Archive for the ‘Isaiah 58’ Category

Well here i am at the end of Isaiah 58 and i don’t say that as though i have arrived at a destination. Isaiah 58 like all the word is not just something to be read, studied, applied and then left as though it’s finished. i will be meditating on it for some time. Not sure i will ever fully embrace it. i mean, i embrace the idea of it but as for living it… well time will tell.

my wonder about sharing entire chapters like this, is whether the beginning gets lost in the ending. i hope not and because of that i will go back this weekend and reread the chapter but also what God revealed to me in the posts. The basics are feeding the poor, shelter for the poor, clothing for the poor. Then there is getting rid of unfair practices, blaming victims, and gossiping. Lately honoring His Sabbath. For me there is an element of respect in going back. He revealed way to much for me to just move on. Also there is a healthy dose of fear, fear of the Lord, for He is unpredictable in what He does but oh so predictable in who He is.

As for ending my posting about Isaiah 58, i received a quote that for me expresses my life. i am thankful for those who think of me and send me things that they think i will enjoy. The idea that they would take time from their busy schedules and see something for me when they could be looking for themselves speaks volumes about them. The following words are as though God comes down and is standing beside me and were having a conversation and He ends by saying,

‘I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers which could not be given to you now because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Rainer Maria Rilke

i absolutely LOVE IT! It stirred my heart, mind will and emotions. Thank you so much! This ranks right up there with the best of them, mostly because i can apply what it says, there are actions and words that i can do and speak that will line up with it.

Personalized, I must have patience with everything unresolved in my heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. I am not to search for the answers which could not be given to me now because i would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, i will gradually without even noticing it, live my way into the answer.

If i were to say this another way it would be something like, I’m not okay, you’re not okay, but that’s okay.


Isaiah 58 – Consequences?

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Isaiah 58

A witness, in the sense that I am using the word, is a man whose life and faith are so completely one that when the challenge comes to step out and testify for his faith, he does so, disregarding all risks, accepting all consequences. Whittaker Chambers

First off i believe there are consequences to everything i do and say in my life. Sometimes those consequences are enjoyed and sometimes they are endured. i already said that there are consequences of my delighting myself in Him which includes a Sabbath Day but are there consequences if i do not keep a Sabbath Day or for that fact the rest of Isaiah 58? If anyone is reading this please read carefully so there is no misunderstanding. This is about me and my relationship with the Father so don’t just take what i say and try to apply it to your life. No guilt nor condemnation is being inflicted upon anyone including my children and grandchildren if or when they read this.

The book of James says, if i break one Commandment i have broken them all. Then the question can be asked, if the Sabbath is Saturday and if i am supposed to be keeping the true Sabbath day then aren’t most Christians guilty of breaking God’s law. This for me is a wrong question and if i ask it i am sure to get a wrong answer. After all is posted on Isaiah 58 i am sure it pertains to me an my relationship with God and not what everyone else is saying, thinking or doing. The Bible says that only a few will find the straight and narrow gate. i am pressing in to be one of the few and that does not imply that anyone else is not.

Noah preached for 120 years that a great flood was coming and only 8 were saved. Jesus said that at the time of His second coming it is going to be like in the days of Noah. Why is it that i only acknowledge what i want to see?

Hosea prophesied that God’s people would perish for a lack of knowledge which does not sound fair but then he explains it is because they would reject knowledge in regards to the Commandments of God, so He in return would reject them. Considering how many times i have rejected knowledge on the Sabbath Commandment, and others, this sadly makes perfect sense.

It appears that everyone has a different idea about this issue of the Seventh day Sabbath truth. When there is so much confusion and conflicting information i know that deception reigns and i seriously need to investigate to find what the truth really is and especially when the consequences for deliberate sin is to be left out of the kingdom.

The Bible tells me clearly in Daniel that a persecuting power would change God’s laws which it did – the Seventh Day Sabbath became the first day sabbath without God’s approval. The book of Daniel also refers to this change of God’s law by the antichrist power as reaching to the host of heaven and trampling the heavenly sanctuary under foot. i find the same expression used in Hebrews chapter ten in reference to wilful sin.

Hebrews 10:26-29 “For if we sin WILFULLY after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth NO more sacrifice for sins, … He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

This passage warns me that there remains no sacrifice to cover wilful sin and to continue in wilful sin is to trample the Son of God under foot and to treat Christ’s work on the cross as an unholy thing despite being under grace. This is a warning i should… no must, take very seriously.

