This bumpy Christian life

WP tagsI have been writing this blog for about 2 ½ years. This is the 219th post. In the very beginning, I learned from WordPress that I should “tag” each post or categorize it so that when people search for a topic, my blog will show up in search engines. I did not know how to categorize my posts so I just began with the obvious ones: faith, Bible, Holy Spirit, encouragement, and real life. I have probably used a dozen or so different categories but those are the 5 that I have used the most. (As evidenced by my nifty screen shot.)

It was not at all on purpose, that’s just the way it came out, and that’s exactly what this blog is. It is encouragement in real life using my Bible, my faith, and the constant help of the Holy Spirit. And that is my journey; that is my life.

I’m a working wife and Mom. I drive an SUV in the suburbs to baseball games and the like. But it takes those same entities to make life work in New York City, Los Angeles, or Timbuktu. Those are the necessities of living this bumpy Christian life. And boy, does it get bumpy.

Whatever bumps you may be traversing tonight, take this with you: You are not alone, your situation is not hopeless, and God’s mercies are new every morning.

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Let me eat cake

Let me eat cakeWhat a great week I’ve had in Branson. If you know me at all, you know I joke about being at a preacher convention and sitting in nonstop church until my tail hurts. I joke about wearing layers of makeup and using a half a can of hairspray. I lament the prices of food in the hotel and how all I really want is a pbj, not a $30 steak. Not that I don’t enjoy a good steak, but when you’re in a hotel for a week, you just want a piece of toast, or a bologna sandwich… Things from your own kitchen.

But this week was especially outstanding. I received so much good stuff from the sweet presence of God. I sat under anointed teaching and took notes until my hand hurt. I worshipped God with my hands in the air until my shoulders ached. I stood on hotel ballroom carpet in my bare feet, heels kicked off, basking in the Spirit of God until all hours of the night.

I drank gallons of coffee. I shook lots of hands and hugged lots of necks. I gave of myself and I received in kind. I made the most of it.

I didn’t have to do that. I could have slipped in and out unnoticed, I could have doodled and daydreamed my way through the meetings. I know all the tricks… I’ve had a lifetime of practice. But I wanted all that God was serving up. I wanted the biggest piece of cake with the most frosting. I wanted the coveted corner piece, and you can’t get that if you’re late to the party.

It may be a hassle or uncomfortable or a downright pain in the butt to get to the party, but if they’re serving up heart-lifting, soul-nurturing, life-sustaining cake, it is totally worth it.

Run

RunI’m posting today from my iPad so I have no idea how this is going to turn out… Guess we’ll find out together.

Aren’t these the greatest running shoes? Yes, I realize they are a little bright but hey, why not have cute feet while you are trampling on serpents and scorpions? That’s exactly what we’re supposed to do though. Trample on them. Squish them. Kill them. Luke 10:19 tells us that.

So why does it seem that they are trampling on us? Why do we keep getting bitten and stung? Because of the devil; the father of lies. That’s what he does.

The Bible tells us he prowls around seeking who he may devour. He is the devourer, and we are his favorite food. Why? Because we are the most dangerous thing in his world.

I heard a minister who I respect and admire tremendously say today, “The devil only attacks what he fears.” Wow, is that ever the truth. That’s why he goes after marriages, ministers, men and women of God, people that pose a threat to him.

My friends, that’s us. We are enemy number one. The devil hates us when we stand up for righteousness. He hates it when we speak out against sin. He hates Godly marriages. He hates seeing Godly children being raised.

You can bet if what you’re doing glorifies God, the devil hates it.

But don’t let that stop you. Put on those insanely bright shoes and run to Him. Run to the One who makes you more than a conqueror. Run to the One who provides more than enough. Run to the One beneath whose wings you can find safety and security.

Run to The Lord. Put on your shoes and run.

Idiots abound

ChillWhere idiots abound, grace doth much more abound. Oh wait, that’s not quite the scripture, is it? Well, idiots do abound, that’s the truth. But another truth is that we are all idiots from time to time. Some more than others.

I willingly confess to being an idiot on occasion. But what might appear as idiocy, might actually be blamed on many other things. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. We don’t know what crisis they are facing or what terrible loss they are feeling. How often do we think about what the idiot is dealing with?

Yesterday I was stopped at a red light and there was a brand new, beautiful white Suburban in front of me. Suddenly the driver’s door opened and a well dressed man stepped out and headed toward the back. I could tell he was trying to shut the back door which perhaps was being blocked by his multitude of grocery bags. The light turned green and he was still fiddling with the automatic door which stubbornly refused to shut manually. He gave me a quick “I’m sorry” wave and finally managed to hit the button and the door slowly closed. By this time, several cars had honked, swerved, gestured, and Lord knows what else, and I just sat there thinking, “Poor guy, he must feel like an idiot.”

But was he? No. He was just a guy dealing with a new-fangled door. For all I know he was in the middle of some saintly act like taking those groceries to a homeless shelter. He may have been bringing them home to his wife who had been wrangling 14 children all day. Who knows?

We don’t know. And those people who huffed and puffed at him… well, I think they might be the idiots.

Have a little mercy today. I’m quite sure we have all received plenty of it from our Father God who loves all of us idiots.

Reruns

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. Satan is all about reruns. Don’t fall for it. Don’t fall for his attempts to trip you up with things you’ve already conquered. Don’t let him bring things up that you’ve already let go. Don’t let him remind you of hurts. Don’t let him kindle a fire you have already put out. Don’t let him abuse you over something for which you’ve already been forgiven.

That’s not to say he won’t try, because he will. But when those thoughts come, you have authority to stand up and fight back. You have that authority as a child of God, full of Jesus, full of His Word, and full of faith. You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37). Sometimes you just have to let that be your rerun.

Somebody Googled “controlled burn” and stumbled upon this post. I’m glad they did because it’s worth a re-read! Unfortunately, it makes me crave Rendezvous ribs.

Juli Mize

I’m propped up in a rather comfy bed at a Holiday Inn Express in Memphis, TN. I’m using the gloriously free Internet, and there are Rendezvous ribs in my future. My world is at peace.

There will be good church tonight. There has been good church for two days already. Church is good. Church burns up your dead ground and makes room for new growth. You can’t have new growth until the old junk is cleared away.

You know how farmers and ranchers burn their fields from time to time so that they can grow back thick and green and lush? I think sometimes we need to just go ahead and let things in our lives burn away so that we can grow back better.

And I know it can be a scary thing, watching your land burn, but the end results make it all worth it. You’ve got rich…

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Elvis and Jesus

Elvis and Jesus Elvis asked, “Are you lonesome tonight?”

We all get lonely. We can be in a houseful of people and still feel lonely. But it’s not our physical person that’s lonely. It’s our soul, our insides, our heart. And the only thing that fills that place is the one who made it.

The good news is, Jesus is not far away. He is as near as a breath. He is as close as our thoughts. And He knows what we need even before we ask.

He is risen. He is not dead. And we are not alone.