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.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 21

I have a friend that has absolutely NO idea where her adult son is. Because she is a Christian, he walked out on their mother/son relationship both figuratively and literally. I understand where she’s at, mine have done the same. They say it’s because they don’t believe in Jesus but the truth is that they are convicted deep in their spirit for what they do and consequently blame us for being ‘holy rollers’ that pushed them out. That’s a real nice explanation, too bad it’s an outright lie. If ANYONE is a Christ follower, they purport the love of Christ, not shake their fist in His name.

Whether or not that actually happens is not the point; I know that is not the case here. When I came to the Lord, I wished EVERYONE Jesus! I STILL grieve thinking of the souls, especially my children, that may not make it because they live for the world. My heart and soul is sick, however my faith is unwavering.

As parents and Christians, we need to remember that the enemy places our own children against us and Jesus so that we would be forced to make a decision: Jesus or them. Just keep in mind that your children cannot get you into Heaven.

The prodigal son? That parable should have been called the prodigal father…but in my case, the prodigal mother. While the adult child goes and lives like he wants despite how he was raised with his fist raised to God, we wait. And sometimes a VERY LONG TIME.

v11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. v12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. v13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Luke 15:11-13

So many young adults run the system thinking they have everything in control. The truth is that the system has them; they spend what they don’t have in hopes to have it one day. And a lot of times they use their parent’s money to float their disobedience. As a parent with a bank account, I had to finally say no. I cannot fund a rotten lifestyle that does not glorify God.

v17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! v18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you’.” Luke 15:17-18

I don’t know that I need an apology, what I need is to forgive and look forward rather than looking at a past that we cannot change. All that I do ask is they be obedient to God and do what He says. I cannot imagine how they would react when they understand the economy of God and that He loves them. Sometimes provision comes in obedience.

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

I think we forget to have compassion for our adult kids rather than staying mad at a situation we couldn’t change. Short of duct tape and zip ties, I cannot force our adult kids to do anything. When they are on ‘self destruct’ all we can do is show our compassion and love.

v23And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; v24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:23-24

And it should be a celebration! Standing in the doorway looking like judge and jury is not the love of God. Don’t get me wrong – I am human – but as I get older I see how short time really is. Life is happening right now and death will eventually come. I just want them prepared to leave this earth and go to a place prepared for us, “v2 I go to prepare a place for you. v3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”, [John 14:2-3].

My prayer today is all adult children understand that being parents did not end when they left. Nothing can shake the love of a parent or the love of God. Our children are always ours, and we are His.

I don’t know about you but I’m still waiting…and it’s okay. I do what Christ would do: Wait with a loving and forgiving heart.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 13

As parents to adult kids, we still want to ‘parent’ them. I realized how bad I want to wrap my boys up and protect them from the enemy, even with my own life. I hate how the world treats them, I hate how the enemy uses them. But I see with spiritual eyes, they do not. They see ‘bad luck’ or ‘God hates me’ rather than circumstances that seem to pick and choose when to be reckoned with. It is the enemy who seeks them, it is God who wants to give them rest.

The tongue seems to have a mind of it’s own. One could rule the world if they could tame the tongue:

“v8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. v9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. v10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:8-10

The battlefield of the mind, the taming of the tongue needs to be dealt with every minute of every day. There is no other way to relearn how to live within polite society. Giving mercy gets mercy, giving grace gets grace. Mercy and grace are the greatest provision from God.

“v1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. v2 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 12:1-2 

Speaking with my oldest son yesterday about his current circumstances, I was met with a general kind of well-being from him. Rather than still being angry, he has accepted his lot and is working toward a better end rather than shadow boxing God.

There is Joy in the Lord, not a bunch of money and an easy life. I cannot state this emphatically enough: Jesus is the only answer to EVERY question, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” [Neh 8:10].

Pray that your adult kids will see their way is not working on the long term and will accept a Holy God rather than scraps from the world.

Free Things

NEVER pay retail: So, how many self-help books have you bought? How about Christian self-help books? What about sermon series that seem to go on and on and on and on without actually fixing anything?

AND even worse, before I became a Christian, I looked to EVERYTHING but God to guide me and fix me….how many of us have trusted horoscopes and television psychics? Yep, I even bought the books. SO SAD, but I’m so GLAD I found Jesus! Not that He was hiding, I just wasn’t looking.

Christians can be their own worst enemy. In my previous post ‘Questionable Things‘ I focused on the worldly things Christians wonder if they can still do, such as smoking, drinking, etc. If you are a Christian that understands STEWARDSHIP, this should be a no-brainer. If you understand stewardship then you understand what you should and should not do.

BTW: Worldly things, the ‘questionable things’, usually cost money we should not spend; it also costs us some of our sanctification.

Are you saved, BORN-AGAIN and still struggling? What if I told you that you can ditch the ‘questionable things’ and not pay one penny to keep your mind and spirit busy that will give you what you desire: PEACE?

FREE THINGS. Yes, FREE, given to us by our Holy God through Jesus Christ:

Salvation. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” [Rom 5:8] Salvation has always been FREE, given to us by way of scourging, beating and humiliation of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ our LORD.

Bible. “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes,” [2Kings 22:11]. Life went on in the time of Josiah, and it was word of mouth that kept Scripture alive…but imagine finding the true word of God hidden in plain sight? There are countries today that have outlawed Christianity AND the Bible! Here in the United States we take this free thing and let it gather dust on nightstands and coffee tables.

Prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God,” [Phil 4:6]. We can pray anywhere, anytime. There is no cap on how much we can pray. All it costs is TIME and SUBMISSION, and this is one thing that God really wants us to do all the time.

Praise/Worship. “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever’,” [2Chronicles 20:21]. The free thing that many Christians neglect is PRAISE & WORSHIP. We can praise Him anywhere, we can worship Him anywhere. And in this scripture reference, it’s noted that the singers and musicians were placed in front of the army to disable the enemy with His Praise, not empty riot. When we praise and worship, we see MIRACLES!

Fellowship. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers,” [Acts 2:42]. Even the Early Church knew that fellowship with other like-minded believers made them stronger and kept them from backsliding back to the ‘old man’. This free thing keeps Christians in precious communion with other Christians to edify, encourage and educate.

Regardless of what sin is besetting us, we know we have a God in Heaven that gives us exactly what we need. There is nothing else but Him and the free things He lovingly gives us.

Unlike one book (and the writer shall remain nameless) DON’T eat the cookie or BUY the shoes; instead take the free things God has provided…yes PROVIDED.