This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
With heartfelt gratitude for a loving God that anticipated humanity’s every need, I invite you to say a simple prayer, “Thank you God for the Sabbath.”
For 24 hours, we can say goodbye to the routine concerns of everyday life. Remember the Sabbath day, the day God rested on, and our precious gift to receive spiritual renewal and mental, emotional, and physical rest.
I have been a Sabbath keeper since the age of 15. You may think that my parents enforced Sabbath-keeping, so the choice was not mine. Not so. They were religious, but did not keep the Sabbath. At 15, I became an emancipated teenager who loved God and made the commitment to give my whole heart to our Heavenly Father by doing what my friends did not understand, honoring the fourth commandment.
When I studied the story of the Creation, I knew that I had to keep the Sabbath. Yes, I had to pray and do research to understand Genesis 1:5, And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day., to fully understand the Sabbath begins at sunset Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday. Even so, I felt the need for commitment and obedience to God, which outweighed the need for complete understanding. Deep down, I knew that I was pleasing God by keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.
Many human-made theories attempt to disprove the seventh-day Sabbath. But when I look at how humanity has disregarded and messed up God’s plan for us, I choose God and His plan for my life. There are many worries that I don’t suffer from; burnout, depression, or the accelerated aging process. My gifts for total obedience to God are inner joy and peace. Times that I begin to concentrate on the circumstances instead of praying for divine intervention, God reminds me that He is waiting for me to come to Him through prayer.
The Sabbath provides a weekly spiritual boost and the reinforcement that we need to stay connected to God. Spending 24 hours focused on the Creator and His blessings have great rewards, such as praying for strength (and receiving strength immediately) when faced with temptation, trials, and tribulations. Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24. I readily admit my dependence on God. Desiring the love and nurturing that only God can give builds my faith and trust, and deepens my relationship with my Father.
I have been asked what are the secular things that I put on hold on the Sabbath.
My Sabbath don’ts: No social media or unnecessary phone conversations. There is nothing that I discuss or resolve that I should have taken care of the other six days of the week: no cooking or any housework. Cleaning, and laundry are completed during the week. And, meals for the Sabbath are cooked on preparation day, Friday before sunset. There are no financial transactions for buying or selling, nor do I purchase restaurant food. All of my favorite online design games or pleasure-seeking activities are placed on hold.
My agenda is geared for spiritual growth and development. For me, the Sabbath is not a ritual or a list of things I cannot do. With love in my heart, it is a day that I dedicate all of my time to God. I love to sing to God. My praise and worship also includes a prayer for the Holy Spirit to anoint me like those on the Day of Pentecost, found in Acts chapter 2. Enjoying nature is a must on the Sabbath! We can witness the mighty power and creativity of our Heavenly Father when we seek out the beauty of His wonderful world.
There is no disagreement that “Life is tough!” After six days of sensory overload, reading, and hearing the worsening conditions that plague our earth, social injustice, and civil unrest, I eagerly await sunset every Friday. I have already tried living as a stubborn, self-seeking, and disobedient person, but I quickly learned that suffering from negative consequences is not for me.
Jesus already told us, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. here on Earth you will have many trials in sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Because we make a covenant that is a total commitment to God, we trust that His way is perfect. Another reason for devout Sabbath-keeping to stay in sync with God.
Jesus replied, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Matthew 22:37. There were times that I have gotten off track by loving the people, places, and things that only provided temporary relief from the hardships that I faced. Thankfully, I no longer make frivilous decisions. Since I have decided to go all the way with God, my perspective has changed, but the struggle to do the right thing remains.
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15
It takes our everything to serve the Lord. The battle to die daily to our sinful desires will always be our greatest challenge. Still, Jesus promised, And be sure of this I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20, last part. God’s promises are never-failing!
Trust God with your heart, don’t think about the “why” of His commandments. Just obey and do what God requires. “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.” Revelation 22:12. Never forget! Jesus is coming soon, and so is our forever life in a perfect New Heaven and New Earth where all will keep the seventh-day Sabbath.
Bible Study: Exodus 20
God, thank you for giving us 24 hours of relief from the cares of this world. Please help us to realize that your plans supersede any plans that we can make for ourselves. We commit to obedience and living a faith-based life. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer that we ask in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2021, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.