When The Heavens Are Brass

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When the Heavens Are Brass

We all have times when it seems the heavens are brass. We pray, and it just feels like God doesn’t hear us. We seek comfort, compassion, wisdom, and peace, yet all we get is His silence. The psalmist had one of those times in Psalm 119:82. He said his eyes failed from searching God’s Word. He asked, “When will you comfort me?”

It is important to remember not to give into all of the emotions we feel during those times, and to ignore the negative, doubtful thoughts which enter our minds. We need to focus on that which we know to be true about the Lord. The only way to do that is to be a student of the Word.

The psalmist reminded himself in verse 86 that all of God’s commandments are faithful. He declared his choice to remain faithful to God in spite of his feelings when he states in verses 83 and 87 that he would not forget the Lord’s statutes or precepts.

When I am going through those times when the heavens feel like brass, as I am praying, I begin to thank the Lord for what I know to be true. I may say something like, “Lord, though I don’t feel your presence or your peace, I thank You that You are forever faithful and will never leave me, in spite of what my feelings are telling me. Lord, if you are trying to teach me something through this, help me to see it and learn from this.” I will remind the Lord of His Word and His promises, in spite of how I feel. I don’t do it because the Lord needs to hear it. I do it more as a declaration to myself. However, I do believe it pleases the Lord when His children recite His Word to Him.

Since I just bought a new bible, I am taking a blue highlighter and using it to mark verses that comfort me. Blue is a color of comfort, so it makes it easier for me to find those verses when I need them. I will also post bible verses on my desk so I can meditate on them throughout the day. In recent months, I have started reading and praying one section of Psalm 119 every day. As I have gone through trials or times of temptation, I have been able to easily remember different phrases in that Psalm, turning them into a prayer.

Another comfort for us in those ‘brassy’ times, is Psalm 18:6. “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” (ESV) We can remind ourselves that we know God hears us, even when we do not hear Him. God’s eyes are on the righteous, and His ears hear our prayers. 1 Peter 3:12

We find a word of encouragement is in Psalm 119:68. We can remind ourselves that God is good, and all He does is good – even when it feels as if He isn’t there. He wants us to realize that His promise of never leaving us is more real and more dependable than any visible evidence we could ever have. He wants us to walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller


The House of Prayer

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The House of Prayer

I was studying my bible one evening when something ‘popped’ off the page at me. Scripture sure has a way of doing that! No wonder it is described as living and active! (Hebrews 4:12)

In Matthew 21:12-17, we see where Jesus cleansed the temple. It was defiled by a couple of things. First, there were those who were selling animals for sacrifice at an exorbitant amount. Secondly, if the people could just come and buy their sacrifice, instead of raising it, caring for it, making sure it was the best of the best for the Lord, then what kind of ‘sacrifice’ was that? Not much of one, I can assure you. It’s often easier for us to donate money, rather than our time and energy.

Here’s what stood out to me in this chapter. Right after leaving that defiled temple, Jesus headed to a city called Bethany, which means ‘house of prayer.’ He didn’t find a house of prayer in the actual temple that day, so He left and went to a city called a house of prayer. Not only that, but it also tells us Jesus lodged there. He dwelt there!

It reminded me of a situation I faced several years ago. I was attending a large church, but every time I left, I felt more drained than when I walked in. I knew that was a sign of a serious problem. As I got before the Lord and prayed about it, I realized that the atmosphere was more like a social club than church. The music was more like a rock concert than true worship, in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) As I dug deep into my Bible, I also noticed something else. That church never taught repentance! Those were the first words from John the Baptist and Jesus about salvation. You must have repentance. Some would say I left the church when I walked out the last time. In reality, what I did was leave a defiled temple. There is a huge difference between the two!

After coming to this realization, I decided to dwell in the Word and in prayer. I was looking for direction, and I knew praying wasn’t enough. I needed to seek the Word to find that direction. I found what I was seeking and so much more! That time of intensely searching the Word, praying the Word, and meditating on the Word has left a huge imprint on my life that will leave me forever changed for the better.

