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“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
Hebrews 4:9-11

Do you have a problem slowing down? How do you rest and relax?

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
Exodus 20:8-11

Do you keep a Sabbath? Why or why not?

“One of the local characters on Orcas Island, where I live, is named Applegate. His friends call him App. For App, life holds nothing more precious than sailing. His passion is unending as he builds by hand his eighty-foot dream boat out of native Northwest timber. Locals trek up the mountain to cheer on this newest ‘Noah’ as he builds his ark under a mountaintop’s cover of cedars and Douglas firs.
For ten years now App has been hammering and sawing hour by hour, day after day, week upon week. The construction has been running a few years slower than he figured, App admits, but he’s confident the yacht will be finished in the next few years.
App is in his eighties.
I look at App with Janus-faced irony. He’s my hero: someone not afraid to commit to a project that takes him into his eighties and nineties. But in my about-face, he’s my antihero: someone whose passion for a life experience has lifted that very experience out of his life.
One day a friend asked App to explain his obsession. ‘I love sailing,’ he disclosed.
‘Been sailing recently?’ my friend wondered. App’s hesitant admission of ‘been too busy’ seemed to shock him into momentary awareness. But he returned to his nails.
The harder we hammer nails, the more unfurled our sails. The faster the lanes get in life, the more fatal our inability to slow down. The hotter the culture gets, the cooler the soul’s core becomes. The more culture accelerates, the more axiomatic the soul’s decelerations.
Leonard Sweet, Learn to Dance the Soul Salsa

Are there good and important activities that are distracting you from God? What “busyness” is keeping you from embracing a fuller life with God?

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17

Do you see your own situation clearly? Who might you go to get a clearer picture?

“The Sinful worship of Mammon does not consist in eating and drinking and wearing clothes, nor in looking for a way to make a living and working at it; for the needs of this life and of the body make food and clothing a requirement. But the sin consists in being concerned about it and making it the reliance and confidence of your heart. Concern does not stick to clothing or to food, but directly to the heart, which cannot let a thing go and has to hang on to it.”
Martin Luther, The Place of Trust

Materialism is a difficult sin. If we’re to live in this world, we need money. How do we live in the world, but not be of the world?

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘These people say, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?’
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.’
This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,’ says the Lord. ‘You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.” Haggai 1:2-11

How tied are you to material possessions? How is this tied to our generosity toward God?

“The outer distractions of our interests reflect an inner lack of integration of our own lives. We are trying to be several selves at once, without all our selves being organized by a single, mastering Life within us.
Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center. Each one of us can live such a life of amazing power and peace and serenity, of integration and confidence and simplified multiplicity, on one condition—that is, if we really want to.”
Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion

Are you familiar with a “divine Center”? How often are you able to live there?

“Those who love money never have enough; those who love wealth are never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

How much money would be enough for you? Is the lack of money the real problem or is it your expectations and desires?

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Matthew 6:5-8

Do you have a place you where you pray in secret? Find a quiet place to be your “room of prayer”.

“How does a man become increasingly a Christian when he already is one? How does he begin from where he is and at least be in motion away from ‘not Christian enough’?
“To know and to love God directly is to come to know what we are. . . . Prayer is an attempt to get ourselves into that active co-operation with God where we may discern what is authentic and be made ready to carry it out.”
Douglas Steere, Prayer and Worship

God expects us to grow as Christians. How have you done in this area? Have you plateaued? How do you plan to next move forward?