Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Big Enough? March 30, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,Easter,life — tlmiller82 @ 2:24 pm

          “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  Who could forget this infamous line from the movie Jaws?  As the lead character gets his first real look at the large shark he is trying to capture/kill, he comes to a quick conclusion that they are less than adequately prepared to take on the oversized Great White.  

  His need was bigger than his boat.

          I drive a VW Bug.  Although the rest of my family does not think my car is cool, I love my Bug!  The only problem I have with my Bug is a lack of sufficient trunk space.  It does have a surprisingly roomy little trunk, but it is definitely not intended to hold two week’s worth of groceries.   There have been several occasions upon which I found myself in the grocery store to, “pick up a few things” only to get caught up in a sort of buying frenzy.    After spending a significant amount of time in the store, I totally forgot which vehicle I had driven.   When I rolled my overflowing grocery cart out to the parking lot it became obvious that I was not adequately prepared.  I could almost hear the line in the back of mind…”We’re gonna need a bigger trunk.” 

My need was bigger than my Bug.

          The other night as I was leaving the church I encountered an elderly woman in the foyer.   It was pouring rain and she commented that she had left her umbrella in her car on the other side of the parking lot.  I offered to walk her to her car and share my umbrella.  She graciously accepted my offer.   As we exited the church arm in arm I popped opened my umbrella and discovered that I had forgotten which umbrella I had with me.  I have several tote size umbrellas at home, but apparently I placed the extremely miniature version in my purse that night.  The circumference of the umbrella was barely large enough to cover one person.  I held it over her as best I could, but as we hurried across the parking lot it seemed only to funnel large amounts of water down our backs. 

 My need was bigger than my umbrella.

          There will continue to be times in all our lives when our needs may be bigger than what we have at hand…but my earthly needs pale in comparison to my spiritual need.

          This week I am reminded, again, of my need for forgiveness and grace.   In his Passover sermon our pastor went so far as to proclaim what “great sinners” we all were.  OUCH!  I wanted to be offended, but the reality was that not only was he speaking the truth, he was actually understating it.  I know my heart, my struggles, my faith, my temptations and my falling downs.  I know that even in an attempt to live a life that is pleasing to God, I still struggle in my flesh.  I know that I am not alone… “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 

          Easter is the time of year when Christians celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Christ.  It is because of His sacrifice, His defeat over death, and His resurrection that we can ask to be forgiven of our sins. “For if while we were yet sinners, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10

This Easter I celebrate the sufficient covering of my sins by a God whose love, forgiveness and grace is “big enough”!

My need is NOT bigger than my God!

“…if anyone sins, we have this Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the world.” 1 John 2:1-2


Hosanna March 23, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,Easter — tlmiller82 @ 11:09 am

          Woohooo! We have daffodils!   Yes indeed, SPRING is trying desperately to reclaim my yard.  The emergence of these bright yellow flowers, amid the muddy mush of a lawn hit hard by long lasting snow piles and rain, gives me hope.  I love this time of year.

           Palm Sunday is around the corner.  I don’t know about you, but I have very vivid images in my head of this particular Sunday.  As a young girl I remember being given a palm branch to hold and wave as the story was told in Sunday school.  I cannot count the number of times I fashioned palm branches from construction paper as part of a craft during this time of year, first as a child then as a Sunday school teacher myself.  Even now Sunday school teachers around the United States are no doubt planning to incorporate this bright green leaf into some aspect of their lesson.

           As a Christian this is a very exciting time of celebration and remembrance.  It marks the beginning of the end and then the beginning again.  Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at the end of His earthly ministry.  Crowds gathered and laid coats and palms on the ground before Him as He rode past on the back of a donkey. 

  “…Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” Mark 11:9-10

                  In a few days this same crowd would cry out  “Crucify Him!”.

         In all my years of observing Sunday school posters and Easter plays the scene is always the same…celebratory, exciting and exuberant.    According to every visual image I have ever seen of this event, Christ smiles and waves like someone in a parade, perhaps enjoying what He knows to be His final moment of popularity.  But now this image has changed for me.

          Oddly, though I had heard this story throughout my entire life, it was not until I was well into my twenties that I discovered a small tidbit of information that changed how I forever recall this pivotal event in the life of my Christ.

         I had sung “Hosanna” in numerous songs in church and even yelled it out as part of Palm Sunday reenactments for plays…but here is the life impacting tidbit I learned…Hosanna is not a term of praise or glorification, which I think I always believed.  Hosanna translates to “save now” or “save us”. 

          That, my friends, changes everything. 

          The crowd that gathered that day to greet our Christ and usher Him into their city did not hail Him for WHO He was, but rather for who they hoped He was and what He would do.

          Picture the scene now…..The reputation of Jesus went before Him.  The streets were filled with people longing for a leader who would come and make everything perfect in their city, their families, and their lives.  People who suffered, grieved, ached for someone to rescue them, called out to Him in desparation…each having a personal expectation for how this “Jesus” would help them. “Hosanna!…Save now!”

                  I cannot fathom the depth of sorrow Christ endured on this day.  The voices crying out, “save us, save now…Hosanna!” filling His ears and breaking His heart.  With each agonizing step His donkey took past the throng of people the weight of their disparity heaped on His shoulders.  With all their expectations as they cried out “Hosanna”, asking to be saved…asking for salvation…they failed to realize the cost of such a request. 

 Jesus knew. 

          As the palm branches are waved, songs are sung and “Hosanna” echoes through our churches, let us remember that the expression of Christ’s love for us did not begin with the weight of the cross…it began with the weight of the cries of Hosanna…the cries of a people in need of salvation…the cry of our hearts today…HOSANNA! HOSANNA! HOSANNA!



Talking to Televisions March 16, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 4:58 pm

          I talk to TVs.  There, I said it.  I am not ashamed to admit to the world that I am that person in the room who feels compelled to talk back to the television characters. It is just too difficult to sit there and not state the obvious.   Perhaps the most difficult time I have is when I am watching a scary scene unfold.

          Why is it that when the victim enters the darkened room they never notice the “bad guy” lurking behind them?  Why does it take so long for the heroine to realize she needs to scream for help…doesn’t she notice there is danger right around the corner? Of course not, that is why I need to tell them, so I shout… “Look behind you dummy!!!!!”, “Turn around!”, or “Don’t open that door!!!”, and my favorite, “There’s a shark fin!  Swim for your life!”

          So often the predicament these characters get into are the result of them not being aware of their dire circumstances.  It may look obvious to others, but they refuse to see the eminent harm no matter how loudly I shout at them.  They need to be rescued, helped, or saved and yet they have no idea of such a need until it is too late.

          I think it is just as easy for us to become unaware of our spiritual need to be rescued, helped or saved.

          I had a dear friend who had a challenging life.  She had fallen into a dark and dangerous lifestyle before she discovered Jesus.  She learned of a God who loved her no matter what and desired to give her forgiveness for her sins.  She knew she did not deserve His love or forgiveness, but she asked God to forgive her through His son Jesus Christ.  She never stopped being aware of how much grace she was given, or how much she continued to need it.  She exuded a constant love for our Lord.   

          Her sins were no greater than my own.  The world might judge our lives differently, but to a Holy God, “sin” is anything that separates us from Him….and in that, all sins are equal and all need equal forgiveness and grace.  Sadly I forget at times just how forgiven I am and the great amount of grace bestowed on me each day.  I needed saving from my sins.  I needed to be rescued and I need His help in all things.

          In Luke 8:37-38 we read the account of a woman who truly understood her need.  No one had to shout to her and alert her to her need to be saved or rescued.  NO one else needed to convince, or convict her of her need…she already understood.

“And behold there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He(Jesus) was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with perfume.”

          Stop and try to picture this carefully….in the image you have of this event, how long is this woman’s hair?  I have had long hair before, but even when I picture this woman with luxuriously long tresses, the reality is that in order for her to wipe the feet of Jesus with the “hair of her head” she would have to have her face disturbingly close to the feet as well.  Our Christ did not wear closed toed shoes, nor was He a regular partaker in pedicures.  No doubt the last place you would want to put your face was near anyone’s feet at that time.   

          I encourage you to close your eyes and picture this moment once more.  This time notice a broken hearted woman, lowering herself as low as she possibly can while drawing as close as she could to the one she knew could save her….the weight of her sins pressing down on her and a torrent of unstoppable tears of grief pouring forth. …surely our Christ could feel her breath on his feet as she feverishly wiped them with her hair.

         The room was full of people who unbeknownst to them carried a sin burden no less than her own.  Yet because she recognized her need for salvation, she would be the only one that day to hear, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

         Today you may be challenged to remember the debt of sin for which you have been forgiven and to live your life as a recipient of amazing grace and therefore a giver of grace to others.

          Perhaps you have never acknowledged sin in your life, sin that separates you from God.  God’s word tells us that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 1:23, “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 ……and best of all“Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans10:13!!!!!


A Big Glob of Paint March 9, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:13 pm

          A while back I heard a devotion that just keeps replaying in my mind lately.   My friend, Ron, shared about watching a guy on television who was teaching the joy of painting.  Maybe you’ve seen it before…a guy with a rather large tuft of curly hair, the stage set only with an easel and his paints, he masterfully uses brushes and spatulas to spread thick oil paints over a barren canvas.  Before your eyes what was once blank and without form becomes a colorful image of an outdoor scene, usually mountains, trees or oceans and streams.  It is mesmerizing to see him work; he makes it look effort less.

          Ron said he was enjoying watching him create a beautiful painting of mountains and forests.   Just as he assumed the painter was almost done with his painting the artist took a big glob of dark oil paint and plopped it smack in the middle of the canvas, “what you go and do that for?” he wondered.  Why would he ruin a perfectly delightful painting?  Then he watched as the artist worked the glob of paint into a tree of some kind, it was a perfect finish to his painting.

          How often does God work like that in our lives?  Maybe everything looks fine and we feel like He is done with us, only to find a big “glob” of change tossed into our lives.  It makes us question our God and wonder what he could be thinking.  But just like this painter, our God does not toss “globs” into our lives without purpose.  He has a plan. He has a final picture already designed and being formed in our lives since before our first breath. 

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

God, not only knows our big picture, He is lovingly plopping on all the necessary globs of paint!



Smile! March 2, 2010

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:50 pm

          Sometimes I smile out of habit.  I know that sounds strange, but I have inherited a set of cherub like, cheeks from my mom’s side of the family.  I have been to enough family reunions to know how important it is to keep these cheeks perched atop a smile.  Yep, eventually the years and gravity cause what were once youthful, rosy cheeks to turn into jowls capable of dragging down even the brightest of smiles.  So, over the years I have made an effort to smile more than not.  (I like to think of a smile as really cheap alternative to plastic surgery)

          One of the problems with always smiling is that others do not know if it’s only cosmetic.  Sometimes it’s important for those around you to know you are not smiling on the inside.  Sometimes we need our family or friends to know we are struggling.  I LOVE that I never have to wonder if God sees past my smile.  I know God knows my struggle and meets me wherever I am.  Just today He showed Himself to me in the beauty of events that could only have fallen into place at His hand.

          I’ve been in a bit of a funk.   By “funk” I mean that unexplainable, often unsharable, feeling of yuckiness.  It was only made worse by the guilt I felt for being in such a pit.  I know in my head I have NO reason what so ever to be in any kind of “funk”.  I am healthy, financially okay, nice home, nice family, good friends, currently not facing any real challenges or hardship, so who am I to feel so down?   In comparison to world events and the hardships others I care about are dealing with, my “funk” is like a hangnail as opposed to a broken body part.   And yet, it was unshakeable.  I still smiled.

          Satan whispered in my ear daily.  He knew just where to place each hobbling blow.  My parenting, my writing, my spouse, my service in church, my goals, my faith all took hits.  I tried to shake his words.  I could feel myself falling for it all.  In my head I argued with myself and rebuked the negative thoughts, but I felt so very tired.  Like a very heavy blanket the feelings of ineffectiveness, lack of focus or success, self pity and uselessness began to wrap me like a shroud.  I still smiled.

          I knew the Word of God held the key to breaking out of this trap.  I knew seeking God’s Words would set me free and keep Satan from stealing my joy or derailing my service.  I taught Sunday school, went to Bible study, and yet never got passed trying to motivate myself to “snap out of it”, “pull myself up by the bootstraps” sort of thing.  I still smiled.

          I was smiling, but inside I was at war…God saw past my smile.   That’s when He set in motion a very long, detailed chain of events.  As is obvious by my past history on this blog, and this posting as well, I am not good at telling a long story short.  But let me try to reduce these events into a shorter version:

*Daughter calls distraught from college

* Community college she attended here never sent final transcripts there

*Daughter can’t register for next classes…much wailing and gnashing of teeth

*Many phone calls to said school to arrange for transcript

*Registrar is busy, forms needed, Spring break looming, classes closing, and panic ensuing

All leading to me sitting in the outer office waiting, not unlike a stalker, for the registrar to walk past.

          I felt like Jacob who wrestled with the angel in order to get a blessing….I was not leaving there without a transcript.

          Planning to sit it the outer office for 2-3 hours, I stopped by a local store and picked up a bottle of water, $5 of quarters (all visitor parking is metered), and a random book.

          I settled into the uncomfortable waiting area chairs and pulled out my book.  There He was….God.  I had not read past the introduction to the book, when the author shared a verse that changed my heart (God’s word tends to do that).  

          No doubt God would have revealed Himself to me sooner and perhaps in a less inconvenient way, had I truly looked to Him for my help or encouragement.  Instead, He had to send my daughter into crisis and me into battle for her just to get me to find His Words.  What was that verse you wonder?  What verse did God lay before me that squelched all Satan’s attacks?

Psalm 84:11& 12  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  How blessed is the man who trust in thee!

          Now when I hear Satan whispering reminders of all the ways I fail, when he tells me I will never reach my goals, or tries to convince me to just give up, I will proclaim in my heart….My God shines light on my path, HE is my shield, HE gives grace and glory…I only need to trust in Him and keep on walking as uprightly as I can.  THAT is worth smiling about!