Slowing Life Down

IMG_4082

A New Journey

A new journey will soon begin in our lives, one where we are deeply seeking to leave the fast paced world behind us and seek a slower life where we can connect with God’s beautiful creation on a daily basis.  We are both excited and nervous about what the future holds.  Yet, we know that God wants us to want less and seek him more.  So, we are on a mission to have and need less in our lives.  (FYI- Everything is for sale).  The next phase of our lives will be to let more of the worldly things go and seek God in his creation.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” 1 Colossians 1:16.

Why?

Why?  Some people do ask us about our decision to explore God’s world.  We feel a deep calling to let the hustle and bustle of this world go and seek the beauty while we are able.  There will always be time to work and we will continue to world remotely as we can, but we know that this is the time for us to go.  We have watched God work over the past several months to ensure our decision is the right one.  We have followed the path God laid before us when we were young and we have been blessed. Our careers have been fulfilling, our children are grown and independent and moving on with their lives.  We are proud of the young women they have become and their hearts for the Lord.  We have followed the path God laid before us so long ago when we met back in 1986.  “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’”  Acts 2:28.

IMG_4119

Peaceful/Slower Life

Today we feel a calling to a more peaceful life where we are in control of our destiny and day to day life.  Where we can seek the peace of God more diligently each and every day.  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  1 Timothy 2:1-2.  Although, we have made the decision to this by traveling either by water or land, each of us can slow down and live a life that is more focused on God and less on the worldly things of this world.  Dive into prayer and seek your Father.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.

Closing Verse:  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Challenge: Seek a slower more peaceful life and don’t miss out on God each and every day.

New Body…New Life

IMG_1332

Celebrating Life

This past weekend we laid my mother in law to rest.  The funeral was such a celebration of her life and I am thankful for friends and family who came together to celebrate her.  I can smile again thinking about her life and knowing that she has found a new home in heaven.  Last week I was mourning while watching the slow and painful stages of death. My heart was broken as I watched her through nine long days and I longed for her to find peace with her Father in heaven.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18.  I could only ask each day over and over -Why is she hanging on?  Others around us asked the same question or Who was she waiting on?  I am not sure and we may never know, but a friend did share that God would not take her home until her purpose was complete.  “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,” Job 14:5.  We may not know her final purpose yet, but I do believe there was a purpose in the last nine days of her life.  May God’s Will Be Done.

Party in Heaven

Last week I could only mourn her end and how heart wrenching it was to watch, but now I can celebrate her life and knowing that she is “partying” in heaven.  (We told her everyday that she was going to be late for her party).  I know that at her party she now is new and alive.  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” John 11:25.  Her frail and worn body has been replaced with a heavenly body promised by God in 1 Corinthians 15:54, ” When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

God’s Promise

Scripture brings so many promises to believers of what God has done, is doing, and will do.  God provide the perfect sacrifice in his son Jesus Christ, so that through death we now can find life.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  While we walk through this earthly life longing for our home in heaven, God is preparing a place for us in his house.  John 14:1-3 provides us with this promise, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”   So I walk now more confident in my future and in the promises God has made because I have victory in Jesus – ““O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.  Death has no hold on me anymore because Christ conquered Death.  I fear not.  “And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”  Revelations 1:18.

Closing Verse:  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

Challenge:  Walk each day in the faith that this earthly world is not your home.

 

Time…Part 2

IMG_2981

Wasting Time

As I write this I am in one of those situations where I stop and think this thought:  (I am losing four hours of my life that I can not get back!). As I endure the slow passage of time, I write and ponder how much time I waste in my life.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”, Ephesians 5:16-17.  Sometimes I am responsible for my own loss of time.  My bad choices lead to wasting time when better use of my time was in order.  Then again, sometimes I am just stuck in a situation out of my control where my time gets wasted!  Both are frustrating, and I call to God to show me how to manage and control time better in my life.  Yet, no matter what I lean including scriptures like Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

img_2512.jpeg

Social Media (Connect to Part 1)

A few weeks ago I posted another blog on time where social media was a focus.  Since that post the conversations I have had about social media and wasting time have been quite eye opening for both myself and others.  I have found myself wasting time multiple times this way.  This piece really hit home for many people.  One discussion was about how social media effects our children and their time and learning.  Something to ponder.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2Timothy #:16.   What I can say is that I have become much more conscientious of my time and social media use.  I actually believe I am finding some more time in my life!  Here is my reminder put the phone down and live life a little more.

Time for Good

One definite change I learned from my first post is that God needed more time from my life, so I made some changes.  I am getting up earlier sometimes going to bed later, while reorganizing and restructuring my time.  Although, I still have to think specifically about my new routines until they become more habitual, yet I know I am headed in the right direction.  My time is turning more to good and God.  I must be conscientious and specific with my time, and planning some social media fasting in my future.  How About You?  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16.

Closing Verse:  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Colossians 3:23.

Challenge:  How much time do you waste in a day?  How much time do you lose from your life?

#WatchGod

This past week my prayers have changed to ask the Lord to help this person through some struggles that have come into his/her life.  Although, the weekend brought fun times and family the struggle for the family was still there.  I know that he/she is leaning on the Lord and my prayers are that his arms are felt.  I pray for more smiles in the week to come.  I have finished up my 30 days but this person will find a permanent spot in my prayer life.  May God Bless!

img_2512.jpeg

Time…

cropped-harley-run.jpg

Importance of Time

“We all start out in life with one thing in common; We all have the same amount of time. It’s just a matter of what we do with it.”  This quote by Harvey Mackay has me thinking some about the importance of time and how I use my time.  Each day, week , and month, I find myself often wondering where time went, so I decided to analyze my time for one typical day.  Many of these items overlap but it is still eye-opening.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:16.

 

 

What I do? How much Time I spend?
Quiet Time with God 25 mins
Me Time 15 mins
Family (including screen time) 4 hrs 20 mins
Work without Screen Time 3 hrs and 45 mins
Work with Screen Time 12 hrs and 20 mins
Social Media 2 hrs and 10 mins
Exercise 50 mins

*All times are rounded off and generalized.

What do I see?  I work too much and spend too much time in front of a screen whether work or personal.  What I say is important just does not look that important in my life.  An obvious adjustment would be to disconnect from devices.  So my question to anyone reading this is how important is time and how should our time be distributed.  Take some time to analyze your day.

Social Media

Although, I can honestly say that I am not an overly active social media user.  I do spend time scrolling, some might call it “trolling”, social media.  Most of my online activity is on Twitter and blogging.  Otherwise I am just scrolling and viewing others.  Now that I type this it seems sad because it really is a waste of my time to scroll social media apps.  Could I do without it?  My immediate answer is yes!  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  James 4:14.

Taking the time to analyze how I use my time really makes me realize how using social media and/or other various apps can become an addiction.  I started thinking about my time after finding this video on Facebook of all places.  Yet, It has caused me to think about my time and what my mind and life could be without so much influence and addition.

 

This video causes me to wonder whether screen time is an idol in our society.  At what point does using social media and other apps move from productive to addictive and fall into idol status. “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8.

What Does the Bible Say About Time?

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.       
I need to use my time living life not watching it pass by…
Closing Verse:  “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Challenge:  I definitely want to challenge you to take on the challenge of becoming social media free for a determined amount of time.  I am definitely accepting the challenge from the video in June!
#WatchGod:  This week my prayers continue to provide a work environment where things are booming.  Viewing social media, how ironic!, I see this person is spending more time with friends and nature.  I pray this is a calling from God and he is speaking more deeply in his/her life.

Write Your Story

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 9.02.46 AM

Life’s Story

My most recent morning devotions have been about loving and building relationship with God while writing your story.  I do not mean pen to paper but writing a life story.  We all have one but how we tell it is what separates us from each other.  Some tell their story with addictions and lack of self-worth,  some based on their job and how others view their work, Some are depressed and lost, but I want to tell my story through my relationship with my Savior.  Even so it is much easier to type my story than to live it. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Following God’s Path

I stop to think about my Life Story.  Each month is a chapter that leads to each year which separates my life into sections.   Looking backwards at my story,  I can see God working and moving in my life just as I can see when I tried to take control of my life and not follow his path.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.  It is obvious when I am following God’s plan and everything seems so smooth and then I grab the reins and muck everything up in my life.  Writing a living breathing story of relationship can be hard, but the reflection of this story is in a marriage.

