SABBATH: Right Sizing God WEEK 2 (part 1)

This week we're stopping to set our heart right as we "right size" God.
The root idea of Sabbath – all living things thrive only by an ample measure of stillness. Stillness like rest, requires a settling of the heart, a calming of the spirit. Sabbath keeping requires two orientations.
1. One is God-ward.
2. The other is time-ward.

To keep Sabbath well--both as a day and attitude--we have to think clearly about God and freshly about time. We likely, at some, level, need to change our minds about both.

Unless we trust God's sovereignty, we won't dare risk Sabbath. And unless we receive time as abundance and gift, not as rations and burden, we'll never develop a capacity to savor Sabbath.

The first orientation for good Sabbath-keeping, the God ward one, takes practice, mostly through thankfulness. Thankfulness invites and acknowledges the presence of God until you are utterly convinced of his goodness and sovereignty, until he's bigger, and you find your rest in him alone. Acts 3-4 tell the story of Peter and John in Jerusalem. They perform a miracle and Peter seized the opportunity to preach, which lands them in trouble with the Jewish high council. They are ordered them "to speak no longer to anyone in this name." On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. Then they raised their voices together in prayers to God. The prayer begins with this:"Sovereign Lord," And it moves from there into naming and recounting the height and depth and weight of his sovereignty: God made all, rules all, and overrules all that stands in his way. These men practice the sovereignty of God. They rehearse the reality of God's overarching, under girding might. As they grow, God starts to look bigger. And only then, as a kind of addendum or footnote, do they pray about the problem they have.

A Question for YOU?

Are you in the midst of a situation where, as you pray, you find yourself putting your problem first? If so, you're starting where you should end. You're rehearsing the problem, making it seem larger than it is, when what you need to do is rehearse God's greatness and bigness. Then the problem shrinks to its right portion.

Try This Practice:

Today when you pray, start with God. Recite what he has done. Proclaim who he is. And after you have been with Jesus long enough, and he is seen in his right size, then make your petition known.

Post by: Dana Randall, co-leader for the Women of Grace course, REST of GOD

SABBATH: Right Sizing Time WEEK 2 (part 2)

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. Proverbs 11:24

"That's the irony; those who sanctify time and who give time away--who treat time as a gift and not possession--have time in abundance. Contrariwise, those who guard every minute, resent every interruption, ration every moment, never have enough. They're always late, always behind, always scrambling, always driven."
Mark Buchanan from his book, THE REST OF GOD.

Try this Practice:

Try this for a week, giving the gift of yourself first to God and then to others. Be generous with your time. Enter each day with a deep resolve to give your time away, even at times seemingly to squander it,for the sake of purposes beyond your own. Don't just give your time,but yourself--your attention, your affection, the gift of your curiosity and inquisitiveness. See how much time you really have.

Post by Dana Randall, co-leader Women of Grace course on The REST OF GOD

SABBATH - restoring your soul by restoring sabbath WEEK 1


a time set aside for rest and restoration

Sabbath invites us to STOP. In that ceasing, fresh possibilities abound. We can shut our eyes, if we choose—this is one of Sabbath’s gifts, to relax without guilt. But there is also time enough to open our eyes, to learn again Jesus’ command to watch and pray. Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God

Sabbath is a a day or time period set aside for feasting, resting, worshiping, and play. But it is also a posture of the heart and practice we can choose to partake in.

Let's start with the heart. When we say sabbath is a posture of the heart, we mean it is a heart that is restful in the midst of the ups and downs of life while being attentive to the presence of God and others.

When we say practice, we mean sabbath is siezing opportunities throughout your day to slow down, stop working or focusing on accomplishing. It is both intentionally setting time aside in your day to experience sabbath while paying attention to your surroundings. Here's an example: A sabbath practice may simply include pausing long enough to eat lunch seated a table. While your eating, take time to notice the appearance, aroma, and taste of your lunch. This slower pace provides rest and restoration to a meal as opposed to the often frantic pace we keep when we attempt to squeeze lunch into a few minutes while rushing to the next thing. Then take a few moments to be grateful to God for the amazing texture and taste he created fr our pleasure and nourishment.

When we say day or period of time, we mean an entire day or several hours set aside to stop working and to remember and connect with God the creator of all.

Try This Practice:
Take a step or should I say seat, and begin to practice SABBATH. Here's a suggestion to get you started:

Each day this week, set aside 5 minutes with two things in mind:
1) Cease from that which is necessary
2) Embrace that which gives life

Once this week, set aside 4 hours to observe SABBATH by AVOIDING those things we would individually classify as work and PURSUE those things that give life.

As you enjoy sabbath, you might consider the words found in this verse.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

When did you last spend time either resting, worshipping, feasting, playing, or simply sitting still?

Do you sense your soul is longing for sabbath?