Priority Planning with Jesus

And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:5

Where does Jesus fit in the priorities of your life? Is he in first place or is he more of an afterthought?

hurry-2119711_1920Honestly, depending on the circumstances, I sometimes squeeze him in wherever. It’s the wrong thing to do because I find that when he’s in first place, I experience peace.

Today I read the story about Jesus and his disciples, who were caught picking grain on the Sabbath by religious leaders (Luke 6:1-5). The last line of the passage took on new meaning for me. Knowing that Jesus is lord of the Sabbath is a game changer.

What does it mean exactly? To know, we have to dig deeply into the words lord and Sabbath.

The original Greek meanings are as follows:*

Lord is kyrios (pronounced koo-re-ohs) and Sabbath is sabbaton (pronounced sahb-baht-own).

Lord means one who exercises supernatural authority over mankind — Lord, Ruler, One who commands.

Sabbath is a period of seven days, a week.

Many Christians observe a “Sabbath day,” a day of worship and rest from work. We gather with other believers to sing, pray, serve, and learn about God.  We rest from work after the pattern of God’s creation of the world.

pair-3798371_1920Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:1-3

The Sabbath was a holy day for Jews and the Pharisees strictly observed it. Many activities were forbidden and when Jesus and his followers picked the grain, the Pharisees considered it a form of work. Basically, Jesus was snacking.

I love how he fired back at his harassers with scripture. Read Luke 6:1-5 for the full picture. Jesus put these legalists in their place.

1 Colossians 1:15 -17 tells us: Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

The leaders really didn’t understand to whom they were speaking. I get it. Sometimes I forget too.

Jesus is Lord. He’s the One who commands. He’s Lord of the Sabbath. This means he is Lord over the whole week.

What’s the significance for us? When we plan our days according to the commands of our commander, we put them in proper order. Jesus hammered a fundamental principle into the minds of his followers. He challenged them to align their thinking and behavior with God’s ultimate standard.

love-3388626_1920He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  John 13:34

If we filter all we do and say through this principle, we will literally change the world.

How can you align your weekly plans with Jesus’ command?

*Louw, Johannes P, and Eugene A Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains. United Bible Societies, 1988.

 

The cure for spiritual teenagers

By Erika Rizkallah

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I have three children; two adult daughters and a 15-year-old son. It feels like I’ve been in this stage of parenting forever. And I do mean forever!

Teen girls are difficult but raising my son is harder because our thought processes are completely different.

I mean, why would you do this when I told you not to . . ?

 

Most days I dread waking him up. It sounds awful but I’m just being honest. He’s my baby and our tight-knit bond is unraveling. I know his need for independence is a good and healthy thing. But I’m often nostalgic for the good old days when he wasn’t embarrassed of me and I wasn’t irritated by him.  

Some weeks are tougher than others and this is one of those weeks. When I came across the Romans 8:28 verse this morning, I reflected on this question:

           Who doesn’t want good things?

The gentle me said, “Everyone. We all want good things.” angel-640996_1920 

But my inner cynic shoved her aside and snapped, My kid doesn’t want good things, otherwise he wouldn’t be such a pain in the butt. (I named that voice – I call her The Commander).

She looks like this . . . 

military-662863_1920

The Commander is mean and she lies. A lot.

My son does want good things. He just thinks his wants are the good things and my wants are irrelevant. He’s obstinate and acting his age – he’s excelling in rebelling.

sleeping-1353562_1920-2

I loathe rebellion. It annoys and frustrates me because I know my want is greater. For example:

He wants to drink soda all day.

        I want his teeth to stay in his mouth.

He wants to stay up late at night.

        I want him to be ready and alert for school.

He wants to take Driver’s Ed.

        I want him to obey house rules before road rules.

But the more I think about it, I realize that unless we’ve spent years walking with Jesus, we grownups can also act like self-involved spiritual teenagers.

pokemon-1543556_1280 

God loves us no matter our age or stage but his wants are always higher.

Always.

Jesus is our standard and pattern for living. He was devoted to Our Father’s purpose and plans for his life. He was obedient in every word and deed. The same obedience is required from us despite our wants and it’s not easy. 

goats-173940-2 

He said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” John 14:21

Obedience often has negative connotations in our culture unless it pertains to children or animals. In Biblical terms it’s not demeaning. It’s a yielding of self and when we offer ourselves we receive much more. We receive his love and look at those last few words . . . he shows himself to us.   

We can learn from his example and pattern our lives after his. This is called discipleship and not only benefits us, it changes the world. 

Obedience is the antidote for the harmful effects of sin. When we keep our hearts focused on loving and serving God, our perspective changes. Those harmful desires that trap and keep us in spiritual bondage begin to melt away.

Parents wanting good things for their children won’t allow them to wallow in immaturity.  We want them to live full lives and that’s what God wants for us. As disciples, we’ll be drawn ever higher, ever deeper, and ever richer into the fullness of Christ.

 

ft-caswell-cross-2-2

His death on the cross gives us strength to keep walking forward. He gives us hope as we push through the squirmy emotions and resentful attitudes we encounter from ourselves and others.

He’s working all things for good!