Celebrate Simplicity

We live in a “get more” world. Have you noticed? Of course you have! We are surrounded by it ! Get more money, get more power, get more recognition, get more STUFF!! In just the relatively short span of a lifetime, consisting of several decades, our world has become obsessed with this”get more” lifestyle.

On average the “debt to income ratio” has completely exploded, and the idea that having more means greater happiness and this idea has permeated our society. But an interesting study was done by a leading university examining the idea of “income” and “happiness. Now everyone says they want happiness and somewhere along the line we got the idea that having more meant being more. We were better, happier, more desireable and worthy as human beings, if we were surrounded by goods.

Strangely enough this is not what the in depth study showed. Once our needs are met for food, shelter, clothing and transportation there is NO increase in happiness in proportion to the amount of money we have or the amount of things we have acquired. None! This study showed conclusively that more money did not equal more happiness. We are happiest when are needs are met but nothing was added to our happiness by having more money or more stuff! This was quite a revalation! Enough was enough!

A new movement of simplicity has emerged in recent years called minimalism. This lifestyle embraces the idea of living with fewer material possessions and removing the excess of things from our lives. Thoe who have adopted the minamalist lifestye ususall have attributed it to the environment and saving the planet. They say they have less stress, more time and actually enjoy what they have much more. They appreciate what things they have carefully chosen to surround themselves with.

Some have even used the idea of Christianity as permission to persue greater wealth and the “prosperity gospel” has become quite popular. Didn’t Jesus say I want to Give you an abundant life? Doesn’t he want us to prosper and be wealthy.

Yes I believe God desires to give us an abundant life and bless us generously!! Does that mean more money and stuff? I don’t think so. Yes, of course God has blessed some with great financial success and His Will is that it support those who are less fortunate and to spread the good news of the gospel throughout the earth. But the greater and more perfect abundance we should seek is of a very different kind.

Do we ask for an abundance of virtue? An abundance of faith, hope and charity? How about patience and generosity? Or Kindness and compassion! This is the “stuff” God wants to bless us with abundantly even more than material good.s. These things bring us peace, happiness and joy. In the end, do youreally think more happiness comes from a trip to Paris or watching your granddaughter eat an ice cream cone with delight? Or is it better to have an expensive car in the garage when it gives you sleepless nights worrying over making the payments? Jesus wants us to live a life of simplicity and peace. I belive this means examining our lifestyle and asking ourselves…why?

Why do I seek to acquire more? What is the purpose?

I have a dear friend who was blessed with abundance and she and her husband asked themselves “do we need a house this big?” Can we live with less?” They sincerly examined their lifestyle and considered selling and moving to a smaller house. They prayed and sought Gods wisdom on this decision and decided to stay where they were but to use their space in a way that glorified God. Every week there are prayer groups, youth groups, pot lucks with discussions of scripture or a video that portrays the life of a saint or blessed. They use their home to bless their large family but also to bless the community of believers in their parish. What a wonderful example of the right use of the abundance God has entrusted to them.

We all know we may be facing difficult times. We are not to abandone hope or have anxiety over any trials that may come our way. We must trust in God’s provision and seek His will in ALL our ways. This includes examining our averice and how well we practice stewardship over our time, money and possessions. God longs to bless us with peace and a sense of His holy presence every day of our lives. Let us cooperate with this goal and seek Him above all else.

Embrace and celebrate a simple life and watch how God embraces your home, family and loved ones with joy and peace. I can tell you from my own experience, never have a enjoyed a greater happiness than sitting in my friends home with other like minded Christians enjoying a meal and taling about our daily walk with God!

Until next time,

Debbie Byrd Smith

Keep The Faith

Life can be hard. This is a reality that has become undeniable in past months, and we continue to adjust to the new “normal.” Persoanlly, I hate that term ‘new normal’ , because nothing about our lives seem normal to me at all. It feels upside down and backwards.

Life has started to look like a crazy quilt with none of the pieces seeming to fit together all that well. Rumors and deception, disease, and even riots in the streets, have left a lot of us confused, discouraged and bewildered about how everything could change so quickly.

Where is God in all of this? Did He abandon us? Is this the end? I think we sometimes believe our situation is strangely unique and a struggle to decipher but actually, this is nothing new.

If we look back and read the struggles of the early church, the apostle Paul had to advise and encourage a struggling Christian community that was experiencing some frightful rumors and possibilities.

The apostle Paul wrote a special letter to the Thessalonians who were being persecuted and concerned about their future and were confused by false teaching, rumors and disorder among them. Paul reminded them that there was a certain order to Gods’ plan and not to succomb to rumors or twisted prophecies.

Our God is a God or order. Deception and confusion are always the work of the evil one. Paul reminded them that there is a “mystery of lawlessness at work”. God is allowing this for a time but the “lawless one” will be revealed.

Sound familiar? Lawlessness, deception and yes even persecution have come our way but do not be discouraged dear ones. This is not new. Paul gave us instructions…”Hold fast to the traditions that you were taught either by an oral statment or by a letter of ours.”

This is our calling as well dear brothers and sisters. Hold fast. Do not waiver. Stand firm. Yes many strange and confusing thing may present themselves, but the Lord Jesus himself will give us hope to continue. We must never doubt that God has us in the palm of His hand and His plan is perfect.

God has called us to the virtues of fortitude, perseverance and patience. Hope must be our bedrock and faith our guide. Let us pray for one another and the church militant. Let us never forget we were chosen for such a time as this.

Take heart dear brothers and sisters! God is with us.

Until next time

Fiat,

Debbie Byrd Smith

Uncommon Sense

com-mon

adjective

1: occurring, found, or done often: prevelent.

2: shared by, coming from, or done by more than one.

I’ve been aware lately that, more and more ,common sense is hard to find. Common…prevelant, you could even say typical…but not so much anymore.

It seems we have reverted to what would better be called uncommon sense. What should seem obvious and the apparent best answer for the “common” good isn’t even an option anymore.

We need something outrageous, complicated, incindiary!!

It permeates our lives.

I’m proposing a look at the mislaid standard of “common” sense. It’s become uncommon but was it really meant to be laid asid? NO! That is a definite NO!

So where do we find this common sense. Usually among people who are living balanced, stable, moral lives that are guided by something greater than themselves. G0D! Wow what a concept!

GOD!! Remember God? He created the world ? He gave us our lives? Remember?

He even gave us a set of rules to help us on the path to Common Sense!! Just 10 quite simple rules!

Rule #1. Just remember….I AM GOD…you’re not. Don’t try to make something else ME. I AM ME. I AM GOD. I created you and everything around you. I know your past, present and future. I know things you don’t even know about yourself!! OK?

Rule #2. Ok so while we’re on this I AM God topic….Dont try to make some man made thing out to be God. I AM God and trust me nothing any man could make could even come close to what I AM! So don’t belive anything else can be as good as I AM. Just stick with me. I AM worth worshiping!!

Rule #3. Hey be nice. Don”t use my name lightly or in an evil way…Don’t use it to curse or swear something common, or pointless or evil. Use my name with reverance, respect and humility. This will help you remember who I AM and that I deserve respect above all other things. Even my NAME is holy.

Rule #4 I gave you a day to rest. To worship me and spend some time just being. You don’t always have to be a human “doing” : be a human “being.” This day is HOLY. I made it HOLY so you would remember to set aside special time for me without distractions.

Rule #5 I gave you parents. I could have just made you appear or poof…there you are, but no. I gave you parents. Guardians of your life and formation. They gave you life through their love and they deserve your acknowledgement and respect. Dishonoring them is in a way dishonoring yourself because you are part of them. Show some respect.

Rule #6. I alone give life!! I alone decide when it is finished. That’s all. Do NOT Kill!

Rule #7 You should not commit adultery. I gave you the wonderful sacrament of marraige so that you would have a faithful partner through life. When you marry you become one. One flesh, one mind, one heart. This was my plan. Betraying that is betraying me and this beautiful gift I have given.

Rule # 8 Dont’ take what doesn’t belong to you. Don’t take money, or things or ideas. (Also: see rule #7).

Rule #9 Always tell the truth. Don’t tell something that is a lie. Don’t try to make someone else look bad or cover up something YOU did that was bad. Just don’t lie. Always tell the truth and I promise it will work out better for you.

Rule #10 Don’t feel bad because someone has something you don’t. It’s ok. I will give you everything you need if you just trust me. Believe me when I tell you even if you had it…it wouldn’t make you happy. I know what will and IF you follow my rules..whatever it is you don’t have…you won’t need it anyway.

There…simple rules FULL of common sense given to us by GOD Himself.

One little thing….we’ve all broken the rules. Every ONE of us!!! Some of us have broken ALL the rules.

God says try again. Are you sorry? Will you do better? Can you honor and respect my rules so I can bless you? I WANT to bless you more than you know! Come to me in my cenacle of Mercy. Tell me your sins, make up for them however you can. I will bless you for it and you can start anew! I love doing that…making things NEW. New hearts, new minds, new marraiges, new lives!!!

So, there you have it. My take on common sense. Simple isn’t it? I know we want to make it complicated….But I bet if you take the “rules” and apply them, you’ll begin to see how this works and enjoy all the side benefits of peace, joy, and happiness.

Till next time

Fiat,

Debbie