Marriage: The Example

Marriage is ordained by God and he established the union as a reflection of Christ and his bride the church.  Christ who loves me unconditionally and sacrificed his life for me on the cross.  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25. Christ set the example not just for marriage but for the deeper relationship he calls me into with him.  My relationship with Christ must come first even before my marriage, but sets the example for my relationship within my marriage and how that portion of my Life Story should be written.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:4.

Closing Verse: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Challenge: Write Your Life Story

#WatchGod – Week One Update

I began my challenge last week to pray for someone for 30 days.  God has been working this past week in this persons life especially in their job.  Their job is exploding and smiles are abundant.  Praise God!  I pray that God will work even more deeply in this person’s life. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.

#WatchGod

IMG_2992 (1)

Loving Others

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.  I am beginning a May Challenge that I read about recently,  and will be sharing my journey each week in my blog post.  I am sharing the challenge now hoping that readers will join me and share their experiences with me and others.  I want to hear what happens!  So……

Challenge

Here is the Challenge:

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 9.03.33 PM

Choosing Someone to Love

As a sidenote, I keep prayer cards one for each person that I pray for each day.  This is a tip I learned in a life group reading and discussing the book, A Praying Life by Paul L. Miller.  I feel lead to choose someone not on my prayer cards.  This might have been the greater challenge because I have a lot of prayer cards!

I looked around me at others who touch my life for that person that God was calling me towards.  That person who needed something, and then God place him/her in front of me.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.

Challenge Begins

I begin my 30 days of prayer for this person today.  “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  I can not wait to share what I see God doing in his/her life each week!  If you accept this challenge please share what God is doing through your prayer life for this person.  Join Me in #WatchGod.

Closing Verse:   1 John 4:19-21 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Challenge: Ask God to provide someone for you to spend 30 days praying for.  #WatchGod

Sometimes I Wonder Why?

IMG_0224

 

Why?

This past week I was reminded of God and how he works in my life.  I move through life and forget sometimes how much control he really has in my walk.  How he cares for me and others around me?  This week he reminded me once again of his presence in my life. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” John 14:20.  I stood in a moment when I knew that God had been at work.

Skip it or not?

I have to honestly admit I was dreading something this past week.  The snow at the beginning of the week made it even more desirable to skip out on a promise I had made, but I knew I had given my word so I plunged forward.  I guess I felt my heart strings being pulled and did not even know why.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  That is the work I saw from the Lord this week.  He used everything to bring good not just into my life but to those around me.  I am not sure if those with me realized the impact but this day did not pass me by without knowing that God had been in full control and done his good work.

Where God is?

Now looking back from the other side and knowing that I almost did not go, I can see God’s full plan and the blessings he provided for me.   I thought I did not want to go, but now I know that I would not have missed it for the world.  What I thought I was going for had nothing to do with the lesson that God taught me that day.  Where was God?  He was in an unexpected place where I was not looking, yet he reminds me to look every where for him.  “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13.  Maybe it was a slap in the face to remember that I am to be seeking him, but when I fail like this past week he will seek me.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Closing Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own           understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Challenge: Seek God first in all that you do, but know that he will seek you in a place you might least expect it.

Blessings

We pray for blessings 
We pray for peace 
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep 
We pray for healing, for prosperity 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering 
All the while, You hear each spoken need 
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things 

Prayers

Funny how when life just seems crazy and full that a simple song will remind me to stop and get my priorities in order.  What is the best way to get my priorities in order than to find myself on my knees in prayer.  Prayer is one of those really personal times when I connect with my Father and share my life with Him.  I share both the blessings and the struggles.  I share my physical and emotional needs and for God to hear even the unspoken prayers in my heart.  As I listened to the song, I really began to think about my prayer life and my relationship with Him.  He promises to provide for all my needs, but sometimes I do not see my needs the way He does.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you

will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will

put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,

and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more

value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour

to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…”

Matthew 6:  25-34

We pray for wisdom 
Your voice to hear 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near 
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love 
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough 
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea 
And long that we’d have faith to believe 

Alone

I do pray for wisdom, but not just for me but those around me, for those leading me, and for those who are struggling to know and feel God in their lives.  Sometimes I feel like he is not near.  I feel abandoned and alone, yet I know that He is listening to my cries.  This is when my faith is tested.  I cling to the Word and its truths.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1.  I read and remember the promises made in the Word.  I strengthen my faith, find my priorities, and feel his blessings by turning to prayer and His Word.  “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops 
What if Your healing comes through tears 
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near 
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise 

Jesus, My Example

Remembering that he did not promise that our lives would be perfect and easy in this walk.  Jesus who is my example did not walk an easy road.  “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.  As a Christian I have to look for the Lord in the trials, the tears, the raindrops, and even the sleepless nights. These are the times when I do need and feel him close to me.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

When friends betray us 
When darkness seems to win 
We know the pain reminds this heart 
That this is not, this is not our home 

Heaven

Even when the trials seem to be winning and the darkness in this world begins to cover my light, I long for my home resting in the arms of my Lord and Savior.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2.  I long for the peace that he will give me.  I long for the rest that will come when I walk along side him in heaven. ‘And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”’  Luke 23:43.

What if my greatest disappointments 
Or the aching of this life 
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy 
What if trials of this life 
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights 
Are your mercies in disguise

Blessings

The great reminder that this song, “Blessings” by Laura Story,  provides for me is found in Romans 8:28, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  I believe that even the disappointments, the aches, and the hardest nights are providing me with a thirst for a life beyond this world by providing “mercies in disguise”.

Closing Verse:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7.

Challenge:  Get your priorities straight and seek the Lord.

 

My Linus Blanket

Conversation with Friends

Recently, while hanging out with friends and having some life conversations that lead to one discussion about what is one thing that could make our life better right now, and second what are the security blankets that keep us from really reaching for our dreams and making our life better.  While eating wings, watching some football and having this discussion my friend turned and said this may be your next post… and so here I am exploring the path of God’s plan for me and how I hold onto my security blanket that can hinder God’s plan for my life.  My challenge to you as you continue to read is to think about what your security blanket is? What hinders you from living out God’s plan for your life.

Security Blankets 

Everyone remembers Linus in the Charlie Brown comic series.  He carries his blanket without fail everywhere he goes.  He doesn’t believe that he can do anything without the blanket.  Many times it appears the blanket gets in the way of what Linus wants to do but without fail he will only continue on within the safety of his blanket in tow.  When this question was asked in the conversation, I knew my security blanket was the safety of my hometown, where I have always lived,  and my career.   Over the years I have enjoyed lots of adventures in my life, but my desire to live a daily adventure, although great, is hindered by the safety of home.  I need to make my home within the Lord like Psalm 16:8 reads, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Drop the Blanket

Over the Christmas holidays, I read an article about the only time Linus drops his security blanket is in A Charlie Brown Christmas when he begins to tell the Christmas Story and the real meaning of Christmas with these words, ‘And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”, Luke 2:10-11.  Linus found God’s security in his word – “Fear Not” and he no longer needed to hold the blanket.  I hear God’s word calling me to “Fear Not” and take the steps to release my security blanket and “Live Life”.  “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14.  Go and find the beauty of his world, and explore the handiwork of his hands.  “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17.  Go and watch the dolphins jump and the sun set over the water.  Go and listen to the waves crash and smell the sand and salt.  Go and experience the simple and slower life that I hear him calling me towards.  I will need to seek God’s strength to drop the blanket.  The strength found in 1 Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Fear Not

I must walk in the words that Linus spoke when he dropped his blanket, “Fear Not, and know that God is with me.  As I open my eyes to my security blanket and seek the strength of the Lord to fulfill my life and allow me to let go and enjoy!   Psalm 34:4 encourages me to seek the Lord, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.”  I have to unwrap myself from my blanket in order to feel the freedom that Christ can provide for my future.  I seek the freedom of John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Closing Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Challenge:  Find your blanket and let It go.

Charlie Brown pictures are courtesy of pixabay.com

A Simple Life

%d bloggers like this: