Posts Tagged ‘sabbath’

Finding Jesus in a Parking Lot

May 6, 2015

Burdened.

Too much.

Overwhelmed.

How could I be feeling like this? I had just attended a three day women’s event at my church where I listened to the “best of the best” bring incredible insights from the Word of God, and gifted musicians who brought us into the presence of the Lord where we experienced “on earth as it is in heaven.”

But what did I have to show for it besides a bruised heart to go with my slumped shoulders?

Stress had manifested itself physically, and was matching externally what was hemorrhaging internally. I had reached my limit, but didn’t know that’s what the numbness and tingling was from. The electrical pain I was feeling started deep in my soul, and radiated out into my very finger tips.

I was shutting down.

abide2I had missed two weeks of observing the Sabbath. Twenty four hours a week consecrated to God. Holy. I had been absent from abiding with my Father. John 15:5 in the Amplified Bible says, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

I had done just that. I had cut off from vital union with the Vine. Jesus. And I had become a “shriveled up grape” crippled under the pressure of my own weight along with seemingly “noble things for the kingdom” (unending prayer requests from friends, service projects for hurting warriors, and even this three day women’s event).

When I got home and tried to take a nap, adrenaline continued to course through my veins. I couldn’t settle my spirit. I knew I needed Sabbath rest, and I needed to do something that would feed my soul. I decided to get crafty and make a prayer notebook, and get organized! Yes, that’s something that makes me happy. Hobby Lobby and The Container Store each have pieces of my heart. And those pieces can be found in the aisles with Mod Podge, designer scrapbook paper, and well…anything with glitter.

So, I hopped into my car, and prayed the whole two minute trip to Hobby Lobby. I turned off my car, and proceeded to pray out loud, telling God how overwhelmed I was, etc. Then my prayers took a different turn. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me areas in which I needed to repent.parkinglot

That led to me having church in my Mazda! That led to an encounter with the Lord that I had missed during an incredible conference. That led to me being reaffirmed in knowing that NOTHING can fill me like Almighty God, and NO ONE else can touch my heart like He does.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 9:6 and if often quoted at Christmas time. It says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Yes, the government shall be upon HIS shoulders. That’s why His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). He is the only One with shoulders big enough to carry the world (and so much more). When we start thinking WE can do the same, we’ve stepped over the line into pride. A righteous burden can become an unrighteous burden if we’re not careful.

I may have gone to church for three days in a row, but it took me parking my car and sitting still to find Jesus.

 bestill

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Shabbat Part One…

November 22, 2014

One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last three months is that I don’t do “rest” very well. This knowledge has really shaken up my fast paced, full of striving world. I want rest. I don’t want to operate from a worn out, limping place in my soul. No, I want to run with endurance like a cross country athlete.

Many things in my life have changed over the last few months. One of those changes has been where I attend church. I’m really thankful to now be a part of a church family that honors Israel and prays for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).

I’ve been like a sponge soaking up “all things Israel” and I so desperately want to learn more about what Jewish people do and why they do it.

And Shabbat is one of those things that I want to “get”. The Sabbath is a commandment as well as a gift to us from God.

No working on the Sabbath; keep it holy just as GOD, your God, commanded you. Work six days, doing everything you have to do, but the seventh day is a Sabbath, a Rest Day—no work: not you, your son, your daughter, your servant, your maid, your ox, your donkey (or any of your animals), and not even the foreigner visiting your town. That way your servants and maids will get the same rest as you. Don’t ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and GOD, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength. That’s why GOD, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest. Deut. 5:12-15

I’m blessed in my life to know a couple of people who have been observing Shabbat for quite some time now. I know the difference it’s made in their lives, and I want that same kind of difference to rain peace and rest over me. And I also want the blessings of God…who doesn’t?!?

Pastor Mary Jo Pierce at Gateway Church has been instrumental in teaching me, and so many others, about Shabbat and what it means to honor God by observing the Sabbath. She often references a quote from Joe Lieberman’s book, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath. The quote is originally from the Talmud:

“The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Moses in my storehouse is a goodly gift, and Sabbath is its name.”

