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

Posts tagged ‘prayer’

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


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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

Sabbath Moments and a Time Between

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

For those of you who have been following our moving saga we have completed the physical move.  At least we are out of the old house and our stuff is in the new one.  However, because it needed a bit of painting we have not been able to live there yet.  In the week between we have been living with my dear brother who was gracious enough to open his house up to us.

Each day we are spending part of the day there and then off to the new condo to see the progress.  It is likely we will be living out of boxes and suitcases for at least another week or so until we get settled. 

I don’t know about you, but when I am ‘unsettled’ I feel a little bit like I am wandering in a strange land.  Nothing is familiar, my stuff is not where I think it should be, and my rhythm of living is out of synch.  I am longing for the routine and flow of my usual way of life. 

I imagine the Hebrews felt much the same way when they were wandering in the wilderness or sent into exile.  In fact, I can really understand why the Pharisees grew to such a powerful group  as they tried to keep worship as normalized as possible  by starting synagogues in the exile.  They needed an anchor in their strange surroundings.

When I am in the ‘wilderness’ or a ‘strange land’ once the novelty has worn off, I find I crave normal.  Many times I have been on a great vacation but after a few days I begin to long for my own bed.  How about you? 

So this past week I have found a normal in my Sabbath moments.  Spending time with God reminds me that there is a normal that is always available to me.   Taking a moment or two to pray, talk or just be with God restores my rhythms and brings me peace. 

And for  me that is the beauty of Sabbath moments.  They can be taken anywhere at any time and the time in between becomes a time of Sabbath rest, renewal and refreshment. 

“Then he turned the wilderness into fresh pools of water, arid earth into springs of water, brought in the hungry and settled them there; they moved in – what a great place to live!”  Psalm 107:35-36 The Message

Blessings,
Nancy

 

 

Sabbath Moments and Trust

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

The issue of trust has come up a couple of times in this past week.  When there is no trust or the trust is shaky or eroding, it is hard to be in a committed relationship with anyone. 

A conversation with a pastor highlighted this as he talked about the lack of trust that many parishioners have for their pastors and vice versa the lack of trust pastors have of their parishioners.  This situation certainly impedes the mission of any church.  How can positive change, impactful mission or deepening relationship develop in such an atmosphere?

The same is true in a marriage.  Far too many couples these days have dwindling trust in their relationships.  When one member of the couple is carrying all the responsibility or can’t depend on the other to step up when needed, it is a recipe for a major marriage crisis.

In my life, I have found that trust builds when people are consistent in following through or proactive in addressing problems without nagging or prodding.  And this trust comes over time.  A one time effort – trust it does not make!

Without trust a viable relationship is not possible.

Without consistent interaction with God, without ongoing participation in our own spiritual lives, and without a life history to draw from where God has been present, trust in God would be non-existent. 

Don’t get me wrong…There are times when things start to go haywire where I have questioned and even railed against God feeling that my trust may have been broken. And, yet, because of the history I have with God in my life, I come to realize that whatever has happened doesn’t destroy the trust.  The trust allows me to vent and be angry.  God will hang in there with me.  I can trust that because God always has hung in there with me even at my least lovable.  

What is your trust level at the moment?  How consistently do you trust that God will hang in there with you and that you can trust God for the outcome? 

For our Sabbath Moments this week, consider this verse for meditation, journaling and prayer:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3.5

Blessings,

Nancy

Sabbath Moment Dance

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I’m a big Three Dog Night fan and one of my favorites is their “Celebrate, Celebrate Dance to the Music”.  Whenever I hear it I am ready to celebrate and dance to the music.  How about you?

If you have been a regular reader of this blog you know that I have said on numerous occasions that Sabbath was meant to be a day of celebration.  It was a day to celebrate all the wonders of God’s creation, the bounty of the earth, the power of friendship and the love of God. It was meant to be a day of feasting, dancing, singing and prayer. 

It was not meant to be a day of drudgery, boredom and regulations.  I mourn the loss of this aspect of Sabbath in so many churches and in the lives of so many Christians.  It is a sad commentary on the religion of joy and new life and it doesn’t have to be that way. 

So with that in mind I have decided to keep on dancing and celebrating this weekend and throughout the next week as a way to experience Sabbath Moments every day.  I say keep on because this past week I found myself celebrating and dancing to the music with my granddaughter, Arianna.  She loves to dance and she loves music, all kinds.  I am sure she would love the 3 Dog Night and now that I think about it, I plan to introduce her to them very soon.  Dancing with her is like a combination of play and prayer.  Her joy and energy are contagious and her days are made up of moment after moment of discovery, transformation and love.  She is my daily reminder of God’s grace, love and blessings.   She is my Sabbath Moment on many days.   And I give thanks to God for her presence in my life.

What are the songs that make you want to celebrate and dance to the music?  Spend time this week listening to them and dancing.  Recent studies have found that blood vessels dilate up to 26% when people hear joyful music.  This brings more oxygen to your blood and you are more aware and more alive – pulsing with God’s gift of life.   What a way to honor the Sabbath and be present to God!  

“David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” 2 Samuel 6.14

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Mt. 18.2

Celebrate and Dance to the Music my Sabbath seeking friends,

Nancy

 

Prayerful Sabbath Moments

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

My last blog focused on the light.  Today my heart yearns for the light to shine in the darkness that came over our country yesterday.   Never has the evil of the darkness come into focus as clearly as it did when those innocent lights were extinguished in that small Connecticut town. 

The original Advent time and Incarnation are long past but even though the light has come into the world, the darkness is still trying to overcome it. 

We must not let it.   

We stand on this side of the incarnation and the resurrection.  We have a choice…we can either stay in the deathly darkness or we can choose to enter into the life-giving light. 

Choose the light.

            Choose life.

                         Choose to be connected.

                                         Choose to be connected to God and to each other.

                                                                           Choose to shine.

                                                                                                   ALWAYS.

Taking regular Sabbath breaks keeps us in the light, keeps us connected and keeps us centered in life.    

Pray for the children, pray for the families, pray for the community, pray for peace, pray for the end of violence in all of its forms and pray for God’s guidance and encouragement to move forward so we can make a difference with the light of God.

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted”  Isaiah 61.1

Prayerfully yours,

Nancy

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