Hebrews 4:1-13 (NRSV)
God promises an eternal sabbath rest
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "As in my anger I swore, 'They shall not enter my rest,' " though his works were finished at the foundation of the world.
For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." And again in this place it says, "They shall not enter my rest." Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day - "today" - saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God's rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.
Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
I have always been very grateful that God has given us the example to rest from our labors. It occurs to me that God did not rest on the seventh day of Creation because God was tired. God doesn’t get tired! God rested on the seventh day to provide an example to human beings about how we are to be in relationship with God, neighbor, and self.
See, it is really easy to get “caught up” in well-doing. There is always someone who is hungry, thirsty, naked, homeless, and sick or imprisoned who needs our service. There is a never ending supply of individuals who are diseased, dis-eased, depressed, anxious, worried, and fearful. There will always be people who have lost their jobs, don’t know how they are going to pay the rent, are worried about their children, or whose marriages are nearing the breaking point.
As Christians we are commanded to love God and neighbor as ourselves. We are called to be of service to people who are suffering great need or great want. But, we are not to “work” for “work’s sake.” We are to serve others as a ministry unto God. Whilst God appreciates when we do the work we are called to do, God does not want us to burn out because we insist upon running on empty!
That is why we have been given the injunction to rest. Once a week, we are called to unplug the phone, turn off the computer, television, and beeper and refuel at the Master’s Station. As we pray, meditate, read scripture, and sing songs, God rejuvenates us for the days ahead. As we spend time with our spouse and children investing in those God-given relationships and doing fun things that build memories, we strengthen our foundation for love and service. As we attend to self-care writing in a journal, reading a fun book, or taking a bath, walk, or nap, we allow God to build us up in body, mind, and spirit that we might be better equipped and prepared to partner with God in the Work of Love.
Now, I can hear you saying one—or more—of the following: “I don’t have time to rest! I’m too important. My work is too necessary. Everything will fall apart if I am not there. I feel guilty when I rest.”
Dear Friends, let me share with you something that I had to learn the hard way. No one is indispensible or irreplaceable except God. If you work yourself into a heart attack, stroke, or depression someone else will be doing your work anyway! Why not take the time to be obedient to God as you trust God enough to believe that you can do more in six days dedicated to God, then seven spent in disobedience?
Now, let me share one more really great thing with you! Because of God’s great love for us, God gave Jesus to die on the cross that we might be saved from our sin and experience ETERNAL Sabbath rest in Heaven.
Can you imagine?! Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word! I am looking forward to that great day when I all I have to do is sit at the feet of Jesus and participate in the community of faith that has no end…
Now, ain’ta that good news?!
Are you willing to trust God by observing a day of rest this week? How do you think taking the time to rest and refuel will impact your life’s work in the days ahead?
Holy God, thank you that on the seventh day you rested. I am grateful for your example. Please help me to be obedient to your Word and Will. I want to rest so that I can be my best for You and for Your people. Thank you that your GOOD NEWS to me, and others, is that we are allowed to rest as we serve you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
We are celebrating with all of the people who have put all of their hope in Jesus! Happy Re-Birth-Day!
Today, the blog will be unavailable for about 10 minutes at 4:00 pm PT. Do not panic; we are only experiencing scheduled maintenance and will return shortly! LOL
Please take a moment to notice TWO features located directly under Pastor Yolanda’s biography. First of all, you will see the link for the GOOD NEWS CHAT ROOM! That is where we will hold our book discussion on Saturday morning. Secondly, you will notice the link for the GOOD NEWS PRAYER MINISTRY! That is where you can post prayer requests, or pray for others!
You are invited to follow Pastor Yolanda on Twitter www.twitter.com/PastorYolanda
Good News has now added a Prayer Ministry. http://www.kindlejoy.com/groups/goodnews
TWO DAYS: The Good News Living Book Club will be reading Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard during March. Please mark your calendars for our very first book club meeting to be held on Saturday, March 28, 2009, from 9:00-10:00am CST in the Good News Living Chat Room. Even if you don’t read the book, please join us for a discussion of our faith!
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From Pastor Yolanda’s blog http://aintathatgoodnews.blogspot.com/