Sabbath Resting

I do not recall ever hearing much complaint.  It was not unusual.  This was simply how things were.  Everyone unwittingly adapted to what was the norm.  We were all accustomed to the force of the still quiet.  Had there been any chaos in the days preceding, it too would soon be forced to comply.  The early morning sunrise seemed to have an invisible bell that quietly rang through the air without being seen.  There was no real indicator it was there, but somehow we were all certain that it was.  It was indescribable; a strange conflicting clash between humdrum and happy.

Everyone knew, if there was anything deemed necessary, it would have had to be pre-planned.  If anything was needing to be bought, brought, cooked, ordered, delivered, fixed, repaired, towed or included – it would  have to be done in advance or not at all.

 Because on Sunday, rest was the unspoken requirement; the day all were forced (or expected) to be still.

There would be families gathered together for dinner, communion and community.  There were Believers assembled together to commemorate the resurrection of Christ.  There were planned outings with one another, purely to build relationships and closeness.

There was time for worship.

Today, Sunday’s are inconspicuously stapled to the rest of the days of the week.  It is no longer its own special day, with its own special place.  Sunday’s have conformed.  There is no longer a distinct difference when compared.  For many, it has become a catch-all.  Any undertaking that was unable to be pressed into the prior six days can now be scheduled on the seventh.

In Exodus, the Lord commanded the Israelites against this very concept.  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  You are to labor six days and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the Lord your God.  You must not do any work …..”

To not do any work is an idea many of us cannot comprehend.  Often, we find it difficult to give up our own agendas, our scheduled programs or our plans.

Like the Israelites, when they were enslaved, we too have been groomed to do all you can; to labor without ceasing.  That to stop and rest gives a notion of being lazy or slothful.  That to be idle is unproductive and a waste of valuable “to do” time.  That there is always something to do and you must always be doing something.

For those of us who are in Christ, we are not required to keep the ceremonial law of the Sabbath Day. <Hebrews 8, Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16>.  Yet, the principal the Lord provides through the Sabbath is a very practical model to the benefit of us all.  The need to stop and rest was crucial for them then and advantageous for us now.

Thought to Ponder:

If we are ever to profit from the principles provided through the Sabbath, we must first intentionally add Sabbath Rest – Sabbath Margin – Sabbath Time to our days.  “Remember, you were a slave in the land of Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out ….” <Deut. 5:12-15>

You are now free ….to take some time to rest…. in your acknowledgement of Him.

Remember the Sabbath?

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.  <Genesis 2:3>

Immediately after the benediction my inner clock timer began ticking.  My next “to do” was quickly approaching.  The crowd was cordially moving toward the main exit at a pace that allowed a brief greeting to any passerby.  There were handshakes, hugs and small talk all along the way.  Once I could enter the foyer, I assumed the speed limit would increase and there would be a clean sweep to the side door.  I was wrong.  To my surprise, right before my foot could hit the marble tile, the pace became snail like.  Within seconds, everyone came to a standstill.  Just like highway traffic, I could see “drivers” peering over those in front of them in hope of getting a better view of the hold-up.  Ironically, there still did not seem to be much concern with the flow of traffic.  The majority of the on lookers and the “drivers” gave the impression of having no place to go.  They were perfectly fine with the slow down. 

Once I entered the foyer, there it was – the reason for my delay.  There were clusters of people randomly standing throughout the vestibule.  Jovially enjoying their unaccounted for moment; leisurely catching up on small talk, sharing the latest happenings in their lives and doing the inevitable – networking.  But me, I quickly told my colleagues good-by and scurried to the parking lot.  The clock was ticking and I had things to get done. 

Does any of this sound familiar?  I am sure I’m not the only person, who has found themselves running through parts of the day to get to the next part.  For many of us, even when we look like we are not running, moving or scurrying, we are – in our minds.  

This week, a few ladies and I are starting a study that focuses on creating Sabbath margin in our lives.  Our hope is to slow down, take a closer look at anything (good, bad and not-so-bad) that may be robbing us from the rest, peace and tranquility that boosts us to be better daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and friends.

Thought to Ponder

What is this gift the Lord has given, called Sabbath?  What do you believe was God’s original intent for Sabbath? Tell me, can your life use some …. Sabbath?   

“Remember the Sabbath…….” < Exodus 20:8 >

Different Equal

She grabbed the rope that was leaning against the first platform and swung to the other side. The rope looked to be attached to a pole, anchored in the middle of a water pool with a track like maneuver overhead.  The goal was to glide the top of the pole through the maze contraption. With precision and certainty, this feat was accomplished with ease.  Then, with confidence, she leaped off a trampoline to grab the underside of a slightly hanging cargo net.  Arm FlexThe crowd was going wild; chanting her name – screaming words of encouragement.  With controlled upper body strength, she was sure to not touch the water waiting below.  Reaching the top mat, landing on both feet, she defeated the obstacle course.  Ignited by the hype of the achievement, she balled her hands in tight fists, lifted both arms in a “L” shape and flexed her arm muscles.  Immediately the announcer says …… “What an accomplishment! She has shown everyone what she is made of; girls everywhere are standing to their feet!”

What? (As the needle quickly scratches over the vinyl record – in my head)

What did he just say?

The initial purpose of The Women’s Liberation movement was to free women from tyranny in a culture that viewed women as “less”.  A movement with a purpose that would raise consciousness of her intelligence, make aware her astuteness and openly note her overall value.  It was the culture that was blind to the value of the role of the woman, but God was definite when he created her as he did.  So God, not man, created what man needed – a woman.  There was no thought of subservience or maid service.  Yet, with absolute mindfulness that it was not good for man to be alone.  <Gen. 2:18>

Man and woman, created with their own purposes; different responsibilities – equal in value.

Thought to Ponder

Somewhere it has been noted that the evidence of what makes men and women different is to be hidden within society.  That women are to be uncomfortable in the things that hold true to her natural design and should rightfully aim to exceed the man.  It is the beauty of a woman in her entirety that is a complement to any realm.  Her attributes to nurture, encourage, cultivate, raise, support, teach, inspire, develop and promote is the glue to every social order.

Woman, as she walks in her planned blueprint, flexing her muscles under God’s pleased eyes, can bask in the praise of her accomplishments. <Prov. 31:30>  And to that – girls everywhere can stand to their feet.

Lady Cheering3

One to Another

The planning was over, every seat was accounted for and the event was a success.  white dressSixteen ladies, all dressed in white, gave their time – talent and – treasures without hesitation.  Totally willing to graciously share in the idea that healthy marriages and positive relationships are worth the extra effort they so desperately require.

These ladies know, firsthand, that being created as a valuable addition to the many relationships you will encounter in your lifetime is no slow stroll in the park.  On the contrary, if you are not attentive and intentional you could very well find yourself, years from now, still slow strolling; not adding any value to anyone.  But yet, here they were, God-enlisted “encouragers of doing good”; each one of them holding true to the focus point of the event: “One to Another”.

One to another was our focus, but “Why Do We Give?” was the apparent question.  Actually, underneath the obvious was the hidden thought of, “Why do we give …..  so much?”  Why is it that we do what we do?  Why do we give the time we claim we never have enough of, though it can always be found when the voice on the line sounds exasperated, unsure and in need of hope.  When she is in need of an ear, we listen.  When she needs our opinion, we lovingly share what would be best – opposed to what may feel best.  Why do we give that talent we are adamant about not yet mastering.  GIve backThat one thing we know we may not be the best at doing, somehow seems possible when the outcome is for the greater good.  That inexact ability ultimately loses its fear-provoking grip when there is a gap to be filled and she subtly ask for your help.  And why do we give, when all else fails; without overthinking its tangible value, what it will take to be replaced, how long it took to accumulate or if it will ever be given back – a portion of our treasure.  It all comes without question: if she needs it, it is hers for the taking.

Neither our time, talent, nor our treasures have preset limits when our hearts aim to encourage, build-up and support.

Thought to Ponder:  Each one of us has an active role in helping another woman reach her goal of being more than she could otherwise be when left at her own devices.  We were not intended to jog, walk or run the life race alone.  It is through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to ask for help when it is needed.  It is also through the blessed gift of humility that one is inclined to give help when it is needed.  In His abundant love for us, God did not leave us wondering about the part we play in the lives of those around us.Hammer-and-nails

  • “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
  • “Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
  • “…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)
  • “…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

With the aid of others, you and I are more capable of accomplishing all that God has intended. So why do we give? … Because we are better together.

With you – I am better than I otherwise would be.

charmaine signature (2)

 

 

Did You Know?

Every year, over 50% of families are torn apart because of issues that lead to divorce. For most women, intervention, support and counseling are the only ways they are able Divorce

to rebuild that which has been weakened. Helping these women come with a great sacrifice of time, while counseling and support come at an even greater expense.

 help-buttonWe Need Your Help to Make a Difference in the Life of a Woman!

Join CharMaine & the ladies of TimeOut at our 2016 Breakfast Fundraiser Auction @ Spazio Westport on Saturday July 16, 2016 * 9:am til noon.

The success of our mission is dependent on those who understand the need for women to have necessary aid, resources and support.Time Out! 036 (640x425) - Copy

Encouragement, Hope and Help; One Woman to Another

Remember, proceeds from every ticket purchased will go to help women in need of personal or marriage counseling.

Tickets on Sale Now $15.50

Click HERE to Register


“Friends” Reconsidered …

Thanks to whiz kid like creativity and boundless technical savviness, being in-the-know has become easier than ever before.  Reaching out or being reached is now at the touch of a button.  With one click, you can have “Friends” by the hundreds or even thousands; those who are near and those who are not.  It is as simple as sending a request.  In times past, this was equivalent to, “How about we hang out some time?”  Today, this once full-of-thought offer comes without any visual expressions to infer.  Nothing to interpret prior to an accepted response, no time spent to confirm common interest, and little concern of the old fashion referral process.  Yet, once you are “Accepted”, you are immediately in the Circle of Know.

Yes, it is worthwhile to stay in touch and keep connected.  Life happenings that would otherwise be missed are now easily accessible for all to view.  The wedding of your cousin, your sister’s trip to Alaska, your best friend’s daughter’s first day of school, college graduations, Senior Prom, Homecoming, acceptance to medical school, and the much anticipated – we are pregnant – announcements.  With ease, everyone accepted as “Friend” readily appears in the scrollable news feed. Guard our heart

It is here – this scrollable place subtly alluded to as benign, that you are able to peak into the hearts and minds of everyone you have listed as “Friend”.  With freedom of speech and personal permission practiced as choice, confidence in expression is overly apparent.  There are no boundaries to uphold.  Limitations are endless and margins are wide.  Each “Friend” tagged under their own individualized headline, comment, story, bleep or outburst.  Whatever the yearning, thought, concern, or desire, – it is here – that it is revealed without restriction, in the scrollable news feed.

It is because of these freedoms: casually scrolling through the news feed is no longer a thoughtless luxury.  In a matter of seconds, without any warning, we can be subjected to the depraved whims of those we have enlisted as “Friend”.  At times, we are violated in our thoughts, dishonored in our morals and disrespected in our person. We naively accept with unknowing consent whatever our “Friends” have deemed permissible.

NOTICE: Being in the Circle of Know must be done with absolute caution. It is absolutely necessary that we consciously scroll through with guarded eyes and a pre-determined standard.

Thought to Ponder:

Iron

God has given instruction, “Watch over your heart with all diligence…for from it flow the issues of life” <Proverbs 4: 22-24>.  Just as iron sharpens iron <Proverbs 27:17>, so friends sharpen the minds of each other.

 May we find a commendable purpose in our relationships with those we allow in our – news feed – and consider as “Friends”.

******************************************

Next TO gathering is Friday October 30th. See you there!

charmaine signature (2)

Don’t Judge Me!

To my surprise, after their brief walk over the land behind our house, the three of them returned with their hands filled. As I stood there looking surprised, thinking they were only going for a quick walk with grandma, the kids were excited about their new found treasure.  And my mom was proud to be the pioneer of this unpredicted treasure hunt.

The kids begin to share with me how grandma noticed the tree from afar off. As they got closer, she immediately knew what type of tree it was and did a speedy inspection.  There are no spots or holes on the leaves or the fruit, no white coating or branch dieback, no yellowing or browning of the foliage.  Mom’s findings were confirmed.

Mom had come to a measured decision, a sensible conclusion – a common sense observation – based on the factual findings of the tree.  This was not just a see then say.  It was after an actual assessment, then a judgment was made; the tree was good and the apples were able to be eaten.

It is a sensible conclusion to see an apple tree and expect it to bare apples.

Apple treeUsually, when we think of judgment, we think of a trial or jury; us grudgingly standing before our peers, waiting for a verdict.  Often believing our actions are being weighed on top a conclusion that is based on the opinion of the observer.  We so easily tie judgment to our person, and all the while, missing obvious judgments to things that are straightforward and real-world, every day.

We all are one and the same to the apple tree.  As we go about our everyday lives our actions will be noticed from a far and the words we speak will be evaluated.  As others come close, they will quickly consider what type of ‘tree’ we are and they too will do a speedy inspection to determine the condition of that which we bare.  We all would find it strange to see an apple tree baring kiwi.  Even Jesus the Messiah expected the fig tree to bare figs.  “ And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it.  When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves… ”, 

It is unrealistic to exclaim to others,   “Don’t Judge Me!”  We openly ask those who encounter us to not weigh our actions/words/behaviors.  We often attempt to thwart their common sense observation based on their findings.  But, if we have proclaimed to be an ‘apple tree’, those observing us will undoubtedly expect to see apples.

“Do not make a determination of anyone according to mere appearance, not by their titles, the notoriety they make in the world, or their pretentious show; but make a sure judgment based on the gifts and graces of God’s Spirit displayed through their conscious, conduct and their character.”  John 7:24

Judge Me

Thought to Ponder

What do others conclude when they make sensible observations – based on the factual findings of your “tree”?