Saturday, October 27, 2018


We have spent the better part of this year on love, love and action, love and peace, and the fact that love and peace have great companions.

I think that we get this.  We are trying to put the words of our Master into practice.  We want this thing called life to be built on solid rock not shifting sand.

We are loving one another, to include some people who we don’t really like, and they might not like us either.  But we do our best to love them.

We are not content with just knowing that we are saved.  Our love compels us to reach others with good news.  We do take our commission seriously.

We know that we are being shaped by GodHe is taking our hearts and shaping them like his.  We are being made in the likeness of Christ Jesus.  It’s all about love and we are known by our love.

Sometimes that creates problems for us.  Sometimes we are persecuted.  Some people don’t like us or this whole truth thing.  We know that the truth sets us freeThe world has been blinded and thinks that the truth imprisons them, and they reject it.

We will have trouble in this world.  We follow Jesus and know that trouble is just part of the deal until he comes again.  We are encouraged that he will come againHe has overcome sin and death.  He has overcome the world.
That brings us joy.  This is victory and we are happy about it. 

We even have peace in the midst of the world’s turmoil.  We have peace that goes beyond our understanding. We have a covenant of peace.  God promised not to remove his peace from us.

And we as God’s people are leaning into this love, and love in action, and peace stuff with all we have.  Yes, we are learning to set aside our own understanding and trust God with all of our heart.

Yes!  Do you know what a victory that is?  These are powerful steps in our growth.  We are growing in grace.  We are pressing on towards the goal.  We are living for Christ.  We are a living sacrifice.

Yes, there are hiccups in our discipleship, but we confess and live in the promise of forgiveness, and get right back in our race of faith.

We are getting the hang of this discipleship stuff, this abundant life stuff, and we are tired.  The Spirit revives and rejuvenates us again and again and we continue on, but we need some rest.

We need rest!

God designed us to work and to rest.  The original model was work 6 and rest 1.  God modeled this.  God does not necessarily continue this model for himself.  Jesus said that his Father is always working.

Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath.  Rest is essential to our physical health and our spiritual wellbeing.  It is part of the design.

We need rest.  We are designed with rest in mind.

Sometimes that means sleep.  Sometimes it means just letting go of the demands of the world for a time. 

Sometimes it is just to take a load off.

We are designed with rest in mind.  We are to rest from our labors.

Have you ever been on vacation and when you got back, you were so glad to be back because you had to rest from your vacation?

Not everything that we do that’s not work is rest.  Rest is an entity unto itself.  Sometimes we rest when we partake of recreation.  Sometimes a vacation can be rest.  Sometimes solitude can give us rest.  Sometimes gatherings of family and friends bring us rest. 

It’s not the same for everyone.  What is the same is the fact that we are designed for rest.  Go on – Stay on is not our design.  We are all designed for rest.

There is another form of rest known a resting in the verse.  You take a scripture and read it, perhaps memorize it, but say it over and over in the course of the day.  You don’t study it.  You don’t analyze it.  You rest in it.

The 23rd Psalm is an excellent example.  You can analyze this passage from now until Jesus comes again.  That will bear fruit.  On the other hand, you can rest in the verse.  Just come back to this verse time and time again during the course of the day and let God’s holy word work upon you.

Rest involves being relieved of our burdens, at least for a time.  The Greek word for burdened or heavy ladened is φορτίζω:  Phortizó (for-tid'-zo).

It means to be weighted down or overloaded.  Paul reminds us to carry our own load, but we are also called to help others with what they have to carry.  But sometimes we just need to let go of the whole load.

We must rest.  Listen to the words of our Master again.

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

We need rest.  Jesus offers rest, but he really offers Rest Plus.  Plus what?  His way.

Our call is not only to get rid of our burdens but to take on his way.  His yoke is easy.  His burden is light.  He is gentle and humble at his core.  He is love as his Father is love and in him we find rest.

It’s not just come in, take a load off, and rest.  It’s come in, take a load off, rest, and learn from me.

Our carnal mind says, Well…. Learning doesn’t sound like rest but the vacation that exhausts us so that we have to come back to work in order to rest does?

If God designed us with periods of rest in mind (and he did), would we not want to know what the Designer has to say about this matter.

We understand, remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.  We at least get that intellectually.  In today’s world, we struggle to set aside an entire day be that Saturday or Sunday or another day set aside for that purpose.  We struggle.

So we should take the yoke of our Master and learn from him.  The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  What does that mean?

It means that the Sabbath has self-contained benefits.  We were designed for rest.  The Sabbath was designed to give us that rest.

We think, well I set aside most of this day to rest, then we take a work-related call and while our body is resting in the recliner, our mind is back in the office or on the road or grading papers or calling on customers.

We think we are resting and then find ourselves in a political argument online.  Responding won’t wait until tomorrow.

We wonder if God knows how hard it is to give up a whole day?  Does he really expect that?  The answer is no.  That is not what he expects.

If you have read the Torah you will note that there are other days besides the Sabbath that are to be observed like a Sabbath.  We are to have recurring rest and we are to have feasts and more rest that comes in seasons.

We may not live in tents for a week.  That’s an acquired taste from God’s Chosen People whom he delivered out of bondage in Egypt.  We have been grafted into that family, but none of our natural ancestors lived in tents in the wilderness for 40 years.

It has become our history through the seed of Abraham, Christ Jesus, but it never was our culture.

We may not bring a first fruits offering from our fields, but when we bring food offerings, we know to buy something new and not dig that can of black beans that we bought 8 years ago, thinking it’s only 3 years expired.  We understand first fruits.

We don’t bring sin offerings.  We confess.  God is faithful and just to forgive. Yom Kippur is not really a big deal for us.  Jesus made the offering to atone for our sins.

We don’t do everything like the Law of Moses told his Chosen People to do, but we should understand rest.  We must understand that we are designed for rest.

God modeled rest for us.  Six days he labored—he created.  One day he rested.

Does he do that now?  I don’t think so.  Jesus said that his Father is always working.

So, is he always working or does God take a Sabbath?  Yes.  God took a Sabbath at the end of the creation process.  He had made humankind in his own likeness and modeled rest for us.

But now, he is always on the job.  Could you imagine lifting up your prayer and getting a recording?  Thank you for calling the heavenly realm.  God is out of the office right now for his Sabbath.  Please leave a message.

When Jesus walked the earth in the flesh he needed time away from everyone.  Mountain tops were good for teaching and good for getting away.  The area at Gethsemane seemed to be a good place to rest with his close friends who followed him everywhere.

The Jordan River area was a nice place to retreat and rest.  Jesus took rest in this world.

If you live in a vessel made from mud, you need rest.  If you live in these jars of clay, you need rest.  If you live in a human body, you need rest.

From generation to generation, rest has become more elusive.  Even when you are not at work, you are seldom resting.  We will talk about rest from now until Advent, but for now, know this.  You were designed with rest in mind.

You are designed with rest in mind.

Take a day from your labors and live according to your design.  Rest.


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