Woman, Shut Up!

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Woman, Shut Up!

Have you ever heard a conversation where someone brings up I Corinthians 14:34, where it says that women should be silent in the church?  Some people erroneously think that this scripture means that God won’t use a woman, and they are prone to say, “Woman, shut up!  You’re to be silent in the church!”  Back when that scripture was written, the custom was for women to be on one side of the church, and men to be on the other side.  When a woman didn’t understand something, she would yell over to her husband, asking him what the preacher meant.  It was disruptive to the service, so that is why Paul is addressing this issue.

For those who may feel that God can’t use women like He can men, they need to look at some examples in scripture of God using women in high places.  Deborah was a prophetess and a judge.  Esther saved a nation from extinction.  Abigail kept King David from committing murder out of his anger and rage toward Nabal.  Her wisdom landed her the high position of becoming the king’s wife.  Because of her dedication to her grief-stricken mother-in-law, Ruth ended up being in the lineage of the Messiah.  Anna got to see the Messiah before she died.  Elizabeth gave birth to the forerunner of the Messiah.  Mary gave birth to the Messiah.

God obviously will use women, but in I Tim. 3:1-4, the requirements for a man to be an overseer (deacon) in the church state that he must be able to teach.  Unfortunately, we don’t see too many men teaching in churches today.  Almost every children’s Sunday school class is run by women.  (I am thankful for the two men who taught my daughter the last two years during Sunday school.  They are rare gems, and truly a blessing to our congregation.)  Many children who attend church don’t even have a Father-figure in their lives, so men are highly-needed in children’s ministry.  Even many of the adult Bible hour classes are taught by women.  We usually have a couple of men willing to step up and teach, but it’s rare for any of them to be a deacon — yet, we see clearly that deacons are required to be teachers.

When we look at Titus 2, we see where the older women were commanded to teach the younger women to love their husband and their children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their own husband.  This teaching could take place in a church setting, but also in a home setting.  Sometimes mentoring a young mother requires that you do it in a home so that you can show your ‘mentoree’ how to be busy at home.

As we teach a young woman to be busy at home, we teach her to be busy with right priorities, thus, teaching her that she won’t have time to be a gossip or a busybody, slandering others.  When we keep our priorities in order, we are less prone to become a nag, constantly dripping sarcastic, cutting, hurtful remarks to those closest to us.

When we get out of balance with our priorities, our mouths tend to get out of balance, as well.  This may lead to our husband yelling, “Woman, would you shut up?”  We be much better off if only we’d listen to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, telling us “Woman, hush up before your mouth gets you into trouble.”  He can help us to stop before our mouths get us into trouble.

What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you?  Do you need to shut up?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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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

To Destroy or To Build Up

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To Destroy or to Build up

I did a lesson with young children at church where I took in bubbles and the bubble wand.  Of course they loved chasing the bubbles and trying to catch them.  I ended the lesson with telling them to go get all of the bubbles and bring them back to me.  They got the funniest expressions on their precious little faces!  They told me that they couldn’t do that.  I explained how it’s the same with words that come out of our mouths too.  Once they are out there, we can’t take them back.  Oh sure, we can say that we are sorry, but wouldn’t it be better if we had never said the words that required the apology in the first place?

James says in chapter 3 that a word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!  He then goes on to mention how just a spark can set off a forest fire, and compares our tongues to a fire – that with our speech we can turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, etc.

Prov. 6:2 says that we are snared by the words of our lips, caught by the speech of our mouths.  — Think about this:  Sometimes we can be having a day where nothing is going right.  We begin to say aloud that we can’t do anything right.  The enemy of our souls hears that, and TRAP!  He’s caught us, and sets a snare for us.  The next thing we know, we are in the mindset that we are nothing but a failure.  Our joy, peace, contentment, and over-all sense of well-being goes out the door in an instant.

Prov. 10:19 says that in the multitude of words, sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.  In the Webster’s New World Dictionary, “prudent” means, “exercising sound judgment in practical matters, cautious in conduct, not rash, managing carefully.”  Oh, that we could all say that where our tongues are concerned.

Prov. 18:20 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue.  There are so many ways in which our tongues can speak death.  With our words, we can emotionally damage our children, we can kill a friendship, we can cause a huge wall to erupt in our relationship with our husbands (and in a matter of only a few words!), we can even cause physical ailments to come upon ourselves…..and the list goes on.  There is a flip side to it though; our words can speak life to people too.  (I like this part!)  We can speak life to someone who is so discouraged that they don’t feel they can go on.  We can encourage our children in their struggles, or even encourage them in what we see as strengths for them.  We can lift the spirits of our husbands who can carry such heavy loads at times.

Prov. 10:11 says that the mouth of the righteous man is a well of life.
Prov. 10:14 says that wise men store up knowledge in their heart and mind.  Well, what is the wise man going to do with that knowledge?  He can use it to speak life to those who need it.
Prov. 10:20 says that the tongues of those who are upright and in right standing with God are as choice silver (the best silver).

Father, may we daily make the choice to let our words be as choice silver, bringing life and joy to those to whom we speak.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

When to keep your mouth shut

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I’m a Little Teapot

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I’m a Little Teapot

Have you ever sung the song “I’m a Little Teapot” with your children?  It’s a fun one for young children because they enjoy doing the motions to them.  Besides that, they’re just downright cute when they do their little songs!

