BRO. AUDIE VILLARAZA: OUR message today is a little instructional. I think you might not appreciate it based on the statement but if you dig long and hard and deep enough, I promise that this message will minister to you.

Say to your neighbor, right next to you, “Follow God’s Rhythm of Restoration.” Let’s open the good Book to Exodus 16: 4-5:

Hear me out:

It seems to me that sometimes, God will bless you in a big way, but He’ll also make sure that you also obey Him in a big way.

I wonder now that maybe some of you are not receiving simply because you’re not obeying.

For now, I leave it at that because God gave the Israelites an instruction:

Three Insights about The Sabbath

Manna, the bread that came from Heaven, that fell from the sky, was good only for one day.

The following day, it would be spoiled and rotten. You would not be able to consume it. So, Moses said, prepare it and eat it within the day.

Like manna, there are three insights that I can share with you about Sabbath:

1. Like manna, Sabbaths need to be

You cannot depend on the restorative abilities of your Sabbath –the emotional, physical, and spiritual restoration of manna– if you take it only once a month.

You cannot feel nourished for the rest of the year if you go to church only once a year. You need a fresh dose of Sabbath every week. That is why I honor those who make a regular effort to receive and celebrate the Sabbath every Sunday.

2. Like manna, Sabbaths are Eden

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were in unity with God the Father and there was abundance. But when they were exiled from the Garden, they acted like slaves. They needed to till and toil the land.

Fast forward to the Israelites who were slaves. At that time, slaves had no days off. They had no idea how to rest. They could not ask for a vacation leave and promise to be back as a better slave. They could not practice the Sabbath.

Friend, whenever you practice Sabbath, it’s like you’re entering small portions of Eden where you experience the abundance of God because you trust Him.

3. Like manna, Sabbaths are miracles that also require faith.

You cannot really rest and have peace of mind and peace in your heart if you do not believe that God is providing your needs. As you stand here today, you have to trust in God that He will provide for you today and for the entire week.

Say this with me: “Jesus, speak to me. I need Your Word. Let it give me life. Let it sustain me. Let it nourish me. Amen.”

 Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.


Sabbath has a gift. And it is called time.

Time is something that we need. At times, we feel that there is so much to do but so little time. It seems that time is always running short.

But my friends, it wasn’t always like that.

I’ll give you a brief history of time.

There was a time when there was no clock yet. People then had a sort of rhythm to their day. It wasn’t ruled by a schedule or agenda.

Basically, they were ruled by natural time until the first clock called Roman Sundial was invented in 200 B.C.

Time was determined based on the shadow that would reflect on the stone.

What’s funny is that even during that time, there was already someone complaining about the invention of the clock. His name was Plautus.

Fast forward to the 6th century. St. Benedict figured out a way to organize the prayer life of the monks in the monastery.

They revolved around seven prayers each day and it would tell what time it was during that day. By the 12th century, they had pretty much figured out a way how to build a mechanical clock around that schedule.

Our relationship with time was changing. But things took a different course. In 1370, the first public clock was erected in Cologne, Germany. By this time, the public was now time-conscious.

Before that, however, time was natural. You woke up when the sun went up. You went to bed when the sun went down and when the moon went up. We were governed by God because He governs the sun and the moon.

But now that there is a clock, we are no longer governed by God– but by man.

By your wife, by your boss…Before, one only woke up because one’s body was done resting.

Now, we wake up because our alarm is ringing. Time is now artificial.

This Is When It All Changed…

In 1879, one of the greatest inventions of man, the light bulb, was created by Thomas Edison. With the light bulb, one could already stay awake past 6:00 p.m. — and even work at night. Was that helpful? Yes, in so many ways.

But it also created a bit of a challenge for all of us.

You used to hear about great men and women who would wake up as early as 4:00 a.m. to recite lengthy prayers for two to four hours.

People like St. Theresa of Avila, John Wesley, John Knox, and Jesus Himself would sometimes pray throughout the night. You wonder how in the world they did it. Back then, they could do it because they didn’t have Netflix, Instagram reels, and YouTube. They didn’t have electricity. Before the invention of the light bulb, the average time that people slept was 11 hours. Why? Because there was nothing to do. If they slept at 7:00 p.m., they needed to wake up by 5:00.

So, this introduces us to the greatest conundrum of our time. Conundrum means a perplexing problem. We have invented labor and time-saving devices, right?

Any innovation that you see is a time-saving device.

Before, we walked to where we wanted to go. But now we have cars to bring us quicker to our destination. Before, we needed to kill animals or harvest for food.

But now, we can just book a Grab Food delivery. Before, we wrote letters and the recipient received them within one to two weeks. But now, we can send letters and the recipient will receive them after two seconds. We can even see each other eye to eye through FaceTime, Messenger, and Zoom.

With the invention of these time-saving devices, however, where did the time we saved go? The answer is that we spend our time doing other things.

Here’s a trivia. Before the 1960s in the United States, they had laws in some cities mandating that businesses should be closed by 6:00 p.m., and on Sundays, all establishments closed– except the churches. The only thing you could do was go to church.

But today, Sunday has evolved from worship and rest to an errand day for a lot of us. It has become a day to go out on dates or to go to the malls. And it’s fine because this is our reality now. We cannot go back to a time when there was no technology.

What I’m saying is that probably, there is more to life than just binging on Netflix or just shopping on a random day.

The Word for Today

Here is the Word for today: Sabbath is about time to be with God. It’s about being with God and worshipping God.

Some people lead busy lives but some have so much free time. But the solution is not more time or not less time.

The solution is to use the limited time that you have been given for what really matters the most.

Scottish evangelist, William Irvine, author of the book,

A Guide to the Good Life, said:

I   think   that’s   the   worst nightmare that you can have: if you’re on your deathbed and you realize how much time you wasted.

You may be like, “Yes, I was in the legendary mode — Call of Duty… or “Yes, I have finished every round of Super Mario… or “Yes, I reached 2,384 in Candy Crush…”

But do they really matter in the end?

If you think about it, the lack of time is not your problem. It’s just that you may not be using the time that was given to you for what really matters the most.

Some of you may be able to watch TikTok reels for 30 minutes but do you know that you can use those 30 minutes praying for your entire family?

You can spend the whole hour watching that episode of your favorite series, but you can also spend that time reading the Scriptures and learning about Jesus. And you can finish the Bible in six months!

The Gift of Sabbath

There’s a cost whenever we use our time for the wrong reasons.

You might be successful in your business right now but along the way, it may have caused you to end a relationship or a marriage. Some of you may have put your kids through college but you might have failed in teaching them the ways of God. You might be wealthy in terms of money but you’re not wealthy in ways that are good to God.

Jesus said, “What does it profit a man (or for any of us) to gain the whole world but to lose one’s soul?” — Mark 8:36

Our time is limited. When the time runs out, you can’t go back and simply say, “I wish I did this and that.”

While you have the time now, you can still go back and make the most of what’s precious — relationship with God and with the people you love. When we go to Heaven, we cannot use the things we have on Earth. What we will remember on our deathbed and what we will bring to the next life are the relationships we built.

That’s how Jesus lived.

The gift of the Sabbath to us is that God wants us to have time. Sabbath is not only on Sundays. Sabbath can be any day that you declare as the Lord’s Day.

For servants at The Feast, Sunday may be not their Sabbath because they are serving in various ministries. Most probably, their Sabbath is on a Monday.

For me, my Sabbath is on a Saturday. I spend it with my family and with my loved ones.

Three Ways To Follow God’s Rhythm of Restoration

How do we follow God’s Rhythm of Restoration? Here are three ways:

In Exodus 16:25 Moses says:

Whenever we work, we always worry about the fruits of our labor. We work for the entire week but instead of resting on Sundays, we are already worried over the coming week.

But God is telling you today: “Stop.”

Sabbath is a time for you to just stop and tell the Lord, “Lord, I don’t need to do anything right now but Thank You for the blessings this week.”

That is how you live in the Garden. By the way, when you’re in the Garden, you work for six days, and you rest for one day to eat all the fruits from the trees that you have tilled and toiled for all week long. Work for six days. Rest for one day.

Repeat the process.

In Exodus 16:26, Moses continues:

The busiest time for me is Sunday. A lot of servants will probably agree with me. Saturday is when I deliberately remove myself from ministry except for emergency cases. Saturday is when we visit my in-laws. That is part of our tradition now.

The only requirement for Sabbath is you breathe. You don’t need to do anything. All you need to do is to breathe in the blessings of God, the grace of God. The Lord is giving you a license to rest. It’s a command that you rest.

Again, in Exodus 16: 26 :

It seems that the only requirement during Sabbath is to remember that we are children of God. The “place” in the verse above is not a physical place but a state of mind. Being a child of God– that is your place.

The Lord is telling you: “You need not work today but remember your place as My child. I will provide for you, care for you, I will love you, I will give you.”

Sabbath is a time to enjoy being God’s child.

But how do we follow God’s Rhythm of Restoration with all the distractions?

Here’s the key: You need to have a template – – something that you emulate or copy. The best template to copy is none other than Jesus Himself. Clearly, Jesus is the One who used His time well. Jesus started

His public ministry at the age of 30 and He ended it when He was 33. For three years, Jesus evangelized, discipled, and created the world that we know now.

It’s hard to follow Jesus…

A Lifestyle Template

I want to tell you the story of my father-in-law. His name is Ernesto Tiangco but we call him Papa Ernie. Two years ago, he started a hobby of biking which turned into a passion. Little did we know that he was training for it to the point of joining a 100-km competitive race in Subic. The 100-km distance is from SM North Mall in Quezon City to Tarlac. He biked for three and a half hours. We were all proud of him because he ended as a 15th placer even if it was his first competition.

It wasn’t enough for him. He knew he could still stretch himself. So, he enrolled in the 200-km category. The distance is from SM North Mall to La Union. The route that he took was not just a flat road. It was an up- and-down path. That was a lot of effort. He finished that race in 7.5 hours.

Amazing! But it wasn’t the end. Last year, he got himself into a 300-km race. The distance is likely from SM North to Baler. He finished that race in 16 hours. Of course, there were stopovers to rest and to eat. He started racing at 5:00 a.m. and finished at 9:00 p.m.

You know how old he is? He’s 70 years old.

If he asks you to join him for a 100-km race tomorrow, will you go? I won’t. I couldn’t even finish 30 km in my condition today. But the only reason he can do it is that in the past two years, he has been waking up at 6:00 a.m. — to bike around a distance of 50 km until 8:00 a.m., three to four times a week.

My point is simple. If you want to have that kind of life, you must adopt the lifestyle.

A lot of us say, “Lord, I want Your life.” But you cannot experience the life of Jesus if you don’t know how to adopt His lifestyle. He prayed regularly.

He served regularly. He loved generously. He forgave as much as He could. A lot of us want to be called champions but we don’t want the challenges.

We want the glory, but we don’t want to do the grind. We want to win but we don’t want to do the work.

What Matters Most

Jesus is saying, “Follow me. If you want to have my life. You have to follow my lifestyle of waking up early and connecting with the Father. You’ve got to have that lifestyle of hunger and desire for evangelizing people.”

A lot of us are complaining that we don’t have much time. It’s true that time is short but only because you don’t use your time for what matters most.

At the end of your life, this is what God will tell you in your face, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have run your race. You were distracted a few times, but you stayed the course. Now, congratulations! You are at your finish line. You have spent your time well.

Work for six days. God gives you that much time. But rest for one day because God gives you that same amount of time for you to enjoy His creation and for you to spend time with your Creator. Let’s pray:

“Father, I thank you that we can spend time here today. But we know it’s not enough. We don’t want to arrive at the end of our lives and wonder where time went. We want to maximize every ounce of this breath that You’ve given us. Teach us how to manage our time, to allocate it to what matters most. Teach us Your ways. We want to be like Jesus. We want to follow You to the ends of the earth. If that means we die to ourselves every day, so be it. If that means we have to spend a little time reading scriptures, so be it. If that means we have to show up in church regularly and have time with You, so be it. We say amen to those acts because we want more time with You. We want to spend time with You. Thank You for feeling the same way too when it comes to me. There’s no wasted time spent with You. You see us as your child. We bask in your presence declaring that we belong in this place. There is no place we would rather be right now than here in Your Presence and in Your Garden. We spend our day today resting and worshipping.

We love You, Lord. Amen.”



Jesus, I am a sinner in need of a savior. And right now I need Your grace

to come into my life. Let it flow like a river changing me, nourishing me, loving me, and healing me. Today, I declare that You are my King and nobody else.

Today, I decide that I will follow You for the rest of my days. And I declare that I am never, ever, turning back. You are my God and I am Your child. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (July 7, 2024)


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