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At our church, I am preaching through a series called “The X Files” that takes a look at the 10 Commandments. Last week, we talked about keeping the Sabbath. It was an interesting Sunday for sure.

I like to have already wrestled through a topic before preaching on it, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Keeping the Sabbath is one thing that I have not been the best at in the past. As I prepared for this sermon, I was encouraged and convicted greatly.

I believe that this is one commandment that the Lord’s children get caught up on because either (1) they do not know what the Sabbath is, (2) they are not sure how to do, or (3) they just do not want to submit to the lordship of Christ.

While I do not want to tackle all of these things in a blog post, I do want to share about what we should so on the Sabbath.

  • Rest. The Sabbath was created as a day of rest in Genesis 2:2-3. The Lord knew that if left to ourselves, we would work ourselves to death. The “work” that is described here is our normal work (job).  There are some matters and responsibilities that we have to tend to and should. This day should be one that we rest from our labors.
  • Remember.  The Sabbath is a chance for us to, in the midst of resting from our labors, to remember all that God has done… All the blessings… All the provisions… It is through these rememberings that we might just get some insight into the direction the Lord is leading us.
  • Refuel.  It is important that we get the rest we need or else we will not be able to do all that the Lord is calling us to do. The Sabbath was created to give us an opportunity to refuel or recharge. When we do not rest, we are saying that we can do it on our own strength. If we try this, we will quickly find out that we have nowhere near the strength to do what the Lord has given us.

 

While it may seem a little crazy to set aside a day to rest, remember, and refuel, it is even crazier to think that we can do all that God desires without that time!

But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. (Exodus 3:19)

I love the story of Moses at the burning bush. I don’t know if it’s the reminder of the first major Bible study I went through as a disciple of Jesus – Experiencing God. This account is one that is so rich. 

The verse that is shared above is one that has made me scratch my head a few times. Moses is being called to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egpyt to the Promised Land. 

In the middle of Moses’ excuses comes the brutally honest nugget from the Lord: Pharaoh won’t listen to you.

As a preacher of God’s word, I can tell you that one thing that has Ruffles my feathers more than once is to be called to share a message with a people, and they do not respond. Truthfully, they want nothing of it. That is so frustrating. 

 If this account wasn’t bad enough, we see it again in Isaiah. In Isaiah 6:9-10, we see that after this amazing worship experience and willingness to go where God wants, Isaiah is told to go tell the people God’s word, but they will not receive not understand it. 

It is hard to accept an invitation to something when you know that it will not be received. I would begin to think, “What’s the point?” “Why should I waste my time, efforts, abilities, and heart if all they are going to do is reject/mock/ignore the message I bring to them?”

I truly believe that the answer to those questions is that one has to remember the big picture. In remembering the big picture, one realizes that this is God’s show. We do not have to be used by Him, but He chooses to use us.

Sometimes God is up to so much more than just what we see on the surface. In the case of Moses going before a hard-hearted Pharaoh, we see that with the plagues that came that God was showing Himself greater than the false gods of Egpyt. God was wanting to deliver not just the Israelites from physical slavery, but He also wanted to deliver the Egyptians from their false gods. 

The road before us that God has called us to may not be the easiest. It may not be as bright and productive as we may like. We must remember that our God is the sovereign Ruler over all things. This is His show… We’ve just been asked to be faithful. 

tfp green and whiteNow that we have gotten good into 2016, it’s about time that we reveal a little project they our family has been working on behind the scenes.

If you have been following my wife and I for very long, one thing that is that we enjoy sharing our thoughts with other people. Over the past few years, each of us has had a blog that we have posted on here and there.

Today is a new day. Introducing the Faith Path.

We came to the conclusion, “Why should we just carry on separate blogs in separate places?”  We decided to create one singular website that would host both of our blogs and be a place for us to share together. Out of those thoughts have come The Faith Path.

From this point forward, my blog thoughts will be posted here at anthony.thefaithpath.com. You can find Naomi’s blog at naomi.thefaithpath.com.

What is the Faith Path?

Since 2011, the Lord has really been teaching our family about what Hebrews 11:6 is about.

And without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarded of those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6  NASB

As followers of Jesus Christ, we want to please Him with our lives. It is the least that we could do for all that He has done for us. This verse reminds us that for that “pleasing” to happen faith has to be present. This means that the path we are walking in this life is “the faith path.”

