true beauty

When God created me, He put some unique giftings and characteristics within my DNA. My bent is in helps and serving, administration and discernment. I am most comfortable in the background, making others look good and assisting in getting the job done. It comes as no surprise to those who know me well that I am much more like the biblical Martha than her sister Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus to learn more and to worship.

It has become a spiritual discipline for me to read through the Bible every year. I switch it up, chronologically then book by book, a new translation every year, but the words never fail to sound fresh and alive no matter how many years pass by. This year I’m enjoying The Message translation with the books arranged in the order they would have happened, with commentary by Eugene Peterson, who prayerfully and painstakingly made the words easy to understand to the average person. So as I am reading about Moses and the people of Israel, their trials and travels and training in holiness as they build the Tent of Meeting to allow them a place to meet with God and have their sins forgiven every year, I find it easy to feel the joys and heartaches of their lives.

Moses had been given specific instructions in how the structure was to be built. The people were called upon to bring offerings, of gold and silver, bronze and precious stones, fabric and animal skins, oil and fragrant spices. The people wanted to please the God who had brought them out of bondage, and there was an abundance of raw materials and costly gifts, so much that they were told to stop bringing and start crafting. Everyone had a task! There were priests and artisans, seamstresses and servers and woodworkers. As Moses describes the work that was going on he comes to the Bronze Basin that would be used to wash the feet and hands of the priests before they would begin to administer the sacrifices and sacraments at the golden Altar of God.

“He made the Bronze Washbasin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women’s work group who were assigned to serve at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” Exodus 38:8 (MSG)

These dear women had somehow come to a place of submission and surrender to God – they were willing to sacrifice and offer their prize possessions, the bronze mirrors that had been given to them as they fled from Egypt and a life of slavery! Those who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting were charged to purity. They were serving the priests, the representatives of Almighty God! Their lives had been changed by the revelation of God’s glory on the mountain, and they willingly gave their precious mirrors to be crafted into the basin that would hold clean water for washing the hands and feet of the priests as they prepared to meet with God and minister to His people. They no longer felt the need to gaze at themselves to determine if they were beautiful. They were sacrificially ministering and in service their beauty was shining brightly.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…”  1 Peter 3:3-5 (NIV)

With my serving, helping, task-oriented ways I must constantly be asking myself, is my heart in a place of true service and consecration to Him? Am I cleansed and prepared to shine brightly with His glory as I serve? Only His glory will draw men and women to Christ. I must have the mindset of serving Jesus rather than serving others, not the erroneous idea that I am somehow just working. It’s a sacrificial, loving response to all He did for me on the cross. Before going to Calvary, Jesus took up a basin of water and towel and washed the filthy feet of the Twelve, even the one He knew would betray Him. The love that shone forth from His eyes as He took the dusty, mud-caked feet in warm hands and gently cleansed them worked through more than just the surface grime. It went to the core of their hearts to the hurt and broken places and drew them ever closer to His healing presence. I don’t want to get caught up in the tasks and lose sight of the One who gave it all for me. May my heart continue to make the necessary shifts from the Martha-mindset to Mary-delight.

In the Revelation 5:10, we are told that as believers He “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, and we shall reign on the earth.” This is a promise both for now, that we are already made kings and priests for His glory, and for after He returns, as we shall reign over the earth with Him.

I invite you to join me and offer up all that may look good on the surface to expose the dark and hurting places deep within to our capable Savior. He will see that all our works will be translated as a sacrifice of praise. In Him the load is light, for He places us in families and with others, under the proper authority and spiritual covering, and allows us the privilege and honor of serving Him through touching the lives of others. It is me, and us, and Him, and this dynamic makes the task easy and the load light. All done for Him and His glory! This is true beauty, shining brightly from within to the ones around us, a glory-light that is unmistakable and irresistible, and it is ours as we live for Him alone.

