Kidmin Leader Devosby Katrina Miller
Who Are You Led By?
by Katrina Miller
Wouldn’t it be odd if you arrived home from work and you just stood in the foyer of your house all night instead of going inside? In the same sense in our relationship with God, wouldn’t we be missing out on somethings if we didn’t enter into all that our position in Christ offers? We don’t just stay “at the door” when we receive Christ, but we are to enter in and walk in what He provides for us. Gal. 5:25 says ” If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The Galatians were new converts and embraced the new life found in Christ but they only had one foot in the door because they allowed false teachers to lead them into legalism and the belief that they can only be saved by following the law of Moses in addition to their faith in Christ. Gal. 4:9 says “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?”
God doesn’t ask us to do something we aren’t equipped to do, but rather supplies all we need to walk in the Spirit. The Galatians didn’t tap into this in their walk but rather were led astray by the controversy of their day. Paul was saying stop! You are in the Kingdom now and walk according to the Kingdom’s ways, by my Spirit.
How about us today? We’ve embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ but what is the guiding force directing our steps in our everyday lives? The Galatian’s guiding force was false, legalistic teachings instead of the Spirit of God. Are our feelings, emotions, circumstances, other people’s opinions guiding us, or are we led by the Spirit of God?
Let’s not be like the Galatians who couldn’t go “all in” because they were led by something other than the Spirit of God, rather let’s follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and enter in. He knows the way.
Christ Formed in You
by Katrina Miller
Throughout our lives, we constantly develop and grow through all the stages of life. With our parent’s help, we grew from a baby to a young child to the grown adults we are today. Did you know that when we become Christians we start off like a little child and then we grow and mature spiritually throughout our lives as well?
The apostle Paul talks about spiritual maturity and immaturity to the church at Corinth in 1 Cor. 3:2: “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able.” When a baby is born, they can only drink milk, but as they mature, they gradually transition to solid food. The same is true when someone is born of the spirit, or born again. We start as babies in Christ and drink foundation truths and as we mature, we feed on God’s Word.
Just as a baby wouldn’t be left alone to fend for themselves, when someone is born spiritually they too need a spiritual father or mother to walk with them and pray them through the developmental stages as well. The apostle Paul in Galatians 4:19 did just that as he prayed for the new converts he was discipling; “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.” As great as a preacher that Paul was, he didn’t leave new converts alone to fend for themselves. Rather, he labored and travailed in prayer for them, that Christ would be formed in them so they wouldn’t remain spiritual infants. They needed to be rooted and grounded in their new relationship with God for the success of the gospel to be carried on to the next generations.
In our lives today, who are we fervently praying for, that Christ would be formed in them? Do we look at discipleship as a conveyor belt of processes and procedures that we put new converts on, or do we get on our knees and pray for Christ to be formed in them? Who are WE being a “Paul” to?
Our Root Determines Our Fruit
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever pulled a weed out of your garden and not only the part above the surface comes out, but the long root that hid beneath the soil as well? I’m happy when this happens because once the root is removed, the weed will never return.
Consider your life as a beautiful garden, but due to the fallen world we live in, the god of this world tries to plant bad seeds in our soil. However, we have a choice of what vegetation we allow to grow. Heb. 12:15 “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
When a bitter root is left to grow, it won’t produce good fruit in our lives. Bitterness and jealously aren’t just innocent ” thoughts” we may have, but are actually like a weed, and if not uprooted early, they will grow and eventually “cause trouble and defile many”.
As we tidy up the garden of our hearts and pull a few weeds out here and there, do we wonder why the weeds keep growing back? Perhaps it is because what was seen above the surface was clipped off without removing the root of the problem and eventually it grew back.
It is critical that we quickly uproot bad thoughts and attitudes in their infant stages before they get lodged in our hearts. James 1:14-15 shows the progression of sin as an example: “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” It is easier to pluck out a tiny weed than it is to cut down a tree that is a century old.
It is important that we not only get rid of the appearance of bad things in our lives and what people see on the surface but explore deep down in our hearts what we are rooted in because “our root determines our fruit.”
The Harvest is Plentiful, but the Laborers are Few
by Katrina Miller
I love to read about communities that come together to help a neighboring farmer in need during harvest time. You may have seen pictures of combines plowing row upon row, working together to harvest a field in record time.
Did you know that God has a field to be harvested also and is looking for laborers? There are souls ready to hear the Good News of the Kingdom of God but how will they hear if no one tells them? (Romans 10:14). Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38 “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
This verse in Matthew doesn’t say the need is to pray for a ripe crop but to pray for laborers to go out and bring in the harvest. How do we become good laborers? Just as farmers prepare for the harvest, there are steps that we can take to prepare also.
First, the farmer prepares by watching the crop until it is mature and ready for harvest. For us, we can learn how to witness and share our faith by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and discerning when to say something and how to say it. Everyone is different and in different seasons of their lives. 1 Cor.3:6 says ” I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” When we share the gospel with others, we are planting a seed, and others may water and harvest it, but it is God that makes it grow.
