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.

The Prescribed Way …

Fourteen easels, each holding its very own pre stenciled canvas; coupled with a set of painting brushes, a water bowl and a makeshift paint palette that included all the needed colors lying evenly side by side.  The picture to be painted had been predetermined and the instructor stood daintily in the front of the room awaiting our attention. There was only one woman there who attended this type of party before, but the rest of us were readily listening for instructions.

We were instructed to paint one petal at a time. Beginning with the darker color at the base and gradually moving to the edge with a lighter hue. We were shown basic stroke types to help blend the colors that would cause the petals to seem soft. We were coached on where to place the white paint so that the flower would appear to be hit by the sun in just the right spot. We were even told of techniques that would help hide mistakes causing them to appear as an intentional part of the painting. (This was my favorite “how to” since I personally had quite a few slip-ups to hide.)

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I had such a great time. Not one lady in the room held the title of artistes; yet, with the specific detailed assistance, we each sat at our easels with a small sense of possible. It was evident to us all, that if we listen to the tutor and follow the prescribed way, we could claim Leonardo da Vinci before this evening was over. Yet, right there in our mist, there was one. One who tired at the teachers directives, quickly moving ahead, utilizing just enough of the edicts to get the task done.

The instructor was there to help ensure our painting had the possibility of a masterpiece. Without a deliberate path, the evening would end with a room full of completed, kindergarten color-swatch posters. However, with clear guidance, our chances of feat were maximized. With given specifics, we were able to accomplish what would have otherwise been – precise doodle.

Thought to Ponder

We too, start out with the concept of readily listening to the Instructor. But to easily, we tire at the Teacher’s directives and quickly move ahead; missing out on much needed “need-to-knows” in our relationship with our husband.  Thankfully, God has provided each of us with a pre-stenciled canvas, a set of painting brushes, a water bowl and a well-made paint palette that includes all the colors we will ever need. All we must do to make our marriage a masterpiece….. is to “inquire of HIM about how to do it in the prescribed way”. <1Chronicles 15:13>

En-hahns

Enhance [en-hans, -hahns] to raise to a higher degree; intensify; magnify: To increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness.

We cased the store looking in every show case for sparkly splendor. There were all shapes: round, princess, oval and emerald. And there were all sizes: 0.1, 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10. We oooo’ed and aawww’ed over each and every piece while totally ignoring their prices. There was no question of their value and their attractiveness was evident. We both began pointing through the glass to make our selection. As soon as the metal was wrapped around our finger we stretched our arms forward, left hand paralleled to our faces, with our fingers stretched apart. We were impressed by the flicker. Simply beautiful!

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Little did we know, each piece was intentionally treated to be admired to the fullest. The goal of the manufacturer is to place such caring attention to every detail that upon display the diamonds would be an eyeful. Diamond enhancements are specific treatments designed to improve the visual characteristics of the diamond while clarity enhancements determine a diamonds value. The overall objective is to remove any dark inclusions, and fill fractures to make small internal cracks less visible. There by, raising the diamond to a higher degree; increasing its value, quality, desirability and attractiveness.

On September 1st, TimeOut will facilitate a virtual (online) marriage study. This study will challenge you to follow God in your marriage, address your unique role as a wife and encourage you to expand your relationship with your husband – all without ever leaving your living room!

 Enhancing Your Marriage: A Woman’s Bible Study  material by Judy Rossi 

  • This comprehensive study consists of 12 Lessons. Each lesson will be covered for a month. For example: September – Lesson One / October – Lesson Two
  • Study books are needed and can be purchased online CLICK HERE or at any local bookstore.
  • All discussions, questions, and feedback will be posted /communicated through the TimeOut website on the “Marriage Study” page. There will be no chat rooms.
  • Each participant is required to contribute / comment to each lesson at least once a month.
  • Personal email addresses will be used by the facilitator only. Emails will be used to convey offline information. Participants may also contact the facilitator by email for offline – non group – concerns.
  • For anonymity, each participant will provide the facilitator with a fictitious name. This name will be the participants’ public user name, to be used by the participant for all public post on the “Marriage Study” page
  • Registration has begun. CLICK HERE to register today!

I believe, when we know and live God’s plan for marriage, our marriages excel, the world sees God, and God is honored. I pray that you will join me in this heart challenging study.

Helping each other. Enhancing our marriages. Refining our roles.

Register today! This online study begins September 1st.

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Inside and Out ..

It was so nice letting the windows up and getting a nice breeze flowing through the house. At first it seemed that winter decided it was going to hang around the entire twelve months. Thankfully, spring broke free. The warm weather was comforting in its own – wrapped in the sun – kind of way. After piddling around the house a bit, I decided I would take a quick walk around the block. (Yes, I should have been jogging but that’s another blog post). What better way to celebrate such a beautiful, unexpected weather change than being outside.  Right there on the corner sits one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood. Of course, I have seen this house thousands of times with its well-manicured yard and perfectly trimmed Korean Boxwood hedges.  But, probably like me, the residents were taking advantage of this winter day that felt like summer. This visibly meticulously tidy house on the corner, gave me a look in-and a surprising surprise. The garage door had been left wide open. And there were boxes, bags, trash and rubbish everywhere! Garage

Who would ever take such careful methodical care of the outside and not dedicate as much, if not more care to the inside?

1 Kings 6, gives us every precise detail King Solomon used when building the temple; cubit by cubit. “And the inside of the temple was cedar, carved with ornamental buds and open flowers. So Solomon overlaid the inside of the temple with pure gold. He stretched gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. The whole temple he overlaid with gold.”  With exactness and intent, King Solomon spared no expense of the beauty the temple of the Lord would display – the outside – and the inside.

You and I have a case such as King Solomon.  We too have a temple of the Lord, meticulous in its creation and methodical in its care. And often, without us being aware, the tidiness of our upkeep, the manicure of our hedges, and even the chains across the front are being observed.   On any given day, there will be someone passing by; complementing our efforts, admiring what beautiful care has been taken of the outside.

 But I ask …. What will they see if you left your garage door open?

 For do you not know that you are the temple of God….” <1Cor 3:16>

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First Things First (Part 2): A New Dress

There is a seemingly known stereotype that women love to shop. I’ve been told that apparel shopping is a fun, relaxing excursion. That if there are five things every woman enjoys doing, shopping would be among the top three. Shopping has been known to relieve stress, diminish tension and reduce anxiety. It has been assumed that shopping is enjoyed by the majority of women and can be even more enjoyable when coupled with a few of their closest friends. Although I have not done any extensive research on the shopping habits of women, I can boldly stand in the minority pool of this supposedly highly enjoyed pass time. Contrary to popular belief, I am a woman who despises shopping for clothes. Frankly, for me shopping is utterly exhausting and I have never Purple Dressfound it to be anything short of a time stealer. After hours of searching and looking for the right outfit, the right style and the right color, joined with endless scuffles of trying on, taking off and trying on again — apparel shopping is something I attempt to avoid at all cost.

But wait – this activity I have come to dread, does bring with it an upside. There does seem to be a reason for this madness. A purpose if you will… a rational outcome to be accomplished. After all that repetitive work that initially looks to be humdrum, I eventually find a dress that fits me perfectly!

Once you and I have resolved to be solely dependent on Christ (no longer searching for what to wear), Christ tells us to put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. < Ephesians 4:24 > This is for us to know. That after our acknowledging where God rules in our life and making up our mind to let Him governor our lives totally, there is inevitably a reason for the madness. The reason: for us to put on our New Dress!

You and I dressed perfectly in the character of Christ: a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience….. And above all these we are to put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Dress to Impress,

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A TIME of REST for …….

wonder woman

Once again I put the “pedal to the metal” and have zoomed through the past few weeks. It seemed that I was successful at everything I set out to do since all the bodies (husband, kids, parents, friends, church, colleagues) around me appeared to be smiling in satisfaction of all the million task I completed. But for some reason I cannot account for this constant blur in my right eye or this striking pain in my left temple. My nose sometimes gives a small twitch and I may occasionally notice a few itchy hives on my right arm.

But after spending a long day fighting for truth and justice, alongside Superman, Batman and the rest of the justice league. Arriving to my destination in my invisible jet – I finish dinner, clean the table, load the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen floor, put one more load in the washing machine, take the kids to a band, basketball, piano, swim, track or soccer practice, help with homework, change a diaper, pick my high school’er up from study group, give someone a bath, read a bed time story and pray. Suddenly  things would go black.

Out of nowhere I’d hear my husband say, “Babe, are you still listening?”…..

God created the heavens and the earth; and on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all His work that he had done. <Gen 2:2>

You and I carry on in our everyday activities as if what we are doing merit honor great in comparison to creating the universe.  But even God devoted an entire day to do nothing but REST.

Will I see you at the Next “TO” gathering? Friday – May 31st, 2013.

I’m sure you can use a “TimeOut” to REST?

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What Would They Say?

One by one. Each woman in the room took her turn exposing her own heart to the woman whom we all had come to celebrate. Each story building on the one before it; extended tales of personal impact and life changing moments.  There was no set number to the years gathered around the long clothed table with its beautifully discreet cake centerpiece. Today, she was turning 50 and without hesitation we all wanted to be a part of her life milestone.Heart in rocks

Our friend sat in our mist with her humble demeanor, gracious tone and quiet strength. We laughed back as far as we could remember, sharing the all-inclusive 27 years. Reminiscing of the days when her conduct was a bit more abrupt, her words laced with scold and her strength delivered with brute.  Her closest friends sharing of the days they first met, and how neither of them had any idea of all the peaks and valleys God had in store.

This time together was more than a celebration of our friend. This time together turned out to be a countless recalling of a God who had been more than gracious throughout the years.  I walked away from the evening loving and admiring her more than I had when I arrived. Her friendship and her disposition had been confirmed through the words of others.  I also walked away from the evening with a new wonder. A new what if…  I wondered – – what if….What if all the women I knew, all the ladies I had come in contact with, every woman who has gotten to know me over the years and all those who watched me from a far, took the time to gather around a table and share, one by one. Telling of my character, talking of my conduct, and exposing me from the inside out?

 What would they say?!?

 “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quit spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” ~ 1Peter 3:3

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 Hope to see you all at the next TimeOut gathering on May 31st and I also look forward to seeing you at our Annual Breakfast – Saturday-July 13th 2013!

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