Sabbath Messages from 1999-2000


Short Messages Encouraging Sabbath Keeping

[Called Friday e-mails, these short exhortations are sent out to any that desire to receive them. Here are some past ones sent out in 1999 and 2000. If you would like to subscribe, send your request to ““]

July 23, 1999
Dear children of God,

I read a recent cover story for World Magazine that was entitled, “Train up a Child and Get Railroaded”. In it the author was explaining how practicing Biblical discipline was bringing law suits down on one household after another. Even in Christian schools where parents sign a statement supporting the school’s corporal punishment policy, they often retaliate against the school if their own child is spanked. Many have been brainwashed by a therapeutic culture that views harming the self esteem of a wrongdoer as worse than the original wrong. Unfortunately the Christian community has not escaped the in roads of secular thinking in this area as well as many others.

Commenting on this phenomenon, James Dobson has this to say, “You begin to hear the same rhetoric inside the church that is being spoken throughout the culture. The culture is like a raging river. It takes nearly everything down hill with it. The church is a function of culture and tends to move with the force of the flow. If you want to oppose the rush of the culture, you’ve got to put a lot of effort into it”.

Without a doubt there is a downward stream rushing against us and more effort is needed on our part just to hold our own. Here is one place where sabbath keeping can help us. The only “sabbath” most people know is one more trip to the mall or to the beach. True sabbath keeping, however, can be a powerful counter cultural antidote signaling to men and angels that we march to the beat of a different drummer. With the world almost disappearing into the sucking vortex of hedonism we can still fly our flag and say no to the mad pursuit of pleasure. On this sabbath we can point our faces to the age just ahead and let the principalities and powers know that we are not being snowed under by their propaganda.

God has promised that in that age, “the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert… and a highway shall be there; it will be called the way of holiness,.. and only the redeemed will walk there,…they will enter Zion with singing; and everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa 35)

Yours in faith for sorrow and sighing to flee away,

Dave Murray

December 10, 1999

Dear People of God,

I have been recently re-impressed with the truth that we are being made by God into a kingdom and priests to God. (Rev 1:5-6, Rev 5:9-10) Exodus uses the phrase “a kingdom of priests” (Exod. 19:6). What a high calling to fulfill! Peter writes about it and describes it as “a holy priesthood” “offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” and calls it “a royal priesthood…that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you.” (1 Peter 2:4,9) We, as Christians, are called to be part of His holy and royal priesthood.

God gives a description of what a faithful priest does in 1 Samuel 2:35. “But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul (mind);…” I have been challenged to make sure that my heart and mind is in tune with His heart and mind.

We can so easily get caught up with our own way and thoughts that we miss His. Just as a stringed instrument has to be brought up to pitch to sound the same as others it is going to be played with, we must be in tune with Christ and heaven. In Amateur radio, we tune our antenna to the right length to assure maximum transfer of power across the airwaves to the world. As Christians, when we are tuned, God can use us as channels of faith to reach a needy world.

Each Sabbath God gives us a special opportunity to stop and get tuned up to Him. Not only do we receive the rest and relaxation that our bodies need, but we can let God tune us to resound His heart and mind. How often I have found that as I keep His day Holy, that I am “anointed with fresh oil” from the Lord. God Bless you each with a glad, holy Sabbath day where you are freshly tuned to God and fulfill His call as a holy and royal priesthood.

In His Love, Neil Sandford

December 31, 1999

Dear Followers of the Lord Jesus,

It will not be long before we will be wishing each other a Happy New Year and New Century! We don’t know whether this year will hold things that are easy or hard, but we do know with a glorious certainty the One who holds us and the future. Whether Y2K amounts to anything or not, it does not change the God who is over all. In my reading of Revelation, I have noticed how much the book reveals to us the character and reliability of God. Not only is Jesus the Living One who is alive forevermore and has the keys of life and death, but He is the First and the Last. He was there in the beginning, and He will be there for us in the end. As can be seen in His messages to the churches, He knows everything about us.

