A Seed of Faith of Obedience
Testimony of Beginning to Keep Sabbath
For the first 35 years of my Following Jesus and Faith in God I never Observed “Sabbath”, primarily because I was Never Taught to Observe “Sabbath” do to the fact that I was always Taught “I am not Under the Law”. It was in my late Teens that I began the Exploration of my Hebrew Roots, not as a point of leaving my Faith, but to better understand my Faith, without Compromise, as a truly “Set Apart” (Hebrew) one as God was Calling me.
I joined a Messianic Congregation to Learn these Hebraic Roots for two years. I then enrolled into Bible College to Learn these Hebraic Roots. And although along the way I Learned many valuable things, the one thing I was missing was a Personal Walk in my Faith with a Living God, instead of the Many Traditions that I was being Taught and Modeled along the Way.
It was in this constant searching that I began to Discover the Real Truth, which was Liberating and not Legalistic. Ignorance was no longer “Bliss”, but the Greatest Days of my Faith. I was Blind, but I now began to See. See Truth like I had never seen, nor been taught. I began to not just know my Hebraic Roots, but more importantly Understand them. The “Feasts of the Lord” where “Revolutionary”, a “Great Awakening”. The Word of God began to become “Alive” and “Add Up”. The Truths I was Missing became Anker’s of my Faith and Understanding. It was Exciting!
Then “It” happened. I was Managing a Joseph A. Bank Clothier, a men’s clothing shop, working 75+ hours a week, and was struggling with the area of “Rest” and “Refreshment”, that the Scriptures spoke of, and a man by the name of “Rocky” came into my shop on a “Sabbath” (Saturday), and Changed my Life and Understanding of God’s “Rest” and “Refreshment”, although it would not be realized for another year and a half. Rocky was a Stuntman from Hollywood, CA, recovering from a severe stunt injury, where he had broken his back in 17 different areas.
Our initial conversation was very surface but began to go deeper as we began to share like understanding of our Hebraic Roots. Following a 60-minute conversation, Rocky asked me why I was working on the “Sabbath”, which “Pierced me to the Heart”, and of which all I could say is that I did not know how to “do it”, at which he briefly explained, “FAITH”.
You would think that encounter with Rocky, would have had an immediate impact, but only continued my internal struggle of “Faith” in the area of “Is God Truly my Provider”, as I was the sole income of a family of four, working in a Retail Industry, in which “Saturdays” were King.
It was almost a year to the date, in the same store, on the same day, “Sabbath” (Saturday), that Rocky walked back into my Shop and made the statement, “What are you Doing sill here”, at which I knew God was serious about Him being my “True Provider” and no longer myself, still not fully understanding the full ramifications of what allowing God to be my “Provider” really meant. We enjoyed our re-union, and yet, I do not believe Rocky fully knew what his timing and words truly meant in one of the Greatest Steps of Faith I would take in my life, and those around me.
Over the course of the next two months I could not get this encounter out of my thoughts and dreams, nor forget the words, they were “Changing” me, with much Resistance. It was late July, and I was on my way home, following almost two weeks of open-to-closes at work, it was about 6pm, and I was driving down I-25 from North Colorado Springs to just North of Downtown Colorado Springs, and I went “Blind” at about 68 miles an hour with vehicles all around me, while at the same time, my heart was beating out of my chest. If that was not safe enough, I picked up my “Flip Phone” and speed-dialed my wife and explained what was happening. I told her to stay on the phone with me until I came to some solution to my “Life Threatening” situation. Somehow, through God’s Mercy and Strength, I was able to navigate off of the Freeway, on my Exit home, nearly two-miles from where I went “Blind”, turned Left down the main road to my house, through six traffic lights, and then a Right onto my street to my house, at which point the only thing I “Hit” over the course of those 4-miles, was the curb in front of my house. I am sure I had to have been able to “See” during the trip to my house, but I do not even remember, other than when I went “Blind” and then when I remember “Seeing” as I “Hit” the curb in front of my house; either way, it was truly God who miraculously got me home safely. It was at the house that I stumbled out of my car, like a drunken man (which I have never drank alcohol in my life), vomiting profusely, my wife met me in the middle of our front yard with amazement and great concern. She immediately drove me to the ER, where they rushed me straight to one of the rooms and hooked me up to all types of heart monitoring machines to confirm their concerns that I was having a Heart Attack. It was at that point that I passed out and woke up nearly seven hours later to a Doctor coming into an empty room, no wife, no family, explaining to me that I had a Stress Attack, that acts very much like a Heart Attack, and that I was good to go home. I asked the Doctor what he might recommend to me to prevent this going forward, and he simply replied, “Do not work so much”, which could not have been more profound a statement to me at this searching time in my life. The even more sobering event that was happening simultaneously at this time, was my wife and family were nowhere to be found, as I began my two and a half miles walk back home from the ER at 2:30 am in the morning.
If the above event was not enough to get my attention, just a week later my wife gave me the ultimatum of changing my excessive hours at work or she and my son where going to leave me. The desperate thoughts of “How am I going to provide for all the needs of my family if I do not keep this well-paying job?” jumped through my head, as I began to hear my God say to me, “I Will Provide”. I finally got the message after over 35 years, “God is my Provider, and I am not.” That Monday morning I set up a meeting with my boss and explained to him all of the above and proposed to him that I could still work six days a week, but would not be able to work from Friday night to Saturday night, still being available to close up on Saturday after my “Sabbath Rest”, of which he explained to me that I could not be a Store Manager and not work Saturdays. I told him I understood and within a Week I began my new Journey of “Sabbath Keeping”, losing my position of nearly $70,000 a year to a position of about $24,000 a year, and just “Trusting God to Provide”, with my wife even more uncertain than before.
You may ask, “How long before you began to see God’s provisions,” and I can tell you it was “Immediately”. Ironically enough, during the course of the past two or three months my wife had been watching those “Extreme Couponing” shows and decided “That Week”, of my position change, to try it for herself. Our previous groceries budget was about $600 a month, but now was only $100 a month. In her first outing she got $880 worth of groceries for only $65 with the “Coupons”. It was from that point forward, and for the next eleven months that for less than $100 a month, my wife was feeding not only our house, but two other homes, with the “Amazing Provision” of the Lord through this “Extreme Couponing” strategy. We had months where my wife would buy over $4,000 worth of groceries, and would be gifted $50, $100, or even $150 worth of Visa Gift Cards, with absolutely no money spent out of pocket. In fact, those specific months included my wife preparing all week for a six hour shopping time, with over two hours at checkout, where the store would have to shut down an entire lane for them to check her out, and then filling up our car from top to bottom leaving no room for anyone other than the driver to be in the car, with a small window of visibility to see out the back window and side mirrors. Once home, it was another three or more hours of organizing the purchase and them distributing the goods to the other families, as well as, organizing our now growing stock pile in our garage.
In addition, at the end of that first year, we were about to be foreclosed on our home, as I was unable to meet our mortgage payments every month, and it was December 30th, and although I never read any Junk Mail before, that day was the day that I decided I would look through every piece of mail I got, hoping I might find a Check to get us out of this “Life Changing” dilemma. And although I did not find a Check, I did find one of those “Too Good to Be True” flyers that said, “Do Not Pay Your Mortgage for the Next Seven Months”, which under any normal circumstance I would not have given a second thought, but this was no “Normal Circumstance”. I desperately called the phone number listed on the flyer and spoke to a consultant who told me to fill out the application and that they could give me an answer before the end of the year, which was just days before our foreclosure notice would be posted. It was not 24-hours later that we got approved for the Mortgage Program, and for the next seven months, “I did Not Pay One Dime” on my Mortgage, did not receive a foreclosure notice, and in fact, sold our home of nearly 12 years, at the end of that seven month period, and made a $25,000 profit.
Amazing? I do not think that word can even touch what I experienced over the course of that first year of seeing God be my “Provider”, in spite of anything I could have done, other than just be “Obedient” and having “Faith” in God’s Ways being “Higher” than my own, or than any man’s understanding.
Over the course of the next two years God continued to meet every one of our needs, exceeding any one’s expectations, from places to live, supplemental incomes, and “Growth Spiritually”, greater than I had ever experienced at any time in my life, to date. The Doors of Ministry Opportunities began to open and breakthrough in ways I had only Prayed, reaching in to areas and regions I had only “Dreamed” of, and I believe the Journey has only just begun.
Learning how to “Keep Sabbath” has been “Breathtaking”, and “Experiencing” God’s Faithful “Provision” beyond any measure I could have ever done on my own, with result of “Daily Miracles”, “Rest”, “Refreshment”, and “Power from on High”. Why I had never exercised my Faith in this way every before, I can only say, “I Missed Out”, but now can say, “I Will Never Miss Out Again”. As Jesus says, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33, and “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” Matthew 6:19-21, in addition to the words of James, Jesus' own brother, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? . . . So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness’- and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone . . . For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead,” James 2:14-26. With that, I Challenge you to Begin Exercising your Faith Today, and begin Experiencing the Miraculous “Provision” of our Lord and Savior, on His terms:
Ryan Roberts - Key2Changes.com