But What if it Matters…
“Shortly after Annie and I were first married, (26 years ago on the 27th of January) I happened to ask her if she thought whether the Sabbath mattered or not. She looked at me in a strange way as if that was not even something to consider. We were going to a good ‘on fire’ congregation where people seemed sincere about walking out their faith. They were feeding the hungry, helping the poor, hitting the streets, doing pro-life work… but we met on Sunday. So did everyone else we knew. ‘But what if it mattered?’ This thought would sometimes go through my mind.
“A couple years later, I had been studying the Scriptures about the Sabbath and it eventually seemed very clear to me. I came home one day and said ‘Honey, I can’t come to any other conclusion… We are going to keep the Sabbath.’ I was a bit excited about this newfound truth and was happy to share it with my bride, knowing that she would be just as excited as I was. I was not ready for her reply. She was excited all right… but not in the way that I was expecting.
“‘I CAN’T GET ALL MY WORK DONE IN SEVEN DAYS AND NOW YOU EXPECT ME TO DO IT IN SIX?!?!?!’
“It was not a happy time at our place. We sat there that first Sabbath morning, trying to ‘rest…’ trying not to notice all the work that needed to be done to our old place in the country. Annie was not a happy camper. She sat there bouncing her legs, mumbling different things like ‘What does it matter?’ I finally said ‘Let’s go for a walk… you like to walk honey… we all like to walk… a walk will be a good thing… let’s go for a walk.’ She came along, but she was still not a happy camper. I could hear her mumbling more things. The most common was something about ‘What does it matter… I can’t see what it matters… WHAT DOES IT MATTER?’
“I should probably backtrack and tell you that since becoming a believer, Annie has had a close relationship with the Heavenly Father. They walk and talk together. I’m not sure if she was talking to Him at this point, but He finally talked to her. She says that it was not an audible voice, but it was just as clear as anything she has ever ‘heard.’ The Father said simply, ‘It matters to Me.’ She immediately said ‘Oh Father, please forgive me…’ and He did.
“She learned the lesson that we all need to learn… what matters to Him is what should matter to us. As I have told people, the first half of our first Shabbat was hell on earth. It was absolutely miserable. Since that fateful day over 20 years ago, we have had our minds renewed in such a way that we delight in Shabbat. If we get going too much, even traveling to Shabbat meetings, Annie will sometimes ask if we can shut things down because she needs her Shabbat. It matters to her… it should matter to all of us.”
– Tom and Annie Washburn
A Song of Mourning? Not on Shabbat!
“In 2009, my wife and I were able to spend the entire 7th month in Israel. We stayed at the Jerusalem Hostel just off Zion’s square on Jaffa road. Our first trek outside of Jerusalem was an overnight stay at Ephraim and Rimona Frank’s previous home in Alfe Menashe. As we returned back to Jerusalem on Friday before Shabbat, I started sensing the tremendous spiritual warfare that is contending for that city. It felt like I was getting sick and almost nauseous. Arriving back to the hostel, two older ladies we traveled with encouraged us to go to the Kotel with them. The way I was feeling, I didn’t want to go anywhere. Finally, my wife and the older ladies coaxed me to come. So I went to the wall to pray and thanked God for bringing us here to the city of the Great King. Still feeling sick I found a white plastic chair to sit on in the area of the square. Next to me I saw several Orthodox Jewish men having a conversation. All were dressed with a black fedora and suit except for one who looked chasidic with a fur hat on and a long black coat. Strangely, it turned out the chasid was American and didn’t know Hebrew. The chasid turned to the older man and said, ‘Rav, what are they singing at the wall?’ The Rav said, ‘It is a song of mourning.’ The chasid spoke to the Rav and said this, ‘What? A song of mourning? Rav, it’s Shabbas!!!’ Just then the spiritual oppression I was feeling lifted as the declaration filled the square and it was shattered in the beautiful Shabbat air of Jerusalem that night!”
– Tzefanyah Pappas
Take God at His Word… You will not regret it.
“I was a seminary trained, ordained Presbyterian pastor who had been in a church pulpit for 8+ years when God began to show me some things in Scripture that did not fit the doctrinal paradigm I professed, yet I knew His Word was unchanging and everlasting. Research led us to begin shedding some of the traditions of men that had invaded Biblical faith. Christmas and Easter were the first to go as I discovered ancient pagan roots that predated Messiah by a couple thousand years.
“Next, having this gap in our ‘holiday schedule,’ I prayed asking our Father what to do? He led us to HIS feasts that Scripture clearly says, in multiple places, are ‘forever,’ ‘perpetual,’ and ‘throughout your generations.’
“The next step God began to show us was that there is not a single place in Scripture that Sunday worship, as the weekly day, is even mentioned, never-the-less commanded, yet, nine times we are commanded to keep the seventh day and countless times we are promised to be blessed when obedient. Choosing to believe God’s Word over the teachings of men, we took the leap and began keeping Shabbat.
“Now four plus years later, I look back and it is so amazingly clear in Scripture that I can’t even wrap my head around how the Seventh day ever stopped being the Sabbath.
“Abba has so blessed us as a result of swimming against the tide of opinion. Shabbat rest and fellowship is something we look forward to all week with great anticipation. He always meets us in a special way and we would not even think of going back.
“Take God at His Word, I promise, you will not regret it.”
– Pete Rambo
Thank God It’s Friday!
“For me, I was in Jerusalem when a Shabbat fell, a Friday night as we know, and I saw a celebration break out that was unlike any worship service I had ever seen before. It was ancient. It was new. It felt city-wide and country-wide. It was awesome! At the time I was barely getting my feet wet in Hebraic understanding. But it hit me like a lightning strike standing and feeling the electricity in the air there in Jerusalem. I said, ‘Oh my goodness, all my life I’ve been saying, ‘Thank God It’s Friday. All my friends and people I know say that expression, and are unwittingly thanking YHVH for His Shabbat! Oh my, this IS the true Sabbath!’ It is a natural, cyclical 7-day rhythm which I believe everyone’s soul experiences weekly, whether or not we know why or know from Whom it came. And that night I suddenly realized why, as I witnessed millennia old celebration of our Creator and His goodness, which is still happening to this day! You cannot believe the chills I had. What an unexpected epiphany that, for me personally, seemed only could have happened walking in that ancient Old City, where His name is written in the hills and valleys, walking in the cool of the evening on a Friday at dusk! Thank you Abba!”
– Ty Towriss