While playing with my son today. He wanted to show me some of his rocks. He shows me one rock that is a blue color with some tan spots. He says it is special because it is the world, but it is broken. I immediately thought of how true that is. God made our world special. He made each part of it perfect. He gave us everything we would need or want, yet it wasn’t enough. With the choice to succumb to temptation of wanting more, we allowed sin to creep in and break that perfect relationship that God had created. The world became broken. Broken by sin. It is amazing that the world is still standing, considering how it has treated its creator. Each generation that has turned against Him has continued the cycle of brokenness. But Praise God, He made a way to mend the brokenness. His name is Jesus Christ. He came and died our death and rose again so the brokenness could be mended. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17) We don’t deserve it, but He offers it freely. The broken rock I was holding could be glued back together, but the damage would always be visible. Unlike my sons rock, when Jesus mends the broken, He makes them a new creation. His glue covers all of our brokenness. Bring your brokenness to Him and stand on His solid rock.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
While reading over the scriptures in Luke chapter 1 telling the Christmas story, I began to think about Zacharias and his silence. The Bible says that both Zacharias and Elisabeth were righteous before God and well stricken in years. There is no doubt that they had seen Him perform miracles in their lives many times before. I’m sure they had prayed for a child faithfully for years. They may have come to the stage in their lives where they have accepted that it must not be God’s will. Zacharias reacted with fear when the angel showed up in the temple. Sometimes I think we all reach a point where we either accept that the answer we hoped for must not be what God planned and sometimes when God does send the answer we hoped for, we react in fear and doubt as if we’ve forgotten His faithfulness. There are times when we receive the hoped for answer in God’s time and we begin to question God about the blessing and wonder how things will possibly work out. It seems at those times we forget all those miracles He has already performed. We forget that He has never failed us and His promises are always true. Zacharias was promised joy and gladness. He was told of what a Godly man his son would be, yet there was still that little bit of doubt that made him question how it could be possible. How many times do we do the same? We have promises written down for us in God’s word and we too have seen Him work miracles in our own lives as well as others, yet there is still those moments of doubt. Zacharias’ voice was taken from him until his son was born. He was silent for nine months. Sometimes we need to be silent. God still keeps his promises in spite of the moments of doubt that we may have. I’m so glad He keeps his promises in spite of me and my weaknesses. He knows me yet he still loves and blesses me. God kept His promise to Elisabeth and Zacharias. They had a son named John and he became a wonderful man of God that lead many to follow God. His plans are always better than ours. He has proven it time and time again in our lives, yet sometimes we still have trouble letting go and letting Him move. He will keep His promises to you just as he did for them. Keep trusting in His word. Remember sometimes we need to just be silent and let God do His work. He is faithful.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
Just weeks after ordering it, our Tiny House trailer finally arrived. We were very excited to see the first part of our house. I had many thoughts as it was being pulled down the driveway. “Can we actually do this?” “Can we live in something that small?” “Did we make a mistake?” The next morning I went for my walk and when I passed the trailer I could smell the fresh coat of paint. I then thought to myself, “Are we crazy?” Then as I thought about all the stuff we have piled up that doesn’t matter or help us in any way, I knew we had to do this whether it’s crazy or not. This stuff weighs us down and hinders us from what is important. We need to be free of it. God has called us to something greater than this worldly stuff.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2 Timothy 1:9)
We didn’t get much sleep that night. So many thoughts running through our minds. All the dreaming and planning we had done over the last couple of years was finally starting to become a reality. It was scary and exciting at the same time. We wanted to make sure it was God’s will and not our own. We both prayed a lot that night and the next morning we drove two hours to check out the trailer company that would possibly build the trailer that our tiny home would be built on. We drove down the long curvy road that led to the trailer company, while thinking about what it would be like to drive while pulling a home. As we approached the business, it wasn’t much to look at on the outside. It was very old and warn but also nostalgic as we entered the office. The first thing that caught my eye was a picture hanging on the wall that read “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I immediately felt a calm and peace about it. As we met with the owner, his faith became more evident. He recognized that my husband was a believer by the way he talked and he thanked him for that and encouraged us to keep following the Lord. I could feel God’s presence in that meeting and I knew he had led us there for a purpose. We couldn’t wait to see how God was going to work out the upcoming steps of our journey.
