The To-Do List

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The To-Do List
As Christians, we can see there are so many scriptures telling us that we have things to do.  Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey His commands. (Jn. 15)  In the same chapter, He makes it clear that obedience will bring abundant joy to us.  In John 15:4 we are told to remain in Him.  If we remain in Him, He will fill us with His strength so that we are able to do what He tells us to do.

Tit. 3:8 tells us to devote ourselves to prayer.  Col. 4:2,5 also mentions praying, as well as telling us to be watchful and thankful, and to be wise in the way we act toward outsiders, making the most of all opportunities.  Verse 6 tells us to let our conversations be full of grace.  There are times when we just don’t know how to answer someone.  Being full of grace will help in those times.
Eph. 4:2 tells us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received.  It goes on to mention that we need to be humble (submissive, unassuming, simple) and gentle, bearing with one another.  Jas. 4:10 and I Pet. 5:6 mention humbling ourselves before the Lord.

I Cor. 15:5 tells us to give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.  For many of us, that “work” is taking care of our families.  We need to remember that as we do it for them, we are doing it for Christ.

We are called to love our enemies in Mt. 5:44.  In Rom. 12:14 we are told to bless those who persecute us.  This can be very hard, especially when our enemies are sometimes in our own extended family.  The hurt from those betrayals and persecutions can go so deeply into our spirit.

In II Tim. 2:22 we are told to flee the evil desires of youth and to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.  II Cor. 7:1 tells us to purify ourselves from all that contaminates our body and spirit.  We are to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus, (Rom. 13:14) and live a life worthy of our calling.  (Eph. 4:1)  We are to live as children of light and to find out what pleases our Lord.  (Eph. 5:8, 10)

We are to be made new in the attitudes of our minds, as well as getting rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice.  Instead, be kind, compassionate, and forgiving.  (Eph. 4:23-32)

Rom. 12 could keep us busy every day, just by itself!  It tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, hate what is evil, cling to what is good.  Keep our spiritual fervor (enthusiasm, passion).  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  We are told to share with God’s people who are in need, and to be hospitable.  Rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who are mourning.  We are to live in harmony with others.

We are to rejoice in the Lord and let our gentleness be evident to those around us.  (Phil. 4:4-5)  Col. 3 tells us to set our minds on things above.  Eph. 6:10-11 tells us to be strong in the Lord and to put on His armor so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes.  Since we have seen here that we have much to do, I think it is feasible to assume that Satan doesn’t want us to get work on this “to-do list.”  He will use anything he can to distract us.  It may be phone calls, a lack of sleep, moodiness, hormones, fighting children, financial woes, illness, our own busyness, or even our own selfishness.  That is why it is so important to daily put on the armor of God.

I heard a sermon many years ago by a man who would physically go through the motions of putting on each piece of armor.  Going through the motions, saying the name of armor, and stating what it was for was a good way for him to remember that the battle was not his, but God’s.  So many times we struggle in our own strength.  Goliath tried that too, and it got him struck down by a little shepherd boy who knew where to go for the right kind of armor.  As we daily work on our “to-do list,” may we also declare to our enemy that we come against him in the Name of the Lord Almighty.  And may God Almighty go before us, lighting our path and giving us victory after victory.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Christians Blaspheming the Holy Spirit

This article is a fabulous breakdown of the heresy of The Shack. 

1000 Leading Christians Blaspheme the Holy Spirit

This quote really stood out to me:  “The movie is so blasphemous that only individuals with greatly compromised and callused spiritual systems could enjoy it.”

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

The Stinging Attack

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The Stinging Attack

Having strange dreams is a common occurrence for me.  One night, I was being attacked by bees.  As I pondered this weird dream, I realized that what happened in my dream relates to how sin affects our lives.

First, I couldn’t seem to get away from the bees.  When I have given in to sin, it follows me, just like the bees in my dream.  I can’t seem to escape the guilt for doing wrong.  That guilty conscience is with me, whether I am sleeping, working, eating, reading, or trying to have some recreational time.  Numbers 32:23 tells us to be sure that our sin will find us.  It doesn’t matter what activities I try to hide behind, if I have unconfessed sin, it is going to find me.  The only way to escape it is to repent and have my heart sprinkled to cleanse me from that guilty conscience. (Hebrews 10:22)

In my dream, I would try to run into a building, quickly closing the door behind me, so that I could escape the attack of the bees.  Yet, they seemed to always find an opening.  Sin does the same thing.  It gives an opening in our lives to the enemy. (Ephesians 4:27)  We need to understand that when we play with sin, there is no fortress that is strong enough for us.  For sin will destroy us from the inside out. (Psalm 32:3)

At one point, hundreds of bees attached themselves around my hand, stinging me repeatedly.  The pain was so intense that my knees buckled.  When we refuse to give up our sin, we will face intense stinging and anguish in our soul. (Psalm 37:7,10)

I couldn’t rest when I was being attacked by the bees.  When we hold on to our sin, it will keep us from resting in the shelter of our God’s presence. (Psalm 31:20) It is only when we dwell in the shelter of the Most High that we can rest in Him. (Psalm 91:1)

All around me, there were joyful people who were enjoying food and fellowship with one another.  Yet, I had no joy because I was being pursued by the bees.  When sin has gotten hold of us and continues to chase us, it is hard for us to have a joyful heart because we are literally in a foreign land. (Psalm 137:4)  Since we became a new creation when we got saved, whenever we fall back into sin, it is like returning to a foreign land.

When you have found yourself trapped in a cycle of sin, the answer is in confessing your sins.  For when we confess them and renounce them, we find mercy.  Not only will God take away our sin, but He also takes away the guilt.  He is the perfect ointment for the sting of sin.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

The Stalker

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The Stalker

Many years ago, I faced the terror of having a stalker.  I never knew when or where my stalker would appear.  I could be at work, and suddenly, I’d feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up, sensing the presence of my stalker.  It was scary when I’d get off work from the evening shift and have to walk through the parking lot after dark, never knowing if I was being watched.  I could be on a date and glance at the car in the next lane, discovering that I was being stalked again.  Since my church was just down the street from my stalker’s house, I never knew what I may find when I came out of church.

Even being at home didn’t make me feel safe because there were endless phone calls from my stalker.  I used call screening before the phone company started selling it — my parents.  I can still remember the minor panic attacks that would hit me, simply from the sound of the phone ringing.  Even several years after I had been married, the phone could ring and trigger a ‘flashback’ and I’d feel that wave of panic hit me once again.

Even worse than facing a physical stalker is the spiritual stalker.  Satan is always on the prowl, looking for a way to devour us. (I Pet. 5:8) He will try to devour us through fear, excessive debt, bitterness, wrong attitudes, food or drug addictions, and even sexual addictions, just to name a few.

We are not to be ignorant of the schemes which Satan will use against us. (II Cor. 2:11) One way to protect ourselves against him is to know the truth.  Jesus told us that if we know the truth, it will set us free. (Jn. 8:32)

Psalm 119 gives us a lot of insight on how to handle, or possibly avoid, being stalked.

1.  In Ps. 119:08 we see where God’s commands will make us wiser than our enemies.  When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, we are less likely to fall for Satan’s schemes, causing us to sin against God. (Ps. 119:11)
2.  We can run in the paths of God’s commands and find that He will set our hearts free. (Ps. 119:32) It’s in knowing God’s commands that we can run in those paths. Ps. 119:45 tells us that we can walk about in freedom if we have sought out God’s precepts.
3.  We will find that if we remember God’s precepts, they will help to preserve our life. (Ps. 119:93)
4.  With the understanding we gain from God’s Word, we will learn to recognize and hate every evil path. (Ps. 119:104)
That will help us to avoid the snare of Satan, our stalker.
5.  Ps. 119:133 tells us that as we allow God to direct us, no sin (or stalker) will rule over us.  We will find ourselves loving God’s law, and that will bring us great peace and keep us from stumbling, even if we know that we are being stalked by Satan. (Ps. 119:165)

Are you being stalked?  Start feeding yourself the truth of God’s Word and it will keep you free from the stalker’s snare.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

The Spiritual Enabler

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The Spiritual Enabler

In recent years, the terms “co-dependent” and “enabler” have become quite popular in dealing with people who are in dysfunctional relationships.  These ideas have infiltrated the church.

For instance, we may fail to obey the Lord when He tells us to step down from a place of ministry.  After all, if we step down, who will fill our shoes?  The church needs us!  We are spiritually co-dependent when we think God cannot find someone else to fill that place of ministry.

I went through a situation where a lady kept seeking me for advice.  I spent a great deal of time talking with her on several occasions.  I gave her clear-cut, scriptural guidelines.  Yet, she refused to make the necessary changes.  By allowing her to monopolize my time, I was enabling her – enabling her to take time away from my family and my priorities, not to mention enabling her to drain me emotionally, physically, and mentally.

I have seen a situation in church where a lady lies continually.  Several people refuse to confront her lying ways.  Doing so enables her to continue in her sin, whereas, loving confrontation may lead her to repent for her sins.

I think women fall into this trap too often because we have such a hard time saying “no” when we are asked to do something.  Keep in mind that when we refuse to say “no,” sometimes we hinder God’s plan for someone else.  Perhaps what we just agreed to do was really a job God had planned for someone else.  Yet, we just got in His way.

Is there someone who seems to be drawn to you like a magnet, constantly needing spiritual advice?  Perhaps they discern you are a person of the Word, so they seek you instead of the Word because they are too lazy to seek God on their own.  By letting them continue in their behavior, we become enablers.  We may also be co-dependent; for we may love the way they make us feel when they seek our wisdom.  Often, one feeds the other.  We enable the behavior because it makes us feel good to be needed.

David asked the Lord to search his heart.  I think it is wise to ask the Lord to also search our relationships.  Perhaps we will discover that we have become spiritual enablers.

Have you fallen into the trap of being an enabler?

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

The Rose Garden

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The Rose Garden

When you see a rose first budding, you are looking at it in its youthful stage of life.  Only when it’s fully mature, will you be able to see it in full bloom, capturing the beauty from the depth of its color.  What causes the rose to bloom into a beautiful flower is the heat from the sun and the storms to water it.  After the sun has provided much heat and the storms provide the water, it blooms, giving off a wonderful fragrance.  We are to be the fragrance of Christ to our world. (II Cor. 2:15) Before we can be much of a fragrance, God requires that we go through heat and storms, otherwise known as the trials of life.  When we actively look to God, trying to capture the lesson He is trying to teach us through those storms, we become a rose — giving off the fragrance of our Christ to those around us.

You can’t help but notice the thorns on a rose bush.  One thorn may tear into another branch on the rose bush, destroying it.  Many times, we will find that the thorns in other people may try to destroy us.  While that can be very hurtful to us, we must also realize that we can’t have beauty without enduring pain in the process.  Gazing upon my Savior, I can’t help but notice the pain He endured to become the Rose of Sharon to me.  The fragrance of His love is unending.  It lifts my spirit on the darkest of days because He never fails to remind me that just as He endured much pain to bring about something so wonderful, He will use the very pain I endure and make something beautiful from it.  And sister, He will do the same for you.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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