Monday, August 31, 2015

Additional thoughts about the 5th commandment

Here are a few additional thoughts from my message yesterday:  

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 NIV

To honor means to respect and to appreciate, but actually goes much deeper as well. It means to add reputation to or to increase another’s value. When you are to honor your parents, it means so much more than to obey. That is to increase their good name by having one of your own.
What is it like to call you a son or daughter? Can someone be proud of you? I’m not talking about that love a mother or father naturally has for a child. I’m talking about bragging rights, and not about accomplishments either. I remember attending one of my son’s elementary school parent-teacher conferences. I was filled with joy as the teacher showed us paper after paper with 100 or A+ on it. Both my boys have done so well in school academically, but I may have been the only parent that night to ask the questions of my son’s teacher, “What about his character? Does he get along with others? Does he show compassion? Does he strive to make friends with his classmates?” And I even asked her, “Can you tell that he is a believer?” Praise God, I had something to brag about!
Isn’t that what we should aim for: to have a reputation of being like Christ? Is that a noble goal? Could you see this as a necessary part of any parent’s plan for their child’s future? In this all-for-me world, shouldn’t we focus a little more on character?
I praise God often for granting me the privilege of being raised in a Christian family. Both sides of my parents have a long history of being active in church, loving God, and serving Him faithfully. What will I contribute to that legacy? Will it continue or end with me?
You too have an awesome responsibility! Your actions and your heart will determine what is said about your children and your children’s children for generations to come. You are deciding now, based on the way you live your life, what the future will be like for your descendants’. The Bible states over and over again that blessings are passed on by generations, as are the curses of God. Which are you leaving behind?
If your reputation was being built on just the last week, last month, or last year, what would it say about you? Would it honor your mother and father? Would it add to the value of your name?

This fifth commandment is a tough one if we strive to live up to it. By the grace of God, may we accomplish His will as we live our lives, striving to be like Him, and create in our hearts a desire to make Him Lord of everything?  Your reputation is at stake! And the honor of your mother and father!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

My message today at NRN - Pt 5 Honor your Father and Mother

Part 5 Honor Your Father and Your Mother
Exodus 20:12

INTRO: In a world where No one tells me what to do and I am my own authority, the Ten Commandments quickly find their way to the trash heap. For most of us, the words surrounding law—rule, restriction, regulation, requirement, code, commandment, covenant, must, ought, shall, will—are simply not our favorite words to hear. They are parental words, court words, conflict words. We use them only when we have to; otherwise, we willingly hold them at a distance.

But the Old Testament people of God had a different take on law. They took their copy of the law their God had given them, clutched it to their chests, and danced with it. They observed it daily in their relationships and required their young to memorize it. And when a copy of the law had grown ragged and old, they had a special ceremony to retire it. They buried it with all the dignity of a beloved grandparent’s body. 

Words from the introduction to the book: Dancing with the Law: The Ten Commandments. By Dr. Dan Boone

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”        Exodus 20:12

The first 4 commandments deal with our relationship with GOD . This is appropriate, because we are to love God first. . . There’s one God; worship him alone. Worship the Creator – not the created. Have no idols. Our worship of him begins by how we speak of him, not taking the Lord’s name in vain, and honoring him with a day of Sabbath rest to worship him.  Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart. . .” was the first commandment, and most important. These are the VERTICAL commands..

The final 6 commandments deal with our relationships with OTHERS.  But the second most important commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  So it’s appropriate that the final 6 commandments deal with our relationships with others. These are the HORIZONTAL commands. The first four commandments are about loving God, and as a result of God’s love for you and you loving God, commandments five through ten are about loving your neighbor, starting with your parents.

It’s no shock that this command would make its way into the Ten Commandments: Set Free to Live Free. As we start the commandments that deal with how we relate to other people, we begin first with how we deal with one of our most important relationships, because how we deal with our close relationships will necessarily effect how we deal with others we are in relationships with. Children who learn to honor their parents are WAY better off.

ILL: From: Today’s Christian Woman:  When my daughter lost her last baby tooth, I was weary of the Tooth Fairy and decided it was time to dispel this childhood myth. "Kelli," I said, "You know how the Easter Bunny is really Mommy, and Santa Claus is, too?" "Yes," she replied, a bit warily. "Well, there’s one more person who is really me. Can you guess who that is?" Slowly, Kelli’s eyes grew big as saucers and her mouth dropped open. In a small, awe-filled voice, she said, "God?"

But our world today doesn’t value this commandment. When you watch TV shows, what are most parents like? In our culture today a lot of parenting is based on the teaching of Sigmund Freud, whose whole premise was, “We need to kill our father to liberate ourselves and live free,” which according to the Bible is the essence of all our trouble, that we’ve separated ourselves from our Heavenly Father. 

And as we separate ourselves from our earthly mother and father, it’s to our own destruction and demise, because when we choose to sin, we choose to suffer. Today culture has restructured marriage and made acceptable marriage between two individuals of the same sex.   

 I believe the ideal family unit is a mother and a father.  Now, even today, that’s controversial. Even today, that would be called bigoted and discriminatory, but that’s God’s design, that’s God’s decree, that’s God’s intent, that’s God’s plan.

Why you should honor your parents:

1. Honoring parents is a pathway to God’s BLESSINGS .
"Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you." 
                                      Deuteronomy 5:16

2. Honoring parents teaches your kids how to treat YOU .
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”                                       Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)

You realize of course that the example that you set in how you relate and deal with your parents will be the one followed by your children. We cut a groove in our children by the way we treat our parents.

The song's chorus references several childhood things: The Cat's in the Cradle string game, silver spoons that are given to babies as christening gifts, and the nursery rhymes, Little Boy Blue, and Man in the Moon

      How You can honor your parents:

“Honor” goes way beyond “obey.” It also has the following ideas:


* Give weight and INFLUENCE TO.


1. Honor your parents by OBEYING  them.   18 months – 5 years.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother."         Ephesians 6:1-2

The application for parents:    This is the AT HOME stage.

You’ve got to MAKE    YOUR   CHILD   do it. If you fail to make your child honor and obey you, it is like letting them play   in the road!

One way you have to do this: CORPORAL   punishment. – Disciple…
Kids who have temper fits and show other bad behavior when they’re young may end up in prison cells when they’re older, says a new British study... they found that certain childhood behaviors were associated with later criminal behavior. . . habitually disobedient children had a 170% higher risk. . . Tantrums were linked to a 261% increased risk of an adult conviction for violence...

Do I advocate “spanking”?  In full disclosure – Sharron carried a wooden spoon in her purse for a reason.  I would say today, be creative:

  • Does your child slam the door when she's angry? You might tell her, "It's obvious that you don't know how to close a door properly. To learn, you will open and close this door, calmly and completely, 100 times."
  • If your child likes to stomp off to his room or stomp around in anger, send him outside to the driveway and tell him to stomp his feet for one minute. He'll be ready to quit after about 15 seconds, but make him stomp even harder.
  • The same goes for throwing fits. Tell your child to go to her room to continue her fit. She isn't allowed to come out and she has to keep crying for 10 minutes. Ten minutes is an awfully long time, and it's no fun if your parents tell you to cry.
  • Another way to handle temper tantrums is to simply say, "That is too disruptive for this house. You may continue your fit in the backyard. When you're finished, you are welcome to come back inside." When there isn't an audience, the thrill of throwing a temper tantrum is gone.
  • If your child asks for something and then argues or throws a fit when you tell her no, tell her that no matter what she asks for, from that moment on the answer will be an automatic no until she can accept the answer "no" respectfully.
  • I heard of a grandmother who was buying shoes for her 10-year-old grandson. He threw a fit when he realized he wouldn't get the more expensive pair. So she leaned down and whispered in his ear, "If you continue to embarrass me, I will kiss you all over your face right here in the middle of the store." He stopped immediately.
 2. Honor your parents by valuing their ADVICE .

"A wise son heeds his father’s instruction..." Proverbs 13:1

ILL: When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned.          ~ Mark Twain

3. Honor your parents by showing your APPRECIATION .

"When your mother is old, show her your appreciation."
                                                     Proverbs 23:22 TEV

This can be as simple as a phone call, a card, a letter. . . let them know what they mean to you!

At the funeral of a father or mother, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I had spent less time telling them that I loved them and appreciated what they did for me.”

4. Honor your parents by helping meet their NEEDS .

"But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show their commitment to God at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.....But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."                                                                                                  1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV)

5. Honor your parents by FORGIVING  their FAILINGS .
"If you let the sun go down while you are still angry, the devil is going to have a foothold in your life.”                                      Ephesians 4:26-27

Forgiveness is not a FEELING. It is a choice to let go of ANGER and the desire for REVENGE .

CONCLUSION: Now I realize that there are probably some of you here who are all knotted up inside, the stomach acid is boiling and you’re thinking, “Like that’s ever going to happen, after the way they treated me.” And unfortunately that is the reality of today that whenever you speak about parents there is someone in the group who was abused, physically, emotionally or sexually while they were growing up. Some of you may have grown up in the homes of alcoholics or workaholics, abusive or neglectful perhaps you had parents who were distant or cold and uncaring. And you want to cry out “how can I honor people who are un-honorable?” “How do I honor someone who never once honored me?” 

What is God asking of you this morning, is God asking you to put on a mask and pretend it never happened? No, He is not. He knows how sorry your parents were! But he’s here this morning to ask you to take this step toward honoring your parents – forgive.  Give up your right to hold bitterness and a desire for revenge. Give up your right to always think of them with contempt. 

Then, ask God to begin using you as a channel for his love. You can’t create love in your own heart. God is the source of love. Ask him to simply pour his love for them into your heart . . . and OVER TIME, as you continually make the choice to forgive, you’ll sense an attitude change in your heart.   Then you’ll truly be honoring your parents. . . 

Closing ILL: The Story from the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales about “the Grandfather and His Grandson” illustrates how vital it is that we honor our parents through our care. The Old Grandfather and His Grandson by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there was a very, very old man. His eyes had grown dim, his ears deaf, and his knees shook. When he sat at the table, he could scarcely hold a spoon. He spilled soup on the tablecloth, and, beside that, some of his soup would run back out of his mouth.
His son and his son’s wife were disgusted with this, so finally they made the old grandfather sit in the corner behind the stove, where they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not enough at that. He sat there looking sadly at the table, and his eyes grew moist. One day his shaking hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young woman scolded, but he said not a word. He only sobbed. After that they bought him a wooden bowl and made him eat from it.

Once when they were all sitting there, the little grandson of four years pushed some pieces of wood together on the floor.

"What are you making?" asked his father.

"Oh, I’m making a little trough for you and mother to eat from when I’m big."

The man and the woman looked at one another and then began to cry. They immediately brought the old grandfather to the table, and always let him eat there from then on. And if he spilled a little, they did not say a thing.

We always need to honor our parents! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Preparing for worship on the last Sunday of August - August 30 2015 at NRN

As we prepare for worship tomorrow at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene we continue in the current teaching series on the Ten Commandments.  On this last Sunday of August it is a great time to invite someone to join you for church.  Last week we welcomed several first time guest and our children's ministry experienced a true resurgence. Our offering was the highest amount in months. God is moving in our midst.  

Prepare your heart to gather tomorrow in the presence of God and prepare for moving of the Holy Spirit. Here is the order of worship we have prepared for tomorrow:

We pause in our singing to talk directly to God and bring Him our praise and adoration - our thanksgiving and joys.  We come before Him in faith to ask His perfect will to be accomplished in and through our lives - for Him!

Oh God, build Your church, I pray.....

Children owe their parents one thing. And no, it's not love. The Fifth Commandment understands that sometimes it's difficult or even impossible to love your parents. But it's almost always possible to honor them. 

Tomorrow I will attempt to explain what that means and why it's so important. And consider this: if your children see you honoring your parents they are much more likely to honor you. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Coping with Death and Grief

                                      Coping With Death and Grief
                                                By Patricia Johnson

Death is inevitable, yet the loss of a close friend or family member always showers us with a range of emotions. One day we might desperately try to avoid the pain, anxiety and feelings of helplessness we feel when a loved one dies. Other days, we feel like life has returned to normal—at least until we realize that our life has changed irrevocably.

Despite the gamut of emotions we feel, grieving for a loved one helps us cope and heal. The intense, heart-breaking anguish indicates that a deep connection has been severed. Without a doubt, grieving is painful. But it is also necessary.

Going forward doesn’t mean forgetting about the loved one who died. Enjoying life again doesn’t imply that the person is no longer missed. Piecing together your shattered emotions doesn’t mean you, somehow, betray a friend or family member. It simply means that your grief has run its course.
While no single pathway through grief exists, people do share common responses.

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the “five stages of grief,” which represent feelings of those who have faced death and tragedy.1

Based on her years of working with terminal cancer patients, Kübler-Ross proposed the following pattern of phases many people experience:

1.   Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”

2.   Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”

3.   Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”

4.   Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”

5.   Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what has happened.”

Although these are common responses to loss, there is no structure or timetable for the grieving process. That said, understanding grief and its common symptoms are helpful when grieving. Recognizing the difference between trauma and depression is also beneficial.

Besides understanding how stress can take a toll on us physically, emotionally and spiritually, we need to understand the practical guidelines to ease the process. These include taking care of our bodies, spending time with others and reaching out to the church community.

Finally, there will come a time when someone close to us experiences a significant loss. Knowing how to respond to a grieving friend is a good first step in acting as a reliable companion.

The death of a loved one is a shattering experience with far-reaching implications. As difficult as the loss may be, it is possible to move forward with hope for the future.

1 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (1969) On Death and Dying. New York: Macmillian, p. 45-60. 

This post was taken from a Focus on the Family blog.  For additional

 information  Click HERE 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Prayer has its reasons

                           Prayer Has Its Reasons


Christian philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal (1623-62) wrote, "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing … "

This article proposes that prayer has its reasons. Why we pray is important, as is prayer itself. What follows are twelve reasons to pray.

1. God's Word Calls Us to Pray

One key reason to pray is because God has commanded us to pray. If we are to be obedient to His will, then prayer must be part of our life in Him. Where does the Bible call us to prayer? Several passages are relevant:

  • "Pray for those who persecute you" –Matthew 5:44 (NIV) [1]
  • "And when you pray …" –Matthew 6:5
  • "This, then, is how you should pray …" –Matthew 6:9
  • "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." –Romans 12:12
  • "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." –Ephesians 6:18
  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."                                         –Philippians 4:6
  • "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful."                                      –Colossians 4:2
  • "Pray continually" -1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone …" -1 Timothy 2:1
Prayer is an act of obedience. God calls us to pray and we must respond.

2. Jesus Prayed Regularly

Why did Jesus pray? One reason he prayed was as an example so that we could learn from him. The Gospels are full of references to the prayers of Christ, including these examples:

  • "After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray." –Matthew 14:23
  • "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.'" –Matthew 26:36
  • "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." –Mark 1:35
  • "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." –Luke 5:16
  • "One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." –Luke 6:12
  • "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." –Luke 18:1
3. Prayer is How We Communicate with God

Prayer allows us to worship and praise the Lord. It also allows us to offer confession of our sins, which should lead to our genuine repentance. Moreover, prayer grants us the opportunity to present our requests to God. All of these aspects of prayer involve communication with our Creator. He is personal, cares for us, and wants to commune with us through prayer.

  • " … if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."                                              -2 Chronicles 7:14
  • Isaiah wrote, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:29-31).
  • Hebrews 4:15-16 reads, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Prayer is not just about asking for God's blessings – though we are welcome to do so – but it is about communication with the living God. Without communication, relationships fall apart. So, too, our relationship with God suffers when we do not communicate with Him.

4. Prayer Allows us to Participate in God's Works

Does God need our help? No. He is all powerful and in control of everything in His creation. Why do we need to pray? Because prayer is the means God has ordained for some things to happen. Prayer, for instance, helps others know the love of Jesus. Prayer can clear human obstacles out of the way in order for God to work. It is not that God can't work without our prayers, but that He has established prayer as part of His plan for accomplishing His will in this world.

5. Prayer Gives us Power Over Evil

Can physical strength help us overcome obstacles and challenges in the spiritual realm? No, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). But in prayer even the physically weak can become strong in the spiritual realm. As such, we can call upon God to grant us power over evil.
  • "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."       -1 Timothy 4:8
  • "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." – Matthew 26:41
6. Prayer is Always Available

This point is covered separately in another article. But, in short, another reason to pray is because prayer is always available to us. Nothing can keep us from approaching God in prayer except our own choices (Psalm 139:7; Romans 8:38-39).

7. Prayer Keeps us Humble Before God

Humility is a virtue God desires in us (Proverbs 11:2; 22:4; Micah 6:8; Ephesians 4:2; James 4:10). Prayer reminds us that we are not in control, but God is, thus keeping us from pride.
  • "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." –Matthew 18:4
8. Prayer Grants us the Privilege of Experiencing God

Through prayer we obtain an experiential basis for our faith. We do not ignore the intellect or reasons for faith, but prayer makes our experience of God real on an emotional level.

9. Answered Prayer is a Potential Witness

If our prayer is answered, it can serve as a potential witness for those who doubt.

10. Prayer Strengthens the Bonds Between Believers

Prayer not only strengthens our relationship with God, but when we pray with other believers, prayer also strengthens the bonds between fellow Christians.

11. Prayer Can Succeed Where Other Means Have Failed

Have all your options been exhausted? Prayer can succeed where other means have failed. Prayer should not be a last resort, but our first response. But there are times when sincere prayer must be offered in order to accomplish something.

12. Prayer Fulfills Emotional Needs

Do we need God through prayer? Yes! We were made to function best, emotionally, in a prayerful relationship with God. As C.S. Lewis put it, "God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other." [2]

Prayer, then, has its reasons, and they are many.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible.

[2] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan, 1952), Book II, Chapter 3, "The Shocking Alternative."

Robert Velarde is author of Conversations with C.S. Lewis (InterVarsity Press), The Heart of Narnia (NavPress), and primary author of The Power of Family Prayer (National Day of Prayer Task Force). He studied philosophy of religion and apologetics at Denver Seminary and is pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Theology of Resting in God

A Theology of Resting in God 
    – Oswald Chambers

Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? —Matthew 8:26

When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. But our Lord has a right to expect that those who name His name have an underlying confidence in Him. God expects His children to be so confident in Him that in any crisis they are the ones who are reliable. Yet our trust is only in God up to a certain point, then we turn back to the elementary panic-stricken prayers of those people who do not even know God. We come to our wits’ end, showing that we don’t have even the slightest amount of confidence in Him or in His sovereign control of the world. To us He seems to be asleep, and we can see nothing but giant, breaking waves on the sea ahead of us.
“…O you of little faith!” What a stinging pain must have shot through the disciples as they surely thought to themselves, “We missed the mark again!” And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we were facing.
There are times when there is no storm or crisis in our lives, and we do all that is humanly possible. But it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crisis will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking, yet without breaking our confidence in Him.

We have been talking quite a lot about sanctification, but what will be the result in our lives? It will be expressed in our lives as a peaceful resting in God, which means a total oneness with Him. And this oneness will make us not only blameless in His sight, but also a profound joy to Him.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Additional Reflections from my message yesterday at NRN - Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy!

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8 NIV

The Sabbath was a big deal to the Jewish people. It meant no work, absolutely none. It involved everyone. Rest was demanded; you had no choice. It was a statement of faith. If you loved God, you observed and honored the Sabbath.
What’s changed? Has the word of God gone dull? Absolutely not! The word of God is active, living, never changing! So where do we fit into this fourth commandment today? We are to keep the Sabbath Holy!

Sabbath means to rest. 

First of all, this means we are to rest. We have somehow determined in this society that it is wrong to rest. We need to join a committee, plan an activity, sign the kids up for ball (soccer, basketball and baseball– all at the same time), be reading the latest novel at all times, fix gourmet meals, compete for the yard-of-the-month club, advance a career, and be lean, trim men or women of God. Whew, that made me tired just typing it!

In all the madness is God able to get your attention? Take some time off, my friend! You deserve a break. Give yourself a rest. Take a Sabbath for yourself. Slow down! Take time to enjoy life! Take a long walk on a long pier! Watch the world go by for a while! Be still and know that He is God!

Remember that every day is God’s. If you are one of His children, your life is in His hands. He is taking you to where there is no more time, but for now your time is His. If you want to fully follow His will (and why would you not?), you will need to take time to rest. God’s creation example to us is to rest. God didn’t need the rest, but it was an opportunity for Him to, by example, reflect on all He had made. We need that time to renew ourselves, as well as our relationship to Him.

