“I Do It Myself!”

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“I Do It Myself”

When my daughter was a toddler, we would often try to help her with things, and hear the words, “I do it myself!” Can you relate?

In our Christian walk, we sometimes take on that same attitude of “I do it myself!” We may struggle in an area, and we don’t want anyone to know. It can be the shame of our sin, but most often, it is our own pride, which stops us from opening up to anyone.

However, there are times when we really need to reach out to a trusted friend who will agree with us in prayer. Sometimes our friend, who isn’t caught in the middle of the issue, can have valuable, wise insights to help us.

James 4:6 tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to those who are humble. James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed.

Sometimes, by simply being willing to step out and admit openly that you are struggling with something, the power of that secret sin begins to lessen. It can be much like someone who was sexually abused. Once they speak out, exposing the abuse, the power their abuser once had over them, diminishes. Many former victims admit that by speaking out, they finally felt like they had the power. The abuser lost his power over them.

It is often the same when Satan has lied to us about our own sin. I remember learning years ago that Satan’s greatest weapon against us is a lie. Don’t let his lies hold you back any longer. If you need help, pray for the Lord to lead you to a trusted friend who can help you get out of his web of deceit.

Don’t be like a toddler, who adamantly declares, “I do it myself!” Let Jesus help you! He is waiting and willing to set you free!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

 

 

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Living With the Unclean

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Living With the Unclean
I have always been fascinated by the story of the demoniac in Mark 5. Though I wasn’t bound by a legion of demons when I came to the Lord, I did have a lot of baggage. I remember the freedom I found in Jesus and how my life drastically changed when He came into my heart. So in a way, I can relate to the demoniac and the amazing feeling of freedom he must have had after Jesus set him free.

I find it insightful that when Jesus gave the spirits permission to enter the swine, the unclean swine refused to live with those unclean spirits. Yet, how often will people put up with evil spirits? We forget that we have been given the power through Jesus to overcome these foul spirits and take authority over them. We do not need to dwell with them any longer!

I remember when a woman, whom I will call Tiffany, related a story to me of dealing with evil spirits at work. A new employee, whom I will call Delilah, had started working in her department. Nearly every strongman listed in the bible bound Delilah. Those spirits were wreaking havoc in Tiffany’s department. Tiffany was proactive in doing spiritual warfare, praying, and anointing the department frequently. She bound those spirits from entering her office. One evening, Delilah was standing outside Tiffany’s office, talking to her. Another coworker walked by and said, “Why don’t you just go in there and sit down?” Delilah’s response was, “I’m not allowed.” Imagine the expression on Tiffany’s face when the Lord allowed her to actually hear the bound woman reciting exactly what Tiffany had been praying and declaring in her office!

There is something else in this story that stood out to me. When the people of that region showed up, they saw the demoniac in his right mind. Rather than rejoice and praise God, they begged Jesus to leave! Personally, I think they were focused on the herd of swine that was destroyed and the money which was lost. Jesus had caused them to come out of their comfort zone and they didn’t like it! They preferred the old way of doing things. They had gotten used to seeing this man, bound and living among the tombs. They didn’t need someone coming in and changing the way things were done!

I think this attitude is prevalent in many churches these days. Preaching a gospel of true repentance would cause people’s lives to drastically change. However, we choose to be seeker-friendly and not address sin. After all, we don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. If we do that, they might not come back and we might lose a lot of money in the offering plate.

Instead of using scripturally-based worship music, we compromise. After all, we don’t want this younger generation to leave the church. Instead, we compromise on the worship, allowing lyrics, which are doctrinally incorrect, fill the minds of our youth, just so they will stay in church. So the youth may still be in the church, but they are lost because they feeding their minds on doctrine which is in err.

Jesus made it very clear in Matthew 24 that deception is going to be prevalent in the last days. As I look at the changes which have taken place among many churches in the last thirty years, I think that time has arrived.

Lord, break our chains and deliver us! Help us not to become comfortable with abiding in a church where uncleanness and compromising Your Word is allowed. Open our eyes and give us the courage and wisdom to get out of our own comfort zone so that we can be radically transformed by You.
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Let it Go

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Let it Go
Do you remember the song from the Disney movie Frozen? Little girls across the nation could be heard singing that famous line, “Let it go….”

The concept of letting things go is one many Christians could stand to learn. In fact, I wish I had learned this concept when I first got saved. However, being raised Catholic for so many years, it was hard to undo the concept of paying penance for my sins. Whenever I sinned, I still felt like I needed to carry the weight of that sin for several days and say a very lengthy prayer of repentance.

Perhaps you feel the same whenever you sin. You carry that heavy load of guilt until your spirit feels bowed over. You don’t feel like you can walk in freedom and joy because of your sin.

May I offer you some hope?  Psalm 32:1-2 tells us that God blesses those whose sins have been forgiven and wiped away. God blesses us because we tell him our sins, without trying to hide them. The result: He forgives us! Yes, it is that simple!

But that’s not all! Verse 5 tells us that along with forgiving us, the Lord also takes away our guilt. In verse 6, we are admonished to pray when we have sinned so that we aren’t swept away by a raging flood. That flood could be a flood of guilt, so we clearly see that we aren’t to wallow in guilt for several days when we have sinned. We are to let it go! Verse 7 tells us the benefits we reap when we confess our sin instead of holding onto it. God protects us from trouble and puts a song in our heart.

I had to chuckle as I read verse 9 because I can see myself in this verse. It tells us not to be stupid like horses and mules. Stubborn would be a good word to substitute here for stupid. Have you ever been there? So the next time you feel like you have to carry your sin around with you instead of immediately repenting and moving on, just remind yourself that it is stupid to carry that weight with you when there is such a better way of dealing with it!

If this is an issue where you struggle, I challenge you today to do what Psalm 34:8 says. “Discover for yourself that the Lord is kind.” (CEV) Confess your sin right away and watch his kindness embrace you and fill your heart with joy and freedom!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

 

Repentance

So many churches do not preach a gospel of repentance these days.  Rather, they preach a social gospel that is weak and doesn’t meet the deep needs of our souls.  I found a series that is very refreshing because it DOES preach that old-time gospel of repentance.  Pastor Brian Hughes does an outstanding job of preaching this biblically based message.

Repentance

Spiritually Comatose

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Spiritually Comatose
Brushing your teeth, showering, getting dressed, making the bed – These are all things we do automatically, without giving it much thought.
If we aren’t careful, we can do the same thing in our spiritual lives. We can fall into the habit of reading the Word, paying our tithe, going to church and Sunday school – all without absorbing any of it. We do it automatically because it has become a habit.
The result is we become spiritually comatose. Though our body is very much alive, our spirit is completely dead on the inside. It’s a slow process, done little by little, but one day, we realize we just feel dead inside.
The cure is to stay hydrated by drinking from the Living Water.
Colossians 3:23 tells us that whatever we do, it should be done heartily, as to the Lord. This implies that it isn’t something done automatically – it is a choice of our will to do it heartily.
Psalm 16:11 tells us that in His presence there is fullness of joy and His path is a path of LIFE. So clearly, the Lord desires more for us than to fall into a state of being spiritually comatose.
Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us we are to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul, and strength. It requires using all of our mind and emotions to do this. By doing so, we won’t fall into that dangerous and sad state of being.
© 2017, Stacy R Miller

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

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