I Choose to Die

I Choose to Die

I write this devotion only six days after having seen ‘The Passion of the Christ.’  Today was ‘Communion Sunday’ at church, and I can tell you that it is my deepest prayer that every time I partake of communion, that I will be as broken before the Lord as I was today.  As we partake of communion, we are admonished to do it in remembrance of Jesus. (I Cor 11) As the images from the movie ran through my mind, I began to weep.  Just as I thought I was done crying, another wave of tears would wash over me.  To think of what Jesus went through to save me from my sin — it’s simply amazing.

In light of this fresh revelation of what my Savior did for me, what do I do now?  I now see sin in a different way.  If I think of sinning, I picture a nail being viciously hammered into the precious hand of the One who created this very earth on which I live.  I see blood spurting out of the hand of the One whose very hands fashioned me within my mother’s womb. (Ps. 139) I pray that this vision NEVER leaves me!

Thinking upon His wonderful, loving sacrifice, there’s only one thing I can do.  I choose to die.  I choose to put to death the misdeed of my body. (Rom. 8:13) I choose to die daily (I Cor. 15:31) that in the end, I might live.  This fiery temper that tries to entangle me in bondage upon bondage is dying.  I choose to nail it to the cross where my Jesus paid my debt in full, declaring that IT IS FINISHED! (Jn. 19:30)

When my flesh wants to gossip about another person, may I remember the stripes on His back, the crown of thorns on His head, and the nails in His hands and feet.  When my flesh wants to rise up instead of bowing in humble submission to my husband, may I remember the gentle submission of the Lamb of God.  When I want to defend myself against taunts, threats, or unjust criticism, may I remember my loving Lord, who never spoke a word in His own defense.  When I want to pull back and go “AWOL” from God’s army, may I remember Him who said, through tears and sweat that was like drops of blood, “Nevertheless, not my will, but YOUR will be done.”
(Lk. 22:42)

Whenever my flesh tries to rear its ugly head, may my spirit boldly cry out, “I CHOOSE TO DIE!”  What about you?  Do you choose to die?
© 2004, 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

Going for Broke

Going for Broke

 

I love to read the story where Mary, the sister of Lazarus, breaks open her expensive bottle of perfume and lavishly, lovingly, pours in on Jesus.  This bottle of perfume is her dowry.  It is very costly.  To break this bottle of expensive perfume likely means that she gives up the dream that most women have — that of getting married.  Back then, if you didn’t have a sizable dowry, you weren’t classified as marrying material.  In spite of that, Mary chose to ‘go for broke.’  What a precious gift she gave the Lord.

 

I love how Mary gave the best she could give, and she didn’t even care what others thought of her.  When the customs of that day said that she should have been in the kitchen helping Martha, there sits Mary, at the feet of Jesus, taking in his every word.  (Lk. 10:38-43)

 

In ‘going for broke,’ we can gain so much because we learn to let go of ourselves.  To offer something sacrificial to our Lord, it requires us to be broken of our self-centeredness and our pride.  It requires us to look beyond our financial needs, looking beyond our fears for the future, and lavishing our love upon Jesus.

 

When we are broken by God, we experience true joy because weeping endures for the night, but God promises us that joy will come in the morning.

 

We learn that our life is in the Master’s hands, and He is carefully watching over us, using everything we face to bring about honor to His name.  The brokenness we learn from our trials gains us peace that passes all understanding.

 

Being broken helps to understand that God’s agenda is much more important than my own gives me a greater patience because I realize that I can let my own agenda go.

 

When I’m broken to the point where I realize that I have no rights, it reduces my urge to compete with others, and that helps me to walk in kindness.

 

In our brokenness, when God strips away our pride, we realize that within us lies no good thing, and that our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.  We learn that any goodness that comes from us is ultimately from Him.

 

In the midst of deep brokenness, we discover that the greener grass is actually being in the center of His will, even in those times when we don’t understand His plan.  This leads us to follow hard after faithfulness.  We become faithful and steady even in the hardest of times.  What an awesome sacrifice that is to the Lord.  He knows how hard it is for us to remain faithful and steady.

 

When we pour out our fleshly tendencies to the Lord, we realize the depths of our wretchedness.  We also see the heights of God’s graciousness and goodness towards us.  That works in us a gentleness in responding to those around us.

 

God gives us all that we need pertaining to life and godliness.  We have power to say NO to worldly passion. When that passion is to lose our temper, we react instead of respond to situations.  Maybe the worldly passion is spending money that we don’t have, or usurping our authority over our husband.  It may even be a passion to have an affair — whether that affair be physical, emotional, or even just in our mind.  Breaking open that alabaster box of our flesh can bring us a self-control where we truly want what our heavenly Father wants — obedience.

 

So many times, when we think of giving a sacrificial gift to God, like Mary did with her alabaster box, we think in terms of something that may cost us financially.  We see in I Sam. 15 that to obey is better than sacrifice.  Instead of trying to come up with an expensive gift to offer the Lord, why not offer up your sinful flesh?  There is nothing more precious in His sight than a child who comes to offer their flesh, allowing Him to cut away those unwanted pieces so that He can make you more like Him.  We may discover that sometimes obedience IS the sacrifice.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Going for Broke

It was Mary’s gift to make Jesus happy.

Going for Broke

I love to read the story where Mary, the sister of Lazarus, breaks open her expensive bottle of perfume and lavishly, lovingly, pours in on Jesus. This bottle of perfume is her dowry. It is very costly. To break this bottle of expensive perfume likely means that she gives up the dream that most women have — that of getting married. Back then, if you didn’t have a sizable dowry, you weren’t classified as marrying material. In spite of that, Mary chose to ‘go for broke.’ What a precious gift she gave the Lord.

I love how Mary gave the best she could give, and she didn’t even care what others thought of her. When the customs of that day said that she should have been in the kitchen helping Martha, there sits Mary, at the feet of Jesus, taking in his every word. (Lk. 10:38-43)

In ‘going for broke,’ we can gain so much because we learn to let go of ourselves. To offer something sacrificial to our Lord, it requires us to be broken of our self-centeredness and our pride. It requires us to look beyond our financial needs, looking beyond our fears for the future, and lavishing our love upon Jesus.

When we are broken by God, we experience true joy because weeping endures for the night, but God promises us that joy will come in the morning.

We learn that our life is in the Master’s hands, and He is carefully watching over us, using everything we face to bring about honor to His name. The brokenness we learn from our trials gains us peace that passes all understanding.

Being broken helps to understand that God’s agenda is much more important than my own gives me a greater patience because I realize that I can let my own agenda go.

When I’m broken to the point where I realize that I have no rights, it reduces my urge to compete with others, and that helps me to walk in kindness.

In our brokenness, when God strips away our pride, we realize that within us lies no good thing, and that our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. We learn that any goodness that comes from us is ultimately from Him.

In the midst of deep brokenness, we discover that the greener grass is actually being in the center of His will, even in those times when we don’t understand His plan. This leads us to follow hard after faithfulness. We become faithful and steady even in the hardest of times. What an awesome sacrifice that is to the Lord. He knows how hard it is for us to remain faithful and steady.

When we pour out our fleshly tendencies to the Lord, we realize the depths of our wretchedness. We also see the heights of God’s graciousness and goodness towards us. That works in us a gentleness in responding to those around us.

God gives us all that we need pertaining to life and godliness. We have power to say NO to worldly passion. When that passion is to lose our temper, we react instead of respond to situations. Maybe the worldly passion is spending money that we don’t have, or usurping our authority over our husband. It may even be a passion to have an affair — whether that affair be physical, emotional, or even just in our mind. Breaking open that alabaster box of our flesh can bring us a self-control where we truly want what our heavenly Father wants — obedience.

So many times, when we think of giving a sacrificial gift to God, like Mary did with her alabaster box, we think in terms of something that may cost us financially. We see in I Sam. 15 that to obey is better than sacrifice. Instead of trying to come up with an expensive gift to offer the Lord, why not offer up your sinful flesh? There is nothing more precious in His sight than a child who comes to offer their flesh, allowing Him to cut away those unwanted pieces so that He can make you more like Him. We may discover that sometimes obedience IS the sacrifice.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller