Minimalism

September 27 Reading (Yes, I’m already behind in posting!)

SCRIPTURE

  • Zechariah 4-6
  • Luke 12

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Luke 12:23 NIV

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:31 NIV

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34 NIV

OBSERVATION

Last Sunday at church the topic was on storing up treasure in heaven, not on earth.  So the timing of this reading is perfect.  If you want to hear the sermon click here.

This is actually a journey I’ve been slowly traveling for the past year or so.  Several things:

  • I want to literally “honor the Sabbath”. No work-work, no housework.  Which means I no longer have two days to clean the house (Saturday and Sunday). And to be honest, I can’t even get my house clean in two days.
  • Lifestyle change: Over the past twelve months God has led me on a journey of making a career change.  I walked away from a lucrative (though high-stress) company that I owned and joined the non-profit arena.  So, from a practical standpoint, I’ve drastically minimized my income.  We are now living paycheck to paycheck and something has to go.  We are planning to put our house on the market in the next six months.  Downsizing!
  • I started a purge this past summer based on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It is far from done and the process has been far from perfect, but it is getting closer.
  • Several years ago Joshua Becker spoke at our church about “becoming minimalist” and it was very thought-provoking. I’ve started following his blog.
  • With my new job I traveled to West Africa this summer. They don’t have access to clean water.  Or basic medical care.  Or electricity.  And yet they are singing and dancing and smiling.  Bottom-line, these people are happy with so little and I’m usually complaining though I have too much stuff.  And $1 in the U.S. = $500+ in Togo, West Africa.  My money is much better spent on something that can save a child’s life than on the latest dust-gathering pretty knick-knack for my shelf.  For more about my trip, click here.

ACTION

This weekend: Take at least one bag to the Goodwill and spend at least an hour purging, not just cleaning.

PRAYER

Lord, please show me where you want me to store up Treasure in Heaven.  Open my eyes to where you want me to serve and where you want me to spend the resources you have given me.

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Forgiving

SCRIPTURE

  • Zechariah 1-3
  • Luke 11

He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.   And lead us not into temptation.’ ”
Luke 11:2, 4 NIV
http://bible.com/111/luk.11.2-4.NIV

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11 NIV
http://bible.com/111/luk.11.9-10.NIV

Therefore, tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Zechariah 1:3 NIV
http://bible.com/111/zec.1.3.NIV

But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
Luke 11:41 NIV
http://bible.com/111/luk.11.41.NIV

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:13 NIV
http://bible.com/111/luk.11.13.NIV

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
Luke 11:42 NIV
http://bible.com/111/luk.11.42.NIV

OBSERVATION

So many beautiful instruction and promise instruction, as well as glimpses into the character of God and Jesus.  And conviction.

Right now I am struggling with forgiveness.  Someone I love deeply hurt me recently.  Lied to me and once again broke a fragile trust I thought we were working to rebuild.   I am hurt and angry.  And I’m using this family members’ sin as an excuse to sin.  I am looking at their sin and focusing on what they did wrong . . . and using that to justify my sinning.

  • I am holding a grudge and not forgiving them
  • I have been gossiping about this person and putting them down
  • I have been unkind

And honestly I have been struggling recently in my time with Jesus because of this.  I know Jesus wants me to forgive this person and reconcile and love them.  But I’m not.  Because I want to punish him.  I want to hurt him like he hurt me.

I am focusing on my family member’s sin, when what I should be doing is crying out to God, “Father hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.   And lead us not into temptation.”

And if I am truly asking for forgiveness and seeking to forgive, there is another beautiful promise in Luke – God will answer my prayer.

Side note: Forgiveness is hard, and involves much more than just saying “I forgive you”.  It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have boundaries or let someone abuse you.  For help in this area, I recommend Fresh Start: http://freshstartforallnations.org.  They are based in Omaha, Nebraska, but have resources online to help through the process of forgiving.

APPLICATION

Today I will focus on praying the Lord’s prayer and meditating on the words of the prayer.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, you are so mighty and powerful.  You commanded the sea to part and shut the mouths of lions.  And still you know ME.  And love ME.  Just like your will is done in nature and in heaven, I pray that your will will be done in my life.  Help me to obey you.  Thank you for giving me the Bible and all its truth.  And I pray I take the time, every day, to read it and be filled with your daily instruction and the bread of life.  Lord, I’ve been sinning.  I’ve been holding a grudge and punishing “_________”.  I’ve put him down to others.  I’ve had a bad attitude.  Lord, I’m sorry.  Please change my heart.  Please forgive me and help me to forgive him.  Please keep me from the temptation to keep unforgiveness and anger in my heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Starting Again

September 26, 2016

Scripture:

  • Haggai 1-2
  • Psalm 129
  • Luke 10

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”   Haggai 1:5-6 NIV

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:39-42 NIV

Becoming Mary.  That is why I started the blog in the first place.  A journey to become more like Mary.  But suddenly the blog itself seemed to take on a “Martha” identity.  Instead of being a place to journal about my time with Jesus and what he was teaching me, I was spending time on Pinterest looking for ideas on “how to create a successful blog” and “graphics to get your blog read.”

So I quit only a few blog entries in.

I didn’t want to change into Martha and have the blog be about all the “activities” to design and maintain a successful blog.  That would defeat the whole purpose.

But I wasn’t sure how to blog if my focus wasn’t on getting readers, finding sponsors and making it fabulous.  So I quit the blog and waited.  And prayed.  And a few weeks ago I felt like God was telling me it is time to get back to the blog.

And now after a long hiatus I’m back and I think I know what God wants this blog to be about. This year I’ve been reading through the Bible with the Life Journal Reading Plan through You Version.  Going forward, on the blog I’ll post daily what I read and what I learn.  I’m not going to get bogged down with making this pretty or maximizing readership.  I’m just going to share my SOAP:

  • Scripture for the Day
  • Observations
  • Application
  • Prayer

If anyone wants to read along with me on my journey through the Bible, feel free to join me here.  I’d love to have you.  And if no one joins, that is OK as well.

Like my house, this blog may be messy.  A web-designer or blog expert will probably have a million ways I should improve it.  It will be far from Pinterest pretty or perfect.  And there will probably be a spelling mistake (or two).  But my goal is to only focus on what really matters.  As Jesus said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

My goal is to sit daily at the feet of Jesus, for that will never be taken away from me.