Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I've shared with you before, about the old pig farm behind our house. Yes, the one that our puppies love to get into trouble in. The unused, but still full hog pits made me nervous with so many children and animals around here. Well, work has begun on eliminating those dangerous pits and the 5 buildings. There's only one more left to go! Check out these pictures of the work in progress. Oh, and by the way, the puppies are having a great time in all the mud too! :)

There is always some type of action going on around here so, just thought I'd keep you updated. Well, I'm going to be enjoying some additional time off this week, so I may not be posting again until Monday. Hope you enjoy your week and Happy New Year!!!

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ
Christie :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What a wonderful Christmas we had! I've been so far out of schedule, that it is nice to go back to a little bit of normalcy this morning. Normal schedule won't last for long though, I'm only working today and tomorrow and then back to taking some much needed time off.
Here's some highlights of the last few days of my crazy life.

We lost alot of tree limbs during last weeks ice storm. My husband, children, dogs and I, worked for several hours at cleaning up the yard. This was Liz, Nate, Cooper and Grace taking a break in the trailer.

When all our work was complete, we had this finished result. Now that's a pile of wood, I tell you!! Whew! Glad that's done - at least until the wind begins to blow! :)

Now, on to Christmas fun. Check out this awesome shirt that my mom got for Nathan. It says "My Mom Rocks". I loved it - Nate did not. He wouldn't even put it on for a picture! This was the only picture I got - him holding it. He said he'd never wear it and I couldn't even convince him to keep it for pj's. He says it's just not cool. What??!!! Who wouldn't think this mom isn't cool? (except for my own children, of course.)

We enjoyed so much time with friends and family over the Christmas holiday. Here's me with our cousin's baby, Bethanie, and Nate and Liz with their cousin Chase.

What a joyous time! Celebrating the birth of our Savior with family. It just doesn't get any better! I hope you enjoyed your family and friends too.

More pictures coming tomorrow
P.S. I will be speaking at 2 churches on Sunday and I ask that you will be praying for me as God prepares my heart to share His Word.

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good morning all my bloggy friends! My husband and I, both started feeling puny yesterday and by this morning, felt even worse. We've both got sore throats and body aches. I took the day off work to rest, but my poor hubby is the manager, so he can't take off. Please pray for us as we really want to be better to celebrate our daughter's birthday tomorrow and Christmas on Thursday.

Have a great day and Merry Christmas!

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hey all! I'm finally back after some craziness around here. We had a nasty ice storm on Thursday night which caused us to lose power about 1 am until 8 pm the next day. Thankfully, we have a wood burning stove on our four-seasons porch. So, we spent all day Friday hanging out by the fire. Saturday was full with practice for the dramas on Sunday morning, then to McLean for 2 basketball games and then our daughter's birthday party.

Sunday, oh how wonderful Sunday was. Our pastors always do an amazing job of proclaiming Christ to the world, but yesterday was even more amazing. Their desire for others to see Christ was apparent as they planned and prepared for our Christmas outreach yesterday. God has blessed our church with many gift-filled people who are so very willing to serve and I am thankful for each one of them. God's presence is so apparent there and I'm so glad to be a part of it all. It was a touching and moving experience. Praise God! Check out the website at www.pontiacbible.org

As if that wasn't good enough, we just happen to run into some really great friends at a restaurant after church and had a wonderful time visiting with them. Our plan was to then run to Bloomington to pick up our last Christmas gift but when my husband decided that we should stay home, I was excited to take a long afternoon nap. Mmmm mmmmm GOOD!

Hope your weekend was good too!

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O.K. - get ready - I'm about to approach a very touchy subject. A subject that has brought much disagreement and hurtful times to my life. Are you ready?? Today, we will discuss tradition. Tradition vs. inner purity was the subject as I read Matthew 15:1-20 this morning. Now, I totally understand that different people enjoy different things. I understand that some people enjoy history and traditions and some people enjoy new and different things. In no way, am I saying that one is wrong and one is right. I'm just saying that either way, we must never allow what we want to overpower what God wants. If we are more focused on keeping with tradition than what God wants - we are in the wrong. If we are more focused on keeping up with keeping everything different so we don't create a tradition than what God wants - we are in the wrong.

In these verses, some Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus why His disciples broke their traditions and did not wash their hands before they ate. Jesus came right back at them about their willingness to defy God's instruction to honor your father and mother. They would make excuses about why they could not give their money to help their parents because they were giving it to God. While this seems to be a worthy cause, it became an excuse to not obey God. In vs. 6 Jesus says "And by this you invalidate the Word of God for the sake of your tradition."

Jesus goes on to explain that it is not what we put in our mouths that defiles us but what comes out of them that defiles us. For what comes out of them is what is in our hearts.

Sometimes, traditions can be good and sometimes, they can be bad. I believe it's all about our focus and whether these traditions affect our obedience to God.

Do you hang on to traditions too tightly? Are you more concerned with keeping traditions than obeying God or loving others? Keep the ones that enhance your relationship with God and be rid of the ones that hinder.

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good morning - and what a good morning it is in the Todd house. Our Nathan has woke pain free for two mornings. His doctor gave us some pills to try for his stomach which he has taken the last two days. We're waiting to see if this is just another good couple days or if the meds are working. Either way, we're so glad to see him up, about and going to school. Praise God for His faithfulness.

Last week at our Bible study, my reaction to others' pain came up. In a very loving way, I was told that I probably should work on having a little more compassion with others. See, I was brought up with a motto of "suck it up and move on" and find this is the way I tend to see life. The older I get, the worse it seems to get. I know that when I'm down and out, I really need someone to come along and give me a good kick in the behind to get me going again. So, I assume that's what everyone else needs - right??!!

Being strong minded can be good at times, but it makes me miss out on so many opportunities to show God's love to others. Sometimes, people may need a good kick in the pants, but many times, they just need to be listened to and loved on.

Overcoming emotions has been a huge obstacle in my life but God continues to work on me. It really doesn't matter what we feel or what we want to do, but how God feels and what He wants us to do. This is a minute by minute fight for me on some days. Guess what - it's not about me and it's not about you! We really have to learn to get over ourselves!

All of this came to mind this morning as I read 2 Timothy 2:1-10 "Be Strong". Vs. 1 says this "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Check out the commentary:
How can someone be strong in grace? Grace means undeserved favor. Just as we are saved by grace, we should live by grace. This means trusting completely in Christ and His power, and not trying to live for Christ in our strength alone. Receive and utilize Christ's power. He will give you the strength to do His work.


Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Tuesday, my bloggy friends! Last year about this time, I posted the following:

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 occurrence. 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 compromised 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.

O.K., could you tell I was a little fired up??!! I went back this morning and re-took the quiz. I did pass this time, but only with a 77%. I do want to comment though, that I disagree with a couple of the so-called-answers, so I think I got a better score than that.

Take the time today, to take the quiz for yourself and let me know how you do.

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, December 15, 2008

Good morning! It's back to real life after a long weekend for me. Our son was sick last week. It was very odd - he would wake up with terrible stomach pain but by afternoon would be feeling better. Each night, we thought he was better but then he'd wake with the pain again. This went on for three days so we thought we'd have him checked by the doctor. After initially not finding anything wrong, she sent him to the hospital for blood work and a ct scan. After spending the day at the hospital, on Thursday, he felt much better. He went back to school on Friday feeling great and continued through the weekend. I was so frustrated this morning to find his pain is back and he's spent the last couple hours throwing up. I've prayed for wisdom, because I have no clue what to do. The tough mom inside of me wants to tell him to just suck it up and go to school so he doesn't get behind but yet the softer side of me hurts because of his pain. I ask that you pray for God's healing hand over our boy.

I shared last week that I was meeting with my advisor from Lincoln Christian College on Friday. It was a beautiful morning and I had a very relaxing 1 hour and 15 minute drive down. I gained alot of information and found out that it actually is the same amount of credits and time to get an associates degree in general ministry as getting the Biblical studies certificate. So, after discussion with my hubby, we decided I might as well go for the degree. My worries about time and finances began creeping back but I instantly had to put them behind me. I WILL trust that since this is where God is leading me, He is going to provide everything I need. Praise God for His faithfulness!

Speaking of God's faithfulness - I have a great story to tell you. I've shared with you before that God has pursued/pushed me to get up at 5:00am each morning and spend time with Him as I walk. I will do really good for awhile, slump off until He gets me moving again, and then do good until I slump off again - and the crazy circle begins again. Needless to say, it is much easier to stay motivated in the warm weather. Well, over the last couple weeks, I've been slacking off again. It's so nice and warm in my bed and I just have such a hard time pulling myself out to go outside in the cold. Last night, before I went to bed, I asked God to help me get up this morning. I knew it was time to get out of the slump again. I was in a dead sleep when my alarm went off at 5. I immediately hit the snooze and began to close my eyes again - MY ALARM SOUNDED AGAIN - I looked at the clock and it had only been one minute. Now, I don't know about yours, but my snooze is for 9 minutes. I wondered if something was wrong with my clock, so I watched and waiting for another minute, but it didn't go off again. I was awake though - my curiosity kept me awake and when I realized that God had given me that second alarm only 1 minute later, I got up to spend my time with Him. Now, you may think I'm crazy or you may think I was just dreaming, but I know it was my God. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. What wonderful excitement I began my day with. The excitment that only my God can bring!!!

Will you trust today????

Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Good morning all my bloggy friends! This cold morning brought a beautiful clear sky filled with stars and a full moon. I can't help but worship a God that creates such beauty for us. Nature sure has a way of connecting me with God.

Have you ever decided that keeping your mouth shut is best for all, even when you don't really want to. In some situations, I have found that keeping my mouth closed brings blessings to others.

For instance, my husband is a sports nut, and from the time our daughter and son were born, they have been surrounded by basketballs, footballs and baseballs. In fact, he insisted that they each have them in their cribs at all times. From the time they were old enough to walk, he has played ball with them in the house. Now, I'm sure that you who are "no ball playing in the house" people, are cringing, just like I did for many years. I fought with him for years over this unacceptable behavior, but he never gave in. One day, it hit me - sports is his connector to his children. They love playing with him whether inside or out. It's their bond - it's their connection. Even though it has caused me to lose some breakables of mine, how could I have asked him to stop enjoying this with his children. Now, our dining room is our basketball court. It's an open, empty room with hard wood floors which is perfect for some good ol' bonding time. There's no hoop, but the rule is that if you hit the ball between the ceiling and the top of the door trim, you've made a point. Houses and breakables can all be replaced, but the connection between a father and his children is priceless.

Also, the other day, I went into a local store to purchase some Christmas gifts. I'm a clearance girl, so as soon as I saw the beautiful clearance sign, I ran for it. On top of the rack of clothes, it said "Clearance - 40% off - markdown taken at register". Whooo Hooo - I had hit the jackpot! I scooped up my purchases and went to the counter. As I noticed that the clerk was ringing them up for only 25% off, I let her know what the sign said. She explained that the sign must have been there by mistake and they were only 25% off. I could feel the disagreement building up inside me and I must have looked it, because she called the manager over to confirm with him. I explained again what the sign said and he confirmed that it was a mistake and I could only have 25% off. The thoughts in my mind were going something like this: "False advertising!", "The customer is always right", "I should get what they sign says and then they can take it down.", "I want what I want!!". But then I stopped and asked myself, "is this worth it? Is this a fight worth fighting?" - the answer- absolutely not! Thank God, my mouth stayed shut - I paid the total, smiled and walked out.

Keeping our mouth shut is definitely not always an easy thing to do. I pray that you and I can do better at deciding what is worth it and what is not. I pray that we will see things in God's perspective instead of our own. When situations arise today, take the time to ask God if your mouth should be open or closed.

I won't be blogging tomorrow as I will be leaving early for my appointment with my advisor at Lincoln Christian College. Please be praying for me as I complete all the necessities to get started in February and that as God has lead me, he will also provide the financials to get me there.

So, have a great day and a great weekend

Living fearlessly in Christ
Christie :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm baaaack! Scary, isn't it??!! I'm back from my trip will Jill Savage feeling renewed and refreshed. We had a total of about 5 hours of drive time and took full advantage of some girl time. I really don't think there was a quiet moment the entire trip - I found that we have much in common. I know, I know, your probably wondering how I could talk that much, right??!! :) :) She spoke at a mom's group on marriage. I had heard her give the message before, but the reminders were much needed and I was thankful to be a part of it all. She has been encouraging women through Hearts at Home for over 15 years. Check out Jill at www.jillsavage.com and Hearts at Home at www.heartsathome.org.

My friend, Kathy Rygh posted this on her blog and I wanted to share it with you. What a powerful statement it made to me.

Today is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it

Psalm 118:24

I have heard this Psalm many times, but it has never struck my heart as true as it did this morning.

I woke up early as I usually do on the weekend, around 5:30 am, to find everything covered in a beautiful blanket of white this morning. This was a beautiful sight as today is the first Sunday in Advent and we are full on into the Christmas season. I left my house a little early so I could 'run in to Wal-Mart' and get a few things. I found myself grumbling all the way because the roads were slushy, it was cold outside and it was still snowing and that leads to a bad hair day. After an hour at the store, I headed off to church, gathering my thoughts in the car as I went and preparing my heart to hear the words that would be spoken there today.

For the past few months, we have had a very special guest attending our services. Out of respect for his privacy, I will call him "Joe", although anyone who shops regularly at the local Wal-Mart will recognize him just by the description. Joe was born with certain challenges that might have held back others - but not Joe. This blonde-haired, blue-eyed ray of sunshine beams right into each of our hearts when he is around. He is forever cheerful, upbeat, caring, and worships with all his heart and soul. There is utterly no human way that you can speak to him and not walk away with a smile in your heart. This brings me to the Psalm mentioned above - . . . "let us rejoice and be glad in it."

I chose a seat close to the outside of the row of pews, as I was the reader today and needed to be able to get out easily. I was the only one in that row until Joe came and asked if it was okay if he sat with me today. What an honor that felt like! Now, from the moment we sat down, he never left my side. In fact, he moved in closer, as if to say, "I'm right here if you need me."

The service began and as we normally do we start off with a hymn. Joe is quite accomplished on the piano and reads music quite nicely so no sooner than the organ started playing, Joe's voice rang out next to mine with such joy and abandon I couldn't help but smile. Why can't we all just sing with joyful abandon? When the first prayer began, Joe reached over and grabbed my hand tight. I was surprised at first but gladly accepted his hand knowing that there was genuine sincerity in his offering it to me. We held hands tightly with every prayer that followed, and if he forgot, I took his hand. Rejoice and be glad in it!

Upon returning to my seat after I had done the readings for the day. He heartily hugged me and said, "That was awesome!" He had ME beaming from ear to ear with his smile. Following the readings Pastor began her sermon. It was a wonderful story to help us all better understand how God knows we need help even before we cry out to him. At every turn of the story, Joe would look at me and we would discuss briefly the meanings behind what she was saying. When she was finished, Joe grabbed my hand and shouted, "Intense!" It was, indeed, intense. Isn't it amazing that God knows we need him even before we ask? Wow. Intense! Rejoice and be glad in it!

Soon it was time for us to approach the altar for communion. One by one we rose from our seats and proceeded to form our orderly lines, much as we do many other Sundays throughout the year. But somehow today was different for me, just being with Joe and watching his unequalled excitement with every phase of worship – something many of us do routinely and without thinking much. When handed the communion wafer and the words spoken "the body of Christ given for you" Joe exclaimed quite loudly, "Amen, Pastor!" I immediately noticed every face around me smiling. They were not laughing at Joe, but they were relishing the joy with which he enjoyed worshiping our Lord. I am sure, like me, there were a few who were thinking, "Why don't we all worship like that?" Rejoice and be glad in it!

At the end of the service, the women of our church presented boxes full of home-baked goodies to our college students and military service personnel. As one of the military moms in the congregation I was up to accept the package for my daughter. Pastor lead a prayer of blessing for all of these students and soldiers and as is usual for me, I cried. I always cry when we pray for the military, although I try to hold it in and almost always fail. When I returned to my seat, Joe was there waiting with his arms open wide to give me a hug and tell me it would be okay. Selfless, unconditional love – Wow! Intense! Rejoice and be glad in it!

Spending one hour of worship time with Joe this morning was an enormous blessing. He did not care if it was snowing, or the roads were slushy, or he was having a bad hair day. He showed me, in all of his unbridled energy and glory, that "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." Thanks to the joyful heart of Joe, I now have a truer vision of how God wants us to rejoice and be glad in it.

Have a great day
Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good morning all my bloggy friends! What a great opportunity I had to connect with so many bloggers over the weekend! The Christmas Giveaway contest was a great idea and I'm so glad I participated. Thanks to all who stopped by and left a comment.

Drum roll please.........

The winners of my give away are:

Laura Ingalls Gunn - "I'm Glad I'm a Mom" (Hearts at Home)

ToknowHim - "Walking in Faith" cd by Lysa Terkeurst

ET @ Titus2:3-5 "Turning Panic Into Praise" cd by Christie Todd

Heather - "What Happens when Women say Yes to God" by Lysa Terkeurst

CONGRATULATIONS!! I will be contacting each of you for your addresses and for the rest of you - thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to connect with you again.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.....

I feel like I have so much to tell you and so little time. My crazy scheduled weekend went off without a hitch - thank you for praying. I do feel guilty this morning though, for not being able to spend much time at all with my children. I'm beginning to wonder if it's a mother's/woman's job to feel guilty. It just seems like no matter how I try to balance things out, I end up feeling guilty over something. The positives were that because of the events, I did get to spend ample time with my extended family, my husband and even made several new friends.

I also wanted to share my excitement with you about tomorrow. I won't be blogging because I am meeting Jill Savage (founder and executive director of Hearts at Home) at her home at 5:30am to take a trip to Lafayette IN. She is speaking at a mom's group there and I'm going with her to help with her book table. One of my best friends lives in Lafayette, so she is going to meet us and have lunch. I don't get to see her very often so it will be fun. This actually will be the first time that I meet Jill face to face so I'm excited about beginning a new friendship and hoping to learn alot from her years of encouraging women. Please be praying for traveling mercies as we're still not sure if the precipitation that is supposed to be coming tonight will be rain or snow.

Now, let's finish up our study of James. 5:16-20 "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. The he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."

Vs. 16 says what??!!! I think this is one thing that many of us struggle with - confessing our sins to others so they can be pray for us. I've spent my whole life in church and can't tell you how many masks I've worn and watched others wear to cover every sin we could. I've tried to attempt to "look" like a perfect little Bible study girl, only to be hurting terribly on the inside. Let's face it - none of us are perfect and we all need each other - whether we'll admit it or not. It's time to "get real", it's time to take off the masks and show the ugliness inside of us all. It is the only way we can receive the benefits of the prayers of others. Stop trying to appear like something your not - only our God is perfect. Get real.

Never and I mean never underestimate the power of prayer. I have seen miracles with my own eyes because of prayer. We must stop missing out on this mighty connection with our God. Don't come to prayer as a last resort, but as your first response. God wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives, irregardless of the size.

GOOD, GOOD stuff! James was such a rich and meaty book. Soak it up and apply its principles to your life.

Have a great day and I'll talk to you on Wednesday
Living fearlessly in Christ

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Give Away

Good morning and happy Friday! I enjoy looking forward to the weekend when I can relax and spend time with my family. I am looking at my schedule for this coming weekend and I am a little nervous about getting to all the places I have to be. It's going to be one of those weekends that every minute is accounted for. I'm a schedule girl, so please be praying that I won't be so caught up in my schedule that I don't see others around me.

O.K., now that I have that out of the way, I want to tell you about an exciting Christmas Giveaway. My friend, Lysa Terkeurst, is having a Christmas Give Away on her blog today( http://lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com/2008/12/cool-christmas-giveaway-day.html )(just click on the green "Christmas Give Away" above and you go there directly) and many other bloggers who are having giveaways are linking to her site. What a great way to connect with other bloggers and get some really cool gifts. I will be included in the list of bloggers.

Here's the scoop on the Awaken the Heart Ministries Giveaway:

Leave a comment on the blog today and you will be entered to win. I will randomly pick 4 winners and list them on the blog on Monday.

I will be giving away:
"I'm Glad I'm a Mom" which was put out this year by Hearts at Home and which I am a contributing author;

a cd of "Turning Panic into Praise" by Christie Todd;

"What Happens When Women say Yes to God" by Lysa Terkeurst;

a Focus on the Family edition cd of Lysa Terkeurst's "The Blessings of Walking in Faith"

This will be so much fun! Make sure you check out Lysa's blog and the others who are linked.

We will finish our study of James on Monday. See you then!
Have a great day and a great weekend
Living fearlessly in Christ

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Thursday on this frosty cold morning! My husband and I have been plowing snow this week. Even though it has only snowed a couple days, we have to clear out what the wind has blown back in each day. He uses the tractor with a large front snow blower and I get the manual snow blower to use on the smaller areas like sidewalks. This morning, he got up at 4 to start and by the time, I rolled out of bed at 4:30, he had already done my part so I wouldn't have to. What a sweetheart, I live with! I was quite happy to just go right back into my warm bed for another 1/2 hour. Now, it's time for tag backs and I'll have to think of something special to do for him. I really like this kind of TAG!

James 5:13-15 "Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him."

Here's a simple recap:
When you are suffering - pray
When you are cheerful - sing praises (aka giving thanks to God - prayer)
When you are sick - pray

Do you see the common factor here??? PRAYER

There is never a reason not to pray. Talking with God needs to be a continuous action in our lives. For me, prayer isn't just a sit down-eyes closed-hands folded- time but a continuous conversation with my Lord. Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't stop, quiet ourselves and pray but I'm saying that it doesn't always have to be that way. Make prayer a way of life - God wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives. There is nothing too small or too big for our Lord.

Also, another great point that I gleaned from my Bible's commentary:
Vs. 15 "The prayer offered in faith" does not refer to the faith of the sick person, but to the faith of the people praying. God heals, faith doesn't, and all prayers are subject to God's will. But our prayers are part of God's healing process. That is why God often waits for our prayers of faith before intervening to heal a person.

Good stuff!!! Oh - and don't forget to stop by tomorrow, I have a surprise for you!

Keep warm and have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Polly Pocket mania!!! I'd been meaning to go through and organize my daughter's Polly Pocket tub for quite some time and last night was the time. She's had boxes of American Girl and Polly Pocket stuff laying around that she's just to "cool" to play with anymore. So, being the "get-everything-out-of-my-house-that-is-not-being-used" kind of mom that I am, I got everything ready to either sell or give away. I didn't find anything unusual in the American Girl tub, but I did in Polly Pocket's. A long-lost Nintendo DS Lite charger (which I previously replaced), a remote control monster truck battery charger, a hand-held Tetris game and a Merry Christmas sign were all mixed up in what was supposed to be in the tub. I thought to myself - this is how my life is alot of the time and easily can be during this Christmas season. What I'm "supposed" to do and who I'm "supposed" to be often takes precedence over what God wants. There are always "extras" running around in my head and heart that really shouldn't be there. I want this Christmas time to be focused on Christ, the true reason for the season. Make the choice with me to stay strong against what the world tells us about Christmas and use this time to truly worship.

Back to our study of James. Vs. 12 "But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgement."

Are you a trustworthy person? Do others expect only the truth from you? Do you exaggerate or lie? By avoiding lies, half-truths, and omissions of truth, you will become known as a trustworthy person.

The other day, I was telling my husband about how angry I was because our puppies had shredded the foam/leather seat on our go-cart. I told him "It's gone - totally gone!" He didn't say much and I wondered why he wasn't as mad as I was. About a week later, he comes to me and says "I just saw the go-cart seat - I can't believe the whole thing is gone!" And the conversation continues:
Me: "Why are you so surprised? I already told you that there was nothing left of it!"
Him: "I know you did, but I thought you were just making it sound worse than it really was."

Ouch! If my own husband can't totally believe each word that comes from my mouth, how could I expect anyone else to?

Like the vs said, let you yes be yes and your no, no. It's as simple as that.

Let only truth come from your mouth - the truth, truly sets us free

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I just finished reading "The Shack". I was hesitant at first, about reading it, when my mother-in-law gave it to me. I read books that I can learn from, so I'm not ususally in to reading fiction but oh, I'm so glad I did. WOW. It was one of those that I could barely bring myself to put down. It is fiction, but it's not. You will have to check it out to see why. I can't tell you that it is totally biblical, but what I can tell you is that it can give you new perspective on your view of the Trinity. I'm a better person for reading it and I encourage you to read it. It will be worth your while. www.theshackbook.com

Now, back to our study of James - you didn't think/hope I had forgotten did you?

9-11 "Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful."

Oh no! This is a hard one - do not complain. Not only, do not complain, but do not complain against one another (your brothers and sisters in Christ). Ouch. O.K., here we go - I can say that I'm not much of a complainer but when I do complain, oh do I complain. I'm normally an easy going person, but get me on a rampage and watch out! I normally complain the most to my husband (about him, my children and others). I guess it's easy because he's there. But when you continue on, I am reminded that I really have nothing to complain about. When I think of all that God's prophets/followers went through, my complaints seem so stupid.

Negative thinking seems to be so much easier than positive but we do have the option. Have you ever considered complaining only to God? He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives - even when we are in the negative mode. Instead of sharing negativity with others around us, let's learn to keep it between us and God. I have a feeling that the negativity will diminish as our communion with God increases.

"We count those blessed who endured"

Have a great day

Living fearlessly in Christ

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Monday all my bloggy friends! I woke on December 1st to find bundles of snow outside! I notice the power going on and off during the night and heard the snow hitting the windows. It would have been a great morning to stay inside and stay in bed, but I went out at 5 am to help my hubby plow snow. Living in the country is definitely much different than living in town. The drifts in the driveway were tall and there was no way even in 4 wheel drive, my husband could get through them. I also was reprimanded by some daycare parents for moving to the country as they too had to endure these lovely drifted roads.
I hope your Thanksgiving and weekend went as wonderful as mine did. Here's a partial recap:
After enjoying a fun and food filled Thanksgiving, on Friday, we put up our Christmas Tree

Saturday, we spent time with my mom, dad, granny and sister during the day and then went out for supper with my brother and his family. When we returned home, my daughter gave me a hip new hair style. What do you think?
On Sunday, after church, we played, played and played. The dogs didn't know what to think of the snow at first, but soon were having fun right along side of us.
Our ginormous snowman that only stayed upright for about 20 minutes before falling over and going to sleep.

Nate - getting some air on the sled

There will be much more fun to have today as the snow continues. Hope your plans include some fun today too!
Have a great one
Living fearlessly in Christ