When We’re Spiritually Cross-Eyed

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant.                                                                                             Psalm 34:4-5 NIV

Someone has said, “If you have one eye on yesterday and the other eye on tomorrow, you’ll look at today cross-eyed.”

That’s what regrets do to us. Regrets can paralyze us from thinking positively about God’s present working and even steal our enthusiasm for the future. We concentrate on a mistake from the past and fear the consequences of that regretful incident will continually hamper our future. Cross-eyed.

In fact, regrets are a form of worry—we worry with thoughts like, “if only I had treated my child better” or “if only I hadn’t said that to my friend.” Such worry keeps us focused in ourselves, making us unable to receive his loving approval, which would enable our efforts for His glory.

What can we do to fight against crippling regrets?

The Apostle Peter could easily have been paralyzed with regret. He’d denied knowing Jesus three times the night He was arrested. That one terrible failure had the potential to keep him from fulfilling God’s plan for his future. But after a conversation with Jesus on the beach, Peter knew he needed to move past his mistake. Without even a single mention of Peter’s big fail, Jesus told him: Take care of my sheep. (John 21: 17) Stop looking back. Keep focused on what God would have you do next.

From a Scriptural standpoint, the word “forget” means more than not remembering. Holding on to a regret entails being held hostage to the memory. It is not God’s will for us to be held captive by the past. Jesus already paid for that sin. So God has already forgiven it.

The key to overcoming regrets is to forgive ourselves and to forgive others. It is a choice to let go of focusing on the hurt we inflicted and the hurt that others have inflicted upon us. Our enemy, Satan, wants us to mentally bash ourselves over the head by tearing ourselves down. When we do that, there is no positive value. We will not earn back God’s approval (we already have it); we only dig ourselves into a pit of depression.

Isaiah 43:25 can motivate us to forgive ourselves. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (NIV). At a time when I needed to forgive myself, I was struck by the phrase, “for My own sake.” I realized, Lord, You want to have fellowship with me because you love me so much. And if I am overcome by regrets, my ability to fellowship with you is compromised. I have distanced myself from Your empowerment to serve.

Are you condemning yourself for the past?

God wants you to embrace His forgiveness and empower you for godly living. Then you won’t be looking at life cross-eyed. Instead you will be eyeing the past, present, and future through the lens of Jesus’s cross!

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When We’re Spiritually Cross-Eyed – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller wrote her book on trusting God more and overcoming worry because God was showing her how she was cross-eyed with regrets and fear. That book is titled Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries. She has also written over 55 other books on various spiritual life topics. Kathy has spoken in more than 35 states and 9 foreign countries. She and her husband, Larry, are parents, grandparents, lay counselors, and often write and speak together. They live in Southern California. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Join the conversation: Are there regrets in your life that have kept you from living in freedom? Or have you applied the forgiveness of the cross to prevent being spiritually cross-eyed?

Success Can Be Dangerous

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

Success can be dangerous.

Elijah had just been used by God (in I Kings 18) to triumphantly bring fire down from heaven and put the priests of Baal not only to shame, but to death. But then, in response to the miracle, Queen Jezebel angrily threatened retaliation.

“So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of [those priests]. Elijah was afraid and ran for his life” (I Kings 19:2 NIV).

Elijah reacted as most of us would have. He fled. God supplied sustenance in Beersheba, and then, continuing in his escape, Elijah ended up “lodging in” (not just visiting) a desert cave one hundred miles away from where he started. Alone. Or so He thought.

God then asked Elijah a simple question: “Elijah, what are you doing here?

Elijah answered: “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel  have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10 NASB).

Then, because God is compassionate and caring, he revealed Himself to Elijah, showing him he was not alone. He first caused a thundering wind, but He was not in the wind. He then shook the earth in a violent quake, but He was not in the earthquake. Then a roaring fire passed by, but God was not in the fire. God was not in any of those violent, destructive things.

When God finally did come, it was with a gentle blowing whisper. It was enough to woo Elijah out of his dark cave.

And again, God asked the question, “What are you doing here?”

He wasn’t asking Elijah about his physical location, but where he was in his heart. God wanted Elijah to bare his soul to Him. Elijah did, revealing once again his disillusionment and fear.

And in response to Elijah’s honest struggle, God comforted him by showing him the relief and help He would provide.

Most of us can probably think of a time when we trusted God wholeheartedly, but found a massive spiritual fail wasn’t far behind. As we turned inward and away from God, it may even have triggered depression and hopelessness.

During times of sadness, or when you’ve just failed (or sinned) for the umpteenth time, how do you hear God’s response? Especially when you feel abandoned and feel no one understands?