The farmer also prepares by getting their equipment ready, not on the day of the harvest, but beforehand. We need to maintain our walk with God by having daily time with Him and listening to His voice. He will then direct and guide us to the hearts that He has prepared.
May we be alert and aware that there is a harvest field waiting for us and make it our prayer each day “Here am I, send me.” Isaiah 6:8b.
The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever been overcome with emotion, so much that you couldn’t function? As much as you tried, you couldn’t find the strength to rise up, throw some water on your face and snap out of it.
We see in Nehemiah 8:9-10 the Israelites were overcome with emotion and couldn’t bring themselves to celebrate the Holy Day, referred to today as Rosh Hashanah: “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The Israelites had recently returned home from 70 years of captivity and as they listened to Ezra read from the Book of the Law of Moses, they wept and were overcome with emotion. Perhaps this was due to the realization of how far they drifted away from God during their captivity and they thought they would never see the day again when they would hear the Book of the Law read to them.
The Spirit of God was moving on their hearts and as they came home to a land, their hearts were coming home to their God. There was sorrow and brokenness over where they have been, but joy was waiting to get them to where they needed to be. As the Israelites responded to Nehemiah’s words, we read in verse 12; they went their way and rejoiced greatly because “they understood the words that were declared to them.”
The Israelite’s had an “aha” moment and shifted gears from sorrow to joy. It wasn’t based on feelings, but based on a decision to step out of themselves and tap into God. The pure joy came from within their hearts as they put their focus on their God and understood His Words, and this joy was the very strength they needed to get out of that place of sorrow.
How about you today? Have you had your “aha” moment?
The Father's Heartbeat
by Katrina Miller
Imagine watching the Superbowl on your big screen television and just as a touchdown is about to happen, a breaking news bulletin flashes in and blares an important message across the screen, interrupting the play.
Switching channels to today, how many of us are inconvenienced by God interrupting our show? Do we have dreams we want to live out but there are signs of bible prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes that are blaring and flashing messages on our screen? Instead of stopping what we are doing and listening, do we point our remote controller at the TV and frantically try to change the channel to tune the message out so we can go on with our lives as planned?
Have we sabotaged God’s Kingdom in our attempt to live out our own agenda and purposes for our lives? The church is commissioned to go out and make disciples and share the Good News, the Gospel message of forgiveness and love that is beaming from the Father’s Heart (Matt. 28:19-20). The world needs to hear that although “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), they are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
John 3:16 says ” For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” If we don’t speak, they won’t hear and have the opportunity to repent and receive eternal life. There is an urgency in this hour for believers to wake up and share the redemptive message of Christ.
Winning souls and bringing in the end-time harvest is of the utmost importance to our Father’s Heart. We can make God’s priorities our priorities by submitting our hearts to the Lord and consecrating ourselves to Him.
It isn’t too late to turn our focus back to our Heavenly Father and listen to His heartbeat for the lost and share His message that is blaring across the screens of our hearts. There are souls that are depending on it.
by Katrina Miller
In a classroom setting, there is an instructor and a student and each has different responsibilities. The instructor’s responsibility is to teach the subject matter in such a way that the students will understand. The student’s responsibility is to listen, learn, and receive this wisdom and instruction. Psalms 32:8-9 is an example of this; “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.”
We are exhorted in 32:9 to not learn like the horse or mule because, in their ignorance, they lack understanding and fight and resist instruction, and have to be harnessed for the trainer to get near.
What about you. Are you teachable and going the way He guides you? Or do you resist and fight against His instruction? Proverbs 14:12 says: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” We have a limited view but the God who is guiding us with His eye has an aerial view and can see things that we don’t. He is omniscient, which means all-knowing. Wouldn’t we want to trust His wisdom and insight over ours? Most would say yes, but do we really trust His wisdom when pressed in a hard situation?
When we walk beside the Lord and listen to His instruction and teaching He orders our steps, and if we fall He is right there to catch us as a parent catches their child learning to walk. Psalms 37:23-24 says “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
We have the best teacher in the universe and all we need to do is show up to class and listen and learn.
Our Father God Who Always Hears
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever flown in an airplane and during takeoff you couldn’t hear a single thing until your ears popped? You tried talking, yawning, and chewing gum in an effort to pop the pressure in your ears so you could hear again. Even when you couldn’t hear yourself talk, others could still hear you. The same can be true with our communication with God. When we can’t hear Him, He can still hear us and is always listening.
When we come to the realization that God can hear us, even when we can’t hear Him, how would this change our relationship with Him and our prayer life? Would we be saying the same things? Would we trust Him even more, knowing He is there and listening to every prayer and petition we ask? God not only hears us but takes action to answer our prayers. It may not always be in our timing, but know from day one, He hears and is devising a plan to help us.
Psalms 34:17 says: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
Just as parents incline their ear to their child’s cries, God inclines His ear to us and is always within earshot of our voice. He comes near to comfort us and will never leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5).
When I was attending a prayer meeting as a young Christian years ago, God impressed on someone’s heart these words to share with me: “Trust me my child, do not despair, I am with you, even when you are not aware. I will never leave or forsake you.” I still cherish these words to this day.
We have His attention. He values us and listens even when we aren’t aware. What are we saying? He hears.
The God Who Answers By Fire
by Katrina Miller
When preparing for a bonfire, most people start by gathering dry wood, paper, and kindling sticks before throwing a match into the fire pit. But not Elijah. In 1 Kings 18:20-40, he drenched the wood with water and didn’t intend to use a match to ignite it. The only match was the one he was in with Ahab on Mount Carmel to see whose God would answer by fire. Verse 24 says “Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God….”
Ahab went first and called on the name of his god Baal all day until the evening, but nothing happened, not even a spark. (1 Kings 18:26).
Now it was Elijah’s turn to call on the name of his Lord. 1 Kings 18:36b-37 says “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
God heard Elijah’s cry out to Him and answered him. 1 Kings 18:38 says “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.” Verse 39 goes on to say “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord He is God!”
God wants to manifest in our lives, not so we get the glory, but so others will see that He is Lord. Elijah’s firepit drenched in water looked like the least likely to succeed until God’s fire hit it.
How about us? If we are “drenched” in adverse circumstances, just remember, this is setting God up to show Himself strong on our behalf. Trust Him. He will answer.
The Just Shall Live By Faith
by Katrina Miller
Romans 1:16-17 says: ” For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Quoting Habakkuk 2:4, Paul exhorts believers, who were saved by faith, to keep living by this faith as they continue in their day-to-day Christian life. This implies that our Christian walk is a series of faith steps that continues throughout our lives. We don’t just stand still once we are saved as if we stepped onto a moving walkway at the airport to get us to our final destination. We have to apply our faith to every situation we are faced with, and believe God’s Word first and foremost in our lives.
Faith is trusting and having confidence in something we don’t always see or feel. God has given us promises in His Word, but for them to be a reality in our life, we have to receive them.
“The just shall live by faith.” If we don’t live by faith, what do we live by? What are the other options? Perhaps we could say “Believers who don’t believe, walk-in mistrust towards God’s promises in His Word and they never become a reality in their lives.”
To grow in the things of God, living by faith and trusting is foundational to receiving answered prayer:
- Mark 11:24 says “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you received it, and it will be yours.”
- Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
By faith, we received our salvation, and by faith, we walk it out, for the just shall live by faith. If we don’t live by faith, what are we living by?
by Katrina Miller
Do you remember playing with glow sticks as a kid? To make it glow, you snapped the stick so the chemicals inside would mix. Then you ran throughout the house looking for all of the dark places you could shine in.
The same can be said of us. As Christians, we carry God’s light and presence to a dark world, but until we are broken of ourselves, His light can’t fully shine through. God uses brokenness in our lives to harness our strengths so they can shine as He intended.
I think of a horse and how it needs to be broken before it can follow directions and carry a rider. The horse has strength and power, but if left unbroken, the horse’s strength will become a weakness because it is too wild to safely ride on.
During the seasons of brokenness we all go through, there is a natural refining that takes place that positions our hearts to be contrite and humble. Where there was once “bucking”, there is now calmness and the ability to receive direction from “the trainer”.
Isaiah 57:15b says “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” A contrite and humble heart provides the right environment for God to dwell in, for He is drawn to a heart that is repentant, not arrogant or proud and is surrendered to Him.
Psalms 147:3 says ” He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” We don’t go through brokenness only to be tossed into a landfill as a broken toy, but rather to be revived as our Heavenly Father ministers to our deepest needs and holds us in the palm of His hand.
His light shines through our brokenness. Embrace it and don’t be afraid to be broken, for it is in this place that His presence is ever so near.
Zoe, the God Kind of Life
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever heard someone say that something took the life out of them? It may have been a challenging situation that took all of the energy and stamina they had to get through it, and it left them depleted and empty.
This saying makes me think of an electric air pump that is used to inflate an air mattress. It has two settings; one to inflate and another to deflate. One direction pumps air into the mattress and brings life to it, the other pulls the air out and leaves it empty.
We can choose what setting we attach to in our own lives. If we choose sin, we will be attaching to death and it will eventually suck the life right out of us. If we choose life and connect to Jesus by believing in Him, He will pour life into us and make us whole. John 20:31 says “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
One of the Greek words for life in the bible is Zoe and means divine life or the God kind of life. The God who created the universe sent His Son to us so He could share His divine life (Zoe) with us. When we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we flip the switch on and He fills us with Zoe, His life. (John 10:10 ” I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”)
When we receive His life, we receive God’s nature and are a new creation. 2 Cor. 5:17 says that: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
It is our choice. Will we connect to Christ and be filled with His divine life, or connect to what will leave us depleted?
Following His Voice
by Katrina Miller
Does your prayer closet ever look like an interrogation room? In this room, you are the one doing all of the talking in your attempt to get God to speak. You use every technique possible in the book as you beg and plead for Him to speak and move in your life, but all you hear is silence.
God is faithful and will direct and guide us, but often trust, waiting, and faith is involved. We are to know without a shadow of a doubt that our Heavenly Father is always watching and directing every step, even when we don’t see or feel Him.
I think of the Israelites in Exodus 40: 36-37. They didn’t move forward in the wilderness until the glory cloud of the Lord moved above the tabernacle: “36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up.”
Just as God led the Israelites in the wilderness with the glory cloud, He leads us today with His voice, and we are to wait and move with Him and not get ahead of Him. John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Often I say this declaration: “I know my Father’s voice, and no other voice will I follow.” This positions and aligns my heart to stay on His path for me. I am affirming that I do know my Father’s voice, and will I follow Him and no other, and when I can’t hear Him as loud and clear as I do at other times, I keep trusting, knowing He is there, and I wait on His leading before I move. I know that He will “never leave or forsake me” as Hebrews 13:5 says, and He will “lead and guide me into all truth” John 16:13.
by Katrina Miller
If someone continues to drive a car with low motor oil, eventually they will end up with a blown engine because without oil, the engine will seize up. The oil provides the necessary component for the pistons and cylinders to function properly in the engine block.
The same is true for us. Do we attempt to do life and ministry in our own power, strength, and ability and run dry? In the bible, oil is a metaphor representing the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. The anointing is to us what oil is to a car and just as the car needs oil, we need the anointing in our lives to be operational and effective.
What is the anointing? It is God doing through people what we couldn’t do on our own. It is an empowering by the Holy Spirit in believer’s lives to carry on the works of Jesus on the earth today. He equips us for what we are called to do. We just have to simply yield to Him.
As Jesus was beginning His earthly ministry, He was anointed. We read in Luke 4:18-19, 21 that Jesus stood in the synagogue and read the prophecy from Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord… And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
Jesus had to be anointed to do what He did on this earth, and so do we. 2 Cor. 1:21-22 says “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
What level is your oil? Are you ignoring the check engine warning light? As you take the time to stop, pause, and yield, the Holy Spirit will empower you and anoint you to go into your mission field with all cylinders in full operation.
I Know Whom I Have Believed
by Katrina Miller
While imprisoned, Paul made a powerful statement in 2 Timothy 1:12 “I know whom I have believed.” It is one thing to believe in someone, but another thing to truly know them. When you really KNOW someone, it changes what you BELIEVE about them.
For example, have you ever had a first impression of someone, and once you got to know them, you saw them in a whole new light because you saw their heart and character? You developed a respect and a trust for that person.
The same is true in our relationship with God. As we mature from merely believing in Him to truly knowing Him as Paul did in 2 Tim. 1:12:
- We will not only see Him differently but will trust His Word in a greater capacity.
- We will be “fully persuaded that what God has promised, He will perform.” Romans 4:21.
- We will stand on Him like a rock and not be moved. Psalms 62:6 “He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will not be shaken.”
God’s Word is packed full of promises and serves as a foundation to stand on in the storms of life. Just as we have to get to know someone in order to believe and trust their words, we have to truly know God in order to trust what He said in His Word.
Our faith isn’t meant to change as our circumstances and environment change. Since His Word is consistent, we too will be consistent when we stand on it at all times. Anchor yourself in the Word and hold on to the truth with a tenacity and you will weather the storms in life.
Putting these verses together make up a prayerful declaration: “I know Him whom I have believed and I put my confidence and trust in Him. I am fully persuaded that what God has promised, He will perform. I stand on Him, my rock and I am anchored in Him and not shaken when the storms of life come my way.”
Give What You Have
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever noticed someone in need around you and you were hesitant to help because you thought what you had to offer was insignificant? Did you offer it anyways? That is what the disciples did in Mark 6:35-44 when they offered Jesus only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 5,000 people. They identified a need but their resources came up short and they were unable to meet it. The disciples even tried to send the multitudes away to the neighboring villages to eat, before Jesus redirected them and said they were to feed them.
Jesus had a plan. He knew He was going to take whatever amount of food they had, and then look to His Heavenly Father to bless it and He would supply what was lacking. Verse 41-42 tells us “And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.”
Jesus saw something the disciples didn’t. He knew His Heavenly Father had sufficient resources and if they could only trust Him and give what they had, He would take their insufficiency and make it sufficient.
What do you have that you feel is insignificant? Don’t wait for perfection before you offer it up to your Heavenly Father. We are constantly growing and learning and never will be perfect until we are in heaven.
Often I make this my prayer “Father, I give to you my fish and bread. Please take and multiply it, and use it to meet the needs of those around me.” In this prayer, I am offering my gifts, talents, and heart to my Heavenly Father for those that are starving for the bread of life.
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever used a fax machine? It is a means to transmit documents from one location to another using a phone line. A long beep indicates the fax machine is connecting to another fax machine and getting ready to receive and print out what is being transmitted. If the fax machine was already in use, the sender would get a busy signal.
How about you? What signal does God get when He tries to send you a message and speak to your heart? Does He get a busy signal because the line is tied up and connected to something else?
