Practicing the Sabbath Well

By Ricky Smith

I have a confession. I realize that sometimes when pastors make confessions, there is an avalanche of drama that comes with it.  Relax for a minute and follow along.  I must confess that I do not practice Sabbath well.  Am I a workaholic? Maybe. I don’t take a day off regularly.  When I do take a day off from my “job as pastor,” I am filling that time with my dissertation project work or some other task that needs to be done.  Can anyone relate?


The week I was preparing for this sermon, I woke up with a headache and headed to a meeting. Long story short, as the headache progressed and the nausea kicked in, I realized that my plan for the day would need to change.  I notified our staff and headed to the house after I powered through my first meeting of the day.  I slept about 5 hours that day. Ingested a lot of water and electrolytes and felt like a brand new human. The bottom line is that I had pushed too far for too long, and my body said it was time to rest. That is a pattern for me that demonstrates I have not yet learned to work from rest, but instead often work for rest.

When I find myself overwhelmed with things to do, and even when I feel myself nearing the brick wall, I can see it but resolve that I just need to work harder, grind it out, suck it up, and drive on.  That part may be hardwired into my personality or a byproduct of the work ethic instilled in me as a boy.  Can anyone relate?

If I had to guess, I am not alone in this confession. But what do we need to do about it? While owning it is the first step, we must also slow down to recognize the significance of the Sabbath rest initiated in Genesis 1 and codified in Exodus 20:8-11.  God has a pattern and design for our weekly rhythm that ultimately reminds us of who He is and the eternal rest He has called us to enjoy forever.

I’ve got to get better at this and will commit to working at breaking bad habits.  The beauty of weekly Sabbath is not just to rest our bodies. That is important, but Sabbath does not necessarily mean inactivity. Historically Sabbath rest involved corporate worship, communal meals, and quality time with family and in reflection. 

If we followed God’s plan and routinely rested, spent quality time with those closest to us, and reflected on His promise of eternal rest, do you think we would be more joyful and less stressed? It’s worth a shot! In those moments, we may prioritize relationships with God and others and thus better live out His commands to love Him and to love our neighbor. I want to do better at this, and I give anyone reading this permission to hold me accountable.

Friday Funnies

Kiss Marks and the Janitor

In an all-girls high school, the janitor quietly did his jobs. One day while cleaning the bathroom he found a bunch of kiss marks on the mirrors. After he wiped away the kiss marks, he left instructions on a piece of paper.

Please don’t leave kiss marks on the mirror. Lipstick stains are difficult to clean.

The next day, to his dismay, there were more kiss marks on the mirrors , so he went running to the principal’s office. Upon learning of the situation, the principal gave the students a strong warning to not leave kiss marks on the bathroom’s mirrors.

The janitor overheard the principal when he reprimanded the students and felt relieved, thinking this would take care of the kiss marks on the mirrors. But he was wrong.

The next day, it was as if the girls weren’t reprimanded by the principal, at all. Worse, there were more of them compared to the ones he found during the previous days.

He bolted out of the bathroom and went straight to the principal’s office. He was mad at the girls for their stubbornness and also at the principal for not punishing the girls’ actions.

“The girls are hard-headed. Based on experience, they don’t easily follow my orders. Wait it out. They’ll grow out of this,” said the principal.

Rather than say things out of anger and things that will probably get him fired, the janitor walked out to get some fresh air. He was sick and tired of the situation. And he didn’t know what to do.

He needed to think. And after about an hour, he had an idea to solve his dilemma.

The next day, he went inside the bathroom and quietly did his job — Then he left a note:

Please don’t leave kiss marks on the mirrors. I don’t want to have to wipe them clean again with the same sponge I used to clean the toilet bowl.”

It worked! The next day, the janitor entered the bathroom and didn’t find a single kiss mark on the mirrors.

Moral of the story: Other people can’t always fix things for you. If you want your situation to get better, you’re the one who has to figure out a solution.

~ ~ ~

Church Bulletin Bloopers

Ushers will eat latecomers

The cost for attending the prayer and fasting conference includes meals.

The choir will meet at the Larsen house for fun and sinning.

Miss Charlene Mason sang “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Next Sunday is the family hayride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns.

Smile at someone who is hard to love, Say “hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.

Tonight’s sermon: “What is hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.

The “Over 60’s Choir” will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.

The agenda was adopted, the minutes were approved, the financial secretary gave a grief report.

