Making the Best Use of Time

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Making the Best Use of Time

Have you ever met someone who is good at quoting lines from movies? The lines seem to roll off their tongue so easily. It is because they have immersed themselves in the movie, practicing the lines repeatedly until they could say them fluently.

That is how I want to be when I speak to others about the Lord. However, I tend to get tongue-tied and stumble over my words. I struggle with what to say, and how to say it tactfully so that I don’t come across as judgmental, or holier-than-thou in my attitude.

Colossians 4:5 tells us to walk in wisdom toward outsiders and make the most of our time. My manager often uses the phrase, “Maximum impact with minimal effort.” That is another way to view this verse.

I have learned that the best way for me to walk in wisdom, making the best use of my time is to daily get into God’s Word, and spend time in prayer. I notice a huge difference in how I respond and react to people. I have a better sense of God’s heart, able to offer love and compassion, which may not come so easily through my own efforts. I also have better discernment for how and what to say to those I encounter.

There is a phrase, “You are what you eat.” When I eat junk food, I feel awful and tired. When I make healthier choices, I feel more vibrant and balanced. It is the same with what we allow into our minds. If we are ‘feeding’ our minds worldly things, worldly things will be coming out of mouths because what enters our minds also goes to our heart. Out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth will speak. (Luke 6:45) When I have been diligent to be in the Word, ‘eating’ Living Bread, bible verses will come quickly to my mind to help shine His light on situations. I walk away from the conversation feeling much more invigorated and refreshed because I know I have just poured life-giving words into someone else’s life!

Eating the Living Bread of the Word will help you walk in wisdom, making the most of your time!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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When Bad Things Happen

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When Bad Things Happen

 

There has been a teaching for several decades that says when you get saved, nothing bad will happen to you. You will live a life of ease and joy. If you have troubles, it is because you have sinned.

 

God’s Word tells us it rains on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) We are told in 2 Timothy 3:12 that all who live godly lives will face persecution. Notice that it speaks of those living godly lives, not lives full of sin, and what do they face? Persecution. That doesn’t sound to me like ease and joy, with nothing bad happening. In our society, we have recently seen bad things happening to those who are Christians. A good example is the bakers who refused to do a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. They faced a myriad of hardships when the lawsuit came against them.

 

What about Job? Scripture makes it clear that Job was a righteous, godly man. God, Himself, described Job as a blameless, upright man, like no other on the earth. Yet we see that in one day, Job lost his servants, his livestock, and his children.

 

We are told in 1 Peter 4:12 not to think it strange when we face fiery trials. Notice this verse doesn’t add the words “when you have sin in your life.” Rather, it says we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ when we face situations like these. And Christ never suffered because He had sin in His life! We are told in James 1 that the testing of our faith produces patience. Notice it doesn’t say that when we sin, we are tested. Rather, it is the testing of our faith.

 

When you hear this teaching, flee! It is nothing more than a doctrine of demons (1 Timothy 4:1), sent to make you doubt and fear, to torment you, and to destroy your faith. The apostle Paul had a strong warning for those who teach another gospel – they are accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9) Stay away from them! Your spiritual life depends on it!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

The Last Miracles of Jesus

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The Last Miracles of Jesus

It is important to notice the ‘firsts’ in the bible. They have important insights for us. For example, the first time the word ‘love’ is used in scripture is in Genesis 22:2 when God told Abraham to take his only son, whom he loved, and sacrifice him to the Lord. This story is a picture of Jesus being God’s only Son, whom He loved, thus why it is important to note that it is the very first time that word is used in scripture.

 

Another example is in Exodus 20:3 with the Ten Commandments. The very first one is that we have no other gods before the Lord. If we get this one mastered, the others will follow suit, and not be as likely to cause us to fall.

 

In Galatians 5:22-23, we find the fruit of the spirit. The first one is love. Why? Because if we have love, then it only makes sense that we will have joy, peace, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. True love will emanate these others qualities in our lives.

