[PC-USA] 2015-01-13 - Lessons from Shiloh #4

Simplifying

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For many years, Richard and I had been chiseling away at our activities and "things," to try to simplify our lives and focus on the truly vital. Life's too short to waste time or energy on anything not important. Besides, I detest clutter, and yet sometimes it seems as if I have a clutter magnet to my back! Paperwork from church, paperwork from volunteer work, mail-both wanted and not, magazines - you name it.

As most of you know by now, our rescue dog Shiloh was abandoned by her first owner (not true family), and was forced to live on the streets for awhile. Naturally, she had to get into survival mode, and grab any kind of food she could - bugs, sticks, even papers from people's tossed garbage, as those papers would sometimes have bits of food in them. Sweet Shiloh had to eat anything she could, just to stay alive (though she didn't find much of nutritional value, as evidenced by her early and hypermature cataracts). She still has that ingrained habit, so anything made of paper is fair game. Consequently, there are no newspapers or magazines or anything else of paper, within her reach.

In an exercise reminiscent of the common "what would you take with you in a fire" question, we found ourselves whittling down our supplies to what was absolutely necessary. We had to separate our "things" into essential vs. non-essential, or expendable vs. non-expendable. For us, when we are home from our church, volunteer work, and visitation, we are and relaxing in our Living Room, we found that our absolutely necessary supplies could be narrowed down to two items: iPhones® and reading glasses (regular glasses for Richard). Our iPhones are our connection with family and friends, as well as our "home office." They are our Bibles (I have two versions on mine) and our link to updates on prayer requests; our church even uses texts for the prayer chain. So convenient, quiet (if you have your phone on silent), and no one ever has to worry about interrupting someone during important work or a family meal! On our smartphones, we find our non-paper reading materials. We can still read the newspaper, so we can still be aware of needs, be smart and responsible citizens and voters and do our part on important issues, as well as praying for those affected by situations such as disasters or terrorism. Since we are both lifelong "bookworms," our phones are full of books that we are currently reading or have recently read (160 for me). Unabridged, money-saving (good stewardship), environmentally-friendly books. What a blessing! The phones even contain our flashlights, in case of an emergency. It was interesting to us, to see what "we simply couldn't do without," and we are thankful that all worldly, non-food needs can be supplied by two items!

I suppose we do owe a thank-you to Johnny Ives, the man behind the iPhone and many of the technological advantages we all enjoy daily, via our smartphones (Steve Jobs was primarily just the salesman/marketer of all the company's products; others were the "brains."). But even more importantly, we are thankful to God, for using Shiloh to show us what a blessing an uncluttered life can be. Because she is also a special needs dog, she needs us at home more than most dogs do. So we have also done even more "Whittling" of time wasters and things that are not inherently bad, just not the most optimum usage of our time.

I encourage you to join us in our never-ending quest of simplification. What are the "things" and activities that are absolute necessities for you, in order to follow God's plan for your life?

Ephesians 5:11-17 (MSG)
Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.

[email jan] Janice P. Moser
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

All scripture references are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

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