Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

A Very Big But August 21, 2014

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:05 am
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In my life the word “but” is usually a dreaded addition to any sentence. It is often found in phrases that seem to set me up, then knock me down.

“You get a lollipop, BUT the shot will hurt a little”

“Sure you can skip brushing your teeth, BUT eventually you will lose them all”

“Go ahead and do what you want, BUT don’t say I did not warn you”

“Enjoy that second ice cream scoop, BUT plan on having to work it off later.”

“I will loan you my car, BUT you will need to put gas in it.”

“We appreciate your enthusiasm, BUT you really can’t sing”

“I’d like to help you, BUT (insert any activity you can think of to avoid helping)”

 

This list could go on, BUT I am certain you get the idea. It is rare that the word “but” in a phrase could bring me peace. Last Sunday our pastor referenced a scripture in which the word “but” not only overwhelmed me with peace, but it has brought me to my knees in prayer since then. This very BIG, very important “BUT” reminded me that no matter what I feel is pressing on me, discouraging me, tempting me or frightening me, my God has conquered it all.

 

” These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, BUT take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  

I have a plaque hanging in my kitchen…it reminds me each day to “Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is”  It sits beside our coffee maker, I see it every morning (several times even), yet I still manage to forget we are not victims, but victorious in Christ Jesus. Too often I let the storms/tribulations in life, or in the lives of those I love, overwhelm me.

 

Each day, online news feeds and television programs assault us with the truth of worldwide tribulations. People are struggling, hurting, fighting and dying. It is hard to not feel an overwhelming sense of fear for the future……BUT, consider Who holds our future and take courage!

 

Maybe for you today, “tribulation” is nothing more than a coworker who is unkind, an unhealthy relationship, or an overwhelming task.   Maybe you understand “tribulation” to be a loss of a loved one.   “Tribulation” could be a medical crisis, an emotional valley, or uncertain future. Sometimes our “tribulations” are the result of our own choices, consequences God allows to come into our lives. Sometimes they are the natural consequence of the sin nature of our world. Maybe God is allowing a “tribulation” to impact us in order to guide or redirect us…..BUT, take courage…..He has overcome the world!

 

What is in the Food? December 12, 2012

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 4:51 pm
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Each week, four prior to Christmas, we gather to light a candle and consider the coming of our savior, the birth of Jesus.  It is a good time to focus on the real reason for merriment.  This week we celebrate Joy.

          I was listening to a sermon last Sunday and as soon as the pastor uttered the following line I did not hear another word.  He was talking about the scenario we often envision when we think of the night of Jesus’s birth, you know….shepherds, Mary, Joseph, donkey, baby, hay filled manager…he said imagine the animals’ surprise when they looked in their food trough and saw a baby, surely they wondered “what’s this in our food?” and at those words my mind began to tumble with all sorts of images.  I pictured Jesus as the prize in a box of cracker jacks, or a new “special marshmallow surprise” in Lucky Charms cereal.  I know, I know…this was not what he meant, but I could not help myself. 

          I am thankful that those animals had such a special food additive that night.  I could not help wondering if my life were a manger, what would they have found there?

          I was moved to think of the times I have replaced Jesus with other things…..I suddenly had images of this running in my head.  Picture a hay filled manger…you peer over its edge expecting a sweet baby wrapped in swaddling clothes…and instead there is a television, books and food all piled in there.  Admittedly, these are just a few of the things that have had my attention more than Jesus some days. 

         Perhaps the most disturbing image that filled my head, as the pastor continued the sermon I was no longer listening to, was of this same manger scene, only now nestled in the hay filled trough you’d find ME.  Trust me, it was NOT a pretty image.  Sometimes I replace Jesus with myself.  I know that sounds horrible, and it is, but I do not think I am alone.  It is easy to try and live life under our own power.  We want things to go a certain way, we want situations to make sense to us, we want to please others, or we want to be better…trusting ourselves and not our savior.

          As I shook the unwelcome and mind scaring image from my head, I began to pray, Lord, help me to honor You with my life.  Jesus, forgive me for setting anything above You or replacing You with my worthless efforts.  Lord, it is in You I find grace, and through You I know peace, love and joy.   Lord, I KNOW that it is only because YOU were in that manger, that I do not have to bear the burden of my sin.”

 

          You see, THAT is what the angels declared that night to the shepherds,

“…for behold, I bring you good news of a GREAT JOY which shall be for all people; ” Luke 2:10… 

The good news is that we do not have to be in the manger…in our place Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and rose again so that we can come before a Holy God seeking forgiveness and finding love and grace.