Mental Health

Mental Health

We have had so many things happening in our world over the last few years that it would be easy to fall prey to a stronghold of fear if we let our minds think upon all of the troubling things which are taking place.  Almost daily, we hear of more suicide bombings in Israel.  We are still losing some of our precious troops each week in Iraq.  Even where I live, the police departments can’t keep up with all of the meth labs.  That doesn’t even include the daytime robberies where the perpetrators just barge into your home, beat you up, then take your goods.  It appears that our city is being taken over by evil.  Even sitting here, typing this, I find my eyes filling up with tears.  It seems like our world is a hopeless place.

Let’s bring it a step closer to home.  What about the things taking place in our own life?  What about the child who has chosen to rebel against God?  What about cancer or some other disease that is ravaging our body?  What about someone who is spreading lies about us?  What about those of us whose spouse may be out of work?  How do we keep our minds and our hearts from becoming overwhelmed with fear?

Prov. 12:25 tells us that an anxious heart can weigh us down.  In John 14:1, Jesus tells us not to LET our hearts be troubled.  This is a command to us, meaning that we have something to do.  It means that we must not let those troubling thoughts come into our minds and find a place to rest.  When they come to our minds, we must remember the command in Phil 4:6 not to be anxious about anything but to give our requests to God.  Verse 7 tells us that after we leave our requests with God, His peace will guard our hearts and minds.

When the sinister things of this world enter your thoughts, make the choice not to sit and ponder on the seeming hopelessness of it all.  Don’t think upon the threats of more terrorist attacks.  Don’t think upon the unstable job market.  We are commanded to think upon those things which are true (certain, reliable, trustworthy), noble (excellent, supreme, lordly), right, pure (genuine, unmingled, uncontaminated), lovely (captivated, delightful, splendid), admirable (worthy, good), excellent, and praiseworthy.  Phil. 4:8

I have found that one way to speedily ruin my mental health is by thinking bad thoughts of others.  In Zech. 7:10, it tells us not to think evil of others in our hearts.  Often when we think the thoughts, we end up speaking those very thoughts because out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths often speak.  Prov. 12:14 tells us that from the fruit of our lips, we are filled with good things.  The only way this can happen is by renewing our minds and causing our thought life to be renewed (remade, reawakened, reconditioned).  Rom. 12:2

Another way to bring mental health to our lives is by learning not to be quick-tempered.  Yes, I know this a very hard one to do.  I struggle with this on a daily basis.  Prov. 14:17 says that a quick-tempered person will do foolish things.  When we do those foolish things, then we have to deal with the consequences, not to mention the guilt.  That can promptly remove any sense of well being that we had been experiencing.  In Prov. 15:18, it says that a hot-tempered person will stir up dissension.  This can happen in our homes, which God designed to be a refuge for our families, not a place of conflict, clashing, and opposition.  Prov. 14:26 says that the Lord has a secure fortress for those who fear Him, and for their children, it is a refuge.

Another thing which can suddenly zap our sense of well-being is envy.  Prov. 14:30 tells us that a heart at peace will give life to us, but envy will rot our bones.  I Cor. 13 tells us that love doesn’t envy.  We are told to rejoice with those who rejoice.  When we find it hard to rejoice with others when they have been blessed with something that we would like to have, we need to ask God to help us to be able to honestly rejoice with them in the blessing of God on their lives.

There is another snare that we may not think of right away when we ponder on what can hinder our mental health.  It is that of gossip.  Prov. 10:19 tells us that where words are many, sin is not absent.  The more we say, the more we find ourselves getting into trouble.  Do you ever wonder what may come back on you because of what you have spoken?  Prov. 21:23 tells us that if we guard our mouth, we will keep ourselves from calamity, distress, or trials.  If we don’t quickly repent of speaking sinful words, there is that separation between us and God.  I know when I find myself separated from my Father because of my sin, my frame of mind is not a good one.  I miss the peace, tranquility, and calmness that I have when I know that my walk with Father is what it should be.  God wants us to be wise with what we say because then our words have the ability to bring healing and restoration to those around us.  (Prov. 12:18, 18:21,)  If we guard what we say, we guard our very life, meaning that we will be mentally healthy, not to mention many other physical ailments which we may avoid.  (Prov. 13:3)

