Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

The Adulteress

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The Adulteress

I love to read through Proverbs, but when I get to those chapters about the adulteress, and how to avoid her, I get a little bored. ¬†After all, I am not ever going to visit an adulteress, nor do I have plans to ever be an adulteress! ūüôā ¬†So, how do I apply that portion of scripture to my life?

Proverbs 5:20 says Why be captivated by an adulteress?  Why waste time with a promiscuous stranger?

As I pondered on the above scriptures, it occurred to me that while we, as women, would never visit an adulteress, we can commit spiritual adultery.

There is so much in the world that tries to get our attention. ¬†The new reality TV shows, secular books, the talk shows, soap operas, the malls, the idea of “keeping up with the Jones’s,” the Internet, and even adult toys and gadgets. ¬†There is always something out there to tempt us to get our focus off of where we should be focusing.

I Jn. 2:15 says that we shouldn’t love the world or anything in the world. ¬†If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. ¬†Wow! ¬†That’s a tough one to think that if we love the world too much, God’s love isn’t even in us. ¬†I’m not sure that I like that scripture!

It’s just too easy to get caught up in worldly things. ¬†I remember right after becoming a mother, it was too easy to turn on Maury or Montel or Jenny Jones while I was sitting there nursing Rachel. ¬†I missed adult conversation. ¬†I had worked full time for many years, and suddenly, I was home with an infant who couldn’t converse with me beyond crying. ¬†It was so easy to fall into the trap of letting the TV entertain. ¬†Thank God, I quickly realized the effect those shows were having on me, and I switched to Christian TV, if any. ¬†The atmosphere in the home was so different — so alive, instead of making me feel like I was drowning emotionally.

I’ve had a struggle with using the computer too. ¬†We have only had it for about 6 or 7 months. ¬†It’s so nice¬†to be able to keep in touch with friends and relatives on a daily basis. ¬†While that is good, it’s not so good when I begin, by my actions, to tell the Lord that I would rather be online than in His Word.

I even began going into Christian chatrooms, and found to my dismay, that many of them were “Christian” in name only. ¬†There was still a lot of filth in there. ¬†Sure, I could use the ignore button, but my¬†eyes had already taken in what was said, and transferred it to my spirit. ¬†I began to think of what Job said in chapter 31:1 about making a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully upon a woman. ¬†I made a¬†covenant with my eyes that I wouldn’t even visit the chatrooms because it was defiling my spirit. ¬†Not only that, while I was in a chatroom, I wasn’t spending quality time with my daughter. ¬†We had gotten away from playing games together. ¬†Now that I am back on track, I really look forward to those times of the day when we can sit down and play games together.

Another area where we can struggle is in our choice of books to read. ¬†There are many secular books out there that look interesting. ¬†Some of them even relate to where many of us are right now — parenting. ¬†But again, if you look at Ps. 1:1, it says that the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel (advice) of the ungodly is blessed. ¬†Well, a secular book on parenting may have a few good ideas, but the fact remains that most of what is in the book is advice which is ungodly counsel.

Ps. 119:15-16 says that I meditate on your precepts, consider your ways, delight in your decrees, and won’t neglect your word.  NIV  How often do we neglect the Word, and if honest, we have to admit that we really had no good excuse for doing it?
119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” ¬†NIV
When I open the Word, this is often a prayer which I pray for myself.  I want to see those hidden treasures in the Word because they are LIFE for me!
119:31 ¬†“I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord.” ¬†NIV ¬†How can we hold fast to His statutes if we don’t stay in¬†the Word enough to even learn them?
119:58 ¬†“I have sought your face with all my heart.” ¬†NIV ¬†Hmmmm, have I really done that?
119:72 ¬†“The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” ¬†NIV ¬†By our actions, can anyone tell that this is how we really feel about the Word?
119:92 ¬†“If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” ¬†Verse 111 says that¬†God’s statutes are the joy of my heart. ¬†Do we really delight in the Word? ¬†If we do, then it’s a joy to read the Word.
119:131 ¬†“I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.” ¬†NIV ¬†When you haven’t spent your daily quiet time with God, is your relationship with Him so close that your spirit can actually pant for Him and His presence?
119:171 ¬†“May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.” ¬†NIV
119:172 ¬†“May my tongue sing of your word for all your commands are righteous.”

Father, may You show us wonderful, hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Your Word each time we read it.  Let those quiet times with You become such a joyous treasure that our spirits will pant to be in those intimate moments with You.  As we have many things which require our attention every day, help us to keep our focus and our minds on You, knowing that You will keep us in perfect peace as we fix our minds on You.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

When to keep your mouth shut

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Teething

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Teething

When my daughter started to cut teeth, I remember how she constantly wanted to chew on something.  Since I was nursing her at the time, I ended up being the one bitten on a couple of occasions!  Somehow, chewing on something comforted her and helped to ease her discomfort.

When we study the Word, God wants us to meditate on it. (Psalm 1:2; 119:97)  It could be likened to teething.  Just as Rachel wanted to constantly chew on something, so should I desire to constantly chew on God’s Word, digesting it.

Another thing I noticed when Rachel was teething is that she drooled a lot.  I was constantly changing her bibs because she kept soaking them.  Now that we have tasted and seen the Lord is good, we should drool for the Word. (Psalm 34:8)  We should crave the Word even more than we crave our favorite dessert. (I Peter 2:2-3)

If you no longer feel like you are ‚Äėteething‚Äô or ‚Äėdrooling‚Äô for God‚Äôs Word, ask God to open your eyes to see wonderful things in His Word. (Psalm 119:18)¬† Ask Him to consume your soul with longing for His Word. (Psalm 119:20) Before you know it, you will be running in the paths of His commands. (Psalm 119:32) You will begin to delight in reading and meditating on His truths. (Psalm 119:24)

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Struck by Lightning

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Struck by Lightning

One day while it was storming, I was talking on the phone to my friend, Brandie.¬† Suddenly, I heard a loud, thunderous boom, seemingly right above our house.¬† Brandie heard me let out a yell ‚Äď not of fear, but of pain.¬† I had been struck by lightning!

The jolt of the electricity caused me to quickly drop the phone to my side.  I could feel a tingling sensation down the left side of my face.  Shortly after, I had a ringing in my ear and a pounding headache that lasted for several hours.

Needless to say, it left quite an impression on me.  I now understand that when Grandma told me to stay off the phone during a storm, it was not just an old wive’s tale.  It was wise advice!

Too often, I think the church takes the attitude of, ‚ÄúReading the Word is just an old wive‚Äôs tale.¬† I can do just fine without it.‚Ä̬† We continue doing things our own way, only to feel like we have suddenly been struck by lightning.¬† Because we failed to read the Word and seek God‚Äôs counsel, we find that we are jolted, much like when the lightning jolted me.¬† We are shaken to the core of our being.¬† We are left with the excruciating pain of reaping what we have sown.¬† How much better we would have been if only we would have taken time for God and His Word!

I have seen many farm houses that have a lightning rod to protect the house if lightning should strike.  As Christians, we have a rod to protect us.  God’s rod and His staff are there for us. (Psalm 23:4)  When we are faithful to be in His Word, He will use the rod and staff to guide us and correct us if we start to stray from His path.  He will use His Word to teach and rebuke us, to correct us, and to train us in righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16)

The result will be that when we face a crisis, it won’t jolt us like a bolt of lightning.  Instead, we will quickly look to our Shepherd, finding comfort and direction in the rod and staff.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Romanced by God

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Romanced by God
Did you husband ever sing love songs to you while you were dating?¬† God desires for us to sing love songs to Him, out of heart filled with love and adoration for Him.¬† Too many times, we may sing words, but they aren’t truly praises sung to Him.¬† We fall into the trap of doing it out of habit.¬† It’s similar to a real marriage where one spouse takes the other for granted.¬† God has given us so much.¬† Let’s be very careful not to take Him for granted.

Do you remember how the unexpected cards, flowers, or candy would just make you feel so special?¬† Even now, if your husband would walk in with a small gift for you, wouldn’t it just thrill your heart?¬† God does the same thing for us, but I think many times we take it for granted.¬† For example, I went shopping and found over $117 worth of items and I only paid $8 for them.¬† That was God showing up, giving me a gift.¬† A friend recently gave me a huge trash bag of clothing for Rachel.¬† That’s God showing up again, only He used a person to give me this gift from Him.¬† What about the times a friend may take you out to eat?¬† That is God again, wanting to bless you and show you His love.

Do you ever have times where your husband gives you a gift that literally causes your jaw to drop, leaving you speechless?¬† God is really good at doing the same thing.¬† When I figured up the value of what I bought on my shopping trip, compared to what I actually spent, my jaw dropped.¬† I knew it was God’s blessing.

