Pleasant Boundaries

Pleasant Boundaries

A friend once asked me about the concept of having boundaries.  She didn’t know if it was a scriptural concept since you don’t see the word ‘boundaries’ too many times in the Bible.  Her comment spurred me on to do an in-depth study on this topic.

Psalm 16:6 says that the boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for David.  What boundaries was he talking about?  In verse one, we see that one of those boundaries was using God as his place of refuge.  Another boundary was walking in the realization that apart from God, David had no good thing in him. (verse 2)

David says in verse 3 that he delights in God’s people.  He realizes that fellowship with the world is crossing the line of pleasant boundaries.  Next we find the boundary of only following the one true God, for crossing that boundary line will cause our sorrows to increase.

In verse 5, David has discovered that he can have a secure boundary by trusting in God.  He sees in verse 7 that there is a boundary of following godly counsel, rather than crossing that line and walking in the counsel of the wicked. (Psalm 1)

Since David has set the Lord always before him, he knows that he won’t be shaken. (verse 8) Walking in the boundaries that God has set forth causes David to rest secure. (verse 9) Some people may perceive God as a cruel dictator who won’t let you have any fun.  They think of Him as a God who gives you a huge list of things that you can no longer do.  David sees those same boundaries as a pleasant thing. That is why he was able to say in verse nine that he could rest securely.  The results of staying in God’s boundary lines leads to being filled with joy and finding eternal pleasures. (verse 11)

Are you staying in the boundary lines?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Hot Flashes

Hot Flashes
As I began that wonderful process of going through menopause over a year ago, I was finding myself constantly bombarded with night sweats.  I would wake up so drenched that it would keep me awake for several hours.  A couple of friends suggested that I start taking soy.  Within three weeks of having started the soy, the night sweats had stopped and I was also sleeping much better.  Even the hot flashes during the day lessened.

Several months after having started this journey through menopause, I was looking at Rev. 3:15-16 where the Lord says that He would rather have us hot or cold.  He told the church of Laodicea that because they were lukewarm, He was about to spit them out of His mouth.  As I pondered on this scripture, I asked the Lord why He hates the state of being lukewarm.  He asked me how I felt when the soy began to work in helping me not to have so many night sweats. Words like “contented, satisfied, pleased, supplied, fulfilled, at ease” came to mind.  I was contented because I wasn’t waking every night feeling all sweaty and smelly.  I was satisfied and pleased that I was getting good rest again.  My wishes for a peaceful rest were being supplied and fulfilled.  I was at ease with going to bed; I knew that I could sleep well again.  Why did I feel this way?  Was it because of what God had done?  No, it was because I was looking to a pill to meet my needs instead of seeking the Lord to work through the pill.  I began to sing the praises of the soy which I was taking, rather than praising God for the person who was wise enough to see the benefits of soy for menopausal women.  I was becoming lukewarm (satisfied) in what was taking place.

Father asked me what I do when I am cold.  I do everything in my power to warm up (except maybe exercise!).  I will turn up the heat, put on warmer clothing, fix a warm drink, find a heavy blanket.  I won’t rest until I am able to take off the chill.  It’s the same thing when I am hot.  I won’t rest until I find something that will cool me down.  I began to get the picture.  When we are comfortable, we stop working to warm up or cool down.  We are satisfied.

It is the same in our walk with God.  When we reach a place where we are spiritually satisfied with where we are, we are in dangerous territory.  We become “self-satisfied.”  We are coming close to being spit out of His mouth.  I’m not referring to finding contentment in the place where God has called you.  I’m talking about that place where we become slackers at reading the Word.  I’m talking about where we don’t long for His presence because we are at ease with where we are.  We may have even become self-sufficient, thinking that WE are providing for all of our needs, forgetting that it is really GOD who meets our needs.

The Lord reminded me of the drenching from those night sweats.  He revealed to me that He desires for us to be drenched by His Spirit on a daily basis.  In Jn. 7:38, Jesus mentions that if we are thirsty, we need to come to Him and drink.  Streams of living water will flow from within us.  We will be drenched by drinking His water.  In Eph. 5:26, we see that Christ made the Church holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through His Word.  We see the Word “washing” here.  To be thoroughly washed, you must get drenched.  In Isaiah 58:11 it tells us that God will guide us always, satisfying (He is the one to satisfy us) our needs, even in a sun-scorched land.  He will cause us to be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Father, help us to look to You daily for the drenching that comes from Your Spirit.  There is so much around me, trying to seize my focus from You on a daily basis.  Help me to be faithful to hide Your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against You.  Help me to depend on You, to submit to Your will every moment of every day.  Holy Spirit, I need you desperately.  Drench me so that my spirit will be saturated with Your presence.  Drench me so that my spirit won’t become parched, barren, unproductive, dehydrated, or withered.  Let me be like the tree planted by streams of water that is able to yield precious fruit.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Guarded Boundaries

Guarded Boundaries

 

Do you ever feel pressured to do things that we know are not God’s best for you? It seems that we are constantly facing people who are trying to get us involved in activities or commitments that we just don’t feel good about, yet we have a hard time saying ‘no’ to them.

 

We must be careful to guard our hearts, not allowing them to be swayed emotionally, taking us across a boundary line that God has put into place in our lives. We need to guard our boundaries!

 

Even Jesus felt the need to guard His boundaries. In Matthew 13:36, we see that Jesus left the crowd and went into the house. Notice that the crowd didn’t leave, but Jesus did. There were times that He knew He needed to pull away.

 

In Matthew 14:22, Jesus made the disciples get in the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, then He dismisses the crowd so He could pray. It had been a mentally exhausting day because his cousin had just been beheaded. Jesus knew that He needed to come apart or He would end up ‘coming apart.’ He needed to find that place of solitude to pray through His grief over the vicious death of His beloved cousin. He needed God to refill Him with some fresh oil so that He would have something to offer those who sought Him. Sometimes we need to dismiss the crowds in our own life. We need to send the children to their room, turn off the phone, turn off the TV, the computer, and get alone with God.

 

In Luke 4:42-44, Jesus is praying and the crowds come after Him once again. They were pressuring Him to stay there with them. Jesus had His priorities in order, and He knew that if He stayed there, He would be crossing a boundary line. He told the people that He was to be preaching the good news to other towns. He wasn’t persuaded to stay, no matter how much they pressured Him to do so.

 

It’s the same with us – we will be pressured to sign our children up for activities because ‘everybody else is doing it.’ We will be pressured to get involved in more church activities than what is feasible for us. Keep in mind that when you overstep the boundaries and get involved in too many activities or you take on too many charity cases, you may end up not being able to do a good job of taking care of your husband and your children. And guess what? If YOU don’t do it, no one else will! Why? Because God has called YOU to do it!

 

Even commercials bombard us, pressuring us to spend more money. If we don’t have the money, it’s no problem, just call the 800 number for a quick and easy loan! We must guard our boundaries! One of the best ways we can guard those boundaries is by simply guarding our hearts for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23) If we don’t guard our hearts, that wellspring of life will run dry very quickly. We will have crossed a boundary line that leads us to a very dry and parched land.

 

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Grave Digging, Part 2

Grave Digging, Part 2

 

In today’s society, you often hear the phrase ‘politically correct.’  Today I want to address some of those very ideas that are even permeating the church.  These are ideas which God would call evil.  In Prov. 17:4, we find that a wicked man listens to evil lips.  There are many evil lips which speak to us today, leading us to more grave digging.

 

