The Other Side

Image result for disciples in boat during storm

The Other Side

I love to see the weaknesses in the disciples.  It comforts me to see that even though these men walked and talked with the Son of God, they still struggled at times in their faith.  They actually saw the miracles of Christ with their own eyes, yet they still grappled with doubts and fears.

In Matthew 14:22, Jesus made the disciples get in a boat and go ahead of Him to the other side.  Later, when the boat was buffeted by the wind and waves, they began to get worried.  They became even more fearful when they saw what they perceived to be a ghost walking on the water toward them.

In verse 22, there is the implication that when Jesus told them to get in the boat, He would meet them on the other side.  Now, this was the Son of God who was speaking.  When He said that He would meet them on the other side, they could have complete confidence that it would happen just as Jesus said.  Yet, we see them battling a bad case of fear.  I have often wondered if the disciples forgot that God said His word would never return void, but would accomplish what He desires.  (Isaiah 55:11)  Had they remembered that word, I doubt that they would have assaulted with such anxiety that night.

Not only did Jesus meet them on the other side, He went a step further.  He came to them while they were being tossed about by the gusting winds.

What storm are you facing?  Rest assured that Jesus will not only meet you on the other side of your storm, but He will come and walk with you through the storm.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Prayer Series – Persistence in Prayer

Persistence in Prayer
How often do we give up when we don’t see any results from our prayers?  I know in my own life, if I don’t get “drive-through service” with my prayers, I tend to get discouraged.  I want things done my way and in my time.  But God tells us that His ways aren’t our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.  Jesus teaches us in Lk. 18 the parable about how we should always pray and not give up.  The unjust judge finally has mercy upon the woman’s insistent pleas.  Jesus points out to us that God will have even more mercy and justice for His children than an unjust judge.  So, KEEP PRAYING!

We are admonished in Phil. 4:6 that in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to bring our requests to God.  Yes, I admit, this can take some time.  But look at verse 7.  IF we take the time to unload our burdens and cares upon the Master, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.  How often do we find the time to pick up the phone and voice our woes to a friend?  Those are times that we could have been praying.  Or do we fall into the trap of using the internet when it would be much more productive to talk to God?  Many times we won’t take the time to pray, but yet we will take the time to go visit a Christian counselor.  That ends up not only taking our time, but our money as well!  Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting counseling, provided that we really need it.  I am just saying that it’s quite possible that if we take the time to spend with the Lord, we may just find that our mind has been touched by the Great Counselor.

As I was looking at Eph. 6 where it talks about the armor, prayer is actually part of that armor.  It’s not just another weapon though; it’s part of the actual warfare itself.  The Full Life Study Bible (p. 413) says that to fail to pray diligently is the same as surrendering to the enemy.  As I pondered on prayer being part of the armor, it dawned on me that when we fail to pray, it’s similar to going outside without being fully clothed.  An appropriate way to put it for women is to say that it’s like going to church without having put on your makeup!

A final thought on the subject of prayer is that we should be diligent in training ourselves to pray because our prayers please God. (Pr. 15:8)  We also know that He hears our prayers.  (Pr. 15:29; I Pet. 3:12)

Father, help me to make the choice to train myself to be more diligent in praying.  Not praying just so that I can unload my burdens, but praying so that I can be intimate with You.  Place within me a desire for that awesome intimacy that I know YOU desire for me to have.  Help me to let You be the apple of my eye, the rejoicing of my heart, the very center of my life.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Persistent

Persistent

One night as I watched our hamster, I thought about how persistent she is in trying to escape from her cage.  It never fails.  Every single night, as soon as she awakens, she starts seeking a way out of that cage.  When one tactic doesn’t work, she will resort to another.

It made me think about my walk with God.  Am I that persistent to seek after my Father every day?  When I go through a dry season in my devotional times, will I diligently pursue a different route to find Him?  Could I be accused of persistence when it comes to seeking my Lord?  Do I persistently spend time with Him every day?  Or, am I only persistent when my back is against the wall?

Proverbs 21:5 tells us that the plans of the diligent lead to profit.  In relation to our time with the Lord, if we are diligent in spending time with Him, it will profit us greatly in the many things that we face every day.

First Timothy 4:15 tells us to be diligent in matters pertaining to the Word of God.  The result is that others will see our spiritual progress.  Not that we should specifically seek out being godly just so that others notice, but it is refreshing when someone comments on the spiritual growth they see taking place in our lives.

In Second Timothy 3:16, we find that all scripture is useful.  If we haven’t been persistent in spending time in the Word, we need to start small.  Rather than trying to read for long periods of time, try reading for five minutes.  Since all scripture is profitable and useful to us, we will find something there that will teach us, rebuke us, correct us, or train us.  Start small and see what God will begin to teach you as you begin to be persistent about reading His Word.

