Dear sister,

Shooo, you made it.  I know their was an active war against you making it here.  Spiritual warfare is real and our enemy is a crouching lion waiting to pounce.  He desires nothing more than to have us pulled away from our Loving Father and instead focused on the roar that surrounds our daily lives, often drowning out the Lover of our Souls still small voice heard only when we quiet our minds and souls long enough to listen.  I have prayed for you and what the Lord has for us this weekend.  I'm eager to see what that is and explore what it means to Sabbath rest with you!

Love,  Jennifer ;)

Sabbath

What is the state of your soul? 

 

Are you able to hear His still small voice in the course of your daily life?

 

A.  Below are all good things; some are necessary.  But depending on our unique personalities and interests, any of them could begin to control us if they aren't kept in check.  Consider how much a danger each of these poses to controlling you and drowning out His still small voice in your life.  ( 1 no danger--10 extreme danger)

  1. ______ shopping
  2. ______ eating
  3. ______ home decorating
  4. ______ social media
  5. ______ working
  6. ______ ministry
  7. ______ opinions of my friends
  8. ______ opinions of people I don't even like
  9. ______ marriage
  10. ______ children
  11. ______ relaxing
  12. ______ hobbies
  13. ______ exercise
  14. ______ my weight
  15. ______ my appearance
  16. ______ sleep
  17. ______ obsessing over things I've lost

What happens when we put the magnifying glass on these problem areas in our life?  How about when we turn that magnifying glass on Him?

 

B.  Anything we have been given to enjoy outside the _______________ in which it was designed to flourish will cause:

  1. ____________________
  2. ____________________
  3. ____________________
  4. ____________________

 

2.  God's boundaries are ____________________.  Sabbath is meant to keep anything from becoming our idol and create room to enjoy God.

 

3.  The Sabbath was a __________________.  Sabbath means to _________________.  The Sabbath was a _____________ against the children of Israel becoming enslaved again.  He had taken them out of Egypt and now it was time to take the Egypt out of them. 

 

4.  "On the 7th day God finished His work."  Genesis 2:2....act of creation on the 7th day was rest...that completed creation.   Rest was the capstone of creation.

 

5.  We aren't done till we have had our___________!  Goal of Sabbath is to be able to enjoy God.  To enjoy the fruits of our labor once labor has ceased. 

 

C.  "If you don't fight for joy, it's your children who lose.  What do I want my children to remember, my joy in clean floors, made beds and ironed shirts or my joy in the Lord?  I will be remembered by what brought me the most joy."   What brings me joy?

 

1.  "Margin creates opportunities.  For business, margin creates profits.   Margin in families creates memories.  Margin in our personal finances creates generosity.  Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact.  Margin in our life creates options.  Options to peruse dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow and ultimately live life more fully."  Where am I missing the joy margin is meant to bring?

 

2.  Margin keeps us from marginalizing God.  How do I marginalize God when there's no rest from my work?

 

3.  God's practice, and later His institution, of Sabbath is such a counterculture act.  In the midst of a universe that cannot exist for a second without constant motion, God transcended the order of nature.  He stopped.  He rested.  And He prescribes the same for you and me.  It is actually one of the ways that the image of God shows itself in our lives when we stop in a constantly moving world.

 

4.  The Sabbath day was the occasion designed to give room for gratitude to swell into worship.  It was a pre-determined space of time carved out so they could give God the honor and worship due to Him for setting them free.  Pausing from the regular rhythms of gathering manna, worrying about their supply, grumbling about their plight---all of these took a back seat on the Sabbath.  During these hours, their frayed attention would be corralled into one singular focus---Yahweh.  What do I want a break from on my Sabbath?

 

5.  Stilling myself in the presence of God and allowing all the things which have hustled my attention to be cast aside in favor of a purposeful look at my God--this is Sabbath.  Sabbath dulls down the noisiness of my ever-pulsating activities, invites me to refocus my attention to His character, and all He has done for me.  It helps me to be thankful.  It gives me space...to worship.  It keeps me from squeezing the Giver out of the gift.   What creates the most noise in my life? 

 

6.  When I neglect time to create tranquility, serenity, peace and repose in my life, I limit my Christlikeness and miss out on some of God's greatest gifts.  Not only that, but in the words of Jeremiah 25:7, I actually provoke God to anger and bring harm on myself.   When I become a slave to the urgent I miss out on the important and find my life lacking in joy.  Am I a slave to the tyranny of the urgent?  What am I missing?

 

D.  The Israelites had lived in slavery so long that their inclination---even outside of Egypt--was to live like they were still in bondage.  They had internalized the demands to always be working, doing, producing, and performing, never allowed to say 'no' to the demands of their taskmasters.  God knew even with freedom as an everyday reality, they would revert to bondage of some sort.   Slavery had become comfortable for them, enough that they were no longer capable of unassisted freedom.   Have I internalized a slave mentality?  In what ways?

 

1.  The reality is that once slavery has been internalized, the mind remains in bondage even when the body is free.  Without an experience of rest, the concept of margin, breathing room, and boundary is difficult for someone with a slave mentality to understand.    Is my mind in bondage?  How?

 

2.  So, God prescribed for His people---then and now---a loving, gracious gift that would break the chains that remained inside of them.  The gift was called Sabbath.   But to experience the freedom, they needed to practice the discipline of freedom.  What does it meant to practice a discipline of freedom?

 

3.  Discipline and diligence will always be prerequisites if I expect to experience the freedom and rest that God intends for us.  To dive deeply into this concept, and then to align my decisions and lifestyle patterns to the truths that I uncover, will be no walk in the park.   But, freedom lies on the other side of my obedience.   How is obedience involved?

 

4.  To experience Sabbath rest I have to say 'no' to something.  I must regain the self control and inner strength to deny both myself and other people at times.  What do I need to say 'no' to?  It takes discipline to decline.

 

5.  "In freedom Christ has made us free (and completely liberated us); stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared to and submit again to a yoke of slavery (which you have once put off).  Galatians 5:1

 

6.  Sabbath is meant to be a demonstration to an unbelieving world of God's ability to provide.  Israel was 'surprised' when they gathered on the 6th day and there was a double portion of manna for 2 days.  That means they didn't work double hard...He provided.   Do I take a rest from work?  Why/why not?

 

7.  We have to know when we've worked enough, tried enough, gathered enough, purchased enough, said enough, stored enough, kept enough, created enough, produced enough, generated enough, consumed enough, labored enough, expended enough, spent enough.  Somebody has to to say 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.'   What good is a free person who desires to be a slave?

 

8.  Slaves horde, live close-fisted...live in deficiency not holy expectation of His double provision.   Am I a slave?

 

E.  Resist the urge to continue.  Free people shouldn't live like slaves.  "The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.  The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped."  Prov. 11:24-25

 

1.  Generosity breeds, it produces...it releases me from the grip of terror that cages and keeps me from the double portion miracle that God has stored up for me.  Do I believe He will provide the double portion?

 

2.  God used Sabbath to transform the minds of the Israelites from a slave mentality to one of a free people.  He did it by commanding them to honor a Sabbath day--which was critical--but His primary purpose was to create a Sabbath heart.  By being obedient to the law of the Sabbath in their actions (resisting the urge to continue), their hearts and minds would begin to cultivate a different perspective about their new relationship toward work and toward Yahweh.  What would a Sabbath heart look like for me?

 

3.  When I choose to have a Sabbath heart about my activities and possessions, I'm doing more than just keeping myself from living a stress-filled, clutter-laden life.  I am also honoring God's purpose by setting aside space and time to foster holy intimacy.  The break I take from regular pattern of my life in any area give us occasion to see Yahweh clearly without the distraction and distortion of excess.

 When I honor God's margins and the boundaries He has instituted, I endorse His authority, express my continued need for Him, invite His favor in my life and bring honor to His name.  When  I create margin I realize I am not God and I'm leaving room for Him to be God of my life.    If I am convinced of my need for Sabbath rest, here is one way I will begin to pursue that and expectantly wait to see God's presence revealed with joy in my life.