Have you experienced any of what I just mentioned? If so, perhaps you are sitting in a defiled temple. Find your Bethany – find that place of prayer and seeking the Lord through His Word, and dwell there. You will never be the same again!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

A Genie God

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A Genie God

Many people, even professing Christians, have a habit of not talking to the Lord until they are in a bind. They neglect His Word, not taking time to pray or worship Him. But when there is trouble, watch out! They will begin to fervently pray.

Have you ever known someone who only called you when they wanted something? How did it make you feel? How do you think it makes God feel when we do the same thing to Him? After all, He sent His Son to die for us!

We often treat Almighty God as if He were nothing more than a genie – there to grant our every wish, then put back on the shelf until the next time we need something.

Scripture has much to say about people who treat the Lord like this. Proverbs 28:9 says that for the one who turns his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. The law is God’s Word. This means that when we refuse to take the time to read, study, and meditate upon the Word, our prayers become an abomination to God.

When we take time to read, study, meditate, and pray, we honor the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:30 tells us that God will honor those who honor Him, but those who lightly esteem Him shall be vile. Those are strong words for when we take His Word lightly, refusing to see the necessity of spending time in it.

Psalm 119:21 tells us that God rebukes the proud, the cursed who stray from His commands. I used to always think of the ungodly when I read this verse. However, I saw a new insight into it recently. When I refuse to read, study, and meditate upon the Word, I am proud. Why? It’s because I think can do just fine on my own. However, the Word calls me cursed.  Ouch! What a strong warning!

Psalm 31:23 tells us that God abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Proverbs 13:13 tells us whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself. This is all the more reason we need to stop neglecting His Word! He knows how much we need Him. That is why He gives us these warnings in scripture.

We find some more strong words in Psalm 50. Speaking of those who flippantly toss the Words of the Lord behind them, He asks, “What right do you have to recite my Words, or speak my covenant?” When I read this, I thought of those who profess to be Christians, but neglect His Word….until they are in trouble. He goes on to describe them as people who hate His discipline, speaking ungodly words, and speaking against others, committing sin, and keeping bad company. Because God sometimes remains silent, people who act like this begin to think that God approves and is just like us. However, He gives strong warning that this just isn’t the case! He rebukes those who forget Him, lest He tears them apart and there be no one to deliver them. In the final verse, He reminds us that those who offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifies Him, and as a result, He will show His salvation to those who walk uprightly.

If you think I’m taking it too far, let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (NKJV)

Luke 12:34 tells us that where our treasure is, our heart will be also. What are you treasuring? Could it be said of you that you are a man or woman of the Word? Or do you treat God like a genie god?

We’ve looked at some very strong words for those who treat the Lord like a genie god. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits we reap when we are faithful to read His Word.

Psalm 31:23 tells us the Lord preserves the faithful. Proverbs 13:13 tells us when we revere the Word, we will be rewarded. Jesus tells us in Luke 11:28 we are blessed when we hear the Word and obey it.

Psalm 34 has several benefits listed:
The Lord delivers us.
He saves us out of our troubles.
We are blessed when we take refuge in Him.
We will lack no good thing.
His eyes are toward us, and His ears are open to us.
He is near to us when we are broken hearted.
Our faces will be radiant. – Have you ever met someone who glowed with the glory of the Lord? That is a beauty of which nothing can compare!

If you have been guilty of treating the Lord like a genie god, I urge you to repent. God is waiting on you. He desires to be gracious, compassionate, and forgiving toward you. Don’t let guilt hold you back from receiving the wonderful benefits which can be yours when you start diligently reading, studying, meditating, and praying!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Exodus 14:14

My pastor is having open heart surgery early this week.  One of the young ladies from church got a stand-up easel and wrote the scripture below on it.  She did a beautiful job on it.  In fact, I took a picture of it on my phone, then I set it as the background on my phone.  Now every time I open my phone, I will think of Pastor.  It will be a constant reminder to pray for him during his surgery, as well as during his recovery time.  

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Standing in the Gap

What a wonderful, powerful, encouraging word!

How to Pray When You Can’t

Approaching the Throne of a Laughing God

This is one of the best messages I’ve ever heard!  Get a box of tissues before listening because you may need them!

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