A New House Is Like the Body of Christ

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.                                                                              Ephesians 5:25-27 NASB

Every time I walk into the master closet of our new home, I’m reminded of the significance of our individual actions within the Body of Christ and in ministry. On the carpet of that closet is a deep stain the carpet cleaners have attempted to eliminate three times—at the builder’s expense. We know how it got there: when the tile around the toilet had to be replaced, the workers removed the toilet and dragged it onto the closet carpet.

At the final inspection of our new home, the customer service man added to his list, “Clean closet carpet,” so we assumed the stain would soon be gone. But it’s still there and the carpet will most likely have to be replaced—at the builder’s expense.

Many other things have needed to be fixed—many of them needed repairs because the original worker was sloppy or didn’t care about the work he left behind. That reminds me how our negative actions within the Body of Christ can have the same effect.

The Church is full of people who can be sloppy in their interactions with each other. When we make unwise choices, we can be tempted to think, “Well, this won’t matter. Who will care?” Some leave the kind of destruction their wake that will eventually require someone else to deal with the mess. Maybe that’s what the tile worker thought as he dragged the toilet along the carpet: “Someone will just clean it up. No big deal.”

The reality is, every member of the body of Christ is imperfect. We tend to promote our own self-interests rather than look to the interests of others. We are insensitive and cause hurt with careless or thoughtless words. We nurture the offenses we have experienced, allowing bitterness to creep into our hearts rather than extend forgiveness and grace. Perhaps worst of all, we are tempted to judge others when they fail to act in ways that we feel are wise or spiritual.

And so, with so many flawed people meeting in one group, church life can get messy at times. And those mistakes, purposeful or unintended, leave stains behind, all-too-evident reminders written on the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even when we may manage to avoid the fruit of our mistakes—like the man who put the toilet on the closet carpet—others will suffer the consequences.

How can we turn our fellowship around to reflect Jesus? How can we stop the hurt and the strife?

It all comes down to one important truth: Jesus sacrificed His life to pay for those very sins. Paul tells us that “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her…having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27 NASB, my emphasis added).

As our builder will have to pay the price for his thoughtless workman, God has already paid an extravagant price for our “repair.” The messy stains on our hearts, created by our sin, have already been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. We wear the righteousness of Christ, not because of anything we have done, but because of the grace of God. Every one of us is a sinner saved by grace.

Knowing that truth can go a long way to transforming our relationships with each other.

We will allow the abundant love and grace so abundantly given to us to spill over into the lives of others. Knowing how patiently God works with us will inspire us to do the same for them. In response to His love, we will value others because He values them. Out of deep gratitude, we will be motivated to honor and represent Him in our choices.

And those godly actions will transform fellowship within the body as God is glorified.

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A New House Is Like the Body of Christ – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to encourage women to know who they are in Christ and about the incredible attributes of God. Kathy loves to travel, so she is grateful to have spoken in eight foreign countries as well as traveled to many others. She has spoken at women’s retreats in 35 states. She is the author of 55 books.

Her latest latest release is , Heart Wisdom, a part of her women’s Daughters of the King Bible study series. Heart Wisdom includes ten lessons about the different topics included in The Proverbs, and is perfect for individual or group study. Reach Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

God Is Supposed to Do It My Way

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

My sister-in-law, Leslie, took her ten-year-old daughter, Megan, to the ballet and carefully explained beforehand what Megan would be seeing. But it turned out Megan didn’t quite get the concept.

During the performance, Megan watched the dancers communicating through their dance with a questioning look on her face, like, “This doesn’t make sense.” During one scene, when a male dancer was trying to communicate something to the ballerina, Megan leaned over to her mom and whispered, “Why doesn’t he just tell her?” Megan was troubled at the dancer’s frustration that the ballerina didn’t seem to understand his message.

Leslie replied, “It’s a ballet; they don’t talk.”

During the performance, Megan asked several more times about the lack of verbal communication. She just couldn’t get the non-verbal concept.

When Leslie and Megan returned home, her father asked about the ballet, expecting an enthusiastic response. Megan’s “OK” was definitely not enthusiastic.

Chuck was surprised. “Didn’t you like it, Megan?”

“No, Daddy, it was all in sign language.”

Megan had missed the beauty of the ballet because she expected something different—even though Leslie had tried to prepare her. Her incorrect assumptions had kept her from a wonderful experience.

