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Sunday grace

Early Sunday morning is quiet as we leisurely walk the lane, Maisie and I. The bird song is all we hear. I hesitate to speak and break the sacred silence.

I notice things in the slowness of this morning. Random spider webs, a night’s endeavors, lie low in the grass or higher up in the bushes. The mist rises from the lake, moving gently across its surface, in no hurry to go. The coolness of the morning is relief after sweltering days.

In my hurry, I easily miss the moments.

Children teach us. They dawdle. They keep no time schedules. They “waste time” with what draws their attention, until an adult says, “Hurry up. We’ll be late.”

We really do need to be more like children.

Our mantra shouts to us. Be productive. Get more done. Work harder. Fill the schedule with one more activity. We can do it!

Wasting time is not on the agenda.

 

Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller (coming in October)

Time is spent one way or another. The finite number of moments we have can be used how we choose. We can hurry it away with activity, or we can slow down, see and hear. We can enjoy and find joy.

It may seem like wasting time when we rest, when we stop, when we do nothing. But perhaps it is the best use of time at the particular juncture. Perhaps it gives our souls time to catch up.

“Teach us to number our days carefully,” Moses prayed, “so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”

The people of Israel moved when the pillars of fire or cloud called them to go. Then they stopped because God’s sign of His presence rested.

God knows we need that.

Take time, some of your valuable, precious time to waste away and enjoy the rest He gives.

Sunday grace.

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I am resting

Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, and Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness, vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness, lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd, know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise, and have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings: Thine is love indeed!

                                                     — Words: Jean S. Pigott, 1876.

Rest in the complete, perfect and unconditional love of the Father shown to us by the Son.  There is nothing else.

Sunday Grace, friends.

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14 minutes, 14 inches

What could you do with 14 minutes in your day?  How could you use 14 extra inches of space?

A group of us have been meeting each week to learn about the Sabbath principle in the study called “Breathe” by Phyllis Shirer.  It has been a learning curve for us women who are used to filling our days, our schedules, our homes, and our lives with so much.  We look around and see no margins, no space, no breathing room because of all the things and events we have gathered into our existence.

“Breathe” has presented a different way of living.  It’s the way God commanded His children as they walked away from Egyptian slavery and into a life of freedom.  These former slaves didn’t know the meaning of pausing to rest or ceasing their labors.  They entered their freedom with a slave mentality, and it would take drastic measures to change their way of thinking.

God wanted to teach them that He was their sustainer and provider.  He would feed them and protect them and meet their needs if they would only follow His instructions.  They were told to gather manna six days and then rest on the seventh day, eating what remained from their sixth day gathering.

Like  us, they tested this theory and tested their God which created quite a stink in the camp because they refused to listen and learn that God really means what He says.  And He always gives commands that turn out for our good.

So this past Tuesday, we were offered a challenge.  We are to take a 14 minute Sabbath rest each day, and we are to clear 14 inches of space during the week.

My mind begins to swirl with thoughts of plastic containers in my lower kitchen cabinet; a pantry overflowing with boxes, cans, and jars; a freezer that is stuffed; a closet that contains more clothes than I ever wear; storage spaces that are filled to the brim.

It truly is a challenge to begin thinking less is OK when we’ve spent much of our lives thinking the more the better.

We purchase out of want not need.  We gather on our six days and also on our seventh because Wal-Mart and Lowes and Kroger and Walgreens are all open.  The washer and dryer run equally well each and every day; and I can shop on-line, search the web, and connect with social media 24/7.

Our schedules are packed with multiple events on too many days. TIme passes and we look at the people in our house and wonder when we’ve had a real conversation.  We collapse into bed at night and are already thinking of all there is to do tomorrow.  Our brains are as tired as our bodies.

And then we wonder why we are exhausted, living life too full but enjoying it less.

But Jesus came to offer an abundant life not an abundance of things and a fully packed day after day after day.

The women of our group take the challenge.  How we do this will be different for each of us.  But we will try with all our hearts.  Because the point is not just to follow someone’s directive or to complete the assignment.  The point is to give place and time to remember our Creator, to pause and give thanks for the bounty of gifts His has given, to cease our work for a little while and know it is enough.

Our God is sovereign over all.  He is our sustainer, our provider, the boss of the universe.  His commands are not to deny us but to give us a full and rich life, one that relies on Him to supply our every need according to His riches in Christ Jesus.  In obedience we work and we rest.  We have time to play with our children and grandchildren; time to enjoy the fruits of our labors; time to worship and find joy in our God.

God is in control of it all.  It would behoove us to sit up straight and pay attention.  He’s not joking.  He really means what He says.  Come sit awhile.  Rest.  Breathe.  It’s good for you.

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Sunday grace

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As the wind blows the leaves of trees,

As the clouds roll and cover the sky,

As the rain falls on the dry ground,

As he sun breaks through the sky again,

As the robin sits on her nest and warms her eggs,

As the birds burst forth in their songs,

As the butterfly floats from flower to flower,

As all the creation performs its created appointments

And thus gives praise to their Creator,

May we also

Praise the Lord.

Sunday grace, friends.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad.

Our God reigns!

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Sunday Grace

Today I’m breathing in and out.

Today the housework waits.  The meals are simple.  The coffee pot perks.

Today, the tasks can wait.

I will walk in the yard.  I will nap on the couch.  I will read a book.

I will watch a movie with Sweet William.  Little dog will lay beside me and teach me how to really relax.

Today I can just be and not feel the need to do.

I will trust my worries, my fears, my list of to-dos to the one God who never slumbers or sleeps.

He doesn’t need to.

He gives me the gift of rest.

I can stop, cease, turn loose, let go.  He is in control, and He is faithful and trustworthy.

Today I will take a Sabbath rest.  I hope you will to.

Sunday grace, friends.

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This day

This is the day made by God.

I choose to look for joy because there are gifts everywhere.

I choose to lift my heart in worship to the One and Only who is deserving of it.

I choose to give grace and give the benefit of the doubt.

I choose to rest and appreciate Sabbath.

I choose to smile, touch a hand, and give a hug because it connects me to others.

I choose to enjoy peace in the knowledge that my Father has everything under His control.

This day is made by God.  I will rejoice!

Sunday grace, friends.

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T M I

T M I = Too Much Information.

I read an article recently in Family Circle magazine entitled “Your Brain On Tech” in which the author, Christina Tynan-Wood, makes an argument that perhaps we are too connected to all of our communication gadgets, i.e. smartphone, laptop, iPad, et al.  There is so much information available, and sometimes we think we need to know it all. 

How often have you had lunch with a friend, and while eating and conversing, you or she check the texts, phone calls, or Facebook messages coming in on a regular basis.  Or how about those who are talking with you and texting an answer to someone else at the same time.  I have to say sometimes it is as if the person in front of us in not important enough to give our full, undivided attention.   Where is our common courtesy?

Is it possible that our ever-present technology has become the newest addiction?  Do I really need to know every news update all day long?   Must I constantly be aware of who said what or who is going where or who cares who is doing what or going where?

Or I wonder if we are afraid of the silence if we turn off the computer, the TV, the radio, the CD or the MP3 player.  

Ancient Word advise me to be still . . . and know my God (Psalm 49:9).  Much of the time, it takes me being quiet to hear His still small voice. 

Another place (Isaiah 30:15) says:  For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

We deny ourselves something wonderful when we fill our every waking moment with information and noise.  There must be a place to draw aside, to quiet our hearts before our God, to be still and listen for His gentle whisper.

One of my favorite blog writers is Holley Gerth.  She recently wrote about taking a Sabbath from technology every week.  Her post came on the heels of my post On Saving Daylight and how I look forward to my Sabbath rest.  She makes a valid point.  I would love for you to follow me to Holley’s place and hear what she has to say.  I think it’s worth a look.