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

Posts tagged ‘religion’

Sabbath Moments and Intentions

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Happy New Year.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you are greeting each new day with joy and peace.  That is my intention for the year. I want to be as precise as I can be in setting my intentions for each day.   Setting intentions also means that I do everything in my power to be what I want in my life.  Jesus said “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.” and Gandhi said it a little differently but with the same result… “Become the change you wish to see”. 

If I want peace and joy in my life, then I must offer peace and joy to others and choose to be filled with peace and joy in my day-to-day interactions.  And so I have my work cut out for me because far too often I worry and fret leaving me irritable and sad and anything but peace and joy filled. 

Many of us begin the New Year with resolutions or intentions and often see them disappear from our lives before the end of the month.  We fail to keep them alive because they take too much work or time and we aren’t willing to give up, let go of or rethink our choices and our way of doing things.  

A fairly common resolution for people of faith is to spend more time with God this year.  And by mid month we are back to busy schedules, skipping church, and forgetting about our resolution.

However, if we  truly want to deepen our spiritual life and become closer to God, then we must choose to do the things that will deepen our relationship with and bring us closer to God every day. 

My granddaughter became very excited a few nights before Christmas when she saw a star in the sky.  She asked her mother about the star that shone so brightly over the manger of the baby Jesus and then concluded that they had better abandon their plans to go to dance lessons that night and instead follow that star.  iStock_000027543299XSmall

Her 5-year-old choice made me think about what I need to let go of in my life if I truly want to follow God. How about you?

  • Where do you need to abandon a plan or course of action in order to be closer to God, to follow Jesus? 
  • What do you need to let go of in order to spend the time intentionally deepening your faith? 
  • What is the change you want to see? 
  • What actions need to be intentionally started in order to achieve that change? 

Here’s to an intentional New Year filled with peace, joy and a deepening sense of God’s love and grace.

“When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.  Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”  Matthew 2.10-12

Blessings,

Nancy

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Words of Life in a Sabbath Setting

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

Have you ever heard a lyric from a song, read a line from a poem or experienced a description in a book in such a way that time seems to stop and you enter into the words as if they were speaking to your essence? 

Lovers have “their song” that draws them together and reminds them of the love they share.  Men and women carry phrases, one liners, or proverbs in their minds to pull out when they need to feel encouraged or to encourage others.  I have a friend who can pull up the lyrics to a song to fit almost any situation and they always add to our understanding. 

Many Christians have a favorite scripture that speaks to their heart or a hymn that sends their spirits soaring or brings a lump to their throat.  

Words have great power. 

I am drawn to words of scripture that focus on life, light and love.  “I put before you this day, blessing and curse, life and death; choose life” from Deuteronomy is one of my favorites.  As the days start to get shorter, passages about light and how the light came into the world and the darkness has not been able to overcome it buoy my spirits as it grows darker earlier and earlier.  And when I am feeling anything but lovable, the words from Jeremiah remind me that God has “loved me with an everlasting love.” 

Sabbath is a day that is meant to be filled with words of life, light and love.  Sabbath is a time when words have great power reminding us of God’s great love for us and our well-being.  Candles are lit on Sabbath to signal its beginning and announce the time to rest has come into our lives. 

This week focus your Sabbath moments around words that lift you up, that bring you life, remind you of how much God loves you and how that love lights your life.  Light some candles, put on your favorite music or hymns, read some favorite passages either from the scripture or poetry and just savor the words as they whisper to you.

“shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” 

Philippians 2.15b-16a

Blessings,

Nancy

A Unique Experiment

Dear Sabbath Seekers,

I was re-reading Tilden Edwards’ classic book, Sabbath Time.   He points out what we all know about the pace of today’s lifestyle.  He describes it as an “oscillation between achievement and some form of mind numbing private escape.” (Sabbath Time, p. 16, Upper Room Books, 1992). The Sabbath offers an alternative to this lifestyle by providing a unique opportunity to the world and the people who take it seriously to stop oscillating at the speed of sound and to rest.

Edwards calls it an alternative that has been “tested by scripture, tradition and the fresh movement of the Holy Spirit.” (Ibid, p. 17).  And each of us has a choice as to whether or not we will participate in this alternative.

We all know that, but what I like about Edwards’ thinking here is that he kicks it up a notch to state that we are “the experiment in the continuity of this alternative.” (Ibid, p. 17).

Think about that.  Whether or not we practice Sabbath keeping determines whether or not this alternative as prescribed by scripture continues as a viable way of life.   And from the looks or our culture and our busy way of life, we are not conducting a very successful experiment.

Sabbath truly is a lifestyle choice, albeit a hard one.   So for this week let’s kick it up a notch ourselves and conduct our own experiment.

Set aside at least 6 hours for a full Sabbath experience.  If you can do a full 24 hours go for it.  In this time use whatever ‘moments’ have worked best for you.  You may go to a park and take a walk.  You may invite friends in for good food and conversation – only remember you cannot spend your time working on the food.  You may want to sit quietly with God and listen.  You may want to explore beauty in and around you.  You may want to worship.

Whatever refreshes your Spirit and reconnects you to God is your goal for a minimum of 6 hours.  Let’s see what the results are of this unique experiment of which you are a part.

Blessings,

Nancy

 

SABBATH MOMENTS

Hello Sabbath Seekers,
This blog is written with the busy person in mind.  The person who has wonderful intentions of building time with God into their day, who wants to honor the 4th commandment to keep the Sabbath and who would love for there to be 25 hours in a day and 8 days in a week in order to do so.

Alas, you know who you are and I am one of you!

Several years ago following a workshop I did on Keeping Sabbath, one of the participants asked if I would consider sending out reminders to the participants who wanted to practice what they had learned but who often just got caught up in the day to day busy-ness and forgot.

Hence, began a weekly email blast on how to incorporate Sabbath Moments into each day.  These were simple suggestions and often came out of my own attempts to be in touch with God and honor the original intention of giving Sabbath to us as a gift of God.

Now, I’ve been encourage to turn it into a weekly blog.  And so I now enter the world of blogging and hope you find these Sabbath Moments refreshing and renewing.

Happy Sabbath,

Nancy Leport, M.Div., CLC

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