Go Ask God, part 1

Go Ask God, Part 1

I remember a story about a wonderful saint in our church who has gone on to be with Jesus.  Everyone in the church called her “Grandma Rose.”  One day, someone asked her a question.  She paused to think upon the question, then she said, “Go ask God!”  What wisdom Grandma Rose possessed!  Too many of us would come up with some kind of answer, even if it were the WRONG answer.  Grandma Rose was wise enough to admit that even she didn’t have all the answers, and when she didn’t know the answer, she knew Who would have the answer!

Moses had a lot of questions for God.  In Ex. 3:13 he was asking God what he should tell the Israelites that His name was.  In the next verse, God told him to tell them that “I AM has sent me to you.”  When God told Moses that he was going to be God’s spokesman to people, Moses came back with these reasons of why he couldn’t possibly be the servant to speak to the Israelites.  In other words, he was questioning God’s wisdom in choosing him. – How many times have we made excuses for not doing what God was clearly telling us to do?

Once Moses spoke to Pharaoh and told him to let the people go, the workload of the Israelites drastically increased.  Moses approaches God in Ex. 5:22-23 asking Him why He had brought this trouble upon the people. – I can picture Moses whining in this particular question.  How many times do we go whining to God?  In spite of this, as you read through the life of Moses, you can see that God used him mightily to fulfill His desire for the Israelites.  God can even use us in spite of our own whining!

In Ex. 15:24, the people are grumbling to Moses about the bitter waters at Marah.  Moses cries out to God.  God told him to throw wood in the water (wood representing Christ), making the bitter waters sweet. In Ex. 32:9-10 God calls the Israelites a stiff-necked people, and He is ready to destroy them.  Moses asks God another question, seeking God’s favor for the people.  He reminds God of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Because of this, God relented and did not destroy the people.  Maybe YOUR intercession on behalf of some people could cause God to change His mind on what He is going to allow into their lives.

In Ex. 33:16, Moses says, “What else will distinguish me and your people from all other people on the face of the earth?”  (NIV)  God answers him by telling him that He will go with them.  He also tells Moses that He is pleased with him and knows him by name.  – Let me remind you that God knows you by name.  Even on those days when you feel utter despair creeping in, He still knows you by name, and His presence goes with you, just as His presence went with the Israelites.

In spite of the many questions that Moses had for God, God didn’t give up on Moses.  In fact, they had an awesome and intimate relationship.  When Moses died in Deut. 34:5-6, God was the one to bury him.  In verse 10 of that same chapter, we see that there was never another prophet in Israel whom the Lord knew face to face.  Sometimes I think we fear going to God and asking Him any of our questions.  God is a loving, gracious, and compassionate God.  We don’t need to fear asking Him questions.  It doesn’t mean that we will get the answer for every question we have, but we just might get some answers that give us very clear insight.

Is II Sam. 5:19, we find David asking God if he should go and attack the Philistines.  – How often do we think to ask Father God if we should go do “this or that?”  Too many times, we just make our plans and ask God to bless them, without waiting to see if that is even His plan for us.

In II Sam. 12:16, we find David pleading for the life of the child who was conceived in his adultery with Bathsheba.  I can imagine him asking God many questions during the time that he was pleading and fasting on behalf of the child.  In spite of not receiving the answer that he so diligently sought, we find that David cleaned up, then went to the house of the Lord and worshiped.  – Many times we may not receive the answers that we want.  We need to remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways, and that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.  (Is. 55:8)  Even if the answer isn’t what we may have desired, we need to remember that God always has our best interest at heart.

I have seen the above happen in my own life when I miscarried my first child.  Although after eight years, I still have times when I am so saddened by the loss, and feel the emptiness, I can now say that I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in this world.  I have learned too much about my God through it.  I have come to intimately know Him as my Comforter and my Shield.  I have seen Him as the Healer of Broken Hearts.  I have seen Him take my hard heart and soften it to be responsive to the pain and despair others are feeling. 

 

 

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Grave Digging

Grave Digging

 

In Prov. 5:5, we see that the adulteress gives no thought to the way of her life.  Are we like that?  Do we blindly make our way through each day, never taking heed to the direction in which we are going?  Do we neglect to take the time to see the path where we are venturing?  For instance, if we are suddenly struggling with fits of rage, do we just flippantly blow it off as being hormonal?  Or do we get before the Lord, asking Him to reveal any hidden places in our hearts that may be leading to those fits of rage? 

