Witches Brew

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Witches Brew

There is a scripture which can make me cringe, mostly because when I read it, I am deeply convicted.  It says that rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft.  (I Samuel 15:23)

I began to remember the times when I’ve felt convicted to get up early and read my Bible, but I rebelled because I wanted to sleep.  My rebellion is like witchcraft in the eyes of the Lord.  Instead of feeding my spirit, I’m stirring witches brew.

I think of the many times my husband has asked me to do something and I have rebelled because I failed to see the point of doing what he requested.  Again, I have started stirring some witches brew.

I am reminded of the times when I have started to share something with a friend.  For a split second, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit, telling me not to share it.  Yet I chose to say it anyway.  My rebellion leads me to that pot of witches brew again.

How many times have I neglected the nudging of the Lord to call on someone?  When I fail to obey that nudging, even when I am still doing some other ‘ministry,’ I am stirring witches brew.  Saul knew this only too well, and it cost him the kingdom.  First Samuel 15:22 tells us that to obey is better than sacrifice.  God commanded Saul and the army to completely destroy the Amalekites and all that they owned.  Yet Saul chose to bring back the cattle and sheep so they could offer them as a sacrifice.  God wasn’t interested in the sacrifice.  He was interested in obedience.

God has given to us everything we need to live holy and godly lives.  (II Peter 1:3)  If we feel like we are stuck in a rut, continuously stirring a pot of witches brew, we can take heart!  There is no temptation that we face that Christ has not already faced Himself.  God is faithful in our times of temptation, and He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.  Not only that, but He provides a way out so that we are able to stand up under the temptation!  (I Corinthians 10:13)

James tells us that we have not because we ask not.  So, if you find yourself stirring your own pot of witches brew, ask the Lord to help you find the way out of your temptation so that you can obey Him.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

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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

Where is Your Pulpit?

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Where is Your Pulpit?

As I was reading in Titus 2, I thought it was interesting to note that in verse 4, the first item on the list was for a woman to love her husband.  When we make a to-do list, we usually put the most important items at the top of the list.  For this item to be first on the list in scripture, the Lord is showing us that it is very important.  In verse 5, we find that she is to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to her husband.  In today’s society, men don’t get much respect.  Television makes husbands and fathers look like complete idiots.  Sadly, that attitude is even permeating Christian homes.  That must be why we are commanded in Eph. 5:33 to respect our husband.

For those who are newly married, or are struggling in their marriages, I wanted to give some practical advice on how to ‘love your husband,’ as the Word mandates.  We need to understand that our love for our husband is seen by how we speak to him and how we speak about him.  It is seen by how we take care of him and what we do to serve him.  Mt. 6:21 tells us that where our treasure is, our heart will be found.  Where is your treasure?  Do you see your husband as a precious treasure from the Lord?  Do you treat him as such?  What we do and say about our husband is often our ‘pulpit.’  People can learn much about us, just by observing how we treat our husband, whether he is present or not.

I find that my ‘pulpit’ is often in the kitchen.  Since our family room and kitchen are combined, I try to honor my husband by having my daughter straighten up the family room before he comes home.  I try to have a meal fixed and ready for him.  Entering a house that has a sense of order, and the pleasant aroma of food is inviting to a man.  (I am ‘preaching’ to him that he is important to me, simply by what I do for him.)  Sometimes I will even turn on some soft, soothing worship music to greet him as he walks in the door.   My daughter will often question why it’s so important to make the house look nice ‘just for Daddy.’  From my ‘pulpit,’ I am trying to teach her that Daddy is important, and that when he comes home at the end of a long day, he doesn’t want to see messes everywhere.  Chances are high that he probably spent most of his day working in ‘messes.’  He needs a nice, quiet, inviting place to relax and unwind.

Just a few nights ago, Dean didn’t get home until around 10PM.  He had worked about 15 hours that day, not to mention the long days he had already worked earlier in the week.  I have to admit, by 10PM, I was tired.  I didn’t feel like entering my ‘pulpit’ again, but because my desire is to honor my Christ in all that I do, I hopped up from the couch the minute I heard his truck door slam shut.  I met him at the door and asked if he had taken time to eat supper.  After he stated that he hadn’t, and that he was very hungry, I began pulling things out of the refrigerator, and in a matter of minutes, I had a big plate of hot food fixed and ready to eat.  I literally felt a second wind come into my body, giving me the energy to serve him, and to do it gladly.  I would venture to say that my attitude in serving my husband as if I were serving the Lord had a lot to do with that added burst of energy.  I enjoyed putting the meal together for him.  I think he could sense that because he was very thankful for the effort I put forth.

