Spiritually Used

Image result for friends who use

Spiritually Used

It is a noble thing for a woman to desire to model Titus 2:3-5.  However, because a woman has a passion to minister to other women, she can easily fall prey to the tactics of a user.  Women who are timid find it difficult to say “no” to a user.  Women with strong personalities often find pleasure in being asked to share their opinions.

I met a lady whom I will call Betty.  We hit it off very well, seeming to share the same values.  We forged a friendship, attending some of the same classes, and even visiting each other on occasion.

I began to notice a pattern to our conversations.  They seemed to revolve around the happenings in her life.  She was constantly seeking my advice.  When I would respond with scripture, she would quickly affirm my insights with comments like, “Oh, that is good,” or “I never thought of it like that.”  Because I thrive on words of affirmation, I never seemed to notice that she rarely brought scripture into our conversations.

Several months later, Betty was faced with a difficult dilemma.  Because of my desire to help women, I spent a great deal of time counseling her with a scriptural approach to her situation.  A few times I even left messages for her, stating that I had some more information which she may find helpful.  Those calls were always quickly returned.  Yet on other occasions, she would rarely, if ever, return my calls.

One evening, I was quite stressed and in despair over a situation of my own.  I knew Betty had faced this very circumstance, so I decided to call her.  I left a message for her, leaving no doubt as to my frame of mind.  I knew I could count on her to help me.  After all, Betty was my friend.  However, she never returned my phone call.

As I pondered and prayed about this, I realized that I was not being unreasonable in feeling that I deserved a return phone call, for true friends are kind to each other. (Job 6:14)

I also came upon the realization that some people are only friends with us if we give them gifts. (Proverbs 19:6) I had poured myself into Betty’s life, yet was not getting anything in return.  I discerned that what Betty was doing was using me.  She was seeking the spiritual food which I had earnestly sought so she would not have to be diligent in the Word herself.

By trying to be a Titus 2 woman, I had ended up becoming spiritually used, allowing her to use up my time, my energy, and my spiritual food.

The Word tells us that faithful friendships are refreshing. (Proverbs 27:9) A true friend sticks by you in good times and bad times. (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24)  Real friends are like iron sharpening iron. (Proverbs 27:17)  If you cannot say this is true of your friendships, perhaps you have also been spiritually used.

Take some time to evaluate your friendships.  Have you been spiritually used?

© 2007, Stacy R. Miller

“Seducing” Your Husband

“Seducing Your Husband”

I Pet. 3:1-4  Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

This means that we are to hold our husband in high esteem, not that we are subordinate, or less than him.  It doesn’t mean that we have to always agree with him.  Although, when disagreeing, we need to keep a gentleness about the issue, and not be nagging or talking down to him while discussing the situation.  It means a willingness to yield to his headship.  Yielding to his headship is also yielding to God because God is over your husband.

Seducing our husband in a Christian way is by adorning ourselves with a gentle and quiet spirit, and adorning ourselves with honor and respect toward our husband.  I read one time where wives complain that they want their husbands to love them more.  Husbands, on the other hand, want their wives to RESPECT them.

When out in public, what do women do when they step into the ladies room?  Invariably, they will check their lipstick and their hair.  If there’s no restroom close by, most women will carry a little compact case with them.  Spiritually, we need to have a compact case, filled with honor, respect, and reverence for our husband, ready to be pulled out and put on at any given moment.

If we spend time making ourselves pretty for our boss, then we need to do the same for our husband.  I know that can be hard.  After wearing high heels and control-top pantyhose all day, we just want to come home, and “let it all hang out.”

One thing about the outer beauty, it needs to be tempered with modesty.   In I Tim. 2:9 it says that women should dress modestly, with decency and propriety (proper and fitting)…  In other words, if it is too low, too high, or too tight, then it is not modest, and it is dressing with the intent to seduce.  I am sad to say that I have seen too much of this in my own church.  I have serious misgivings about wanting to hang out with any woman who dress for church in such a way.  To me, they are much more concerned with getting attention for themselves and taking the attention from the Lord.  How that must anger our Lord to see these kinds of women literally setting themselves up as an idol, and in His house!