  1. “Sex before marriage is OK.”  Or another common one we hear is, “But, we’re going to be married, so it’s all right to have sex.”  God says sex is only for those who are married.  There is no ‘but’ clause.  STD’s are rampant today because of this type of thinking.  This ‘free love’ isn’t so free after all, is it?  Many girls are growing up, only to discover that because of some ‘free love’ that has left her with a venereal disease, she is now sterile, and chances are that she will wind up having some form of uterine or cervical cancer.  Her grave digging in her promiscuous years may lead her to premature death.
  2. “A person is born with homosexuality.”  If that is true, then our God is a big, fat liar.  His Word declares that He is a just God.  Dan. 4:37.  If homosexuality is something a person is born with, then a just God isn’t going to send them to a fiery, eternal hell.  I Cor. 6:9.  Homosexuals have grave digging abilities that often lead them to commit suicide.  The suicide rate for homosexuals is MUCH higher than it is for heterosexuals.
  3. “If it feels good, do it.”  This belief is responsible for grave digging of numerous kinds.  There are those who are gluttons.  They end up with high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and numerous other health conditions.  This belief has also led to many people having addictions to drugs.  That is a grave-digging bondage that leads to crime, just to support their habit.  It then spirals to a depraved mind, leading the addicted person to kill another human being if it means helping them to find their next ‘fix.’
  4. “It’s just a blob of tissue.”  This is a lie that has led to millions upon millions of abortions taking place in America, and it was all done legally!  This lie has led many women to grave digging, causing them to die an early death, due to infections arising from having an abortion done.  Now we even have the RU-486, which has been blamed for the death of at least one young woman.
  5. “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  I have seen this phrase on bumper stickers, and it sickens me to see it.  I have never seen a hearse with a U-Haul trailer attached to the back of it.  Many people get so caught up in trying to get as many ‘toys’ as they can.  They don’t realize that they are really just digging a grave.  Their persistence in working so many hours can destroy a marriage and a family.  Their endless pursuit of material things can dig a grave where peace of mind can never exist because they are so far in debt.

 

We, as Christian ladies, must be careful that we aren’t digging graves by falling into the trap of becoming wicked simply by listening to evil lips.  There is a wonderful prevention for grave digging found in  Psalm 1.

  1. Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. (verse 1)
  2. Don’t hang out with sinners. (verse 1)
  3. Don’t sit with mockers. (verse 2) How many mockers do we find on television?  They mock God, pastors, and fathers, who are to be the head of the house.  Yet, on television, the father often gets no respect. Television often mocks any parental authority.  So many shows are full of children whose lives exist to make a mockery out of their parents.
  4. Delight in God’s law. (verse 2)
  5. Meditate on God’s law. (verse 2)

The results are found in verse 3.

  1. You’ll be like a tree planted by the water.
  2. You will yield fruit.
  3. You won’t wither.
  4. Whatever you do will prosper.

 

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

The “Do-Not” List

The Do-Not List

 

I have often heard it said that being a Christian is just living by a bunch of rules of what you can’t do.  How wrong are the individuals who believe that!  I looked up a bunch of scriptures that say “DO NOT.”  After pondering on them, it is very easy to see that the same loving God who put these in His Word only did it for OUR good.  He wants us to live life abundantly, and in the abundance, there are boundaries.  God even had a boundary in the Garden of Eden, and it was for their good.  Ps. 16:6 says that the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  (NIV)

 

Mt. 6:1  Do not do your acts of righteousness to be seen by men.  If you do, you’ll receive no rewards for it in heaven.

Romans 6:12-13 Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.  Do not offer parts of your body to sin.

Rom. 12:2 Do not conform to the patterns of this world.

Rom. 12:16 Do not be proud.  Do not be conceited.

Rom. 12:17 Do not repay evil for evil.

Rom. 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil.

Rom. 13:14 Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Eph. 4:29-30 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth.  Do not grieve the Spirit.

Phil. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything.

Col. 3:9 Do not lie to each other.

I Th. 5:19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.

II Tim. 2:23 Do not have anything to do with foolish arguments because they produce quarrels.

Ex. 20:3 Do not have other gods before the Lord God.

Ex. 20:4 Do not make an idol in any form.

Ex. 20:7 Do not misuse God’s name.

Ex. 20:13 Do not murder.  (Don’t forget that with our mouths, we can often murder a reputation.)

Ex. 20:14 Do not commit adultery.  (Don’t forget that Jesus said that if we even look upon someone with lust, that it’s the same as having committed adultery.)

Ex. 20:15 Do not steal.  (This includes even taking a pen home from work.)

Ex. 20:16 Do not bear false witness.  (This could easily include gossip.  How many times are things said that aren’t really true?)

Ex. 20:17 Do not covet.

Prov. 3:3 Do not let love and faithfulness leave you.

Prov. 3:5 Do not lean on your own understanding.

Prov. 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes.

Prov. 3:11 Do not despise the Lord’s chastening.

Prov. 3:27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to act.

Prov. 4:6 Do not forsake wisdom.