Bible Study

Scripture: The Landmark Of Scripture Genesis 3:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:13-17

A.  Last week, we saw the necessity of spiritual “landmarks” that define all that we believe.  Once again, a “landmark” defines a boundary and is a point from whence all other points can be measured.  It is to be both stationary and unchanging!
1.  If these “landmarks” are removed, we will soon find ourselves drifting from the spiritual truths that we once held dear.  Today’s denominations have drifted far from the “moorings” of their founder’s intentions.  Most denominations were started by godly men who revered and feared the Lord while remaining true to the Word of God.
2.  If these “landmarks” are removed, these spiritual truths that we once held dear will not be known by our posterity.  Today’s children are a lost generation!  With little or no values, either spiritual or moral—the have become the children of apostasy!
B.  Eleven times in the first two chapters of Genesis it is recorded that “God said.”  The first times that what God had said was recorded.  What God commanded was done and stood fast.
C.  In chapter 3, we find the first mention of something questioning what “God said.” It was satanic in nature so to question what God has said is both evil and devastating to mankind.
D.  The first attack upon a scriptural “landmark” is found in our text as Satan questioned the Word of God thus deceiving Eve and causing Adam to fall. 
E.  I am preaching on the Landmark of Scripture first because of its importance.  Our Bible is the foundation upon which our faith stands.  Not upon the original manuscripts because we have never seen one much less owned one.  Not upon men who are quick to generate doubt and then constantly change their theology.  Our Foundation is the Bible that we hold in our hands this morning.
F.  Our text, found in 2 Timothy, tells us all that we need to know about God’s Word.
1.  The Word of God is inspired.  Verse 15-16.  Paul is speaking of the scriptures that Timothy had, not original autographs.  What Timothy had was called “holy scriptures.”  The Word of God declares that what Timothy held was “given by inspiration of God.”
2.  The Word of God is profitable.  Verse 16.  If the intent of verse 16 was to show that the original autographs were inspired, then—because Timothy did not have one—then Timothy could not profit from what he did not have.  The Bible is profitable doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.
3.  The Word of God is perfecting.  It will “throughly furnish” God’s men and God’s people.
G.  I will stop with that because, if you do not believe that “all scripture” refers to “all scripture,” then nothing else that I have to say will convince you.
H.  The Bible is the foundation for our faith and the practice of our faith.  It is the ABSOLUTE FINAL AUTHORITY!
Psalms 11:3  If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?  (The answer to this question is understood: WE CAN DO NOTHING!  If the Bible errs, then all that we know and believe becomes unsure.  If the Bible errs, then our authority must be shifted to those who translate and re-interpret.  To those who know where every error occurs and can “straighten us out?”  I THINK NOT!)
J.  The Bible is THE FINAL AUTHORITY FOR FAITH AND PRACTICE!  The Bible is not a man book, it is a God Book.  The Bible is our Foundation!
1.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Sovereign God.  Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  (He is, He was, and He will forever be the Creator and Owner of the universe.)
2.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Sinfulness – Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (From Adam to Self, the Bible is clear on the matter of sinfulness.)
3.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Saviour – Psalms 40:7  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, (All we need to know about God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ is found there.)
4.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Salvation – Romans 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Saving faith is found in the Bible through repentance and belief.)

  1. In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Security – John 10:27-28  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  (Salvation is eternal life.)
    6.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Satisfaction – Job 23:12  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.  (How sweet to the taste is the Word of God.)
    7.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Stability – 2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  (17)  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.  (In the Bible, we have all that we need to live for Christ in this life.)
    8.  In The Landmark of Scripture We Find Our Surety – Revelation 22:20-21  He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.  (21)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Our Lord is coming, we are leaving, and everything will be alright.)

Victory Baptist Church 21 September 2022

Wade’s Wednesday

Obedience To God

(Even when we don’t want to obey)

Dr. Charles Stanley

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and how he was swallowed by a big fish because he was trying to run away from the task that God had given him to do. This story can be found in the book of Jonah, chapters 3:1-10 and chapter 4:1-11.

The book of Jonah doesn’t end the way we might expect. From the belly of a fish, Jonah recommitted himself to the Lord’s purpose. But later, he admitted he didn’t want the job—and the Lord chastised his selfishness.

You see, Jonah was sent to the Ninevites, who were a threat to the Jewish people. The reluctant prophet was afraid that if these enemies repented, his merciful God would not destroy them. Jonah confessed he wanted to see the Ninevites wiped out: “Therefore in order to forestall [their salvation] I fled to Tarshish” (Jonah 4:2 NASB 1995).

Sometimes we resist God’s will because we dislike the probable outcome of obedience. Or like Jonah, we focus on our own desires and comfort and lose sight of what’s really important. But our feelings about what might happen are not a reason to resist God’s plan. If the Lord calls us to act, He will take care of the results. Our job is to obey.

What selfish desire is keeping you from obeying the Lord? Maybe you are too angry with your spouse to work on your marriage or too hurt to welcome back a repentant friend. But Christians are not to be ruled by feelings. Obedience is what’s required, and its blessings may surprise us.

Tuesday With Karen

Calm My Heart, God

Calm my heart, God, from the cares of today;
Give my spirit peace, in Thy loving way;
For each one of the devil’s wicked snares,
Wrap me inside Thy tender loving care!

Calm my heart, God, in every step I take,
Direct all my ways by mercy & grace;
Fill me with wisdom in all that I do,
So my life radiates, displaying You!

Calm my heart, God, from the words I hear,
Even those that make me cry many tears;
You are my shelter where I can abide,
I’m safe & secure with You by my side!

Calm my heart, God, whatever I may face,
Thank you for giving me abundant grace;
I don’t need to worry if it’s in Your hands,
You’ll take care of all I don’t understand!

Christ’s Hands

1 Corinthians 12:12 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” 

In World War II, bombs destroyed a church in Strasbourg, France. As parishioners cleared the rubble, they discovered a statue of Jesus that was now missing both hands.

A visiting sculptor later offered to make repairs, but church members declined, saying Christ “has no hands to minister to the needy or feed the hungry or enrich the poor — except our hands. He inspires. We perform.”

St. Teresa of Avila wrote:

Christ has no body but yours;
no hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours.

The song from “Casting Crowns” says it well.

But if we are the body.

Why aren’t His arms reaching?

Why aren’t His hands healing?

Why aren’t His words teaching?

And if we are the body.

Why aren’t His feet going?

Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

There is a way


Waiting on God is an important spiritual discipline in our walk of faith. King David’s life teaches us about the value of following the Lord’s plan and the danger in moving ahead of Him.

When David was a young shepherd boy, the prophet Samuel anointed him as Israel’s next king. Yet he did not become the ruler for many years. Waiting for the Lord to place him on the throne was made more difficult because the current king, Saul, turned against David and repeatedly tried to take his life. Despite the opportunity to take matters into his own hands and kill his enemy, David held back. He wouldn’t allow anyone else to attack Saul either (1 Sam. 24:1-7). He waited on God and was greatly blessed for his obedience.

King David also knew what it was like to move ahead without the Lord. One year he chose not to join his troops in battle, even though that was one of his duties (2 Sam. 11:1). During the time he stayed home, he noticed Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and he coveted her. Acting upon his desires, he conceived a child with her and then tried to cover up his sin. What a mess he made of his life. Instead of following the Lord’s plan and being blessed, he experienced divine chastisement and much heartache.

As believers, we want to obey the Lord, but there may be situations when intense desire propels us forward without waiting for His direction. Like David, we will experience the blessing of obedience or the heartache of disobedience. Be sure to seek out God’s plan before you act.


“…when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.”   Proverbs 21:11

I was studying some Bible passages recently that say, “teach me”. There’s several of them in the Psalms, such as “Teach me thy way” (Psalm 25:4), “Teach me thy statutes”(Psalm 119:12), “Teach me to do thy will” (Psalm 143:10), and there’s other “teach me’s” in the Scripture. It struck me as I was studying through those that in order to do all those things, I have to be “teachable” to begin with or I’m not going to learn how to do those things.

Having a teachable spirit is such a good trait to have. It means we are able to receive instruction. Proverbs 21:11 says,

“When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.”

When we learn something new or even are reminded of something we already know, it makes us more knowledgeable. It helps us live more wisely. I doubt if any of us have a teachable spirit all of the time, and I was thinking about some of the things that hinder us from being teachable.

  • We think we know it all.
    Thinking we know it all can really hinder our learning. When we are in that mode, we don’t allow anything to soak in. It’s like we have this coating on us that blocks out everything we should be absorbing.We can never learn enough about Christ or know our Bible as good as we need to in order to serve the Lord the way we should. How can we ever know it all when it comes to Christ?

    “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33

  • We don’t listen closely.
    Do you ever do that? Half listen? I know I do sometimes. If we are not careful, we may just miss some very important points that we’ll need down the road.When dealing with the Christian life, we have to listen closely to the Lord too.

    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27

  • We are too busy talking ourselves.
    When we are rattling on ourselves, we miss out on some learning experiences. Sometimes we have to just stop and listen.“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalms 141:3

Friday Funnies


A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day, the farmer drove up and said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.”
Kenny replied, “Well then, just give me my money back.”
The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”
Kenny said, “OK then, just unload the donkey.”
The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?”
Kenny: “I’m going to raffle him off.”
Farmer: “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!”
Kenny: “Sure I can.”
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, “What happened with that dead donkey?”
Kenny: “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $900.”
Farmer: “Didn’t anyone complain?”
Kenny: Just the guy that won. So I gave him his money back.


Mrs. Jones was fumbling in her purse for her offering when a large television remote fell out and clattered into the aisle.

The curious usher bent over to retrieve it for her and whispered, “Do you always carry your TV remote to church?”

“No,” she replied, “but my husband refused to come with me this morning, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.”

Bible Study

Scripture: How God Speaks Hebrews 1:1-2

A.  In the Book of Hebrews, we need to remember that the key word is “Better.”

B.  Paul instructs the “strangers scattered” that they no longer needed the old economy of revelation that they grew up under.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was better than anything the Old Testament had to offer.  Jesus Christ is better than the Prophets!

C.  I want to break down these two verses to show when and how that God spoke in times past and how God speaks in the present.

1.  In times past, God spoke at “Sundry Times.” 

a.  When we think of the Old Testament, we think of God constantly talking with His people but that was not so.  The Old Testament saints lived in long expanses of time where God was silent. 

b.  God never intended to tell man every move to make or how to handle all that came his way.  God expected man to walk and make his decisions along the lines of revealed Scripture. 

c.  The word “Sundry” means at various times but also carries the meaning of “many times.”  God spoke when it was necessary.  There are no unnecessary words in our Bible.  It contains every word that God wanted us to have and every word necessary for us to live by.

Matthew 4:3-4  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  (4)  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  (If we are to live by every word, then we must have every world.)

d.  In the beginning of time and at the end of time, God will always speak to man.  The First and Last Mentions of any subject will always be consistent.  The Voice of God walked with Adam and Eve every day and Jesus Christ, the Word of God, will walk with us throughout eternity.

Genesis 3:8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Psalms 119:89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

e.  Men like Abraham heard God speak, but—if we counted the times in the Bible—there would probably be less than 20 recorded.  Abraham lived 175 years.  Therefore, there had to be many long periods of time when God was silent.  I will only use that one example for times sake.

f.  Between the Books of Malachi and Matthew, there was a period of “400 Silent Years.”

2.  In times past, God spoke in “Divers Manners.”  Different ways.

a.  Theophanies or Christophanies.  God manifesting Himself in human form.  The Angel of the Lord is referenced 68 times in the Old Testament.

b.  Anthropomorphisms – a three-dollar word for a representation of God in an inanimate form.  The Burning Bush and the Rock of Horeb are the most obvious examples.

c.  “The finger of God” on Mount Sinai and on the plaster of the wall in Daniel 5:5.

d.  “A still small voice” when speaking to Elijah.  (1 Kings 19:12)

e.  Prophets – 2 Peter 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

f.  These were all instruments that God used to convey His Word to His people.  The Word was His!

3.  “By His Son” in these last days.  The last days began with the birth of Christ.  Notice with me that this is the last time that God speaks to mankind.  Through His Son, Jesus Christ.

a.  “He came unto His own!”  The Nation of Israel. 

1)  Jesus Christ, the perfect, fullness of the godhead bodily.  Almighty Jehovah God Himself, robed in flesh, walked among His people. 

2)  As He walked this earth, the people heard the perfect Word of God.  Jesus Christ, THE Word, spoke when He walked this earth.  Gracious words, authoritative words, powerful words.  Never a man spake like this Man! 

3)  We have His words recorded throughout the Gospels and, after His glorious Resurrection, and several times in the Book of Acts

4)  “And His own received Him not.”  Nationally, Israel rejected Christ and His Word.

b.  “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.”  The believers.

1)  The believers who never sat under the physical teaching of Jesus Christ.  To a people who had never personally seen Him.  This is us!

2)  God speaks to us through His Word!  The Bible that you hold in your hands is all that God has to say to you!  He no longer speaks through visions, tongues, dreams, etc. as these things are extra-biblical revelations.  You can say that God told you anything that you want to say.  Foolish people follow this crowd.

3)  As the early believers had the perfect Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ, we have the perfect Word inscribed.  If you do not believe that, YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THE BIBLE!

4)  The inspired Word of God – verbally and plenary.  2 Timothy 3:16-17  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  (17)  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.  (If we do not have it, there is no sound doctrine, no authoritative reproof, no instruction in righteousness, and no throughly furnishing of God’s men.)

5)  The perfectly preserved Word of God – living and abiding.1 Peter 1:23-25  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  (24)  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  (25)  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.  (If we do not have it, then we have not been born again because God said that we have to have it to be saved.)

6)  The infallible, inerrant, every Word of God King James Bible. Matthew 4:3-4  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  (4)  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  (If we do not have every word, then our Lord made a terrible mistake when He answered the devil.  We must have very word, not some of the words or most of the words, ALL OF THE WORDS!  The liberal Bible scholar says that Jesus Christ was wrong.  I believe God.)

7)  A more sure word of prophecy is what our Bible is until the day of Christ.  2 Peter 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Conclusion:  God begins the Hebrew Epistle assuring the “strangers scattered” alone with us who are “alive and remain” that what God gave to us is what God speaks to us and what we rely upon to guide and grow us until He comes.

Victory Baptist Church 14 September 2022