A lot of our beauty is, in fact, store-bought.  We buy the make-up, jewelry, clothing, curling iron, pay the beautician, etc.  There is nothing wrong with this, but we need to be careful to remember that it’s not the outer that is really you.  YOU are what is inside!  I Pet. 3:4 talks about the hidden person of the heart –  that is speaking about the stuff on the inside of you, not your outer beauty.   The inner beauty should always take precedence over the outer beauty.  A good test for this:  Which gets more attention?  Feeding your spirit the Word and praying, or putting on your make-up and clothing?  Ouch!
We need to be spending as much time on our inner beauty.  If we invest in God’s presence, then he will transform us by His glory.  II Cor. 3:18

If we dishonor our husband, then we are wearing ugly attire and ugly adornment.  If we talk him down to our friends and in front of our children, we are adorning ourselves with ugliness.  If we struggle in this area, we need to ask God to transform us on the inside.

When is the last time that you spoke a kind word to your husband?  When is the last time that you encouraged him or complimented him?  Men greatly need to be encouraged and respected.  I try to remind myself how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my daughter.  I realize that my husband works hard so that I can stay home.  That makes it much easier for me to come up with the words of appreciation.

What makes something rare and precious is that it is something of great value.  Prov. 31:10 says that a wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies.  You can find pretty women all day long, but it’s often hard to find a woman who is rare, precious, and excellent in her character.  YOUR VALUE IS PRECIOUS TO GOD!  Let God polish you with the Holy Spirit.  This is something that is very attractive to God, and as you allow Him to do so, GOD will begin to work on your husband.  Before you know it, your husband is going to be truly seduced, in a Christian kind of way.

I Pet. 3:4 talks about the UNFADING beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  Over time, most of us will probably put on some weight.  Our outer appearances will change over time.  Our hair may turn gray.  We will develop wrinkles.  God wants us to develop that UNFADING beauty of the inner person and not concentrate so much on the outer beauty, which is bound to fade in time.

Dear Lord, help us to desire to spend that quality time with You, knowing that it is the inner beauty which is of utmost importance in our lives.  Teach us how to honor, respect, and reverence our husbands in new ways.  Help us to be diligent in this.  Our husbands face so much as they are out there working in the world.  Help us to make the home a sanctuary for them by being the gentle and quiet women that You desire us to be.  Let our homes and our attitudes be peaceful from the many storms that we face in this world.  Amen.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intimidated by the Virtuous Woman

Do you ever feel intimidated by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31?  I sure have!  She was the model of perfection.

I remember going through a time when I couldn’t seem to do anything right.  I went to cut off a pair of Rachel’s pants to make Capri’s out of them.  I cut the same leg twice!

Another time I got really energetic and was trying to do some in-depth cleaning.  In my haste to get as much accomplished before my energy level dropped, I used the wrong cleaner on a door and ruined the finish.  Shortly thereafter, I ruined our evening meal.

Everything within me was screaming, “YOU ARE A FAILURE!”  I had to stop and tell myself the truth.  While Rachel was not going to have Capri’s from that one pair of pants, she was able to have a pair of shorts.

So maybe the finish on the door was ruined, but that is something which can easily be corrected.  Plus, I looked at all of the other things I accomplished that day.  I wasn’t a failure!  Actually, I was quite productive!

I ruined one meal out of how many?  In other words, that meal was a failure, not me.

Now back to that virtuous woman….She may appear to be the model of perfection.  In reality, she had mastered being perfect as our Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) In this verse, “perfect” means mature.  The virtuous woman learned not to let mistakes master her.  She learned what she could from them, and that is what made her perfect.

Instead of being intimidated by her example, we need to follow her example.
© 2008, 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

Proverbs 31:30-31

Proverbs 31:30-31

AMP: Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain (because it is not lasting), but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates of the city.

CEV: Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.  Show her respect — praise her in public for what she has done.

MSG: Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.  The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  Give her everything she deserves!  Festoon her with praises!

We have studied many verses regarding this dear lady, and we find that only one verse is dedicated to talking to the outer beauty of women.  That is one verse out of twenty two verses.  One dear sister gave me a good way to put this into perspective.  There are 24 hours in a day, so we should only be spending one of those hours in concentrated effort to exercise, shower, do our hair, and our make-up.  This gives us a better perspective regarding the status of outward beauty verses the inward beauty.

