The Warfare of Love

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The Warfare of Love

“Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sin (forgives and disregards the offenses of others).

 

I Pet. 4:8  (Amp. Bible)  The KJV uses the term “fervent” love.  In the Greek, fervent is translated “to be hot, to boil.”

 

We need to have a love in us that is hot and on fire.  Too often, our love appears as barely observable.  Yet, Jesus told us that others would know we are Christians by our love for one another.  (Jn. 13:35)

 

As I pondered on this truth, I thought of the many times that I have popped popcorn in the microwave.  I can’t tell you how many times I have burned my fingers, trying to open the bag.   Needless to say, I drop the bag very quickly when I feel my fingers being scorched by the steam coming out of the bag.  God wants our love to be so hot that we can literally scorch Satan – even before he has his day in the Lake of Fire.

 

In Mt. 24:12 (Amp. Bible) it says, “And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity.”  The church is the “great body.”  Even in this day and age, we can look at things that are taking place within the body of Christ and see that the love of many is already waxing cold.  I know of a lady whose husband lost his job, where he was making over $150,000 per year.  Where they used to be part of the “inner circle” in the church, now they are being scorned.  Love has waxed cold in that church.

 

Look at the divorce rate in the church.  Love in marriages is waxing cold.

Look at the children who are in rebellion, even in the church.  Love is waxing cold.  Have you noticed the materialism that is even creeping in to our churches?  How often do we find ourselves falling into that subtle, but snaring trap?  So many people in the body of Christ suffer from terrible “I” problems, always thinking of only themselves.  Their love has waxed cold.  So many people have found themselves in rather troublesome circumstances.  It is so easy to be caught up in those affairs, and before we know it, our love toward others has waxed cold.

 

We need to be praying for God to help us to have an intense and unfailing love toward others, helping us to forgive the sins of others, and to disregard their offenses.  It can seem overwhelming to try to walk in God’s love all the time, but He encourages us that we can do all things through Jesus, who gives us strength.  (Phil. 4:13)

 

Father, let our waking thoughts be turned toward You.  Show us this day how we can be Your hands and Your love extended to those who will cross our path.  Go deeper into our hearts and fill us with Your love.  Let there be more of You and less of me.  Amen.

 

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Terrorist Attack

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Terrorist Attacks

When we hear the term ‘terrorists,’ most of us will think back to the terrifying events of September 11, 2001.  We weren’t doing anything to warrant such a vicious and unexpected attack, and it became very clear in the days following the attack that it was a very strategic one.  It was carefully planned to have the utmost impact.

I remember discussing the idea of starting this Internet ministry with a dear friend.  I was wanting her thoughts and any wisdom she had to share.  Her husband quickly mentioned that I should be on guard against attacks of the enemy.  After much prayer and input from other close confidantes, I launched this ministry and was amazed at how fast it took off and began to flourish.  I kept watching for an attack, yet none seemed to be coming.  Finally, I became lax about being watchful for the enemy’s attacks.  Satan caught my laxness and launched a vicious attack against me and my family.  A spiritual terrorist had invaded my home, and I was completely unprepared for the war in which I found myself fighting.

It started slowly — we discovered those nasty carpenter ants had invaded our home.  Shortly after we began treating that, a tornado went directly over our home.  Thankfully, it didn’t touch down until it has passed over us.  I breathed a sigh of relief and my heart was turned to praising God over and over for His watchful care and protection.

Suddenly, within a period of about three weeks, Rachel developed a chronic cough that not only was untreatable with codeine, but we discovered after two sleepless nights that codeine was a stimulant to her system, rather than a suppressant.  My husband has faced a myriad of problems with his job — nothing really big, but rather, those little things that tend to nag at you, destroying your sense of peace and order.  Nevertheless, it’s been quite trying for all of us.  Then the car had some major repairs.  When I went to pick up the car, it never even made it home!  Thus, more costly repairs followed the very next day.

The ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ for me was Mother’s Day weekend.  That is a very emotional weekend for me, being that I miscarried my first baby only a few weeks before Mother’s Day.  Even with as thankful as I am to have Rachel, there will always be the memory of my first Mother’s Day, spent with a heart that was grieving, dreams that had been shattered.  This same weekend, Dean made some critical comments to me that really wounded me.  I was an emotional wreck anyway (but he didn’t realize that), and then when adding to my fragile state-of-mind that words of affirmation is my primary love language, you can understand why his words were so hurtful.  Anyone who thrives on words of affirmation is crushed when someone is critical of them.  Any criticisms must be spoken gently, and with much love.  Instead of having an enjoyable weekend, I spent the entire day crying.

Not realizing that a spiritual terrorist attack was underway, I began to listen to the lies of the enemy.  I’m sure that many of you have heard these kinds of lies coming from Satan:
–You have no business teaching other women when it’s obvious your husband isn’t happy with the way you are taking care of things here.
— And to think that you were thinking of yourself as one who is becoming a Proverbs 31 lady!  You’re not even close!
— Who are you to teach others about submission when your husband thinks you do a terrible job in that area?
— You do a poor job of showing biblical love to your family, yet you think you have something to do teach others!  Get real — you can’t do ANYTHING right!
— You are a terrible housekeeper, a terrible mother, a terrible wife, a terrible Christian!  Who are trying to kid?

In actuality, my husband’s words had absolutely nothing to do with being loving, submissive, caring, or with the ministry to which God has called me.  His words had nothing do with the kind of wife and mother I am.  Satan had taken one little hurtful comment from my husband and twisted it to unleash an awful terrorist attack upon my thinking.

Thankfully, the Lord spoke to me and asked me what I knew about my husband’s character.  Here are some of the things He asked me:
— Is he usually a cruel man?
— Is he rude to me or others?
— Did he have a habit of belittling me or others?
— Would he ever purposely say something that he knew would deeply hurt me?
— If he knew that I was grieving over the miscarriage, would he have spoken something that could have hurt me so badly?  The answer to all of these questions was ‘NO!’

Next, the Lord gently reminded me that I had recently mailed out the devotions about how He’d set me free from a violent temper.  He reminded me of the many responses I received after writing about my own struggles.  Suddenly, I realized that without even knowing what I was doing, I had launched a terrorist attack on the forces of hell, and now they were fighting back.  It became crystal clear to me why on Mother’s Day weekend my husband spoke something that hurt me so badly.  Satan saw my frame of mind, and he used my husband’s words to try to get me to give up on everything.  What better way to attack a woman whose desire is to be a virtuous, godly, submissive, loving, and respectful wife?  What better way than to attack a stay-at-home mom — attack her in a way that makes her feel that she can’t do anything right, and that even her own husband doesn’t appreciate her!
Stay-at-home moms expect that the world won’t value or appreciate them for the sacrifices they make, or for the job they do in raising up a godly generation.  What we don’t expect is to hear criticisms (valid or not) from our husband!

The Lord had given me a clear picture of Satan’s terrorist attack against me. (II Cor. 2:11) Now it was my turn to stand against those schemes. (Eph. 6:11) I quickly went to Psalm 91 and declared every promise there for my household.  I began to pray more strategic prayers, using missiles filled with the blood of Jesus to stop the scud missiles of spiritual darkness in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12) I began to mentally put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:13), being especially mindful of the helmet of salvation to protect my thinking — making sure that my thoughts lined up to the truth, and not thinking upon those things which came from the Father of Lies. (Jn. 8:44)

I wish that I could tell you that this terrorist attack from Satan was over.  Unfortunately, we are still dealing with attacks, even in a physical sense.  Rachel had a pinched nerve in her neck just last week, not to mention several stomachaches.  I have been hit physically in a couple of ways recently.  The onslaught does continue, but I’m using my greatest weapons — prayer, quoting the Word, and fighting back through the power and authority I’ve been given through Jesus Christ.

