Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

The Joy Ride December 5, 2017

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:38 pm

This is the second week of Advent.  Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of  the Advent themes. This week we light the candle of  JOY.

 

This week, we had the delight of witnessing the City of Charleston’s Christmas Parade.  It was awesome and totally met our expectations.  The parade route was filled with high school bands screeching out Christmas tunes, pickup trucks pulling decorated boats, brigades of Basset hounds and Dachshunds and the obligatory Christmas mermaids.

 

 

 

Numerous floats carried young teens representing various organizations as their “royal court”, complete with crowns and sashes.  It became apparent that we were positioned toward the end of the parade route as these floats passed.  Exhaustion was evident on their non-smiling faces as they robotically waved their regal hands.  Float after float rolled past with sullen participants doing their best to hold their positions.  Marching corps drug their feet while dancers did their best to rally their energy, but it was with obvious effort.

 

I get it, I don’t blame them, it was a long parade.

 

But then this happened…

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As a particularly pitiful float with non-smiling royalty passed us by, we noticed they had acquired a stow away.

 

Jauntily perched on the back of the float was what appeared to be a homeless man we had seen in town earlier in the week.   His smile was huge, his wave energetic, and he was radiating JOY.  The crowd cheered, laughed and applauded him!

 

Sometimes my life is like that long parade route.  I start of my day, week, month or year, full of energy, plans and expectations only to find myself weary, discouraged or disappointed.   I try to seek happiness, display happiness and make happiness happen around me, but happiness is not sustainable.  It is dependent of circumstances and things…and sometimes those are not as we had hoped.

 

Joy is different.  It is a gladness in your heart that is not based on the things of the world.  For believers, JOY is a gladness in knowing God.  Joy gives us strength in difficult times, fills our heart when it aches and reminds us that this world is not our end game.

Happiness happens at the start of a parade, but JOY follows the entire parade route!

 

When the angel appeared to the shepherds to declare  the birth of our Savior, he said it was “news of great Joy”.  He did not say there would be a happily ever after.  He did not pronounce that things would get better or be easier.  The birth of Christ, His life, His death and His resurrection, brings us reason for joy.  In Him we know love abundantly, grace without bounds and Hope for eternity with Him.

 

 

There is more to life than enduring the long parade route.  Our Christmas Joy Rider certainly did not have optimal circumstances, but he hopped on board and took in all that was available to him in this moment.  This season may we all take into our hearts the JOY that is available to us, the Joy of Knowing God through His Son Jesus Christ.

 

 

“And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I  bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all people; for today, in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2: 10&11

 

 

 

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The Purple Candles November 30, 2017

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 4:01 pm

This is the first week of Advent. (I’m a little late in posting this)  Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of  the Advent themes. This week we light the candle of HOPE.

The frazzled man shook a fist full of pink and white, long tapered candles at the cashier, “I can’t find the purple advent candles?  Where are the purple ones?”  She looked a bit confused as she replied, “Um, we don’t sell Advent candles, just regular candles.”   He huffed a bit and continued, “But you have these, why not the purple ones?”   “Sir” she replied, “those are just normal candles.”   He dejectedly set his collection of candles on the counter to check out, obviously resigned to having to make another stop at a different store for the precious purple candles.

 

The color of the candles in the advent wreath are typically purple, with one pink for the “love week” and an optional white candle for Christmas Eve.  Of course, you do not HAVE to have those colors and you do not always need to light a candle..the point is in the pausing and contemplation.  The commemoration of looking forward to the celebration of Christ’s birth.  It is a time of expectation and preparation.

 

As I made my way to the next available cashier, I watched him walk away like a man on mission.  I have no doubt he would not be returning to his home without the required purple candles.  While we no longer have an actual advent wreath in our home, with said candles to be lit, I easily recall the years I too went in search of purple candles.

 

Each Christmas season I would unpack our boxes filled with holiday décor to find my advent candles misshaped or broken.  (I was never very careful when storing them.)  One year I just inserted any candles I had in the house.  That was the year our advent wreath sported pretty forest green and burgundy candles.

 

We all have some sort of traditions or expectations when it comes to Christmas in our homes.  When our expectations are not met, it is often hard to reconcile our reality with what we had hoped would take place.

 

I saw a church sign a while back that said, “You Can Not Hope Backward”.  I did not understand it at the time, but now I recognize the treasure of this truth.

I struggle to let go of the past at times, especially if things did not go as I had planned or expected.  I want to wrestle with those events and make sense of them.  I spend too much time with phrases like, “If only”, “I wish that went differently”, “What if”, and “I should have”  rolling around in my head.   I can’t HOPE things HAD been different.

 

Hope is a forward thing.  Hope is what we have when we cling to the promise of what is to come.  Hope is looking to what the new day brings.  Hope is knowing that anything is possible.  Hope is what we find in the birth of Jesus Christ.  He brings hope for forgiveness, hope for eternal life, and the hope of HIs return.

 

Maybe you will have a purple candle to light this year, maybe you will light a bright red candle, or perhaps like myself, you will simply bow your head before a battery operated flickering fake candle…but let us each take the time to stop and thank our God for the Hope we have through the birth of His son, our savior, Christ Jesus.

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more…Who is like You? Though You have made me see troubles…You will again bring me up…I will sing praise to You, I whom You have redeemed.”  Psalm 71:14-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wait May 13, 2017

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:35 pm

Today’s lesson is all about the WAIT. It is not a fun lesson to learn. But I suppose God thought it was one I desperately needed. For those who do not follow my life through my other blog (www.mvmillertime.wordpress.com) let me start with a brief explanation.   The Hubby and I recently, Feb. 2017, purchased a 2002 58’ Kadey Krogen trawler. This is a great boat for traveling up and down the coast, but also for much longer voyages and we are excited about our future adventures with her. But FIRST, we must wait.

 

For the last few months she has been in South Florida getting painted and having some other work done. We were to have her back in the water and ready to bring to our home on the Chesapeake by early April…then the wait began. There were delays, glitches, issues…all common occurrences in the boat yard world…but after a loooong wait, we finally had her back in the water and were headed for home.   We stopped again along the Intracoastal Water Way (ICW). This was a planned visit to Stuart Fl, at a marina where additional work would get done. We figured it’d be about a week…NOPE, we are now close to 2 weeks of waiting for completion of a final project.

 

Obviously I am NOT to be pitied…I am, after all, sitting on a nice boat, in a beautiful marina, in sunny Florida. I am not waiting on a lifesaving organ donation, the birth a child or the results of a life impacting test…I am just waiting to go home, on our boat. To consider this a “life lesson” seemed a bit shallow, even for me…but then I remembered…my God is always revealing Himself. He does not play hide and seek….His handiwork is all around me, as are the ways he nudges me towards becoming the person He desires me to be. So, I decided to pay attention.

 

For us to resume our travels homeward we are reliant on a few details….we need all the important parts to the boat to arrive and be installed, we need the forecasted weather to NOT include “squalls and high winds”, and we need to be able to move her prior to Scott leaving for a week of work in Seattle. By Tuesday of this week, it became clear that our departure dates were not certain. The fellas working on our fuel injectors said they were waiting on parts.

 

This next phase of waiting was made a bit more painful by a span of PERFECT travel weather. We continued to wait at the dock while several of our fellow boaters were able to take advantage of low winds, clear skies and an enviable full moon for running through the night.

 

We DID have a wonderful distraction from the waiting when friends came to visit and I was able to go visit my niece, her husband and my new great nephew.

 

 

Scott and I have had several talks about our plans; plan A, plan B, plan C and even plan D. While we have a goal to get home, hopefully by end of May, it is most important to at least be past the Florida/Georgia line prior to June 1st for insurance reasons.

We have adjusted our plans and expectations every day.   It is surprising how hard it’s been to settle down and accept the waiting.

 

In my quiet time this morning, as I was praying for God to make everything work out so we could move this boat, the lesson hit home with a thud. I was praying for the people working on our boat, for safe weather, for the boat to be ready, for Scott’s schedule to work out and I realized….Those are ALL things not in my control, but totally in God’s. Hmmm, why would God not have already organized those things my way? Maybe, just maybe, HIS plans for us and our boat are not the same as mine? I know His plans and His timing are best. I know He is always working in our favor, even if we do not see it clearly.   At this thought I could feel myself relax. I breathe in, I breathe out and I say to my God “Okay, whatever You plan, whenever You desire, however is best, I am ready to adjust. It does not have to be my plan…I will wait for You.”

“Rest in the Lord. wait patiently for Him to act…don’t fret and worry….

it only leads to harm” Psalm 37:7-8 LB

(update: In the middle of posting this, Scott informed me our work will not get done until Monday. Which means I will stay here with our dog Charlie and wait for his return from Seattle. Then MAYBE we will get to leave. My heart is at ease, my patience restored and I feel ready to face whatever needs to be done while he is away.  I am up for the WAIT.)

 

 

Again…Abigail April 16, 2017

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 4:16 pm

    I love sharing this post each Easter and remembering the lesson God brought to us that year.  This lesson will be with me forever.  God’s grace is truly amazing,  I cannot earn His forgiveness, I do not need to, He offers it to us all because He loves us….I never want to forget at what cost this gift was given.  I pray this Easter you too accept His precious gift of forgiveness and know you are loved by a grace giving God!

“Abigail”

      I’ve lost track of how many years ago it was, yet each Spring I can’t help but recall my introduction to Abigail.  I was a high school science/Bible teacher for a small Christian school at the time. One of my students was a football sized young man named Nick.  He worked for a local farmer who had offered him a young lamb to take home.  Nick’s mom, apparently destined for sainthood, not only allowed him to bring the lamb home, but he got to keep it in his room!  Early that Spring Nick brought photos to share.  To my amazement, there, wedged beside his bed and amid typical teenage squalor, was a carefully built pen, complete with wood rails, chicken wire and hay.  Abigail the lamb had found a perfect home.  Over the next few weeks Nick would have numerous stories to tell of Abigail’s antics.  I couldn’t wait to see her for myself, so I invited Nick to bring her to school one morning.

I ushered my entire class outside and we waited like giddy preschoolers for Abigail’s arrival.  I am certain I will never be able to adequately describe what I saw that day.  I will do my best.  We watched as Nick emerged from his vehicle with Abigail cradled in his big burly arms.  We stood transfixed by the sight of what can only be inadequately referred to as precious”.  Her pure, white coat seemed almost translucent, radiating light under the bright blue, cloudless sky.   Her tiny nose was a perfect, pink velvet triangle perched just above her little pink mouth.    As I placed my hand on her sweet little head she looked at me.  I found myself staring into the depths of clear, brilliant blue eyes.  I realized I had been holding my breath in awe.  We were expecting to see a cute lamb, somewhat off white in color.  I had not considered that, unlike the lambs at the local petting zoo, Abigail had been living in a clean, loving, environment.  After everyone had made Abigail’s acquaintance, Nick left to return her home and we settled back into Bible class.

We soon realized the relevance of Abigail’s visit as we continued our study of Passover.  The original Passover took place when Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  God instructed them to mark their door post with the blood of a male lamb.  This was to protect them from the final plague which was the death of all first born in any home not so protected. (Exodus 11&12)  The yearly commemoration of this event required the father to select the best, blemish free lamb and set it apart for the Passover…four days prior to the celebration.  My students and I began to consider something quite startling.  There was a good chance that the lamb would have been brought into the house or yard during that time.  This perfect little lamb, probably as precious and sweet as our Abigail, may have clamored under their feet while they did chores, fed out of their hands and shared a living area.  After four days, this lamb, which by now had become even more precious to the family, was to be sacrificed.   Suddenly one can imagine the cries of the children, the quite sob of their mother, the sorrow in the eyes of the father who knows a blood sacrifice is required.   For the first time, since meeting Abigail, we could truly envision the “sacrificial lamb” of the Scriptures.

The continued observance of Passover was a powerful object lesson for generations of Israelites.  Every family member would be reminded not only of God’s protection and provision when He freed them from slavery, but also of the cost…the blood of their most precious lamb.  This Easter we consider the final sacrifice.  Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, perfect and precious beyond description, was sacrificed for our sin.  Many movies and videos have stirred the heart of man as they depict the brutal crucifixion of our Christ, yet none can compare to the vision of Abigail.  As we celebrate our freedom from sin and death through the resurrection of our Lord, let’s never forget the cost.  Praise God His love and grace make us worthy of such a sacrifice!

1 Peter 1:18-19  “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold…but with precious blood, as a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”

 

After the Fall… April 14, 2017

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 3:59 pm

I think I can confidently say I have perfected FALLING.  As evidence, I present a few of my accomplishments:

  • Getting into or out of my Kayak (each one, and there have been many, more hilarious and humbling than the next)
  • Off boats (one from mid-ship, while barely underway, others were ungraceful attempts to exit a boat.
  • Down stairs: Missed steps getting out of pedestal bed on boat (don’t judge, it was dark and early in the morning!), sliding down last few steps on landings.
  • UP the stairs. (yes, you read that right, UP the stairs, not even sure HOW it happens, but it happens fairly frequently)
  • I have landed on my backside a few times doing nothing more than walking, (down a ramp, on a cobbled stone street or on an icy sidewalk)

There have been numerous lessons learned from my “falling” experiences….”Be More Careful”,  “Hold Handrails”,  “Watch Your Step”,  “Ask for Help”,  “Slow Down”….but of all my “falling” lessons, the greatest is this:  Falling is NOT always failing….The GETTING UP MATTERS!

This lesson is vital, because not all falling experiences are physical. My imperfect walk through this life has landed me squarely on my rumpus literally AND figuratively.

  • I have fallen out of good habits.
  • I have fallen away from reading the Bible.
  • I know what it feels like to fall out of favor with family or friends.
  • I have found myself on the floor emotionally, discouraged, disheartened or displeased with myself.

I have discovered that after my fall, satan likes to sit on top of me. His messages assault my heart.. “Don’t bother getting up, you’ll just fall again.”, “People are looking and judging you, pretend you didn’t fall”, “Stay down, its easier and no one will notice.”

Falling is not the hard part, the hard part is the getting back up. GETTING BACK UP is the difference between falling and failing.

Later today, my hubby and I are heading out to do some kayaking. This man has sure seen some impressive falling skills from me over the years. I have no doubt that he will be doing all he can to reduce my chances of falling. He will steady my kayak for my entry or exit. He will keep an eye out for me at all times. He will make sure I have adequate safety gear. Most importantly, IF I do fall, he will be there to help me…when he is done laughing of course! He is always there for the “getting back up” parts of life.

 

Likewise, my God is prepared for my falls. He walks with me through difficult times. Sometimes He prevents my falls. Often, He allows my falls to change me. But at ALL times, He is there for the “getting back up” part of life.

 

Today is Good Friday. Today my heart is heavy as I think about the death of Jesus Christ.   His crucifixion was a part of God preparing for me to fall. My God knew I would fall short of being without sin.

 

How could I, a sinner, have a relationship with a Holy God? I can because with His death on that cross, He bore my sin, and all the eternal condemnation that comes with falling down in life.

 

Because of His death, His burial and RESSURECTION, we can go before God and ask forgiveness for our sin. This is AMAZING GRACE. We do not deserve forgiveness, yet God sent His son to make a way for us, that whenever we fall, we can seek Him, He will forgive us and HE will be there for our “getting back up”.

 

If this season of life finds you struggling from a fall, know this…God is with you, His forgiveness is available, and His grace (unearned favor) is sufficient. It is time to get back up!

 

“For it was the Father’s good pleasure to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of the cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Although you were formerly alienated and hostile mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now RECONCILED you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach…” (Colossians 1:19-22)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Dog March 29, 2017

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,humor,life,running,worry — tlmiller82 @ 5:01 pm

 

While running, I try to stay aware of my surroundings. Even though I run with earbuds in, I keep the sound down and continually scan the area around me and up ahead. This practice helps me avoid collisions with traffic, bicycles, other runners and stray dogs. You can never be too careful.

 

Even with these efforts, I was once accosted by a five-pound fur-ball named Skip. His owner was a contractor working on a house along my route. Skip escaped out the front door, and gave a short chase before attempting to latch onto my foot. I was saved by a lucky combination of his tiny mouth/teeth and my thick shoe. It was far more funny than fear inducing! But, this episode did fuel my slight paranoia about dogs when I run.

 

There are several yards along my route which are lined with chain-link fencing and contain one or two large dogs. Every time, before I pass, I survey them, looking for any damage or opening through which the dogs might escape. I also try not to provoke the dogs…hard to do since my mere presence is reason to charge the fence…but I never get eye contact and always hurry past. No big deal, just a matter of being cautious.

 

SOOooooo, this is why, when I came upon a guy washing his car in his driveway I slowed my approach. He was accompanied by two large black Labs off leash. They did not look aggressive, but out of courtesy that my jogging by might cause them to want to chase me, I took out my earbud and shouted, “Are your dogs okay with me jogging past?” He looked a bit confused at first, but then he called one his dogs over to his side and waved at me to pass.

 

As I passed him, I kept my eye on his other dog on the other side of a large bush beside his driveway…and it was a good thing I did!

The “other” dog I had seen was actually a large concrete statue of a big black dog! No wonder the guy looked so confused.

You will be happy to know, I had NO problem out running the scary black dog statue and I made it home safe and sound.

 

This harrowing event took place almost a month ago, but it has been on my mind a lot lately. I let a decidedly “unreal” dog cause me to worry. I felt silly afterward.

 

I think there is a difference between being situationally aware of things that may impact your life and taking them on as a worrisome burden. I am certain I am not alone in my struggle with this very thing.

Sometimes my mind races, usually late at night, with all the “what ifs” that are on my horizon. I spend a lot of emotional effort working through how I will deal with something. I look ahead and allow myself to get overwhelmed about the future. And like my concrete dog, what is beyond my natural vision can easily be distorted.

 

As I think of my concrete dog, I am amazed at how easily I am fooled into a fearful heart. How often do I live my life as if my God NEVER does anything! That is NOT the case at all. I have a God Who feeds the birds of the air, clothes the lilies in the fields, and knows my EVERY need. (Matthew 6:26-32)

 

I am not meant to ignore what needs tending to in my life, but I need to remember what God has called me to be about. There is much greater clarity and focus when I seek Him each day and take on only what He has for me and when.

I think this is a good time to stop running from concrete dogs.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. (Matthew 6:33&34)

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A Christmas Tree Angel, A Reminder of Grace December 23, 2016

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:36 am

A Christmas Tree Angel….reposting this story has become a tradition. Each year I continue to be reminded of God’s grace as I see her oddly perched atop our tree. I hope you have enjoyed the advent posts this year as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and new beginnings!

            I’m not sure where she came from.  I’m not even certain of her age.   I do know that she sat atop the Christmas tree for many of my growing up years, quietly presiding over each holiday season.  I acquired her from my mother many years ago.

Her gold foil, cardboard wings, once ended in perfect points extending her stature to seven inches.  Now her wing span is slightly reduced, as the tips went from being slightly bent, to folded, until they eventually tore off.  Her dark red velvet dress, trimmed with gold brick brack, fits snuggly to her waist before flowing over her cardboard form.  Her once silky, radiant white hair, now hangs in brittle coils around her shoulders.  A little gold foil halo covers a place on her head where some of her hair has given way to the passage of time.

Her head and hands are made of wax, as is the candle she holds in one hand.  I remember her as a beautiful lady, her face perfect and delicate.  Those qualities are now faded.  Her head, once held high and straight, has melted somewhat.  It now bows lovingly downward and a bit to the right.  Two years ago a significant amount of time and effort was put into reattaching her long held candle to her now misshaped hand.  Yep, she’s a bit of mess you might say.  I like that about her.

She doesn’t light up or sparkle, and quite often she is too small for the tree, making her look even more out of place.  But I look forward to her presence in my living room each Christmas.  Late at night, when the tree is lit and others have gone on to bed, I find myself thinking of her and all we have in common.

I too, know what it’s like to have my wings bent and torn.  I know what it feels like when your body gives itself over to the challenges of time.  My hair is no longer silky or radiant, and I only wish had a halo to hide the places where it has become thin.  I understand the sagging of her shoulders and the bowing of her head.  I have felt the weight every mother bears for her family.  I know the need to bow my head in constant prayer.   I love her imperfection.  She’s a holiday reminder that God loves us in our imperfection.

A love full of grace, a savior born to take on the sin of the world, a reason to celebrate, reflected in the melted features and unraveled edges of our Christmas tree Angel.

God’s love was revealed among us in this way. God sent His son into the world so we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9

MERRY CHRISTMAS!