Friday, December 31, 2010

Creation Revelation ...

The reason why our origins are recorded in the Book of the Genesis is for far more than a mere historical perspective on where we come from. It is more than an alternate theory to the one posed by evolution and its trillion to one odds of success. And it goes beyond describing the fall of man and a renewed hope for a second chance. The lessons learned from the study of perfection BEFORE the entrance of sin, give us an insight into the motives and intentions of our God. They foretell what He intends to restore unto us. They contrast the beauty of the plans of God, with the inevitable results of deviating away from God’s plans. And finally they predict the eventual reconciliation of our God with His created peoples.

What has happened since our fall, continues to happen today. We have an enemy who seeks our destruction. His entire aim is to distract us away from the source of relief. He lures us with the promise of power or wealth, or he tempts us with the idea of unlimited self-gratification. He injures us, and then reminds us that we alone need to be looking out for number one. And he has a skilled accomplice to help him carry out his mission of evil – it is the image you see in the mirror in front of you. You are not my enemy, but you are your own. It is why I entitled this work … “I am the enemy”. It is a hard revelation to face, but 6000 years of genetics, an environment custom tailored to feed my ‘need’, and a natural inclination to serve self – combine to form an unbeatable combination of originator of sin in my life. When being honest, most of us do not need to be tempted by the devil himself to fall into behavior we know to be wrong. Most of us, hardly need a gentle nudge to do what evil we are already inclined to do.

This was the contrast in Eden. And this will one day be the contrast between who we are now, and who we will one day become. It is our natural instincts to deviate from God and serving others, towards the gratification of self that MUST die in us before we will be a “new” creation. When he first walked this earth Adam had no desire to ingest cocaine and rape a strange woman on his way home. It was not the absence of refined cocaine, or perhaps other women, that restrained his behavior – it was natural for him never to feel these urges. His natural state of being, was to be in harmony with the character and nature of God. It was a conscious choice away from the plans of God, that led to Adam’s fall. Man lost his dominion over the earth, but way more importantly, over himself.

Man is no longer free to love as much as he wants. Instead he is the bound servant of the evil one, held captive to evil instincts despite his freewill, or inclinations to do better. Man is powerless to remove the evil he once invited inside himself, to leave once and for all. This is not the inclination of evil. Evil perpetuates like a cancer causing virus, seeking out as many as possible to hurt and destroy. It is not the questionable random acts we perform today that make us unfit for heaven. It is our natural inclination behind them, the motivation that drives each evil act, that is our real disease.

Alcoholics in society today, have a treatment option of a 12 step plan to help them cope with their disease. But for the remainder of their lives, they remain alcoholics (slave to the potential future drink they may indulge in). Generally when an addict relapses it takes time to restore their sobriety. Often they must repeat each step one at a time, taking each day at a time to regain any sense of composure after a significant failure. This is because the root motivation, and chemical genetics, that make us susceptible to become alcoholics remain in tact. The 12-step programs can do nothing to undo our genetic codes and responses. 12-steps are a wonderful disease management program, but not a cure.

In Eden there was no equivalent thinking that could describe addiction. Prior to sin, there was no basis for understanding truly what it means to be powerless to resist something we know will destroy us. This was non-sensible, it was illogical, and therefore it was highly suspect thinking – and yet every word of it was true. Prior to our fall, man had only the knowledge of Good. God alone, could foresee the horror of evil and where it would lead. This was the knowledge the serpent promised Eve, the knowledge of both sides of the coin – both good and evil. She was lured into thinking that she would have the knowledge without the personal experience but this was not to be. And once bitten, the evil fruit did its work, transforming the noble self-sacrificing daughter of Christ, into the temptress bent on securing her husband’s participation in her own doom. Had Eve been able to reason as she did before, her love would have driven her still farther from Adam’s side, so as not to risk his Salvation for the loss of her own. That is how perfect love thinks. It cares not about itself, only the object of its affection. But evil, cares not for the other individual, only for itself.

The creation story tells us right from the beginning that we lost. We were defeated in the garden, when perfection was our ally. Since then we have NO hope of defeating the evil one in our own characters, or using our own human wisdom and strength. The lost, require a defender, a champion, a hero. Those who are beaten require someone else to do the fighting and the winning, in order to reclaim them. In short, fallen man requires a Savior to be saved from the evil that infects our souls, and warps our nature. What was revealed to Adam and Eve in the garden has yet to sink in to the thoughts of modern Christians. Adam and Eve would be sent a promised Messiah … “to take away the sins of the world.” In short, to remove the sins we carry and commit from our very natures. To lift the burden of our genetic codes. To reroute the passages in our brains undoing the years of chemical neglect. The mission of our Messiah was not simply to perform the awaited sacrifice for our sins in atonement, but to free man from his bondage to those very desires to sin.

This is the Creation Revelation; that Christ can create us over again from the inside out. He does not need to wait till we walk through golden gates in a perfect city of His design. He can do it on the street corners we walk, in drug infested houses where we take refuge, in the gutters in which we live. He can meet us anywhere and begin the process of healing the pain we have so long heaped upon ourselves. The man in the mirror, can be transformed from enemy of the Lord, to humble servant of our King. I do not have to be destined to serve only me, and my desire to please only me. My desires can be rewritten. My wants and “needs” can be re-created anew back into His image. This is the hope that Genesis extended to Adam and Eve, and has seen its fulfillment in the ministry of Christ so long ago. We are not bound to our history of doom, but free to live in His Kingdom right now, changed through the power of His gift, and our submission to His will.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food, Health & Poison ...

Sensory organs; the ability to experience life in ways that defy explanation for those without a reference, it is how we live, it is what we are. Imagine trying to describe the brilliance of color, texture, and lighting to someone who has been blind from birth. Without any sort of reference to go by, the sensation of sight seems like an impossibility, yet most of us see. Imagine your world in total silence, no more the flowing ambient sounds of a park at sunset, or a chorus of Handel’s Messiah sung by a brilliant choir. To describe sound without a reference is again very difficult. To smell, to taste, and to touch – a life deprived of these sensations seems a poor life indeed. It is said new born babies will literally die if they are denied tactile contact with another person for too long after entering the world. Why would these abilities be such a tangible part of our existence, if we were merely the product of random chance or evolution? And why stop there? Why not evolve the ability to break laws of physics? It makes so much more sense that we were created with abilities that mirror the God of creation who invented them.

Yet for every gift of sensation we have been given from God, His enemy Satan has a way of us misusing them to our detriment. We focus our attention on the things that would harm us, and harm us they do. We choose to seek out images that feed our lust, until we are slave to lust. We listen to rhythms and beats and words that degrade, until we can repeat them from memory and recite them at will. We eat things and drink things that slowly deteriorate our bodies, adding excess weight, tearing down our foundation of health. We seek to touch what we should not, and we become immune to the pleas of a conscience instilled by God. The devil uses our gifts, and turns our focus on excessive usage of each of them, to the point of our doom and self-destruction. These tricks are called “sins of the flesh”. Is it any wonder, the first temptation in the Garden was based on seeing, touching, and eating what we should not? Seems after 6,000 years we wander right back up to the fast-food counter and repeat the process of self-destruction again and again despite our knowledge of the impending results.

Yet despite our misuse of His gifts, the end of our existence will be as the beginning was. For in the Garden of Eden, there was a tree of life. This tree yielded a different fruit every month, and its produce literally extended life in all who ate of it. Because the fruit was so effective, it had to be guarded after the fall of man, so that none would continue to eat of it, and extend the life of sin indefinitely. An angel was sent with a flaming sword, until the garden itself was transplanted to heaven immediately preceding the flood of Noah’s day. When we return to Heaven, John describes seeing the tree of life once again. John also sees a river of life that flows from the throne of God Himself. This fruit and water will once again be our eternally sustaining bond with God. Of course once we enter Heaven, we will never again wish to choose a path of sin, for knowing how bad sin is, we will want no part of it ever again. So we will be free once again to eat of the tree of life.

Thus the practice of eating meals and drinking for sustenance was established in perfection PRIOR to sin. And while sin may have used this vehicle to enter our world, it does not eradicate our created instinct to eat and drink to survive, even after hell itself has passed away. Of course, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, what they ate had no waste byproducts. It was turned completely into the energy their bodies required. Vitamins, Minerals, and energy were the result of digestion. No need for bathrooms, or waste disposal systems to filter poisons from our bodies. There were no poisons to dissipate, or dissolve. Our perfection included the ability to taste, food that God considered “good”, and a conversion process that had no waste at all.