“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6
One weekend a couple months ago some friends of ours took us for a boat ride. It was so beautiful and all I could think about was how awesome God is. He is such an awesome creator. As we looked on the banks of the river, we began to see beautiful houses and docks along the way. I noticed several docks were grown over with vines and grass and clearly unused. All the houses were very large and beautiful. The type of houses I grew up thinking I would love to live in one day. They all had the most beautiful view of Gods creation and yet so many did not enjoy what they have been blessed with. Perhaps its because they are too busy. To busy working to pay for the oversized houses, expensive hobbies, and the constant need to buy bigger and better. If all the distractions were taken away, would they then see what they are missing out on? Would they see how much time they spend working to maintain houses and land they do not have time to enjoy?
When I first started feeling led to start the downsizing journey, the scripture that kept running through my mind was when Jesus was talking with the rich man and telling him to sell all he had and follow him. “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” (Luke 18:22-23) I kept hearing that over and over in my mind. The scripture says that he went away sad because he was rich. I pray that the things this world never come between my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I pray to never allow the things that will eventually rust and become moth eaten to control me. I pray to be free from the controls and bondage of having too much stuff.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
It’s the end of the week and I hang my head low and realize the week got the best of me and I did not accomplish what I had hoped or wanted to. Sunday rolls around and I get refreshed and rested and ready for the new week. I wake up Monday with a new grace and new motivation to succeed. I eat my breakfast and set out to accomplish the tasks at hand and I sit and look at the beast before me and it laughs at me once again. It says you haven’t succeeded yet, what makes you think this week is different? What seemed like a manageable task a few moments ago now seems impossible. What changed? Discouragement sets in and takes away the victory. It turns that small mess into a mountain of impossibilities. It steels our joy and takes away our confidence. We serve a mighty God who holds the world in His hands. Why do we fret about these tasks at hand? Why do we let defeat and discouragement rule our lives? Are we failing to look at the power of our Heavenly Father? Do we loose sight of what he has done and can do in our lives? “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2) This blog is a description of a daily battle for me. We often look around and compare ourselves to others that seem to have it all together and have that balance that we so long for in our lives but we forget to tap into the power of Jesus Christ living inside us. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” (Isaiah 40:29) We want our lives to look a certain way but are we seeking His way? Are we looking to see our lives through His eyes? Let’s pray for one another and encourage one another not to let discouragement defeat us. Satan wants to use anything he can to hinder us from being victorious over our weaknesses because he knows that when we succeed we will have to share about how God helped us through and gave us the strength to do it. He doesn’t want us to share how good God is because it might just make someone else want to do the same thing. We serve an all powerful God and we have access to that power through our Lord Jesus Christ. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24) We need to let His power work through us. Nothing is too big for Him to handle. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Along with Fall comes this very well known holiday. It has many names such as, Hallows Eve, Halloween, and All Saints Day just to name a few. There are many traditions that we are born into without much thought of why we celebrate or participate in them. Many times we participate simply because everyone else does. Sometimes we may know the original meaning or purpose and choose to alter details to suite our beliefs or wants. For our family, we want to be informed on what we are teaching our son and how what we are participating in lines up with God’s word. Sometimes it seems that we care more about what is in our child’s food, medicine, and environment than what is going into their growing minds. We are instructed to … “be ye separate, saith the Lord…” (2 Corinthians 6:17) We are not to conform to the practices of this world. The origin of Halloween starts with Celtic pagan rituals and beliefs. It’s original name was Samhain, a time that the Celts believed the dead/spirits came and dwelled among the living. Some of the rituals included burning fires to help the dead make their way, various sacrifices through bonfires (crops, animals, and likely human), practices of divination, disguising themselves with costumes to blend in or hide from the spirits, and going house to house dressed as the spirits asking for food. If the household did not offer food it was thought to bring them misfortune from the spirits. Faces carved in pumpkins were meant to represent the heads of the spirits. Does any of this sound like it is biblical to you? Instead of standing up against these practices the early Catholic church attempted to christianize the practices and thus the name was changed. Why would a church have any business dealing in such practices that clearly go against every core truth of God’s word? As time went on the practices remained the same in the church and in the pagan world as well. To this day participants in this holiday dress up in disguises and go door to door asking for a treat in order to avoid that house being tricked for not providing what is asked for. Children are allowed to dress as witches, vampires, devils, ghosts, and other evil influences. It is said to all be in good fun and innocent entertainment. Christians are still trying to christianize it by changing the name and making the activities seem less evil. What are you celebrating? “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11) Satan is the father of deception. He has been disguising himself from the very beginning in the garden of Eden as he displayed the first trick or treat game on Adam and Eve. He hasn’t changed. He wants our children’s minds to be molded from birth to accept the evil things that are said to be in good fun. He starts with television shows that show evil things like witches and vampires as cute and funny so that children become accustomed to them and the stepping stones to more and more evil become easier and easier. For me Halloween is one of the many tools that the devil uses against families to blur the line of good and evil. He wants evil to be viewed as good. He doesn’t want us to know the truth. He wants us to just follow in the steps of the generations that have continued to participate in evil practices unawares and unconcerned. There is a spiritual war going on whether you realize it or not. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) We need to make a decision of whom we are serving. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) I don’t know about you, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Church we need to stand up and stand apart. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) I would like to encourage you to do some research on your beliefs and use the Holy Word of God as your main source of truth. (John 14:6)
“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Corinthians 10:21)
It is the season of beautiful colors, cooler weather, corn mazes, festivals, candied apples, and falling leaves. For some, it is their favorite time of year. There seems to be that brief balance of not to hot and not to cold. I started thinking about the falling leaves and harvest time and how it could we could relate. Fall is considered a time of harvest. A time to reap from the hard work of the summer. There are moments in our lives, that we get to reap from our hard labor in the fields of the Lord. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9 And just as the trees shed their leaves, sometimes God allows us to shed a few burdens. Perhaps its time for a season change in our lives. The leaves of the tree die and fall but the tree lives on. It may not look like much for a while but it will blossom again with new life and new fruit. We usually think of death as a sad thing or as the end of something, but the bible says “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 Just as the trees leaves die and fall to the earth from which they came, God’s people die and fall into the arms of Jesus from which they came. They get to return to their creator and rest in the arms of Jesus and enjoy the forever beauty of heaven. Just think about how much more beautiful the colors must be up there. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 Maybe you are at a season change in your life. Maybe God wants to shed a few leaves and sustain you until he gives you new leaves and new fruit. Just remember if you are a child of God, you will someday get to fall into the arms of Jesus and be forever at peace with the Lord and Savior who made you.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
We recently attended the Decatur Tiny House Festival. The drive there was a little crazy with all the Atlanta traffic but we enjoyed out little mini vacation with our family. We were able to view over twenty tiny homes. Each one was very unique and customize to the owners needs. We saw campers and buses converted into homes as well as custom built tiny homes on wheels. Each home had a different feel. Some were very tiny, about 16 feet long, and some where more spacious with all the amenities you would need or want. The experience further solidified our desire to follow through with God’s plan for us to live simpler and freer. We are finalizing our designs now and getting ready to start purchasing the materials for the build. We have been so blessed with family and friends who have already helped in this process and are planning to help with the build. God provides.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 34:10)
What else do we need?
Let me introduce you to my arch nemesis, Stuff. He is sometimes called clutter or junk. He likes to creep into our homes and take over and cause chaos and discouragement. He is disguised as gifts, heirlooms, and what we think are needs. He wants to bind you up and keep you bondage inside your home in a constant battle that will usually end in defeat. You may have a few wins and feel like you are getting ahead and then another holiday will happen and you have just as much coming in as you just got rid of and the cycle begins again. Although this may not be as much of a battle for some, it has been my battle for way to long and I no longer want to be in bondage to our stuff. Why do we have so much stuff? Where does it come from? We are a greedy society. We never have enough. We get the biggest and best and then another bigger and better comes out so we need that too. We have holidays and birthdays and we think the way to show love is to see how much we can buy someone. We inherit or are given family heirlooms that we simply can’t get rid of because they were our great great grandmother’s. We all seem to blur the lines of need and want. “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” 1Timothy 6:8 Are we content? Is having what we need and being taken care of enough. God said he will never leave us or forsake us. He is not slack concerning his promises. Do we need anything else? I have always been taken care of. I may have wanted better or thought I needed more but I have always had food, shelter, and clothes to wear. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6 We serve a God who owns everything and who made everything. He holds us in His hand. Don’t you think He is going to take care of our needs? He not only takes care of our needs but He blesses us with so much more even when we don’t deserve or appreciate it. I will share more about the specific reasons that we collect and keep stuff in the upcoming posts. I would like to encourage you to take a look around and take inventory of the lack of contentment we all struggle with in our lives. What could you live without? Is your stuff holding you bondage and keeping you from the life of contentment God has for you? Is it stealing your time? Is it stealing your peace? Maybe your arch nemesis is the same as mine. Maybe you feel defeated by all the clutter around you. We serve a mighty God and nothing is to big for Him. Lets fight this battle together and know that God will lead us to victory if we only trust Him and let Him show us His way and His will for our lives. Lets lift one another up in prayer. There is power in prayer. Thanks for reading. God Bless!