A Thief in the Parking Lot

He uses a situation from his days as a police officer and puts a spiritual perspective to it.  Very good message, and he shares a funny story too!

 

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Psalm 91: A Psalm of Spiritual Warfare

This is one of the best messages I’ve ever heard.  I will never look at Psalm 91 the same again!

POWs

POWs

In reading the Word, we quickly discover that we are in a war.  Our spirit daily wars against our flesh.  We war against principalities and powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places.  (Eph. 6:12)

Of all the wars I fight in my Christian walk, I have found that the war against my thoughts is one of the most intense battles I face.

We are always thinking about something.  Our mind has this incredible capability to drift.  Before we know it, we are thinking about someone who offended us, then setting out a very fleshly plan to put them in their place, or get even with them.  If our husband has ticked us off, we may start mulling over the idea of giving him the silent treatment.  After all, look at how many times he’s done that to us!  If we begin to rehearse all of our tasks for the week, it can cause our stomach to become knotted up because our thinking quickly turns to worrying and fretting.  If our mind starts to ponder on the news of all of the terrorists plans, we may be setting ourselves up for panic attacks.  What can we do?

We are told in II. Corinthians 10:5 that we have the power to demolish all arguments and pretensions that go against God’s ways and enter our minds.  We are to take them captive.  In other words, any wrong, untrue, ungodly thoughts need to become our POWs.  When we take them captive, we are to treat them in the most inhumane way, starving them and letting them die of thirst.

To be a good soldier, we not only need a good offense, but a good defense.  Once we use our defense to take POWs, we must go on the offensive.  It is critical to have a plan in place, ready to be put into action. For our thoughts, our best plan is to have God’s Word hidden in our heart so that we have His powerful, life-changing truths deep within us.

When thoughts of what terrorists may do assail us, we can tell ourselves that we don’t need to fret because of evil men, for they will soon wither.  (Ps. 37:1) When we begin to rehearse what we want to say to the one who offended us, we can remind ourselves that we are to love our enemy and pray for them.  (Mt. 5:44) When our mind wants to rehearse the list of perceived wrongs by our husband, we can remind ourselves that love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. (I Cor. 13:5) When we begin to feel overwhelmed by the multitude of errands, tasks, meetings, and appointments that must be done this week, we can tell ourselves to commit our ways to the Lord because God will establish our thoughts.  (Pr. 16:3) We can pray, trusting in God, leaning on Him, and acknowledging Him, knowing that He will make our path straight.  (Pr. 3:5-6) We can ask God for wisdom to help us see if there are some things on our list that we need to just let go for now.  (Jas. 1:5)

We don’t have to let our thoughts take us captive and make us their POW  We are to be the ones taking POWs.  How about you?  Do you need to change tactics and begin to capture some POWs?
© 2004, 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

Leaks

Leaks

When I was growing up, we lived in a house that had a basement.  There were cracks in the foundation, so every time we got a heavy rain, there would be water in the basement.

We can have leaks in our own lives.  We can have a crack in our spiritual foundation, and not even know it…….until the storm comes.  We may have neglected to build a strong foundation, and so when the storms of life roll in, we are like the house built on the sand, and we feel swiftly washed away. (Matthew 7:26-27)

Ephesians 6 gives us some guidelines for building a strong foundation:
1.  Realize that our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
2.  Put on the armor of God.  Know who you are in Christ.
3.  Put on the belt of truth.  Know God’s truth so that it can set you free.
4.  Put on the breastplate of righteousness so that you will act out what you know God’s truth to be, rather than acting out of your feelings and emotions.
5.  Put on your gospel shoes.  Learn to walk as a peacemaker, and be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have. (I Peter 3:15)
6.  Take up your shield of faith.  It will protect you from Satan’s arrows….even those arrows that come through words spoken by people. (Isaiah 54:17)
7.  Put on the helmet of salvation so that you are able to take captive every thought, and have the mind of Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5; I Corinthians 2:16)
8.  Take the sword of the Spirit with you.  We can’t always have our Bible with us, so it’s important to know what it says.  That means we must take time to read the Word, meditate on it, and memorize it.  When we face a ‘storm,’ we won’t have to worry about leaks because we have the Word stored in our hearts, ready to guide us and protect us.

Do you need to fix some leaks places in your foundation?

