Ministry of Minimalism

I do not believe for one minute that Christians understand anything about proper stewardship. Of course no one is perfect, but it’s as if no one is trying to stay out of debt and give as God wants us to. God wants to bless us but instead we want to BE God and bless ourselves with the newest smartphones, cars, clothes, jewelry, etc. Christians need to think in terms of what God has provided. His provision is perfect while our expectations are hugely inflated: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,Matthew 6:33.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church - their doors were closed.

A homeless man asleep on the steps of a Church – their doors were closed.

Want to live debt free? God wants you to! Jesus didn’t have a place to lay His own head, but we clamor for the latest and greatest…in His name:

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” Luke 16.

Hmmm there it is….are we a servant in Christ or just shrugging along from church service to church service?

Conversely, we’ve held onto things for fear of not having enough. Again, it’s a symptom of not trusting God. But when God gives you to overflowing, it’s because He has plans for it! As Christians we are to ‘love our neighbor‘; God gives an abundance for us to use to help His children, not keep back from them: ‘But God said “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’, Luke 12.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist lifestyle. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter. And more clutter dims the view of our Savior.

We can’t have it both ways.

Love your neighbor as yourself, give to give, and God will Bless you more and in more ways than you ever could imagine. Minimalism will show you what you need rather than what you think you deserve; Christian minimalism shows you who you can help with the abundance you actually have.

Don’t be religious…be a Christian. And love.

National Sanctity of Human LIFE Day, 2015

CHURCH: As the pulpit goes, so goes the nation. We have abortion as law because the Church allowed it. Preach LIFE, love the unwanted and unplanned; they are the ‘least of these’.

©revkatherinemarple

KeepLifeLegal

PASTORS & FRIENDS: This Sunday, January 18th, is 2015’s National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Typically it is the 3rd Sunday of January, usually the Sunday before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. President Ronald Reagan designated this day in remembrance and reflection of the sacred life of every person, born and unborn; the sanctity of LIFE:

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

AND: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1Corinthians 3:16-17)

PASTORS, will you preach a message of Life to your church January 18th? My fear is that Pastors will…

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Authority & the Cult Christian

Do Christians believe in cults? Do they participate in cults? But do they believe they are involved in cults?

A cult isn’t always obvious…in fact, they are usually sneaky, which makes sense considering the source. ‘Strange Fire’ was addressed early in the Scriptures [Lev 10:1-3] to let the reader/believer know that bringing anything before the Lord that isn’t holy [false doctrine] will not be recognized by Him. The work of one’s hands is not of Faith, it is worthy of damnation.

The flesh is an ugly thing; God addressed this in Leviticus essentially saying that nothing unholy can be in His presence:

“Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, whichwas for himself. Then the sons of Aaron brought the blood to him. And he dipped his finger in the blood, put it on the horns of the altar, and poured the blood at the base of the altar. But the fat, the kidneys, and the fatty lobe from the liver of the sin offering he burned on the altar, as the Lord had commanded Moses. The flesh and the hide he burned with fire outside the camp.” [Lev 9:8-11]

The Prescribed Order of Victory, Christ’s finished Work, does NOT include or allow:

  • Perverting the Truth [2Pet 3:17-18, Acts 13:10]
  • Faith turned into law [Gal 1:6-7]
  • Arrogance, personal agenda, pride or self righteouness [1Tim 6:3-4, Neh 9:16]
  • Ignorance [2Tim 2:22-23]

Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Too many Christians are tempted to add to or subtract from Christ’s Finished Work. It is tempting to abuse our authority in Him to exalt ourselves, but we are called to ‘watch and pray’ rather than divide and conquer.

There are Christians that believe in the Prosperity ‘Gospel’, Calvinism, Mormonism, keeping the Sabbath, etc. But what they are really saying is that what Christ did at the Cross was NOT ENOUGH. They have to add to it to suit themselves, they bring outside authority to it rather than the Godly authority we have in HIM.

Why do Christians add to or take away from the Finished Work of Christ? Even Christians who sit under correct teaching sometimes stir in their own personal authority – or superiority – to what they are being taught, unbeknownst to the teacher/preacher who purports Truth. The teacher/preacher cannot control what the Christians thinks they hear from the pulpit.

Do we have authority or a false sense of authority regarding the word of God? Then, do we abuse the knowledge of the Finished work of Christ by adding our own salt? This why many Christians don’t have or walk in victory.

Christians have authority in the name of Jesus and believing in His Finished Work at the Cross. We do not have authority in changing His Word to suit our agenda. We cannot put our Faith in anything but the Finished Work of Christ or we add salt to an already Perfect Truth.

It is an abuse of power and authority that can make a cult out of truth! Adding your own salt is an improper authority called PRIDE & SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS. We humans are so imperfect that we continue to follow paths that Cain followed. Improper authority killed Abel, improper authority cast out and marked Cain [Gen 4:8-15].

“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” [James 2:20]. AND works without Faith is empty and has no power, only a presumed authority that is not of God.

WE HAVE TO DIE TO SELF [Romans 6], ‘allowing’ Jesus to do what He was called to do by the Father, dying for a people who abhorred Him, spat on Him, abandoned Him. How can anyone add one extra grain of salt to that? How is that NOT enough?

IT IS FINISHED. Once and for all, forever and ever.

 

*EMPHASIS MINE.

The Minimalist.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist life. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter.

My husband and I, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, have shorn down our life and lifestyle to accommodate our Christian walk. Now some would say that it’s a bit extreme, mostly because way too many Christians still want their one foot in the world. I mean, is it really necessary to have that $500 Coach purse? Did you have to get leather seats in the new car? Just how necessary is the mid-life-crisis Harley? How does anyone NEED a 3000 sqft home unless you’re a Duggar?

This world in which we live allows us – wants us – to go into a debt abyss to have things that others have…not just Christians, ESPECIALLY Christians. We are much more malleable to the government if we have a lot of debt. A lot of believers think that God will provide for their ‘stuff’ – and He will provide….to our NEEDS. We need food, we need clothing, we need shelter. We do not need ‘stuff’.

While having coffee with my husband, we discussed whether Christians should live a lavish lifestyle, whether in or out of debt. My first thought was if this lavishness glorifies God – I don’t think it can. We are to be a light to the world, not a lighting concept: “v14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. v15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. v16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.

There is a great peace that comes with having less. We are unencumbered with ‘things’ that have no room in a Christian’s life. By choice we have one vehicle; by choice we do not have cable television. By choice we have a home that is reasonable rather than getting one big enough to store more stuff AND still rent a storage unit to store the rest of it. By choice we choose to have less so we can have more with Christ.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:18-20

Give much? While it is true that God does supply the needs of His people, this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack. God gives us a lot of latitude to do His Will as well as just enough to mess it up. We are OBLIGATED to be the good steward that God wants us to be. He can put money in your bucket OR put a hole in the bottom of it.

And to summarize, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…”

The Valley Christian

Are you a valley Christian or a mountain Christian? Is God only God when it’s all good? That’s too bad; you’ll never know the fullness of God.

Psalm 23:4-5 says: “v4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathI will fear no evil; for You are with me; your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. v5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

I do believe that some of us spend more time in the valley than others because our ‘free will’ is conditioning us to continue to fail rather than learn and get the victory. God wants us to learn from our valley experiences. God does not hate us, He wants us to be victorious…but we keep getting in our own way and blame Him for our own rebellion.

“I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts.” Isaiah 65:2

The mountain Christian definitely believes in God only when life is going their way, which isn’t very often. Sin has a way of sitting us down a spell. The mountain Christian HATES God in the valley; they truly think that being a Christian gives them a pass. The truth is Christians are tested more after salvation than before. Is that from God? Maybe. Remember, God EITHER causes or allows bad things to happen for His Glory, not ours. He gives us every minute of every day to repent and come back to Him, but most won’t. Being so high-minded is going to get ya a nose bleed, not victory.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

God goes before us, He is there waiting for us, He will protect us.

 “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deut 31:8

The valley isn’t so bad, it’s where God is. Trust God to bring you out of the valley, His promises are sure. Pray for His guidance, not your own.

“v22 It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. v23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 30

As I wrap up this 30 Days of Parenting Prayer, I am inundated with so many emotions…most of which I brought up during these 30 days. If there is one thing that I can’t say enough [well, maybe two] is that we are parents to our kids forever. They were our children since the beginning of time [Jeremiah 1:5] and will be even into Eternity. The second is that prayer should be the FIRST thing we do, not as a last ditch effort to save the day.

Being a parent is has been the one thing that people take for granted as if it’s a right rather than the privilege that it is. I am PRIVILEGED to be their mother, whether they give a darn or not. It is I that has to answer to God for being their mother, it is I that will ultimately bear the day when I have to answer to God for my parenting.

We take advantage of the system by allowing our own dreams supersede those of our kids; once we do that, we fail. When you hear “You’re pregnant!”, your private, comfortable life is over and a new life is about to embark. We are but vessels, not God.

Secular/worldly feminism has no room in motherhood, but a God-intended feminist does. It’s true: there is such a thing as a God-intended Feminist. She was profiled in the Bible, Proverbs 31. She wasn’t perfect, in fact Bathsheba FAILED…but she was used mightily by God and was blessed to be the intended mother to Solomon.

Bad women do not have to be bad mothers. In other words, I have failed, you have failed…but through the Grace of God we are given chance after chance after chance to do it right. God knows our kids depend on us so He is quite willing to help us to be better. And, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE A BETTER PARENT.

v17 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; v18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 1Peter 3:17-18

Pray for BALANCE. It’s been a great 30 days of reflection but I certainly see how I can do better, even after all these years. God Bless you all.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 29

With our adult kids also comes their significant other, and there are times we know that we know that we KNOW something is not quite right. And just because we think we raised our kids right doesn’t mean the significant other’s parents stepped up to the plate. In this instance, they didn’t bother showing up to the game.

Nothing angers me more than a person who pretends to be a Christian to the point of being quite the actress at it. I will never understand how anyone can deal with the bondage of being so deceitful. It’s quite the heavy bag to carry. I am so glad God gave me the gift of discernment. I saw right through her at the onset but hoped for the best that maybe I was wrong…this is one such time I wished I was.

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25

So much happened that I will not go into, but suffice it to say that it was TWICE I let my guard down to be burned again. When someone hurts one of our kids, his or mine, I nearly come unglued…momma grizzly here. I will never understand how people can be so evil to each other, especially other Christians. It makes me question their salvation, although I cannot judge it, that is for God to do.

So then I pray. And pray. AND PRAY that God will convict her for how she is trying to destroy our son. He’s got this, He is in control. God wants our son to be victorious and He will get His Glory. So for all her effort to hurt our son, God will gather his sheep, especially the ‘one’. She has no idea that God is working extra hard to help him, not her:

“v12 If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? v13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. v14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 8:12-14

Pray today that the one will come back to the fold and be victorious. Be a parent, not a friend…I assure you, they want their moms and dads when all seems so hopeless.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 26

Many years ago I was forced to leave the area in which I was born to begin a new life. I had to leave my family because of my now ex-husband to do it. My ex, who was raised by hard working never-in-debt church-going family-oriented people, was an adult kid that had a drug, alcohol and gambling problem [that led to domestic violence] which eventually became my problem. I remember so vividly my EX-mother-in-law saying, “You knew him when you married him“. NOT true, I did not know these things…but that really isn’t the point. The point is that SHE knew he had addictions and did not warn me; it was as if she was passing him off to me so she didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

Some of us, who never exhibited addiction, have children who may eventually have an addiction. But should a parent just pass them off? When did they stop being a parent? I have a myriad of cousins that are grandparents already, and they are still battling alcohol, meth, crack, etc. At least half of them are still living with their parents. I know their mothers, not one of them is an addict of any kind.

Dear Mom & Dad: Your children’s poor choices are not your fault. But enabling them to continue their ‘choices’, is. Don’t clean up their messes, pray over them – they need restoration.

There are some parents that have children and practically gift them the generational sin they have. How often have we seen a generational problem with alcohol and claim it’s in the DNA to justify it? Generational sin is passed on through mimicking what we see while we grow up. God has never created one single person that is an alcoholic or addict BUT they are born into sin with the propensity to sin [the sin nature] BECAUSE of the Fall of Adam:

“v1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. v2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

And then:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

The answer is that we NEVER stop being a parent. EVER. Ignoring or passing off a problem and acting unaware is just plain evil. However, I do realize we can’t make these kids do anything. But one thing we can do is PRAY and NEVER FLINCH.

Pray to be an open book to your children, not an open checkbook. They need to hear about Jesus incessantly, they are our ministry!

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 20

First, Happy Resurrection Day! And if you woke up this morning, PRAISE GOD! If every day we took joy in just being able to open our eyes another day, imagine how much happier we would be!

Three of our adult kids are living with friends or a parent, they don’t have a home of their own. And they have children, too. Every day they do their best to do more, to have their own piece of earth, to make their own home with their kids. Everyone wants the ‘American Dream’ but I wish they wanted what Jesus Christ provided – an Eternal home rather than a dream. We celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us. We don’t need a picket fence for that.

I know how my boys feel; they want to be real men that have their own homes. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head“, [Matthew 8:20]. JESUS HAD NOWHERE TO LAY HIS HEAD. Even His tomb was borrowed:

“v57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. v58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. v59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, v60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” Matthew 27:57-60

There is so much hopelessness in the world; everyone picking away at life. Christ died a horrible death for all of us, you would think that when they wake up every morning they would rejoice knowing the debt was paid! But they despair. All. The. Time.

Jesus said, It is finished!” And it is. Our debt is paid. All we have to do is believe.

Pray that our adult kids will appreciate what has been provided and that they will see the light of Salvation rather than darkness. And take time to thank God for the gift of Jesus!

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 18

One of our adult kids has gotten particularly hard at life, hard at the things of God. Good Friday…on that day Christ died for our sins; He is our propitiation, our gift. We did not deserve Him but God loved us so much that he gave His only Son. As parents we demonstrate our love for our kids with our sacrifices to give them what they need or want. Certainly I am not God, neither are you. But to our kids, we seem so.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.” Romans 5:7

The loyalty we show for our children isn’t reciprocated or even appreciated. My middle son’s birthday was just the other day, he wouldn’t answer his phone. I gave birth to that beautiful redheaded ball of energy and he wouldn’t pick up the phone or call us back. I would give my life for him and he won’t answer his phone? To that I say, I gave birth to you and CHRIST DIED FOR YOU…what else could you possibly want? Your life began with me and it can end in Eternity with Christ; I’d say your needs are taken care of, if you accept Christ.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Can you even imagine it? JESUS DIED FOR US! How can anyone not be awestruck by that? No one would, at the very least, stand up for me; but not only did Christ stand up for me, He died for me…ME. Dealing with unsaved or backslidden kids is heartbreaking for me, I cannot imagine how that grieves Him after enduring a horrific, humiliating death on a Cross for these kids to ignore.

As our kids get older we want to be what they want but as they grow into adults, we have to become what they need. Some of these kids are not satisfied with ‘need’, they want more and more, and on their terms. Then, rather than kicking against the goads, perhaps they should take the narrow gate?

v4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

v5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

v6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Acts 9:4-6

In the spirit of thanksgiving, Paul asked what he could do for Him. Even after all of the persecution that Paul [then Saul] had committed to Christians, in that moment he knew he had grieved the Lord for what he did and asked “Lord, what do you want me to do”? Paul spent a lifetime doing what He called him to do. Paul was given a gift he cannot repay, a debt that we all owe.

I pray for my children to be comforted in their time of need and despair with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, not the empty promises of the world.