When Christians Make Mistakes

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Names of Hurricane and Their Meanings

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I decided to look up the meanings of the hurricane names, especially once I saw three of them in the same region, with Jose right on the heels of the historic Irma.  Here’s what I found:

Harvey – battle worthy — We are worthy of the Lord coming against us in battle.
Katia – pure – God is pure in His judgments.
Irma – universal / complete – His judgments will be universal, affecting the entire earth.
Jose – God shall add – God will be adding to His judgments, meaning there is more to come.

  • My cousin had some interesting insights into the name Harvey:  It could be that our country is battle worthy, as in, we are making everything a battleground: gender, sexuality, race, neighborhoods, cities, politics, religion, economics, education, and the list goes on.

  • I have also been pondering on things that have transpired just since Hurricane Harvey.  At the same time it was reeking havoc on Houston, wildfires have been raging in the west.  Here’s an interesting map of how bad it is, but it’s not being covered much in the news.  Wildfire map

  • Then we have Katia down in the Gulf, with historic Hurricane Irma causing devastation, and Jose right on the heels of Irma.  And I woke up this morning to hear of the historic earthquake in Mexico.

  • Because these things have the potential to cause enormous fear in us, it is imperative that we keep ourselves rooted and grounded in God’s Word.  Don’t look to your pastor, your spouse, your friends, your chatroom, your forum, your music, or anything else in this world to help you through these tumultuous  times.  Look to Jesus!  He alone can help you through the storm.

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Woman, Shut Up!

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Woman, Shut Up!

Have you ever heard a conversation where someone brings up I Corinthians 14:34, where it says that women should be silent in the church?  Some people erroneously think that this scripture means that God won’t use a woman, and they are prone to say, “Woman, shut up!  You’re to be silent in the church!”  Back when that scripture was written, the custom was for women to be on one side of the church, and men to be on the other side.  When a woman didn’t understand something, she would yell over to her husband, asking him what the preacher meant.  It was disruptive to the service, so that is why Paul is addressing this issue.

For those who may feel that God can’t use women like He can men, they need to look at some examples in scripture of God using women in high places.  Deborah was a prophetess and a judge.  Esther saved a nation from extinction.  Abigail kept King David from committing murder out of his anger and rage toward Nabal.  Her wisdom landed her the high position of becoming the king’s wife.  Because of her dedication to her grief-stricken mother-in-law, Ruth ended up being in the lineage of the Messiah.  Anna got to see the Messiah before she died.  Elizabeth gave birth to the forerunner of the Messiah.  Mary gave birth to the Messiah.

God obviously will use women, but in I Tim. 3:1-4, the requirements for a man to be an overseer (deacon) in the church state that he must be able to teach.  Unfortunately, we don’t see too many men teaching in churches today.  Almost every children’s Sunday school class is run by women.  (I am thankful for the two men who taught my daughter the last two years during Sunday school.  They are rare gems, and truly a blessing to our congregation.)  Many children who attend church don’t even have a Father-figure in their lives, so men are highly-needed in children’s ministry.  Even many of the adult Bible hour classes are taught by women.  We usually have a couple of men willing to step up and teach, but it’s rare for any of them to be a deacon — yet, we see clearly that deacons are required to be teachers.

When we look at Titus 2, we see where the older women were commanded to teach the younger women to love their husband and their children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their own husband.  This teaching could take place in a church setting, but also in a home setting.  Sometimes mentoring a young mother requires that you do it in a home so that you can show your ‘mentoree’ how to be busy at home.

As we teach a young woman to be busy at home, we teach her to be busy with right priorities, thus, teaching her that she won’t have time to be a gossip or a busybody, slandering others.  When we keep our priorities in order, we are less prone to become a nag, constantly dripping sarcastic, cutting, hurtful remarks to those closest to us.

When we get out of balance with our priorities, our mouths tend to get out of balance, as well.  This may lead to our husband yelling, “Woman, would you shut up?”  We be much better off if only we’d listen to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, telling us “Woman, hush up before your mouth gets you into trouble.”  He can help us to stop before our mouths get us into trouble.

What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you?  Do you need to shut up?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Take Heed That No One Deceives You

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Luke 21-22 and Judas

I found it interesting to note that Jesus was speaking of end time events and being careful not to be deceived in Luke 21. The very next chapter, we see Satan entering Judas, and how quickly he went on his way, looking for a way to betray Jesus. Later in that chapter, you see the Last Supper. Now if you look at Matthew’s account in chapter 26, you see that all of the disciples are questioning who is going to betray Jesus. (The betrayer played his cards well, so it wasn’t obvious which one it was.) Even after Jesus tells them who will betray him, Judas still asks, “Rabbi, is it me?” And this is AFTER he has already been seeking a way to betray Jesus! I’m thinking, “Seriously? How dense can he be?” So this got me to thinking…..what’s the lesson here?

I think it’s a classic example of how the enemy can so easily deceive us. This is a lesson to us — don’t underestimate your enemy. He deceived Judas to betray the Messiah! If he can do that so easily, to the point that Judas doesn’t even realize HE is the BETRAYER, how easily might we be deceived?

Wise Boundaries

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Wise Boundaries

 

Proverbs is filled with such wisdom, even for myriad of issues we face today.  I have discovered several boundaries in that book that I trust you will find helpful.

 

If we don’t forsake wisdom, she will protect us and watch over us.  (Proverbs 4:6) I sure wouldn’t want to cross a boundary line like that!  I need all the wisdom I can get!

 

Do you need life and health to your whole body?  Stay in the boundary lines of listening closely to God’s words and keep them stored up in your heart.  (Proverbs 4:20-22)

 

If you want a fast way to avoid sinning with your tongue, learn to avoid talking so much.

Where words are many, sin isn’t far behind.  (Proverbs 10:19)  Staying in the boundary lines can cause us to have a tongue that brings healing, whereas crossing that line may cause us to speak reckless words that can pierce like a sword.  (Proverbs 12:18)

 

 

Walking in the path of the righteous will result in being rescued from trouble.  Instead, the trouble will follow the wicked.  (Proverbs 11:8)

 

Choosing to stay in the boundaries of being a wife of noble character can be a crown to your husband.  Stepping over that boundary line and becoming a disgraceful wife can cause you to like decay in his bones.  (Proverbs 12:4)

 

There are even boundaries about the company we keep.  If we walk with the wise, we will become wise, but when we cross the line and hang out with fools, we will suffer harm.  (Proverbs 13:20) We are even told to cautious in friendship because if we aren’t, we may end up crossing the boundary line and going down a path that will lead us astray.  (Proverbs 12:26)  If you desire to build friendships that cultivate peace and harmony, then don’t cross the line and be friends with a person who has a hot temper.  They will just stir up dissension.  (Proverbs 15:18) In I Corinthians 5, we are warned to stay away from a person who claims to be a Christian, yet is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunk, or a swindler.  While this is a clear boundary, it is also a good and pleasant boundary.  God knows that it’s much easier for those kinds of people to pull us down, rather than us pulling them up.

 

Do you need some advice?  Be sure to seek out a person who is wise.  They have knowledge flowing from their lips, but a foolish person will have nothing to offer you but trouble and deceitfulness.

(Proverbs 14:7, 15:4, 7)

 

I remember a time in my life when I had to cut off a destructive friendship.  This person continued to try and be in contact with me, and wasn’t nice about it either.  It was a time of immense turmoil for me.  I never knew when I’d encounter this person, so I was always on edge.  As I began to grow in the Lord, I discovered that if I would just strive to please God, He would take care of this ungodly person.  Staying in that boundary and trusting God to deal with it led to having peace and no more visits or phone calls from this person.  You see, God causes even our enemies to be at peace with us when our ways please Him.  (Proverbs 16:7)

 

Do you desire wealth, honor, and life?  If so, learn to fear the Lord.  (Proverbs 22:4)

 

I don’t know any women who don’t like chocolate.  It’s so good, and so sweet.  Yet there is a boundary line for us that also brings something incredibly sweet.  It is storing up wisdom; it is sweet to your soul.

 

Does your soul need sweetened?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

 

 

Will It Hurt?

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Will it hurt?

As mothers, we have probably all faced times when we had to take our child to the doctor for a shot, only to be asked, “Mommy, will it hurt?”  Yes, it often does hurt them, but the end result is not to harm them, but to protect them from something which could cause much harm later in life.

In Jer. 29:11, we see where God has plans to prosper us, not to harm us.  In Is. 61:1 We see the prophecy of how Jesus was going to come to bind up our wounds, those places where we hurt.  In Ps. 147:3, it says that the Lord’s desire is to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up their wounds.

Many times, in order to receive our healing, it requires us to yield, or dare I say it?  To submit.  We may want to ask the Lord, “Daddy, will it hurt?”  He will likely tell us, “Yes, child, it will, but it’s for your own good.”

