At All Times-Psalm 34:1

April 10, 2010

My Sabbath Day Rest: What I Learned

It is amazing that a week has already gone by since Good Friday! I feel I have probably already forgotten what I learned, but at least the most important will remain. So here it is… (please read previous posts in this series first)

1. A consecrated day really does aid the mind in focusing. As a whole, I am surprised out how much more “spiritual” my mindset was during the day. The extra time reading with my son and the added effort to rest really did cause my mind to turn to spiritual thoughts more frequently. Every event of the day was clouded with a shadow of spiritual truth-or rather illuminated by the light of it. With this in mind I’ll mention two events from the day and the thoughts that came from them.

2. Christ has graciously sheltered us from the wrath of God. On Good Friday we remember Christ dying on the cross. What exactly happened during Christ’s flogging, mocking, torture, and death? One thing is for sure: the wrath of God was poured out upon Him.

The wrath of God most definitely rests above the heads of men for their sins. As I watched the first spring thunderstorm blow in with its dark gloomy clouds, straight line winds, and torrential rain, I was so thankful for the refuge of my home. It would be a fearful thing to get caught in a severe thunderstorm in the middle of a field. Without Jesus, that is where we stand on the day of God’s judgment: exposed to His wrath in all its fury. But with Christ we have a refuge. He has taken all the wrath for us on the cross. When we take refuge in Him, we are safe from the storm. He is a perfect shelter. “Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee.” Witnessing the storm that morning was a timely reminder.

3. Sweet, sweet sleep. One would think that a day consecrated to the Lord should be filled with extended prayer and Bible study. However, I took advantage of my kids’ nap time to take a nap of my own. Sleep is a special treasure in my life right now, but it is doubly sweet when acknowledged as a gift from God. I was able to receive my sleep that afternoon because there was no work to do be done. What a precious reminder that God provides us with rest from our labors. We no longer have to labor to keep His law or labor for His favor. We can rest in Christ knowing that all we could ever owe has already been paid.

April 5, 2010

Sabbath Day Rest: What Happened

Filed under: Sabbath Day Series — by Whitney Standlea @ 3:01 pm

So what happened on my Good Friday Sabbath? [Please read the first post of this series here.]

I started by sleeping in, waking up, and showering. I skipped working out. (Note: Sleeping in is a real joy in our home. With a 6 month old and a 2-year-old, sleeping in means getting a whole 8 and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep.)

For the morning it was a lot easier to play with my boys and enjoy them. There was nothing else competing for my intention. We spent a lot of time through out the day reading small portions of the crucifixion account from Mark. We also sang hymns together frequently.

I tried to keep the computer off most of the day. While I checked e-mails I didn’t take the time to follow-up on them as normal.

My son and I watched the first spring storm blow in together.

During afternoon nap (the nap when both kids are asleep) I spent some time in the Word and in prayer. And then I took a nap.  I’ll talk more about that next post.

In the evening we had an easy dinner as a family and then headed off to our church’s Good Friday service. After the service we went out with some friends.

No cooking, no traveling, no cleaning, no laundry, no projects, no writing.

Next post I’ll talk about the spiritual implications/applications from what happened during the day and what I learned.

My Sabbath Day Rest: How I Prepared

Preparing for my Sabbath Day rest on Good Friday was quite a bit of work. All week long I was busy, busy cleaning my home. I had to work extra hard to make sure every single chore was complete, every piece of laundry was washed, and everything was put away. I did extra cleaning during the week like cleaning the stove (been putting that off for over a year now!), and getting out spring clothes. On Thursday I had to make a large grocery run and prepare food for Friday. I prepared a meal that I could easily warm up in the oven and serve with little fuss. I packed my husband’s lunch that night so it would be ready to throw in his lunch box in the morning.

