Do I Make You Think That God Must Be There?

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
– Jesus, recorded in Matthew 5:16
The most complete and utter darkness I’ve ever experienced was when my friends, Bud and Teresa, led our youth group on a trip to Ape Cave, which is a lava tube, formed nearly 2,000 years ago from lava streaming down the southern flank of Mount St. Helens. After we descended into the cave and hiked a short distance, Teresa asked all of us to turn off our headlamps, flashlights, etc. At that point, I could see exactly nothing. I waved my hand back and forth, as close to my face as possible without touching it, and I detected zero motion. Then, after about a minute, she had one person turn on a tiny light, and we were all amazed at how drawn we were to that light, and how much it lit up an area that had been totally dark.
It’s no secret that we live in a dark, divisive, and difficult world. A place so dark that at times, we cannot see even the tiniest bit of light. But if we follow Jesus, He calls us “the light of the world.” When we live God’s way, His light shines through us to draw people to Himself, and to light up areas that were once completely dark. The way we live our real lives, at all times, and in all places, should demonstrate that we actually follow Jesus. That’s how we shine our lights in the darkness.
Of course, we all fail to do this, to one degree or another, but that’s a reflection on us, not Jesus. As Bob Russell is quoted with saying, “Just because someone plays Beethoven badly doesn’t mean Beethoven was a bad composer. Just because someone lives the Christian life poorly doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t worth following.” People often judge Christianity based on the failures of those who say they follow Jesus, rather than on Jesus Himself, as He’s revealed to us in the Bible.
On the other hand, if we are genuine followers of Jesus, despite our failures and our brokenness, we have an immense responsibility that comes with representing Him in this world. In fact, our lives should show people that God must be there! I love what Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, wrote to explain the profound nature of showing Jesus to people: “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.”
Troy Burns

Never Alone

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t, My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t, My hope is You alone
Those words mean a great deal to me. Each Sunday when I preach, on my way to the church building, I listen to parts of five different songs (always the same five). One of those songs, quoted above, is Even If by MercyMe. The lyrics speak deeply to me, and strengthen my faith, as I’m reminded that even if  my challenging circumstances do not change, Jesus is still my one and only hope.
As the band’s lead singer, Bart Millard, wrote: “[the song] is a reminder to people in difficult situations that don’t seem to go away. God is worthy long before any of those circumstances even showed up. The song is a declaration to God that even if He went silent and never said another word, He’s still worthy to be praised and He’s our greatest hope in the midst of the trial.”
The song also calls to mind the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel chapter 3. King Nebuchadnezzar issued a decree that when people heard the sound of musical instruments, they were required to fall down and worship the image of gold. If anyone disobeyed, his punishment was to be thrown into a blazing furnace. But those three men I mentioned refused to serve the false gods and worship the image. That infuriated the king, who told the men if they continued not to worship, they would be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. The men replied with this: “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).
Notice the words, even if, in the verses from Daniel. The men essentially said they knew what God was capable of, but even if He did not come through, He was still their hope because of who He was, and what He had already done, no matter what the current circumstances were. And if nothing else, He was the only one who had prepared them for that situation.
Interestingly, God did allow these men to fall into the fire, but as it turned out, they were never alone. The king discovered there were four men—instead of three—in the fire. “He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods’” (Daniel 3:25).
The men were not miraculously prevented from entering the fiery furnace. But what made all the difference is that they were never alone in their times of trouble. Neither are we. As one blogger wrote, “God isn’t watching us in our moments of pain and thinking, ‘Well, I didn’t see this coming.’” When we hurt, God sees us, loves us, and never leaves us. He walks right beside us, ready to comfort and to heal. He will redeem the situation and bring beauty from our lives, no matter how desperate or disappointing our circumstances may be.
Pain, suffering, and struggles will come, not “if” but “when.” And when they do, we can shift our focus from our earthly troubles to our good and perfect God. If we do that, we might just see the fourth figure in the fire. We might just trust that God will rescue us from our deepest valleys, even if the rescue looks different than what we hoped, and even if the timing is not what we wanted. And we might just discover that we are never alone, and that our hope is in God alone.
Troy Burns

Unwasted Pain

A pastor was talking about the early years of his marriage, and how intensely difficult they were. He and his wife were both in school full-time; she worked part-time, and he held a full-time job and preached at a small church on the weekends. They rarely slept and the stress just pummeled their relationship. They began to fight constantly, but by the power of God—and their unwillingness to quit—they stayed together.
They did the painful work of learning how to communicate and embrace each other’s uniqueness, and God began to work a miracle. By year four, what seemed to be a marriage headed straight for the courts, God and a ton of hard work had turned into an incredible source of joy. But those first two years marked them as a couple. They’ve always had a special place in their hearts for couples in pain, and at every church they’ve served, they’ve started groups and classes for couples traveling the same hard road they traveled.
At their current church, they started a marriage renewal course, with many highlights, including when one couple stood in front of the group and held up a stack of papers. They said, “These are our unsigned divorce papers. We came to this class as a last-ditch effort. In the past eight weeks, God has worked a miracle in our marriage.” Then they ripped the divorce papers in half in front of the entire class. The room erupted with applause. With that story in mind, the pastor wondered what would have happened if God had not allowed him and his wife to have such a tough time during the first two years of their married life. Would they have felt the need to start that class for hurting couples?
In my own life, I accompanied some students to a summer camp a few years back, and as the week went along, many of our teens began to open up and engage in deep discussions about what was happening in their lives. One young man grew emotional as he shared that he did not really know who his dad was. When I was a teenager myself, I found out that the man I thought was my dad was not my biological father. And I vividly remember the curiosity and the confusion, and even the pain of not knowing where I came from. Then, a few decades later at this camp, I was right there with a young man who was struggling through exactly what I had experienced. I could relate directly to his pain, and I was able to connect with him and offer some encouragement through the knowledge that someone else understands.
Jesus allows us to experience hardship and pain, and it’s for a reason. As Henri Nouwen wrote in his book, The Wounded Healer, “Who can save a child from a burning house without taking the risk of being hurt by the flames… Who can take away suffering without entering it? The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.”
Another way to say it is that serving others keeps us from wasting our pain. As preacher and author Brian Jones wrote, “When God allows us to go through hard times, we should not so much ask why, but who? In the mind of God, pain always has two intended recipients: us and someone else. Taking the things that we’ve experienced and finding a way to use them to help another person, is a big part of why God allows us to suffer in the first place.”
I would encourage you to ask, “What are some ways God might want to use what I’ve suffered to help serve other people in Jesus’ name? What have I gone through that might help someone else?” If you have endured extreme pain and suffering, could God be nudging you to find ways of helping others who have had to deal with the same horrific experiences? How can God take your pain and turn it into a blessing for others? That might be the best type of pain you can go through: the unwasted kind.
Troy Burns

“Don’t Give Up on Me” — God

Sometimes (okay, most of the time), other people say or write things better than me, so I’ll use their words for some of this blog. But let me start with a few questions: Have you ever prayed and prayed (and prayed and prayed), but there’s no answer from God? Do you ever feel like giving up? Are you ever so overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, or depression that it’s all you can think about?
The answer is “yes” for me, and when I feel that way, a few thoughts from C.S. Lewis come to mind. While struggling profoundly with despair after the death of his wife, he asked the question, “Where is God? He wondered why He seems to welcome us with open arms when we’re happy and have no sense of needing Him, but then Lewis wrote the following:
Go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away.
He dug even deeper into the heart of the issue with these words:
Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not “So there’s no God after all,” but “So this is what God is really like.”
I can relate. But I don’t want to believe things about God that are not true. One way to overcome those doubts is to keep my faith in who He has revealed Himself to be through His Word. It’s also helpful to see things (as best I can) from God’s perspective. It’s like the song, “Don’t You Give Up on Me,” by Brandon Lake:
I see you, child / Though you can’t see me / I heard every last prayer you prayed / Though I answered all the time / You just didn’t hear my reply / And I know it’s not easy / Don’t you give up on me / ‘Cause the darker the night gets / The brighter the light hits / Don’t you give up on me / You ain’t seen what I promised / Child, we’re just getting started. I’ll be your way / When there’s no way out / And I’ll be your strength / When your strength runs out / Don’t lose your hope / Don’t lose your faith / That’s where your fight is.
It’s incredibly difficult, but incredibly powerful, to see things from God’s perspective, and to have that sense of hearing Him speak to us directly. We often sing (or think or pray) to God, “Don’t give up on me,” but in this song, God is telling us not to give up on Him. For anyone who wants to give up—and I’ve been there—God reminds us that He has so much more for us.
Here’s one reason why that matters: When we refuse to give up, no matter how hard things get, we can point people to God and try to help them through the same struggles we’ve faced. As pastor and author Brian Jones writes, “When we manage to keep our lives intact when they should be scattered across the floor in a million pieces, we—and others—realize that something supernatural is holding us together.” I’m a broken person, no question about it. You might feel the same way. But our brokenness gives us compassion to feel the pain of others and drives us to do something about it. We go through difficult times because our wounds give us the power to suffer with another person.
I don’t enjoy hurting, so I would love for all my pain and suffering to disappear. But it doesn’t work that way. The good news is that my pain does not have to be wasted. And neither does yours. I’ve already quoted several people, so let me add a couple more: French philosopher Simone Weil wrote, “The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it.” The apostle Paul wrote something like that as well:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Troy Burns

What Do You Think About God?

God is our Father. That’s “Christianity 101,” right? When I was a child, I had trouble making sense of that idea. It was difficult to believe that God was good and that He had my best interests in mind. As I discovered, however, that was not because God was bad or wanted to hurt me; it was because of my experiences with my earthly father. The great news is that once I had children of my own, I gained a much better understanding of the fatherhood of God. With every ounce of my being, I strove to be a different dad than the one I grew up fearing. I worked hard to point my kids toward God, not away from Him.
When I was young, I walked on eggshells as I dreaded my dad’s intimidating behavior and the punishment he would dole out if I disobeyed. Naturally, I felt like God was primarily a being to be feared and that He was always ready to “zap” me if I stepped out of line. Maybe you can relate. If you dealt with a harsh, absent, or demanding father, you probably believed, at least at some point, that God was the same way. On the other hand, if your dad was loving, caring, patient, and involved in your life, you likely believed that God had those same character traits.
The most important thing about each one of us is what we think about God, because that’s the basis of our faith. And what we believe about God will determine how we behave. As Jackie Hill Perry wrote, “If God is holy, then He can’t sin. If God can’t sin, then He can’t sin against me. If He can’t sin against me, shouldn’t that make Him the most trustworthy being there is?”
Starting in mid-September, we’ll go through a new message series that we’re calling, What Do You Think About God? This series will examine our thoughts on God, our ideas of who He is, and how those things shape our actions as we live in this world. Despite the tremendous impact our earthly fathers had on us, God is not the same as those dads, no matter how bad or good they were to us. God is our Father, but He’s not a better, more improved version of us. He is holy. He is utterly and completely different, and that’s the best news ever. Because He is holy, He can and should be trusted. As a result, we can place our faith in who He has revealed Himself to be, not in who we’ve made Him out to be.
In our message series, we’ll also talk about the good reasons to follow God, and how He knows and wants what’s best for us. With that foundation, we’re inspired toward a genuine faith, trust, and sincere desire to please Him, instead of living with guilt and obeying because we fear punishment, both now and forever. So, what do you think about God?
Troy Burns

I’d Rather Have Hope

It breaks my heart when people feel like I don’t love them because we disagree. After all, if I only love those who share my beliefs, views, opinions, and preferences, am I really showing the love of Jesus? Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” When Jesus went to the cross in our place, and took on the punishment that we deserved, He lived out the greatest love the world has ever known. And it was not because we earned or deserved His love. It was certainly not because we agreed with Him on everything. In fact, while we were still sinners—enemies of God—Jesus died for us. He showed love that was not based on a feeling, but on an act of the will, a resolve to put the welfare of others above His own.

Consider a few more examples of love from the Bible:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Proverbs 25:21)

Along with those verses, Jesus spoke the words recorded in the first part of Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus prayed those words while He was dying on the cross; He said them for the Roman soldiers who spit on Him, beat Him, whipped Him, put a crown of thorns on His head, and nailed Him to the cross. He said them for the criminals on the crosses beside Him, who jeered at Him. He said them for the religious leaders who mocked Him. And He said them for the angry mob that called for His crucifixion. For all of them, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.”

Based on the life and death of Jesus, love is not contingent upon agreeing with someone else. If it is, then it’s only a conditional type of love. We receive (and give) conditional love all the time, don’t we? Christian counselor Kegan Mosier offered a few examples from the social media world in which we live: “I love you… until you offend me. I love you… until you don’t support my cause. I love you… only if you love me back.”

Mosier also shared, “We must learn how to have face-to-face, real life, in-person conversations with other humans whom we most likely disagree with while, at the same time, demonstrate the love of Jesus.” And when we do that, it’s not about winning or influencing a debate; it’s about loving the person in front of us.

Personally, I also need to remember that a gloomy, hopeless attitude will make it very difficult to show the love of Jesus. People expect Christians to trust God and to be hopeful despite their circumstances. If I don’t live that way, why would others want to follow Jesus? Plus, I think I’d rather have hope for somebody or something for the rest of my life (even if the hope is never realized), than to resign myself to a mindset that anyone or anything is a lost cause, beyond redemption.

Unconditional love is different from unconditional agreement. I can love and accept you, regardless of your stance on any controversial issue (and you can do the same for me), and that doesn’t mean we have to agree. But we do have to treat each other with kindness, respect, and dignity.

