All posts by Lisa Gleaves

Lisa Gleaves

About Lisa Gleaves

Lisa is a wife and Stay-At-Home Mom of two (soon to be three) daughters. She lives in Oklahoma and has been writing the blog "The Sabbath Challenge" for a year and a half. Her blog has grown to over 6,000 fans. She has written her first book entitled: Claiming God's SABBATH Blessings: for a more Relaxing, Happier, Healthier Life - She enjoys sharing what God has revealed to her about Sabbath and challenges others to join her in keeping Sabbath and living for God.

Understanding the Four Purposes of Sabbath – By Lisa Gleaves

There are A LOT of scriptures about Sabbath which explain its purpose.  This study will look at several Sabbath verses as an overview.  I encourage you to read all of the scripture in its complete context for yourself.

Purpose #1
Sabbath is to be Sanctified, Set Apart (to be Holy)

The word Holy in Hebrew is qadosh.  It means to be set apart for a special purpose.  Think of how china dishes are used in most homes.  They are stored in a special place and treated with extra care.  They can be used everyday, but are usually only brought out for a special event.  Sabbath should be set apart as special.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.  Genesis 2:3

I am called to remember it and keep it holy.  It is the Sabbath of the Lord.
Exodus 20:8-11

It is a sign to show that God sanctifies (set apart, made holy) His people.  A
perpetual covenant forever.  Exodus 31:13-17

I should sanctify it (set it apart) because God commanded me.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15

The purposes of Sabbath begin with setting it apart as special.

Purpose #2
Sabbath is for Rest and Refreshment

He rested from all His work on that day.  He set the example of rest.
Genesis 2:2-3

It is for rest and refreshment.  Exodus 23:12

No matter what time of year, I should rest on Sabbath.  Exodus 34:21

It is a holy day of rest to the Lord.  Exodus 35:2-3

I should refrain from all work.  Exodus 20:8-11

No work.  Exodus 35:2-3

Everyone in all my dwellings should rest.  Leviticus 23:3

Everyone in my household should rest.  Deuteronomy 5:12-15

It is pretty clear that Sabbath is a time for me to refrain from work so I can rest.  God intends for me to be refreshed in and through Him.  He intends for me to rest every Sabbath.  He also wants everyone in my home to benefit from this refreshment.

Purpose #3
Sabbath is for Knowing God (Not for Our Personal Entertainment)

God wants an intimate relationship with us.  He wants us to value that relationship more than anything else and desire to know everything about Him. He wants us to seek Him with all our hearts.  Sabbath establishes an ideal situation for that to happen.

Isaiah 58:13-14 says:
Call Sabbath a delight and you shall delight yourself in the Lord.
Honor God, not yourself, on Sabbath.
Don’t do your own ways.
Don’t find your own pleasure.
Don’t speak your own words.

God says it brings joy when I honor Him and celebrate Sabbath, whether I feel like doing it or not.  Sabbath is not about me, it’s about God.  It’s a time to practice putting Him first in my life.  As soon as I start focusing on myself, I have lost sight of this purpose of Sabbath.

Amos 8:4-7 says:
We shouldn’t wait eagerly for Sabbath to be over so we can have personal gain.

After reading this verse, I had to say, “Ouch!”  I may not be as bad as those in the verse who wait for Sabbath to be over so they can take advantage of others and gain money and power.  But I certainly have been guilty of looking forward to the end of Sabbath so I can go do what I want to do.  I have to ask- Do I desire to know God more than anything else?

Mark 2:27 says:
“And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”

This is one of the most quoted verses in the Sabbath keeping community.  I have also found it to be one of the most misunderstood verses.  After much reading and examining, I have an illustration that I hope presents a clear picture.

A hammer is a tool.  What does it do?  It helps build.  That is the purpose and what it was designed to do.  In the same way, Sabbath is a tool for man.  For what purpose?  To help build my relationship with God (know Him).  So, a man’s sole reason for being created was not to use a hammer or to keep Sabbath.  But both are great tools to be used by man to help build.

Purpose #4
Sabbath is for Reflecting God to Others

I reflect God best to others when He is in me and I know Him well.  One of the purposes of God’s followers is to show Him to those who don’t know Him.  I don’t sacrifice this purpose on Sabbath.  It is a part of being a disciple.

Luke 13:10-17 says:
Jesus was teaching His ways to the crowds so people would know Him. (Know God)
He also healed a woman so the people would know who He is and what He stands for. (Reflecting God)

Luke 6:7-10 says:
Jesus, to prove His point to the Pharisees, asks if it is against Sabbath law for Him to do good and reflect God to others.  He then answers by healing a lame man.

Matthew 12:1-12 says:
Jesus reminds those who are hung up on Sabbath law that He sets the standard, not them.  He has all authority and desires us to know and reflect Him.  He says it IS lawful (by His authority) to do good on Sabbath.

John 7:21-24 says:
Jesus asks why some people are fine with circumcision on Sabbath but not making someone whole (doing good).  He tells them not to judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

John 5:1-17 says:
Jesus healed again on Sabbath.  He explains to the Pharisees that His purpose and God’s purpose for the people of this world does not change on Sabbath day.  He came to heal (in every sense) and there is no reason to halt His purposes on Sabbath.

John 9 says:
Jesus healed a man who had been blind from birth.  He explains it was so God could be made manifest in the man.  Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  The Pharisees threw a fit because the man was healed on Sabbath.  They condemned the man and Jesus.  The man told the Pharisees, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.”  The man believed in and worshiped Jesus.

Clearer Understanding of Sabbath
I hope that reading through these Sabbath scriptures has given you a clearer understanding of the purposes of Sabbath.  These purposes give me a greater focus as I approach each Sabbath.  I love how each one builds on the other!  It starts with God and is all about God.  I set apart the Sabbath day as holy out of obedience, then I find my rest and refreshment in Him, I also seek to know Him, and then I seek to reflect Him to others.

Is It Okay To Gather With A Group Of Believers Who Don’t Keep Sabbath – By Lisa Gleaves

Is it okay to gather with a group of believers who don’t keep Sabbath? It may seem like a silly question, but it is a subject that stirs up strong feelings.

Sabbath Is Firmly Established
Let me clarify first that I’m NOT talking about keeping Sabbath on any day other than the day God established. He never changed the day. While many people choose to keep Sabbath on a different day, God still keeps it on His established day.

With that out of the way, I AM talking about getting together with groups of believers on days other than Sabbath. Looking at scripture, it’s easy to see that Sabbath was an established time for believers to meet, read God’s Word and pray together. Naturally, Sabbath is a day set aside to focus on God, spend time with Him and get to know Him better. So it makes sense to get together with others who have set aside the day to do this.

Two Questions
But is it lawful to gather with a group of believers on a day other than Sabbath?
And is it lawful to gather with a group of believers who don’t keep Sabbath?

Let’s look at the first question: Is it lawful to gather with a group of believers on a day other than Sabbath?
The answer is a pretty easy yes. Believers in Bible times gathered on many different days at many different times for many different reasons. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

The second question is the one that causes problems: Is it lawful to gather with a group of believers who don’t keep Sabbath?
Of course I’m referring to believers who gather on Sunday. It is understood that most Sunday believers do not keep Sabbath. Most view Sunday as the “new Sabbath” or they really haven’t thought of Sabbath at all. It is not taught or it is simply explained as “done away with.”

What I have to keep in mind is that keeping Sabbath does not bring me salvation. It is an act of obedience and love after salvation. Whether I keep Sabbath or not does not add to or take away from my salvation. God sees the hearts of all believers. There are believers who love God but are ignorant of Sabbath (me a few years ago). There are believers who are aware of Sabbath but choose to believe a lie. There are believers who want to honor God by keeping Sabbath on Sunday. And there are believers who love God and honor Him by keeping His Sabbath on His established day. The common tie is that we are believers. We have been saved by God, undeservingly, from death.

My Story
When my family started keeping Sabbath, my husband was on staff (media minister) at a Southern Baptist church. So we were keeping Sabbath Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, then going to church on Sunday. We expected God to call us away from this church because they don’t keep Sabbath. We actively prayed and looked for other job opportunities. My husband was offered a job with a Sabbath keeping church, but heard God clearly say, “not now.” Instead, God asked us to stay and be an influence at our church. It’s not always easy having some different beliefs, but we have been surprised at the interest in Sabbath from people in our Sunday church. We share respectfully when God gives us opportunities and people have respectfully listened. We understand how they view Sabbath because we thought the same way two short years ago.

I understand that some believers and churches reject those who choose to keep Sabbath. I realize the pain and hurt that comes with rejection from those who are fellow believers. It just isn’t right. But keep in mind that rejection can go both ways. It is also not right to reject fellow believers who don’t keep Sabbath. If I see them as God’s fellow believers, I will want to share about Sabbath in love. I can’t control their response, only my motivation and actions.

The Answer?
I came to the conclusion that only God can give the answer to the question of whether to attend a non-Sabbath keeping church. For some, God will call them away. For others, like myself, God will ask them to stay. God knows the situation and how He can receive the most glory. Let Him be the one to guide you. You may face criticism and rejection from non-Sabbath keepers and Sabbath keepers alike, but you can’t go wrong when you keep your eyes on what God asks of you. Honor and obey God and you will find His blessings!

The Encouragement That Sabbath Brings!

Needing Encouragement?
I’ve been thinking lately about the struggles that my family and I faced when we started keeping Sabbath and the struggles we continue to face now.  It’s one thing to know how to claim God’s Sabbath blessings and another thing to put it into practice every week.  Don’t think for one minute that my Sabbath runs perfect just because I wrote a book about it!

I know there are people out there with the same struggles and it has been on my heart to share some encouragement.

Encouragement for the Heart
The best place I know to find encouragement is in God’s Word!  I have to be sure that I am listening to His truths at all times so I won’t be tempted to fall into the trap of discouragement and begin to miss His Sabbath blessings.

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

There are crazy, mixed up messages among people concerning Sabbath.  It can cause major confusion!  I have found many who shout their message or even flaunt their message.  It’s hard to miss them.  But to hear from God, I need to get still and quiet.  It is then that I can receive His clear direction.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14

I can struggle with wanting to fit in and not stand out as odd.  But it’s ok to look different because I keep Sabbath.  Actually, it’s better than ok.  Jesus said that when I follow His ways it brings life.

“If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of The Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in The Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13-14

I struggle with wanting to put myself first and with missing out on earthly pleasures.  But God promises me that, when I put Him first and keep HIS Sabbath, I will delight myself in Him!  There is no greater blessing than to be in the center of God’s will!

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.” Psalms 71:1-3

When keeping Sabbath, hard situations with work, family, friends, etc. may come.  It is in these times that God is my refuge and strength!  He will guide me through whatever trouble I face.

“And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:5

I struggle sometimes with staying on top of my prior preparations for Sabbath.  I can get lazy or unfocused and lose sight of why I am preparing.  But I can be sure that when I prepare as God asks, my distractions are fewer and my time with God is sweeter!

Whatever Sabbath struggles you come across, know that God has encouragement for you!

Until next time,
Lisa G.

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