Archive for October, 2010

In part 1 we looked at the Tawrat and saw that God offers us rest, that is, he offers us peace and safety so that we are free to worship him and enjoy him alone. In this post we will see how God offers this rest as revealed by Jesus Christ in the Injil.

Saydna Isa makes a remarkable promise:

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

When the Injil was revealed by God there were no chapter division or verse numbers. They were added later to help us reference particular sentences in the Injil. Because of this, we at times fail to see that chapters are linked together. This is a good example of this, for the Messiah makes these comments at the end of chapter 11, but we cannot fully understand them without what he also says (and does) in chapter 12 about the Sabbath (a holy day of rest).

In chapter 12 the disciples were picking grain on the Sabbath, which the religious leaders of the day believed was disobeying the command to not work on the Sabbath. Our master Jesus shows that this is not true because God has always meant for the Sabbath to be a day when people’s needs are met. The disciples were hungry and in need and God never intended the Sabbath to be a burden when people’s needs were not met. Therefore, since the Sabbath was created for man and for man’s good, it was not wrong to meet an immediate need on the Sabbath. Jesus Christ follows this by saying, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8).

In the very next story we see our master Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. It is good, right and “lawful to do good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12). Even though the religious leaders thought Jesus Christ should not heal on the Sabbath, Jesus did it because it is God’s desire that people’s needs are met every day, even (especially!) on the holy day of rest.

God wants us to have rest. He wants us to rest on the Sabbath day and every day. He wants us to trust that he will do us good. Jesus Christ is the lord of the Sabbath and thus he is the lord of rest. This is why he is able to offer rest to all who come to him. Everyday we seek to make ourselves clean and acceptable to God through our own works. It is hard and laborious (and impossible) to try and be good enough. Jesus Christ offers a different way. He invites us to come to him, all who labor and heavy laden (who doesn’t labor and isn’t heavy laden?!). He will give us rest, for he is the lord of the Sabbath

Related Posts:
The Prophet Noah
Rest: The Meaning of Noah – Part 1
Rest: The Meaning of Noah – Part 3

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Pray for Indonesia

Indonesia endured an earthquake that led to a tsunami on Monday (at least 311 dead) and then a volcano eruption less than 24 hours later (at least 28 dead).

The devastation seen in these pictures should compel us to cry out for God’s mercy.

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Praise God for Tong Phuoc Phuc

Al-humdulillah! (Praise God!)

Tong Phuoc Phuc noticed that many pregnant women entered the clinic, but then came out without their babies. He asked if he could take the aborted babies and give them a proper burial. He believes rightly that they are human beings, worthy of all the dignity, respect and rights of other human beings. Then pregnant women started coming to him and gave him their babies rather than abort them. He is father to about 50 children!

HT: Jill Stanek

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Global Pink Hijab Day 2010

Cancer is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t care if you are a Muslim or Christian or anything else. This is why it is good for Muslims and Christians to work together to seek the cure. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October 27 is Global Pink Hijab Day. Its goal is to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer, while atthe same time display the humanity of Muslim women who cover.

My mom died of breast cancer over 18 years ago. I am thankful for those who seek to find the cure.

Related Post:
Global Pink Hijab Day (2009)

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I mentioned before that our son Noah is named after the prophet Noah. One of the reason’s we gave him this name is that it means “rest” and that is what we are praying he (and we) will receive from God.

Rest is a rich biblical theme throughout the Bible. In this post we will see what the Tawrat says about this rest. In another post we will look at what the Injil says.

In Exodus 20 the prophet Moses wrote the 10 commandments. One of them was to keep the Sabbath holy, that is, to not work on the Sabbath. The reason for this command is given in verse 11, Moses wrote, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” The story of creation is told in Genesis 1-2. It is clear that God created and ordered the world in six days and then rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath.

Obviously God’s rest on the seventh day is not owing to any deficiency in him. He has all strength and he never grows tired or weary (“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is  the everlasting God,the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” [Isaiah 40:28].) God did not rest on the seventh day because he was tired. God rested because he was finished. He did not rest in order to recuperate. He rested because his work of creation was complete.

Several times the Bible speaks of God giving his people rest from their enemies. God made this promise to the prophet David who was king over his people, “I will give you rest from all your enemies” (2 Samuel 7:11). This is exactly what we see. By the end of David’s life he had rest from all his enemies so that there was peace in the land.

Shortly before David died he encouraged his son Solomon and the people by saying, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not given you peace on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and his people. Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 22:18-19).

The rest he describes is a rest of peace. It is a rest that includes safety from those who would destroy them. God had given the people peaceful rest so that they would seek him. He had given them rest so that they could focus all of their attention on worshipping him.

This is the rest he offers us. A freedom from fear. A freedom from working to secure our own safety. A freedom to worship. A freedom to enjoy God. A freedom to be at peace.


Related Posts:
The Prophet Noah
Rest: The Meaning of Noah – Part 2
Rest: The Meaning of Noah – Part 3

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Everyday Muslims pray that Allah would guide them on the straight path. Verse 6 of the opening Surah of the Qur’an says:

“Guide us to the straight path”

This is a good prayer. I was thinking about it today when I read Isaiah 35:

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there (verses 8-9).

The highway is a highway of holiness. There are two key things about it: 1) You must be clean in order to be on it and 2) It is really safe, for even fools will not stray from it and nothing dangerous will be found on it.

Yes, God, guide me to the straight path.

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The Power of a Photo

(this is a photo of a child at 10 weeks)

Jennifer Rego:

For myself, the power of the photograph is precisely that it is the reminder that I need that defending the unborn is not simply “a cause”, or an “issue”, because people are not causes or issue, they unique, unrepeatable human beings that I have a relationship with simply because we both share our human dignity, and it is simply because of that, that I have an obligation to defend them.

Read the rest.

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