Take Heed That No One Deceives You

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Luke 21-22 and Judas

I found it interesting to note that Jesus was speaking of end time events and being careful not to be deceived in Luke 21. The very next chapter, we see Satan entering Judas, and how quickly he went on his way, looking for a way to betray Jesus. Later in that chapter, you see the Last Supper. Now if you look at Matthew’s account in chapter 26, you see that all of the disciples are questioning who is going to betray Jesus. (The betrayer played his cards well, so it wasn’t obvious which one it was.) Even after Jesus tells them who will betray him, Judas still asks, “Rabbi, is it me?” And this is AFTER he has already been seeking a way to betray Jesus! I’m thinking, “Seriously? How dense can he be?” So this got me to thinking…..what’s the lesson here?

I think it’s a classic example of how the enemy can so easily deceive us. This is a lesson to us — don’t underestimate your enemy. He deceived Judas to betray the Messiah! If he can do that so easily, to the point that Judas doesn’t even realize HE is the BETRAYER, how easily might we be deceived?

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What’s Between Ask and Receive

This is a wonderful message!  If you’ve been praying for something for a long time and are feeling discouraged because you haven’t received an answer, you need to hear this message!

 

Weightlifting

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Weight Lifting

One Wednesday night, Pastor asked if anyone lifted weights.  One gentleman, who has a rather large belly, replied, “I lift my spoon!”

We are admonished in Gal. 6:2 to carry each other’s burdens.  We can probably think of several people who are carrying heavy weights right now.  Why should we desire to help them?

Jesus left us an example when He wept with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus.  (Jn. 11:35)  When a friend is going through the loss of a loved one, we can cry with them.  We can take a meal to them.  We can remember to call on them in the days after the viewing and funeral are done.  Now, some of us may be saying, “But I won’t know what to say.”  Moses said the same thing, but it didn’t excuse him from what God wanted him to do.  If we just tell them that we were calling to see how they are doing and tell them that we care, it will speak volumes to them.

Jesus also touched the untouchable.  (Mt. 8:3)  When I was a new Christian, we had a foot washing at our church.  I will never forget seeing one of the women approach another lady who would have been considered “untouchable” by many.  This lady was partially retarded, she smelled, her clothes were too small and they didn’t match.  That left a profound impact on me.  I’m not saying that we need to be looking for opportunities to wash everyone’s feet, but there may be someone in your church who often gets ignored because they are “different.”  One way that you could “touch” this person is by sending a “thinking of you” card, or even a card at Christmas.  Why not physically touch them when you greet them?  It may be the only touch they have received all week.  Think of how you would feel if nobody took the time to hug you, shake your hand, pat you on the shoulder, etc.  I call those kinds of touches “God-touches.”

He fed those who were hungry.  (Mt. 15:35-38)  The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 leaves us a good example;  she opened her arms to the poor and extended her hands to those who were in need.  We can make the choice to buy a few nonperishable items when we shop, then once a month, drop them by a food pantry.  Years ago when I worked at a bank, instead of tithing to the church from my Christmas bonus, I would go to the store and spend my tithing amount on food, then deliver it to the Rescue Mission, which serves food to the poor on a daily basis.  Another thing we can do is to take a batch of cookies to new neighbors.  They may not be physically hungry, but I am sure that they are “hungry” for some friendship in their new neighborhood.

Abigail leaves us a wonderful example.  In I Sam. 25, we find that she is married to Nabal, whose very name means “fool.”  He was careful in living up to that name as well!  When he refused to give food and drink to King David, Abigail found out about it.  She was quick to see that the King’s needs were met.  Her intercession on behalf of this foolish man ended up sparing his life because King David was prepared to see that he was destroyed.  Do you know any people who you would classify as foolish?  What about the teenaged girl who was raised in church, yet she finds herself pregnant and unwed?  Too often, we want to talk badly of her, as well as her parents.  We aren’t called to be judge and jury over their lives.  We are called to love one another fervently.  (I Pet. 1:22)  We are told in I Jn. 3:18 not to love with words, but with actions and in truth.  If you know of an unwed, pregnant teenager, it is going to do far more good to reach out to her and help her in a tangible way.  Purchase some items for her, even if they are from garage sales.  Throw a baby shower.  Encourage her that she made the right choice to give life to her precious child.

