Issues and Answers

How To Keep The Sabbath...And Enjoy It, Pt. 3

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), May-Ellen Colón


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000416

00:01 Did you know there is a temple of time where a loving God wants
00:04 to meet you for an intimate relationship. Please join us.
00:10 Music playing.
00:33 Hi, I'm Shelley Quinn and this is Issues and Answers
00:36 and we're so glad that you joined us today because we have
00:40 a fascinating topic. Let me share with you a scripture, it's
00:43 a beautiful scripture from the Bible and this is the Lord
00:46 speaking in Jeremiah 31:3 and he says, Yes I have loved you with
00:53 an everlasting love and, therefore, with loving kindness
00:56 I have drawn you. And God is trying to draw his
01:00 people into a more intimate relationship with him and
01:05 because of that, because he loves us and because he wants
01:10 to make sure that we never forget about this great love,
01:15 he has given us the Sabbath day and here to speak on this is
01:20 someone who I feel is quite qualified. She's qualified not
01:24 just by education but by experience. She's the author of
01:29 a book called From Sundown to Sundown: How to Keep the Sabbath
01:34 and Enjoy It. Let me introduce to you Dr. May-Ellen Colon.
01:39 Dr. May-Ellen, thank you so much for being with us again today.
01:43 It's wonderful to be back.
01:44 You know, I'm going to just briefly for those who don't know
01:48 you say that you are the assistant director for the
01:51 Sabbath School and Personal Ministries of the General
01:55 Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are also a
01:58 pastor's wife, you were a missionary and you did your
02:03 dissertation on the Sabbath because of your personal
02:07 experience of the journey the Lord was taking you through.
02:14 Now in the last program right now we are setting up some
02:16 principles and we're going to get into this quickly because
02:19 we've got a lot to cover in this one. But in the last program
02:21 we talked about certain principles you found in the
02:26 Bible how to celebrate the Sabbath and principle #1 was
02:30 preparing, principle #2 was resting, then there was renewing
02:36 healing and celebrating. But now we're going to take it a step
02:41 further because you said this is a vacation with God. We talked
02:46 about the vacation part; there were five principles of all
02:50 things that we would do to go on a vacation and think of this
02:54 Sabbath as a vacation. But we're going to focus on the idea that
02:58 this is a vacation with God. So let's talk about the sixth
03:02 principle that you cover in your book and I believe that's the
03:07 principle of sanctifying.
03:09 Yes it says there that Sabbath- keeping means to keep the
03:15 Sabbath day holy, setting it apart. Now, holy and sanctified
03:21 are similar words and they mean set apart for a purpose and also
03:27 for a relationship. So the Sabbath hours are set apart
03:32 for a special focus on God, his word and his agenda where I
03:37 put mine aside. But I'm not losing anything, let me tell you
03:42 His agenda is to be all those things that we just said.
03:47 His agenda is to bless me in a way that in my busyness during
03:50 the week I didn't have a chance for him to catch up with me and
03:54 to give this blessing even though he has been with me all
03:57 week. It's just like dating. When I dated my husband, yes,
04:01 we saw each other in our classes during the week but in the midst
04:04 of all our busyness we couldn't wait for Sabbath when we could
04:08 have a date with, well, with each other and most importantly
04:11 with God. But now we just set aside everything and focus on
04:14 each other. You know, it's not must dating
04:17 but even in marriage. I know that J.D. and I and you probably
04:21 experience this, I know you do, because you're husband's a very
04:24 busy man, you're a very busy woman, and throughout the week
04:28 sometimes you're almost like ships passing in the night.
04:32 So if you didn't have a time that you could come apart and
04:36 have that special time once a week, you could lose touch very
04:39 easily. When we were dating, our
04:41 relationship wouldn't have gone anywhere if we hadn't had our
04:45 special date times. I had mentioned in the last
04:52 program that Exodus 31:13 was my favorite scripture because it
04:57 says that the Sabbath, God says, is a memorial to remind us that
05:02 he's the one that sanctifies us. But May-Ellen has researched
05:06 this even deeper and I loved what you shared. Please share
05:10 that with our audience.
05:13 Shelley, earlier in, I guess it was another program, they all
05:17 run together here, it says there in verse 13 of chapter 31 of
05:22 Exodus, You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign
05:26 between me and you for the generations to come so that you
05:31 may know that I am the Lord who makes you holy. Now that word
05:38 holy in Hebrew is kadesh and in some versions it says I am
05:44 the Lord that sanctifies you, but it's the same idea.
