Gifts, Holidays, Rest, Uncategorized

Sabbath Still…

Noooo… I’m not going to do it! I will not rush ahead! Sometimes being stubborn is a good thing!

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Everything moves so fast these days. We live in a society where moving on to the next thing is prized even if we are not quite through with the last thing. We see it in restaurants: no longer can you casually linger over dinner enjoying good conversation, instead we have the servers continually asking the question, “can I take your plate”? Sometimes you have to hold on with both hands in order to enjoy that last tasty morsel.

When watching a riveting television program, you can hardly catch the ending because of the split screen that pops up: one side with the credits scrolling quickly up the page, and the other side of the screen displaying a commercial advertisement.

Holidays Anyone?!?

However, what really blew me away while shopping this week was the fact that while I was at home putting away my summer purses, ridding them from sand gathered at the beach earlier this month,  most retail stores have been putting Christmas decorations on display! The local shopping channel  was actually showing pre-lit Christmas trees on sale in September!

Just when I’ve gotten used to seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in the summer and early September, they pushed the envelope a little bit further, giving you one more thing to crowd into the month of September. As if back to school shopping isn’t stressful enough enough. (for those of you who are in that phase of life :).

I love Christmas. I have even been known to enjoy the holiday movies during the “Christmas in July” programming sponsored by some of my favorite networks. But this hyper marketing is just too much! As much as I tried to savor my beach moments by continuing to slather on sun screen so I continue to smell like the ocean air, I am bombarded by things that seek to indicate that my Sabbath is over.  There is a constant message that if you don’t hurry and move to the next thing, you are going to miss out.

Well I’m not gonna do it! I am in protest! Although I have purchased my fall Mums and placed them in my garden, I refuse to buy anything related to Christmas until at least November! You’ll not rush me you Marketing Beasts!!! Sabbath is too important.

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Living the Sabbath Life

Sabbath is a lifestyle modeled by our Savior. Luke 6:5 says that he is The Lord of the Sabbath.

When the Pharisees tried to manipulate Jesus into saying that certain things could or could not be done on certain days, he made it plain that he is Lord of all, including the Sabbath.

Jesus is my all time hero in every way; however, I really love how he continually modeled the importance of getting away to rest. Hebrews chapter 4 says that there is a special rest for the people of God and we must do our best to enter that rest. I love special gifts that were planned just for me. It shows me that the person had me on their mind when purchasing the gift.

As the cool evenings and mornings of the Fall season are upon us, don’t ignore the sunny, beautiful afternoon hours. Put on your favorite sweater and press into your Sabbath. Take a leisurely walk at lunch time. Take deep, long, cleansing breaths and enjoy all that your Heavenly Father created just for you.

SUN PROTECTION 1

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Evangelism, Gifts, Holidays, Love

Something Special (Just for you)

Have you ever heard someone say, “for me?! Oh, you shouldn’t have..” as an excited response to a gift they had been given? The response sounds like they hadn’t expected the gift or that the gift was not necessary, when in reality, they were jubilant that someone had taken the time to think about them and put together a gift that was designed specifically for them. When someone takes the time to give us a gift, it affirms the fact that someone sees us, that they have been thinking about us, and that they value us.
The holiday season can be difficult for many because it stirs up deep loneliness. In a time where all about them is bustling and preparing for times of connection with friends and family, they feel barren and empty, longing for someone to have thoughts of them while planning for that special gift to be given.
My heart goes out to people that struggle with loneliness because many of them have stopped hoping. They stopped believing that there would be anything special prepared just for them.
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I imagine that was how the Samaritan woman felt in John 4. The scriptures tell us in verse 4 that Jesus had to go through Samaria. In a time when Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, Jesus made it a priority. To the casual reader, it may appear that Jesus sat down at the well simply because he was tired. Yet Jesus sat down with intentionality. He had a special gift to deliver to a special person.
Sometimes we are not prepared for the gift because we feel unworthy. We are afraid to be vulnerable to the familiar rejection we may have experienced in the past. That was how the Samaritan woman felt when Jesus asked her for a drink.
The Samaritan woman said to him,
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
Jesus answered her,
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:9-10)
 
As the holiday season winds down, let’s think about the gifts we can give with the same intentionality as Jesus had with the Samaritan woman.Just because the holiday season is ending it doesn’t mean we can’t continue to give gifts.
 Jesus told the Samaritan woman that he would give her living water so that she would never thirst again. We can give this same gift not just to our family and friends, but to all whom we encounter: The persons we meet while standing in line, The grocery store clerk, The senior citizen whose family and friends may have all passed away…
I pray that as we approach a new year we will have the same urgency as Jesus did, saying,
“I must go… I must tell everyone I meet that there is a special gift waiting just for them.”
Gift giving season is not ending. In fact, a new one is just beginning.

Christine James is a wife, mother and pastor at CareView Community Church. This is her first blog. She is glad you came.