And keep the Sabbath (your time of rest) Holy. God is Holy, so be Holy in all you do! What is wrong to do on Sunday is wrong the rest of the week. Don’t have two standards. Be the same on Monday that you are on the Sabbath. Keep your time of rest holy! Whatever you do to unwind, do it to the glory of God. Let others see the reflection on your face and know that you have spent time with the Father. Your time of rest will renew your strength and keep your heart pure.

Finally, look forward to the Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4). One day Jesus is returning to redeem God’s people from this world of sin and disappointment. He will wipe away our tears and clothe us with eternal joy. We will enter our Sabbath rest.  It means the final rest, the one for which we have waited, the one where we share our inheritance with Jesus!

Now that is what I call rest! Are you ready?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The message prepared for today at NRN!

Part 4 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy!
                                                                                                                  Exodus 20:8-11

 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or your sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.                                                                                    Exodus 20:8-11 MEV
Blue laws —known also as Sunday laws—are laws designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious standards, particularly the observance of a day of worship or rest. Blue laws may also restrict shopping or ban sale of certain items on specific days, most often on Sundays in the western world.
Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. As they went, His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. The Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why are they doing on the Sabbath what is not lawful?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he and those who were with him were in need and hungry: how he went into the house of God, in the days Abiathar was the high priest, and ate the ritual bread, which is lawful only for the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” Then He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”                                                                            Mark 2:23-28 MEV       
1. The Sabbath was not meant to restrict NECESSITIES (vs. 25-26)
 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of  Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?”                Mark 2:25-26
Example: David in fleeing from Saul (I Samuel 21:1-6) took five loaves of the showbread that was to be eaten only by the priests and gave them to his men. The man of God, David was justified in breaking the ceremonial law because his need for sustenance was greater than keeping the ceremonial law. (He broke the ceremonial law not to indulge a lust but to meet a genuine need) Meeting true human need and compassion takes precedence over custom, ritual, ceremony and tradition.
Hosea 6:6    "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."
"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."                                                                                     Hosea 6:6 MEV  
2. The Sabbath was made to SERVE   MAN not MAN SERVE the day.

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27

Sabbath - Shabbat is the original Hebrew word for our English word sabbath. It means “to cease, to end, to rest.”

How should we observe the Sabbath?  How does it apply to us, not apply to us? Lots of questions emerge from the fourth commandment, so let’s read it together. Let’s unpack it in order. So, let’s walk through it together:

 Exodus 20:8–11: “Remember”—and the “remember” here is to take something that is from the past so that it would be living in the present and live on in the future. It’s not just a mental remembrance; it’s celebrating and modeling that which has gone before us so that it would have a future.

 So, “Remember the Sabbath day.” Sabbath means cessation of work or rest. “Your day off” would be our sort of common vernacular for that.

“To keep it holy.” Holiness is a hugely important concept. The number one most frequently mentioned attribute of God in the whole Bible is that he is holy. This means he is other, he’s different from us. So, we’re sinful, he’s not, all right? We’re created, he’s eternal. We have to learn things, he knows everything. He’s different from we are, so this concept of holiness is that six days, we work. We do the same thing, we get up and go to work. On the seventh day—it’s holy, it’s set apart, it’s different. It’s different from the other six days.

So, one of the ways you know you’re violating the Sabbath is if, over and over and over, seven days keep looking alike. If that’s the case, you’re violating the Sabbath. If six days look alike and one day looks different, you might be actually obeying the principle of the Sabbath.

“Six days you shall labor, and do all your work.” Let me unpack this. A lot of people say, “Oh, this is the commandment about the Sabbath.” It is about the Sabbath, but it’s also about work, and this keeps us from twin idols. You remember the first commandment is there’s one God. The second commandment is, we only worship God—we don’t worship idols. We established that an idol is a created thing. And some of us worship our work. We worship our job. And we’ll make fun of the pagans who used to have sacrifices where they’d get an altar, and they’d lay down a person or an animal, and slaughter it to the gods.

Well, sometimes our god is called “job” and sometimes our sacrifice is called “health,” “marriage,” “children,” “family,” “church” or our “day off.” Sometimes we can have job be god and we offer various sacrifices to appease our god. So, this principle in the fourth commandment keeps us from worshiping our job or worshiping our comfort.

