Those Familiar Verses of Scripture

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Those Familiar Verses of Scripture

It is easy to glaze over those verses of scripture that often get quoted, or that we memorized many years ago. I tend to do this myself, but over the last few years, I have tried to get myself to stay focused and look beyond those verses, seeing what the context of the chapter is saying.

I saw something interesting when I did this with 2 Timothy 3. At the end of the chapter is that very familiar verse which speaks of how all scripture is inspired by God, is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Why? So that we will be complete and equipped for every good work.

But if you back up and read the entire chapter, it is really enlightening. First, we are warned about how in the last days there will be perilous times. People will love themselves and money. They will be proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy, slanderous, lacking self-control, brutal, haters of good, lovers of pleasures instead of God, and the list goes on. If we are diligent to read and study our Bibles, we will know to watch out for this. We will also understand that this has to happen in the last days because scripture tells us so, and scripture does not lie. This understanding will help us not to become fearful, overwhelmed, or lose our faith when we see this happening.

Next, we are admonished to avoid such people. Scripture goes on to describe people who creep into households, capturing the weak, leading them astray by various passions. They are described as always learning, but never able to arrive at the knowledge of the truth. When I read this verse, trying to apply it in today’s society, I think of the many preachers who are on television, as well as online, preaching false doctrines. If you don’t study the scriptures for yourself, it is easy to be swayed by their persuasive words. 1 Timothy 4:7 admonishes us to train ourselves to be godly. The implication is that it is not up to a preacher to do this for us. By only listening to preaching, we will not be trained in godliness!

A few verses later, we discover that all who desire to live a godly life will eventually be persecuted. Again, if we take the time to study the Word, we see that persecution is inevitable for all us, so we can pray for the Lord to make us strong so that we stand firm in those times. In this same verse, we also see that imposters (false teachers) will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Jesus spoke four times more about deception in Matthew 24 than He did about wars, famines, and pestilences. Obviously, it is imperative for us to be in the inspired Word of God because it will keep us from becoming one of the deceived.

That is why Paul ends the chapter with that familiar verse on how all scripture is inspired by God. He is stressing to us the importance of staying in the Living Word because it will not lead us wrong in these perilous times!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller
 

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Do You Need to Be Watered?

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Do You Need to be Watered?

I love it when I find new insights in the Word! When reading Isaiah 55, I tended to focus on verses 10-11 where it speaks of God’s Word not returning void. In doing so, I missed a critical point!

We see God’s Word described like the rain and snow, which bring water to the earth. The reason is so it may bud, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater. The result is that cypress trees and myrtle trees would grow instead of thorns and briers.

The critical part I missed is found in verses 12-13. When we allow God’s Word to ‘water’ us, it will get rid of the thorns and briers that have come into our lives. What happens is that His Word begins to transform us. Our speech, actions, and attitudes begin to change. People should see a difference in us when we take the time to study the Word of God.

The flip side is that when we fail to allow the Word to ‘water’ us, we become prickly, like thorns and briers. Our flesh wants to rule us, instead of our spirit. Our words may become bitter, harsh, negative, or unkind. Our actions may become sinful. Our attitudes may show worry, doubt, and fear.

I knew this concept because I had noticed it in my own life when I began to really dig into the Word. I saw that my words became softer, godlier, and even….less. Yes, really. I actually talked less because I started seeing the wisdom in being cautious in my speech. Ungodly words no longer flowed so easily from my lips. This was a big deal to me because cussing had previously had such a hold on me. I no longer had the desire to gossip because it left me feeling so dirty. I would notice immediately when my words would grieve the Holy Spirit. I didn’t like that feeling, so I quickly changed how I behaved. Doing so has led to going about my day with joy and peace. (Isaiah 55:12)

So while I had been seeing this concept lived out my own life, what a joy it was to see it actually revealed in scripture!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Stolen Identity

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Stolen Identity

We live in a society where identity theft is commonplace. We frequently see commercials for companies whose aim it is to protect you from identity theft. There are a myriad of apps on our electronic gadgets, seeking to help us remain anonymous so no one can hack in and steal our identity.

In a spiritual sense, we can steal God’s identity. We do this when we use His Name like we know Him, but we don’t bother to hallow His Name on a daily basis. He is a jealous God and does not want us using His Name flippantly when we refuse to take the time to commune with Him, truly seeking to know Him.

There is something else that happens when we don’t seek to know Him intimately through His Word and prayer. We use His Name in vain. I used to think that cussing when using His Name was the only way to use it in vain. However, there is more to it than just that. Think of it like this – If I were to go to the White House and claim to be a personal friend of the President, they wouldn’t let me in. I may use his name, but it has no power because he won’t back me up since he has no idea who I am.

Sadly, I have seen prominent ministers use His Name in vain from the pulpit. They will be preaching, then suddenly yell out, “MY GOD!” What an inappropriate way to use His holy Name! It is one thing to yell something, “My God is a mighty God!” Or “My God is still a healing God!” The ‘minister’ is trying to make a strong point about something which angers him, and it is an inappropriate use of God’s Name in that context.

Lord, help us not to be guilty of ‘stealing’ Your identity or using Your holy Name in vain. Amen.

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Have You Lost That Loving Feeling?

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Have You Lost That Loving Feeling?

The beginning chapters of Revelation have seven letters to the churches of that day. The first one is to the church in Ephesus. Jesus had a strong word against them – they had lost their first love – Him!

 

You would think this church was a dead church in reading His warning to them to repent. However, if we take a closer look, we will find that it appeared to be a “happening” church. They were working for the Lord. They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which was compromise. They couldn’t stand evil. This church hadn’t become weary in their works. In fact, they had persevered and had great patience. They even recognized false teachers. This implies they knew their bibles, because you cannot recognize false teachers unless you have a strong knowledge of the truth. BUT, they had lost their first love.

 

I have recently started researching many false teachers who are very popular because I want to teach a class on this very topic. I don’t want my brethren to fall prey to their deceptions. As I read this portion of scripture, it really stood out to me not to get so caught up in exposing the error of certain teachers that I lose my love for Jesus in the process.

 

We need to take inventory of our own lives. Have we gotten so busy doing the work of the Lord that we have forgotten the Lord of the work? Have we neglected those times of intimate fellowship through prayer and reading His Word? If so, just as Jesus admonished the church of Ephesus to repent, we also need to repent.

 

Have you lost that loving feeling, where Jesus is no longer your first love? He is waiting for you to reach out to Him. Don’t delay!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Listen Up!

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Listen Up!

I have a job requiring me to work every other weekend, so I am only able to attend Sunday services twice a month. After missing a Sunday, I am always excited about going to church. I want to catch up with my church family, seeing how things are going for them. I always look forward to the corporate worship times, followed by the preaching of the Word. However, I noticed something in Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 that made me stop and think. It tells us to walk prudently (showing thought or care to the future) when we go to the Lord’s house. Hmm…do I do that? Honestly, I think I approach the house of God with excitement and anticipation.

This aroused my curiosity. Why have that attitude when attending church? The explanation is found in the next couple of verses. First, we are to come near to hear, rather than offering the sacrifice of fools. In other words, we shouldn’t speak hastily. Perhaps you are approached and asked to join a particular ministry. If you speak rashly, you may commit to doing something that is not the Lord’s will for you at that time. That leads you to ‘offer the sacrifice of a fool’ because you are outside of the Lord’s will.

We are to let our words be few because a fool’s voice is known by his many words. I remember a time when a certain lady spoke often of her dreams and visions. They were always the same dreams and visions. She held onto them, but never seemed to move beyond them. With all of her chatter on that topic, it was evident she was trying to impress her listeners. It was all about her and her visions. It was never about the Lord receiving any glory.