I especially noticed how the fourth chapter starts with, “I will show thee the things which must come to pass hereafter,” and then we see a glorious picture of heaven with all the hosts worshipping God. The next chapter shifts the worship to the Lamb who opens the seven seals and completes God’s plan of history. Overarching the events that take place in the rest of the book is the fact that God is still on the throne, and He is in complete control. He unfolds His plan. Things may get bad, but they are never out of His control! We can joyfully stand by God in whatever His plan calls for.

The media is full of all of man’s accomplishments throughout this past century. While there are some amazing discoveries and technological advancements, I would rather dwell on what God has done throughout this past century. He has been actively involved in this world and is still “on the move.” Souls have been saved, prayers have been answered, evil has been conquered over and over again. I was thinking about the wonderful fact that the Kingdom was renewed and the work of restoration carried on this century. During this century God has raised up many Godly organizations to carry on different aspects of His work. Into the midst of spiritual darkness, God’s light has been shining all over the earth! Let’s fill our minds with God’s accomplishments.

As we enter this new year and century, we can lift up our heads, because we know and trust the One who controls it all. His character, trustworthiness, and promises are all that we need to truly rejoice in this new year and new century.

In Faith, Neil Sandford


February 11, 2000

Dear Fellow Travelers,

One of the historical events that has caught my interest is the settling of the West and especially the development of the Oregon Trail. When our family traveled out west a few years ago we traveled along the interstate in Nebraska which paralleled the Oregon Trail. As we zoomed along, I thought of all the dangers and challenges which those settlers faced as they plodded along behind their oxen. When I had a wagon ride behind oxen this last fall, it became even more real what a tedious process that must have been for those brave families.

In western Nebraska, we stopped at a historical landmark called Scott’s Bluff. From there we could look out across many miles of country where the Oregon trail passed. In the other direction we could look forward to where the trail wound on westward. Although this landmark is not exactly on the trail, I was thinking about how the families may have stopped to rest on knolls where they could look back and see where they had been, as well as look forward to see what was coming in the future.

I think God designed the same kind of rest stop for our Christian journey. He set apart a day for us to stop and think about all the ways He has helped us thus far in our journey, as well as a chance to look forward to what is coming in the future. How good God is to care for us, answer our prayers, and stay near us! Even through the tight spots, when things are not easy, we can thank Him that we made it through. Whether it is something where He has helped us in the past week, or something that happened years ago, it is a good thing to stop and thank Him. It is a good tradition to gather our families together at the beginning of the Sabbath to recount what He has done and to praise Him.

As we look ahead to what is coming in the future, we are reminded that things are not going to keep going as they always have, but Jesus is coming back to set things right all over the earth. The Bible is full of promises about how the desert will blossom like the rose, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. Every one is going to know Him, from the least unto the greatest. What a glorious future we have ahead of us! Every promise is going to be fulfilled and Warrior Song #212 helps us catch the spirit of what is coming.

Let us lift up our hearts to God this day. There is plenty to praise Him for as we look back and as we look ahead in anticipation for His promises to be fulfilled in the future!

Have a glorious day with Him!

Neil Sandford


May 11, 2000

Dear Friends of Jesus,

“If you owe Him any glory, better start that debt to pay…” As we complete the Bible School year we have been freshly reminded that we owe Jesus a great debt of love and praise. We have been thanking Him for a good year and all the supporters, near and far, who have contributed faith and funds to make the Bible School a reality. God has answered many prayers for the students and staff and we offer Him our deep gratitude.

When I was in Bible School one of our teachers encouraged us to “keep short accounts.” His application was that if something is wrong in our life, we should get it cared for as soon as possible. God’s forgiveness and cleansing is readily available and there is no need to procrastinate.

