Rest from our Labors

September us upon us and with the first Monday we celebrate Labor Day. The official holiday began in 1882 as

a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.  (http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm)

In the early years the American workers were celebrated with parades, speeches and festivals to celebrate the labor unions and their contributions to the progress in America. These celebrations may take place in some areas of the country but I believe most Americans look at Labor Day as a celebration of a day we don’t have to labor – a time to celebrate rest and recreation.

It turns out this is not a new idea! God designed a time of rest into His creation.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:2-3 NIV

God doesn’t get tired and He doesn’t need to rest, yet He spent a day of His creation doing just that. I believe it was an example for us to follow, showing us that since we are created in His image we also need to rest. Add in the fact that we are human, not deities and His point is made even more strongly!
To reinforce His point when Moses was given the Ten Commandments God again emphasized a day of rest.

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.                                            Exodus 20:9-11 NIV

A full day was set aside by God for the purpose of rest.

I like the way the King James version puts it:

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God…
                                                                                            Exodus 20:9-10a

I have been part of the Seventh Day Baptist denomination for most of my life. We are evangelical Baptists who hold to keeping the seventh day Sabbath of the bible as sacred time. (You can learn more about us here: http://seventhdaybaptist.org/) We seem to see this day of rest differently than other churches I have attended over the years. Our Sabbath mirrors the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown Friday night and continues until sundown Saturday/Sabbath. While each person/family is free to celebrate the Sabbath in their own way there is something special about the day. For most it is more than fitting a church service into busy weekend, it is a time to slow down, take a deep breath, rest and worship.

feet & Lucy

I grew up on a dairy farm owned & run by my father and uncle. The only work they did on the Sabbath was to milk the cows and make sure the animals were fed, safe and healthy. It didn’t matter if Sabbath was the only day to get the hay in or if it was harvest time and it had finally stopped raining enough to pick the corn. Those tasks could wait. My parents did not take us to birthday parties or friends’ homes on the Sabbath. As a general rule we didn’t shop on the Sabbath either. It was family time, and often included a nap for Mom & Dad. As a kid I sometime thought it was a punishment to spend my Saturday differently than my friends. Now I realize that my parents both worked hard and needed a day to rest and prepare themselves physically, mentally and spiritually for the week ahead. The older I get the more thankful I am for the example they gave.

One of my most precious memories growing up were the rides we would often take on Sabbath afternoons. I sometimes thought it was boring, but now reflect upon how Dad knew people for miles around and would tell us stories as we traversed the countryside, checking the progress of a new barn or business or just enjoying God’s creation. We might pop in to say, “hi” to a family member or friend and visit for a while. I still like to ride around with friends and family, discovering new places, experiencing adventures and making new memories.

Do you experience a day of rest each week? Do you set aside time to stop, reflect and become refreshed? I hope you do, and whether your Sabbath falls on the same day as mine or another day during the week I hope you’ll realize the gift we have been given. Our lives are so filled with work and other activities and it is rare to stop long enough to catch our breaths and catch up with family and friends and worship our Lord together. We shouldn’t wait for a day to come along when we are excused from our everyday work in order to fit in this precious time.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! May it be a time of creating memories and perhaps reevaluating our schedules to fit in a time of rest every week. We might be surprised at how good it feels and the rewards we reap from the time we set aside.

 

Blessings & peace to you as you enter His rest this weekend!
Paula

 

 

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Walking In The Sadness

jesus-sealed-tomb

Sabbath, April 4th

Walking In The Sadness ~ Would I Have Believed?
John 20: 24-29

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29


“It is finished.”

They were the final words Jesus spoke on the cross.

Then He died.

Jesus was gone.

All those years spent with His disciples teaching, healing, loving, and helping them to know God in a way they never had before were just a memory now.

Jesus was dead and the Sabbath came so quickly they couldn’t give Him a proper burial. Today was supposed to be a day of rest and worship but all the disciples could do was cling to each other and try to understand what had just taken place.

Together they wept and mourned for the One who was their teacher, their Leader…and their friend. For years Jesus had talked about Heaven and His Father, and even about being betrayed and dying but the disciples never quite understood. He even said He would defeat death and would give eternal life to all who believed in Him and His Father.

Still, it never quite made sense.

Now some of it was sinking in but the sadness was so strong that hope was elusive. What did Jesus say about defeating death? He did talk about dying and being raised to life. (Matthew 16:21) In fact, just the other day before they entered Jerusalem He took the disciples aside and said it again:

“The son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Mark 10:33-34

Still it was confusing. Did Jesus mean he would come back to earth or that he would rise again in Heaven with His Father? How could they know for sure?

It must have been almost too much to process.

And I have to ask myself, “Would I Have Believed?”

Would I have expected Jesus to come back from the dead?

It’s so easy to be critical of the disciples and their disbelief when we read about the events of Holy Week. After all through the years they had spent with Jesus He kept telling them these things! Why did they mourn instead of standing strong and telling others to wait & see, Jesus would not stay dead?

Honestly I’m not so sure my Sabbath would have been any different. The reality of what I had seen would probably have overridden any truth I had heard from Jesus. The emotions would have been strong and sadness oppressive.

The truth is that even today with all the knowledge I have about Jesus and the power available to me through the Holy Spirit still I often don’t believe. Sometimes I weep and mourn over what I believe has been lost without allowing God the opportunity to resurrect it in His time.

Would you have believed? When you face losses do you weep and mourn or anticipate a resurrection to come? God can do anything, if we only believe.

 

Prayer

Lord, I know how it all turns out. I know You conquered death and walked out of the grave. But I might not have believed on that Sabbath in the midst of my grief. And like the disciples it can sometimes be hard to believe You can bring good out of seemingly impossible situations in my life.

Continue to increase my faith and remind me of Your power to conquer situations that seem impossible to me. And Lord, as my faith increases please help me to help hold others up when their faith is weak.

Sabbath: Would I Have Believed?

“It is finished.”

They were the final words Jesus spoke on the cross.

Then He died.

Jesus was gone.

All those years spent with His disciples teaching, healing, loving, and helping them to know God in a way they never had before were just a memory now.

jesus-sealed-tomb

Jesus was dead and the Sabbath came so quickly they couldn’t give Him a proper burial. Today was supposed to be a day of rest and worship but all the disciples could do was cling to each other and try to understand what had just taken place.

Together they wept and mourned for the One who was their teacher, their Leader…and their friend. For years Jesus had talked about Heaven and His Father, and even about being betrayed and dying but the disciples never quite understood. He even said He would defeat death and would give eternal life to all who believed in Him and His Father.

Still, it never quite made sense.

Now some of it was sinking in but the sadness was so strong that hope was elusive. What did Jesus say about defeating death? He did talk about dying and being raised to life. (Matthew 16:21) In fact, just the other day before they entered Jerusalem He took the disciples aside and said it again:

“The son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Mark 10:33-34

Still it was confusing. Did Jesus mean he would come back to earth or that he would rise again in Heaven with His Father? How could they know for sure?

It must have been almost too much to process.

And I have to ask myself, “Would I Have Believed?”

Would I have expected Jesus to come back from the dead?

It’s so easy to be critical of the disciples and their disbelief when we read about the events of Holy Week. After all through the years they had spent with Jesus He kept telling them these things! Why did they mourn instead of standing strong and telling others to wait & see, Jesus would not stay dead?

Honestly I’m not so sure my Sabbath would have been any different. The reality of what I had seen would probably have overridden any truth I had heard from Jesus. The emotions would have been strong and sadness oppressive.

The truth is that even today with all the knowledge I have about Jesus and the power available to me through the Holy Spirit still I often don’t believe. Sometimes I weep and mourn over what I believe has been lost without allowing God the opportunity to resurrect it in His time.

Would you have believed?

When you face losses do you week and mourn or anticipate a resurrection to come?

God can do anything, if we only believe.

blessings and peace to you as you believe today,
Paula

Sabbath: Would I Have Believed?

“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29

“It is finished.”

They were the final words Jesus spoke on the cross.

Then He died.

Jesus was gone.

All those years spent with His disciples teaching, healing, loving, and helping them to know God in a way they never had before were just a memory now.

jesus-sealed-tomb

Jesus was dead and the Sabbath came so quickly they couldn’t give Him a proper burial. Today was supposed to be a day of rest and worship but all the disciples could do was cling to each other and try to understand what had just taken place.

Together they wept and mourned for the One who was their teacher, their Leader…and their friend. For years Jesus had talked about Heaven and His Father, and even about being betrayed and dying but the disciples never quite understood. He even said He would defeat death and would give eternal life to all who believed in Him and His Father.

Still, it never quite made sense.

Now some of it was sinking in but the sadness was so strong that hope was elusive. What did Jesus say about defeating death? He did talk about dying and being raised to life. (Matthew 16:21) In fact, just the other day before they entered Jerusalem He took the disciples aside and said it again:

“The son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Mark 10:33-34

Still it was confusing. Did Jesus mean he would come back to earth or that he would rise again in Heaven with His Father? How could they know for sure?

It must have been almost too much to process.

And I have to ask myself, “Would I Have Believed?”

Would I have expected Jesus to come back from the dead?

It’s so easy to be critical of the disciples and their disbelief when we read about the events of Holy Week. After all through the years  they had spent with Jesus He kept telling them these things! Why did they mourn instead of standing strong and telling others to wait & see, Jesus would not stay dead?

Honestly I’m not so sure my Sabbath would have been any different. The reality of what I had seen would probably have overridden any truth I had heard from Jesus. The emotions would have been strong and sadness oppressive.

The truth is that even today with all the knowledge I have about Jesus and the power available to me through the Holy Spirit still I often don’t believe. Sometimes I weep and mourn over what I believe has been lost without allowing God the opportunity to resurrect it in His time.

Would you have believed? When you face losses do you week and mourn or anticipate a resurrection to come?

God can do anything, if we only believe.