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.

Firm Decision to Do Something

I’ve never been a big celebrator of the New Year.  Not in the traditional sense anyway. The party before midnight was never one that held my attention.  Forcing myself to stay alert, pleasantly socializing without yawning and trying my best not to turn into “Grumpy” was typically my main party focus.  Yet, without delay, by ten o’clock p.m., I would begin to hear the words of the illusionists whispering in my ear, “You’re getting sleeeeeepy”.  All- nighters have never been my strong suite.  But no matter how the year ends, the very next morning is the beginning of anew.  Resolution resolve…..

When I originally began “TimeOut” I can honestly say my focus was not centered on how I could be of help.  Every month I would attend the gatherings with my two closest friends, hoping that by some stretch of the imagination, me getting time away would invigorate me to become more of what God was looking for in a woman, a helper, a wife.  I was sure having time away from the mundane would help me keep myself on track, regroup when necessary, and regain focus if needed.  We have all heard it said time and time again, that every couple needs time apart, right?  Believing that taking a life pause is a welcomed additive to any routine, a short breather is just what every couple needs in order for there to be a healthy balance.  This concept is true in theory.  But, what I soon discovered was; getting time away is nice.  But, by no means does getting away to relax on the beach help me to become a better swimmer.  To become a better swimmer, I need to use my time at the beach, building the skills it would take to enhance my swimming.

Group Swim

Just the same, if I am to become a true woman after God’s own heart, a committed companion to my king who pursued me, a sweet help to the man who holds the responsibility to lead, a wife who “does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life” < Proverbs 31:12>,   I will need to use my time away from my husband as a refresher in building the skills that will enhance my marriage.

Thought to Ponder

As we begin this year with intentional time away, let us firmly embrace the resolution to discover and live out God’s plan for us as Wife.

Next Wives Gathering – January 29, 2016. See you there!! ~ CharMaine

 

“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”.

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

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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”?

First Things First: Part 3 – Strap In

I have always loved amusement parks. There was not one ride there too frightening, too fast, or too furious. Every ride and activity at the amusement park was created for ….. well…. my amusement. I remember riding the roller-coaster wondering if it could go any faster. The coaster car would jerk around corners, swoop around curves and flip in a complete 360. Yet, that didn’t stop me from throwing my hands in the air. I would grit my teeth and dare not close my eyes, to make sure I did not miss the prelude to the upcoming drop to the bottom of the slope. A day at the park consisted of eight hours – minimum. I forever figured, why anyone would go to the amusement park if they were not going to partake in all that the park had to offer.

Well, now-a-days, I am not so eager to spend eight to ten hours at an amusement park. Every ride I get on seems to have my heart racing faster than it should. Seconds after the park aid lowers the safety bars or straps me in the seat, I do a double – triple check to make sure everything is as secure as it can be.

coaster1

What happened to the freedom of enjoying that which was created for my amusement? I can tell you what happened. I became aware! I became aware of all the defects, flaws, and weaknesses of the roller-coaster. I became aware of all the possibilities of what ‘could’ happen if anything went wrong. I began settling my participation on what I thought, knew or could see. No longer basking in the exhilaration and liberty of the ride, but now focused on the likelihood of a disaster.

You and I must not forget. No matter the ride, no matter how fast, no matter how frightening, no matter how furious — God Rules — and has “granted to us His precious and very great promises”, so that through them you and I may become partakers of all He has to offer. <2Peter 1:4>

Now that we have made up our minds to let God manage our lives totally, as we dress perfectly for the park, we are free to partake……. So strap in and enjoy the ride!

For the Good of the People

Many of us would like to think that our decision making dial is always in tune with the right station.  That when times get tough, and a critical decision must be made, we – without hesitation – will make the right choice. No question about it; if it is the right thing to do, simply do it.

Having absolute assurance to do what is right when the time is at hand certainly seems easy when you are standing a far off. However, when the time to decide is up-close and personal, although we hate to admit, we may possibly hesitate. For me, the time seemed to come in an instant; without warning. At least that is the way it felt. Now, as time continue to move, I am learning from a heavenly perspective I knew nothing about, that God had been preparing me for such a time as this. The consequences of my decision were life or death. . Would I do what was right? Would God be esteemed? Would He be pleased? Had the consequences been only for me, I would have been able to accept my fate and move on. * At least that is what I tell myself.*

However, this life or death decree entailed more than just me. The painful effects would be far reaching and different in ways I could not have imagined. Different in severity, different in longevity, different in outcome. Yet, the penalties were inevitable and could not be avoided. Each of us would suffer, in some form or another; because of the decision I had to make.

As I sat with tears streaming down my face, I soon thought of the words of Mordecai to Esther <4:13-14>. “..Do not think in your heart that you will escape…For if you remain completely silent at this time……..you and your father’s house will perish.”

Not for one second did I ever take too lightly the consequences that were attached to this great verdict. But knowing all the while, the heartbreaking decision must be made and it must be made for the good of the people.  For this was the time; one must be sacrificed to save the life of many.

Doing what is right can be excruciatingly painful, yet “He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves……., but (live) for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” <2 Corinthians 5:15>

Do the decisions you make tell who you are living for?

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