I think that “keeping short accounts” also applies to giving our praise to God. We shouldn’t wait a long time before giving God our thanks and praise. “When the heart is right with Jesus, every day is thanksgiving day!”

The Sabbath is a wonderful time to catch up on thanksgiving and praise. As a family, we like to recount the blessings of the week in order to refresh our memories on what God has done for us. It is a great time to stop and praise Him for his goodness before we go rushing on to future blessings. It is an opportunity to savor His goodness every week. Have a wonderful Sabbath praising Him!

Neil Sandford


May 19, 2000

Dear followers of Jesus,

Two days ago I was walking through a hayfield to visit a neighbor who had called for prayer. As I strolled along I was sweetly arrested by five words that came to me with comforting clarity. The Holy Spirit said to me, “the trial of your faith”. Being familiar with the passage in Peter I quickly added “which is much more precious than gold”. By these words I believe that the Lord was signifying to me that my neighbor was being tried but that the whole process he was enduring was precious to the Lord.

The fragrance of that moment has not left me. It lingers still with reassuring sweetness. I believe those words were given not just for my neighbor but for you and me in all that we are facing as Christians these days. The full verse reads like this, “though now for a season, if need be ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6,7 (KJV)

The over riding sense of the message to me was that God is not disengaged from our trials. Not only is He very conscious of them, but in some way they are sweet to Him. And that sweetness can overflow to us and flavor all that is happening in and around us.

When I shared this message with a godly saint many years older than I, she said that God had given her that passage years ago and made her know that the TRIAL of her faith was even more precious to God than her faith itself. Whatever the case be encouraged because these trials are working for us an exceeding weight of glory in the next life and the comforting sense of His presence in this life.

May this Sabbath be a time when trials are swallowed up by the Father’s love as He conveys to your heart how precious you are to Him.

With love and courage to each one,

David Murray


May 26, 2000

Dear People of God,

Memorial Day weekend is upon us with all its promise for fun and outdoor activity. Hopefully the activities will include proper honor to those who fought and died for our country. The world rushes on at such a pace that it’s hard to stop and remember anything for more than a few moments. Ceremonies and memorials surely do help us to take stock of what matters and where we are headed even on a natural plane.

When it comes to our spiritual lives, however, memorials and remembering are even more important. The word “remember” is used 144 times in the Bible because there are some things that should never be forgotten. Among some of the more notable admonitions to remember are the following:

Exodus 133 “Remember this day in which ye came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

Numbers 15:39 “Remember all the commandments of Jehovah and do them.”

Deuteronomy 7:18 “thou shalt not be afraid of them: thou shalt well remember what Jehovah thy God did unto Pharaoh.”

Deuteronomy 8:19 “thou shalt remember Jehovah thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.”

Deuteronomy 32:7 “remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.”

Psalm 105:5 “remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth.”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 “remember also thy creator in the days of thy youth.”

Isaiah 46:9 “remember the former things of old: for I am God and there is none else.”

Malachi 4:4 “remember ye the law of Moses my servant.”

Luke 17:32 “remember Lot’s wife.”

2 Peter 3:2 “that ye should remember the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.”

May this short list stir the memory of your heart and bless you as you “remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

With faith and love to each one,

David Murray


June 9, 2000

Dear Ones who Love God,

How big is God?! It is a question and the more you ponder it, it becomes an exclamation. As one song puts it–big enough to make the universe, yet small enough to dwell in our hearts. As I read Job 38 and 39 this morning, I was reminded of all that God did to create the world and also how much He still does to maintain it. He is doing billions of things all at once! He is big!

When you think of all the myriads things He does in the hearts of men to work out His will, it is amazing. I have been tracing spiritual roots and thinking about how truth or traditions have been passed from person to person. It is not a perfect science, but it is awesome to think how God has transferred His truth from heart to heart. He is big!

When we think of all the needs in the world and what we would like to do to help, we sometimes wonder, “How can I take a day off for the Sabbath?” Then we realize how little we can really do to help all the needs and only He can solve the real problems. He commanded us to take a day off for rest, so we can do the most to help others by obeying Him. When we do, we silently testify to His greatness and often freshly sense His grandeur. He is big!

Happy Sabbath,

Neil Sandford


July 14, 2000

Dear followers of Jesus,

When anyone close to us passes on to heaven and its glories, we naturally tend to focus our thinking on things above. How many times since my father’s recent passing have we all wondered what he was doing and thinking and feeling? Sometimes it takes a death or a sudden calamity to shake us from our earthy modes and set our minds on things above. Surely such times can be rewarding.

At such a time as this it is also quite natural to think about legacies and inheritances. The Bible says that a “good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children.” We usually think of an inheritance in material terms while a legacy deals more with intangibles. Such a distinction is hinted at in 2 Chronicles 21 where Jehoshaphat gave great gifts of silver and gold to some of his boys but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the first born. No doubt Jehoram received material benefits to, but his greatest inheritance had to do with privileges and responsibilities and opportunities.

In this connection I have received a great legacy of spiritual treasures from my Dad. High on the list among them is an understanding of and appreciation for the Sabbath. As I said at the funeral, “thank you dad for honoring God’s day with such a beautiful blend of reverence and affection that the Sabbath became a cherished highlight of every week.” May this Sabbath be used of God to help you ride on the “high places” of the earth. When we find these places then heaven draws near and our souls vibrate with the pleasures at His right hand.

Love to each one,

David Murray


August 11, 2000

Dear friends of the living God,

Recently I have been inspired by the grand old faith chapter in Hebrews 11. The list of what was accomplished by faith is long and inspiring.

Here’s a little of what happened:
Abel offered a sacrifice
Enoch was taken to heaven
Noah prepared an ark
Abram went to a foreign land
Sarah received the ability to conceive
Abram offered Isaac
Isaac blessed Jacob
Joseph gave orders concerning his bodily remains
Moses was hidden
Some conquered kingdoms
Some obtained promises
Some experienced mockings and scourgings
Some were stoned and ill treated
Some wandered around in deserts

A quick evaluation of these accomplishments could easily leave us with mixed emotions. Some of them look like what we think faith should produce but others don’t seem to qualify for having been faith generated. Does faith wander around in the desert and get ill treated? And yet Scripture says that “ALL these gained approval through their faith”. Or as the margin puts it, they all “obtained a testimony”. I have been inspired by the thought of “obtaining a testimony” simply by choosing to believe God in all the common things of life.

I can be in faith when I eat my breakfast, when I cruise the interstate, when I talk to my neighbors or when I do any number of ordinary things that life brings my way. Being in faith is a life work that is available to all of us. It is simply a set of soul or an attitude that says things like the following:

I believe God or I believe that it pays to obey God or I’m doing this because I believe God.

So let’s keep this Sabbath in faith. I believe it makes a difference when we obey God and honor His Sabbath.

Yours in faith for the whole world,

David Murray


August 18, 2000

Dear Fellow Warriors for Christ,

Yesterday was Coronet day and today is Armageddon day. Both remind us of God’s call to carry on spiritual warfare for Christ. The Coronet was a symbol of the rider on the White Horse that goes forth “conquering and to conquer.” The mission of spiritual warfare is always ahead until the last battle–“Armageddon.” That final battle will see Satan defeated and removed from the earth. It is a privilege to be fighting for our Lord.

We know what the final outcome is and that we are on the winning side! Even though we are in a battle and there are plenty God’s enemies in the world, I have been impressed by the concept of Christ’s peace. It is something that He gives us. (John 14:27) It is beyond understanding since it is not dependent on our circumstances. (Phil 4:7) It stands guard over our hearts and thoughts. It is tied to our belief and trust in Him. (Isa 26:3, Rom 15:13)

In the midst of the battle or the storm, God intends us to have peace. In the eye of the hurricane there is dead calm. I think of the Sabbath that way too. In the midst of our hectic lives, God gives us a day of peace, of calm, of quiet rest. May we take the time to experience His peace in a special way this day.

With love and faith, Neil Sandford


August 25, 2000

Dear people of God,

Today my soul was strengthened and encouraged by reading chapters 50 and 51 in the book of Jeremiah. These chapters contain a vivid account of the doom and destruction of our great enemy Babylon. This mighty monolith of evil and seduction is spreading its vast tentacles of sensuality and greed across the face of the whole world. It is a world system exalted against the knowledge of God and His ways. Its power is so great that God calls it “the hammer of the whole earth”. (50:23)

Nevertheless, a mighty day of reckoning is just around the corner. The word of Jehovah says, “I am against you, O arrogant one, … for YOUR DAY HAS COME.” (50:31) And He adds later, “For this is the LORD’s time of vengeance; He is going to render recompense to her.” ( 51:7) So great is God’s wrath that He declares He is going to open His armory and bring forth “the weapons of His indignation.” (50:25)

During this time of awful vengeance against evil, God also remembers the plight of His servants. He knows how entangled we all can get in this world’s ways and what slavery this world tries to impose on us. So He says concerning Babylon’s captives, “their Redeemer is strong, Jehovah of hosts is His name; He will vigorously plead their case, so that He may bring rest to the earth, but turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon.” (50:34) And in another place God says concerning those of us who have felt the crushing weight of this world trying to conform us to its mold, “Behold, I am going to plead your case and exact full vengeance for you, … and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins.” (51:36,7)

In the light of all this we are encouraged to be joyful and lift up our heads. “Then heaven and earth and ALL THAT IS IN THEM will shout for joy over Babylon.” (51:48) As you welcome this Sabbath, just remember that it signifies rest from all the oppression and unrest imposed by the god of this world. We can join heaven and earth in rejoicing because we know that our redeemer is vigorously pleading our case and has given us the Sabbath as a foretaste of the worldwide rest that will follow on the heels of Babylon’s downfall.

Shabbat Shalom,

David Murray


September 8, 2000

Dear followers of Jesus,

At the end of every week we find ourselves craving cessation and rest from the torrid pace of life that is devouring so many. It seems that the faster we go the behinder we get in terms of what really matters. All of us are caught to some extent in a world that is racing faster to get ahead or stay ahead whatever that means. Emerson put his finger on it when he said, “Things are in the saddle and they ride mankind.”

As followers of Jesus we must constantly thrust things from the saddle and take on His yoke instead. The sabbath is a good time to do that. It is a day and an institution that directly counters the sweeping downward current of this world’s frantic pursuits. When you break free from your normal routine of money making and turn to activities that refresh the soul and honor God, you are getting into gear with the God of creation.

As a sabbath keeper you become branded with an other worldly stamp that identifies you as belonging to God. It is especially rewarding to take some effort to honor the sabbath at the first moment of sundown. We are not always in places where we can do that, but just remembering it as sundown comes and looking to God with a sabbath welcome in your spirit can go a long way toward finding God real through the rest of the day when you may be better situated to pay attention to the things of God. Such an attitude displays a respect for the sabbath that honors the God of the sabbath.

Often right at sundown we find “the sunset’s approach brings a soft, soothing balm, with a heavenly exquisite thrill.” And “the cares of the six days of laboring cease, as the sun in the West sinks from view.” And this provides a “foretaste so sweet of millennial peace” which distills over our souls like the dew. (Warrior Songs 208)

May God refresh your souls and lift things out of the saddle,

David Murray


October 13, 2000

Dear Friends of God,

For midweek meetings the Fairwood church group began watching the video series “Finding Peace in a Troubled World” by Max Lucado. He uses the events in the last week of Jesus’ life to illustrate what is most important in life. Max begins by examining what Jesus did the Saturday before the most crucial week in his life. All four gospels are silent about any activity that day and so he concludes that he did nothing. He rested and kept the Sabbath! Max Lucado goes on to emphasize the importance of keeping a day of rest. While he does not emphasize Saturday as the Sabbath, he makes it very important to remember to take a day off to “rest your body and restore your soul.”

I was so glad to hear this simple truth promoted. He used the illustration of the owners manual in a car encouraging maintenance “for optimum performance over a maximum period of time.” That is what the Lord wants to do for us on the Sabbath. He wants to maintain our souls and our bodies for health, peace and prosperity for the long haul. We have a wonderful God who loves us thoroughly! His commands are for our own good.

We are at times tempted to feel that we are too busy to take a day of rest and there too many needs to meet or good things to do. Jesus certainly could have felt that even more when he faced that last week on earth, but he set a clear example for us all–He kept the Sabbath. One Godly man expressed how he found that the busier he got the more time he needed to spend in prayer. I think the corollary to that is that the busier we get the more vital it is for us to stop and take a day of rest.

The word Sabbath means “cease” or stop. It is God’s beautiful stop sign at the end of every week.

Have a wonderful day of rest,

Neil Sandford


October 27, 2000

Dear Friends,

Have you ever noticed how much God loves celebrations? From instituting the feasts, to the celebration of the return of the prodigal son, the Bible indicates that God loves to see his people celebrate. He truly loves us and delights in our joy. I heard one speaker comment that the Kingdom of God is one big celebration. I think that is an exaggeration to make a point, but the point is a good one. Frank Murray once commented that “God loves joy and the devil hates and cannot stand it.”

Whenever we rejoice we bless God and drive the devil away. The Bible says that the Kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Taking time to relish and express that “joy in the Holy Spirit” is one of the reasons God gave us the Sabbath. The Sabbath is one of the feasts. The words of the song remind us “Tis a Jubilee today, far from being the least, Since the Lord God of Israel has called it a feast.” The Sabbath is a jubilee or celebration. He wants us to have a day that is free from difficult problems and burdens–a day to rejoice, to “kick up our heels” and celebrate the goodness of our God.

A Happy Sabbath to you all,

Neil Sandford


November 3, 2000

Dear Friends,

While reading in Luke the other day I was encouraged with a fresh insight into the ongoing struggle for our soul’s welfare and how Jesus is working to secure it. The 22nd chapter records a conversation between Jesus and Peter during the last supper in the upper room. It started like this: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you.” I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “the devil sifts and shakes us while Jesus prays us through”.

Later in the chapter after the cock had crowed three times we see Peter weeping bitterly over his failure. So what happened to Jesus prayers? What good does it do to have the Saviour pray for us if we go on into the abyss? Again at this point in my Bible I wrote, “Jesus’ prayers didn’t prevent this tragedy, but they did take Peter through it.” He lost face but he didn’t lose faith. Jesus prayers took Peter clear through to the beach a few days later where he was entrusted with a life mission. “Tend my sheep”.

We are all being sifted whether by Satanic attack or just by the cares of life. We are shaken by disappointment, by shattered dreams, by stress, and by fear of the future. We are sifted by unanswered prayer and by friends that let us down. Our own failures rise up to mock us, but Jesus is standing confidently on the beach ready to restore us to usefulness.

Why is he confident? Because He has prayed for us that our faith fail not. I hope this sabbath is a time that you find rest in the prayers of Jesus. He knows how to pray you through.

