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.