Soul cramps

runnerYou know those awful leg cramps we used to have when we were little? Do you have those going on in your soul? Is there a pulling between the quiet words from Heaven versus the angry words of our flesh? Is there an ache as we struggle to take steps toward real growth in the things of God?

Matthew 26:41 says the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Our hearts yearn for God, but it is our flesh and this dirty, ungodly world that pull us away from Him.

Growing up in our faith is a lifetime process marked by victories and failures in equal measure. But this morning I read Psalm 18 and I did a victory dance. It is the shout of an overcomer. It is my anthem.

The Word of God quiets the angry world and amplifies our instruction from Heaven.

God wants us to grow up and become warriors.

Time is short and we have things to do. We have godly sons and daughters to raise. There are people that need what we have… whether it’s preached from the pulpit or across the cubicle.

We have something to say, to do, and to give. YOU have something to say, to do, and to give. Let God make you a trustworthy vessel by listening to His voice, keeping your heart pure before Him, and refusing to be overcome by the darkness of this world.

Tripping the light fantastic

Five years old but more relevant than ever. “In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth, removing obstacles that block your way.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Juli Mize

Most nights, I am the last one to bed, and my routine is set. I let the dog out one last time, turn out all the lights, and make my way upstairs. The house is pitch black, the dog bounds up ahead of me jumping right onto my side of the bed, warming up my spot. Isn’t he considerate?

Having much better night vision than me, he never stumbles on his way. I on the other hand, have to navigate a gauntlet of shoes and backpacks and Lord knows what else. But I have no fear. My trusty iPhone lights the path up the stairs and to my bedroom. My path is lit just enough to spare me the disaster. The light doesn’t shine far, it only lights up what I’m about to step on or trip over, but I know with my phone, I can navigate my way through.

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Stormy weather

stormy-weatherIf you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know I write a lot about the storms of life. I have moments when my heart hurts and I think that surely my life has been stormier than most, but I know that it has not. Most of us keep our storms hidden… or at least we find a way to mitigate their appearance.

But however well we hide them, the storms come to us all. Some of us cry in public, others in private. Some of us rage while others medicate. But the common denominator in each of these responses is pain.

The storms of life are painful, even devastating, but every phase is covered in God’s Word. For every moment, there is a promise that He made to us that we can stand on and believe in and draw strength from.

He bore our griefs. (Isaiah 53:4) He healed our broken hearts. (Psalm 147:3) He brings new life and joy. (Psalm 30:11) He fights our battles. (2 Chronicles 20:17) He closes the mouths of the lions. (Daniel 6:22) He restores our souls. (Psalm 23:2)

Whatever we’re facing, we serve a God who is faithful in the storm if we humble ourselves and run to Him. His salvation does not come to those who stand with arms folded. His salvation comes to the heart that is flayed open before Him, the heart that says, “Oh God, please help me. I need you. I cannot do this in my own strength. Save me.” God responds to the softened heart that comes to Him in humility. He responds to the prayer of faith and expectancy. He responds to His children who run to Him, not from Him.

Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. Psalm 23:4 AMP

Run to Him. Drop your baggage and run to Him. He is waiting for you.

Change your spots

leopardAre you a leopard who desperately needs to change your spots? Is your life in the toilet? Do you need a miracle?

In this day and age, you’d be hard pressed to find any believer who doesn’t need a miracle in one way or another.

How do you get what you need from God? ASK HIM. He is ready to help but most times we are so goofed up in our heads that we don’t even know we need it. Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG

Take the mercy, accept the help!

Leopards CAN change their spots with the help of the Word of God. Renewing your mind daily with His Word changes your spots. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT

Get out of the toilet. Go to God and ask for help. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5 NLT If we ever needed wisdom from God, it’s now.

Jailbreak

img_0710Isaiah 45:2 says, I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.

Some of us are in a cage and we need to break out. What is holding you back? What is stealing your life from you? God wants you free. God sent Jesus to the cross to accomplish this end. The devil is a liar, a thief, a tyrant, and a killer.

God brings life, peace, fulfillment, purpose, and joy. Even during the dark times.

Seek Him out; find Him. He can rescue you, cut your bars of iron, and set you free. His Word is life to those who find it and health to all their flesh. (Proverbs 4:22)

Go find it.

Don’t sit and quit

dogtreatsDon’t sit and quit. Stay engaged. Stay in the game. Stay in the fight. Press on toward the mark. Philippians 3:14 says in a lofty and strangely religious way, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

It’s a mouthful. But it just means we’re trying, we’re not quitting, we’re staying engaged in the fight to make this life of faith work and serve God with our whole heart.

The Message translation says it this way: I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

As for me, I’m not turning back. I’ve come way too far to ditch it all now.

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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