In (Deuteronomy 5:12-15) the Lord reminds His people that they had been slaves in Egypt and that He had brought them out from there. In commanding them to observe the Sabbath, the weekly rest would remind them of a time when as slaves they were unable to rest. 

This refers to the association between Israel's slavery in Egypt and the Sabbath. Thus the name for our series: The Ten Commandments: Set Free to Live Free…  

Two of the greatest needs of man are for rest and worship - neither, of which Israel was free to do in Egypt.

Quote: Our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.                                                                            St. Augustine

God's original intent was for the Sabbath to be a blessing not a burden. The Sabbath was to benefit man to help him gain rest and to have a revived sense of God's presence.

"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him..."  Psalms 37:7
3. The Sabbath is NOT the Lord's Day.

No where in the New Testament is the Christian commanded to observe the Sabbath. The Sabbath was essentially Jewish, which explains, its absence in New Testament instructions to Christians. The Sabbath was the sixth day - began at sunset Friday and ran through sunset Saturday. The Lord's Day is the first day of the week corresponding to our Sunday.
You and I can easily overlook that unless you’ve got some Jewish friends or you’ve been to a place that is, in large part, Jewish people.

And if you have any Jewish friends that still really keep the Sabbath in a devout and strict way. They’re not going to use any electricity, they’re going to use candles or leave the lights on from the night before. They’re not going to eat any food that they cooked that day, because they had to prep it the day before to make sure they weren’t doing any work. They’re not going to travel a long distance. Even some who are very devout will not open their refrigerator to get a snack unless they’ve taken the light bulb out, because if you open the door and the light bulb turns on, that could be a violation of the Sabbath.

We Gentiles don’t get this. Most of us are not really committed too much of anything with that degree of devotion. It really hit me when I was in Israel some years ago. When the Sabbath hit, which is Friday night to Saturday night, sundown to sundown, everything was shut down. You couldn’t get a cab, businesses were closed, you couldn’t transact business, nothing could get done because everything literally stopped, and everything changed.


The early church set aside the Lord's Day as a day of rest, worship, and celebration of Christ's resurrection.

On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together, to break bread, Paul, ready to leave the next day, preached to them   and continued his message until midnight.                                                                             Acts 20:7 MEV 
On the first day of the week let every one of you lay in store, as God has prospered him, so that no collections be made when I come.         1 Corinthians 16:2 MEV
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a great voice like a trumpet…                                                                         Revelation 1:10 MEV              
  4. Christ is the LORD of the Sabbath and EVERY day!
Jesus is the great Creator of the universe. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. He created the heaven and earth and all things in six days. He sanctified the seventh day and made it the day of rest. He is the Lord of the Sabbath. In affirming His Deity, Christ declares He is Lord and is greater than the Sabbath. He therefore has the right to overrule man-made rules and tradition.
Therefore let no one judge you regarding food, or drink, or in respect of a holy day or new moon or Sabbath days. These are shadows of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.                                      Colossians 2:16-17 MEV
5. The rhythm of setting aside a time each week to REST   and WORSHIP is biblically sound.

The important thing is that we set aside time for rest and worship. These are two things we desperately need. As human beings, our Creator did not design us to work seven days a week. Our bodies and souls both need rest, and taking off one day out every seven is good for us. Those of us with workaholic tendencies may find it difficult to get into the habit of a regularly scheduled day off, but we need it. It should always be something to which we look forward.

Every day as believers we should take time to read the Bible, pray, and express our praise to God. But, it is important to have at least one day in seven, which we set aside so that we can have an extended time to worship and focus upon the Lord both corporately and individually
Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching.                                                                                                Hebrews 3:20 MEV
Quote: Warren Wiersbe - The ability to calm your soul and wait before God is one of the most difficult things in the Christian life. Our old nature is restless...the world around us is frantically in a hurry. But a restless heart usually leads to a reckless life.
Conclusion: Christ as Lord of the Sabbath offers true rest to whoever comes to Him.
 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”                                                                                        Matthew 11:28-30

As the Sabbath gave Israel the opportunity to celebrate the freedom and rest from slavery in Egypt; so the Lord's day provides an opportunity to celebrate the freedom and rest from the slavery of sin that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.