TODAY THE WORD is SILENCE


TODAY THE WORD is SILENCE. For someone, such as me, it is hard to fathom silence, but silence is “golden” as some wise person said. In my lifetime, I have learned the most when I listened to others and then soaked it into my mind. Those times have produced maturity and wisdom, more than my many trials and errors. The amusing thing is when I was young, I didn’t seem to think I had a lot to say and was a quieter person. Have you found yourself speaking up more in our middle years? Are you more expressive or did you learn that silence is golden? What I find amusing in this life is when we chatter boxes try the silence period, people want to find out what is wrong. 

Monks go through periods of years after taking a vow of silence. Do you think they do more thinking during that period or more praying? Both of these processes are vital to our spiritual growth. In our lives, instead of confronting a situation before we have had time to be silent, and think and pray for the right words to express our feelings without a lot of emotion may be “golden”. This way, we may avoid the trap of useless words in haste. A word of silence may be a thunderous roar in Heaven and may be viewed sincere as it is a sign of respect. The old saying of “Bite your tongue” may really mean use a moment of silence to regain your composure. 

I think back when I was young and I would see an old man who whittled away at a chunk of wood. He wasn’t a friendly sort of man, but not unpleasant either. He spent a lot of time in silence and I wondered what he was thinking while he was whittling. We, as a nation, spend a lot of time discussing “important” matters but spend so little time praying over them. As individuals, we pray; as a nation, we don’t. 
Now for the deeper thought…..I think if we would spend more silent time in reverence since God hears us when we speak from our hearts as well as from our mouth. As a writer, this may sound counterproductive as I express my thoughts through my words, but I have a lot of silent moments. Maybe, today I will put aside all of the chatter and go inside where I know God dwells and listen to my heart beat, count my blessings that God has allowed me another day to listen and learn from Him. He will present my lessons for today and if I listen closely, He will offer solutions. Listen to the inner voice and see what happens!

DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
(c) copyright 2012 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.
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TODAY THE WORDS ARE A GIFT OF STILLNESS

These great photos of a wonderful place to be still are courtesy of Mona Cawley


TODAY THE WORDS are THE GIFT OF STILLNESS. In my time of being still and taking a break, I came upon this post which was a well received one in 2013 and worthy of re-posting.
This topic came as an unexpected “gift” since it was part of a conversation between a good friend and former classmate, Joyce Hanna Ricciardelli (who I hope doesn’t mind me building on her thought) and another dear friend. The conversation had developed about slowing down and not taking on so much. Joyce relayed this wonderful thought, “As we get older, stillness is a gift.” I may not be quoting this exactly but it reveled in my soul. Some people are calmer, slower to speak, and seem mature beyond their years as young adults. Some of us run rapidly, talking and walking at the same time, taking on entirely too many tasks, projects, relationships, etc. While the energetically moving people accomplish a lot, live a lot, they use up quite a lot of energy. Also they miss some events, family time, and some quiet time. The hurrying, the bustling, the voicing of opinions, can actually take them out of the important one on one time and even though the spotlight might be shining more directly on them from time to time, there can be dark times to encompass. Life is an adventure and I have filled my life with more than some people I know, but some of my best times were the quiet, still times. In the past, those still times were rare, but as Joyce so intently expressed are becoming a gift now as I get older and are treasured as they should be. My writing is my gift of stillness; my devotion is my gift of stillness; and my cuddling time with my husband and our dogs are a gift of stillness. The days of having to be out in the spotlight or having to express openly all of my opinions about everything is not as critical as it was. I am not saying I don’t have strong opinions, and certainly my faith is growing even stronger every day; I am saying I find time of meditation and devotion more comforting and when I feel led to express my thoughts, I will do so but it is not always necessary. Oh yes, as we get older, stillness is a gift and learning from others is so wise. I have listened to this message coming from a friend. 
That is the deeper thought for today….We receive messages from God through others; we gain wisdom as we listen; we gain love as we love; we gain trust as we trust; and we grow as we take all of the lessons we receive as rain is to the flowers in the garden in order for them to have the magnificent blooms we enjoy. Live life, love life, and live life to the fullest by embracing some stillness.


DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Psalm 46:10                 


“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 

(c) copyright 2013 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.

TODAY THE WORDS ARE MUSICAL CHAIRS


TODAY THE WORDS are MUSICAL CHAIRS. If you are like me, I smiled when this came to me as today’s topic for the blog. As a child, especially at parties, I loved musical chairs. For all of you who played musical chairs, this should bring back a lot of memories of your own. First, we would start with as many chairs as guests less one. Someone would start the music and around the chairs we would go, trying to make sure we were always in front of a chair when the music stopped. There was a lot of giggles, moving fast and then slowing down, a lot of awkward moves, and the funniest of times when two people tried to sit down in the same chair. The child left standing was eliminated and another chair was taken away and here we went again when the music started. The excitement grew more and more intense as the number of chairs were pulled away. We all got serious when it was down to three or four chairs. The game was officially on!! We started walking in a bent form to be closer to the chairs and our ears were tuned to the music. For all of you that played, you know exactly what I am writing about……intensity at its best. Musical chairs would almost  become a battle ground and “last man sitting instead of standing” was the mission. 
Now for the deeper thought……Life is like this childhood game…..musical chairs and this is why I think it is. We start in life’s adventure like it’s a game, moving around the chairs of life, laughing and not taking it so seriously. We play, we laugh, we giggle, and then life’s game starts eliminating! We move, we lose friends and family members, and we change schools, then jobs and sometimes spouses. Life, as these things are pulled out of the game, becomes more serious. We experience the awkwardness of bending trying to be successful and even experience awkward moves such as health issues, work losses, or family situations, but we keep trying to get us a chair to sit down. The music of life starts playing again and we have to start moving. This is a reflection when we lose a loved one and we grieve, but at some point we have to start moving again. At the end of our lives, with families as players of life, one of the couple is eliminated and one is left to sit in the final chair. Even though we have laughed and giggled and it looks like we have won, it has a sadness to lose the other one. 
Since I see positive in each situation, I see musical chairs in a little different light. If we live our life according to God’s plan, each one that is eliminated from this earthly life obtains a small throne in Heaven and that is better than any earthly hard wooden chair. Let’s be ready for the music to start in Heaven when the time comes and we will all be winners.


DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
1 Peter 3:15          
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

(c) copyright 2012 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.

TODAY THE WORDS are SACRIFICES, ANYONE?


TODAY THE WORDS are SACRIFICES, ANYONE? What, sacrifice? What is sacrifice? Over the years, especially since the 90’s, we as a society have become a country where we expect more than we are willing to sacrifice for a cause or goal. Oh, yes I am talking about the majority of us. We live in a world if we don’t have the newest I phone, the most stylish vehicle, the most magnificent prom dress, the best sneakers, the biggest home, trips to hair stylists and nail salons, and take the best vacations than anyone else we know; we feel we have sacrificed and been cheated somehow.  To prove this point, I am going to travel back to my childhood (it is getting a longer trip with each birthday, but I am blessed to be here) for a couple of stories of sacrifice and see if anyone reading this post would have been willing to do the same. 
We were a family of 6 with 4 children with only an age difference of 4 1/2 years between all 4 children. We lived in a small house with one bathroom and it was small enough, it would fit in the size of most of the showers today. In the kitchen, there was no taking something from the cabinet and walking it to another part of the kitchen; we just turned around. My Mother worked along with my Father working and we kids had part time jobs and times were rough. In order for all of us children to have shoes, my Mother would put off asking or buying her new shoes. I remember one day when Mom was sitting down for a few minutes and she propped her feet on a small green ottoman. My Dad walked by and looked at the bottom of her shoes and there it was a big hole in the sole. He, of course, wanted to know why she had holes in her shoes and why hadn’t she bought her some shoes. She said, “Arlie, it will be okay, I have cardboard inside and the children had to have shoes for school.” Daddy told her to get up and they left to go buy her a pair of shoes. Instead of being upset about not having a good pair of shoes, she had said nothing; but you should have seen her with her new shoes. She felt like dancing. 
Another story of sacrificing which touched my heart was when a couple were struggling with changes they had no control over with unemployment and found themselves in a very tight place. Someone reached out to them and left an envelope of money which paid an important, life necessity bill and whoever left the money, left no name and no way of seeking publicity for their generosity. It may have not been a monetary sacrifice or it may have left this giver tight themselves. It was a true form of generosity and this couple still give thanks for the envelope left in their mailbox.
Now for the deeper thought……..Sometimes we are asked to reach out and help others and we may hesitate. Are we truly unable to help or are we feeling we might be “sacrificing” a needless want or desire on our parts? If everyone, and I am including myself, would give up one going out to eat once a month and whoever and whatever we need to give to help someone in need; what a difference we as a country would make. Our Christ never hesitated making the ultimate sacrifice for us and gave his life. When asked or better yet, I am proactive to others needs, and if at all possible, I want to give to those less fortunate as I never forget my Mom sitting there with holes in her shoes, not complaining about her sacrificing for her children. Live life; love life; and live life to the fullest by sacrificing something for another!


DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Hebrews 13:16 ESV

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 


(c) copyright 2014 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.

TODAY THE WORDS are TRIPPING OVER OUR OWN FEET


TODAY THE WORDS are TRIPPING OVER OUR OWN FEET. I have been giving the state of “us” referring to the majority of people in our country. It brought a thought for the topic. We seem to be tripping over our own feet and hopefully this will describe some of  our actions in a simple thought. 
Growing up, or even now, do you remember having a pair of shoes with shoe laces or even without laces which seemed to make walking difficult. A specific pair without laces which comes to mind quickly was a pair of high heeled shoes with some kind of scuff resistant soles to avoid slipping. The only problem was this type of sole was too rigid and anti slip material. If anything, this produced a hard to move forward action which caused me to almost tumble several times. Instead of a crazy slide across the floor; I had an abrupt halt and a forward movement which wasn’t natural so I would tumble forward. I disposed of those shoes and went back to slipping and sliding. In other words, I was tired of tripping over my own feet.
It seems to me, we are tripping over our own feet in our actions too. We say we want racism to go away but I see actions on all sides of ethnic groups encouraging the “conversations” which ignite the tensions instead of sitting down and finding out what it would take for people to recognize the problems and resolve to solve those problems for “all” people. I see people who have valid concerns about paying so much taxes, while people who could work are on welfare. Instead of attacking those people; why don’t we fix the laws? Here we go tripping over our own feet! We complain about our government, politicians, laws, and policies; how many vote for changes in who makes our laws? By not voting is the same as when you don’t take the time to tie the shoe laces and then you keep yelling when you trip over them. We talk about freedom of religion and we don’t stop and think the total meaning of this freedom…….ALL Religions to be practiced without condemnation. It is not freedom of a single religion; it encompasses all religions with an opportunity for me to practice my beliefs and you to practice yours. What it shouldn’t be is one religion to be forced on all people. Freedom to be equal in person no matter what race we are; freedom to be able to believe our own choice of religion is the true depiction of freedom in itself. It would help all of us to pick up our feet and quit tripping over our own individual demands and get it together as a human race. It can’t be the white race, the black race; the rich or the poor; the democrats or republicans; the Christians or the other religions; the believers and/or non believers. God loves us all. We can believe the way we believe and let God work through all of us.
Now for the deeper thought………Life requires participation and not just observation! If your laces are untied; tie them. If you continue to walk with the laces untied; expect to trip. Bending down and taking a few minutes to do what it takes to make your walk through life smoother and safer takes an effort. Life will trip you up even if your laces are tied; that is just life. Pick yourself up and let’s move forward. Just as I had to dispose of those aggravating shoes; sometimes you have to make changes. If you are not working; keep trying to find a job. If you are working; see if you can help someone who is not working find work. Live life; love life; and live life to the fullest by picking up your feet by doing the necessary actions to walk smoothly.
DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.


(c) copyright 2014 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.

TODAY THE WORDS are STEP UP TO THE PULPIT


TODAY THE WORDS are STEP UP TO YOUR PULPIT. Many people who read the blog regularly and/or know me personally have heard me say “I am not a minister, as a matter of fact, far from it.” I am not a scripture expert even though I read the bible and I always research a scripture to coincide with the topic I write. As a matter of fact yesterday, a question came into my mind and I wasn’t sure what the scriptures said about tattoos. I hadn’t seen any scripture which related to this particular subject. Let me say before anyone who has tattoos gets defensive; I have never been a tattoo loving person, but it has always been a personal preference and not a religious one. Like I said, I have never read any scripture pertaining to this subject. I was shocked when I found a particular scripture which relates to tattoos and what is directly said about them. No, this topic is not going to be based on tattooing but I would like to say everyone who has wondered what the scriptures say on this subject should go to Leviticus 19:28.
What this topic is wrapped around was my revelation when I searched the tattoo topic and found specific information to my question. I realized how much time I have spent researching to write for the blog and for the novel I am writing……..Now wait……….Here it comes……..How much time have I spent searching the scriptures for particular topics? Let me step up to the pulpit and preach to myself. Wow, I seemed lacking in this area and it brought me to how many people depend on our pastors to feed us, without us having to lift a finger or technically a Bible. We listen to evangelists and yes, they give us great sermons. Do we, as loving children of God, search on a regular basis for answers? Do we feel we have a responsibility to study and meditate and then ask our clergy resources if we have questions and/or need clarification on what we studied. 
I realize a lot of people do this on a regular basis, and remember, I am preaching to myself. Others however, will relate to my revelation; we need to spend more time in the Holy Word. I heard a news contributor who said average Americans spend 5-6 hours watching television A DAY and it hit me very hard with my 15-20 minutes devotional. I felt I was cheating God as the cartoon someone put on Face Book while looking at a restaurant bill and made the remark, “The waitress gets 15% and God gets only 10%! 
Now for the deeper thought……I need to think if I want God to hear 100% of my prayers; why wouldn’t I give God more of my time? God is a lot busier than any of us or as a matter of fact; God is busier than ALL of us combined but God takes time to hear every prayer; hear each bird chirp; giving every child the first breath and all breaths up to their last breath; gives life to every living creature and plant; and still has time to save each and every soul who comes to Him with repentance. Now, what is our excuse? I am now stepping down from my pulpit; how about you?
DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 
(c) copyright 2014 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.

TODAY THE WORDS are SPEEDING FAST TO NOWHERE


TODAY THE WORDS are SPEEDING FAST TO NOWHERE. Once in a while, I will watch NASCAR with my husband but even though Greg has his favorite racer and I cheer him on; I will have to admit I must not be a fan of racing. I remember loving the “idea” of muscle cars when I was young and used to drive a lot faster than I do. I still drive and keep up with the traffic but speed doesn’t thrill me as much as it did back in the day. With this said, I found myself up early this morning with a message about how we speed through life and do we get where we plan to arrive at the end. I find too many people speeding fast to get nowhere. 
A good friend of mine shared a post I found interesting this morning and I shared it here:
                                
This hit home with me as I can see my “former” self in this statement and can say I feel happy I kicked the destination addiction. I used to feel this pull to seek what was around the corner, what I could do differently, if I changed others I would be happy, and so forth. When I slowed down and stopped speeding through life; I found I listened better; I found I was more forgiving; I found out God had been talking to me but the winds of life were too loud (similar to the sound wind makes with the windows down in a speeding car). I finally was in a quiet, still spot where the beautiful sounds of God calling me to change ME and to let Him change others. I started seeing the trees of life; the streams of clarity; and the beautiful rainbows after the storms of life had ravaged the calm. 
Now for the deeper thought…..one of the wonderful things about my husband is how he loves to get off the interstate with the fast traffic and drive through the country side. We look at crops, old barns, houses, trees, and because we are not flying by life with speeds in the fast lane; we laugh about the funny things we see; we compare cloud interpretations; and we enjoy our trip. Life is to be lived and enjoyed and I finally found out how to slow down how fast I choose to travel through life and I seem to be getting there without all of the frustration of speeding fast to nowhere. 
LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY SLOWING DOWN AND GETTING OUT OF THE FAST LANE TO NOWHERE.

DAILY FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

Mark 4:24 ESV 

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.”

(c) copyright 2014 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission.