Welcome to Home Shalom!

Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Discovering the Blessing of the Sabbath

The journey to understanding the Sabbath and truly walking in the fullness of the blessing has been a long one that had many stages. I expect it will unfold even more richly as I continued to walk with Yahweh, in future seasons of life, but this is kind of how it has unfolded for me:

It all started out a couple years ago, when Abba quickened my spirit to His Sabbath. I started looking into Scripture and searching for the switch to Sunday somewhere. I couldn't find anything and I brought it up to my husband...he thought I was "rockin' the boat" and he put me on the spot as he took me to our senior pastor during a baptism celebration at the local pool, so that he could settle it "once and for all". (Yes, I was very embarrassed!) But what I found was the answers I got were not scriptural: He brought up the Council of Nicea and early church founders (which I knew nothing about at that time!), I just wanted to disappear! I think He mentioned something about Romans, not judging others about which day they rested and then started talking about resting "1 day in 7", which is what they do since they work on the Lord's day... blah blah - no relevant scripture, but the guy was in his swim shorts for goodness sake, I gotta cut him a brake right? I politely said, "thank you very much" and exited as quickly as possible. I realized this was not Yah's timing to speak to either my husband or my Pastor and I knew I still had a lot to learn, before I was confident in communicating my understanding. So I let it go...for almost 2 years!! (This was yet another wonderful lesson in submission and trusting YHVH'S timing!)

Then I felt Yah calling me to it again. I said, I hear you Father, but you have got to change my husband's heart if anything is every going to change in our family. (Like He didn't know that!) He told me, to intercede on my husband's behalf, and that He had it under control, my husband's time was near. (Thank you for the gentle reminder that you had everything under control Abba! Sometimes I wonder if he told me to intercede just to keep me busy for little while so He could do what He does without me messing things up!) So I obeyed, and I studied. Things became very clear to me, we started having discussions about what I was reading...but this time, instead of meeting resistance from my husband, he was receptive and started looking for himself. He too saw what I saw...we wrestled with it like we all do whom are coming from "the common western church"...but the next thing you know...He got it - REVELATION of the truth of the Scripture! Amen. He saw scripture for what it said. He was no longer concerned about what it would cost him to obey God, He only wanted to follow Scripture!

This was the beginning of an amazing new journey, of understanding Scripture and taking God at His Word - together with my husband. There is nothing sweeter than chasing after YHVH with your spouse. Our conversations are lively and deep, we spur each other into more questions and dig in to find the answers. It is the way holy marriage should be! Moving forward with a common love and desire for truth for our Adonai. I pray every believing couple be blessed so!!!

We now keep the Shabbat with great joy and gladness. Mom and I were talking the other day and laughing at ourselves. Our conversation sounded something like this:

What in the world does God see in us? I don't know, we can so rebellious to His Word! Here God is setting an appointment with His people to commune with them until the end of time; He invites us to one day out of the whole week, even though we don't deserve it, and even though we act like spoiled teenagers would treat HIS special day like a dreaded family reunion; He tells us to set apart this time to meet with HIM and rest and have fellowship with His people so that we may be built up for the coming week. He knows what we need to helps us keep Him ever present in our plans...but what do we do? We say, that's great God, but Sunday is all rage, and we then we use His own Scripture out of context to defend our position and deem His actual words as having passed away! We do this regardless of the fact that HE specifically told us Sabbath would not pass away.

On Sunday, We used to stand in church and go to bible study and claim how we will worship God for eternity and teach others to do the same. We say "better is one day in His house than thousands elsewhere", we call HIM our "all in all", We call HIM "LORD"...yet we struggle with the whole concept of the Sabbath. We stand stiff necked clinging to our traditions, as if this precious gift of Sabbath were not just that as precious gift for His people. We act as if we are only governed by only some of the Bible's words, the ones that suit us. We fail to see that we have been grafted into the family that already existed, we have not replaced it. It seems to be very revealing of our heart condition and our priorities. We were ignorant of His Word and we took teachings of man above His own. Mom and I cried and we praised Him because HE saw us through it and is taking us further into understanding Him and His ways. We claimed to be "Bible Believing", but the more I studied the more I realized I was believing something else!

Since than, we have learned that Shabbat is a BLESSING no a legalistic burden to be set free from like some would say!! It is a special gift that we now look forward too. As a matter of fact our week revolves around it! Some people will argue, "every day is the Lord's Day". True, every day is the LORD's day when you serve Him and He calls you His own. However, every day is NOT the Sabbath! It has been appointed by YHVH, very clearly through Scripture in SEVERAL places, as separate and distinct with it's own ordained purpose, and it was made for us, not for God, nor was man made for it.

Let me explain: While those who call Him LORD, do in fact, spend our days serving Him, we do it by the works of our hands. In the workplace, in the home, on the mission field, in our communities, in classrooms, etc... When we do all we do to His glory, we are HOLY for HIM - no matter how big or small the task we are assigned. (And rightly so!) However, Shabbat is the day where those tasks that were assigned, are to STOP and this day is to be set apart from all the other days of the week. To rest in HIM, mind, soul and strength. This is the "groove" of Creation which He has set forth. It is HIS way, not ours. By doing it we show our reverence for HIS commands, our appreciation for them and we reap the benefits of them! Spiritually speaking we join all of His people who are doing the same, and are unified in The Spirit. We usher in the day as soon as we can and we keep it as long as we can and because we will be back to the hustle and bustle of life for the next 6 days. This sets us apart from the world, it is one of the many things that identifies us as HIS people. (By His own words not mine! Why? Because we are obeying His commands. Yeshua/Jesus said, if you Love me , you will obey my commands. Yeshua never spoke anything outside of what Torah or prophets teach. (In other words the Old Testament.) He was a living example of Torah. He spoke very adamantly against the religion of man, and his added requirements, but nothing against Torah and the prophets. It is very important that we learn the difference!! The modern day church has misinterpreted His words in many areas, and swept other very plain statements under the rug because they can do not fit their theology. Yeshua is The Word.) On Shabbat it is as if Creation should be still and KNOW that HE is YHVH, and celebrate HIS majesty above all other tasks. If we don't have the "time" or "desire" to do that, than I must ask ourselves- whom do we serve? Who is our God? Is HE just an accessory to our life? One that we bend to fit our druthers?

On the "practical side", I found Shabbat needed to be planned for. In our area, many things shut down on Sunday and my husband works M-F. If we want to get projects done on the weekend our day is Sunday, we need to make sure our supplies are ready before sundown on Friday. If I want to be free of extra cooking on Shabbat, I need to plan ahead meals for Saturday. If I want to not be stressed by laundry undone and dust on every surface (which you are sure to notice when you STOP on Shabbat and look around!), than I need to have my cleaning done. Then of course there is baking of the traditional Challah (Making Challah is not required but has become a beloved tradition and it symbolizes so many things in the celebration!). There is making sure I have shopped for all the things I needed before I started making my meals ahead. So you can quickly see how the week starts to be planned around Shabbat. But that is all part of it's beauty! All week long their is an anticipation for that time again. An excitement, a desire to commune in that long and leisurely way. Abba has given us a built in retreat every week. Like you all know, it is work to go on vacation! But once you get your flow, you learn how to do it well, so you start your week strong and refreshed, and ready to jump into work and responsibility as apposed to "falling behind" or feeling like you "lost a day" (like it seemed for us in the beginning). Instead you feel like you are recharged to take on what ever YHVH has in store for you this week. It's a beautiful thing. We get lots of practice! In a year's time we have "done Shabbat" 52 times, if you are devoted - you find your groove in a few months give or take.

In the beginning, we found ourselves struggling with the outlines in Scripture, but HE quickly made it clear that it was our own selfishness that was our obstacle. We were wound so tight with working hard and playing hard, that spending 24 hours being still in the presence of our King was very hard. We were so used to "running things" that we didn't know how to stop. We didn't know what to do with ourselves. Ideas kept penetrating our minds, of things we could be "getting done". We even struggled for a while, with trying to define what "rest is" because true rest was so foreign to us. Then of course with little ones, you have additional challenges. Some times it feels like you can't rest unless you "ship them off". When we arrive at that place we realize we has turned Sabbath into a self centered holiday once again!! So there is so much more to Sabbath than meets the eye. HE is training us on so many levels in HIS glorious Shabbat. It is a time, not only to commune with YHVH, but also to commune with our children and spouses, to ponder His greatness, and praise HIM. To worship HIM together freely without any other agenda nagging at us; to slow down and smell the roses; to worship without restraint or reserve; to study freely; to pray freely; to enjoy HIS Creation; to enjoy Him; to write freely; to visit HIM in your dreams. Shabbat is yet another beautiful gift from YHVH for our good, to help us cope with the trials of this world, to keep him at the center and to build one another up in HIM. It is a reflection and reminder of all the most important things in life. It is another rehearsal for spending eternity with HIM.

We start our Shabbat on Friday night at sunset (a little before in the summer for the sake of the baby's bed time). The Hebrew calender runs from sunset to sunset as is depicted in the story of creation when it is described, again HIS ways are higher and oh so different than ours. We have a special family meal. The table is dressed with cloths, Shabbat candles, flowers, and our best dishes. We usually have a bottle of wine, and something special for the meal. I try to have dessert on this night as well (unlike any other night). I am mindful of the dishes and serving things that only need quick clean up. I make sure the sink and counters and dishwasher are empty when we start our night so that we can quickly rinse, load and walk away (without feeling the burden of a mess, should unexpected company arrive). We sing, we have communion, we pray for one another, we praise YHVH for giving us another week to serve HIM and pray that He blesses our hands to glorify Him in the next week to come. Sometimes, we just enjoy one another, other times we play a bible game, or a reading or bible film or teaching. Sometimes we go to our separate corners for a while. We always start the evening out with a blessing, thanking YHVH for this wonderful Shabbat, and for HIS Glorious provision of Yeshua Messiah so that we me even even be adopted into HIS holy family. We praise Him and ask that HE work in our hearts/minds and help us to know HIM and serve HIM better. The next day, we rest and do more of the same, or we join with other believers for more of the same. It is a glorious retreat in HIM, every week!

Thank you Abba for taking me out of myself bit by bit, for giving me a thirst to KNOW YOU and a desire for YOUR WAYS above all else. Thank you for helping me see, how I was trying to transform you to fit me, instead of allowing myself to be transformed to fit YOU. Thank you once again Abba for your bountiful and never ending provision for your people! May we never cease to walk arm in arm with YOU. Amen.

1 comment:

Anne Elliott said...

Thank you! I'm bookmarking this to show some friends. You've done an excellent job of showing the joy of Shabbat.