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality. Winston Churchill

Isaiah 58 – Delight

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Isaiah 58

From heav’nly thoughts all true delight doth spring. Thomas Campion

then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth” (vv. 13-14).

Then i will delight myself in the Lord and ride on the high hills of the earth. THEN… at that time, immediately or soon afterward, next in order of time. And the word after then is just as important, you, meaning me, shall delight myself in the Lord. That means that by applying ALL of Isaiah 58 is to my best interest. There is a benefit for me in doing so. By applying Isaiah 58 i ACTIVATE the THEN. I then invite God to do what He wants to do in my life.

i am changed in the process and regardless of circumstances in my life i will be riding on the high hills of the earth. i will be so focused on the Lord that everything becomes a joy. Again if i can wrap my beliefs around everything coming from God, everything going through God and everything ending in God, my life will be exceptional, for lack of a better word.

So for me, i am not to be doing my own pleasure on God’s Holy Day. That means i am not to be pursuing my hobbies or leisure activities. That does not eliminate doing any enjoyable things on the Sabbath, for i am to find DELIGHT in it, it being what i do. The point is that, whatever i do, God must be an intertwined part of it. Ann Marie and i taking a walk through a natural setting, for example, is a wonderful way to get in touch with the great God who made the beautiful creation. Walking through the mall… not so much. i can not give you a list as to what i would or would not do untill after the occasion occurs. i do not want to be a scribe or pharisee and add 50 to 60 items of my own to my nor anyone elses list. i will trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit who lives, dwells and abides inside me to be up to the task, when the time comes. John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

When the seventh day arrives, i must stop pursuing my “own ways” (the things i normally do), seeking my “own pleasure” (just trying to have fun) and
speaking my “own words” (the everyday things i talk about that do not involve God). HEAR me i am not implying in any way that i be a heathen six days and Holy on the seventh. In fact i think that would be impossible to consistently do. This last one is sometimes HARD to follow because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). To truly keep the Sabbath in the spirit, i must focus my MIND on God and those things He wants me to be concerned with during His holy time. Then, as God promises, i will be truly blessed. For me this is not just a Sabbath practice but should be my lifestyle seven days a week.

In addition to worshiping with God’s Church on His weekly Holy Day, i should remember Jesus approach that “it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12). So it is my understanding that this is a day i can use for making encouraging phone calls or writing letters to the sick, the “shut-ins” or fellow Christians who are lonely. It is also my understanding that i can visit the sick or others in need on the Sabbath, or to have people over for a Sabbath meal (Matthew 25:34-36; James 1:27).

i should not think of the Sabbath as the day i “can’t do” this or that! Rather, i should approach this very special day as a time when i can and should really TAKE TIME to deeply study and thoughtfully study the Bible. It is a time when i can sit quietly, meditating over and thinking through the truly big issues of life. In addition, the Sabbath is the perfect time for unhurried, thoughtful, heartfelt PRAYER to our Father in heaven to “commune” with my Creator, to worship Him, to get to know Him intimately. This, then, is how i am looking to walk in God’s Holy Sabbath.

Of the Ten Commandments, the fourth one-concerning the Sabbath day-is and always has been the real “test” commandment (Exodus 16:4). Many can accept the other nine, don’t worship other gods, honor your parents, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, etc. But the fourth commandment is different. To keep it means visibly living quite differently from the society around me. It might even mean being looked upon as odd or weird. Yet Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, Today’s English Version). Talk about odd or weird.

Do i love the “praise of men” more than the praise of God? Do i have the FAITH and the COURAGE to obey God’s commandments, even if i were to lose my job, my friends and perhaps some of my relatives?

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. Emmanuel Teney

Isaiah 58 – Together

Posted: September 20, 2011 in Isaiah 58

Pliny the Elder, was a Roman writer who lived during the same time period as Jesus. He told a story of the setting of an obelisk, which when erect would stand 99 feet tall. Twenty thousand workers where chosen to pull on the ropes and activate the hoisting apparatus. There was great responsibility and risk in the operation. Just one error could cause the obelisk to fall, ruining years of work. The King demanded one-act which insured the complete attention and best direction of the engineer. He ordered the engineer’s own son to be strapped to the apex of the obelisk, so that his heart as well as his head would be given to the task.

