This message is FABULOUS!!! It really helps explain why our churches today are so dry and not sensing the power of God.
Devotions written by a Proverbs 31 wanna-be.
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The Bible teaches us that Satan is a master schemer. II Cor. 2:11 His goal is to trick us into bondage. That bondage can come in many forms. Unforgiveness can leave us chained to the one we refuse to forgive. Food addictions lead us to being overweight, not to mention the guilt and low self-esteem that is caused by our lack of control in that area. Sexual bondages seem to be rampant in our society. We can be compulsive shoppers, always looking for a fix, only to find that the thrill of it passes so quickly. Being overly concerned about how we look may cause us to look good on the outside, but leave us with unseen chains wrapped around us. Greed has led many people astray and into shackles which seem impossible to loosen. As we fall prey to Satan, I can almost hear him, deviously laughing, shouting, “Trick or treat! I got you!”
The Bible is clear that we are slaves to whatever masters us. II Pet. 2:19. Paul said in I Cor. 6:12 that he would not be mastered by anything. The way that he kept from being mastered was by knowing the truth. It’s in that “knowing” that we can be set free. John 8:32
I find it comforting to know that even in bondage, God hasn’t deserted us. Ez. 9:9 While we were still sinners (and in bondage), God still loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. Rom. 5:8 That is the best treat we could ever have!
Jesus said in Luke 4:18 that He came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to release the oppressed. When He arose from the dead, can’t you just hear Him declaring to Satan, “Trick or Treat! I won! I have the final victory!”
My dear sister, Jesus won that victory for YOU! Whatever bondages you may be struggling with, He is still with you in the midst of it, and He has promised to never leave you, nor forsake you. Don’t be ashamed to bring your shackles to Him. He would love nothing more than to set you free. After all, He’s already paid the ultimate price for your freedom. Let Him unshackle you today!
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller
10 Jun 2015 2 Comments
How many times do we struggle with being content? We are so bombarded by things of this world that we can easily be led down the path of discontentment. We are told that we need to color our hair a certain way so that we can feel young and vibrant. We need to have fine clothing so we can feel pretty. We need to join a weight loss group so that we can have the perfect figure, therefore making us voluptuous. We need a certain car or we just aren’t living the good life. The cycle never ends. If we aren’t careful to guard our hearts, (Prov. 4:23) we will fall into the snare of believing these deceptive tactics of Hollywood. If we fall prey to these beliefs, we will quickly be spending hard-earned money on things which don’t satisfy.
Come, you who are thirsty. Come, you who have no money. Buy food and drink without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread? Why spend your labor on what doesn’t satisfy? God says to listen to Him and eat what is good. If we do, our soul will delight in the richest of fare. If we take time to hear the Lord, our soul will live. (Is. 55:1-3)
When we are faithful to come before God and listen to Him, we won’t be easily snared into believing the ads that we see everywhere. Hollywood’s version of beauty, fulfillment, and happiness will hold no appeal for us because we have found what truly satisfies. We will discover that the Lord causes us to go out with joy and to be led forth with peace. (Is. 55:12) Now that’s a frame of mind which no amount of money could ever buy!
© 2003, Stacy R Miller
05 May 2015 Leave a comment
The writer of Psalm 119 knew well that bad company corrupts good character. In verse 115, he told evildoers to get away so that he could keep God’s commands.
I got to thinking about how some of my activities pull me away from God’s commands. Now, I’m not referring to what most of us would classify as “big” sins such as adultery, murder, or homosexuality. I am thinking of seemingly innocent things like using the computer. While the Internet can be a wonderful tool, how many times do we find ourselves spending more time there than necessary? After all, we could be spending that time in the Word or in making the house look nice for when our husband comes home at the end of a long day. We could have spent that time reading to our children or playing with them. When we realize we have wasted too much time on the computer, our attitude usually changes for the worse. We realize that we are suddenly pressed for time in getting the evening meal ready or whatever the case may be. The result is often that we tend to get crabby. Add a short fuse to our temper, and we can quickly infect those around us. Before we realize it, the whole family is in a bad mood, thus slightest offense leading to much bickering.
I admit it – I am a FOX news junkie. With all that is taking place in the world, I find it difficult to turn off the television. Yet, when they begin to talk about Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, do I really need to hear it? To put it bluntly, it is gossip, and God’s Word tells me to avoid it. If I ignore His commands, I become spiritually infected.
A real wake-up call to me was one morning when I told my daughter that I had a nightmare about Muslims the previous night. She had an astonished look on her face and replied, “So did I!” My husband and I knew immediately that the excessive watching of the TV news was not only infecting us, it was also infecting her.
You see, when we allow spiritual infection into our lives, it doesn’t just affect us. It affects others. Just as the psalmist took a stand against spiritual infection, we also need to do the same.
Do you need to treat any “infection” in your life?
© 2007, Stacy R Miller
15 Apr 2015 1 Comment
I’m so Ashamed!
In John 8:1-11, we find the story about the woman who was caught in adultery. This woman’s passionate pursuit in her adulterous act likely brought a crimson color to her cheeks as she was brought publicly before the people. Have you ever stopped to notice who brought her? It was the teachers of the law AND the Pharisees. That’s quite a group of men! Knowing the law very well, they made sure that they had more than two witnesses to speak against her. This was a very cliquish group who had an ulterior motive to their actions. I believe that they purposely planned to trap this woman in a very intimate act, only to use it, trying to ‘trip up’ the Master when they asked Him about it.
While this woman’s shame was very public, yours may be private. It may be the mental and emotional abuse from a spouse, or physical abuse by your spouse or even your parents, or the silent shame of that abortion which took place so many years ago, the sexual intimidation by your boss, or even the shame of what a trusted, but perverted, relative inflicted on you as a child. Whatever kind of shame you may bear, think of it as we continue on in this story.
Now that this poor woman has been brought publicly before the people and branded an adulterer, that stigma would stay with her for the rest of her life. If you don’t believe me, look at these names, and see what thoughts come to mind:
Jeffrey Dahmer, Benedict Arnold, Monica Lewinsky, Ted Bundy, Susan Smith, O. J. Simpson, or Kobe Bryant. Kobe hasn’t even had a trial yet, but chances are very high that for the rest of his career, he will be thought of as the NBA star who was charged with rape. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, I’ll bet that many would even call him the NBA star who was a rapist. You see, even before there is a trial, public opinion has often formed, and the stigma of that public opinion stays for years, regardless of what a jury may say. We’ve seen that happen in the O. J. Simpson case.
Moving back to our story, this woman would go to the well every day, having to listen to the whispers of the women, enduring their scorn. When she goes to town, she’ll endure the coarse joking from the men, and the snubbing of the ladies. After all, what married lady wants to befriend an adulteress? She would be seen as a threat to any married woman.
Thinking upon catching someone in the act of adultery, we’ve all heard stories of a husband or wife who hires a private investigator to track the other spouse. It’s only one person who is watching. Even if they set up hidden cameras, it’s still usually only one person who is doing the work. So, for all of these teachers and Pharisees to catch this woman in the act, centuries before hidden cameras were available, it’s a trap! And this woman was simply the bait used to catch the ‘big fish,’ who would be Jesus. Notice that the man she was committing the act with wasn’t even brought forth. He was probably part of this sinister plan.
Bringing their ‘bait’ to Jesus to try and ‘hook’ Him, they expected Him to condemn her. They must have been dumbstruck at His reaction. Instead of seeing her condemned, they get to watch the finger of God write in the dirt! The same fingers that carved the Ten Commandments are now writing in the dirt! (I wonder if He wrote things like ‘fraud, deceiver, ambusher, cheater, swindler, double-dealer.’ These terms certainly describe the way these men handled this situation.) Later, we see these same fingers of God carrying a wooden cross to Calvary. Not only did He bear the weight of all of your sin, He bore your shame too. Heb. 12:2 tells us that He scorned the shame of the cross. He bore your sin and shame. Carrying guilt and shame is nothing but Satan’s trick to hold you in a prison of shame, but Jesus tells you the same thing He told that woman. “Neither do I condemn you.”
Sister, be loosed of that infirmity of shame that you’ve been needlessly carrying. Lk. 13:11
© 2004, Stacy R Miller
05 Apr 2015 Leave a comment
An Instructed Tongue
The tongue is a very hard thing to tame. James calls it a fire, a world of evil that is set on fire by hell. He calls it a restless evil that is filled with deadly poison. (Jas. 3:6-8)
Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘restless’ as unable to relax, giving no rest, rarely quiet or still, or discontented. I don’t know about you, but just seeing that definition in light of how I use my tongue, I’m getting convicted already!
When we find that we are unable to relax our tongue, we will find ourselves being quick to speak. Yet, James tells us that we should be slow to speak. (Jas. 1:19)
When we have a discontented tongue, it’s hard to follow the admonition in Philippians to think upon the things which are lovely, true, just, pure, and excellent. We don’t allow ourselves time to shut up long enough to count our blessings. That discontented tongue just has so much to say!
Another thing that a discontented tongue can do is make us like the quarrelsome wife, who is like a constant dripping. (Pr. 19:13) We fall into the habit of nagging, whining, complaining, and/or disrespecting our husband because we have become discontent with our lot in life. No wonder Proverbs 21:19 tells us that a man is better off in the desert than living with a quarrelsome woman! At least in the desert, he might find some peace and quiet.
When our tongue gives us no rest, we miss out on intimate moments with the Lord. He may be calling us to find rest for our weary souls. (Mt. 11:28-30) In John 10, Jesus tells us that His sheep listen to His voice. If our tongue gives us no rest, how can we hear His still, small voice?
In Pr. 31:26-27 we see that ‘when’ the virtuous woman speaks, her words are kind, giving wise counsel and instruction. The word ‘when’ implies that she isn’t talking all of the time. She has learned to be silent at times. She also doesn’t eat the bread of idleness. Idleness is a dangerous trap because when we become idle in our bodies, our tongue usually doesn’t follow. Instead, it finds reason to gossip or even to wallow in self-pity because we are discontented. Those ultimately lead us to that place of having a restless tongue.
How do we stop this vicious cycle? It is certainly a hard one to break once we fall prey to it.
Is. 50:4 says that God has given me an instructed tongue so that I will know what to speak to the weary. He awakens me morning by morning, wakening my ear to listen to Him, like one who is being taught.
When we begin to honestly pray for God to give us an instructed tongue, we may find the resulting fruit:
1. Our kind words may cheer up someone. (Pr. 12:25)
2. Our lips will nourish many. (Pr. 10:21)
3. Our wise words will bring healing to others. (Pr. 12:18) In fact, our wise words may even bring healing to ourselves because we begin to speak the Word over our situation instead of speaking out of our fickle emotions.
4. Our words can become a fountain of life. (Pr. 10:11)
5. Wisdom will flow from us. (Pr. 10:13)
6. We will learn how to weigh our answers before we speak. (Pr. 15:28)
An instructed tongue…..I want it! How about you? Do you want it?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller