The Most Important Sabbath

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There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it. ~John 19:42, MSG

On the most important Sabbath in history, Christ rested in a tomb so you can live in eternal freedom.  

As you stand in line at the check out counter among the masses with your plastic grass and foiled candy for Easter baskets, remember that preparation begins with rest, even when the conditions are uncertain, chaotic and messy. Joy doesn’t come from perfection around the table or from what you are wearing but in the One who is perfect. 

He is enough, even in the midst of unthinkable circumstances.  When you feel small, incomplete or unworthy remember that in Christ there is no measuring stick but the promise of hope in resurrection.

He waits to be wanted, writes A.W. Tozer. Easter is coming.

Want to make rest a routine, not just something you fill in between the cracks of your busyness? Join the Sabbath Society. Find out more here. And join Sabbath-keepers in community with the hashtag #sabbathsociety on Twitter and Instagram and on our Pinterest board, Surrendering to Sabbath.

 

How the Sacrament of Presence Changes People

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I’ve never experienced writer’s block, more like sifting through the mounds of gravel in my thoughts to excavate the golden message. Words are rarely sparse for me. In the past, I assumed the profundity of my words were a result of my extroverted nature but now I know better.

After ten days traveling through several states, speaking and meeting people, I discovered what I’m made for; what makes adrenaline rise up in my chest and hallelujah spew out of mouth.

Can I tell you something? I walked around with a lump in my throat threatening to squeeze out my tear ducts every day of my journey. I’m finding difficulty sorting through my thoughts to communicate to you, my treasured readers, about what God is revealing.

But I know this: Practicing the sacrament of presence with strangers and close friends is where my heart sings.

While this might seem straightforward, I wouldn’t have fully grasped the revelation had I not spent the past eleven years in isolation experiencing the dark place of loneliness. Though writing is a solitary endeavor and my passion, I admit that my heart thumps more wildly when I can hear you laugh, experience the essence of how God made you over a latte and croissant at a café table.

Sometimes the juxtaposition between emptiness and fulfillment is the middle place of our undoing. Isolation is the proving ground for His promises.

Are you trustworthy with the plans he has in mind for your future? Or will you throw in the towel when life gets uncomfortable and lonely? That is the work of isolation processing.

Eleven years ago, I left intimate friendships in the desert of Phoenix for the pretense of the south that feels like wearing a sweater two sizes too small for my honesty. What felt carefree, easy and unadulterated in relationships often seems like a foreign wallflower in my community.

And that is exactly what God intended.

This is the revelation of reunion with the past: In the vacancy of intimate friendships in my hometown I found my true identity and I will be forever grateful to the South for giving me that gift.

If trust is the schoolroom of faith Olympians then I don’t want to be ordinary. Because when I look to people, place or position for affirmation of calling, I am not trusting in the one who is Trustworthy. I am trusting in myself.

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Almost two weeks ago, I started my journey in Columbus, Ohio, at Refine: The Retreat with a small group of women representing almost every region of North America. While none of us were sure why we were attending, all were certain of the Holy Spirit’s wooing.

To say that each face-to-face encounter was a divine appointment is an understatement.

Unlike email, Facebook messaging, texts or tweets, looking someone in the eyes strikes a balance between yourself and another that equally surprises and settles something in your sinews. When God’s love is communicated with confidence and authenticity, it’s as if permission is granted to forget all the ways you distort your identity and truth comes to the forefront.

Last week, I experienced the sacrament of presence over café tables in the airport and under umbrellas, on metal chairs in a cityscape, standing in a retreat center holding cups of candy, driving under tall pines in the mountains, walking near saguaros and through mansions, laughing under twinkle lights at a church.

I’m not at a loss for words. I’m breathless; captivated by the beauty of love and the way it changes people. The loneliness of Lent is the middle place of our undoing so we can embrace the resurrection with wonder and see ourselves more clearly.

Perhaps that’s the message of Holy Week. His presence is a gift, don’t take it for granted.

He wants you to know what you are made for, what makes your heart sing with abandon, because He loves you. Glory!

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Linking with Jennifer, Emily, Holley and Lyli.

 

Home

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On the cusp of losing perspective in the minutiae, God takes you home to remember His faithfulness.

I’ve awakened every day this week to the bird’s chattering from the tree tops, the sun shining, bougainvillea arms weighted down by hope in pink blossoms. Sitting under a canopy of fond memories with my tea cup, the arid climate of Phoenix reminds me that home is a Person, not a place or a destination, but the power in the presence of Christ revealed through His people.

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. 2 Corinthians 2:15

As you wander around the city, your community, through the rooms of your house on Sabbath, may you be mindful of the scent of your life. You are a fragrant aroma to those who long for the sweetness of Christ but don’t know it yet; home for the broken because the perfume of Christ resides in your sinews.

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Happy Sabbath Friends!

Want to make rest a routine, not just something you fill in between the cracks of your busyness? Join the Sabbath Society. Find out more here. And join Sabbath-keepers in community with the hashtag #sabbathsociety on Twitter and Instagram and on our Pinterest board, Surrendering to Sabbath.

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