Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

The Quiet Hour

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The Quiet Hour

Quiet?  What’s that?  As moms, we can all relate to the having the feeling that we just don’t have enough time to read the Word and pray.  We mistakenly think that we can make it through the day in our own strength.

For those of us who are stay-at-home moms with young children, we may find that naptime is a good time to get alone with the Lord.  As the children get older and outgrow naptime, we can still institute an afternoon quiet hour (or 1/2 hour, if necessary).  You may find it helpful to have a timer on hand.  You gently instruct the children to find something to do by themselves until the timer goes off.  They are not allowed to play with each other, nor are they allowed to listen to music, play on the computer, or watch TV.  They can read a book, color, or quietly play with some toys, but they must be instructed not to bother Mommy until the timer goes off.  (Of course, a real emergency would supersede the instructions!)

We do our children a great disservice if we fail to teach them how to be alone.  Too often, we fall into the trap of entertaining them ourselves, or with the TV, or numerous other activities.  They need to have times of solitude so that they know how to be alone.  This will help them to be open to hearing God’s still small voice.

We can’t hear God speak above all the clamor and distractions, so we can’t expect our precious children to hear Him speak when they are constantly with other people, are busy, or are being distracted by many things around them.  Recently, my own daughter has come to me on many occasions, expressing her desire to hear God speak.  I wasn’t sure how to answer her beyond telling her that He often speaks to us in a still, small voice, not heard by the ear, but felt in the heart.  I find myself pondering on starting a daily quiet time.  I think my first prayer will be for her to hear her precious Father’s voice speaking to her….
© 2003, 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 – 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, “Reading the Word is just an old wive’s tale.  I can do just fine without it.”  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’s 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

Protect Yourself

Protect Yourself

Every fall, we start hearing ways in which we can protect ourselves during flu season.  Just as there are ways to protect ourselves in the natural, there is also a spiritual way to protect ourselves.

Of course, the number one thing you hear is the need to wash your hands frequently.  In a spiritual sense, we also need to wash our hands with pure water. (Hebrews 10:22)

When I worked at the hospital in a secretarial position, there were times when I had to interact with patients.  Occasionally, I would need to cover my clothing with a gown and gloves before entering the patient’s room.  As Christians, we need to cover ourselves with love, compassion, mercy, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. (Colossians 3:12-14; First Peter 4:8)

We have been taught to cover our mouths when we need to sneeze or cough.  In a spiritual sense, by allowing the Holy Spirit to set a guard over our mouth, it prevents us from speaking spiritual poison into the lives of others.  (Psalm 141:3)

When someone is ill, they are told to get lots of rest.  To avoid spiritual illness, we must learn to rest in the Lord. (Matthew 11:28; Psalm 27:14)

If you have a cold, doctors will tell you to drink plenty of fluids.  As God’s children, we must drink the water of the Word. (Ephesians 5:26) Doing so will keep us spiritually hydrated so that we have something to offer others.

Another piece of advice we often hear is to follow the doctor’s orders.  Spiritually speaking, this would be the Word.  We must be diligent to read the Word, not just to say we have done our good deed for the day.  We must read it, meditate on it, and memorize it so that it becomes a part of us.  Getting God’s Word deep into our hearts will protect us, just as getting a flu shot will protect you from the influenza.

If you have been lax in protecting yourself, what can you do today to change that?
© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

Power Outage

Power Outage

Early one morning, our power went out.  I had no idea it was out until I opened my eyes and saw the lights flashing on my alarm clock.

Samson had a ‘power outage,’ and he was also unaware that he had lost his power. (Judges 16)  Just like Samson, we can also suffer from a power outage that can be very subtle in sneaking up on us.

Samson thought that he could ‘toy’ with Delilah and the Philistines, yet maintain his power.  He didn’t realize that day by day, as he played with them, he was becoming self-sufficient and even arrogant.  Next, he became less dependent upon God.

We do the same thing.  We play with worldly passions, and when we don’t see an immediate consequence, we continue in that path.  We think we can handle things on our own, so we quit committing our daily work to the Lord.  Finally, we face a power outage, and we never saw it coming.

The power outage may start like this:

A major event takes place, so instead of reading the Word in the morning, we turn on the TV instead.  We only intend to watch it for a few minutes.  Suddenly, we hear the rest of the family arising and we realize that we’ve been engrossed in watching the TV for forty minutes.  Now it’s too late to read the Word.

We manage to go through our day just fine, so we don’t feel too bad about missing out on our quiet time with the Lord.  It makes it easier the next morning for us to sleep in when we’ve had a rough night.  After all, we did just fine yesterday without our quiet time, so what’s one more day?

Since we still have some spiritual oil in our reserve tank, we manage to gracefully get through another day, even if we didn’t read the Word.

The following morning, we decide to quickly check our email before doing our devotions.  Before we know it, we’ve been online for over thirty minutes.  We realize that we still need to jump in the shower before the rest of the family awakens.  Devotions will have to wait again.  Now we feel a little pressured to get our shower finished before the others start yelling, “Mom!  I need the bathroom!”  The pressure builds during the day, making us feel like a pressure cooker that is ready to blow its lid.

The next morning we still remember the stresses of the previous day, so we opt to get a jump-start on our day.  We get our shower done early.  Next, we focus on finishing some chores.

By this time, we are having a severe ‘power outage.’  It manifests itself later when one child is facing a crisis with a friend at school.  With our power gone, we have no mercy to offer this child.  Our youngest child falls and gets hurt, and we lack in compassion.  As if this isn’t enough, another child is struggling with a new math concept and our patience is waning very thin.  For the friend who is in desperate need of a listening ear, we fail to notice that God wanted to use us to minister to her need.  Instead, we ask her if we can return her call later since we are busy.

The only way to defeat the Delilahs and the Philistines in our own life is to guard our time with the Lord.  We must remain connected to the Power Source so that we don’t experience a power outage.

What Delilahs and Philistines are leading you toward a power outage?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Pest Control

Pest Control

Many times, we read the Word of God, skimming over things that become ‘familiar’ to us, refusing to allow God to give us new insights into what they mean.  We are probably all familiar with the parable about the wise man building his house upon the rock.  Even when the storms came and the winds blew hard, that house stood firm.  Yet the foolish man, who built his house upon the sand, finds that his house is demolished by the winds and storms.

Having just found out recently that our house has been invaded by carpenter ants, the Lord showed me a great analogy to our spiritual life.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the damage that can come from carpenter ants, let me share that those ants can destroy the foundation of even the very strongest house if you fail to have the house treated for them.  One treatment isn’t enough.  It requires treating the house every other month.  It’s a process of maintaining the house, staying ahead of the enemy ants, so that they don’t attack again.  Spiritually speaking, even when your house is well-built, ‘spiritual pests’ can try to invade your house.  These ‘pests’ can be in the form of selfishness, failing to deny our flesh and falling prey to gluttony, or ‘comfort’ eating, fear, false idols, too many activities, or even the wrong activities, or even spending our time in foolish pursuits instead of pursuing our God.

Just as we need to do upkeep on our home, we need to do a spiritual upkeep on our temple.  All homes will eventually need a new roof, representing that we need to get a new roof in spiritual sense — a new way of thinking. (Rom. 12:1-2) We may need to replace a toilet, representing how we need to get rid of things that are toxic to our spiritual life. (II Tim. 2:20-22) Windows eventually need to be replaced, representing how we need to seal the openings in our spiritual life so that Satan isn’t able to get a foothold in our life. (Eph. 4:27) A new coat of paint can transform a room, and God can transform our lives into His likeness. (II Cor. 3:18)  Sometimes we must rewire the house to avoid the wiring to short-out, causing a fire. We also need to be wired to God, through our connection to the vine.  It’s only through that connection that we can be fruitful. (Jn. 15)

Many times, we hear the phrase “Out with the old, in with the new.”  This is true in our walk with God.  I started writing poetry when I was only in fifth grade, and I continued to write  through out my high school years.  Since I wasn’t a Christian during those years, none of the poems edified the Lord.  After having been saved for a while, I clearly heard the Lord telling me to burn all of those poems.  I couldn’t believe it!  I put my heart and soul into those poems!  I felt like a part of me was dying.  I was right too.  As I burned those poems, the ‘gift’ that I had used in an ungodly way died, and in its place, an even greater gift was born.  I began to write things that edified the Lord, and many years later, here I am, writing devotions.  Had I not been willing to surrender to God’s will, I believe that I wouldn’t have been able to reap the harvest that I have now.

Maybe you’re not sure how to begin the process of being ‘proactive’ against those spiritual ‘pests.’  First, let me say that you should begin with a daily quiet time with the Lord.  Don’t just rush through it so that you can mark it off of your ‘to-do’ list.  Take time before the Lord, allowing the Holy Spirit to show you hidden things in the Word.

Second, if you are struggling in a particular area, I would suggest that you find some Christian books on that subject by reputable authors.  For me, learning to be busy at home was a major issue when I first quit my job.  I had worked full time for years, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I began to read books on being a godly wife, I read Proverbs over and over and over, devouring it so that it would get deep in my spirit and become part of me.  I read books about being a godly mother so that I could sense what this high calling of motherhood was all about and so that I could put it into action.  We see many shows on television these days about ‘doing it yourself.’  Not that we can do anything of ourselves (Jn. 15), but if we need help in an area, there is nothing wrong with reading other godly books to help us to be better wives, mothers, time managers, and better women of God.

The third thing I would recommend is that you get connected in a Bible-based church.  We need each other!  (Heb. 10:25) God has gifted each one of us so that we can edify one another. (Rom. 12; I Cor. 12) If we fail to get connected in church, someone isn’t receiving from us what they need.  Also, YOU aren’t receiving from someone else what YOU need.

Do you have any unwanted ‘pests’ trying to eat away at your  foundation?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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