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focus

Yes, I was that child, the one with the shy smile, teacher’s pet vibe and the white, “cat-framed” glasses. Ever since I can remember I’ve worn glasses, and my school pictures show a blond-haired girl sitting as close to the front of the classroom as possible, because I most likely still couldn’t see all that well even with my glasses.

Over the past five years my vision has gotten blurrier. To drive at night was so precarious that I avoided being away from home in the evening. And at my last eye appointment the ophthalmologist very bluntly said, “It’s time to have those cataracts removed…” I had been through the cataract surgery drill with my husband some years back, who had several eye issues that needed to be corrected by surgery. But it’s a whole other thing when it becomes your diagnosis. I had a tearful meltdown in my car after hearing her prognosis, and immediately began to lament and cry out to God. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for the surgery, for insurance doesn’t cover most of the procedure and my deductible is fairly high. All of the expenses were going to be assessed out of pocket, and the pockets felt empty. God quickly answered, and provided everything I needed to cover the surgical costs, so I began to schedule the days off and have the necessary tests done. God is so faithful in His provision, always!

In December I began to pray about my one-word for the new year. It has become my way of simplifying how I want to view life, through a word, taking special note when I see it written or heard or read. God brought me to “focus” for 2018.

ˈfōkəs/ the center of interest or activity; focal point; center of; the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition; point of convergence; adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly; pay particular attention to.

I really am enjoying God’s sense of humor! As my eyes are corrected, one at a time, my vision is becoming clearer. I can see patterns and colors and objects that I haven’t seen without glasses in over 50 years! My home needs a thorough cleaning, which others may have noticed but that I was oblivious to.

During the surgery the cloudy cataract was removed, allowing light and images to now reach the retina and become visible to me. My surgeon also used a laser to correct the imperfections in my eyes. Finally he implanted a permanent corrective lens so that my vision is now almost 20/20. It is remarkable to be able to read words from a distance that were blurred even with my glasses!

All this thinking brings me to a few conclusions:

LIGHT – As a believer it is imperative to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. In the day to day it is so easy to begin to look around me at the darkness, but training my vision to be set on Him brings clarity and a release from fear and the cares of life, making me bold and courageous.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:4-5 (NIV)

LASER – The Word of God brings life and depth to the unseeing areas of our soul! This Sword of the Spirit cuts away the dead and lifeless places that keep us from being all we can be in Christ.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

MIRROR – Oh, to have the ability to see myself through His eyes! He created me exactly the way I am, on purpose, and this perception allows me to move forward in confident trust that I am becoming all that He designed me to be.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 (NIV)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

So as I adjust to my new range of vision, I’m going forward with renewed focus and vision for this coming season. My eyes are fixed on Him, and my steps will be purposeful, intent on following His lead.

the great love of God

There has been a quiet hush in my heart this Advent. Early in the season I put up a little tree, all decorated in angels and gilded pinecones and white lights. In my solitary, humble home I have been sitting and waiting, hoping and resting, taking extra time to meditate on all the promises of God that were fulfilled with the coming of Messiah. Isaiah prophesied, and Jesus gave this declaration in the temple:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me
to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)

There is a new understanding of who God really is, the magnitude of His love for all of His creation. For as long as I can remember I’ve heard the words of John 3:16 quoted. However this year it has become real to my heart.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)

You see it isn’t that God loved the world so much, but rather that He so loved that He came. His character, the very nature of our Creator God is love. The generosity of God is an expression of how He loves. He loves because He is Love. He gives because He cannot, not give. The famous “love chapter” describes the perfect virtues that we as His followers attain to, which is a true representation of God’s very nature:

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… Love never fails… And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 12 (NKJV)

So here I am at Christmas, my second since the death of my husband, the first since my daddy’s passing, and I am finding that God’s word is even more true than ever before.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:17-19 (NKJV)

I feel ever more near to the Lord as He draws near to me. His faithful love, His coming to my rescue before I was even born, is a true comfort. He comes and fills the dry, dead and empty places of my broken heart and is enough! There is more than enough to overflow and spill over onto a hurting world. I can go forward and walk while resting in His arms of mercy and grace, because He came.

Joyous Christmas! May you experience a greater awareness of His Presence and Love as you celebrate the coming of the Savior, Christ the Lord.

running the way

It has never been a goal of mine to be a runner. In my school years I was not very athletic. To think about sprinting for the annual physical fitness exams would tie my stomach up in knots! Every once in a while I would get a wild urge to take off running, but I was always sorry afterwards, knees and ankles screaming at me for days, reminding me for months not to try that again.

But I was recently challenged to consider taking up running – if not physically, in a spiritual sense.

“I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.” Psalm 119:32 NASB

The way of Your commandments. My identity as Betty Walks the Way has become the vision for my forward motion as a follower of Jesus. It brings me joy to take my walks, sometimes alone but more often lately in the company of the friends that have been placed in my life. When I’m alone I become a photographer, my eyes trained to see God’s presence in the form of the things He has created. But Psalm 119:32 seems to suggest that it is not enough to just walk on the paths. Walking is a slow, yet purposeful movement forward, a pace designed to facilitate conversations and being with. There comes a time in the life of every believer when a progression to a swifter, more precise movement becomes necessary. Some call this discipline, where we lay aside the leisurely, somewhat haphazard and lazy desires of the flesh to pursue a deeper life in God. He has spoken specific “commands” to me other than the all-important Ten Commandments, designed to help me grow deeper and stronger in Him. Healthy eating at least a majority of the time, keeping my diet clean and nutritious. Spending a regular set-aside time with Him each day to listen for His voice and seek His will. Loving selflessly, even when it’s hard and hurts. If I really looked at these qualities as “commands” how would my actions and my attitudes change? So often I get stuck on the path to nowhere land because I am not intentionally focusing on His commands. There is no progress, no fruit is being formed and maturing when I’m not serious about His way for me. In fact, my attitudes and actions begin to decline and be even less mature. I want to choose to run the way, to accelerate the movement forward along the path God has put me on. To “run with endurance the race that is set before me, my eyes on the prize of the upward calling of my Lord Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 12:1

Psalm 119:32 also brings a promise. If I choose to run the way that He commands, He will enlarge my heart! He will give me a greater capacity to give and receive love, and to love well. It’s a benefit of obedience, an expansion of the seat of emotions, and increased awareness of His presence at work in me. I am trusting that as I commit to run the way of His commands He will lead me and expose with gentle love the areas that need to be changed, and will continue to encourage me as I walk the way with Him. What a promise! Will you run with me?

why I walk the way

“Your vital statistics look good right now, but you have too many hereditary strikes against you for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, even stroke in the near future.”

Those were the words of my doctor at my routine exam right before my 43rd birthday in 2001. Oh, I should not have been shocked. I had been severely overweight for the past 10 years, all my adult life battling with moderate obesity. Just a few months ago a group of us had thrown a surprise birthday party for a friend, complete with barbecued pork, baked beans, garlic bread, corn on the cob with butter, a huge cake; all those comfort foods that I was so used to consuming. To remember the occasion we videotaped the celebration. “We all look swollen,” was one remark. Yet that had not been enough to move me to try to lose those extra pounds.

Our daughter had just given birth to our second grandchild and as I would sit on the floor to play with him I would have to struggle to even move easily. I recall thinking that I would never be able to keep up with him as he started crawling, and then walking very soon. On my job our weekly staff meetings were held on the second floor and if I had to go back downstairs for necessary reports or supplies I would be winded for a good five minutes upon returning. My father had developed type-2 diabetes and had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) which is a fancy name for a mini-stroke, and even more close to home my husband was an insulin-dependent diabetic with complications like retinopathy and neuropathy.

So as I sat on the doctor’s exam table I looked around the room, ashamed and fearful at the thought of a future of health problems all because I could not seem to control my appetite. I noticed a flyer for a national weight-loss program and made a silent, mental commitment to do something about my situation, and the  following week went to a meeting. Yes, here I was, timid and reluctant to even be in the room with that group of 20 or so people, all with the same struggles that I was facing. Little did I know that I was starting a lifelong journey that would lead ultimately to a healthier, more satisfying existence.

As I ventured out into the world of exercise I had to start slowly; walking to the end of the street was initially a strain, then adding a few yards more every time I would head out the door. Eventually I was walking several miles every morning and I found that I enjoyed being outdoors early in the day. God seemed close by as I’d walk and pray, songs of praise running through my head. Neighbors would give me a cheery “beep-beep” of their car horns as they’d pass me. I ran into people in the store or around town who would say, “I saw you walking the other day. You inspired me to get out and exercise, too.”

The pounds were continuing to drop off, one or two every week. Then my husband developed a physical problem with his foot and could not work. Suddenly I was the sole breadwinner and the pressures of keeping up our home, working, cooking began to overwhelm me. Instead of turning to food as my comfort I would lace on my shoes and head out the door in the evening. A good, swift walk turned into a faster jog as I turned my stress and cares over to the Lord in the fresh night air.

Finally he was able to go back to work and life settled back into an easier routine. My favorite quote was Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” And He was doing exactly that,  working  deep inside, breaking through the defeating, bad choices I was making to a place of being able to trust God and rely on His presence to bring me comfort and strength. I reached the end of this leg of my journey about one year later having lost 98 pounds.

My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009, and at the age of 51 my life began another spiral of change. I was working full time at the church, and as the disease progressed I assumed my other new full time role of caregiver. Dealing with the intricacies of care for someone who was disabled became more and more of a challenge, and over the next few years, as my faith was stretched and my energy became depleted, I leaned into the Lord and my community of family and friends. Walks became even more important, as a healthy way to burn off stress and have much needed alone time.

When David was suddenly and unexpectedly hospitalized in September of 2016, followed by his death in October, I realized that the Lord was leading me on a new path and placing a new calling on my heart: to see that no one in my circle walks through the valley of the shadow of death alone.

Along the way I found that I’m still on a journey, one that I will be on my entire life. My daily choice to allow God to comfort me instead of using food to comfort me, keeping friends close by who will encourage me, being an inspiration to others every day with my words of hope and help are the path that I am continuing on. We often take family walks and swim for fun on our visits together, and I prayer walk with friends on a regular basis.

Wholeness- body, mind and spirit- have become very important to me. Daily choosing to “throw off everything that hinders” keeps my mind clear of that mental clutter and anguish and helps me to “run with perseverance the race” with confidence (Hebrews 12:1). Winston Churchill inspired me by saying: “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and the glory of the climb.”

So I continue to Walk the Way, bringing Him glory, and drawing others alongside me as I go.

a covenant of love

Forty-two years ago. As a young woman of seventeen, I stood at the altar and pledged to love, honor, and cherish my beloved, “until death do us part.” I did not comprehend what that meant, but was deeply in love with this tall, dark and handsome man who had swept me off my feet with his love for God, and his vibrant baritone voice, and the easy way he played the guitar and worshipped the Lord we were both coming to know better. Life was much simpler way back then. We lived on a plot of land adjacent to his childhood home and worked the family farmland, making a decent living and serving God in a way that made us both full of joy. Before I knew it we moved away from the only town we had known so that he could pursue a college degree in pastoral ministry. Life was rosy, and we added a baby daughter to our family before graduating and beginning his career as an associate pastor. Our first son was born during these times of fulfillment as he helped lead the congregation in the word and song, and we made deep friendships with other believers.

As we left the comfort zone of close to home again, our times of ministry became harder. There were misunderstandings and disillusionment, and baby three, our second son entered the world. Our family pulled together as the ministry fell apart, and we found ourselves facing the decision that pastoral life was not the direction God had for us for the future. My husband found secular employment and I began working at the church where we had met and wed, a complete turnaround in roles for us as a couple. The teen years and watching our oldest two find their mates and move on were fulfilling, and we had again settled into the happy Christian life.

Then my husband began to have some disturbing symptoms: loss of balance, tripping, walking without the ability to swing his arms and a purposeful gait, and we found ourselves entering into the world of the unknown and doctors and tests. The diagnosis was Parkinson’s disease, and by the age of 58 my husband was unable to hold a job. There were hard patches, and tears and prayers along this new way, but also a deep assurance that we were not alone. We began to hear God’s voice in a clearer way, speaking comfort and peace. Our prayer and devotional life as a couple became special and sweet.

When he had an episode of weakness on that fateful September morning last year, resulting in admission to the hospital, I thought that his stay would be short and he would soon be back home and we could go back to a “normal” life. But over the following three weeks I watched as he declined in his physical and mental capabilities. There were times when the conversation was very clear, and he would say, “I just want to be a man after God’s own heart…” I could see his zeal for the things of the Lord shining brightly. When I would arrive at the hospital in the mornings he would recall his dreams, and he was always fighting the enemy and running to safety, however he no longer had the physical strength left to fight. I watched him lose 50 pounds during this time, and it became very clear that his life was wasting away before my eyes. His last conversation with me was a confession of sorts, “I want to fight the good fight, but I’m so tired.” My heart broke to see my love lose his battle later that day with one final quiet breath.

Recently I have become acquainted with another woman who lost her husband before long his time. She has spoken truth to me, and she shared a conversation she had with God in which He explained to her that with the death of her husband, their marriage covenant had been fulfilled.

Covenant: an agreement, a commitment, a pledge, a promise. As a people we could never live up to the demands of living a life that was pure enough, holy enough, to be His beloved. Our God went to great lengths to woo and draw and claim and redeem His bride. There was only one way to make her spotless, and that was to have someone sacrificed, once for all, to cover our sins. It never ceases to amaze me that Christ, the only and perfect Son of Almighty God, would be willing to leave the comfort and security of His heavenly home and die. To die for one, so unworthy. To die for mankind, so arrogant and self-centered and undeserving of all that He was. His death and my acceptance of all that He has done for me qualifies me to be His bride. I am in a new covenant, one ever as binding as the marriage covenant I entered into on that bright day so long ago. He has shown His love for me:

But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who [reverently] fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who honor and keep His covenant, and remember to do His commandments [imprinting His word on their hearts]. Psalm 103:17-18 AMP

He has pledged to be forever loyal to me, putting my interests before His, and my safety is secure as I trust Him. He surrounds me, like a warm cloak on a cold day or the whisper of wind on a hot afternoon. I am His and I am held in His strong arms of faithfulness. As I meditate on His words, write them on my heart, they bring life and a peace that is without understanding.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV

This bride finds security and love and all that I need in my forever faithful God. It is a covenant of joy, given by a Husband of infinite love and trustworthiness. I am His, and He is mine.

rest is in His will alone

Sabbath : Rest : Day Off. I think we get tripped up, because in christianese these words are used synonymously, but they have very different meanings.

I was part of a very lengthy and somewhat inconclusive discussion about what it means to “keep the Sabbath”. What day is “the Sabbath” under the new covenant? What does it look like to keep this day “holy”? Why do we as 21st century Christians seem to pick and choose which of the Ten Commandments and Levitical laws we will still obey?

So after 10 hours of allowing those thoughts and questions to settle, I came up with the phrase above. My life is in a season of restructuring, reconfiguring, and the word Rest has been like a draught of cool water on a hot day, an oasis of refreshing in what seems to be a wilderness wandering. It pops up on blogs and in books and stirs a desire deep in my soul, because after being a believer in Jesus for over 40 years I still feel like I‘m only scratching the surface of living in a way that pleases and honors God. So often I find myself spinning my wheels and staying busy and craving real rest for my body and soul. God has commanded us to:

keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16 (NKJV)

My understanding is that Sabbath is a call to a once-in-seven, regularly scheduled day that allows the heart and mind and soul to return to God, to a rightful place of grounding in Him. That day is more about the motives and place of the heart – is it in line with Almighty God? It’s asking the hard question: will I push aside the ways and the cares of the world and heed His voice?

Our church is in a summer series on Sabbath: Renew.Restore.Resist. The title says it well, if you’ll read between the lines.

To Renew: rest, to cease from work, to allow to regain strength and energy

To Restore: to bring back, return to a former condition, place, or position

To Resist: to withstand the action or effect of, oppose, weather, endure

This once-in-seven Sabbath day requires that I resist the pull of the world, my flesh, and the devil. Sabbath calls me to put God back on the throne of my heart, to recalibrate my love, my first love, and brotherly love, and in this way I am caring for myself.

Ideally Sabbath should be consistent, the same day every week, but I believe the additional law to do no work may not apply in our day. It is more a position of the heart, a day above all others to be so in tune with God in our work, our ministry to others, our dealings with men on behalf of a holy and just God. Does it show love to not care and minister to our family, which as a mother involves lots of labor? Sabbath is a place of working out our salvation, what does this look like for me as an individual and us as a family?

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” Philippians 2:12 (NKJV)

He is a holy and righteous and just God. Sabbath should mean a coming together with other believers for worship, times of community and fellowship. As a ministry staff member who “works” on Sundays, it will involve extra time the night before to prepare my heart, quite possibly being unplugged from social media and more “worldly” entertainment, and more diligent to stay in step with the Holy Spirit. For a family that works Monday-Friday it may mean choosing a later service on Sunday for worshipping together so that breakfast and getting ready for church can be more relaxed and peaceful. The goal is to honor God with the fruit of our hands and hearts at least one consistent day a week.

As a new widow, this year has been a year of firsts for me: my first New Year’s Eve alone, the first Valentine’s Day without my beloved physically here to affirm to me his lifelong commitment. When Easter rolled around I figured it would be simple, no out of control emotions. For the past ump-teen years we have not worshipped together as a family on Easter. We have been in ministry, doing our assigned tasks of worship team and hospitality, maybe eating a meal together later in the day but for the most part it would look like any other Sunday. I was very surprised at the flood of emotions, the bereft way I mourned ever having the kids sit together with my husband and I, all dressed up – fresh clothes, bright smiles, like I recall from my childhood and the children’s early days. I quite truthfully felt cheated by ministry, and I am grateful for the loving way the Holy Spirit blew into my quiet place and reassured me of the importance of the role our family played in setting the stage and the atmosphere for Him to move in hearts on Resurrection Day. That morning I had a choice: to remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, to pray through and put on my armor and go forth as usual, to put one foot in front of the other and abide with Him in the work, or not. That to me was honoring God by keeping the Sabbath. I was only able to do that because I had already scheduled into my week a day off to rest, as well as attending a Good Friday service to prepare my heart. I had made the choice to love God no matter what, and He so graciously came alongside and met me there. I was able to peacefully pull off my roles on that special Sabbath because I was in tune with Him and full of the Spirit.

My choice to Sabbath is a weekly renewing of the covenant of life that I have entered into with a holy and righteous God. I am only considered righteous in His eyes because of all that He has done through the death and sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. I don’t want to miss this time of renewal! I will resist the pull of the world to go down a path that does not include this consecrated day. The blessings and the promises are powerful and real, and I want every spiritual blessing that is mine in Christ Jesus.

“This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.
Blessed is the one who does this— the person who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it, and keeps their hands from doing any evil.” 
… these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”    Isaiah 56:1-2, 7 (NIV)

This day I recommit to keeping a day of Sabbath rest.