Backing up to the scripture in Titus, in verse 4, the children were listed as second on the priority list.  While in the middle of trying to get Dean’s meal together, Rachel approached me, wanting some attention.  I gently, but firmly told her that I was taking care of her Daddy, so she would need to wait until I was finished getting his food fixed.  This was another way of honoring him.  He heard me telling her, in so many words, that my husband comes before her.  It is good for children to realize that this world does not revolve around them.

You can probably think of some things around the house that your husband likes done, just by thinking of comments he has made.  If he complains of the clutter, enter the ‘clutter pulpit’ and try to work on reducing that clutter.  I don’t mean doing it all in one day, but do a little every day.  Before you know it, the house will look much better, and you will be honoring your husband.

If he complains that supper is never ready when he walks in, try your hardest to ‘preach’ from the kitchen by at least having the meal started when he walks in the door.

One evening, after a very long, hard day, I used some special markers on the bathroom mirror.  I wrote, “Dean, you are awesome!”  It was a small way of letting him know that I do take notice of how hard he works to provide for us.

Are there little things that you expect him to do because they appear to be a ‘man’s job’?  I’m talking about things like checking the air in your tires, filling the gas tank, raking, paying the bills, etc.  Those may seem like such little things, but when your husband works all day, he will really appreciate not having to do those kinds of things.  Dean is usually the one to do the in-depth cleaning of the laundry room.  I am not supposed to be moving heavy objects, but when we noticed a smell coming from the dryer, I knew it was time to stretch myself.  I recognized that he had more than enough to keep him busy, so I took a morning and tackled cleaning the whole utility room, down to even pulling out the washer and dryer, and cleaning the hose behind the dryer.  I was so proud of myself, and I could tell that Dean was very pleased that I was able to figure it all out and not break anything in the process!

Does your husband complain during the winter months about having itchy, dry skin?  Try rubbing him down with some body oil, even baby oil will work.  Another suggestion would be to purchase a body scrub for him to use in the shower.  If you get it from Walmart, it won’t cost you very much either.  Does he have a favorite kind of candy?  Buy a bag of the miniatures, then when he needs a ‘chocolate fix,’ it’s already there for him.  Do you know of a book he’d like to read?  Check the library for him, or see about purchasing the book for him.  Checking on ebay first may even save you money than if you’d buy it locally.

We live in Indiana, but Dean’s favorite NBA team is Utah.  We can’t find any T-shirt, sweatshirts, etc., in our area that say “Utah.”  One year, I had my aunt, who lives in Salt Lake City, pick up a couple of Utah Jazz sweatshirts for him when they were on sale.  Last year, I bought him a Utah Jazz watch, along with several other Utah things.  He was really impressed with my ingenuity.  He knew that I spent some time searching for the items, which ‘preached’ to him that finding his preferences was worthwhile to me.

In Titus 2:5, we are admonished to be busy at home.  So Sister, find discover where your ‘pulpit’ is in your home.  Now get busy showing your husband that he is your most precious treasure, next of course, to your wonderful Savior!

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Titus 2 Moms

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Titus 2 Moms

“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”  Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)

We have discussed this portion of scripture in previous mailings, but as I pondered on it the other day, I saw it in a whole new light.  When I have studied this before, I always thought of it as meaning that the older women of the church should be teaching and mentoring ladies like us, who are in the midst of raising our children.  And yes, that is true.  But let’s look at it from a new perspective.  If we are mothers of daughters, then WE are the “older” women, and the daughters are the “younger” women.  (For those of you who have sons, please continue reading.  You will find some information that can be applied to sons as well.)

We teach our daughters more by example than by our words.  We have all heard that phrase “actions speak louder than words.”  Children are smart, and they can pick this up at a very young age.  So, we need to be very careful of what our actions (and our words) are teaching them.  Are we modeling a good example of Biblical love to our husband?  If not, then dear daughter is learning an unbiblical way to love her future husband.  Are we careful to honor and respect our husband?  If not, we are teaching our little ladies to do the same thing when they are older.  Do we whine, nag, and manipulate to get our way with our husband?  If so, then by our poor example, we are teaching our daughters to do the same thing to get what they want.  Do we find ourselves screaming most of the time?  If we are, then we are teaching them to react to situations from their flesh rather than responding to them through God’s Spirit who lives in us.  Do we refuse to submit to our husbands?  Here again, if we struggle in this area, we are showing a poor example to our children.

