Spiritual Landmines

Spiritual Landmines

My nephew served several months in Afghanistan.  One thing he said they always had to watch out for was landmines.  They were everywhere.  With each step they took, they had to be consciously looking for those landmines.  Failure to do so could be deadly.

In our walk with the Lord, we need to be careful what steps we take.  If we veer off the course the Lord has set before us, we may find ourselves stepping on a spiritual landmine which can seriously injure our testimony or destroy us spiritually.

For instance, perhaps we start having too intimate of a conversation with a coworker of the opposite sex.  Before we know it, we are caught up in an emotional or physical affair.  The spiritual landmine could easily blow up and destroy our marriage.

Another example is by emotional eating.  I have struggled with this issue, so I can speak from experience.  When we fall into the trap of emotional eating, we set food up as our “god” of choice when we should be running to the Lord for all of our needs.  Too much of this spiritual landmine can cause us to literally “blow up,” as in, our body expands and we no longer fit into our clothes.  This cycle is a hard one to break too.  The clutches of the enemy go deep and are hard to loosen.

Another example is when we veer off course by refusing to forgive others.  There are so many “landmines” that can explode in our lives when we choose to hold onto bitterness and resentment.  Medical science has shown that doing so can lead to colitis, heart attack, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and a myriad of other conditions.

By being cautious of our steps, and daily keeping our spirits in tune with the Lord, we can avoid stepping on spiritual landmines.
© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

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I’m so Ashamed!


I’m so Ashamed!

In John 8:1-11, we find the story about the woman who was caught in adultery.  This woman’s passionate pursuit in her adulterous act likely brought a crimson color to her cheeks as she was brought publicly before the people.  Have you ever stopped to notice who brought her?  It was the teachers of the law AND the Pharisees.  That’s quite a group of men!  Knowing the law very well, they made sure that they had more than two witnesses to speak against her.  This was a very cliquish group who had an ulterior motive to their actions.  I believe that they purposely planned to trap this woman in a very intimate act, only to use it, trying to ‘trip up’ the Master when they asked Him about it.

While this woman’s shame was very public, yours may be private.  It may be the mental and emotional abuse from a spouse, or physical abuse by your spouse or even your parents, or the silent shame of that abortion which took place so many years ago, the sexual intimidation by your boss, or even the shame of what a trusted, but perverted, relative inflicted on you as a child.  Whatever kind of shame you may bear, think of it as we continue on in this story.

Now that this poor woman has been brought publicly before the people and branded an adulterer, that stigma would stay with her for the rest of her life.  If you don’t believe me, look at these names, and see what thoughts come to mind:
Jeffrey Dahmer, Benedict Arnold, Monica Lewinsky, Ted Bundy, Susan Smith, O. J. Simpson, or Kobe Bryant.  Kobe hasn’t even had a trial yet, but chances are very high that for the rest of his career, he will be thought of as the NBA star who was charged with rape.  Regardless of the outcome of the trial, I’ll bet that many would even call him the NBA star who was a rapist.  You see, even before there is a trial, public opinion has often formed, and the stigma of that public opinion stays for years, regardless of what a jury may say.  We’ve seen that happen in the O. J. Simpson case.

Moving back to our story, this woman would go to the well every day, having to listen to the whispers of the women, enduring their scorn.  When she goes to town, she’ll endure the coarse joking from the men, and the snubbing of the ladies.  After all, what married lady wants to befriend an adulteress?  She would be seen as a threat to any married woman.

Thinking upon catching someone in the act of adultery, we’ve all heard stories of a husband or wife who hires a private investigator to track the other spouse.  It’s only one person who is watching.  Even if they set up hidden cameras, it’s still usually only one person who is doing the work.  So, for all of these teachers and Pharisees to catch this woman in the act, centuries before hidden cameras were available, it’s a trap!  And this woman was simply the bait used to catch the ‘big fish,’ who would be Jesus.  Notice that the man she was committing the act with wasn’t even brought forth.  He was probably part of this sinister plan.

Bringing their ‘bait’ to Jesus to try and ‘hook’ Him, they expected Him to condemn her.  They must have been dumbstruck at His reaction.  Instead of seeing her condemned, they get to watch the finger of God write in the dirt!  The same fingers that carved the Ten Commandments are now writing in the dirt!  (I wonder if He wrote things like ‘fraud, deceiver, ambusher, cheater, swindler, double-dealer.’  These terms certainly describe the way these men handled this situation.)  Later, we see these same fingers of God carrying a wooden cross to Calvary.  Not only did He bear the weight of all of your sin, He bore your shame too.  Heb. 12:2 tells us that He scorned the shame of the cross.  He bore your sin and shame.  Carrying guilt and shame is nothing but Satan’s trick to hold you in a prison of shame, but Jesus tells you the same thing He told that woman.  “Neither do I condemn you.”

Sister, be loosed of that infirmity of shame that you’ve been needlessly carrying.  Lk. 13:11
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Grave Digging

Grave Digging

 

In Prov. 5:5, we see that the adulteress gives no thought to the way of her life.  Are we like that?  Do we blindly make our way through each day, never taking heed to the direction in which we are going?  Do we neglect to take the time to see the path where we are venturing?  For instance, if we are suddenly struggling with fits of rage, do we just flippantly blow it off as being hormonal?  Or do we get before the Lord, asking Him to reveal any hidden places in our hearts that may be leading to those fits of rage? 

 

Sometimes the Lord may reveal to us that these fits of rage are a trigger from the past.  I have learned that one of my triggers is the springtime.  It reminds me, sometimes even subconsciously, of the baby I lost during that time of year.  I often fall prey to feelings of hopelessness or extreme anger during that time of year.  Rather than continuing to ‘dig a grave’ with my fleshly emotions, I have allowed the Lord to ‘fill the hole’ and give me a straight path.  When  we take the time to allow the Lord to speak to us, we may find that we have some unforgiveness, resentment, or even areas of unconfessed sin, which has caused us to ‘dig a grave,’ thereby opening a doorway to the enemy, giving him a foothold in our life.

 

Are we in a place where our fuse seems to be shorter than usual?  Do we continue to do as the adulteress, giving no thought to our ways?Once again, we can blame it on hormones.  But could it really be that we are neglecting to feed our spirit because we are just too busy doing other things?

 

Prov. 18:21 tells us that we hold the power of life and death in our tongue.  Those who love it will eat its fruit.  Notice that the scriptures don’t say that we MIGHT eat its fruit, but that we WILL eat its fruit, whether that fruit be good or bad.  How many of us know someone who is very bitter with their words?  Do you know someone whose tongue is like a viper, ready to strike at any moment?  Now think upon what physical ailments they face because of their bitterness.  With their own mouths, they have been digging their grave.

 

In Prov. 11:13 and 16:18 we find that a gossip betrays a confidence and separates close friends.  It is so easy to discern who is a gossip.  Just close your mouth and listen when you are in the presence of others.  The gossip’s words usually start out with, “Now don’t tell anyone I told you this, but….”  The gossip digs her own grave by her incessant need to talk about others.  Her grave digging abilities come from words that aren’t edifying and full of love.  Also, she digs a grave by alienating people.  No one wants to be around her because they know that she will just stab them in the back the moment they walk away from her.  She may die an early death, in part because she a lonely woman, but also because of her grave digging abilities.

 

Father, help us not to be grave diggers, but to be life givers.  Help us to speak words that will edify and encourage.  Give us words that will be a soothing oil to a wounded heart.  Help us speak words that will bring healing and grace to those around us.  Amen.

 

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

 

Dirty Robes

Stock image of 'dirty, bride, dress'

Dirty Robes

Imagine a groom preparing for his wedding day.  He is a humble, godly man who desires to love his Proverbs 31 bride as Christ loved the church.  In fact, he adores her so much that he would gladly lay down his life for her, if necessary.

He patiently anticipates the day when they will be joined in holy union.  He longs to share those intimate moments and conversations which only married lovers can share.

But wait!  What is this he sees?  His bride-to-be is flirting with another man!  And what is she wearing?  She is revealing parts of her body that were meant for him!  Imagine the betrayal he must feel…a pain so deep it makes him weep.

Rather than confront her when his emotions are so raw, he chooses to go for a drive.  He is appalled to see her a few hours later, walking in to visit a psychic.  What happened to his bride-to-be?  Where is this godly woman he thought he was going to marry?

He decides to wait and see where she goes after talking to the psychic.  He is astounded when he sees her pull up to a sports bar that is having a girls’ night out, male dancers included.  Standing in the shadows, he watches his bride-to-be not only drinking her fill of alcohol, but also drinking her fill of men.  She fixes her eyes on the dancer’s white teeth, behind a very seductive smile.  She lowers her gaze to his bulging muscles and naked chest.  He watches in agony as her eyes focus intently on the dancer’s gyrating hips.  She licks her lips seductively, like a woman inflamed with passion.  What would she do if she knew her future groom saw it all?

Jesus looks in anticipation to His wedding day.  He is coming for a bride, dressed in spotless white…a bride He loves so much that He died for her. (Revelation 19:7-8; John 3:16)  Unlike the fictional groom in the story, Jesus does not watch us while hiding in the shadows.  He sees our every deed.  He knows our every thought.  How are we preparing for our wedding day with our Savior?

The bride-to-be in the story pretended to be one thing when she was with her future groom.  The same thing often happens in church.  We appear to be holy and righteous every Sunday, but how do we act the rest of the week?

Many in the church are committing adultery.  It may not be physical adultery, but rather, adultery of the heart. (Matthew 5:28)  Have you dirtied your white robe with lust?

While the vast majority of Christians would never visit a psychic, many allow the occult into their homes through books with witchcraft and occultic themes.  We can also let the occultic into our home through numerous television shows.  On primetime TV, there is a show whose very title leaves no doubt as to its content.  Another popular show features a detective who is “visited” by murder victims as he seeks to solve the crime.  As if this were not bad enough, many parents openly allow their children to view cartoons with blatant, occultic themes.  Is your white robe covered in occultic graffiti?

Perhaps you have kept your robe clean from the above sins.  Are you holding on to bitterness or unforgiveness?  When we harbor these attitudes in our heart, they soil our white robe.

What about anger?  When we give full vent to it, we spew dirty, hateful words.  They drop like soot on our fine linen, leaving dirty and black holes.

What is the bride to do to get herself ready?  Second Chronicles 7:14 has the answer.  First, we must humble ourselves and admit we have sinned.  David said when he confessed his sin, God not only forgave him, but removed the guilt of his sin.  Second, we must pray.  While our spirit may be willing to follow Christ, our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) To be victorious over sin, it is imperative that we spend time in prayer.  Next, we must seek His face.  In seeking God’s face, we seek truth, which is found in His Word.  The Amplified Bible says we must crave God.  We need to crave His Word more than we crave chocolate or caffeine.  Last of all, we have to turn from our wicked ways.  True repentance is not being sorry you got caught.  Rather, it is being sorry you sinned and determining to turn and go the other way.

Jesus gives a stern warning for the dying church of Sardis to wake up.  If we do not wake up, He will come like a thief…unexpectedly. (Revelation 3:1-3)

Jesus is coming soon.  We need to make sure that our robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14) We should strive to be like the few people in Sardis who did not soil their clothes. (Revelation 3:4)

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller