Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Skydiving Hope November 30, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:50 pm

          This week we begin our advent celebration.  Each week, four prior to Christmas Eve, we gather to light a candle and consider the coming of our savior.  It is a wonderful time to stop in the midst of the season and truly focus on the reason for all the wonderful merriment of Christmas.  So…the next four devotion entries will center on the advent themes of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love. 

         “What color is your parachute?” As the words left my lips I could envision the colorful poster that once hung on the high school guidance counselor wall.  The rainbow colored parachute floated above the printed question, a seemingly “happy” image designed to strike fear into the heart of high school juniors and seniors.  What it really was asking was, “What do you expect to do once you leave the safety of the school?”

          This day I am not asking this question to discover my kids’ career choices.  I asked that question of my son and daughter because they intended to jump from a perfectly good airplane.  Yep, there I was sitting outside a small airplane hangar with my husband, awaiting Steven and Ashley’s skydiving adventure to begin.

          I will admit, it was an insane lapse of judgment that led to this situation.  It was Steven’s 24th birthday and he and Ashley, 21, had both expressed a desire to skydive one day.  Before I knew it we were driving to Orange Virginia for them to experience the rare thrill of jumping needlessly form a perfectly good plane.  They were going to be jumping tandem, which means they would be strapped to the front side of an experienced skydiver.

          As their time drew closer, after a looooong wait for the winds to be just right, I found myself engaged in a conversation with God that went something like this:  “Hey God, I know You don’t like it when we tempt You…pretty sure I recall You saying Thou shall not tempt the Lord your God…just want to clarify that I am NOT trying to tempt you here…I don’t EXPECT you to make them fly just to PROVE to me You are God.  I just want You to know I KNOW YOU ARE GOD so please don’t be upset with me that we are letting them do something so risky.  But, ummm, I need you to make sure their parachutes open, okay?   Again, not trying to test you, just going to trust you okay?”

          As they donned their gear and headed toward the small 2 prop plane I eagerly asked, “What color is your parachute?!”  I needed to know.  I wanted to be able to identify them each as soon as their chute opened.  I would be waiting for the sight of one black and one orange and black parachute.  I would wait and hope.  I would hope for opened parachutes, hope for safe landings, hope they fully enjoyed every aspect of this event, and hope they never want to do it again.

          I can still feel the pit of my stomach churn when I think of those intense moments when all I had were parachute colors to look for in the sky and HOPE.  This first week of advent, we consider HOPE.

          In a season when we are often asked what do we “wish” for, it is sometimes easy to interchange the words “hope” and “wish.”  We know we do not always get what we wish for.  A wish is a desire for something.   However, hope is different.  Hope is a continued longing with the faith that the fulfillment will take place. It is a trust that what is wanted will happen.  That day the floating tufts of orange then black were the fulfillment of my hope as I watched them land safely.  

I was not “wishing” their parachutes would open, I was hoping they would.   

Today I am reminded of the HOPE we have in Christ Jesus.

Because of the birth of Christ, His life and sacrifice for our sins, we have the HOPE of forgiveness for our sins, a relationship with our heavenly Father and eternal life.  This week may we celebrate the fulfillment of our HOPE in the birth of Christ and in the continued HOPE He brings to all generations.

          The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them….For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:2& 6 )



Following the Food November 23, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:43 am

          Our pastor said something in his sermon that has been stuck in my head the last few days…”Sheep without a shepherd just follow the food, which often leads to trouble.”  It was a good sermon and I am sure there was much more he said that could have enlightened or encouraged me, but to be honest, after that  I heard little else.

          I pictured a cute, simple minded sheep, looking around for the rest of the flock.  I pictured the look on his little sheep face as he realized he had wandered away.  His sheep buddies and their care taker were nowhere in sight.  His emotions quickly moved from “oh no, I’m lost” to “Hey, there’s a patch of grass over there”.  Soon the little sheep was so busy eating he forgot he was lost.  His head was down and all he saw was the grass before him.  Moving from patch to patch he was unaware he was munching his last meal.  He wandered to a ledge and soon discovered that he is a sheep and not a mountain goat.  He lost his footing(or hoofing) and slid down into a scary abyss. ….Okay,okay…my imagination got a bit carried away, but  I have a new image of the importance of a shepherd and also of FOOD.

          Sheep follow food.  I am aware that scriptures portray us as sheep,  “Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pature.”(Psalm 100:3), but suddenly I have a new kinship with sheep…I TOO follow the food!  

          I ventured into a shopping mall yesterday determined to conquer my Christmas list.  I am not a fan of shopping in general, but shopping in a mall filled with holiday décor and vast “sales” is especially overwhelming.  As I rode an escalator down from the third floor of one department store, I felt like a queen surveying her glittering kingdom.  Bows, bells, garland, and bright colored displays gave the store the look of giant Christmas party.  For the first thirty minutes of my shopping adventure, I simply walked around taking in all the sights and sounds.  After getting acclimated to my surroundings I pulled out my list and attempted to located noted items.

          It was not long before I lost track of my intended purpose.  The aroma of fresh coffee and a sign sporting the image of a cup topped with whipped cream drizzled with chocolate was too difficult to pass up. Godiva chocolatiers offering free tastings tempted me from the doorway of their shop.  The local kitchen gadget store assaulted my senses with free samples of cookies and cocoa.   I noticed that while I was sorting through racks of sweaters all I could think of was where the closest Auntie Ann’s Pretzel was.   By the time my shopping was complete I was already contemplating where I would consume my next meal.  I decided to forego eating out and headed home to prepare my dinner.  The entire time I sat in traffic all I thought of were the dinner options hiding in my fridge.  I must admit my entire shopping trip pivoted around food.  I follow the food.

          Today I am asking myself what kind of food I am following.  I am not referring to a diet or challenging my eating habits, I am referring to the food I feed my mind and spirit.  Am I filling my thoughts from literature, television, or others…am I missing the best food of all, His Word?  Following the food can lead us into a heap of trouble, ie that sheep that ate himself right over a steep ledge, but if we are following His food we will find ourselves right beside The Shepherd

           That’s where I want to be, not just hanging out with the flock.  I don’t want to be found on the outer edge of the flock, one hoof in the direction of the shepherd, one hoof directed toward wayward pastures.  I don’t  want to be jostling about in the thick of the flock aimlessly following the other sheep, unable to see the shepherd myself.  I want to be right beside my beloved Shepherp, getting my sustancne from Him.  From there I will feel His nudge of direction; He will not need to use His long hooked staff to draw me back.  From there I will not easily stray.  From there I will know His peace and grace.

“O God Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly;

 my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee…” Psalm 63:1



Christmas Moose November 16, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:07 pm

          I gave in to the marketing of product placement and purchased the chew toy I found dangling in front of my face just above the dog food I was there to buy.  (I am embarrassed to admit that my first Christmas purchase of the season was for our dog.)  It was perfect for our porky little Yorkshire terrier, Hughie.

          The Christmas Moose had very little stuffing and was sufficiently floppy.  Its four legs were capped with green and red stripped “boots” which encased FOUR squeakers!  Hughie’s FAVORITE part of any dog toy is the squeaker.  I knew he would spend many hours attempting to “de-squeakerize” it, as that is what he does.  The head, which was the only part containing stuffing, sported two fuzzy antlers and a festive red and green knit cap with a matching scarf securely fastened to its neck.  Surely, you can see why I just could not resist purchasing the Christmas Moose…he was going to LOVE it.

          By the time I finished getting groceries and driving home I had almost forgotten about my wayward impulse buy.   When I presented it to Hughie, my expectations of his delight did not go unmet.  He was wagging his tail so furiously his entire body vibrated across the floor.  He grabbed Christmas Moose by his little knit cap and drug him into the living room for further inspection.  Within minutes a  high pitched wheezing could be heard throughout the house as he quickly discovered each of the toy’s hidden squeakers.  Throughout the day, Hughie could be found doing one of two things, quietly snuggling up with his Christmas Moose or attempting to dismantle his Christmas Moose. 

            By evening Christmas Moose had been through a lot and had the scars to prove it.  His scarf, once stitched closed around his neck, dangled by a few threads.  The blanket like fur of his torso was slick with doggy saliva from much chewing and, for some odd reason, licking.  Where two little felt eyes had at one time sat above his little moose snout, only one remained. 

          By the end of the following day, Christmas Moose had met his fate.  With the help of our son’s dog Lucy, who came over for a visit, Christmas Moose lost one antler, the rest of his scarf and his fancy knit cap.  Stuffing from the head floated like little white tumbleweeds across my floor and at least one squeaker had been disengaged.     “What a waste” I thought to myself as I threw Christmas Moose in the trash.   I did not realize this gift would suffer such an early demise from being misused and over chewed.

          Lately I have been thinking about God’s gifts to us. God has given each of us talents, gifts we can use to honor and glorify Him.  Is it possible that, like Christmas Moose, our gifts could be wasted? I wonder if sometimes we misuse and over chew them.  It takes work to find all the hidden possibilities for using the gifts God has given us.   Do we “over chew” His gifts by dwelling on negative or discouraging aspects of what He has called us to do?

            As I toss a napkin into the garbage can, one fuzzy antler protrudes from under the pile of trash.  I am reminded  to not waste what God has given, but to use it as He desires.

And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly…Romans 12:6

 Lord, You have created us each with gifts and abilities.  Protect us from discouragement, open our eyes to oppertunity for service and use what You have given us to bring You honor and glory.  



Long Ago Lesson Relearned November 10, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 1:53 pm

         For some reason yesterday just slipped right past me.  It was one of those days when even though you have little to accomplish, what you do accomplish gets done as if you are moving through sludge.  Admittedly, I may have been overdosing on Benadryl.

          I woke today determined to “reclaim” my senses and clear away the sludge.  I laced up my running shoes and headed out for a lung-burning, mind-clearing jog.  As I lugged myself past the houses in my neighborhood I felt lead to pray for my neighbors.  Fortunately, this did not require actually speaking words aloud as at the time all my respiratory efforts focused on the simple task of breathing in and out.

          I usually finish my jog with laps around the parking lot of a church just down our street.  Everyday there is at least one vehicle in the lot, a burgundy truck.  I have seen the driver before; an elderly man who I assumed was either a pastor or caretaker of the building.  Today I thought of him.  I prayed God would continue to give him good health and strength for the tasks that await his day.  I prayed God would give him wisdom for challenges he may face…..then I found myself wondering…”what am I doing?”

          I had conjured in my head an entire scenario of who this man was and what he did for a living. I couldn’t help myself.   Soon I was praying  for the church and it’s congregation.  I have jogged around this parking lot all summer, yet today was the first time I felt lead to pray for them.  Where was this coming from I wondered.  Maybe it was a lack of oxygen from my inability to master the “ breathing in through your nose and out your mouth” technique I was working on.  Then I realized it was my wonderful God reminding me of a lesson He taught me long ago, and one I obviously needed to consider once more.

          It is now such a clear memory, but honestly I have not thought of it in a long time.   I think it was over ten years ago it occurred.  At the time our church met in an older building across town and we lived in a different neighborhood…….cue the foggy dream/flashback image….

          It was an early Sunday morning.  I was getting a quick walk in before getting ready for church, a new exercise effort for me at the time.  I tossed on an old sweatshirt, even though it was warm outside, worn out sweatpants and surprisingly NOT worn out tennis shoes.

         I recall passing a couple walking the opposite direction.  He was tall and had dark curly hair, she was slender and attractive.   Both looked like they could pose for a fitness advertisement.   After a quick “morning” comment I ducked my ball capped head in hopes they would not judge my appearance harshly.

            I had recently heard, or read, about praying for things and people as you go on walks and decided this was a good time to start.  I prayed for the couple.  I wondered if they too were walking that early so they could attend church.  I prayed they would overcome any obstacles that might keep them from getting to a house of worship.  I don’t know WHY I always create some kind of story line in my head…. I then continued my walk and did not think of them again.  UNTILLLLLLLLL….

            Later that morning I was greeting the children who were entering the 2nd grade Sunday school class I taught.  A visitor came to our door.  I was startled when I looked up from the sweet face of my young guest and found myself looking into the eyes of the man whom I had passed, and prayed for, earlier that morning!  Imagine his surprise when I blurted out of nowhere, “I PRAYED FOR YOU TODAY!”  Yep, he looked a bit scared and seemed to grip his son’s hand a little tighter, as if rethinking leaving him in my care.  I then began to explain to him the events of the morning.  He remembered passing someone, but did not recognize me due to my ball cap I suppose.  He shared that he and his wife were just walking before church.  They had been seeking a church home for several months.  Visiting different churches was challenging since they had a large family and a wheel chair bound grandmother living with them.

           Here is what I learned then, and am reminded of today:  I did not “pray” them to church.  God did not need me to pray in order for them to make it there that day.  However, what God did want me to do was to be obedient.  Because I prayed as it was on my heart, when He brought this sweet family to our church, I received a blessing of seeing His fingerprints all over it.  God wants us to pray so that in doing so, we can glorify HIM and though we may not always receive answers we desire, we will no doubt know He is sovereign, and we will be less inclined to miss evidence of Him in our lives.


When Things Heat Up November 2, 2010

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:12 pm

          The other day one of our friends was sharing a jester her husband and kids had made.  They put together a lovely glass vase filled with lovingly collected acorns and a candle set in it.  Not only was it a sweet gift but also a beautiful fall décor idea.

It brought back memories of a time I too decorated with acorns collected from my yard.  I shared a word of warning with her. 

          One  year I thought I was not only clever but also frugal in my festive fall  décor idea.  I collected beautiful leaves and handfuls of acorns and, along with a few gourds and small pumpkins, scattered them around my home on bookshelves and the mantle.  It was inexpensive and pretty…that was until one morning as I surveyed my domestic domain while enjoying a cup of coffee I noticed little white worms inching across my mantle and wiggling out of the acorns. 

          Yes, it seems that these innocent worms were the larvae of something that NORMALLY would stay safe and snug in the confines of the acorn until Spring…but by placing them in my toasty home they thought it was time to come out…not sure which of us was more surprised by their early emergence.

          This was not the first time I managed to fool Mother Nature.  Seems one year we accidentally brought a praying mantis egg sac into the house along with our live Christmas tree.  Thankfully, it was not until after Christmas morning that the THOUSANDS of miniature praying mantises prematurely made their way into the world.  I was sitting on our sofa near the tree and noticed movement toward the back of the tree.  A closer look revealed a multitude of tiny praying mantises crawling all over the tree.  They even had formed a bridge of bodies from the tree to my lace curtains and were walking up and down my windowsill.  The warmth of the house had convinced them it was Spring I guess.   Needless to say my husband and I set a new record for un-decorating a tree and placing it on the curb.

          The lesson here…besides bake acorns before decorating with them and check trees for egg cases…is that sometimes change brings out things that are normally dormant.  When things heat up we too sometimes find things hidden in our heart emerging…What emerges depends greatly on what we have filled ourselves with…

Psalm 119:11  Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.

Galatians 5:22-23  But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Today we pray, Lord let us be “worm” free!