05:48 Kadesh is actually, according to Dr. Jack Dukon, a Hebrew scholar
05:52 at the Adventist seminary, says that this is a conjugal,
05:59 a marital term. So if we were to think of it in that way,
06:05 we would read this verse this way: This will be a sign between
06:10 me and you for the generations to come so that you may know
06:14 that I am the Lord who is married to you.
06:18 Right. Your maker is your husband.
06:21 Yes, yes. And this time is set apart for this marriage with our
06:28 lover. You know, he could have just said, Well once a year we
06:34 will have this time. He couldn't wait for that. Every seven days
06:39 he's given us this opportunity to have a date with him and I
06:45 find that very exciting.
06:46 I do too. This idea of having a vacation with God where we can
06:53 seek more intimate relationship with him. I had a woman who told
06:58 me, quit using the word intimate and I think that some people
07:05 equate the word intimacy with a physical act but intimacy is
07:11 just a mental act even. It's sharing a oneness with each
07:17 other as you and I become more intimately acquainted it's when
07:22 can share your thoughts and heart with me and I know that
07:26 on the Sabbath when some people even sadly don't have much time
07:30 to spend in the Bible, but sometimes on the Sabbath as they
07:34 get into their Bible, maybe they're out in the woods and
07:37 opening the Word and reading the Word, letting God speak to
07:41 them through the Word, they're seeing how much he really loves
07:45 them. The more you understand his love, the more you love him
07:48 back. Yes. But you have to
07:54 deliberately set aside time or that won't happen. I know for me
07:58 it won't happen, it just won't. Even in a marriage. Yes, and in
08:02 a marriage. You know, my husband and I, of course, sometimes we
08:07 have to go in two different places on Sabbath sometimes.
08:12 We try to be together but it's been hard lately. But we have
08:15 somehow at least have that attitude towards God even if we
08:19 are separated from each other on that day and just Sabbath
08:22 with him. Sabbath is also a verb.
08:24 You know, that's an interesting idea; it is a verb meaning come
08:31 apart and rest. Yes, Yes. Also my husband and I
08:35 try to have Tuesday night as our date night. But again it's that
08:39 Sabbath idea; it's a time set apart for a relationship.
08:44 Okay. So let's look at the seventh principle.
08:49 Okay, the seventh principle is remembering, remembering,
08:54 reflecting and rejoicing about the creation of the world.
08:59 Of course, Exodus 20:11 talks about that; redemption from sin,
09:03 Deuteronomy 5:15, the second rendering of the law says you
09:07 were slaves and I redeemed you, therefore, keep the Sabbath,
09:11 and so on. And then it also points forward to Christ's
09:15 second coming and the creation of the new earth.
09:19 In Isaiah 66:22-23, it talks about in the new earth again we
09:23 are going to again have Sabbath time with him.
09:26 You know, I not only look at the Sabbath as a memorial day
09:30 of creation and remembering God as my Creator, but remembering
09:34 him as the one who is recreating me in the image of Jesus.
09:38 But something you said in your book really caught my attention.
09:42 In your book From Sundown to Sundown, you made the comment
09:46 and I'm probably misquoting you, that each time we celebrate the
09:52 Sabbath we're practicing for the return of Jesus Christ. We're
09:58 getting our hearts in a preparation time and all.
10:01 It's like we're preparing and practicing the second coming.
10:05 Where did you get that idea? I love it.
10:07 It's a rehearsal for his coming. I think I might have heard
10:11 Nancy Van Pelt say that or something like that a few years
10:15 ago, several years ago. But just that attitude! You know, when
10:19 Jesus comes we're going to say, This is our God, we have waited
10:22 for him and he will save us. If we can just say that when
10:26 Jesus comes to our home each Sabbath: Here's my God, I've
10:30 been waiting all week for this time with you and I'm going to
10:33 enjoy it. And it's not that he's not with
10:36 us always. He said, I'll never leave you or forsake you, but
10:40 he's coming in as a special guest.
