Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Misunderstood God

I was given the privilege of reviewing the book by Darin Hufford, "The Misunderstood God". To be honest with you I knew by the title that this would be one of those books that I would not only enjoy but find myself agreeing with. It did not disappoint.

He starts out at the beginning of the book describing the God presented to him in church growing up. He says, "The God they told me about was not someone I would want to be friends with."

He then begins to paint a portrait of the God of Love. Each chapter takes a facet of love described in I Corinthians 13 and reveals how it is displayed in the heart of the One who is Love.. Darin exposes how the heart of God has been not only misinterpreted but misunderstood. The God many of us have known is not the God of I Corinthians 13:

Darin brings home the revelation of the effects of love. He says, "We spend more time trying to perform the effects of love than we do loving."

Many of us have been confused by God's true nature. Darin has taken the mess that religion has made and exposed a clear, beautiful revelation that God is love itself.

I loved reading this book and highly recommend it. If you desire a greater revelation into knowing what true love looks like, pick up Darin's book. You won't be disappointed.

You can find it here: The Misunderstood God

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Journey Into Grace

It's hard to believe that it's been 2 years since I fully entered the world of blogging. This little website has opened up my world in ways I never dreamed possible.

I recently rented the movie, "Julie & Julia" and I absolutely loved it. There was something about Julie's journey that spoke to a deep place in my soul. I felt a kindred spirit with her in some crazy sort of way. She was lost in her world until one day she decided to venture into the world of blogging. With each post written something began to be unearthed inside her. She found her voice. She found a love for writing. She became a writer.

It was almost 7 years ago that I first heard Him call me away to the desert. "Jewel, I am alluring you into the desert where I will speak tenderly to you. I will take you door of sorrow and turn it into a door of hope. You will no longer call me Master, you will now call me, husband" Hosea 2:14-16

Little did I know that in that moment He was inviting me into my transformation. He has been removing the rubble of my life and restoring what has been lost to me. He's been unearthing ME.

He has held true to those words. No longer am I bound to the shackles of the law. I am now living as one who is loved. It's a far cry from where I started. I live to tell. It is why I write.

This little blog has opened up something inside of me. I have found a love for writing. I am becoming a writer. I am finding my voice. I wasn't expecting that. In fact I actually signed up for this blog by accident. Or at least I thought it was by accident.

The truth is, God knew I had many words inside me begging to get out. I was spiritually constipated. He was pouring so much into me, yet there was no place of release. Words piled up inside my head and then He invited me here. This place has become an oasis, where I get to release His heart inside me that has been aching to get out.

As of late I feel the winds of the Spirit stirring me to step in a little deeper. I believe He is asking me to tell my story. It is the account of my journey into grace. I will begin after Christmas. I'd love to have you travel back with me.

Thank you to all who have walked with me this far. You have held my hand, brushed away my tears, encouraged me forward and loved my heart. For this I am truly grateful!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph. 3:20-21
©copyrighted: 2009 Julie L. Todd

*NOTE: Check back after Christmas for the beginning of my posts on my Journey into Grace.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Transformation of Love

The more I learn about the butterfly, the more captivated I become. I love the picture it paints. I love the story it tells. It speaks to a deep place in my soul.

When it’s time for a caterpillar to shed it’s final skin it finds an isolated place where it can metamorphose. The outer skin of the pupa then hardens forming a chrysalis which protects and hides it while it transforms.

When I moved to this small rural town almost three years ago now I came sporting my credentials. I had just finished teaching a 12 week class on the book “Captivating” at a former church. I had seen a gifting that I had not known was inside me. It exhilarated me. I was chomping at the bit to be used for God. Truth be told I was chomping at the bit to be of value.

His words came to me clearly one day. “Stop promoting yourself. I will promote you if I want you to be used.” It became clear He was up to something.

Relationships that I thought would take off didn’t. Ministry opportunities that I volunteered for were filled by others. I’d been here before. I knew it was an “invitation of God”. I knew He was calling me away to the stillness, where the gentle whispers could become loud in my ears. For the busyness of ministry often drowned out that still small voice.

These last 2 years have been filled with something I never saw coming. God began to teach me how to find my value in Him alone. He began to change me from the inside out. He invited me to live as one who is loved. He guided me into loving myself as He loves me.

This week He pulled back the curtains and revealed more of the masterpiece He’s been sculpting with my heart. Given an unexpected invitation to speak at a women’s tea exposed the work of His hands.

Instead of jumping at the opportunity, I tried to run. It was the opposite of what I had done before.

He wouldn’t let me run. It was His door opened for me. So I went, I spoke.

As I sat down in my seat after speaking I realized something. I’ve changed. The desire to promote myself has vanished. I no longer need to speak to have value. I have no desire to seek to have a ministry or a gifting. I have found my place in His heart. I am absolutely and completely content living as one who is loved.

I stand amazed as I look at where I once was and where I now stand. A woman who for a time found great value in striving, performance, busyness, and knowledge no longer has a desire for those things. The heart of the father has won my heart... I have been transformed.

Our reality is we are fused with Christ. God cannot tell where one life ends and the other begins. When we get that, really get that, there will be no need to find value anywhere else.

The God of the universe chose to tabernacle in us. Would that we could see the value He places on us. That He would choose to dwell within us. It’s astounding when you consider it.

He wants you to know and live in your reality, so He comes. He invites you to enter into the metamorphose of the life of Christ which dwells within. In the shelter of grace He will love away your insecurities and teach you how to love yourself. For He's known you for a long time. He's loved you forever.

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; remain in my love. John 15: 9

©copyrighted:2009 Julie L. Todd