Do you hear God’s words as a gentle inquiry: “What’s going on in your heart? I want to help.”? Or do you hear a condemning “I can’t believe you’re disappointing me … again!”?

How we perceive the tone of God’s inquiry indicates whether or not we believe that God is a compassionate God.

I love how God’s question was an invitation for Elijah to identify his feelings out loud. I love how He responded by revealing His own compassionate nature. Identifying our feelings often is not easy. Many of us as children were told not to feel or share our deepest emotions. We can feel guilt by expressing them.

But God doesn’t want us to hide anything from Him. His caring question invited Elijah’s honesty. His response to Elijah’s raw emotion was to give him purpose, sustenance, encouragement, and support.

God could have provided for Elijah without asking his soul-penetrating question, but he didn’t. Elijah’s heart awareness and verbal expression prepared him to receive what God had to say to him, to receive God’s compassionate provision.

He can do the same for you.

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.   Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB

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Success Can Be Dangerous – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller lives in Southern California and is the author of over 55 books including the Daughters of the King Bible study series. One of the studies is At the Heart of Friendship. As a popular women’s conference speaker, she has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. Her passion is to communicate practical biblical ideas for trusting God more. Visit her at http://www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

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 

Join the conversation: How do you describe God’s caring compassion?What does it mean for you today?

Do You Love Me More than These?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

No one wants to be reminded of their sinful choices. Satan, our accuser (Revelation 12:10) loves to use guilt and shame to fuel our self-hate and distrust of God. His motive is to convince us God can’t possibly still love us.

At the famous fish breakfast on the beach by the Sea of Galilee (John 21), Jesus pursued Peter with laser-focused inquiries into Peter’s still-hurting heart. He created  circumstances that morning that would bring further healing through providing a contrast to Peter’s past with his present:

  • Peter denied Jesus three times. Now, Jesus asks Peter the same question three times and assures him with the same command three times.
  • Peter was called to be a follower by Christ after seeing Jesus’s miracle of providing fish. Now, Jesus provides a boatload of fish to one who already believes.
  • Peter denied knowing Jesus in the setting of a blazing fire in the high priest’s court. Now, Jesus welcomes the group to the campfire with fish browning on a blazing fire.
  • Peter had boasted to Jesus “Though they [the other disciples] all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33). Now, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” giving him an opportunity to reflect on his earlier boastful claim.

All of these important interactions continued the work of healing in Peter’s soul. If we were Peter, we possibly might think: “Does it really take all this to heal? I don’t want to review my sin.” But Jesus knew he was not fully healed.

Sometimes we aren’t, either.

Jesus’s persistence reaps the reward—a change in Peter’s heart. Peter’s interaction after Jesus’s third inquiry is different than ever before.

Peter is grieved when Jesus asks a the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).

Peter from the past would have passionately defended himself and taken impulsive action to demonstrate his love. But this time, Peter acknowledges Jesus knows everything, trusting that his Master knows his heart. Peter no longer has to prove his love.

Can we receive the Holy Spirit’s work of healing even as he reminds us of past sin? We might not be as spiritually healthy and healed as we think. Satan calls attention to the needed places of healing, accusing us and wanting to defeat us. His motive is to destroy our confidence in God’s forgiving and healing power.

God’s motive is the opposite. God does not intend to shame us but to steadfastly pursue our heart’s need of greater healing. As we face our sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing, our pride is shattered. Our ability to tell others of our Master’s loving acceptance increases. Our compassion for others empowers us. Our gratitude for salvation blossoms and deepens our relationship with Him.

Convinced he is no better than the others, Peter becomes a powerful leader in the church, giving the first sermon ever about Jesus on the Day of Pentecost.

When you remember your ungodly past, don’t let Satan use it for harm. Trust God to bring deeper healing.

 My Lord God Almighty, I praise you for your steadfast nature, which never gives up inquiring into my heart for my good. Thank you for helping me see the difference between Satan’s evil intent and your loving motives.

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Do You Love Me More than These? – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller, author of over 55 books, loves to remember herself and others that God’s convicting power is always meant for our good. She has traveled the world sharing Jesus and has spoken in over 35 States and 9 foreign countries. She and her husband live in Southern California and are parents, grandparents, and lay-counselors. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com  

Kathy co-authored her latest book, God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature, with her husband Larry. It provides a fascinating exploration of who God is and all the amazing aspects of his nature—his love, grace, faithfulness, mercy, kindness, wisdom, and so many more.

Join the conversation: Has the Holy Spirit reminded you of memories in you that still need to be healed? Were you able to trust His kind intention through the process?