10:43 That's right; it's a different mode, it's a guest mode, it's a
10:49 vacation mode. I don't want to greet him when he comes to my
10:54 house for this special intimate time, this set apart time where
10:59 I can bask in his presence. When we're in the presence of
11:03 somebody after a while it starts rubbing off on us if we're in
11:08 his presence enough. So this holiness can become part of our
11:13 experience if we are in that presence. But, if when he comes
11:17 to our house, what if I'm going pant Happy Sabbath pant pant
11:22 Jesus. Whew, I just made it. There has to be some preparation
11:26 ahead of time so we don't just skid into it and feel out of
11:30 breath when he arrives.
11:31 And then there also has to be some preparation as far as some
11:36 planning so that you know how you're going to spend that time
11:39 with him. If I knew literally that he was coming, his second
11:45 coming was going to be this Saturday, I wouldn't be planning
11:51 on cooking on that Saturday. I'd try to get as much done as
11:54 possible in advance that I could just have things prepared for
11:58 him, if he was literally going to be sitting at my table.
12:01 It would be a whole different attitude. There is something
12:06 that I'm learning. I think that you mentioned I believe the last
12:10 program when you were here you mentioned that there are
12:13 different seasons. The first few years of learning the Sabbath
12:19 truth nobody could have taught me; the Lord had to take me
12:22 through the scripture and just show me himself, but I was so
12:27 excited and my experience was such that it was a new dimension
12:34 in my relationship with the Lord There wasn't anything legalistic
12:37 about it and it was always so special and I had this time for
12:41 special preparation. I don't have all that time now but as
12:47 you said, there are seasons and the simple things can make it
12:52 beautiful and special, too. But the thought that this is a
12:56 vacation with God, the thought that this is a rehearsal for his
13:00 second coming, just thinking those two thoughts has some
13:03 how totally put me in a different mode when I'm thinking
13:07 about Sabbath. And when we're thinking about
13:10 this remembering principle, we shouldn't only remember the day
13:14 we should remember the Lord of the day and just try to include
13:19 him in our conversations and not leave him out. Just kind of make
13:23 believe he's right with me when I go out in nature or wherever
13:26 it is and when I'm with my friends. Just don't leave him
13:29 out of the conversation. Remember him, too, not just
13:31 remembering to have to go to church. Sabbath doesn't stop
13:35 at the end of the church service Remember him throughout the day
13:39 that he's your guest.
13:41 You know, I'm smiling. I wish we had more time but in your book
13:45 From Sundown to Sundown you mentioned some conversation
13:49 starters, What is God doing in your life now and talk about the
13:53 various ways and that's excellent so I wish we had time
13:56 to do this, but let's go to guiding principle #8, which
14:00 is worshiping. Worshiping: Sabbath keeping
14:04 means participating in corporate focused worship of God with our
14:09 church family and it nurtures both our vertical and our
14:14 horizontal relationships, those with God and those with our
14:16 fellow human beings. See this with-God part is the vertical
14:21 part of our Sabbath keeping. But the corporate worship also
14:26 nurtures the horizontal part because we're all there together
14:29 fellowshipping and focusing on the one who is altogether lovely
14:34 You know, would you agree with this: Some people come to church
14:38 and walk out without a blessing. They will complain that the
14:42 sermon was too long or they complain about certain things
14:48 and I have also fallen into that trap once or twice, maybe more,
14:54 but the Lord has shown me that when I come and I leave and that
14:59 is my experience, it's my heart attitude. Because if I come
15:04 prepared to worship the Lord it doesn't matter what else is
15:08 going on around me, I am blessed and I am worshiping God and I
15:14 leave with that attitude. So the whole idea of worshiping is not
15:20 just a matter of getting ready to come to church and showing up
15:25 for church but having a heart attitude that you're going there
15:29 to worship God. Amen?
15:32 It's all about you. Sometimes I like to envision that at the
15:35 front of the church there's this big throne there and all the
15:40 songs I'm singing to him, you know. He's there, it's so real
15:46 and I just thank the Lord that I've had this time that I don't
15:49 have to work so I can have this experience of focused worship.
15:53 Yes, I have my worship in the morning every day but there's
15:58 and end to it and you have to get on with work and stuff, but
16:01 this I can focus and let these other things be set aside and
16:08 really just love to be in his presence and this is the gift
16:11 he's given us to be able to do this, the time to do it.