For now, the blogs are all that we have up. We hope to have other things up before too long – things pertaining to our family, things we think are important, etc. for the time being, we hope that was is shared here will help you to choose the faith path.

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make each year is to get in shape or exercise.  It is important that if we want to live a productive life that we make sure that we are as healthy as we can be.  
Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8 that physical exercise was good but that spiritual exercise would benefit us for eternity.
In Philippians 2:12, Paul tells the Philippian believers to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Notice that he does NOT say to work for your salvation.  Salvation is a gift of God’s grace to us.  We can do nothing to earn it or deserve it.
While salvation is a gift of grace, it is a gift that is to be opened and put in to use.  There are so many things about this gift of salvation that people who put their faith in Christ receive that we are to experience.
1) Forgiveness and Freedom from past sins.
2) A future home in heaven with our Lord forever.
While this gift has these wonderful benefits, it also has something for us today: victory and joy.  These things can be missed by those who are not seeking to do what Paul talks about here in working out our salvation.  God intends us not to just receive this gift, but He wants us to open it and experience all it has to offer.
Fear
Paul said first that we should work out our salvation with fear.  This is the idea of reverence.  We must be sure to remember where this gift came from (God).  We should live each day in reverence of who He is.
We need to make sure that we have the proper picture of who the giver of this gift is.  He is not some drill sergeant waiting to make us drop and give Him 20 when we mess up.  He is not some loving grandpa just wanting to give us candy and shrug things off as “no big deal.”  He is the living God of the universe… All-powerful… holy… just…
When you see God as He truly is, there will be a reverence in your life towards Him.
Trembling
Paul says second that we should work out our salvation with trembling.  This is not saying that we are to be scared and shaking in fear.  The meaning of this word is “seriousness.”  Too many times people do not take God serious.  This is a result again of not understanding who the giver of the gift of salvation is.
How Do We Work Out Our Salvation?

1) Realize that God is the One working in us (v 13)
Just as there is nothing that we can do to earn salvation, there is no power within us to fully open up and experience this gift of salvation for today.  God gives the gift and begins a work in us that helps us experience the fullness of salvation.
2) Remove complaining and arguing (v 14)
It is interesting that Paul uses the phrases “grumbling” and “disrupting” here.  Grumbling has to do with complaining.  When grumbling is present, it reveals a selfish nature that is not part of God’s desires for our lives.  We grumble and complain when things aren’t going the way that we want them to go.  Following the Lord’s lead may take you in a direction that you would not want to go.
Disrupting has the thought of arguing about a difference of opinions.  We all have opinions on matters.  We will stand strong for our opinions.  God has given us clearly in His word the line of truth.  These are the things that we should stand strong on.  We have to remember that while our opinions may mean a lot to us, they are not gospel.
3) Remain in the Word (v 16)
A final way that Paul shows us to work out our salvation is by holding fast to the word of life.  This means to hold firmly to the Word that God has given us.  He has given us both His written word (the Bible) and the living word (Jesus).  If we want to experience all that this salvation has for us, we are going to have to cling to the Word of God.
There are many things in this world that will fight for our attention and devotion.  The Word of God is the single thing in the universe that can lead us and guide us to experiencing the fullness of the salvation that we have received from the Lord.
Conclusion

 

This gift of salvation is one gift that is way more than we could ever imagine.  It has components that deal with our past, present, and future.  If we are going to fully experience this gift and all that it has to offer, we have to allow it to do its work in our lives today.
parent's joy
As I was reading in my Bible recently, I came across a verse that spoke to me in a brand new way.  That verse is the one in the image above (3 John 1:4).  I cannot count the times that I have heard this verse in a Bible study or sermon.  I have had it highlighted in many of the Bibles that I have owned.  What was so different this time of reading?

The difference was that I was not thinking of it as a pastor but as a parent.  When John first penned these words back in the first century, it seems as though he was writing about those he had seen come to faith in Christ.  He viewed his relationship with them as that of a parent.  It is good to think about it that way.

But this verse spoke to me and I thought about the three boys that God has so richly blessed my wife and I with.  I was immediately drawn to pray this for my boys.  I want them to know the Truth (Jesus Christ) in a powerful way.  I truly believe that there would be few things in life that would make me truly happy than to know and to hear from others about how my boys are walking/following Christ.

If you know someone who has children and they are walking in the truth of Jesus Christ, let their parents know.  You will bring them a joy like nothing else can.