Saturday, July 25, 2009

VOTD news and decisions

Dear VOTD friends,

After some consideration, I feel the need to take a much-needed break from my daily devotional postings. Not sure what God is wanting from or desiring for me, but I feel like I'm sort-of in a writing desert right now, and I need to step back, regroup, and get some refreshment from God. Perhaps He wants me to try writing a long-term project (a book, perhaps?), or restructure the VOTD to be POTW (passage of the week?), or ? ? ? Only God knows at this point, and I plan on seeking Him for direction and guidance. I covet your prayers in that endeavor. :-)

Thank you to all who have shared with me their support and appreciation for this ministry. I pray it has been a blessing to you. Since I have posted on my blog for about a year-and-a-half, you can always read past posts if you so desire. Otherwise, I encourage you to seek other ways of getting into God's word and communicating with Him on an ever-increasing level.

In service to the Lord,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Verse of the Day - Genesis 2:3

And 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 2:3 (NIV)


(originally published 7/24/07)

I think alot of us struggle with this -- both in understanding and application. Some worship and observe the Sabbath on Saturday, doing no work, as in Old Testament times. Others worship on Sunday, termed "The Lord's Day" by the New Testament church, and the 'no work' rules don't seem to be applied by them. I was brought up with church on Sunday, and my mom worked hard on Sunday in the kitchen for a big mid-day meal. So what is our responsibility in "keeping the Sabbath"? Big question for a tiny brain such as mine.

I found this in Isaiah 58:13-14:

"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Okay, let's just start with this. I, for one, do as I please after church. I might do some laundry, go for a walk, take a nap, or watch some mindless TV. In essence, I seem to consider that my time. I often don't give God my attention until I head back to church for prayer crew. And I wonder why sometimes my head isn't in the game to pray . . .

I wonder what our relationship with God would look like if we laid down on our day of worship the things that please us and the idle words (relatively pointless, of no real consequence) we speak so often. What would it look like if we really gave God our full attention on that day, and not just when we're in the church building, to truly give Him the honor and glory and praise He is so worthy of? Somehow, I can't help but believe we would be changed, more connected, more in tune with our Creator.

Jesus brought a radical understanding of the Sabbath to the world. When the religious leaders condemned Him and His disciples for picking grain when they were hungry and healing the disfigured on the Sabbath, He got down to the heart of the matter . . . just like He always does. Basic needs, such as hunger, can be met -- the heart is not craving excess, just essentials. Doing good for others is always on God's heart -- we should be doing those things, regardless of the day. Jesus said this in Matthew 12:3-8:

Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God, and he and his companions broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests are allowed to eat. And haven’t you read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath? I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple! But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”

Oh Lord, we ask your forgiveness for doing as we please every day of the week and not stopping to rest from our self-absorption. Help us to set aside our day of worship for You. Not just while we're in church but the whole day. We need You more than we know, and You are so worthy to be honored with a portion of our time. You ask us to keep You in the forefront of our minds for one day a week. Help us to do that. You are really looking for people whose heart seeks Your heart. And your heart is pure and loving and merciful. We ask for change so that we can be like You. Amen...