As Jim (my husband) and I travel we are privileged in this season to sit and listen. Our community has become our sisters and brothers serving around the world. I sit back in amazement as to how God has orchestrated and discipled us to bring us to where we are. As we sit and allow the Holy Spirit to mesh hearts with those whom we connect with, the doors are open to hear one God-story after another of how JESUS is discipling them. We find we can relate on many levels. Only the true God can bring people together as if they have been together forever or pick up right where we left off. The Scripture says the purpose of a man’s heart is deep waters but a man of understanding draws it out. (Proverbs 20:5) Jim and I are always delighted to see how the Holy Spirit allows others to trust us enough to share their deepest heart issues. Truly a gift from God and we don’t take it lightly.
As much as we enjoy these exposures, we get tired like any other person. We need to take time away to rest, regroup, and remember by focusing in on Jesus, involving family and local community, not just on a daily basis but working toward more extended times, weekly. We are continually a work in progress. Can you relate to that continuum…?
As we continue with part 3 of 3 of Pastor Neil Olcott’s message of Sept. 17, 2017, preached at Compass Point : “What did God intend for His people to hear in the Old Testament when He commanded for them to take a Sabbath?”
So far what have you heard and learned from Jesus through Pastor Neil?
Part 1 GOD TAKES A REST: God who never sleeps, who is all-powerful and ever-present, decides to take the day of rest on the Seventh day.
REST TO GOD IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Part 2 REST IS A COMMAND
GOD ‘BLESSED” AND “SET ASIDE” THE SEVENTH DAY: A special kind of Rest focused on Him.
THE SABBATH REST ALLOWS GOD TO SPEAK TO US FROM HIS CREATION.
Part 3: In this blog we will see from Pastor Neill message:
TAKING TIME TO SABBATH CONTINUALLY SPEAKS TO US OF GOD”S SALVATION: Focusing on God as the source of our salvation.
THE SABBATH REST ALLOWS GOD TO SPEAK TO US OF HIS WORK IN OUR LIVES: Focusing on God as the source of all of our provisions, and blessings.
And SABBATH REST IS TO BE GOOD NEWS: Focusing on God who is the source of all of our joy.
As we know the only way to have a more fruitful and abundant life is through Jesus and spending time in relationship with Him first but how much more fitting when we take Sabbath Rests? This may mean reevaluating your life’s rhythm(s) or finding ways to change your mindset in the midst of those seasons of life when you feel you are just surviving.
“THE SABBATH CONTINUALLY SPEAKS TO US OF GOD”S SALVATION
by Pastor Neil Olcott
Deuteronomy 5:15 “You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.”
The mighty hand and the outstretched arm of God were not wearied by the work of creation. They are full of strength. God’s rest was not for recuperation, but for exultation. Now the same God has shown his power not just to create but also to save. So the focus of the sabbath is on God not only as the source of creation, but also as the source of salvation.
“Your God brought you up out of the land of Egypt . . . THEREFORE he commanded you to keep the sabbath day.” One day of rest in every seven, kept holy to the Lord, reminds us and shows the world that GOD is our creator and our deliverer—we did not make ourselves, we cannot sustain or save ourselves without his grace. “Be still and know that he is God so that He will be exalted among the nations” Psalm 46:10.
THE SABBATH REST ALLOWS GOD TO SPEAK TO US OF HIS WORK IN OUR LIVES.
What did the Lord say at the exodus from Egypt? (Ex. 31;12-13)
“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. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still.
Exodus 31:12–13 stresses again the truth that the sabbath signifies our utter reliance on God’s grace.
“And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.”
The sabbath is a sign. It points to a truth that we are never to forget. The truth is that God (and not we ourselves) has sanctified us. He has chosen us and set us apart and worked to make us distinct among the peoples of the earth.
In Summary Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15 and Exodus 31:13 teach that the sabbath is a way of remembering and expressing the truth that God is our creator and deliverer and sanctifier. We are dependent on him for all we have in the world, for our deliverance from enemies, and for our holiness. He has indeed designed that we work. But our work neither creates, nor saves, nor sanctifies. For these we depend on the blessing of God. All things are from him and through him and to him. Lest we ever forget this and begin to take our strength and thought and work too seriously, we should keep one day in seven to cease from our labors and focus on God as the source of all blessing.
SABBATH REST IS TO BE GOOD NEWS
It is a shame that for so many people, sabbath keeping is thought of solely in terms of what you can’t do. Its original intention was certainly intended to be good news not bad news. The sabbath command is in fact a command to experience joy.
Isaiah 58:13-14 (NIV)
“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, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
God’s purpose for us on the sabbath is that we experience the highest and most intense joy that can be experienced, namely, that we “take delight in the Lord.” And yet what he finds again and again is professing Christians who prefer little human-sized pleasures from things that have no close relation to God at all.
If you worked seven days a week in the hot sun to keep life and limb together, with scarcely any time for leisure and reflection, would you consider it burdensome if your God came to you with omnipotent authority and said, “I don’t want you to have to work so much. I want you to have a day to rest and enjoy what really counts in life. I promise to meet your needs with just six days of work”? That is not a cruel command. It is a gracious gift.
WHY SO MANY PEOPLE THINK OF THE SABBATH AS A BURDEN
The reason that so many people feel it as a burden is partly that we have so much leisure, we don’t feel the need for the sabbath rest; but more important, I think, is the fact that not many people really enjoy what God intended us to enjoy on the sabbath, namely, Himself. Many professing Christians enjoy sports and television and secular books and magazines and recreation and hobbies and games far more than they enjoy direct interaction with God in his Word or in worship or in reading Christian books or in meditative strolls.
Therefore, inevitably people whose hearts are set more on the pleasures of the world than on the enjoyment of God will feel the sabbath command as a burden not a blessing. This is what John says in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
The measure of your love for God is the measure of the joy you get in focusing on him on the day of rest.
It invites us to enjoy what we don’t enjoy and therefore shows us the evil of hearts, and our need to repent and be changed.
Imagine your life with a regular sabbath rest. What do you do with those twenty-four hours if God forbids work? Nap in a hammock. Swing on a porch swing, sipping lemonade. Talk with friends. Catch crawfish in the creek with the kids.” Sit at his feet and enjoy him?
“The Bible tells us that the sabbath is a foretaste of the kingdom of God, where children play in the streets and everyone sits in the shade of their own vineyard. Imagine: God wants such a life for us! An endless summer afternoon, spent in the company of people we love.” Hopefully God Himself, as well. “God says, Why wait for heaven? Start doing it now.”(refer to Pastor Neil Olcott of Compass Point Church )
What are you hearing from God for what He intended for the Sabbath rest ?
PERSONAL REFLECTION: How should you put into practice these truths you are hearing? How are you experiencing God’s blessing’s once you make room for a Sabbath Rest? What mindset(s) do you need to change or have changed to make it happen? Would love to see your thoughts in the comment session of Hearing God through Sabbath Rest (series 2/Part 3 of 3).
From One Pilgrim to another together on the journey,
along with Pastor Neil Olcott of Compass Point Church
”Consider how you may spur one another on towards love and good deeds….. encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
“ Intentionally journaling alongside of mission minded women in order to encourage them to see God in their story, moving them closer to Jesus, and to discover their place in God’s Kingdom so God will be worshipped among the nations”