The Relationship between Faith and Obedience

We first meet a man named Abram in Genesis 11, where we are told in verses 31& 32::

31 And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. 32 So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran.

We are not told why Terah left Ur, nor why he took Abram, Sarai and Lot with him. We are also not told why they stopped in Haran, and didn’t continue on to Canaan.

Chapter 12 begins with the Lord speaking directly to Abram, who at this point is 75 years old. Verses 1-8 tell us:

Now the Lord had said to Abram:“Get out of your country, From your family
And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh.[a] And the Canaanites were then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.[b
]

Abram was obedient to the Lord. We do not know how the Lord chose to communicate to Abram, before verse 7 of Chapter 12, We also do not know what form He took when He appeared to Abram in the same verse; for unlike Moses, whose first encounter with God is documented, in Exodus 3:2 “And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed” Scripture tells us nothing of Abram’s first encounter with the Lord.

Abram obeyed God, even though he had no experiential knowledge that following God was the right thing to do. This is what faith is really all about. God made some promises to Abram that would not be fulfilled in Abram’s lifetime. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that. . 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

But God also made some promises to Abram that were fulfilled in Abram’s lifetime, which showed Abram that being obedient through faith would bring the blessing that the Lord spoke of. For the next 24 years, Abram lived his life, didn’t always look to the Lord for answers, and sometimes got himself into trouble with God and others. He is a good example of how many Christians live their lives, because most of us do the same thing.

While the Lord interacted with Abram during this time, we are now going to look at a promise that the Lord made, that was partially fulfilled in Abram’s lifetime. . Looking at Chapter 17 of Genesis, we find that God changes Abram’s name to Abraham. Verses 5 and 6 tell us 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you”. The Lord also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. Verses 15and 16 state:” 15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

A year later, God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah as we see in Chapter 21, verses 1-3: “ 1And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac.”

In Chapter 22, God decides to test Abraham. Verses 1-3 tells us: “1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Abraham and Isaac continued alone to Mount Moriah. Verse 9 picks up the story:

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” 12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Abraham trusted God. He knew he would be returning from the mountain with Isaac. He didn’t know how God was going to accomplish this, but he had faith in God, for the Lord had promised Abraham that Isaac was the son of promise.

What does this teach us? By being obedient to the Lord and trusting Him with our lives and the decisions we need to make, He always has the best ready for us. It may not be what we want, but it is always exactly what we need. Having faith in what the Lord would have us do, means that we will be obedient to His will. He states in 1st Samuel 15:22  22 So Samuel said“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Additionally, Psalms 25:10 states: All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies”. We can learn from Abraham that obedience and faith are the best way to have a relationship with God. Even though Abraham made many mistakes in his relationship with God, he believed in Him. Genesis Chapter 15, verse 6 says: “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” I hope the someday, the same thing can be said about me.

Works Cited

Bible Gateway, New King James Version, Holy Bible. https://www.biblegateway.com, accessed 6/13-6/19/17

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A Loving Christian Response to the LGBT Agenda

We are the first generation of Christians, in this country, who have had to deal with a growing positive attitude towards, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals. The Supreme Court has decided that Gay marriage should become the Law of the Land. Television shows now feature characters who are gay and in committed relationships, or even married. I find it disturbing to hear a man talk about his “husband” or a woman about her “wife”, either in real life or on TV. God created marriage in the Garden of Eden and Gay marriage is really just another ploy of the enemy to counterfeit that which God planned for good. We need to make sure that this loss of morality in our nation does not cause us to compromise the values of God.

How did this happen? Political correctness did not exist when I was growing up. There were clear rules of right and wrong. And even as late as the beginning of this century, I don’t think most Americans considered homosexuality a normal sexual behavior. While lesbians, gays, and bisexuals have existed as long as civilization has been around, until the last quarter of the 20th century, there was no political agenda for acceptance in this country. The LGBT movement simply didn’t exist. Of course, there have always been lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals; people just didn’t talk about it as part of their daily lives. If homosexuality was discussed, there was usually a hint, or maybe more than just a hint, of disgust. The stereotypes concerning gays were never positive. It was a well know stereotype in the 1970’s and 1980’s that if a hairdresser wasn’t married, he had to be gay. My mother would only allow a woman or married man to be her hairdresser. She wouldn’t take the chance that one of “them” might touch her.

If gay couples lived together, people just assumed that they were good friends and roommates. Even today, no one thinks it’s strange for 2 men or 2 women to rent an apartment together. The vast majority of Americans wouldn’t have thought there was anything more going on. Things started changing toward the end of the last century and beginning of this one. Many homosexual couples had been afraid to let it be known they were in relationships. In addition to the social stigma that went along with homosexuality, in many States, sodomy was illegal. In June 2003, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute concerning sodomy. This also invalidated similar sodomy statutes in other States and basically legalized homosexuality in America.

Men have been dressing and living as women and women as men for centuries. There are documented cases of women dressing like men, so they could fight in wars. There are men who dress as women, even to the exaggerated extreme of being Drag Queens. But it wasn’t until the latter part of the 20th century that surgery was available which allowed individuals, who identified as transgendered, to mutilate themselves so they could have their bodies match their alleged internal gender identity. Most Americans probably became aware of people claiming to be transgendered in the 1970’s when Richard Raskind had gender reassignment surgery and became Renee Richards. She then successfully sued the United States Tennis Association, because they wouldn’t let her play in the US Open as a woman.

So why is any of this history important to us as Christians? I believe it is because in the past 25 years or so, it has become more and more politically correct to accept the homosexual lifestyle as normal. Even in the psychiatric world, where homosexuality was once classified as a mental disorder, it was decided that it was within normal parameters for people to be attracted to the same gender.

As believers, we need to remember that we have to treat Christians and non-Christians who live or promote the LGBT agenda differently. It goes without saying that we can never approve of homosexuality, bisexuality, or those who claim to be transgendered. We must remind ourselves, however, that those who practice this God abhorred lifestyle, and don’t know Jesus, are not going to hell for their sexual sin. They, like all other Christ rejecters, will face the Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15. “11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (NKJV)”.

We know that the Kingdom of God is the rule and sovereign reign of Almighty God. We also know that God’s Will isn’t perfectly realized today; but will be in the age to come. We have been blessed to be given a taste of The Kingdom; we need to do that which is pleasing and glorifying to God. Rather than condemning those who are confused about their true sexual identity, we need to concentrate on sharing the Gospel with them. It does no good to tell them that they will go to hell for their lifestyle choices. They need to learn that God will accept them as they are. And it is through their relationship with Him, that He will change those things He wants changed.

But what do we do if a Christian Brother or Sister claims to be homosexual? We need to take them to God’s Word and show them, in love, how God feels about this particular sexual sin. Some people even say that God made them this way. We need to show them that it is impossible for God to “make” someone homosexual, bisexual, or anything in between. He tells us in Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination (NKJV)”. The Lord confirms this in the New Testament in Romans 1:27 “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (NKJV)”. God also tells us that unless a man and woman are married, they need to be chaste. 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 says “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion (NKJV)”. If a Brother or Sister struggles with same-sex attraction, we need to counsel them to remain celibate, just as we counsel our unmarried heterosexual brethren.

When considering the case of people who identify as being transgendered, I have not found Scripture that specifically covers this situation. However, Psalm 139:13 states “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb (NKJV)”. The Bible also states that God is perfect, and as Bible believing Christians; we need to take God at His Word. If He made someone with the gender of a male and the inner feelings of a female or visa-versa, then we would have to say that God can make mistakes. Scripture tells us that this is impossible. Psalm 18:30 says “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him (NKJV)”. Matthew 5:48 tells us “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Deuteronomy 32:4 states “He is the Rock, His work is perfect, For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He (NKJV)”

Do we try to navigate a slippery slope in our response to the entire LGBT agenda in order to keep to the straight and narrow, or do we just stand firm in our belief that we will follow God and His precepts. As Christians, we need to decide our responses to many issues. We also need to decide if we are willing to be called closed minded, persecuted, sued, or even prosecuted by the Government for keeping God’s Word. Some Christian business owners have been forced to close or change how they do business, because they were not willing to bake cakes, take wedding photos, or arrange flowers for Gay weddings. Are we willing to stand on God’s Word, no matter what the cost?

Many of us have relatives who live or support the LGBT lifestyle. What do we do if we get invited to their wedding? Do we attend? Marriage is a biblical concept, created by God in the Garden of Eden. God’s plan never included the marriage of same sex couples. I would not attend a Gay wedding ceremony, as this is a clear violation of God’s Word. But then you might ask, “Is it ok to attend the reception”?