In Mk. 2:1-5 we find the story of the lame man whose friends carried him and lowered him through a roof so that Jesus could heal him.  We may not be required to physically carry a weight of this kind, but when you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or any other kind of terrible disease, you can “weightlift” by praying faithfully for them.  (James 5:16)

Maybe you know of some people who are going through some trials, but you think that they don’t need your help.   Maybe they seem to be self-sufficient so you don’t want to offer to help.  Even our precious Lord asked for help.  In Mt. 26:38, He told the disciples that His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow, and He asked them to keep watch with Him.  In Jn. 19:28-29, He said, “I thirst.”  After they helped Him, by giving Him a drink, He was able to cry out those famous words:  “IT IS FINISHED!”  My prayer is that those words will encourage you to look for people who may need you to do some “weightlifting” on their behalf.  You may never know this side of heaven how much your help meant to them.  Your “weightlifting” may help them to do the impossible.  I know that we can’t do it all, but if we look around, we will surely find something that we can do.

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Wasted Energy

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Wasted Energy

Do you struggle with worry?  Do you ever get really agitated? Are you ever disturbed by something which has taken place between you and another person?  If you are like me, you can go to bed at night and continue to “play” the situation over and over in your mind.  It is hard to turn it off.  Yet, all that worry is nothing more than wasted energy.

Jesus tells us in John 14:27 to “stop allowing ourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.” (AMP)

There are a few areas where women allow themselves to be agitated and disturbed.  One is by being a people pleaser.  By trying to please everyone, we end up in emotional turmoil.  What we need to realize is that we cannot please everyone all the time.

Another situation that leads us to be disturbed is the belief that everyone has to like us.  Dear one, there is always going to be somebody who doesn’t like you.  Guess what?  That is OK!  While God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, I am certain there are some people in this world He just doesn’t like!  Think ISIS members, Charles Manson, or even child molesters, just to name a few.

Another area that causes us to end up in distress is our failure to learn to say “no.”  Anytime I am asked to take on a commitment, if I do not immediately know what my answer should be, I will ask the person to give me time to pray about it.

I have learned to say no over the years.  It is a wonderful freedom to be able to say no, and to do so without guilt!  Recently, I was approached by a lady from church who wanted me to help with something during one of the upcoming services.  I immediately felt I was not to commit.  On the day I would have been committed to assisting her, I received a phone call from our music director, asking if I could teach her class that morning.  Had I said yes to the earlier request, I would not have been in a position to agree to teach the class when asked.

One last area I would like to address is that of disobedience.  Several months ago, I was feeling enormously stressed.  I could not understand why until I got before the Lord.  He clearly showed me that I was holding on to a place of ministry where He had not called me.  I immediately repented and stepped down from that position.  My stress level dropped immensely.

Now if this does not help you to overcome your own wasted energy of worrying, perhaps the following information will help you in making necessary changes.
© 2007, Stacy R Miller

We “live” on stress.  It is a daily part of our lives, an every-day-burden we bear.  There is actually a chemical reaction which takes place when we feel stressed.  It releases something in our body that can actually give us a “high” of sorts.  When we allow this cycle to continue over and over, it can be very destructive to our bodies, leading to:  memory loss, loss of sleep, a compromised immune system, auto immune disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, heart trouble, fibromyalgia, hypertension (high blood pressure), and cancer.

Dear sister, is it really worth your health to allow yourself to be constantly agitated and disturbed?  Ask the Lord to help you number your days and to realize how fleeting life is. (Psalm 39:4-6) Determine to set your mind on things above. (Colossians 3:1) Train your mind to think on things which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8)

Keep in mind that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Is that how you want to treat the temple of the Living God?  When you start to worry, or get agitated and disturbed, ask yourself if the issue is really worth the toll it will take on your physical body.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be around for a long time – even if there are people who don’t like me!  (See the previous devotion if you don’t follow the humor in that last statement.)
© 2007, Stacy R Miller

Who’s In Charge Here?

This message is FABULOUS!  I promise you it will step on your toes, but it will also be very refreshing and encouraging to you because not too many preachers will preach it like this!

The Promises of God

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The Promises of God

It seems that so many people are facing countless trials.  I have friends and family members who are going through perilous times, and even some of you on this mailing list have contacted me regarding some of the situations you are currently facing.  I am facing one of my own right now, so I decided to do a study on the promises of God.

I can’t stress enough how important it is that we take the time to get to know our God in an intimate way.  It is imperative that we take the time to read His word and meditate on it.  We all will faces trials at some point in our lives, and if we haven’t taken the time to plant His precious word deep inside of us, the storms of life are going to cause us to crash.  We will find ourselves living by our emotions, rather than by God’s promises.

