Monday, April 27, 2015

A Simplified Life

What does it mean to simplify your life? 
A lot of people ask this question. A lot of people ponder it. Some even live by a standard or code of living, because of it. I'll be honest. I've not found one answer to this question that I am 100% comfortable with. Maybe that is because life isn't and shouldn't ever really be simple or easy. We will always have trials and stress, no matter what road we take in life. Life is full of complicated events. But, there are many people who have given their take on what it means and have written about it. Some of the things they have written have, in my opinion, been hogwash. But, some writings have really gotten my attention. I'm not saying I agree with everything that these people wrote, but they have brought up some great points to consider in this life.
Here are a few blogs/articles and a short review of what each wrote about. Some of them may make you chuckle in disbelief and ask yourself, "Do people really fall for this?" (click on the light orange colored titles to go to the websites):

The simplified life: Helping you ditch the stuff and simplify your life.   
  • spend only what you have. 
  • buy only what you need. 
  • keep only what you truly love. 
  • leave only a small “footprint”.
Simplify Life: 
"When you learn how to say yes to the things you want in your life and no to the things you don't want in your life – your life becomes simpler.

Simplify 101: Life is more fulfilling (and fun!) when you’re organized in a way that’s just right for you. If you  create customized organizing systems that cut clutter and reduce stress, giving you more time for what matters most to you.

Simplify Your Life… if we were committed to make a serious effort to simplify our lives today, our communication to the Universe would be more streamlined, clear, and just plane simple. not only will you feel better, the Universe will be able to hear your requests and desires regarding attracting abundance. (Hmmm...makes me wonder if people actually have conversations with the "Universe".)

World Education Network: Simplifying your life can be essentially broken into two phases:
1)   Figuring out what’s important to you
2)   Eliminating everything that’s not important

 "What Does It Mean to Simplify?" by  "Lisa Smith" - This concept is often traced back to author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau and his retreat to Walden Pond. The writer lived on the shores of Walden Pond for two years in the mid-1800s, isolating himself from the bustle of society in order to gain greater perspective on life. His exile gave Thoreau insight into the value of nature, solitude and contemplation and allowed him to distance himself from the consumerism and materialism that had already begun to dominate American life. (By the way, I went and checked "Lisa Smith's name on the bio page by her name above and Lisa appears to be a "he", who is highly involved in the corporate world. Interesting!!)

The Art of Simple: We define “simple living” this way: living holistically with your life’s purpose. 
Most things about living simply are gray, but we believe these things are black and white:
1. People are more important than things.
2. People can live on and with far less than mainstream cultural norms lead us to believe.
3. Debt is not a tool, and instead puts people in needless bondage.
4. Quality is more important than quantity in almost every facet of life, from tangible possessions, to relationships, to aesthetics.
5. Life is not about consumption, and our daily choices regarding time, energy, money, the environment, relationships, and the stewardship of our resources matter for eternity.
6. The definition of living simply is “living holistically with your life’s purpose.” All the parts of your life are pointed in the same direction, towards who you are and what you were made to do
Huff Post: 9 Things People Realized When They Simplified Their Lives - 

  • It isn't all about the money.
  • If you're bored, you're doing something wrong.
  • Losing your job could be a blessing in disguise.
  • Traveling can expand your horizons.
  • Having lots of "stuff" doesn't necessarily make you feel fulfilled.
  • It's important to find the right pace to fit your life.
  • Success isn't limited to the top of the corporate ladder.
  • There's no time to live like the present.
  • You can choose happiness in any situation.

Trails of Life:   6 Bible Verses that Simplify Life   - Focus on the eternal. Set your mind on the important things that will count for eternity. Much of what we strive for or worry about now won’t mean a hill of beans once we’ve left this earth. I don’t mean to imply they will be easy to apply. But applying them is what makes them work. And surely they will lead the way to more peace in this life.

  1. One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4 (NIV)
  2. Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”Mark 10:21 (NIV)
  3. “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 10:41-42 (NIV)
  4. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus Philippians 3:12-14
  5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
  6. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1,2

Charisma Magazine: Simplify Your Life: BY JOYCE MEYER

Be decisive. Whatever you need to do in life, just do it—and keep it simple. “Let go and let God be God” really is a good idea. It immediately simplifies any situation, no matter how difficult. We need to do what we can and then cast the rest, along with our cares, on God.  from Joyce Meyer's book,"100 Ways to Simplfy Your Life

ChristianPF writes: How Would You Handle a Simple Lifestyle?" Simplicity is not always our reaction to negative events in our lives. While many Americans are forced to live a lesser standard of living, others are embracing a new and simpler lifestyle. Simplicity has many rewards that go beyond saving money. Among those may be the experience of living well.”

