NO READING TODAY!
P.S. I will be revisiting the girls at Teen Challenge today So when you get a minute, or two, or ten, please say a prayer for us! We at Tamar Ministries are so blessed to be a part of the Teen Challenge ministry. Click here to visit their FaceBook page… hopefully! Technology has not been my friend today!
Posts Tagged With: sabbath
NO READING TODAY!
Take a Break
“What shall I do LORD?” Acts 22:10
Is that not the question of the century or what! What’s shall I do Lord? For many of us true rest and stillness is a very difficult concept to master. For me, it is because I love feeling productive. I love the feeling of having accomplished something, or better yet many things. It makes me feel useful, valuable… important. If I’m not DOING something i feel less valuable.
Did I seriously just say that? Just looking at that sentence make me shake my head! How! How in the world can my physical activity affect my value? I mean, if a car isn’t driving me somewhere does that decrease it’s a value or ability to do so later? No. Actually, most cars are worth more if they haven’t been driven extensively and essentially worn out. Or my children. If they’re sitting and watching TV or sleeping rather than cleaning does that make them less valuable to me? What about my coffee maker? It’s job is to make coffee when I want it. I did does just that. So during those times when it’s not making coffee does it lose its value? Nope. So where in the world do we get the idea that if we’re talking a break of any length that we lose our value? Or that we’re not useful? If my coffee maker is not being used at the moment does that mean it has ceased to be a useful tool for my kitchen? If my car isn’t being driven at the moment has its ceast from being a useful way for me to get to the grocery store? Oh! Or what if it even ran out of gas which is totally happened! Has it ceased to be useful to me? By no means! Was it the car’s fault it ran out of gas, or mine?
Why do we feel so guilty about running out of gas physically or spiritually or emotionally? Why is it so hard to allow ourselves to be humans in need of a break? Why do we refuse to rest? Why do neglect to fill up our gas tanks or our water reservoir and then get angry when they run out and we’re forced to stop our movement and take a break and pray?
Prayer is our fuel and time in the word is our living water. The Lord is my strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” Genesis 2:2-3
Out of the two hundred sixty-seven times the word “rest” is found in the New International Version of the Bible, this is the first. Firsts and lasts are important in the Bible, they usually tell us a lot in just one short verse. This instance is no different. It absolutely thrills me that this verse is the first time that the word “work” is mentioned AND the first time the word “rest” is mentioned, coincidence? DEFINITELY NOT!!! God’s “work” of creating was finished in seven days. Do I think they were literal twenty-four hour days? Yes. Why? Because He’s GOD, what other reason do I need??? When you really think about it, it probably could have only taken Him an instant to create the entire universe, again, He’s GOD. But instead He took His time, and enjoyed the work of His hands, continually stepping back from each stage of creation to admire His work and remark emphatically “It is good”. He enjoyed what He was doing. And yet, on the seventh day, He still stopped doing it. Why? To set an example for us. I mean, you don’t honestly think He rested because He was tired do you? Remember, He’s GOD. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done something just because my kids were watching, said something because I knew my kids would “over-hear” me. I believe this instance to be the same. God was resting as an example for us to follow, because we being, well, not God, need rest. An entire day of it every week.
Life is a journey, a very long one for most of us. One in which many rest stops are required in order to complete the journey successfully. Many people have set out to accomplish something monumental, only to fall short of their goal due to lack of rest and/or support. Human shoulders were never created to carry burdens, especially large ones for long periods of time, and neither were human hearts.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon [the richest king Israel ever had] in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” Matthew 6:25-34
Yahweh God, is our Father. Jesus the Messiah is our husband. The Holy Spirit is our comforter and helper. Together these three are one God, a God who cherishes us and calls us all by name. While our worries can not add a single hour to our life, they do subtract them! There are many studies that have shown how stress is very bad for our bodies. Stress, or worry, tears at our spirits. It makes them sick, sometimes to the point of becoming physically ill in a multitude of ways. Yet ALL of this can be avoided by simply resting.
God knows what we need before we ever need it. He had only created mankind the day before and yet the very next day, before they had even had a chance to work let alone get tired, He was instituting the first Sabbath day. Boy our God is good!!! He CARES for us. He cares about the little details in our lives, like the food we eat and the clothes we wear, so why wouldn’t He care about how we rest as well? First Peter chapter five verse seven tells us to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will HIMSELF restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
In Matthew seven verse seven Jesus tells us that when we ask for things, God hears us and sends answers to our prayers. They’re not always the answers we like, but they are always, without fail, the answers we need. In verse nine through eleven He explains, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” God cares for you like a Father, He wants to provide for you all the things you need… including rest!
Right now you may feel like God has forgotten or forsaken you, but that is a bold-faced lie from the father of lies himself! God tells us through the prophet Isaiah: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;” (49:15) Your name has been engraved on the palms of His hands with the nails that pierced those beautiful strong hands at Calvary. Trust me my friend, He is incapable of forgetting or ignoring you because He cares for you too much. But perhaps, you’ve been ignoring Him. His pleadings for you to slow down and notice Him, sitting in your quiet time chair waiting for you to join Him.
Do you have a spot where you routinely meet with God? A place that is set aside for that very special purpose? If not I suggest you find one, it’s amazing what a difference it can make! How just visiting that sacred spot can calm your soul, only if it’s for a brief moment. You can “still and quiet your soul; like a weaned child with its mother,” (Psalm 131:2) there. When a child is nursing its mother is its source of nourishment and therefore when it is in its mother’s arms it will fuss until it receives the milk it desires. However, a weaned child in its mother’s arms is a completely different story. Once weaned from its mother’s milk the child no longer seeks its mother’s arms for nourishment, but for company, for love, affection and comfort. So it also should be for us in our Father’s arms. We should be routinely (daily and weekly) seeking shelter from life’s storms under the wings of the Father who cares for us enough to engrave our names on His palms.
Yes, a Father like that I can find rest in! And so can you, when you seek Him you will find Him. But don’t seek Him for what He can do for you or what He can give you. Seek Him because He loves you. Seek Him because He cares for you. Seek Him because you want to know Him more as the Father, husband and comforter that He is. Cast all your cares, burdens and anxieties on Him because He cares for you! He is love, get to know that love more intimately through prayer and study. When you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him and He will knock your socks off! He has mine! He loves you so desperately; won’t you let Him tell you how much? Give yourself permission to take some time and rest in the LORD today.
I’m too tired to trust and too tired to pray,
said I, as my overtaxed strength gave way.
The one conscious thought that my mind possessed,
Is, oh, could I just drop it all and rest.
Will God forgive me, do you suppose,
If I go right to sleep as a baby goes,
Without questioning if I may,
Without even trying to trust and pray?
Will God forgive you? Think back, dear heart,
When language to you was an unknown art,
Did your mother deny you needed rest,
Or refuse to pillow your head on her breast?
Did she let you want when you could not ask?
Did she give her child an unequal task?
Or did she cradle you in her arms,
And then guard your slumber against alarms?
Oh, how quickly a mother’s love can see,
The unconscious yearnings of infancy.
When you’ve grown too tired to trust and pray,
When overworked nature has quite given way:
Then just drop it all, and give up to rest,
As you used to do on mother’s breast,
He knows all about it – the dear Lord knows,
So just go to sleep as a baby goes;
Without even asking if you may,
God knows when His child is too tired to pray.
He judges not solely by uttered prayer,
He knows when the yearnings of love are there.
He knows you do pray, He knows you do trust,
And He knows, too, the limits of poor, weak dust.
Oh, the wonderful sympathy of Christ,
For His chosen ones in that midnight tryst,
When He told them, “Sleep and take your rest,”
While on Him the guilt of the whole world pressed –
You have trusted your life to Him to keep,
Then don’t be afraid to go right to sleep.
– Ella Conrad Cowherd*
* Ella Conrad Cowherd. Streams in the Desert. (Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan, 1997), 476.
The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of streets with Dwellings. IF you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on My holy day, IF you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’S holy day honorable, and IF you honor it by not going your own way, and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, THEN you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:11-14)
Lord, HOW do I keep my feet from breaking Your Sabbath? Honestly, I’ve never been taught. If I’ve heard sermons on it, I don’t remember them. But LORD, I know that this is important because you keep bringing it up! And I LOVE You for that!!! You truly are my heavenly husband who keeps harping at me “would you please sit down! You’re making ME tired!” You are just that wonderful! So Lord, how should I keep the Sabbath holy?
This is what the LORD says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. But IF you are careful to obey Me, declares the LORD, and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy by not doing any work on it, THEN kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever. People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the western foothills, from the hill country and the Negev, bringing burnt offerings, incense and thank offerings to the house of the LORD. BUT if you do not obey Me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses. (Jeremiah 17:21-27)
In Jeremiah 17:21 it says to “be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath” the word “load” in Hebrew is mas’sa and according to Strongs is: a burden; specifically, tribute, or (abstractly) porterage; figuratively, an utterance, chiefly a doom, especially singing; mental, desire – burden, carry away, prophecy, x they set, song, tribute. So, if I’m reading this right then for one day every week we are to lay down our burdens, to stop carrying them around with us. We should set aside one whole specific day every week where we put aside the labor of our hands and come join You at the foot of the cross where we spend the whole day laying our physical and spiritual burdens down at Your feet asking for You to take them and bear them for us. I think You’re saying that we need to dedicate one whole day to resting in Your arms, and not JUST in the arms of the Lazy Boy in the living room in front of the TV. An entire day to rend our hearts, searching them with Your light to find any deceitfulness in them so that You may remove it from us! Lord, “blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it’s roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it’s leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8) Lord, may I be that “man”! May I trust in You Yahweh, may my confidence be in You… my confidence IS in You. May I be like a tree planted by the water sending my roots straight to Your strengthening streams of Living water – Your Word the Bible. Then I will not fear when trials come and will have no fear when hard times come – may I always bear much fruit for You and Your glory. Lord Jesus, I praise You and thank You that You love me so desperately that You’ve… strongly suggested… that I take an entire day every week to spend with You, our own date day! You ARE so incredibly sweet, I love You!!!
Day 3 of my Spiritual Stay-cation
Well folks, the time “off” has been helping. I can honestly say that I am doing better today. Yesterday afternoon when I went to go pick up Gabe from Good News Club at school I stopped by the grocery store to pick up another two dozen eggs to replace the ones that went missing. And hey! I was in luck and they had the 18 packs that I really wanted the day before. SCORE! So I bought two, because ya know, with Christmas baking and all I would need more right?
Then when we got back home I had the kids start picking up their toys and cleaning the house while I worked on the dishes in the kitchen and got the counters almost completely cleared back off again. Hallelujah! I had some broken Christmas tree ornaments drying on one counter so I went to hang them up on the tree and I didn’t even cry when the whole tree fell over!!! I *almost* lost it, but I didn’t! YAY! That’s a sure sign that my stress levels are going down! Time with God alone really does help! Amazing!
Gabe and I decided that we should just have egg sandwiches for dinner so that we would have more time to clean the house up, that and we had lots of eggs now! Then Sean called, he had stopped on his way home and bought two dozen eggs! I about fell on the floor laughing (for real)! Now we had FIVE dozen eggs! Thank You Lord… I think. Looks like I’ll be making a LOT of divinity this year for Christmas. 🙂
Last night we decided to let the cat sleep on the end of the bed, big mistake! She scratched and scratched all night long until Sean finally kicked her out of our room, then Anna woke up at 4 AM! Why???? But you know what, it was OK, because I had taken several naps during the day while I was camped out on the couch writing so it didn’t bother me a bit and I was still able to get up at 5 bright and chipper and ready to praise the Lord. And I’ve been going strong ever since.
I have to admit that I haven’t really spent so much time in the word today as yesterday, but instead I’ve been working on getting a new blog site together. The original one at www.TamarMinistries.net wasn’t able to provide a “subscribe” feature and this new one does! I’ve been praying about that since MAY! Hallelujah! So all day today I’ve been working on moving things over and getting settled into my new home here at http://www.tamarknochel.wordpress.com
God has really been showing me a lot lately how He’s been setting all these things into place for me so that when His timing is right everything will line up and the promises He has made will come to fruition. In His timing and in His way. And I trust that. I don’t want anything that isn’t in His timing and His way, because then it’s at best still only second best. And I want His BEST for me and my family, I want His dream for us. I want His goal for us. I want His blessings and favor for us, no matter what they look like. I know that He loves me and I trust that any decision He makes will be made completely out of love for me. Period.
Have you been wondering what my Spiritual Stay-cation has looked like? Day 1 looked like shopping with my friend Kelly, Day 2 looked like sitting on the couch the whole time Gabe was at school, Day 3 has looked like sitting on the computer all day, all three days have been cutting out absolutely all things that don’t entail feeding my family (which I have made as minimalistic as possible). I called off Bible study today and Monday night, and volunteering at the school too. I have made myself and my stress-level a priority, if something starts to frustrate me I stop it and walk away. I have turned the ringer off of my phone, it’s still on and I’m checking it periodically, but it’s amazing to me how the lack of those message tones has been so amazingly peaceful! I’ve come to realize that they’re like little voices saying “Pay attention to ME! I need your immediate attention!” No, they DON’T need my immediate attention, my family and my God need my immediate attention everyone else will just have to wait until I get around to answering your messages! God bless a silent phone! Basically I have set these seven days aside as a Sabbath rest week. My own little vacation with God on the mountain of Shalom peace. Lord, thank You for strongly suggesting that I do this, I can’t thank You enough for the rest I have been finding in letting these things go by the wayside for a time! I pray that next Monday come slowly! I am really enjoying this private time with You!!! I LOVE YOU LORD!!!!
I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. Daniel 8:21
Thank You Lord! Someone who understands!!! I too am EXHAUSTED. I have been quite successfully burning my life like a taper candle lit from both ends. I have been moving and working and living non-stop for as long as I can remember! As a mom there is no end in sight to the “To Do” list we keep in our heads, it just keeps growing and truly never ends! As mothers we give and give and give until there’s simply nothing left to give of ourselves and yet somehow we still find ways to keep giving. Lately we’ve been so busy I have had no time to cook, so we’ve been eating a lot of fast food lately. My husband has been commenting about how he’s missing homemade food. And I keep replying “Me too!” Too bad no one is willing to come to my house, cook a nice big dinner for us (so that it’s my house that smells yummy), will serve us at our table and clean everything up afterward! I don’t know that such angels exist, but LORD, if You’d like to send one my way about now I’d really appreciate it! And while You’re at it someone to clean my house from top to bottom and manage my family too… You know, Daniel took “several days” off from work because he was ill from the tremendous vision You had given him. Can I call in sick to life for a few days too?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life. I love the ups and downs of the rollercoaster I live on. But as the ups are way up there, the downs are way down there too! And ever so close together. I realized a few days ago that I don’t have a Sabbath day. I don’t have an official day where I truly do nothing all day. I’ve been living under the very Christian (as opposed to legalistic Jewish) philosophy of a break here and a break there equal a Sabbath rest and that’s OK too. But I’m living the reality that this philosophy doesn’t work! Period! Because you know what happens? You start out fine and you take your “break” every day – however long it may be. But then life creeps in, something happens and one day your break gets preempted by an emergency of some kind, say the cat throws up on your favorite rug or your child is sick. So you skip your break that day. And then a few days later something else happens during your break time. And then before you know it a month has gone by since you even thought about taking a break let alone actually took one! And you think to yourself, “Hmmmmm….. maybe that’s why I’ve been so tired lately.”
Are you like me? Are you able to relate at all to what I’m saying? Honestly, part of me wants you to say “Yes” just so I can have some company in my misery and yet the other part of me wants you to say “No” so that I can ask you what you’ve done to make that answer even possible! Cause right now, in this moment of absolute exhaustion, I could really use some helpful everyday tips!
Siiiiiigh….. I digress, and distress… it looks like this may be just the reason that one of the Ten Commandments is “Remember the Sabbath DAY by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or your maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
God commands an entire day out of every week to be holy – or set aside – for REST. ZERO work allowed. PERIOD. In fact, I was just noticing that of all the Ten Commandments, keeping the Sabbath DAY holy uses more ink than any of the other nine commandments. The only commandment that even comes close is not making idols for yourselves. Which I find interesting because when you think about it, by expecting yourself to perform all seven days of the week instead of six, you’re expecting more from yourself than God even does! Even HE took an entire day off (Genesis 1:31-2:3), and it’s not like He actually needed it! HE’S GOD! So who do we think we are to not need that day of rest? God? HA! Yeah right! That, in a way, is declaring ourselves gods, which is idolatry! YIKES! Father, please forgive me! No wonder I’m exhausted! I’m trying to be God! Geez!
Ha, you know, in a really strange way, that takes a load off my shoulders to know that I’m not God. Huh! I had no idea that’s what I was doing! Sabbath day HERE I COME!!! Are you kidding me?!? Where have you been all my life? I’m jumpin’ into my jammies, throwing in a frozen pizza for dinner, serving it on paper plates, curling up on the couch with a good book and a blanket!!! I’ll see you tomorrow folks!