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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

The fourth commandment is not about church attendance it's about rest from work and honoring God with your rest. Isn't it about time you find time to rest?


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Ignoring the Fourth Commandment

Spiritual Disciplines Series

The fourth commandment is not about church attendance it's about rest from work and honoring God with your rest. Isn't it about time you find time to rest?

I have really felt convicted lately to take a good long look at the fourth commandment.  In examining scripture I have discovered that the emphasis on this command is not about corporate worship, even though the Israelites were called to holy assembly on the Sabbath.  I always assumed my church attendance fulfilled this commandment, but that is definitely  not the point of number four. This commandment is specifically speaking of rest.  REST.  The absence of work.

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:8-11NLT

The fourth commandment is not about church attendance it's about rest from work and honoring God with your rest. Isn't it about time you find time to rest?

The words that stand out in the above scripture are:

Remember

Dedicate

Rest

Apart

Holy

God wanted His people, even the animals, to rest so they would be refreshed.  And God was very serious about resting, even to the point of  a death punishment for disobedience.  The point of the seventh day of rest  is found in Exodus 31:13   It is given so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.  

Our response?  I for one do not want to ignore the fourth command anymore. These rules of love were so important to Him that He carved them into stone tablets with His own finger.  Jesus tells us that the most important command is the first one, loving God, and that all the other laws hinge on it and on loving our neighbor.  The fourth commandment is just another way to express love toward Yahweh, our Father.

Here are some ideas to incorporate resting into your family life.

Pick a Day every week to rest.

Sunday is the natural choice, but shift workers might have to pick another day.

Individualize your definition of rest.

Will you mow or cook on your day of rest?  How will you lead your children in restful activities?  Is TV viewing or video games your idea of rest?  How about sports?  You make the rules. Be flexible.  Nothing should be set in stone.  Let your rest time have a natural ebb and flow that develops into something personal for you.

Be intentional.

Plan ahead so that work related activities are finished the day before.  Plan quiet family activities.  Resting doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Our culture of full speed ahead from dawn till dusk can easily distract us from focusing on God and family.   I would love to hear what you think of this idea of resting once a week.

The fourth commandment is not about church attendance it's about rest from work and honoring God with your rest. Isn't it about time you find time to rest?

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You might be interested in other posts from the Spiritual Disciplines Series below:

Spiritual disciplines will clothe you with depth, suitable clothes for the wedding banquet. Find out what these disciplines are, and battle the enemy as he tries to steal your time from you.

It is important to know that Jesus is not a genie ready to deliver hearts and rainbows just because I rubbed the lamp. Look y'all, if you are like me, and I'm betting you are, you spend most of your time in prayer presenting your requests. Here are some ideas to make your prayer time into more of a partnership...more of a love fest...more of an expression of trust.

So really, if I want to fight like a boss, like Jesus, I need to chose my words like Jesus did, quoting scriptures to the enemy. Pulling out the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.Now here's where those pesky distractions come y'all, at least for me. In order to swing the sword, I must train. Not only do I need military training and discipline to fight distractions, but my kids need to learn to fight with scripture too.

Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.

 

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Don't discount modern day parables. Jesus used lost sheep and coins to relate to His time in history, who says He can't update His repertoire using your life?


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The Parable of the Lost Passports

If you don’t travel outside of the country then you cannot possibly know just how disconcerting misplacing a passport is, especially if you already have bought the plane tickets.  I was reading through my 2015 journal and was reminded that about a year ago I lost our passports.  So what does one do when in a situation like this?

Don't discount modern day parables.   Jesus used lost sheep and coins to relate to His time in history,  who says He can't update His repertoire using your life?

Spend five hours tearing the house apart from top to bottom.

FIVE hours.

And they were there all along.  I had even unknowingly held them in my hand.   It was as if God had blinded me so I could gain insights from this struggle.  A personal parable.  A spiritual lesson.  Here is what I learned:

  1.  My husband was not the same man I married.  In our early years my husband tended to see the glass as half empty.  This same man partnered with me in the passport search and did not complain once.  And when the allusive passports were found, he laughed with me.  A spiritual  change in a husband is cause for celebration.
  2. If you pray for something, God might take you on a five hour “journey” to find it.  Yes, I found the passport, but I also found my prayer list that had been missing for a while too.  I always felt like I was forgetting to pray for certain people and would repeatedly ask God to help me find it.  Was this passport trek an answer to my prayer about the list?  I’ll bet God was laughing along with us that day.
  3. Figuratively, I learned that seeking a lost soul is hard work.  And maybe the lost are right there under your nose…right where you least expect them to be.
  4. By all means the most profound lesson I learned was that God is the one who brings the lost, not me.  I just have to be actively searching, so that when a soul’s heart is opened by Jesus, I am there to speak life to them.  see Acts 16:1

Don't discount modern day parables. Jesus used lost sheep and coins to relate to His time in history, who says He can't update His repertoire using your life?

 

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Has this happened to you? Suddenly, without warning...POOF, the problem is gone. A need has been met in ways no one could have dreamed up in a human mind. A simple thanks just doesn't seem to match the gift.


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When a Simple Thanks Doesn’t Match the Gift

Here is my dilemma y’all.  I have labored in prayer over a need.  My mind has been occupied by this trouble for months now.  It starts in the morning, and ends as my eyes close.  It’s always there as I go about my day.  It is a constant petition on behalf of my loved one.

So then, suddenly, without warning…POOF, the problem is gone.  The need has been met in ways no one could have dreamed up in a human mind.  I am stunned.  I am thankful.

But mere thanks just doesn’t seem enough after the amount of time I have suffered in prayer.  Shouldn’t the thanks be equal or greater than the petition? But oftentimes the only thing I have to offer Him comes from my mouth, “Thank you.”  But, y’all, those words just don’t seem enough.

Has this happened to you? Suddenly, without warning...POOF, the problem is gone. A need has been met in ways no one could have dreamed up in a human mind. A simple thanks just doesn't seem to match the gift.

In scripture, the children of Israel were finally heading to the Promise Land after many distractions and delays.  God recreated the crossing of the Red Sea for this new generation of Israelites as they set out across the Jordan River.  I’ll bet as their feet kicked up dust in that river bed…wide-eyed at the wall of commanded water on the right and on the left, they remembered the history of their fathers.    Read the story here.   Joshua commanded that twelve stones to be set up in the middle of the river.  The purpose?  Family discussions. This moment in time will live because children will ask and someone will answer.  Remembering is prolonged thankfulness.

And this is what I want to offer Jesus.  A remembrance of a difficult prayer answered.  Something created by me so that those who weren’t there might ask and I might tell.  For God is GOOD.  And He loves mightily.

I haven’t put my idea into action yet, but I have plans for my own memorial “stones.”  They involve a blank area of my dining room, a printer, cool frames and Walgreen’s photo shop.  I will be creating colorful signs that I will order in various sizes to create a space of refection, questions and thankfulness.  This will be a summer project and I will post pictures once it is completed.  I can just see it now…   Ziva will ask, “Granna, what is that for?”  and drawing her close I will say,  “Come let me tell you about the times God was so good…”  She will ask and I will tell.

Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life,so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone. 2 Peter 1:12-15 NLT

Update:  Project completed.  Click here to read all about the gratitude corner I set up in my dining room.

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Have you ever prayer for something for a LONG time, something that hurts your heart, something that has become a depressing ritual of petition to the Father? Have you ever seen a glimmer that your vigil is coming to an end? A speck of hope?


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Is Your Endurance Inspired by Hope?

Have you ever prayed for something for a LONG time, something that hurts your heart, something that has become a depressing ritual of petition to the Father?  Have you ever seen a glimmer that your vigil was coming to an end?  A speck of hope?  A crumb the Father sends to you to let you know things are not quite as desperate as once thought?  An endurance inspired by hope?  1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Have you ever prayer for something for a LONG time, something that hurts your heart, something that has become a depressing ritual of petition to the Father?  Have you ever seen a glimmer that your vigil is coming to an end?  A speck of hope?

 

Hope

In the blindness of the dark, it is the feel of a hand on your back.

In the panic of falling, it is the open chute.

In the drifting sailboat, it is the kiss of a breeze.

In the confusion of lies, it is the whisper of truth.

In the isolation of self, it is the elbow in the ribs.

In the sadness of despair, it is the embrace of love.

Hope

 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 NLT

And hope, when fully realized, brings a life of joy…even while you wait.

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Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.


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Unpainted Toes and Other Ways to Suffer in Prayer

Did you click on my post because of the title?  Give me a minute and I’ll explain.

Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.

Fasting is a Spiritual discipline that I am interested in but am NOT an expert on.  From what I understand in scripture, people withheld food from themselves in order to pray.  I guess there is something about suffering that focuses the mind, and lets Jesus know that you are serious.

But couldn’t fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray?  Does it have to be just food?  Several years ago a beloved uncle was in the throws of cancer.  He was riddled with it,  and there was nothing left to do but pray.  I found myself forgetting to remember him on certain days that I was consumed with my job and life. I DIDN’T WANT TO FORGET!   So I devised a plan.  I stopped painting my toenails.  Hear me out y’all.  In my part of Texas we wear sandals all the way up until winter.  When I look at my toes, it makes me happy to see shiny, bright colors staring back at me.  When they are not painted I cringe.  (I know some of you are laughing…me too)  These unpolished toes reminded me to pray.  Not only that, but it reminded me that while I was living a perfectly healthy life, someone I loved was in agony.

Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.

 

And now, another person I love is in agony over an ongoing job situation.   I should be praying for him daily, but I became frustrated when my prayers seemed tiny and brief.  I wanted my prayers to be as big, and bold as my love.  So I devised another fast,  especially for this situation.  I will continue this fast until a conclusion is reached.  Since this fast is current, I will keep it private for now.

Jesus gave specific  instructions for fasting.

 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.  Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.   Matthew 6:16-18 NLT

Did you notice that Jesus says WHEN YOU FAST.  Not IF you fast.

Other ideas for long term fasting are:  television, computer, phone activity (you could use it just to take calls),  coffee (taking it black when you don’t usually would be a great fast), sodas,  makeup, jeans, earrings, nail polish, even taking a different out of the way route home from work would be a great reminder to pray.  Anything that could purposely cause you inconvenience.   And by the way, if you recoiled when you read one of these ideas, and said to yourself you could never give up that particular item…I hate to tell you, but THAT’S the one you should go for first!  It’s all about suffering y’all.  Click here for Long Term Fasting Ideas printable PDF.

All of the above are long term fasts.  There are times when immediate abstaining from food fasts are more appropriate.  Big decisions, upcoming surgeries, safe travels, marriages are a few examples.  In scripture there were times when fasting was done with a group.  Once my sister and I fasted and prayed for a immediate need in her family.  And on a side note, EVERY time I have abstained from food to pray I have received deep, powerful insights from the Holy Spirit.  He is working with you, n sync with you while you suffer in prayer…bringing your groans to the Father.  (Romans 8)

Be creative with your fasting y’all.  Think outside of the box and become powerful prayer warriors.  Blessings!

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