Offended

I was reading through Matthew 24 and noticed something I found interesting.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Notice the progression:
1. Many shall be offended.
2. They will then betray one another.
3. After the betrayal, comes hate.
4. They will be more susceptible to being deceived by the false prophets because they’ve already opened “doors” in steps 1-3.

This scripture made me think about offenses in my own life.  When I get offended, am I going to take it to the Father and allow Him to help me through it?  Or am I going to choose to hold onto that offense, and thus, open a door for me to be easily deceived by the false prophets?  (And there are MANY of them out there right now.)

When I see the reality of how I could become deceived if I choose to hold onto an offense, it suddenly makes offenses seem like little “bumps” in the spiritual road that I need to just step over and go on my way.  :waving3:

Advertisements

Pit Bull Attack

Pit Bull Attack

Several years ago, while I was pushing my daughter in her stroller and enjoying a leisurely walk with my mother, I was attacked by a pit bull.  I was minding my own business, and without warning, I suddenly feel a pit bull jumping on me.  Isn’t that how Satan works?  He watches, just waiting for when you are carefree and unaware of his presence, and suddenly, without warning, he attacks.  He gets his teeth in you, and much like a pit bull, he doesn’t want to let go.

When I went to the Emergency Room, they cleansed and bandaged my wound, and gave me after-care instructions on how to treat the wound.  When we’ve been spiritually wounded, our Great Physician can pour the soothing oil of the Holy Spirit to bring healing, and He gives us after-care instructions in His Word.

The doctor told me that trying to stitch a dog bite would really increase my chances of getting a nasty infection.  Having decided against stitches, I was left with two huge, oozing places on my leg.  The wounds oozed nasty-looking stuff for several weeks following the attack.  When we’ve been hurt by someone, and we fail to take it to the Lord and leave it with Him, we also ooze.  It can ooze forth in cynical, bitter comments.  It can ooze out in a rage of anger.  It can ooze from our countenance.  If we take it to the cross, God can replace the poisonous oozing with the healing balm of Gilead.

A dog’s bite is very dirty, so the doctor prescribed a strong antibiotic for me.  It helped to curb any further risks of infection.  One type of spiritual infection that many of us face is that of harboring unforgiveness.  When Satan comes as a pit bull, ready to latch onto us with unforgiveness, our antibiotic may simply be telling our self, “I choose to forgive.”  Just as we may need to take an antibiotic several times a day, we may also need to repeat several times a day that we choose to forgive, rather than hold a grudge.

There were days when I didn’t want to do the extra care that having this big gash on my leg required.  Yet I chose to do it in spite of my feelings.  It’s the same way when we’ve been wronged.  Many times we may wake up and we don’t feel like granting forgiveness, but we need to make the choice to do it anyway.

Another thing the doctor told me to do while on the antibiotics was to take a heating pad and place it on the wound at least twice a day, for twenty minutes each time.  The heat would help draw the antibiotic to the wounded area, helping it to heal quicker.  It’s the same when we are dealing with a wound — whether the wound was inflicted by someone else, or as a result of our own sin.  If we stay in passionate pursuit of God, keeping ourselves hot, rather than lukewarm or cold, it will allow us to heal more quickly.  It will give Satan less of a foothold in our life where he can latch on like a pit bull.

The pit bull bit me on the outer side of my leg, right where it bends at the knee.  The wound kept trying to heal, but whenever I’d bend my leg, it would break open the scab.  We do the same thing when we’ve been hurt.  God tries to heal it, but we start rehashing the situation with anyone who will listen, and we tear open the wound again and again.

I was not only dealing with physical problems from this attack, but I was also having nightmares.  As soon as I’d close my eyes, I would see that dog, ready to jump at me again.  It was horrifying to deal with it every night.  On top of that, my daughter, who was only two years old at the time, would awaken if she heard a dog barking.  She would jump out of bed, run down the hall, screaming and crying with fear because she was afraid that the dog was coming to get her.  Even though the dog attacked me, she was with me, and she was affected by it.  When we are attacked spiritually, chances are high that it will affect those around us.

After the scab had healed, I was left with two nasty-looking scars.  In an effort to lessen the scarring, the doctor had me wear a silicone patch, often used on burn victims, to minimize their scarring.  The patch is sticky on one side, so it’s supposed to adhere to the skin.  Being that my scars were right where my leg bends, I had to wrap an Ace bandage around my leg to hold it in place.  Sometimes God has to wrap us up as well.  When we’ve been attacked by Satan, or when God decides that it’s time for us to deal with some of our own scars, God will shelter us in the shadow of His wings.  Sometimes He may even be forced to remove us from a place of ministry for a while, yet He continues to lovingly cover us with His wings.  All the while, He is tenderly ministering to us, even when we may be totally unaware of what He is doing.  We may not realize what all has transpired until many months later, or until God chooses to reveal it to us.

