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

Compromised Religion in a Corrupted Time

This is an EXCELLENT message!

 

Yesterday’s Miracle – I could have been a widow today.

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My husband experienced a divine miracle yesterday.

He was driving on a 4 lane interstate during rush hour traffic when a Toyota hit the back end of his Ford F250 pick up truck.  It hit him so hard, the truck spun 180 degrees, but also crossed over 3 lanes of traffic, yet no other vehicles were involved in the crash.  The officer was stunned when he saw what little damage was done — just the back bumper was damaged.

The guy is a loser — druggie, no insurance, and was in cuffs w/in a few seconds of the officer showing up.  He had called someone to come get him before the officer showed up. He put a bag of golf clubs in the other person’s car. Officer took the bag and opened it and pulled out one bag of drugs after another. BUSTED!!!!! Officer said the guy had a LONG rap sheet.

For several months, after verbally putting on the armor of God each morning, I plead the blood of Jesus and pray a hedge of protection over myself, hubby, and our daughter, our home, property, and our vehicles. I ask the Lord to protect us from sickness, disease, the deadly pestilence, arrows that fly by day, from accidents, and from our enemies, both seen and unseen. I have told hubby and daughter several times that it is imperative that we are relying on the protection of our God on a daily basis. Thank You Lord, for Your awesome faithfulness and protection. We praise You and we recognize it is ONLY BECAUSE OF YOU that my hubby is alive today.

Pondering on this miracle, it reminded me of another time when I firmly believe my intercession saved my husband’s life.  You can read about it here.

Pray and Be Alone With God

This is a FANTASTIC message!

Prayer Series – Persistence in Prayer

Persistence in Prayer
How often do we give up when we don’t see any results from our prayers?  I know in my own life, if I don’t get “drive-through service” with my prayers, I tend to get discouraged.  I want things done my way and in my time.  But God tells us that His ways aren’t our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.  Jesus teaches us in Lk. 18 the parable about how we should always pray and not give up.  The unjust judge finally has mercy upon the woman’s insistent pleas.  Jesus points out to us that God will have even more mercy and justice for His children than an unjust judge.  So, KEEP PRAYING!

We are admonished in Phil. 4:6 that in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to bring our requests to God.  Yes, I admit, this can take some time.  But look at verse 7.  IF we take the time to unload our burdens and cares upon the Master, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.  How often do we find the time to pick up the phone and voice our woes to a friend?  Those are times that we could have been praying.  Or do we fall into the trap of using the internet when it would be much more productive to talk to God?  Many times we won’t take the time to pray, but yet we will take the time to go visit a Christian counselor.  That ends up not only taking our time, but our money as well!  Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting counseling, provided that we really need it.  I am just saying that it’s quite possible that if we take the time to spend with the Lord, we may just find that our mind has been touched by the Great Counselor.

As I was looking at Eph. 6 where it talks about the armor, prayer is actually part of that armor.  It’s not just another weapon though; it’s part of the actual warfare itself.  The Full Life Study Bible (p. 413) says that to fail to pray diligently is the same as surrendering to the enemy.  As I pondered on prayer being part of the armor, it dawned on me that when we fail to pray, it’s similar to going outside without being fully clothed.  An appropriate way to put it for women is to say that it’s like going to church without having put on your makeup!

A final thought on the subject of prayer is that we should be diligent in training ourselves to pray because our prayers please God. (Pr. 15:8)  We also know that He hears our prayers.  (Pr. 15:29; I Pet. 3:12)

Father, help me to make the choice to train myself to be more diligent in praying.  Not praying just so that I can unload my burdens, but praying so that I can be intimate with You.  Place within me a desire for that awesome intimacy that I know YOU desire for me to have.  Help me to let You be the apple of my eye, the rejoicing of my heart, the very center of my life.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Prayer Series – Finding that Solitary Place

Finding that Solitary Place
Jesus sought time alone with God on many occasions, especially in times of momentous decisions.  In Lk. 6:12, we find that Jesus went to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying.   After this particular time in prayer, He had incredible results.  He chose the twelve who were to be His apostles, He healed numerous people, and preached His most recited sermon (the sermon on the mount).  You may have heard about the famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  He actually stood up, had his notes just inches from his face, and read that sermon.  It sure doesn’t sound too impressive, does it?  What made it impressive?  What brought about such awesome results from this message?  Mr. Edwards spent the night travailing in prayer over the message and the people who would hear the message.  You see, it wasn’t him that brought the results, it was GOD!

In Mt. 26:36 we find that Jesus tells His disciples to sit there while He went off a short distance to pray.  In Mk. 1:35 we see that He got up very early in the morning to find a solitary place to pray.  Lk. 4:42 mentions that at daybreak, Jesus was going out to a solitary place.  Lk. 5:16 reveals to us that Jesus OFTEN withdrew to lonely places to pray.

I know that as mothers, many of us find that it is so hard to find a solitary place to pray.  One thing I have started doing is to turn my thoughts upon the Lord as soon as I waken in the morning.  I commit my day to Him, asking Him to lead me and to show me what is truly important for me to do that day.  Many times, the important things are as simple as listening to Rachel when she wants to talk.  Sometimes it is being diligent in disciplining her.  Too often, I find myself punishing, rather than disciplining.

Other times, it is learning to stay at home that day and focusing on the house since another day is going to be packed with lots of activities.  I tend to stress out quickly on the days when there is much to be done.  He has taught me to play soothing gospel music.  That has helped me to focus my thoughts heavenward a lot more.  I find that in the middle of mopping the floor or cleaning the bathtub that I am worshiping my Master.  I am pondering on what the words of the song say, turning them into my own prayer.  I am training my mind to focus on Him when unseen things happen during the day.  How many of us will put something in a certain place so that we won’t lose it, only to find out later that we have lost the item?  I have learned to pray for His help at those times.  I walk around, praying, listening to hear His voice.  I ask Him to give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation to think where the item is.  WHEN I take the time to ask for His help, it never takes more than five minutes to find it.  Then, I just have one more thing for which to praise the Lord!  It’s also teaching Rachel to look to Father for the everyday things in life.

In I Th. 5:17, we are admonished to pray continually.  This refers to abiding in His presence.  In Jn. 15 we are told to abide in Him.  This is to become a lifestyle for us, not of constantly uttering formal prayers, but rather prayers of all kinds and on all occasions.  It can be as simple as hearing a siren, then praying for the people involved (the victims, the police, the fire department, the ambulance drivers, the doctors who are going to be treating the ones being helped….)  I recently took Rachel to a local event where she got to climb up inside an ambulance.  While there, I told the paramedic that we pray for them anytime we see or hear their sirens.  He was touched by that; you could see the surprise in his eyes.  I proceeded to let him know that we aren’t the only ones praying.  I know of many mothers who are making this a habit, and then passing this godly heritage on to their children.

Father, as the disciples asked You to teach them how to pray, we ask You to teach us how to pray, but we also ask of You; teach us to abide.  In the midst of the chaos, the frustrations, the noise, the busyness, teach us how to abide.  Amen.
© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

Pick Your Battles Prayerfully

Pick Your Battles Prayerfully

I have often heard my pastor tell us to pick our battles with our children.  Some battles really aren’t worth fighting.  Others need to be fought at all costs.  It takes discernment to discover which battles are the ones we need to fight.

In Deut. 17:8-10, we see that Moses was told that if he had cases come before him that were too difficult for him to judge, he was to take them to the person whom God would choose.

As a mother, I have often found situations arising that leave me at a loss on what to do.  I learned very early as a parent that it’s wise to pray for three wise and godly women to whom I could go for counsel on tough issues.  They have been a great help to me, providing some wonderful insights.

In Judges 4:4, we see that Deborah was leading Israel.  In verse six, she sent for Barak, telling him that God wanted him to gather ten thousand men to go to Mount Tabor.  God was preparing to give Jabin’s army into their hands.  In verse 16, we see that all of Sisera’s troops fell by the sword.

The correlation to us, as women, is that we should be causing our spiritual foes to fall through using the Word in our intercession for our family.  It is a powerful thing to quote the Word when we are praying.  I remember one Sunday when our youth pastor used a machete, calling it a sword, and tossing an apple into the air, then slicing it in half.  It was a fantastic visual picture of how using the Word of God can slice our spiritual foes.

Saul and his servant were out searching for some lost donkeys.  The looked for hours with no success, coming to  the point where they didn’t know where else to look.  In verse six, the servant mentions a man of God.  He states that everything the man of God speaks comes true, so perhaps, he could tell them where to look for the donkeys.  As Saul agrees to go see the man of God, he not only finds his donkeys, but the man of God anoints Saul as leader over Israel.

Sisters, sometimes when we approach God, He not only answers our original request, but if we are careful to listen, we may find Him revealing much more to us.

The story of David and Goliath is a very familiar one.  We see that David is a brave man, a warrior, and most importantly, the Lord was with David.  God had delivered David from the paw of the lion and the bear, and David was confident that God would deliver him from this vile Philistine.  When David spoke to Goliath, he was careful to make mention that he was coming in the name of the Lord.  He knew that all of his success was from God alone, and he was certain to give God the glory for his success.

We also need to be constantly aware that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. (Jas. 1:17) Any battles that we win, we win because God is for us.  (Rom. 8:31)

Another battle in the Old Testament that is incredible is when God gives very clear instructions to the Israelites for going against Moab. (II Kings 3) After they followed the Lord’s instructions, the valley was filled with water.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough, in verses 22-23, the Moabites see the valley of water, only it looks like blood!  They head out to plunder, not realizing that they were walking into their own destruction.

When we pick our battles prayerfully, it can cause the plans of the enemy to be destroyed.

In Acts 12, the church was earnestly praying for Peter, who was in prison.  Suddenly an angel appears to Peter, causing his chains to fall off.

Sometimes when we pick the battle of intercession, we will cause chains of bondage to fall.

In Mt. 1:19, Joseph was going to divorce Mary quietly.  But once an angel appeared to him in a dream, he was encouraged to go ahead and take Mary as his wife.  He was given a clear revelation as to what was taking place within Mary’s womb.

In Acts 16:6, the Holy Spirit kept Paul and his companions from preaching the Word in Asia.  In verse 9, we see that Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man and he concludes that God had called them to preach the gospel there.

Sometimes when we pick our battles prayerfully, God will speak clear instructions to us through the stillness of our sleep.

Do you feel the need to pray about some battles?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

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