Do we turn off television shows that promote the LGBT lifestyle? There are at least 2, possibly 3 new TV series being promoted about transgendered people, one of whom is a teenager. Do we not watch TV shows that show homosexuality as “normal”? And what do we do about companies promoting the LGBT lifestyle as “normal” in their commercials? The other day I saw one about a wholesome snack and it showed various types of “wholesome” families. The first family had 2 dads and a kid. I also saw a commercial for a pain reliever that talked about family and showed both homosexual and heterosexual families. How did we go from, I guess it’s ok if someone is gay, to promoting it? Should we stop buying these products? And why have we relinquished the rainbow, which is the sign of God’s promise not to destroy the earth by flood again, to the LGBT cause?

There are many people who believe that they are Christians and have no idea how to follow the Lord. They don’t see the LGBT agenda as wrong, because they don’t really know Christ. We need to start gently and lovingly reminding them that God is not only about love and forgiveness, but also righteousness and holiness. As followers of Christ, we need to stand up for what we believe. We need to emulate our Lord as best we can, as we live our daily lives. We need to say what we mean and do what we say. When people look at our lives, we need to make sure that they aren’t seeing us as hypocrites. But if I go to a gay reception, watch a particular television show, or buy products that support the LGBT lifestyle, am I being hypocritical?

Like many of my Brothers and Sisters, I don’t have the answers to all of these questions. We need to ask the Lord to not only give us the answers that we struggle with, but to give us the courage and the stamina to make the hard choices. We need to be able to say, “No, I will not come to your wedding” to our gay friends and family members. We need to lovingly let those struggling with sexual identity know that God doesn’t make mistakes. We must stand fast for our Lord Jesus, who died for us. Shouldn’t we be willing to pay whatever price is demanded, for sharing His Love and Salvation with a sinful and dying world?

The Most Important Gift Ever Given

I know I haven’t written for a while, but it’s been an interesting time of growth and depending on the Lord for me. I’ve got something kicking around in my head to share about this time, but I wanted to share this with you now.

When I was growing up I had a normal (for the time) nuclear family. Mom, dad, 2 kids and a dog. One Grandma who was still alive, aunts uncles, cousins, great aunts/uncles. I thought this was the way it was supposed to be. I was surrounded by people who loved me because we were related, and it was good.

Then I grew up and my cousins started getting married so there were “others” who were now cousins and this was good. Then I got married and I got “in-laws” and a whole new family to interact and become a part of. I was surrounded by people who loved me because we were related, and it was good.

During all this time, people I grew up with and loved were dying, because of age or illness. I had less people surrounding me who loved me, and this was NOT good,

Then God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to give me a second chance at love. He sent me a man who loved God and loved me. The funny thing is, we did not share a culture. We shared a loved for God and Jesus and that was enough to build a life and for me to become surrounded by many more people who loved me because we were related and it was good.

God took a twice widowed middle aged barren woman, and surrounded me with people who loved me.. Some who have been there since the beginning. Some, like my great-niece Athena who will be one tomorrow, are new. Some are related by blood, some by marriage, some by our mutual love of God.

He gave a woman who never bore a child a stepson, daughter-in-law and grandkids. I have close to 30 nieces and nephews from my marriages to Michael and Bill. And oodles and oodles of great-nieces and a great- nephew or two.

Ok, so you’re asking why are you sharing this today? Well, part of it is that while God always gives us what we need, exactly when we need it. He doesn’t always give us what we want. On this Saturday, as we await the most important Sunday of the year, please remember, that Jesus died and rose so that you can spend eternity with Him in heaven. As blessed as I am that He has surrounded me with a family that loves me, nothing show God’s love for me (and you) more than His Death (on the Cross yesterday) and Resurrection (from the grave tomorrow).Image

Ruach HaKodesh

In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is actually called the Ruach HaKodesh. HaKodesh is easy to translate. It means “The  Holy”. Ruach, however, can be translated among other things as wind, spirit, breath. So in English, we call the part of God that resides in all believers The Holy Spirit.

Last week, I was in my car and the wind was really kicking up. I saw the clouds moving through the sky very quickly…. Something we don’t really get to see very often. Usually the sky is calm and the clouds are moving slowly or it is too overcast to see any movement. At that moment, I realized that a storm was coming and the strong wind moving the clouds reminded me of how the Holy Spirit can move quickly into our lives. He usually is gentle and caring and doesn’t rush us, but when a storm is coming, He can move more quickly and powerfully than we can imagine.

We usually look at the approaching storm and fret and worry. We forget that the Creator of the Universe, the One who  allows and forms the storms of our life, is also residing within us and is there to be our anchor, our help, our hiding place. 

