On the Wednesday of Christ’s Passion Week, all of the Gospel writers are in perfect agreement. Between all four of them, they write not one word about what happened on that day. That silence actually speaks volumes to us!
Jesus is almost surely in Bethany (since that has become is nightly retreat this week), and He is taking a Sabbath rest. “Wait,” you might be saying, “sabbathing on Wednesday?! I thought that was supposed to be Saturday or Sunday?”
Jesus followed the example His Father set right at the beginning.
The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed. (Exodus 31:16-17)
Notice that God rested and was refreshed. The word rested means to stop working and celebrate. It’s a time to reflect on the work completed and celebrate what has been done. Then the Bible says God was refreshed, which literally means “God refreshed Himself.” He took a deep, satisfying, rejuvenating breath!
Jesus understood this principle of sabbathing. Remember that He had only a limited time to accomplish all that the Father had for Him: “We must work the works of Him Who sent Me and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on, when no man can work” (John 9:4 AMP). If anyone was a Man on a mission, it was Jesus, and yet rest was vital to Him…
Now—just before the intense, horrific, inhumane experience He is about to go through—Jesus is sabbathing. He is resting and refreshing His body, soul, and spirit.
So what keeps us from sabbathing?
If you want to experience more productivity in your life, don’t try to go 24/7—take a sabbath break. Stop working and celebrate what God has done, then take a deep breath of worship in God’s presence. Jesus demonstrated that sabbathing was vital for ministry success.
“Indeed the best thing about happiness itself is that it liberates you from thinking about happiness—as the greatest pleasure that money can give us is to make it unnecessary to think about money. And one sees why we have to be taught the ‘not thinking’ when we lack as well as when we have.”
“Read your New Testament (preferably a modern translation) intelligently. Pray for guidance, obey your conscience, in small as well as great matters, as strictly as you can. Don’t bother much about your feelings. When they are humble, loving, brave, give thanks for them: when they are conceited, selfish, cowardly, ask to have them altered. In neither case are they you, but only a thing that happens to you.”
“The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord, I believe, help Thou my unbelief.’ Would something of this sort be any good: Almighty God, who art the Father of lights and who has promised by Thy dear Son that all who do Thy will shall know Thy doctrine: give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in the understanding of Thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
“I would prefer to combat the ‘I’m special’ feeling not by the thought ‘I’m no more special than anyone else’ but by the feeling ‘Everyone is as special as me.’ In one way there is no difference, I grant, for both remove the speciality. But there is a difference in another way. The first might lead you to think, ‘I’m only one of the crowd like anyone else.’ But the second leads to the truth that there isn’t any crowd. No one is like anyone else. All are ‘members’ (organs) in the Body of Christ. All different and all necessary to the whole and to one another: each loved by God individually, as if it were the only creature in existence. Otherwise you might get the idea that God is like the government which can only deal with the people as a mass.”
“As to the ‘state of the world’ if we have time to hope and fear about it, we certainly have time to pray. I agree it is very hard to keep one’s eyes on God amid all the daily claims and problems. I think it wise, if possible, to move one’s main prayers from the last-thing-at-night position to some earlier time: give them a better chance to infiltrate one’s other thoughts.”
“One can’t help momentary wishes: guilt begins only when one embraces them. You can’t help their knocking at the door, but one mustn’t ask them in to lunch.”
“I take it as a first principle that we must not interpret any one part of Scripture so that it contradicts other parts: and specially we must not use an Apostle’s teaching to contradict that of Our Lord.”
“Any honest workmanship (whether making stories, shoes, or rabbit hutches) can be done to the glory of God.”
“It is important to keep on giving thanks. Otherwise, as one continues to pray for the others who have not yet been relieved, one simply fails to notice how many of one’s intercessory prayers have been granted—never notices how the list of Thank-you’s grows and perhaps outstrips the list of mere Please’s.”
“The only thing one can usually change in one’s situation is oneself. And yet one can’t change that either—only ask Our Lord to do so.”
Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop have given us a great resource if we are struggling to free ourselves from the wounds that are trapping us in a reactive life. I truly believe Take Your Life Back will start many people on a journey of healing. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then check out a few quotes from this helpful book.
“When we’re constantly looking at what’s happening with other people and measuring our satisfaction based on how fairly we feel we’ve been treated, we are forever at the mercy of what is going on over there. We’ve wired ourselves to react to whatever scale of comparison we’ve established.”
“The real self, quite simply, is the self that God sees. He sees it all, with all its flaws. He does not approve of or endorse everything He sees, but He loves the person He sees. He does not see an idealized self, free of sin. He sees the real self—sinful, doubtful, and flawed—and yet He accepts the reality of it and loves us in spite of it all.”
“Our reactions to pain and our adaptations to it are unique to ourselves; we are not all the same. But we have several things in common: In one way or another, we have turned our back on reality, and we have allowed all, or portions, of our lives to be controlled by another person, a destructive pattern, or unrealistic expectations. We live on the edge of almost. We are almost breaking free, or we are almost free. We are almost fed up or almost ready to take our lives back.”
“Denial keeps us from addressing the things we can change, causing us to think that our inability to change everything means we can’t change anything. … Because we either don’t or won’t see how far we are from living the life that God intends for us, we stay in our denial and wait for the magic cure that never materializes. But when we admit that we’re in denial, and when we are willing to break through it, we can begin to move into recovery.”
“When we talk about the elephant in the room, we have a way of describing it as a small rodent. Our internal application for minimizing language automatically converts words like pain into irritation; devastating into difficult; abusive into insensitive; and horrific into unpleasant. Our self-talk is unrealistic, so whenever we communicate with someone else, we present our overwhelming problems as manageable situations that we have completely under control. Because we don’t acknowledge the full scope and intensity of our struggles, we don’t act in realistic ways to free ourselves and take our lives back. We minimize in order to give ourselves permission to do little or nothing to change.”
“Toxic shame undermines our will and our power to stand up for ourselves. … Toxic shame carves out a new normal for those who partake of its poisonous fruit. Rather than seeing themselves as human beings who have made a few mistakes—maybe even some really big mistakes—people who are saturated with toxic shame see their failures as an objective expression of who they are. Before long, they don’t even try to avoid future mistakes. They don’t learn from their errors because they don’t think they can, or need to, learn anything. Repeated mistakes are simply a self-fulfilling prophecy that their shame as written for them. …
“Toxic shame…blinds us to wisdom and insight. It prevents us from cleaning up after ourselves. We start to live in the debris of past mistakes, and that leads us to more debris-producing decisions. We fill our lives with problem after problem because we don’t think we can do any better.”
“There is such a thing as good shame. A better term for it might be godly sorrow. …
“Godly sorrow is a warning sign that we are on the wrong path and need to make some adjustments. Any mistakes we make are not seen as the inevitable result of who we are but as stark reminders that—because of who we are, created in the image of God—we can do better. We are genuinely sorry that we fell short, hurt ourselves or other people, or simply created a lot of hassle that has kept us from living in the good things that God has for us. However, our defective behavior is rightly seen as separate from our identity. Making a mistake doesn’t mean that we are a mistake; it’s simply evidence that we are like every other human being—completely capable of many things, including mistakes. …
“Godly sorrow is a prompt from God, and from a well-developed conscience, that we need something more to achieve all that we want to accomplish. We respond to healthy shame with the desire to get better or do better….”
“Tough love says that I will choose to not give you what you want if it prevents you from attaining what you need.”
“Taking your life back is not just about deciding to defend yourself. It is about finding and removing roadblocks, sinkholes, and dead ends that have disconnected you from other people and stopped your journey from going forward together.”
“You will find that in this passage (Romans 7:6-25) the name of the Holy Spirit does not occur once, nor does the name of Christ occur. The man is wrestling and struggling to fulfill God’s law. Instead of the Holy Spirit and of Christ, the law is mentioned nearly twenty times. In this chapter, it shows a believer doing his very best to obey the law of God with his regenerate will. Not only this; but you will find the little words, I, me, my, occur more than forty times. This is the regenerate I in its impotence seeking to obey the law without being filled with the Spirit. This is the experience of almost every saint. …
“Blessed be God when a man learns to say: ‘O wretched man that I am!’ from the depth of his heart. He is on the way to the eighth chapter of Romans [Romans 8:1]. …
“God does not work by His spirit as He works by a blind force in nature. He leads His people as reasonable, intelligent beings, and therefore when He wants to give us that Holy Spirit Whom He has promised, He brings us first to the end of self, to the conviction that though we have been striving to obey the law, we have failed. When we come to the end of that, then He shows us that in the Holy Spirit we have the power of obedience, the power of victory, and the power of real holiness.” —Andrew Murray, in Absolute Surrender
“There is something which we can do which God does. He does good to all His creatures, and we can do good also. He bears witness to His Son Jesus, and we can bear witness too. … Do you not see, brethren, that we stand on the same platform with the eternal God? When we lift our hand, He lifts up His eternal arm; when we speak, He speaks too, and speaks the same thing; when we purpose Christ’s glory, He purposes that glory too; when we long to bring home the wandering sheep, and to recall the prodigal sons, He longs to do the same.” —Charles Spurgeon
Great insight on the Kim Davis story. Check out what John Piper says.
This is a longer piece, but this attorney points out that same-sex “marriage” is not the law of the land.
Planned Parenthood is big business, and their business is abortion. Check out what they are teaching kids as young as 10-years-old about sexuality. With teaching like this, they are sure to have a steady stream of business!
For married couples, here is a healthy and healing way to handle your spouse’s sexual history.
Many people are crippled by guilt. I love the way my friend, Pastor Dave Barringer, addresses this topic in his post Done With Guilt.
As I said in my book review of The Blood Of The Cross by Horatius Bonar (which you can read by clicking here), I have never read such a penetrating look at the beyond-all-measurement value of the blood Jesus Christ shed on the Cross. An absolutely fascinating read! There are way too many quotes from this book to share them all now, so this is the first set of quotes I’d like to share with you.
“Nothing now will keep us, but certainty. Such a storm will need a sure anchor. A man may cheat his soul into tranquility when days are prosperous and skies are blue. He may say, ‘I hope it will go well with me at last,’ and sit down contented with his meager hope. But when heaven and earth are shaken, he cannot but tremble. His peace gives way at the first ruffle of the tempest. He had no certainty to lean upon, and his false security was broken in an hour. … It is not yet too late. The Cross is still standing on the earth. The Crucified One is still upon the mercy seat. If the favor of God has hitherto been a dark uncertainty, it may yet been made sure. The way of reconciliation through the blood is as open as ever.”
“If God and we, then, are at variance, how is this variance to cease? Is it by His adopting our judgment, or by our adopting His? It cannot be the former. … What thank you, then, of the blood of Christ? Is that which is so precious in God’s eyes as precious in yours? Has the controversy between Him and you upon this point been solidly adjusted? And are you at one with Him in His estimate of the blood of His dear Son? If so, it is well. For this is faith; and it is by this faith that you are saved.”
“Most men imagine that they know its value sufficiently already, and that what they need is not a higher estimate of the blood, but a deeper impression wrought in them by the estimate which they now possess. But is it so? Is this the whole evil? Is this its root? No. Whatever they may now suppose that they have, let them know this, that it is just in their estimate of the blood that they are deficient.”
“The new estimate which God enables us to form of this at once infuses peace. If that estimate which God had given of it be true, then all that is needful for our peace has been accomplished. That infinitely precious blood sheds peace and sunshine into our souls. We see that blood as God sees it, and our consciences are unburdened—our souls are set at rest. … The blood of His Cross has finished our peace. And that finished peace is all we need to banish every fear.”
“What does God thinks of this blood? He counts it as infinitely precious—more precious than all corruptible things such as gold and silver. Its value can only be measured by the greatness of Him from Whom it flowed.”
“If a sinner of old might come into the courts of the Lord as an accepted worshipper, simply because presenting to God the blood of bulls and goats, may not a sinner now come into the real, the immediate presence of Jehovah, with still greater certainty of acceptance, simply making mention of that divine blood which has flowed from the Lamb of God—the Word made flesh—Who made His soul an offering for sin, and gave His life a ransom for the sins of many (Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 20:28)?”
“And now it is safe for the sinner to enter in, and it is honorable for God to admit him. The sanctuary is not defiled by his entrance, for the blood is there to prevent this. He does not need to be alarmed, or shrink back, for that blood which opens the way gives him also liberty and boldness in coming in, removing that terror of a guilty conscience which would keep him back, and enabling him to come ‘with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, having his heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and his body washed with pure water’ (Hebrews 10:22).”
“It is the sprinkling of the blood upon the soul (which takes place so soon as we take God’s Word for its efficacy) that makes it fit for being the tabernacle of the Holy One. It is the sight of this blood that makes the sinner feel safe and happy in such near contact with God; for otherwise how could he feel at home with such a Guest—the unholy with the Holy?”
** Look for another set of quotes from this book later this week. **
These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.
[VIDEO] Disgusting!! Planned Parenthood Manager Advises A Pimp How To Make His ‘Business’ Legit.
[INFOGRAPHIC] Everything The Bible Says God Loves.
[PHOTOS] Too cute: A boy and his dog napping.
“The fact is, feeling conviction is not an end in itself. When we are humbled by guilt and sorrow over our sin, we are not supposed to rest in those feelings. They are meant to drive us to the end of ourselves—and to the victory of the Cross.” —David Wilkerson. Read more in Wilkerson’s post The Lord Is Good And Ready To Forgive.
“The Lord may not give gold, but He will give grace: He may not give gain, but He will give grace. He will certainly send us trial, but He will give grace in proportion thereto. We may be called to labor and to suffer, but with the call there will come all the grace required.” —Charles Spurgeon
Rush Limbaugh had a retired 777 pilot call into his show to talk about the missing Malaysian aircraft. Very interesting.
I mentioned in my book review of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Of Christmas that this might be a good book to help families recalibrate the meaning of Christmas each year. As you can see from the quotes I highlighted, this book doesn’t talk directly about Christmas trees, or gifts, or mistletoe, or carols. Rather it goes to the heart of the matter: Why did Jesus need to be born in a stable in Bethlehem? He was born for our salvation, and our reconciliation with God and our fellowman.
“Your capacity for enjoyment is evidence of God’s love for you.”
“No one wants what’s best for you more than God. No one knows better what will make you truly happy!”
“Our natural inclination is to want our own way instead of God’s way. This tendency to make wrong choices instead of right ones is called sin. The middle letter of sin is I, and whenever I place myself at the center of my life, I sin. It is any attitude or action that denies God His rightful place as first in my life.”
“Guilt is the mental price we pay for violating our God-given consciences.”
“I asked Peter Drucker, ‘How did you come to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?’ He thought about it for a few seconds, then replied, ‘The day that I finally understood grace, I realized I was never going to get a better deal than that!’”
“Reconciliation focuses on the relationship, while resolution focuses on the problem. Always focus on reconciliation first.”