My Heart Cries “Abba Father!”

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My Heart Cries “Abba Father!”

One of my dearest friends recently lost her daughter to breast cancer. It was heart wrenching to hear her sobs when I spoke with her. My heart ached for her, and I felt so helpless because I live two hours away, so there wasn’t much I could do to help her. When you add to that burdens I was carrying for some of my own family, you have a perfect recipe for a heart that is overwhelmed.

There were times I just wanted to run away. At times, I just wanted to immerse myself in watching Netflix. I quickly discovered that activity only left my spirit parched. There were other times when I wanted to do what I often did when I was a distressed little girl: Run into the strong arms of my dad, crying, “Daddy!”

As God’s beloved children, we have the wonderful privilege of crying out to Him, “Abba Father!” in our own distress. What awesome comfort and peace we can have in those times when we are overwhelmed with life!

Do you need to cry out to Abba Father?
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller



A Change of Focus

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A Change of Focus
When I go to the eye doctor, he needs to check my vision carefully to ensure he prescribes the right script.  It requires him asking multiple times, “Is this clearer, or is this one clearer?”  We continue the process of checking my focus until we are sure we have the script that is best for my eyes.
Sometimes we need to change our focus spiritually.  In fact, I have been battling this recently.  After a long day’s work, I will often hit the on-site gym before heading home. While I used to work out because doing so caused me to drop several sizes, I cannot say that anymore.  My metabolism has changed, so losing weight cannot be my focus.  If that was still my focus, I would have given it up a long time ago.  Instead, I do it for my health.  It is mentally and emotionally good for me, it helps with alleviating back pain, and a good intense workout can help relieve the stress and tension of the day so that I can go home and not take out my frustrations on someone else.  So this change of focus has been a good change for me.  It has helped me to stay faithful to working out, even if I’m not seeing myself drop a size or two.
More recently, I have needed another change of focus.  I have been feeling overwhelmed.  I have been working more than full time hours for several years now, and just recently just got a promotion. The promotion means more responsibility and being on-call after hours. Yet, when I get home, I find the housework is still left for me.  I am the one who still does the monthly menu planning, including getting all of the necessary ingredients to complete that plan.  I am the one who pays all of the bills.  Why am I so frustrated and overwhelmed?  I am getting very little help or support at home. I’ll be honest with you — I have battled feelings of frustration and anger over this, not to mention feeling taken advantage of.  There have been times in my frustration where I have vented and it was not a pretty sight to behold.
So what was I to do?  Nagging and pleading failed. Leaving reminder notes didn’t work either. First, I had to change MY focus.  Notice what I just said.  I didn’t say I adjusted someone else’s focus.  (Too often, we focus on trying to change the behavior of others.) I adjusted MY focus.  This was hard because I wanted to stay angry, and keep nagging and yelling about how I was feeling and how unfair it was because I felt completely justified in my feelings.  However, I knew it would get me nowhere.  All it did was get me the silent treatment, and still no help.  Can you hear me sigh?
Secondly, instead of using the on-site gym at work three days a week, one of those days my workout is simply cleaning the house. While it may not be my preferred workout, at least the house gets cleaned before my day off. After all, who wants to spend their day off cleaning?  And if the house is in disarray on my day off, I can’t relax and refresh, like I so desperately need to do.
Thirdly, I have also chosen to focus on the Lord.  I do my tasks as if doing them for Him.  I choose to let Him guide me every day, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  I choose to worship Him daily, for He gives me a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  This change of focus is the one that has made the greatest difference. 
What difficult situations might you be facing where you simply need to change your focus?   
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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

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

What is Your Sacrifice?

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What is Your Sacrifice?

The Bible tell us that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.  God won’t reject those who come with a broken and contrite heart.  Ps. 51:17  What pain do you have?  What brokenness do you carry within?  What of your past?  Are there things there that you absolutely despise?

Father desires that we lay it down at His feet, as a sacrifice to Him.  What you sacrifice to Him is something that no other person can give Him.  It’s yours alone.  Only YOU can give Him your brokenness, your pain, your past.  That makes it a very unique sacrifice.  And God says that He won’t despise that sacrifice from us.

He promises in Is. 61:2-3 that He will comfort those who are mourning, giving them beauty for their ashes.  He will grace you with a garment of praise instead of the heaviness which leaves you weary and worn.  Will it cost you to give this sacrifice to Him?  Oh yes!  It will cost you greatly, but think of the sacrifice which Jesus gave: His very life, and He did it for you.

Has your husband left you high and dry for one who years younger than you?  Has he left you because he claims that he couldn’t handle the stress anymore?  Have you been violated?  Jesus wants you to offer that brokenness and pain to Him.  He bore the shame of it for you, so why allow yourself to carry that heavy yoke any longer?

Were you date raped in your younger years, yet that awful experience continues to haunt you, even though you know it wasn’t your fault?  Have you been abused by one whom you trusted?  You are not responsible it.  You are not to be blamed!  You aren’t dirtied or devalued, as the devil would like to have you think.  No matter how you were treated, your perpetrator sinned against you and the Lord.

One of the hardest parts of being a victim of any similar circumstance is our response to what occurred.  We ALL have a sin nature, and Satan’s desire is to snare you through that very sin nature by getting you to cater to it.  He is a master deceiver, and he can get us so ensnared that we may find ourselves with an unconscious unwillingness to be healed from the pain of the past.  When we allow this to happen, we can be like the people in Jer. 30:12-15 who had an incurable wound, who could have no healing for their sores because their iniquity was so great.  One of those incurable wounds can start with the seed of bitterness and unforgiveness.  It grows within us, day by day.  Before we know it, we are bound in spiritual chains that will only be broken by a mighty deliverance from the Lord.

Satan can’t trap us with an opened door, but if we take on a ‘victim’s mentality,’ we put ourselves on very shaky ground, possibly opening a door for him.  Many years ago, I discovered that I had unintentionally opened a door to the enemy of my soul.  I struggled with chronic colitis for several years.  My victim’s mentality was to blame the colitis on the stress of my job.  In coming through the deliverance process, Father clearly told me one day to NEVER make that comment again.  He informed me that the colitis was not a result of the stress of my job, but rather MY reaction to the stress of my job.  That was very humbling to see that it was ME who opened the doorway to the enemy, allowing him to reek havoc with my body.  I didn’t intend to open the door for Satan, but the Lord showed me where I had willingly done so through that root of bitterness.  What an awful path it led me on, and it lasted for years.  It was so bad that I was on three different kinds of medicine, two of which were pain killers.  I even had to take the heating pad to work with me several times a week, just because the pain in my abdomen was so great, not to mention the many visits to the doctor, having an upper GI done, as well as a colonoscopy.  As a newlywed, I found that chronic colitis was also interrupting the intimate side of my marriage.

You see, our ‘natural’ response when we have been victimized may be to blame others, to feel that we need to be in control of everything, and at all costs.  But notice that I used the word ‘natural.’  As Christians, we are not to be following after that ‘natural’ man anymore.  Rom. 12:1-2 tells us that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (sacrificing all of those past hurts), to God.  We aren’t to be conforming to this world anymore (meaning that we quit playing the blame-game.)  God desires to be a restorer to us when we have been victimized and abused.  But when we spend so much time and precious energy on blaming others and being so overly self-focused, we are blocking the restoration that God desires to bring.

Father, help me to search my heart to see if there is more brokenness there that You desire for me to offer to You.  Help me to discover where there might be more shame, so that I can offer it to You, allowing You to carry that burden for me, allowing me to find that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

The Sacrifice, Part 2

In continuing our study on our sacrifices, I want to ask:  Were you abused?  Jesus bore your grief from that abuse.  Are you sorrowing over a betrayal from the one who vowed before God to be faithful to you?  Jesus carried that sorrow for you.  Do you still feel like you will never get over the pain or betrayal?  With God ALL things are possible.  Mt. 19:26  In all of your weakness, His strength is made perfect.  II Cor. 12:9  Do you still carry guilt over losing your virginity before marriage?  Is. 53 tells us that He was pierced for that transgression.  For all of those sins which try to nag at your, pulling you two steps backward for every single step forward, Jesus was crushed for them ALL!  Do you hear me, dear sister?  I said that Jesus was crushed for them ALL!  He took the chastisement for our peace, and by His stripes, we are healed and restored.  No amount of guilt, shame, remorse, or blaming will fix it.  It is a finished work.  So if you are struggling in this area, I pray that God will enable you to be still and know that He is GOD! Ps. 46:10

If you still feel so dirty, like God couldn’t possibly love you, let the words from Zeph. 3:17-18 encourage you.  God takes great delight in you, and He is mighty to save you.  He longs to quiet you with His love, and He wants you to know that He rejoices over you with singing.  Yes, sister, it doesn’t matter what your past holds, He loves you.  He even tells us in Is. 41:9-10 that He hasn’t rejected us, but chosen us!  So don’t fear Him.  He is here to help, to heal, to hold you.  In Is. 57:18, He tells us that He will heal us and guide us, and that He will restore comfort to us.

My sister, don’t think that I’m trying to downplay the pain which you may be carrying.  I am not going to negate that your life may be wracked with torment from things of the past.  Your life may still be in shambles because of someone else’s sin against you.  I write this to you so that you don’t allow your soul to become entwined in shackles.

I will never forget reading about Lisa Beamer, whose husband was on United Airlines flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.  She knows that it was someone else’s sin who took her husband from her.  It was because of someone else’s sin that her daughter will never know her daddy.  Lisa could have blamed the government, but instead, she has been a great example of one who has a confident assurance that her life is in God’s hands. She is confident that even her husband’s life was securely in God’s hands, even in the face of evil, just moments before he was transferred from earth to glory.

Know that your life is in God’s hands as well.  He has not forgotten you, nor forsaken you.  He died for all of the pain and grief that you currently carry.  He is waiting patiently, lovingly, for you to hand those over to Him, giving Him your sacrifice — a sacrifice that no one else can possibly give Him.  He wants to give you that garment of praise for your current spirit of heaviness.  What sacrifice do you have to offer the Master today?
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Weather Forecast

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Weather Forecast

I have often said that I missed my calling.  I should have become a meteorologist.  I am fascinated with the weather patterns.  If a hurricane is headed this way, look out!  I will likely be glued to The Weather Channel every spare moment I get!

I have found that I can be a meteorologist in forecasting the climate of my home.  Although I hate to admit this, most of the time, the climate of the home is dependent upon me.

If I awaken feeling more tired than I was before I went to sleep, I can forecast that if I don’t take a little time to rest in the afternoon, there’s a ninety percent chance that a grouch will be visiting my kitchen by suppertime.

When my hormones are out of kilter, if I don’t take some time to allow God’s peace to saturate me, there is a ninety five percent chance that I will act out of my emotions rather than God’s truth.  If that happens, there is a one hundred percent chance that by the end of the day, I am going to need to ask someone in the family to forgive me for something I said.

If I allow my daughter to turn on Sponge Bob Square Pants first thing in the morning, there is an eighty percent chance that I am going to feel like somebody is jumping up and down on my last nerve.

I know that if I make the effort to rise early and immerse myself in the Word, it makes a significant impact on the climate of our home.  If I consciously call upon the Lord, voicing my utter dependence upon Him, when unexpected interruptions occur, my sense of peace and stability are less likely to be shaken.  Basking in the Son can lead me to a Son-shiny day.

What’s the forecast in your house today?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

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