I had to think through everything and work towards it all week long. Surprisingly, my learning began before my actual resting day. I was working so hard on Thursday so that I could rest on Friday. It quickly became apparent that while I did get much done (and was able to rest on Friday), I certainly could not get everything accomplished. The kitchen floor was left unswept, the sweet potatos didn’t get wipes off the dining room wall, and a few clothes were left in the sock basket. It was just a good reminder before my Sabbath even began that I can not do everything needed to be done to clean my home just as I can not do everything that needs to be done to clean away my sin before God.

April 3, 2010

My Sabbath Day Rest: Tetelestai

To commemorate the death of Christ on the cross, this year I used Good Friday as a Sabbath Day of solemn rest. Exodus 31:3 says:

“Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.”

We no longer keep the Sabbath the way the Jews did by having a day of complete rest each week. Instead, we keep the Sabbath now by resting in the completed work of Christ everyday. It was on Good Friday, when Jesus died on the cross, that all the work for our sanctification and redemption was completed.  When Jesus gave His life on the cross, he cried out “Tetelestai.” We translate this as “It is finished.”  It means a completed, once for all action from the past with on-going implications in the present.  The completed action was that Christ paid for our sins in full. Those of us who trust in Him will never be able to or have to do anything else to pay for our sins. Christ already has! Taking a Sabbath day is a physical way of to remind us of this spiritual reality.

So, over the next week I will share

How I prepared for my “Sabbath Rest”

What happened on my “Sabbath Day”

and What I learned from my “Sabbath Rest”

The reason I would like to do this is because I think taking a Sabbath is a fairly weird concept in today’s world, and because I learned a lot from it that I would like to share.

March 4, 2010

Easter in our Home: Preparing for Resurrection Sunday

Today, March 4, marks one month until Easter. While Catholics are busy preparing through the practice of Lent, most Protestant homes probably couldn’t even tell you what day it falls on this year without looking at a calendar. This year, my husband and I have been considering ways to make the observation of our Lord’s death and celebration of His resurrection a meaningful time in our home. We desire to do this for both ourselves and our children. In this post I’d like to share with you our intentions for our family, as well as a few resources of others’ ideas you might try.

Family Devotions & Lenten Lights

In our family worship time we recently started reading through the Gospel of Mark. We are trying to time it so that we will arrive at the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection around the same time as Easter. We will allow the story to unfold that week. As we read the events the week preceding Easter, we may decide to use Lenten lights/candles in our home (these can also be used for the seven weeks preceding Easter or the seven days preceding Easter).  To see more about this idea, check out this article.

Observation of Christ’s Death on Good Friday

Although it may take several years of practicing this to determine what it looks like, we are going to attempt to set aside Good Friday and the Saturday before Easter as solemn days of rest and reflection in our home. Check out the following passages of Scripture to see how God ordained certain special days for the Jews to observe rest and recognize that it was God who sanctified them: Leviticus 16:29-31, 23: 3-8 and 26-32.

First, our intentions…

  • To reflect on the sacrificial death of Christ and its implications to us as believers
  • To rest in the knowledge that it is through Christ’s work that we are sanctified and not through any kind of work we can do on our own
  • To allow the weightiness and seriousness of this to penetrate our hearts in a deep and lasting way

Second, our method (which is still being discussed)

  • Staying home
  • Planning in advance to do minimal chores, cooking, cleaning
  • Avoiding projects, activities, or having company
  • Keeping things quiet (shutting off televisions, music, maybe even the computer?)
  • Having a time of singing songs that reflect on Christ’s death
  • Potentially fasting (I’m nursing so I’ll pass this year)

Again, we are not sure how to do this or what it will look like with the children in our home. But we do believe it is worth our best efforts.

Celebrating the Resurrection

Any important celebration is accompanied by good food and fellowship! These will be a key part of our day as well as Sunday morning attendance to celebrate through song and the preaching of the Word.

I would love for others to post comments, thoughts, and traditions of their own related to this topic. And below are a few more references:

Nancy Guthrie’s collection of Easter sermons and devotions

Activities and preparations for adults and youth
(includes evangelistic ideas, scripture to memorize, ect.)

Several years since writing this I can now add my families EASTER BANNER to the list of references!

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