Tag Archives: rest

Matthew 11 – Reactions

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.”  When i read this, I take it as Jesus instructing and sending out the disciples and while they are sent out to do the work of ministry, He is going to their home cities to teach and preach.  It seems almost like a mentality of, “You go take care of these places and meanwhile I have your back.  I am going to make sure your families and friends are taken care of. ”  It’s like His reaction to their stepping out is to take care of those they care about.

Meanwhile, John the Baptist, the one who recognized Jesus conception from the womb and leapt in his mother’s womb at His presence, the one who prepared the way for Jesus, the one who told Jesus that he couldn’t baptize Him because he was not even worthy to untie His sandals, the one who heard the voice of God (YHWH) speaking and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Jesus, the one who said, “He must increase, and I must decrease”, that John; He has set for too long and has come to the point of wondering and doubting that which He had previously known beyond a shadow of a doubt.  So he sends his disciples, the ones that are left, to Jesus to ask if He is the one.  Jesus reaction is not one of disgust that John is even asking such a thing and reacting in such a way, but His reaction is to tell them to observe and report.  That that is the answer for John’s doubt.  There is no criticism of John, only comfort.

Meanwhile, Jesus begins to respond to the reaction of the cities He has already been to.  He had preached, and taught, and healed, and done miracles, and called them to repentance, yet they had not.  They had continued doing what they knew was wrong and treating Jesus teaching like a passing fad.  So Jesus pronounces “Woe” on them.  They rejected the message, so that reaction is going to affect their standing on the judgment day.

Finally, Jesus calls for a reaction from the people.  The conclusion to the chapter is, “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.

So what is your and my reaction to His message?

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Leviticus 23 – Celebrate

That’s one of the things that i like about YHWH.  It’s not all just about rules and regulations.  It’s about utilizing all kinds of aspects of life.  It’s about creativity and connecting the past, to the present, to the future.  Worship is not just about sacrifices and burnt offerings.  It’s also about bringing something before God that you are to consume in his presence.  It’s about festivals and rest as well.

There are a number of festivals that are to be celebrated throughout the year; the Passover, Pentacost, the feast of weeks, the feast of booths, etc.  They all have meanings and important interpretations.  For instance, passover is a celebration of freedom from bondage and slavery under the Egyptians.  It is a celebration of new life and hope.  It is a celebration of freedom.  Meanwhile, the feast of booths is a week long celebration in which the first day is a day of rest and the only work that can be done is the building of small booths made of the branches, boughs, and fronds of trees.  It is a celebration as a reminder of the Israelite’s time in the wilderness where they had to rely on God for protection and provision.  It is a time of blessing.  The feast of booths begins and ends with a day of rest to the LORD.  I mean honestly, how many religions do you know that celebrate rest?

Are we taking seriously what YHWH has done for us?  Do we make it a point to remember and celebrate together the ways that He has brought health and healing to our lives?  Do we remind one another and celebrate together His work and purpose in and through us?  How can we do this more?

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Exodus 31 – Work & Rest

In the New Testament there is a listing(s) of spiritual gifts.  Gifts given to the people of the body of Christ in order to strengthen the body and to help the people do the work of ministry.  There are people who debate about how many “gifts” are actually represented in the list(s) and what it all means.  It can be an interesting conversation sometimes trying to process through the information, but the conversation of the gifts of Spirit will oftentimes come back to the Old Testament.  To Exodus 31.  Why?  “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.”  Suddenly, there is a whole new discussion.  Are there “gifts” of the Spirit that we don’t even know about?  YHWH gave this man and others gifts to be able to do the work of building the tabernacle and all that was to be in it.  They were given gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the people and the work of service, yet craftsmanship is not listed in the New Testament gifts.  It certainly gives you pause to think.

I would so love to see the work that was done by these people.  I can only imagine the beauty and craftsmanship of their work.  To see the alter and the tabernacle.  To smell the incense and the sacrifice.  To hear the sounds of the work and the worship.  What beauty.  But, it is not a privilege that i will have on this side of eternity.

The other key aspect of this chapter is its focus on the Sabbath.  Six days are for work, and one for rest.  God takes that command very seriously, even when we don’t.  We know that we should be taking a day of rest, but how often do we truly take a Sabbath?  Aren’t we working around the house, or in the yard, or preparing for work, or some other “important” task.  I know that many times i’m teaching a class on Sunday mornings.  Monday through Friday i’m teaching college level psychology in the high-school.  Wednesday through Saturday i’m working with boys and young men who have low IQ’s and behavioral problems.  Add to that the time spent working around the house, and that i am working on this project almost every day, and it all adds up to working 7 days a week almost every day of the year.  I know i’m not the only one who does this kind of thing.  So if God’s word is so important, and He takes the Sabbath so seriously, why don’t we?

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Exodus 23 – Justice & Honor

This chapter seems to have quite a few miscellaneous justice and balance regulations.  I was going to say that they are oppression and mistreatment laws, but then i realized that they are not rules to tell people not to do something so much as they are regulations to help you live in justice and balance.  Here are some examples.  Do not pervert justice.  Don’t take bribes.  Take care of your enemy’s beasts even if your enemy isn’t willing to take care of them himself.  Work six days and make sure you rest on the seventh.  Plant for 6 years but let your fields go fallow for the seventh.

Then YHWH goes into our responsibility to honor and celebrate Him.  Three times per year the people are to get together and celebrate feasts to God.  Offer sacrifices with unleavened bread, not leavened, and bring your first fruits into the house of the LORD.   It’s all about recognizing and honoring Him above all.

Finally, YHWH talks about what He will do.  He will send an angel to guide and direct them.  He will bring terror of them on their enemies.  He will bless the land and the people.  He will drive their enemies out ahead of them… not all at once, so that the land is not overrun by wild beasts.  But the people MUST make sure that they do not pursue the false gods of the people of the land.

Overall, i don’t see an overarching theme that describes / covers the entire chapter, but these concepts need to be understood and applied to fully honor God.

Rev. John

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Exodus 1 – Purpose?

Today has just started as one of those days.  I got up, got my chapter done, and in a short 21 verse chapter i just could not stay awake.  It took me quite a bit longer than it should have.  Afterwards i immediately went back to bed and crashed… hard.  This project can be a real struggle sometimes.  I love it, and i love doing it, but on days like today i just want to quit.  I wonder if it’s really worth getting up two hours early to get the chapter copied over and the post written?

Add to that the fact that i am a man in my early 30’s and i feel like i have accomplished nothing in my life.  That’s at least a third of my life gone, with what feels like nothing to show for it.

Then i look at this passage, and i wonder.  Joseph was a man who did what God called him to do.  He put all this work, time, and effort into being the man of God that was needed for the time.  God spent all that time prepping him, and he worked so hard for Pharaoh.  He perhaps single handedly (with God’s direction) saved the lands of Egypt and Canaan from a major drought that would have left the land barren and the people starved to death.

He did all this, and “(n)ow a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.”  This new king owed everything he owned to Joseph, but that didn’t matter.  Joseph struggled, worked, and toiled all his life, helped Egypt to grow in prosperity and strength, and it doesn’t matter.  The king saw all of the Israelites in the land and decided that that was going to be his target.  Joseph’s work and all that he did didn’t mean a thing to this Pharaoh.

I struggle with this because, if all that Joseph did ceases to matter, and he, with God’s direction, did some amazing things, how much more I.  Do i even matter?  Does anything that i could accomplish really matter?  I’ve gotten this far into my life, and it feels like i have accomplished little of real value, but even if i did, does it really matter?  Fifty years after my death, will anyone even remember me or what i have done?  If they do, will they even care?

 

John Camiolo

P.S.  I know, i know.  Many of you will point out that what Joseph did did matter.  After all, we know Joseph’s story, and it was all a part of God’s much bigger plan.  Also some will say that it’s not about our credit here, but we are storing up treasures in heaven…  I understand these concepts and more, but there are times when the facts get buried in how we feel.  And that’s where i’m at today.

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Genesis 2 – Amazement

If chapter 1 was all about beauty, poetry, structure, and order, then overall chapter 2 is about amazement.

First off, i honestly think that the first three verses of ch. 2 belong at the end of ch. 1. The first three verses are the day of rest, and they belong at the end of the poetic structure of chapter 1.  And, since the chapter and verse numberings were added much, much later than the original scriptures were given to Moses to be written, they are much more recommendations than decisive and definitive lines in the sand.

I call chapter 2 Amazement because of God’s work in this chapter.  He turns around, takes the very dirt / ground / earth of His creation and forms something completely different from it.  Like a sculptor creating from the clay.  Only He doesn’t stop there!  He breaths His own breath / life into this sculpture!  He forms this thing, then whooooshhhh!  It’s alive!  It’s a creation who’s very life comes from the very breath of its creator!  If that’s not amazing, then i don’t know what is.

But it does not end there.  Man is created in God’s image, and it seems almost immediately that God recognizes that he needs more than just himself.  In fact, he needs more than just himself and God!  If that’s not enough to blow your mind, than maybe you’re just not catching it.  So lets look at that again.  The absolutely perfect and complete creator, created something in His own image, with His own breath, that needs something more than Him!  So what does he do?  He brings the beasts and birds to the man and the man names them.  Still not enough (i tell ya, some people are just never satisfied 😛 )!

So what does God do?  He solves the problem.  He takes from the man a rib / part / side, and uses that to create what the man needs!  Wow, i mean WOW!  What’s man’s response?  Pure poetry.  “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh;  (i was smiling hugely while copying that down in my notebook).  Then, joy of joys, the reuniting of what was torn asunder.  I think that this truly is the most beautiful and amazing ending to such an amazing chapter.  “And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed”… enough said 😀

John C.

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