Shifting shadows

Juli Mize

Shifting shadowsThere is change on the wind. I pulled out a sweatshirt this morning and huddled under a throw blanket while sipping my morning brew. I have embraced the reality of truly needing reading glasses in order to see my phone, especially first thing in the morning. These are new things. Summer is coming to a close and fall is inching closer. Sure, we’ll still reach 100 degrees another time or two before it’s gone for good, but we’re almost there. And you know what? I like it. Actually, I love it.

I love change, I totally embrace it. It’s invigorating. It does not rock me because no matter what changes all around me, I know that my God doesn’t.

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

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Don’t stop believin’

Never stop believing!

Juli Mize

Journey… the quintessential rock band of my generation. Oh, how I love them. I don’t even mind the new little Filipino lead singer, I’m just so glad they still have that awesome sound.

My favorite song of theirs, and maybe my favorite song of all time, is “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I mean really, just hold on to that feeln’? How can you not love this?

The actual lyrics are totally wacky and I’m not really sure why he keeps singing about streetlights, but I have found my own meaning and I’m just sure that’s what Steve Perry meant.

To me, this song is a picture of life and faith, and what it takes to keep your head up, your eyes forward, and your feet moving. When your life is crumbling beneath you, don’t stop believin’. When your heart is broken, don’t stop believin’. When you find yourself lost and alone…

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The state of your union

Hot and coldWhat’s the state of your union? I’m not talking about your relationships, I mean what’s the state of your insides? Is there peace? War? Personally, mine have recently been engaged in a skirmish. On one side there is faith… on the other, fear. Only one of them can win.

The Bible says a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25), so there has to be a winner. There will be a winner; whether I like it or not.

So, how do I tip the scale in favor of faith?

The Word of God in my mouth is the only way. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The Message translation says it this way: “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”

Every loose thought and emotion and impulse… How many of those do I have in a day?

The power lies in recognizing them when they come, and then forcing them to align with a life shaped by Christ. In other words, forcing my thoughts, emotions, and impulses to line up with the Word of God… the Word of God that is hidden in my heart so that I might not sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11)

It’s a battle, make no mistake. The very fact that I’m human and I was born on planet Earth, a sin-filled, fallen world means that there are forces working against me, against my peace, against my fulfillment and my destiny. But I know how to overcome them. God’s Word and His Holy Spirit have given me the power and the tools to calm the state of my union, and declare a winner.


What do you do in the meantime?

A repost from 2011. God was faithful then and He’s faithful now.

Juli Mize

What do you do when you’re waiting on God? How do you fill the time when you’re seeking direction? What do you do in the meantime? The Word of God tells us to occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13), the Word of God tells us to set our hands to the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62), the Word of God tells us to work, be prosperous, multiply, do something!

I have this adorable little rocking chair sitting in the corner of my living room. It is just the right size for a two-year-old. I know this because my precious god-daughter fits perfectly in it. She gets her little sippy cup of milk and runs over to it, sits herself down and rocks. She’s occupying until Mama comes. She rocks in that chair until her Mama says it’s time to go home, or it’s time to eat dinner, or…

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What to do when God won’t tell you what to do

SOSWhat do you do when God won’t tell you what to do? I mean, if you’re not getting answers from God, what then?

Do what you know to do.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:13, “… having done all, stand.” Have you done all? Have you really and truly done all? What does all entail?

More than I’d like to accept.

At the risk of making myself look a fool, which really isn’t that new for me, I have to admit that sometimes I find myself a little mad at God. I mean, why has He left me in this mess? Where is He? Why are things so difficult sometimes? And then I remember that He never said living a life of faith would be easy. He tells us more than once that in this life there will be storms, but He also assures us of our deliverance.

But sometimes deliverance takes a while.

We have to remember that we’re not the center of the universe. There are other factors in play, there are other people involved. And God is busy “Working all things together for my good.” Right?

So I ask myself, ‘Have I done all?” I’ve prayed and asked God to move in my situation. I’ve spoken His Word over my situation. I’ve applied the Blood of Jesus. I’ve prayed in the Spirit. And then I have to get down and dirty and ask God, “Is there something in my life that is keeping me from getting an answer? Am I doing something wrong? Is there a hidden, or maybe a not so hidden pocket of unforgiveness lurking in the dark recesses of my heart?” Am I holding on to something that God wants me to let go of?

These are painful but necessary questions. We have to be willing to lay our hearts open before the Lord if we want His answers. If we need His presence, His protection, and the miracle that only He can perform,  we have to be willing to do what it takes. And then we have to be willing to trust God to work in His way and in His timing, which is perfect and never ever not exactly what we need.

Mind control

Mind control“I hate it when he does that.” “Oh, she irritates me so bad.” “Why am I the one who always has to do it?” Have you ever asked those questions?

Surely not. Surely it’s just me who ever sinks that low. Surely the rest of you always think sweet and kind thoughts toward your family and friends.

Or maybe not.

The Bible talks a lot about this so that makes me think it’s kind of important. Let me break it down with some scripture to back up my hypothesis.

Philippians 4:8 NKJV says this: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Focus on their good qualities? You mean I have to control my thoughts? Whaa? How do I do that?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

Every thought? You mean, don’t let my mind run wild? And just how long exactly do I have to do that?

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. Galatians 6:9 AMP

Oh, so that’s a while. I guess I’ve got some work to do.

Open your Holly Bibble

The holly bibbleHow easy is it to scroll through social media for hours, binge on Netflix, or watch a mindless reality TV marathon? It’s so easy it’s scary. Why is that so easy, but making time for the Word of God is so hard?

The Bible. The Word. The Book. The Scriptures. The Holly Bibble. Whatever you call it, for Pete’s sake, open it! It’s life and health and peace and joy to those who find it (Proverbs 4). It cannot help you just sitting on the night stand or occupying space on your home screen. What good is medicine if you don’t take it? What good is food if you don’t eat it?

The Word of God is alive. It is sharp and powerful. It pierces the darkness. It opens your eyes. It fills the emptiness. It clears the cobwebs. It sparks the heart.

Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the whole armor of God so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. What exactly is a wile? It’s trickery! It’s the nasty, evil, backwards, underhanded, sneaky, hateful way of Satan. He doesn’t play nice and he doesn’t play fair. And there’s only one way to beat him… with God’s Word. Jesus demonstrated that repeatedly by telling Satan, “It is written, ” over and over again.

Read it on paper, read it on your phone or tablet, journal through it with markers and colored pencils, devo through it with Joyce Meyer. I don’t care how you do it, just do it.

Zip your lip

Zip your lipJust because you know something doesn’t mean you have to share it. There are many a circumstances where a closed mouth is way more powerful than an open one.

The Book of Proverbs, which shows me the error of my ways on a regular basis, teaches us that a soft answer turns away wrath. I’ll take that one better and submit to you that at times, no answer at all can save you a migraine.

Here is a churchy version:

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness. (Proverbs 15:1-2 NKJV)

Here is a modern version:

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise; fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. (Proverbs 15:1-2 Message)

Either way, sometimes we need to zip it.

He made me this way

Juli baby pics4 (2)Let’s skip over the fact that I haven’t written in ages and focus on the fact that I’m writing now, okay?

Last night my bible app led me to a simple scripture, one I’ve read a thousand times and heard a thousand times sung in an old Sunday School song. It’s amazing how you can hear something in a song over and over but not really hear it. A song from the past, like Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya, kind of memory. (Lynn thought that “Montserrat mystique” was “mounds of rotten steak, ha.”)

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

Hallelujah, glory hallelujah. Can you hear it?

He made me. That means He made my mind and the way it operates. He made my emotions and the way they operate. He designed my goofy personality. He made my body, my face. He made my hair. He made my teeth. He made my bones. He even made my hips. And then He made them spread in childbirth and not go all the way back. He did that. Not me.

I am the way I am because He made me that way. And He made everybody different. He made all kinds. Thinkers and dreamers and planners and list-makers and risk-takers and everything in between.

When we get upset that someone doesn’t do things like we would, whose fault is that? They don’t do things the way we would because they’re not made like us. And they didn’t make themselves… God did.

You don’t like that? Take it up with Him!

A question of mercy

How can we accept mercy for ourselves and not extend it to others?

Juli Mize

I have a question: We want God to have mercy on us when we screw up, right? Why don’t we want Him to have mercy on others, especially those who hurt us? Why do we want bad things to come to them? Why do we refuse to see the fact that God loves those people the same as He loves us, and He’s not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)?

Revenge is human nature, it’s very difficult to break free from the desire to see it land on our enemies’ heads. And somehow we think we must be God’s favorite and He will spare us and gather us into His loving forgiveness, but we are sure that He’s closed His arms to others, others that we deem unforgivable.

This is just not so.

If I try to count up all the times that I have messed up, I’d…

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