Sometimes God’s children have the same problem. We expect God to work in a certain way, and when He doesn’t, it’s like He’s communicating in sign language—and we aren’t getting the point.

Maybe you have been waiting for God to do a certain thing. When He hasn’t, you have assumed He hasn’t done anything at all. But maybe your expectations are getting in the way of seeing the ways He is at work in you or others.

Maybe it’s time to release your expectations and believe that He is faithful according to His will. Let’s notice everything God is doing—not just what we are hoping for—and trust His will is best.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11 NASB

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God Is Supposed to Do It My Way – @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to travel and has been in more than 25 countries and has spoken in 8 of them. Her passion is to teach about God’s unconditional love and acceptance.  Kathy is the author of more than 50 books. She and her husband, Larry, are lay counselors and write and speak together. They have two children and two grandchildren and make their home in southern California.

Kathy’s recent release is a women’s Bible study. In Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, you will learn to navigate every area of your life through insightful commentary and challenging questions from the wisdom in Proverbs.

Join the conversation: When has God met your expectations differently than you assumed He would?

 

 

Where Honking Is a Virtue

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

We were amazed at the driving skills of the Indonesians. Larry and I had flown into Jakarta to speak at a Christian conference. As our missionary friends drove us away from the airport, Larry’s and my eyes met as we simultaneously thought: “Are we back in Caracas, Venezuela?”

In both places, honking is a virtue. Unlike the United States, where a honk is usually accompanied with a rude gesture and a scowl, in Jakarta (and other places of the world, I’m sure), drivers honk to let others know, “I’m next to you, let’s cooperate.”

Yes! Cooperate! In Indonesia, there are more motor bikes than cars, and when you get two cars and three motorbikes whizzing around in the space of two lanes, everybody had better cooperate! It was like watching a finely choreographed dance. In the two weeks we drove extensively in Indonesia, we never saw a single automobile accident—although I’m told they occur. But because most people let others know with a honk that they are coming close, people seem to automatically juxtaposition themselves to allow everyone to go on their way safely.

As I wondered how this system was even possible, I realized that no one there had a sense of “space.” In America, I get angry if someone cuts me off by coming into “my” lane without warning. That’s my “space” and I’m entitled to be offended. How dare you come close to me! I’m here!

But in Indonesia, there’s no sense of “my space” or driving “rights.” No one is offended if you crowd in—and believe me, we saw crowding. I never knew two cars could drive along only inches apart and not hit. But it was because they were both cooperating.

I didn’t really want to listen to the Holy Spirit’s application for me as I thought about this, but I couldn’t ignore it. I recognized how easily I can feel offended, especially in the relationships closest to me. Can I be honest? Especially in my marriage!

If Larry doesn’t do what I want him to do, if Larry doesn’t consider my opinion always more important than his own, if Larry forgets to open the door for me, I get offended! He has somehow violated my personal space, my “rights.” I begin to see him as the enemy, instead of us being on the same team.

I also recognized that the drivers in Indonesia don’t take the other person’s behavior personally. They believe the honk is for their own benefit—so that as they come alongside, there will be enough space for both of them. Why can’t I remember that in my relationships? Most of the time, whatever the offending person has done usually is not even done on purpose, but by mistake. (And ironically, when I do the same thing to other people, I wonder why their nose is bent out of shape!)

By receiving an action as a personal offense, I allow it to become a statement about my own worth and value, when most likely it wasn’t meant to be that at all.

Paul exhorts us, “Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition” (Philippians 1:27 MSG). When I remember the real enemy is Satan, whose intention is to divide and conquer, I remember to fight the real “opposition” and stand firmly united with those I love.

I’m working on my spirit of offense. Will you join me?

I…implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB

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Where honking is a virtue – thoughts on cooperation with the Holy Spirit from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to travel and has been in more than 25 countries and has spoken in 8 of them. Her passion is to help others (and herself) live more for God’s glory than anyone or anything else.

Kathy is the author of more than 50 books, Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God's Glory by [Miller, Kathy Collard]including Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory Do you want a purer passion for serving God? Pure-Hearted will inspire you to focus on and desire  God’s glory and enjoy the benefits without guilt: benefits like selflessness, security, satisfaction, surrender, stability, and self-control. 

The Power of Confession

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

“Well, honey,” I said to my husband, Larry, “I would really like our side yard to be all concrete so we can put the trash cans there.”

Larry stared at me as if I were from outer space. “Why would you think that? I’m not even going to put the trash cans there.”

I felt as if my spirit had deflated, like a balloon being poked with a knife. His voice sounded so gruff. Did he really think my opinion was worthless? I shrank back and decided, “Well, since everything I seem to say is worthless, I guess I just won’t say anything.”

The tension between us had been growing since he had retired, and we’d decided to move to a newly built home, requiring what seemed like thousands of decisions to be made. We often commented “We sure are under a lot of stress,” but somehow after almost 32 years of marriage, we really couldn’t think that it could truly affect our relationship. But it did, and I wasn’t happy. Larry and I rarely initially agreed on anything for the house; he was around 24/7 since retirement in January; and we had moved a distance from family and friends. Stress? What stress!

To make matters worse, I knew I was feeling super-sensitive to Larry’s comments because my hormones were raging. Oh, menopause, here I come! It seemed like nothing Larry did pleased me. Even when I expressed my wounded feelings, and he said he didn’t mean to hurt me, I couldn’t accept it. I viewed everything he did through a negative filter that considered him my foe, rather than my ally. I knew I was wrong, but I couldn’t seem to stop my mental review of his faults and “meanness.”

Then last week, I called Larry from a speaking engagement in a distant city. After he asked about my speaking, he said, “Kathy, the Lord has convicted me about something and I want to ask your forgiveness. I’ve been thinking that your super-sensitivity was your problem, and you needed to deal with it. But I haven’t been your spiritual leader by helping you. I’m so sorry. Will you forgive me? I want us to work on this together and we’ll do anything we need to do to help us overcome this challenge.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. As he spoke, I felt like a burden fell off my shoulders. He really cared! He really was sensitive to the Lord. I was so pleased and expressed my appreciation.

But I didn’t realize the difference it would make in my perceptions. By the next day when I returned home, I felt completely different toward Larry. My negative filter was gone. I fell back in love with this wonderful guy, and when I expressed my surprise at what had happened, Larry replied, “I’m not surprised at all. I knew my confession would break the bondage holding you. I hadn’t been the spiritual leader in caring for you and the Lord assured me that taking that leadership would give you the freedom you needed.” He smiled, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

The power of a confession. Asking for forgiveness is a powerful healer, and it breaks bondages that can hold us and cause destruction. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.”

I’m grateful for a husband whose obedience to the Lord ultimately set me free. Is there someone who needs your confession today?

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The Power of Confession – thoughts from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to speak and write about how God’s children can trust Him more. She has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She has over 50 published books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Larry and Kathy live in At the Heart of Friendship by [Miller, Kathy Collard]Southern California and are the parents of two and grandparents of two. Visit her at http://www.KathyCollardMiller and www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and @KathyCollardMiller (instagram)

Join the conversation: Have you experienced the power of confession in your life? Please share!

 

 

I Must Have Flowers on My Anniversary

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

Our fourth wedding anniversary approached, June 20th, and I was pregnant. I felt undesirable with the added weight and morning sickness. If Larry buys me flowers, then I’ll really know he still loves me. I knew Larry didn’t value buying me flowers but my heart argued, He should know how important this is to me.

Getting flowers wasn’t the only thing I anticipated. We’d decided to build a pool in the backyard and it was exciting to think we could be swimming in a few short weeks.

June 20th finally arrived. Unexpectedly, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a delivery boy holding a gorgeous spray of red roses in a vase. “Larry does love me. He actually thought of flowers himself!”

I eagerly opened the card anticipating the romantic words Larry wrote. Instead, I read, “Congratulations on choosing us to build your new pool. We know you’ll love it!”… Signed by the pool company.

Suddenly, I started laughing. I had built up my expectations of receiving love from Larry through flowers. Instead, I’d received roses from a pool company. How like the Lord.

Lord, you orchestrated these flowers to arrive on my anniversary so I wouldn’t be disappointed when Larry arrives home empty-handed. You love me well.

That example of God’s loving provision always reminds me of Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (NIV). It has also has built my faith in God’s ability to meet my true needs. I’m still often selfish, but I’m increasingly able to choose selflessness as I trust God more and more to meet my true needs.

… those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.  Psalm 34:10 ESV

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I must have flowers on my anniversary – @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to encourage women of God to trust God more through a heart change. She is a speaker who has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Kathy has over 50 books published including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. She lives in Southern California, with her husband, Larry. They are the parents of two and grandparents of two. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com and www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor

Join the conversation: What provision of God both surprised you and increased your trust in God?

The Lay-Away Coat

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

In the “old days,” back in 1966, there was something available at stores called “lay-away.” You could put a down payment on an item and pay over time. Of course, you didn’t receive the item until you paid in full.

If you are smiling a knowing grin, you are revealing your age, and it’s most likely as old as I am. But in those days when I worked part-time for very little pay and went to high school, I loved the lay-away plan.

One day as I shopped at our local department store, I fell in love with a red coat that was gorgeous and expensive. Only by paying my hard-earned five dollars each week did I have any hope of wearing such a fabulous coat.

Finally, the coat was mine, and I wore it for the first time to our high school’s championship water polo game. While there, I met Larry through a mutual friend. Eventually that meeting blossomed into marriage three years later. While we dated, God used Larry to draw me to Christ. Yes, missionary dating!

After we were married, Larry told me he was immediately attracted to the rich-looking red coat I wore when we met. He thought I was rich. Underneath, I wore the inexpensive clothes I’d bought at a discount store. But the red coat did the trick.

I love this story because it reminds me that every Christian is wearing a spiritual coat paid for by Jesus’ blood-red death on the cross. It’s called a “robe of righteousness.”

Isaiah 61:10 gives a sense of our joy thinking of this: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

And after we arrive in heaven, Revelation 7:9-10 tells us our robes will be white because of our purity: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

As I speak to women at speaking events about this righteous robe, I often ask them to close their eyes and envision their righteous robe and what it looks like and how they feel. Some envision different colors. Red, purple, and white are the most popular colors. They might describe different fabrics: silk or velvet or trimmed in fur. Some describe they feel peaceful, empowered or loved.

Can you sense your righteous robe wrapped around you? You received this robe as a free gift because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. You don’t even have to pay $5.00 a week on lay-away for it. It is immediately yours at your point of salvation.

…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.  Philippians 3:8-10 NASB

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The lay-away coat from God – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is the author of more than 50 books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series.A popular women’s speaker, she has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She lives in SouthernAt the Heart of Friendship by [Miller, Kathy Collard] California and loves to encourage women to know their value in Christ. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com, www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor, or on Instagram: @kathycollardmiller.

Are You Ready for God’s Abundant Blessings?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

“Mommy, I’m ready to go over to Irene’s!” I cried out. I had my pajamas and toothbrush! It was going to be my first overnighter at my best friend, Irene’s house, across the street. I could hardly contain my excitement. I felt like such a big girl to be able to spend the night at someone else’s house. A big step for a first-grader!

My mother accompanied me across the street and Irene and I had a great time that evening. When we woke up the next morning, we played with our dolls for awhile and then I packed up my stuff in my little duffel bag.

Irene’s mom offered breakfast but it just didn’t seem right to both spend the night and have breakfast. Did I deserve that much joy? I answered, “Thank you, Mrs. Luna, but I have to go home.”

Mrs. Luna frowned but walked me across the street.

My mother asked me about my time and I told her about the fun. Then asked, “I’m hungry. Can I have a bowl of cereal?”

“Kathy, didn’t Mrs. Luna give you breakfast?”

“I didn’t think I was supposed to spend the night and have breakfast too.”

“Yes, honey, it would have been fine to have both.”

At times I come to God with my thanks for all He’s done for me, but somehow feel that I don’t really deserve anything more. It’s overwhelming to think He loves me that much to give me both the “overnighter” and breakfast too. It’s then I remember Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Just as Mrs. Luna delighted in me but I didn’t know how much, God delights in you and wants you to know it.

What are you feeling awkward about receiving from God’s hand? Help? Blessings? Affirmations? Love?

He wants to give you everything you need. Just receive it.

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. Psalm 149:4 NASB

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We should never be timid about asking for God’s blessings – thoughts from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to speak and write about how God’s children can trust Him more. She has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She has over 50 published books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Larry and Kathy live in At the Heart of Friendship by [Miller, Kathy Collard]Southern California and are the parents of two and grandparents of two. Visit her at http://www.KathyCollardMiller and www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and @KathyCollardMiller (instagram)

Join the conversation: What is hardest for you to receive?