The scribes and Pharisees tried to legislate, in minute detail, all that was acceptable or unacceptable to do on the Sabbath. In doing so, they made the Sabbath a burden, something i don’t believe God ever intended 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.. He gave the Sabbath with some specifics, but mainly by explaining it in broad, spiritual principles. This to me says that my Sabbath is to be all about my relationship with Him and out of a revelation of relationship of His love for me, i will have the correct response. That’s my summation in spite of not being done, so i’ll leave room for adjustment until completion.

What is God saying to me? To begin with God says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9). i am not unfamiliar with this verse. When i was younger i would apply for a job and if told i would have to work Sundays i would explain that i could not, but if hired i would work all the more on the other six days. i usually was hired, i usually worked even harder during the six days, and i that’s how i became a workaholic. God ordained the first six days of the week for my business and work. my Creator intended that i be busy and productive, earning my daily bread. In Proverbs 19:15, He says, “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger”. If i disregard my responsibilities the first six days of the week i am just as guilty of breaking God’s law as if i work on the seventh!

That brings me to the next portion in this word. “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates” (Exodus 20:10). So i am not to do any kind of real work on the Sabbath… be it my occupation, personal business, housework or any strenuous activity. Yes, i got all that out of those words. i am also responsible for those in the environment over which i have control to work as well. PAUSE…, preparing-or cleaning up after-a light meal would not be wrong as i understand it. There are a number of occasions when Jesus enjoyed a Sabbath meal with others. And He never condemned the practice of hospitality on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6).

But the temporary stopping of labor is not the only requirement God makes. He also gives positive instruction. In Moses’ recounting of the Ten Commandments, the fourth one begins by inviting us to “OBSERVE the Sabbath day, to KEEP IT HOLY” (Deuteronomy 5:12). We must look to God to tell us how to do that. Leviticus 23 lists “the feasts of the Lord [not the Jews], which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations.” God says, “These are MY feasts” (v. 2). The first one mentioned is the weekly Sabbath: “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings” (v. 3). God then lists His seven other Feasts or Festivals, which contain seven annual Sabbaths. These days are also embraced by the spirit of the Sabbath commandment. So there it is, and i will defer studying those feasts for another time. The Sabbath is my focus for this season.

God’s Sabbaths-weekly and annual-are to be holy “convocations” and are, therefore, days commanded for worship services. When we fellowship with other people in whom God dwells, we are, in fact, also fellow-shipping with Him (1 John 1:3, 7). The New Testament states that we must make sure we are
“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as [we] see the
[millennial Sabbath] Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). We must not forsake assembling on the days God has appointed for that purpose. The number required to be called assembly remains unclear to me yet, but it seems to me that it can be as few as one and as for how large… that’s a good question.

Finally, to really understand how God intended the Sabbath to be used, i go back to Isaiah 58: “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight… not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words,

Isaiah 58 – The Test Is A Foot

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Isaiah 58

It seems God continually brings me to the end of my endurance, both emotionally and physically, to reveal the truth about my heart. What’s revealed in those moments of pressure is usually something that needs addressing, like selfishness, insecurity, jealousy or bitterness. Glynnis Whitwer

Can everyone reading these please remember that i am not trying to establish a right and wrong regarding anything about Sabbath or any other topic. These are my thoughts, my process, and my conclusions. That does not make them so, or right, in fact they may be completely wrong, but non the less it’s the what and how of me. i am always open to comments, questions and correction so feel free, asi t helps me discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to me.

Somehow this got out-of-order so if it seems i’m going backwards, i am. Further i suggest anyone still working through the Saturday or Sunday deal to click on the link and see if it helps. It did for me in this one statement, “The Bible clearly makes the Sabbath the last day of the week, (AGREED), but does not share how that corresponds to our 7 day week. AGREED. Yet through extra-biblical sources it is possible to determine that the Sabbath at the time of Christ corresponds to our current ‘Saturday.

Abraham was the great-grandfather of Judah—from whom came the “Jews.” He kept God’s true Sabbath? God said, “Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5).

Generations of Israelites understood from these verses that Abraham kept the seventh-day Sabbath—the Sabbath that God had “sanctified” at the creation of mankind. In the New Testament, Paul says that Abraham is the “father” of the faithful (Romans 4:11, 16).

i found that many people will argue that the Ten Commandments—including the fourth one about keeping the Sabbath holy—were part of the “Old Covenant” that God made with Israel at Mount Sinai in the days of Moses. They believe that, because the Old Covenant ended at Jesus death, the Ten Commandments—with the Sabbath requirement—ended also.

