Thursday, July 24, 2014

A to Z Blogging--R is for Rest

Rest--Making Sundays a Day Of 
“And on the seventh day, God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.”
Genesis 2:2-3

God certainly did not need to rest, even after He did the unimaginable work of creating…well, everything! But His Word said that He did rest. He did this to set an example for us; we, too, need to rest. We need a day to rest physically and emotionally from the day-to-day stresses and happenings in our lives. We need a day to focus on Him and His teaching and His blessings. We need (NOT just on Sundays!) a day to worship, to pray, to seek His will in our lives. We need time to relax and refresh ourselves for the next week.

I decided to make Sunday a “day of rest” for me and my family about 15 years ago. We attend church every Sunday, and when we lived 25 miles from the grocery store I usually did some grocery shopping on Sunday. But I did not cook or clean or do any other projects; I spent time focusing on the Lord and His Word, spending time with my family and maybe indulging in a rare nap. I still do this as much as possible and find that it does prepare me for the following week. (If, for some reason, I can’t take Sunday as a day of rest, I try to take another day, or at least part of the day, to focus on the Lord and rest.

Please note that I do not view Sunday as a day full of rules as to what I can or cannot do. The ancient Jews debated over how far they were “legally” allowed to walk, or if they could pull an animal out of the well on Sunday, or had to let it die, as pulling it out was “work.” Some Sundays I do more than others; the important thing is that I focus on the Lord on that day and do what refreshes and renews me for the week ahead.

How can you make Sunday a day of rest for you and your family?  

  First of all, talk with your family about the new Sunday routine. The kids won’t have any chores (yay!) besides taking care of animals. No “honey-do’s” for your spouse either (yay!). Remind them that you won’t be cooking (yay!); they can eat leftovers or maybe it will be a day to order pizza.

·         Talk with your family about what a “day of rest” means. It’s not just a day to relax, but a day to spend more time with the Lord, praying, in Bible study, worshiping Him. Help your kids to plan how they will spend the day; maybe an hour of Bible study and journaling, writing out Bible verses to memorize, making a prayer list, making a list of things God has done for them, etc. Small kids will need more direction; you could read and discuss a Bible story together and then ask them to draw a picture about what you read and talked about.

·         Plan family activities, too. Maybe you’ll prepare a meal together or take a walk or visit members of your congregation who cannot get out. Just remember your goal to honor the Lord and refresh yourself for the upcoming week.

·         Plan ahead for what you will do! Gather your Bible and other study tools, or a devotion book. Will you update your prayer list? Journal about how God has spoken to you? List the things that you are thankful for?  Take a long walk by yourself, photographing evidence of God’s work? Take a walk or a long bubble bath?

·        Prepare your home. On Saturday, make sure there are clean towels and something in the house to eat, even if leftovers. Clear out the dishwasher and take out the trash, so it’s easy for everyone to pick up after themselves on Sunday.

·         If waking up to a messy house on Monday gets your week off to a bad start, spend a few minutes on Sunday night picking up—make it a family activity, maybe before you enjoy a treat together and talk about the day and the upcoming week.

·         If making Sunday a “day of rest” is a major change for your family, be prepared for some rough spots. You might get requests for supper or complaints that a favorite shirt is not clean. Gently remind your family of the “day of rest” rules; maybe they’ll decide to do their own laundry or cook for themselves, or maybe they’ll make do. Don’t give up! After a few weeks everyone will adapt, and I bet you’ll come to cherish your day of rest as I do.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.”
Exodus 20:8-10

I’m also blogging the A to Z Challenge at Nebraska Family Times . Check it out! 

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