Archive for the ‘Sabbath’ Tag

Whirlwind   1 comment

Image from hddesktopbackgrounds. us

Image from hddesktopbackgrounds. us

The last week has been just a complete whirlwind for me.  This may seem evident since I  have not posted in over a week.  Last Monday I traveled to St Louis for a conference.  The trip was relatively uneventful and had some fun aspects to it.  The conference ended on Wednesday and I left to make a long, unplanned trip to central Nebraska.  Being in the car for over nine hours is not something that I want to do frequently.  Then it was back to my home location on Thursday.  Friday was my only day in the office (although I did work all of Saturday morning) and so it was definitely a day of “catch up.”  The busyness continued into the first part of this week.  I would have to say that this is the first “calm” day in my office.

Last week caused me to ponder the true meaning of Sabbath.  Traditionally, Sabbath is considered the one day each week when we are to relax and not do work.  This follows a pattern set by God and affirmed by God in what we know as the Ten Commandments.  However, many of us find it very difficult to set aside a specific day every week for Sabbath.  Life seems to have so many demands that we often are always on the run.  So we often feel guilty that we do not honor God’s commandment of keeping the Sabbath.  I would caution us not to let the guilt overwhelm us.  Especially since the guilt does not seem to lead us to change behavior.

In my devotions this morning, one part of a passage that I am reading throughout this week actually reminded me that the concept of Sabbath is far more important than the “day” of Sabbath.  The passage I was reading was John 9:1-41.  Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath which causes some Jewish leaders to label him as evil.  It is clear to me that Jesus was more interested in caring for the blind man than he was about honoring the day of Sabbath.  People always came first in Jesus’ life.

So I am convinced that the day of Sabbath is not nearly as important as the concept of Sabbath.  The concept of Sabbath is to take a break.  It is an opportunity to quiet the whirlwind which we call life and to spend time focusing on people, relationships, and our relationship with the Lord.  Each person has their own way of relaxing and creating calm in their life.  The key is to make sure that you are consistently taking Sabbath and benefiting from stopping the whirlwind even for a short period of time.  God knew that we could not keep up a crazy pace of life and so God modeled and then instructed us to find some calm.

I am going to work hard on honoring Sabbath in my life, I hope you will do the same.

Quiet Times   2 comments

English: A quiet time for the River Carron. A ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I am almost afraid to put this in writing because it may cause things to change quickly but right now is a rather quiet time in my life.  There are not major projects or commitments that I need to complete.  My calendar is not packed with meetings.  My to-do list is manageable each day without much carry over into the next day.  It is definitely a quiet time.




During these rare but occasional times, I sometimes have a bit of guilt.  I spend so much of my life going and doing so when I get a quiet time I am always wondering what I am forgetting or if I shouldn’t be finding something new to be doing.  But in a conversation that I had yesterday with a good friend and confidant I was reminded that these are the sabbaths which the Lord provides.  I need to take advantage of these time to do some contemplation and dreaming that I do not get to do when life is much more hectic.  I need to take the opportunity to refresh myself and regain my energy.




I do not believe that I am the only leader that faces this tension between experiencing some calmer times and remaining active.  Most visionary and driven leaders are always moving in high gear.  Yet the wise leaders appreciate and embrace the quiet times that come.  The wise leader uses this time wisely and accepts it for what it is, realizing that everything will become very active once again in the very near future.




In the Old Testament, God tells the Israel people to keep a sabbath.  In fact, God even makes it one of the commandments:




Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”  (Exodus 20:8, NIV)


God knew that people need time to slow down and become more contemplative.  God knew that physically and mentally we needed to be able to relax, shift focus, and to recharge.  As a believer, I view God as the wisest leader of all.  So I guess I should take heed of the wisdom that God shares.




I am going to enjoy this quiet time for I know that a time of constant activity is close at hand.




Knowing Your Limits   Leave a comment

As a leader, one of the areas that I struggle with is keeping in perspective what are my life limits.  I am a person that has a pretty high drive and sometimes I kick into overdrive without even realizing it.  There are times as a leader that you have to do that and just need to suck it up and make it through.  However, no person can do that on a consistent basis.  So I have found that I need to strive to monitor this as frequently as I can.  This week is one of the weeks that I have been acutely aware of the limits that I have and that I must respect.

So this morning as I reflect on what I have been active with so far this week and I ponder the next few days, I realize that this is a day I would best if I slowed down and even took some time away.  God knew the importance of this so God established the sabbath.  The goal of the sabbath was to give humanity the opportunity to slow down, spend time in reflection, and experience the joys of the life that God created.  Unfortunately, the sabbath was misused by leaders of the God’s people and became a burden instead of what God had originally intended.  Today, most people are so overly committed that they cannot find time for a sabbath.  So it raises the importance of taking a sabbath whenever possible.

Today, I am going to do what I need to do to fulfill my responsibilities.  Then, I am going to honor the limitations that I have and more importantly I am going to honor the intentions of the sabbath which God established.  So this afternoon, I will probably be AWOL.

I hope that you are able to acknowledge your limits and take sabbath whenever possible but more importantly, whenever needed.


god (Photo credit: the|G|™)


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Return To Routines   1 comment

Acro dance partners execute a Lawnmower, one o...

