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The Preparation Day {Day 30}

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Preparing our homes for Sabbath @ AVirtuousWoman.org

You can find all of the devotions and podcasts in this series here.

From Chaos to Calm: Day Thirty

The Preparation Day

Scripture Memory: “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.” Exodus 16:23

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Since the beginning of time, Friday was the Preparation Day. Women would spend Friday preparing for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was to be celebrated and “called a delight.” (Isaiah 58:13) The only way to truly be able to enjoy the Sabbath day is to have our hearts and our homes prepared for a Sabbath day’s blessing.

Each week, from Sabbath to Sabbath we should be preparing for God’s holy day. The Sabbath, or the day we set aside to worship our Father in heaven, should be the center of all of our activities – not because we are bound by the law, but because Jesus is the center of who we are.

I love how, Yara Cerna Young explains this in her book, Oh No It’s Sabbath Again: And I’m Not Ready! (1) She states:

“As Sabbath has become less of a special day, we have grown up with less guidance for how to prepare for it. Role models in this area are few. Whom can we turn to for instruction? … I’m sure the Lord doesn’t want us to miss the blessing we can have from the Sabbath. He knows how desperately we need this important time – especially in such a complicated age! In love, He has given us a weekly reminder of His sovereign power in our lives. Each week we receive one more opportunity to draw closer to Him, one more opportunity to glorify Him. The Lord intended the Sabbath to be a time of celebration, but too many of us are not having fun anymore!”

So, how are we to make the best use of our time in preparation for the Day God has set aside just to be with us? The key is getting organized. That is what this challenge is all about! By taking steps to get our lives in order, we will in essence allow more time to prepare our hearts and homes for the Sabbath.

In my own home, Friday is the day I do a good portion of my Sabbath preparation. The children and I ensure that all the chores are completed by Friday afternoon. I prepare a meal for the Sabbath to be eaten after church (or for potluck). This way, I do not have to slave over the stove and waste the beautiful hours of God’s holy day.

We enjoy having a special dinner on Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath. I put fresh linens on the table and use my best dishes. I even have special Sabbath plates that my little ones love.

I love looking at the Jewish traditions to find new ways to ensure my family finds the Sabbath a true delight. As keeper of my home, it is my responsibility to see that everything is prepared and ready for my family. The children do help. I oversee their activities so that they do have a part. The Proverbs 31 woman “looked well the ways of her household.” She was a good manager which means she knew how to delegate the jobs at hand!

If your home is in order throughout the week, you will have less to do on Friday. I hate it when we welcome the Sabbath with chores undone. I find it harder to rest! This Friday, see what you can do to prepare for the coming Sabbath.

Preparing our homes for Sabbath @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Here are some ways to make the Sabbath evening even more special:

  • Light candles on the table and around the house.
  • Sing a beautiful song together as a family such as “Day is Dying in the West”.
  • Have special nightgowns for your daughters and special pajama’s for your sons.
  • Learn more about the way Jewish people celebrate the Sabbath and incorporate some of those traditionsinto your own Sabbath routine.

I had the recent pleasure of learning to make traditional Jewish Challah bread. It was much simpler that I had believed possible! So I want to share the recipe here:

Jewish Challah Bread

In a small bowl: Add 1/2 cup warm water, 3 tsp. active dry yeast, and a pinch of sugar – set aside. Mix until all the yeast is dissolved.

In a large bowl: Mix: 1 cup water or milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup mashed potatoes, 4 tbs. + 2 tsp. sugar and oil, one egg and 3 cups unsifted bread flour (- 1 cup at a time). Whisk the mixture until smooth. Add the yeast mixture. Add 1 cup flour and switch from a whish to a spatula or wooden spoon. Gradually beat until you make a stiff but soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface or knead in bowl until smooth and satiny. It should feel smooth and soft like a baby’s bottom – not sticky. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Divide dough into two sections. Divide each section into four equal parts. Roll each section between hands to form a strand about 18 – 20 inches long. Place four strips on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper, pinch tops together, and braid. Repeat with remaining four strands.

How to Braid: Sprinkle or rub a small amount of flour on each strand to keep braid from coming together. Begin with right hand strand, place it over second strand, under third, over fourth. Repeat always starting on the right side. When you get to the end, fold ends under pinching together.

Rise: Allow bread to rise in a warm area until doubled in size. Tip: place near stove and boil a pot of water to prevent it from drying out. After bread has risen, use a soft pastry brush to brush a beaten egg over the top. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake: Bake in a 350 degree over for 30 – 35 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

This bread is wonderful served warm with sweet butter. I like to make my bread on Wednesday to allow the yeast to become inactive before eating which I find to be more healthful. I wrap the loaf in foil and warm it in the over before serving. The two loaves represent the double portion of manna that God provided on the Preparation day. God is always faithful to provide what we need when we are faithful to serve him!

Your assignment today is to plan for the Sabbath and incorporate it into your schedule.

Footnotes:
1. Oh No, It’s Sabbath Again And I’m Not Ready! by Yara Cerna Young is available on www.amazon.com.
2. Visit http://judaism.about.com/od/sabbathdayshabb2/p/friday_evening.htm for more information about how
the Jewish people celebrate the Sabbath.

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How do you prepare for the Sabbath? How can you make the Sabbath more meaningful for your family?

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27 Comments

  1. I will admit sometimes my challah bread loaf is a thing of beauty and sometimes it resembles a flattened bread stick! More often that not I pick up a round loaf of Kings Hawaiian sweet bread. Since my husbands family is Filipino that Sabbath tradition of serving the sweet bread loaf with grape juice has continued at our house. I have a special oil lamp lantern we bought when the girls were small. I spread my grandmothers white tablecloth and light the lantern every Friday night. There are special dishes with tiny flowers on them that are used for our Sabbath meal. Nothing fancy but just special, set apart. So everyone knows when these things are there its Sabbath. A few months ago I started taking a table setting picture with my phone and posting it on Facebook every Friday night to welcome the Sabbath. It has become an unexpected witness as people tell me they look for that photo every Friday. I <3 the Sabbath!
  2. The pdf to this post is for day 29 instead of 30. I am probably such a pest. Sorry, I just really like this series and having the pdf is really helpful. :)
  3. Melissa are you kidding? ;) Me? inspire you? Your website is so very inspirational! From the words written to all the useful printouts. All the beautiful vintage images. I can't even imagine how much work it is to put this all together and keep it up and running. Thank you so much it is an awesome blessing!
    1. Mia, you are so sweet! Thank you for your kind words. But honestly, I need to be inspired too! :) I'm so glad you enjoy A Virtuous Woman. I hope this place continues to be a blessing!
  4. I found this to be a thought-provoking article in a good way! Being raised in a very conservative denomination, I always wondered why our biggest meals and entertainment was on Sunday, feeling like the hardest working day of the week for the ladies! It always seemed to me we were overlooking the point of the Sabbath! Now that I'm a pastor's wife myself, Sunday isn't necessarily my 'company' day:) I try to make meals that are crock-pot or easy...which gives our family more time for rest, games and just enjoying the day! Thanks for the reminder.
  5. Am a late bloomer to this site, but I have found everything to heal broken pieces in my life. God knows what we need.
  6. I love and admire your passion for celebrating the Shabbath, However, before I consider celebrating it, I'd like to humbly ask why did you decide to celebrate it? My concern comes from the fact I haven't read anything in the new testament stating we should celebrate it. I would really like to celebrate Shabbath, I believe it is a beautiful tradition. I'm just not sure if I should do it since that precept was given to the Jews in the old testament. I'm just afraid to do something the Lord did not commanded me to do (speaking of the new testament). I'd really appreciate if you could answer my question. I'm pretty new at all this and really want to please God in the best way possible.
    1. God is the only one that can make things holy. After creating the world, He rested on the seventh day and set it apart as a holy day for all time, and for all of creation. If you have not grown up doing this, it may not feel natural at first to rest from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown but, like the author says, preparing during the week helps. Soon you might find yourself completing tasks in the week because you are looking FORWARD to the special day of rest coming up! It is worth it. There is something special and valuable in the fact that God set the day apart from the others...a weekly reminder to rest physically but also a frequent reminder that there is rest Him, our Provider.
    2. The Shabbath was not just for the Jewish people of the Old Testament. The Shabbath was instituted in the Garden of Eden at Creation along with marriage. If you will read thru the New Testament, you will find that Jesus Himslef observed Shabbath. First read Matthew 12:8,This is Jesus speaking of Himself. Matthew 28:1, Jesus rested on Sabbath while He was in the tomb. He rose on the first day of the week. also in Luke 23:56 and John 20:1 on the first day of the week, Mary came to the sepulchre Mark 1:21, Jesus went into the synagogue to teach on Sabbath. Mark 2:27. Mark 6:2. Mark 16:1, Mary Magdelene and the other Mary waited until the Sabbath was over to come and annoint Jesus' body. Luke 4:16 another time when Jesus went to the synagogue as was His custom.... If you use a concordance and search every place that Sabbath is mentioned, I think the Bible will answer your questions. It's a very good study. A study to have on a Friday evening perhaps? Many blessings to you!! May the Lord bless you in your journey!
    3. Hi Jacqueline, I thought I had learned from all Christian religions after being exposed to various churches though different moves in 3 states. I have been a Christian over 20 years and am just now learning about the Sabbath and I feel so robbed! Like you, I thought it sounded like "a nice tradition" and even my current church who I LOVE and have learned SO MUCH FROM, believes it was just for the Jews and abolished at the cross. Please read Matthew 24 - Jesus HIMSELF references the observance of the Sabbath in reference to what people would be doing IN THE END DAYS, therefore speaking of its existence AFTER his resurrection from the cross and more specifically at the end of the world. I just watched an amazing video on the doctrinally sound Sunday laws that qe all need to know about. The Catholic church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday and that is what many churches follow and it is WRONG. This is a quote from that video from the Catholic church in 1926, "Sunday is our mark of authority...The church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact" - Catholic Record, London, Ontario September 1, 1923. We must be VERY careful as believers to not only know the truth of God's Word, but also what has taken place in history that many evil people would love us to forget. Please educate yourself, your family and others of these truths. Blessings to you - and caps were not yelling, just for emphasis :)
  7. Im actually vegan (no animal products) so i did a quick search and found a challah recipe that looks good: Ingredients: 2 1/4 tsp. or 1 package active dry yeast 1/2 cup warm water Mix the yeast and the warm water in a mixing bowl and leave alone for five minutes to ensure the yeast is alive. If it froths and bubbles, it is! Add to the bowl: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 Tblsp. ground flax seed meal + 6 Tblsp. water, whisked together to form a jelly 3 Tblsp. olive oil 3 Tblsp. sugar 1 tsp. sea salt Mix on medium-low speed until blended. Add: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour http://thatsonetoughcookie.com/2009/06/22/olive-oil-flax-seed-vegan-challah-bread/ I have everything on hand! I'm looking forward to making challah bread and dedicating the sabbath day to the Lord! (And as always your words of wisdom fill me with joy you are awesome!)
  8. I'm enjoying this study. I feel God has given it to me as a blessing and help to get my house back in order. The one comment on this study that I find a little disconcerting is where you say you fix food on Friday so that you don't have to slave over a stove or waste part of the day---serving your family food is a blessing, not a slave job or something that wastes our time. I think that maybe you have just used a common saying here, but feel that the statement may give the wrong idea to some who could become displeased if those things don't go as they have imagined on their day of rest.
    1. Hi Regina! Yes, I suppose I used the phrase "slave away" at the stove loosely because I actually really enjoy cooking for my family - but regardless, cooking is work. The Bible tells us to prepare our food the day before the Sabbath. Does it always happen that way in my house? No - I struggle. But, ideally, everything would be done on Friday. :) The day of rest is for our refreshment, but preparing ahead is so that we can focus our thoughts and activities on worship and time spent enjoying family togetherness.
      1. I agree. I'll make grilled cheese or something simple but I don't chop and mince and dice on the Sabbath. When there is no direct command about something we should look at the example in the Bible and that example shows us that no manna came down on Sabbath. They were to collect twice as much manna on the preparation day (Friday). Also, that manna would spoil if extra was collected any other day of the week. A clear example in my opinion. I don't think we need to be legalistic about this either. If my kids are hungry I'll make them a sandwich or reheat soup from earlier in the week. But it is a day we should try our best to keep separated from our regular work/secular activities:)
  9. Thank you so much for your wonderful post on preparation day. Our family just this past year started observing the Sabbath and have found it to be such a blessing. But, it's difficult because there aren't many Christian perspectives out there about it. So I'm glad to have come across your post. I will definitely keep these ideas in mind. I haven't been very good at preparing food before the Sabbath begins but I really need to get better at it because it does take time away from the day and I don't like that. Plus, God has told us outright to prepare the day before so it's something I need to take more seriously. I thank you again! I will be looking around your site more and checking out the series this post is apart of. If you don't already have them, I would love to see more posts about Sabbath observance tips and in particular how to teach kids about it. My son is only 20 months old but I just don't know how to teach him about it at this point. Thank you and God bless! Sarah
  10. Stumbled upon your site as I was searching for ideas on doing Sabbath as my husband and I recently learnt that our "Sunday" is not the true day of Rest. We were of course shocked and as I suffer from MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) disease. I have become a recluse therefore not attending Church anymore and it has made my Christian walk so much more difficult as I now find I have so many questions and cannot be amongst people. That is why I found your site so inspiring....I believe God has sent me here for a reason.....Thank you , you have no idea what a blessing your site is to me ...Sending you blessings from a sunny South Arica.
  11. Keeping Shabbot is a blessing beyond compare. It is a covenant between Yahweh (God) and His set apart ones (Exodus 31:12-18). And who is Israel? Anyone who Joins himself to Yahweh (Isaiah 56:6). If you consider yourself a saint (a set apart one) then you need to keep Shabbot. I work nights sunday- wednesday and Occasionally on thursday. Preparation day is when I cook and clean the house. I make a nice meal for Shabbot serving it on special plates with candles lit and we try to eat early enough that the dishes are cleaned before the sunsets. If i work on thursday we by a rotisserie chicken and have fresh vegetables. I am blessed that my husband does the groceries and laundry. We don't drive on Shabbot (we have a combustion engine and you are not to light a fire on Shabbot) so we stay home. We worship Yahweh by reading scripture, singing praise music, resting from our work and sometimes joining an online fellowship at http://www.eliyah.com/ . We have been keeping Shabbot since 2011 and are still learning to keep both Shabbot and the Feasts (Yahweh's appointed times).
  12. This is inspiring. I try also to get my home in perfect order on Friday before Sabbath begins or like you said, I'm completely unable to find rest with messes surrounding me. I grew up as a Methodist and discovered the Sabbath by accident (or not) when I was 22. I walked away for sometime then came back full force when engaged to my now husband. We have 2 children and I struggle trying to "worship" at home since that was never part of a Methodist upbringing. Recently, we have found an old cheesy Youtube video of kids singing praise songs while doing sign language. They love it!! But I am eager to find some simple lessons and things we can do to incorporate a daily bible lesson/worship into our lives. I want them to love God and be excited about learning about him more and more. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
  13. The Sabbath was given to all at the end of creation week. It is not just for the Jewish people but for everyone - even the animals. If you read your Bible you will see that Yeshua kept the Sabbath as did Paul after Yeshua's death and resurrection. It certainly is documented in the entire Bible. And it is one of YHWH's commandments so we must keep it if we are to be truthful in saying we are followers of Yeshua. Also, it was never changed to Sunday. That was a man-made tradition and you can research the origins of this. Do you not think that if YHWH changed the day, He would tell us? He never changed the Sabbath. It is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Always was and always will be. We must study our Bibles so we know the truth about all things.
  14. I just ran across this post on pinterest and I am interested in starting with #1. Is it possible?

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