It is very important for daughters not to be allowed to back talk to their fathers.  They must learn to respect Daddy.  If we don’t train them to respect him, then how can we expect them to respect their future husband?  If we don’t take a strong stand in this area, then they will perceive that this behavior is acceptable in a marriage.

Sons must not be allowed to walk all over their mothers or be disrespectful toward them.  This is a critical thing for them to learn.  If we don’t train them correctly in this area, we may end up raising a son who could lean toward being abusive to his future wife, be it verbal abuse, mental abuse, or physical abuse.

Let’s keep in mind that a child left to himself/herself disgraces his mother.  (Prov. 29:15)

I have read many times that the person who has the most influence on people is their mother.  That is a heavy load for each of us to carry.  That is why it is so important for us to learn to stay connected to the vine.  (Jn. 15)  We must remember that apart from Christ, we can do nothing.  (Jn. 15)  But, with Christ, we can do all things!  (Phil. 4:13)

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

Do you ever feel intimidated by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31?  I sure have!  She was the model of perfection.

I remember going through a time when I couldn’t seem to do anything right.  I went to cut off a pair of Rachel’s pants to make Capri’s out of them.  I cut the same leg twice!

Another time I got really energetic and was trying to do some in-depth cleaning.  In my haste to get as much accomplished before my energy level dropped, I used the wrong cleaner on a door and ruined the finish.  Shortly thereafter, I ruined our evening meal.

Everything within me was screaming, “YOU ARE A FAILURE!”  I had to stop and tell myself the truth.  While Rachel was not going to have Capri’s from that one pair of pants, she was able to have a pair of shorts.

So maybe the finish on the door was ruined, but that is something which can easily be corrected.  Plus, I looked at all of the other things I accomplished that day.  I wasn’t a failure!  Actually, I was quite productive!

I ruined one meal out of how many?  In other words, that meal was a failure, not me.

Now back to that virtuous woman….She may appear to be the model of perfection.  In reality, she had mastered being perfect as our Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) In this verse, “perfect” means mature.  The virtuous woman learned not to let mistakes master her.  She learned what she could from them, and that is what made her perfect.

Instead of being intimidated by her example, we need to follow her example.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

Housework – The Thankless Job

Housework – the thankless job

We clean and we clean, and nothing ever stays done.  We clean and we clean, and no one ever seems to appreciate it.  It’s easy to cop a bad attitude if you dwell on that fact.

God has placed us in our homes to be homeworkers, and we need to keep our focus in the right direction.  Psalm 16:6 says that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage. (Amp. Bible)  Do you really believe that the lines have fallen in good places for you — even while you are doing housework — the job that seems so “thankless”?

Jesus calls us to be faithful in the small things. Luke 16:10 says that he who is faithful in the very little things is faithful in much.  Sometimes the small things for us may be cleaning the toilet, wiping a runny nose, filling up a sippy cup, or taking out the trash.  You see, those “little things” do matter to God.  God entrusts the little things to our care to teach each of us faithfulness in bigger things.  He also wants you to see how even those little things can have an eternal effect.

Matt. 25:34-36 says “…for I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me.” (NIV)
Think of it this way:  When you give your child a bath, you do it for Jesus.
When you scrub the stains that are so often on the clothing of small children, you do it for Jesus.  When you sew a button on hubby’s shirt, you do it for Jesus.  Even speaking a word of encouragement to someone can have an eternal impact.

A word of caution though – Col. 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord, as a reward.  It is the Lord you are serving.”  (NIV)  So, what is your motive and your attitude when you do these “little things”?  If we grumble and complain, or do it to receive the applause of man, we can’t expect a reward.

Let’s look at some of the things which Jesus did.
1.   He helped to settle arguments between people.  (Mk 9:34-35)  Any mothers out there who have done that recently?  🙂
2.   He served a meal to others. (Jn. 6:11)
3.   He even cleaned house, so to speak.  (Jn. 2:15-16)
4.   He washed feet.  (Jn. 13:5)
Do you see it?  Jesus did the SAME LITTLE THINGS which we are doing, and we get the privilege of doing them on a daily basis!

Get this in your spirit, and remember that when you are cleaning the house, you are doing it for Jesus, and He does care that you are doing it, He does see that you are doing it, and He does appreciate that you are doing it, as long as you do it with a joyful heart, and with the right motive.  I had to learn this recently because I was really getting a bad attitude.  It has really changed my way of thinking.  I have a whole new attitude when I approach housework now, and it is absolutely wonderful!

That’s all for this time.  I think I’ll go scrub a toilet!  🙂

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 31 e-book

 

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