The Blessing of the Christmas Bike

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

I waited impatiently along with my sister Karen and brother Chuck at the closed door leading into the living room, where we could imagine the sparkling Christmas tree awaiting us. Nine-year-old Karen murmured, “I can’t wait to get my new bicycle. I just know it’s under the tree.”

Then it was time. We sprinted into the living room and gasped with delight. The tree blazed with colored lights. Karen’s eyes scanned over the gifts, some wrapped, some not. But there wasn’t any bike standing by the tree. I heard her murmur Where is it? and knew her heart felt heavy with disappointment. But I could also see that she was trying to push her disappointment aside as she grabbed the unwrapped doll sitting on top of her pile. It was the doll she wanted—but it wasn’t the bike!

From my vantage point, I could see Karen’s bike over by the front door next to the hall closet. Even though I wondered why she didn’t see it, I was too engrossed in my own gifts to say anything.

“Karen,” I heard our mother call, “please go to the hall closet and get me one of the folding chairs.”

“But Mommy, I’m not done with my presents…” Our mother’s warning look stopped her whine. She got up slowly. “Oh, OK.” I knew she wanted to scream, “Where’s my bike?” as I saw tears pooling in her eyes. She had been talking for months about getting that bike for Christmas.

Karen walked across the small living room to the hall closet and jerked open the closet door. Tugging at the chair inside, she pulled it out and carried it to where her mother sat. “Thanks, honey,” her mother grinned.

Moments later, Karen’s shoulders slumped as she reached for her last present which wasn’t her bike. “Karen, if you’re done opening your presents, what do you say?” her mother asked.

“Thanks for my presents. They’re nice.” But I knew what she really wanted to say. We all did.

Then our mother spoke up again, “Karen…” but started laughing before she could say anything more. Before she could control herself, our father had burst into laughter too. Mom’s giggling subsided and then she said, “Karen, would you please go to the closet again and stand there?”

My sister obediently trudged toward the closet and then jolted to a stop. There, right in front of her, leaning against the opposite wall, was her shiny, red bike decorated with a big red bow! As she stood transfixed with her mouth agape, we all roared with laughter.

“Honey, why didn’t you see it before?” Mommy called out. “It’s been there the whole time. That’s why I interrupted you with that silly task.”

Karen delightedly jumped onto her new bike’s red plastic seat that sported bright yellow sunflowers. “I guess I was so disappointed when I didn’t see it under the tree that I just didn’t notice it over here.” She paused. “But it’s here! My bike! I love it!” She ran to Mommy and Daddy and hugged them.

I’ve always remembered that Christmas morning. Karen thought the bike would be under the tree and her ability to see it was blocked by her locked expectations.

When I get disappointed by life and other people, and even God, I’m reminded how blessings are often all around me but I just don’t see them. I’m expecting them in a certain way—like under the tree, but not sitting by the closest door.

I must be open to God’s unusual and creative ways to bless me and others. He knows what’s best.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NASB

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Learning to Look for God’s Blessings in Unusual and Creative Places – The Lesson of the Christmas Bike (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to see spiritual applications in the daily moments of life. Little did she know on that Christmas morning that one of God’s blessings would be becoming a writer and speaker. She’s an international speaker and author of more than 50 books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. She writes and lives in Southern California, with her husband, Larry. They are parents and grandparents, co-authors and lay-counselors. Connect with her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com and www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor

Join the conversation: How has God met your expectations differently than you imagined He would?

God, Do You See What They’re Doing to Me?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

My husband, Larry, and I had bought a product for over a thousand dollars from a Christian business and when they couldn’t deliver the product, they promised us a refund in ten days. The ten days came and went, but no refund. Over the next two months, we made repeated calls with no result. There was always some excuse.

Would we ever get our money? How could a Christian company be giving us the runaround? I felt powerless and voiceless. The thought of it barged into my thoughts throughout the day and woke me up in the night. The unfairness infuriated me. It wasn’t just the money. It was the principle of the thing! God, how can you allow this? Convict them!

One day during my devotions, my thoughts again turned to the situation. Anger welled up inside me. I wrote in my journal:

“This is a trial of whether we really trust the Lord and whether we’ve truly surrendered our possessions to God. We say we’re just stewards of God’s money. Are we going to be owners now? That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do something about it. We should. But more important is our attitude. If we become angry and anxious, that is an indication we regard the money as our own. If we trust God for the outcome and emotionally release the money, that’s an indication we regard it as God’s loss, not our own.”