 

I believe it is also important for us to look at the ‘lasts’ in scripture. My friend, Kathy, saw a very interesting insight that really peaked my interest on this topic.

 

The last healings Jesus did in Matthew and Mark was blind Bartimaeus. In the book of Luke, it was the healing of the ear of the high priest’s servant, which Peter cut off. Notice that these final miracles had to do with sight and hearing.

 

As we look at the warnings Jesus gave us in Matthew 24 regarding the end times, we see many of them had to do with these two things! He warned us what to watch for, as well as what things to which we should not be listening.

 

Verse 5: We are to watch out for (look, see) those who come in His Name, deceiving many. Keep in mind, this does not just mean people are going to be saying, “Hey! I am Jesus!” Rather, it is referring to those who claim to represent Him, but what they preach and teach will be a false gospel.

 

Verse 6-7: We will hear about wars, rumors of wars, nations rising against nation. We will see famines, pestilences, and earthquakes.

Verse 9-10: We will see Christians murdered and hated by all nations. During that time, we will see people betray one another, as well as hate one another.

Verse 12: Because of how lawlessness will abound, we can watch for the love of many to grow cold.

Verse 15: When you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”… –Notice that He says when “you” see. He is speaking to believers here. If believers will not be here to see this, why is He mentioning it?

Verse 23-26: Jesus tells us look out for false Christs and if we hear anyone tell us where to find him, not to believe them. He tells us to watch for great signs and wonders to appear, deceiving many, even the elect.

Verse 27: Jesus tells us that His coming will be as lightning flashing across the sky. In other words, He is saying that all will see it. It is not a secret coming, where we just suddenly disappear, and no one knows where we went.

Verse 28-31: Notice He says “immediately after the tribulation.” He is telling us what to watch for, what to listen for, and the order in which these events will happen. We will see the sun darkened, the moon won’t give its light, and stars will fall from heaven. Next, He will appear and all tribes of the earth will see Him coming. He tells us to watch for angels to come and to listen for the sound of the trumpet. This is the rapture of the church!

 

I hope this study has peaked your interests in looking at the deeper meaning of things in scripture, like when you see a list of things mentioned. Study it and search why something is mentioned first. What is the significance? I believe you will see the Word become more alive in your life, as well becoming much more interesting to study!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

 

 

Waiting in Expectation

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Waiting in Expectation

Psalm 5:3 speaks of laying your requests before the Lord and waiting in expectation. I have done this concerning my daily bible reading.  I do not want to just read the Word to have something to cross off my to-do list.  I want the Lord to speak to me through it.  After all, His Words are life. In fact, much of what I have written in recent months is a result of that expectation, and allowing Him to speak to me through His Word.

For those of you who are parents, think back to those ‘firsts.’ Do you remember the joy you had when your baby smiled for the first time, took that first step, said “mama” or “dada” for the first time? Do you remember how you just beamed with joy?

I remember when we were home schooling in those early years. I was trying to teach my daughter how to read. It was a glorious feeling when she was able to start reading on her own. And I was the one who taught her! It was a proud moment for both of us!

As parents, whenever our children have their ‘firsts,’ or understand new concepts, there is such delight for us!  Those are big moments for us!

Now picture God, our Perfect Father. Surely He enjoys and delights in those moments when we see new things in His Word!  So go ahead, get into your bible, wait for the Lord to speak to you, and delight His heart!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

 

True Prosperity

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True Prosperity

There has been a lot of false teaching over the years about how God wants us to be rich and prosper. I do believe God wants us to prosper, but prospering doesn’t always mean financially. After all, if a concept is in the bible, it should fit all people of the world.

I recently heard about a man who preached a prosperity message to men in prison. Seriously? The love of money is what likely landed those men in prison! What about those in a third world country? Do you really think that kind of message is applicable to those people? This proves to me that this prosperity gospel is a false gospel. It is what Paul would call a ‘different’ gospel, and those who preach it should be cursed. (Galatians 1:8)

Over the last several months, I have made a concentrated effort to be in the Word. I have done so with no other motive than this: I want God! He is my one desire in this! I want to know Him, I want to learn from Him, I want to be guided by Him, and Him alone! It has been an exciting journey, as well as very precious. There is nothing that compares to digging deep into His Word, allowing Him to teach you.

However, something has happened during this time of intensive study in His Word. In February, I was given a promotion at work, which came with a significant raise. In May, I got my annual raise. One day in June, I came into work to find that I had been nominated for a Hero Award, which is a huge honor, just to be nominated. (At this time, I am still waiting to see if I actually win that award.) That same day, I discovered those in my department were all receiving a market adjustment to our hourly pay. This was completely unexpected.

Now this means I got three raises in less than four months! That is unheard of!!! And to get the nomination for that award during this time is incredible.

That doesn’t even count the joy and peace I have gained through my time in the Word because of how the Lord is increasing my faith. It doesn’t count the unbelievably sweet fellowship I have gained with our Father, nor the excitement I have every day as I search His Word for what treasures He wants to show me. All of these things are priceless!

Needless to say, after the announcement of the third raise, my heart was overflowing with God’s goodness toward me. While I was pondering on all the Lord has done in my life recently, 3 John 2 came to mind. It speaks of prospering in all things, even as our soul prospers. It occurred to me – this was exactly what was happening in my life! I made the choice to choose God’s Word and to be faithful, and I didn’t do it because I was looking to gain awards or more money. I did it only for Him, because He is already my exceedingly great reward. (Genesis 15:1) But look what the Lord did! He gave me so much more!
I share this to encourage you to get into His Word. Do it to gain Him, and nothing else. I have a feeling if you do so, you will find the blessing of the Lord abounding in your life!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Can You Rightly Divide the Word?

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Can You Rightly Divide the Word?

If we are to rightly divide the Word, it is essential that we spend time dwelling there. The only way a doctor can be an exceptional physician is after years of diligent studying, being immersed in the field during their residency, then finally, doing the job on their own on a daily basis. It is the same with the Word of God – we cannot handle it well, or use it to help others, unless we are spending time immersed in it.  This takes diligence, as we see in 2 Timothy 2:15.

Why is it so important for us to so diligent with studying the Word? 2 Timothy 2:23-25 explains this well. It is because we won’t have the wisdom to know when something is a foolish or ignorant dispute. We need to be using our time wisely, not wasting it on foolish arguments.

It also helps us not to be quarrelsome, but to be gentle and loving, correcting those in opposition to God in a spirit of humility. The result may be the unsaved will come to know the truth and escape the snare of our enemy, after having been taken captive by him to do his will. Now isn’t that worth taking the time to diligently study God’s Word?

Let’s talk about some of the foolish and ignorant disputes that are popular right now. There is the flat earth theory. I have seen this one discussed multiple times online, at one point, stating that the earth was flooded twice. Since we know God is not a liar, and He stated the earth was only flooded once, to continue believing in this flat earth theory is foolish.

The serpent’s seed doctrine seems to be making the rounds online. This is the belief that Cain was conceived by the serpent. However, Genesis 4:1 clearly states that Adam knew Eve, meaning they had sex, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. Period. Again, another foolish and ignorant dispute. If you know God’s Word intimately, you can shut down this theory with ONE bible verse.

The Mandella effect is the belief that certain key words have been changed in scripture. The truth is, they simply do not know their bibles! For instance, they believe the scriptures used to say the lion shall lie down with the lamb, but has been changed by the enemy to say the lion shall lie down with the wolf.  It has always said wolf.

In 2017, there was a lot of hype on the Revelation 12 sign. People were claiming this as some big biblical fulfillment of prophecy, but many of the ‘stars’ that were to appear, were actually planets. Also, In Luke 21:11, it mentions seeing fearful sights and great signs in heaven. However, if you go to the next verse, it says, “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.” NKJV I haven’t seen this happening. Again, if we take the time to be diligent in studying the Word, we won’t fall for these ignorant teachings.

There is a popular teaching which states, “We all just need to love each other.” Proverbs tells us that the parent who spares the rod hates his child.  Sin must be addressed. Proverbs 28:13 tells us, “It will not go well for the man who hides his sins, but he who tells his sins and turns from them will be given loving-pity.” NLV  Have you ever thought about what consequences there might be for the one who helps others hide their sin instead of addressing it?

Paul brings up things we will see in the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” NKJV

Notice that these people have a form of godliness, but they don’t truly know the Lord or His Word. Titus 1:16 speaks of those who profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. This fits the very things Paul speaks of in the above paragraph.

In 2 Timothy 3:13, Paul tells us that evil men and imposters are going to grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. I don’t want to be named among this group! I don’t want to be an imposter, nor do I want to be one who is deceived by an imposter. Therefore, it is imperative to stay grounded in the Word of God. Doing so will help you to recognize the deceivers and false teachers.

We are told that all scripture is inspired by God and it is profitable for teaching us doctrine, reproof, for correcting us when we are wrong, and for instructing us in righteousness. This means it will help us to deal with issues like deceivers and imposters.
 
Paul goes on to admonish us to preach the Word, convince, rebuke, exhort, and teach the Word. (2 Timothy 4:2) Why? Because a time is coming when people will not endure sound doctrine. Instead, they will search for a teachers who will preach that which is pleasing to them and tickles their itching ears. They will turn away from the truth, choosing fables instead. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Because the love of money is a snare to many pastors and teachers, in their own greed, they will be more than happy to accommodate these people. They will provide them with a customized gospel message that fits their wants, but neglects their deepest spiritual needs. 

Brethren, it is time to start devouring the Word so that we can rightly divide the Word of truth!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Texting

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Texting
Texting seems to be all the rage these days. So much so, that there is now a thumb disorder recognized as being caused by excessive texting. There are even concerns that excessive texting could be a sign of mental illness. I have seen many who appear to be compulsive texters. I have seen videos of people walking and texting, then falling into a pond, walking into a wall, etc.

I have to admit – I just don’t get it. However, that might be because I didn’t even get a cell phone until I was 54 years old. Yes, I really was that old before I got one, and the only reason I did at that point was because I got a promotion which required me to be on call after hours. I’ve just never desired to have a cell. Perhaps it is because I am switchboard operator, answering phones for 8-12 hours a day!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people will grab their cells when they hear that familiar ‘ding,’ notifying them that someone just texted them.

However, there is a much better text to read than our cells! It is God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that His Word is living and powerful. It’s sharper than a two-edged sword, having the power to pierce our soul and spirit. It can even discern our thoughts and the intents of our hearts.

While I have had some nice sentiments sent to me through texts, none of them are alive like God’s Word. None of them have the power to change my life! Now that is a powerful text!

Some of you may think, “I don’t want to read something which pierces my soul and spirit.” I want to be happy! Having allowed God’s Word to pierce me many times, I can testify that I have never regretted those moments. While they may have hurt at the time, they were for my betterment. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God doesn’t want to harm us, but to give us a hope and a future. He truly does have our best interest at heart.

Perhaps you are thinking, “I don’t want God searching the thought and intents of my heart!” Several weeks ago, I bought a new bible and started the process of transferring notes from the old bible to the new one. One evening as I sat down to work on that project, I wasn’t very far into it when the conviction of the Lord came upon me for something I was watching on television. My first thought was, “Ah man! I really like that show!” However, I knew I needed to give it up, and I can honestly say I do not regret having obeyed the Lord in this area. The fellowship has grown sweeter, my spirit has grown softer toward the things of the Lord, and I cannot wait to read His Word every day, just waiting to see what He wants to show me. There are such treasures in the Word. It never ceases to amaze me how I can find new insights when I make the time to read His Word.

So I challenge you to get into life-giving text: Your Bible! I promise – you won’t regret it!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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