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.

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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.

Things I learned from Pretty Woman

Slippery little suckersThe way I reference movies in this blog, you’d think I was a major movie buff like my friend Bo or my cousin Marcia. I’m really not, but I tend to think of examples from movies to make my point. Who knows why.

So, you know that scene in Pretty Woman where he tells her that she’s a very bright, very special woman, and she responds, “the bad stuff is easier to believe”?

Why is this?

This morning I read a scripture that I’ve seen a thousand times, but in a new light. (Amazing how that happens if you stick with it.) John 16:33 AMP says, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

It’s a really good promise, right? And it’s easy for us to believe the first part of this verse, but the second part? Not so much.

I know very well that in this world I will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but am I equally confident in the promise that He has overcome the world, and deprived it of its power to harm me?

That’s harder.

Through His work on the cross, Jesus Christ overcame the world, for me. But to live my life inside the protective benefits of His accomplishment, I have to believe it and act on it, by faith… taking steps, even leaps, without seeing the floor. His Word and His promises will sit there with no power unless I believe them and act on them.

So this morning, I thanked God that through Him, I am an overcomer. I thanked God that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I reminded the devil that he is defeated through the all-powerful and all-encompassing Blood of the Lamb which covers me and my family. And I forged ahead.

And when I slip and fall, which I tend to do, God will catch me and perhaps exclaim, “Slippery little sucker.”

A year has gone by

A year has gone by in a blink, and yet much has changed. The ground around her grave marker is level and the grass has filled in. Her grandchildren are taller and more amazing, if that’s even possible.

Her laughter is softer in my mind, but the lessons I learned from her are as sharp as ever. The warmth of her hugs has faded but her legacy burns brightly.

Life has moved forward and things have changed, but our faithful Father God has not. Jackie is missed here on Earth, but she’s rejoicing in Heaven with many loved ones. And God’s loving arms have encircled those of us left behind without ceasing. He is so good.

There is joy here, there is love here. There is family here.

My heart aches and soars at the same time.

Love you, Jackie.

Tough love

Love is the principal thingNo one wants to read the love chapter. It’s not fun. It’s not warm and fuzzy. It’s really hard. And if you read it closely, line by line, it’s even harder. So here’s your opportunity to read it… with me… and let’s feel how difficult this is, together.

Love is patient and kind.

Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

It does not demand its own way.

It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

That’s 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT). And it’s not even the whole chapter… just six lines. Talk about tough love… geez.

Love, forgive, move on. I’m working on it.

Cool your jets

Cool your jetsI am not known for my patience. I am known to get agitated waiting on my Keurig. If someone doesn’t answer my text message immediately, I tend to FREAK OUT. I think I may have a problem.

What’s new? I seem to discover things I need to work on quite often… daily, if I’m really being honest.

Today was no different.

I was praying this morning, actually praying and fretting, and it occurred to me; I cannot do both. Fret is fear. It sounds nicer, but it’s just fear.

It all worked out and I realized my fretting was for naught, but I continued to think about my little conundrum for the rest of the day. I had two forces working against each other, essentially canceling the other out. I’ve heard many sermons and I know it to be truth, that faith and fear are opposites sides of the same force, but sometimes it’s difficult to see when we’re in fear. We say softer words like fret and try to convince ourselves that we’re in faith. And I wanted to be. I tried to be! But I knew in my heart I wasn’t.

Now it’s night-time and I’m still thinking about it.

I don’t have an answer except, “Cool Your Jets.” Yes, that’s what He said to me. That was His response to my fretting. I prayed, I put the Blood of Jesus on the situation, I cast my care on Him, and that’s where it should have ended.

Cool your jets, Juli.

Next time, I’m going to start with that.

Peace in transit

Peace in transitThe other day I opened the door to Jackie’s linen closet, and the fragrance of Tide, and Bounce, and Downy enveloped me in a cloud. The woman’s laundry smelled amazing. Sometimes I could smell her fabric softener out in the driveway on big laundry days. I made a mental note to check out what flavors she used and to duplicate them. I want my laundry to smell like Jackie’s.

Since she passed away, I’ve been wearing Hypnose, a perfume by Lancome. She wore it for years and it makes me feel close to her. Smell is such a powerful sense. The memories it evokes can stop me dead in my tracks.

Transitions like these can be brutal. Moving, divorce, death, job changes… all these things can feel like a slow drowning. But they don’t have to. God can help us during these times. And He wants to. We have only to ask.

Psalm 46:1 says He is our ever-present help in time of need. And if we seek Him, He will envelop us in His presence, like Jackie’s cloud of Tide and Downy. If we seek Him, He will whisper our names into the ears of those He can count on to listen and pray. If we seek Him, He will give us peace in transit.

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.

Talk ain’t cheap

Talk ain't cheapWhen the devil is at your door and fear is breathing down your neck, you must be prepared to fight. When the devil comes at you with both barrels, you have to reach into the armory and pull out the biggest weapon you have, and that’s the Word of God in your mouth. The Word of God on the pages of your Bible will only get you so far, but the Word in your mouth will put you over the top.

And you have to do it when you don’t feel like it. You have to do it when you don’t want to, you have to do it even when you don’t believe it. In fact, that’s the most critical time to do it. And as you continue to say what the Word says, your attitude will begin to change, your heart will begin to change, and pretty soon, you will start to believe it. That’s when victory is right around the corner.

Say what the Word says; that’s the key.

Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it moves slower than molasses. Sometimes it happens so subtly, you don’t even realize it, but you wake up one day and say, “Wow, I’m not struggling with that issue any longer.” That’s how it seems to work with me a lot of the time.

People say that talk is cheap, but it’s most definitely not. It’s power, it’s medicine, it’s ammunition, it’s your way out.

God created the universe with His words. You are made like Him. What are you doing with your words?