Archive for April, 2012

The Sabbath Sign

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

“I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.” [Ezek. 20:19-20]

For many years I have been beating myself up for the fact that I have yet to quit smoking. One day I was particularly down on myself. As I was praying and confessing this weakness before God He directed me towards His Ten Commandments and asked me which of these things I was not doing. After careful perusal I realized that the main thing I was not doing was observing his appointed sabbath day. I felt Him impress on me that I was more concerned about observing the precepts and traditions of men than I was with following his ten simple laws of love.
Well this began my year long journey of trying to understand, through God’s word, how to best observe God’s appointed Holy Day. This process turned out to be harder than one might think. Church tradition has been deeply ingrained in me since my youth and was a continual stumbling block for me in this area. The fourth commandment says,“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God…”[Exo.20:8-10]. I had a really hard time getting my head around the fact that God’s word clearly states that His appointed sabbath day is Saturday, not Sunday. I had to ask myself, “Could this apply only to the Jewish people and not to me?”. Somehow I didn’t think so.
First of all, I feel strongly led in my heart to follow God”s ten commandments. I believe it was the law of ordinances that was nailed to the cross [Col. 2:14], not God’s laws of love. The Decalogue was written in stone, which implies permanence, the other written in a book, which is temporal. Also in my studies I observed that God set this law into motion at creation when,“…God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all his work which God created and made.” [Gen. 2:3]. This was eons before the Jewish nation was even formed. Finally, confirmation came as I read again with new eyes the story of manna in the wilderness [Read all of Exo.16]. “Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD has given you the sabbath, therefore He gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide you every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” [Exo.16:26-30]. In reading this, It became clear to me that God’s laws of love contained in the decalogue were established well before His finger ever etched the tablets of stone which He presented to His people. Also that God is clearly offended if we fail to take advantage of this day of rest He has given us.
So my next step was to figure out how to reverently observe God’s sabbath without becoming too legalistic. This is when He brought to my attention Isaiah 58:13-14, which states,” If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.”. So I decided to give up trivial entertainment and news [not as hard as you would think], refused to concern myself with bills and earthly cares [harder than you would think], and made it a point to spend this day praying, worshiping, and meditating on God’s word. Also Christ’s words on how it is alright to do “good works” on the sabbath has helped me to remember to go with the flow and not worry if our time together gets interrupted by life’s demands.
I have found that the response I get from other Christians when I mention why I’ll be busy on Saturday, is anything but encouraging. Some argue that the seventh day sabbath applies only to the Jews, others that the Ten Commandments have been nailed to the cross [yet they are quick to pass judgment on the other nine, and then some!], but most often I just get blank stares. Which leads to the question of why do I bother going through the trouble if nobody else is doing it.
For one, it is a sign between us and God that reminds us that it is He that makes us holy. God’s word says,“… my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” [Exo. 31:13]. It is also a sign for all the world to see, that reflects the rest that we have in Christ [Matt. 11:28-30]. Another reason is that it is a huge blessing and a “delight” to enter into God’s presence on the day that He blessed as holy and set apart for just that purpose. If God Himself chose this particular day for me to spend time with Him, then I shall enter in fully expecting Him to meet me there. It’s like date night with Jesus, after all, I am the Bride of Christ. The final and main reason I observe the sabbath on Saturday is simply because God word says to. Jesus’ time on earth was to be an example to us of how we should live righteously before God the Father. Jesus and his early disciples all carefully observed God’s appointed sabbath, even in all their travels. It wasn’t until about 300 years later that worship was changed to Sunday. We can trace this event to Constantine in 321 A.D. and the council of Laodicea held in 364 A.D. by the ecclesiastical authority of the Roman Catholic church.
In conclusion, Christ said,“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” [John 14-15], and that is as good a reason as any, for me.

Isaiah 58

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This scriptural nugget is of tremendous value, for it is very heavy indeed. This passage is transforming my life.

1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter‚
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

II Timothy 3:16-17

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.”

God Bless America

Monday, April 9th, 2012

I am all for “God Bless America”, but what I would really like to see is “America Bless God”.