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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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.