But as i wrote yesterday it was before the beginning of human history that God made the seventh-day Sabbath “holy time.” It’s 2,000 years later, when Abraham, the father of the faithful, became an EXAMPLE of faithfulness by keeping God’s commandments and statutes—obviously including the observance of the Sabbath day. This is LONG BEFORE there was an Old Covenant with Israel!

Hundreds of years later, Abraham’s descendants are being led out of Egyptian slavery by Moses in the Exodus. This was several weeks before the Old
Covenant was proposed at Mount Sinai, God wanted to remind His people of the true Sabbath, which He had given at creation. This was in case any of them had forgotten or become mixed up about His Sabbath, which was possible since the Israelites had been in Egyptian slavery for several generations. God gave His people a series of signs to make clear to them which day He had made holy.

Exodus 16:1-30. The people of Israel were “murmuring” against God because they wanted more food. So God said, “I will… TEST them, whether they will walk in My LAW or not” (v. 4). Interesting, because this is validates that God’s law was in effect even BEFORE the giving of the Old Covenant at Mount Sinai!

God explains that He would perform the following miracle. Every day of the week, except the seventh day, a special food from heaven called “manna” would blanket the ground in the morning like dew. The people were to gather it up each morning and eat it that same day. They could not keep it overnight, because that would cause it to breed worms and stink. But there would be no manna on the ground on the seventh day. What, were they to eat on that day? God’s answer, the second part of His miracle. Every sixth day, He would give them a double portion of manna—one portion for that day and another to be kept overnight and eaten on Sabbath (v. 23). This would require a third part of the miracle. God would allow manna collected on the sixth day to remain unspoiled overnight, so that it could be eaten on the Sabbath. From the sixth day to the seventh day was the only time each week they were permitted to keep food overnight. God was showing them that sixth day was the preparation day for the Sabbath.

God arranged things so they wouldn’t have to do the work of gathering manna on the seventh day which enabled them to rest on the Sabbath, yet still have something to eat that day. “So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses
said, ‘Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field'” (vv. 24-25).

This was a TEST, to see whether they would follow God’s law or not.

As a human being, so often i do NOT take God seriously! Some Israelites went out and tried to find manna even on the Sabbath. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long do you [people] refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He
gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.’ So the people rested
on the seventh day” (vv. 28-30). And so it is with me. God gives me one thing and i want more or i try to make it my own.

Several weeks before Israel came to Mount Sinai, God began performing a weekly three-part miracle to show His people WHICH DAY was—and had always been—His holy Sabbath. When some tried to work on that day anyway, the Creator asked, “How LONG do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?”!

Isaiah 58:13 and don’t use my Holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s Holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual,’ making money, running here and there—

When Mozart was composing at the end of the eighteenth century, the city of Vienna was so quiet that fire alarms could be given verbally, by a shouting watchman mounted on top of St. Stefan’s Cathedral.  In twentieth-century society, the noise level is such that it keeps knocking our bodies out of tune and out of their natural rhythms.  This ever-increasing assault of sound upon our ears, minds, and bodies adds to the stress load of civilized beings trying to live in a highly complex environment.  ~Steven Halpern

Isaiah 58 – ALL THINGS

Posted: September 16, 2011 in Isaiah 58

One can believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and feel no personal loyalty to Him at all – indeed, pay no attention whatever to His commandments and His will for one’s life. One can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer and never do any praying. Catherine Marshall

Okay, i’ve read all this and i still have some question regarding which day but my purpose was not in that regard, it was in having a Sabbath period, and not as to whether God wanted me to have one but as to how significant or not it is to my life.  So i’m spending today to see what Jesus had to say about it while He was here on earth. i already see a much greater significance to having a Sabbath, now i must see what that looks like. Isaiah 58:13 “If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don’t use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God’s holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing ‘business as usual, making money, running here and there— Those words verse give me some insight, but i wonder if it’s realistic? Then is that the right question? If it’s the wrong question, i will get a wrong answer. Okay, so it is the wrong question. Realistic is not a substitute for Truth.

To me it is obvious that Jesus kept God’s holy Sabbath day, though some today say otherwise. The Pharisees did accuse Him of breaking it, as in Mark 2 where Jesus’ disciples picked heads of grain to eat when they were hungry on the Sabbath. But this was NOT a transgression of the Sabbath. It was only a violation of the legalistic restrictions the scribes and Pharisees had added to the Sabbath.

Why did the Pharisees do this? Under the Old Covenant, the penalty for Sabbath-breaking was death by stoning (Exodus 31:15; Numbers 15:32-35). It was serious! Sabbath-breaking and idolatry were singled out by God as two of the major sins for which He had caused Israel and Judah to be taken into national captivity and slavery centuries earlier-and, according to prophecy, would do so again (cf. Nehemiah 13:17-18; Ezekiel 20:10-25; 22:6-23:47). And so, as they did with most points of God’s law, the scribes and Pharisees went into the extreme and began legislating, in detail, everything that was permissible or not
permissible to do on the Sabbath, attaching more than 60 specific requirements or restrictions. In so doing, they made God’s weekly Holy Day a burden, which it was never meant to be (cf. 1 John 5:3). Example, according to them, you could only walk so many steps at a time on the Sabbath before having to sit down and rest. God’s law says no such thing.

Of course, it was the responsibility of each individual to make sure that he wasn’t overexerting himself on the Sabbath to the point that his actions would
have qualified as work. If Jesus had not been present with His disciples, it would simply have been a personal judgment call for them. But Jesus was there as a perfect Judge, God in the flesh and Lord of the Sabbath. He made it very clear that the scribes and Pharisees were wrong! Picking a few heads of grain and eating them simply does not violate the Sabbath command. On the other hand, if the disciples had been harvesting, that would have been a different matter. They were just grabbing a bite to eat! So what is my definition or work and how does it fit with just grabbing a bite to eat. It’s a good thing i have the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me into all truth.

Some people argue, that the Sabbath was done away with when Jesus’ died. The disciples didn’t think so? After Christ’s burial, some of His most dedicated followers decided to better prepare His body so it wouldn’t decay so quickly in the grave. “Then they returned [home] and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). Luke was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write here that these dedicated women kept the Sabbath “according to the commandment”! Even after Jesus’ death, God’s Sabbath commandment still stood!

We just saw that the disciples refrained from doing work on the Sabbath. But notice the very next verses: “Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb” (24:1-2). Now, on Sunday, they had come to do work. Obviously, the Sabbath they had kept holy was the previous day-Saturday.

After His resurrection, did Jesus in some way indicate that His former teaching had been “done away” with? No way! Jesus instructed His disciples to go out over the whole earth and teach these same things-even to the END of this age. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL THINGS that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Isaiah 58 – Last Not First

Posted: September 15, 2011 in Isaiah 58
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.  ~Lily Tomlin
i’m already finding this topic challenging as i know to some extent where it’s going. After all, it’s not my first time, yes that means i didn’t get it, so i find myself right back at it. God loves me enough to keep bringing me back to places where i need a refresher course. This is what i know, my schedule already does not fit in the 24 hours that i am given each day, and yet i am still going to need to reduce my schedule by an entire day. It’s sad but true, my first question is what can i get away with or better yet what am i allowed to do on my… or i suppose, i should be saying, His Sabbath. So first off, am i locked into a particular day, or is the real importance that i have a Sabbath regardless of the day?

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). Also the Bible does NOT contradict itself. Jesus said, “the Scripture CANNOT be broken” (John 10:35). Paul expanded on this, saying, “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

If i am willing to BELIEVE these inspired statements, then i will have no problem understanding this vital and inspired subject. The Bible teaches me about God’s true Sabbath day from Genesis to Revelation. i must look at the facts and not be fearful about “what other people think.” Remember that in Jesus’ day many of the religious leaders knew that He was the Christ, but would not confess Him for this reason: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

The whole truth and nothing but the truth, regarding the true Sabbath. i will weigh in here that i have never known any other day than Sunday for my Sabbath.

WHY? No clue other than it’s what i was taught. In my study thus far i have not found anywhere where i was or am commanded to observe Sunday as my Sabbath. Actually, it instructs me to work on that day. In fact, from Genesis to Revelation, many verses in the Bible clearly show that, rather than observing the first day—Sunday—it was the seventh-day Sabbath (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) that was kept by all of God’s faithful servants in both Old and New Testament times. my understanding of Revelation 20:4-6 says, this same seventh-day Sabbath will continue to be observed by Christians on this earth during Jesus’s coming 1,000-year rule!

Notice the teaching of Jesus in Mark 2:23-28. Jesus allowed His disciples to pluck heads of grain to eat as they walked through grain fields on the Sabbath. He was challenged on this point by the Pharisees, who had added more than 60 legalistic “dos and don’ts” to the Sabbath. But Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (vv. 27-28). i looked at these words in the Message to get a better look. 23-24One Sabbath day he was walking through a field of ripe grain. As his disciples made a path, they pulled off heads of grain. The Pharisees told on them to Jesus: “Look, your disciples are breaking Sabbath rules!” 25-28Jesus said, “Really? Haven’t you ever read what David did when he was hungry, along with those who were with him? How he entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, with the Chief Priest Abiathar right there watching—holy bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat—and handed it out to his companions?” Then Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren’t made to serve the Sabbath. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath. He’s in charge!”

Jesus did not say that the Sabbath was made for the Jews—but for “man.” He said the Sabbath is the day He is “Lord of.” Jesus did not give the slightest hint about contradicting the Sabbath commandment. Rather, He showed both here and in the verses that follow, how to keep the Sabbath in a more meaningful way. Jesus said that the Sabbath was “made for man”—for him to keep—LONG BEFORE the Jewish people even existed.

i am led to look at when God made mankind—and when He gave man the Sabbath. In Genesis 1:1 it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The next verse shows that the earth came to a state of chaos and waste. And the following verses describe how God reformed our planet and created the plant and animal life forms that presently inhabit it. Notice verse 26: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'” So man was created in God’s “image.” man  was given “dominion” or RULE over all the rest of creation. But how was mankind to keep in contact with his Maker? How am i to remind myself that the true God is, in fact, the CREATOR of all that is?

Genesis 2:2-3 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. God BLESSED the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

Notice that God “ended” or completed His work of creation by resting on the seventh day of the week. The word “Sabbath” is derived from the Hebrew word Shabath, which literally means “rest” or “cessation.” God created the Sabbath by resting on this day and ceasing from creating material things. And He “blessed” and “sanctified”—that is, set apart for holy use—this day and no other! By blessing and sanctifying the seventh-day Sabbath, God showed that His presence is IN this day in a very special way. For of all the days of the week, this one ALONE points to Him in a unique way as the true God, the One who created and now governs the entire universe.

Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way.  ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You

Isaiah 58 – Optional Or Required

Posted: September 14, 2011 in Isaiah 58

Has it ever struck you that the trouts bite best on the Sabbath? God’s critters tempting decent men.–James Matthew Barrie

It’s time to meet my maker or pay the piper so to speak. i have some concept of what doing Isaiah 58 1-12 looks like in my life. What comes next… well i’ll just have to see.

Isaiah 58 13-14 “If you watch your step on the Sabbath STOP! The first word “IF” means that there are conditions to what is going to follow. The second word “YOU” meaning me, says that the conditions are in my hands and if not met then there will be no one to blame but myself. So “IF, i” watch. Watch, which Webster defines as, to keep under attentive view or observation, as in order to see or learn something. IF, i, keep under attentive view, in order to learn something. What am i to keep under view and what is the something? The attentive view is my step. my actions, if i’m getting this straight. All that being said,  if the verse stopped there i think i’d be in pretty fair shape. BUT… it doesn’t and thus i’m not, as the specific instructions or the conditions of the IF are watching my  step, keeping under view my steps “ON THE SABBATH.”

Webster’s says Sabbath: the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8–11. 8[Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God). 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your domestic animals, or the sojourner within your gates. 11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes].

Webster’s also says, Sabbath: the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ. Interesting, a different day of the week and observed by most Christians.
And Webster’s says, Sabbath: any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath:
Then Webster’s says, Sabbath: Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.
And lastly Webster’s says, Sabbath: any period of rest.
What a difference in definitions. from a specific time to just any old period of rest. So can i just pick one and go with it? Not! In spite my disregard of this topic and it not impacting the actions of my life, it is non the less an absolutely VITAL subject and is far more important than i have given it credit for. Again, while my actions have not indicated that the following is my belief, my understanding knows the truth, that SABBATH has everything to do with whether or not i really “know” the true God—the Creator. In fact, it directly affects my inheriting everlasting life in His soon-coming Kingdom. i have disregarded Sabbath for to long and so i am going to move slowly as the information gets a little deep.

This is the simplest place to begin. Jesus said that—at the end of this age—only God’s direct intervention would stop man from destroying all human life from this planet. He said, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).

As i swiftly approach the END of this present age of man’s rule under the influence of Satan, it is critically important that i consider whether or not i am really obeying, God, who gives me life and breath. Jesus taught that “empty faith” is NOT enough! On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Those words have always caused me to pause. Yes, to pause, because God forbid that i would be a part of those who say Lord, Lord and not be allowed to enter in.

He asked, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). That’s a very good question, why do i act in that manner, knowing the risk, that i may be unrecognized by God. In a heated discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus quoted Isaiah’s prophecy, saying, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And IN VAIN they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'” (Mark 7:6-7). i’m thinking about that! Jesus clearly stated that it is possible to worship God—and yet worship Him IN VAIN by following the teachings of men! Then Jesus said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (v. 9).

It is then, when the traditions of men conflict with the commandments of God, i face a HUGE problem according to Jesus!

So this is saying, my willingness to keep holy the true Sabbath day, which God made holy, directly affects whether or not i will be granted eternal life in the Kingdom of God? That hits like a ton of bricks falling on my head. While i have known that the Sabbath was somewhat important, i have not considered it as vital.

Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week. Alice Walker

Isaiah 58 – Emptiest Places

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Isaiah 58

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. Thomas Jefferson

I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— Full: completely filled, containing all that can be held, filled to utmost capacity. Completely filled, containing all that can be held, “in the emptiest of places.” Fear, anger, hurt, wounded, rejection, disappointment, loneliness, guilt, condemnation, depression, addictions, are places of emptiness, yet Isaiah 58 says, “He’ll give me a full life IN (indicates inclusion within space, or to indicate inclusion within an occurrence during a period or limit of time, as of situation, condition, relation, manner, action) the EMPTINESS of depression, the EMPTINESS of guilt. The emptiness of loneliness. In otherwards at what i think are the worst times of my life, when it seems as though there is no hope, He WILL (not maybe or possibly), but WILL give me FULL life and i say that with the understanding of everything i have read and posted to this point, full well knowing i have a part to do. i need to add a line here because emptiest of places is sometimes not as dramatic as the ones i listed above. i sense an emptiest place sometimes in just silence, when nothing is going wrong but the stillness feels like emptiness. i just want to be clear that emptiest places is not always a major crisis or a full-blown disaster in life. It can be very small and even impossible to see. It just there like a headache that won’t go away… no matter how many pills i take or how many verses i read or quote.

At a recent coffee the question was asked to see what percentage of people felt a need to “stay electronically connected” to their work and other people during their  vacation. The answer: 77 percent. The electronic link with others does help me let people know i am OK, or allows them to inform me if a family crisis or  emergency has arisen. It is my opinion that this electronic age is a major part of the cause for our empty places. i am an advocate for intentional times of silence and  solitude for personal renewal. i say that electronics are a necessary evil. Truth is they are not necessary at all and the sooner i act like that the sooner i will have time for the things of God mentally and physically. The sooner i realize that they are not necessary i will stop filling my so-called-free-time with looking for new games to play. Words With Friends is a well dressed lie. It’s like saying i have 1,242 friends on Facebook. They are barely acquaintances. Time spent disconnected from electronics even for  a few hours, in an empty place, does not mean i am ignoring the problems of  oil spills, and a struggling economy, personal problems or too much information.  It simply means i am taking time to catch my breath, listening to God and feeling the power of the Holy Spirit, so i am better equipped to deal with life.

firm muscles, strong bones. The thing that comes to mind is no pain no gain. Firm muscles don’t just appear, in fact they disappear very quickly without regular work-outs. Firm muscles and strong bones are just the first effects of receiving a full life. i exercise in the word and apply the knowledge gained and firm muscles develop.

You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. This is in exchange for the dry bones that i become if i do not participate in Isaiah 58. The promise has been made and i know what i must do. Psalm 1 says, i will be lake a tree planted by the living waters of JESUS.

You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, So all my wounds, hurts, disappointments, failures are going to add up to something. my emptiest places are not just a waste of time. i am not a failure or a loser because of my emptiest places. i have been given permission to fail. They all had purpose and will be turned into benefits instead of liabilities. i was made for new. When Ann Marie and i have looked for apartments, homes, cars etc. i have always liked new verses used. i now have scripture to support that desire. rebuild the foundations from out of your past. This goes along with building new out of old rubble. What i like about this last portion is that i do not have to start from scratch. The foundations that i have are just going to be rebuilt, not destroyed, removed and replaced. It seems less hopeless that way, it takes away the idea that my life to this point has been a total waste.

