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

Archive for March, 2014

Sabbath vs. Cyberspace

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I just returned from a time away.  It had many elements of Sabbath in it.  There was quiet, good conversation, good food, God talk, joy, nature and laughter.  It was a time blessed in so many ways and the presence of God was tangible more than once.

Even though it was not designed to be a Sabbath, it reminded me of one as I stepped out of my normal routine and focused on all  those things that make up a time of rest, refreshment and renewal.

And I was struck, once again, about just how hard it is to totally withdraw from ‘routine’ and to avoid interruptions in the flow of experiencing Sabbath moments.

Why was I struck?  CONFESSION TIME:  I am addicted to the internet.  internet

There was not one 24 hour period within the 72 hours I was away that I didn’t check email, Facebook or text messages.  I know I have admitted this before so obviously, I have no intention of breaking this addiction – or so it seems.

And to cut myself some slack I didn’t go into the weekend intending to cut off contact with the world; however, what I realized is that there was nothing I read, texted or posted that was necessary, urgent, or changed anything in anyone’s life, including my own.  And yet, still, I connected and was sucked in.

So what did I learn?  First, those are 72 hours I will never get back.  Second, I made a conscious choice (although it is becoming an unconscious choice in many ways) to connect or respond.  Third, I could have been communicating with God during those internet interludes rather than folks in cyberspace.  Fourth, I have to acknowledge that I missed out on some spiritual connection for temporal connections.

Again, to cut myself some slack (I like to do that, don’t you?) there were significant God moments over those 72 hours – ones that surprised me; however, when I could have been more intentional about a Sabbath prayer connection, I wasn’t.

How about you?  Are you, like me, hooked in and connected on the internet when you could be unhooked from the world and connected to God when you have the chance to be?  As you enter into Sabbath Moments this week, leave the electronic devices behind and just be open to the spiritual connection that travels on a band width bigger than anything ATT or Verizon can offer.Cell phone woman

“When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep.  He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour?” Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger.”  Mt. 26.40-41 The Message

Blessings,

Nancy


Pinching Leprechauns and Sabbath Security

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

On St. Patrick’s Day my 5 year-old granddaughter’s librarian told her Kindergarten class that if they didn’t wear something green to bed that leprechauns would pinch them all night long!  Needless to say I am not too impressed with this teacher and as you can imagine a 5-year-old took this very literally.  She was panicked by bed time trying to find something green that would cover her and protect her from the pinching little green men.  leprechaun

Eventually, she found a green blanket and slept under it all night.  In the morning, her mom asked her how she slept and she replied, “Good, no pinches but I was sure hot!” 

Children often go to be fearing monsters under their beds or in their closets.  They want or need a light on in order to go to sleep feeling secure in the dark.  And, fortunately, there are a number of a very savvy parents out there who understand this need for their children to feel safe in their beds. 

Prayer is a way to wrap ourselves in the safety and security of God’s arms especially at night.  Children are not the only ones who have trouble not seeing the demons in the dark.  Adults lay awake night after night with visions of worries, disasters, to do lists, resentments, and should have’s dancing in their heads.  Let’s face it they are the equivalent of pinching leprechauns.

waiting prayerWhen we participate in regular Sabbath Moments getting to know God more clearly, nearly and dearly, we also can more easily let go of our demons and rest in God’s arms at night more comfortably, happily and freely. 

This week concentrate on praying to God in a way that opens you up to your fears and then turn them over to God.  See if you don’t sleep better as a result…without a green blanket that keeps you hot all night! 

“…he who watches you over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”  Psalm 121.3-4

Blessings,

Nancy

Too Busy for Sabbath Rest

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Recently a friend admitted to me that she tries to avoid alone time with God because she really isn’t ready to let God in to the deepest areas of her life.  As long as she keeps busy, goes to worship, involves herself with church activities and says the perfunctory prayers, she feels she had done her due diligence with Sabbath. 

And I think she is not alone in feeling this way. 

Quiet, alone time with God brings about an intimacy that many of us are not ready for.  It can be scary and intimidating especially when approaching the throne of the Almighty.  Being active for God is not the same as being with or in God for a Sabbath moment or rest.  clouds

What fears keep you from sitting with God and sharing your heart?  What images of God do you have that could interfere with being present with your Creator?  How would you feel if you could let go of these fears or discover new images for God?  Would it change how you approach Sabbath time with God? 

Images of God can be formed very early in life and can often take a lifetime to reframe.  Far too many people have been taught about a judgmental, punishing God who gives demerits for bad behavior and stars for good.  Over the course of a life time most people feel their demerits weighing them down and getting in the way of going to God for guidance or comfort. 

Yet, the Bible is filled with many different images of God that don’t look or feel anything like the white bearded old man sitting on a throne of Sunday School lore.  The Psalms show God as a fortress, a rock, a light.  Isaiah talks of God as a mother loving her children.  Exodus lifts up the image of God as an eagle.  Jesus shows us the most intimate portrait of God as Abba which translates as ‘daddy’ or ‘protective parent’.  Jesus brings us the image of a loving, gracious God who listens and cares for us.  

I spent many years with an image of God who was punishing and judgmental until in a moment of deep despair, at my lowest point ever, I just broke down and prayed for help because I was in trouble.  It was then that my image changed because it was at that moment I felt God wrap me in loving arms and hold on tight.  

Looking closely at our image of God is an important place to start if we are finding it difficult to take Sabbath moments with God. 

Another place to start is to ask yourself “what is the most important thing I need to discuss/share with God today?”  As you begin to seek the answer to that question there can come a moment of realization that in just the asking, God has heard it.  If God has already heard your heart, what is there to gain from not listening and being with God for a while?  

What gets in your way of taking Sabbath rest time with God?  Is it really being too busy or is it something deeper that you want to avoid?  

God created Sabbath for us to rest and renew our spirits.  It is a gift that I have begun to accept and I am finding that Sabbath keeping keeps me at peace.  

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”  Luke 10:38-39

Blessings,

Nancy 

 

 

Often times I start with the question…what is the most important thing I need to discuss with God today?

Snuggle Time Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I love it when my 5-year-old granddaughter says she wants to snuggle.  What that signals is time for the fuzzy blanket, a clean thumb and another warm body near by.  And when she is under the blanket with her thumb in her mouth and Mommy or Nana next to her she relaxes completely.  You can feel the tension, the crankiness, or whatever else she is holding in her little body and soul melt away. 

She is at peace and she is happy.

So am I.

snuggleWhen was the last time you had a snuggle with another person – child or adult; or a beloved pet?  It is a time of complete of rest and refreshment. 

Part of Sabbath time can be filled with a good snuggle…maybe even a good snuggle with God.  Getting as close to God as you can and really letting yourself relax into God’s arms, peace and joy.  Some people do this with prayer or meditation.  Others with journaling.  Some go into nature and others find themselves in a beautiful sanctuary.  What works for you?

Use that place to be a snuggle time Sabbath moment for you.  

“May the peace that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4.7

Blessings, 

Nancy

Sabbath Quotes

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Here are some quotes about the Sabbath to reflect on throughout the week.  They cross several centuries and decades…showing us that making a place for the Sabbath has vexed many over the years.  It is so hard to remember that we are human beings and not human doings. 

From Augustine of Hippo (5th century):

Augustine of hippo“Thou madest us for Thyself,

and our heart is restless, until it rests in Thee.”

 

From Martin Luther (16th Century):

“The spiritual rest, which God particularly intends in this commandment, is this: that we not only cease from our labor and trade, but much more, that we let God alone work in us and that we do nothing of our own with all our powers.”

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge (19th century)

“I feel as if God had, by giving the Sabbath, given fifty-two springs in each year.”IMG_1237

From Abraham Lincoln (19th century):Abraham-Lincoln-9382540-2-402

“As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises.”

From Henry Ward Beecher (19th century):

“A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers and like a homestead without a garden. It is the joyous day of the whole week.” 

From Sir Robert Peel (19th century):

“I never knew a man to escape failure, in either body or mind, who worked seven days in the week.”overworked man

From Albert Schweitzer (19th century)

“Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.”

From Eugene Peterson (20th century):

“Sabbath is that uncluttered time and space in which we can distance ourselves from our own activities enough to see what God is doing.”

Which quote speaks to you?  If I were to quote you about the Sabbath, what would you say? 

Here’s mine:  “As the Sabbath comes and goes, so goes my life…either to gather time and rest in God or to waste time and gain nothing.” 

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”  Exodus 20:8

Blessings,

Nancy

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