Archive for the ‘Sabbath’ Category

Sabbath Day Thoughts

The people of God are not to be like the people of this world.  They are to be worlds apart – in their love, actions, thoughts, words, heart. Imagine looking at the same situation as another but yet having a totally different perspective than they do on the same circumstance. That’s how your whole life should be verses how it used to be and how the world still is.

Think about the difference of perspective between these two groups during the same event.

The people
Exodus 14:11-12 – They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?  12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Moses
Exodus 14:13-14 – And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.  14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

A major difference between Moses & the people at this point is that Moses had come to see and know the LORD. I imagine the people of Israel were still being introduced to the very God was was currently leading them out of slavery. Moses had seen first hand how God had worked from the burning bush to the final plague.  Though the people had probably become integrated in Egyptian society and life at this point, one thing we certainly know from Moses is that he maintained his identity as a descendant of Abraham.

When you take a long journey, you often forget an important item after you’ve left home already.  Sometimes its your toothbrush, extra socks, or a particular bag.  You probably forget to take this item with you because of the commotion often involved in leaving the house quickly.  You thought your spouse or child was going to get the bag perhaps.  Whatever the reason it is because you are thinking about leaving and arriving at your destination more than you are about making sure you have all of your things.

Moses we see was not like this.  In all of the commotion of his own exodus from Egypt, appearing before Pharaoh, and gathering together all of the people of Israel, his mind is still fixed on the great promise of God towards Abraham.  We see this in the fact that he did not forget a most important item:

Exodus 13:19 – Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.”

May our minds be fixed on the world to come to the point that it marks us out as different from the world around us now.  May today be a day where we practice the life of the age to come today.

Shabbat Shalom.

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Sabbath Day Thoughts

We often hear Jesus speak about how the Jewish Sabbath got all mixed up in the mind of the nation of Israel by the time he arrived on the scene.   He speaks of how the heart of a man was more important that the outward action that he might observe in his religious service.

In light of that during my morning reading today I took note of something I haven’t seen up until now.  Matthew 25 is the great chapter on preparedness before the coming of the King and ends with the picture of the sheep and goats being separated in the end of the age based on the life of love, service, and kindness that they lived.  Jesus tells us that the judgment in the end of the age will be based on how we cared about people.

And then I noticed this:

Matthew 26:1-2  When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples,  2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

The very next thing that comes from the mouth of Jesus is the fact that he will be delivered up to be crucified.  We often think of the last supper sermon as some of the most important words of our Lord because they were spoken on the night he was betrayed.  You often tell your people what is most important right before the end of your time with them.

In light of that think about what Jesus has just said to his disciples in Matthew 25 and directly following that he tells them that he is going to die at the hands of the Romans! He must have felt that his words in Matthew 25 were important if he ends his time with them by saying he is doing to be crucified.

I was an interesting observation this morning I think which again stresses to me the importance of the record in Matthew 25.  We spend much time in our churches and homes talking about “the most important thing” or “what one must do to be saved” – certainly these conversations must be had and continue, but I offer this morning that we should include this great section of Scripture in our conversation.

Matthew 25:31-40  1 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

So as the new year approaches, consider what our lives must be about in anticipation of the coming of the King & his judgment of the world.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sabbath Day Thoughts

Our God is different.

He’s not found in the usual places.

He’s not known for His predictability.

He is known for His greatness & glory found in the unexpected.

This morning I have been pondering the Messianic Birth Narratives in Luke in preparation for tomorrow morning @ living faith. I’m trying to look at this section with new eyes, imaging what it must have been like for someone observing all of these events to go home and tell their family.  Hard to believe I bet.  Yet this is where we find God and where we find the beginning’s the Messiah’s life.

Not in the palace of Herod but in the stable.

Not born to the rich& famous but to the humble and faithful peasants.

Not announced to the religious leaders but to shepherds.

The way Jesus starts his life is certainly in line with the rest of the life he would live.  This shows me that God is not found in the things and ways of this world but by stepping out of those things we can see Him & His workings.  I’m trying hard not to quote the often used “His ways are not our ways” but it just seems so appropriate!

Isaiah 55:6-9  6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;  7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.  8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

He is found outside of our comfort zone.  He is found outside of our routine.  He is found outside of the workings of this age.  He is found in the things of the age to come that spill over to this age – things like love for enemies, forgiveness, justice, sabbath, prayer, care for those in need, and the like.

He will not be found in the world (including Christmas shopping).  So take time to seek after Him today.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sabbath Day Thoughts

As I have said before I realized early in my desire to take a weekly Sabbath that you have to work to not work, after a couple of weeks of out of town visitors, traveling, and stuff to do, I sit down again early this morning and enjoy time with the LORD (and my sweet 4month old).  We’re taking a Sabbath today again finally back to the normal routine that our family really wants and needs.

As I sat down this morning after realizing I could and I reflected on the fact that Israel eventually did not keep the sabbath that was commanded them by their God.

As I have said from the beginning of my own sabbath journey, I am not advocating that Christians keep the sabbath as a command of the LORD and if they don’t they are far from God – this is something that I have begun to see the value and importance of in my own life for my own life.  That being said, I understand what God commanded Israel as He did:

Exodus 20:8  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Deuteronomy 5:15 – You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

This is something I have to remember to do – if not, my life, my schedule and the things of the world will pile up and overload me so that I end up doing work and being worked up when I need to rest.

Honestly, we need to have better control of our lives – doesn’t it seems that sometimes we go from one thing to the next and then to the next without thinking about what it is we’re doing?  We react and respond to things that come at us without realizing that our responses and actions are often without thought.  We make decisions by indecision.

I am understanding more and more that can’t be like this in general with  Christianity and regarding my sabbath taking specifically.  I have to remember throughout the week that I have been redeemed – I’m not living for this life, this job, this task, this errand, etc – I’m living free because of Christ in expectation of the coming Kingdom.  And then today, I am going to celebrate this expectation of rest in the future by resting from the normal routine of Sunday-Friday.

So, more thoughts in my mind today to consider, and I’ll do so today because I’m going to work hard to rest today!

Shabbat Shalom.

Sabbath Day Thoughts

Last week was great.  As I start out my new day this morning I was realizing how as Rob Bell said in his podcast, devoting Saturday as a day of rest takes (ironically) some work.  In anticipation of not having to “get things done” today, my wife and I both had to get things done yesterday.  We’re having some friends over for dinner tonight – so we had to get the house clean yesterday so we didn’t find ourselves spending the entire afternoon today cleaning up.  There’s nothing wrong with cleaning up…it’s important obviously, but neither of us wanted to spend today resting by cleaning up the house.

This is certainly something that you must take the time during the week to prepare for.  I don’t want things to be piling up in my life so much that they spill over to today.  If there are specific needs, that’s something different – but if because of the busy-ness of my life and I have too much on my plate to the point of it spilling over to today.

I found last week a little challenging with the no blackberry (etc) pledge.  It wasn’t because I felt like I needed to be connected, because in fact time with my wife alone was all I wanted – I just found myself reaching for it to pass the time while I was waiting for something, wondering if any email had come in, etc.  I am observing that simply because it seems that there are some areas of my life where I need to be quiet, and rest and I am not used to that.  It’s kind of like when you get into your car and you immediately reach for the radio.  Maybe some of you don’t know what I mean by that, but that automatic, subconscious almost act of reaching for the radio – simply because part of getting into your car, turning it on, and preparing to pull out it turning the radio on.  That’s what I don’t want to have towards my blackberry, computer, or anything else really – but towards God (with the exception of the whole ‘mindless’ part).

So today I hope to spend time being revived physically and spiritually.  I am looking forward to time with my family, time at home and time enjoying the life that God has given to me – this should be a day not of neglecting the things of God but remembering His goodness and faithfulness – and a memorial of the coming day of rest for His people.