Is The Sabbath Keeping You Holy?

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Is the Sabbath Keeping you Holy?

Many times we ask ourselves if we are keeping the Sabbath Holy. Or at least I hope we ask that. However, when we look at what the Sabbath really means we see that instead of us just keeping it holy, the real purpose is for it to keep us holy.

“Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13 

We cannot sanctify ourselves or make ourselves holy. Only God can do that. The Sabbath is a sign of rest. We rest our faith in God who alone can sanctify us. Sanctify means to purify and set apart. The Sabbath is a sign that God is purifying us and setting us apart. So Seventh-day Adventism is not so much about a day being holy but more so about a people being holy. The Sabbath could not make itself holy. God made it holy. We cannot make ourselves holy but as we put away our works of the flesh and rest in God He will make us holy.

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 

Jesus makes it plain that man does not serve the Sabbath but the Sabbath serves man. In it we put away our works and rest in God’s grace. We do not make the Sabbath stand apart from all other days as much as it sets us apart from all other people. But how can it set us apart if we observe it like all other days?

For the Sabbath to keep us holy and set us apart we must let it be all that the Bible makes it to be. Satan has many false religions where you worship other gods. The Sabbath sets us apart from the world by not worshiping the gods of this world. Fact is you can keep the other nine commandments and worship the gods of this world. The Sabbath commandment is the only commandment that tells you who God is. “The seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God……For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  You can worship money and have no other god than money and go right down the line and keep all the commandments except the fourth which tells you money is not God and that your Creator is God. So the Sabbath not only sets us apart from the world it also sets God apart from all other gods.

The world has its own Sabbath and holidays and ways of observing them. In order for the Sabbath to purify us and set us apart from the world we must observe it the way the Bible teaches us. Putting away all work. Not even letting other people work for us. Refrain from buying and selling on the Sabbath. Doing good for others and not thinking of ourselves. Exodus 20:8-11 Nehemiah 13:15-18 Isaiah 58. Luke 6:9

Many people think keeping the Sabbath holy is being legalistic but in talking with them I find that the real issue is that they don’t think God calls upon them to do anything that would cause them any inconvenience or cause them to make a sacrifice. God does call upon us to make sacrifices. Luke 9:23 tells us to take up our cross daily to follow Him. Revelation 2:10 tells us to be faithful unto death, not just till it gets inconvenient.

This Sabbath, March 1, at the Tampa First SDA Church we will be exploring how the Bible teaches us to observe the Sabbath so that the Sabbath can keep us Holy. We will see how the Sabbath is not about works but is a sign of God’s amazing grace, a grace that we can rest in and be purified and set apart from the world.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area this Sabbath, March 1 please join us at the Tampa First SDA Church as we explore further “Is the Sabbath Keeping you Holy?”

You can find a Bible Study on the Bible Sabbath which Jesus kept, on my personal website.

Never Give Up

I am writing from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And you, being dead in your sins ….. hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. Colossians 2:13

  

Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks the question, “How can we help someone who is spiritually dead?”I must share an experience I had several years ago, early in my ministry that taught me to never give up. I was a Bible Worker in a small church in Oklahoma . For the sake of anonymity, I will name the following couple Joe and Jane. Joe had gone back to drinking and soon he and Jane both stopped coming to church. One night at prayer meeting someone reported that not only had they left the church for the world, but they even told us to stop praying for them. Of course we kept praying any way. After several weeks I finally found them at home. I thought I had talked them into at least letting me come back to study the Bible with them even if they would not come to church. We set a time for me to come back. When I returned, I was met at the door by Joe. He told me he could not study the Bible with me, because just the thought of reading the Bible made him so sick and depressed, that he could not stand it. So he sent me away. I walked back to my car fully convinced this man must have grieved the Holy Spirit away, since he had asked us not to pray for him, and even the thought of the Bible made him so sick. I decided if he had grieved the Spirit away, there was obviously no reason to contact him again, so I never did. I never saw Joe in church or anywhere else for that matter.

  

Three years later I was working in North Texas as a Bible Worker when I got a phone call from my mother. She wanted to know what set of Bible study guides I like to use. I told her the “Good News Study Guides” by Don Grey.  She told me she needed to get some study guides because my father and she had just begun some Bible Studies with Joe and Jane. I could not believe it! First of all my parents don’t normally give Bible studies, and I thought Joe had grieved away the Holy Spirit with his drinking and constant rebellion. While studying with my parents, Joe left his drinking and rebellion and a few weeks later both he and his wife were re-baptized! I called my parents before writing this story. They tell me Joe and Jane continue to be faithful members ten years later.

  

I believe God used my parents to study with them so that I would be aware of this happy ending for two reasons. 1. To show me I should never give up on anyone. 2. To show me what He was able to accomplish with absolutely no help from me. God is able to work His greatest miracles when I am nowhere in the picture. 

  

I was a young Bible Worker back then with a lot to learn. I have since learned to follow Jesus’ example in all I do. The reason I never give up on anyone now is simply this-Jesus left me with no example on how to give up. He never taught us to give up, never talked about giving up, never thought of giving up. Even if someone seams spiritually dead we do not need to stop praying and give up. Jesus raises the dead! “Even when we were DEAD in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved.  Ephesians 2:5

Golfing With The Alligators

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Ron and I went golfing today, but my game was not going well so I decided to go back to my other hobby which is photography. So I took some pics of an alligator we met on the 11th tee. Actually we did not even notice the alligator behind us until we had already teed off. So I had Ron take a pic of me as I posed how I was when I teed off not knowing I was being watched.

Here are some golf quotes I found in a book by Golf Magazine called “The Wacky and Wonderful World of Golf.”

