Monday, April 19, 2021

Keeping the Sabbath

By: Joanne Viola 


Sabbath.

The word gets thrown around pretty easily. Somewhere in the course of time, the word came to carry the connotation of going to church, on Sundays.

But it means so much more.

Sabbath – “the seventh day of the week, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians; any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath; any special day of prayer or rest” (dictionary.com).

Sabbath, or the Hebrew word “sabbat”, actually means to stop or to cease. When we take time to stop working, we display an act of trust that it is God holding everything together and not us. We acknowledge our hands do not need to be in everything at every single moment in time.

“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
(Isaiah 58:13-14, NLT)

As I read this Scripture, in the margin of my Bible I wrote – “Keeping the Sabbath –> reward”:

  1. “The Lord will be your delight.”
  2. “I will give you great honor.”
  3. “I will satisfy you.”

We like the idea of rewards, but somehow we skip over the part of what one must do to obtain those rewards:

  • “Keep the Sabbath day holy.” Set a day apart to God – to think about Him, to worship Him, to hear His Word.
  • “Don’t pursue your own interests on that day.” Keep a day off from work. Your body, soul and spirit will be most grateful.
  • “Enjoy the Sabbath.” May the day you set aside become a day of delight for you. May you look forward to the time you spend with Him, as much as He looks forward to spending time with you.
  • “Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day.” We need to think about this long and hard. If it doesn’t honor Him on the day you set apart, then don’t do it.
  • “Don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.” Both will lead us away from resting in Him.

Sabbath doesn’t come easily as we are so programmed to doing, going, and keeping busy. We fall into the trap of thinking these define our level of productivity, and perhaps they do in many ways. Yet in order to keep on being productive, we need time to get restorative rest and be renewed.

Keeping the Sabbath will bring me to resting in Him.
Keeping the Sabbath —> reward.

 

 Photo by Jonas Allert on Unsplash


 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Spring Cleaning



"Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
and renew a right, persevering and steadfast spirit within me." 
Psalm 51:10

It's that time of year again! It's time for spring cleaning. I like to do a deep and thorough house cleaning in the spring and then again in autumn before the holidays. In spite of doing a deep house cleaning twice a year, in spite of doing a weekly house cleaning every Saturday and in spite of trying to keep things picked up and tidy daily, dirt and grime and stuff still accumulate! The need to clean my house just never ends!

There are some similarities between the need to keep our physical home clean and maintained and the need to keep our "spiritual house" clean and maintained as well. Our "spiritual house" could be called our innermost being, our soul or our heart. No matter what we want to call it, the truth is, dirt and grime and stuff accumulate in us just as they do in our home. When we ask Jesus to be our Savior and Lord and repent of our sins, He thoroughly and completely cleanses us from all of our sins.  "If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]."1 John 1:9AMPC Praise God! He doesn't just cleanse us from our sin once, but He continuously cleanses us because, like our homes, we tend to accumulate messes! The need to be cleansed from sin never ends but neither does the cleansing that Jesus offer us. All we have to do is to confess our mess and give Him access to every room, every nook and cranny, every secret hiding place of our spiritual house and He will do a thorough job of keeping our innermost being clean.

It's a great feeling to have all of my spring cleaning done, but the best feeling of all is when I know my heart is completely open and yielded to Jesus and that He has thoroughly cleansed every part of me. The need to let Him do so never ends, but He faithfully and continuously cleanses me every single time. Oh, how thankful I am for that!


Friday, April 16, 2021

Embracing Your Limits

  




Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry.

Luke 3:23 NLT

This week, I enjoyed a podcast episode that talked about embracing your limits.  Though this is an unpopular teaching in our culture of self-glorification, even within the church, it's an important virtue that God considers highly valuable.

The podcast helped me understand how Jesus embraced his limits. As today's focus verse notes, he was thirty years old when his public ministry debuted. Between the ages of twelve and thirty, we know virtually nothing about Jesus' life. Of course, Jesus knew he would only have about three years of ministry on this earth. Yet he embraced those limits because they were his Father's will.

This teaching has important application for us. Discontent is so common in our society, it's almost expected for us to complain about our limitations. Yet God worked so powerfully through Jesus in the limits of time and space, he changed the world forever. God will also work powerfully through your limits if you follow his will instead of your own.

Let's look at the possibilities within several common limits:

  • You're young and inexperienced. Yet you have energy, passion and vision to inspire others.
  • You are working from home rather than in an office, yet you have more time with your family.
  • You're an empty nester, yet you have more available time to volunteer.
  • You're financially strapped. Yet you have the opportunity to give gratitude in every situation and learn to live on a budget.
  • Your health is declining, yet you have more time to pray and develop your relationship with God.

The examples could go on and on, because each situation of our lives contains limits. When we learn to see the unique opportunities in our limits, we can embrace them and be even more effective for the Lord's service.

Today, I encourage you to make a list of your limits. Whether they are related to age, finances, health, relationships, money, work, church or any other factor, get them all out on paper. Once they are in front of you, ask God to show you the hidden value inside each one. 

Pray that he will help you focus on the positives and learn to embrace your limits rather than complain about them. By giving thanks for your limits and using them for good, you'll shine a unique light into your circles of influence.

Check out another post I wrote about embracing your limits HERE.


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Have a blessed weekend!


Photo from Canva.com

Thursday, April 15, 2021

It's Not About Me, It's About Him

   By: Shari A. Miller


"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." - Colossians 3:23-24

Day in and day out...

Wash the clothes, make the meals, drive to ballet practice, prepare for homeschool co-op, again and again; doing the same old same old, can get very tiresome, and can sometimes be quite monotonous. Have you ever had those moments when you wish that fairy god mothers were real, and with a wave of their wand all of your days work would be done?



It can be so easy to fall into the trap of wishing things were this way or that, to where we end up missing the true joy and purpose of the moment. When we are at home raising our children and supporting our husbands, it can be easy to feel like we're being taken for granted. Sometimes the support and praise we need are not always there. When these moments happen we need to remember one important thing, we are not doing this for ourselves, we are doing this work for the Lord. During these times we need to remind ourselves that, it's not about me, it's about Him.

Every morning we need to spend time in God's Word and in prayer, so that our minds are ready for the day. Everything that we do throughout the day needs to be done for God; we need to honor and serve Him in all things, no matter how small or unimportant the task might seem. When we do this, we also need to remember not to complain while we're doing them. When we complain about our daily lives we run the risk of our children following our example, by teaching them it's okay to complain too.

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing." - Philippians 2:14

These moments that you have now are so important, you're in the process of raising your children to serve the King. You're teaching them how important it is to have a relationship with Him by how you conduct yourself through out your daily life. Soon your children will be grown and your relationships with them will change. Take advantage of the time you have now.  

My children are now 25 ad 22, I know from experience that time flies in the blink of an eye. There are no do overs. Enjoy these moments that you have, cherish each and every one of them as you work for the Lord and raise your children to serve the King.




Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Finding a Constant in the Changes

By: Jenifer Metzger

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

The past couple of years have brought on more changes in my life than I thought possible in such a short time. More changes than I thought possible for one person. Some good, some bad, some just different.

My daughter got married. I became a grammy. My son got married. My youngest graduated high school. I went from being a homeschool mom of four to no longer homeschooling -now that they all graduated. I left children's ministry after almost thirty years. I lost my grandfather. We moved churches. While we still have two kids living at home, they are adults and work full time so my husband and I are partially empty nesters. Relationships that have always be very important to me have been strained. I wrote a book.

So. Much. Change.

Facing so much change at one time has been hard. Life as I knew it just three years short ago is completely different than it is today. How does everything change so quickly!?


In dealing with all of the changes, especially the bad changes, I found myself dealing with depression and anxiety for the first time in my life as I struggled to handle everything. But through it all, I found one constant. Jesus.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the same today as He was three years ago. He is the same today as He will be in three years. He is strong and mighty. He is calm and caring. He is just and forgiving. He never leaves.

If you are dealing with changes, just one thing or a mountain of changes, something good or something bad, no matter what it is, Jesus is your constant. He is the same, never changing Savior. He won't leave you. You can count on Him and you can trust in Him. Whatever you are facing, lean into Jesus, your constant in the changes.







It's time for Share A Link Wednesday! Each Wednesday we invite you to leave a link to your latest blog post in the comments. We still desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories.