A Thief in the Parking Lot

He uses a situation from his days as a police officer and puts a spiritual perspective to it.  Very good message, and he shares a funny story too!

 

The Other Side of the Storm

This is a fabulous message!  He has such a way of looking at simple things in scripture and adding a spiritual perspective to it.

What Masters You?

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What “Masters” You?

In I Cor. 6:12, Paul says that while everything is permissible for me, not everything is beneficial.  He goes on to say that while everything is permissible, he isn’t going to be mastered by anything.  When I read in II Pet. 2:19 that I am a slave to that which masters me, I feel the Holy Spirit stepping on my toes.  My question to you is, “What masters you?”

We aren’t to allow things to master us, but we are to master them!  It’s an issue of using self-control and setting boundaries for things.  Self-control refers to restraining our passions and appetites.  We live in a world that often does the opposite, giving into excess or being self-indulgent.

How many of us fall into the trap of eating when we are depressed, sad, stressed, mad, or bored.  Even when we are in a mood for celebrating, we find ourselves eating!  How often do we have an overwhelming craving for chocolate?  How many times do we hide the last piece of cake so that we can eat it when no one else is looking?  This would fall into the category of being self-indulgent.  Do we feel compelled to have caffeine first thing in the morning?  Do we keep running to the coffee pot for refills throughout the morning?  Are we lacking self-control?

Do we avidly search the library, looking for a new romance novel, needing it like a drug addict needs a fix?  Are we news junkies, always needing the TV turned on to a news channel?  Do we find ourselves adjusting our schedule so that we can watch Oprah or Dr. Phil?  Do we adjust our schedules so that we can read the Word or talk to Father?  Are we being self-indulgent in some areas, while lacking the self-control to spend time doing what really is important and of eternal value?

What about bargain hunting?  It’s never a bad thing to get a good value for your money, but when you don’t need the items that you got for a bargain, are you really getting a bargain or a bondage?  It’s not only wasting your time, your money, and your energy, but now it’s adding clutter to your life.

Prov. 25:28 tells us that a (wo)man who lacks self-control is like a city with broken down walls.  In the O.T. times, the walls were the security around the city.  They were a strong fortress, protecting the people from their enemies.  Self-control is our fortress.  If we walk in self-control, it will keep us safe from bondages and snares of the enemy.

In Ez. 26:7-14, it gives some descriptive words about the walls being broken down.  The results were a city that was ravaged, sieged, trampled upon, and their wealth and goods were plundered.  When we allow a passion for reading romance novels to master us, our homes can look ravaged because we have failed to be taking care of them.  When we don’t know when to stop shopping and stay home, our wealth is plundered.  When we don’t master our eating habits, all of that excess sugar in our bodies can leave us feeling as if we have been trampled upon.

In Ps. 119:37, it says to turn my eyes from worthless things.  We may need to pray this every day, just so that we stay focused on what is truly important.  It may help keep us from being mastered by things.

In. Ps. 16:6, it says that the boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places.  We often need to set boundaries for ourselves.  The boundary may be to simply write down a list of what items we need, and pray for God to help us stay focused on getting only those items while we are shopping.  We may need to go out of our way to stay away from the mall.  It may be as simple as making a covenant to not look at the ads in the Sunday paper.  Those are a lure to the mall.  I know in my own life, I can be totally content with what I have, but if I pick up the flyers that are in the Sunday paper, I suddenly find about five things that I feel I must have.  I have learned to quit looking at them.

If you are struggling with being mastered in any areas, I want to encourage you with these words:  In Phil. 4:19 we see that God is able to meet ALL of our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.  If you have been mastered by something, then He promises in His Word that He is able to meet that need.  Jesus came to set the captives free. (Lk. 4:18)

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

What is Your Sacrifice?

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What is Your Sacrifice?

The Bible tell us that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.  God won’t reject those who come with a broken and contrite heart.  Ps. 51:17  What pain do you have?  What brokenness do you carry within?  What of your past?  Are there things there that you absolutely despise?

