Categories
Encouragement

Let’s Be Salty!

 

Put yourself in the scene for a moment. You are sitting in a crowd staring longingly at Jesus. He has just said His followers should be glad when they are persecuted because they will receive a reward in heaven. Then he says, “…if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?”

Keep in mind being involved in a rebellion against Roman rule is no small thing. Many rebellions against the Romans have been squelched as the leader and followers are murdered.

In those moments, could we possibly have a sense of the magnitude of what Jesus knows will happen? No. We can’t see through the ages to understand Jesus’s teaching of the Gospel, the “good news,” is His sacrificial death for the forgiveness of sins and the restoration of the relationship between God and man. This wonderful message will spread throughout the whole world. The saltiness Jesus is referring to will reach every nation and develop a thirst for knowing God through His Messiah.

Jesus always purposefully crafts his words. His reference to salt is clear to his listeners. There are three basic purposes of salt at that time: thirst, preservation, and seasoning. Jesus teaches his followers to first, create spiritual thirst in others. Secondly, preserve godliness in culture. And thirdly, season their actions with godliness so their fruitful lives seem attractive—“tasty”—to others.

Knowing God is in charge of the result of our representation will comfort and strengthen us. Even when we represent Him well, we can’t force anyone to become spiritually thirsty, or culture be preserved, or our godly actions be attractive to others. God must work, even using us when we are persecuted. Thankfully, He graciously and generously wants to use us to be a part of His plan, no matter the result.

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of fifty-eight books and an international speaker. This devotional is adapted from her book God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature. Kathy loves to share with others about God’s perfect nature as the means of trusting Him more. Find her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.
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Categories
Devotional

What is the “Vine of Sodom”?

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

As I studied the questions God asks in the Bible in preparation to write God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-authored with my husband, Larry), I came across a fascinating reference to the “vine of Sodom” (Deuteronomy 32:32) God gives as an example of how His people have sinned and why they deserve justice and judgment.

“For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah;
their grapes are grapes of poison;
their clusters are bitter.” (ESV)

Some commentators have varying ideas about the “vine of Sodom” which the Bible refers to only this once. Over the years, many have tried to identify the exact plant God refers to. The most obvious are grapes. Yet researchers have wondered if there is any other kind of what some commentators translate as “apples of Sodom.”

The osher fruit might be a candidate, appearing like a delicious, smooth, soft, yellow apple or orange. But when grabbed or bitten, the fruit disintegrates into a puff of air, a thin rind, and a few fibers. What seemed so fulfilling offers nothing of value.

That’s God’s point. His people are depending upon empty, ineffective, worthless things which become idols. Idol worship deserves judgment because the Israelites are putting their hope into a “puff of air.” The hollow “vine cluster” seems to give a tiny spiritual taste of satisfaction but doesn’t last. God wants His created beings to see Himself as the satisfying God of the universe who only gives good gifts, not disappointing puffs of air.

Kathy Collard Miller is passionate about communicating the hope God offers by revealing His perfect nature throughout the Bible. Kathy is the author of more than 55 books and has spoken in more than 35 US states and 9 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

 

Categories
Encouragement

Do You Want to Be Known?

 

Have you ever felt really known? Every one of us longs to be fully known, loved, and appreciated. John 1:48 tells us about the interaction between Nathaniel and Jesus. “Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you’” (ESV).

Jesus tells him he saw him hidden under the fig tree. Jesus knows Nathaniel’s nature, motives, and physical hidden location.

There are differing ideas of what Nathaniel is doing within the confines of the overhanging branches of the fig tree. Two in particular would seem to go along with Jesus’s motive to convince Nathaniel He is the Messiah.

First, Nathaniel was meditating on or studying the story of Jacob’s dream about angels going up and down the ladder in Genesis 28. Secondly, Nathaniel was seeking information from God about the coming Messiah.

Both go along with the Jacob story because Jesus is saying he, himself, is the predicted, symbolic ladder whereby people will have communication with heaven even though they are on earth.

Nathaniel immediately calls Jesus the Son of God and King of Israel.

Jesus is thrilled and replies, in effect, “Then that’s why you believe? Seeing and knowing you is nothing compared to what you are going to see and know, including the heavens opened and angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

What a wonderful example for us as we respond to the new faith of new believers. They don’t know a lot and we know how much more they will need to learn. Like Jesus, we can rejoice over what they do know, not what they don’t yet know. And that they are known by Jesus.

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller and her husband Larry are co-authors of God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature. Individually and as a couple they have authored over 55 books and spoken in over 35 states and nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents, grandparents, and lay-counselors. Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

 

Categories
Humor

God’s Creative Humbling

As I was talking with a women’s ministry director at a church training conference, I hoped she would invite me to speak at her women’s retreat. I enjoyed one of the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies set before us while we sat in the lounge of the convention center. When she asked my opinion on some important issues, I spoke with confident tones. I was thrilled to see her staring at my mouth, obviously eager to hear my every word. Surely, I was impressing her. All I have to do is say the right things, I assured myself, as I anxiously tried to think of what those “right things” might be.

After we concluded, I headed for the restroom feeling content with the open door God had given me. I walked through the restroom door and saw my reflection in the mirror. What’s that dark thing on my lip? I went closer and realized chocolate was dripping down my lip and chin. Oh, no, how long has that been there? I realized the mess had decorated my face during most of our conversation. For whatever reason, she had not felt comfortable telling me.

Oh, Lord, what have you done to me? What about my pithy statements and wise admonitions? How foolish I must have looked. How humiliating!

In a flash of truth, I recognized my dissatisfaction with God’s plan. And I started laughing. Oh, Lord, you do have a sense of humor. Please forgive me for my pride and self-importance. I fell into that trap again. But I also acknowledged God’s power because rather than being discontent with myself for the next five days (like other times), the reflection in the bathroom mirror brought immediate joy. I started laughing! My heart rejoiced! I thought, I have grown in this area!

 

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is an international speaker and author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s Bible study on Proverbs. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Heart Wisdom cover
Heart Wisdom cover
Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Content with What We Have

Seated at the table with seven other women attending the women’s retreat where I was speaking, I enjoyed visiting with these young moms. Each one introduced herself and then we started talking about the gift of hospitality. Sarah spoke up and motioned to the woman beside her.

“Natalie has the most amazing gift of hospitality. Her husband must have had it in mind when he built their huge house. She just makes everyone feel welcome.”

The women nodded their agreement. Then another friend of hers offered, “Natalie’s house is so inviting, you’d never guess it’s 6,500 square feet.”

Everyone nodded their agreement again.

Then Ginny spoke up. “It was so funny the other day. My young son, Kyle, and I were driving home from Natalie’s house after he had played there that day, and somehow we got on the subject of who was rich. I asked him, ‘Who do you think is rich?’ and I mentioned several friends, including Natalie. For each one, he said they weren’t rich.

Then I mentioned my sister-in-law who is definitely not rich and she has a 1,400 square-foot home. But Kyle said she was rich!

“When I asked him why he thought that, he replied, ‘Because she has a Play Station.’”

We all laughed. Talk about a perspective of priorities. To Kyle, whatever was important to him made a person rich.

And aren’t we all like that? Each of us has different priorities and a definition of wealth. Which just means we each can feel wealthy in whatever circumstance we are. There will always be someone with more money–and with less. How blessed we are if we’re content with what we have.

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller
Heart Wisdom by Kathy Collard Miller
Heart Wisdom by Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom in her Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s study on Proverbs. She has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

 

 

Categories
Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Kathy Collard Miller

Sarah Sundin
Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin! It’s an honor for me to interview the very first Christian author I ever met, Kathy Collard Miller—she and my mother used to bowl together! Kathy is a multi-published author and a gifted speaker—I had the joy of hearing Kathy speak at a women’s retreat many years ago and was deeply touched by her words, her heart, and her humor. I know you’ll also enjoy hearing from Kathy today.

Kathy, please tell us about your book Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory.

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Pure-Hearted encourages and inspires any Christian to evaluate the inner motives of her heart and surrender in greater trust for godly reactions. The reader will also become aware of the wonderful God-designed benefits, including joy, self-control, selfless love, security and satisfaction and other fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

I Can’t Say “I Don’t Know”

 

I don’t like to not know. I don’t like to not have an answer or an opinion. Not knowing or not being able to reply makes me feel tense. And dare I say it? I feel stupid.

What’s even sillier is that I will give an opinion even though I’m not sure I’m right—so that I can avoid saying, “I don’t know.” That’s pretty bad. Oh, my.

So it was with interest I studied Zechariah 4:5. The prophet Zechariah had been shown a vision of a lamp stand and several other things. He asked what the items meant. “So the angel who was speaking with me [Zechariah] answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.'”

If I had been Zechariah, I wouldn’t have asked what the things are because that would have shown my—there’s that word again—stupidity. And then when the angel asked, “Do you not know what these are?” I would have bluffed my way into some sort of answer (said as if I’m Rocky Balboa). “Well, sure, I know what it is. Whatcha think, I’m stupid or somepin’?”

So I’m admiring Zechariah. He had the humility to admit he didn’t know and he was willing to be instructed. I need to remember him as my inspiration for admitting when I don’t know.

It’s okay even if I appear to be stupid because it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. What matters is God’s view of me, and He already knows when I don’t know. He would much rather I admit my lack of knowledge and ask to be informed. Because He’s eager to teach and guide me. What a patient God.

At the Heart of Friendship by Kathy Collard Miller
At the Heart of Friendship by Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is growing in being able to say, “I don’t know.” Even though she doesn’t know a lot, God has graciously empowered her to write over fifty books, including her latest, At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. It’s a ten-lesson women’s study for groups or individuals. Kathy has also spoken in over thirty states in the U.S. and eight foreign countries. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com. Twitter: @KathyCMiller FB: www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor.

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

So Hot Even the Bees Are Dropping Like Flies

It was so hot even the bees were dropping like flies.

In our desert area of Southern California, we get used to the soaring summer heat and I thought the insects would too, but we kept finding dead bees by our front door. We thought, “Can’t do anything about it and it can’t be anything too serious,” so we just ignored the strange phenomenon. Until we also noticed a dark spot on the wall near the ceiling—a wall close to the front door.

We called out pest control and they checked the attic. The truth was revealed. Bees had taken up residence in our attic, having gained entrance through a small hole in the roof. The honey from the hive had started leaking into the wall.

And the dead bees on our walkway? That was how bees clean out the hive. They push their dead comrades out and they tumble to the ground. The mystery was solved and serious damage to our house was averted.

The same thing happens with temptation. Even though there are signs we are being tempted, we don’t consider them serious and ignore them. Then we give into the temptation and the sin takes up residence. Maybe too late, we realize the benign signs are actually warnings. We need to clean out the “hive” by removing the sources of temptation.

God loves us so much that He warns us. “But people are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them. This desire leads to sin, and then the sin grows and brings death” (James 1:14-15 NCR).

Your faithful God reaches out to you to warn you because He wants only the best for you. See His loving hand?

Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author of over fifty books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. She has spoken in over thirty states and eight foreign countries. Kathy and husband Larry live in Southern California and have two children and two grandchildren. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com; www.Facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor; @KathyCMiller. Instagram: @KathyCollardMiller

 

Categories
Encouragement

Got Electricity? Try the Room Key

When Larry and I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, our missionary hosts directed us to our hotel room and left us to freshen up. Larry plugged in his shaver but it didn’t turn on even though we used the adaptor we brought. I tried to plug in the coffee maker provided in the room and still no electricity!

“The room’s electricity must be broken,” I said and quickly dialed the front desk to tell them of the problem.

They said a repairman would be right up and within minutes, we heard a knock on the door. The man looked into the room and then pointed to a small fixture on the wall near the door.

In broken English, he said, “Put your room key in that.”

We slid the key into the fixture and tried the lamp. Bingo! It turned on! Electricity was supplied to the room!

We laughed as the maintenance man walked away, gently shaking his head at the silly Americans who don’t know how to turn on the electricity.

Yes, you now know that in Indonesia (and many other places as well since it was the same situation in Hong Kong) that you must plug in the key at the door to get electricity.

In a fresh way, I was reminded that if I don’t “plug” into the Holy Spirit’s power to do what God wants me to do, I’m not going to be “electrified.”

Let’s not even try to do God’s work on our own. Instead, seek His power by asking Him for His abilities through you.

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller loves to speak and write about how God’s children can trust Him more. She has spoken in over thirty U.S. states and eight foreign countries. She has over fifty published books including At the Heart of Friendship: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Larry and Kathy live in Southern California and are the parents of two and grandparents of two. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller and www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor and @KathyCMiller.

 

Categories
New Releases

Fiction and Nonfiction Choices for Last Minute Gifts!

It’s a busy season full of wonder, miracles, and–let’s be honest–at least a little stress! Gift cards are an easy option when we’ve run out of ideas or energy, but how about the gift of literature? After all, a book is like a present that you get to open again and again, right?

Here are two new titles that have recently released from our CAN authors! 

Care to put a little mystery and suspense in your holiday shopping? Try Pendant, a new

Pendant

release from M L Hamilton.

A field trip gone awry. A student gone missing.

Haunted by her student’s disappearance for more than a decade, Elaine finally stumbles

onto a vital clue–and discovers someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden. When her life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in Texas. But assuming a false identity and hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in mind. Now, Elaine must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if her friends is keeping her from danger…or keeping her from the truth.

amzn.com/B076JSK3H9

**********

Pure-Hearted by Kathy Collard Miller
Pure-Hearted by Kathy Collard Miller

The newest book release of Kathy Collard Miller is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. Her goal is to inspire Christian women to seek God’s glory with purified motives. Included are biblical principles, inspiring stories, and discussion questions.

http://amzn.to/2jzYdWi