Saturday June 24, 2017

KEEPING THE SABBATH includes much more than attending church or synagogue, which can often turn into a day of rushed spiritual busyness. It’s more than taking a day off from your job, then exhausting yourself with other tasks. Most of us can make hard work out of play? Finding a day filled with genuine rest for the body and replenishment for the spirit is a challenging disciplines in this rushed and beleaguered world. It’s a radical and intentional commitment to carve out regular sabbath space, not waiting “until I have time for it.”
Here are some pointers to guide your commitment to the practice of keeping sabbath:
• Listen for what your body tells you it needs: a walk? a nap? gentle exercise?
• Rest emotionally from worry and stress. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own” (Matt. 6:34).
• Move slowly. Walk instead of run. Replace shallow breathing with deep cleansing breaths.
• Enjoy the activities that delight you. While cooking, for instance, may be drudgery for some, others consider it a joy to prepare a favorite dish while not looking at the clock.
• Don’t think you must be constantly accomplishing something.
• Hold the day lightly, allowing it to flow rather than being tied to a schedule—even a schedule of R and R!
Have the courage to arrange your life to conform to this sacred pattern that honors the limits of your humanness. Watch as your resting turns to joy and then to thanksgiving for the gifts of life and the blessings of down time.

Friday June 23, 2017

Genesis 21:8-21
21:8 The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

21:9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac.

21:10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.”

21:11 The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son.

21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you.

21:13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.”

21:14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes.

21:16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept.

21:17 And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.

21:18 Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”

21:19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

21:20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.

21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt

Wednesday June 21, 2017

IN A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE, both people eventually understand that being married takes work, and then they commit to growing together in love for the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, Christians also seem to make the mistake of confusing the beginning of something with its end. There is an abbreviated form of Christianity that has become popular in recent years. It can be expressed in a simple statement: “I got saved.” When I hear someone say this, I cringe.
The main reason this statement is inadequate is that it suggests that all that really matters in people’s spiritual lives is one significant experience. They need to “get saved.” Nothing they do before or after that moment is very important.
When the church adopts this approach to Christianity, there is a lot of effort put into simply asking people if they have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If the answer is “yes,” then we can check that person off our list. If they say “no,” then all of our effort is focused on trying to get those persons to come to a place where they will pray one prayer, often called the sinner’s prayer.

Monday June 19, 2017

WE ARE NOT MEANT to travel through life alone. We are meant to encourage one another, to pray for one another, and to love one another. When we hear of someone facing a particular struggle, we often respond by saying, “You’ll be in my prayers.” But how often do we remember to hold this person in our prayers? We so easily say those well-meaning words only to let the action fall through the cracks and disappear into the busyness of life.