Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div.
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Salvation and Stilettos Blog
Salvation and Stilettos Blog
|Posted on May 10, 2017 at 3:20 PM||comments (0)|
REST is a good promise. And if I were a betting person, I would probably win the bet that you have never considered rest as a good part of God’s promise to us. When we celebrate the promises of God as recorded in the Holy Writ, we most often celebrate the kind of promises that we believe will bring us the physical healing, financial breakthrough, or the social promotion that we want, need, or just secretly desire. We might be grateful for the rest we get when we go to bed at night or from the cat naps we take during the day, but to think of rest as a promise fulfilled by God just might be a new way to begin to think of rest.
The instruction for God’s people to rest on the Sabbath, the seventh day, throughout the Old Testament, just might be a promise couched in words of instruction because the good Lord knew we might underestimate its value in our lives. We all need rest. We all need the kind of rest that soothes and rejuvenates us from the inside out. We also need the kind of rest that stills the drama we encounter on the outside, in our various human interactions. Friends, we all need rest. We all need to take the time to rest so that we might take advantage of this good promise of God. We all need to take the time to rest and possibly re-imagine the benefits of rest as God’s fulfillment of a promise to us and not just a command that we have to get through to get to the next thing, the next day, or the next moment.
Rest is a good promise. It is a God promise that we too often neglect and the consequences of such neglect we can feel immediately or once the lack of rest hits us like a ton of bricks down the road.
Rest is a good promise. It is a God promise that we need to receive as a blessing that prepares us to face life’s challenges and as a break from life’s complications.
Rest is a good promise. It is a God promise that reveals God’s love for us in a different kind of way – compassionate, gentle, and peaceful. It is Shalom.
May the Lord of our rest be praised!
As soon as Solomon finished praying and making these requests to the Lord, he got up from before the Lord’s altar, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out to heaven. He stood up and blessed the whole Israelite assembly in a loud voice: “May the Lord be blessed! He has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. He hasn’t neglected any part of the good promise he made through his servant Moses." (1 Kings 8:54-61)
Friends, when the Lord allows you the space to be still, to rest in Him, He is taking care of you in ways that you might not even realize. He is taking care of you in ways that go beyond the physical. God is taking care of you in ways that should cause you to bless his name!
I pray that on today you would see rest as a promise of the Lord and not just a command. I pray that you would embrace all of its benefits and not feel as if you are being slighted just because you took a break to do so. I pray that you would begin to bless the Lord for every time you get to rest and that you would see your rest in Him as a gracious and tremendous fulfillment of God’s promise to you. Lastly, I pray as Solomon prayed -
May the Lord our God be with us, just as he was with our ancestors. May he never leave us or abandon us. May he draw our hearts to him to walk in all his ways and observe his commands, his laws, and his judgments that he gave our ancestors. And may these words of mine that I have cried out before the Lord remain near to the Lord our God day and night so that he may do right by his servant and his people Israel for each day’s need, and so that all the earth’s peoples may know that the Lord is God. There is no other God! Now may you be committed to the Lord our God with all your heart by following his laws and observing his commands, just as you are doing right now.”
May you embrace your rest as a promise fulfilled by the Lord our God!
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!
|Posted on May 10, 2017 at 3:15 PM||comments (5)|
|Posted on May 8, 2017 at 4:59 PM||comments (1)|
There are some decisions I have made or conversations that I have had, that I changed my mind about after a night's rest. In the moment of the conversation or decision, I may have thought that was the best position to take, but when the sun rose the next morning, I felt completely different about what I had said just the day before. Sometimes, the new perspective is because of prayer, or maybe I was too tired to make the decision or have the conversation in the first place. Sometimes I needed the space to more fully process another's perspective or a few new details came up after the fact. Either way, the bottom line is that there are times when I have second thoughts about people, places, situations, dilemmas, or consequences. What about you? If I need to have the grace to consider second thoughts, I am sure many of you have needed to receive or be extended that same grace. Sometimes we all need to just rest before we give a final word on a matter.
I believe we see that here in our text for today. Basically, after a night's rest, the prophet comes back to the king with a second thought.
When the king was settled in his palace, and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look! I’m living in a cedar palace, but God’s chest is housed in a tent!” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you.” 4 But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: 5 Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in." (2 Samuel 7:1-5)
King David desires to do what seems like a highly reverential act of honor and worship for God. He lives in a palace and he wants to build a temple "palace" for God. On the surface there seems to be nothing wrong with that. It seems like a nice thing to do and Prophet Nathan's first response is YES! Go for it, David! "Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you." The King and the Prophet were in agreement. They both thought a temple for God was a great idea AND the Prophet even went on to say that the presence of the Lord affirmed the idea.
Sometimes we do think that the Lord has affirmed a certain direction for us to go and we even get the "OK" from spiritual friends, mentors, leaders, trusted advisers. That's what King David did. Building a temple was supposedly a good thing, a positive thing, a place to worship God could not be "wrong." What exactly could be wrong with that? The Prophet gave the King two thumbs up and both were probably proud and a little excited to move forward. We have all been there! But then, like the Prophet, we walk away from that moment, probably not even thinking twice, because given what we knew, the decision we made would be the best course of action.
However, good ideas are not always GOD ideas. And on that second thought, is when we can get additional confirmation or a completely new revelation. The Prophet Nathan received a completely new revelation. "But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: 5 Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in."
Friends, I know that people harp on following their first mind, but sometimes, it is the second thought that we need to really pay attention to as illustrated in this text. And when our second thought is different from what we might have believed the Lord affirmed in the first place, we must humbly and graciously acknowledge that we now stand in a different place. That is OK. It really is OK. It's a different day. Even the Prophet had to go back on his original opinion. So, today I pray that you would listen for the second thought that comes AFTER your initial reaction. I pray that you would have the courage to change your mind and let whomever needs to know, know. I pray that you would embrace those second thoughts even if they are different from your first one. I pray that as good as your idea for ministry or helping out your neighbor or building God's Kingdom is, that you would be careful to ensure that it is a GOD idea and you might not know that until you have a good night's rest and a second thought.
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!
|Posted on May 5, 2017 at 9:18 AM||comments (0)|
For the last week, we have been reflecting on REST. which makes sense because the series is entitled, "REST. Period." I pray that it has been a blessing to you to reflect on rest as it is talked about in the Word. Today, we continue based on a passage of scripture in Joshua 23. One of the unique aspects of this reflection about rest is that today we focus on how to stay in the zone of rest. Joshua is sharing his final words with the all of Israel and he wants them to continue to enjoy the rest that the Lord has given them for such a long time. Here it is:
23 A long time passed. The Lord had given rest to Israel from all their surrounding enemies, and Joshua had grown very old. 2 Joshua summoned all Israel, their elders, their heads, their judges, and their officers. He said to them, “I’ve grown very old. 3 You’ve seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations because of you. It is the Lord your God who fights for you. 4 Look. I’ve allotted to you these remaining nations as a legacy for your tribes, along with all the nations I have destroyed. They stretch from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea.5 The Lord your God will force them out before you and remove them from you. Then you will take over their land, exactly as the Lord your God has promised you. 6 Be very strong. Carefully obey everything written in the Instruction scroll from Moses. Don’t deviate a bit from it either to the right or to the left. 7 Don’t have anything to do with these nations that remain with you. Don’t invoke the names of their gods or take oaths by them. Don’t serve them or worship them. 8 Hold on to the Lord your God instead, exactly as you’ve done right up to today. (Joshua 23:1-8)
As old as Joshua is at this point on his journey, his conviction to maintain faithfulness to God has not changed. He has seen God do so much on behalf of the Children of Israel and his desire is that they remain in the rest that the Lord has afforded them for all of these years. So, in his final words to them, he tells them to be strong and obey. Friends, those were Joshua's final words thousands of years ago, but those words are still relevant today. Be Strong and Obey. If they would continue to do all that the Lord has commanded them as it is written in the scroll from Moses without deviation to the right or to the left, they will stay in the zone of rest. If they will hold on to the Lord their God and not call on other gods or build alliances and relationships with other nations, they will stay in the zone of rest. Be very strong and Carefully obey!
When is the last time someone advised you to be very strong AND carefully obey?
I know. Probably not very recently. We offer so many other words of "wisdom" or "opinion" but often neglect to encourage each other to be obedient. I believe his final words can be summarized in verse 6. Be very strong and Carefully obey. He knew that his people had a tendency to wander. He had grown up with them and had led them and now as he is preparing to take his final rest, he wants them to continue to enjoy the rest of God. He wants them to live at peace with God. he wants them to hold on to the Lord their God as they had been doing under his leadership... but he knew his people.
Do you know your people? What kind of advice do you give to them when they ask or when you know it might be a long while before they hear truth again? What were your final words to the last person you gave advice to? When was the last time you advised someone to be very strong and to carefully obey?
Friends, I pray that we would advise others to stay in the zone of rest, to stay in the places that God has called them, to stay in the mindset of honoring God in every way. It is so easy to be distracted by what is all around us and by even what is inside of us - our own selfish desires for popularity or conformity. But today, as we continue to reflect on the rest that only God can give to us, we ALL must focus on being very strong in our faith, our character, our spirit. We must ALL focus on being careful to obey all that the Lord has instructed us to do in this season of our lives. And to tell you the truth, strength of faith and character, careful obedience never goes out of style. This is advice for the ages.
Growing up, there was a song that I heard quite often that comes to mind as I am writing today -
Trust and Obey
For there's NO other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
BlogFam, do you believe this? Joshua's final words reflect his desire for his people to maintain their rest, to experience happiness, peace of mind, and deep joy. Joshua knew the ONLY way for them to do so was for them to be very strong and to carefully obey. I pray that each of us would have the courage to advise those we love in this way. I pray that we would not falter in the advice we give to others. I pray that our conviction for all to walk in the will of God, whatever that may be for others, would guide the advice we give. I pray that we would never be ashamed to tell people to be very strong and carefully obey. I pray that we would be honest with them about what it takes to stay in the zone of rest in God and that none of us would deviate to the left or to the right.
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
Rest IN the Lord...
|Posted on May 4, 2017 at 10:13 AM||comments (0)|
I am not an advocate of violence -physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, or otherwise. However, I do know that there are times when you have to fight for what you want, need, or think that you deserve. People fight for their families, their marriages, for promotions in their careers, for diplomas and degrees, for liberty and justice for all, for anything they feel that it is necessary to put forth additional energy for the outcome they desire. And these kinds of fights are fought in classrooms, in courtrooms, in living rooms, in conference rooms, and in prayer rooms. People are fighting all the time. There is a war going on and it is not just a war on drugs! There is a war that has been waged by forces so far beyond us and sometimes right across the hallway from us, that we always need to be ready to stand guard, take a stand, and fight for whatever the cause AND we can do so in the name of the Lord! YES, we can fight in the name of the Lord! Now, let me be clear, I am not advocating violence of the physical sort. I am not saying that we all need to take kickboxing classes, or karate, or sharpen our skills at the local shooting range. However, I do mean to imply that there are times in our lives when we must put forth additional energy for the outcome we desire. Sometimes we have to speak up a little louder, pray a little longer, go in our pockets a little deeper, and expand our networks a little wider so that we can achieve what we believe to be is right or rightfully earned.
Friends, our verses for today give us a glimpse into the multi-war strategy that the Lord led Joshua to fight. The Lord had promised land to the Children of Israel and Joshua was not going to get it without a fight. Joshua had to fight for this land that was already promised to them. And honestly, this is where I have to extract the principles from the record and not attempt the literal application. I will not go into that whole debate but I will suffice it to say that I really do not see the Lord calling me to shut down any kings in this world as Joshua does in the following verses... and you probably will not be doing that either. Let's just keep it real! As much as we want to obey every word recorded in the Bible, some of it is for our enlightenment and for the lessons we can glean from the people who experienced what has been recorded and not necessarily for us, as we will read in a moment, to literally strike people down and kill them. But I digress.... here is the scripture for today...
16 So Joshua took this whole land: the highlands, the whole arid southern plain, the whole land of Goshen, the lowlands, the desert plain, and both the highlands and the lowlands of Israel. 17 He took land stretching from Mount Halak, which goes up toward Seir, as far as Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Lebanon Valley. He captured all their kings. He struck them down and killed them. 18 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time... 23 So Joshua took the whole land, exactly as the Lord had promised Moses. Joshua gave it as a legacy to Israel according to their tribal shares. Then the land had a rest from war. (Joshua 11:16-18, 23)
BlogFam, Oprah Winfrey really did speak a "word" when she came through that field in "The Color Purple" to tell Celie, "All my life I had to fight!" It is true. All of our lives we will have to fight, stand up for or take a stand against something that we believe in. We will have to fight and wage war in places where the Lord has sent us to go. We will have to confront our enemies and not just be aware of who they are. We will have to resist the powers that be so that the rewards are available to all or to at least the people on behalf of whom we advocate. Joshua had a lot of work to do and a lot of fight in him, He took over a lot of land and it was not a peaceful fight. I do not doubt that they had the weapons of their day but above all, they had the God of eternity who had already promised and given them this land. They just had to go claim it in the name of the Lord. They had to go to war! They were victorious as you have already read. "Then the land had a rest from war."
Friends, today, I pray for your rest AFTER your war. I pray for the kind of rest that refreshes you for the next fight. I pray for the kind of rest that makes you better, stronger, wiser after the war. I pray for the kind of rest that we all need because life gets tough sometimes and it just feels like and even looks like everyone and everything is against us. I pray for the kind of rest you need to recuperate after the wars you are fighting in your home and in the streets. I pray for the kind of rest that gives you a fresh perspective on whatever fight in which you are engaged or about to face. I pray that the Lord would give you everything that the Lord has promised you and that every fight would be worth the fulfillment of that promise, the rest that comes thereafter, and so much more!
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
|Posted on May 4, 2017 at 8:06 AM||comments (0)|
There are moments in life when we are reminded how important it is for us to "love our neighbors as we love ourselves." In addition to this being a command of Jesus, and as much as it is instructive, it is simultaneously descriptive of how we are to be in the world. God is love and if we are created in the image of God, then one of the ways we should be able to best describe ourselves is love. We should not settle for practicing love as an intellectual or purely emotional strategy or expression. On the contrary, we must embody love as we live, move, and have our being in Love. And when we love in this way, we cannot help but to desire God's very best for everyone because we love everyone. I offer this reflection in light of our scripture for today.
12 Keep the Sabbath day and treat it as holy, exactly as the Lord your God commanded: 13 Six days you may work and do all your tasks,14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That’s why the Lord your God commands you to keep the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
When you love others as you love yourself, then you will not hesitate to invite them to obey and embrace the gift of Sabbath that the Lord has already given to us all. The Lord's instruction was very specific regarding treating the Sabbath day as holy. They were not to do any work on the seventh day. For six days they were permitted to work and do all of their tasks, but the seventh day was set apart for the kind of rest that the Lord knew they needed. And in order to keep the people from discriminating between who should have a Sabbath and who should not, I believe in the wisdom of the Lord, the command had to include the details as outlined in verse 14. After all, God knows God's people. "Don’t do any work on it—not you, your sons or daughters, your male or female servants, your oxen or donkeys or any of your animals, or the immigrant who is living among you—so that your male and female servants can rest just like you." Everybody gets to rest and no one can rightfully hinder another from doing so.
Friends, I appreciate this illustration in the text. I appreciate that the Lord would explicitly outline who could take advantage of this gift. This is really good to me because as I think beyond Sabbath and everything that the Lord has graciously given and mercifully withheld, I am so glad that I am included in the benefit of every promise. Furthermore, I also feel compelled to inform and invite others to live into the promises of God as well. Sabbath is not just for me. Sabbath is not just for you. Sabbath is for everyone says the Lord. And just in case you might want to block the blessing of Sabbath from others, don't forget where you came from! "Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out of there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm." In other words, do not hold the current status of any person against them when it comes to Sabbath. The Sabbath is for everyone, including and in spite of you.
So, BlogFam, Remember this: SABBATH IS FOR EVERYONE! We all need rest. We all need to press pause every now and again. We all need to allow each other the space to rest, to experience the promises and favor of God, all because of love...
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
|Posted on May 2, 2017 at 6:11 AM||comments (0)|
After reading today's Scripture, which is coming up shortly, I was immediately reminded of conversations that have been discouraging in my own life. Conversations filled with attitudes and/or words that deplete your energy, disrupt your momentum, downplay your ambition, and put a dent in your dreams. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone with whom you regret that you entrusted them with what you believe to be God's next move in your life? Is there anyone in your phone contact list or among your Facebook friends that you intentionally avoid sharing your good news? Have you ever felt betrayed by the lack of excitement expressed by your friend or family member when you were overjoyed by the news you told them? I can answer YES to all of the questions I have just posed to you. Friends, it is not a good feeling. The responses might hurt your feelings or make you reconsider necessary details; but either way, when we are moving in the direction toward the "place about which the Lord has said, 'I'll give it to you,'" we must press toward the rest beyond Hobab.