Father desires that we lay it down at His feet, as a sacrifice to Him.  What you sacrifice to Him is something that no other person can give Him.  It’s yours alone.  Only YOU can give Him your brokenness, your pain, your past.  That makes it a very unique sacrifice.  And God says that He won’t despise that sacrifice from us.

He promises in Is. 61:2-3 that He will comfort those who are mourning, giving them beauty for their ashes.  He will grace you with a garment of praise instead of the heaviness which leaves you weary and worn.  Will it cost you to give this sacrifice to Him?  Oh yes!  It will cost you greatly, but think of the sacrifice which Jesus gave: His very life, and He did it for you.

Has your husband left you high and dry for one who years younger than you?  Has he left you because he claims that he couldn’t handle the stress anymore?  Have you been violated?  Jesus wants you to offer that brokenness and pain to Him.  He bore the shame of it for you, so why allow yourself to carry that heavy yoke any longer?

Were you date raped in your younger years, yet that awful experience continues to haunt you, even though you know it wasn’t your fault?  Have you been abused by one whom you trusted?  You are not responsible it.  You are not to be blamed!  You aren’t dirtied or devalued, as the devil would like to have you think.  No matter how you were treated, your perpetrator sinned against you and the Lord.

One of the hardest parts of being a victim of any similar circumstance is our response to what occurred.  We ALL have a sin nature, and Satan’s desire is to snare you through that very sin nature by getting you to cater to it.  He is a master deceiver, and he can get us so ensnared that we may find ourselves with an unconscious unwillingness to be healed from the pain of the past.  When we allow this to happen, we can be like the people in Jer. 30:12-15 who had an incurable wound, who could have no healing for their sores because their iniquity was so great.  One of those incurable wounds can start with the seed of bitterness and unforgiveness.  It grows within us, day by day.  Before we know it, we are bound in spiritual chains that will only be broken by a mighty deliverance from the Lord.

Satan can’t trap us with an opened door, but if we take on a ‘victim’s mentality,’ we put ourselves on very shaky ground, possibly opening a door for him.  Many years ago, I discovered that I had unintentionally opened a door to the enemy of my soul.  I struggled with chronic colitis for several years.  My victim’s mentality was to blame the colitis on the stress of my job.  In coming through the deliverance process, Father clearly told me one day to NEVER make that comment again.  He informed me that the colitis was not a result of the stress of my job, but rather MY reaction to the stress of my job.  That was very humbling to see that it was ME who opened the doorway to the enemy, allowing him to reek havoc with my body.  I didn’t intend to open the door for Satan, but the Lord showed me where I had willingly done so through that root of bitterness.  What an awful path it led me on, and it lasted for years.  It was so bad that I was on three different kinds of medicine, two of which were pain killers.  I even had to take the heating pad to work with me several times a week, just because the pain in my abdomen was so great, not to mention the many visits to the doctor, having an upper GI done, as well as a colonoscopy.  As a newlywed, I found that chronic colitis was also interrupting the intimate side of my marriage.

You see, our ‘natural’ response when we have been victimized may be to blame others, to feel that we need to be in control of everything, and at all costs.  But notice that I used the word ‘natural.’  As Christians, we are not to be following after that ‘natural’ man anymore.  Rom. 12:1-2 tells us that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (sacrificing all of those past hurts), to God.  We aren’t to be conforming to this world anymore (meaning that we quit playing the blame-game.)  God desires to be a restorer to us when we have been victimized and abused.  But when we spend so much time and precious energy on blaming others and being so overly self-focused, we are blocking the restoration that God desires to bring.

