Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sabbath Day ~ My Day of Spiritual Renewal

The Sabbath Day is my day of renewal.  I come heavy with the woes of the world and find myself filled by the time I leave.  It is the best day of the week. 

Living in the world I am dragged down by the weight of things I cannot myself change.  So, I am faced with trials and have a mind that worries constantly.  I know, I am not supposed to worry or fear.  D&C 6:36 says:  " Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."  But my mind will not let me rest.  I worry constantly about one thing or another.

In Seminary tonight, we studied Exodus 14 where Moses leads the Children of Israel from Egypt.  I marvel at how patient God was with Pharaoh.  He sent plague after plague and Pharaoh would call Moses and Aaron in and say, "intreat the Lord your God that he may take away" this or that plague.  Moses would ask and the Lord would take it away.  Time after time until the 10th plague.  In this instance it was too late to take it away, all the firstborn of Egypt was dead. 

The 10th plague or the passover is a type or symbol of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Children of Israel were instructed to take a lamb without blemish and eat it that night.  Take the blood and put it on the side and top of the door.  The angel of death would see this and pass over that household, the household of the believers.  So, in essence, the blood of the lamb saved them from death.  It did for them something they could not do for themselves.  Jesus did this for us.  His blood, that he freely gave, saves the believers from eternal death.  He paid that price for us, because we could not pay it.  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Meanwhile, back in Egypt, in a remarkable act of arrogance, Pharaoh decided to pursue Moses and the Children of Israel.  I don't know, maybe he felt he had nothing else to lose.  Egypt had been destroyed and the jaws of death were gaping wide.  Yet he still tried to show his power.  Egypt pursued.

The Children of Israel were camped next to the sea and saw the Egyptians arrive and they were very afraid.  They chided Moses saying, "...hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?...Is this not the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians.  For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness."  Exodus 14:11-12.

Moses' answer thrills me to my soul:  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever."  Exodus 14:13

Or, as Psalms 46:10 reminds us:  "Be still, and know that I am God"

And like the Chris Tomlin song Our God says:

"And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
What could stand against."

Then the Lord used Moses as an instrument in his hands to save the Children of Israel.  He parted the sea.  The people walked across on dry land with the water as a wall on their right and left.  The Egyptians who tried to follow them were not so lucky.  It says that "Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore" Exodus 14:30.

My mind reels at Pharaoh and the Egyptians persistence.  They had witnessed ten terrible plagues that destroyed Egypt because of Pharaoh's refusal to release the Children of Israel, the last being death of all firstborn Egyptians with the Israelites' firstborns left alive.  Then they pursued them, even into the sea...even to their deaths. forward to today.  Are you facing trials?  Persecutions?  Do things seem out of control or beyond help.  Stop right there.  Drop to your knees and seek the Lord.  He is bigger than anything that faces you right now.  And...he promises not to put on us more than we can bare.  1 Corinthians 10:13:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
So whatever you face in life right now at this moment, there is hope.  And you only need to reach out to the Lord to receive it.  It might not be what you expected, because God knows our paths and where he wants us to go.  Sometimes the answer is no or not now.  But He loves us and wants the best for us.  So who can be against us if He is for us.

Also, know you are not alone.  No  matter how much you may feel that way.  The Lord uses people like Moses to do His work.  They are instruments in God's hands.  Sometimes they are prophets, like Pres. Thomas S. Monson and sometimes they are ordinary people like you and me.

So, rise above your troubles and reach out to another and help.  You will find joy in the service.  There is always someone who is in a worse spot than yourself if you will just look.   

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