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

Judging Versus Judging Fruit (part 2)

Good trees don't bear bad fruit.

Judging (continued)

When Jesus tells us that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit, what does that mean for me?  How do I live that out?

As I pointed out in the last devotion, it takes a lot of discernment.  It also requires us to be wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16)  I want to share some examples that would easily fit our society today, in hopes of helping you to understand what it means to judge fruit.

Suppose you see a man who faithfully attends church, often gives testimonies, and prays out loud at prayer meetings.  He seems like a very spiritual man, yet when you observe him around the women, you notice that he touches them in ways that do not seem to be appropriate.  As you watch his eyes when a lady walks passed him, you see that he is looking at certain places on her anatomy that a truly godly man should refrain from viewing.  Are you judging him by thinking that he is after more than just hearing the Pastor’s sermon?  No.  You are judging the fruit of his life, and it tells you to avoid him at all costs.

Suppose a lady starts coming to the women’s Bible study and she is very vibrant and expressive in her worship.  She appears to really be in love with Jesus.  After several weeks of attending Bible study, it becomes apparent that she has a serious problem with respecting her husband and submitting to him.  She can never talk about him in a good light. Many of the stories she shares show that she is very manipulative in her relationships.  If you choose not to befriend her, are you judging her?  No, you are simply being cautious in friendship. (Proverbs 12:26)  You want to choose a friend who is like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17)

Perhaps there is a woman who attends your church who seems to thrive on attention.  During worship, you cannot help but see her because she is making such an expressive display of emotion.  In fact, she almost seems out of control.  This lady is involved in so many activities in the church that she appears to be quite disorganized.  Yet she continues to faithfully attend every activity at church, spending more time at church than she does home.  You decide to stop by her house one day, only to find that her house is so filled with clutter that you would not be able to safely maneuver through the living room.  Piles upon piles of disarray, and they are everywhere!  Are you judging her if you decide that you do not want to spend much time with her?  No, you have judged her fruit against Proverbs 31:12, which says that she brings her husband good and not harm.  You see that she is not the faithful manager of the home that a virtuous woman should be. (Proverbs 31:27)

I firmly believe that we are living in the latter days.  Because of that, Jesus told us that the love of many will wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)  People will want to hear only preaching that will tickle their itching ears. (Second Timothy 4:3)  While it may be easier to just keep our mouth shut and refuse to speak the truth of God’s Word, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Keep running the race He has marked out for you.  Even in the midst of persecution, know that your Father is closely watching you, and He is pleased when you stand up for righteousness. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller



When I was growing up, we lived in a house that had a basement.  There were cracks in the foundation, so every time we got a heavy rain, there would be water in the basement.

We can have leaks in our own lives.  We can have a crack in our spiritual foundation, and not even know it…….until the storm comes.  We may have neglected to build a strong foundation, and so when the storms of life roll in, we are like the house built on the sand, and we feel swiftly washed away. (Matthew 7:26-27)

Ephesians 6 gives us some guidelines for building a strong foundation:
1.  Realize that our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
2.  Put on the armor of God.  Know who you are in Christ.
3.  Put on the belt of truth.  Know God’s truth so that it can set you free.
4.  Put on the breastplate of righteousness so that you will act out what you know God’s truth to be, rather than acting out of your feelings and emotions.
5.  Put on your gospel shoes.  Learn to walk as a peacemaker, and be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have. (I Peter 3:15)
6.  Take up your shield of faith.  It will protect you from Satan’s arrows….even those arrows that come through words spoken by people. (Isaiah 54:17)
7.  Put on the helmet of salvation so that you are able to take captive every thought, and have the mind of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5; I Corinthians 2:16)
8.  Take the sword of the Spirit with you.  We can’t always have our Bible with us, so it’s important to know what it says.  That means we must take time to read the Word, meditate on it, and memorize it.  When we face a ‘storm,’ we won’t have to worry about leaks because we have the Word stored in our hearts, ready to guide us and protect us.

Do you need to fix some leaks places in your foundation?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Juicy Fruit

Juicy Fruit

I love the times of year when fruit is in season.  It is so much tastier.  The color is more vivid and appealing.  It is so delightful to bite into a luscious, red strawberry.  I will literally savor that piece of juicy fruit.

Have you ever met a godly person that just radiated with the glory of God?  They are a great example of a person whose fruit is a tree of life. (Proverbs 11:30)  Much like the way edible fruit gets our attention with its vivid appearance, these people command our attention with their glorious countenance.  They speak wise words which we can savor, much like savoring a piece of tasty watermelon.  They bubble over with the joy of the Lord.  We find ourselves delighted to be in their presence, partaking of the juicy fruit that resides within them.

We are all to be full of juicy fruit. (Matthew 7:17-18; John 15:8) But how do we cultivate a heart that can bear such desirable, and juicy, fruit?

1. Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. (Psalm 1:1)  A practical way to implement this is to quit reading secular books on marriage and parenting.  Instead, find out what God has to say on these subjects.
2. Don’t stand in the way of sinners. (Psalm 1:1)  As you walk into the break room at work, if they are discussing some inappropriate topics, leave the room.
3. Don’t sit in the seat of mockers. (Psalm 1:1)  A great example of putting this to work is by refusing to watch the myriad of television shows that mock our Lord.  Many times, these shows will mock the role of the father.  If we want our children to show respect to their father, we must guard their hearts from seeing the father mocked on television.
4. Delight in God’s law. (Psalm 1:2) If you have a hard time delighting in reading the Word, ask God to give you a deep hunger for His Word, and ask Him to help you see wonderful things in His law. (Psalm 119:18)
5. Meditate on His Word. (Psalm 1:2) As you read the Word, sometimes you won’t need to read very much before you find the Holy Spirit dealing with your heart.  Write down the verse, and carry it with you, looking at it several times throughout the day.
6. Remain in Jesus. (John 15:4) Dedicate yourself to seeking Him daily.  I choose to spend the early morning hours with the Lord, however, when Rachel was a baby, it was easier to have that quiet time during her naps or right after I put her to bed in the evening.  Find what works best for you.
7. Let God’s Word remain in you. (John 15:7) When you face new situations, ask yourself, what would God want me to do?  By acknowledging Him, you will often find that the Word you have planted in your heart will guide you quickly in doing the right and honorable thing.

Following these seven steps will cause you to be like a tree planted by the river, yielding fruit in season, and whose leaf doesn’t wither. (Psalm 1:3)

Not only will you bear much fruit, but you will bring much glory to your Heavenly Father.
(John 15:8)

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

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