Why I Started Keeping Shabbat

Why I Started Keeping Shabbat | Land of Honey

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Shabbat keeping is a choice.

There is a growing movement of people who serve Yahusha as their Messiah and who have decided to start honoring Shabbat, including most readers here at Land of Honey. Most of us weren't born into homes where the seventh day of the week was set apart. So what caused us to make this change in our lives?

My route was probably easier than most. Growing up my family never really found a Christian church that was a good fit for us, which caused us to bounce from place to place and hear wide ranges of doctrines, opinions, etc. on Scripture. This in turn forced us to constantly evaluate what we believed and why. I strongly believe that if someone is studying Scripture for what it says - and separates that from what they have been told - they will eventually get to a point where they see YHWH's commandments and instructions as life-giving and not burdensome. And that's really what it was like for our family, and by that time, small group. After admitting that what we had been taught wasn't consistent with what Scripture actually says, it seemed so obvious that this was a change that needed to be made. My husband and I were engaged at that time and were both willing to try this together. Our small congregation then changed it's meeting time from Sunday morning to Shabbat afternoon, and the 'peer pressure' of that was helpful. We began with just attending service on the seventh day, and then slowly realized other elements of setting the day apart like having time off from work, not shopping or eating out, and intentionally resting.

This is the point in the story where many of my Christian friends, coworkers, or relatives interject with something like, "You know that's legalism and Christ did away with that, right?" And I know where they're coming from because when I first considered the possibility of keeping Shabbat those were my thoughts too. Up until then my faith, though growing, was pretty mainstream (albeit with an extra dose of 'the Holy Spirit is real and does stuff'). I went to FCA at school, saw Rebecca St. James in concert, went on a couple of mission trips, attended youth group and summer camps, interned at a Bible college, and was on staff with several churches and non profits. I had the 'normal Christian' beliefs. We didn't know anyone who kept the Sabbath day on the seventh day of the week. We certainly didn't decide to make this change because it was convenient. This wasn't a decision made on a whim. It came after months of Scripture study, listening to teachings, reading books, and praying and asking for understanding. It was a decision we made because we felt very strongly that YHWH was asking us to do this, even if this idea was unpopular and misunderstood.

This is one of the best changes we have ever made! Shabbat adds so much peace to our lives, something wonderful to look forward to after a hectic week. I have more energy and feel like my time is more under control. And after experiencing this you can't feel like a day of rest is a burden. It's a gift.

Why did you choose to start keeping Shabbat? Remember that Shabbat survey I asked you to participate in a while ago? Well, I am going to share some answers from that today. :) I hope for those of us who are in the Hebrew community that it will be edifying to hear of others who have made the same choices we have. For those of you who are new to the idea of Shabbat observance I hope it will clear up any questions you may have.

Why did you start keeping Shabbat?

"Because Scripture clearly states and stresses the importance of it."

"It says in the Bible to keep the Sabbath, which is on the seventh day. We figured God did it, Yeshua did it, and he told us to, so why not?"

"Reading Scripture convicted me. If I'm grafted into Israel, and Israel was commanded to observe the Sabbath for all their generations, then the commandment now applies to me."

"We (my wife and I) started observing Shabbat because we did some research and found out that the Catholic church changed the day and meaning of observance."

"We realized it was the Biblical day and God commanded it."

"My mom had been convicted off and on almost her whole life.... She eventually just put her foot down and said she was going to keep it. My sister and I thought it was an okay idea at the time too, but now we would never go back!"

"I could read it in the Bible in black and white that it was for me to do if I was grafted into the Vine. It  had never been removed. And why would we only keep nine out of ten commands?"

"It was a part of my kids homeschool curriculum. It was a beautiful teaching and I wondered why Christians stopped so I've been reading and researching on my own."

"My wife showed me in the Bible."

"Because I realized the beauty of what it means to disconnect in order to reconnect with what actually matters in life."

"Out of a hunger to show obedience as a fruit of my relationship with YHWH."

"God woke me up and revealed to me [Shabbat] is not Jewish and it wasn't done away with after Christ."

"I began worshiping with a congregation and learned the importance of keeping Shabbat."

"Learned it was the right thing to do, that Sunday is not the Sabbath."

"My husband told me to! Haha!"

