Spitting Image

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Spitting Image

Before I gave birth to my daughter, I had never seen a picture of my husband when he was a baby.  I was quite shocked when I saw that Rachel was the spitting image of her father when he was an infant!

As mothers, we have the chance to make a spitting image every day.  A woman is the one who sets the tone in her home.  If she is happy, contented, peaceful, and kind, chances are that the rest of the family will be the same.  The reverse is also true.  If she is discontented, crabby, whiny, and angry, so will everyone else in the home.  Even when her husband comes home in a very contrary mood, if she can greet him in a loving, cheerful way, his demeanor will quickly change for the better.  If he comes with a smile on his face, she can quickly wipe it away, changing his disposition and his mood with only a few spoken words.

Your attitude is the root of the family tree.  What we sow, we will reap.  Bitter roots will bring bitter fruit.  Lovely, healthy roots will reap lovely, healthy fruit.

What do you want your children to become?  Become that yourself!  When others say that your children are the spitting image of you, it will be a compliment!

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock

When my daughter was a toddler, we frequently sang a song about the wise man and the foolish man.  She loved doing the hand motions for the house that was built on sand.  I had no idea how the truths of that song would affect me in years to come.

Part of keeping our house on the rock is to make sure that we don’t choose the better over the best.  Sometimes I see the need to give up some very good activities so that I am able to grab hold of the best.  In my quest to try and keep my house built on the rock, I will frequently assess the activities in my life.

For instance, I was looking forward to attending a dinner for our women’s group at church.  It was the first opportunity that the ladies would have to hear our new pastor’s wife speak.  That same evening my daughter had gym class.  This was only the second time our homeschool group had met to have this class, and my daughter was really looking forward to participating.

I had to make a choice.  I could serve myself and enjoy the women’s function, or I could set my own needs and wants aside and serve my daughter.  Since my daughter is higher on my list of priorities than the women’s ministry, I chose to take her to gym class.  This helped me to keep my house on the rock because I chose to invest in my daughter, showing her that she is more important to me than the women at church.

My normal habit is to attend church on Wednesday evenings.  However, one Wednesday, I could tell that my husband was incredibly stressed.  Since he is higher on my priority list than my church attendance, I decided to have a friend take our daughter to church so that we could have some alone time – a huge rarity in our house.  I wish you could have seen my husband’s face when I made the arrangements for Rachel to attend without me.  He was very pleased.  Later when we were alone, I got out the massage oil and gave him a wonderful treat that he didn’t soon forget!  Once again, my choices helped me keep building on the rock, rather than shifting sand.

Another opportunity came when I found out that my friend’s son had a cyst on his brain.  I had not been able to get in touch with her, so I left a message on her answering machine, asking her to return my call.  Since she knows that I am adamant about not taking calls during our homeschool hours, I also told her that I would pick up the phone if I heard that it was her.  Now, while homeschooling is very high on my priority list, that particular day, I felt the need to drop it down a bit so that I could minister to my friend, as well as find out the details on what was taking place with her son.

Writing devotions is a passion of mine; however, I must not make the mistake of allowing it to come before the Lord.  Nor can I let it come before ministering to my husband, my daughter, or even keeping the household running.

Recently, I went through a season where I wasn’t writing at all.  Other things were just consuming my time.  During that time, it would have been very easy for me to become frustrated over not having any new material ready to send out to those on my mailing list.  Instead, I focused on continuing to build my house on the rock.  I knew that if I kept my priorities in order, God would honor those decisions.  Finally, I sat down one evening and grabbed my pen and paper.  Very quickly, I had written and typed up six devotions.  I was even able to write four more the next day.  I couldn’t seem to write fast enough to get my thoughts on paper.

As I’ve had to set aside a few of the things that I really wanted to do in order to choose God’s best for our family, I’ve had no regrets.  God is so faithful in pouring out His peace and joy when we are obedient to His Word.  The sense of balance that I have felt when I know that I have made choices that honored Him has been marvelous.  It makes it easier for me to say “no” to shifting sand.

Are you making choices that help you to build on the rock?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Guard Duty

Guard Duty

 

We find a command in Prov. 4:23 to guard our hearts because it is the wellspring, or abundant supply, of life.  In the CEV, it says that we should guard our thoughts because they are the source of true life.  Indeed, when we take the time to meditate on God’s Word, it gives life to our spirit.  In the negative, when we think upon negative things, it can zap us of any positive outlook, causing us to be negative.  We will wind up in a bad mood, and our spirit will reek of a terrible stench to all who have the sad misfortune of meeting us on those days.

 

In Mt. 12:34, Jesus tells us that it’s from the abundance in our heart that our mouth will speak.  What kind of abundance is in your heart?  In verse 35, Jesus tells us that a good man will bring up good from the treasure stored within him, but an evil man will bring up the evil that is stored within him.  If we are honest, we will admit that we all have times when evil comes out of us.  But, how did it get there when we are Christians?  Eph. 4:26-27 tells us that one way we let evil in is by letting the sun go down on our wrath.  The next verse tells us that we shouldn’t give the devil a foothold.

