Illustrations of Grace: The Lost Sheep

Grace is one of the most important concepts in the Bible. Jesus helps us to understand the importance of grace for our lives and how it should make a difference in our lives. One way He does this is through His teaching of various parables.

Jesus tells a parable about the lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7. He has just been criticized by the Pharisee’s for socializing with sinners. This parable is a way for Jesus to illustrate His grace to a people who are blind to Him and why He came to earth.

It can be difficult for us to relate to the parables in the Bible, because our times are so different from back then. But Jesus used object lessons that were relevant to the people. They understood the value of their sheep, and the importance of being a good shepherd to the herd. They understood how easily sheep can be distracted and how they might choose to wander off. They also knew how dangerous it was for a sheep to wander off on its own, because of their defenseless nature. They can be attacked easily by other animals or can get caught in the thicket and not be able to untangle themselves. Without the protection of the shepherd, a sheep could end up hurt or even dead.

Jesus begins to tell the people the story of a straying sheep. He uses this example because He recognized the state of the people’s needs for a shepherd, He sees how very lost they are. Jesus has a heart to restore the lost. He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).

Jesus asks those gathered around Him a question, He asks, if they had 100 sheep and ones wandered off wouldn’t they try to go find it? Wouldn’t they keep looking until they found it? He drew the people in, making them think about what they would do or maybe about what they have had to do in the past. Jesus wanted them to hear Him, as He wants us to hear Him.

He goes on to tell the how, of course, a shepherd would go search for the lost sheep. He explains the impact that finding the sheep would have on the shepherd’s heart. The shepherd would be filled with joy, a joy that he simply would not be able to contain. He would want to share his good news with his friends and his neighbors.

Jesus parable had a greater purpose, He wanted the people to recognize that they are lost as sinners. He wanted them to see their need for a Shepherd in their lives.  He wanted them to know their value in His heart. And how just as they would be so overjoyed to find a lost sheep, He told them that all of heaven rejoices when one sinner repents.

Jesus wanted the Pharisees, especially, to see that He was sitting with sinners and spending time talking with them to lead them to repentance. He cares about their bondage to sin. It is all about His grace. Jesus illustrated God’s grace in parables for the purpose of drawing men to Him.

Jesus’ heart is full of grace for both the lost and also for the believer who strays into sinful choices. His love is so great for us, He wants nothing more than to bring us to Him, or bring us back to Him.

Jesus’ love for us led Him to die on the cross. He sacrificed it all for us. Such a gracious heart is shown here. Every person is that important to Him. Can we even take in a portion of that love into our hearts? Can we live out of that kind of love in our lives?

Jesus wanted the people to be drawn in by His love. And He wanted the Pharisee’s, especially, to understand that their self-righteousness didn’t cut it with God. God is disgusted with self-righteousness. And the same is true in our lives when we live in self-righteousness, He is always disgusted by such an attitude. The Pharisee’s did not see their need to repent. They didn’t see their need for a Savior. They felt they were above that, they followed the laws. They followed the laws in a legalistic way and missed the truth of what God’s heart is like.

Jesus is demonstrating the heart of God and sharing His own personal mission. He is showing us too how we should be moved with compassion to reach the lost by sharing the hope we have in Christ. His mission should be our mission. Matthew 28:18-20 tells us, “Then Jesus came to them and said “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus wants our lives to be sacrificial and our love to be sacrificial. He was willing to leave heaven behind to come to earth to fulfill God’s purpose. How are you moved to share the truth of God’s grace? Are their lessons in your own life that you can use to share with others about the reality of Jesus and His works of grace in your life?

Lord, help us to have tender hearts for those who do not know You. Lead us in wisdom to have words to share and truths to tell. Make each one of us available to be a servant at work in Your mission field. Help us to spread the message of Your amazing grace. Amen

The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Doesn’t that verse just make you sigh a breath of relief? It’s like you have been walking around carrying a boulder on your back and then God tells you that He can take that boulder off. And beyond that, He offers to help you with whatever else you need. So you dump it off and breathe. Thank you Lord.

We can come to God’s throne. Really! How awesome is that.

“A throne is the seat of a sovereign; a throne of grace is designed to represent a Sovereign seat to dispense mercy and pardon.”

God is sovereign, He is in absolute control. So if it were just any throne, we should not be able to approach without invitation. And I can’t imagine why any king would call me to his throne. But we as believers have access, and it isn’t just any throne, it is a throne of grace. Jesus has given us access to our Creator God.

We come to the throne “not depending on our own merits but we come where a sufficient sacrifice has been offered for human guilt, and where we are assured God is merciful.”

We can come to the throne boldly, with confidence because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

“It is easy to be forgiven. All that needs to be done is to plead the merits of our Great High Priest and God is ready to pardon.”

Jesus is our Great High Priest. A priest in the Old Testament would make sacrifice for the sins of the people. But Jesus changed all of that. Jesus became the sacrifice for all of our sins. A sacrifice does not have to be done again and again. Jesus did it once and for all.

So we come to God’s throne of grace with confidence because of Jesus. And there at the throne “we received mercy and find grace.”

We are sinful people. There isn’t a day that goes by that we live without sin in our lives. We are in desperate need of forgiveness of sins.

1 John 1:9 tells us that “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So we come to the throne and tell the Lord of our sin.

We come with a deep realization of our deep need for forgiveness whenever we come to the throne because we are approaching a Holy God. We remember what Jesus did for us and in humility stand before God desiring His mercy on us.

Our Sovereign God grants us mercy out of His amazing love for us, the love that gave us Jesus (John 3:16).

Then, once we are pardoned, we stand there before God in our desperation and we find grace for all of life. We find “strength, help, counsel, direction, support” and so much more.

How reassuring it is to know that we have this lifeline in prayer. The Lord offers us grace to help us in time of need.

He will help us :

  • in the good times when we want to believe we can do it all in our self-sufficiency, but find we can’t. We only need to recognize our neediness and call on Him in humility.
  • in the mundane, doldrums of life. He is present. we can turn to HIm and He will help us through. He knows our feelings. He can lead us to know our significance in Him if we only call to Him. He knows our worth in Jesus.
  • in the painful times of loss and grief. He knows the grief and pain we bear. we can bring our tears to Him and share our sorrows. He will give comfort and wrap us in His love. We must only come to the throne.
  • in difficult, troublesome times. He knows those days that nothing goes right and your frustration level is higher than the roof. We can come to the throne and ask for help. He knows our weakness, and can give us strength and counsel.
  • in the moments of desperation, where you don’t know which way to turn. He can lead us in wisdom to help us move forward encouraged.

The Lord is always available. We can come to Him at any time. He listens to the cry of our hearts and will respond with grace to help us. He welcomes our neediness and desires our dependence on Him.

Are you struggling today? You can go to Him right now. He will meet you where you are.  He is faithful and true to His promises. Let’s approach His throne with confidence, He has all we need for life. He gives us the rest we need.

Take your struggle to the throne of grace today.

(All quotes are taken from Albert Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible – public domain.)

While We Wait

Our time is in our hands. We choose how we live each day.  Jesus came and died for us. He left this earth to go and prepare a place for us. The reality and truth of God’s grace should make a difference in how we live while we wait for Jesus to return. 

Titus 2:11-14 NIV “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

The apostle Paul tells us that this grace teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions. John in 1 John 1:15-17 MSG expands on this, he says:

“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out – but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”

We can’t have it both ways, loving the world and loving God. Matthew 6:24 says “You cannot have two masters. You will love one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Yet, it seems that we are pulled, as if by a magnet, to the things of this world and away from God. We grow distracted.

Our own selfishness leads us to:

  1. – wanting our own way in life; in our homes, in our relationships, and in our work places, even on the road. We want things to go our way. We don’t want anyone or anything to disrupt us on our way.
  2. – wanting everything for ourselves, we get greedy, we covet what others have, we can’t get enough stuff, and if our stuff gets old it isn’t good enough, we must have the newest option. There often isn’t just one t.v. in the house but two and three, even four or more, so that everyone can watch what they want when they want to.
  3. – the need to appear important. I think it is out of this attitude that so much striving comes. We strive to make our homes and lives look perfect, isn’t that what Facebook so often ends up being about? We want others to know we are on our way, we are getting ahead, we are fighting for the American dream, finding a way to have it all. We pull out all the stops. We hide the imperfections, the struggles, the problems, the maxxed-out credit cards, the bills, and the desperate pain of loneliness.

But all of this has nothing to do with the Father, in fact all of this only isolates us from Him. We become so wrapped up in self; getting things to go our way, getting all that we want, and getting others to see how very important we are, that in all the busyness and wanting, we lose sight of the Lord.

Paul tells us in Titus that we need to say “No” to all of this. He tells us that we need to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. It seems that we get so wrapped up in the temporal and worldly that we forget about the eternal and spiritual.

So, how can we keep our minds set on the spiritual, eternal realm? We can find help in God’s Word, as it gives us specific guidelines for living in this world.

  • Colossians 3:2 AMP tells us to “set your mind and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not at things that are on the earth.” (Other parts of scripture give us more detailed help, look up these verses for further study: Philippians 4:8-9, Romans 12;2, Deuteronomy 6:6-9, Psalm 16:8, Colossians 3:5-9, and 2 Corinthian 10:4-5.)  Ask yourself: What can I do to help my mind to be stayed on the Lord and the things of Him? Take time to write your answers in a journal.
  • Hebrews 12:1-2 AMP “…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight)) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus...”  We are enticed and pulled into sin, Satan knows just what to dangle in front of us. What is entangling you? Ask yourself: What do I need to throw off or set aside that is distracting and entangling me in this world?
  • Galatians 5:22-23 We need to be guided by the Holy Spirit. “…the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy, (gladness), peace, patience, (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control, (self-restraint, continence).” How are you opening yourself to the Spirit’s guidance? Are you yielded to Him? Can you see growth in your heart? Consider where you were spiritually a year ago; your attitudes and responses to people, conditions, life itself. Compare those to what they are like now, do you see Christ-likeness developing within? How much of a deadlock-grip does the world have on you and how you live your life?

Paul tell us that the Lord saved us for His purposes to redeem us from wickedness and to purify us to be His own, so that we would be eager to do what is good. God’s grace bought us redemption and eternal life through Jesus, what will we do while we wait for Him?

I know I am convicted by Paul’s words. I get so distracted by the temporal. It is hard to live in this world and not get lost in it’s ways. What about you?

Oh Lord, help us, we are so easily led astray. Help us wait wisely. 

Equality at the Cross

Romans 3:23 tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 

We find equality at the cross. We find equality because:

  • We all are sinful before a Holy God. Our sin is the reason for our need of a Savior. we all come to Jesus as sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation.
  • We need Him to live through us, because we cannot live this Christian life apart from Him. We cannot live as little Christ’s if not empowered by HIm.
  • There at the cross we all need to surrender our rights and yield to Him as well as to others. Not one of us can do it our way and find that acceptable by God.

The bottom line is we all need God’s grace. We are all guilty apart from His grace. Then why is it that we sometime forget this? Why is it that there are Christians walking away from the church with deep hurts because of what people say and do? Why is so much damage being done in a place that is to be filled with His love?

I ask these questions because of a sadness growing in my heart. I am hearing more and more from other believers about how they have been hurt by their Christian brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters who have chosen to leave the church because of such deep hurt and feelings of abandonment.

Do we accept the grace the Lord extends to us and then refuse to give it to others?

Jesus tells the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) in response to Peter asking how many times one should forgive. This parable tells how a servant whose Lord had forgiven him much (a debt to the equivalent of several million dollars), then turns around and refuses to forgive another servant.

Jesus was painting a pictures of the magnitude of the debt He paid for our sin. He wants us to recognize that, to realize the grace we have received and He commands us to give that same grace to others. He wants us to give grace to those who sin against us or offend us.

Critical and judgmental attitudes hurt many, pushing some away to even question the Lord’s love. Harsh words spoken cause some to leave the church. how this must grieve the Lord.

I know this is a touchy subject. Should we condone sin? How are we suppose to respond? How do we balance grace and truth? God’s truth and God’s grace need to be shared. The problems arise when one gets out of balance. When we either grow legalistic or when we take the cost of grace lightly, either way we can get ourselves into trouble.

We need to remember the truth about our sinfulness, each one of us. We must come daily, sometimes moment-by-moment to the foot of the cross for forgiveness. And we need to remember that the grace given cost Jesus His life. Jesus was given to die for us out of God’s love for us. we have done nothing to earn that grace.

