Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sabbath Rest: An Intentional Pause in a World that Never Stops - Part I

Do you wish you could stop your hectic schedule? Do you need time to refresh but can’t figure out how to make it possible? I’ve learned an awesome principle that I’d love to share with you on how to experience rest and peace during your busy week.

When I was 14, my dad’s job took our family to Israel for six months. It was a wonderful opportunity to tour the Holy Land and experience a new culture. One of the things we quickly learned is that everything is closed from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday for Shabbat, or the Sabbath. Jewish families spend Shabbat as a day of prayer and rest from work.

Here, our Sabbath day (Sunday) is almost the same as every other day. Yes, many of us attend church, but do we also rest? It’s difficult because most businesses are open, kids have sports activities and often, we’re running around like usual. Our bodies and souls long for rest, but we seldom get it.

But what if we decided to change that in 2016?

In Exodus 20:8-11, God gave the commandment of honoring the Sabbath day:

“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 male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 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.”

I don’t believe that God gave this command to be an unnecessary burden; instead it’s a beautiful gift. Even for us today.

Why We Should We Observe the Sabbath
I’ve come up with five easy-to-remember reasons and corresponding verses on why we should observe the Sabbath day:
·         To Replicate: God rested, we should follow His example: Genesis 2:2-3
·         To Remember God and His Commandments: Exodus 20:8
·         To Revere God: 1 Chronicles 16:29
·         To Rest in His Presence: Psalm 46:10
·         To Renew: Romans 12:2

Excuses We Make
“I’m too busy.”
“People need me.”
“I have work to do.”
“I don’t want to be lazy.”

Our world is always going and always on. Because of technology, there are few boundaries between work and personal life. Our society values busyness.

Whatever the excuse, we all need to rest or we will burn out. (Then we’ll really find ourselves in trouble!) Too often the urgent in our lives crowds out what’s important and we need to change that.

Next Steps
God made our souls to connect with Him. He made our bodies to need rest. Honoring the Sabbath is a beautiful way to experience both!

This week I’d like to challenge you to think about how you spend your Sabbath days. What would you like to change? Give it a try this Sunday! Next week I’ll share some practical tips and a few recipes that will help you to rest and still take care of your family on the Sabbath.

Many Blessings,

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