What Matters, Today?

This question should be asked every day. If we have trouble understanding what matters every day, we may want to start with what matters on the first day of the week. What matters to Jesus, the Lord that we follow? What mattered to His first disciples?

“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.” Matthew 28:1

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.” Mark 16:1-2

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.” Luke 24:1

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.” John 20:1

“[Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.” Mark 16:9

Thinking Jesus was still dead, Mary Magdalene and others came to the tomb on the first Lord’s Day to anoint Him with the spices they had prepared.
Now that He is risen and sits as our High Priest at the Father’s right hand ~ our Prophet, Priest, and King ~ it matters what we bring Him on this day.

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“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”John 20:9

It matters to Jesus that we plan the Lord’s Day with Him.

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“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.” Acts 20:7

It matters that we gather with other believers to receive His Word and the Lord’s Supper ~ the meal He planned for us before His crucifixion. (Hebrews 10:25)

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“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

It matters that we bring our tithes and offerings into the storehouse for the ministry of His kingdom here on earth. (Malachi 3:10)

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 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,
and I heard behind me a loud voice
like the sound of a trumpet,”  
Revelation 1:10

Though John was exiled to the isle of Patmos because of his testimony of Jesus, he was with the Lord.
It matters that we are in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day to hear His voice and experience personal fellowship with Him.

Our Lord Jesus Christ desires fellowship with us every day, but especially today. He came to us, died to take upon Himself our sin, to reconcile us and open the doors of heaven for us to be with Him and the Father.

Can we see Him waiting on this appointed day for us? Does it matter that we must be about the Father’s business on the Lord’s Day? Do we long for this day every week? Do we enjoy fellowship with HIm above everything else?

When we know what matters to the Lord on His Day, we will understand what matters every day of the week. Continual communion with our Lord is the means of Life to those who love, obey, and follow Him.

Dear Father, it is by your grace that you have sent your Holy Spirit to us for new life in Christ. For your glory and His, work in us daily in preparation for each Lord’s Day. Separate us to yourself in Him and enable us to hear His voice and live in worship and praise every day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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A Day of Separation

Should any day be different from another? Do we need technology to keep us posted and aware of the day, who we are and why we are here?

If we read God’s Word ~ how He began with creation and set a pattern for days ~ we have a means of understanding life for us as He meant it to be.

Separation of Night and Day

We see the purpose of separation when we read of His separation of light and darkness and night and day. Every night we die to the world in sleep. We are raised to a new life each morning.

After His creation of the earth and its inhabitants, He made a difference in the week. Months pass into years, years into decades, decades into centuries, etc.

We plan weeks and months for different activities ~ vacations, education, etc. As creatures, we, like our Creator, create so that our lives are not monotonous, boring, and mundane. We try to make ourselves happy, prosperous, free for whatever we want, and on track with society according to what is available in the physical world.

Separation of Days

If our years and decades seem to lose their significance, we need to go back to the system God created for us ~ specifically the days of the week.

Separation of night and day was necessary for simple survival. Whether we believe in God or not, we all agree on three things: Everybody sleeps. Everybody eats. And at some point, everybody dies (until Jesus’ second return).

When the Lord our God created the heavens and the earth and rested the seventh day, He did not need to rest but He, as our heavenly Father, rested and set a precedent for those who belong to Him. HE planned the time and activity He knew we needed.

Before the Fall, man needed a seventh day for rest, but even more so, since the Fall, when we were separated from Him.

So, what difference does a seventh day make? Why did God provide this day before the Fall? The key is separation.

Separation of People

God created everything we would need ~ before He created man.He created the Sabbath (seventh day) as a separate day for a separate people. He separated the nation of Israel for Himself in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, we understand that He has separated a people for Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. In Christ, we are a separate people who are called to rest and worship on His Day with Him.

This separation is for now and eternity. Jesus told of the time when His people ~ His sheep ~ will be separated from the goats. Throughout God’s Word, He makes a difference in the righteous and the wicked, in that which is holy and the unholy, in the clean and the unclean, in light and darkness, etc. The ungodly will not stand in the judgment with the righteous (Psalm 1:5).

“Intelligent Separation from Turbulence”

The active observance of the Lord’s Day is what our pastor describes as “intelligent separation from turbulence” ~ the idea of God’s people coming out of the world and its chaos for one day a week. He used this phrase in his sermon last Lord’s Day evening as he has been preaching through the book of Exodus (Exodus 31:12-18).

Rest on the Lord’s Day, including His worship, is like dying to the world and waking the next morning refreshed and alive to face the turbulence with added wisdom, vigor, and grace.

Please listen to this special message on the subject of the fourth commandment as it applies to us as followers of Christ. Why We Need to Keep Sabbath Today.

 “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy,
and have separated you from the peoples,
that you should be Mine.”
Leviticus 20:26 NKJV

The KJV uses the word “severed” in this reference, indicating a total cutting off from those who are not His people. We are His, holy in Christ.

Dear heavenly Father, you are separate from your creation but as you planned to share your kingdom with us through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, teach us through your Word the difference Jesus makes in our lives. By your Holy Spirit separate us on this holy day in honor of our Lord who was cut off in order to separate us for yourself. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

A Special Day of Grace ~ for God’s Eternal Glory

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
Fear before Him, all the earth.
Psalm 96:9

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

O worship the King all glorious above.
O gratefully sing his pow’r and HIs love;
Our shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.”
Robert Grant 1833  ~  Based on Psalm 104

O, Day of Rest and Gladness

The following sermon is the best I have heard on the Fourth Commandment. It was a blessing and stirred in me a renewal of my zeal for the Sabbath. Beginning next week, I will repost articles on this subject from 2011 when I began on WordPress. I pray the Lord’s blessing for you on this, His Day.

O, Day of Rest and Gladness (January 6, 2019) is a sermon by Chris Strevel, our pastor, preaching through the Book of Exodus.

Why I Love Mondays

On Mondays, I collect our garbage into plastic bags and place them in the provided receptacle (recycles go into a separate container) to be collected early on Tuesday mornings.

When we started this schedule years ago, Mondays became a special day for me. It represented more than uncluttering the house of waste, but a means for me to observe this day in more significant ways.

It follows the Lord’s Day by which we began a new week, receiving His Word and worshipping with His people; spending the day with Him in prayer and meditation. It is reasonable then to go into the new week by putting into practice what we learned and experienced the day before. As we are spending the remainder of this year in the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews, we are continuing to carry the blessings that are ours through every phase of life, especially the difficult times.

Yesterday’s message was centered on how and why, “by Christ, we offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

From the message each week, we move to the Lord’s Supper, reminded that we come to the Table of our Lord to renew all that we have in Christ. This was the prompting to share why I love Mondays. While remembering that we come down from the mountaintop of praise to the lowest place to start over in the valley with our Lord, from which we gather more praises for the next Lord’s Day.

I can only imagine what it must be like for ministers who have to start each week to bring the congregation together in the Spirit to the next Lord’s worship and His Word. I, like them, have to come personally to our Lord and Savior, to seek His guidance through the week; to pray and encourage others during the week, so that we come together of one mind and one spirit on the Lord’s Day. Worship leaders cannot do this. It is not a one-day-a-week experience.

I start the workday with a Moderator, the Spirit of Christ, who leads and challenges each day in prayer and His Word.

Each Monday is a day for Mobilization, Modification, and Mortification.

Mobilization
As I prepare and collect the physical waste during the day, I consider that I am always moving by the leading of His Word and Spirit, to empty the garbage of my thinking, speaking, and living.

Modification
I am continually reminded of the physical things that are no longer needed, so I gather them in a separate place for donation. Modification for my mind and heart means changing my thoughts and desires to what the Lord wants for me. As His people, His children, His family, we continue to move Onward and Upward to our new home with Him, so we gladly give up the things we don’t need, physically and spiritually. Over the years the Spirit of truth has removed former beliefs that were not true, displacing them with the truth of His Word. Working on the project Words of Life is helping tremendously with this endeavor ~ changing our vocabulary changes our lives.

Mortification is the process of seeing the sins that remain hidden, but week by week, His Word and Spirit uncover.
We see ~
We agree ~
We mortify the deeds of the flesh as He reveals them by His Word and His Spirit.

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Colossians 3:5

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13

Gracious Father, thank you for opening heaven to us through your Word by the power of your Holy Spirit so that the things of this world no longer hold our interest. Enable us to move forward, to modify our thoughts and lives, and to mortify the deeds of the flesh as you reveal them. So emblazon upon our minds and hearts the life and humility of Christ that we desire Him more and more to increase and that we decrease. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds by John Newton, composer of Amazing Grace

Image;Google

What Day is Today?

Jerry and I have our “senior moments,” sometimes asking, “What’s today?”  Since we no longer observe a five-day workweek, we often forget what day it is — except today.

TODAY IS THE DAY THE LORD PLANNED FOR US TO BE WITH HIM;

A DAY He set aside to be different from other days;

A DAY for the gathering together of His people,

A DAY for His glory, and His worship;

A DAY for His Word to be proclaimed, and received, in power.

A DAY OF SALVATION.

I praise the Lord for every day, but especially for this day, of all days.  It keeps me centered and focused on Him, and remembering the reason we are here.  Everything starts, revolves around, and progresses from this first day of the week. Imagine the central force of God’s power in this day through Jesus Christ, His Son, the impact that it has on the whole week, and all time.

Today is the day He prepares us to go into the following work week, refreshed, and renewed in His Spirit and truth, projecting us to the next Lord’s Day, and to that final rest in Him.

It is the Christian Sabbath, established in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As Lord of the Sabbath, He brought the beginning of new life for His people and a day of celebration on the first day of the week.

Today is the day we are brought to, and receive, the Lord’s Supper, which is a time of the renewing of the Spirit, and the continuation of our salvation.

According to a quote from an unknown source—our forefathers called today “The Lord’s Day.”  Our great-grandfathers called it “The Sabbath.”  Our fathers and most of the world now call it “Sunday.” The first given evidence for a differentiation, between traditional Jewish “Shabbat” observance and the religious observance of the first day of the week, appears in Acts 20:7 where the disciples met and “broke bread” together.  The Apostle John also refers to the “Lord’s Day” (“kuriake hemera”) in Rev. 1:10. “Kuriake,” meaning “Lord’s,” later became the Greek word for Sunday. Wikipedia)

Let the world have this day as a Greek Sunday for its own pleasure. But, we set this day apart from all others and all things for His name’s sake.

TODAY IS THE LORD’S DAY

A DAY OF GRACE FOR HIS PEOPLE ~ FOR HIS GLORY

LET US REJOICE IN HIM.

“In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right are pleasures evermore.”

Psalm 16:11

Gracious Father, pour out your Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of those you have drawn to your Son. Fill us with your Spirit of grace to know you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Draw us closer to Him and you, today, through worship and your Word. Continue to grow us in grace and knowledge of Him as we begin this week in celebration of our eternal life in Him. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

A Whole Day With God?

How can this be?

Did He not plan it from the beginning when He created all things. Everything we needed was created before man needed it. All He had planned was ready when He took the dust from the earth, created a form, and breathed His Spirit into it, giving it life.  With all things finished and “good” ~ He created another day to enjoy what He had made. Did He not include the man and the woman in that day of rest? Did they not enjoy each other in fellowship?

But, then, the creatures, getting caught up in the joy of the creation, forgot the fellowship of the Father and created their own fellowship with the enemy. That special day with the God of Creation, the God of Life, was destroyed. Might it have been the seventh day they were out on their own?

That day was refused and abused, even when He was leading the nation of Israel, a special people chosen as His own. They did not understand that the Sabbath was a sample of forever; that seventh day, a reminder of His goodness and grace, was profaned and used for their own purposes.

The Power of Obedience and Observance
A seventh day has remained since the beginning of time for the honor of, and fellowship with, our Creator, and Redeemer. It was important to Him and is still important to His children. When He came to earth, it was to reconcile us, through His Son, Jesus Christ; to restore us to the fellowship that He desires with us. He has provided grace that pardons our sins, reconciles us and gives us the power of the gospel to know and observe the rules of His kingdom. Such love, as displayed in the redemptive work of Christ, serves and enables us to recognize, to acknowledge, and to respond in obedience.

His Holy Spirit dwells within us as His children, born anew through His Son, who, as Lord of the sabbath (Mark 2:28), provided a new day of worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10), in celebration of His resurrection, of His finished work. We are called to this “fellowship with the Father and the Son” (1 John 1:2-3). Jesus has made it possible, through His sacrifice for us.

But ~ A Whole Day?
What was your first thought when reading the title of this post? Did it arouse thoughts of how beautiful such a day would be, or “Do I have to spend a whole day with Him?”
I committed to this, years ago. When we were able to attend worship services, the remainder of my day, other than Jerry’s and my time together, was spent in private worship, reading, study, prayer and meditation, viewing an evening worship online, and playing the Psalms and hymns for the Lord and Jerry. It was a glorious time with my Lord. The next six days were a continuation through ordinary or difficult times, in prayer, study, meditation, praise and thanksgiving for His presence and power with us.

It has not been as easy, without public worship for the last six months, to have the whole day at home without distractions. This too, has been a matter of prayer, and we experience that He is able to direct our way to this fellowship. We, like our first parents, are prone to be caught up in our own interests and amusements, our families’ activities and conversations, leaving Him on the sidelines for another time that we choose.

He has blessed to bring us to discover worship services on Sermon Audio Webcasts; one in particular is in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland. He also leads through meaningful posts online; sometimes in fellowship with others who observe this day as holy unto Him.

The Importance of A Day With the Lord
It is indicative, a shadow of a time that is to come. Worship in one of seven days is an observance, not only of what the Lord has done, in victory over the enemy and sin, but observing a day that is totally different from the others of the week. It is indicative of the eternal fellowship with the Lord; a difference between heaven and earth; between the kingdom of God and the world. It is a day of separation, a day of preparation, a day of practice for the eternal life to come. If we cannot devote one day out of seven now, why would we want to spend eternity with the Lord? The day that Christ Jesus, our Lord, rose from the dead, to secure our eternal rest with Him and the Father, should be the most important day of the week to us as His children. It should be part of our abiding in Him always, rejoicing always, living in praise to Him for His glory.

Where are our thoughts, our voices, our hearts and our choices, our eyes, our ears and our hands on His day? What are we teaching our children on this special day He has created for Him and us?  If ever we join Him in this whole day of worship, we shall become addictive to it, and life will not be the same.

Dear Father, thank you for desiring, for planning, and making a day possible for us to spend time in fellowship with you; to set aside all that we normally do for the majority of the week, from our own pleasure and work. Thank you for reconciling us to yourself through the atoning work of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Lead us by your Spirit to plan, commit, and lead our families in this endeavor to keep this day holy unto you, in worship and fellowship with you and your children. Enable us to love you more, to see you and know you as you desire us to. Make us to experience your presence and power with us throughout the new week, as we wait for that glorious day that will be the first day of our eternal fellowship with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sanctify us for it.

Raise us to it.

Work it in us.

For your glory and our joy.