When the Pharisee’s drag the woman caught in adultery before Jesus, He did not condemn her, instead He said that the one without sin should cast the first stone (to begin the stoning as the law required). You can read this account in 1 John 8:1-11.

James 2:10 tells us that if we have broken one commandment, we have broken them all. Jesus wants us to see our own self-righteousness stinks before our holy God. Jesus is our righteousness. He want us to see the sin of others and say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Apart from God’s grace who knows what choices we may make. The Lord has shown each of us amazing favor in our lives.

This takes me back to Ann Voskamp in The Broken Way. She said that everyone is just asking “will you love me?” I think that in our need for love, in our love-hunger, we all commit sinful acts. We commit adultery or idolatry each day as we choose something else above the Lord. We seek to find what will fill us and reach for an empty substitute that looks good. But we so often don’t even recognize it, yet another’s sin is very visible to us. And how quickly we make judgments or criticize. We forget that we are not God, we are not able to judge anyone’s heart correctly. Only the Lord can do that. Only God is holy and omniscient.

As a recipient of God’s grace I am called to be gracious as He is gracious.. The parable of the unforgiving servant makes that very clear. The unforgiving one was thrown into prison.

When we choose the way of grace responding to people with love, we give them hope and power to find the right path. We are to share God’s truth in His love, wrapped in the hope of His grace.  We come to the foot of the cross as sinners, our debt paid by Christ, by Him alone.

O Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart please You. for You alone are holy. Help me Lord to share Your truth and Your grace in perfect balance. Do not let me deterr anyone by word or deed but instead may they see You welcoming them. Amen.

We all must return to the Lord daily to confess our sins and keep our relationship right. He does not turn us away but instead we find His grace and love to lead us to repent. May we treat others as He treats us. Do you know of any hurting brother or sister who needs to know the reality of God’s grace in the midst of a difficult ot painful situation? How are you responding to them? What will you do to help them know the truth about His grace? We are equal at the foot of the cross.

Sufficient Grace

The word sufficient is defined as enough, adequate, or to be provided with as much as needed.

The Lord told Paul in 2 Corinthian 12:9 that His “grace is sufficient.” Paul prayed three times for the Lord to remove the “thorn” in his flesh and the Lord did not remove it. Instead the Lord gave Paul words of encouragement in telling Paul of the sufficiency of His grace. He told Paul that His grace is enough, His grace is adequate, and His grace will provide as much as Paul needs.

We have no definite answers as to what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, but it obviously seemed to bother him or to get in his way of life. Paul must have felt that he would be better able to serve without this “thorn.”

There are many theories as to what that “thorn” was, some of these are:

  • persecution
  • depression
  • temptation
  • a physical ailment
  • a disability

Many think that it had something to do with Paul’s vision, but we are not told. We are only told that the purpose for the “thorn” being given was so that Paul would not become conceited because of the visions and revelations given to him by God.

I am currently doing a study on the Holy Spirit. It is a study by France Chan titled Remembering the Forgotten God. Chan asks many pertinent questions regarding the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. He encourages us to consider our motives in wanting the Holy Spirit. Is it really so that God might get all of the glory? Or is there an itching deep within for us to receive glory? Do we want the power to be attributed to the strength of our faith? Or to the Lord?

The Lord promises, in response to Paul’s prayer, that He will be given grace to live with that thorn so that the evidence of God’s power may be made real in Paul’s weakness.

The Lord wants us dependent on Him, dependent on His unmerited favor for our lives, dependent on His adequacy,  not on ourselves. We want to be in control, we want to make the plan, and take it and run with it. but God says,

“Wait for Me…”

“Depend on Me…”

“Let it come from Me.”

It is too easy to run ahead, to think “I can do this Lord!” After the initial thought or idea pops into our heads we think we can take control. And, the thing is, it isn’t even that what we choose to do is always bad. We may have very good intentions, but our intentions and plans just end up growing separate from what God really has in mind.

This is why He calls us to abide in Him, vine in Branch. He wants us to be fully dependent. He may lead us in a ministry, but we forget we are His and that it is His ministry. We forget that we are to do it according to His plan, in His power, not our own.

He will equip and empower us to accomplish His will and purpose.

Look at how the Lord used Paul. Paul wrote many of the books of the New Testament. Paul has touched many lives for the Lord because of God’s power as Paul relied on God’s sufficiency.

  • Where do you need to rely on God’s favor in Your life?
  • Where do you need His sufficiency?
  • Is there a “thorn” that continually seems to get in the way of your plans to move forward?

The question we must ask ourselves in this place is: how will the Lord be glorified the most?

Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Paul recognizes that in his humility God is glorified, in his submission God is honored. Paul surrenders to that. We must surrender also, we must remember His grace is sufficient.

All Sufficient Gracious Lord, as we yearn to live for You and You desire for us to abide, help us to seek You, to know how You will be glorified the most. What are you calling us to surrender or to sacrifice so that You may get all of the glory? Help us to grasp onto the grace You offer. Help us to know the fullness of Your sufficiency for whatever life brings. Work in and through us, empower us for Your glory Lord. This is our prayer. Amen.

God is Gracious

What does the graciousness of God mean to you?

The word gracious means to show kindness to those who are inferior, and to be filled with compassion. Grace is defined as unmerited favor. These words are a perfect description of who God is and how He has acted and continues to act towards us.

God’s grace towards us is a result of His unconditional love. Our Heavenly Father loves us, His children, as a parent does their own child. A parent desires the best for their child, and the Lord desires His best for us.

The Lord shows us His grace through His gift of redemption to us. He offers us forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Lord has demonstrated His grace throughout the Bible.

In the Old Testament, we learn this about our God and His graciousness:

Joel 2:13 “And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness, And relenting of evil.”

Joel is telling the people don’t just tear our clothes in grief, but tear your hearts. Your sin should make you that sad. He wants the people to recognize what they have left when they turned their back on God. He is speaking to us too, we also turn our backs on the Lord and we also need to repent.

Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in loving-kindness.”

Psalm 116:5 “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.”

The Psalmists in these two Psalms is describing the God each one has come to know.

Isaiah 30:15 “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you, For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.”

Isaiah is explaining to the Israelites, who have been very rebellious, that although God hates their evil ways, He is actually waiting to be gracious and compassionate to them. God loves His people that much. God desires so much to show us compassion and grace, He waits while we walk the path of sin, He waits for us to turn back to Him so He can demonstrate His love to us. His heart longs to do that. Can we even comprehend a love such as this?

In the New Testament, we find:

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” 

Paul explains in Romans that we have justification through our faith, we have been declared just or righteous, we, who believe, have been acquitted. And because of that we are no longer at war with God as we had been when we lived in sinfulness. But, now we stand in grace and can boast of the hope we have in this amazing grace. We have been declared right before God. God knows that we still sin, but he has robed us in Christ’s righteousness. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good words, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Paul goes on to explain that none of this is about us, it is nothing that we have done, it is all God’s gift to us. We cannot take credit for any of it.

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,”

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to earth for all of us, we all are in need of a Savior. He came to seek and save those lost in a sinful life, That describes mankind. He came to bring hope to sinners.

We recently celebrated Easter or sometimes called Resurrection Sunday by believers.

 We celebrate this holiday because:

  • Through faith in Him we have the hope of heaven.
  • Through faith in Him we have Eternal life.
  • Through faith in Him we have access to God (our Heavenly Father).
  • Through faith in Him we have forgiveness of sins.

Grace, Grace, God’s Grace, greater than all our sins. All of these are ours through faith in Jesus. Do you want to learn more about God’s grace? My posts for the month of May will center around the grace of God, topics such as the sufficiency of His grace, the equality we find at the foot of the cross, and the throne of grace that He invites us to. I also want to dig into some illustrations of His grace found in Scripture.

Our hope rests in the grace that Jesus has bought for us on the cross through His death and resurrection. Do you have that hope? I look forward to sharing with you about all we have through Jesus. Let’s find refreshment for our souls in God’s word, in His Truths, and in His promises. Without His grace we are left in the hopelessness of our sinful state.

Choosing Simplicity

The counter is clear now after being cluttered with dishes and food from yesterday’s company. Looking at it washed clean and free of a mess helps me to take a breath and smile. Somehow simplicity helps us to breathe deeply and feel rest within.
The same is true when I look at a week-at-a-glance and see chunks of whitespace on my calendar. It is almost as if those empty spaces give me permission to find pockets of peace. When the days are filled with lots of appointments and an overwhelming to-do list, I immediately feel the stress building inside.
The problem here is that we do not find those pockets of peace unless we are intentional about our choices. We must choose simplicity in this life, because it most certainly does not just happen on it’s own.
Jesus had a beautiful rhythm to His life. It was a rhythm of times alone with the Father and time with others, times of teaching the disciples and times of just being together, times of eating with friends, and times of healing the sick. It was a rhythm of work and rest. It wasn’t about rushing here and there to meet every need. There wasn’t any “tyranny of the urgent” in Jesus’ life. He chose simplicity. He chose a plan that coincided with His purpose.
Shauna Niequist in her book Present Over Perfect ran herself ragged for years until she realized what was important to her and simplified her life. Simplifying her life meant for some hard decisions of choosing less. Less clothes in the closet, less dishes in the cupboards, fewer speaking engagements, fewer trips, less people-pleasing, less doing and doing and doing more. It meant deciding what she needed to say “no” to.
I am realizing that, through the years, I have started many books and many projects. I find notebooks where I started a study, or taking notes on a book I was reading, but never finished. I also am finding bags with craft projects left incomplete. I hadn’t realized how scattered my busyness kept me, starting one thing only to get interrupted, forget it, and start something else. Now I am going back and trying to complete some of what I started. And, getting rid of what I no longer have interest in finishing because it is a different time in my life. I am seeing how I get too overwhelmed with too many balls in the air. It gives rest to my soul when I see myself heading in the direction of completing something I started. It is a path to simplicity.
It seems like busyness feeds on itself. You keep trying to find satisfaction in something else only making yourself busier and busier. Little by little, I am getting through what I haven’t finished, and it feels satisfying. I am choosing the simplicity of doing it at my pace, not pressuring myself to complete it with a deadline hanging over my head. I think we need to give ourselves the freedom to work at things at a comfortable rhythm minus the pressure.
We need to look at each step as progress rather than looking at the endpoint and seeing how close we are to it. We can choose to find enjoyment in each step, choosing to be firmly in the moment and living each moment with joy in our hearts. Joy because we have the opportunity to be who the Lord made us to be, in the place He put us, for His specific purpose.
It is too easy to go through life fighting Him all the way. He calls us to rest, and we say without any words,” later” and run on to the next thing on our list. Choosing simplicity means stopping to hear His call and meeting Him there. Yes, right in the middle of doing a sink full of dirty dishes, or getting the groceries. You may hear Him in that robin who is splashing and playing the bird bath in the backyard. You may hear Him as you see the trees sprout new leaves on their branches. You may hear Him speak into your heart the words you read this morning in your Bible reading. He shows us the reality of simplicity.
He reaches to us to take in this moment of life right now and rest in the love He is touching us with. Notice His presence. Take to heart the lessons He is trying to teach you. Don’t miss a moment of what He has for you. He has beauty, warmth, color, hope, peace, and so much more. See the beauty of the flower budding, feel the warmth of the sun, notice the color of the sunset, take in the hope in His word, and feel the peace that fills your heart as you breathe deeply.
We can get rid of the unnecessary clutter, and try to make time for what is really important, such as opening our hearts to those we love in our lives. We can say “no” to busyness, and find out what it is we are running from that keeps us on the hamster wheel. And all of that is moving in the right direction, but what really quiets the restlessness in our hearts is knowing His loving presence and growing in intimacy with Him moment-by-moment through our days.
The question I had to ask myself is, do I even know He is with me? Do I even take time to recognize and acknowledge this through the hours in my days? Do I see His hands at work in nature? Do I hear His whispers to me? Do I “taste and see that the Lord is good” in my days? The knowledge of His presence becoming a priority in my life brings simplicity of focus to it, He leads me to the green pastures for rest, and gives me refreshment by the still waters. When I choose Him, I have everything I need. I can stop striving to make everything seem perfect, I can let go of the shouts of “should”, and I can know simplicity in growing in the knowledge of His loving presence.
Choosing simplicity is intentionally finding Him to help me focus on what really matters, to help me learn what His purpose is for me in that moment, to see what He wants me to see, and mostly, to feel held in His love.
How will you choose simplicity today?