I remember when I first got saved.  I had been with a crowd that was really rough and sinister.  I had to let my parents screen all of my phone calls because they wouldn’t leave me alone.  I was stalked by one of them for several weeks after pulling away from that way of life.  It was a very fearful time for me, never knowing when one of them was going to be right on my tail.  A dear man at church prayed over me regarding this.  From that very moment, it stopped!  I was amazed.  Several months later, I saw the verse in Prov. 16:7 that reveals to us that when our ways please the Lord, He makes even our ENEMIES to be at peace with us.  I have seen the person who was stalking me only one or two times in the twenty years since this took place, and both times, the FEAR was in THAT person’s eyes!  Light truly does chase away the darkness!  I mention this illustration because many of you may have some “enemies” who are causing your mental health to be disturbed.  I urge you to start praying the above scripture over your circumstances.  You may see God work speedily on your behalf, bringing that tranquility back into your life.

I want to close with some final scriptures that talk about health.  This can refer to mental health, as well as a vast array of physical health in our lives, if we choose to follow the decrees given to us.
Prov. 3:7-8  Don’t be wise in your own eyes, but fear God and turn from evil.  This brings health to your body and it nourishes your bones.
Prov. 3:21-22 Preserve sound judgment and discernment because they will be life for you.
Prov. 4:20-23 Pay attention to God’s word and keep His word in your heart.  His word is life to you and health to your whole body.  Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Prov. 17:22  If we have a cheerful heart, it works like a medicine.  (Not to mention that it’s much cheaper than visiting the doctor!)

Awesome God, You love us so much, and you desire for us to have life, and life abundantly.  Help us to make changes in our thoughts, where needed, so that Your life, love, joy, peace, and tranquility can be ours at all times, in all ways, in all circumstances, and in all conditions.  (I Th. 3:16)  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

How Do I Look?

How do I Look?

Have you ever gotten dressed for a special occasion, then asked your husband,  “How do I look?”  We like to be assured that we look nice.

In I Peter 3:4, it mentions a meek and quiet spirit.  Meekness is often looked upon by the world as being weakness.  How wrong they are!  Jesus was certainly meek, but He was definitely not weak!  Meekness means that we aren’t easily irritated or provoked.  (I know, some of you are wanting to stop reading right now, aren’t you?  Believe me, I’m speaking this to myself, even as I sit here typing it.)  Quiet refers to being peaceful, at rest, not troubled.

When someone offends you, or does something which really irritates you, do you keep your mouth shut?  Even if you manage to keep your mouth shut, are you inwardly fuming?  Were your thoughts less than holy?  If so, while it ‘appears’ that you are being meek, reality tells a different story.  It says that you are just a very good actress.  In other words, you are really good at ‘faking it.’

So, how is your appearance?  Do you appear before others as one who is meek?  How do you appear before the Lord?  Remember, He sees what our inward thoughts and attitudes are, even when others can’t.

Father, help me not to be easily provoked, whether outwardly or internally.  Help me to respond, rather than react.  Help me to give a calm response in those situations which try my patience.  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Demolition Crew

Demolition Crew

 

A friend of mine recently moved into a new home. When we would see each other, she would give me an update on what phase they had reached with the construction. Though there were several men working on the house, in order to get it done quickly, it still took several weeks to be completed.

 

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to watch a house as it was demolished. It was done within a couple of hours. What a difference from watching a house being built!

Our words can be like a demolition crew. Research shows that it takes ten positive comments to overcome one negative one. Oh, the power of the tongue! Proverbs 18:21 tells us our tongue holds the power of life and death.

 

When home schooling my daughter, I could see the daily impact of my words on her. I had to be very careful how I said things to her when she would struggle with a new concept. If I was insensitive and critical, she would wilt emotionally.

 

When my daughter was much younger, I would reward her for a good job with stickers. As she got older, I would add words of encouragement on her papers. It was amazing to watch how those actions could set the tone for the rest of the day!

 

I have tried to make it a rule that if I can say anything nice, do it! It can make a huge impact on someone’s day to hear a word of praise, appreciation, or encouragement. The older I get, the easier it has become to release those kind words. I used to see someone and think, “She is so pretty,” or “She has a beautiful smile.” Now those words flow freely, and it is such a pleasure to watch the expressions on their faces when they hear something so positive and encouraging.

 

Losing my brother to a heart attack has been an impetus for me, motivating me to make more phone calls and send notes of appreciation to people who have been instrumental in my life. We have probably all lost a friend or loved one and had the thought, “Oh how I wish I would have told them _____!” I don’t want to leave those words unsaid!

 

Let’s strive to be like the building crew – building a strong foundation with our words, as opposed to the demolition crew who can destroy months of work in a matter of minutes.

 

© 2014, Stacy R.Miller

 

Do You Have the Flu?

Do You Have the Flu?

 

As I watched my daughter suffer the effects of the upper respiratory flu, it occurred to me that many of us may also have the flu, only in a spiritual sense.

 

Does the mention of someone’s name cause you to develop a ‘fever,’ otherwise referred to as fiery anger or the physical results of high blood pressure?  It could be that you are harboring unforgiveness.  Let Dr. Jesus apply Eph. 4:31-32 to your spirit.

 

Do you awaken with a pounding headache after having fretted about how much you need to get done?  Or are you plagued with worry?  A good dose of Mt. 11:25-34 could cure you of that ailment.

 

Do you have constant ‘vomiting’ from your mouth?  We often cringe when we hear it called by its real name: gossip.  A spiritual fast of applying the words in Eph. 4:29 may heal this ‘flu’ rapidly.

 

Do you develop a hacking cough when Father asks you to do something which you don’t want to do?  I’m referring to those things He’s calling you to do, and you cough up excuses similar to those which Moses gave.  Prov. 3:5-6 may go a long way in curing this cough.

 

Constant worrying can bind us with spiritual ‘stomach flu,’ giving us awful cramps.  Allow the Lord to give you a shot of His medicine which says to fear not!  Ps. 91:5; Is. 41:10; Heb. 13:5.

 

Are you bound by the soft porn that is found in soap operas?  Let the Lord rid you of those toxins.  You will soon find yourself declaring the words of Ps. 101:2-3 where is says that we can walk with a blameless heart, setting no vile thing before our eyes.

 

Are you bound by the virus that is so prevalent in America?  The virus to which I’m referring is that of the love of money and material things.  A healthy diet of Prov. 30:8 could unlock those chains.

 

Does the thought of a certain individual leave you battling the chills which often accompany the flu?  It could be from the one who took your virginity, then proceeded to flaunt it before the whole school.  Maybe it’s the stepfather who abused you repeatedly, or the mother who refused to rescue you from constant abuse.  Maybe the mention of the word ‘Father’ chills you because your father left you and your mother.  Maybe a betrayal by your best friend has given you the chills.  Whatever it is that causes those awful chills, Jesus wants to bestow on you a beautiful crown, giving you beauty for your ashes, and a garment of praise instead of the heaviness which has plagued you for years.  He wants to make you into an oak of righteousness, to display His splendor.  Is. 61:3  Where you were once so weak, His healing touch can make you into a strong oak tree, able to withstand anything past ‘viruses’ try to dredge up against you.

 

Do you need to make an appointment with the Dr. Jesus?

 

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

Don’t Puke on Me!

Don’t Puke on Me!

 

Have you ever gone to church, looking to be spiritually refreshed, only to find that someone approaches you, and ‘dumps’ on you?  What they had to say may have been gossip or slander.  It may even be a comment that is very critical of you or someone whom you deeply respect.  Maybe you’ve been trapped in a conversation with someone who is always moaning about life.  They have to recite their weekly woes to anyone who gives them an audience.  Suddenly, you find that the anticipation you had of being refreshed has been quenched.  Now you are left with an unsettling feeling in your spirit.  My former Sunday school teacher had a very apt description for this.  He called it being ‘puked on.’

 

We are admonished to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  (Eph. 5:19) Our conversation should revolve around things that are noble, lovely, pure, right, excellent, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  (Phil. 4:8)

 

While it’s so easy to remember times when others have ‘puked’ on us, it’s not so easy to force ourselves to recall times when we have done the ‘puking.’  We don’t want to think that we could possibly have done that, but we need to evaluate what we let slip from our lips.

 

When our husband comes home, do we greet him joyfully? Or do we start unleashing all of the terrible events of the day, thus ‘puking’ on him, before he ever gets in the door?

 

When our children forget their chores again, do we patiently instruct them, giving clear guidelines, with consequences to follow for noncompliance?  Or do we ‘puke’ on them, telling them how sick and tired we are of reminding them?  Do we continue in our tirade, saying words that are emotionally abusive, making them feel worthless and devalued?

 

When we’ve had a spat with our husband just before heading out to the women’s Bible study, do we enter the room and begin to ‘puke’ on all of the ladies who are attending the study?  Do we proceed to carry on about what a moron our husband is?  Do we ‘puke’ bitter, resentful words about him?  So often, when there is a group of women, one bad comment can light a fire, quickly spreading to every woman there.  (Jas. 3:6) Before we know it, the Bible study has turned into a man-bashing session.

 

Vomit is filled with bitter stomach acids and bile.  It leaves a horrendous taste in our mouth.  When we ‘puke’ spiritually, it leaves an awful, bitter feeling in our spirit.  We will begin to feel disquieted and our sense of peace will be disrupted.

 

We are told in James 3:14-15 that harboring bitter envy and selfish ambition in our hearts is devilish and unspiritual.  James knows that what is stored in our heart will eventually flow from our lips.  (Lk. 6:45) When that happens, we have begun to ‘puke.’

 

When we’ve been ‘puked’ on, we need to wash ourselves with the Word.  (Eph. 5:26) When we’ve been guilty of doing the ‘puking,’ we can find a remedy for it in Psalm 51.

 

1.  Ask God to blot out our sins.

2.  Ask God to wash away our iniquities.

3.  Acknowledge that we’ve sinned against Him.

4.  Ask Him to cleanse us.

5.  Ask God to create in us a pure heart.

6.  Ask God to renew a right spirit within us.

7.  Ask Him to restore to us the joy of our salvation.

8.  Ask God to grant us a willing and obedient spirit.

9.  Ask Him to open our lips to declare His praise.

10. Ask Him to give us a broken and contrite heart whenever we have sinned.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

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Cross Dressing

Matt Smith

Cross Dressing

When my daughter was just ten years old, we had the unfortunate experience of running into a drunken cross-dresser one day.  I really did not care to have her exposed to this kind of lifestyle at such a young age.  To complicate matters even more, I had to explain to her why this man who attends our church is dressed like a lady.

After returning home, the Lord revealed to me that all Christians, at one time or another, have been guilty of being cross-dressers.  The difference is that our cross-dressing does not affect our clothing, but our spirit.

Christians are commanded to put on garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love. (Colossians 3:12-14)

As I read that verse, I began to think of the many times my husband has needed a compassionate, listening ear.  Instead, I dressed myself in a garment that said, “I am too busy to listen to you right now.”

How many times have we been in a long line at the grocery store, only to offer the cashier rudeness instead of kindness?

Instead of putting on humility, we choose a prideful garment.  Even though we many not be speaking our prideful thoughts audibly, God hears, and He is not pleased. (Proverbs 8:13; First Peter 5:5)

I can think of several times when my daughter has struggled with a new concept in school.  As her teacher, and even more so, as a Christian, I should offer her gentleness.  Instead, I put on harshness or a critical spirit.

When we are trying to get out the door, and the rest of the family is poking along, how often are we patient with them?  If we are honest, most of us would be embarrassed to admit how often we put on the garment of impatience.

Patience seems to be one of those garments that we would rather not wear.  It seems to fit about as comfortably as a tight-fitting girdle.  Instead, we opt for impatience, which often shows itself through anger, rudeness, rage, foul language, and very discernible body language.

We are to be dressed in love, yet how do we act when a dirty, smelly person visits our church?  Do we put on the garment of love?  Or do we turn aside, pretending they are not there?

When we get dressed, we may look through our closet and think, “I do not feel like wearing this outfit today.”  I think we also do this with the garment of love.  We tend to think that love is a feeling.  If we do not feel like wearing it, we will tend to put on bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, rudeness, selfishness, and a critical spirit.

I was really disgusted by the sight of the drunken cross-dresser.  However, after allowing the Holy Spirit to show me many occasions where I have guilty of cross-dressing, I am more disgusted with my own behavior.

Father, help me to daily put on the Lord Jesus so that I can cease to be a cross-dresser.  Amen. (Romans 13:14)

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

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Criticism

Criticism

None of us like to be criticized, and we like it even less when we are criticized by our own husband.  The Bible tells us that there are times when we should admonish others, but when our husband sees a reason to admonish us, we can turn on him like a viper, ready to strike.  We seem to forget the biblical mandate for admonishing others.  Next, we start hollering about how he has no right to criticize us.  Finally, we feel that carnal nature rising up within us to put him in his place and show him that if anyone in our household needs some criticizing, it is him!

