Spitting Image

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Spitting Image

Before I gave birth to my daughter, I had never seen a picture of my husband when he was a baby.  I was quite shocked when I saw that Rachel was the spitting image of her father when he was an infant!

As mothers, we have the chance to make a spitting image every day.  A woman is the one who sets the tone in her home.  If she is happy, contented, peaceful, and kind, chances are that the rest of the family will be the same.  The reverse is also true.  If she is discontented, crabby, whiny, and angry, so will everyone else in the home.  Even when her husband comes home in a very contrary mood, if she can greet him in a loving, cheerful way, his demeanor will quickly change for the better.  If he comes with a smile on his face, she can quickly wipe it away, changing his disposition and his mood with only a few spoken words.

Your attitude is the root of the family tree.  What we sow, we will reap.  Bitter roots will bring bitter fruit.  Lovely, healthy roots will reap lovely, healthy fruit.

What do you want your children to become?  Become that yourself!  When others say that your children are the spitting image of you, it will be a compliment!

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Raging Hormones

Raging Hormones

As women, we are faced with a myriad of emotions caused by those wonderful things called hormones.  Most of us would probably admit to only feeling really good (hormonally speaking), for about two or three days a month.  We can become quite pitiful on those bad hormonal days.  We may even go as far as to think some of the very words which Job spoke.

In Job 3:1, he cursed the day of his birth.  Have you ever been there?
In verses 12-13, he asks why there were hands to receive him and breasts to nourish him.  He states that if he had been left to die that at least he could now be in peace.  Have you ever had suicidal thoughts, even for a fleeting moment, thinking of the “peace” you could have, if only you were dead?  We know who gives us those thoughts, don’t we?

In verse 20, he complains of light being given to those in misery and life to those who are bitter in soul.  Have you ever had those times where your hormones make you feel that you are to be pitied above everyone else?

In verse 24, he speaks of the sighs and groans which pour from him like water.  Do you ever have those days when you are just positive that you can’t go any further, where all you can do is sigh and groan?

In verse 26, he is crying of no peace, no quiet, no rest!  Only turmoil!  Oh my, can’t we all say Amen to having had those days?  We have ALL been there!  The baby has colic or is teething, the children are constantly squabbling, and the phone never stops ringing.  The washing machine must run for several hours or there will be no clean clothing for anyone.  We can’t even go to bathroom for two minutes without hearing, “M-o-o-o-o-m!”  Just when we think hubby will be home to help, he calls to say that he is working late.  On top of all of this, we are still dealing with raging hormones.

Here is my own paraphrased version of Ps. 139:8-10.  If my hormones have me feeling like I can take on the world’s problems, God is  there.  When my hormones leave me feeling distraught and in the depths of despair, God is  there.  If I rise with energy that makes me feel like I’m soaring on eagle’s wings, God is there. And on the days when I want to run away from it all, then God is still there, and He even firmly holds me with His hand.

On those days when you feel so out-of-control because of those hormones, remember to cast your cares upon the Lord.  He will sustain you because He won’t let the righteous fall.  (Ps. 55:22)

Mt. 11:28-30 tells us to come Jesus when we are weary and burdened.  He is the one who knit us together, hormones and all.  He desires to give you His rest and His peace.  While your burdens are often overwhelming and heavy, He promises to give you a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Infected

Infected

The writer of Psalm 119 knew well that bad company corrupts good character.  In verse 115, he told evildoers to get away so that he could keep God’s commands.

I got to thinking about how some of my activities pull me away from God’s commands.  Now, I’m not referring to what most of us would classify as “big” sins such as adultery, murder, or homosexuality.  I am thinking of seemingly innocent things like using the computer.  While the Internet can be a wonderful tool, how many times do we find ourselves spending more time there than necessary?  After all, we could be spending that time in the Word or in making the house look nice for when our husband comes home at the end of a long day.  We could have spent that time reading to our children or playing with them.  When we realize we have wasted too much time on the computer, our attitude usually changes for the worse.  We realize that we are suddenly pressed for time in getting the evening meal ready or whatever the case may be.  The result is often that we tend to get crabby.  Add a short fuse to our temper, and we can quickly infect those around us.  Before we realize it, the whole family is in a bad mood, thus slightest offense leading to much bickering.