To clear the line, we have to practice being still and incline our ear to listen. It takes discipline to tune out the many voices and opinions bombarding us from all directions. It is important that we learn to not only listen, but to listen to HIS voice. Can you imagine your fax machine tapping into and printing out random conversations rather than the phone number that was dialed? We have to be intentional in our listening and hone into our Heavenly Father’s voice. This is crucial to our faith journey as we follow Him. John 10:27 says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Listening and hearing are two different things. For example, kids playing outside may hear you when you call them in for dinner, but do they listen and come in? When you listen, there is a sense of receiving the message, processing and responding to it.
Just as the fax machines connect when one machine sends and the other receives, God desires to connect with us and have fellowship. Is He getting through or getting the busy signal? He always has an open line for us.
Revelation 2:7 says “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” God is speaking. Are we listening?
Pressing Toward The Mark
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever watched a track event? All the runners line up at the starting line with the goal of being the first one to cross the finish line and win the prize. How they run determines if they will finish the race, take the prize or be disqualified. To get from start to finish successfully, they have to aim for the finish line, and then with determination and perseverance, they run. This reminds me of Paul in Phil 3:14 when he wrote: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
To press toward means to “exert a deliberate, maximum effort for the purpose of reaching or attaining something,” When we press toward the mark we don’t look back, but instead go forward in an eager pursuit.
We all have marks or goals that we are aiming at in our life. Are we going after them in an “eager pursuit” or are we drifting after them as if we were floating in a lazy pool hoping we achieve them? The fact that we are to “press in” reveals there is a current flowing in the opposite direction to pull us out. We need a tenacity to walk against it.
The women with the issue of blood in Mark 5:25-31 walked against the current of the crowd, pressing through the people, to get to Jesus and touch the hem of His garment. She wanted her healing so bad she didn’t care what anyone thought about how she looked. She set her mark, her aim on Jesus and with every ounce of tenacity, she reached out and touched the very edge of His garment, and she was healed!
When we want something bad enough, we will press in to touch Him and won’t let anything stop us. We will run with a tenacity, not a lackadaisical attitude. How are you running?
Taste and See That The Lord is Good
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever tried feeding a child who isn’t hungry or wouldn’t eat because the food didn’t have enough sugar on it? You may have soon discovered that if they aren’t hungry, they won’t eat. They clamp their mouth shut so tight, that even a drop of water couldn’t seep through. Parents may even try to coerce them to eat by telling them if they don’t eat they won’t grow big and strong.
We as adults can be the same way with the Word of God. If we aren’t hungry, or if it doesn’t have sugar on top, we won’t eat it. But we need to eat and have a balanced diet in the Word to grow spiritually. We can’t pick and choose what scriptures we want to “digest” as if we were picking and choosing from a bowl of M&M’s.
Reading and applying scriptures to our lives is to be a delight, not a drudgery because the Word brings life. Psalms 1:2-3 says “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
To delight in the law of the Lord is to cherish and place so much value on the Word of God that we choose to meditate and think about it continually. We are to “stop, pause and ponder” these truths and absorb them into every fiber of our being, just like the tree’s roots absorb the river’s water so it can flow throughout every fiber of the tree, bringing with it the needed nourishment for growth.
Let’s not become uprooted, but rather let us put our roots down in good soil as we delight in and meditate on the Word of God. Psalms 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. You won’t be disappointed.
David & His Slingshot
by Katrina Miller
When you were a kid, did you ever try walking around the house in a pair of your parent’s shoes? With every step you took there was an awkward clunk, and after tripping a few times you decided you couldn’t walk in them and put your shoes on and ran outside to play. You discovered that nothing fits as good as what is made just for you.
David, a young shepherd boy, seemed to know this as well as he prepared to go to battle against a 9 ft. giant named Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:38-40. At first, David set aside his shepherd’s clothing and slingshot and put on King Saul’s armor and weapons. When David couldn’t walk without an awkward clunk, he quickly realized that he didn’t fit into someone else’s armor. He didn’t try to make it fit, but rather took it off so he could put his clothes back on that were sized to fit him. He chose to fight this battle as his authentic self, with the slingshot that he used to defeat many lions and bears that tried to attack his sheep.
Often we may try to fit into something that looks good on someone else and we clunk around trying to walk in it. However, our true effectiveness comes when we walk in who God made us to be. David could have easily replaced his clothing and weapons with the finest that Israel had to offer, but he chose to put on and trust what God had given him, not man.
We are uniquely made and equipped for what we are called to do and aren’t to compare ourselves to someone else. 2 Corinthians 10:12 b says that those “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” David held his head up high in the midst of being different from the army of Israel and walked in his unique giftings.
Don’t ever underestimate what God has given you. David’s shepherd bag and slingshot weren’t as shiny and brilliant as Saul’s armor, but it is what won the battle.
by Katrina Miller
A barley plant is ripe for harvest when it’s seed head droops low, and bows forward. The bow is also foundational in some cultures, symbolizing respect and honor.
We can posture our hearts, like the barley plant, and show respect to others. To respect is “to have due regard, proper care, and concern, for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”
When we respect someone, we value and listen to them. When we disrespect someone, we show a “lack of courtesy.” We can’t respect and disrespect at the same time. James 3:10-11 says “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” Disrespect muddies the water of respect. What is flowing out of us towards others?
We can turn the tide when we sow seeds of respect. Everything listed in Proverbs 6:16-19 that the Lord hates and is an abomination to Him can be eliminated when we truly have respect for others: When we respect, we won’t be prideful and exalt ourselves, but will lift others up and put them first. We won’t lie to them, or murder the innocent. Our hearts will be honest and truthful and we will walk uprightly, and not run to evil. We will speak the truth, not falsehood or sow discord.
Respect is bred and grows in the soil of love. 1 John 4:20 says ” If someone says, ” I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen how can he love God who he has not seen?” Love is foundational for respect.
We don’t have to agree with someone to respect them. It is easy to respect someone you agree with, but how about respecting someone different from you?
Just as the barley plant grows in good soil and bows when it reaches maturity, we too can show signs of maturity in our faith when our hearts bow in respect for one another’s “feelings, wishes, rights, and traditions.”
by Katrina Miller
As we approach Pentecost Sunday, I’m reminded of Luke 24:49 “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Have you ever stayed home all day because you were expecting a package in the mail and you didn’t want to miss the delivery driver when he arrived? Similarly, Jesus was getting ready to send a gift the Father promised to the disciples, and they needed to stay put in Jerusalem to receive it.
However, it wasn’t a normal delivery, but one of high priority that would change the way the disciples shared the gospel going forward. It was the beginning of the grand finale after Jesus’s ascension, for the church was about to be empowered to carry on the ministry of Jesus through this gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit; (Acts 1:5).
After waiting for several days, the delivery came. There wasn’t even a knock on the door. Acts 2:2-4 records, ” And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
We can hear this “sound from heaven” today also! It might not be in a rushing mighty wind, but perhaps in a still small voice (1Kings 19:12) because this promise has our address stamped on it also. Acts 2:39 ” For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” The promise was given, but we have to receive, and not return to sender.
Have you opened your package yet? Those around you will know, because they can see what you are “clothed in.”
What Are You Conforming To?
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever been in a situation where you conformed to something by going along with the crowd? Kind of like when a strong wind comes and trees sway as they conform to the pattern of the wind.
As things sway around us from the current of the world, do we conform to it, or lean in a different direction? In our walk with God, there will be times when a gust of wind comes along and tries to sway us, pulling us into thought patterns away from the place of peace. Romans 12:2a tells us: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It may be something you hear in the news or a mindset conveyed on social media that dislodges your peace and swirls you into anger and frustration.
As Christians, we don’t conform our thoughts and actions to the ways of the kingdom that we were delivered from. Rather, we are to conform to the patterns of the Kingdom of God, and we do this by renewing our minds. To conform is simply to be in agreement or harmony with something. We renew our minds when our thoughts come in agreement and are in harmony with what the Word of God says, rather than what our natural senses say.
As a result of renewing our minds, we will have the strength to stand against the sway of the wind. When we know who we are in Christ, and our authority, we can change the course of the wind and speak to it to be still as Jesus did in Mark 4:39.
So let me ask, what are your thoughts conforming to and influenced by? It will determine the direction of your sway.
by Katrina Miller
Have you ever skipped a stone across the surface of a lake and watched in amazement as it defied the law of gravity as it skimmed across the water?
In the same sense, can you imagine the disciples in Matthew 14:29-31 watching in amazement as Peter and Jesus walked on water, also defying the law of gravity? Verse 29 says that Peter got out of the boat and “walked on the water towards Jesus.” He, with Jesus, superseded the natural law of gravity, “departing from what is usual or normal, and transcended a law of nature.” When they walked on the water, they walked in the supernatural.
Do we as Christians back away from the supernatural because we are afraid of it, or don’t understand it? As Peter was standing in the boat watching Jesus walk towards him on the water, he had a choice. He was either going to stay in the boat where it was dry and comfortable, or step out into the supernatural, in faith, and get out and join Him. He chose to step out, trusting Jesus, but then switched back to fear and doubt in mid-flight and began to sink. As Jesus caught him He said, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” In a sense, he was saying the supernatural (faith) held him up, and then gravity (doubt) brought him down.
Have you ever stepped out of the boat to walk in something God put in your heart to do?
Perhaps it was as simple as praying for a sick person. Did they receive their healing and feel better? If so, this is the supernatural in operation.
Is He speaking to your heart to step out? Do you hear His voice? It isn’t always in the loud boisterous wind, the earthquakes or fire, but it may be in a still, small, delicate voice. (1 Kings 19:11-13). However loud the voice may be, look for opportunities to step out and defy the law of gravity. You might just skip across the water in amazement!
by Katrina Miller
Staying connected is a common theme that could be woven throughout all churches, businesses, families, and individuals. As corporate settings were recently jolted into individualism with no goodbyes, groups found a way to reconfigure and they slowly emerged above the water’s surface and connected their floating life tubes together for the journey down the river.
Many groups and churches have found ways to connect, but how about you as an individual? Have you remained connected to your life source, or are you floating down the river by yourself and reaching out for any branch to cling to as the current tries to swirl you away?
Our Heavenly Father is extending a branch out to you and wants to reel you in and connect you to the True Vine. In John 15: 4-5 Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches, and as we abide in Him, we will bear fruit, and apart from Him, we can do nothing.
The branch is fully dependent on the vine for every ounce of its life; its food, water, and ability to bear fruit. To receive, the branch doesn’t flail its arms in strife, but rather sits still, trusts and abides in confidence as it draws life from the vine.
Staying connected to the source of life is imperative in all seasons to grow and produce fruit. If a branch is disconnected in the winter, it won’t produce fruit in the spring. Imagine a broken-off branch laying on the ground and thinking that one day it will be big and strong and produce fruit just like its parents did. I don’t think so!
As you stay connected to the large groups in your life, be sure you are also connected to the Vine. You will receive not only the life needed to sustain you, but you will also bear fruit to sustain others.
Listening During Uncharted Times
by Katrina Miller
Can you imagine being on an ark with Noah and all of the animals for 365 days? The smells, the sounds, the boredom. Although we aren’t on an ark, we can glean a few things from the story of Noah as we are weathering the Covid-19 storm.
When Noah entered the ark, he left behind a land clamoring with violence and corruption. After the waters receded and he stepped back onto land, he stepped into complete silence. How do we exit the ark without stepping back into the distractions and busyness that we left behind?
During our nation’s “force quit” many were thrown involuntarily into an unsuspecting rest. After struggling, humming and hawing, kicking and screaming we may have quieted down… and listened.
Some people have mentioned experiencing a new rhythm in their lives. I wonder if this rhythm sounds similar to the rhythm of the waves that gently guided the ark towards land after the storms subsided. For us today, it is in the quietness of these rhythms that we can hear not only our own voice but God’s as well.
What has He been speaking? What dreams are ready to be fulfilled? What has been brewing in your heart that is about to take shape? In our rest, we listen and are aligned to God’s priorities and His promises.
For us, the challenge isn’t being still when it is quiet all around, but remaining in that stillness when the hatch gradually opens to the clamoring noise and distractions waiting for us at the door.
Psalm 46:10a says “Be still, and know that I am God.” We can practice being still and keep our focus on Him as a tight rope walker whose eyes are fixed ahead as they take each step.
Distractions won’t go away by themselves. We have to intentionally turn them off and tune them out. Then we will hear in the silence what God has been trying to speak all along.
Imagine what would have happened if Noah didn’t listen, and obey…
Not Growing Weary
by Katrina Miller
During this season of being shut-in during the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t help but think about the movie “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks and Wilson the Soccer Ball. Recently, life as we knew it came to an abrupt stop and abandoned us on a deserted island. The only way to track time is to mark each passing day on the wall of our caves. As we wait for our communities to reopen and “rescue us”, it is challenging to not be weary.
However, it is important to stay strong now more than ever because how we finish one season determines how we enter the next one.
Let’s compare the current season we are in to a race. Do we want to crawl across the finish line scattered and frazzled with our hair in shambles like the mad scientist (well, the untamed hair may be a given for all of us!) or do we want to sprint across the finish line strong and refreshed?
We can finish strong when we wait on the Lord, like Isaiah 40:31 says: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
As polar-opposite as it may sound, to be propelled forward, we have to pull back. A toy Rubber Band Powered Car is a perfect illustration of this. It uses the energy from the stretched back rubber band to propel the car forward when the rubber band is released. The farther back you stretch the rubber band, the farther and faster the car will go.
In the days and weeks ahead, allow yourself to be stretched back and wait on the Lord. As you pull back and find that place of rest, He will impart strength to you. Then when the time comes, you will be released and propelled forward with power and strength like never before!
The Ephesians Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
by Katrina Miller
Ephesians 1:3 tells us that the Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. As rich as our inheritance is, it wouldn’t benefit us if we didn’t know what we inherited or how to access it. If you inherited something from a relative, you would go to an attorney’s office to hear the Will read. In the same sense, you go to your Heavenly Father to understand what He gave you.
Often we read about “heavenly places” in the New Testament. To understand and access what we can’t touch and see in the natural realm, we need our spiritual eyes to be enlightened and opened. The Ephesians prayer in 1:17-21 shows us how to pray for this:
Ephesians 1:17-21 (NKJV)
“..that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
We can pray this prayer daily, and personalize it by replacing “you” with “me or my”. You will see the Word of God in a whole new light. It is like being in a room where one row of lights go on, and then another row, then another, a continual increased illumination.
Let’s “flip the light switch on” by praying this prayer for spiritual wisdom. It will illuminate your heart and bring a deeper understanding of your inheritance and His spiritual blessings!
He is Risen... and So are We!
by Katrina Miller
Easter is one of the most joyous times for Christians as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. The message of Easter can be resurrected from the pages of our bible and woven into our everyday lives… the message of atonement, redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation.
The bible says in Ephesians 2:6 (NIV) “and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” When Jesus was raised up, so were we. There was an exchange at the cross. He took our sins and gave us His life. This is the miracle of Easter that we are to celebrate!
When we receive Him, we are no longer under the rule and dominion of the kingdom of darkness. Colossians 1:13 says “For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.” Our citizenship and address changed from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God. I can’t help but think of Mr. Spock on Star Trek when he would go into a transporter machine and be transferred to a new location. Christ is our transporter machine! Not only did He transfer us to another Kingdom, He put us in the prime seats with the best view.
You can now enjoy the rights and privileges as a child of God. When you receive Him as your Lord, all of the “In Him and In Christ” scriptures are promises to you! We don’t need to be under the oppression of depression and despair. Sin was a barrier that kept us from fellowship with God, but now, as we learned a few weeks ago, we have full access to Him. We can have faith that our prayers are heard by God.
This Easter, when you are celebrating Christ’s glorious resurrection, be sure to also celebrate that He raised you up, too! I encourage you to rise up and walk in it, and “take your seat.”
Being Stable in an Unstable World
by Katrina Miller
With all of the uncertainty going on around us, how do we resist the current mindset of worry and fear in the world? How can we be stable in an unstable situation?
Let’s look at how Jesus handled chaos in Matthew 8:23-27 when He was on a boat with the disciples and a sudden furious storm arose. The disciples panicked when the waves started to topple into the boat, while Jesus remained asleep, unfazed by the storm around Him. He had peace during the storm, unlike the disciples who went into a panic. They woke Jesus up and begged Him to save them, only for Jesus to ask them why they were so afraid and had little faith. Jesus proceeded to take charge of the situation by rebuking the winds and the waves, and then a complete calm came around them. The disciples marveled that even the wind and the waves obeyed Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t influenced by His environment. He stayed steady and in peace during chaos. How do we do the same? Jesus knew His authority and used it, and He gave us His authority to use also! Luke 10:19a says” Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions… ” Because of our redemption in Christ, we have His authority. We just have to intentionally use it.
When we know who we are in Christ, we don’t let situations or other people’s emotions define or influence our situations. We draw our identity and strength from Him, as a branch does from a vine. John 15 has a great illustration of this. Also Philippians 4:6-9 has great advice on how not to be anxious and have peace.
Taking our authority during a storm and setting our mind on Him and His Word will help us to remain steady and strong when the waves of life hit us. We CAN BE stable in an unstable world!
Atonement: A Foundation for our Prayers
by Katrina Miller
Do you remember the song “Do Re Mi” from the movie “The Sound of Music?” It goes something like this:
“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, when you read you begin with ABC when you sing you begin with Do Re Mi.” If foundational pieces make up our music and vocabulary, couldn’t the same be said of prayer? Often when we pray, we focus on the outcome, without knowing the “individual notes” that are needed to compose the “song” properly.
One of the “individual notes” that serves as a foundation for our prayer life is atonement. Atonement provides the reconciliation between God and humankind through Jesus Christ and describes what happens when something is offered up to God as payment for sin. We were once at odds with God, separated by sin, but the most beautiful thing happened when God sent His Son to make this payment and remove the barrier between us.
Romans 3:24-25a highlights this foundational truth “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith,”
Do we have a realization of what atonement is and how it affects our prayer life? When we pray for healing, for example, we can identify the sickness as something Jesus already bore on His body, and stand on His Word for our healing. 1 Peter 2:24 says “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sin, might live for righteousness -by whose stripes (wounds) you WERE healed.” When we pray, we can “appropriate the atonement,” which means we apply this spiritual reality to our life. Without this realization our prayers won’t have any power.
So let’s end on that note …and learn more redemptive realities next week!
by Katrina Miller
How many of you have ever had a Full Access Pass to a concert? A special badge granted you full access to backstage privileges, to meet the musicians, get their autograph and eat their gourmet food. You wouldn’t dream of missing this once in a lifetime opportunity and just stay outside.
I have good news! Did you know that God provided YOU a Full Access Pass? Ephesians 3:12 says “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”
Our Heavenly Father gave us access to His presence, through His Son Jesus! Wow! 2 Cor. 5:21 says that we are made the righteousness of God in Him because He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us! Where sin once separated us from His presence, we can now enter in because we are in “right standing” with Him.
Hebrews 4:16 says ” Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
What Jesus did for us at the cross provided what the bible calls redemptive realities. Atonement, redemption, justification, and righteousness are just a few.
When we become more aware of these redemptive realities in our life we are positioned to enter in, in the boldness and confidence that Ephesians and Hebrews talk about.
Over the next several weeks we will explore these redemptive realities, and as a result, our prayer lives will be revolutionized, because we will learn how to enter in with FULL ACCESS to our Heavenly Father’s presence!