As we encounter another Sabbath day, I encourage you once again to keep the Sabbath as a day to set aside the things of this side of the Jordan so that you can more fully interact with family, community, and God. When we do this, we can truly begin to see the other side and more fully partake of the blessings of eternity.
The Perspective of Eternity
It is on the Sabbath day that we are to look at the world from the perspective not of one who is daily battling with the foes and constraints of today, but one whose vision includes an eternal frame that will change us as we pick up the mantle of working upon the first day of the week.
The Sabbath is truly the inbreaking of the Kingdom of God into human existence. All too often the cares of today push out this vision of eternity. The test we have to take, the paper we have to finish, the sermon we have to preach, the sick we have to visit, the meeting we have to attend, and simply the work we have to do, all push out the vision of the Sabbath. We allow all of these pressing concerns to rob us of Sabbath. It is as if we think we are going to miss something. If we are not keeping up, if we are not attending to our Instant Messager, cell phone, television, radio, and/or beeper, we will miss something that we need.
Setting aside Busyness
However, God has given us a 24 hour piece of eternity where we are taught to place our hope and trust in the eternal God. What a blessing God has given to us, and the only requirement to experience that blessing is for us to lay aside our symbols of “busyness” on the 6th day. I praise God for the day, and I pray that this week I will truly keep it.
I probably spend too much time wondering about what’s behind many closed doors. I wonder if the closed door hides something that would be a blessing to me. You know what I’m talking bout. What is the closed door? It may be the school that hasn’t accepted you for admission but you still want to apply for the fifth time. What is the closed door? It may be that special someone who has made it clear that there is no future between the two of you. What is the closed door? It may be on the job where the promotion that you desperately wanted eludes you.
But more than this, we see the same doors open to others who seemingly have have less talent then we have. We wonder if they are smarter than they look, but it seems like they have less brains than we have. Finally, we note that they have less ability and experience than we have. It can hurt to see the closed doors to us being opened to someone else. It can be draining and sometimes it feels like we are mostly banging our heads against closed doors.
Closed Doors are Blessings
But as we think on this subject we must recognize that closed doors are blessings. Humanity can’t do all that we want to do. We are limited and finite. We can’t do everything. Closed doors can help us determine what is really important to us and what is not important. If every door was opened we might simply go into the first open door without doing the real work of determining who we are and where we should be.
Closed Doors help us Determine God’s Will
Closed doors also push us to determine what is God’s will. Many of us would almost blindly walk through all the doors if they all stood open. It is a blessing that God sometimes closes doors that we shouldn’t enter. It is a blessing when God shuts a door. That door may not have taken you to the place that God wants you to be at. Yes, God closes doors and it helps us to really agonize with God over what is God’s will for us.
In addition, closed doors can help us appreciate the open door when it comes. If all the doors were opened we wouldn’t fully appreciate the great blessing of an open door.
God told the church of Philadelphia that God has set before them an open door. Yes closed doors are a blessing, but a God given open door is the greatest blessing. My call to you today is to stop fretting over the closed doors and walk on through the open door that God has placed in front of us.
Following Jesus into the Holiest
The early Adventists saw in this a reference to the Second Apartment Ministry of Jesus Christ. Here we are called to go on further into the most intimate relationship with Jesus. Stop settling for any door, go into God’s open door, the door that leads into the throne-room where we can now boldly enter. (Hebrews 4:16). Praise God for the open door that God has given to us and praise God for this open door that leads into the throne room of God where we can obtain mercy. Let us follow Jesus into the special work that we are called to live into today.
Many websites and ministers are predicting or implying that this economic crisis will culminate in the final crisis that will usher in our Lord’s return. I wish to repeat, it may do just that, but then again it may not, but in any case this crisis is a real one for many.
A Real Crisis
This crisis has caused many to lose their homes and wonder where they will live. The crisis has caused some to lose their jobs and economists are certain that there will be more job loss in the near future. We see signs of crisis all around us.
It was with this backdrop that I read the first part of a sermon by Pastor Kirkpatrick of Great Controversy.Org. He wanted to remind people of 10 things that were still true even in the midst of the economic storm we find ourselves. You can find that article at this link.
What is Still True in the Crisis
As I read these 10 things an old hymn hit me, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?” Sometimes Christians like to believe that they will get through their whole lives without any storms, but we all will have storms in our lives. The songwriter takes for granted that “clouds unfold their wings of strife” and that “strong tides lift and the cables strain.” You will have storms in your life. The false prophets of “prosperity” may tell you that will always have money if you are on God’s side and the false prophets of universal and certain cure for all diseases may tell you that if you have faith you will be cured of any ailment, but they are simply telling you a falshood, you will have storms in your life. But the songwriter reminds us that we all have storms in our lives, but:
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviorâ€™s love.
Sing the Song
Certainly the dark clouds will stare at us menacingly from the air. Certainly the winds will blow us like it blows everyone else. And yes the rains will pelt us. It is true we will feel the effects of the storm, but our boat will only rock…so much, because we are fastened to the rock that won’t move at all. So wind do what you will, rain do what you gotta do, I ain’t going nowhere, because I am fastened to the rock. So go on ahead and cry, its a storm, but as you cry sing the song so that you can remember that the Rock of Ages holds us up even in the midst of that storm and one day we will see the other side of it.