I admit it – I am a FOX news junkie.  With all that is taking place in the world, I find it difficult to turn off the television.  Yet, when they begin to talk about Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, do I really need to hear it?  To put it bluntly, it is gossip, and God’s Word tells me to avoid it.  If I ignore His commands, I become spiritually infected.

A real wake-up call to me was one morning when I told my daughter that I had a nightmare about Muslims the previous night.  She had an astonished look on her face and replied, “So did I!”  My husband and I knew immediately that the excessive watching of the TV news was not only infecting us, it was also infecting her.

You see, when we allow spiritual infection into our lives, it doesn’t just affect us.  It affects others.  Just as the psalmist took a stand against spiritual infection, we also need to do the same.

Do you need to treat any “infection” in your life?
© 2007, Stacy R Miller

Impressions

Impressions

God knows how impressionable our children are.  That is why He told us to talk about His ways when we sit, walk, lie down at night, or rise in the morning. (Deuteronomy 6:7)  Young children are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear.

If our children observe us gossiping, what impressions are we leaving on their little hearts?  Rather than gossiping, if we would turn to intercession, we would impress upon them that God is the first one to run to in a crisis.  We will teach them to daily take their needs to the Lord.

If we criticize the pastor, we impress on their heart that this man isn’t to be respected.  On the other hand, if we talk excitedly about something we learned from the pastor’s message, we teach them that church is an exciting place to get new insights about our Father.

If we speak critical words about the music they play at church or the songs they sing, we impress upon them to look for the negative.  If we talk about how the music touched us and replaced our worry with God’s peace, we place an impression on them that could last for years.  They will learn that godly music can be a healing balm to frazzled emotions.

If we frequently act out of our feelings, rather than God’s truth, we place a strong impression on their hearts that will steer them to do the same thing.  It could lead to years of living a very unstable life, being a constant slave to their emotions, rather than using God’s Word to master those runaway emotions.  Yet when we speak forth God’s truth and stand on the Word no matter what our feelings tell us, their impression will likely lead them to stand firmly on the Rock.

What impressions are you making in the hearts of your children?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

An Instructed Tongue

An Instructed Tongue

The tongue is a very hard thing to tame.  James calls it a fire, a world of evil that is set on fire by hell.  He calls it a restless evil that is filled with deadly poison.  (Jas. 3:6-8)

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘restless’ as unable to relax, giving no rest, rarely quiet or still, or discontented.  I don’t know about you, but just seeing that definition in light of how I use my tongue, I’m getting convicted already!

When we find that we are unable to relax our tongue, we will find ourselves being quick to speak.  Yet, James tells us that we should be slow to speak. (Jas. 1:19)

When we have a discontented tongue, it’s hard to follow the admonition in Philippians to think upon the things which are lovely, true, just, pure, and excellent.  We don’t allow ourselves time to shut up long enough to count our blessings.  That discontented tongue just has so much to say!

Another thing that a discontented tongue can do is make us like the quarrelsome wife, who is like a constant dripping. (Pr. 19:13) We fall into the habit of nagging, whining, complaining, and/or disrespecting our husband because we have become discontent with our lot in life.  No wonder Proverbs 21:19 tells us that a man is better off in the desert than living with a quarrelsome woman!  At least in the desert, he might find some peace and quiet.

When our tongue gives us no rest, we miss out on intimate moments with the Lord.  He may be calling us to find rest for our weary souls. (Mt. 11:28-30) In John 10, Jesus tells us that His sheep listen to His voice.  If our tongue gives us no rest, how can we hear His still, small voice?

