So much has been going on the last year, many changes, new things to tackle and some to overcome! It is very easy to get lost in the shuffle of busyness and begin to feel like a hamster running circles on a wheel or like a little dog chasing its tail round and round. More people than ever suffer from stress, depression and illness.
About a year ago, I begin revisiting and researching the idea of a Sabbath rest. At the time we decided that it would be a good idea to implement this into our life. Afterall, God seemed to think it was of the utmost importance. Not only did He require a Sabbath rest for His people, but also for the land, therefore it must be very important. I also began to ponder about all the time-saving devices that have been invented in the interest of helping us work smarter, rather than harder over the years. No longer do we have to wash our families clothes with a washboard in a tub of water or in a stream and hang them out to dry, we have washers and dryers that do everything except hang them up and put them away. So it goes with our crock-pots, microwaves, and many other modern conveniences created to save us time and energy. However, we also have all these new things to vie for our time. At the risk of dating myself, when I was a small child there were only 3 local Tv stations, and not many more radio stations. Today we have hundreds of stations on both the tv and radio, in addition, we have the internet, video games, and so much more to entertain and distract us. I also notice, the more time-saving things in my home, the less time I seem to have.
Now, back to the Sabbath rest. We actually tried successfully to do this in our home for a while and it worked beautifully. We were not legalistic about it, we just chose to keep one day of the week simple. The idea was to rest, to do things together that refreshed us and renewed our life and focusing on the Lord, not necessarily in that order. After a while, life got crazy and we forgot to guard it carefully. Before we knew it, we were back on the hamster wheel spinning away, exhausted and in need of a change. The Lord, has been gently leading us once again down that path, reminding us that there is more to life, that the only thing eternal in our life is people. He has been reminding us how precious relationships are, our’s with Him and with those people He places in our lives. Yesterday, Pastor Tony knocked it out of the park as he spoke on unloading all that which weighs us down and entering a Sabbath rest, re-enforcing what we were already being convicted about. He spoke about laying the heavy loads we carry, crazy schedules, unrealistic expectations all down at the feet of Jesus. Then he asked a particularly poignant question, “what if all you had tomorrow was the things that you thanked God for today?” Now that is convicting!!
Well now, that brings me up to today. This morning I was thinking about evaluating and prioritizing and putting first things first in life. Considering ways to keep focused and in crease productivity, all the while reducing busyness, stress and just honestly feeling like I’m running circles and accomplishing very little. Then up pops today’s S.O.A.P. reading and it tends to put a little more perspective on life. Matthew 26 was todays reading, and a very familiar one at that. So much packed into those 75 verses of scripture. Just what do I focus on, how do I pick out just one verse that speaks to me?? Will it be the plot to kill Jesus; the anointing at Bethany; betrayal; the Lord’s Supper; Peter’s denial; the garden prayer, the Judas kiss, Jesus trial? Lord what do you want me to see, here? Suddenly my attention was specifically drawn to verses 52-56:”
“52 Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels? 54 How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?” 55 At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture Me? Every day I used to sit, teaching in the temple complex, and you didn’t arrest Me. 56 But all this has happened so that the prophetic Scriptures would be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted Him and ran away.”
For those not familiar with S.O.A.P.: it stands for scripture, observation, application and prayer. It’s purpose is to focus on a specific section and really listen to what God is trying to say to you. So below, I will share what I felt the Lord saying to me through the above passage:
O. It is so important that as true followers of Christ, that we know the Word of God. It is our responsibility to try to know and understand it’s contents. These men had been exposed to the teachings of Jesus for three years and probably the Torah for their entire lives. Jesus had told them what was prophesied and had warned them in advance what to expect, still they did not understand and denied what He had said. This is why it is important to keep more focused on what the Word says than we are on what we see and what our circumstances speak to us. We do our selves a great disservice when we neglect the Word and it’s promises how can we stand on the promises of God if we do not know Who He is, who He says we are, What He says He will do and what He says we can do. How will we know what He has given us Authority over and how to use that authority appropriately?? What if Jesus had decided to call down armies of angels to rescue Him, He had the authority-but it was not conducive to His Father’s will. How will we know God’s will if we don’t study the Word to Show us approved?
A. So much hinges on the Word of God! Our responsibility as believers, our authority as believers, our character as believers, the only way to truly know our God’s character, and who we are, it is crucial to us being more than conquerors in Him and in influencing those around us, but even more it is crucial in order to live abundant and blessed life!
P. Lord, please help me Keep first things first and always give You the top place, a place of Honor in my life, knowing that if I do, everything else will take care of itself.
How does this tie in with a Sabbath rest? Line upon line, precept upon precept~ when we are busy and don’t take time to rest and to abide in a personal relationship with the Creator and Lord of our lives, we find ourselves carrying loads and burdens that we were never meant to bear. We tend to get a “me against the world” mindset and think we have to bear all the burdens life throws our way on our own. Again, these are burdens we were never intended to bear and when they come crashing in, we can begin to feel helpless, hopeless, struggle with relationships, depression and spin in a downward spiral. Or we can take the time to rest, adjust our perspective, spend time with the God of creation, Who knows us better than we know ourselves, take His invitation to lay down our heavy burdens, trust Him and take up His Yoke, which is light and easy. We can trust Him to give us Wisdom, Strength and Joy for the Journey as we travel through this life. Nothing delights Him more than His children spending time with Him, trusting Him, getting to know Him on a deeper level, taking Him at His Word that we can do all things through Him and that He can: