There was a time many seasons ago when it was almost considered a sacrilege to find a store open on Christmas Day, the Fourth of July, or Thanksgiving – much less on Sundays.
“Hurry up; hurry up; I can’t lose anymore time.”
Nervous breakdowns and cardiac arrests; ulcers and chronic indigestion; chronic fatigue syndrome and cancer, and yes less we forget… divorces, teenage pregnancies, and crack cocaine. Are these the fruits of our 24/7 lifestyle? Is this really what we can look forward to in our increasingly materialistic society? Is there anyone out there to stop and smell the roses? Does anyone even know what a rose is?
In the Midst of the Garden There is a River…
There is an antidote to the “24/7” dilemma. It’s called “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” Even God worked for six days and rested on the Sabbath. In other words, even God took a day off. “Thank God it’s Friday” – but are we resting on the weekends? One of the most hectic days in the week, especially for Christians is on Sunday.
We wake up as early as the rest of the week, with parents fighting to get their kids up, dressed, fed and into the family car. As they approach the church parking lot, they’re supposed to smile and say “Praise the Lord” and set the example as devout believers, all the while wondering if they can beat the parking lot traffic jam and get to the cafeteria before other churches in the city empty out.
God never meant the human body to be on the go 24/7. “It is not good that man should burn himself out”, short-circuiting himself, then saying “God told me to do anything until burnout occurs for His
Glory!” He did not say any such thing. Let’s face it – if something should happen to you, then what is going to happen to the people you love the most – your spouse, your kids, your mission work… your pet?
After many burned out years in ministry, as well as in personal life, may this writer impart to you a few things which a most Gracious God has time and time again reminded this little lamb, even as I write this article? Following are some simple but transforming steps which will bring you, your family, your health, your ministry – in short, your life, the changes which you need.
If you practice this, I guarantee you’ll never run out of His Wisdom. You may need a vacation but chances are what you really need is to go away and know that He is God, letting Him reset the priorities in your life according to His Blueprint Plan. Yes, folks, He has a plan for you and it’s a plan for your good; your peace; your prosperity; and your well-being. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Set aside one whole day for yourself to worship God by getting alone with Him and Him alone. Take the phone off the hook; prepare or buy food ahead of time; arrange for a baby-sitter or for your spouse to take over the kids – anything, but get alone with Him and learn the art of fellowshipping with the Father.
Most of the time God has spoken to me has been when I’ve been out of the four-walled church building. If you need to stay away from church for a season, so be it. (Sorry, pastors, this is advice which many of you could very well take yourselves.) Sit still, be still and know what it is that He wants to communicate to you.
Take a shower and put on your favorite cologne. Make sure you prepare for your Divine encounter with a clean change of clothes. If you spend the day in fasting that would even more enhance your experience with the Most High God. Take this seriously. You are going to meet your Groom. Would a Bride do anything less?
Put on your favorite worship music; light a scented candle or incense stick. (No, this isn’t New Age, the priest burned incense in the Temple.) Hang chimes facing the direction of unwelcome noises – in other words, delight yourself in the Lord so He can give you the desires He has put in your heart. Set the mood you would have with the true Love of your heart.
You don’t have to get down on your knees unless you feel like it, but be mindful of Him. Meditate on Him, His Word, His promises, (forget about your yogi exercises), and keep your mind stayed on Him, then your
peace will be great. You don’t need formal a litany here. Just keep talking to Him and listen.
Keep from doing any labor. The purpose of this day is to worship Him and receive the rest, refreshment, revival, and wisdom He wants to impart to you.
As you do this faithfully, keeping a day to rest and doing nothing but seeking God’s face, you will find yourself rising up as an eagle. You will find your strength as well as your health being renewed. You will be given the strength to face life with His full armor and conquer the “giants in your land”.
You will also find that you have been given special promises from His Word for those of us who remember to enter the rest of God. These I leave with you to discover as you keep the Sabbath holy.