There was another time where my heart was filled to overflowing for the blessing of the Lord.¬† We had just gotten possession of our house, knowing that we would have to repaint everything, not to mention buy new blinds, curtains, drapes, etc.¬† It seemed that the money was unending for what we needed.¬† Now, we aren’t wealthy by any means, if you only count wealth by financial status.¬† Yet, the funds continued to stretch to the point of even buying a new stove and refrigerator.¬† One day I was praying and thanking the Lord for His blessing.¬† My heart felt like it was going to burst.¬† I told the Lord that I wanted to do something for Him to show Him how grateful I was for His blessing.¬† Within minutes, my husband pulled up in a used car, asking me what I thought about purchasing the car and giving it to his mother, who was in desperate need of one.¬† I knew God was answering my prayer.

Do you remember going out to eat when you were dating?¬† You weren’t so focused on the food, but on the communication that took place while eating the food.¬† There are times that God’s Word becomes the “Rhema” word to us, meaning it is the “now” word for us – just what we needed to hear.¬† These are times when the Lover of our soul is taking us out to eat, only what we are eating is spiritual food.

Why don’t you let God take you “out to eat?”¬† Don’t forget to let Him make the “menu selection” for you.¬† You won’t be disappointed!
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Space Invaders

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Space Invaders

We live in a time where many things need our attention.¬† We can easily neglect the really important things (people and relationships), to take care of the lesser things, which I will refer to as ‘space invaders.’

I know in my own life, one of the important things that space invaders attack is my time with my husband.¬† Granted, we all have times when we have a child with the stomach flu, and so the child gets top priority.¬† But, what about those times when everyone is healthy?¬† What space invaders keep you from getting that quiet time with your husband?¬† There are so many obvious ones — exhaustion, bathtime, bedtime rituals, television, cleaning the house, doing laundry, repairs, too many outside activities (even good ones, like church), phone calls, working outside the home, paying bills, helping the extended family, and even our own selfishness, can all become space invaders.

Space invaders love it when we are selfish.¬† Selfishness rares its ugly head when we find ourselves wanting to read a book, rather than giving some attention to our husband.¬† It can be seen through our desire to watch our favorite television show, neglecting our husband’s need to ‘vent’ after a grueling day at work.¬† We can show selfishness by choosing to call a friend while he is at home.¬† Surely we can find another time to chat!

In a time when divorce is so prevalent, we need to be on guard against space invaders.¬† They can come in very subtly, sometimes¬†through romantic movies.¬† We can watch these shows, filled with romance and begin to resent the lack of romance in our own marriage.¬† This can cause emotional distance (space invaders), between us.¬† What about romantic novels?¬† Yes, even Christian fiction can bring a sense of dissatisfaction to us when we see the couple in the book in such romantic scenes.¬† They can cause us to get romantic notions in our heads of what we’d like to see in our marriage.¬† When it doesn’t happen, we allow more space invaders to enter, causing more distance between us.

When we said our wedding vows, we never promised to love him only when he is romantic with us.¬† Reality is that the romance parts fades rather quickly because we are consumed with working, taking care of the house, paying bills, then raising children.¬† We must remember that any romance movies or books are not based on reality.¬† They are simply a story.¬† I’m not saying that romance will never be a part of your marriage again, but the times of romance will usually be few and far between.¬† And, who said that it needs to be left up to our husband to bring the romance back to the marriage?¬† You have the ability to do things to spark romance from time to time, and I’ll bet that even if your husband doesn’t comment much about it, he does appreciate it.

Another very subtle tactic of space invaders is to get us to focus on another Christian man, observing how seemingly spiritual he is.¬† The next thing we know, we are criticizing our own husband, even if the criticism goes no further than our thoughts.¬† Often, thoughts become words, and words become actions.¬† This is a very dangerous place, Sister!¬† Satan¬†delights in destroying marriages, and to destroy a Christian marriage is his ultimate pleasure.¬† Don’t let these kinds of space invaders get a foothold in your marriage!

One thing I have discovered is that the closer I walk with the Lord, and the more I fall in love with Jesus, the more I love my husband.¬† I am able to see more clearly that serving him, pampering him, romancing him, and cherishing him is the same as doing it for my Master, honoring Him by my actions toward my husband.¬† And one more thing — NO ONE ELSE is called to do this to my husband!¬† It is for ME ALONE!¬† No one else gets this pleasure, this intimacy, this thrill!

Sister, go fall head over heels in love with Jesus.  See what sparks come alive in your own marriage, keeping those space invaders at bay.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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