So, here’s a breakdown of how to handle it when we are hit with a terrorist attack:
1.  Don’t ever quit being on guard against the enemy for yourself, or for your family.
2.  Realize that Mother’s Day is a great weekend for Satan to attack you.  Satan doesn’t want you to realize the impact you have on your children and your husband!  If you have times of the year that are exceptionally emotional times for you, warn your family ahead of time that you may be especially emotional.  Ask them to try to be mindful of your raw emotions, and to grant some extra grace to you during those times.
3.  When something happens between you and your husband, don’t listen to all of that twisted conversation that comes directly from Satan.  Rather, repeat to yourself what you know to be true about your husband.
4.  Speak the Word over yourself and your family on a consistent basis.  It will help to alleviate those terrorist attacks, and the attacks that do still come will be lessened if you are filled up with the Word of God.
5.  Talk to a trusted friend who can help pray you through.  Keep in mind – I’m not talking about calling her up and ‘husband bashing.’  I’m talking about mentioning some of the concerns you have, listening for some insights from her, and agreeing in prayer together.
6.  Ask God what He is trying to teach you when you go through spiritual attacks and trials.  This pleases God to know that you aren’t so consumed with your problems that you can’t keep looking for Him to show you some awesome lessons.  Then, wait in expectation to see how He answers you!  I can personally testify to being in total awe of some of the things God has shown me when I have asked Him what He’s trying to teach me.  In fact, this message was born out of that kind of prayer.

Sister, are you dressed for war?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Condemning the Condemner

Do you struggle with guilt or regret? Does the enemy constantly whisper to you that you will never be forgiven or that what you’ve done can’t be undone? If so, then YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS MESSAGE!

Father, set your people free as they listen to this message! Let it be the Rhema Word of God to deliver them from Satan’s lies! Amen!

POWs

POWs

In reading the Word, we quickly discover that we are in a war.  Our spirit daily wars against our flesh.  We war against principalities and powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places.  (Eph. 6:12)

Of all the wars I fight in my Christian walk, I have found that the war against my thoughts is one of the most intense battles I face.

We are always thinking about something.  Our mind has this incredible capability to drift.  Before we know it, we are thinking about someone who offended us, then setting out a very fleshly plan to put them in their place, or get even with them.  If our husband has ticked us off, we may start mulling over the idea of giving him the silent treatment.  After all, look at how many times he’s done that to us!  If we begin to rehearse all of our tasks for the week, it can cause our stomach to become knotted up because our thinking quickly turns to worrying and fretting.  If our mind starts to ponder on the news of all of the terrorists plans, we may be setting ourselves up for panic attacks.  What can we do?

We are told in II. Corinthians 10:5 that we have the power to demolish all arguments and pretensions that go against God’s ways and enter our minds.  We are to take them captive.  In other words, any wrong, untrue, ungodly thoughts need to become our POWs.  When we take them captive, we are to treat them in the most inhumane way, starving them and letting them die of thirst.

To be a good soldier, we not only need a good offense, but a good defense.  Once we use our defense to take POWs, we must go on the offensive.  It is critical to have a plan in place, ready to be put into action. For our thoughts, our best plan is to have God’s Word hidden in our heart so that we have His powerful, life-changing truths deep within us.

When thoughts of what terrorists may do assail us, we can tell ourselves that we don’t need to fret because of evil men, for they will soon wither.  (Ps. 37:1) When we begin to rehearse what we want to say to the one who offended us, we can remind ourselves that we are to love our enemy and pray for them.  (Mt. 5:44) When our mind wants to rehearse the list of perceived wrongs by our husband, we can remind ourselves that love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. (I Cor. 13:5) When we begin to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of errands, tasks, meetings, and appointments that must be done this week, we can tell ourselves to commit our ways to the Lord because God will establish our thoughts.  (Pr. 16:3) We can pray, trusting in God, leaning on Him, and acknowledging Him, knowing that He will make our path straight.  (Pr. 3:5-6) We can ask God for wisdom to help us see if there are some things on our list that we need to just let go for now.  (Jas. 1:5)

We don’t have to let our thoughts take us captive and make us their POW  We are to be the ones taking POWs.  How about you?  Do you need to change tactics and begin to capture some POWs?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Pick Your Battles Prayerfully

Pick Your Battles Prayerfully

I have often heard my pastor tell us to pick our battles with our children.  Some battles really aren’t worth fighting.  Others need to be fought at all costs.  It takes discernment to discover which battles are the ones we need to fight.

In Deut. 17:8-10, we see that Moses was told that if he had cases come before him that were too difficult for him to judge, he was to take them to the person whom God would choose.

As a mother, I have often found situations arising that leave me at a loss on what to do.  I learned very early as a parent that it’s wise to pray for three wise and godly women to whom I could go for counsel on tough issues.  They have been a great help to me, providing some wonderful insights.

In Judges 4:4, we see that Deborah was leading Israel.  In verse six, she sent for Barak, telling him that God wanted him to gather ten thousand men to go to Mount Tabor.  God was preparing to give Jabin’s army into their hands.  In verse 16, we see that all of Sisera’s troops fell by the sword.

The correlation to us, as women, is that we should be causing our spiritual foes to fall through using the Word in our intercession for our family.  It is a powerful thing to quote the Word when we are praying.  I remember one Sunday when our youth pastor used a machete, calling it a sword, and tossing an apple into the air, then slicing it in half.  It was a fantastic visual picture of how using the Word of God can slice our spiritual foes.

Saul and his servant were out searching for some lost donkeys.  The looked for hours with no success, coming to  the point where they didn’t know where else to look.  In verse six, the servant mentions a man of God.  He states that everything the man of God speaks comes true, so perhaps, he could tell them where to look for the donkeys.  As Saul agrees to go see the man of God, he not only finds his donkeys, but the man of God anoints Saul as leader over Israel.

Sisters, sometimes when we approach God, He not only answers our original request, but if we are careful to listen, we may find Him revealing much more to us.

The story of David and Goliath is a very familiar one.  We see that David is a brave man, a warrior, and most importantly, the Lord was with David.  God had delivered David from the paw of the lion and the bear, and David was confident that God would deliver him from this vile Philistine.  When David spoke to Goliath, he was careful to make mention that he was coming in the name of the Lord.  He knew that all of his success was from God alone, and he was certain to give God the glory for his success.

We also need to be constantly aware that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. (Jas. 1:17) Any battles that we win, we win because God is for us.  (Rom. 8:31)

Another battle in the Old Testament that is incredible is when God gives very clear instructions to the Israelites for going against Moab. (II Kings 3) After they followed the Lord’s instructions, the valley was filled with water.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough, in verses 22-23, the Moabites see the valley of water, only it looks like blood!  They head out to plunder, not realizing that they were walking into their own destruction.

When we pick our battles prayerfully, it can cause the plans of the enemy to be destroyed.

In Acts 12, the church was earnestly praying for Peter, who was in prison.  Suddenly an angel appears to Peter, causing his chains to fall off.

Sometimes when we pick the battle of intercession, we will cause chains of bondage to fall.

In Mt. 1:19, Joseph was going to divorce Mary quietly.  But once an angel appeared to him in a dream, he was encouraged to go ahead and take Mary as his wife.  He was given a clear revelation as to what was taking place within Mary’s womb.

In Acts 16:6, the Holy Spirit kept Paul and his companions from preaching the Word in Asia.  In verse 9, we see that Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man and he concludes that God had called them to preach the gospel there.

Sometimes when we pick our battles prayerfully, God will speak clear instructions to us through the stillness of our sleep.

Do you feel the need to pray about some battles?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Homeland Security

Homeland Security

In pondering on terrorist attacks, I realized that not only do terrorist attacks come into our home, but we are capable of launching them ourselves.  Just as our own country now has a department called ‘Homeland Security,’ we also need to devise a spiritual ‘Homeland Security’ plan.

Many of us are entering that stage of life where we may see our husband go through a mid-life crisis.  As men reach the stage of life where the hair begins to thin and the waist begins to thicken, they may suddenly realize that as they go walking down the street, they no longer draw the attention of women.  Ladies who may likely do a double-take when they see a good-looking man, don’t even acknowledge that he exists.  They may get that sudden panic-stricken feeling of realizing that their youth is quickly fading before their eyes.  To top it off, they come home, only to hear the following kinds of comments:
‘Dad, can I have an increase on my allowance?’
‘The washer quit working today, and the car is acting up.’
‘Did you remember to stop by the store and pick up some milk?’
‘Dad, did you write out the check for church camp registration?’
‘I need money so that I can pay the bills.’
‘Junior got put in detention for the second time this week.’
‘Janie got a D on her report card.’

Suddenly, not only does he feel old and fat, but he feels very unappreciated and unloved.  Part of devising a homeland security plan is to be very strategic about the timing of these kinds of issues.  We also need to teach our children to be mindful of how and when they approach their father with these kinds of requests.

Ladies, if we aren’t careful, we can launch a terrorist attack of infidelity.  You see, we are told in Eph. 5:33 that we are to respect our husband, to notice him, prefer him, praise him, compliment him, and admire him exceedingly. (Amp.) When we fail to do this, it can further launch him toward the temptation of an affair.  The other woman never brings him problems (like a broken washer, car repairs, etc.), but she plays up to his ego.  She compliments him, admires him, praises him, notices him, and she even takes the time to listen to him.  She does what we may have failed to do.  When we take the time to give our husband what I call ‘positive strokes,’ we launch a homeland security plan that keeps him coming home to us, rather than looking to another woman.

Continuing on the subject of homeland security, keep in mind that when your husband has been out working all day, he likely sees dog-eat-dog competition, and hears negative talk, criticism, and backbiting, not to mention a lot of ungodly talk in the form of dirty jokes and foul language.  A perfect solution for this would be to give him some time to read the Word when he first gets home.  However, I have heard from many women that their husband won’t take the time to read the Word.  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our own sin, and the Word cleanses us from the dirty things to which we are exposed on a daily basis.  So if our husband isn’t taking time to read the Word, letting it cleanse him from the filth that he’s dealt with all day long, how can we launch a homeland security plan to help him?  We need to counter all of that negative ‘stuff’ when he comes home.  If he isn’t in the habit of reading the Word, we can try to offer a pleasant, wholesome atmosphere in our home.  We can be diligent about reading the Word ourselves, and then sharing in conversation with him the things we are learning, or even letting him know how we are being challenged in our own walk.

Many times in our marriage, our spouse may say something that angers us.  If we don’t quickly crucify our flesh, we will launch an ungodly terrorist attack by lashing out in our anger and bringing up past issues and past hurts.  That kind of attack may cause damage to our marriage that is similar to the Twin Towers when they came crashing down. The very foundation was destroyed.  Rather than destroying the foundation of our marriage in the heat of an argument, let’s determine to have a homeland security plan that shows us to be peacemakers, showing ourselves to be true daughters of God. (Mt. 5:9) We are to make every effort to live in peace with ALL men, including our husband. (Heb. 12:14)

Another homeland security plan that I have enforced is by teaching my daughter that we are to be different — aliens and strangers on this earth. (Heb. 11:13) We don’t dress in hip huggers or low-cut, tight-fitting shirts because as Christian ladies, we are to be self-controlled and chaste in our actions, deeds, and our manner of dress so that God’s Word won’t be blasphemed or exposed to reproach.  (Tit. 2:5) We are to control our bodies in purity, not dressing like the ungodly who purposely dress with the intent to get men to lust for them.  For when we dress and behave immodestly, we defraud young men by getting them to think that we can provide satisfaction for them, and it’s GOD who should bring ultimate satisfaction to them.  God doesn’t take this matter lightly either — rather, He will punish all (wo)men for such sins. (I Th. 4:4-6) By starting the teaching on modesty and proper behavior at a young age, we have engaged a homeland security plan that may help to keep our daughters pure in body, mind, and spirit.  It can help to destroy the terrorist attacks that are so prevalent in the lives of many young ladies in this day and age.