Who Is Your Plumb Line?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.                                                 I Peter 2:21 NASB

Have you ever found yourself saying something like “I wish I could be like her”? I know I have—there are people I so admire who just seem to have it all together. They inspire me and make me want to emulate them. Is that such a bad thing? After all, even the Apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17 NASB).

But it was pointed out to me some time ago that if we make people our “plumb line”—a string stretched out by a weight to mark a perfectly vertical line on a wall—we will inevitably miss the mark. Even though a literal plumb line can be near-perfect, people are not. They will likely fail us at one point or another.

In addition, when we focus on outward achievements and actions, we can begin to feel superior (or inferior) to others—and neither option is how God would like us to think. We become the judge and jury of what is good and right or bad and wrong. And when those we consider shining examples fail, we become disillusioned. Sometimes that disillusionment gets transferred to God Himself.

So where can we look for an example that will never fail us? One that will remain consistent and reliable? The Apostle Peter has the best advice: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (I Peter 2:21 NASB).

Peter had learned that lesson first-hand. As a practicing Jew, he had vowed never to eat unclean food. Then while praying, Peter fell into a trance and saw a great sheet coming down with all kinds of unclean animals in it. Within seconds, he was shocked to hear Jesus tell him to kill and eat the animals. Peter said (can’t you just hear the vehemence in his voice?), “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”(Act 10:14). You can almost hear his underlying sentiment: “I’ve sworn I’ll never do such a thing because then I’ll be unholy.”

At that moment, Peter was depending upon his behavior to make him righteous before God. Of course, that commitment had begun before He knew Jesus as His Savior through grace. Now he knew that only Jesus is The Way, yet, his old way of thinking had never been eliminated. His vow had the potential to prevent him from seeing God’s next opportunity to minister when Cornelius (a Gentile) arrived. Thankfully, Peter turned from his vow and as a result, the Church’s ministry to Gentiles began.

Peter had his eyes on the legions of Jews who had kept the Law and thought they’d gained righteousness through it. It took three commands from Jesus (Acts 10:16), before Peter heard the truth: Don’t focus on others; keep your eyes on me. What God has cleansed, you should no longer consider unholy.

Hebrews tells us where to put our gaze as we live for God. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Jesus led a perfect, sinless life. He is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature…” (Hebrews 1:2-3 NASB). Who better to emulate?

The next time you start to say things like “I want to be like her,” stop and ponder who should really be your model and “plumb line.” Only Jesus offers a perfect example and will never fail before your eyes.

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Who Is Your Plumb Line? – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller lives in Southern California and is the author of over 55 books including the Daughters of the King Bible study series. One of the studies is At the Heart of Friendship. As a popular women’s conference speaker, she has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. Her passion is to communicate practical biblical ideas for trusting God more. Visit her at http://www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

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 

Join the conversation: What have you found important for resisting making other people as your plumb line?

Is Someone Gossiping About You?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

I recently learned someone criticized me to a group of people. Although I didn’t know this group of people, I felt deeply wounded that I was misrepresented.

My first instinct was the desire to lash out in response. Then I thought of the Apostle Paul’s response to his fellow Jews who were gossiping about him. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:2-3 ESV).

Paul faced a lot of criticism in his efforts to spread the gospel to the known world. He often answered those trying to discredit him in his letters. But he did not do so because of concern about his personal reputation. He was fearful that by discrediting the messenger, the gospel message would be compromised as well. But even in the face of such damaging condemnation, Paul responded in love. He didn’t want anything to stand in the way of people receiving the gospel of Christ.

Because of that passage, I asked God to give me godly sorrow for that person—even at my own expense. Asking myself three questions helped me to respond to the gossip like Paul.

  1. Why might this person be speaking negatively about me?

The gossiping woman had been deeply wounded as a child and felt inadequate. She compared herself to everyone, and always found herself lacking. Her need to gossip, though sinning, wasn’t particularly about me. It was her sinful pattern to deal with her own insecurity. Allowing her to offend me would result in believing her opinion about me rather than believing what God says about me and who I am in Christ.

I truly believe most gossipers are motivated by their own broken self-image. Most often those who listen to a gossiper can identify their motive. But even if they don’t, my worth and value is determined by God, not someone else’s words about me.

  1. How can I love that gossiping person?

Although I wanted to confront that person, I was able to correctly evaluate God’s will because of the peace from godly sorrow in my heart.

Sometimes the Lord will lead us to confront that sinning person. What we say or do needs to be done in love, not in haste or in anger. Seeing their broken heart and motives will give us the ability to love them for their good, not our defense.

