For the busy person who wants to stay connected to God throughout the week!

Archive for October, 2012

The Edge of the Cliff

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Lookout Mountain, TN is 1300 feet above Chattanooga and it is beautiful.  It is also the site of a bloody Civil War battle.  In Point Park the only Civil War monument depicting a Union and a Confederate soldier shaking hands stands in the center.   Because it was erected by the State of New York, it is called the New York Peace Monument.

At the Point you can look down on Chattanooga, the Tennessee River and see for miles.  It really is breathtaking BUT nowhere near as breathtaking, literally, as the ride up the mountain on the Incline Railway.  Climbing a 72% grade, the train feels like it is going straight up.  You can imagine what the ride down feels like!

All of this is to say that being up on that mountain cliff gave me a perspective that I cannot even imagine at sea level.

It reminded me how immense this world is and how small I am.  It reminded me that  when I am in the midst of ‘stuff’ I cannot see the big picture.  It reminded me that  being lifted up literally lifts my spirits.  It reminded me how important it is for me to get out from under the stressful issues of  life and see with new eyes the possibilities that lay before me.

And as so often happens when I step away from myself, it became Sabbath for me.

Not only was I standing on holy ground hallowed by the blood and prayers of so many dying men, I was standing on ground now marked for peace.  From the vantage point of this cliff it felt like I could just reach up and touch God’s hand.  Below me was God’s handiwork and I, in the middle, was surrounded by God.

Sabbath is meant to be a day when we wrap ourselves in God’s presence.  It is meant to be a day of peace and rest, of beauty and joy, of man and God.  It is meant to be a day to take your breath away and fill your lungs with the Spirit of God.

Where do you go to be lifted up into the presence of God?   How does God show you a new perspective, a new vantage point, from which to see your life in perspective?

Find that place this week and let God take your breath away and remind you who is the Creator of your life.

“I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths…”  Psalm 30.1

Blessings,

Nancy

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Honoring God

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

The Psalmist writes “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”  My times are in your hands…”  Psalm 31.14-15a

“My times are in your hands…”  I love that phrase because it reminds me that whatever I do whether it be rest or work my time belongs to God and is fiercely held in God’s hands.

Many times we think there is a dichotomy between our work and our sabbath time.  Often we feel that we cannot possibly take rest time because there is so much to do.  We see work as productive and rest as frivolous.  And we need to understand that this type of thinking is not of God but of man.  God wants us to do both – work and rest.

One of the best understandings of this comes again from Tilden Edwards in his book Sabbath Time.  He says there is a rhythm that God has established between “sabbath and ministry time.”  If we think about work as ministry time and rest as sabbath time, then we see that in both we are honoring God.  Furthermore, God is the author or both.   God created work for us to do and God not only created Sabbath to insure this rhythm, God commanded that we take a sabbath.  “My times are in God’s hands…”

How did you do with your time last week?  Did you take a sabbath rest that went beyond a moment here or there?

I did and that is why this blog is coming out a day late. Yesterday, I spent from 10 am until 5 pm in sabbath rest.  It was a glorious day and I found that by the end of it I was not ready to return to the hustle and bustle of life.  I found that the quiet and peace that came from just being was so powerful that I wanted to keep it for a while longer.  So I cancelled my plans for the evening and continued in sabbath mode.  My time was definitely in God’s hands.

Sabbath rest is God’s gift to us.  The quality of our rest determines the quality of our ministry time and vice versa.  It truly is a rhythm of life as important as the rhythm of breathing.

Nancy

A Unique Experiment

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I was re-reading Tilden Edwards’ classic book, Sabbath Time.   He points out what we all know about the pace of today’s lifestyle.  He describes it as an “oscillation between achievement and some form of mind numbing private escape.” (Sabbath Time, p. 16, Upper Room Books, 1992). The Sabbath offers an alternative to this lifestyle by providing a unique opportunity to the world and the people who take it seriously to stop oscillating at the speed of sound and to rest.

Edwards calls it an alternative that has been “tested by scripture, tradition and the fresh movement of the Holy Spirit.” (Ibid, p. 17).  And each of us has a choice as to whether or not we will participate in this alternative.

We all know that, but what I like about Edwards’ thinking here is that he kicks it up a notch to state that we are “the experiment in the continuity of this alternative.” (Ibid, p. 17).

Think about that.  Whether or not we practice Sabbath keeping determines whether or not this alternative as prescribed by scripture continues as a viable way of life.   And from the looks or our culture and our busy way of life, we are not conducting a very successful experiment.

Sabbath truly is a lifestyle choice, albeit a hard one.   So for this week let’s kick it up a notch ourselves and conduct our own experiment.

Set aside at least 6 hours for a full Sabbath experience.  If you can do a full 24 hours go for it.  In this time use whatever ‘moments’ have worked best for you.  You may go to a park and take a walk.  You may invite friends in for good food and conversation – only remember you cannot spend your time working on the food.  You may want to sit quietly with God and listen.  You may want to explore beauty in and around you.  You may want to worship.

Whatever refreshes your Spirit and reconnects you to God is your goal for a minimum of 6 hours.  Let’s see what the results are of this unique experiment of which you are a part.

Blessings,

Nancy

 

Google Calendar and God

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

For those of you following this blog on your own, it is a bit early.  For those of you on the email blast, it is right on time.  The reason it is being written early is because I am heading back to LeRoy this weekend and want to be able to post it before I leave.

It’s been just over 2 months since I moved to the Atlanta area and this will be the first time I’ve been home since then.  As you can imagine there are a lot of people I want to see.  And as you know there are only so many hours in a weekend.  I am being as intentional as I can be in scheduling as many visits as I can.   By the end of the weekend I hope to have made contact with a number of friends and family.  My calendar looks like a phone book at the moment.

It seems today more than ever we live by our calendars.  There are calendars on our cell phones, ipads, and computers.  Some of us still carry a paper calendar which we actually write on!  The stores sell beautiful calendars with scenes from every imaginable place in the world and every type of cute animal.  We are a time conscious and date conscious society.

When I use  Google’s calendar on my computer it sends me prompts telling me what is coming up.  It is getting harder and harder to miss appointments :).

As I looked at my rapidly filling up calendar I wasn’t dismayed at all because these are people I need to see – that I want to see.   These are people whom I miss and with whom I want to catch up.  I also know that I will have to wait until my next visit to see others.

I wondered then if I am so good at scheduling all these key relationships into my calendar, why don’t I do it with my time with God?  There are far too many days when I realize that I have literally scheduled God out rather than in by filling up my calendar with ‘important’ things to do or people to see.  Why isn’t God on my calendar in a time slot that is set aside just for God and I to catch up?

Wish I had a good reason.

How about you?  Do you schedule intentional time with God each day or is it hit or miss?  One way to make sure you have Sabbath moment time is to make an appointment with God on your calendar, Google’s, your paper calendar or wall one.  Write it in just like you would any other important appointment that you don’t want to forget.

Then, use the time to connect with God.  Have a cup of coffee or tea.  Take a walk or send a letter.  Whatever you choose to do be intentional with the time.  It belongs to you and God.  It may be the most important appointment of your day.

“Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”  Matthew 26.40b

“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake”…Mark 3.7

Nancy

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