Our Proverbs 31 lady has learned the value of having that unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.  She knows that her outer beauty will fade.  She knew that she would develop wrinkles, and have added pounds due to bearing many children, not to mention from the transition of going through menopause.  She knew that gray would eventually take over as her primary hair color.  She was wise enough to invest in unfading beauty, rather than the beauty which is fleeting.

This is a woman who is well-balanced.  She has made God her very top priority.  Putting Christ first has enabled her to get all of the other things in life in the right order.  All of the good that is in her is a result of the Christ who dwells in her heart.

© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

Thank you for joining in on this study.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Divided Loyalties

Divided Loyalties

 

As Christian women, we wear many titles.  In fact, the list can often seem endless.  Child of God, wife, mother, nurse, secretary, inventory manager, answering service, housekeeper, laundry attendant, chauffeur, and so on.  With so many things calling for our attention, we can find it very hard to keep the Lord our top priority, loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

 

Psalm 119:113 talks of hating those who have divided loyalties. (NLT) That really struck a chord with me because I could clearly see myself in that verse.  How many times have I given myself over to “doing” for God instead of cultivating my relationship with Him?

 

A wife whose husband is always working is going to feel neglected before too long.  To her, love is more than just “doing” things for the person all the time.  It involves spending time with each other and communicating.

 

How often have I neglected the Lord because I felt my “doing” for Him was the same as loving Him?  When I do that, I have divided loyalties.  I say I love Him, but choose my busy-ness over spending time with Him.  God wants us to seek Him first in all that we do.  I have found that by doing so, not only does my stress level drop immensely, but I am able to stay focused.  Even while going from chore to chore, my mind stays more focused on Him.  As there is a break in one area, I am better able to focus on the next task at hand, rather than get distracted with things which will waste my time and energy.

 

Recently, I took a Sabbatical from an activity I really enjoy so that I could regain my focus.  I was amazed at the difference!  After spending my quiet time with the Lord, I was able to get all of our homeschooling done, finish chores, go swimming with my daughter, work on a class I plan to teach at church, plus write a devotion.  Had I not committed my day to Him and earnestly listened to His leading, my heart would have been given to divided loyalties once again.  While I am only sharing one day’s activities here, I can assure you that since I have really been working to readjust my focus, I have had several days where I have been astounded at all I was able to accomplish.

 

What causes you to have divided loyalties?  What can you do this day to make some changes?

© 2007, Stacy R Miller

Proverbs 31:28-29

 

 

 

Proverbs 31:28-29

CEV: Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, “There are many good women, but you are the best.”
MSG: Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!”
AMP: Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), and her husband boasts of and praises her, saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well (with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness), but you excel them all.”

This woman has gained the respect of those who matter most — her husband and her children. Her words and her actions, which were godly in nature, have earned her that respect. (Prov. 11:16)

How many times have you seen a woman who has worked hard, trying to earn the praise of men, while neglecting her husband and her children? Some have fallen into the trap of wanting to ‘have it all’ — the nice house, fancy car, designer clothes, fine jewels, only to find that they ‘lose it all.’ Her husband is disgusted with her selfish pursuits and her constant nagging for more ‘things.’ The children are so unruly that mom has no control over them. She gets no respect from them because she has failed to be busy at home, carefully managing the household. She hasn’t kept her lamp filled with fresh oil, enabling her to have something worthwhile to speak to her family. Nor has she allowed herself the blessedness that comes from trying to do her husband good, and not harm. She’s worked vigorously, but for all of the wrong things. While her trading may have seemed profitable for a very short season, she now finds herself disillusioned and feeling empty. She may receive many compliments and praises from others regarding her beautiful home, fancy car, nice clothing, etc., only to discover that her husband and children have aren’t singing her praises. In fact, they hardly talk to her because she has failed to make them a priority in her life. Because of her selfish pursuits, she has missed out on hearing praise coming from those who should matter the most — her husband and her children.

Whose applause do you desire?
© 2004, Stacy R. Miller

 

Previous Older Entries