 

Sometimes the Lord may reveal to us that these fits of rage are a trigger from the past.  I have learned that one of my triggers is the springtime.  It reminds me, sometimes even subconsciously, of the baby I lost during that time of year.  I often fall prey to feelings of hopelessness or extreme anger during that time of year.  Rather than continuing to ‘dig a grave’ with my fleshly emotions, I have allowed the Lord to ‘fill the hole’ and give me a straight path.  When  we take the time to allow the Lord to speak to us, we may find that we have some unforgiveness, resentment, or even areas of unconfessed sin, which has caused us to ‘dig a grave,’ thereby opening a doorway to the enemy, giving him a foothold in our life.

 

Are we in a place where our fuse seems to be shorter than usual?  Do we continue to do as the adulteress, giving no thought to our ways?Once again, we can blame it on hormones.  But could it really be that we are neglecting to feed our spirit because we are just too busy doing other things?

 

Prov. 18:21 tells us that we hold the power of life and death in our tongue.  Those who love it will eat its fruit.  Notice that the scriptures don’t say that we MIGHT eat its fruit, but that we WILL eat its fruit, whether that fruit be good or bad.  How many of us know someone who is very bitter with their words?  Do you know someone whose tongue is like a viper, ready to strike at any moment?  Now think upon what physical ailments they face because of their bitterness.  With their own mouths, they have been digging their grave.

 

In Prov. 11:13 and 16:18 we find that a gossip betrays a confidence and separates close friends.  It is so easy to discern who is a gossip.  Just close your mouth and listen when you are in the presence of others.  The gossip’s words usually start out with, “Now don’t tell anyone I told you this, but….”  The gossip digs her own grave by her incessant need to talk about others.  Her grave digging abilities come from words that aren’t edifying and full of love.  Also, she digs a grave by alienating people.  No one wants to be around her because they know that she will just stab them in the back the moment they walk away from her.  She may die an early death, in part because she a lonely woman, but also because of her grave digging abilities.

 

Father, help us not to be grave diggers, but to be life givers.  Help us to speak words that will edify and encourage.  Give us words that will be a soothing oil to a wounded heart.  Help us speak words that will bring healing and grace to those around us.  Amen.

 

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

 

Fear Factor

The Fear Factor

 

God gave a very clear directive to Jonah, but Jonah didn’t like what God said, so he thought he’d run away from God. (Ever been there?)  Instead of facing his fears and obeying the Lord, he paid money to go a different direction. 

 

What did his fare buy for him?

  1. He had to face a violent storm while on the wrong ship.
  2. He faced the humiliation of having all of the men on board know that he was disobeying God.  What a wonderful testimony he gave for the Lord!
  3. He got thrown overboard.  He surely didn’t count on that taking place or he would have asked for a discounted ticket!
  4. He caused great fear in the other men when they threw him overboard.
  5. He got to spend three days in the belly of a huge fish, living among all of the putrid stomach acids — the likes of which I don’t even think “Fear Factor” would use on their television show.

 

Finally, Jonah faces up to his sin.  In Jonah 2:8, he mentions that those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  Could it be that fear becomes an idol when it hinders us from doing God’s will?

 

After confessing his sin, Jonah finds himself being vomited onto dry land.  From there, he completes the task God set before him — the very task that had previously left him dealing with the fear factor.

 

If you are battling fear, here are some promises for you:

Ps. 27:1 The Lord is my light and salvation, so whom shall I fear?

Ps. 34:4 God delivers me from ALL my fears.

Ps. 91:5 You don’t need to fear the terror of night, the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the dark, or the plague that strikes at midday.

Is. 41:10 Don’t fear, for I am with you.

Is. 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace the woman whose mind is fixed on you because she trusts in you.

Jn. 16:33 In this world you will face tribulations (including battling with fear), but take courage because Jesus has overcome the world.

Heb. 13:5 NEVER will I leave you, NEVER will I forsake you.

Do you need to take a fear factor before the Lord?

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

 

Fearing to Look Younger

I had a very interesting thing happen one weekend.  My husband took us out to eat, and while standing in line, waiting to pay, I saw a face from my past.  It was a girl who beat me up when I was in sixth grade, and she was in eighth. While I went through months of being terrified to go to school each day, that fear no longer grips me.  I even approached this gal and asked if she remembered me.  She didn’t, so I proceeded to tell her where I knew her from, what my name was, and then I added, “You beat me up.”  The look on her face was priceless!  She was so embarrassed!  It gave us both a good laugh.

