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

Archive for January, 2013

God’s Widsom and Sabbath Moments

My four-year granddaughter is going to be a big sister in a few months.  She had herself convinced that she was going to have a little sister.  Her reasoning was really quite logical.  She told me, “if God uses his noggin (pointing to her head), then God will give us a girl because we have all this girl stuff already.”  To her God’s wisdom would be as good as hers.

However, God’s wisdom turned out to be different from hers and when she found out her new sibling was a boy, she was NOT happy at all.  And at four she experienced her first disappointment with God.   Clearly, God  was not using his noggin and she was at a loss to understand how this could happen.  She had it figured out and it made sense, therefore, it would make sense to God as well. 

How often do we do this?  We decide what the answer is or should be to our prayer.  We decide what would be the right way for God to respond.  We think we know what the best outcome would be and then we impose or project our ‘wisdom’ onto God.  When we proceed as if our approach is the best and it doesn’t work, we can become very disappointed in God.  Or, we begin to doubt if we can trust God.  It is the opposite of Jesus’ prayer of trust, ‘not my will but yours, O God.’ 

Without spending time with God on a regular basis (e.g. Sabbath Moments), we begin to lose sight of the God of the Bible whose ways are not like ours.  We can also begin to feel that our assessments, wants, wishes, desires, answers are the only ones we need to consider because we are not in the habit of thinking that God has a stake in them too, let alone input.

This week for your Sabbath Moments spend some time reflecting on times when God’s response to prayer was different from what you thought was right or logical.  What did you learn from God’s wisdom?  Reread the Martha and Mary story in Luke 10.38ff.  Martha was sure her wisdom was correct and that her role was to be a good hostess in Jesus’ presence.  Jesus turned the cultural expectation upside down.  What was it that Martha needed to learn about being in relationship in Jesus? 

“Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe…’   1 Cor. 1.21

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

3 Steps to Daily Sabbath Moments

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Because we are busy people it is easy to let our Sabbath moments slip by in the course of the day and before we know it a whole week has gone by with no intentional time alone with God.  Of course, if you take a 24 hour Sabbath at the end or beginning of each week, then this is not a problem.  However, if you don’t, then not taking time for any Sabbath moments does become a problem for our spirits, our minds and our bodies. 

So here are three steps you can plug into your daily routine to ensure that Sabbath Moments become part of your daily routine.

1.  Set the intention:  Put it on your calendar.  With all the date reminders we have on our phones and computers today, it is very hard to miss an appointment unless we choose to.  If you know you can’t do it at work, then set it for a time before or after.  Get up an hour earlier or make time with God your goodnight ritual.  Whatever it takes, be intentional with a daily reminder. 

2.  Pick a weekly theme.  For example, let’s say that you really enjoy walking and talking to God.  Set aside all your time with God (see above) for a walk for one week.  You may like to listen to music and journal.  Then make that what you do each day for a week.  Do you enjoy coffee and conversation with God?  Then, take your coffee breaks with God for a week.  Perhaps you are an artist and drawing brings you into God’s presence.  Get out the paints, charcoals, pencils, inks, etc and have an art class with God each day for a week.  You get the picture?  Choose a weekly theme that brings you pleasure and closer to God.

3.  Record your response.  By this I mean make note of how you feel after each Sabbath Moment period.  You can do this with a one word notation on your calendar or in your journal…peaceful, rested, refreshed, renewed.  You could even use one of those emoticons on your computer and simply click on an expression.  At the end of the week look back and see how your time alone with God was made alive in your day.   Now, I am also aware that some time alone will raise questions, bring about some restlessness or create some tension.  Record that too.  Pay attention to that because it could very well be the Spirit trying to get your attention.

Try this for a few weeks and see how it works for you.  After a month you may just find that Sabbath Moments are an indispensable part of your day and week.

“A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God.  I’m thirsty for God-alive” 

Psalm 42.1-2 The Message

Blessings,

Nancy

Sabbath Moment Space

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

After a busy couple of holiday weeks and a house full of people, I came to realize just how precious my alone time is to me. 

Are you someone who needs alone time to recharge your batteries?  If so, then like me you are an introvert.  Introverts find large groups of people draining while extroverts draw energy from the crowd.  Introverts also tend to be silent processors of information while the extrovert tends to think out loud as he/she makes decisions.  Neither is wrong.  Both are very different, however.

When it comes to my Sabbath time after a particularly people filled couple of weeks I need time to myself, alone with God.  Because I live with another person finding this alone space can be a challenge.  Sometimes I need to take a long walk – alone.  Sometimes I need to go into another room and be alone.  Sometimes I need to go somewhere where nobody knows my name and I can be anonymous and alone. 

Now this isn’t exactly earth shattering information, but what I find is that if I neglect this alone time, then I neglect my time with God as well because my energy is going out in other directions.  Maybe that is why the command to keep the Sabbath includes NOT doing any work.   God wants our energy focused in the right areas in order for Sabbath to be renewing and refreshing.

As you plan your Sabbath moments this week, think about where your energy is directed.  What is in your Sabbath space?  Does it distract and drain or does it focus and fill?  Be intentional with your Sabbath time and energy.  Make this special time count for you and God. It is time you will never get back and it is time that will influence the rest of your day and week.

“Here’s what I want you to do:  Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God and you will begin to sense his grace.”   Matthew 6.5-6 (The Message)

Be blessed,

Nancy

 

Sabbath Moment Reboot

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays were joyful and that you were able to experience friends, family and faith in meaningful ways.

For many of us this holiday season was muted by the tragedies in Newtown, CT and Webster, NY.  I found it hard to feel lighthearted and merry this year as my heart ached for those families who were living through their worst nightmares.   However, there was a deep inner joy that was present because of the reason for the season – God’s sending of his light into a world of darkness so many centuries ago.   And that joy cannot be changed regardless of external circumstances.  I have learned that I can be sad and still have joy in my heart because of my faith.  My inner joy of faith is not the same as feeling happy.

And, perhaps, because this year’s circumstances left me so unhappy about the culture we live in, the increasing lack of respect for human life and the horrific nature of the loss around me, I found my joy a rock upon which to stand, actually, to cling. 

This joy is not a pollyanna-ish joy that just skips along on the surface with a la-de-da and fair-thee-well attitude.  This joy has taken years to develop and grow.  This joy is the result of walking with God and knowing that no matter how awful the world treats me or each other that God is the constant beacon of light calling me forth to be more than I think I can be.  This light shines on the darkness and shows me the shadows in areas that need  improvement.  Improvement that can only come from the outpouring and sharing of love.

The tragedies have shown us how incredibly good, gracious and generous people can be.  We have truly witnessed far more than  just the evil side of human nature.  There has been an outpouring of love, support, and offers of help from total strangers to total strangers who are now friends because of the love modeled and given to us by God. 

How does all of this connect to Sabbath Moments?  Without taking time out of our busy days and weeks to sit with God, to talk to God, to walk with God, we cannot know this joy and peace that comes in the midst of sadness and chaos.  Like any relationship we need to stay connected to God in order for our understanding and appreciation of the other to develop into trust. 

What is your commitment to growing your relationship with God this year?  Have you been a little lax in taking Sabbath Moments lately?  Now is the time to reboot your spiritual core and make time for God.  The tragedies are not over I am sure.  Grief, pain, death and evil are not going away anytime soon.  However, we do have the opportunity to build up our defenses against them and to be in relationship with the one whose love never ends and whose arms fiercely and tenderly hold us in our sorrow. 

How will you jumpstart your spiritual batteries this week?  May I suggest sitting and meditating on this passage:

“You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.  I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid.  You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”  Psalm 23.3b-4 (CEV)

Blessings on your journey,

Nancy

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