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Worship That Moves the Lord

Worship That Moves the Lord

Have you ever been so desperate in prayer that you begin to beg God for His help, yet feel as if He is ignoring you?  A Canaanite woman experienced that very thing.  In Matthew 15:22, she is crying out to Jesus as He passes by.  Yet, the Lord doesn’t even acknowledge her.

Now many of us become discouraged when we feel as if the Lord is ignoring us.  We may even fail to pray since we feel as if our fervent prayers are falling on deaf ears.  Yet, what this Canaanite woman does next fascinates me.  She refuses to give up.  She comes and humbly kneels before Jesus and again asks for His help.  Her humble posture speaks volumes to the Lord, for not only does He notice her, He speaks to her.  Her humble response shows her great faith in Him, even though He previously ignored her.  He commends her for her great faith and grants her request.

We can learn much from this story.  When we don’t get an immediate response, we must not get mad and become too proud to ask again.  We must humble ourselves before Him and keep asking, for the Lord will not reject a humble, contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17)  Our humble worship may be what moves Him to act quickly on our behalf.

© 2008, Stacy R Miller

Walking on Water

Walking on Water

I have always related well to Peter.  Here is a man who often speaks and acts before he thinks.  Though I hate to admit it, I am so much like him!

In Matthew 14:22-33, we find the story of when Peter walked on water.  Had I been in his shoes (or should I say ‘sandals?’), I am sure that had I would have started to doubt as those waves began to swell around me.  After all, I have always been a fearful around water.

I had my own “walk on water” experience many years ago when I was a new Christian.  I was on vacation with my parents.  I had instructed my brother to make sure that he went out and started my car at least once a day.  However, he did more than just start the car on one particular day.  He left the driver’s side door opened, then promptly popped the clutch, causing the car to lurch.  The door crashed into a tree stump, causing quite a bit of damage.  I was furious when I found out because at the time, I was only working part time.  I barely made enough to make the monthly payments on the car.  How would I pay for this?

When I went to church that weekend, I was still battling a lot of fear and anger.   Of all things, they began to sing, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  I was feeling anything but joyful.  I was so frustrated that the tears began to pour down my face.  I wanted to feel God’s peace and joy again, but I was just so angry!

The Lord gently spoke to me, “Am I not big enough to handle all of your problems?”  I decided to take my own “walk on water” and I waited to see how the Lord was going to work out this situation.

The very next day, my boss called me to offer me a full time position.  Within two weeks, I was driving a brand new car.  What a powerful lesson to me on overcoming doubt!

Is God calling you to walk on water?
© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

5 Loaves and 2 Fish

I was listening to a message this morning by Pastor James Merritt on the 5 loaves and 2 fish.  Something really stood out to me.  Speaking of the 12 baskets of leftovers, he said, “Jesus isn’t all I need; He is MORE than I need.”

Out of My Comfort Zone

Out of My Comfort Zone

Several months ago, a lady from our church had a severe stroke.  Whenever we would get an update on how she was doing, the news was never good.  I had such a burden to pray for this lady, and the lack of good news spurred me to intercede even more for her.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into church one morning and saw her sitting there!  Later, the Lord spoke to me about the significance of her being there on that particular day.  He gently told me, “It is the first day of a New Year, and I want to remind My children that I am still a God who heals.”

I need to back up a bit to help you grasp the vital importance of what happened here.  While I had seen this lady at church for years, even sitting in the same section for years, we really did not converse much beyond the customary formalities of “Hi, how are you?”

One time I signed up to attend an in-home fellowship.  After viewing the list of who was attending, I began to feel a little uncomfortable about going.  I was not only the youngest one attending, I was the only one attending without a spouse.  In spite of my discomfort, I chose to go.  It turns out that it was one of the most memorable nights for me!

The lady who had the stroke was there.  As I listened to her stories, I saw a side of her I had never seen in a church setting.  She was hilarious!  And boy!  Could she ever tell a story!

Because I stepped out of my comfort zone, I got to know several members of the body of Christ a little better.  I started chatting with them more at church.  I felt more connected to my church family.

Had I refused to push myself out of my comfort zone, I do not believe that I would have carried such a burden to pray for this lady.  I would have missed out on being part of the miracle that took place in her life.  I also feel that I would have missed hearing the gentle voice of my Father speaking to me on that New Year’s afternoon.

We are told to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2) What better way to bear a burden than to become an intercessor for someone?  We are told to love one another fervently. (First Peter 1:22) If we fail to take the time to get to know one another in the body of Christ, how can we love each other deeply?  We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)  How can we do that if we don’t even know them?

I want to encourage you to get to know your church family outside of the church walls.  You may be amazed at what God does in your life when you get better connected with His people!

Do you need to step out of your comfort zone?

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

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