Renewing My Spirit

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Renewing my Spirit
I remember a video of music I used to play for my daughter when she was a toddler. One of them had the song, “Oh Be Careful Little Eyes.” It was such a simple little song, but it had such powerful truth to it! And that truth isn’t just for young children; it is for all of us!
I know that if I find myself ‘vegging’ on Netflix, my spirit will dry out very quickly. If I’m watching the news for very long, I become anxious and stressed out. There are times when I notice the effects of it on my sleep because I start having nightmares.
I have also noticed that if I spend too much time on social media, I begin to feel irritated, angry, and emotionally drained.
I have learned through the years to be very cautious in what I allow my eyes to see and my ears to hear. The difference is amazing! When I take a more positive approach by spending free time reading the Word or listening to praise music while going about my daily tasks, I feel joy and peace, which energizes me.
© 2017, Stacy R. Miller

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Transformed Thoughts

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Transformed Thoughts
Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s thoughts and ways are not our ways. I have found this scripture to be so true in my own life. If I neglect the Word and refuse to hide it in my heart, my attitude becomes very negative, and thus, my thoughts are not the true, honest, just, and pure thoughts mentioned in Philippians 4:8. And because my heart is negatively affected, what comes out of my mouth is often less than godly. (Luke 6:45)
However, when I take the time to be in the Lord’s presence, whether it be through praying or reading and meditating upon His Word, I find my thoughts are transformed into His thoughts. I hate to admit this, but it’s the honest truth. I started cussing when I was in third grade, and I’m now in my fifties. Though I’ve been saved for over thirty years, cussing is a nasty habit that has remained a struggle for me. Yet I have noticed a huge change when I remain faithful in reading the Word – I am transformed from one who frequently cusses to one who sees things through the filter of the Word of God. It changes my entire outlook, my heart, and thus, my words. Things that used to set me off lose their power when I’m daily living in the power of His Spirit within me.
I have noticed that when I’m spending quality time in the Word, really digesting it, the nightly news doesn’t cause me to become depressed. Rather, I see it through the lens of scripture. I turn to the Lord and pray when I see something distressing, such as the cruel death of two teenagers in a county near me. When I see wickedness abounding, it saddens me, but at the same time, I know that this must happen before our Lord returns. Knowing that, I can rejoice that His coming is even nearer.
When we spend that quality and quantity time with the Lord, we will find it easier to hear His voice speaking to us in the midst of the busy daily grind, in the middle of our trials, and above the noise which tries to drown out the gentle sound of His voice.
Most everyone I speak with these days believes we are in the last days. If that is true, why would we not want to spend time with our gracious Lord, who alone can prepare us for what may come our way?
© 2017, Stacy R. Miller

Slaves of Righteousness

Slaves of Righteousness

After being a stay-at-home mom for thirteen years, the economic situation required that I reenter the workforce.  That was a major culture shock to me!  Much to my dismay, I discovered that any topic was opened to discussion.  I was appalled by the amount of backbiting I observed.  On top of that, gossip and negativity abounded where ever I went.

It is very hard to keep a positive attitude in those kinds of situations.  In fact, all too often, it was too easy to join in.  However, I soon realized that doing so left a very bitter taste in my spirit.

However, in Romans 6:15-18, it is clear that I don’t have to be a slave to sin.  Rather, I can be a slave to righteousness.  It is my choice — I can continue to join in with the gossip and negative conversations at work.  Or, I can choose to be a slave to righteousness and walk away, keeping my integrity intact.  What an encouragement to realize that I do not have to let sin reign in me!

© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

The Rescue Inhaler

The Rescue Inhaler

There is a new policy being put into place at the hospital where I work.  Those of us who work on the financial side will be required to start wearing dress clothes to work.  Being that my closet is full of scrubs, I needed to start shopping.  As a woman who tries to live frugally, I headed to the local Goodwill for their half price day.

As I walked into the store, I was clearly a woman on a mission.  However, as an asthmatic, I quickly realized I had entered a dangerous place.  While I was going through the racks of clothing, it was becoming increasingly harder to breathe.  The scents of the numerous laundry soaps which had been used on the clothing, along with the body scents of the previous owners was overpowering.  I quickly reached for my rescue inhaler to ease my discomfort.

I saw some spiritual insights to be gained from this experience.  In a spiritual sense, we can be overwhelmed by the “scents” of this world.  For instance, we can watch television shows that portray murder, violence, and immorality.  We can watch as Hollywood mocks Christianity.  The music we listen to can get deep into our spirit.  If we aren’t careful about what we listen to, we will find that it can deeply affect our thinking.  As an asthmatic struggles to breathe in an unhealthy environment, Christians can struggle to have the breath of God breathing through us when we aren’t faithful to be in His Word.

While at Goodwill, I was seeking to find clothing that had been worn by someone else.  In a spiritual sense, if we aren’t careful to nurture our spirits, we will find that we are dressing ourselves in the dirty, stinky clothing of this world.  Some examples of this clothing are anger, rage, bitterness, envy, lust, selfishness, greed, and jealousy.

When we find we’ve taken on the clothing of this world, just as I reached for my rescue inhaler, we can reach for Jesus.  He is our Rescue Inhaler.  As we inhale on Him and His Word, our spiritual breath will become refreshed, renewed, and restored.

Do you need to reach for your spiritual Rescue Inhaler?

© 2011, Stacy R. Miller

The Blessing of Forgetfulness

The Blessing of Forgetfulness

Paul talks in Philippians 3:13-14 about how he focused on forgetting the past and looking forward to what was ahead of him. When I did a word study on the word “forgetting,” I discovered a couple of interesting things.

First, forgetting is an active obliteration. This was certainly true of Paul. He said he focused on forgetting the past. To focus on something requires a lot of active concentration and diligence on our part. Paul spoke in 2 Corinthians 10:5 of taking the bad, evil thoughts captive. He recognized that a spiritual war took place in his head when he battled his thoughts.

Secondly, forgetting in its present tense, means that it is ongoing. Paul didn’t just decide one day that he would forget the past, and it was done. No, this was an ongoing battle. You have to choose to keep forgetting past mistakes, past failures, past lies that the enemy will try to drudge up on a daily basis.

As you continue to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts, and replacing negative, ungodly thoughts with powerful truths in the Word, you will one day find that you truly do forget the past in the sense that you are no longer bound to it. You are truly set free. Oh what a blessing it is to have this kind of forgetfulness!

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

Spam

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Spam
In this world of technology, spam no longer refers to a can of meat you find in the grocery store. Rather, it is a term for junk mail.

In a spiritual sense, we also deal with spam on a daily basis. It is those unwanted, negative, nasty, ungodly thoughts the enemy will impose upon us. It might be thoughts like:

· You are worthless.
· You don’t have any spiritual gifts.
· Nobody loves you or cares about you.
· God has forgotten you.
· You will never overcome this habit.
· Things will never get better.
· God won’t forgive you.
· You will always be a ______.
· Who are you to think you are a good Christian?

In our world of technology, we quickly hit the delete button, and our spam is gone. In a spiritual sense, we can take action to get rid of the spam Satan tosses in our direction:

· Think upon things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. (Philippians 4:8)
· Cast down any thoughts or imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge God’s word. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
· Set our minds on heavenly things, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)

As we are steadfast in taking action against spiritual spam, our thoughts will begin to change little by little. We will find that the daily spiritual spam becomes less over time because the enemy will see that we no longer “read” his mail.

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

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

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