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

Escaping the Yoke of the Swindler

This message is FABULOUS!!!  It really helps explain why our churches today are so dry and not sensing the power of God.

Trick or Treat

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Trick or Treat

The Bible teaches us that Satan is a master schemer.  II Cor. 2:11  His goal is to trick us into bondage.  That bondage can come in many forms. Unforgiveness can leave us chained to the one we refuse to forgive. Food addictions lead us to being overweight, not to mention the guilt and low self-esteem that is caused by our lack of control in that area.  Sexual bondages seem to be rampant in our society.  We can be compulsive shoppers, always looking for a fix, only to find that the thrill of it passes so quickly.  Being overly concerned about how we look may cause us to look good on the outside, but leave us with unseen chains wrapped around us.  Greed has led many people astray and into shackles which seem impossible to loosen.  As we fall prey to Satan, I can almost hear him, deviously laughing, shouting, “Trick or treat!  I got you!”

The Bible is clear that we are slaves to whatever masters us.  II Pet. 2:19.   Paul said in I Cor. 6:12 that he would not be mastered by anything.  The way that he kept from being mastered was by knowing the truth.  It’s in that “knowing” that we can be set free.  John 8:32

I find it comforting to know that even in bondage, God hasn’t deserted us.  Ez. 9:9  While we were still sinners (and in bondage), God still loved us enough to send His Son to die for us.   Rom. 5:8   That is the best treat we could ever have!

Jesus said in Luke 4:18 that He came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to release the oppressed.  When He arose from the dead, can’t you just hear Him declaring to Satan, “Trick or Treat! I won!  I have the final victory!”

My dear sister, Jesus won that victory for YOU!  Whatever bondages you may be struggling with, He is still with you in the midst of it, and He has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you.  Don’t be ashamed to bring your shackles to Him.  He would love nothing more than to set you free.  After all, He’s already paid the ultimate price for your freedom.  Let Him unshackle you today!

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Offended

I was reading through Matthew 24 and noticed something I found interesting.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Notice the progression:
1. Many shall be offended.
2. They will then betray one another.
3. After the betrayal, comes hate.
4. They will be more susceptible to being deceived by the false prophets because they’ve already opened “doors” in steps 1-3.

This scripture made me think about offenses in my own life.  When I get offended, am I going to take it to the Father and allow Him to help me through it?  Or am I going to choose to hold onto that offense, and thus, open a door for me to be easily deceived by the false prophets?  (And there are MANY of them out there right now.)

When I see the reality of how I could become deceived if I choose to hold onto an offense, it suddenly makes offenses seem like little “bumps” in the spiritual road that I need to just step over and go on my way.  :waving3:

Picking Scabs

Picking Scabs

In her desperation to give Abram an heir, Sarai decided to ‘help’ God by giving Hagar to Abram.  Sarai had no idea as to what kind of scab she was making by her actions.  Once Hagar was pregnant, she began to despise Sarai. (Gen. 16:4)
In picking scabs, Sarai begins to blame Abram for her suffering, even though SHE is the one who told Abram to sleep with her maidservant.  Not only that, she begins to mistreat Hagar.  How many times have we done something that we shouldn’t have, only to end up taking out our frustrations on those around us?

About thirteen years later, God speaks His promise to Abram regarding the covenant to be a father of many nations.  God even changes Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah.  Later, we see where the three men come to visit Abraham, telling him that Sarah will give birth to a son in about a year.  As we read about the birth of Isaac, it appears that maybe Sarah’s scabs have healed….Well, maybe not.  In Gen. 21:9, we see where Sarah observes Ishmael mocking Isaac.  She quickly orders Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael.  In picking her scab, I wonder if Sarah realized what kind of pain she was bringing upon Abraham. (Gen. 21:11)

If we look at the story of Esau and Jacob, we see more scabs. For starters, in Gen. 25:28, we see where Isaac loved Esau, and Rebecca loved Jacob.  I can see problems already. Can you imagine how your household would be if you chose to love one child more than the others, and your husband chose to love a different child more than the others?  There would be so much strife between husband and wife, not to mention the jealousy between the children.  Bickering would be an everyday occurrence in the home.  I can picture the children always competing to have the upper hand.

Looking back to our story, that is exactly what happened.  Esau comes home from having been outside for quite some time, feeling famished.  Jacob has some stew, and he is even willing to share it with Esau……for a price.  The scab is being picked again.

In Gen. 27, we see where Rebekah connives and manipulates to get the blessing of the firstborn for her favorite son.  She succeeds, but the thrill of conquering is short-lived.  The scab is so infected now that Jacob has to flee for his life, and he never sees his dear mother again.  What good is it if a man gains the whole world and loses his soul?  In their pursuit to have it all, Jacob and Rebekah lost each other.  Some wounds never heal.

Our final example of one who was guilty of picking scabs is Martha.  I use her as an example because there are many times when we are just like her.  Martha is frantically working in the kitchen, trying to prepare a feast for Jesus.  She is distracted by the many preparations, but she is also distracted in her thoughts, thinking about how Mary has left her to do all the work, while she is just sitting at the feet of Jesus, doing nothing.  I’ll bet she had all kinds of thoughts going through her mind.

“That lazy sister of mine has done it again — leaving all of the work to me.”
“I have never felt so ‘taken for granted’ in all of my life!”
“My sister is so undependable!  Just when I need her the most, she leaves me!”
“Mary may help for a while, but once there’s a man around, forget it!  She darts off to work her female charm.”
“I’ve had it!  Enough of this!  I’m going to have Jesus put her in her place, and tell her to get in here and help me.”
How many times do we listen to our negative self-talk while we are busily working around the house, at our job, or even serving in the church?

Martha has done what many of us do — she has equated serving the Master with communing with the Master.  In the process, she’s gotten the wrong focus, and now she’s picking scabs.

Martha is expecting to have Jesus put Mary in her place for doing nothing but just sitting there.  What Martha hears is something else.  Jesus is putting Martha in HER place!  He defends Mary’s choice to do nothing, but sit at His feet, saying that Mary has made the best choice, and He isn’t going to take it from her.

Do you need to sit quietly before Jesus, doing nothing, and let Him tend to all the scabs you’ve been picking?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

A Model of Forgiveness

A Model of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the hardest issues we can face in life because hurts and betrayals run very deep.  However, God obviously wants us to work things out; otherwise, this portion of scripture would be unnecessary.

In Matthew 18:21-35, we see where Peter assumed there should be a limit to our forgiveness. He may have thought that he was being incredibly generous by offering to forgive up to seven times.   But by doing so, he fails to see that the goal of forgiveness is to restore the relationship.

In verse 31, we discover that others are watching us when we’ve been hurt.  That scripture became a reality to me when a close family member deeply wounded me.  My daughter was with me at the time of the offense, so she saw how horrible I was treated.  Since I am one who tends to talk my way through issues I’m facing, I knew I better tread carefully on this one because she would be watching closely to see how I responded.  It was incredibly hard to keep a godly attitude through this.  I prayed and prayed and prayed some more for the Lord to help me.

How we respond to our hurts can be a reflection of how deep our spiritual roots go.  And I wanted my daughter to see deep spiritual roots in me in spite of how badly I was treated.  I wanted her to see that no matter how badly she may be treated by someone, she can choose to forgive in spite of those inflicted hurts.  It gave us many opportunities to talk about the situation.  We were able to discuss forgiveness with restoration.  We also discussed the need to forgive and set up boundaries.  We even discussed how there are times when the forgiveness is for our sake and not the sake of the offender, like in the case of physical or sexual abuse.

Depending on how we respond to those types of wounds, we can either draw others to Christ or push them away.  With the Lord’s help, we can be a godly example of forgiveness.

Lord, help me be a model of forgiveness.

© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

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