After the wound finally closed up, and the scab went away, many people assumed that I was healed.  Yet I knew better.  I was the one who had pain whenever I’d try to sleep on my left side.  I was the one who would cry out in pain if Rachel would come running to me and wrap her arms around that leg.  I finally went to see a specialist about it.  He told me that I needed surgery to help get rid of what was hiding in there — scar tissue.  Before I would get better, I was going to have to endure some more pain.  It’s the same with us in a spiritual sense.  Many times God will get us to a place in our lives where we have to deal with things that we’ve tried to hide.  He may need to use a spiritual knife to cut away some flesh that doesn’t belong there, or to remove some scar tissue from us.  Yes, it hurts to undergo a knife, but it’s sure worth it!  While the spiritual knife will hurt us, it will never harm us.

This whole process of trying to get completely healed not only took many months, but it was costly, and we had no insurance to pay for it.  However, if you are finding yourself in need of treatment for a spiritual ‘pit bull attack,’ Jesus has already paid the bill for you.  Go ahead and get treatment!
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

In Your Desert Times

In Your Desert Times

Do you ever struggle with guilt, feeling as if you haven’t been forgiven? Do you ever think, “How could God forgive me for what I’ve done?” Do you ever have moments where you feel as if the Lord doesn’t care or couldn’t possibly understand your situation? Do you sometimes feel like you are insignificant?

I want to take you on a little journey and see if I can help you to see things differently.
Let’s begin by taking a look at Hagar. This woman was a strong-willed, Egyptian slave woman. She wasn’t even Hebrew! And this woman also had a mean streak in her when she taunted Sarah for not being able to bear children. In spite of this, God does some incredible things in her life.

Genesis 16:7 – The angel of the Lord found Hagar. Notice it doesn’t say that AN angel found her.  Rather, it says THE angel of the Lord found her. And he did it for an Egyptian. Not only that – but he did it for an Egyptian woman! Women were considered rather low-class citizens back in that time period. Yet the Lord never showed up like this for men like Adam, Noah, and Abram!

Next, God gave Hagar a promise. He told her that her descendants would be too numerous to count. (Genesis 16:10)

Not only does the angel find Hagar once, he finds her twice! (Genesis 21) He searches her out in the desert and promises to make her son into a great nation.

Now, my friend, think about this! If God sends the angel of the Lord to the middle of the desert not once, but twice, to a heathen slave girl, what will he do for you, daughter of the King? He sent his Son to die for you, and he adopted you as his own. His plans are to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Whatever your desert is, God is there, and his promises are for you.

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

A Model of Forgiveness

A Model of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the hardest issues we can face in life because hurts and betrayals run very deep.  However, God obviously wants us to work things out; otherwise, this portion of scripture would be unnecessary.

In Matthew 18:21-35, we see where Peter assumed there should be a limit to our forgiveness. He may have thought that he was being incredibly generous by offering to forgive up to seven times.   But by doing so, he fails to see that the goal of forgiveness is to restore the relationship.

In verse 31, we discover that others are watching us when we’ve been hurt.  That scripture became a reality to me when a close family member deeply wounded me.  My daughter was with me at the time of the offense, so she saw how horrible I was treated.  Since I am one who tends to talk my way through issues I’m facing, I knew I better tread carefully on this one because she would be watching closely to see how I responded.  It was incredibly hard to keep a godly attitude through this.  I prayed and prayed and prayed some more for the Lord to help me.

How we respond to our hurts can be a reflection of how deep our spiritual roots go.  And I wanted my daughter to see deep spiritual roots in me in spite of how badly I was treated.  I wanted her to see that no matter how badly she may be treated by someone, she can choose to forgive in spite of those inflicted hurts.  It gave us many opportunities to talk about the situation.  We were able to discuss forgiveness with restoration.  We also discussed the need to forgive and set up boundaries.  We even discussed how there are times when the forgiveness is for our sake and not the sake of the offender, like in the case of physical or sexual abuse.

Depending on how we respond to those types of wounds, we can either draw others to Christ or push them away.  With the Lord’s help, we can be a godly example of forgiveness.

Lord, help me be a model of forgiveness.

© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

Cover Up

p31button.jpg

Cover Up

There is a story in the Old Testament that has always fascinated me.  In Genesis 9, we see where Noah had gotten drunk.  Not only that, but when he fell asleep (or passed out in his drunken stupor), he was naked and uncovered.

Ham saw his father’s nakedness and decided to expose it by telling his brothers.  Shem and Japheth took a garment and walked backwards into their father’s tent, spreading the garment across the naked and drunken Noah.  They didn’t see their father’s nakedness, nor did they gossip about it to anyone.

God ended up cursing Ham, but He blessed Shem and Japheth because they chose to be ‘cover ups.’  This story in the Old Testament teaches us the principle from the New Testament that love covers a multitude of sins. (I Peter 4:8)

When we’ve been mistreated, we often desire to share all the gory details with anyone who will lend us an ear.  What we fail to realize it that every time we retell the event, it allows the incident to become larger and larger in our mind.  We shouldn’t be surprised when we find it very hard to grant some grace and forgiveness to the offending party.  If we would have chosen to ‘cover up’ the offense, it would have died down very quickly in our mind.

When we have been offended, we are told in Matthew 18:15 that we need to go to that person and show him his fault ‘just between the two of you.’  When we do this, we are ‘covering up’ the offense in a loving way.  Most often, the result will be a peaceful resolution and it will bring glory to God to see His children walking in truth.

Do you need to ‘cover up’?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Enhanced by Zemanta