Many times when our hormones are all out of kilter, our tongues can unleash a vicious terrorist attack.  One plan to keep the homeland safe during these times is to meditate on Phil. 4:8.  If we find that our thoughts aren’t true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, or praise worthy, we can go to war and take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (II Cor. 10:5) There is nothing wrong with taking some medication to help us during those time of crabbiness.  I’ve taken herbal medicines, as well as a generic premenstrual medication to help soothe my raging hormones.  I also go on the offensive and warn my family that my hormones are acting crazy.  I ask them to please try to bear with me.  I let them know that if I’m short-tempered and cranky with them, it’s not their fault.  They are much more likely to grant me grace in those times if I simply forewarn them.

In this final lesson on homeland security, we will be discussing how to launch a plan to teach our children faithfully about the Lord.  We will also deal with the overwhelming issue of suffering through depression, even when you have been faithful to read the Word of God.

Another very pro-active homeland security plan is to be faithful to teach our children about God, and how God wants us to live.  So many times, parents leave the spiritual training to the church and the workers at the church.  Having worked in children’s church for quite some time, I can assure you that a lot of time is wasted during children’s church because of the rowdy children.  I know that many times the workers wonder if any of their message came across because of the myriad of distractions they face every week.  I know that we are all tired at the end of the day, and we just want to send the kids off to bed so that we can have some peace, but that is a prime time to talk with the children.  They are very open in those moments.  Don’t let a satanic terrorist steal those moments from you, never to be recaptured.  If you make this a habit, in only a matter of about thirty days, it will become an automatic habit and a good one!  You will never regret taking that time to talk with your children.  Sometimes the subject will get off target, but that’s all right.  Let them talk, and be sure to really listen to them.  If you don’t take time to listen and talk with them about the unimportant issues, they won’t talk to you later about the really important issues.

Too many people are quick to condemn those who suffer with depression.  They leave you with the impression that if you read the Word, it will take care of any depression.  While that is true in many case, it isn’t true in all cases.  Sometimes there are physical things wrong that need to be corrected through medication.  To those of you who may be on medicine for depression, I want to say, ‘Bless you for getting help!’ You may be facing guilt and condemnation from the enemy.  In fact, some of that guilt and condemnation may even be coming from your own church family.  I applaud you for realizing that you needed some help from a doctor.  Because of your wisdom in seeing this need, you may never realize what kinds of terrorist attacks you may have stopped just by simply taking medication to help your body function the way God made it to function.  You have launched an effective security plan for yourself, and for your family.  Don’t feel guilty about being on the medication.  After all, God is the one who gave doctors the wisdom to help you!

Sisters, do you need to start up some homeland security in your home?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Digging Up Devils

guilt1

Digging up Devils

Years ago when my brother was only five or six years old, he was digging in the yard.  The neighbor asked him what he was digging for.  My brother promptly replied, “Devils.”

It occurred to me that we often go ‘digging for devils.’  One of the primary ways we do so is by listening to the accuser of the brethren.  Satan loves to bring up past sins and taunt us with them.  He knows that it is a very effective tactic for sending us on a guilt trip.  Once we allow our minds to listen to one guilt trip, we tend to ‘dig up more devils’ and we find ourselves in a downward spiral of guilt and shame.  We can declare the words of David, “Shame covers my face.” (Psalm 69:7)

We don’t need to live our lives plagued with guilt.  We are told in First John 1:9 that if we sin, we need to confess it to the Lord.  Once we’ve done that, He faithfully forgives us and cleanses us.  We no longer need to carry that guilt because Jesus bore that burden for us.

Satan comes to bring us condemnation through guilt because he knows that condemnation is like an arrow that can mortally wound us.  He also knows that as we wallow in guilt and shame, we feel unworthy to reach out to our Father.  We need to remember that there is no longer condemnation for us because we are now in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

We have an armor that can help us to stand firm against Satan and his wicked schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-18) So, the next time you feel a guilt trip coming on, instead of ‘digging for devils,’ take those thoughts captive and declare that Jesus already bore that sin and shame for you.  Declare to Satan that you refuse to be taken captive again!

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

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