16:14 I just want to remind everyone that all of these principles
16:20 that May-Ellen is sharing with us came from scripture and I'm
16:24 so sorry that we don't have time to give you all the scripture
16:27 references because she has a long list of scripture
16:30 references after each one of these, but we wanted to give
16:34 you at least the mindset that there could be a shift or an
16:39 altering of your mind set for this. So, let's look at guiding
16:43 principle #9: Basking. Okay. Basking: Since I'm an
16:51 outdoor person, this one really appeals to me. Sabbath keeping
16:58 means enjoying, studying, experiencing and basking in the
17:02 world that God made rather than working at maintaining it.
17:07 This is a time to just... You know when you and I make
17:20 something sometimes we just like to stand back and look at it and
17:25 really enjoy it and that's what God invites us to do. In fact,
17:29 he did that too. That's probably what he did on the Sabbath which
17:33 is one of the things that he created that week. He probably
17:35 just sat back and enjoyed it and enjoyed the company of the
17:39 new beings that he just had made and I imagine that was really
17:42 their honeymoon. It was sort of a love triangle between the
17:47 three of them. I have so many happy memories of basking on
17:55 Sabbath. I remember once my family and I had a floating
18:00 church service. We were coming back from the General Conference
18:03 session of 1995 and we decided to stop in Norway because it was
18:07 in Holland that year, you may remember. So on Sabbath we ended
18:11 up at a fjord, a gorgeous place. So we got hold of a little small
18:19 boat and went out to the middle of the fjord and said, Okay,
18:24 let's have church right here with the sides of the fjord on
18:29 each side and the birds and Oh my word. So we had a church
18:33 service. I remember my husband preached a little sermonette to
18:36 the children. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and so I
18:41 call that basking. There are so many more stories I could
18:46 tell you about. It's just some thing about being out in nature.
18:50 The Sabbath has an even deeper meaning.
18:53 You know, J.D. is kind of picking up birding now so we'll
18:58 go out with the binoculars and go look at the various birds and
19:02 we've seen some beautiful species and just enjoy.
19:06 To me it's so amazing how God has so much detail and beauty
19:14 for our eyes to see. So that's something that's great.
19:18 Okay, not trying to rush you on, but guiding principle #10:
19:21 Responding. Responding: Let me find that one
19:26 here. Responding: Sabbath keeping means that we have a
19:33 joyful human response to God's grace in obedience to his loving
19:36 command to remember him and his Sabbath gift. It's not meant to
19:42 be a means of earning our salvation and Romans 3:20 makes
19:47 it very clear at nothing we do can earn our salvation but we
19:51 respond to God's gift of rest by working for him in his
19:55 strength and for his glory. It's sort of interesting how
20:03 creation week worked. When God worked, he rested after he
20:07 worked. Then when Adam and Eve were created they actually
20:13 rested before they worked. God worked and rested and then they
20:19 rested first and basked in his presence and then they started
20:25 the work of dressing and keeping the garden. That cycle has never
20:28 been broken since creation. We rest in God as our first parents
20:35 rested then they worked the following week and then the
20:38 whole cycle is still going. Our works are a result of resting in
20:44 God. How can anyone say that's legalistic?
20:47 Yes. It's so funny because before I became one who
20:55 celebrated God's Sabbath, before I understood the truth,
20:58 I thought anyone who kept the Sabbath was legalistic and there
21:02 are some who keep the Sabbath who do it in a very legalistic
21:05 manner and they give a bad name to everybody else, but if you
21:11 truly understand the meaning and the purpose of Sabbath there's
21:15 nothing legalistic about it. It's just the extreme opposite
21:19 isn't it? Right. Amen. So responding. You made a comment
21:25 once, I think you were quoting someone who said that the Jews
21:31 didn't keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept the Jews, is that
21:35 how it went? Yes. So that's from week to week since creation week
21:40 and before the Jews. Of course, this wasn't a Jewish day, this
21:44 was well before the Jews came into being, but the Jews did
21:49 follow that and they had kept that from week to week from the
21:54 beginning of their history of their nation and that has kept
21:58 them as a special people.
21:59 That's right and it has kept their families intact. It's an
22:04 exciting thought. I know we need to go on the 11th one.
22:10 Number 11: The trusting. This is all under the vertical
22:15 relationship with God, the with God part of our Sabbath keeping.
22:18 And that one says: Sabbath keeping means trusting God to
22:23 take care of what we leave undone during the hours of the
22:29 Sabbath. It means learning to depend on God rather than on
22:34 ourselves. Of course, the manna story is a great example.
22:39 They left the collecting of the manna undone on Sabbath and you
22:44 saw what he did to compensate. The manna didn't spoil and, you
22:48 know the story; they took a double amount and it...
22:52 Excuse me. I was going to say was one of the stories that has
22:57 touched my heart the most was we had a gentleman, a farmer,
23:02 who came to 3ABN, big farmer, big time farmer, and he'd been
23:08 watching 3ABN for a number of years and he then joined the
23:12 Adventist Church. He became one who celebrated the Sabbath.
23:17 So he's got, I forget, but it was thousands of acres that he
23:22 has planted and it came time and the perfect time for harvesting
23:27 would have been on Sabbath and here is a storm coming and he
23:34 is faced as a brand new Christian who's keeping the
23:38 Sabbath: Am I going to go out and is the ox in the ditch in
23:43 other words? Am I going to go save all my crops or am I going
23:47 to trust God and not work on the Sabbath and trust that God will
23:52 take care of me? And he decided he was going to trust. You know
23:56 what? One either side of him, the farms on either side of him,
24:01 got hailed out because it was a violent storm that came, but he
24:06 lost nothing. It was like the storm split and the area in
24:10 which he lived he lost nothing. So I think the Lord really
24:15 honored his faith there in that trusting.
24:17 God is faithful. All his biddings are enablings.
24:21 You know, we can trust him and we're missing so much when we
24:25 don't test that idea out more in our lives.
24:28 Amen. Well let's kind of recap this because we are learning how
24:32 to trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our
24:36 own understanding and that's part of the Sabbath experience.
24:39 So let's look at these principles that we have
24:43 looked at today that have to do about... We talked about the
24:47 vacation last program but this is the vacation with whom, with
24:51 God. So the principle #6 that is the Sabbath is a time of
24:56 sanctifying and looking at God as our husband, as the one who
25:02 has set us apart. Principle #7 is remembering, reflecting and
25:06 rejoicing on what God has done for us from the creation of the
25:12 world all the way to expecting his return. Principle #8 is
25:18 worshipping in truth and in spirit where we are nurturing
25:21 that vertical relationship with the Lord. Principle #9 is
25:26 basking. Basking in the nature, basking in God's creation
25:31 instead of working to maintain it. Principle #10 is
25:35 responding to God's grace with a joyful human response and
25:40 realize that we're not trying to keep the Sabbath for salvation's
25:44 sake but we're just responding to God's gift of rest.
25:48 Principle #11 is trusting in the Lord to take care of what we
25:54 leave undone during the hours of the Sabbath and depending on God
25:59 rather than on ourselves. You know, one thing that has been
26:03 pointed out before, but May- Ellen, you pointed it out in
26:09 your book From Sundown to Sundown is that the word Sabbath
26:14 itself has a very special root, if you will, something that's
26:19 inside of that word. So tell us, What's in that word that's on
26:23 our screen right now, Sabbath?
26:26 ABBA, Abba. That's an endearing Aramaic word that means daddy,
26:34 daddy or papa. And the Sabbath just enfolds us in his presence,
26:42 in a warm, loving, intimate, unhurried, focused relationship.
26:49 You know, and when you think about how Jesus cried out to
26:55 his Father as Abba and how the Bible says that he sends his
27:01 Spirit into our heart by whom we cry out Abba, Father. God is
27:07 a perfect Father and he's called us into this relationship, not
27:12 only as a perfect father, an intimate relationship as a
27:16 father. It's not like he's just up there saying, Well I've
27:20 adopted you, he's saying I want to live with you, I want to have
27:24 this wonderful intimacy and that's what the Sabbath is all
27:28 about isn't it? Yes and I just praise him for
27:33 this gift. Why would the King of the Universe want to spend time
27:37 with me. It's grace and there's no kind of grace but amazing
27:41 grace and that's an example.
27:43 Amen. May-Ellen, thank you so much. We are so glad you have
27:46 written this book, From Sundown to Sundown: How to Keep the
27:50 Sabbath... and Enjoy It. What we're going to do now is we've
27:53 already got to say goodbye. I can't believe time flew so fast.
27:58 But we want you to think about having this special relationship
28:03 with the Lord. Think about changing the way you celebrate
28:09 the Sabbath. You'll be blessed. Thank for joining us.


Revised 2014-12-17