Many times, we are like the teapot.  We get all steamed up and we ‘tip’ over to the side of our flesh, quickly finding ourselves being ‘poured out’ in a very ungodly fashion.  Our mouths spew forth some damaging words to those around us.  Some of us may even fall into the habit of throwing things when we get all steamed up.

As I’ve watched America’s Funniest Home Videos, I’ve seen numerous clips of babies who have projectile vomiting.  While we laugh at those video clips, it’s no laughing matter when the ‘projectile vomiting’ comes in the form of nasty words from our lips.  Just as vomit has a very nasty stench to it, our words can be filled with just as much stench because they are filled with acid — words which ‘burn’ those who are around us.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 26:41 that we should watch and pray so that we won’t fall into temptation.  Sometimes the temptation we face may be keeping our tongue from sinning.  In I Timothy 4:16, we see that if we watch our life and doctrine closely, persevering in them, we will not only save ourselves, but also our hearers.  Could it be that we could save our hearers from hearing some ungodly words spewing forth, if we carefully watch our lives and how we conduct ourselves when we are under pressure?

We can’t neglect the impact of doing daily devotions with the Lord.  Psalm 119:11 tells us that we should hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him.  I have found that the more I devour the Word, the more control I seem to have over my emotions.  I’m still not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I seem to have a better grip on my emotions, my words, my thoughts, and my actions — or should I say my ‘reactions’?  God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Ps. 119:105) When we stay in that light, it’s harder to go down the darkened path because we see the light, and we follow it more closely.

Paul sheds some light for us in Romans 7:20 when he tells us that if we do what we don’t want to do, it is no longer us that is doing it, but SIN that is living IN us.  In verses 24-25, he realizes what a wretched man of sin he is, wondering who is going to deliver him from this body of death.  He quickly declares that it is Jesus Christ who delivers us!  In Galatians 5:24, he admonishes us to realize that if we belong to Christ, we must crucify that awful sin nature with all of its passions and desires.  The next verse admonishes us to keep in step with the Spirit.

It’s a good idea to let the Holy Spirit become a muzzle for our mouths.  Psalm 39:1-2 tells us that we should watch our ways and keep our tongue from sinning.  The key is letting the Holy Spirit be our helper in this area.  After all, James makes it very clear that no man can tame the tongue. (Jas. 3:8) If we look at Luke 1:37, we find that with God ALL things are possible.  You see, there IS hope for those of us who struggle in this area!
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Talking to Yourself

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Talking to Yourself

Many times, when we are faced with trials of various kinds, we find ourselves listening to our ‘self’ speaking.  What I mean is that we speak from our emotions, our fears, our doubts, and our questions.  Instead of listening to our ‘self’ speak, we need to start speaking to our ‘self.’

David spoke to himself on occasion.  In Psalm 42:5, he asked himself, “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (NIV)

In Psalm 103:1-2, David is again talking to himself.  He says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (NIV) He begins to recite to himself the many things which God has done, choosing to encourage his ‘self’ rather than listen to his ‘self.’

While fleeing from Saul, David wrote Psalm 57.  He mentions how he has been in the midst of ravenous lions that have dug a pit for him.  He is obviously feeling very low and lonely.  Yet, in spite of how his ‘self’ felt, he declares in verses 7-8 that his heart is steadfast and that he is going to sing and make music.  He speaks to his ‘self,’ saying, “Awake, my soul!”  He knew that he needed to speak out loud to awaken his ‘self’ which was dealing with a great sense of despair.  He ends this psalm in exultant praise to the Lord, edifying his ‘self’ in the process.

One way to encourage ourselves is to pray for God to help us in making the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts to be pleasing before Him. (Ps. 19:14) Anytime that we are speaking that which edifies our Lord, we will be edifying our ‘self.’

In Psalm 66, David sets a great example of how to remind our ‘self’ of past victories that God has brought forth in our own lives.  It helps to keep a journal to jot down those victories so that when our ‘self’ is trying to speak negatively to us, we can pull out our journal of past victories, and speak back to our ‘self.’

Ephesians 5:19 admonishes us to sing and make music in our heart to the Lord.  Many times, for it to truly get it into our heart, we need to be singing it to our ‘self.’  In singing it to our ‘self,’ we conquer the negative that our ‘self’ will try to bring forth.

What about you?  Do you need to start speaking to your ‘self’?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Slaves of Righteousness

Slaves of Righteousness

After being a stay-at-home mom for thirteen years, the economic situation required that I reenter the workforce.  That was a major culture shock to me!  Much to my dismay, I discovered that any topic was opened to discussion.  I was appalled by the amount of backbiting I observed.  On top of that, gossip and negativity abounded where ever I went.

It is very hard to keep a positive attitude in those kinds of situations.  In fact, all too often, it was too easy to join in.  However, I soon realized that doing so left a very bitter taste in my spirit.

However, in Romans 6:15-18, it is clear that I don’t have to be a slave to sin.  Rather, I can be a slave to righteousness.  It is my choice — I can continue to join in with the gossip and negative conversations at work.  Or, I can choose to be a slave to righteousness and walk away, keeping my integrity intact.  What an encouragement to realize that I do not have to let sin reign in me!

© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

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