Simple Living, Christian Style

Thank you for visiting my blog! In this place, we will discuss the simpler things in life. The simple things that God touches me and you with every day. I hope you enjoy it and comment often. I am here to listen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Our God is a Matthew 6 God - Part 4

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

I've been thinking a lot lately about a minimalist lifestyle. What exactly does it look like? What would you I have to give up? etc...

I really like the way it makes me feel. I feel free. Less burdened. I can breathe.

But, where do I begin?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

God puts it pretty simply. Don't do it pretty much means "don't do it." Now, I don't believe this means I'll be sitting in an empty room surrounded by nothingness at an attempt to be obedient. If God tells you to do that, then by all means obey, but in my opinion, there is huge difference between owning possessions and having possessions.

I'm reading an excellent book right now called Freedom of Simplicity (You'll see it to the left.). I'm really excited about it because every other simplicity book I've picked up didn't have a thing to do with Jesus. And, as I hope you all know, I am ALL about the Big Guy and my life was created to glorify His name. So, when I was totally led by the Spirit to this book on the library's shelf, I was completely taken in.

A simple living book based on scripture? Who would have thunk it? ;o)

The author of the book talks about a time in Jewish culture when the land was used for the good of all. It's value was not because it was "land," but was based on the crops and goods that could be produced by it. Humans didn't own the land. The land was used/borrowed to survive --never owned.

Is anything on this earth truly ours to own? We think we can own people. We think we own our house, our cars and our jobs. But, do we?

In my world, the bank owns my car, and I pay them to use it every month. I don't have a house. And, my job is quite and matter-of-factly owned by my employer who allows me to work there for a paycheck. (Thank you to God for giving me favor to have a job in the first place!)

To give up "ownership" is daunting to me. I want to own things. I want to control things. It is my human nature. Is it yours?

But, God says to not store up treasures on earth for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Ouch! I want my heart to be in heavenly places with the King.

God, please allow me to give it all to You. To allow you to work in my life of sustained simplicity. Please purge me of all things that are not from You and by You. You are my King. My heart is with You.

In Jesus' name we pray. AMEN!

God bless you all. 'Til next time!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm ba-aaaaack

Hello, world!

I'm back with vigor, enthusiasm and ways to simplify your life while glorifying and serving God.

I know I've been away for a long time. Life does that to me sometimes. I get going on a track and then someone switches the tracks and I go off in a new/different direction. Not that that's bad, or that I'm not listening to God. Sometimes I feel that He stops me from my busy-ness so I can focus on Him and so I may get out of His way.

He is working. He is always working.

He is working in your life, too. Don't let discouragement get you down. I know that is easier said than done, but believe me when I say this, HE IS WORKING. Whether it looks like it or not, He is here with you right now walking before you and paving the way. Be encouraged. He loves you with His whole heart. He created you with the same love and feelings He has. Isn't that neat?

Have a blessed and joy-filled day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our God is a Matthew 6 God - Part 3

My stomach growls as I go on hour three. "God, please be with me in this fast. Show me what you have for me and what direction I must take." I grab my water bottle in hopes that its contents will quench my thirst and quiet my protesting stomach.

And, I'm only on hour three.

Fasting is not my favorite thing to do. I think I worry about it too much. I worry my blood sugar will drop, and I'll get dizzy. I worry that I'll be nauseous and miserable. I worry that my stomach will growl so loudly that God and everyone will hear.

Why do I bother to worry? Who knows. It's what I do.

For some reason, I feel that God didn't intend for it to be this way. Why are we predisposed to worry? To worry about everything. From what we are going to wear tomorrow to how the bills are going to be paid, no matter how big or how small, we worry. But, in Matthew 6, God so loved us that he laid it all out. An outline of how to be, of how to pray, of how to give all of cares and worries to our loving Father. He truly loves us. Oh, how He loves us!

This week, let's focus some more on fasting, and how God intended it to be.

Matthew 6: 16-18 says...

16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

From my study of Matthew 6, I've learned one thing about God. He created us to worship Him and truly wants it all about Him. His glory. His kingdom. He created us to worship Him and proclaim His glory to the nations. He did not put us here to crave approval from our friends or co-workers. He put us here for His glory -- that is where the reward is. He repeatedly says throughout Matthew 6 that our reward is in heaven, not on earth. He reveals to us through this chapter how to act, what to do, and what our reward will be for obedience to Him. God made it so easy. Drink in His words this week. Drink them in and invest in your future in the Kingdom of Heaven.

To be used by Him,


Monday, April 19, 2010

Our God is a Matthew 6 God - Part 2

Prayer. For some of us, it flows off the tongue shaking the foundations of heaven. But for others, we get stuck, or maybe even think too much about it. In this week's scripture, Jesus tells us exactly how to do it. How easy is that? My comments are in blue.

