Don’t look at the sky

Juli Mize:

A reminder to me today. Don’t look to the sky; look to Him.

Originally posted on Juli Mize:

I have a wall of windows right outside my office. I absolutely love watching the changing Oklahoma sky. I love seeing the birds and squirrels out there pecking around, although lately, they’ve been pecking on the windows, begging to come inside our cool office.

This very large array of windows affords me full disclosure on the state of the weather. If there’s a storm coming, I know it. If it’s windy, I know it. If it’s dry as a bone, I know that too.

Lately, as I have looked out those windows longingly, studying the sky, and praying for rain, it hit me… Don’t look at the sky. Look at the promise.

God said He would make it rain in my life, take care of my needs, (Philippians 4:19) give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Why do I continue to look at the sky? It’s so engrained…

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Open your eyes

Open your eyesSo, Jaxon and I were flying to South Carolina to meet up with Lynn who had been preaching there for two weeks. We were on a regional jet, one of those smaller planes which bounce you around and vibrate you a bit, but safely convey you to your destination. I had paid the extra money to get a “preferred” seat and yet still found myself wedged between the aisle and a very devoted and heavyset religious woman who vigorously crossed herself the entire flight.

It was warm and stuffy and a bit odorous in my little area. My tailbone was numb and my knees ached. I got up to visit the lavatory and turned around to face the back of the plane for the first time since boarding. IT  WAS VIRTUALLY EMPTY.

I could have gone back there any time I wanted and had a whole row to myself! It was cooler, more spacious, more inviting and more wonderful in every way possible and I missed it! All because I thought I had scored myself a “preferred” seat near the front of the cabin, thus just knowing I must be in the most accommodating place in the airplane.

Wow, was I mistaken.

People, we perish for lack of knowledge. Had I opened my eyes, I would have had a much more enjoyable flight.

Don’t miss out on what God has for you by being sure you’ve got it all figured out. Don’t be like me. Open your eyes to all the possibilities, and never settle for what someone tells you is best. God’s plan might not be the most obvious option in front of you, and more times than not it is obscured by our over-active, problem-solving brains, but His plan is ALWAYS better. And if we get out of our own way and seek Him, He will show it to us.

Reruns

Juli Mize:

Preaching to myself, people!

Originally posted on Juli Mize:

RerunsLately I’ve been watching an episode or two of Frasier before I fall asleep at night. Before I do a last scroll through Facebook and Instagram, that is. Of course it’s all reruns as the show has been out of production for a long time. I actually never watched it when it was on primetime television. I guess I was too busy watching 90210 and Melrose Place. I was so cool back then.

But lucky for me, the show is on cable every night, sometimes several episodes, giving me the opportunity to enjoy all that Frasier had to offer.

You know who else shows reruns at all hours? The devil.

Remember, the devil is not a creator, he’s only an imitator. He does not have the ability to create anything new. The tools he uses are the same ones he’s been using since he was thrown out of Heaven…

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Be a warrior

Woman warriorMy sister Christi really scared me a few months ago. She went to the hospital thinking she had a bad case of the flu and narrowly avoided the intensive care unit by about two points on the blood pressure cuff. A large kidney stone had produced a massive infection that spread throughout her body and threatened her life.

Of course, I love my sister. I love her dearly… even when she makes me nuts. But when faced with the fragility of her life, and the pain and fear that came in waves, I found myself somewhere new.

When she was weak, I had to be strong. I’m a fairly strong woman but I had to go to another level; there was absolutely no choice.

That’s what you do for people you love. When they are in the fight of their life, you don armor and pick up your sword. You pray God’s Word over them. The doctors and nurses used the weapons of their warfare, and I used mine. It was war.

Christi is the healed of the Lord. (Psalm 103:3)

She is His beloved child and He gives her rest. (Psalm 127:2)

Greater is He Who is in her than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Christi is more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:37)

And then you open the valve of Holy Spirit peace and let it flow… drowning out beeps and needle pokes and scary numbers. That’s how we win. No matter the battle, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit make us win.

Christi is well and whole, and my faith is stronger for it.

The devil is a liar

LiarHas anyone ever said to you, “You’re a loser?” Do you know that those words are intended to wound you, upset you, break you down, and pull you off track? Do you also know that those words come straight from the pit of Hell?

The devil is a liar. There’s no truth in him. And all he has to spread his evil around this planet is people; the same people who God created in His image and loved enough to send His Son to the cross… the same people who God uses to spread the Good News of His love and salvation.

That’s why it’s so difficult to not believe the lies when they come at you… because they can come from anywhere, straight out of the blue: friends, co-workers, loved ones, even family… people who you care about and that you know care about you.

So how do you fight back?

2 Corinthians 10:4 in the NLT says, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.”

This is why it is so critically important to know when the devil is using someone’s words to hurt you. And we must know how to fight back.

It’s not worldly weapons. It’s not screaming back at that person, however much we want to and think that will make us feel better. It won’t. It’s a spiritual battle and it must be fought with spiritual weapons.

The Word of God is our spiritual weapon.

What  does God say about me? What does God think about me? What has God done for me? What has God promised me? Those are the questions we have to ask ourselves. Those are the things we have to remind ourselves. And as we do, the lies will sting less and less and eventually, we will rise above them, forgive that person, and move on. It’s the only way to fly.

Cherish

IMG_4880My little bird is leaving the nest. Not my son, my new daughter, Bethanie. She’s only been here six months but our bond is like superglue… we stuck together on contact. My little Rhema student is going back home to Maui and leaving a crater in my life.

As I type this, she’s baking cupcakes. All those mothers of daughters already know what this is like. Mothers of sons, on the other hand, might not be so accustomed to this phenomenon.

Teenage boys generally don’t bake. Mine doesn’t, anyway. Kill animals? Yes. Track mud all over the house? Yes. Play incessant war games? Yes. Prepare delicious food on a whim without ever being asked? No.

So this week (actually last month, I just couldn’t find the emotional strength to post this,) she is packing and cleaning and preparing  to go home to her family and her sweet fiancé, and I am dreading and pouting. This gives me just the tiniest glimpse of what I will face when Jaxon leaves home. Gulp.

Let’s just not and say we did.

I didn’t have a daughter; I wish I had. But let me say this. I’m asking God and believing Him now that my future daughter-in-law and I will have the same kind of sweet relationship Bethanie and I have had while she’s been here.

I love you, hunny bunny, and I thank God for this precious time we had together. See you at your wedding.

Celebrate life

Celebrate lifeSo, I found a new show to watch on Netflix and it has rocked my world. No, it’s not Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy; nothing that gritty, nothing that would get tweeted about or invent new words. This show is about something more precious and less celebrated… life.

Call the Midwife is a BBC production based in London’s poor East End in the 1950s. It chronicles the lives of young nurse midwives and the women and families they tirelessly served. Never have I seen a show more full of love and committed to life. These young women were so passionate about helping babies into the world, and they had such high regard for life. Sad to say, I don’t imagine a show like that taking off in this country where we are obsessed with making things as convenient and hassle-free as possible.

But these midwives cared deeply. They cared about the new babies and the frightened mamas and the freaked-out husbands and the overbearing mothers-in-law. They held the hands and wiped the brow of all involved. And they did it in love and in expectant honor of the life that was coming into the world, no matter the circumstances.

I imagine that’s how God looks at us… each one precious, each one worth saving, each one loved, no matter what. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Oh, to demonstrate just a fraction of that love. He died for us and we didn’t deserve it. He honors us with His love, even when we are jerks. He lifts us out of our troubles, even when the mess is entirely of our own making. God loves each and every one of us… for no other reason than we are His children, created by Him, and worth loving.

Trouble, trouble, trouble

TroubleI knew you were trouble when you walked in. What a great line. This girl is on to something. And yes; I am going to turn a pop song into a devotional. I’m weird like that.

Take a look at John 14:26-27 where Jesus is giving instructions and encouragement to His disciples before He goes to the cross.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The disciples are naturally freaking out at what He’s telling them, but Jesus says, Let not your hearts be troubled. If you ask me, they had every reason for their hearts to be troubled. They had laid down their lives to follow Him and now He was leaving. I would have been ticked!

Why did Jesus tell them that, and what does it mean for us? Jesus knew our hearts would face trouble. He knew what was coming for Himself, for His disciples, and for all of us, both in those days as well as the future. He was preparing us for what He knew we would encounter in this life.

He’s saying, don’t let your heart be troubled, even though you’re going to want to. You’re going to feel trouble in your heart, but don’t let it camp out there. Don’t allow it to take root and fester. Don’t let fear build a home where it doesn’t belong.

The Amplified translation makes it even plainer: Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. (John 14:27 AMP)

I want you to read that last line again.

Do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.

That’s quite an admonishment.

Don’t let it happen. Don’t let fear and trouble stay and make a comfortable nest in your life. It will knock at the door, you can count on that; but send it packing. Stand up in the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, rebuke fear in the name of Jesus, and move on. God’s got your back. And through Him, you can be fearless, unflinching, courageous, and immovable.

Options

Juli Mize:

A repost from a hot day… It all comes down to the choices we make.

Originally posted on Juli Mize:

OptionsIt’s so hot here today, nothing should be subjected to this heat with the exception of snakes and scorpions, and maybe tarantulas. It is violently hot. It is hellishly hot. Me no likey. I doubt the snakes even like it. Thankfully, I have an air-conditioned car to take me to my air-conditioned office and back to my air-conditioned house. I have options.

We always have options.

We get to make choices along the way that shape our lives. Whether they be good or bad, it’s the choices we make that define who we are and the kind of life we lead. I’ve made some good ones, and I’ve made some real stinkers. And I’ve been through plenty of storms that have toughened me, and proven to me over and over again God’s faithfulness.

Psalm 57:1 says, “. . . Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For…

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When it rains it pours

Juli Mize:

God’s been there the whole time.

Originally posted on Juli Mize:

You know the expression, “When it rains it pours?” Why is that? When it’s raining good things, it’s coming faster than you can receive it. When it’s raining bad things… well, Katie bar the door. It just sucks. No two ways about it.

There’s nothing I love more than a good thunderstorm; a deep, earth-drenching rain. I love the heavy, humid air that lingers behind the storm. It’s a time where you can see the tail end of the storm moving away, and the black sky being replaced with glorious light. The grass looks greener, the dirt looks blacker, and you can see for miles again.

That’s how I feel when I look back after my own storms have passed, and I see how the hand of God has been on me the whole time. That’s when I realize what could have happened, but didn’t. That’s when I exchange my…

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