Acro dance partners execute a Lawnmower, one of many types of partnering tricks found in acro dance routines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know that the calendar says that it is not fall until next month but I am declare it fall on my calendar today.  It has been a crazy summer with me traveling or being away from home most of the summer.  Because of the hectic schedule that I have had, most of my routines have gone out the window.  However, it is time to settle back into the positive routines of my life once again.  School is back in session, travel has discontinued, and the State Fair is over.  So I officially declare today as the first day of my fall routine.

Routines can be positive or negative.  Some routines are negative because they cause us to just walk through our days in a robotic way.    We become pretty passive and complacent and move from one item on our task list to the other.  These types of routines seem to numb us to the world around us and zap the energy out of our lives.  I hope that one of the positive aspects of a hectic, atypical summer is that I am able to break free of the negative routines that I had so easily settled into.

Some routines are positive.  They give us structure to our lives.  They provide opportunities for us to have a touchstone to center ourselves.  Positive routines can generate energy in our lives.  A type of positive routine is exercising most days in a week.  I returned this morning to my normal exercise routine and know that by the end of the week it will have a positive impact on my life.

The key is to remember that even positive routines can have negative effects if we don’t remember a couple of important guidelines:

  1. You must take a break from routines.  (i.e., God’s plan of the Sabbath.  God’s year of jubilee.)
  2. You must be aware of opportunities to experience life outside of the routines.  (i.e., Jesus’ discussion with the Samaritan woman.)
  3. You must not let routines run your life.  (i.e., Jesus’ discussion with the religious leaders regarding the Sabbath.)

So now it is time to continue getting back to the fall routine of my life.

A Snow Delay   2 comments

Today I did something that I don’t believe I have ever done in my years of working, I took a 2-hour snow delay.  Our local school system called a 2-hour delay because of the heavy, wet snow that we received last night and the impact it had on our roads.  When I heard that the school had made such an announcement at 5:30 this morning, I decided to do the same.  So I crawled back in bed and waited until 7:15 to get back up.  I then went out and cleared the snow from the sidewalks and driveway before starting my normal routine.  What did it cost me?  I was 30 minutes later than normal getting started in the office and had to skip my morning coffee at the coffee shop.

Now the more important question that I ask myself is what did it gain me?  First of all, I was able to gain about an hour of sleep which helps me feel more energized this morning and definitely has given me a positive attitude.  Second, it helped me break out of the monotony of routine.  Sometimes I need to be shaken out of my routine to appreciate other aspects of my life.  Third, it helped me clarify some priorities of my day.

Snowed trees on mount Brocken, Harz, Germany

Image via Wikipedia

You know, I think this is why God established the sabbath.  The Lord knew the value of having a break.  The Lord knew the value of breaking up routine.  Once again, the Lord is way ahead of me.  Some day I might actually figure out that what the Lord tells me to do in the aspects of my life are truly for my benefit.  Until then, I will continue to experience these “Aha” moments.

So I think that I am going to take the school system for my cue.  If a snow delay or snow day comes along, I might just have to take it as a message from God to change my plans.

Posted February 24, 2012 by thoughtfulbeliever in Uncategorized

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I’m Back   1 comment

Times Square Ball

Image by Atomische • Tom Giebel via Flickr

Well, my vacation has come to an end.  So today is the first day back in the office and the first day in the office in 2012.  It is with mixed feelings that I sit at my desk once again.  I greatly enjoyed my vacation.  I didn’t go anywhere exotic or do anything profound but it was truly relaxing.  I did enjoy going to both a Hawkeye and Cyclone Men’s basketball game.  I spent time reading and I spent time with people I love and friends.  So I will miss all of that.  But I am also glad to be in a routine again. 

For me, my vacation time was a time of sabbath.  I must confess that I do not take much time for sabbath.  In fact, if you looked at my calendar for this month, you would see that it almost completely full.  This is one spiritual habit that I really stink at.  So I deliberately tried to make sure that I did not over plan my vacation time.  I slept most mornings as late as I wanted to sleep.  I went to bed when I wanted to go to bed.  I did everything at my own pace depending on my mood and what needed to be accomplished.

Funny, the Lord had some wisdom when establishing the sabbath.  Maybe I need to trust that wisdom a lot more.  I will work on that in 2012.

Now, I have a TON of catch up work to do so I better get at it.  Hope that all my readers have an outstanding 2012.  Invite others to follow my blog along with you and let’s see what thoughts come into my mind this year!

Back To The Routine   Leave a comment

The Passage of Time

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

Alright, the Iowa State Fair is over and now it is time to get back to business.  Today, I shift from my normal routine at the Fair, to my normal work routine.  But even as I make this transition, I also realize that I am transitioning from my summer routine to my fall routine.  Yes, I know that fall is officially little less than a month away but since school is back in session and activities are starting to fill the calendar, the fall routine has begun here.

I find routine to be a blessing and a curse.  Since I am the type of person who likes organization, routine provides a level of comfort because time and activities are a bit more organized.  So the blessing is that I am returning to the familiar; I am returning to organization.  The curse is that it can be a struggle to move back from the leisurely to the rapid pace of my routine.  I look at all the items on my “to-do” list and wonder how I am ever going to make it through this day.

This has caused me to give thought to the importance of sabbath.  That much-needed opportunity to rest and to commune with the Lord.  The need to turn to the Lord for re-energizing.  The need to admit that we cannot go at a rapid fire pace all the time.

While having time away at the Fair was truly a sabbath for me, coming off of that sabbath isn’t always easy.  But I know that the Lord is always ready to re-energize me, I just need to take the time to turn to the Lord.

Posted August 23, 2011 by thoughtfulbeliever in Faith/Life Connections

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