In Psalm 81, we discover the Lord has a deep desire for us to hear Him. You can hear the longing of His heart in verses 8 and 13. He wants us to open our mouths so He can fill them. He wants us to learn His ways and walk in them. He tries to get us to listen because if we would listen, then He would subdue our enemies and put His hand against our adversaries. However, when we refuse to listen and heed His voice, we risk being given over to our own stubborn heart, to walk in our ways. That is a dangerous thing because our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9)

How much better for us to have ears to hear our Lord!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Adrenaline Worship

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Adrenaline Worship

I noticed several years ago that I was leaving church feeling more drained than when I walked in. It took me a while before I “connected the dots.” There is a common thing happening during many church services these days.

When you walk in the doors, and service gets started, they tend to say something which gets the crowd excited. Next, you hear a lot of loud music – the kind like you would hear at an actual rock concert. There is an excitement that arises, but it isn’t excitement about Jesus. It’s excitement about the atmosphere. I recently read a phrase that described it so well: Adrenaline Worship.

I used to be an adrenaline junkie, so I can attest that this description fits it very well. I used to work in the emergency room. I absolutely loved that job! It wasn’t until I read a book about being an adrenaline junkie that it clicked. I knew the craziness of the ER often left me with a feeling of euphoria at the end of a day. I would often get an adrenaline rush that would give me an extra burst of energy. I would then transfer that emotional high and the extra energy into a hard workout or cleaning the house. It was a wonderful feeling to get so much done at the end of a long day at work. However, it wasn’t good for me! It is hard on a body to constantly be in that state.

It is the same with adrenaline worship. It feels good. It is powerful. It appeals to our flesh. However, it’s not good for us. It will eventually leave us spiritually drained and parched because we are told to worship in spirit and in truth. First, true worship is spiritual, not fleshly. There is a world of difference between the two. Secondly, it must be in truth. Honestly, many of the lyrics in today’s “worship” are heresy, not biblical truth.

God is still looking for true worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Can He count on you?

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

If you would like to read more on this topic, please visit the websites below:

https://bereanresearch.org/popular-christian-music-groups-teaching-heresy/https://bereanresearch.org/popular-christian-music-groups-teaching-heresy/

http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/05/04/kari-jobe-dangerous-theology/http://pulpitandpen.org/2016/05/04/kari-jobe-dangerous-theology/

http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/10/should-our-church-sing-bethel-music-worship-songs/7143http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/10/should-our-church-sing-bethel-music-worship-songs/7143

http://www.truthkeepers.com/?p=814http://www.truthkeepers.com/?p=814

Love and Truth

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Love and Truth

I have noticed a common occurrence in many churches today. There is a message being taught that we all just need to love one another. If we just love one another, everything will be fine. Yet, if we look at what the bible actually says about it, we find it is much more than just love.

We are to love with more than just our words. We are to love in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18-19)

True love is walking according to the commandments in scripture. This means love and truth. (2 John 1:6)

If we don’t abide in the teachings of scripture, we do not have God. (2 John 1:9) Once again, we see that love alone doesn’t make everything fine. We must have love and truth.

Jude 4 warns us of those who seek to pervert the grace of our Lord, turning it into sensuality, and thus, deny the Lord. This is happening in churches who allow those living in sexual sin to be involved in ministry. They believe if we accept them as they are, and allow them to be involved in ministry, we are loving them. They are wrong! We must give biblical truth and love! Otherwise, how will they ever see their need to repent of their sin and be saved?

In 2 John 1:7, he warns of many deceivers having gone out into the world. This is why he stresses what true love is. The deceivers will redefine what biblical love is, and it will not line up with scripture.

In verse 10, we are given a strong warning not to receive those who preach something contrary to what we know is true. If we accept them, scripture tells us we take part in their wicked deeds.

Jude 20-21 gives us an admonition to build ourselves up in our faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, and to keep ourselves in the love of God. To do this, it is imperative for us to diligently study the Word. Otherwise, we may easily fall for the deception that is so prevalent of just accepting others and loving them, without giving them truth.

Love and truth – you must have both!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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