So it’s a new year. How are you feeling about that? Maybe you’re ready to embrace it? Your Christmas decorations are neatly put away. You’ve set your goals. You’ve chosen your word for the year and even cleaned out a closet! That would not be me. I’m sitting here looking at my tree and the lights for the last time. Today is my day to start taking it all down - those decorations I didn’t get put up until the week before Christmas. I’m missing my children and grand babies who have gone back home after a ten day visit. I’m still recovering a bit from all the cooking and flurry of activity that comes from a house full with a three year old active girl, an eight month old baby girl who has just learned to crawl, two daughters, a son and law, two dogs, and all the other extended family and friends who have come in and out of our home for feasts and festivities over the last few weeks. Here are just a couple of my favorite pictures with the grand babies. My sweet son-in- law Spencer caught these precious moments on camera. I"m so grateful!
Hmmm.....It's too hard to pick just two! After a difficult year, God blessed us with so much joy this holiday season.Here's a glimpse into some of our family celebrations and traditions.
I'm so grateful for the sweet memories this Christmas. But now my thoughts have begun to move into the new year with all of its hopes and dreams. Several friends have come over this week for visits and a cup of tea to share about our holidays and pray about the future. As I’ve adjusted to our sudden “very” quiet home this week, I’ve been asking the Lord to give me a vision for the new year. I just keep sensing in my spirit - “keep it simple."
What is the discipline of simplicity really? It is keeping your focus on Jesus. Devotion to His Word, His ways, His heart for you, and His agenda. It is so easy to get caught up in all the New Years hoopla. All the TV programs and media are talking about goals for good health, living successfully, intentionally, setting realistic goals for the coming year. Those are all good things. but you can get overwhelmed trying to get it all right.
I just want to keep it simple. I want to be in the center of the plans that Jesus has for me and the truth is that is a day to day journey. I don’t know what the future holds. But I know the One who does. If I've learned anything from the trials with my health and personal loss last year it is that Jesus can be trusted to carry me through whatever I face. My plans can be quickly overturned in a routine doctors visit or a devastating phone call from a friend.
When your life is anchored in the discipline of simplicity, your character and life find their greatest delight in Jesus and because of that you can become a delight to the world. I want to put His beauty and character on display this year.
I can only do that when I choose the discipline of simplicity.
Simplicity is not about a rigid set of rules and it is a lot more than cleaning out the clutter! It is about our choices.
It's about our focus - “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1,2
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.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1,2 NIV
Living in simplicity is about depending on His transforming power to renew our minds and discover His perfect will. It's about not conforming to the ways of this world. Simplicity is a paradox because it is both a gift of grace and a discipline of faith. We have the power to choose or not.
What we do does not give us simplicity, but it does put us in a place where we can receive it.
In His ministry and life on earth Jesus sometimes said "no". Although His life was a display of God's love, mercy and healing grace, He didn't heal everyone. He didn't respond to every demand of the crowd. He had twelve disciples. Often he called them away from the urgency of the masses to spend time in prayer and in relationship with the Father and personal discipleship.
With God's help we need to set boundaries. We need to learn our emotional and physical limits. Saying no to what you don't need gives you the freedom to say yes to what God created you to do and who he created you to be. Learning what those boundaries and limits are is best found when we choose to quiet our spirits in the disciplines of prayer, silence and solitude. There in that place, God works and develops our character in order for us to bring His perspective back into our interaction with those He places in our lives. The world we live in is desperately fallen and set against God’s truth and ways. We must stay grounded in HIs Word, renewing our minds with truth that gives life.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1,2 NIV
And so this new year I’m asking the Father to captivate my heart. I want to learn more of what it means to live a life that is simply devoted to Him. I hope to lay my calendar and agenda at His feet each day in prayer, letting Him order my days. I will purpose not to fill my schedule so full with “my” plans that there is no room for the unexpected, the spontaneous, the gift of His surprise and wonder in my life. It may come through a knock at the door as it did yesterday from an old friend who came by with a container of soup. I almost just thanked her with a hug, but instead I asked her to stay and received the gift of an unexpected hour of listening and learning from the wisdom of her servant heart. My day was packed full of several appointments and preparing dinner for company that evening, but I watched the Lord show me that He would redeem the time if I would make room for His unexpected “visits”.
And so, for those of you who like to make those “lists” as I sometimes do. Make them covered in prayer and hold them loosely so that you don’t miss the movement of His Spirit and plans for your life each day.
Choose the simplicity of a life of devotion to Jesus.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1-2 NIV
Jesus wants to meet us in our everyday moments and in the big dreams and goals of our hearts in 2018. It all begins with a deep thirst within each of our souls that only He can quench. But we must choose to keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on Jesus. There in that place of devotion and simplicity, Jesus, the greatest giver of gifts, will quench that thirst and order our days according to His perfect and beautiful plan!
Choosing the gift of simplicity,
As you pray about how to keep your focus on Jesus this year and live simply for Him, we hope that you will consider joining us for our Restore Retreat March 10 and 11 - “Awaken to the Pursuit of the Bridegroom.” Jesus is pursuing you as the beloved Bride of Christ. In this retreat you will discover more of what that really means as we delve into the depths of Scripture and the theme of Bridehood throughout the Old and New Testaments. We will also study the significance of ancient Jewish wedding customs in Scripture and how they relate to the teachings and heart of Jesus for you as His Bride. The Bride is devoted to her Groom. Her eyes are fixed on Him.
This retreat we have chosen our focus for participants to be “Women Investing in Women.” So pray about whom you might invite to join you in our 2018 retreat! We are praying that mothers/daughters, daughters in law, grandmothers/granddaughters, sisters, aunts/nieces, mentors/mentees, or soul mate friends will choose to come together and draw near to Jesus as the lover of your souls. The suggested minimum age for participants is 16.
Please Come, Be Still”, soak in His presence, bathe your spirit in His words of truth and let the music of healing worship wash over you as draw you near to your Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Learn together with another woman whom God has chosen to be a part of your life about our position as His Bride, Divine Passion and His purpose for us, His Beloved!
As women investing in one another in 2018, let us awaken to the pursuit of the heavenly Bridegroom!
We only have twelve rooms available and registration is now open.
This will be our last offering of this retreat teaching for awhile.
Where: Solomon Conference Center, Loranger, LA
Cost: $192 per person ~ Covers lodging, 3 meals, & supplies
Time: 9:30am, Saturday, March 10 - noon, March 11, 2018
Registration Deadline: February 22, 2018
If you cannot attend, perhaps you would prayerfully consider investing in the faith journey of another woman through a financial gift to Melissa’s memorial fund. All funds are used to scholarship those who would not be able to attend a restore retreat or event without financial assistance.
Restore Ministries is also available to come to your church or study group as retreat or conference speakers and worship leaders or to assist in special women's events. Click the "Contact" button below to send us an email if interested.
Click the "Topics" link below for teaching topics ready to offer at your special event!
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