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

Archive for May, 2014

Down Time Needed

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

For the next two weeks we will be living out of suitcases suitcaseas we begin our transition from Georgia back to New York.  Having moved out of our Woodstock apartment on Saturday we are now staying with my daughter for a week.  Then the week before we hit the road heading north we will be house sitting for some friends here in Woodstock. 

As grateful as I am for these accommodations and I am very grateful, it can be hard for me to be out of my own space and normal routine.  And this morning I found myself craving some alone time to just catch up on some routine things and then just be.  

Maybe that is why God was so adamant about a Sabbath rest.  No matter where the Hebrews were – wandering in the desert, living in the Promised Land, or in exile – they were to take a Sabbath rest.  They were to stop what they had been doing all week and catch their breath, reconnect with each other, God and their inner essence.  It was downtime with a purpose and the purpose was to restore a right rhythm to life in order to face the next week. 

Oconee Station FallsThis downtime reminded them to whom they belonged and with whom they walked.  It reminded them of how beautiful and bountiful creation was.  It reminded them that the body needs rest in order to be busy.  It reminded them of how sweet life can be when you are being refreshed by friends, family and faith.  It reminded them of how much God loved them.

So I took my downtime Sabbath rest this morning.  I remembered and it was good.  My equilibrium has been restored and my priorities are back in their proper perspective. 

How about you?  Do you need some downtime? 

“Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.”  Psalm 119:164

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

 

A Quiet Sunday Afternoon

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

When was the last time you had a quiet Sunday afternoon?Hammock

I hope it was recently.  However, if you are like most 21st century men and women, Sunday afternoon is anything but quiet.  There are errands to run, groceries to buy, houses to clean, lawns to mow, gardens to plant, houses to paint and laundry to get ready for the new week. With so many people working six days a week, it seems that a day of rest is more like a day of chores.

But sometimes even in the midst of a very busy day, taking a few quiet moments to yourself can recharge your batteries, refresh your energy levels and renew your motivation to finish what you started.

?????I was always one to keep my head down and my shoulder to the grindstone only resting once everything had been completed.  Now as I have become more chronologically gifted I have found that stopping for short refresh-ment breaks improves my productivity.  I can only imagine how much more energy I would have if I took a full 24 hours to recharge.

If you find yourself longing for a nice, quiet Sunday afternoon, or any afternoon for that matter, why not take the time to relax, refresh and renew your body, mind and spirit?  Breathe in the sweet aroma of late spring and early summer weather.  Taste the ease that God wanted us to have so much that God made it a command.

work-life-balance-Website website

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 34.8

Blessings,

Nancy

Are You Like Jacob?

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Have you taken one of those Facebook quizzes?  You know what a I mean…”What kind of house should you live in?” (cottage) or “What time of day are you?” (sunrise) or “What do people love about you?”(smile).    I have.  And often I am surprised at how accurate they are and don’t ask me how the questions I answer come up with such spot on descriptions.   online survey

However, there was one I took…”What biblical character are you most like?”  No matter how many times I retook it and checked female for my gender, it came up Jacob!  Jacob?   What in the world went wrong with this little quiz result?  I am not a trickster or am I?  I am definitely not patient  enough to wait seven years for what I want or am I?  I am pretty sure my descendants don’t spread to the ends of the earth or will they? 

The one characteristic I could definitely relate to was the one where Jacob wrestled with God.  I have certainly done my share of wrestling with God trying to get my way, demanding a blessing, wanting to know where God was in my life.  Accurate there.   And one of the areas where I wrestle with God over and over is not taking the time for a full Sabbath rest. 

??????????????????????????????I can do hand to hand combat with God’s fourth commandment and justify why I cannot possibly obey it.  And here is where I saw the connection to Jacob most clearly.  When I do wrestle with God over this command, I end up with a wound…something goes out on me.  My spirit is wrenched when I do not let myself surrender to God’s power in giving us a Sabbath commandment.

How about you?  Are you like Jacob wrestling with God over things that God really wants to give you for your own good?

Jacob’s wrestling match ended with Jacob’s ability to hang in there in the match but it also resulted in a life long injury.  Each Sabbath we wrestle with God over and prevail also results in a life long injury to our bodies, hearts and minds. 

“And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”

“Here I am,” he replied.  Genesis 46.2Woman praising and enjoying golden sunset

Blessings,

Nancy

Gratitude Plus

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I’m often surprised by the attitude that taking a Sabbath is an imposition or just plain silly.  After all we are busy people with much to do is the thinking.  How can we possibly stop for a few hours, let alone 24, to rest?  And since the Puritans got their puritanical hands on the Sabbath and shifted it from a gift to an obligation full of don’ts, it is even harder to convince people that God meant it as a day of rest and renewal filled with joy and laughter.  puritan

So what if we thanked the Puritans for their attempt to honor the commandment,  let their misguided application go and  instead developed an attitude of gratitude toward the Sabbath?

Have you ever been so overwhelmed and exhausted that you thought you would just collapse under the weight of one more thing when someone steps up and relieves you some of your burden?  I bet you have.  How did you feel?  Most likely, whether you admitted it or not, incredibly grateful. 

Well, Sabbath is meant to be that kind of friend.  God knew we would be burdened and heavy laden with life.  No matter what the century, humans will always need rest after six days of work and busyness. 

Seeing Sabbath through the eyes of gratitude is a great way to reframe how we relate to the commandment to take a 24 hour rest each week.  Beginning with gratitude, though, is only the start.  From that gratitude can come action that will pay it forward to others.  So, for those of you who feel God couldn’t possibly love you if you are at rest and not busy serving God, here is a way to use your gratefulness for a chance to rest and find ways to act on that gratitude throughout the week. 

relaxThe opportunity to rest, to take a deep breath and rejoice in God’s gift, allows us to have more energy, refresh our relationship with the love of our lives – God – and renew our commitment to be God’s ambassadors in the world.  From there we can go into the world using our gratitude to serve.

Gratitude plus is the result of taking a Sabbath rest.  We go from thanks-giving to thanks-living.

Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory:  more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!” 2 Cor. 4.15 The Message

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

 

Mercy, Compassion and Justice

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

The Bible gives us assurance over and over that God is a God of mercy, compassion and justice.  And one of the places where we see these characteristics is in the fourth commandment.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within you gates. (Exodus 20.8)

  • Mercy:  Remember to keep the Sabbath holy.  This is a holy day and the consequences for not keeping it are grave – literally grave – death.  (Exodus 35:2) So don’t forget!
  • Compassion:  You need a rest after six days of laboring.  Even God rested on the seventh day.
  • Justice:  No one is to work on the Sabbath not even the slaves or aliens who don’t follow your religion.  God’s justice offered in Sabbath rest is a gift to everyone.

Take your rest.  Bask in the mercy, compassion and justice of your God.  God’s gift of Sabbath keeps us alive, healthy, and grateful.

Woman praising and enjoying golden sunsetI will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.  I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.  (Psalm 9.1-2)

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

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