Finding your Sabbaths

I attended the last Deeper Still conference in Louisville, Kentucky, this past weekend.  In two days time my empty, poured out soul was filled to overflowing, and God had spoken directly to my heart.  A coliseum of 8,000 people and an impressive sound system.  God made sure I heard his message, and that I had plenty of witnesses. 

You can expect to hear more about my time with Kay Arthur and Beth Moore.  Today I want to share my session with Priscilla Shirer.  In that huge place of 8,000, God had his finger pointing directly at me.

Priscilla shared a message from Exodus 16 and Deuteronomy 5 about the importance of "sabbaths" in our lives. 

Deuteronomy 5
12 Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day. 

Exodus 16
16 This is what the LORD has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’” 17 The sons of Israel did so, and some gathered much and some little. 18 When they measured it with an omer, he who had gathered much had no excess, and he who had gathered little had no lack; every man gathered as much as he should eat. 19 Moses said to them, “Let no man leave any of it until morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them. 21 They gathered it morning by morning, every man as much as he should eat; but when the sun grew hot, it would melt.
The Sabbath Observed
 22 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 then he said to them, “This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.”  27 It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 Then the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? 29the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. 

Priscilla's message did not address taking a single day of the week to rest, but instead she spoke about finding "sabbaths" in our lives.  Things that we can cease for a while then return to at a given time after a period of rest.

  • Anything we are given by God to enjoy we are to enjoy with boundaries.  
  • The sabbath is a gift of a break.  It comes from the Hebrew word meaning "to cease." 
  • We need to leave room in our lives for the one who created us. 
  • Learn to recognize ENOUGH.
  • We often find ourselves not able to enjoy everything we have because we have too much of everything.  Think about it...your closet, your cabinets?  Ever been frustrated looking for something you know you have but can't find.  "Its in there somewhere."
  • On the sixth day, he gave a double portion.  This teaches trust.  We think we need to work harder, accumulate more.  We fear not having a storehouse because there will be lean times.  Did he not provide on the "sabbath" for the Israelites?  Does he not provide for the birds of the air and the fish of the sea?
  • Remember who we were, slaves.  Slaves are dominated by stuff.  Slaves hoard, free people give freely.
  • Free people can willingly make themselves cease
  • The sabbath is our time to reflect in what God has done for us in our lives.  If we don't defer to him, we don't recognize his Soverign position as Lord.
How many times have we found ourselves trying to work so much harder on a project, frustrated?  It seemed the harder we worked and the longer we worked, the more we struggled. 

How many times have we found ourselves rushing through things like the kids ball games, and even our time at church, and not enjoying it because there was always something to do next? 

Priscilla spoke of our tendency to make exaustion a pillar in our lives and that our children, when asked what they want to be when the grow up, should not answer, "tired."

Ever tried to "outwork God?"  I certainly have.  Suceeded it it?  Don't think so.

Take a look at what happens to the excess manna the Israelites stored that they were told not to...it became wormy and foul.  Perhaps that job we don't enjoy anymore, or that house that never seems to get clean are places in our lives that reflect where we have tried to "outwork" God.

A day is equal to 14 percent of a week.  Our challenge was to find 14 minutes a day to pause and reflect on our soverign God and to ask for opportunities to see the areas we need a sabbath.  She also challenged us to clean 14 inches of space in our homes twice each week...meaning clearing it of excess.

God promises us freedom.  He wants us to enjoy the gifts he gives us and to remember the one who gave them. We are his children, and he takes great care of us when we let him.  Take time this week to ask God where you can use a "sabbath" and cherish his answer.

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