In the deep, deep love of Jesus,

David Murray


December 8, 2000

Dear Friends,

In our midweek meeting this week, we heard a quotation from Winston Churchill–perhaps the shortest speech of his career. At a commencement, he rose, took the podium, and said, “Never. Never. Never, give up” and then sat down. To me this expresses the finality, the inexorableness of the Purposes of God. He has set Himself to do certain things, which he recorded in Scripture: to humble all pride, to “break the Assyrian,” to establish His Kingdom, and to bring in the Age of Peace on earth. And He never, never, never gives up. It makes no difference what the schemes of man can set in motion. The politics, lawyers, legislatures, and judges of this world are like straw before the Purpose which He has purposed upon the whole earth. That Purpose is not derailed, and we must not be derailed. With a God like ours, sovereign and unmoved, we can afford to take the same stance, both in our thinking and in our faith. It’s our privilege, then, to keep right on, never yielding, never giving up, never quitting until the wicked serpent has twitched its last.

One of the things that will survive right through until the Age to Come is the Sabbath. God has never given up on that, either; and His people never give up on it. But in another way of looking at it, the Sabbath is a time when we can give up–give up our worries and fretting, give up our “difficult problems,” and give ourselves up to rest and communion with Him.

Take courage, Sabbath-keepers! This day is made for us, and we can give up our cares, and worship our God–who never slumbers nor sleeps as He watches over His word to perform it, and Never, Never, Never gives up!

Timothy Murray


December 15, 2000

Dear friends of Jesus,

I have been reading a book by Joni Eareckson Tada entitled “Heaven Your Real Home”. There are many inspiring passages in it but one struck me especially. In chapter two she makes this remark: “Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. Otherwise, heaven is a turnoff.” She goes on to illustrate what she means by explaining how many teenagers are turned off by classical composers because they haven’t been prepared to properly understand and appreciate classical music. She mentions Mozart and his piece the Magic Flute. This was a piece “prepared” by someone paying excruciating attention to numerical progressions that reflect absolute order and symmetry. Most of us don’t have the ability to understand such perfection or properly appreciate it.

Heaven is something like that. It is a location where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. After all the years he’s been at it, I would venture to guess that the final product will be astonishingly beautiful. Wouldn’t it be a shame to finally get there and be turned off by it? This will never happen to those people who have truly been prepared for the prepared place. We are told that John the Baptist came before Jesus to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for Him. Isn’t it wonderful that God not only prepares a place for us but knows how to prepare us for the place?

As followers of Jesus every day is a preparation day. Nothing comes into your life or mine that isn’t in some way designed to prepare us for our future in heaven. Since we aren’t exactly sure what it is that we are being prepared for, it should not seem strange that odd or senseless things should happen to us. I still can’t make much sense out of the awful auto accident I was in two weeks ago. It is easy to wonder how it possibly could have been a preparation for heaven, but at the same time I am convinced that it was. Let’s be assured that all things really do work together for good to those who follow Jesus.

And let’s rejoice in this sabbath as a time designed of God as a grand hors d’oeuvres for the banquet just ahead. Sabbath keeping is one of the best ways to be prepared to see Him and greet Him with joy.

Yours in faith for the on going preparation,

David Murray


December 22, 2000

My Dear Friends,

I trust you will have a glorious Christmas, full of Jesus’ love and presence. Children can hardly wait for it to arrive and that attitude of joyful anticipation may be ours in waiting for His second advent. Much is made of the long expected anticipation when Jesus came the first time.

How much more as we await His coming in “power and great glory.” We can hardly wait–Come Lord Jesus! I noticed an attribute of the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11. The King James Version puts it this way: “but having seen them [God’s promises] afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…” What a neat thing to do with all of God’s unfulfilled promises: “see them,” “greet them” or “welcome them,” then be persuaded or assured of them, and finally to joyfully embrace them!

There are three promises I would suggest we might want to freshly greet and embrace, knowing that God in his Almighty power is sure to fulfill them.

Hab 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (NAS)

Isa 35:5-6 “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.” (NAS)

Rev 21:3-4 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be {any} death; there shall no longer be {any} mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”(NAS)

God bless each of you on this Sabbath with fresh faith and joyful anticipation!

Neil Sandford

 2005 – 2008 Copyright © The Kingdom Christian Ministries