In Pr. 31:26-27 we see that ‘when’ the virtuous woman speaks, her words are kind, giving wise counsel and instruction.  The word ‘when’ implies that she isn’t talking all of the time.  She has learned to be silent at times.  She also doesn’t eat the bread of idleness.  Idleness is a dangerous trap because when we become idle in our bodies, our tongue usually doesn’t follow.  Instead, it finds reason to  gossip or even to wallow in self-pity because we are discontented.  Those ultimately lead us to that place of having a restless tongue.

How do we stop this vicious cycle?  It is certainly a hard one to break once we fall prey to it.

Is. 50:4 says that God has given me an instructed tongue so that I will know what to speak to the weary.  He awakens me morning by morning, wakening my ear to listen to Him, like one who is being taught.

When we begin to honestly pray for God to give us an instructed tongue, we may find the resulting fruit:
1.  Our kind words may cheer up someone.  (Pr. 12:25)
2.  Our lips will nourish many. (Pr. 10:21)
3.  Our wise words will bring healing to others.  (Pr. 12:18) In fact, our wise words may even bring healing to ourselves because we begin to speak the Word over our situation instead of speaking out of our fickle emotions.
4.  Our words can become a fountain of life.  (Pr. 10:11)
5.  Wisdom will flow from us.  (Pr. 10:13)
6.  We will learn how to weigh our answers before we speak. (Pr. 15:28)

An instructed tongue…..I want it!  How about you?  Do you want it?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

How Do I Look?

How do I Look?

Have you ever gotten dressed for a special occasion, then asked your husband,  “How do I look?”  We like to be assured that we look nice.

In I Peter 3:4, it mentions a meek and quiet spirit.  Meekness is often looked upon by the world as being weakness.  How wrong they are!  Jesus was certainly meek, but He was definitely not weak!  Meekness means that we aren’t easily irritated or provoked.  (I know, some of you are wanting to stop reading right now, aren’t you?  Believe me, I’m speaking this to myself, even as I sit here typing it.)  Quiet refers to being peaceful, at rest, not troubled.

When someone offends you, or does something which really irritates you, do you keep your mouth shut?  Even if you manage to keep your mouth shut, are you inwardly fuming?  Were your thoughts less than holy?  If so, while it ‘appears’ that you are being meek, reality tells a different story.  It says that you are just a very good actress.  In other words, you are really good at ‘faking it.’

So, how is your appearance?  Do you appear before others as one who is meek?  How do you appear before the Lord?  Remember, He sees what our inward thoughts and attitudes are, even when others can’t.

Father, help me not to be easily provoked, whether outwardly or internally.  Help me to respond, rather than react.  Help me to give a calm response in those situations which try my patience.  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Hip Surgery

Hip Surgery

After dealing with excruciating pain for many years, my mother-in-law decided to have hip surgery.  I was absolutely amazed when I saw her for the first time after the surgery.  She looked fifteen years younger!  That “pained” look she had worn for so many years was gone and she was standing much taller.

In the Bible we find the story of how Jacob deceived his father into giving him the blessing that belonged to his brother, Esau.  For a very short while, Jacob probably “stood taller” as he gloated in his deceitful accomplishment.

It wasn’t long however, before he was running for his life.  I wonder if he could relate to the words of David during that time.  “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away.” (Psalm 32:3) Did Jacob understand that his deceitful ways were tearing him apart on the inside?

There came a day where Jacob had to face whom he had become.  Not only that, but he had to wrestle with the angel of God.  It left him with a limp for the rest of his life.  Yet, I would venture to say that even with that limp, Jacob walked taller on the inside from that day forth.

After my mother-in-law’s surgery, she referred to her pain as “wonderful pain,” for she knew it was the pain of a body that was healing.  I would imagine that Jacob discovered the beauties of “wonderful pain” after he wrestled all night long to receive the blessing.

The words of Psalm 119:80 (Message) fit so well with the transformation that took place in Jacob’s life that night.  “And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.”

Father, let the words of this Psalm be the daily cry of my heart.  Amen.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

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