Let's take a look at our scripture for today in a book of the Bible that you probably have never read...LOL!
29 Moses said to Hobab the Midianite, Reuel’s son and Moses’ father-in-law, “We’re marching to the place about which the Lord has said, ‘I’ll give it to you.’ Come with us and we’ll treat you well, for the Lord has promised to treat Israel well.”
30 Hobab said to him, “I won’t go; I’d rather go to my land and to my folk.”
Let's press pause right here...
Friends I totally understand people having personal preferences, wanting to go to familiar places and be around familiar people. But this is Moses' Father-in-Law who knows the struggles Moses has had in leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt as well as the challenges of their disobedience and impatience with waiting on the fulfillment of God's Promise to them. Moses is family. And Moses attempts to paint a picture to convince Hobab
of the promise of the Lord and how well the Lord will treat them well. But Hobab is not convinced.
BlogFam, do you know any Hobab's in your life? People who will refuse to be excited about walking in the newness of life and light of God. People who will reject the promises of God. People who will choose to remain in familiar places and around familiar people because of fear or age or education or lack of self-esteem or maybe just lazy, skeptical, or indifferent. But Moses, being a good son and compassionate presence in the life of Hobab -
31 Moses said, “Please don’t abandon us, for you know where we can camp in the desert, and you can be our eyes. 32 If you go with us, whatever good the Lord does for us, we’ll do for you.”
Come on, Hobab!
Moses pretty much begs him to come on and receive the promise of the Lord with them. Hobab could obviously be a great resource for them. Hobab is well acquainted with the desert. He can be their eyes. He can help them to see and to navigate this unfamiliar place. Furthermore, Moses tries to convince him by adding that Hobab will not be left out of the favor of God for "whatever good the Lord does for us, we'll do for you."
And then they march on. The text does not mention whether or not Hobab is convinced by Moses' argument for him to come. The text does not mention whether or not Hobab accepted Moses offer to go with them. The text does not reveal in the selected verses of Leviticus 10 whether or not Hobab goes on an adventure or stays at home. BUT what we do know is that "they" marched on. And friends, this is exactly what we must do. We must march on, following the instructions of the Lord in our own lives. There will be people who will blatantly tell us NO! I will NOT go with you! I am NOT convinced of God's promise to you! I might could be of assistance to you but I want to stay home! But we must march on!
33 They marched from the Lord’s mountain for three days. The Lord’s chest containing the covenant marched ahead of them for three days to look for a resting place for them. 34 Now the Lord’s cloud was over them by day when they marched from the camp. 35 When the chest set out, Moses would say, “Arise, Lord, let your enemies scatter, and those who hate you flee.” 36 When it rested, he would say, “Return, Lord of the ten thousand thousands of Israel.” (Numbers 10:29-36)
Friends, MARCH ON! It is so important for you to remain focused on the promise of the Lord over your life. You cannot sway for relatives, friends, co-workers, roommates, teammates, in-laws, neighbors, popular opinion, or the latest trending topic. You must continue to march on beyond the attitudes and perspectives that are stuck in the past or the familiar scenery and sounds of their comfort zones. You must continue to march on! And when it is time to rest on your way to the Promised Land, make sure you only rest as the Lord leads you to do so. Rest. It is OK to rest. May the Lord go before you, leading you to a land of promise and rest along the way, and may you never stop marching on due to the Hobab's in your life. Move on past Hobab, stay close to the covenant, and YOU MARCH ON!!!
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
|Posted on May 1, 2017 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
There are some things that I never consider or think through until they actually happen or until I am at least exposed to the possibility of such an occurrence taking place in my life, or the life of a friend or colleague, or through my reading. Does that make sense to you? Have you ever participated in a conversation or read an article about which you never even considered that the subject matter was something that needed to be discussed? I am kind of feeling like this is where I find myself as I am writing this blog post and reflecting on our scripture for today. Check it out:
The Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai, 2 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: Once you enter the land that I am giving you, the land must celebrate a Sabbath rest to the Lord. 3 You will plant your fields for six years, and prune your vineyards and gather their crops for six years.4 But in the seventh year the land will have a special Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord: You must not plant your fields or prune your vineyards. 5 You must not harvest the secondary growth of your produce or gather the grapes of your freely growing vines. It will be a year of special rest for the land. 6 Whatever the land produces during its Sabbath will be your food—for you, for your male and female servants, and for your hired laborers and foreign guests who live with you, 7 as well as for your livestock and for the wild animals in your land. All of the land’s produce can be eaten. [Leviticus 25:1-7 CEB]
As you know, we are in this series regarding REST. I am going to be looking at a variety of texts to see how we can be inspired to REST in the Lord and challenged to Rest. Period. I know that this might be hard for so many of us depending on what you are going through. Resting, physically or spiritually, can seem like a luxury that only certain people can enjoy... people who are retired or people who are not parents or people who have both parents or people who have good jobs or people who live in gated communities or people who from all appearances "look" they have got it all together! And all of that is totally understandable. Many of us have been taught to live exhausted lives. That was the model that was lived before us. That is the critique that is inflicted upon us when we are not "active" enough to satisfy the standards of the people who take it upon themselves to insert their objections, excuse me, observations of the way we live our lives.
Friends, this REST thing is going to continue to be very interesting as we walk through the Bible exploring texts around REST and today's seven verses fit the bill. Today's passage is about the REST of THE LAND! We aren't even talking about YOU resting but the LAND. The land needs to enter a Sabbath rest says the Lord to Moses.
I will be quite honest with you. I really do wonder what in the world was Moses thinking when the Lord God instructed him to tell the people to let the land REST. I have no doubt that there might have been some shock and surprise or perhaps they were used to it as a part of the cycle of seasons or wisdom of farming that had been cultivated in their community. Regardless of whatever they thought, whether this instruction was foreign or familiar, the instruction was to REST THE LAND.
BlogFam, I cannot help but to ask you this. In what ways do you need to let your land REST? In what ways do you need to cultivate rest in the spaces in your life that produce harvest for you to grow, produce, and eat? How are you over-utilizing the land the Lord has given you by not taking a break and letting the land breathe and be renewed so that it can continue to satisfy the purpose for which the Lord has given it to you?
I think that the above questions are important considerations. There is a reason that the Lord gave this instruction to Moses regarding the REST of THE LAND and perhaps we need to press pause upon reading this reflection and ask the Lord what lands in our lives need to rest. If you are environmentally conscious then your response might lean in the direction of caring for the earth, going green, recycling, protection of endangered species, etc. And that makes sense. But for those of us whose environmental consciousness is limited to not littering, well, I challenge you to think deeply about the lands in your life. What are the places that have been sources of sustenance or places of productivity that need to experience Sabbath? Is it time for you to walk away? Is it time for you to take the time to re-imagine how they may or may not be advantageous to you in the future? Do you need to move over in order to make room for someone else to reap the harvest of the land because God is leading you to a new land?
Friends, I pray that you will not only consider the Sabbath rest that you need for your own life, but that you will consider the ways in which the lands you have sown in, toiled, fertilized, been patient with, and harvested need to be released for Sabbath. And TRUST GOD that whether you return to them or not, all that YOU need, God's hand will provide. GREAT is God's faithfulness!!!
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!
|Posted on April 29, 2017 at 6:01 AM||comments (0)|
There are a few things that need to be in place in order for me to have a good night's rest. I recognize that these are indeed personal preferences and that I have admittedly slept with some or none of these things in place. However, I I know enough about myself to know that I will more than likely have a good night's rest if the following are in place:
1 - Loose and Comfortable cotton clothing
2 - A Slight chill in the air, or at least a fan
3 - A Pillow-top mattress
4 - At Least Two Pillows
5 - Fuzzy Socks - especially in winter
6 - A Fragrant Candle [Don't judge me, I know you should not fall asleep with a candle lit. I usually blow it out in the middle of the night... if knowing that alleviates your anxiety.]
7 - Locked Doors and a Night light if I am in a strange place, which is any place that is not my legal place of residence
Yes. So now you know what helps me to rest. And I have already acknowledged that all of these things are not always in place and I sleep just fine; however, ideally, in my perfect sleep world, I would prefer all 7 to be a part of my nightly routine. What about you? What do you need to rest well? How do you prepare to sleep through the night so that you can awake refreshed?
Friends, these are just my personal preferences. I am not going to be cranky or overly agitated if all or some of the seven on my list are not in place. I will adjust. I will sleep. I will fix my mind to make it work. I usually will not complain if my sleeping conditions or preferences are found to be below my expectations. I go on to bed and focus on the fact that I will be closer to going home when I wake up in the morning.
I know this might sound strange to you. Perhaps you have never even really thought about what you need to do in order to prepare to rest. I challenge you to do so. I challenge you to think about the details necessary for you to rest at night... and to rest in your life.
Yes. I said rest in your life and I do not mean your eternal life. I mean in your life right now. How do you prepare to take a Sabbath so that you can be renewed, refreshed, and revived for your journey?
In our passage of scripture for today, the people had to prepare to rest. Moses had led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and toward the Promised Land but they were not there yet. Actually, they would not get there for another 40 years and Moses would not be the one to get them there. But I digress. Anyway, in Exodus 16, they were instructed to prepare to rest, to prepare to take a Sabbath, to prepare to keep one day Holy unto the Lord.
22 On the sixth day the people collected twice as much food as usual, two omers per person. All the chiefs of the community came and told Moses.23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. But you can set aside and keep all the leftovers until the next morning.’” 24 So they set the leftovers aside until morning, as Moses had commanded. They didn’t stink or become infested with worms. 25 The next day Moses said, “Eat it today, because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you won’t find it out in the field.26 Six days you will gather it. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be nothing to gather.”
Prepare to rest. How often do we really prepare to rest? We might have our prepare for bedtime nightly routine, but have you ever thought about the things that need to be in place for you to have a good night's rest? Have you ever thought about what things you need to do in order to prepare for Sabbath? Have you ever taken the time to think about what might need to change in your life so that you can embrace the gift of rest that is available to us all?
Friends, prepare to rest.
And prepare to rest in the Lord.
The Children of Israel were in a position to gather all that they needed so that they could honor the Sabbath. The Lord was going to provide, and had already been providing for six days but on the seventh, they were to be still. They were to work and to gather and to eat and to be satisfied with all that the Lord had provided for six days. And on the sixth day, they were to hold back enough for the seventh day so they could continue to be provided for even when they did not go out to work and to gather the manna. They had already seen what would happen if they tried to store food on any other day that the Lord had not instructed them to store food. It would stink and be infested with worms and basically spoiled if they stored what the Lord had not instructed them to store. But because of the holiness of the Sabbath, this special day that was to be unto the Lord and set aside for rest, though they were restricted from working and gathering, they would have already been in possession of everything they needed to have a great Sabbath. They would have been prepared.
I am so grateful that in the infinite wisdom of the Almighty, there is a special emphasis on a time of rest, a time of Sabbath that we should all honor. We should also seek the Lord for how we are to prepare to rest. Our time of Sabbath may or nay not be identical and that is OK. The point is that we should be intentional to set aside time for God and that we do whatever it is we need to do in order to prepare ourselves for that sacred time.
For when we do not do what God asks of us by way of preparation for rest and Sabbath, there are consequences...
27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather bread, but they found nothing. 28 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to obey my commandments and instructions? 29 Look! The Lord has given you the Sabbath. Therefore, on the sixth day he gives you enough food for two days. Each of you should stay where you are and not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. [Exodus 16:22-30]
BlogFam, this blog comes as a wake up call to some of us. It is time to pay attention to the ways that God is preparing us to rest. Preparation in ways that we have denied or ignored or maybe we have been uncomfortable with because we have never prepared our lives in this way before. This is a lesson in obedience as much as it is a heavenly desire for you to be ready for whatever comes after you rest and set aside your Sabbath as unto the Lord.
Friends, I pray that you would seek the Lord for how you need to prepare to rest. I pray that you would take seriously the need to work and to gather in advance of your Sabbath so that when it is time for you to pray or worship or be quiet or meditate or however the Lord is calling for you to honor the Sabbath, that you would put your life in order, be obedient, so you can take your rest. I pray that you will not spoil your Sabbath because you are unprepared. I pray that you will be bold and courageous in claiming your time of preparation and that whatever you need to have rest is in place.
God LOVES You and I Do Too!!!
|Posted on April 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM||comments (0)|
I am a writer.
I know that might sound like an awkward way to begin this blog post but it feels like the right thing to say in this moment. Writing is a spiritual practice for me and I take great JOY in doing so.
I am a writer. I have not always owned that part of my identity but I really do believe that it has been there my entire life.
I am a writer. Yes, I just said it again. I said it again because it has also taken me a while to say it publicly. And since my blog is one of the safest places for me and my writing, I know that I can say that I am a writer and it will be OK.
I am a writer. What about you? Who are you? What is your passion?
I was recently asked that last question. I had a friend of mine to review my resume and we were planning to meet to discuss how I might update, revise, edit, condense or do whatever needed to be done to enhance and improve my chances in this job market. After the small talk of catching up since we had not seen each other in a very long while, she dropped the bomb question.
"Delesslyn, what is your passion? What is the ONE thing you would do everyday regardless of the financial compensation?"
My response, with a smile on my face and a deep sense of conviction in my heart, was simply, "WRITE."
She said, "Well, do THAT."
Friends, we never did make it to my resume'. We just sat there and talked about writing and I felt so HAPPY in that moment because I LOVE to write. I even love to read what I write. LOL! I have written so many things throughout my entire life and now I am at the place on my journey where I really want to focus my energy on using this gift to be a blessing to others and at some point in the future, a financially lucrative option for me.
As I am processing my thoughts, even as I am writing, I am realizing that THIS is the point at which we find REST in God. We cannot truly rest until our passion aligns with God's purpose and we trust that God will make provision for every promise that God has made.
True REST, in this life, is not just being still when things are hard, but it is being sure that THIS is what God is calling for YOU to do in this season or even in this life. We do not have to wait for Jesus to come back for that to be a reality for us. We can have true rest now... right now.
I am starting to think about how our rest is connected to our purpose and the restlessness that we feel is often linked to our being on the outskirts of God's will for our lives. And the rest we need will come as soon as we shift our focus towards pursuing our passion, our life's purpose, God's Holy Call upon each of our lives. Then and only then will we be able to rest.
To only think of rest as the fulfillment of a physical or emotional need misses the mark. Rest is also a spiritual necessity that is often overlooked unless we are praying for the kind of rest we become desperate for because we are just tired of going through whatever we might be going through. The concept and actual practice of Sabbath helps us to address this kind of rest.
Sabbath was introduced by our Creator in Genesis. And I do not think it was because our Creator was worn out from the process of creating. I believe that on some level, the Creator knew that in order for US to fully appreciate the purpose for all things and to discern our next step along our journey, we must be OK with pressing PAUSE. Maybe the angels rejoiced in heaven, maybe the Creator gave a standing ovation, maybe there was a party all over the universe when all that had been created was complete. I do not know. But what I do know is what we read here. God paused. God rested. God took a Sabbath. And everything was still good.
The heavens and the earth and all who live in them were completed. 2 On the sixth day God completed all the work that he had done, and on the seventh day God rested from all the work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all the work of creation. [Genesis 2:1-3]
We have gotten so accustomed to partying and shouting and celebrating when something works out for our good and for the good of those we love and respect, that taking a sabbath feels unnatural. It just does not feel right to press pause when we are experiencing momentum that is propelling us into our future. Why stop now? And the best answer that I can give, in this moment, is because God did. God created the entire universe in whatever time God took to create it and then God rested.
Friends, perhaps it is hard for you to rest because you have denied your purpose for so long, you are unwilling to take the risk or the leap of faith necessary for you to be still with God. Perhaps it is hard for you to rest because so many people are depending on you to continue doing whatever it is that you are doing that has nothing to do with your passion. Perhaps it is hard for you to rest because deep down inside, you already know God’s answer for the direction you have desired but you might lose friends, finances, connections, or clout the moment you choose to say YES to God.
Friends, the best thing that I can say to you in this moment is: REST in the Lord…
And believe that God will align your passion with your purpose and trust that God will make provision for every promise that God has made.
Over the next few blog posts, we will explore REST in the Bible. I was challenged by a friend to seek REST in the Lord and I am inviting you into this new discovery on my journey. What does it truly mean to rest in the Lord? How do I live that out? What will it take for me to embrace Sabbath as part of my lifestyle? How is God calling for me to “Rest. Period.” in this season?
Friends, let us REST together…
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!!!