We have lived under the curse of sin for more than 6000 years now, and still we think we imagine, and we try to create. We put new combinations of elements together in new ways, looking for better foods, or fuels, or materials from which to build. We aggregate our knowledge and attempt to expand it despite the limited usage of our brains. Imagine what perfect health and conditions would do to increase these abilities. Imagine just what the lack of pollutants could accomplish in improving our lives and surroundings. Imagine clear air, clean water, and sun filtered through the ozone the way it was intended. I submit the improvement in our conditions alone would enable us to achieve greater accomplishments than we can even imagine today.

Now imagine what using 100% of our brain functionality might enable us to do; perfect recall for instance. Where now, the ability to perfectly recall experiences is more of a curse than a blessing due to the prevalence of evil in our world, in a world where only joy exists, perfect recall will be wonderful. But imagine what an IQ of 2000 might do, where today the higher IQ’s are measure above 150. Where now we deduce based on the best recollection of facts at our disposal, there we could deduce from brain cells without decay, or degradation. It is hard for a junkie to imagine the life of Bill Gates. The junkie has a much different perspective, from living in horror for a long period of time. While Christ can turn around a life like this, He is seldom permitted to do so, and it is why addicts more often than not, die from their condition. Sure, Bill Gates could become an addict, but the salient question would be “why”. He does not need drugs to avoid his problems, and his life affords him better perspective on solving any problem that comes his way. So we too, may not be able to imagine just how good, good will be, but to the best of our imaginations, this is what Heaven will be like.

Adam and Eve knew only this life of perfection prior to sin. They lived in a beautiful world, custom crafted by God to be their home. They had the beauty of marriage, the rest of the Sabbath, the company of God taking walks together in the evenings. They had a bountiful plethora of fruits and foods to eat, animals who sought their affections, clean water and clear air. They had 100% of their new minds to absorb the truths they were taught. They had all of this. And we will have all of these gifts once again restored to us. After time has no more meaning, all these conditions will be restored to us. We will live again as they lived at first, returned to our state of perfection. We know what they did not. We inherited the curse of knowledge of good and of evil. It did not make us like God in any other way than we have come to see how bad, bad can be, played out in our own lives. God knew it would lead to this and tried His best to help us avoid this fate. But we chose not to. It is our choice to throw away perfection that must be examined.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Cycle of Remembrance ...

Six days of work for our Creator, six days to put together our home, make it beautiful, make it full of life, make it produce everything we would need or want, in only six days. Then something unusual occurred, God rested. He decided to take a day off from His work and rest, set the time aside to be with us in a special way. God blessed this seventh day, made it Holy, and set it up as a cyclical revolution of days so that we would remember and celebrate His crowning work of achievement, His creation of our world.

The first thing to notice about the Sabbath day is that the Lord created it. Man had almost nothing to do with its inspiration, nor with making the day special. It was the Lord who blessed it. It was the Lord who made it Holy. It was the Lord who rested from His own work. It was the Lord who set aside His own time to be with us in a special way. The Sabbath then, like everything else, was a gift to mankind; a gift of time and attention from the God of the Universe to man; a gift of a day in seven to rest from our work, reflect on the beauty of Lord’s gifts, and enjoy our time with Him. Jesus, our Creator, reminded us of this many years later when He said … “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” This was a gift to us, and so we should receive it as such, value it for what it is, and honor it as we honor its maker.

The second thing to notice about the Sabbath is its key ingredient, the absence of work. Now it is important to remember that prior to sin, “work” was not done as a matter of survival. And particularly in God’s case, He did not “work” to earn money in order to pay for rent and food. The Lord’s work was that of running the universe, of creating things that prior to His imagination, did not exist. This was the work He set aside. Our “work” was that of tending to our garden home. We were assigned the task to caring for it, or trimming it, guiding it, and insuring it grew in a sensible fashion and not just out of control. Considering that seasons did not exist in this early world, neither did death or decay in any way, plants like animals and man, would simply grow continually. Insuring that they grew in harmony with each other was the task assigned to man. This was the “work” we were first asked to set aside, to honor the day of rest God had sanctified.

The third thing to notice about the Sabbath, is that it would have been no different from any other day, had not the Lord MADE it so. There is nothing inherently holy in our world, particularly days on a calendar. But when God sets something aside and makes it holy, it becomes Holy through His actions. Even a space in time, even such a thing as a day itself, can become Holy when God makes it so. In our world, we are far from Holy ourselves. Yet at the end of time are the fateful prophetic words of John the prophet uttered in heaven … “let He who is holy be holy still.” We are no more able to make something holy than a leopard can change his spots, or a donkey could start talking, but with Christ, all things are possible. It is Christ who can and will MAKE us holy, if we but let Him. The same God, who set aside time to make it special, can defeat the sin in us, and make us special. What we so desperately need is a God of creation, for we must ALL be recreated to be saved. As the Sabbath could do nothing to make itself special, so we can do nothing to make ourselves holy, but God can fix us, and MAKE holy, what we could not.

Now we must remember that this institution, like marriage that preceded it, was created for man BEFORE the introduction of sin in our world. If sin had never come to us, we would all be living in a garden paradise, married with families of our own, and taking one day in seven aside to be with God as He made it for us. Marriage and the Sabbath were created without deadlines, without time limits, and without the taint of sin. These two institutions were ordained by God Himself, prior to having to make accommodations for the evil we would inflict on ourselves and the inevitable arrival of death in our world. We were told to … “go and multiply.” This first directive was not set against a numbered criterion; this ability was given to us according to the will and plan of God. We were also told to “rest” and honor our creation. This was not done to remind us of sin in any way, it was done before that. Remembering our creation helps man to understand His place in the universe. When we are finally restored to the perfection we were intended for, the Sabbath will once again be a part of our traditions.

Some argue that it is man by his actions or lack of actions that makes the Sabbath holy or not. But as we have seen the creation of the Sabbath, man had nothing to do with it. This was a gift of God to man. We were not created so that we could “keep” the Sabbath, rather we were created and given the Sabbath as a gift from the Creator of all things. The biggest gift any parent can give their child, time and attention. So it was with our God. Some argue that God is always with us, and therefore the Sabbath is or should be, no different. But this is not so. It is true that God is always with us, but the requirements of life keep us working in order to survive. In the garden, work to trim and keep it, had to take place, thus focusing the attention somewhere besides upon the God who is “always” with us. It is our attention that MUST be refocused. It is WE who need a priorities adjustment.

The Sabbath is a humbling concept to modern man. It reveals that we are not self-evident, nor self-sufficient. It reveals we are a “created” being, sprung into existence by the will of an all-powerful God. The Sabbath stands in direct contradiction to those who believe life evolved to its present state. Survival of the fittest is not the mandate of a loving God, but rather the edict of His enemy. The Sabbath bids us to rest from our labor, not intensify it. The Sabbath bids us to remember the gift to us of the special time with our God. When we realize our dependence, when we realize our utter helplessness, it is only then that we begin to understand why our God is so good. He does not leave us in the conditions we begin to recognize. He does not leave us to our weakness. Rather, He redeems us from the pain of evil and sin. As the Sabbath was MADE holy by God, so the weakness of our characters are MADE perfect in HIS strength and not our own. The Sabbath reminds us of a need for a creator God.

When perfection is restored, the Sabbath will continue not as a reminder of sins past, but as a lasting covenant between God and His people of His commitment of spending time with us. Think of it, centuries and millennia from now, week to week, we will still enjoy the company of our God, set aside from all the other pressing demands of running a universe to be intimate with us. One to one, God and man, conversing, laughing, learning, exploring, eating, drinking, singing, and listening: imagine what this precious gift of time will be like. Some treat Sabbath here on earth as a time-out from their otherwise desired pursuits. We act as if Sabbath prevents us from enjoying our time, rather than enables us to enjoy it. We act as if Sabbath is a deterrent to the things we love, rather than pointing us to them.

This is because our hearts have been turned from the God of love, and have been pointed at the god in the mirror. We love only pleasing ourselves as our carnal nature dictates. We spend every waking moment thinking and working in the interests of ourselves. We sometimes squeeze in time for others, perhaps in our immediate circle of family and friends. But by comparison we spend the majority of our lives in pursuit of things thought to please us. Emptiness. Vanity. And without success, are our efforts. But when considering the gift of the Sabbath in perfection, we are pointed back at the things that maintain real value. We are given cause to pause. We are told to be still for a minute, and think, and consider what perfection and rest really mean. Time with God. Time set aside for us to laugh together, walk together, to learn, to live, to skydive or swim with the sharks. Perfection does not mean that we will go around heaven seeking out new entertainment for only our own enjoyment, but it does mean that we will share our every joy with each other, and WITH God.

Like a father who sets aside time to play with his children after a long work week, so God sets aside time to spend with us on re-creative things. The Sabbath may include singing, worship, and lectures from a pulpit in church; but it may also include riding waves on an ocean created for our delight – WITH our God. It may include walking among the Sequoia trees in a forest of His creation. It may include exploring the lunar surface of our moon hand in hand with God, who compensates for the gravity and air we require, while He teaches us of the history of our rock in space. The Sabbath is time off first and foremost for GOD. It is His choice to take time away just so that He can be free to be with us. How wonderful for US. Like the small children who eagerly crave their father’s attention to look at the drawings they made in school, the crafts they made afterwards, and the mud pies baking in the back yard – so we will eagerly await the God of the universe to visit with us week to week, looking at our “art”, commenting on our “offerings of love”, and perhaps politely avoiding the actual consumption of our mud pies baking in the back yard.

So many Christians are content to take an institution created in the Garden of Eden, before there was sin the world, and completely ruin it. They arbitrarily decide that the actual day does not matter, whether the first day, or the seventh, only that WE set aside time to worship God. The Catholic church admits to changing the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday to avoid being confused with the Jews, and to honor the resurrection of Christ. Protestants refuse to accept this man-made change and so argue that Christ Himself changed the day, although there is not one single scripture to identify where He would have done this. And there are many that show He worshipped on Saturday … “as was His custom”. “How” Christ worshipped was radically different than His contemporaries, but “when” Christ worshipped was from sundown to sundown Friday evening, to Saturday evening. Christ honored His own day of rest, that He created in the Garden of Eden, even in His own death – resting again on the Sabbath day. He could have arisen Sabbath morning, and gone about the “work” of our redemption, but instead He lay asleep in the tomb, choosing rather to rest on His sacred day, and do the work on the first work-day of the week.

Muslims who claim to worship the same Father God, understand the cycle of remembrance but they too have decided to alter the day of worship to Friday rather than Saturday. They like the Catholics believe that man has the power to make these changes as long as one day in seven is set aside to worship God. The problem with this thinking is that it is “man” centric. We decide the time and day. We decide when we and God are supposed to rest and get together. WRONG. The Sabbath itself reminds us, that man makes NOTHING holy by decision or fiat, or inaction. Only God can make anything holy including time, and therefore only God can make a day Holy, as He has with the seventh day Sabbath.

Those who believe the Sabbath was nailed to the cross (despite Christ’s own observance of this “law”), forget that the Sabbath was created long BEFORE Moses or the law. The Sabbath was instituted BEFORE sin, and in the Garden of Eden. To nail the idea of the Sabbath to the cross, would be the same as nailing the idea of Marriage to the cross as well. Both had the same origins, the same creator, and were given at the same time. No, those who war against the observance of Sabbath, usually do so because they wish to be “free” to pursue their own desires, without the imposed “sanctions” of Sabbath rest. But one can no more legislate “rest” as they can legislate “love”. And again, polluted hearts miss the blessing of time spent with a God of infinite love.

Well-meaning Jewish religious leaders in the time after the captivity of Babylon wanted to insure they never broke the laws of God again. To accomplish this, they set about trying to conceive of conditions related to work and rest so as to define “how” to properly “keep” Sabbath. Their lists of do’s and don’ts got so long it became ridiculous. Christ pointed out their folly through refocusing on motives and relationships, and meeting the needs of the hurting. His “work” on Sabbath was constantly and only for the sakes of others, never Himself. His example of helping the hurting remains in place today, as people are more important than rules and regulations. Yet He never arbitrarily discarded Sabbath traditions either. He worshipped in the synagogues on Sabbath, often reading from the Scriptures, and teaching those in attendance about His Father God. He rested with His disciples and spent time with them one-on-one teaching them also what they had need to know of. Christ honored his own created day of rest, and was found to be a perfect sacrifice, blameless in front of the laws of God.

Seventh Day Adventists tend to take pride in their discovery of Sabbath truth. But just like their contemporaries in other faiths, they have found a way to make Sabbath “man” centric, rather than “God” centric. Many SDA’s take up professions in the health care field, as working in this field is considered “acceptable” on Sabbath. Without the guilt of working on Sabbath, they then take the additional step of choosing to work weekend shifts for pay differentials, or reduced hours during the rest of the week. Most of these choices are voluntary. Few choose to donate the pay they receive for work of helping others on Sabbath to those in need, this is not even a consideration for most. Rather, they have come to rationalize that since helping others is “OK” to do, there should be no moral problem with it. But they miss the time out God wishes to spend with them, and their families. The Sabbath loses all significance, and just like their less fortunate contemporaries in the world around them, who live working on this day of rest, they stress themselves out over their day to day activities – leaving no time to unwind and reprioritize their own lives. In this line of thinking, they lose out on a blessing designed for them. Gift rejected.

Other SDA’s who make a stand to avoid working on Sabbath themselves, have no problem being waited on by other forced to work. They are free to go to restaurants, or shopping, or any other place where employees are there to cater to their needs. The logic behind this, is that those employees would “be there anyway”. And so they feel no remorse for taking advantage of a resource that is there anyway. But in this too, they participate in activities that do not lift one up to God, rather they keep the attention focused on the man in the mirror. What am I eating, when, and where. What I am wearing, what are my needs, etc.. The focus is on self, and others who do not know the beauty of Sabbath truth, are forced to help them miss the blessing God would have for ALL. It is the shopper who misses MORE of the blessing from God, than the employee who is forced to serve them, by their mere presence. It is the shopper who knows the truth and ignores it, while the employee craves the truth, but will be left in ignorance, as it is hard to witness about the value of rest to someone you are forcing to serve you at the time. All these self-oriented activities, designed to please one’s self, all make the Sabbath a day of “man’s” idea of rest, rather than God’s.

Still other SDA’s design rigid lists of do’s and don’ts that would rival the Pharisees of old. They have meticulous clocks of worship traditions which must take place on prescribed intervals lest they lose their value in tardiness, or extension. They remove any sort of enjoyment from the Sabbath believing without the “discipline” of keeping God’s day there is no real reverence. These people would never be caught dead at a mall on Sabbath, but then they would not be caught in a park, or the beach, or a pool either. Nature is forbidden to them as much as commercialization. And so Sabbath is a burden, not a rest. Rather than being a time they enjoy with God, as He intended, they make it a time to watch your wristwatch and count down the seconds until Sabbath is over. They secretly yearn for sundown, so that they can resume their “normal” lifestyle. And they dread the coming sundown in six more days that will begin the “time-out” again. They too, miss the blessing God intends.

All of these well-meaning SDA’s and Christians have one thing in common – they have lost sight of the GIFT of the Sabbath to man from God. When one allows work, money, self-interest, legalism, or commercial pursuits to come between them enjoying time with God, they miss the blessing He intended for otherwise worthless endeavors. Those who work, even in health care, should make an effort to get time off on Sabbath – so that they too can actually begin to enjoy its value in rest and relaxation. Those who allow the mundane needs of life like eating and shopping and leisure like organized sports, etc. to dominate their rest time – should forego this for a single day per week, and let God spend some quality time with them, undisturbed by these distractions. Those who follow legal lists of do’s and don’ts should throw caution to the wind and bury themselves in the nature God created, to find the beauty He designed for them in what He has made. Those who think that Sabbath is only about making themselves happy, should take time to serve another, and find the real meaning of “rest unto your souls.”

Do something unusual. Make a home cooked meal from scratch on Sabbath and invite over someone new from church, or a neighbor you hardly know. Barbeque something at the beach. Go swim in a lake. Take a bike ride with the kids. Enjoy your church service for a change. Go there with the intent of singing your lungs out, or making comments in the Sabbath school classes, or saying a hearty AMEN every time the pastor says something you agree with. Treat church like an action oriented sporting event, not like a boring game of golf on TV. Get involved. Get a group together, and go to a homeless shelter and volunteer to help out for an afternoon. Go caroling (in season). Go caroling at a nursing home (when not in season, just sing hymns or worship music or whatever), but smile, and visit the old folks afterwards for just a few minutes. Rather than criticize that single mom whose baby makes noise all throughout the services, go talk to her, get to know her, see if you can help her out instead. Do something unusual. Our “normal” activities are too self-centered. The Sabbath allows us to reprioritize.

“Remember” … God uses this word in only one commandment, the one that began with creation, the one that transcends into perfection. Someday I will be sitting to prepare a barbeque with my God on a beach of His making to enjoy a Sabbath meal for us both. I expect my family to be in attendance. I expect to serve all who are there. I expect to cook, clean, and eat with my God. I expect He would probably not take “no” for an answer as He helps me to serve. You see that is the nature of my God. He who alone is worthy to be served, is constantly serving us. And I expect His offer will once again break my heart and bring me to tears, as once again I can see His love has no bounds. The Sabbath is something I cannot wait to enjoy, here and someday in the perfection it was intended to be …