From Good Girl StyleSimplify to Exemplify - Her new motto is: Simplify Your Life to Exemplify Christ. We need to have our lives ordered: temples of God, where there is space for Him to enter, without us needing to sweep an armful of junk aside. 

From Women With Intention: 31 Days of Intentional Living Simple living to me means intentionally slowing down to savor life because you have trimmed out the excess.  It is keeping what I love and eliminating or cutting back on the rest.  That  includes the “stuff” in our lives.  Whether it is physical clutter in our homes like too many clothes, toys, or gadgets, clutter on the calendar with busy schedules and activities, or clutter that causes stress such as credit card debt- all of this stuff keeps us in bondage from our priorities and from accomplishing our goals.

What does it mean to you to have a simplified life?
Have a blessed week! 

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Aliens and Strangers Here On Earth

Have you ever felt like a "duck out of water"? Have you ever felt uncomfortable, out of place, like you just didn't belong here on earth?

The Lord tells us in His Word that
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from fleshly desires, which war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
I also have always known that
"Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,"  Philippians 3:20
Lately,  more than ever before, I have felt like I am a stranger in a foreign land...called earth. This world is NOT my home. I do not belong here. As a follower of Christ, this is supposed to be a good thing, but then why do I struggle with this so much? I think it is because of the earthly relationships and distractions that pull me away from putting God first. I think that, if we are honest, we all struggle at least a little bit with this.

According to these Scripture passages, God's people, Christians, should always feel somewhat out of place in this world. They ought to feel like strangers, pilgrims, aliens. We are not supposed to be conformed to this world, to share the same interests with the world, behave as the world behaves, watch what the world watches and have the same vision and interests as the world has. We are strangers and aliens here and we are not supposed to be integrated or conformed to this world (Romans 12:2) Yet, we are not to completely isolate ourselves from other people.(which, I have to admit, is tempting to do at times.)

Though we travel this land as strangers or temporary residents, the Lord wants us to do good and show others His love along the way. The pilgrim Abraham was a great man of faith, who interceded for Sodom and rescued Lot.(Genesis 18:16-33) Like Abraham, Peter urges believers to make a difference in this world for God and for good. All of us are called to be servants and witnesses for Christ. 

After living for awhile in a place, people often can become more and more comfortable. They adjust, and may even adopt some of the customs and traditions of their new home. In time, they no longer feel like strangers. Scripture warns us not to become too comfortable here on earth. (James 2:1-4)  The Bible does not promise us comfortable lives. It teaches us that our lives on earth are temporary, and that, spiritually speaking, even when we are in the world we are not of it.(John 17:16)  It informs us of the comfort that comes from knowing that we belong to Jesus.(John 16:33)

So, I suppose this feeling that I have, of being a stranger in a foreign land means that I am on the right track...this struggle between living on earth and looking forward to heaven will always be a part of my life. My comfort is and can only be in knowing and living for Christ alone!! 

May you also find comfort, if you struggle too, with knowing that we are not alone in this struggle. All our sisters and brothers in Christ are also aliens and strangers here on earth. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Honey for the Heart: Acceptable in Thy Sight

Welcome to 
...where I share different verses from the Psalms!
 May you find truths about God, yourselves, and living life in the images and word pictures shared here! 
Meditation is a function of the mind and the heart. It is what we think about in our hearts and it is something we each do every day. Whether we realize it or not, we all spend a large portion of our time in some form of meditation. The thing is, what we meditate on may or may not be pleasing to God. 

What do you most often find yourself thinking about? What do you meditate on?

My prayer today for myself and for all believers...Psalm 19:14

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Another Bad Day

We all have days where we feel like the world is against us.  We start to feel unappreciated, unloved, and unwanted. Just because you have a bad day - as it seems like mine has gone - doesn't mean it will always be that way. There will be a better day.
I watched this (somewhat humorous) video and it put things back into perspective for me.

I am reminded that I am not alone...and things could be so much worse. 
 We must remember not to listen to the lies of negativity!  
Do not fall into the traps of the enemy!  
So someone is lying to you or about you…YES, it hurts.  Or, that person whom you love and would do anything for them doesn't reciprocate that gesture of kindness and respect.

The Word of God says to:
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"
(Matthew 5:44)

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
(Luke 6:38)

I encourage you to also listen to the Youtube video below.
It is a reminder to each of us that God is always by our side, no matter what is going on around us. 
(I need that reminder alot lately!)

May you feel God's love and grace surround you today...especially if it has been a bad one!!

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