Friday, December 28, 2007

I am going to be speaking on January 6 at Arrowsmith Christian Church about obedience. As I have been preparing and asking God to show me exactly what He wants me to say, I was reminded of Mary. When Gabriel came to tell Mary that she was going to carry the Son of God in her womb, her final response was "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38) How long has God been waiting for you and me to say the same words to Him? Although there have been times that I said "yes" to God, my responses usually start out with, "I can't do that" or "what will people think". Most times, He waits in vain to hear these sweet words come from His children's mouths.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

There are many good times and many bad times that come our way during this crazy thing we call "life". Fortunately, yesterday was one of those good times. I had a wonderful day shopping with my daughter and son. Yes, I even said son. Usually whenever the word shopping comes up, Nathan runs as far and as fast as he can. He came with us yesterday and we all prayed together that we would all be patient with each other and go with a great attitude so that we could enjoy this time together. God answered! Not only were we patient and happy-hearted, but Nathan even picked out and tried on clothes! I couldn't believe it - he hates clothes even more than shopping. So, when we walked up to the check-out at Old Navy and my arms were overflowing with clothes for Nathan, I didn't even blink to write the check. I didn't know if there was enough money in the checkbook, but I wasn't losing this opportunity.

When my husband got off work, he met us at the mall and offered to take Nathan home with him. Elizabeth and I had a couple things to finish up and then we headed home. When I got home, Nathan and Mike both had strange smiles which usually means that something got broke. This time, I was surprised in a good way - my husband and son had not went home from the mall. They had went to the jewelry store and spent the money, Mike had received for Christmas for new tools, and bought me a beautiful new ring. Nathan was so excited to tell me that he was the one who picked it out. What a sweet sacrifice from my husband. When I told him that he should have spent the money on him, he assured me that he did spend the money on what he wanted to spend it on - what made him happy was to spend it on me.

Yes, I do have the most wonderful husband - but his small sacrifice, just reminds me and makes me thankful for the ultimate sacrifice of my Lord and Savior

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! My family and I did. We switch back and forth each year between my family and my husband's family for Christmas lunch. This year we went to my mother's for lunch and all my brothers and sisters and their families were there. It was so cool to have everyone together all at once. We then went to my husband's parents house for dinner and enjoyed it very much too. What a wonderful day we had!

I had mentioned last week about hanging door hangers for invitations to our church's Christmas service. We had 643 in attendance. Yea! Even cooler than that was that my husband had most of his family came with us. Parents, aunt, uncle, cousins - it was awesome! It was a great message about the hope we have in Jesus.

Well, it is now time for after Christmas shopping! Our daughter received lots of gift cards for Christmas, so she's ready to shop. Have a great day.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I just shared with you the other day, about when I was hanging doorhangers, how God changed my attitude and perception by another person. Well, I got a call this morning from one of my friends who had a great story for me. Last night, she was on an airplane going home and sat down in her seat next to a large man that was very uncomfortable in the middle seat. After a few minutes, he asked her to switch seats with him so he could have the outside seat for some extra room. She agreed and sat down next to a woman in the window seat. She started visiting with her and found that they were both Christians. The had a great conversation which affirmed many things that my friend had been struggling with. When the flight ended, they both were disappointed because there was so much more that they wanted to talk about. As they got up from their seats, the man that had switched seats with my friend, stopped them. He shared that he had been listening to their conversation and wanted to let them know how much it impacted him.

You just never know how your actions and words can impact others - keep your mind focused on Christ so your words and actions will follow.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I read a powerful statement in my Bible's commentary today that I wanted to share with you.

"Get rid of sin and evil because you have been chosen by God to live a new life as a representative of the Lord Jesus."

Enough said

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have you ever been in a pit? Not a physical pit, but an emotional or spiritual pit? I sure have - I been at all levels, from getting close to falling in, all the way to being down in the deepest, darkest bottom. I have tried to climb my way back out, with the only result being, that I fall deeper. It is not until, once again, I realize that I have to surrender to my God and allow Him to carry me out. Because throughout my life, I have spent so much time "in the pit", I am very careful about not letting myself get close to one again. When I feel myself heading toward that direction, I know that I must seek God fervently.
My husband told me something last night that will forever remain in my heart - He gave the illustration: picture a person far down in a pit, with their hands outstreched - another person on solid ground, above the pit, with one hand holding God's and the other reaching into the pit for a rescue. He said that I was his "solid ground" person.
These few words meant so much to me. I know that God has put me on this earth to encourage others to live for Him. To know that I had this impact on my husband, gives me even more desire to tell others about my God.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John 5:30 "I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgement is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

Did you hear what Jesus said? "I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." I cannot imagine how different and better my life would be if I would do the same - don't seek my own will, but God's. I say that I want to live my life to be more like Jesus every day, but when push comes to shove, I like to have my own will. My selfishness takes hold and the "I wants" come out.

Lord, I pray that today will be the day that I put Your will above my own. Help me to release my selfishness so that I can truly focus on being more like you. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lots of snow came this weekend and our children are so happy! My husband actually enjoys plowing snow, so it was a good thing for him too. Our church is having a special service for Christmas, so we volunteered to hang door hangers around town to invite people. The snow made it a little more difficult, but also more like an adventure. I have to admit though, that I think my family enjoyed it more because I just couldn't keep my socks on! Each few steps I would take, my socks slid farther and farther down my foot and into the toe of my boots. It became quite uncomfortable after awhile, so I would have to get back in the car periodically to put them back on. The coolest part was that as I walked, I had a woman stop me and tell me how much she appreciated what I was doing. She lived in one of the houses I had hung an invitation on. She told me that she attends church in Bloomington already so she wouldn't be at the service, but that she was so thankful that we were reminding people during the busiest time of year, to remember what it is truy about - Jesus. After that, my focus was no longer on my uncomfortable feet, but on how truly honored I was to make this small sacrifice for my Lord and Savior.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Do you put God in a box? I can't tell you how many times I have put God "in a box" by asking Him to answer my prayers the way I think He should. I have learned the hard way, that God does not think the way I think. Unlike me, He has no limits - I am so thankful, He has no limits! I have found that when I leave circumstances in God's hands and take them out of mine, the results are so much better than anything I could have ever imagined.

When you are praying about something, whether it be big or small, remember the Creator and Sustainer of the universe can handle anything you dish out!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I've been putting together some magazine articles and yesterday was one of those days when the creative side of me just poured out. I love those days, especially when I have an opportunity to write. This is just one advantage of having a daycare in my home, 2 hours of naptime everyday! It's the only time that it is quiet in my house so I can focus. As the children woke up and I put my writing away, the phone rang. It was a local pastor that was going on vacation that needed me to fill the pulpit while he was away. The only thing I love more than writing about how awesome my God is, is talking about how awesome my God is!!! It was a good day!
Something else I'm excited about is my son's school Christmas program tonight. We are so blessed to have a Christian music teacher in his elementary school. I love that he has the children from pre-k through 4th grade singing about the true meaning of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There are alot of laws in our cities, states and countries that we don't like or don't agree with. It is easy to disregard these laws when we don't think anyone is watching? How many of us drive over the speed limit and then get angry when we get a ticket. Disobedience has it's consequences. Speeding was something that I always used to do - without even thinking about it. That is, until one day, God started to convict me about it. Every time my spedometer would move past the limit, I would have this conviction come over me. I was frustrated at first, especially when I was running late for something, but then God showed me that He was protecting me. If I obeyed the laws, I would get to where I was going when God wanted me to get there. Have you ever been frustrated by having to wait in line? There is a reason for your delay - God could be protecting you from something.
I've also had to make changes in my daycare. There were many DCFS rules that I did not agree with and so did not comply with. When God showed me that I needed to follow all authority, I began to follow. It was both frustrating for myself, the children, and their parents, but I felt it was something I had to do to obey God.

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter blues, I'm not sure, but my husband and I were discussing last night about us both having more negative attitudes lately. It's even easier to fall into this trap when your spouse is already there. I decided today, to make the choice not to be negative or have any more pity parties. See, we do have that choice - It just sometimes takes me awhile to make it. I usually give myself a day or two to wallow in my pity party before I decide to pick myself up, remember who I am in God's eyes and move on. When I spend time wallowing, I waste precious time that I could be available to be used by God. So, I will make the choice today. I may have to make it minute by minute or hour by hour, but today I will choose to have a positive attitude and think on all that is wonderful.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Colossians 2:20-23 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) - in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshy indulgence.
Commentary: We cannot reach up to God by following rules of self-denial, by observing rituals, or by practicing religion. Paul isn't saying all rules are bad. But no keeping of laws or rules will earn salvation. The Good News is that God reaches down to human beings, and He asks for our response. Self-made religions focus on human effort; Christianity focuses on Christ's work. Believers must put aside sinful desires, by doing so is the by-product of our new life in Christ, not the reason for our new life. Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping, but on the power of Christ's death and resurrection.

Salvation by self-effort is something that I fell to for many years. I wanted to work so hard for God that He would be happy with me and not focus on all the bad in my life. One day, God opened my heart to the fact that He loves me. His love for me and you will never change. He cannot love us more or less than He already does. I desire now, to live my life for Him because of my thankfulness for all He has done - especially my salvation through Jesus.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Well, the flu bug has officially hit my daycare. I had 2 with it last week and 4 with it today. Oh, the joys of winter! I was very fortunate - even though one was puking here, yesterday, the rest all got sick after their parents picked them up. God so knows what would put me over the edge! We have a busy weekend with our daughter's basketball tournament, so please be praying that none of us get it.

From Today's Christian Woman Magazine "10 Ways to Pray"
Pray Daily For:
1. A deeper understanding of my value and worth before God
2. Caring Christian friendships and involvement in Christian community
3. Opportunities to share Christ through my words and actions.
4. Strength to stand firm in the face of temptation
5. Greater understanding of what it means to be loved by God and to love others
6. Integrity and honesty
7. Humility to admit my sins and ask for forgiveness
8. Wisdom in my daily life and actions
9. A sense of God's calling and purpose in my life
10. Gratitude in all things

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I just finished reading an excellent book on marriage called "Love and Respect". I highly recommend it for all ages and stages of marriage. If acted upon, the principles in this book will transform your marriage. I've seen the results.
Here's a Bible verse that too, if acted upon, will transform your marriage. Are you ready for this one? It's a biggie:
Phillipians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, I calmed down a little bit since yesterday. I decided that there's not a whole lot I can do about Christmas commercialism, but want I can do is educate myself and my family on the true meaning of Christmas with the true Christmas story.
I was reading this morning in 1 Timothy 2 about Paul's instructions for the church and women in the church. Verses 9-10 says: Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
I wondered, how others may perceive me. Could someone look at me and know whether I am a Christian or not? This verse is not telling us that it is wrong for a woman to look or dress nice, but that what's on the inside that is important. Even though this world tends to look at our outside appearance, God looks on the inside for a heart that is devoted to Him. We need to be careful about what our outside appearance says about us, because the world does look at it. We don't want it to deter others from seeing our devotion to our God.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I got so worked up that I forgot to give you the link to the quiz. http://homepage.mac.com/rmansfield/thislamp/page33/page33.html
Our pastor had a Christmas quiz posted on his blog, so I decided to take it - thinking, of course, that I had heard the Christmas story so many times it would be a cinch. Wrong! I failed the quiz! How could this be? I had my husband and children take the quiz - they failed. I forwarded it to my extended family - they failed (except for my Bible scholar, sister, who still only got a 66%). I've heard the Christmas story hundreds of times in my life and so had they - I began to realize the problem, our world, our Christmas marketers, our media have aided in giving us the wrong picture. Have you ever seen a Christmas card, nativity scene, Christmas picture, or program that wasn't bright and beautiful - that didn't sparkle and shine with happiness? I'm in no way saying that Christmas shouldn't bring joy and happiness, it should - it is a great reminder of how we should be celebrating Christ's birth and time on this earth, all year long. What I am saying is that I don't think the world truly wants to know how it truly was. They want to think that the birth of our Savior was a perfect, bright, wonderful occurance. Ponder on this - Here was a young girl (probably 12 or 13) traveling for this census being 9 months pregnant (miserable). Then she is in labor and cannot find anyplace to stay for the night so they are forced to put their newborn son wrapped in cloths in a manger. The mention of the manger is how we get the idea that He was born in a stable. Stables back then, were caves with feeding troughs (mangers) carved into the rock walls. The surroundings were very dark and dirty. Definitely, no place for a King and Savior. The shepards come to worship Jesus in the manger. The wise men, didn't. The wise men came to worship Jesus when He was probably between 1 and 2 years old. By this time, Mary and Joseph would have been married and living in a house. So all the nativity scenes with the wise men worshipping in the stable are false. We also don't know that there were 3 wise men - only 3 gifts were mentioned, so assumptions are made that their were only 3 wise men. The more I write, the more frustrated I become. How have we allowed the truth of the birth of our Lord and Savior be comprimised so that we can all have warm and fuzzy feelings. We should be humbled and thankful for the gift God gave us in Jesus, but the life He lived for us and the brutal death He died for us was in no way, easy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What a wonderful weekend I had! Friday night, I went on a date with my husband. Saturday, we had lots of sleet and ice so all our plans were cancelled and I had to stay home! Yea! I was able to get all my Christmas gifts wrapped and under the tree and all the Christmas cards addressed and ready to mail. Then Sunday, after a wonderful worship service, we witnessed 10 baptisms and celebrated with friends afterward. I just doesn't get much better. I so treasure the time spent with friends and family because there have been times in my life that I've taken them for granted.
I was reading in Acts this morning and came across chapter 13 verse 22 that says this: "After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I had found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.'
I love it when I read about David being a man after God's own heart. It excites me because David made many mistakes in his life, just like me and yet God still sees him as a man after His heart - just like me! I want to be a woman after God's own heart, who will do all His will. The hard thing for me is believing that He really can see me as this - even though I remember my sins and use them as excuses for not being who He wants me to be - He doesn't! He doesn't remember my sins so He can see me as a woman who will do all His will. God is so good.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Galatians 5:14
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Because faith expresses itself through love, you can check your love for others as a way to monitor your faith. (NAS Commentary)
I don't know how many people there are out there like me - I've been told that I'm much stanger than most. But when I feel that sweet impression on my heart that God wants me to do something, I get so excited that I can hardly contain myself! Even when it is something hard that I really don't want to do, I'm excited that God takes time out of sustaining the entire universe to speak to me. How humbling! I have a problem though, I tend to get so excited that I just run with it and forget that I need to do it on God's timeline and not mine. I fell to this again this week. I have been so involved with writing this book proposal before June when I attend the She Speaks Conference that I never even thought about asking God when He wants me to complete it. I got some advice and info from a well published woman this week and as I read all her credintials, I began to really get down on myself and wonder - what in the world am I doing trying to write anything! I didn't have even a quarter of the experience that she had. I gave it all to God and left it at that. I shared yesterday with my husband about what I had been feeling, and once again, his wisdom shone through. He reminded me that out of all the authors I compare myself to, I am the youngest which also means I am the least experienced. How can I compare my experiences with those of someone who has had more years to experience things. Besides, I know the lessons that God has taught me and that He wants me to write this book - what I don't know is exactly when He wants me to do it! I decided when it should be done on my own. Once again, I got in front of God - I'm so glad that God has given me a husband that is so wise and can slow me down a bit when I go crazy. I think that is why God put us together, even though we are so different. It's his job to slow me down and my job to speed him up. Once again - lesson learned.

Is My Jesus Enough?

Is My Jesus Enough?
By Lysa TerKeurst

“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV)

Devotion:
I was stopped in my tracks the other day as I was mindlessly singing a beautiful praise song. I say mindlessly not because I wasn't focusing on God. I was definitely lifting up my heart to Him. But the mindlessly part came when I realized I had no clue of the weight of the words in this song. Did I really mean what I was singing? The song said this: "(Jesus) You're all I want. You're all I ever needed."Really? Did I really mean those words? Is my Jesus enough? Ultimately the question should be: Is my relationship with Jesus in such a place that if He was truly all I had today, would I still stand and sing those powerful song lyrics?My husband Art is flying on a small private plane today. You know the ones you hear about that crash with no survivors... yes that kind of plane. As I kiss him goodbye in a few minutes can I send him off with full confidence that no matter what, Jesus is enough?My son Jackson just got his driver's license and will be driving to a friend's house to watch the football game in a few minutes. His friend lives less than five miles from our house. But don't the statistics show that most car accidents happen on the roads we are most familiar with, closest to our homes? Will I be able to smile, tell him to be careful and let him drive down our driveway with full confidence that no matter what, Jesus is enough?I don't know what kinds of twists and turns might come during my life journey. But, I know the only way to travel with a joyful peace is to settle in my heart the answer to this question once and for all. So, today, I declare Jesus is enough. Before I even know in what way this declaration will be tested, I've made the decision to say it, believe it and settle it.Jesus is enough. I think this is why one of my favorite portraits of a godly woman in the Bible says, "she can laugh at the days to come," (Proverbs 31:25). She was filled with such incredible joy not because life was perfect but simply because she had decided to make laughter, peace, and true happiness the hallmark of her life. Proverbs 31:30 goes on to say this was a woman to be praised because she so reverenced God in the shrine of her heart that she knew without a doubt, He was enough.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I was reading today in Acts 14 about Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey. What amazes me is how Paul was stoned until thought dead and then dragged out of the city. He then got up and entered the city and then the next day, he traveled some more! I cannot imagine what it must feel like to be stoned, but I would have to think that you would not be ready to travel by the next day. This was Paul's devotion to telling the Good News. He put it above anything else - even the excruciating pain of being stoned. I have to admit that I fall very short of this amount of devotion. It is so easy to make decisions by my feelings and when things are uncomfortable or unconvenient, just avoid the situation. This is not how God has called us to be. Think about it this way - it wasn't comfortable or convenient for Jesus to live on this earth and then to die on a cross for you and for me, but He did it because it was His Father's will.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

NAS Bible's commentary: Do you spend your life trying to please everybody? Paul had to speak harshly to the Christians in Galatia because they were in serious danger. He did not apologize for his straightforward words, knowing that he could not serve Christ faithfully if he allowed the Galatian Christians to remain on the wrong track. Whose approval are you seeking - others' or God's? Pray for the courage to seek God's approval above anyone else's.

One thing that I respect the most of the pastors in our church is their ability to "tell it like it is". Yes, as Christians, we need to be loving and understanding to others - but we should never sugar coat God's word. We never need to apologize for God's truth. There have been times in the past, that I have struggled with being straightforward when I speak with others, but am learning that in order to follow Jesus' example - I must not stray in any way when it comes to telling others about God and His will for us.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to the real world from a wonderful long weekend! I spent the last four days with friends and family - soaking up the opportunity to focus on being thankful. I try to be thankful each day, but sometimes I need an excuse to truly think about all that I have to be thankful for. I do have much to be thankful for - in fact, I sat down on Thursday and made a large list of everything. I will keep this list to look back on when I'm in the midst of one of my pity parties. Our pastor had encouraged his family to make a list of blessings for the same amount of years of age - they then encouraged him to do the same. He was able to list all 47 things! Will you take the time today to make a list of all the things you are thankful for - try for at least the amount you are in years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy early Thanksgiving to all! In one of our Bible studies, we are reading "The Purpose Driven Life" and read something last night that was very powerful and I wanted to share it with you.
Remember what God has already done for you. If God never did anything else for you, He would still deserve your continual praise for the rest of your life because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. God's Son died for you! This is the greatest reason for worship.
Unfortunately, we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf. Familiarity breeds complacency. Even before His crucifixion, the Son of God was stripped naked, beaten until almost unrecognizable, whipped, scorned and mocked, crowned with thorns, and spit on contemptuously. Abused and ridiculed by heartless men, He was treated worse than an animal.
Then, nearly unconscious from blood loss, He was forced to drag a cumbersome cross up a hill, was nailed to it, and was left to die the slow, excruciating torture of death by crucifixion. While His lifeblood drained out, hecklers stood by and shouted insults, making fun of His pain, and challenging His claim to be God
Next, as Jesus took all of mankind's sin and guilt on Himself, God look away from that ugly sight, and Jesus cried out in total desperation, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus could have saved Himself - but then He could not have saved you. Words cannot describe the darkness of that moment. Why did God allow and endure such ghastly, evil mistreatment? Why? So you could be spared from eternity in hell, and so you could share in His glory forever! The Bible says, "Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made Him share our sin in order that in union with Him we might share the righteousness of God."
Jesus gave up everything so you could have everything. He died so you could live forever. That alone is worthy of your continual thanks and praise. Never again should you wonder what you have to be thankful for.
Hope this puts everything into perspective for you - it sure did for me!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I was reading this morning in Ephesians 6:10-24 about the armor of God. The older I get, the more I realize how important this armor is. For most of my life, I was oblivious to the schemes of the devil. I thought that I was strong enough to resist, I thought I was smart enough to see when satan was working on me - I realize now that I wasn't and still am not. Satan can be so sneaky and crafty - he knows exactly what it is that will trip me up. Alot of the time, when I was in the face of temptation, I wasn't focused on defying satan, but on what my feelings were. This is why I must wear the armor of God at all times - I have to be ready and focused so that when the temptations come (and I know they will), I will be prepared to tell satan to get behind me! Always remember God's truth and will always, always override how you feel.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I began reading a wonderful book on marriage this weekend called "Love & Respect". It was written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and now, he and his wife travel all over teaching the concept to couples. I am not even half way through yet and can recommend it highly for any couple! The concept seems so simple, but it is something I missed for a long time in my own marriage. The one thing a woman desires most is for her husband to show his love for her. The one thing a man desires most is for his wife to respect him. Of course, he desires her love also but respect must come first. I thought about how when my husband and I were dating and first married, I thought I needed him for everything and was very open about my admiration of him. As the years passed, I became more independent and began taking him for granted. I began taking over leadership of our family when our children were born and made him feel like I needed him less and less. I didn't realize how this made him feel like I no longer respected him until over the last year, we made the commitment to truly work hard on our marriage. When I began to show him respect as the leader of our house and family and stopped taking him for granted - it was so much easier for both of us to show love to one another. Making small everyday changes in the things we say and do, can make a HUGE impact on marriage!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I did something very dangerous this morning - I prayed that God would test my faith. I know, I know, it sounds crazy doesn't it! I still keep thinking of the question - How can I say that I'm a woman of faith, if my life requires little faith? I asked God what I could be doing to lead a life of more faith and He made it clear to me that my husband and I need to start a class on marriage for our community. We are working on that, but I want to know just how strong my faith really is. It is very easy to say I'm a woman of faith when life is going great and all is well around me. Do you want having faith to be easy or a true test?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I just have to start out by saying "Our God is so Awesome!!" He never ceases to amaze me. About a week ago, I got a call from the leader of a Bible study we used to attend to ask for some books I had. I took the books over while the study was still going on and began discussing with them what questions that they were looking for answers to. Over the next week, I was thinking about their questions and what help I could give them from God's word. I checked our Pastor's blog and he had posted an article that answered several of the questions they had. These kinds of things happen all the time! God knows exactly what we need, when we need it! Take the time to thank Him for these instances that so many people mislabel as coincidence.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
My Bible commentary says: What do we do when we don't feel like obeying? God has not left us alone in our struggles to do His will. He wants to come alongside us and be within us to help. God helps us want to obey Him and then gives us the power to do what He wants. The secret to a changed life is to submit to God's control and let Him work. Next time, ask God to help you want to do His will.

Not alot more to say. I am slowly, but surely learning that my emotions should not control my actions! Let me say it again: Your emotions do not control your actions!! I know, I know, it's a very hard lesson to learn but if we stay focused on the Truth, we can do it!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I spent some time yesterday thinking about how some of the most difficult times in my life have taught me the most. Although most were caused by my own bad choices, God was still able to use the situation to teach, refine and mold me into a better person because of it. I think it is good to be able to look back and see how God pulled me through and what good came of each situation. I then can think on these things when I am in the midst of the next hardship. There are 3 things that God has shown me and that I can always count on:
1. His love never changes - He cannot love me any more or any less than He already does. This helps me to remember that I do not have to perform to make God love me.
2. I am not condemned, because I am in Christ Jesus. His sacrifice has taken my place. My eternity is secured.
3. God is always with me. There have been times when God was the only thing I had. He is always faithful - people are not.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I forgot to mention that the service I spoke at yesterday will be aired next Sunday (11-18-07). Tune into WHOW 1520 AM or local cable channel 13 at 10:30am to hear it.
Well, I gave the message yesterday at the 10:30am service of the Clinton Presbyterian Church. What a warm and friendly church! I was welcomed so sweetly and made feel right at home. I was very passionate about the message that God had given me on the true freedom that we have in Him. I was excited to share it and I could see from the attentive faces, nodding heads and conversations afterward that this was the message that God intended for the group. I am so thankful that God allows me to be His vessel. He is so good! I regret telling Him "no" for so long, but all I can do now, is look forward to where He leads me from here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mark 3:4-5 And He said to them, "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand," and he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.

I was reading the story this morning of Jesus healing on the Sabbath which enraged the Pharisees who were determined to destroy Him. Jesus knew what the right thing to do was. He was not concerned with the response of others around Him. How many times do we put what others want before what we know God wants. I think sometimes it seems easier to please a physical person and not have to deal with their reprimands - but in the true light of things, I would much rather receive reprimands from a person than from God!!!

I read other's blogs each day and some that I read are so light, funny and explain the daily happenings of a person. I considered the difference between mine and thiers. I began to wonder if I should be less serious and more light-hearted. As I thought about it, I began to realize that I know my purpose from God. His purpose for me is to tell others what He has and is teaching me. He doesn't ask me to be funny. He asks me to have a true God-seeking heart and then share with others. I guess my true heart is made for seeking and teaching. This is who God has made me to be and I must not apologize for that.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

My Bible commentary says: The kingdom of heaven is more valuable than anything else we can have, and a persom must be willing to give up everything to have it.

There have been many times in my life that I was willing to give something up in order to please God, but there also have been times that I was not. I can think of one case in particular, that I wanted something so bad that I did not even ask God about. I knew that it went against what He wanted for me, but I chose not to control my selfishness. Whatever it is that we want, that we consider more important than what God wants, is an idol. Until I finally made the choice to give it up to God, my relationship with Him was not what it should have been. I know now that anything that causes division between God and I is not something that I want. It's just not worth it. What are you allowing to come between you and God? Whatever it is, get rid of it at any cost.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Last night our daughter's team had a basketball game against an extremely aggresive team. In order to defend themselves, they had to be just as, if not more agressive. When the game was over, she came over to where I was sitting and cried from the pain she was experiencing over a jammed finger. This finger got jammed during the game, but her focus was on game, not the pain. I was proud of her for being focused and tough during the game and not allowing the pain to stop her.
I thought this morning about how I should be more like that. I so easily get discouraged when satan is aggresively attacking me. I get focus on all the negativity in my life instead of focusing on what God is doing through me in that moment. If I fight back against satan just as aggresively as he is pursuing me - I will remember that any and all pain is so well worth it, when in light of heaven's wonderful blessings.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Luke 17:3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
I think God is trying to tell me something. For two days, He has brought scripture to me that begins with a warning, to be on your guard. I think this is a very important warning that we must remind ourselves of every day. We must always be on guard because satan is always ready to attack. What we may see as everyday things that are happening, may be one of satan's distractions. Be ready at all times by guarding your mind, soul and spirit with the one and only Truth.

Monday, November 5, 2007

FYI - I will be speaking at Clinton Presbyterian Church in Clinton IL next Sunday (11-11-07) at 10:30am on "True Freedom".

Luke 21:34 "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;

Alllowing our minds and hearts to drift into the circumstances we face each day is very easy. Discouragement and negativity run rampent. These are the times that we so easily fall into the traps that satan sets for us. If we guard our hearts and minds with the Truth of God, we can learn to trust in Him, no matter what situation we may be facing today.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Yesterday, I was reading Lysa Terkeurst's blog at www.lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com and came across a question to ponder. This question hit me like a ton of bricks and I hope that it really makes you think too. "If I say that I am woman of faith, then why am I living a life that requires little faith?" I enjoy being in my comfort zone where everything is safe and that is where I usually stay. This is not God's will for me, His will for me is for abundant life and in order to receive this abundant life, my faith must be grown and stretched. My faith can only grow if I live my life in a way that requires much faith.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Removing my mask is sometimes a great struggle for me because I worry how my past sins will change people's views of me or make me a less credible person. God seems to continue to put things like this devotion in front of me to make His point. He is always pursuing me and I am so glad! (even when it is difficult)


Removing My Mask
By Janet Perez Eckles, a "She Speaks" graduate

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

Devotion:
"Yikes! You scared me," I screamed feigning fright. "Who’s that!" I peered down at the three-foot little person wearing a mask framed with wild hair colored in shades of black, purple, and pink. The features, distorted by a huge lumpy nose, droopy eyes and a mouth revealing crooked, jagged teeth, gave a new meaning to the word “ugly.”

A muffled, "Trick or treat" wafted from behind the mask. I chuckled as I dropped hard candy into the orange plastic pumpkin.

I have memories of my own boys dressed up in various costumes, dashing from house to house with their daddy trailing behind. I’d stay home to greet the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

But now, years later, Halloween masks resemble those I myself try to slip on. They come in handy to cover the real me. So often in my life I’ve worn masks, perhaps not as horrid as the friendly trick-or-treater’s, but an effective masquerade nevertheless.

When people ask me how I lost my sight, I give the routine answer: "A disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa deteriorated my retina and took my sight."

A simple question followed by a simple answer. But when they ask about how I dealt with the unexpected tragedy, that’s a different story. I’m tempted to pull down the mask over my heart and give a bland answer.

"It was tough at first, but in time, I adjusted."

Underneath that mask, however, is a whole different script with the real answers: "I wanted to die, I hated my life, I wanted to give up, and wondered if my little boys would survive with a mommy who couldn’t see."

Then God’s Word nudged me to remove that mask and allow the glow of truth to shine through: “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22). In obedience, I resolved that when asked a question, I’d spill information that reflected what truly stirred in my heart.

Here are the results: when my words are strung with honesty without omissions, deletions or embellishments, I can breathe easier. When the mask is off, the air is fresher and the view is clearer. When it comes to sharing my feelings or relating events in my life, I’ve developed a motto: Don’t omit the negative or squelch the positive.

Not long ago, a good friend called and asked about my writing. I started to blurt out that it was great, moving along fabulously, and that my agent is working on a possible submission to a publishing house. But then I gulped and remembered that masks are stuffy, binding and often ugly. Instead, I decided to rip the mask off to pull out the truth: though my agent is working for me, I’m furiously laboring on the first edit. Writing a novel is grueling, it’s demanding and at times, the work is so hard that it makes me wonder if I’m really supposed to be doing this.

Ah! The feeling of telling the real scenario with honesty is like opening the window to a stuffy room and letting the fresh spring breeze come in to caress your face.

As our little ones unwrap their candy, I also peel off what hinders honesty in my heart--misleading comments, half-truths or words hiding my real feelings. Once all this is discarded, the reward appears in the mirror: a shining reflection that sparkles with sincerity and truth—a sweet fragrance to the Lord.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving me your Word to follow. Grant me the guidance when I speak, when I formulate my thoughts and prepare my replies to all situations. Grant me the wisdom to speak with a truthful heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
She Speaks conference

The P31 Woman Magazine

Listen to Today's Radio Show

Application Steps:
Before speaking, stop and measure your words—are they truthful, sincere and honest? If there’s a spot in your heart you’d rather hide from others, release it to the Lord and ask Him to grant you the courage to remove that mask.

Reflections:
Do I have the confidence in the Lord to know He accepts me as I am?

What keeps me from telling the complete truth? Am I hiding something for fear I might be judged?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 25:24, "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit."

Proverbs 2:7-8, "He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones."


Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1 Corinthians 1:1-2 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

This is just one of the many places in scripture that explains that each of us are "called" for a purpose by the will of God. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is because the Holy Spirit has been working on our heart. God has been calling us - chosing us. It is nothing of ourselves. Do not think more highly of yourself because you are a Christian against someone who is not.
Once you have become a Christian, seek to know God's calling or will for your life. What is it that He wants to accomplish through you? Do not be afraid to ask Him what it is and after He tells you, do not be afraid to do it. You will enjoy abundant life when following God's perfect calling and will.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was discussing purity of our words with some friends. The Bible speaks alot about controlling our tongue. This is a great struggle for me. Most of the time, my mouth seems to run faster than my brain. I have spent many conversations with my foot in my mouth. As I have tried to do better at controlling my tongue, I have found that it is easier with others than with my husband. My gossiping and discouraging tongue was getting better while with my friends, but I was still going home to "let it all out" to my husband. I couldn't stand not telling someone! This is not right either! My desire to know all and tell all is very frustrating to me. I decided to memorize scripture that I could think on when the urge hits me to open my mouth.
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Battle for Integrity

Monday, October 29, 2007
A Battle for Integrity
Charles R. Swindoll
I must tell you that I have been troubled regarding the face of things in our country and within the family of God. My major battle has had to do with one word, one concept. My battle has to do with integrity.
In our nation--and in the church--there has been a falling away, a breakdown, and a compromise in integrity. Recent headlines have taught us that the boom of the 1990s was built on a foundation devoid of integrity. But compromise isn't limited to CEOs who greedily sell out their employees or to pork-happy politicians. All too often we find a moral laxity behind our pews and, even worse, behind the pulpit.
Let me define what I mean by integrity. Webster's tells us integrity means "an unimpaired condition."1 It means to be sound. The Hebrew word for integrity, tom, also means to be complete or solid.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands. (Psalm 78:72)
Integrity is completeness or soundness. You have integrity if you complete a job even when no one is looking. You have integrity if you keep your word even when no one checks up on you. You have integrity if you keep your promises. Integrity means the absence of duplicity and is the opposite of hypocrisy. If you are a person of integrity, you will do what you say. What you declare, you will do your best to be. Integrity also includes financial accountability, personal reliability, and private purity. A person with integrity does not manipulate others. He or she is not prone to arrogance or self-praise. Integrity even invites constructive and necessary criticism because it applauds accountability. It's sound. It's solid. It's complete.
Integrity is rock-like. It won't crack when it has to stand alone, and it won't crumble though the pressure mounts. Integrity keeps one from fearing the white light of examination or resisting the exacting demands of close scrutiny. It's honesty at all costs.
The words of Louis Adamic seem fitting, "There is a certain blend of courage, integrity, character and principle which has no satisfactory dictionary name but has been called different things at different times in different countries. Our American name for it is 'guts.'"2
I like that. Integrity is having the guts to tell the truth, even if it may hurt to do so. Integrity is having the guts to be honest, even though cheating may bring about a better grade. Integrity is having the guts to quote sources rather than to plagiarize.
But there are some things integrity is not. It is not sinless perfection. A person with integrity does not live a life absolutely free of sin. No one does. But one with integrity quickly acknowledges his failures and doesn't hide the wrong.
Now, in addressing this crucial mark of character, I could come across as the "white knight," but you know me better than that. I fail like everyone else. The sooner you remember that, the better we'll get along. But concerning the issue of integrity, I give you my word. You will know if I have failed or if Insight for Living has failed in some way. I will tell you. I will not lead you to believe something is true if it is false. That is the least I can do as a minister of the Gospel.
Integrity is essential in the church, in the marketplace, and especially in the home. When you walk in integrity, you leave it as a legacy for your children to follow (Proverbs 20:7). It's what I call the father's thumbprint. Blessed are you if you had a father with integrity and a mother with guts.
When you work with integrity, you honor the Lord. Regardless of your profession, your character and conduct are methods of ministry. Over 50 years ago, Elton Trueblood wrote,
It is hard to think of any job in which the moral element is lacking. The skill of the dentist is wholly irrelevant if he is unprincipled and irresponsible. There is little, in that case, to keep him from extracting teeth unnecessarily, because the patient is usually in a helpless situation. It is easy to see the harm that can be done by an unprincipled lawyer. Indeed, such a man is far more dangerous if he is skilled than if he is not skilled.3
Do you put wire in walls? Do you repair cars? Do you work with numbers? Do you sell clothes? Perhaps you practice law or medicine. The important thing is not what work you do, but whether you do your work with integrity. Perhaps you labor behind the scenes, and your only thanks is the inner satisfaction of a job done right. Do you cheat on your exams? Are you cheating on your mate? Some have the audacity to do such things and call themselves Christians. No wonder the world is confused!
You want to shock the world? Start here--demonstrating the guts to do what's right when no one is looking. It takes real guts to stand strong with integrity in a culture weakened by hypocrisy. Start today.
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, "A Battle for Integrity," Insights (March 2003): 1-2. Copyright © 2003, Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used with permission.
Last year, I attended a conference and heard Elizabeth George speak on Titus 2. It was very impactful and is something laid heavy on my heart ever since. Here's verses 2-8: Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, to that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, having nothing bad to say about us.
I took what it said about the younger women to heart and began to make adjustments in my life to obey but wasn't too concerned about the older woman part thinking that didn't pertain to me. I have recently attended a Bible study called Apples of Gold which is a 6 week mentoring program based on Titus 2:3-5. It has amazed me the impact these women and the lessons have had on my life. The last 6 weeks have changed who I am. This has shown me just how truly important mentoring is.
The more I thought about it, when the scripture says older and younger women, this could also be maturity in Christ not necessarily age. I, even being a younger woman by age can mentor others by what God has taught me in my walk with Him. I just don't want you to think that you cannot mentor others because of your age. By telling others and setting an example with your life - you are mentoring, no matter how old you are.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In one of our Bible studies we are reading The Purpose Driven Life again. One sentence from the book that really impacted me was "You are as close to God as you choose to be." How true - so many of us say that we want to know God more, we want to know what the Bible says, we want to hear from God, we want to know our purpose in life, but do we want it enough to do something about it? Or do we just want it all to come easy? Do you want it enough to make sacrifices in your life to get it? Do you want it enough to get up early or stay up late? Do you want it enough to do things that you don't necessarily want to do in your spare time? In order to become closer to God each day, you must be intentionally seeking Him. Study the Bible, pray small, one word or one sentence prayers throughout your day, spend quiet time praying and listening to God, look for ways that God is working in your life, look for ways that you can help others, focus on positives in your life that God has blessed you with. Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not an accident.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What types of feelings does you home give to others? Warm, cold, friendly, sterile, spontaneous, structured, organized, disarray. Being hospitable is a requirement of God. By making your home welcoming to others, it will make your hospitality much easier. Make small changes to your home and life that will give you more opportunities to use your home to be a blessing to others.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Matthew 25:35-40 "For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."

Wow! What more needs to be said. Are you open and willing to fulfill needs of others? Each act of kindness you do for others, you do to Jesus. Sweet and simple

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In my Bible study for this week, we are studying purity. One particular topic is flirting. One question that was asked - is there such a thing as innocent flirting when you are married? To me, the answer is no. I don't believe that flirting with another man besides your husband is innocent. The reason that we flirt is because we like the attention we receive because of it. This attention should be sought by our spouse and no one else. If you think that flirting is innocent, think about how you would feel if you knew that your spouse was flirting with someone else. You should treat every man you meet the way you would like other women to treat your husband.

Monday, October 22, 2007

2 Peter 1:4-9 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificient promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

Peter lists several of faith's actions: learning to know God better, striving for excellence, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. These are not optional. They also do not come easilty. Some of these are more difficult for some than others but God gives each of us the empowerment and ability to do them all. But we have to make the effort - He will not force us. Do not be surprised at or resentful of the learning and refining process.

Friday, October 19, 2007

When Jesus was being tempted by satan in the wilderness, He was able to respond to each temptation with quoting scripture. What an example for us. Think about a temptation in your life that is particularly difficult for you to overcome - find a Bible verse that applies to it and memorize it. Learn to recite it each morning and then again each time you are tempted. It will amaze you at the strength you will gain from standing on His word.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Do not consider your circumstances - rejoice because you are a daughter of the King! You need to nip a "bad day attitude" in the bud immediately and determine that with the help of God you will guard your heart. If you give satan a toehold, he has your thoughts; if you give him a foothold, he has your attitudes; if you give him a stronghold, he has your way of life. Choose to rejoice today!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I was so excited to tell you about a revelation God gave me yesterday and then when I attempted to get online, my internet was down. Bummer. But I'm back and am ready to share. I was on my morning walk yesterday and I noticed a man in his yard with two small dogs. When the dogs spotted me, they immediately began barking and running toward me. Their owner called their names and they instantly stopped, turned around, and returned to his side. I realized that this is exactly how I should be with God. No matter where my tunnel vision is leading me, I should always have my ears open to my Master's voice. When I hear Him telling me that whatever it is that I want or am doing is not what He wants, I should immediately stop and ask Him what He does want. I have failed at this so many times in the past - sometimes, I get so involved in serving God the way I think I should, I don't listen to what it is that He really wants.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We're back and ready to tackle the week. I always seem refreshed after camping, that is until I notice the huge pile of laundry waiting for me. Oh well, it is all worth it. Yesterday, my daughter asked me about Hebrews 4:15 (For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.) She was confused as to what it meant. I explained to her that before Jesus died on the cross and rose again, people had to go through the high priest in order to ask God for forgiveness from their sins. But after Jesus, we can go to God anytime - we now can have a personal, intimate relationship with Him through Jesus. But the cool thing about this verse is that it goes on to explain that Jesus can sympathize with us when we are tempted to sin! He has been through it all Himself. The difference is that He did not fall to the temptations and we do. But it was a good reminder to me, that when I think that no one else could ever understand what I am going through, that He can. He's been there, done that. Just another assurance that I am never alone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My family and I are packing up for our last camping trip of the year. Camping is very fun for our whole family and our last trip always makes me sad. But I now that in just a few months when winter is over, we can venture out again. I love to soak in all of God's creation. There is just something about being outside that brings me closer to Him. The things He has created never ceases to amaze me. Think about things like water and fire - no man could ever "invent" such a thing. It gives me peace to know that God can do anything and yet, He still choses to love me! Humbling to say the least. I also will be taking a big step this weekend - I will be going camping, technology free. I know, this may seem pretty normal to most people, but for me it is a great sacrifice. I want to totally be focused on God and my family without distractions. Be praying that the withdrawl won't be too bad. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Wow!! This verse sure hits me right between the eyes! Do nothing from selfishness - can you imagine how this world would change if no one was selfish. Even though this seems like an unattainable thing, if we each ask God for help and truly try - we can do a much better job of it. I will strive today to put others as more important than myself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I am participating in a Bible study through my church called Apples of Gold. It's a program where the mature ladies of the church mentor the young women. It covers 6 themes of kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity and hospitality. Each week, we have an hour of a cooking lesson, an hour of study, and an hour of fellowship over dinner. It has been such a great blessing to me. We have completed 3 of the 6 weeks and I am amazed at how much I have learned. I think the greatest blessing has been the wisdom of the mentors. It is so nice to know that they have encountered some of the same struggles as me and made it through! They are a great group of godly women and I hope that I can follow in their footsteps. I would highly recommend this program.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I've been thinking alot about how God works in every detail of our lives. This morning, I was reading John 4:1-26 about Jesus talking to a woman at the well. He was tired from traveling and when she approached the well, He asked her to give Him a drink. It made me think about all the people that I come into contact with each day. Due to having the issues of life on my mind, I probably miss alot of opportunities to help others. I want to do a better job of noticing the needs of others around me, even when they don't ask for help. You just never know how God can work through you in someone else's life.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Well, I'm back from Detroit and am so glad I went. God continues to show me how He wants to be involved in every detail of life - whether big or small. I knew that we would only have Saturday to look for a wedding dress with my sister so I had been praying that God would direct us to where we needed to go and to let everything happen smoothly so that it would be a very enjoyable experience. God was so good to us - we enjoyed our day, we had time to relax and visit and we found the perfect dress for a good price! God wants us to ask for His help! He wants us to realize we need Him for everything! He is so good!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Today I'm going to Detroit to spend the weekend with my sister to look for her wedding dress. It's a very exciting time in her life. I told her she could just wear mine, but for some reason she didn't think she wanted to. Ha Ha! (I guess a 13 year old dress must be out of style!) She has been with her sweetheart since Jr High, so it's about time! She is the last of my brothers and sisters to get married which makes this time even more special. I guess because she is the baby of the family, I really feel like I want to help mentor her in every way. Marriage is such a huge thing because it is a permanent thing. I think too many people enter into marriage thinking that if things don't work out, they'll just divorce. It is a unity created by God to be until death. I will share with her what God has taught me over the last 16 years of being with Mike, but I know she'll have to learn most of it on her own. What God has joined together, let no man separate.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I read something this morning that really made sense to me that I wanted to share with you.
J - Jesus is #1
O - Others come next
Y - Yourself is last
We will not have true joy in our lives until we live them this way because it is God's perfect purpose for us.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Philippians 4:8 Finally brethern, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
If we dwell on all these things, how could we ever be negative about anyone or anything?!! Dwelling on these things could definitely change the way I act and speak. Think of a tube of toothpaste being your negative actions and thoughts. As you squeeze out the tube, you cannot get it all back in. Once you've done it, they cannot be undone. It's so important to watch you words and actions! Be careful today.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I received an email that I had sent, back from a friend this week. She explained to me that she didn't think that a few of the words I used were honoring to God. Words have got me in trouble my whole life! My mouth seems to usually run before my brain. When I was in school, my teachers would tell my parents that I talked too much. When I was older and was a beautician, conversation was great thing - but when I began working in a business office, I would often be too loud and chatty. I love to share what's happening in my life with everyone. As I have began a new study in God's Word, He is teaching me that it is not good to share everything. We are to focus on what is good and honorable to God, my words do not always abide. Gossipping, sharing "too much info", and speaking before I think, are not honoring to God. I have alot to learn about controlling my mouth, but God is faithful and will help me if I am willing.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

God works in all things - not just isolated incidents - for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill His purpose. This promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Those who are called are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mindset on life. They trust in God, not life's treasures; they look for their security in heaven, not on earth; they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them.

Are you looking for what God is teaching you or making good, in your current circumstance?

Friday, September 28, 2007

My husband wanted to remind everyone that today is National Love Letter Day.
My homework this week is to read Song of Solomon. As I read chapter 4, I read some commentary that I thought would be helpful to those of us who are married and so easily take our spouses for granted.
Solomon's bride was as refreshing to him as a fountain. Could your spouse say the same about you? Sometimes the familiarity that comes with marriage causes us to forget the overwhelming feelings of love and refreshment we shared at the beginning. Many marriages could use a course in "refreshing". Do you refresh your spouse, or are you a burden of complaints, sorrows, and problems? Partners in marriage should continually work at refreshing each other by an encouraging word, an unexpected gift, a change of pace, a surprise call or note, or even a withholding of a discussion of some problem until the proper time. Your spouse needs you to be a haven of refreshment because the rest of the world usually isn't.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

For those of you dealing with 2 - 4 year olds, someone shared this with me this week. In the eyes of a 2 -4 year old child, life is like a long hallway with many locked doors. Their job is to check every door knob, every day, to make sure that one was not left unlocked. Each day they start over again, hoping that one day a door will be unlocked. I thought this was a great analogy - so true.
God is really trying to teach me not to live by my emotions. He continuously puts things in front of my face to remind me. He knows how slow and hard-headed I am. Here's what He put in front of me to read yesterday: "The Secret to Livelong Love" Too often, "as long as we both shall live", turns into "as long as we both shall love". In the Bible, the word love often refers to action - something we do rather than something we feel. Scripture defines love as selfless giving to others or as demonstrating kindness, patience, humility, and commitment in relationships. A love shared with a marriage partner goes beyond emotions. This love involves commitment. It means putting the needs of another above your own: "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." (1 Corinthians 13:5-6)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We are learning about kindness in our Bible study group. My Bible's dictionary defines kindness as tenderness. Are you living your life with tenderness to others? I was asked this question that I thought we should all ponder: If you received $.10 for each kind/tender word you said to others and $.5 was taken away for each not kind/tender word you spoke, would you be rich or poor?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

God made us and He gave us emotions but He also gave us self-control in order to overide our emotions when they are out of check. God gave us emotions, but He doesn't want us to be controled by them. I have lived most of my life making choices based on my feelings. What God has taught me is that His truth must overide what I feel. It doesn't matter if I feel like doing something or not, if He tells me to, I need to do it and if He tells me not to, I shouldn't be doing it. Living for God means doing alot of things that you don't feel like doing. He tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves - yes, there are times when I don't feel like loving my neighbor, but I have to make the choice to do it anyway. Just like God's love is unconditional, our love must be unconditional to Him and others. Having this unconditional love for others means you will have to do alot of things you don't always feel like doing - guarding your mouth, listening intently, being slow to anger, being compassionate and kind, giving of yourself, not being selfish, not being prideful, and anything and everything else that shows unconditional love. It is not easy, but it will be pleasing to God. Listen to God instead of your "feelings".

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Bible talks alot about Christians being persecuted. Why then, are we so shocked when people treat us badly because of who we are and what we stand for? It is easy to know in our heads that we will suffer hardships for following Christ, but when we are in the situation, it still hurts our hearts - at least it does for me. At times, I have allowed people's words and actions go straight to my heart instead of just giving them to God. These are the times that my heart became harder with each instance until it finally was numb. Even though it may hurt us, we have to endure persecution with continued faithfulness to God and others.

Matthew 6:22-23 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets."

Friday, September 21, 2007

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.
There have been times in my life that God continues to show me what He wants me to do, but because I am afraid, I ignore His calling or I have said "no" to God. Well, let me give you some advice - Never tell God "no"! I have found that when you tell God "no", He just works harder at pursing you. The lesson He wanted to show me through these situations is that I am right when I say that I can't do it - but He can do anything and when I let Him, He can do anything through me! What a humbling experience.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Luke 3:23 When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed.....
Imagine the Savior of the world working in a small-town carpenter's shop until He was 30 years old! It seems incredible that Jesus would have been content to remain in Nazareth all that time, but He patiently trusted the Father's timing for His life and ministry.
This is something I struggle greatly with. As soon as God lays something on my heart, I am ready to pounce into it! I want to serve Him in everyway possible and get so excited that I forget to sit still for awhile to see if He wants me to pounce or if He wants to prepare me first. Waiting patiently is not a strength that I have, but God continues to work on me and remind me that everything I do must be in His perfect timing whether I think it's the right time or not.
Like Jesus, we need to resist the temptation to jump ahead before receiving the Spirit's direction.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I have had many discussions with other Christians about how we seem to think that some sins are better or worse than others. We have made our own sin grading scale and as long as we don't do the really "bad" sins, we are doing o.k. I believe that in God's eyes, a sin is a sin. Whether I gossip or commit murder I am still sinning. I truly want to get away from judging my thoughts and actions by what the world says is o.k. and seek God's truth.
Matthew 5:21-47 says alot about this subject. Here's a summary:
It's not enough to avoid murdering, we must also avoid anger and hatred.
It's not enough to offer regular offerings, we must also have right relationships with God and others.
It's not enough to avoid adultery, we must keep our hearts from lusting and be faithful.
It's not enough to not get a divorce, we must live out our marriage commitments.
It's not enough to keep a vow, we must avoid casual and irresponsible commitments to God
It's not enough to not seek revenge, we must show mercy and love to others.
What scale are you using?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Check out this awesome and very moving video at
www.godtube.com it's called Lifehouse Everything Skit. It is well worth your time to watch!
I was reading chapter 20 of Matthew this morning and in verses 26-28, Jesus explained that we should not seek to be served but to serve just like He did while He was on this earth. I recalled about times in my past that as a leader, I failed at this. I can see now that we should have this servant attitude all the time, but especially when we are in a leadership position because we are setting an example to those we are leading.
Living in a society of "you deserve it" type mentality, we can so easily fall into serving ourselves and making our focus to get everything we think we deserve. But Jesus reminds us many times in His Word to not be self-centered, but Christ-centered.
The more we desire to be like Christ, the easier this will become. Ask yourself, who am I serving today, God and others or myself?

Monday, September 17, 2007

I've been thinking alot lately about friendships. Are all friendships good? Are all friendships profitable? In the past, I honestly had never considered ending friendships due to their effect on me. I'm not talking about being friendly to others we come in contact with, but true deep friendship with another person. I began thinking about people that I spend alot of time with and how they affected me.


I read a message written by our pastor that shed light on the subject on what kind of friend am I at http://www.saworship.com/ (Becoming A True Friend). I want to be a friend that encourages others because that's the kind of friend that I want. My best friend is willing to love me no matter what - willing to encourage with love and love me enough to be honest with me even when it may hurt.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
My Bible commentary:
As you near the end of a long race, your legs ache, your throat burns, and your whole body cries out for you to stop. This is when friends and fans are most valuable. Their encouragement helps you push through the pain to the finish line. In the same way, Christians are to encourage one another. A word of encouragement offered at the right moment can be the difference between finishing well and collapsing along the way. Look around you. Be sensitive to others' need for encouragement, and offer supportive words or actions.

What kind of friend are you?

Friday, September 14, 2007

We were discussing how Christians have the assurance of going to heaven last night at our Bible study. I recalled how several years ago, I was asked by our pastor if I was going to heaven. At that point, I wasn't really sure - I thought that I had to act alot better than I did to deserve to go to heaven. So I answered "I hope so". He explained to me that we have the assurance of going to heaven when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior into our hearts and make the commitment to live for Him. Not wanting to just take his word for it, I began to dig into the truth of God's word.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. "

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

John 17:3 "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

Romans 8:9-11 That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved: for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."

I became truly free the day I realized that I could not earn my way to heaven and that nothing I do or don't do can change God's love for me. His love for me and you never changes! How amazing and wonderful is that??!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Luke 7:47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; be he who is forgiven little, loves little."

My Bible commentary says this:
Overflowing love is the natural response to forgiveness and the appropriate consequence of faith. But only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness God offers them. Jesus has rescued all of His followers, whether they were once extremely wicked or conventially good, from eternal death. Do you appreciate the wideness of God's mercy? Are you grateful for His forgiveness?

It was very difficult to show some people love and compassion until I truly realized how much forgiveness I had received. I was reminded of this again last Sunday. During his sermon, our pastor asked us to close our eyes and think about all the times that God has shown His mercy to us. As the most recent times flooded my head, I instantly began to cry. His mercy overwhelms me! I will never understand why He loves me/us so much, but I am so glad He does! Afterwards, my son asked me why I was crying. I told him that I cry when I am happy. Happy was the word I used, but there is no word that can truly explain how thankful I am for God's sweet mercy and I truly want to show that same mercy to everyone I come into contact with.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A friend came to me about the struggles he was having in his church. Although it is difficult to see while you are in the situation, I assured him that I had gained alot from difficulties and frustrations with other people.
As Christians, we are not protected from problems, in fact, I have found that at times, it is very hard being a Christian. But I know that my reward is great! I know that my struggles are only for a moment compared to eternity. I also know that God has lifted me up for a specific purpose that I want to fulfill.
I recently was reminded about Paul's struggles. Check out his list and see if it puts yours into perspective, it sure did for me. 2Corinthians 11:23-28 Paul states: Are they servants of Christ? I speak as if insane - I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethern; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
Whew! And we think we have it bad!

To me, the moral of the story is - yes, we will endure hardship, but we must not live our lives in response to our emotions, but to God's truth. I have lived too long on emotions and have endured more than I needed to because of it.
Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I wanted to share with you a very impactful message that I read in "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren.

What drives your life?

Are you driven by guilt? We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.

Are you driven by anger and resentment? Those who have hurt you cannot continue to hurt you now, unless you hold on to the pain.

Are you driven by fear? Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.

Are you driven by materialism? Self-worth and net-worth are not the same.

Are you driven by a need for approval? Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God's purposes for your life.


Unfortunately, my choices in life have been driven by all of these things at one time or another. I continue to pray each day that my life choices will be driven by my relationship with God, but when I realize that they are not, I will choose to ask God to pick me back up and start over again.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I was reading John 8:1-11 this morning about Jesus forgiving the adulterous woman. This woman was caught in the act of adultery and the scribes and pharisees were preparing to stone her. They asked Jesus what they should do. He said to them "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Slowly, each person began to walk away. When she was standing alone, Jesus asked her "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She answered, "no one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."

That story gives me so much encouragement!!! Romans 8:1 says, Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No Condemnation! I get excited just saying it! We all have sinned. We all fall short. But for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, there is no condemnation.

Notice though, that Jesus did not stop at "I do not condemn you, either." He also told her to "sin no more." Jesus knows that we will never be perfect but He expects us to always try to be more like Him. We must turn away from those things in our lives that tempt us. Elizabeth George once told me "Sacrifice your favorite sin, there's so much more at stake."

Friday, September 7, 2007

I had someone tell me last week that they didn't feel they could share their faith with others because they were a "baby Christian" and they didn't know alot about what the Bible said. I explained to them that their "story" was all they needed to know to begin to tell others. We can always share with others how God's love, grace and forgiveness has changed our lives. Even when you are a baby Christian, there is much to tell others so don't allow satan to tell you otherwise.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.

2 Corinthians 3:12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech

My Bible's Commentary:
Some speakers use impressive words, but they are weak on content. Paul stressed solid content and practical help for his listeners. You don't need to be a great speaker with a large vocabulary to share the gospel effectively. The persuasive power is in the story, not the storyteller.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

check out this cool video that was posted on our pastor's blog
http://www.pontiacbible.org/brian/pb_blog_comments.php?id=4900_0_98_0_c
I receive a daily devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Yesterday's really impacted me and I wanted to share a synopsis with you. Melanie Chitwood wrote about how she sees so many Christian marriages in trouble. She and her husband used to be one of those struggling marriages but she finally realized one day that she had to surrender her marriage to God, if it was to be what He wanted and created it to be. By studying the Bible and asking God to show her what kind of wife He wanted her to be, and applying what she learned, she now has a marriage that is thriving instead of surviving.
This really struck me because my marriage, too, has been a great struggle at times. I had found myself focusing on how hard it was instead of how to make it better. God has shown me that the only way to have the marriage He planned for me, is to invite Him to be in the center of it - always - not just when it's convenient or when I want to. I hope this can be an encouragement to us all to allow our marriages to thrive instead of survive.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lots going on lately -
Last week I got an email from Hearts at Home notifying me that I won a writing contest they had sponsored and my story will be published in their 15th anniversary book in March of 2008.
I will be speaking at the Presbyterian church in Clinton, IL on November 11 (Veteran's Day) at the 10:30am worship service.
I am currently working on the book God has laid on my heart and hope to have a manuscript ready for the Proverbs 31 Speakers and Writers Conference next June.
I am writing for submission to Guideposts magazine
Our home is for sale and we are in hopes to move to the country - where our family can enjoy more of God's creation
God continues to mold and shape our family as we serve Him. He is so good!
video

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hi

Just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Christie Todd and this is my first time blogging! Yes, I know, but my brain doesn't cooperate with technolgy. I started this blog because my passion is to tell others about what God has done and continues to do in my life. He is so good and I can't wait to share.