A Real Rest

No matter how much sleep you try to get, there seems to be chasm that cannot be filled. Weary is an understatement in comparison to feeling that resonates in your soul. Let’s try something. Let’s confront Jesus about this need for restoration we need and ask Him for “A Real Rest”

1) Read Luke 6:6-11; Matthew 6:6-13; Luke 7:11-15

As we attempt to confront Jesus, we find him confronting others. Not only is He confronting people, He’s doing it on the Sabbath in the synagogue. There seems to be no place that Jesus isn’t willing to be confrontational. Do you remember a time when Jesus called you out? Pointed out something at an inopportune time? Tell us about is here at Message on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read Luke 6:6-11

This confrontation seems to be rooted in what can and can’t be done on the Sabbath. Jesus makes it a one-sided affair in posing a rhetorical question. Why was it such a big deal to help or heal someone on the Sabbath? Jesus could have avoided the situation by walking out or holding His peace, but obviously there was a point God wanted to show that day. Jesus shows doing good is keeping the Sabbath. How can doing anything for anyone else be a way to rest? Tell us your thoughts using #MessageMag.

3) Read Luke 6:6-11; Leviticus 25:1-7; Genesis 2:1-3

We know that the Creator finished His work, then rested on and blessed the seventh-day, making it holy. As such, this Sabbath thing is so much bigger than a day of the week. If we read Leviticus there is an element of trust that is necessary to keep the Sabbath. The people were asked to go a whole year of their life without putting any effort into providing for themselves. It’s comparable to God asking you to quit your job at the end of every sixth year and not worry about rent, food, or utilities. Is it possible that you can “break” the Sabbath by not trusting God to take care of you? What do you think? Share using #MessageMag.

4) Read Deuteronomy 15:1-11

If you’ve never read this before, or don’t remember it don’t feel bad. This relatively obscure passage is striking in comparison to today’s prevailing mindset, and gives an inkling of God’s practicality, and concern with the total person. No one who was His could be in debt for an extended amount of time. What if I told you that one of the best ways to keep the Sabbath—a profound rest in Him—is by making sure that none of your family is in debt? What if I told you that you honor the Sabbath by letting go of that debt they owe you? How does this make you look at Sabbath-keeping? I would love to hear from you personally if this resonates with you. Send me an e-mail at pastorrburden@icloud.com

5) Read Luke 5:16; Luke 6:1-5

From the passages we’ve read, you may be beginning to realize that the Sabbath is also a lifestyle in that you recognize you are God’s steward. Therefore you rest so that you can be the best version of yourself for others. Therefore, I challenge anyone’s spirituality that doesn’t take some form of a vacation on a regular basis. Everything in this world that God has made has an ebb and flow. What is yours? Do you have a God given self-care plan? What do you do to make sure you’re fit for heavenly use? Share using #MessageMag.

6) Sabbath-keeping is personified in this moment of Jesus bringing the rest He is to someone who’s been restless. You can’t just sleep and experience Sabbath in its fullness. You can’t just have a self-care plan, devotion schedule, and attend church regularly. You must get what God has given you (Trust, Peace, Vigor, etc.) to someone who’s been kept from resting. How will you do this? Pray about it and let us know what the Spirit brings to your mind. #MessageMag.

7) How do you know you’ve entered into “A Real Rest” that God has for you? Look at Chapter 26 of Leviticus. What you put into life you will get more out of it. Though calamity be all around you, it doesn’t touch your family. Whatever you’re inspired to do, prospers when you strike out and do it. You will defy the odds in many facets of your life. You’ll have good health and God will walk with you.

Let this confrontation with Jesus inspire you to trust irrationally, give liberally, and believe vehemently. Why? Because that’s what Sabbath keepers do.

Call us if you find you have questions, want to talk, or want to pray with someone: 1-855-463-2273, or, 1-855-God Cares.

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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This article is part of our 2019 January / February Issue
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Why You Need the Sabbath

By the age of eight, I knew, as do most children in Sabbath-keeping homes, that Friday is a time for preparation. Aromas of fresh-baked foods, the clean scents of a mopped floor, laundered and pressed clothing, the polished piano, sparkling windows and hair that was done—that’s what Friday smelled like. Sabbath, at sunset, began a welcome rest, and its peace, with all of the attendant readiness, was a time to relish. We sang the familiar Sabbath hymn and welcomed the presence of the Lord into our home for this special time.

But at seven this was lost on me. I wanted to go to the movies with my friend one Friday afternoon, and after an uncharacteristic display of brattiness on my part, my mom let me. When Charlotte’s Web was over, though, I found myself standing on the side of the theater as the vermillion sunset was turning dusk, the streetlights blared and the city bustled on. How strange. Far from feeling afraid or alone, I sensed instead that I was out of my place, out in the world, where no one seemed to know or care that it was Sabbath. I was caught out there doing my own thing.

If you grew up to appreciate the Sabbath, immersed in the full 24-hour experience, I want to say that sensitivity was probably not the product of apologetics, historical events, or theological interpretation. Realistically speaking, that sensitivity to the Sabbath is born of the Word of God, secured in the heart by the Holy Spirit.

What I am calling sensitivity is a profound awareness and honor of the Almighty Creator God on His special day, and the smallness and selfishness of our own spheres. If you seek to honor God, this is precisely the experience that you want.
Interestingly, as I read the New Contemporary Version of the Bible recently, I noticed the chapter heading in Isaiah 58: “How to Honor God.” There the prophet mediates a conversation between God and His purported people.

The Sabbath of the Creator links social and economic justice with true worship of Him.

“They still come every day looking for me and want to learn my ways,” said God. “They act just like a nation that does what is right, that obeys the commands of its God. They ask me to judge them fairly. They want God to be near them. They say, ‘To honor you, we had special days when we fasted, but you didn’t see. We humbled ourselves to honor you, but you didn’t notice’” (Isaiah 58:2, 3 NCV).

Didn’t notice? Really?
The all-knowing and all-seeing Creator God retorted that on these special days workers were being oppressed, people mistreated, and folks were brawling. Yet His people wondered why their prayers were not being heard and His presence not felt.

Lose the selfish agenda, He said:
“I will tell you the kind of fast I want: Free the people you have put in prison unfairly and undo their chains. Free those to whom you are unfair, and stop their hard labor. Share your food with the hungry; bring poor, homeless people to your homes. When you see someone who has no clothes, give him yours, and don’t refuse to help your own relatives” (Isaiah 58:6,7).

Then God says in effect, let’s talk about the Sabbath—the Sabbath—not all the feasts and festivals and little holidays you supposedly set up for Me.
“You must obey God’s law about the Sabbath and not do what pleases yourselves on that holy day. You should call the Sabbath a joyful day and honor it as the Lord’s holy day.”

You want to make me happy, says God. Treat people with love and compassion and honor Me on the Sabbath by not running roughshod over it, treating it as a burden or day of recreation. It’s My day, and I want to spend it with you.
These passages are exactly why people like me may wander from the traditional practices of our parents in an effort to modernize and contemporize our worship, yet we cannot shake the overall sense of the Sabbath’s impact. The ultimate prize is what He wanted all along, deep communion and closeness. “Then you will call out, and the Lord will answer. You will cry out, and he will say, ‘Here I am” (verse 9).

I want you to sense that God is trying to reach you, too. Remember, the first Sabbath shared with God’s people was when there were just two people on earth—in the Garden of Eden after Creation. This was long before there were nations, cultures, religions, or politics. And, as Creator—God of all—the invitation traveled then as it does now: not on the lips of a chosen few to be delivered to a privileged few, but in the indication of the setting sun on the evening of every sixth day.

You have wanted a deeper experience, wanted to know how you can honor your God. Meet Him on His day, His way. You will sense His nearness and blessing on what you do.




2015 May/June Issue

Catch Your Breath – It is on God’s day that we see His power to create, His power to transform, and the grace-filled, elevated place for you in His plan.


Tired of this yet? How God’s Sabbath brings you into communion with Him on a different plane.

10  MY SABBATH JOURNEY
by Mina Collins / If you earnestly seek God He will meet you where you are.

11  YOU’RE SCHEDULED TO WORK ON SABBATH! WHAT NOW?
by Edward Woods III / God is an ever-present help in times of trouble.

14  SABBATH AND FESTIVALS
by Bertram Melbourne / Are all Sabbath festivals relevant and required today in light of the cross?

16  WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE SABBATH?
by Russell Seay, Jr. / The observance of the seventh-day Sabbath has been a part of biblical Christian history since the beginning of time.

18  INVESTIGATE: A QUESTION OF TIME
by Faith Johnson Crumbly / The Sabbath is a definite day according to the fourth commandment.

20  WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES A DAY MAKE?
by James R. Doggette, Jr. / One relevant question provides the answer.

22  THE BIG 10 NEVER-CHANGING PURPOSES OF THE SABBATH
by Wintley Phipps / A compact with humanity written by God’s own hand.

4  ELEVATION
by Phillip McGuire Wesley / MEDIA THAT TAKES YOU HIGHER

5  EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford / WHY YOU NEED THE SABBATH

6  EYE ON THE TIMES
by James McWilliams / CASUALTIES AND BELIEF SYSTEMS

8  OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman/ FOODS THAT HEAL by Bernice DeShay / REST AND THE SABBATH

13  RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver / LONG SUMMER DAYS AND SABBATH-KEEPING

24  FUTURECAST
by Carlton P. Byrd / THE SABBATH AS A MEMORIAL OF CREATION

26  THE EXPERIENCE
UNDERCOVER BOSS by Kymond Hines / NICODEMUS COMES TO JESUS UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT

THE EXPERIENCE STUDY
by Rashad Burden / HAVE YOU MET JESUS?

31  MYTH BUSTERS
by Donald McPhaull / NO NAP? THE SABBATH REST

   

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The Secret to Good Rest

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Based Upon Exodus 20:8

As time rapidly spirals into the future, our lives become cluttered with so much activity that many of us are completely burned out. We sometimes suffer from diseases related to overwork with far too many things competing for our attention. God knew that humans would be so bogged down with everyday life, that we would need a respite; a reprieve. Simply taking a vacation or several breaks throughout the day is just not enough for this machinery to be well-rested and prepared to meet the rigors of everyday life. With wars and rumors of wars, fear of the unknown, and incurable diseases pressing in on our psyche, we need supernatural rest.

The Lord in His great wisdom devised a plan to give us the rest that we need.

Jesus bought our salvation on Calvary and is now putting the finishing touches on the gift in the way of intercession in heaven in order for us to enter the salvific rest of God. We do not labor for our salvation. Rather, we rest in the perfect work of Jesus Christ.

In order to remind us of the great work of creation and re-creation, God has a commemorative time, week after week, for us to rest. The command to rest says that we are to labor for six days and on the seventh, which is Saturday, we rest. This rest is worshipful in nature. This rest recognizes God as the only Creator and Savior of the universe. This rest is for the people of God to consummate their growing love and relationship with God. No other time than the time the Lord has set aside will satisfy that need, because no other time was specifically blessed and sanctified by Him. We daily worship the Lord during the week leading up to the only day that God has sanctified as holy when we can focus on His goodness, uninterrupted by the mundane chores of life.

Isn’t it wonderful that God has the answer to our need for spiritual and physical rest? Please do not forget what God said to remember. Enter into God’s rest.




Abide

 

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, January 23, 2015

Based Upon John 15

Abide! While this little word only has five letters, when combined with the blessed phrase, “in Christ,” it mysteriously becomes a huge, eternal principle full of rich rewards.

It is very interesting how many of us find it difficult to stick to a plan. With the New Year’s resolution honeymoon bliss steadily wearing off, so many of us have all but forgotten the promises we made to ourselves. Instead of exercising more, some of us have slid into eating more. Instead of getting up earlier to devote ourselves to our God, many of us are staying up later, devoting ourselves to mindless activities making it impossible to rise early. Instead of being more attentive to our spouses, some of us have fallen back into being their roommates, and passing them like ships in the night.

Our loving heavenly Father has just the thing we need in order to help us keep worthy commitments—abide in Christ. You see, as long as we are living in humble submission to Christ, there is nothing [good] that is impossible for us. When we abide in Him as a healthy branch abides in the vine, we can ask anything according to His will, and He will grant it. But, the key is for us to seek His will and abide in Him at all costs.

Just how do we abide in Christ? The first thing we need to do is submit our wills fully to Him. Whenever He says that He desires a thing for us, whether we initially desire or not, we must step aside, knowing He is sovereign and has our best interest at heart.

Second, we must ask Him to make us willing to do His will. So many times people are confused about what is right or wrong, simply because they are not willing to do whatever God says. Thus, there is confusion. Being willing to do God’s will, even when it is difficult, sets us in prime position to understand His every word as He reveals it.

Last, we need to embrace the principles of thanksgiving and praise. The Bible says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. The more we praise Him from a sincere heart, is the more of His presence we will experience. In this, we are abiding in Him. We thank Him for what He has done. We praise Him for who He is. He has done great things, and He is so good, we can scarcely articulate it. He is faithful and willing to bestow the richest blessings upon those who abide in Him.

At this point it is not hard to believe that our watchword for today is, “Abide.”