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

Archive for April, 2015

Fun in the Son

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

IMG_3111This week I am sharing an excerpt from my book, A Sabbath Journey: and a little child shall lead them which I wrote after I took a sabbatical year to spend with my granddaughter in Georgia. The book is a devotional book based on my experiences with my four-year-old granddaughter who showed me a new way to appreciate Sabbath Moments.  Here is one of them from chapter 6.

Fun in the Son:

Ari’s father put up a swing set for her to play on in the backyard and, oh, how she loves to swing. Each day after school she rushed into the house and out the back door to hit the swings. And trailing behind her is always the same request “Nana, come push me on the swing. Hurry, Nana!” Being the good Nana that I am – I do.

She needed a lift up onto the seat and then a good push to set her flying into the air. “Higher and harder” she would command between giggles as she kicked her legs and pointed her toes trying to reach the sky. Once she had the height she wanted and a rhythm is established she would open up and begin to talk.

It was here on the swing that she would tell me about God. “Nana, did you know that God created the trees? And the clouds? And the animals, even the bugs, ewww?” With a joy that soared like her flight on the swing she was seeing God’s creation all around her in all her innocence and all of its beauty.IMG_1261

I can’t help but think this is what God wanted us to do on the Sabbath. To let our spirits soar and take in all the beauty around us – the beauty of creation that had been placed in our lives, in our hands, and in our care.

After our afternoons on the swing I found myself looking at the trees, the flowers, and even the bugs with a new eye and with great gratitude.IMG_1237

It doesn’t matter if you are an evolutionist or a creationist. You can certainly appreciate the beauty of the earth and the truth that it is a bountiful gift to enjoy fully. Sometimes I just have to agree with the statement that some things are a mystery to be enjoyed and not a problem to be solved. Arianna seemed to know this instinctively.

Spending time in nature always calms my soul and reminds me that I am a mere creature in this marvelous creation.

I remember standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon a few years ago and being overwhelmed at the magnitude of it. It looked just like the many pictures I had seen of it but it wasn’t until I was standing there that I felt it. The Grand Canyon is palpable in its enormity. The words of Psalm 8:3-4 rushed through me. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you are mindful of him?”

So huge a creation and God cares for me…to let that thought sit in my mind is to be filled with gratitude and awe. I can only imagine that Ari felt that same gratitude and awe as she soared on her swing to look over the treetops and down on the ground where I stood.

Is there a place where you open up to the beauty of God’s creation. It may be more than one place. Visit that place(s) as often as you can this week. What is it that God is saying to you in this place?young mother and her cute daughter swinging on a swing at the beach

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise…” ~Psalm 8:1-2b

Blessings,

Nancy

A Sabbath Journey: and a little child shall lead them by Nancy Leport is available on amazon.com and would make a great Mother’s Day gift for a new mom or grandmom.

 

 

 

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A Sabbath Tornado

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

tornadoIt isn’t often that during the opening remarks of a church service, I hear the words “We are under a Tornado watch right now, folks, and we have people watching the news.  They will tell us if we have to move to the basement.”  I can tell you that it was one church announcement I actually listened to and heard!!!

And try as I might to focus on the service, I found myself wondering how all the people would exit the sanctuary, get down the stairs and into the basement in time if a tornado hit.  crowded stariwayYou see I am not from Tornado country.  I come from blizzard country where we either have days of warning and a choice to stay home or it hits fast and we just stay put.  But a tornado is a whole different breed of storm in my book.  They just plain scare me.  (I’m also not used to being in a church service with hundreds of people either). I know they can come out of a thunderstorm at a rapid pace and often there is little time to take cover before the freight train winds blow everything down in their path.  

The distraction of the pastor’s announcement also showed me how quickly fear can interfere with my worship/Sabbath time.  The very God I am worshiping is the God who says over and over (365 times to be exact) “be not afraid”; and yet, I was afraid and I was not worshiping.  I was worrying.  It can also be true when I don’t take Sabbath moments because I am too busy doing other things (which I would worry about if I weren’t doing them) or I let distractions invade my heart, mind and soul instead of giving them over to God and finding the peace that only God can bring.  The connection was not lost on me, tyvm, God.

“Martha, Martha (or Nancy,Nancy)”, Jesus says, “you are worried and distracted by so many things.  Mary has chosen the better course and it will not be taken away from her.”  Sitting in worship, at the feet of Jesus, and being distracted by a potential weather threat put me right in the story with Martha, Mary and Jesus.  And once again I saw myself aligned with Martha rather than Mary.

How many more times will I let my own fears, worries or distractions take the better course be taken from me?

The good news is that the setting of worship won me over and I soon forgot about the weather threat and focused on why I was there.  And it really is true that there is a peace that passes all understanding when my heart, mind and spirit turned toward Jesus.  peaceful-sunset-4527633

This was a good lesson for me not only for the next tornado watch but for the next time I feel too distracted to enter into some Sabbath time with God.

“But there is something that I am looking for: a person plain and simple, reverently responsive to what I say.”  Isaiah 66.2b The Message

Blessings,

Nancy

Spiritual Renewal and Sabbath Keeping

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

In working with a local church on renewal issues, I came across an article written by Lawrence Wilson entitled “7 Ways to Renew Yourself Spiritually.”  In it he lists seven basic spiritual disciplines that Christians have been practicing for centuries.  

They are:  Silence, Solitude, Secrecy, Simplicity, Submission, Service and Sacrifice.  His premise is that modern Christians seek lively worship, great activities and pronounce strong opinions on public morals; yet, we do not act as if we know Jesus very well when it comes to our behavior and attitudes.  

I’ve heard this said often and it usually comes in the form of “church goers are hypocrites.  They profess one thing and do another.” 

According to Wilson, we can move beyond the trap of disconnecting our life from our faith by delving more into these disciplines.  These disciplines help us to stay connected to God throughout the week and allow us the grace and time to reflect on how we can be more like Jesus in our actions.

Keeping Sabbath is a spiritual discipline within submission and simplicity.  In order to keep Sabbath or even to take Sabbath moments we need to submit Ten Commandmentsto the command of God that this is what is required and to simplify enough to have the time and room to enter fully into the presence of God within a Sabbath experience. 

We all know this…in our heads.  The interesting thing is that even though we know it, we don’t do it.  One person from the church I am working with was honest enough to say, “if everyone did this (practice the seven disciplines), we wouldn’t need a renewal process.  We would be acting and not trying to figure this out.  However, I am not very optimistic.  It is difficult not to focus on our own needs and wants.”

Funny thing is what God has created for us in Sabbath keeping meets those very needs and wants – we just are not disciplined enough to realize it.  IMG_1261

“I am the vine and you are the branches.  When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.  Separated, you can’t produce a thing.”    John 15.5 The Message

Blessings,

Nancy

 

 

Easter: The Ultimate Sabbath

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

holy bible

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  Easter is the ultimate Sabbath.  It is a day we observe as a high Holy Day.  It is a day we remember what God has done for us.  It is a day we rejoice and greet with cheers and Alleluia’s.  It is a day we dress up in new clothes especially purchased for this time. Easter bonnet It is a day we worship.  It is a day we spend with friends and family.  It is a day of special food and intentional table fellowship.  It is a day when we acknowledge that the past is over and the new has begun not just for a week but for a life time.  All the things that a traditional weekly Shabbat does.

Yes, it is the ultimate Sabbath.

May Easter bring you peace, rest and joy and may it remind you that you truly are part of something bigger, more powerful and life-giving than we, as humans, could ever imagine.

Fake Butterflies

“Death swallowed up by triumphant Life!  Who got the last word, oh, Death?  Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”  1 Cor. 15.35 The Message

Blessings to you, Easter People, and Blessed Sabbath,

Nancy

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