Prov. 4:21 Do not let God’s Word out of your sight.

 

Father, help us to always know that any boundaries which you place before us are only for our good.  Help us to make the choice not to step outside of those boundaries, but to see the abundant life that can be ours when we stay in those boundaries – Boundaries that You created out of Your great love for us.  Amen.

 

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Cyanide

Cyanide

If I were to place before you a glass of ice water and told you that I tainted it with one tiny drop of cyanide, would you drink it?  Since that tiny drop of cyanide has polluted the whole vessel, you would be foolish to drink it.  Yet, I see many people in the church today who are drinking cyanide in a spiritual sense.  Just as cyanide is colorless and you cannot tell it is there, Christians today are drinking it, completely unaware of its deadly effects.

We are called to a life of holiness, which means that we are to be spiritually pure.  To be pure is to be free from that which adulterates, makes impure, or taints.  It only takes a trace of contamination to taint something.

God does not want us to be impure, but to live holy and godly lives. (I Thessalonians 4:7-8) In Ephesians 5:3-4, it tells us that there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among us.  Nor should we be partaking in any obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking.  These kinds of things are improper for God’s holy people.

To live out these scriptures, we must bring God’s standards into every aspect of our lives:

  • What we read – Is there a hint of immorality in it?
  • What music we listen to – Is there a hint of impurity in the lyrics?
  • What we watch – Is there a hint of sexual impurity? What about foolish talk?
  • Where we surf on the web – Is there immorality or coarse joking there?
  • Where we go – Is there any immorality or foolish talk taking place?
  • Where we go in our thoughts – Is it immoral or indecent?
  • What we wear – Is it immoral, drawing attention to our body, rather than God’s Spirit in us?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, you have opened yourself up to spiritual cyanide because we are not to let even a hint of immorality or impurity enter our lives. (I Thessalonians 4:7-8)

God’s Word makes it clear that participating in such activities is sinful and improper for Christians.  The result of being tainted with spiritual cyanide is that we end up living impure lives.  The cost of opening ourselves up to that poison is that we will lose sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, giving ourselves to sensuality, indulging in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more.

Since the Word tells us that without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14), we must be very careful not to allow any spiritual cyanide into our lives.

(I will be continuing along this topic for the next few devotions.)

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Boundaries

Boundaries.wiki.

Boundaries

Is it scriptural to have boundaries in our lives? I did some research in my Bible to see what I could find on this topic.

While the word ‘boundaries’ isn’t used frequently throughout scripture, I do believe that the concept is there. God gave us the 10 Commandments. Those are definitely some boundaries of things we should and shouldn’t do. Saving sex for marriage is another boundary, but it is a very good boundary. You don’t risk catching a sexually transmitted disease, and you don’t run the risk of feeling guilty or dirty for having given your most precious gift to someone outside of marriage. You won’t end up bombarded with dreams over a sordid past if you keep yourself pure, saving your virginity for your husband.

In Ephesians 6:1-3, children are admonished to obey their parents. Staying in this boundary line has a wonderful promise connected to it – that it may go well with them and that they may enjoy a long life.

In Titus 2:3-5, women find some boundaries that tell them to love their husbands and children, to be busy at home, being self-controlled, kind, and pure, and being subject to our husband. What is the result when we choose to stay in this boundary line? The word of God will not be blasphemed. Again, we see another good boundary line.

In I Peter 3:7, we find a boundary line for the husband. He is to be considerate of his wife, treating her as the weaker partner, yet still an heir with him in God’s grace. What is the benefit of not crossing this boundary line? His prayers will not be hindered.

In James 4:7, there is another boundary line in submitting ourselves to God. The result of not crossing the boundary line is that we will be able to resist the devil, knowing that he will flee.

In Philippians 4:6-7, we have a boundary line regarding an anxious heart. Instead of being anxious, we can stay in our boundary lines by praying with a thankful heart. The end result is that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds.

In Philippians 2:14-15 we are admonished not to cross the boundary line and start complaining or arguing. If we stay in the boundary line, and conduct ourselves without giving into the fleshly tendency to complain and argue, we will shine like the stars in the universe.
People will notice when we begin to shine brightly!

Do your boundary lines cause you to shine like the stars?
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

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