My own sin of succumbing to the temptation of gossiping in the past helped me to forgive this woman. The Bible says we can forgive others who have hurt us because we have been forgiven. Colossians 3:13 says, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

  1. Why do I feel threatened?

That question might seem totally ridiculous because the answer is she talked about me! But there’s something deeper. I felt a need to defend the halo around my reputation. To make sure everyone knew I really am a good person.

But my peace came from knowing God is in charge of my reputation and He can defend me if He wants. Even if I go around trying to correct other people’s opinion of me, it will only cause me distress. People choose what they want to believe. I can’t control that.

Have you been gossiped about? Have you gossiped? If we’re on the receiving end, we can trust God by knowing He is our defender. If we have gossiped, we need to ask God to forgive us and ask for forgiveness of the person we sinned against. Either way, peace from godly sorrow will well up inside us—whether it’s the sin of others or our own.

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Is Someone Gossiping About You? – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books, including one of her most recent No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom (Elk Lake Publishing). She loves to speak at events and has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Larry. They are parents and grandparents. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

In No More Anger, Kathy tells the riveting true story of being an angry and abusive mother. In desperation, she prayed for an instantaneous deliverance from her deep-seated anger. “God answered yes through a process of growth. He also healed her relationship with her husband. Is ‘no more anger’ possible? Let Kathy’s story assure you through hope and God’s help, the answer is ‘Yes!'”–Carol Kent, author, speaker.

Join the conversation: How can we respond in love when someone is spreading damaging information about us?

Why Do I Keep Procrastinating?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.                                                                                                                                               Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Just the other day I figuratively shook myself by my lapels and asked, “Kathy, why do you let the dishes stack up? It looks so messy!”

As I faced my problem of procrastination about messiness and other challenging tasks, the Holy Spirit led me to make some commitments.

Institute the 30 Second Rule. Even though so much can get done in 30 seconds or one minute, I still put things off. For instance, I pull up my email account on my phone and receive a message that I could easily answer in 30 seconds or a minute. I tell myself I’ll wait to answer when I get to my desk. But then when I get to my desktop computer, so many emails have added up I have a big job—and I delay responding!

That’s why I’ve been telling myself if something can be done within 30 seconds or a minute, even two minutes, do it right then. Sometimes we don’t recognize the value of little things but God does. He says in Zechariah 4:10: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” (NLT).

 Recognize your motive for wanting to put things off. I often wondered why I neglected doing the dishes. After all, instead of putting a dish into the sink or onto the counter, I could have used the same energy and time to stick it into the dishwasher—and it would be done!

Then one day after loading the dishwasher, I paid attention to my emotions. I recognized the sense of achievement in that moment. It felt good to transform the kitchen from messy to clean. But in a sense that anticipation of satisfaction was keeping me from acting in the moment at other times. I knew I if I waited for things to pile up, my accomplishment would yield a higher reward.

To combat procrastination, pay attention to your emotions. Look to God for your satisfaction and joy. Anything that replaces Him is an idol. His approval is what we should seek because He wants to tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Acknowledge any fear about the response you’ll receive for your actions. Whereas we just talked about the satisfaction of success, we can also procrastinate because we fear the potential “pain” that will result from taking action.

Maybe you’ve been putting off responding to that email because you’re convinced whoever receives it will become angry. Or you don’t know exactly what to say to your friend and so you delay—waiting for just the right words to show up in your mind.

But in avoiding these things we aren’t trusting God. We’re leaning on our own ideas and expectations, which is contrary to Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).

If we recognize our procrastination as not trusting God, then we can see our faulty thinking, that He isn’t in charge of the results. Since He’s sovereign and therefore in charge of everything, He could literally bring a good result from our poorly worded correspondence and bring an unexpectedly positive result. We can’t control what happens, but we can seek Him for wisdom. Then as we take action, we can trust Him for the resulting “straightened path.”

Which of those three insights could help you to resist procrastination? For me, they have been instrumental in recognizing God at work and empowerment in me, as I have learned to take action and increase my trust in Him.

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Why Do I Keep Procrastinating? – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to help women trust God more through her 55 books and her speaking in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Her website is www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

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

Join the conversation: What keeps you procrastinating?

 

Resolutions Actually Can Be Successful

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

I was working out at the gym with a friend, and we chuckled together as we noticed how crowded the gym had become since January 1st. Then, as it happens every year, about four to six weeks later, the gym returned to its normal level—and once again we didn’t have to wait in line to use the weight machines.

Yes, the New Year resolution for buffing up the body and becoming healthy lasts a short time for most people. Great motivation at the start sometimes is not enough to continue.