Troy Burns

Got Milk?

Some of you know (and if you don’t, I’m more than happy to tell you!) that my first grandchild came into this world a few months ago. It’s incredibly surreal to watch my grown son with a boy of his own, and it’s incredibly wonderful beyond words. The little guy is starting to smile and giggle, but beyond that, he doesn’t do much yet. However, he drinks milk, which is something he’s done from the very beginning.
In my regular Bible reading time this week, I just so happened to notice the following verse: “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2-3). That led me to consider the relationship between the mother’s milk for physical human babies and the “Father’s milk,” if you will, of God’s Word for spiritual babies.
While my grandson grows, what if his parents teach him all the principles of walking, but he never takes a single step? What if they show him every word in the dictionary, but he never speaks a word himself? What if they explain the importance of brushing his teeth, but he never actually grabs a toothbrush? What if they demonstrate the proper way to take a shower, but he just runs the water and never steps foot into it, making his parents think he showered, when he did not (my grown son may have a story about that from his younger years)! If those things took place, my grandson would grow in age and size, but he would still be an infant in terms of his ability to live life.
As ridiculous as those examples sound, I wonder if those of us who follow Jesus do something similar in our spiritual lives. D. L. Moody, the well-known evangelist and Christian educator, was quoted with these words: The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives.” In the hypothetical scenarios with my grandson, he would gain all the knowledge he needs, and it would essentially do him no good. For those of us who believe in Jesus, we can take in the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word with an open heart. We can memorize it. We can meditate on it. And once we do those things, we’ll have all kinds of Bible knowledge. And if that’s all we do, we won’t be much better off than my grandson would be. The ultimate goal is for God to use the Bible to save us and to change our lives.
It’s critical for us to read and study God’s Word, but we do not become mature until we intentionally and continually put that learning into practice. If we believe that the Bible is our ultimate authority in life, and that it offers the only way for us to change our lives for the better, then we will drink that spiritual milk by doing what it says, to the best of our ability.
I get to see my grandson and his parents tonight. I bought some big, fresh, yummy cookies for all of us to enjoy after dinner. I wonder what I’ll be craving to wash down those delicious treats? Got milk?
Troy Burns

Letting (and Not Letting) Go

I appreciate flying—and I know it’s very safe, statistically—but still I’m not terribly comfortable with it. There’s just something unsettling about traveling more than 500 miles per hour, 35,000 feet in the air. While it’s extremely unlikely for an in-flight accident to occur, there are no “fender benders” in the sky, so I hate knowing that if something did happen, the result would almost certainly be horrific.
Having said that, I do fly occasionally and one thing I actually enjoy is traveling light. If I can fit everything in my carry-on and not check a bag, I have a much better time getting from point A to point B. I don’t have to wait in line for an agent to help me, all of my belongings are with me at all times, and I don’t have to go to the baggage carousel in my destination airport to wait for my luggage.
I wish I traveled light in my everyday life, when I’m not on an airplane. Instead, I give my baggage (burdens, fears, worries, concerns, etc.) to God and then I take it right back from Him. I let go and then I don’t let go. As much as I fail, though, I try to travel light because of what we read in Philippians chapter 4, verses 6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God commands us not to be anxious. Why? Because He wants us to have peace, not anxiety, which is an overblown concern for the things of life, and a feeling that takes over when we rely on ourselves and don’t depend on God and His power. Stated differently, it’s letting go and then not letting go. But when we try to do God’s job for Him, painful anxiety is inevitable and we feel all alone because we’re depending only on ourselves through the difficulties and dangers of life.
Back to the subject I began with (flying), I’m reminded of a family that put their Grandma on an airplane for the first time in her life, but she was not confident about the experience of leaving the ground on “that contraption.” When they met her at the airport on her return, one of the family members jokingly asked, “Well, did the plane hold you up okay?” She reluctantly replied, “Well, yes,” but then quickly added, “But I never did put my full weight down on it!”
Many of us who follow Jesus are like that Grandma, at least in some situations. The truth is, we are sustained completely by God, but we’re afraid to put our full weight down on Him. As a result, we’re plagued by anxiety and unable to enjoy the flight. That’s the hardest part: Trusting God with everything, letting go, and not continuing to hold on to it. In other words, it’s putting our full weight down on God.
However, He has a pretty good idea what He’s doing. He doesn’t need our help or advice. That means we can give our baggage to God, stop worrying and stressing over it, and resist the temptation to carry that baggage in our own power. It also means that we trust Him with the results.
I can’t recall the author, but I remember an article where the person shared something along these lines: “I used to think that the phrase, Let go and let God, was about turning my troubles over to Him, and He would take care of things. The saying bothered me because there were many times I tried to pass Him the baton, and it fell with a clunk on the ground. I’ve finally begun to understand that the phrase means something different: Let go of the outcome you desire, and let God bring about His will. It’s so hard to let go, and it’s so awesome to let go.
Troy Burns