When your emotions tell you that you are all alone, God’s promise is that He will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you.  (Heb. 13:5)
When you feel that God has left you, His promise is that even when we don’t feel like we can find Him, He still knows the way that we take.  He still sees us.  (Job 23:9-10)
When your weariness tells you that you just can’t make it through another day, Father promises that you can do all things through Christ.  (Phil. 4:13)
When you are persecuted, your pride may want to step in and say a thing or two, but God tells us to be still and know that He is God. (Ps. 46:10)  His promise is that we are blessed when we are persecuted, and that we have a GREAT reward in heaven.  (Mt. 5:11-12)
When weapons are forged against you through false accusations, pride may want to step in and fight for you, but God promises that our vindication is from Him.  (Is. 54:17)  He promises that the battle belongs to Him, and not to us.  (II Chron. 20:15)
When money is scarce, and fear tells us that we are going under, God’s promise is that the righteous are never forsaken, nor are their seed ever begging for bread.  (Ps. 37:25)  He promises to meet ALL of our needs.  (Phil. 4:19)
When your fickle emotions tell you that there is no clear way, Jesus declares to you that HE is the WAY, the truth, and the life.  (Jn. 14:6)
When your world crashes all around you, emotions can cause fear to be rampant in your heart, but God’s promise is that Jesus is your cornerstone (I Pet. 2:6), and that His foundation is a firm and sure foundation.  (Is. 28:16)  NOTHING can shake that foundation!
When emotions tells you that you will never feel peace again, God’s promise is that He is Emmanuel, and He is with you.  (Is. 7:14)  He promises that He is your Prince of peace.  (Is. 9:6)
When your feelings tell you that you are still filthy on the inside, God tells you that He is your Redeemer.  (Is. 59:20)  If you know Christ as your Savior, then ALL things have become new.  (II Cor. 5:17)
When your heart tells you that no one loves you, God tells you that He has loved you with an everlasting love.  (Jer. 31:3)  He takes great delight in you and rejoices over you with singing.  (Zeph. 3:17)
When emotions tell you that you are left out in the cold, God says to come and find refuge in the shadow of His wings.  (Ps. 36:7)  He says to let Him be your dwelling place, then no harm will come near you.  (Ps. 91:9-10)
When going through physical ailments, or waiting on test results from the doctor, emotions can snare you with a paralyzing fear.  God’s promise is that He is the Great I AM (Jn. 8:58), and that there is NOTHING too difficult for Him.  (Lk. 1:37)  His word is that He is the God who heals all of our diseases.  (Ps. 103:3)

Recently, I have been having borderline-migraine headaches.  Just a few days ago, I discovered a knot on the back of my head.  If I didn’t know my Father intimately, I would have gone into an instant panic.  Instead, I have been thanking Him for His wonderful promises.  I have meditated on past times when I know that my Father has healed my body.  Knowing Him intimately as my Healer has given me a great peace and confidence.

When we know Him intimately, even in the midst of trials, we can declare the words of Job.  “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end, He will stand upon the earth.”  Job 19:25 (NIV)

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

The Pacifier

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The Pacifier

I remember when Rachel was an infant.  She just had to have her pacifier if she was sleeping.  The instant it would fall out of her mouth, the peace in the household would quickly dissipate!  Once I would pop it back in for her, a sense of calm would fill the house again, at least for a few more minutes!

You may ask, “What does a pacifier have to do with me?”  Well, everything!  I looked up the word ‘pacify’ in the Webster’s New World Dictionary, and it says that pacify means “to make peaceful, calm, nonhostile, etc.”  Have you ever felt that you needed a ‘pacifier,’ even as an adult?  I wish that I could answer no to that question, but the truth is, I need a pacifier on a daily basis, many times I need it on a minute by minute basis.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and sick!”  (AMP) Do you ever have times when your heart is causing you to have some terrible thoughts, thoughts that could be considered hostile?  Well, you need a pacifier!

Luke 6:45 says that out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth speaks.  Do your words ever make the peaceful atmosphere of your home disappear in a matter of seconds?  (Ouch, that one really hurt!)  Again, you need a pacifier.

Prov. 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his own spirit than he who takes a city.”  (AMP)  When we are quick to anger, we are showing that indeed, we do need a pacifier.

Just as a baby needs a pacifier for comfort when they have fallen down, we often fall ourselves.  Not physically, but spiritually.  We know what we should be doing, but many times we miss the mark.  Paul talked about how he wanted to do good, but evil was right there with him.  There was that spiritual struggle, waging war against the law of his mind and trying to make him a prisoner of the law of sin.  Paul saw that he, too, needed a pacifier because in the next few verses he says, “What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  Rom. 7:24-25 (AMP)

Jesus came to be our pacifier.  He came to forgive us for our sins and to give us life abundantly.  Part of that life abundantly is for us to be at peace, to have a sense of calm about us, and to put off those filthy garments of hostility and ill-will.

Why don’t you take those daily struggles which you face (you know which ones), and turn them over to the Lord?  He wants to help you, and show you what a wonderful Pacifier that He can be in your life.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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