Father, help me to search my heart to see if there is more brokenness there that You desire for me to offer to You.  Help me to discover where there might be more shame, so that I can offer it to You, allowing You to carry that burden for me, allowing me to find that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

The Sacrifice, Part 2

In continuing our study on our sacrifices, I want to ask:  Were you abused?  Jesus bore your grief from that abuse.  Are you sorrowing over a betrayal from the one who vowed before God to be faithful to you?  Jesus carried that sorrow for you.  Do you still feel like you will never get over the pain or betrayal?  With God ALL things are possible.  Mt. 19:26  In all of your weakness, His strength is made perfect.  II Cor. 12:9  Do you still carry guilt over losing your virginity before marriage?  Is. 53 tells us that He was pierced for that transgression.  For all of those sins which try to nag at your, pulling you two steps backward for every single step forward, Jesus was crushed for them ALL!  Do you hear me, dear sister?  I said that Jesus was crushed for them ALL!  He took the chastisement for our peace, and by His stripes, we are healed and restored.  No amount of guilt, shame, remorse, or blaming will fix it.  It is a finished work.  So if you are struggling in this area, I pray that God will enable you to be still and know that He is GOD! Ps. 46:10

If you still feel so dirty, like God couldn’t possibly love you, let the words from Zeph. 3:17-18 encourage you.  God takes great delight in you, and He is mighty to save you.  He longs to quiet you with His love, and He wants you to know that He rejoices over you with singing.  Yes, sister, it doesn’t matter what your past holds, He loves you.  He even tells us in Is. 41:9-10 that He hasn’t rejected us, but chosen us!  So don’t fear Him.  He is here to help, to heal, to hold you.  In Is. 57:18, He tells us that He will heal us and guide us, and that He will restore comfort to us.

My sister, don’t think that I’m trying to downplay the pain which you may be carrying.  I am not going to negate that your life may be wracked with torment from things of the past.  Your life may still be in shambles because of someone else’s sin against you.  I write this to you so that you don’t allow your soul to become entwined in shackles.

I will never forget reading about Lisa Beamer, whose husband was on United Airlines flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.  She knows that it was someone else’s sin who took her husband from her.  It was because of someone else’s sin that her daughter will never know her daddy.  Lisa could have blamed the government, but instead, she has been a great example of one who has a confident assurance that her life is in God’s hands. She is confident that even her husband’s life was securely in God’s hands, even in the face of evil, just moments before he was transferred from earth to glory.

Know that your life is in God’s hands as well.  He has not forgotten you, nor forsaken you.  He died for all of the pain and grief that you currently carry.  He is waiting patiently, lovingly, for you to hand those over to Him, giving Him your sacrifice — a sacrifice that no one else can possibly give Him.  He wants to give you that garment of praise for your current spirit of heaviness.  What sacrifice do you have to offer the Master today?
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Psalm 75

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I love it when snippets of scripture pop out and I get new insight!  Read this Psalm, which is clearly speaking of the tribulation to come.  Focus on the last verse.  I love it!
 

Psalm 75

For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph. A song to be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”

We thank you, O God!
    We give thanks because you are near.
    People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.
God says, “At the time I have planned,
    I will bring justice against the wicked.
When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
    I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude
“I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’
    I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists!
Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens
    or speak with such arrogance.’”
For no one on earth—from east or west,
    or even from the wilderness—
    should raise a defiant fist.[a]
It is God alone who judges;
    he decides who will rise and who will fall.
For the Lord holds a cup in his hand
    that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
He pours out the wine in judgment,
    and all the wicked must drink it,
    draining it to the dregs.
But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
    I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked,
    but I will increase the power of the godly.”
 

As I pondered on the last verse, I thought about how we often think of power as having to do with physical strength, but I realized the power given to each one of us may go beyond that.  It may be the spiritual fortitude to stand firm and be willing to die for your faith, even if you know that ISIS is going to take your children and put them in sex slave trade.  Or it could be the power to love in spite of torture from your persecutors.  It might even be power to hold on to our faith and hope, in the midst of the worst of circumstances, refusing to waver from what we know is true in the Word of God.

**For those who don’t know, I no longer believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.  I believe that is a lie that has been fed to the church for many years.  It’s a lie that is going to cause a lot of people to lose their faith in the days ahead.  If you’d like to read more on what changed my mind, please click here.   There is also a very enlightening, and easy-to-understand video teaching on this topic:

What Did I Tell You to Do?

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What Did I Tell You to Do?

Recently, I’ve had to implement a new method to giving instructions to Rachel.  After telling her to do something, I would discover that it wasn’t done.  I’d find myself saying, “What did I tell you to do?”  She’d claim that she didn’t hear me, and I’d end up repeating the same thing three or four times, wearing myself out in the process.  In my frustration, I’d often resort to yelling things like, “Why are your shoes still by the back door when I’ve told you three times to put them away?”  Or, “Why aren’t your teeth brushed?  I told you to do it twenty minutes ago!”  I think you get the picture.

A wise lady suggested that when I tell Rachel to do something, have her repeat the instructions back to me.  If she fails to do what I told her to do, she can’t use her normal excuse of not hearing me.  I am amazed at how well this method has worked for us!

I have a feeling that sometimes God wants to yell at us, “What did I tell you to do?”  Not that God needs to hear us repeat the instructions He’s given us, but WE need to speak them verbally so that they stick in our mind.

When I have trouble in submitting to my husband, I can say, “Jesus didn’t hurl insults when He was insulted, nor did He retaliate.  He didn’t make threats, but He entrusted Himself to God, who judges justly.  In the same way, I am to be submissive to my husband.  I am to be like the holy women of old, who put their hope in God.” (I Peter 2:23, II Peter 3:1, 5)  Keep in mind that I’m not saying that you should submit to a husband who abuses you or your children, or that you should submit if your husband asks you to do something that is clearly sinful.

When I am having a hard time forgiving someone, I can remind myself, “Stacy, you are to forgive others as Christ forgave you for all of your sins.  If you don’t, Jesus won’t forgive you for the sins you’ve committed.” (Matthew 6:14; Colossians 3:13)

When I have trouble trusting God, I can remind myself, “If I trust God with all of my heart, instead of relying on my own understanding, and if I acknowledge Him in all my ways, then He promises to make my way straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If I want favor with God and man, I can tell myself daily, “If I will not let love and faithfulness leave me, but bind them upon my mind and write them on my heart, I will win favor and a good name with God and man.” (Proverbs 3:3-4)

When I struggle with being content, I can say, “Godliness with contentment is great gain, and I am in the process of training myself to be godly.” (I Timothy 4:7; 6:6)

When I struggle with overeating or eating the wrong things, as I reach for some food, I can ask myself, “Does eating this food bring glory to God?” (I Corinthians 10:31) I can remind myself that my body is a temple of the Lord, and I am to honor God with that temple.

When I struggle with the temptation to gossip, I can ask myself if I want someone to gossip about me.  After all, you do reap what you sow.  I can tell myself that if I have a loose tongue, I have a heart that is of little value. (Proverbs 19:20) If I gossip, I’m like a foolish woman, who will die for her lack of judgment. (Proverbs 19:21) If I gossip, I’m like a pig with a gold ring in its snout because I show a lack of discretion with my tongue. (Proverbs 11:22)

If I struggle with a secret sin, I can say, “Stacy, as long as you hide this sin, you won’t prosper, but if you’re willing to give it up, you’ll find mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13) I can remind myself that if I cherish sin in my heart, that God won’t hear my prayers. (Psalm 66:18) I have heard people say that their sin doesn’t affect others, but I believe that it does.  When I am cherishing sin in my heart, and someone asks me to pray for them, my prayers are ineffective because a holy God can’t listen to the prayers of someone who is cherishing sin.  Cherishing sin is the ultimate in selfishness.  By cherishing a sin, we are saying that our cherished sin is more important than interceding for someone.

Are you in a place where you need to repeat Father’s instructions?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

What’s Between Ask and Receive

This is a wonderful message!  If you’ve been praying for something for a long time and are feeling discouraged because you haven’t received an answer, you need to hear this message!

 

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