Purified by Leonard Ravenhill

This 7-minute clip is fabulous!

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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!

Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

Do you ever feel like you are running an obstacle course in your walk with the Lord?  I sure have!  Isaiah 57:14 says to remove the obstacles out of the way.  I have had to do that in my own life.

I am an avid reader, but as I have grown in my walk with the Lord, I have had to change what types of books I read.  I found that if I read books that had cuss words in them, chances were high that I would end up reverting to that nasty old habit.  I quickly removed that obstacle from my course.

I have had individuals in my life who were like leeches – always sucking the life out of me.  I removed them from the obstacle course, replacing them with friends who are like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17)

Early in my Christian walk, I was deeply convicted to remove soap operas from my course.  They certainly failed to line up with the excellent, virtuous, and praiseworthy things that I was to think upon. (Philippians 4:8)

One of the biggest obstacles in my Christian walk has been my thoughts.  I constantly have to change course, making the choice to renew my mind, rather than focusing on ungodly and unhealthy things. (Romans 12:2)

You can probably think of some obstacles on your own course that need to be removed.  Some of the obstacles may even be good things, but by removing them, it will allow you to have a more excellent course.

What obstacles can you remove today?
© 2006, Stacy R. Miller

My Great Reward

My Great Reward

Proverbs 16:9 says that we may plan our course, but it is the Lord Who determines our steps.  I have found this to be so true in my own life.

As spring approached one year, I began to make a diligent effort to read several books on my bookcase so that when the summer reading club started at our local library, I could indulge in my love for Christian fiction.  My plan was to immerse myself in some fun and relaxing reading, in hopes to win some of the prizes in the reading club.

I also had another plan to read several books on modesty and purity, trying to gauge when I should introduce these books to my daughter.  As I began to leisurely browse these books, I found that every word needed to be savored, some even more than once.  I found myself applying the truths to my own life.  I began to ask myself questions like:
What shows do I watch that compromise purity of thought?
What magazines do I read that threaten my ability to keep my spirit pure?
What books do I have that might not cultivate a pure heart?
What words do I say that show a tainted heart, rather than a pure heart?
What attitudes do I have that show a dirty heart?
What thoughts fill my head that might hinder me from being pure in heart?

Finally, I decided it was time to read some of those fiction books.  Yet, when I started reading one by my favorite author, I noticed that I wasn’t enjoying it.  Fiction suddenly seemed so dry, boring, and lifeless to me.

In my quest to conquer my pile of books, God determined my steps.  He pulled me to a new level of personal holiness.  He determined to draw me near to His heart, bringing me to a new height of intimacy with Him.

No wonder the fiction books do not hold the appeal they once had!  How can anything compare to the King of the Universe?

As for those prizes I had hoped to win from the library, well…..I already won!  God became my exceedingly great reward! (Genesis 15:1)
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

In case you are interested in the books I read on modesty and purity, here is the list:
And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh
Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh
Sex is Not the Problem (Lust is) by Josh Harris
The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson

Dirty Robes

Stock image of 'dirty, bride, dress'

Dirty Robes

Imagine a groom preparing for his wedding day.  He is a humble, godly man who desires to love his Proverbs 31 bride as Christ loved the church.  In fact, he adores her so much that he would gladly lay down his life for her, if necessary.

He patiently anticipates the day when they will be joined in holy union.  He longs to share those intimate moments and conversations which only married lovers can share.

But wait!  What is this he sees?  His bride-to-be is flirting with another man!  And what is she wearing?  She is revealing parts of her body that were meant for him!  Imagine the betrayal he must feel…a pain so deep it makes him weep.

Rather than confront her when his emotions are so raw, he chooses to go for a drive.  He is appalled to see her a few hours later, walking in to visit a psychic.  What happened to his bride-to-be?  Where is this godly woman he thought he was going to marry?

He decides to wait and see where she goes after talking to the psychic.  He is astounded when he sees her pull up to a sports bar that is having a girls’ night out, male dancers included.  Standing in the shadows, he watches his bride-to-be not only drinking her fill of alcohol, but also drinking her fill of men.  She fixes her eyes on the dancer’s white teeth, behind a very seductive smile.  She lowers her gaze to his bulging muscles and naked chest.  He watches in agony as her eyes focus intently on the dancer’s gyrating hips.  She licks her lips seductively, like a woman inflamed with passion.  What would she do if she knew her future groom saw it all?

Jesus looks in anticipation to His wedding day.  He is coming for a bride, dressed in spotless white…a bride He loves so much that He died for her. (Revelation 19:7-8; John 3:16)  Unlike the fictional groom in the story, Jesus does not watch us while hiding in the shadows.  He sees our every deed.  He knows our every thought.  How are we preparing for our wedding day with our Savior?

The bride-to-be in the story pretended to be one thing when she was with her future groom.  The same thing often happens in church.  We appear to be holy and righteous every Sunday, but how do we act the rest of the week?

Many in the church are committing adultery.  It may not be physical adultery, but rather, adultery of the heart. (Matthew 5:28)  Have you dirtied your white robe with lust?

While the vast majority of Christians would never visit a psychic, many allow the occult into their homes through books with witchcraft and occultic themes.  We can also let the occultic into our home through numerous television shows.  On primetime TV, there is a show whose very title leaves no doubt as to its content.  Another popular show features a detective who is “visited” by murder victims as he seeks to solve the crime.  As if this were not bad enough, many parents openly allow their children to view cartoons with blatant, occultic themes.  Is your white robe covered in occultic graffiti?

Perhaps you have kept your robe clean from the above sins.  Are you holding on to bitterness or unforgiveness?  When we harbor these attitudes in our heart, they soil our white robe.

What about anger?  When we give full vent to it, we spew dirty, hateful words.  They drop like soot on our fine linen, leaving dirty and black holes.

What is the bride to do to get herself ready?  Second Chronicles 7:14 has the answer.  First, we must humble ourselves and admit we have sinned.  David said when he confessed his sin, God not only forgave him, but removed the guilt of his sin.  Second, we must pray.  While our spirit may be willing to follow Christ, our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) To be victorious over sin, it is imperative that we spend time in prayer.  Next, we must seek His face.  In seeking God’s face, we seek truth, which is found in His Word.  The Amplified Bible says we must crave God.  We need to crave His Word more than we crave chocolate or caffeine.  Last of all, we have to turn from our wicked ways.  True repentance is not being sorry you got caught.  Rather, it is being sorry you sinned and determining to turn and go the other way.

Jesus gives a stern warning for the dying church of Sardis to wake up.  If we do not wake up, He will come like a thief…unexpectedly. (Revelation 3:1-3)

Jesus is coming soon.  We need to make sure that our robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14) We should strive to be like the few people in Sardis who did not soil their clothes. (Revelation 3:4)

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller