It is a new year with all the looking backward and looking forward. We evaluate, resolve, set goals, plan projects. What worked? What didn’t? What needs to change? How can I improve? The fact that it’s a new decade means the pressure is on.
I’ve heard enough in the few days of 2020, how to make the best of the next 12 months, and I’m already tired.
There’s no judgment, because I am a planner and a goal setter with the best of them. I’m just trying to look toward this year differently.
Having lived seven decades, I know myself better than twenty years before. I acknowledge my strengths. I grimace at my weaknesses. I want to be the best me possible with the time remaining. I want to be authentic and genuine. I want to be the person God made me to be.
Can you believe it is July already? We are halfway through 2019! I hope your summer is off to a good start and that you are making time to enjoy the simple pleasures this season offers. Here is something I love at this time of the year. The Mimosa trees are in bloom ♥
Going to share a post with you today that was originally posted in March of 2018.
Pour yourself a glass of ice tea and maybe sit in the shade while reading. Afterward please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!
Do you feel overwhelmed with (fill in the blank)
too much information
too many choices
too much stuff
I could keep adding to the list but I’m sure you get the idea of what I’m talking about. We seem to be drowning in too much everything! It is the cause of a huge amount of the stress people have come to accept as normal.
Recently this overload has been recognized as the cause of terrible stress, resulting in poor physical and mental health. One of the biggest problems is the overload of social media. Are smartphones really a smart idea?
Great that the problem has been identified. Next comes the challenge of what to do about it. It is pretty easy to find some help today. There are books, articles, videos, even entire websites devoted to returning to a simpler lifestyle. You will easily find much on the subject of living better with less, minimalism, and many practical tips to make much-needed changes.
However, I do not think we have exposed the problem of too much within the Christian community. Many of us are living with an overload in areas like Bible study, prayer, Church activities… There is a constant flood of information, too many choices, and excessive social media options available to the believer today! The availability of all things “Christian” sounds good, but is it all too much? I think so. What do you think? The explosion of instantly available materials, social media and more in the Christian world has contributed to our loss of focus. We begin to drift from the simple basics of our faith.
Here’s what I asked on Facebook ↓
What comes to mind when you think of the word SIMPLE?
I was writing this post and wondered if SIMPLE was the right word to use. After reading comments that people shared I feel encouraged. I think I’m starting to hear the rumbling of a move toward returning to the simple basics of the Christian life! 🙂
Looking at definitions causes me to wonder why simple has been so undervalued. It seems that it should be especially desirable for followers of Jesus.
Let’s take a look at a portion of scripture that might be helpful in understanding how we go off track.
Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.“We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted.But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”
The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin.The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil.The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night.
Numbers 11:4-9 NLT
How could it be that God’s provision of daily bread from heaven was not satisfying to the people? Manna was not good enough? These verses seem to indicate an influence from other people and a looking back at the world they left behind. God set these people apart but instead of praising God for His care they craved something more… Simple manna didn’t seem like enough.
Today there is a call from the world to join in a quest for the latest new thing. The push is for constant updating. The result of this influence causes us to think we need to read the latest book, use the newest prayer model, follow the latest Christian social media, join multiple Bible studies… Meanwhile, maybe you never got around to just sitting down with Jesus and reading His word for you today.
Sometimes what we need is to let some things go and cling to what truly matters.
In 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul warned against drifting from the simplicity that is in Christ.
God’s word is never outdated.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The Holy Spirit has a training course that is perfectly designed for you!
We have the written word = Bible
Living Word = Jesus
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 J.B. Phillips New Testament
When you have the time, listen to someone who never seemed to forget the power of the simple basics.
Burn the ships is a phrase that I was familiar with but could not remember the origin story. So when I heard forKing & Country’s great song Burn The Ships, I immediately had to do some quick research.
In 1519 Hernan Cortes and his crew sailed to Veracruz, Mexico. Soon after arriving the men of Cortes’ crew wanted to return back home. Legend says that Cortez ordered his men to burn the ships. Once they burned the ships they no longer had the option of going back home. They had no choice but to go forward into a new life.
Burn the ships means to cut off the option of returning to old ways and forging ahead to the new. It is easy to see how this can be applied to the Christian life.
Have you left your past behind? Are you forging ahead into the new life? What ships do you need to burn?
Below is the music video for King & Country – Burn The Ships
If you’ve read the blog post – Social Media you may find yourself with a renewed interest in books and other activities that you enjoyed before the smartphone takeover.
Randy Alcorn recently wrote about why we should be reading more. He gives a little challenge that I hope you will decide to try.
“PLEASE turn off the television and open a great book and begin to read. Tell yourself you will read a minimum of ten minutes before watching something or looking at a device. I guarantee you that if you do this every day, some days you will never turn on the TV. An hour or two will go by and you’ll realize how much better reading is than watching.” – Randy Alcorn
Many websites and blogs have a recommended reading page. Do you have some favorite authors? Author websites often have a page with links to reading resources. LifeWay has a separate new website devoted to cultivating a greater love of books – LifeWay.books
Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments. – Paul
– 2 Timothy 4:13
We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterward you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” — join in the cry.
– Charles Spurgeon
Bring The Books!
Do you have a reading suggestion or a comment about books?
Last year I found benefit in taking a break from social media for a while. I’m not and have never been one of those people who is constantly looking down at their phone. But I felt like too much of my time was given to social media and wanted to see what the results would be if I just stopped it.
There were those who began warning early on of the dangers of social media addiction. Remember the video – Look Up – from Gary Turk? That video is from April of 2014. In the years since that video was released many more people have fallen under the spell of constant social media. Today the consequences are becoming clear. We now know enough to conclude that too much social media is very damaging. Information is showing up in books, articles, Ted Talks and individual life experiences convincing us that we must not continue in this pattern.
Social media robs valuable time and delivers very little of worth. Instead of promoting social involvement, as the phrase, social media would suggest, it is actually an anti-social activity. Look around when you’re in public areas and you’ll notice people with their eyes locked on the screen of their cell phone.
There is good news. Take a little time to learn about the harm of social media and what can be done about it. Explore the helpful links included in the rest of this post.
Let me conclude this post about social media with a favorite quote. I always find this quote to be helpful in determining if something is beneficial or not.
“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.” ~Susanna Wesley
What do you think?
Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this subject
I am reading along in the One Year Chronological Bible
With so many different ways to go about reading the Bible, sometimes it is confusing to choose a plan. I invite you to join me in reading along in The One Year Chronological Bible if you are not currently using a different plan.
See below for links to learn more about this Bible.
January is the month that many are setting goals, and making resolutions for the year. Often the idea is to eliminate a bad habit and/or start a new habit. According to statistics most of these fall by the wayside before March. I don’t say that to discourage you but to emphasize the importance of not giving up on your goals. If you fail to maintain your new habit simply start over regardless of the date on the calendar.
If you would like some help in reaching goals you might want to read a post I shared last year → 2018
This year I’m setting out to re-establish a great habit that I had years ago. Even after a habit is solidly established it can still be easily lost if it is not maintained. The habit I want to start again is daily journal writing. In hopes of strengthening my commitment, I bought a very nice refillable journal.
How about you?
Sharing your goals can help you become more solidly committed to making it happen.
I look forward to reading about your goals in the comments below!
Happy New Year ♥
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. -Psalm 90:12 NLT
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6 AMPC
We turned our clocks back one hour this past weekend.
I love it when we Fall back into Standard Time!
I went to bed Sunday night happy about the time change. I fell asleep with the expectation of jumping into Monday feeling great. But, that’s not what happened. Instead on Monday morning, I woke up with an awful headache and nausea which lasted the entire day. So much for expectations…
So apparently I had some type of 24-hour virus.
Once I returned to feeling normal, it didn’t seem like normal anymore. No longer being sick seemedmarvelous! Each ordinary day this week, after Monday, there has seemed to be so much to notice and appreciate. I am sure you’ve had this same experience after a bout of sickness or pain. This happens because returning to a life free of sickness, pain or _____causes fresh appreciation and a feeling of true gratitude. When we are living in a state of appreciation and thankfulness we are seeing things clearly. If only we could continue in this attitude but it always seems to wear off quickly.
Take a look at the definitions below.
a.to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance
b.to value or admire highly
c.to judge with heightened perception or understanding: be fully aware
d.to recognize with gratitude
Since we are only two weeks away from Thanksgiving I am hopeful that I might be able to maintain this attitude. I would love to live with thankfulness, wonder, gratitude and fully appreciating every single day.
The only way I believe to make this happen is to ask Jesus to make me more aware of His Presence with me as I read His Word each day. What could inspire more of an attitude of appreciation and joyful thankfulness than knowing I am invited to walk through each and every day with the King! And so are you!
I am praying that this Thanksgiving season we will not be satisfied to be thankful for a day but will pursue a lifestyle of thankfulness and appreciation that spills over wherever we go.
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude. – Colossians 2:6-7 AMP
Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16 AMP
Here is a link to a post I wrote two years ago about the time change Redeem the Time
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
-John 15:1-8 NKJV
So much in this portion of scripture to study and apply to our lives. Jesus is speaking to us as much today as He was when He said those words to the disciples.
If and only if we are truly abiding in the Vine will there be fruit to bear. Notice we do not make the fruit but we are bearing the fruit. I like to think of this as the fact that as branches we are displaying or holding the fruit. I picture anything that has the purpose of displaying something else. When you look at a vine full of fruit you will notice the fruit, not the branch that is holding the fruit.
Keeping this in mind should help us be quick to give all glory to God. Let’s live each day seeking to bring attention to Jesus, not ourselves.