Why is that? For many of us, it’s because we make our goals too high and become discouraged when we can’t meet them.

But there is a solution. It’s found in “The 1% Principle.” It’s the idea of setting small goals toward a bigger one. Then, when we meet the small goal (1% instead of 75% or larger), we’ll be encouraged to continue.

Here are some ideas:

Instead of “I will have a devotional time with God for one hour every day this week,” think: “I’m going to spend 5 minutes with God two times next week.”

Instead of “I’m going to stop eating all sugar,” think: “I’m going to limit sugar to one item per day.”

Instead of “I’m going to go to the gym every day this week,” think: “My goal is to go to the gym two times this week.”

Instead of “I’m never going to get angry with my child again,” think: “Since dinner time is the hardest time to be patient, I’m going to concentrate on staying calm on Tuesday and ask a friend to pray for me during that time.”

Get the idea? Instead of thinking 100% toward a goal, start small and be encouraged as you reach it. Then you’ll continue to move toward the larger goal. (And by the way, it’s OK to do more than the 1% goal if you’re able).

Does this sound like a plan God can’t applaud? After all, doesn’t He know He can empower us to reach huge goals? Of course He can, but He also understands that “we are but dust” (Psalm 103:14 NASB). That’s why He says, “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15 NASB). Note that He doesn’t say, “so that your perfection may be evident to all.” He expects us to be in process little by little and is pleased with our progress—even 1% at a time.

How can you use the 1% Principle to grow closer to God and become more of the person God wants you to be? Make a plan now and carry it out—little by little—1% at a time.

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Resolutions Actually Can Be Successful – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller lives in Southern California and is the author of over 55 books including the Daughters of the King Bible study series. One of the studies is At the Heart of Friendship. As a popular women’s conference speaker, she has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. Her passion is to communicate practical biblical ideas for trusting God more. Visit her at http://www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

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

How to Resist A Donut

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

On a recent morning at 6 a.m., as I walked home from our neighborhood work-out room, I felt drained by the unusual humidity along with the 90-degree temperature (yes, I live in the desert). Tomorrow morning, I’ll have to drive the car. And then the most delicious thought entered my mind.

After I finish, I’ll go get a donut.

Oh! What motivation to drive the car to the gym. I felt delightfully sneaky. I could already taste my favorite donut—the sugar cinnamon spice. What does it matter I’m trying to eat healthier? I deserve a donut!

Then my spiritual eyes were opened and 2 Corinthians 10:5 came to mind: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” ( ESV).

I saw Satan’s ploy to destroy my self-control by using a tactic of mine I developed in childhood. I often felt like the possibilities offered me were promises. Most often they were not fulfilled. I shared a room with my sister and always wanted my own room. At one point, most likely when I was a pre-teen, my mother mentioned, “Daddy and I are thinking of making the garage into your own bedroom.” What great news! I felt important and valued.

Emotionally, I waited on the edge of my seat for the next mention of the coming transformation. But my parents never brought up the idea again. In my insecurity, I didn’t ask about it because I feared hearing, “We aren’t going to do it.” Such an answer would feel like rejection, affirming my mistaken belief that I didn’t deserve anything special.

My hope died a slow painful death. I’m sure my parents thought I’d forgotten. I’m not even important enough for them to tell me they changed their mind.

Somehow in my complicated way of thinking, I began to hate being disappointed, even by myself. I believed “a broken promise equals rejection.” My warped need for self-control made sure I kept any promise to myself—like getting a donut—even if I couldn’t control other people.

All this was involved on that morning when I promised myself a donut. But I was willing to allow God to empower me to take every thought captive to obey Christ. 

Kathy, if you continue to promise yourself this donut, by tomorrow morning, it’ll be even harder to resist. Praise God, I saw the lie and refused to be caught in Satan’s web.

As I studied the truth of 2 Corinthians 10:5, I began to envision any thought as an arrow headed toward my heart and mind. I could take each thought “captive” and examine it whether it aligns with Scripture and its the truth. Then I could reject the lie and receive the truth.

By commandeering our thoughts and evaluating them, asking for the Spirit’s power, we choose obedience, resulting in God’s power being seen by others—to his glory.

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How to Resist A Donut – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is passionate about teaching how to trust God more. The author of more than 55 books, one of her most recent is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. Her books include Bible studies, Bible commentaries, and Christian living topics like parenting, spiritual transformation, marriage, and God’s nature. She is a popular women’s conference speaker who has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

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

Join the conversation: Do you have a lie that keeps running through your mind?

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?