 

While we can all laugh at a story like that, seeing her again didn’t put fear into me, but sadness.  She is only two years older than me, but she looks about fifteen years older.  I have been praying for her because the hard lines on her face spoke volumes to me as to what kind of life she has lived over the last thirty years. 

 

One thing I’ve noticed about serving the Lord is that it can take years off of your face.  (Thank you Jesus!)  I have been told many times that I look much younger than what I really am.  I give all of the credit for that to my Master.  Jesus wasn’t lying to us when He said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Mt. 11:30) While we all deal with fear at some point in our lives, there is another kind of fear that is for our own good.  It is the fear of the Lord, and there are many rewards found in having this kind of fear.

 

Ps. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is pure, and it endures forever.

Ps. 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who walk in the way of His precepts have good understanding.

Pr. 8:13 The fear of the Lord leads one to hate evil.  (When we hate evil, we work hard to avoid it, and it can add years to our life because we aren’t dealing with the guilt and consequences of doing evil.)

Pr. 10:27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life.  (I believe it softens our countenance, causing us to look much younger too.)

Pr. 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning one from the snares of death.

Pr. 15:33 The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom.  (When we walk in wisdom, it can save us from a lot of things that can could otherwise lead to excessive worrying, ulcers, and lack of sleep.)

Pr. 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life.  (Jesus mentions coming to give us life abundantly.  Part of that ‘life’ is learning to fear Him.)

 

Do you want to look younger?  Do you want to live life abundantly?  Get a healthy fear of the Lord, and see what benefits you may reap!

© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Do You Need Help?

Do You Need Help?

 

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees us all; He watches all of us.  No king is saved by the size of his army, nor does a warrior conquer by his own strength.  A horse is a vain hope for their deliverance.  Even in its great strength, it can’t save.  (Ps. 33:13-14, 16-17)

 

As moms, I would imagine that most of us are quick to rise each morning, ready to start tackling the day’s assignments.  If we’re not careful, we can be like the one who rides on a horse, confidently trusting in the strength and ability of the horse.  We begin to trust in our own abilities and in our own strength.  We forget that God is watching us as we scurry along, confident in our ability to get things done.  I can picture Him being saddened when we fail to acknowledge that we need His help.

 

Sometimes we can attack our housework with a vengeance, much like an army goes after their adversary.  While it’s good for us to do our work vigorously (Pr. 31:17), when we fail to invite God to help us, we may switch from attacking the house with a vengeance to attacking others with a vengeance because they have interrupted our cleaning schedule.  We may find that our positive attitude has turned sour, leading us to stinking thinking.  Instead of cleaning as unto the Lord, we may be doing it with an angry, resentful attitude.

 

In trying to homeschool, work on my Internet ministry, and recently launching a home-based business, I have found that I am getting stressed very easily.  My fuse has always been a short one, but lately, it’s gotten worse.  The tiniest offense can set my temper aflame.  As I took time to ponder on what has been happening, I realized that I’m not spending as much time in the Word.  While I resent missing those times with the Lord, I have to admit that it’s not my circumstances that have caused me to miss out on devotions.  It’s my wrong choices, and that has led to being at an emotional low point for several days.  As I read the above scripture, it made me realize that I have been trusting in my own strength to get things done.  Instead of following God’s leading, and asking for His help, I have allowed my priorities to quickly get out of order.

 

When we put our hope in God and rely on His help, here is what happens:

Ps. 33:18  His eyes are on us.

         :19  He delivers us and keeps us alive in famine.  If we look to Him on busy days, even if we don’t spend much time in the Word, He can still keep us from a spiritual famine because we are still acknowledging Him in all our ways.

         :20  As we hope in Him, He is our help and our shield.

         :21  Our hearts will rejoice because we are trusting in His holy name.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Missing the Mark (Cyanide, Part 4)

Missing the Mark

When I was a child, we had a dart board in our basement.  The target was to hit the bull’s-eye, but I could never seem to master it.  The holes in the wall are a testimony to the fact that I missed the mark quite often.

God’s Word gives us some clear direction to keep us from missing the mark.  Romans 12:1-2 tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord, not conforming any longer to the sinful patterns of this world.  We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  First Thessalonians admonishes us to test everything, holding on to the good, and avoiding every kind of evil.

Psalm 101:3 tells us to set no wicked thing before our eyes.  Obeying this scripture could alleviate most of our struggles in missing the mark.

Second Corinthians 6:14-17 warns us about being yoked with unbelievers.  I believe this scripture speaks of more than just yoking together in a marriage.  It can refer to what we read, listen to, watch on TV, and where we visit on the Internet.  What fellowship can we have with darkness?  By listening to and watching things contrary to the Word, is it going to edify our spirits?  NO!  That is why God tells us to come out from them and be separate, touching no unclean thing.

Proverbs 19:27 tells us to stop listening to teaching that contradicts what we know is right.  When we listen to contradictory teachings, it causes us to “miss the mark.”  There are so many things which are contrary to God’s Word.  TV is filled with shows that flaunt lifestyles which God clearly condemns.  When we choose to watch shows that portray homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, we are missing the mark.  When we watch shows that involve adultery, we are missing the mark.  When we listen to music that promotes things which are contrary to the truths in the Word of God, we are missing the mark.  When we read books that are filled with graphic sex scenes, violence, murder, and many other sinful activities, again, we are missing the mark.

Some of you may think that these items are all a matter of personal choice – that they don’t really affect our walk with the Lord.  Yet, by watching illicit TV shows or listening to music that hails sinful activities, we are saturating our minds with the very sins for which Christ died.  In the Old Testament, the root word for sin was “to miss the mark.”  However, in the New Testament, the Greek word for “sin” means “to miss the mark, and so not share in the prize.”

In order to keep from missing out on the prize, we need to put Philippians 4:8 into practice regarding everything we listen to, read, or watch.  If it is not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, then we shouldn’t be partaking of it.

We don’t want to be like the people of whom Jesus said, “They honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)

Are you missing the mark in your life?

© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

Surrounded by God’s Mercy

Surrounded by God’s Mercy

 

After the initial shock of hearing my brother died of a massive heart attack in March, I knew the Lord had given me a message to share at his memorial service. Having a mission in my pain certainly made those days of such intense grief a bit easier because the message He gave me about his mercy was something I was living out firsthand.

 

You see—my brother died the day before my scheduled weekend off work. After that, I had to get back to work. I didn’t want to use my allowed bereavement days until my parents returned from Arizona (where he lived), and we could plan our memorial service here. (And that didn’t happen for two weeks.)

 

Nearly every morning, I would get up and start getting ready for work. About the time I would be putting on my eye make-up, I would start crying. Eye make-up and tears don’t work well together! I remember crying out every morning, “Lord, I need Your strength and Your mercy. I cannot do this on my own.”

 

I work the switchboard at a local hospital. It is very busy since I answer every call that comes to the switchboard from inside the hospital, outside the hospital, as well as those for the after-hours answering service for over one hundred doctors. It requires a lot of focus, multi-tasking, and people skills. Yet, every day, in spite of the excruciating ache in my heart, I was able to come to work, put on my happy face, and do my job. Granted, I would sob all the way home, but at least I was able to hold myself together while I was on the clock. That was nothing but God’s mercy carrying me. Through this, I felt the prayers of others like never before.

 

After a grueling day at work, having been on the phone all day, I would come home and have to spend the evening on the phone, updating people on what was going on. Not only were we dealing with my brother’s death, but his wife was admitted to the hospital that night. The day after she got out, my mother was in the ER for dehydration. There were several times when I wondered, “Are they going to die too?” I cannot begin to fully exemplify how terribly stressful all of this was to our family. As my dad said, “This has been the worst two weeks of my life!” So to say it was a flurry of activity would be an understatement. Yet, the Lord continued to infuse me with strength.

 

I would do what needed to be done, but then I had to allow myself to release the grief and stresses of the day through tears each evening. If I didn’t, I was a basket case the next day. There is such cleansing and emotional release in letting those tears fall. Through this experience, I have learned that even tears are part of God’s mercy to us because of how much better we can feel after a long cry.

Another was I experienced God’s mercy was in the message of mercy He spoke to me. You see – I used to teach Sunday school every Sunday. That isn’t possible now since I work every other weekend. Yet, teaching God’s word is still a passion in my soul. He gave me a clear, concise message on His mercy to share at the memorial service. He knew this would do two things: 1. Give me a mission in my pain, which would be a comfort to me. 2. Allow me to use the spiritual gift He gave me to comfort and encourage others as we all walked through this valley of grief together.

 

As you face your own struggles in this life, I challenge you to look for God’s mercy and see how He demonstrates it to you in new, unexpected places.

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

 

 

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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!

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