You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. i like the sound of that. i am a handy man of sorts, not because of training or gifting but more so because of necessity. The lack of money and a creative mind make an interesting combination, but in the end i can fix most things. If i could figure out how to fix people… sorry that’s an unfair practice, as if people need fixing and even more so as if i could fix anyone, when i can’t seem to fix me. i do have many opportunities to share my life, my story with people and that has the ability to perhaps stir them up to fix themselves… that is if they find that they need fixing. As for restoring i take this to mean that i will have more opportunities to help people be restored to right relationship with the Father and with each other. Rebuild and renovate… i feel like i have spent my life and more specifically the past ten years doing just that in the physical sense and i am hoping that this verse will lead me to more of a spiritual rebuilder and a spiritual renovator. Maybe it’s time for teaching or a broader arena of sharing my journey with others. It seems that i have tried to move in this area with people who God brought to me and have had little in the way of lasting or beneficial results. Lastly making the community livable again. To me the community is people and i would love to serve in a way that would make the community livable again. Again i have had some opportunity for that but it seems as though the effect on the community around me has been negligible. i say that regarding these last two items, but i have a clean heart as to my intent and my willingness to serve others, so as for the results… well those are what they are and i am not responsible for them whether large or small because every person must read Isaiah 58 for themselves and become who it calls them to be and in closing, out of that their “be” will become what they “do”.

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.” Mother Teresa

“Never confuse motion with action.” Benjamin Franklin 

Isaiah 58 – Getting Rid Of

Posted: September 12, 2011 in Isaiah 58

A number of years ago Norman Cousins wrote an editorial in Saturday Review in which he reported a conversation he had on a trip in India. He was talking
with a Hindu priest named Satis Prasad. The man said he wanted to come to our country to work as a missionary among the Americans. Cousins assumed that he meant that he wanted to convert Americans to the Hindu religion, but when asked, Satis Prasad said, “Oh no, I would like to convert them to the Christian religion. Christianity cannot survive in the abstract. It needs not membership, but believers. The people of your country may claim they believe in Christianity, but from what I read at this distance, Christianity is more a custom than anything else. I would ask that either you accept the teachings of Jesus in your everyday life and in your affairs as a nation, or stop invoking His name as sanction for everything you do. I want to help save Christianity for the Christian.”

Isaiah 58:9-12 – A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places

I almost deleted this thinking that i had already looked at these verses, but not the case, so it is another case where the Word or the person writing the Word repeats themselves as if i have not understood it the first time.

“If you get rid of unfair practices, i started preparing these post over two weeks ago and ever since reading these words i have been trying to think of how i may be guilty of unfair practices. i came up with an area that may apply. It’s in my spiritual dealings with people. It is an unfair practice for me to perceive things about people based on appearances. It is an unfair practice for me to perceive a persons spiritual walk based on what i think are the rights and wrongs of a person’s life. Example, if a person does not use the word in their conversation, i am likely to perceive that they don’t spend much time in the word. Why? my belief of garbage in garbage out. Now it may well be, but i need to focus on the garbage in my life and seeing to it that it is removed before perceiving about anyone else. It’s an unfair practice and “i need to get rid of it ” as the word says. And, just so there is no misunderstanding, i found several more places that i need to get rid of unfair practices in.

quit blaming victims, i can’t say that i never blame anyone for anything, but i work hard at taking responsibility for my own outcomes. Truth be told i have probably blamed God for more of my ills than all others together. For years, it was the thing i did and… it did not work well for me. i am taking note of the way this is worded, quit blaming victims. So the people i blame from time to time are actually the victims? Well… i guess they are victims of my blame.

quit gossiping about other people’s sins, Gossiping??? To talk idly, especially about the affairs of others, go about tatteling. So i have to translate this to say, quit talking idly about other people’s sins. Who am i to be talking about anyone elses sin? i get upset when people talk about me when i’ trying to do good and it’s mistaken for something else. There is an old saying, that loose lips sink ships. i don’t think it’s the person’s ship whom i’m gossiping about that’s going to sink. my loose lips, sink my ship, meaning i’m doing the most harm to myself.

If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.

I will always show you where to go. i have a smart phone so they say, and recently i have been trying to use the gps function. i’m sorry but it’s just not always that accurate and it ends up taking me longer to get where i’m going. Spiritually i often depend on someone, something else or circumstances to show me where to go and i end up lost. Isaiah 58 says that if i will do my part as i have been reading and understanding, that God will do His part. He will ALWAYS show me where to go. i have a favorite saying, “out of a revelation of God’s love for me i will have a correct response. I will go where He shows me to go and not find myself lost, or asking God to come and pick me up from somewhere i should not have been in the first place.  While it may feel like i’m lost sometimes, it’s more likely that God is just allowing me to rest.

“Action expresses priorities.” Mohandas Gandhi