Soul Care on the Sabbath

How’s Your Soul? Have you noticed that the spiritual practices you need to do to be spiritually healthy haven’t been happening? We are all struggling with these practices. Why? Too many other things have been demanding our time. It seems like these disciples are not sustainable. COVID-19 has blown up our lives and coming out of all the trauma of COVID has affected virtually every area of life. We have settled into new routines that would have shocked us in the pre-pandemic days. The dangers of COVID aside, if we aren’t careful, our new reality can be hazardous to our spiritual health. There is one truth we need to remember. Our soul care starts with keeping the Sabbath.

Review these Bible verses about the Sabbath.

  • Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
  • Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  • Deuteronomy 5:12-14 Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.
  • 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 in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
  • Mark 2:23-28 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath? He answered, Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions. Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.
  • Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
  • Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains, then, a Sabbath rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

The Sabbath is not supposed to be a tacked-on idea or pious ideal. We are about to crash and burn, and the Sabbath is a healing practice for our souls. During the pandemic and coming out of the pandemic, the Sabbath is important because the pressures we all face are enormous. We have dealt with lockdowns and online worship, but we could not gather for a long time. We face inflation, high cost of living, politics, social upheaval, confusion, deceptions, and more. The stress is overwhelming.

How can we handle all these and overcome them? One key way to keep the Sabbath is the Lord’s commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). We need to get back to the Bible basics and Spiritual disciples such as daily time in the Scripture, prayer, worship, community, study, sharing and serving.

What are the 3 R’s for a Sabbath Day?

REST. The Lord is asking us to have one day to focus, concentrate, and be with the Lord, the creator of our life. The Lord wants to have time with us.

Psalm 127:1-3, “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.

This is saying that we who work hard out of fear will not have enough. It may be that we are not trusting the Lord, which is useless, for the Lord gives us rest.

REVIEW. This is the day to CHECK-IN with Jesus by examining, reviewing, and reflecting on our lives and how we live, think, feel, and behave.

How many football and basketball games have been turned around following halftime? How many basketball games have had the momentum turned because of a properly placed time-out? How many negotiations succeeded because of a cooling-off period? How many better decisions have we made because we took time to think it over and pray it through?

The story is told of two men who had the tiring job of clearing a field of trees. The contract called for them to be paid per tree. Bill wanted the day profitable, so he grunted and sweated, swinging the axe relentlessly. Ed, on the other hand, seemed to be working about half as fast. He even rested and sat off to the side for a few minutes. Bill kept chopping away until every muscle and tendon in his body was screaming. Bill was sore, but Ed was smiling and telling jokes. Amazingly, Ed had cut down more trees! Bill said I noticed you sitting while I worked without a break. How’d you outwork me? Ed smiled. Did you notice I was sharpening my axe while I was sitting? The Lord gives us a day to sharpen our axes – our soul, heart, and mind.

RECOVERY. To recover my breath, focus, strength, and heart for life. We need to recharge our emotional batteries. When we let God meet our needs and work on our behalf, we can find rest and recovery. It is like when we recharge our cell phones – note the batteries or energy bar that tells us it is time to plug in our phone; otherwise, we are talking, and in the middle of the conversation, our phone turns off, and the same thing happens to us.

I have a few suggestions we can do as part of our recovery on the Sabbath:

-Limiting electronic devices: no social media.
-Date night or family night on Fridays.
-Saturday morning fun breakfast with the family
-Read and study the scriptures
-Take time outdoors (weather permitting)
-Alone time with Jesus
-Our prep for Sunday Services starts Saturday night

The Sabbath is a means by which man’s living pattern imitates God’s manifest pattern for life on this planet (Ex. 20:3-11). Six days of work are to be followed by rest. (The idea inherent in the Hebrew word for Sabbath means “cessation.”) The Sabbath includes the idea and practice of celebrating rest or salvation. To this end, God declared that His Sabbath was a day for public convocation (Lev. 23:3), a special time for His people to gather in public worship to signify their submission to His lordship over them and their way of living (Ex. 31:13; Ezek. 20:12). The idea of Sabbath celebration includes the Sabbath as a sacrament, gift of God that allows man to participate in the intent of His salvation, resting from our works (Hebrews 4).

Pastor Steve

Sabbath reading suggestions (books that have edified my soul):
The Air I Breathe: Worship As a Way of Life by Louie Giglio
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
How to Study the Bible for All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee, Douglas Stuart
Radical by David Platt
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Foundations of Pentecostal Theology by Guy Duffield, Nathaniel Cleave

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