In my own life, I struggled with chronic colitis for many years.  After reading many things on stress-related illnesses, I saw that colitis was caused by stress.  Well, I had the perfect answer for why I suffered with this awful affliction.  It was from the stress of my job!  As I began to grow in my Christian walk, I found out that colitis, as well as many other ailments can also be caused by unforgiveness or bitterness.  OUCH!  I didn’t want to hear that.  Facing up to that reality meant that I may have to uncover some really ugly things in my heart!  In that whole process of allowing God to uncover those hidden things, I was totally set free from the colitis.  I went from taking 6-8 pills one day, to taking none the next, or the next, or the next…  It was a marvelous work that ONLY God could do!  Did it hurt to allow God to uncover those places?  You bet it did!  I thought I was a pretty good Christian, only to find out that my heart was full of wickedness, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and more.  Was it worth it?  WITHOUT A DOUBT!  You see, God had plans to prosper me, not to harm me.  The end result of it kept me from further pain – the physical pain of the colitis, and the spiritual pain of not being able to grow in my walk with God because I was filled with sinful things.

Another example is through the miscarriage in 1995.  The pregnancy was a surprise.  We weren’t trying to get pregnant, nor did we want to be pregnant.  When I found out that I was pregnant, I looked at it as God having a much bigger plan for our lives than what we had.  When I lost the baby, I was devastated because I thought having this baby was God’s plan for us.  How could I lose this precious baby that God had chosen for us to conceive?  I just couldn’t understand.  I was so hurt, confused, angry, and grief-stricken.

In going through the grieving process, I told the Lord that I needed this baby to have a purpose.  I couldn’t live my life without seeing some purpose for having conceived this child, only to lose her.  (I always thought it was a girl.)  As I yielded to God, allowing Him to show me His purpose in this, I learned some awesome things about the Lord.  I learned what it was like to be hidden in the shadow of His wings.  I learned so much about His love and mercy that I didn’t know before, and I learned about His compassionate heart.  (Is. 66:12-13)

Did going through the miscarriage hurt?  Yes, it did.  But was I harmed?  Absolutely not!  It’s made heaven a little bit sweeter, knowing that I have a precious child waiting for me over there.

In all of this, I also learned how God allows things to come into our lives so that He can comfort us, teaching us how to comfort others as they go through similar situations.  (II Cor. 1:3-4)

So, my sister, I challenge you to allow God to “hurt” you in order to prosper you, and not “harm” you.  It will be worth every bit of pain when you see the glory that is to be revealed.  (Rom. 8:18)
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Widening the Gap

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Widening the Gap

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13-14 that the gate is narrow for the path which leads to life, but the road which leads to destruction is broad.  I believe we are living in an age where the church is trying to broaden the path which leads to life.  Many pastors are watering down the gospel, trying to tickle itching ears.  We have many preachers who preach prosperity, yet rarely preach a salvation message.  We have churches ordaining homosexuals as ministers and performing homosexual marriages.  We rarely hear messages that preach against cohabitating.

I have read several times that the abortion rate for those in the church is just as high as it is for those outside the church.  I have to wonder if many of these abortions are insisted upon by parents who are heavily involved in church, have a good reputation, and do not want anything to spoil it for them.  Perhaps they choose the approval and applause of man over the applause of the Lord. (John 12:43) They choose to murder an innocent child in order to hold on to their precious reputation in church, not even caring what God thinks of their heinous act.  I know a family who was heavily involved in their church when their daughter became pregnant by a man of another color.  Later, when a family member asked them how they were doing, they replied, “We took care of the ‘problem.’”  How terribly sad to see them put their reputation, not to mention their prejudices above the Word of God.

We are even letting teaching of evolution creep into our churches.  Some churches teach the Gap Theory.  This is the belief that millions of years passed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Yet, Jesus refuted that belief in Mark 10:6 when He said that from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  Another thing to consider with the Gap Theory is that it allows death before the fall of Adam and Eve.

The Gap Theory says that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, but that is not true.  Job 40:15 describes behemoth, whose description fits that of a dinosaur.  God says, “Look at behemoth, which I made along with you,” referring to Job.  This verse points out that Job lived during the time when dinosaurs lived.

You may wonder why I bring up evolution when I am talking about watering down the gospel and trying to broaden the path which leads to heaven.  It is because the teachings of evolution teach us that we evolved from apes.  If we buy into any evolutionary teachings, then we do not see ourselves, or anyone else, as being truly special.  The result is that we will believe that it does not matter if we live together before marriage, if we are gay, or even if we have an abortion.

But the core of our Christian faith is that “In the beginning GOD…”  We must hold to that truth and firmly stand on the gospel message that only Jesus can save us.  If we are hearing things at church which are contrary to the Bible, it is time to leave a “gap” in that church and find one that does not try to stretch the gospel into something that it is not.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

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