The Sabbath is a twenty-four hour period of time set apart to honor God and to rest. It should look differently than the normal routine of your week. Whatever is work or labor intensive to you should be replaced with rest and fun. Yes, fun…do you remember what that is?!

Are you thinking you don’t have time for that?? I get it. It definitely takes a mental shift to embrace this new way of life.

I thought, “Oh this will be no big deal. I’ll light some candles, read some prayers, have a fabulous meal….” But let’s just say my first time to observe Shabbat looked anything like what I thought it would. I am a perfectionist. I can be Type A when I am expected to perform well. I had placed a lot of expectations upon myself. I mean, who wants to fail at their first attempt at something deemed “holy”?! I sure didn’t.

But as you’ll read, my story reveals that I did fail by perfectionist standards. The Lord taught me great lessons through it all, and my performance driven self took a back seat to the Holy God who met me on Achievement Avenue. I didn’t win a blue ribbon for the most perfect Shabbat gathering, but I did win a VIP pass into the presence of our God Most High!

**My Shabbat experience is highlighted in my blog entry: Shabbat Part Two**

Sifted

November 22, 2014

Sifted.

Oh, the journey of a name!  This blog has had a name for two years, but is just now being birthed! Talk about a long “pregnancy”…

But I was being sifted.  That whole process just takes some time, ya know?

So, what does “sifted” have to do with anything?!

One of my favorite things in Scripture is wheat. For years, I’ve been obsessed pouring over Bible verses and pictures of wheat fields! I’m also really fascinated with the process of how wheat is harvested.

Reaping. Gleaning. Threshing. Winnowing. Sifting. Collecting.

In the Bible, these are a few of my favorite wheat related stories: Ruth was a gleaner (which is someone who walks behind the reaper and collects the stalks of wheat that have been left behind). I’d love to have coffee with her, and have her talk me through the process. Gideon wanted to avoid drawing attention from his enemy, so he processed his wheat in a wine press. Then there were the disciples. They were known to walk through fields and grab a handful of wheat as a snack. Oh, and let’s not forget that Satan wanted to sift them like wheat.

But to be honest, there’s just something “free” about wheat. I love how it dances in the fields. I love how the sun is reflected off of it. I love knowing that there have been generations affected by wheat and the processing of it. I also love how complicated it is, and that a million different beautiful things that can be created with it (complicated status and all)!

Because all of the above describes us, right?

Free. Dancing. Reflective. Processors. Complicated. Creative.

There’s just something so “life giving” in the messiness. Something so “God” in all that.

Some of my sweetest times with the Lord have come from me crying it out during a time of being sifted…while the impurities are being stripped away.  Of course, they didn’t taste or feel sweet at the time, but the memories and journal entries are some of my favorites.

One of the things the Lord is sifting out of my life right now is busyness.  I’m on a quest to find REST!

This coming Friday, November 21st, will be the first time to observe Shabbat in my home.  I can hardly wait!

I’ve been an honored guest in a friend’s home for Shabbat once, but I have never been the one to light the candles, say the blessings, etc.  I’m nervous and excited all at the same time.

Sabbath is a new sifting for me. You can follow my journey or better yet, join me! In fact, I’ve been waiting for the right timing…for a “go ahead” sign from God to release and publish this blog. It’s been a 2-3 year project that I’ve kept in the recesses of my heart. I’ve deleted many previous entries not knowing when and where to start. It’s all be a part of the process. I am guaranteeing right now that I’ll mess it up along the way, but years from now I know I’ll be glad that I took this first step.

Just like the priests had to stick their toes in the swollen Jordan River before it would part (see Joshua 3), I’m proverbially sticking my toe in the water and inviting a holy rest into my life. I pray you’ll do the same!

Lord, please sift the busyness out of my life and teach me how to Sabbath well. Amen.