 

Any soldier who has been in Iraq could tell you that in guard duty, you have to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Mt. 10:16.  The soldiers are in areas where there are many civilians.  They want to be harmless where innocent civilians are concerned, but they know that there are enemies lurking among the civilians.  As Christians, we need to be on active guard duty.  Even among people whom we consider friends, there can be an enemy lurking.  That is why Paul addressed the issue of factions and discord within the church in Gal. 5:20.  James was speaking to the church when he mentioned the quarrels and fights that were taking place in James 4:2.  I find it interesting to note that just a a few verses later, in verse seven, he mentions resisting the devil.  It looks to me like the Christians went AWOL from guard duty, only to give Satan a foothold through their bickering.  Have any of us gone AWOL?

 

Here are some keys to avoid going AWOL from spiritual guard duty:

Col. 4:2 Be watchful and thankful.  Pay attention to areas of your life where you are growing lax.  Learn to cultivate a thankful attitude.  When we give in to complaining and murmuring, we open ourselves up to the enemy’s attacks.  Just look at what the Israelites faced when they grumbled in the wilderness.

I Tim. 4:16 admonishes us to watch our life and doctrine closely.  To do this, we must be diligent to be in the Word, absorbing it so that we aren’t carried away by every wind of doctrine.  Eph. 4:14.  Even on Christian TV, there are times where things are spoken that aren’t scriptural.  If we don’t get ourselves filled with the Word, we won’t be able to discern the difference.  We should be like the Bereans in Acts 17, who searched the scriptures, looking to make sure that what Paul said was true.

Phil. 4:7 tells us to pray with thanksgiving, giving all of our requests to God, then He will guard our hearts and minds.

Ps. 141:3 Ask the Lord to set a guard over your mouth.

Mk. 13:33; I Cor. 16:13 Be on guard, standing firm in your faith.

Lk. 12:37 tells us that it’s good for the servant whom Christ finds watching when He returns.  This isn’t a passive watching, but it’s very active.  Thinking again to soldiers who are on guard duty, they use surveillance, and they are vigilant and aware.  Being on guard duty  means to attend to or to concentrate.  They are active in watching out for any attacks of the enemy.  These are all active words, rather than passive.

May our Lord Jesus find each one of us active in watching and awaiting His soon return.

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

 

Eternity in Our Hearts

Eternity in My Heart

 

It amazes me how God created animals with a homing instinct built within them. Many birds and butterflies will fly north in the summer, then head south in the winter. Many of the birds return to the exact same locations year after year.

 

Even cats and dogs have a homing instinct. I have heard numerous stories of dogs who have “gotten lost” in other states. Suddenly, months later, they show up on the front porch. We had a cat who disappeared for a couple of weeks. We thought he was gone for good. One night, as I was heading to bed, I looked out the back door to find him. He looked a bit beaten up and scrawny, but he found his way home and melted our hearts because we missed him so much while he was gone!

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God has put eternity in our hearts. Spiritually, we need that. It keeps us grounded when temporary, worldly things want to crowd out the eternal.

The more I watch the news and read things on the internet of things happening around the world, the more dissatisfied I am with this world. I have a longing to go “home.” That is eternity in my heart. My heart wasn’t made to set up permanent residence in this world. My heart yearns to see the place my Savior is preparing for me. (John 14:1-4) More and more, my husband and I will look at each other and say, “I want to go home!” We long for that perfect place where there will be everlasting peace and joy in His presence.

 

In this world where it is so easy to get caught up in temporary treasures, we need a spiritual drive inside us that won’t be satisfied with anything less than Jesus!

 

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

 

Are You Wrinkled?

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Are You Wrinkled?

One day as I was ironing, I began to ponder on the process, and how it relates to our lives spiritually. As I began to press our clothes, it took effort to work out the wrinkles. It takes effort in our spiritual lives to ‘iron out’ our wrinkles. We must be diligent to pray and read the Word so that our spiritual (wo)man is stronger than our fleshly (wo)man.

In the process of trying to get out the wrinkles, I had to add some distilled water to the iron. Webster’s defines ‘distillation’ as “the process of heating a mixture and condensing the resulting vapor to produce a more nearly pure substance.” Sometimes God needs to ‘distill’ us. He will use circumstances which will draw us closer to Him. He will also use circumstances which cause us to see ourselves for who we really are. While that can be very humbling to have Him reveal some dark, hidden places within us, He does it as a gentle, loving Father whose desire is to work all things for our good. Rom. 8:28 He can use these times to peel away fleshly things from our lives, thus ‘ironing out our wrinkles.’

Just as I needed the distilled water which is pure, we also need the pure water of the Holy Spirit to pour into our lives, refreshing us so that we stay supple, rather than becoming dried out and wrinkled.

While ironing, I didn’t just stay in one place. I was moving the iron back and forth until each piece of the clothing was wrinkle-free. I was also moving from one garment to the next until I had finished my task. Phil. 3:14 tells us that we are to be pressing on toward the goal for which our Master has called us. As Christians, we are to moving on to higher levels in our walk with the Lord so that we don’t become stagnant.

Heb. 12:1-2 speaks of Christians being in a race. Just as a runner doesn’t run the race by running in place, we can’t expect to run our spiritual race by staying in one place. The verse in Hebrews goes on to mention how we should fix our eyes on Jesus. When I’m ironing, my gaze is steadfastly fixed upon each garment, intent on seeing that each wrinkle is ironed away. Fixing our eyes on our Master will help us in our endeavor to be wrinkle-free.

In the process of smoothing out our own wrinkles, we will find that that there are many things which we must do. There is confession, meditation, and reading the Word. When we make a habit of doing these things, we will find it much easier to bear the weight of God’s ‘ironing’ on us. We may find that we look forward to those times because we’ve learned to fully trust the work which He is doing in us.

After I get done with each garment, I put it on a hanger. Sometimes we will find that God must ‘hang us up’ also. Now this doesn’t mean that we aren’t to be doing anything. Even when God may lead you to set aside any places of ministry for a season, we must remember that we are still to be diligent in taking time to read and pray. We should use these times of ‘hanging’ to develop an even more intimate relationship with our loving Father. Then when He opens the door once again for us to enter into a specific ministry, we will be able to go forth in a new and fresh anointing.

How about it? Do you have some wrinkles that you need to take before the Lord? Somehow, I don’t think ironing is ever going to be the same……

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

About Me

I am a home school mom of an “only” who will be graduating in 2014. I was blessed to be a SAHM mom for the first thirteen years of her life. During that time, the Lord began to really do a work in me. I read nearly everything Elizabeth George wrote, and consider her a great mentor to me, even if I have never met her. Her books were truly life-changers for me in how I viewed my role as a wife, mother, woman of God. It was during that time that I began to really devour the book of Proverbs, and especially Proverbs 31. I began to have a passion arise within me to encourage other women in our journey through life. Through that passion, the Lord has enabled me to use my own life-lessons and turn them to devotional form.

 

After being a SAHM for thirteen years, my husband’s business was drastically hit by the economic crunch. Since I had learned over the last several years that I am to be help-meet to him, I knew it was time for me to reenter the workforce. I am very thankful that I was able to find a job that I really enjoy at a local hospital.

 

Through this journey, we’ve discovered that while home schooling during high school years with mom working outside the home isn’t easy, it IS possible. We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments and allowances to make it work, but it has been worth every bit of effort.

 

My hubby and I just celebrated 25 years of marriage in May 2013.  We had a few years where we really struggled in our marriage.  However, after much prayer and stick-to-it-iveness, I can honestly say that we are happily married, and that we act like newlyweds.  Just ask my daughter, who is constantly saying, “Take it to the bedroom,” whenever she sees out our outward forms of expression toward each other.

As you visit my blog, I hope you find encouragement, hope, refreshment, and inspiration.  If you do, then I give the honor to Jesus. It is for His glory that I set up this blog.  His Name be praised!

Are You Bruised?

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Are You Balanced?

“I want you to get out there and walk – better yet, run! – on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline – not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” Eph. 4:1-3 (Message Bible)

I have heard different runners mention that when running a marathon, they reach a point where they just don’t think they can go any more. The key is pushing themselves past that mental and physical brick wall, and keep running. Many have testified to getting a second wind shortly after this happens. The sudden surge of energy gives them the much-needed stamina to make it to the finish line.

The above verse mentions that we must be disciplined, not given to “fits and starts.” With having hypoglycemia, I can testify to the benefits of being disciplined. If I stay on course and eat proper meals throughout the day, I can continue on track with the day’s agenda. Some mornings I may wake up and be hit with a “cleaning attack.” I want to tear into the house, taking a break only long enough to get a drink. If I don’t listen to my body, I won’t take time for my midmorning snack. The results are disastrous. I get very crabby, short-fused, disoriented, confused, tired, and am easily moved to tears. My energy has disappeared, and it won’t be easy to recapture it. What had started out being a very productive day has become a day where I am spending a lot of time trying to balance my sugar, not to mention finding the time to take a much-needed nap. In these times, I find it very easy to spew unkind, ugly words. Then I must repent to those who I have wounded with my mouth, and also repent to the Lord for my unkind words, not to mention for abusing my temple and not keeping it in balance.

In our spiritual walk, it’s the same. When we get too focused on our own agenda instead of listening to see what God’s agenda is, we can quickly be zapped of any spiritual zeal. If we don’t take the time to partake of the meat of God’s Word, thereby keeping ourselves balanced, we will find ourselves falling into carnal habits. You can only give out what you put into yourself. Too often we try to continue doing good things, but we have no spiritual fuel left in us.

Some of the results of not staying spiritually balanced are putting our focus on things instead of people, focusing on the to-do list rather than on “do unto others.” We will stray down wrong paths, following our emotions instead of using godly wisdom in our decisions. Instead of mending fences, we go about breaking them because we have failed to let God’s love flow through us. We find that our spiritual fervor is waning. We may even find ourselves lonely – lonely for God’s presence, yet we try to fill the void with food, shopping, fellowship, the Internet, watching TV, and numerous other vain pursuits.

It’s time to come back to rest and repentance. We need to sit down and eat at the Father’s table again. He’s holding out an invitation to you to come and dine. What are you going to do with it?
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

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