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

Homeland Security

Homeland Security

In pondering on terrorist attacks, I realized that not only do terrorist attacks come into our home, but we are capable of launching them ourselves.  Just as our own country now has a department called ‘Homeland Security,’ we also need to devise a spiritual ‘Homeland Security’ plan.

Many of us are entering that stage of life where we may see our husband go through a mid-life crisis.  As men reach the stage of life where the hair begins to thin and the waist begins to thicken, they may suddenly realize that as they go walking down the street, they no longer draw the attention of women.  Ladies who may likely do a double-take when they see a good-looking man, don’t even acknowledge that he exists.  They may get that sudden panic-stricken feeling of realizing that their youth is quickly fading before their eyes.  To top it off, they come home, only to hear the following kinds of comments:
‘Dad, can I have an increase on my allowance?’
‘The washer quit working today, and the car is acting up.’
‘Did you remember to stop by the store and pick up some milk?’
‘Dad, did you write out the check for church camp registration?’
‘I need money so that I can pay the bills.’
‘Junior got put in detention for the second time this week.’
‘Janie got a D on her report card.’

Suddenly, not only does he feel old and fat, but he feels very unappreciated and unloved.  Part of devising a homeland security plan is to be very strategic about the timing of these kinds of issues.  We also need to teach our children to be mindful of how and when they approach their father with these kinds of requests.

Ladies, if we aren’t careful, we can launch a terrorist attack of infidelity.  You see, we are told in Eph. 5:33 that we are to respect our husband, to notice him, prefer him, praise him, compliment him, and admire him exceedingly. (Amp.) When we fail to do this, it can further launch him toward the temptation of an affair.  The other woman never brings him problems (like a broken washer, car repairs, etc.), but she plays up to his ego.  She compliments him, admires him, praises him, notices him, and she even takes the time to listen to him.  She does what we may have failed to do.  When we take the time to give our husband what I call ‘positive strokes,’ we launch a homeland security plan that keeps him coming home to us, rather than looking to another woman.

Continuing on the subject of homeland security, keep in mind that when your husband has been out working all day, he likely sees dog-eat-dog competition, and hears negative talk, criticism, and backbiting, not to mention a lot of ungodly talk in the form of dirty jokes and foul language.  A perfect solution for this would be to give him some time to read the Word when he first gets home.  However, I have heard from many women that their husband won’t take the time to read the Word.  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from our own sin, and the Word cleanses us from the dirty things to which we are exposed on a daily basis.  So if our husband isn’t taking time to read the Word, letting it cleanse him from the filth that he’s dealt with all day long, how can we launch a homeland security plan to help him?  We need to counter all of that negative ‘stuff’ when he comes home.  If he isn’t in the habit of reading the Word, we can try to offer a pleasant, wholesome atmosphere in our home.  We can be diligent about reading the Word ourselves, and then sharing in conversation with him the things we are learning, or even letting him know how we are being challenged in our own walk.

Many times in our marriage, our spouse may say something that angers us.  If we don’t quickly crucify our flesh, we will launch an ungodly terrorist attack by lashing out in our anger and bringing up past issues and past hurts.  That kind of attack may cause damage to our marriage that is similar to the Twin Towers when they came crashing down. The very foundation was destroyed.  Rather than destroying the foundation of our marriage in the heat of an argument, let’s determine to have a homeland security plan that shows us to be peacemakers, showing ourselves to be true daughters of God. (Mt. 5:9) We are to make every effort to live in peace with ALL men, including our husband. (Heb. 12:14)

Another homeland security plan that I have enforced is by teaching my daughter that we are to be different — aliens and strangers on this earth. (Heb. 11:13) We don’t dress in hip huggers or low-cut, tight-fitting shirts because as Christian ladies, we are to be self-controlled and chaste in our actions, deeds, and our manner of dress so that God’s Word won’t be blasphemed or exposed to reproach.  (Tit. 2:5) We are to control our bodies in purity, not dressing like the ungodly who purposely dress with the intent to get men to lust for them.  For when we dress and behave immodestly, we defraud young men by getting them to think that we can provide satisfaction for them, and it’s GOD who should bring ultimate satisfaction to them.  God doesn’t take this matter lightly either — rather, He will punish all (wo)men for such sins. (I Th. 4:4-6) By starting the teaching on modesty and proper behavior at a young age, we have engaged a homeland security plan that may help to keep our daughters pure in body, mind, and spirit.  It can help to destroy the terrorist attacks that are so prevalent in the lives of many young ladies in this day and age.

Many times when our hormones are all out of kilter, our tongues can unleash a vicious terrorist attack.  One plan to keep the homeland safe during these times is to meditate on Phil. 4:8.  If we find that our thoughts aren’t true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, or praise worthy, we can go to war and take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (II Cor. 10:5) There is nothing wrong with taking some medication to help us during those time of crabbiness.  I’ve taken herbal medicines, as well as a generic premenstrual medication to help soothe my raging hormones.  I also go on the offensive and warn my family that my hormones are acting crazy.  I ask them to please try to bear with me.  I let them know that if I’m short-tempered and cranky with them, it’s not their fault.  They are much more likely to grant me grace in those times if I simply forewarn them.

In this final lesson on homeland security, we will be discussing how to launch a plan to teach our children faithfully about the Lord.  We will also deal with the overwhelming issue of suffering through depression, even when you have been faithful to read the Word of God.

Another very pro-active homeland security plan is to be faithful to teach our children about God, and how God wants us to live.  So many times, parents leave the spiritual training to the church and the workers at the church.  Having worked in children’s church for quite some time, I can assure you that a lot of time is wasted during children’s church because of the rowdy children.  I know that many times the workers wonder if any of their message came across because of the myriad of distractions they face every week.  I know that we are all tired at the end of the day, and we just want to send the kids off to bed so that we can have some peace, but that is a prime time to talk with the children.  They are very open in those moments.  Don’t let a satanic terrorist steal those moments from you, never to be recaptured.  If you make this a habit, in only a matter of about thirty days, it will become an automatic habit and a good one!  You will never regret taking that time to talk with your children.  Sometimes the subject will get off target, but that’s all right.  Let them talk, and be sure to really listen to them.  If you don’t take time to listen and talk with them about the unimportant issues, they won’t talk to you later about the really important issues.

Too many people are quick to condemn those who suffer with depression.  They leave you with the impression that if you read the Word, it will take care of any depression.  While that is true in many case, it isn’t true in all cases.  Sometimes there are physical things wrong that need to be corrected through medication.  To those of you who may be on medicine for depression, I want to say, ‘Bless you for getting help!’ You may be facing guilt and condemnation from the enemy.  In fact, some of that guilt and condemnation may even be coming from your own church family.  I applaud you for realizing that you needed some help from a doctor.  Because of your wisdom in seeing this need, you may never realize what kinds of terrorist attacks you may have stopped just by simply taking medication to help your body function the way God made it to function.  You have launched an effective security plan for yourself, and for your family.  Don’t feel guilty about being on the medication.  After all, God is the one who gave doctors the wisdom to help you!

Sisters, do you need to start up some homeland security in your home?
© 2004, Stacy R Miller

Hip Surgery

Hip Surgery

After dealing with excruciating pain for many years, my mother-in-law decided to have hip surgery.  I was absolutely amazed when I saw her for the first time after the surgery.  She looked fifteen years younger!  That “pained” look she had worn for so many years was gone and she was standing much taller.

In the Bible we find the story of how Jacob deceived his father into giving him the blessing that belonged to his brother, Esau.  For a very short while, Jacob probably “stood taller” as he gloated in his deceitful accomplishment.

It wasn’t long however, before he was running for his life.  I wonder if he could relate to the words of David during that time.  “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away.” (Psalm 32:3) Did Jacob understand that his deceitful ways were tearing him apart on the inside?

There came a day where Jacob had to face whom he had become.  Not only that, but he had to wrestle with the angel of God.  It left him with a limp for the rest of his life.  Yet, I would venture to say that even with that limp, Jacob walked taller on the inside from that day forth.

After my mother-in-law’s surgery, she referred to her pain as “wonderful pain,” for she knew it was the pain of a body that was healing.  I would imagine that Jacob discovered the beauties of “wonderful pain” after he wrestled all night long to receive the blessing.

The words of Psalm 119:80 (Message) fit so well with the transformation that took place in Jacob’s life that night.  “And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.”

Father, let the words of this Psalm be the daily cry of my heart.  Amen.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

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