Friday, May 22, 2009

Today's Sabbath

I did absolutely nothing today. Well... pretty much absolutely nothing anyway. I did get up, showered and dressed. :) I did wander out to the kitchen and make myself a cup of hot chai. I did feed the dog (eventually). But the dishes didn't get done until after the kids got home from school. I didn't do any laundry or cook or clean. I didn't edit photos or do church work. It all needed to be done. But I did... nothing.

I admired the view out my window (even as a squirrel was making off with the remains of a tomato from my ravaged tomato plant). I finished reading a book (for fun). I picked up my guitar and worshiped through song for a little while. I spent some time in Bible study... and some time on facebook... and some time browsing the internet for hairstyles and swimsuits (ugh -- maybe that DOES qualify as work! ;)) Really, though... just totally non-work. Nothing.

I didn't set out to do "nothing" today. But somehow it just sort of happened. Part of me feels extremely guilty. Carl will come home to a messy house -- and he's been working hard 7 days a week. And I'll have to work twice as hard tomorrow (we've got guests coming the day after!). But... part of me feels... rested. A little less frazzled. A little more "centered." And late this afternoon I remembered something I'd read earlier in the week... and it all started to make sense.

In two different books I've been reading recently, I've run into chapters about the Sabbath (a day of rest)... and how
important it really is in our lives. It struck me as a little more than coincidental Monday morning when I realized I was reading about the "day of rest." My Facebook status the day before had listed just how nuts my Sunday was... and questioned, "This is the 'Sabbath?!'" Hmmm....

So... as I was reading on Monday, I was (and still am) full of questions. It made sense that we need that day of rest... that resting could even make us more productive (I do feel like I could accomplish more now, after a few hours of nothing!). But when do you do this? Sunday, for me, is filled with serving at the church, community group, and -- quite honestly -- feels nothing like rest for the most part. Don't get me wrong -- I love it. But I fall into bed tired, not rested. Saturdays... are usually filled with soccer games, or basketball games, or birthday parties, or.... Again, I enjoy watching my kids in their various activities... but at the end of the day (or even before the end of the day) I'm exhausted... not rested....

So... I've been wondering... just how DO we pull off a REAL day of rest? I think I had kind of a mini-sabbath today (I did eventually go to the grocery and load the dishwasher and will attend my daughter's band banquet tonight). It wasn't planned, though. And... like I said... part of me feels guilty. But I also feel... rested... centered... less frazzled... and more ready to take on the world. I needed those few hours of nothing. It's altogether too rare for me, even as a stay-at-home, self-employed mom.

So how do any of us manage a real Sabbath in today's society? Especially on a weekly basis?

Thoughts? Please share them in the comments section!


Friday, May 8, 2009

When is Faith not Enough?

I read something a couple of days ago that really challenged me:
And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists
and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Now... I've read that a thousand times before... okay, so I'm a little prone to exaggeration. :) The point is, the verse wasn't really anything new to me. But then I read the Expositor's Commentary on it:

Notice that the author lays it down with the greatest of emphasis that faith is absolutely necessary. He does not say simply that without faith it is difficult to please God; he says that without faith it is impossible to please him! There is no substitute for faith. He goes on to lay down two things required in the worshiper.... First, he must believe that God exists. This is basic. Without it there is no possibility of faith at all.
But it is not enough of itself.  After all, the demons can know that sort of faith (James 2:19). There must also be a conviction about God's moral character, belief "that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." ...We must believe, not only that God exists, but also that God cares. Without that deep conviction, faith in the biblical sense is not a possibility. (emphasis is mine)
Wow. I guess I never really thought about the 2nd part of that verse... to realize... faith that God exists is not enough. I mean... I knew there was more to it than that... but to have this last part thrown in my face... that we must believe that "he rewards those who earnestly seek him..." to believe "not only that God exists, but that God cares..." really gave me something to think about.

If you asked me if I believed God cares and rewards those who earnestly seek Him, I'd probably say "Sure I do!" But... does my life really reflect that? What about the times I "hope" He answers a prayer the way I want it answered... and maybe fear just a little that He won't? Does that not reflect a deeply hidden belief that I must know better than God... or... since I say I believe He is all-knowing... that I don't really believe He wants what's best for me? If I believed He cared, wouldn't I have a bit more trust at times? Would I be as likely to go my own way those times that His answer isn't what I wanted to hear? (I'm not the only one that occasionally does that, am I?)

Don't those kinds of reactions show just a little bit of a lack of faith??? Don't they show just a little bit of disbelief that He cares??? Don't they hint that while I believe He exists, maybe I don't entirely believe my welfare is at the center of His heart? To be honest, I struggle with that at times. Some events several years ago make it easy for me to believe that sometimes the good of the many outweighs the good of the few. In my head, I know that's a fallacy... but in my heart? I'm not so sure my life always reflects that I really believe what God wants for me is the best for me. Otherwise... why would I kick and scream and drag my feet at times?

And without that kind of faith... 

"Without that deep conviction... in the biblical sense is not a possibility."

Without faith... it is impossible to please God.

Wow. Eye-opener. That one's worth some thought!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Singing for Daddy

Did you ever stop and think...
...about how much God must love to hear us sing ?

Think about it... we were we were created to have a relationship with Him. If you are looking for a relationship, you're usually looking for someone that has similar interests, right? So I'd assume, if He was looking for relationship with us, that He just might want us to have similar interests.... :)

We are also told we were created in His image... and we know God is the one who created us with an appreciation for music. So think how much He must enjoy it. If we, in our imperfect image, can appreciate it, then surely He -- as the perfect original -- must love it!

But this is what really made me think: Consider how much joy a parent gets from his child's singing... no matter how off-key or wavering the voice may be. Especially when the child sings something that the parent's heart can appreciate. I have to admit, that as much as I enjoy hearing my kids now, as their voices and skills are maturing... I think I loved it even more when they were little. I can remember hearing their little voices singing out "So Good to Me" -- without the CD even -- and it just touched my heart :-). There were times my eyes would literally well up with tears. The innocent adoration got me every time. I loved it!

Anyway... I'm rambling... but the point is: the God who created us to love music must love music Himself. And we, as His children singing to Him, must surely touch His heart in a very special way!

So as you're preparing for your worship service this weekend... or even as you're driving down the road singing to your favorite CD (or your kid's favorite CD)... Smile! ---- Share the Joy! ----- Prepare to touch Daddy's heart.... and feel the warmth of His smile! :-)

P.S. I have to admit... In the picture above... Dani really wasn't singing "Hallelujah" like I'd like to imagine... she and a friend were just trying to see who could scream the loudest! LOL! :)