Again, Lord?

As you may remember, I am currently learning to trust & obey God again…with money!

Every single thing I post on this blog has to do with hearing God’s voice…in my life. Every post is inspired by Him through someone or something else, or just from what He has put on my mind. It’s amazing, because it’s What I’m Reading Wednesday, and I just started this book, called “Weird”, written by Craig Groeschel. I should have known that what God is saying to me He is saying in everything, including the books I read. I love it!! What an awesome, awesome God we serve.

So, I’m reading this book and suddenly, there’s a chapter on finances and giving…using the same verse I read very recently from 1 Timothy6:17–

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”

Seriously, just the other day, I realized I had been trusting in Rick’s bi-weekly income instead of trusting the money to come from the Lord’s hand. (Refer to this post!) My hope had been fixed on the uncertainty of riches instead of on the Lord, “who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” He has promised me food, clothing and drink. He can give more, but He expects ME to give more from whatever I have!

So anyway, back to reading “Weird.”

Look at this!! “I always secretly prided myself on how frugal and responsible I was with money. …[Others] view it as a superhuman feat of self-discipline and brilliant planning–it’s good to stay out of debt and save for a rainy day, right? Then one day I realized that my motivation was totally fear-based, not God-honoring. Even though I was handling money responsibly, I was still putting my security in my own abilities to earn and control money so that I would never have to go without anything again. My hope was in material wealth rather than in God’s rich provision.”

That is precisely what happened to me.

God speaks again!

So what is the antidote to trusting myself with money and relying on my ability to control it?

GIVING IT AWAY!

Today we are remembering Luke 6:30 “Give to EVERYONE who asks of you.” God guide us in our mission to always trust You for more.

Psalm 145:16
“You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

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Sabbath Simplicity

I’m realizing that I sure do go through books quickly! In just the past week, I’ve read “Forgotten God,” (by Francis Chan), “Erasing Hell” (by Francis Chan), and now I’m halfway through “Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity,” by Keri Wyatt Kent.

I really like this book! Although I think at times the author is a bit redundant, this book has so much to offer. I remember in college, everyone always debated about what to do on Sundays. I personally committed to finishing my homework on Saturdays so my Sundays could be a complete day of fun and freedom! In high school, everyone wondered whether or not we should work on Sundays.  And now, as a family, our Sundays end up being our busiest day of the week, which has made it rather chaotic instead of restful.I do think it’s important to set aside a full day every week to pass on things that resemble work! God gave us the Sabbath so we could rest from our labors, after all.

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity has really simplified things! She suggests that since Jesus kept the Sabbath, we should too. [And, although not listed in the book, here’s Leviticus 16:14– “It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.”] But since Jesus also exercised freedom on the Sabbath (He did things like walking through fields and picking grain with His disciples, and healing a woman and telling a man to pick up his mat and walk–all of which were not acceptable Sabbath practices at the time, although we may guffaw at them now!) we also should exercise freedom on the Sabbath.

In other words, don’t feel chained to anything. But find a way to enjoy your day that has nothing to do with what you have to do. For example:

  • Whatever you do for a living, don’t do it on your Sabbath
  • If you are a professional artist/photographer, etc, don’t do your work on Sundays.
  • Don’t try to improve your skills on a Sunday
  • Do your chores in advance, leaving the Sabbath free of housework
  • If you’re a student, do your homework on another day, don’t wait until the Sabbath.
  • Prepare your dinner in advance by making extras the night before!

This leaves space to do what is enjoyable for you and what builds relationships–with others and with the Lord.

I love this! It’s so simple, (like the book title says!) but it makes me really look forward to Sundays. Oh, and she emphasizes that you can choose your Sabbath. And if you’re not ready to give an entire day of doing what seems like “nothing” then start with an hour or two!

And another idea of hers that I just love is turning off the computer at sunset the day before Sabbath. So no email checks, no quick writing updates, no Facebook, no nothing. She suggests even turning off the TV and other media, including cell phones. Doing this will help free you from distractions so you can be fully present with your family, and fully present with God!

In May of 2007, I wrote this in my journal:

It’s days like these when I don’t feel close to You that my mind begins to question You. I don’t want to do that my Father. Oh Lord. Technology brings me away from You. It does!

I’ve found that when I’ve got a computer on front of me, I’m addicted! When I’ve got music on my iPod, I listen to music without hearing God as well. It’s a distraction from Him! With as much awesomeness that technology has brought, it also has its costs. So, I think it’s worth it for me to [to the tune of Put Down the Duckie]Put down the smart phone” on the Sabbath! (Except for phone CALLS of course!)

One more thing. The author wrote about having a rhythm to everyday life instead of just on Sabbath. Apparently, the Israelites, (at some point in history) split the day into three parts: daylight for productivity, sunset & after for family/relationships, and then 8 hours for sleeping. I really like this…and my own idea here is to shut down the computer after dark and force myself to do other things I love, like reading for enjoyment, (fiction or nonfiction!), crocheting, talking, playing, praying.  This practice will have an added benefit too–going to sleep better! (See what I mean with this article)

Aaaannnd…it’s past sunset but I’m still on the computer. So much for that one!
Anyway, I recommend Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity. (I got this copy at the library!)

Exodus 20:10-11
but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

But don’t let anyone pressure you to conform to their Sabbath expectations either–
Colossians 2:16
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day—

What do you do on Sabbath (be it Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday?)

Laying Down Our Lives

I’ve been reading so many awesome things!

First of all, on Saturday afternoon while on Babycenter.com, I saw that three of Francis Chan’s e-books were free! So I jumped on that, of course. I read “Crazy Love” a long time ago, and really enjoyed it. I thought he was very Scriptural and did a great job at conveying his awe of God. I don’t remember much else about it! But I liked it and so I thought to get the other two–“Forgotten God” and “Erasing Hell.” Right now I’m reading “Forgotten God” about how we have misplaced the Holy Spirit in the Church! It’s good so far.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it means to give my life up for someone else, mostly because I’ve been thinking about the foster care orientation that Rick and I are going to next week. Our lives will change with any new children He brings in, and my life will be one of sacrifice. (I heard someone this past weekend say, “My life is a sacrifice.”)

So here is the quote I want to share.

…We were made to lay down our lives and give until it hurts. We are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do these things.

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
I’m certain the same goes for a mother. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his [daughter/son/child].”

There are so many things that the Lord calls us to do that just give ourselves. I’m not talking about money, resources and the like, but time, relationship, love.

It’s so fun to think about…but often not so fun to live.

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I also regularly read from Sandy Warner  at www.thequickenedword.com and find that it is absolutely pertinent to my life. Here is a recent quote, and a link to bring you to the website to check the rest of the article out. This is powerful stuff.

WORD TO PONDER:  YOUR ADVANCE WARNING SYSTEM

Yes beloved ones, your spirit man is your conscience.  Before you were born again, you had an evil and defiled conscience, having seared it to where it became dull with layers of scar tissue and without feeling or sensitivity.  I took you through years of obedience classes, washing you with My Word and bringing your conscience back to life.  During those years I strengthened your weak conscience so your sensitivity to know right from wrong was established.  When you are sensitive to your spirit man, you become keenly perceptive, intuitive and knowing.  Your spirit man allows you to see completely and become aware to discern the true nature of things.

When your spirit bears witness with My Spirit, this is when your good conscience is pure and undefiled, having been washed.  Be very careful to obey the voice of your conscience, your spirit man.  Many have turned away and become shipwrecked in their faith.  Keep your conscience void of offense beloved ones.  This provides a wall of fire, a shelter and refuge for you in the days ahead.  When you follow your conscience it keeps you from worry, knowing you have been obedient in Word and deed.  Your conscience is your zone of safe boundaries, where you shall dwell in My comfort.

Click here to read the rest.

God bless you in whatever you read today!