 

Why would God choose to use our husband to admonish us?

1.  Sometimes we refuse to listen to God.

We are constantly surrounded by noise.  If it’s not the radio, TV, the phone, or the kids, then it’s the noise of things like the washing machine.  It’s no wonder we don’t hear God speak to us!

In Psalm 81:8, God tells the people that if only they would listen, He could admonish them.  How many times have I neglected to listen to the Lord?

2.   Sometimes God may use our husband to test us.

We may be thinking that we have a true servant’s heart, but God may use our husband to reveal to us that we only have a servant’s heart toward certain people, and it’s not those in our own house.  In testing us, God may be watching to see how we respond when our husband brings up a valid issue.

3.  Sometimes God speaks through our husband to correct us.

Our husbands often have a keen ability to sense when things at home may be out of balance.  Granted, there are times when the house may be in shambles when he comes home because we’ve been too busy taking care of sick kids.  However, if this is a common occurrence, God may speak through your husband to help you change priorities so that you will be more in line with Titus 2 where it talks about being keepers at home.

Our husband may sense that we are too immersed in outside activities, and it is causing chaos to reign in the home instead of making it a peaceful place of refuge for everyone at the end of a long day.  He may sense that while we may be physically present in the home, we have mentally ‘checked out.’  This ‘checking out’ could be in the form of reading excessively, talking on the phone endlessly, spending unnecessary time on the Internet, or becoming a news junkie.  It could mean that we have become an addict of soap operas or even the daily talk shows.  The result is the same – CHAOS in the home.

4. Sometimes God will use our husband to caution us about unhealthy friendships.

I know that my own husband has keen insight a lot of the time regarding my friends.  One time he cautioned me about a certain ‘friend’ with whom I was spending a lot of time.  I did not heed the wisdom in what he shared.  The price to be paid was great, for this ‘friend’ turned on me and stabbed me in the back.  She was a conniving, manipulating person.  For me to try and defend myself from her attacks would only add fuel to the fire.  I had to stand back and let God take control and let Him vindicate me.  Sad to say, but it was nearly two years before I got the confirmation that He had indeed vindicated me.  I have learned a lot through that experience, but how much better off would I have been if only I had listened to the wise words of my husband?  I have no doubt that it was the Spirit of the Lord speaking through him, trying to caution me against a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

If your husband speaks to you about your friends, please seriously consider what he is saying to you.  We are wise when we are cautious in our friendships, and sometimes a man’s perspective can save us a load of turmoil later.  (Proverbs 12:26)  Because I failed to listen, I suffered much emotional and mental anguish.  Is it any wonder?  We are told in Proverbs 13:20 that if we hang out with fools, we will indeed suffer harm.

What should be our response when we feel our husband is criticizing us?

1.  First, let your spirit rule you, rather than your emotions.  When you do this, you will be more apt to follow the biblical mandate to be quick to hear, but slow in speaking or becoming angry.  (James 1:19)

2.  Don’t repay him with evil.  (Proverbs 20:22)  Keep in mind that love isn’t rude.  Even if we feel our husband is completely out of line with his comments, it does not give us the right to turn on him and be rude and hurtful.  Nor is it the time to do a history lesson, bringing up a record of the many criticisms that you may have built up against him over the years.

3.  Don’t become stiff-necked.  If we become stiff-necked and stay that way, scripture tells us that we will be destroyed.  (Proverbs 29:1)  If we are destroyed, who may be destroyed right along with us?

4.  Be receptive.  We need to open our heart to instruction and insights from other people.  If we do, we may learn some vital truths that can really help us to grow in the Lord.  (Proverbs 23:12)

5.  Remember the load of responsibility that your husband carries, as the head of the house.  God will hold him responsible for what takes place in the home.  (I Timothy 3:13)  Since he is the head of the household, God may very well use him to correct some things taking place in the home, and some of those issues may involve admonishing you.

6.  Be adaptable.  The Amplified Bible tells us in Titus 2:5 that we are to adapt ourselves to our husband.   That may mean that we need to adjust to a new way of doing things.  Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that we can’t change that.  When we are adaptable, rather than cantankerous, it keeps the Word from being discredited.

7.  Get ready for glory!  As God’s children, we are being changed from glory to glory.  Sometimes God will use the words spoken by our husband in an effort to achieve a major transformation in us that allows His glory to shine brilliantly through us.

© 2005, Stacy R. Miller

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