soon as some problem arises.  People file for divorce.  People stop serving in the church when things they get their feelings hurt.  We quit attending church because we were offended by someone.  We would rather not learn about perseverance.

Excuse me now.  I think I need to be washed by the Father for some trashy love that I have offered to others.
© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Transformed

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Transformed

In the fast-paced society in which we live, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  Several days may pass before we notice it has been a while since we have taken time to pray.  Yet, if we want to see amazing things happen, we must learn to pray faithfully.  After all, the Word tells us we have not because we ask not. (James 4:2)

Incredible things would happen when Jesus took the time to pray. (Matthew 14:23) He walked on water. (14:25) He boldly faced the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. (15:1-9) He cast demons out of a little girl.  Not only that, this was accomplished while Jesus was in one village and she in another! (15:21-28) Next, He healed many who were lame, crippled, blind, and mute. (15:29-31) He followed this with feeding over four thousand people. (15:35-38)

After another time of prayer (Mark 1:35), Jesus healed a leper and a paralytic. (1:40-42; 2:15)
Again, He faced the accusatory looks of the teachers of the law. (2:6-12)

Jesus appointed the twelve apostles after spending a night in prayer. (Luke 6:12-16) This was followed with crossing cultural barriers by touching the casket of the widow’s son.  He raised this poor woman’s son to life. (7:11-15)

His diligent prayer life led to the transformation of a very sinful woman. (Luke 7:36-50)  She was able to perceive who Jesus was, even though the most prominent religious leaders of that time could not.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to pray one night.  During His prayer time, He was transformed before them.  His clothing became as bright as a flash of lightning. (Luke 9:28-36)

What transformations might we see if we cultivate a deeper prayer life?

After going through a serious trial, people may be amazed at the transformation which has taken place in our lives.
We all have modern-day Pharisees to face.  Through prayer, we can answer them with godly wisdom and insight.
Our prayers can help us to make wise decisions about our family, our work, our ministry, and our finances.
After spending time in prayer, we will have spiritual nourishment to give to others.
When we spend time with God, it will show in our countenance and in our behavior.  Unsaved people will be drawn to us, just as they were drawn to Jesus.
When basking ourselves in prayer, we will find the strength to cross our own cultural barriers and reach those who need a Savior.
Our prayers have the ability to heal the sick and set free those who are bound by Satan, even when in those individuals are in other cities, states, and countries.

What can God transform in your life if you take time to pray?
© 2007, Stacy R. Miller