Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Great Expectations December 4, 2020

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:41 am
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Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause to remember the birth of our Savior.  In some households a candle is lit for each of the advent themes. These days we live aboard a boat, so instead we will “turn on” a flameless candle as we consider the first advent theme, HOPE.

I errantly thought my family was normal growing up.  The first hint that perhaps, just perhaps, we were not normal took place my first Christmas with the hubby and his family.  You see, in my family, gift giving came hand in hand with an intense build of expectation.  Great care and effort went into camouflaging each gift below our tree.  My sister and I would shake and examine each box with our name for days leading up to the grand opening.   My sister was particularly good at guessing what hid beneath mom’s elaborate ribbons and bows.  My mom took pride in being able to fool us.  A box that rattled when shook could be a toy, but it could also be a sweater with a bag of dried beans.  A large box could contain a much smaller gift and a small box could hold a note telling us to look in the garage for a bigger item.  We loved this guessing game.  Having expectations and laughing at our surprise with each opened gift was part of Christmas.

 I was traveling with my then fiancé to have Christmas with his mom and sister.  I had gotten my betrothed a sports jacket, complete with stylish elbow patches.(this was the 80’s after all)  I assumed he would try valiantly to guess what I’d gotten him…so I rolled it up tightly, placed in an extra-long and narrow box and added a brick in the bottom of the box to really throw him off.  I was significantly pleased with myself.  When it came time to load up the car he unceremoniously heaved it into the vehicle with the rest of our things.  We toted that heavy, awkward box from Florida to Virginia and he never tried to guess its contents, not once!   

No doubt he, and my future in-laws, were perplexed when at last he opened the gift.  Oh, he loved the jacket, but he could not PHATHOM why I used an outsized box and included a brick.  They were kind, not judgmental, but it was hard to miss the head tilt that accompanies confusion…and that friends was the first of many times we would discover our differences over 36yrs of marriage.

As a child, my Christmases were filled with expectations culminating in the “big reveal” on Christmas day.  I was never disappointed.  I may have been surprised by the contents, but I was always delighted with the gifts.  This year as I look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ, I am thinking of expectations.

God’s people were waiting for help.  Prophecy had told of the arrival of one who would save them all.  They had expectations.  They waited for a Messiah to save them from their enemies, yet ultimately man’s greatest enemy is sin.   While many looked for a worldly savior, God sent His son to be the savior of the world. How confusing it must have been when their hope for salvation did not arrive wrapped in triumphant pageantry, political powers or leading a mighty army.  Instead, this gift came wrapped in cloth, lying in a manger, devoid of so much as a bow.  The packaging may have been unexpected, but the gift exceeded the expectations of man.

We may be tempted to set our expectation and hope in the pretty packaging of things/people, but salvation does not come from the world.  Salvation came TO the world in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.  He is our HOPE, our expectation, assurance of forgiveness, peace in chaos, comfort amidst stiving and joy even as sorrow flows.  This week as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ…

“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13


Worth It December 7, 2015

Filed under: advent,Christianity,Christmas,devotionals,humor,life — tlmiller82 @ 9:56 am
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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 the Advent themes.  This week we consider PEACE.

“Whose idea was this?”  I thought to myself as I turned off my alarm and rolled out of my very toasty, snuggly, comfy bed.  A month ago this plan seemed brilliant.  My dear hubby decided to offer to fly up to New York, pick up my daughter Ashley, and her new puppy, and rent a car to drive her home for Thanksgiving.  Of course this grand plan meant that I would drive her back the following Sunday and then fly home.  That is how I came to be rolling out of bed long before sunrise.


I squinted at the clock (because my eyes had not entirely gotten the message it was time to wake up), 4:15.  Our goal was to be on the road by 5am and we were well on our way to meeting that goal…then the hubby woke up.  Apparently he thought we’d be out the door long before 5!  Soon he was urging us onward and fussing that we were not moving with the appropriate “urgency”.  We picked up our pace and tried to relieve his concern…but soon found ourselves ushered out to the car, WITHOUT COFFEE!  “You don’t have time.” he pronounced as he waved goodbye.  Who in their right mind would send two women out on the road, in the predawn hours, without coffee?   That was just crazy.


The first thing we did was stop at a McDonalds near the interstate to get two coffees.  Here is an abbreviated version of the day…

  • Kindly attendant handed us 2 piping hot coffee cups, no protective cup sleeves(they were out)
  • once on interstate discovered cups too full to add creamer and there were no stirrers or napkins
  • daughter concedes to allow me to listen to Christmas music the entire trip, as long as I promised to NOT sing along.
  • stopped again to “fix” coffees…coffee spills inside and outside of car somehow (refer to previous mention of no napkins)
  • discovered rental car’s GPS is programmed to avoid interstates and is constantly trying to reroute us…
  • dog happily sleeps the entire time (mostly) thank goodness.
  • finally able to sip cooler, bitter coffee and relished the last bit as it contained most of the sweetener (refer to previous mention of no stirrers)
  •  approx. 3hrs into drive, found a Starbucks!(thanking God for New Jersey turnpike rest areas!)
  • enjoyed a fairly stress free drive, until we actually got to NY
  • managed to survive negotiating through NY traffic, avoiding the worst areas thanks to Ashley’s navigation skills and NO thanks to the two GPS devices we were depending on.
  • Arrived safely at La Guardia airport in time to drop off rental car, hug Ashley good bye as she and her dog got an Uber ride home, and I caught my return flight back to Virginia.


It was quite a journey, but it was worth it.  She was worth it.


Once I was back home,  I marveled that I been to NY and back in a single day.  Before heading to bed I stopped to finish setting up the nativity set we had placed on an entry table.  I thought of how each figurine represented someone who had also been on a journey.


I imagined Joseph’s burdened heart as he  escorted his pregnant fiancé across difficult terrain and uncertain future.  Young Mary’s advance stage of pregnancy surely made her journey uncomfortable and anxiety filled.  The shepherds left the familiarity of their fields.  Each step taking them to Bethlehem moved them far from their comfort zone amongst their sheep.  The wise men understood their journey was to not be taken lightly.  A lot of thought went into the gifts they would carry with them for the long trip.  Each of these travelers knew their journey was worth it.


I looked at the tiny baby Jesus, nestled in the little plastic manger painted with hay.  This figurine represented the one who had taken the greatest journey of all.  God left the enormity of heaven, came to a broken world, in the confines of flesh, to give us PEACE. 

He brought us His peace, not peace that exists because everything is okay, because often it is not.  This peace is knowing He is with us, He is for us, and He is victorious!

He made the greatest journey because He considers us worth it!

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(John 1:14)




Seat 15D December 1, 2015

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,life — tlmiller82 @ 4:52 pm

This is the first 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 consider the hope we have in Jesus.


It had been a rough month, followed by a horrible week and I was really struggling. Which is how I came to download a Beth Moore book onto my Kindle. The book was perfectly titled for this season of my life, “Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk About God’s Deliverance”. I could not wait to start reading this book on a recent flight to Florida. I thought it was a good way to start getting myself out of my pit…but God did not wait for me to get myself out. He, of course, met me where I was…flight 1650, seat 15D.


I was not more than a page into the book when I read this line, I’m writing to tell you I believe God has scheduled your flight out of a pit.” Just then our pilot came over the intercom, “we will be turning the fasten seatbelt signs back on due to impending turbulence”.   I continued to read… “you can really move out of your pit…I’d like to be your flight attendant for a while. I’ve taken this trip before. It’s a bit bumpy, but the destination is worth it…”  It was as if Beth Moore knew I’d be reading her book on a plane!   Well, she may not have known, but God sure put that book in my life in His perfect time!


I was thankful for the dimly lit cabin as my eyes filled with tears.   A “DING” sounded and the “fasten seatbelt” sign went off.   I kept reading. The next page held this Scripture…. “I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry.”(Psalm 40:1) I turned off my Kindle, laid back my head, closed my eyes and listened to the soft rumble of the plane’s engines.


      In the confines of seat 15D, God reminded me He knows my struggle, sees my tears, hears my cry and meets me in my pit. And just like that, His forgiveness and grace replace guilt and condemnation. Hope lifted my weariness and discouragement. As I stepped off the plane that night, I looked up from my pit and thanked God for joining me on my journey.

 If you too are looking up from a pit,

may this season bring you HOPE restored!

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)






“It Is What It Is” December 16, 2014

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 7:23 pm
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This is the third 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 PEACE.

“It is what it is”. I am not sure exactly when I heard this phrase for the first time. I do not recall what it was in reference to, but it made me feel uncomfortable. Since then, I have heard these words uttered countless times and each time it made my heart ache. I had only heard “It is what it is” in negative contexts I suppose. It was often spoken with a breathy sigh, a resignation of a plight, or a settling/acceptance of a bad thing.

I get it. I know there are times in life when there is just nothing anyone can do, and as one of my friends once said, “Sometimes you just have to put your big kid pants on and deal with it.” Still, it just does not feel right to proclaim a situation as beyond change, even if it is true.

I was not a fan of “it is what it is”, which is why I found it odd, that when considering the topic of “PEACE” for our advent devotion, I could not get this phrase out of my head. I had written it down as a passing thought in my notes last week. It was even scribbled in the margin of a shopping list I made a few days ago. The words kept bouncing around in my head like that ping pong ball in the old Atari games.  At first, I thought of it as a good example of resignation/hopelessness. I thought it would be a good intro into the topic of “HOPE”, but that advent theme has already passed. I had been asking God for something to share about “PEACE”.   I was sort of hoping for a scripture to roll into my life and present itself, not a negative tinged “It is what it is.”  What could THAT have to do with PEACE, God’s PEACE?

I looked the phrase up on line, seeking to find its intended meaning. Of course there were many ways it can be utilized, but for the most part, it has come to mean the following concerning situations:

Inevitable, unchangeable, unstoppable, out of one’s control, and my favorite, “C’ est la vie” (such is life)

Suddenly the phrase that was at once zinging around in my head in negative connotation, came to a complete stop and stood glaring out at me as if in neon lettering. “It is what it is.” is not always about settling for less of a thing, or accepting a negative situation… it is a confidence that when something is not in your control, you will still be okay. It is a knowing that while something is unchangeable, you are capable of moving forward.   We may not control our circumstances, but we control how we respond in our hearts.

At Christmas we are especially mindful of the year round truth that is this:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

This is God’s PEACE…in Him we do not strive for perfection, nor do we sit condemned from our sin. In Him we find grace, unearned favor, forgiveness and life. God’s PEACE is being settled in the midst of unsettling times. We face unchangeable things, unstoppable events and we may not have control, but our God is UNCHANGEABLE, UNSTOPPABLE and always in CONTROL.

“It is what it is” once caused me to envision someone throwing their hands up in defeat…now, when I think of this phrase, instead I envision someone dropping their burden, tossing their hands in the air and falling back into His capable arms.

“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah9:16)


NASCAR December 2, 2014

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 5:27 pm
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    This is the first 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 HOPE.

       I was simply driving around town running a few errands when I received the first message. It came in the form of a faded bumper sticker on the car in front of me. “God is My Copilot”, it proclaimed. I looked at the empty passenger seat beside me and considered the importance those words. I would not want to go anywhere in life without God near me. He is my copilot too. I decided I needed to be more aware of God’s presence in my life.


The second message came as I continued on my way to grocery store. I was bobbing my head to country tunes when Carrie Underwood blared from my speakers. I was immediately caught up in the emotion of her song and soon found myself crooning along with her… “Jesus Take The Wheel…..” I sang it with passion, although not even close to being in tune. The words stirred my heart. I realized I did not want God to just be my copilot, I want Him to be my PILOT! I want Him to have the “wheel” of my life.


My errands were completed, and I was on my way home, when a third message came to me from a very unusual source. I am not a NASCAR fan, but I think God may be. I was pushing the radio buttons absentmindedly, just trying to find something interesting to listen to, when I stopped briefly on a station discussing NASCAR. I did not hear all of the discussion, but my mind stuck on something they mentioned in passing. In reference to a recent race they commented, “His SPOTTER could have done a better job for him there.”   A “spotter”, what is that?


As if the guys on the radio heard my question, they proceeded to explain that a spotter is an actual position on a NASCAR driver’s team. It is the person who sits in an observation section high above the raceway.   Apparently the drivers have limited ability to view their surroundings as they hurtle around the oval track. They cannot move their heads around very easily and therefore rely on spotters to give them the bigger picture. From their vantage point the spotters can radio to the drivers and alert them to accidents, proximity of other racers as well as giving them tips for maneuvering based on the location of the other cars.   I changed my mind. I don’t want God to just be my copilot or pilot…I want God to be my SPOTTER!


Yep, God used a bumper sticker, Carrie Underwood and NASCAR to “drive” the lesson home. (Great pun right?) As I finally pulled into my driveway after running my errands, I bowed my head and prayed.


“God, my hope and trust is in You alone. You are more than qualified to be my copilot, pilot and spotter in this journey of life. I want to fully and faithfully follow You.”

        As we enter into this Christmas season and celebrate the birth of Christ, I find myself especially mindful of who God is in my life. His birth, life, death and resurrection are the reason for my every HOPE. Through Him I know forgiveness and grace. In Him I find direction. Without Him I would be hopelessly lost in every way.

That little baby we sing about in a manger….yep, He is my copilot, pilot and spotter….He is my Hope.

“Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1Peter 1:13