The Wisdom of Becoming a Fool

When I accepted a church staff position for the first time, at age 31, I left behind a full-time job—including the income and career path it provided. With an English degree and nearly six years of writing experience under my belt, I approached a crossroads in my life. I chose the road less traveled and saw everything change as I discovered what God had in store for me: serving young people in youth ministry. I’ve heard it said that everyone is called to ministry, but only some are called to the ministry. I found myself in the latter category, knowing I had to devote my life and “vocational” time to loving God and loving students.
Not everyone understood my decision to follow where God was leading. Many could not believe God was involved at all. Well-meaning friends and family members encouraged me to return to the business environment and “climb the corporate ladder” so I could “have it all.” As it turned out, I already did.
When I reflect on that major life transition more than 20 years ago, I recall some lyrics from the song, “Only a Fool” by the band, Geoff Moore and the Distance:
Charlie was a fool / Did you hear what he went and did? / He quit his job, threw It away / Gave his life to a bunch of kids / He said he was in love with Jesus / But his friends didn’t understand / He could’ve had it all / But he just smiled and said / That he already did.
He saw the big in the small / He saw the beauty in the call / Even when no one else approved / He took the job only a fool would do.
I became a fool, like Charlie in that song, and it was surely one of the wisest decisions I ever made. Nothing compares to a front row seat, watching God move in the hearts and minds of students who want more than what this world offers. It was my absolute honor and privilege to take a job only a fool would do.
I’ve since been “demoted” to the preaching ministry. I’m joking (somewhat), because working with teens was the best “job” I ever had. I’ll never be the same, in the best possible way. I feel like Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham in the movie, Field of Dreams, when he considered his life’s work as a physician. As a young man, he badly wanted to succeed in professional baseball, but that wish never really came true. Instead, he discovered a different dream, his real dream: living and working as a doctor in a small town community. As much as he had sought after an illustrious sports career, there was simply no comparison to his passion for medicine and caring for the patients he loved. Dr. Graham said this to the film’s main character, Ray, about the office where he ran his practice: “This is my most special place in all the world, Ray. Once a place touches you like this, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel for it, like it was your child.”
When Ray suggested it was a tragedy for Dr. Graham to get so close to his baseball dream, to have it in hand for just five minutes, and then to let it slip away, the doctor responded by explaining, “If I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes, now that would have been a tragedy.” Speaking for myself and the career I left, I thank God for the 13+ years He allowed me to serve in youth ministry. If I only had five minutes working with those teens, now that would have been a tragedy.
Troy Burns

Are You Just Going to Stand There?

Like many of you, I fill nearly every minute of the day with work responsibilities, meetings, appointments, deadlines, family time, and unexpected tasks for which I’ve not planned. Come to think of it, I might be the only one reading this because no one else has the time! Since practically all of my moments are spoken for, I struggle to stop without feeling like I should be doing something. But maybe the solution is to take the advice that was shared by one missionary: “Don’t just do something—stand there.”
Earlier this week, my regular time of Bible reading just so happened to take me to a familiar passage, the 23rd Psalm. Verses 1-3a tell us, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters; he refreshes my soul.” As I considered those words, one phrase jumped out to me, as though I’d read it for the first time: “He makes me lie down.” It’s almost as if God forces me to stop because it’s so important to Him that I rest.
I should not have been surprised by that. After all, we know from the Bible that God set a pattern from the beginning of creation: six days of work, followed by a day of rest, the Sabbath. As we read in Exodus chapter 20, verses 8-10a: “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.”
Of course we’re not required to observe a strict Sabbath like they were in Old Testament times, but God makes it clear that we have six full days that are all generally the same, and then a seventh day that’s different. That day is full of rest and things that are not the same as other days. God forces us to stop, for our own good. He essentially says to us, “Don’t just do something—stand there.”
“Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat,” which means to stop, to cease, to end, to rest. God did not create us to have all seven days the same. We are made very specifically to work and to do everything we need to do for six days, but one day, we say, “We’re done.” Our day of rest is so important to God that we should not only obey Him, we should also treat that day with as much respect as we show when we take the Lord’s Supper, when we pray, and when we worship. If we do this on a regular basis (hopefully weekly), we’ll discover what we always do, every time we listen to God: He has our very best in mind.
Troy Burns