“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.” -Mark Twain

“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s game. It’s called an eraser.” – Arnold Palmer

“Ninety percent of the putts that fall short don’t go in.” -Yogi Berra

Folklore has it that after Jimmy Durante completed his first round ever- he scored well into the 200s- he asked his companions, “What should I give the caddie?” The answer: “Your clubs.”

By the way check out my small study golf group at my church!

Check out my friend’s sports blog. http://bulldogsportsblog.blogspot.com/

It’s Valentine’s Day and I am in a Relationship!

A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

  

Today is Valentines Day. (Dude! I so hope I am not the first one to tell you this just now.) This is the day that husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends all get gifts and flowers for each other and go out and spend quiet romantic evenings together while the rest of us are just glad we are not “in a relationship” so we can save all that flower and romantic evening money and spend it on golf or whatever we want.

  

However this Valentines Day I too am in a relationship. Um, several actually. Let me share with you.

  

First I am in a relationship with Jesus. It has been going great for me but not too sure about Him. I mean He has done so much for me and I have done so little for Him. Our relationship has survived decades now simply because He is so accepting and forgiving.  While I often make mistakes, He will do something wonderful in my life and make it look like it was me doing it but actually it was Him. Actually He is the only good thing going on in my life. Because of Him there has never been a day of my life that I have not been loved. He actually loves me to death-literally! I love Him more each and every day as I read His letters and see His love in nature.  

  

I am also in a relationship with my family. We stay so close it is hard to believe how far apart we all live. We are always there for each other. I am proud of my parents. They are known for their integrity and willingness to help others. They know what it means to sacrifice for others and for me. My sister and her family have sacrificed for me too. I am very proud of them too. They all love me and just like Jesus my relationship with my family has endured decades just because they are so accepting and forgiving.

  

I have been in a relationship for sometime with all friends. I would like to mention names but don’t want to hurt anyone by leaving them out. So let me put it this way. Thanks to the friends who believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. Thanks to the friends who listen to me talk about myself all evening before it finally dawns on me that I made the evening all about me. Thanks to the friends who sent me money from Texas to fix my car even though I told them I had no clue when and if I could every pay them back. Thanks for meeting me on the side of the highway in the middle of the night when my car broke down. Thanks for never reminding me that you had to get up early the next morning to go to work. Thanks to my friends who spent their whole vacation helping me move from Texas to Florida. Thanks to my friends who tell me what I need to hear and not just what I want to hear. Thanks for inviting me to your homes for holidays and making me feel like family. Thanks for telling me to visit anytime and I don’t need to call. Thanks for forgetting all the stupid things I have done and said treating me like a king. My friendships have endured because my friends are so accepting and forgiving.

  

This Valentine’s Day I want to celebrate all the relationships I am in. I am thankful for each and every one. There are many important things to any kind of a relationship, but what I see in all my relationships from Jesus to my friends is their acceptance and forgiveness.

  So this Valentine’s Day if anyone asks, yes! I am in a relationship-many!

Walking on Water

William by the water

William by the water

In our Tampa First SDA group studies/ prayer meetings on Wednesdays we have been studying the book of John. I thought I would share a little of what we discovered tonight, while looking at Jesus walking on the water in John 6:16-24

    

Discussion question: What was one of your greatest childhood fears: Bugs? High places? Water?

  

16When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19When they had rowed three or three and a half miles,[b] they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified.

  

Discussion question: How would you have reacted if you saw Jesus walking on water?

    

 20But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

  

Discussion question: Have you ever been terrified by some drastic changes or trials in your life only to find out it was Jesus working in your life? In what areas of your life do you need to hear Jesus say, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”

   

 21Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

  

People say walking on water was a sign of Jesus’ divinity. While Jesus was the divine Son of God was God Himself, he never did anything, including walking on water that we could not do through the power of His Father as well. Jesus walked on water but so did Peter. In Matthew 14 we see Peter walking on water so long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. Earlier in Matthew 14 we see Jesus spending the evening in prayer. I wonder if Peter had also spent the evening in prayer if he would have still fallen while on the water? Jesus did wonderful things in public after spending quality time alone with the Father. In order to be like Jesus in public we must first be like Jesus in solitude by spending quality time with God in prayer and Bible Study.

Again Jesus did not do anything but what He also made it possible for others to do. He walked on water so peter could walk on water. He raised the dead, but Peter also raised the dead. (Acts 9)

All the wonderful things Jesus did, He did not on His own, but by the power of the Father: Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. John 14:10

  

Jesus promised us that whatever He did He would help us do it too! I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

  

We have always heard that Jesus never did any miracles just for display or to “show off.” His miracles served a purpose. What purpose did Jesus serve by walking on water? I don’t know, but here is my idea. Isaiah 59 talks about the enemy coming in like a flood of water. In Revelation 21 John does not see any heaven in paradise. In Isaiah 59 the flood of water is evil. In Revelation 21 John does not see any sea to separate us anymore. The sea and is like sin in that it separates people. Could it be that by walking on the water, Jesus was showing us that He had conquered sin for us and was bruising the serpent’s head in Genesis 3:15? In Prophecy “sea” represents peoples and nations. Could He have been showing us that His kingdom was greater than the kingdoms of the earth?

Not only does the Bible teach us plainly that Jesus had conquered sin and this world so that we too can overcome, but here are some passages from the classic book, Desire of Ages, that gives us hope as well.

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.  {Desire of Ages p. 48} 

  

Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.  {Desire of Ages p. 671}

  

“The prince of this world cometh,” said Jesus, “and hath nothing in Me.” John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.  {Desire of Ages p. 123}

For a complete Desire of Ages study on the victory Jesus gives, please visit the Vicotry page at In Light of the Cross.