"After some studying of Torah and [the] commandments, we saw it made perfect sense that this is something He desires us to do."

"My family came to the understanding that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that in keeping His commands we find blessing."

"I knew by Scriptures that Saturday was Sabbath. I have lost a lot to observe it but it's been worth it."

"To have a richer family life and to share the old ways with our children."

"We keep Shabbat, because we love our Father, and want to obey His instruction on how to live."

"I grew up in a Christian church, and also a Messianic congregation. I decided upon becoming an adult, that I wanted to embrace my Messianic side. Observing Torah, and consequently, keeping Shabbat is integral to that."

"I read my Bible from front to back and was convicted."

"My husband and I received the revelation of Torah over seven years ago, and Shabbat is one of the most obvious/important things that you find when you first start reading and learning Torah."

"To experience more gratitude and intimacy with YHWH."

"I felt convicted to start setting Saturday apart. To truly use it as a day of rest, a day of connection with my kids and husband, a day to get into deeper study."

"I started studying the Word of God from a Hebrew perspective and saw Christianity from a whole new light."

"My husband started it at home... I wasn't happy with the idea.... but I did what I know best - praying. I asked the Father if this is good and is Yours, lead me to understand, manage the time, enjoy, rejoice, and love your Shabbat."

"God tugged at my heart about the commandments and to keep Shabbat."

"I got my eyes opened to what Yah says is a sign between us."

"Once I learned that it was really Biblical, not only for "the Jews," not abolished, and not changed/abrogated, it was the only choice I could make."

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the Shabbat survey! So many responded that it's not really feasible to share everyone's answer but I have so enjoyed reading each one. Thank you for sharing your story. How do you guys feel about posts like these? Is it fun for you to hear from others? I know I love it.

Let There Be Light - Visiting Temple De Hirsch Sinai

Let there be light! Stunning synagogue. | Land of Honey
Sorry for the silence here last week! I took a trip west to Seattle and Oregon with my husband, pretty much at the last minute, and didn't plan ahead. Live and learn, right? It was so great to get away for a bit; something about a change in scenery is so refreshing to me. Especially at this time of year when everything starts to seem a little gray and dreary. I think this is the first significant journey I've been on in the winter and travelling in the off-season definitely has it's perks! Tickets were less money and places were less crowded. Win!
Menorahs in architecture - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
 I took some of my own advice before heading out and did a little research about Hebrew things in the Seattle area (and Portland, more to come on that in another post). Fifteen minutes of internet searches lead me to this stunning synagogue.
Let there be light - menorah - Seattle | Land of Honey
Temple De Hirsch Sinai is an architectural masterpiece. This is the largest menorah I've ever seen and how beautiful! The bottom says 'yehi or' - let there be light.
Ten commandments gate - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
Loved the ten commandments gate as well. Such a picture of a certain, "I am the door," statement. :)
Ten commandments gate - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
Here's the backside of the gate. Notice the ten commandments painted on.
Menorahs in architecture - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
Enjoying the beauty of architecture that honors YHWH! So fun to see in person!
My house shall be a house of prayer - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
I was hoping to see the inside, but it didn't work for us to go when the gift shop was open.
Menorahs in architecture - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
I love the subtlety of this design - and it really symbolizes how YHWH speaks as well, I think. If you didn't know to look for a menorah, you probably wouldn't see it. But once you can recognize that it's everywhere.
Menorahs in architecture - let there be light - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
And there was light.
Menorahs in architecture - let there be light - Temple De Hirsch Sinai | Land of Honey
What other gorgeous menorahs or architecture have you seen? Let me know! I hope you all have a great week!

Living the Torah Portions - Vayera

Living the Torah Portions - Vayera | Land of Honey

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Vayera - I appeared - Exodus 6 - 9:35 - Burning Bush Cards from Kevin Ohlin
What about sending a card like this to a friend who could use some encouragement? You could also contemplate and discuss places you have clearly seen YHWH in your life.
Burning Bush Cards | Land of Honey

Bo - Come - Exodus 10 - 13:16 - Einkorn Matzah Bread from Land of Honey
Bo finishes up the last three plagues, followed by the Israelites keeping Passover and hastily leaving Egypt with their unleavened bread. You could have a go at making matzah (and maybe get really good at it before Passover), another idea would be taking a late night drive to commemorate Israel leaving Egypt in darkness.
Einkorn Matzah Bread | Land of Honey

Beshalach - When he sent - Exodus 13:17 - 17:16 - Thick Cloud Pavlova from How Sweet It Is
This week is the beginning of a period where YHWH's presence was represented by a pillar of cloud during the day. And, well, pavlova looks pretty similar to that! Other foods like mashed potatoes, coconut cream, or whipped cream could represent the cloud as well.
Pillar of Cloud Pineapple Pavlova | Land of Honey

Yitro - Jethro - Exodus 18 - 20:23 - Ten Commandments Memory Game from The Climbing Tree
During Exodus 20 the ten commandments are given. Kids can learn those commands by playing this game. Adults could join in or write the commandments out and place on the fridge or bathroom mirror.

10 Commandments Memory Game | Land of Honey

Mishpatim - Judgements - Exodus 21 - 24:18 - Planning for YHWH's times
Exodus 23 speaks of Shabbat and the feasts of YHWH. Set a few goals for each this week. Maybe planning what Scripture you'll read on Shabbat or taking extra care to have food prepared. Consider how YHWH would have us celebrate his festivals and prepare by marking your calendar, requesting time off work, or planning a party.
Shabbat Rest | Land of Honey

Hebrew Holiday Dates + Printable

Hebrew Holidays 2017 + free printable | Land of Honey

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Hebrew holiday dates for 2017...drum roll please.

Once again here are two sets of dates! I've done the traditional calendar dates and also the dates from Torah to the Tribes that are based on the start of the year, without an extra month. They are fairly close (of course there is some debate about when First Fruits is), mostly within a week of the other. So how do you choose?

I really can't make that decision for you but if you are in community with a group of believers the best option might be sticking together to celebrate. While there are pros and cons to both options, the fact is we really can't be certain of the dates until Yahusha returns. We can do our best now and be willing to change as we learn more. Keeping the feasts can be easier and more meaningful if you are able to do that with a group. So if you attend a congregation or at least can visit one for the feasts I would encourage you to embrace the dates that they are using.

Update: It came to my attention that I switched around the dates of the months for Shavuot and Yom Kippur on my first run of the Torah to the Tribes calendar. I have corrected the printable to show the accurate dates of May 28 for Shavuot and September 25 for Yom Kippur. So sorry for the confusion!
Hebrew Holidays 2017 + free printable | Land of Honey

Get these dates and write them on your calendar. It takes intention and planning to honor YHWH by celebrating his feasts. Now is the time to prepare by scheduling vacation from work, budgeting for a celebration, and so forth.

A couple of things to keep in mind:
-The traditional calendar goes by sundown to sundown. Meaning Passover starts at sundown the evening of April 10.
-The Torah to the Tribes calendar goes by daylight to daylight. So Passover starts the morning of April 2.
-Not all set apart times are no work days. 

Like the weekly Shabbat, YHWH sets apart specific days of the year as times when no work should be done. This includes professional and household work. For the longer festivals there are days when work is permissible, giving us opportunity to labor over food preparation, shop for supplies, etc. Professional work is also allowed during this time, but if it's at all possible I would encourage you to take a few extra days off to focus on these set apart times. If vacation time is limited definitely prioritize taking off the no-work days.
Hebrew Holidays 2017 - traditional dates + free printable | Land of Honey

No work days are as follows.

For the Torah to the Tribes calendar:
Days starting at sunlight.

April 3 and 9

May 28

Yom Teruah
September 16

Yom Kippur
September 25

September 30
October 7

For the traditional calendar:
Again, days starting and ending in the evening of the listed dates.

April 11-12
April 17-18

May 30 - June 1 (this is traditionally observed as two days even though Scripture mandates one)

Yom Teruah
September 20-22 (this is traditionally observed as two days even though Scripture mandates one)

Yom Kippur 
September 29-30

October 4-5
October 11-12

Hebrew Holidays 2017 + free printable | Land of Honey
Click below to download the calendar to print. These work best as 5x7 or 8x10 prints.

Hebrew Holidays 2017 - Torah to the Tribes
Hebrew Holidays 2017 - traditional

They are completely free for your personal use.