Monday, September 22, 2014
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
It's our final day visiting our seven-year-old grandson and he loves to create "worlds" on some computer game. Don't ask me about it; I don't have a clue. What kids can do these days! But he said something this morning that intrigued me.
As Raf began asking me to watch him play his video game, he mentioned, "I'm making a new world."
Grandpa (my husband) asked, "What happened to that other world you were making yesterday?"
Raf replied, "I got lost in it. So I'm making a new one."
We all chuckled thinking of how the creator got lost in his own creation.
I immediately thought, "I'm so glad God Almighty doesn't get lost in the world He created."
Yet I have to admit, sometimes it feels like He's lost--even in the world He created. When my faith is weak or my trust is overwhelmed with doubt, I wonder if I have to find Him because he is wandering around lost. Does He know what He's doing?
For instance, next week I'm scheduled to leave to speak in China and be gone for two weeks. Over the last week my 88-year-old mom's health has deteriorated to the point that we don't know what the future holds. My brother and sister and I are a great team but they live at a distance and it's sacrificial for them to come take over (my mom lives near me).
When in a moment of doubt I wonder if God got His schedule confused about how He had lead me, it feels like God is lost. Only meditating on God's omniscience--how He knows everything--and isn't forgetful has kept me relaxed. I don't know what God is doing behind the scene but He's not lost. He knows exactly what He's doing and,,,
The will accomplish what concerns me;
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I know a lot has been said about the devastation of the suicide of Robin Williams. Any of us who are fans of his talented work have grieved knowing that we will not enjoy his talent again. A few days after the announcement, I overheard in the grocery story, a woman commenting to her friend, "I just don't understand how anyone could take their own life."
I didn't hear all the conversation but I was tempted to become a part of it. Because I almost took my own life. I wanted to express to the woman that anyone, if they are hopeless enough might consider suicide as the only possibility for relieving the pain. And of course, suicide is Satan's wicked tool for all sorts of destruction to that person and those who love him or her.
I can only give credit to God for saving my life from that destruction. It was many years ago now--about 38 years, in fact--and I hated my life, was deeply depressed, and took my depression and anger out on my toddler daughter. I was a Christian yet my prayers for relief seemed unheard. I was praying for an instantaneous deliverance of my anger; it wasn't until later that I realized God would answer that prayer but through a process of growth.
But my despair in the meantime brought me to the point that one day as Larry left for work being a policeman, he said, "I have to leave my off-duty service revolver today; it's in the dresser drawer. Make sure Darcy doesn't get a hold of it." Thankfully, there was little danger of that since the drawer was far too high for a two-year-old.
Larry had no idea of the degree of my problem. He was seldom home and that was one of many sources of my anger. My hopelessness was largely fueled by that rocky relationship and how I feared I would kill our toddler in my next rage. I'd already choked her and was completely out of control. My tortured thoughts became, "If I don't kill myself, I'm going to kill Darcy. Better I'm gone than she."
So that day after I mistreated her again, I remembered the gun in the dresser and pulled open the drawer door. The gun seemed to glint at me, as if beckoning me to use it. It seemed to offer peace from the pain and safety for our daughter.
But then one thought entered my mind, "What will people think of Jesus if they hear Kathy Miller has taken her life?"
That thought stopped me that day because even though I didn't care about my reputation, I did care about Jesus' reputation. The gun no longer glinted and I closed the dresser drawer.
In time, God delivered me little by little from my anger, brought peace within our home by me becoming a calm mother, healed the relationship between Larry and I, and opened doors for sharing my story which began my ministry.
I don't know what compelled Robin Williams to take his life. I don't know why I responded to the Holy Spirit's leading, but I do know how someone can take their own life. At the time, even though suicide is the most selfish thing you can do, someone can easily be persuaded that it's actually the only way and the best way for everyone.
How like our Enemy!
Yes, I can relate to the helplessness, despair and depression that can cause a suicide. But I also know that there is always hope and help with God.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Jeanie: Please send me your email address and mailing address privately to Kathyspeak AT aol DOT com. I will pass it along to Kay so that she can send you your autographed copy. Please also let us know who you want the book autographed to.
Now for this post's content:
As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (NASB)
Commentator Gill writes, "The Jews use this comparison of a man to a reed, in a sense just the reverse, and make it to signify constancy, and not inconstancy, as well as tenderness, in opposition to roughness, severity, and stubbornness." (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible.)
As for the reed itself, there are a few possibilities of reeds known to be available during that time. Maybe Jesus and the crowd were in close proximity to a pond, lake, or body of water with a kind of reed. I often think Jesus refers to the area around Him and His listeners more often than we realize.
As for the reed itself, there are several possibilities. One kind of known reed in the area is described by J. Macgragor who penned a book in 1869:
"There is first a lateral trunk, lying on the water and half-submerged. This is sometimes as thick as a man's body, and from its lower side hang innumerable string-like roots from three to five feet long, and of a deep purple colour .... These pendent roots... retard much of the surface-current where the papyrus grows. On the upper surface of the trunks the stems grow alternately in oblique rows; their thickness at the junction is often four inches, and their height fifteen feet, gracefully tapering until at the top is a little round knob, with long, thin brown, wire-like hairs eighteen inches long, which rise and then, recurving, hang about it in a thyrsus-shaped head."
He also says, "The whole jungle of papyrus was floating upon the water, and so the waves raised by the breeze were rocking the green curtain to and fro."
There was also "a most curious hissing, grinding, bustling sound, that was heard like waves upon a shingly beach" as "the papyrus stems were rubbing against each other as they nodded out and in."
(The Rob Roy on the Jordan, Nile, Red Sea & Gennesareth, &c. : a canoe cruise in Palestine and Egypt, and the waters of Damascus).
If that was the kind of reed Jesus referred to, then maybe John's voice sounded like those reeds rubbing against each other.
Pulpit Commentary has this opinion:
"It is, however, much more probable that the reed referred to was "the Arundo donax, a very tall cane, growing twelve feet high, with a magnificent panicle of blossom at the top, and so slender and yielding that it will lie perfectly flat under a gust of wind, and immediately resume its upright position." It grows especially on the western side of the Dead Sea." (Natural History of the Bible).
I personally find these ideas fascinating and I hope you do too.
But regardless of what reed or sound Jesus is referring to, the most important thing is that Jesus wanted to impress upon the people to examine their motives. If we're going to church or some event just to get a thrill, or for any other impure motive (visiting with friends or wanting to be seen as good?) then we need to change our heart. We will indeed be held accountable for what we hear and the actions we take. It's a hard message to hear but a good reminder.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Are you only looking for a thrill?
A few days ago, I talked about how Jesus "had John the Baptist's back." Remember the story? Here's how the story continues:
"As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to see?'" (Matthew 11:7).
- This doesn't work for me.
- I don't feel it.
- It's not my style.
- I'm not getting anything out of this.
Do you believe God can speak to you anywhere?
Is this about you getting your needs met or about worshiping and praising God?
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
In Kay's Book You Will Learn…
- How to Identify Symptoms of Anger—Anger issues show themselves in multiple ways. To overcome it, you need to recognize how you express anger.
- The Importance of Dealing with Anger at the Root—You can stop being mad all the time if you take care of the root issues of anger—hurt, pride, jealousy, guilt, bitterness….
- Practical Ways for Overcoming Anger—To gain freedom from anger, learn through practical application how to apply God’s answers to your life.
Friday, August 8, 2014
I want to defend myself and not be misunderstood. How about you? Can we believe that God wants to protect our reputations—that Jesus "has our back"? Tweet That!
I remember many years ago when I was scheduled to speak at a mom's group at a major church. I then received a call from the Director of Women's Ministries of that church and she explained that they had realized that I was a retreat speaker. She wanted to "save" me to speak at their women's retreat instead of having me speak at the mom's group. I could see their reasoning but I would have preferred doing both (though I didn't say it). She closed the conversation saying she would call back when they were ready to schedule me for their women's retreat. I sensed something more was going on, but I couldn't think of any appropriate way to ask. We said goodbye and somehow I sensed I'd never hear from her again. I didn't.
My fears about my reputation started haunting me. All sorts of fears went through my mind. Had they heard some lie about me that had besmirched my reputation? Was there another Kathy Miller who had divorced her husband and they thought that was me? Had someone said something was bad about my speaking? Did they disagree with something I'd said in one of my books? Would they talk about me to other churches? All sorts of things haunted me.
The situation seemed totally out of my control. I debated whether I should call her back and try to ask what was really going on. But I hate confrontation and I fear saying the wrong thing that might make things even worse. I know that is one of my weaknesses and a more assertive person might make such a call easily. But I couldn't figure out what I would even say. Should I say, "What have you heard about me?"
I ended up only praying about the situation. Whether God wanted me to say or do more, I couldn't clearly decide, but I did know God was in control and would "cover my back."
That's one of the many messages we could receive from the passage of Matthew 11. John the Baptist is imprisoned and hears about Jesus' activities. He sends his disciples to inquire of Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” The problem is they ask in front of the crowd who is gathered to hear Jesus. And the conversation is not really very complementary about John. The questions of John's disciples could come across as John not having the faith to believe Jesus is the Messiah.
Then the best thing happens. Jesus defends John. The passage tells us: "As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: 'What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind?... Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!'" (Matthew 11:7,11 NASB).
Jesus defends John to the crowd. He "has John's back." He doesn't want the crowd to think ill of John because of the gentle rebuke Jesus had told John's disciples to pass along to John. The "rebuke" was,
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." (Matthew 11:4-6).When you think your reputation is in danger, know that Jesus can "cover your back." He can defend you. Jesus will not leave you defenseless. Tweet That! You may not even be there as John was not there to defend himself.
I think there are several reasons Jesus defended John the Baptist publicly and verbally:
1. To defend the integrity of John's reputation so that the crowd wouldn't think ill of him.
2. To defend the integrity of John's reputation so that those who listened to him and believed would not have their faith diminished.
3. To give John's enemies less fuel to attack John's reputation and ministry.
4. To prevent people from thinking less of John's God as if God couldn't "keep" him strong in his faith.
5. To teach people that a person can fluctuate in their faith and it doesn't mean they've lost their faith.
Jesus' protected John's reputation. Even now, after so many years, the thought of the way Jesus protected John comforts me. I think of that situation about the speaking engagement and I tell myself, "Jesus knew the situation and what caused the reversal. For whatever reason, He choose not to allow me to know or to change the result. I must trust in that."
There might be times when we will speak up because God wants us to defend ourselves. Other times, we must trust that, like He did with John, He will defend us without our involvement.
Are you facing the fear, worry, or concern of your reputation being maligned? Or maybe you don't know if it's happening—but you wonder? You and I can trust whatever Jesus decides to do. He has our back!