I continued writing, “God is righteous and just. My anger, which wells up in me as we place fruitless phone calls can be replaced by trust in the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

I took several deep breaths and and wrote, “Father God, this is not hidden from Your sight, and neither are Your eyes closed and uncaring. Thank you, Lord, that I can surrender all my cares to You.”

I decided memorizing an applicable verse would be good. In my inner being, I sensed the Holy Spirit say, “Turn to Jeremiah 17:5-8.” I thought, Lord, you know I’ve been memorizing those verses, and they have nothing to do with this situation. You must be mistaken.

I began flipping through my Bible, thinking I’d surely find something helpful. But nothing seemed pertinent. Oh, all right, Lord. I’ll look at that passage, but it won’t do any good.

I turned to the Jeremiah passage, but before I could find the exact verses, my eyes locked onto a verse right at the top of the page that I’d marked in yellow who knows when. It was Jeremiah 16:17: “For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes” (ESV).

I couldn’t believe it. That was almost the same words I’d written down in my prayer! Tears filled my eyes. He did care. He was noticing what was happening. I could trust Him. I memorized and meditated on it.

Over the following month, Larry and I made calm decisions using righteous means to try and get the money returned. We were willing to never have the money if that was God’s will, but we also felt Him leading us to make some efforts even as we kept a right attitude.

After further stalling by the company, the money was finally refunded. We were very relieved and appreciated having the money. The most important part had already happened: the changes in our hearts.

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.       2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB

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God, Do You See What They’re Doing to Me? @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. One of her most recent books is At the Heart of Friendship. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. At the Heart of Friendship by [Miller, Kathy Collard]Kathy and Larry have been married for almost 50 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.

Join the conversation: Has God ever given you a clear message through His Word?

Baaa!!! Baaa!!! I’m So Like a Sheep!

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

I noticed a note in my Bible beside Psalm 23 pointing to verse 2: “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” A familiar refrain to us, right? But why does God have to make us lie down, and why wouldn’t we easily?

The note I’d written who-knows-when says, “Sheep will not lie down unless things are perfect–no fear, friction, hunger, pain or disease.” Can’t you just picture a sheep pacing back and forth, wringing his paws (do sheep have paws?), muttering, “Oh, I just can’t lie down. I have this tick on my back which is irritating my skin. That other sheep I have to lie down by is so irritating. And aren’t those dark clouds gathering over us? Oh no, rain!”

I’ve been meditating on that. How like sheep I am–I hesitate and yes, even refuse at times, to lie down to rest in complete trust in God’s provision for me. I want things to be perfect before I surrender and allow Him to provide. I think I need to come through for myself rather than rest.

Of course, we’ll still be active in doing what God wants us to do, but in our heart we can be “lying down” in rest and trust the whole time.

I didn’t “lie down” some time ago. My daughter and grandson were scheduled to come visit, and the day before they arrived, my husband Larry mentioned he was finally ready to trade in both our cars and buy a new one. He wanted to do it the next day. Thinking it didn’t involve me, I said “great!”

But I did need to go, and when that became clear, I had a hissy-fit. I didn’t want to miss those first hours of my family being with us–even though they would be with us for two weeks. I didn’t want to lie down in surrender and trust God’s timing. I felt like I would be missing out on something too valuable.

But God said “lie down!” and I went. At first not happily but eventually as we went through the hours-long process, I was at peace. And almost at the end of the process, Larry mentioned to the salesperson about the kind of second car we wanted to find–of which we had seen nothing on the lot. The salesman’s eyes widened (seeing more dollar signs), and told us they had just taken in trade the day before a car that fit our description, but they hadn’t been able to put it out on the lot yet. We ended up buying that one too. Just what we wanted.

I became a thankful sheep, because if we hadn’t gone when I didn’t want to go, we wouldn’t have found the second car we wanted. God had provided, but it required my surrender.

And our visit with our daughter and grandson was wonderful. God provided everything we needed. I just needed to lie down in the green pasture. And not wring my paws because everything wasn’t going the way I thought it should.

Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.                                                                                                                                                  Psalm 116:7 NASB

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Baaa!!! Baaa!!! I’m So Like a Sheep! @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. One of her most recent books is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for almost 50 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.

Join the conversation: When has God called you to rest?