“This week I dreamt that I was in Israel in the midst of missiles and I saw them coming right to where I was. What a horrible feeling it was. It felt very real. It felt like I was really there and a voice said: these are signs of the end times, behold I am coming back.”
I read this facebook post by a friend on Sunday, July 20, 2014. Another friend commented on the post shortly thereafter:
…you’re not going to believe this…I had the same dream. The next day I saw the news on tv. Surreal. Let’s pray for Israel.
I read them shortly before leaving to meet with my small group that gets together twice a month. I was going by myself this time so I was able to meditate on what I had read in the car on the way to the church. I felt a stirring inside me. I felt the Lord speaking to me about my life in the end times.
It is as if I felt a shift in my priorities. All of a sudden so many things that I had been worrying about seemed so small. My perspective was completely changed and I felt compelled to share it.
How I view my time has changed. How I view certain “problems” in my life has changed. How I make decisions has changed.
The new question or filter that I run everything in my life by is:
Will this action or decision advance the kingdom of God on this earth and have an impact on eternity?
I have been reading about the minimalist movement for at least a year now. It’s kind of hard to miss if you’re on facebook. It emphasizes paring down possessions in your life with the goal of living more simply. The proposed benefits are numerous. You can read more about it here.
My husband and I were forced to “minimalize” our lives a bit when we moved to a new house a couple of years ago. We needed a house with four bedrooms and in the right school district. Our previous house had 1700 square feet, a basement, an attic, and ample closet space. It was twenty years old.
The house we moved to was forty years old, had 1300 square feet, no basement, no attic, and very limited closet space.
Needless to say, we had a big garage sale before we moved.
As our family has grown, so have our expenses. I have looked for ways to minimize our monthly bills. Our satellite TV contract expired shortly after we moved to this house. We cancelled our service and signed up for Netflix. $8/month for TV is not bad.
Despite our huge garage sale, we still came to this house with way more than would reasonably fit here.
We have rearranged the furniture countless times until we finally came up with something that would be the best use of our space. We still struggle for storage space but we’re not ready to throw away things like the Christmas tree and my old yearbooks.
There are many practical reasons to become minimalist or simplify our lives. However, I believe that as believers living in the end times, there is a much greater purpose to it.
There has been an exponential increase of darkness in the world in recent years. So many things happening in the world point to the coming of Jesus very soon.
So many things have happened that many have started to question if it will happen in our lifetime or at least our children’s lifetime.
It brings a greater sense of urgency to get to work here and now.
It is time to lay down the self-pity, petty arguments, and all other things that take up our precious time and render us useless for His kingdom.
I realized that I have been worrying about many things that have no eternal impact.
Of course, we do live on planet earth and have things that do need taking care of. We can’t be so focused on heaven that we neglect to pay our bills or take care of our bodies.
However, I feel convicted during these times to stop and ask the Lord what His plan really is for our lives now. I feel a much greater peace about hard subjects such as when will we be able to buy a house?
Now when I think about the huge medical bills I racked up last year during my illness, I look at it with different colored glasses. It’s there and something needs to be done, however I refuse to spend my emotional energy worrying about it anymore.
My conviction now is to do the best that I can according to what God has led me and equipped me to do. The rest is up to Him.
You’ve probably heard of a little book that came out in 2000 that became a huge sensation worldwide: The Prayer of Jabez. It received so much attention and acclaim that even Christmas ornaments with the prayer were sold that year.
Have you ever heard of the book Secrets of the Vine that came out a year later? Same author: Bruce Wilkinson.
I liked the first book. I loved the second one and have always preferred it. It explores John 15 and how remaining in Him and allowing Him to prune us will enable us to bear much fruit for his kingdom. I can’t recommend this book enough. It is a short book and is life-changing.
John 15:1 NKJV I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
I went through a money management seminar at our church recently. There were definitive steps on how to manage your money, get out of debt, and stay out of debt. It was a lot of wonderful information.
However, I finished that seminar feeling guilty and like a failure. I felt like a failure for not being able to implement all the steps that were part of the plan. I have been carrying around this guilt for a long time.
The revelation I had after reading about my friends’ dreams changed all that. I realized that God is not mad at me. I realized that I have done the best I can. I realized that I was trying to make it all up to me when it was really all up to Him.
I also realized that worrying about this kind of thing was a waste of precious time.
My prayers have changed since I read those dreams. I now pray with greater faith, understanding that God has a plan for every one of our “problems”. We must trust Him with these things because He has a plan for us to be about His business while we are here on planet earth. He will take care of the rest.
My challenge to you today is to ask God to show you what things in your life need to be pruned in order for you to be more effective in His kingdom.
It may be a monthly expense that is not really necessary. It may simply be stuff that you (or your kids) don’t really need. It might be something in your schedule that is taking time that God wants to use elsewhere.
It may be in your heart. There may be pruning that needs to be done there.
As believers, we must be kingdom-minded, especially in these times. It is a challenge for those of us who live in prosperous, consumerist, developed countries.
The goal for being minimalist as a believer should never be just to lead simpler lives and have less stress. It has taken on a greater significance in these end times: to be the most useful we can for His kingdom here and now.
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