Selfishness and the Sabbath

Recently I have discovered that I struggle with truly “resting” from the world.

(Is it just me or is the world VERY distracting?)

Last night I realized just how distracting it really can be. I began to enter into God’s Word when I realized that my mind wasn’t really present with God as much as it should be. You see, when we are actually “present” and enveloped with God, our minds are empty and open to what God has to say. So empty that as He speaks, we are lingering on His every word and absorbing it into our innermost being.

If I’m honest, I can say that often my mind has a segregated portion of it designated for God’s voice, while my mind is still racing with the cares of this world.

Last night as I prayed and asked God to open my mind and empty it of all but Him, He spoke to me loud and clear and this is what He said:

“I need you to be selfish and keep the Sabbath sacred.”

At first, I didn’t know exactly what He meant by keeping the Sabbath sacred but then as I began reading and seeking Him out I found Him and just what I needed to hear.

As I began in Mark 6:31, He said

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Wow, even Jesus needed to take time away and rest for He knew that in that quiet place of rest, He would find His strength. You see, He, the Christ, the Miracle-worker, the Savior of the world, needed rest. He was not so busy that He didn’t need rest. So many days, we try to get everything done that we are too busy to realized how important rest truly is. Even as I am saying this I am visualizing my own to-do list. Not pleasant. However, we need to realize that just as Christ had a lot of things that were of more importance than our simple to-do list, He still valued His rest. There is a never-ending supply of lessons to learn from Jesus and this is one of them.

rest-in-him-2

After reading this Scripture I then was led into the question of, “Okay, so where do I find this rest? I know I’m supposed to go away and rest but what does that look like?”

The next Scripture Jesus led me to was in Jeremiah 6: 16,

“This is what the Lord says: Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!”

Ouch, how many times have I overlooked God’s path for my life because it wasn’t what I wanted. How many times have I turned away from obedience to Him because it just wasn’t what I saw for my life. It says here that the “old. godly way” is where my feet should walk. This old, godly way that God presents us with is His obedience. When we walk in full obedience to God we will find His rest which is the soulful rest that releases His strength in our lives. Obedience also requires an act of worship or giving our Sabbath or rest back to the Lord. As we rest in His presence or out of the connection with the world, we see that it is best to give that rest back to our Lord who first gave it to us. When we spend time in His presence, there our true rest is found.

After realizing that God was calling me to keep the Sabbath sacred by resting with Him, He left me with a Scripture that showed me just how much He gives in reward for our sacrifice of rest.

In Ezekiel 20:1-20, Ezekiel confronts God’s people about rejecting the fourth commandment which is to keep the Sabbath holy. When the people heard this they continued to disobey. How often do we look at Sunday as a day to catch up on the things we did not get a chance to do throughout the work week? In all reality, what is intended for the Sabbath and what have we made of it?

When we turn to God in obedience to His command to rest and we disconnect from the world and understand that we need rest just as much as we need fellowship with others, there we find true freedom. Freedom takes sacrifice and the sacrifice of our rest and Sabbath back to God is the way to receive that true freedom.

What a powerful and toe-stepping message from God.

There comes a point when we need to embrace our selfishness and realize how sacred the Sabbath is to our faith walk.

Rest is needed and what better reason to rest than to know that even our Savior needed a quiet place to rest.

It is in this rest that we find our freedom.

Let’s be free today and sacrifice our rest to Him!

 

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Not a Morning Person?

Most mornings I wake up not in the best mood and I blame it on the lack of coffee.

However, what if the lack of coffee is just one of the many details of my morning that I neglect.

Is my morning “grouch mode” more than just an insufficient amount of caffeine?

Although I use the excuse that I am not a morning person, I do know the recipe for enjoying a joyful morning.

Is an anti-morning person a personality trait or simply just an attitude I have become accustom to?

As I began to prepare for my Sunday morning ahead this morning, this question seemed to loom over my monotonous morning routine.

When will I accept the fact that I can change my morning attitude and learn that mornings are a time to rejoice in the day ahead and look forward to a new day to renew, refocus and forget the regrets of yesterday?

Scripture says in Romans 12:2,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

As I began to reflect on my morning attitude and recognize that I have nothing to be “grouchy” about, I realized just how joyous my morning should be. How God intended mornings to be is not to dread the start of a new day but rejoice in His provision. Our ability to acknowledge His faithfulness to see us through the day ahead and see Him standing at the end of each day awaiting our burdens, struggles and current troubles to be laid at His feet.

Joy

You see mornings, are for us to rejoice and renew our minds. If we wake up and take on our day without renewing our thoughts from the previous day, our minds focus on the things of the world that needed to be laid at His feet the night before.

However, instead of turning our eyes to Him as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, we see the day ahead as a race that we don’t have the endurance to finish.

God has already ran the race and finished it for us, our job is to look to Him at the finish line and know that He is providing us with the strength for each hurdle ahead. He is our reward!

He has placed the choice in our hands each morning as we rise and decide to renew or regret.

We can choose to be grumpy or choose to be grateful.

Awakening and knowing the One who moves the mountains and whispers to the seas, sees me and wants to lead me through my day is enough for me to strive to renew and restore my life in Him each morning.

Although I will have to overcome the struggle each morning to accept my anti-morning personality, I am going to make it my goal to let God and His goodness be my first thought before checking my emails, reading the latest Facebook status’s or reading my text messages.

Every morning should be one of anticipation and joy, knowing that my King is smiling down on me and whispering,

“I can’t wait to show you what I have in store for you today…”

Let’s overcome the excuse of “I’m not a morning person”.

Approach with Boldness

Hebrews 13:20-21

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Encouragement.

At what point do we trade in our discouragement for encouragement?

Today as I was reading in the book of Hebrews, God spoke to me and led me into a time of encouragement. Every moment I meet with Jesus is meant to encourage my walk with Him and increase my faith in His perfect plan. Today was another time spent in His Word where I looked up with a new perspective and a new outlook on what this present season of waiting should look like.

In Hebrews chapter 13, Paul writes to encourage fellow believers to stay strong in their faith and encourage them on their road of persecution for the sake of the cross. Throughout the book of Hebrews, he addresses the audience, us as believers, to keep the faith and remember that our present struggles are not any comparison with the struggles of our Savior.

I am so thankful that God spoke through Paul to write these words of wisdom down. Often in our faith journey, we become depressed and weary, in need of some words of encouragement. This is where the book of Hebrews is like a light in the midst of our present weariness. Paul writes of His struggles in the faith and His ability to overcome with the strength that only comes from the Lord. What a powerful man of God!

the throne of grace

Sometimes after reading God’s Word, it is easy to turn away and pick up our lives where we left off before entering into the courts of our King. However, God’s Word should change us and refine us upon entering into His presence. Each time we approach His throne, we are to enter with the mindset that He is about to change us in some way that will not leave us the same.

I can say, honestly, that this is not always my thought when I read the Scriptures. Often, I enter as though my time with Him is like punching in on a time card. I enter and I exit with the same intent. Ouch, that hurt for me to get that out. I hope I’m not alone in this. I would go as far as to say that more often than not, we come to the Lord when our weariness is about to overtake us but on the days when life seems as though He is shining His light the brightest, we fail to come and spend quality and not quantity time with Him.

It’s time we change our whole approach when it comes to spending time, quality time, in the presence of our King. Doesn’t He deserve more that our 10 minute quiet time?

After all, does He not spend all day with us? (Whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not.)

Lord, help us to approach Your throne of grace in reverence and in expectation of what You are about to do in our hearts and lives. It’s time for us to drop our “time” mindset when it comes to entering into your presence. For in You, there is no concept of time or place but just a sanctuary of praise. Forgive us when we enter the sanctity of Your Word without expectation of hearing straight from You. Change our minds, hearts and souls to view our time with You as Sacred and Holy. For You are the Cornerstone on which we build our lives.

The Beauty of the Cross

Have you ever stopped to think about the image of the cross?

Is the cross simply a symbol, a relic, a fashion statement or is it more?

When did the cross become just another shape?

As I sit here writing this, God is griping my heart and speaking directly through this keyboard. The God of the universe is speaking straight through me. The God of the universe also sent His son, saw the hatred of the roman soldiers, saw the backstabbing characteristics of Judas, saw the nails-whips-scars, and yet still He thought of the purpose of “The Cross”.

What Love would choose to look through, past and within all this torment to see me, you, the earth and still choose to give His very best for the sake of our filth?

The Cross.

In looking at the rugged, solid frame of a cross there is more than just a constructed shape. There is more meaning than just a relic that others wear on their neck. There is a story, a story of Love, a story of Mercy, a story of Grace.

the cross

Without the cross, the purpose of man would be meaningless. Without the blood that covered the wood that day, the fate of mankind would be nothing but ashes. Is the cross that meaningful for us? Is it a powerful statement or a meaningless relic?

The weight of the cross should move us to action. The weight of the cross should resemble to us our Savior, our sin, our mess, our ashes. Often, do we grow hard-hearted toward the symbol of the cross? Do we see it and just smile without even recognizing the “weight” the cross takes on our everyday lives?

We need to place our focus on the cross, at the foot of the cross and be guided by the cross.

To fully take on the “weight” of the cross, it needs to be the alter where we surrender our past, present and our future.

Daily we are told in Scripture,

Matthew 16:24-25

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Each person has their own “cross” that they must take up and carry. For each person, the cross looks a little bit different. One cross may be more jagged, a little more bumpy, or scarred up. However your cross may look, the instructions for how to carry the cross is the same. We are to deny ourselves, put Christ first, and take up our cross to follow the One who forgives “our cross”.

So, does the cross have purpose in our lives or is it merely a relic meant to hang around our neck, an embellishment on our shirt or a beautiful picture in stained glass windows?

It’s time that we make our view of the cross meaningful and make our life’s goals mean less.

The cross, more than just a symbol but a bridge to connect the power of grace to the souls of men.