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12/10/2021 03:00 - 13/10/2021 02:00

“Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any” - Exodus 16:26 (NIV).

In 1789 France had a revolution which ended up removing the dominion of the church over state. France declared herself a secular state, which she remains today. However, the church’s influence on France still continues. On a visit to Paris once I happened to find that almost all business are closed on Sundays except for those providing emergency services, like some pharmacies and a few convenient stores. The French might have embraced secularism but they did not abandon all the good things that the church taught.

Genesis 2:2 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” Taking after this in Judaism the seven day of the week, Sabbath, is set aside as a day of rest. After a full week of work the Sabbath is a time reserved for worship, reflection of God’s love, friends and families meeting to share and enjoy each other’s fellowship over a meal. Indeed, one Christian denomination, Seventh Day Adventist, has continued to insist on strictly observing this practice by followers.

This though contrasts with some places where perhaps the Bible has had little influence or its teachings have been ignored. Here in Uganda, in many places, business that used to be shut on Sunday, as an observation of a day of rest, are now kept fully open, full steam. While the purpose for  this might be to make the business prosper, by adding on 48 extra days of work, evidence abounds that those business that take time off to recuperate from a week’s operation are far more sustainable. France, where business are closed on Sunday, boasts the seventh largest world economy.

During his time here on earth the religious leaders had turned the Sabbath into something else, that even when he healed a man on Sabbath who had been an invalid for thirty eight years, they protested, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” (John 5:12). As believers we should not go to these extreme, and for business, there are those that may need to keep their doors open on Sundays to provide an essential service. But the benefits of having one day in a week off to worship God, fellowship with the brethren, and enjoy family and friends companionship, are far superior.

Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I thank you for all the work you have given me, and I pray to observe one day in a week for rest and worship to you as thanksgiving, this I pray in Jesus’s name!

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    "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24)

    When in his missionary journey the Apostle Paul ventured into the city of Athens he was struck by two things. First, the Athenians spent most of the day doing nothing but talking about the latest ideas (Acts 17:21). In spite of that they could not figure out who the great God is and his plan for their salvation.

    Secondly, Paul noticed Athens was filled with temples and statutes all over. In fact he came across one altar marked with an inscription to an “unknown god” (verse 23). The Athenians were a very religious people, searching God but with no idea of his plans for salvation through Jesus.
    The experience of Paul travelling through Athens could be the same with any of us visiting our modern cities. It is easy to find folks arguing about where truth can be found on social media almost all day. And then also one can find temples of all nature rising across the city. This is usually where they have assigned and restricted God as folks go about their lives.

    One thing Paul reminded the Athenians is that in spite of all their great arguments and temples the truth was actually not far from them. “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundary of their lands. God did this so that they should seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any of us” (Acts 17:27-28).

    Today, you may find yourself in a situation similar to that of the Athenians, where you are searching for the truth, yet it is so close to you. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).

    Prayer for today: Lord Father in heaven, today I pray in the blessed name of Jesus, to know and share the truth of your salvation like Paul did for you are not far from any who truly desires to know you, this I pray in Jesus’ name!

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