Let's break it down:

Matthew 6:5-15

5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

~Once again, Jesus addresses the "heart issue" behind our actions that we spoke about last week. Are you praying to touch the heart of God, or are you praying to be heard, to feel important, or to show others how smart you are?

6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

~Matthew 6:8 is one of my favorite verses. He knows my needs even before I know them. And, I need a lot. LOL Or at least I think I do. He knows my every need. He knows I need food. He knows I need shelter, and he knows what clothes I like to where. Dad is so good! And, he always knows what's in style.

The next section is the best part! It's all about prayer and Jesus lays it all out. No parables. No tests. Jesus even says "this is how you do it"! How easy is that!

9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
God is GREAT! Always praise Him first regardless of the situation.

10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
God may your will be done on earth in my life just as your will is always done in heaven.

11Give us this day our daily bread.
God, you know what I need even before I need it. Please provide for me what you feel I need.

12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Lord, please forgive me of my sins. I'm sorry. I will forgive others as you have forgiven me.

13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Lord, please keep me safe today as I resist the temptations of the enemy. Amen.

The Lord's Prayer. This is the first thing I ever memorized because it was so very important for my mom that I know it. I was three years old.

Now, let's look at the final two verses in this section:

14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness: It's more than sayin' sorry. (Sorry, I had to throw in a movie line. :oP) I've noticed something recently about Jesus: When it's important, He repeats it.

In fact, forgiveness is so important, that it will be the subject of a future blog.

I hope Part 2 is beneficial in your faith walk. Please post any questions or observations below, especially if you are feeling the Holy Spirits leading.

To be used by Him,


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our God is a Matthew 6 God - Part 1

As some of you know, I founded a single-parent ministry called Be a Barnabas. I wrote this teaching last May for the site. I wanted to share it here with you today.

Today is the first day of a new series here at Be a Barnabas. God placed on my heart several months ago the scriptures and lessons found in Matthew 6. To me, this chapter is the foundation of our faith. In Jesus' own words I learned to be humble, how to pray and why I should give all of my worries to God.

Over the next few weeks, we will break down this chapter. Please share your thoughts and the lessons you learned by posting a comment below. I pray this time is an inspiration to you as we renew our faith in Christ Jesus. I also encourage you to read these words for yourself in your own Bible. To me, it is so much more powerful to hold God's Word in my hands. It gives it new life as I read and flip through the pages. I've provided the scriptures to our first lesson below for you as well, and I pray that God blesses you richly as you draw closer to Him and His Word.

Matthew 6:1-4

Giving to the needy.

1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

When I first read this, I was puzzled. What about those faith-based organizations that continually solicit funds, have commercials everywhere and "announce with trumpets" the good things that they are doing for the poor and needy of the world?

Is this all wrong?

It depends. God has used these people. God is using these people. But, one question stands out to me as I reflect on Matthew 6:1-4:

What is my focus?

That is what Jesus is telling us here. He is not telling us not to put the word out. He is not telling us not to show others what the needs are in our community. He is not telling us to serve the needy and keep their needs quiet.

But, He is telling us not to be boastful, not to be prideful, and to love and serve with humility. He is telling us to keep our hearts in the right place. To love and serve His children for His glory, not our own.

Proverbs 11:2 (NIV) states: When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Pride is an ugly thing, and it is so easy to slip into it that often we don't realize we are in it until we are steeped in a sticky mess. Where do you seek your reward? From above? Or, from man?

I pray I always seek my reward from the Father. I pray that it doesn't matter to me who sees me work, worship or my good deeds. I pray that my heart and focus are set above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:3).

If you find yourself suffering from pride today, it's okay. Just ask God for forgiveness and step forward in a new day of service. We all fall short. I've experienced pride, but the key is to know it, and to ask for forgiveness and get back in step with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus is so good and forgiving. I am nothing without Him (John 15:5). No matter how far you've stepped out of line, God is there waiting with the road map and the neon signs to get you back on track.

I pray God's blessings over you and your family this week. May He prosper you in all things for His service.

To be used by Him,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Free Geneva Bible Download - Romans

Hello, Simple Livers!

I want to share with you a Bible translation that I have only heard about. It is being re-released, and Reformation Bookstore is offering a free download of the 1599 Geneva Bible's Book of Romans. Just click here to order and download the pdf. The Geneva Bible pre-dates the King James Version and, according to the site, was the first Bible in America.



Friday, April 9, 2010

It's been a long time

and, God is still good! It's a time of increase, not decrease. Of God's glory to SHINE in your life. He is good! Bless His holy name!