I don’t like storms, neither the physical nor spiritual kind. I prefer to get out of the rain, because I don’t like getting wet and windblown. While I would love to get out of the spiritual storms in my life, I’m glad the Lord allows them in my life. If He didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to grow in Him and learn to depend on Him. For without His Guidance, His Grace, and His Help, I would surely be lost in the midst of the storm. In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is actually called the Ruach HaKodesh. HaKodesh is easy to translate. It means “The  Holy”. Ruach, however, can be translated among other things as wind, spirit, breath. So in English, we call the part of God that resides in all believers The Holy Spirit. Last week, I was in my car and the wind was really kicking up. I saw the clouds moving through the sky very quickly…. Something we don’t really get to see very often. Usually the sky is calm and the clouds are moving slowly or it is too overcast to see any movement. At that moment, I realized that a storm was coming and the strong wind moving the clouds reminded me of how the Holy Spirit can move quickly into our lives. He usually is gentle and caring and doesn’t rush us, but when a storm is coming, He can move more quickly and powerfully than we can imagine.  We usually look at the approaching storm and fret and worry. We forget that the Creator of the Universe, the One who  allows and forms the storms of our life, is also residing within us and is there to be our anchor, our help, our hiding place.   I don’t like storms, neither the physical nor spiritual kind. I prefer to get out of the rain, because I don’t like getting wet and windblown. While I would love to get out of the spiritual storms in my life, I’m glad the Lord allows them in my life. If He didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to grow in Him and learn to depend on Him. For without His Guidance, His Grace, and His Help, I would surely be lost in the midst of the storm.

Miracles

Why do we doubt God? He makes us promises and He always keeps His promises. In the book of Matthew, Chapter 19 verse 26, Jesus tells us: “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “’With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Jesus was talking about Salvation, but this verse is applicable to many other situations in our lives. We tend to forget how much God does for us. We forget the small things, because we are probably looking for the huge miracles, like the parting of the Red Sea. Here are a few things that the Lord has done for me. I’m not sure they are equal to the Red Sea miracle, but they are miracles none the less.

  1. Technology has grown in leaps and bounds in the last 50+ years. I’m pretty sure this couldn’t happen today in a developed country. Before my birth, my mother was told by her doctor that she wasn’t pregnant. She was told that she had a fibroid tumor and needed a D&C (a procedure used in abortions) to remove it. My mother didn’t believe the doctor and decided to go back to her doctor in Brooklyn, from before she was married. She was told, yes, she had a fibroid tumor, but also that she was going to have a baby. If my mother had listened to the first doctor, I would not have been born. Now, I did have a “womb-mate”, but the Lord protected me, even before I was born.
  1. As a young child, I fell down the steps at my grandmother’s house. They were concrete steps. I was young enough not to remember. How do I know that I fell down the stairs? Because I have a scar from where I bit through my lip. That’s it, just a small scar in what could have been a life-altering or life-ending fall. Again, the Lord protected me even though I was too young to remember.
  1. Fast forward to a few years ago, Bill and I went on vacation to Washington DC. We were only there overnight and went to Arlington National Cemetery for Bill and the Lincoln Memorial for me. We stopped on the way home to have dinner with one of our  nephews, and when we got home, Bill started to unload the trunk. I noticed that my laptop wasn’t part of what he brought in, but figured we’d find it in the trunk in the morning. The laptop was nowhere to be found. Bill asked me why I had taken it. I said, well I was afraid to leave the paperwork, money and checks from the small home business we had, at home. He told me I was being silly and I agreed. I told the Lord I was sorry for not trusting Him and called people to let them know their credit card information may have been compromised. When we got home, there was a message on our machine from Arlington National Cemetery. They had the laptop. Bill had taken it out of the trunk to put my roller (walker with wheels) back in and forgot to put it back in. Not only was the laptop there, but so was the cash, the checks and the people’s credit card information. Arlington said that they would ship it back to us. They told us it would cost extra to FedEx it, so they were going to send it UPS. Bill and I discussed it and we called them back. When we asked them to FedEx it and that we would pay the difference, they said, oh never mind, we decided to FedEx it to you, and not charge you the difference.

These are just 3 examples of how the Lord did miracles in my life. I’m sharing them with you, but I’m really writing this to remind myself that while I feel that the problems in my life today have no earthly solutions, I’m going to hold on to the fact that the Lord tells us that with God all things are possible. The Lord tells us in the Book of Philippians, Chapter 4 verse 6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Later in verse 19 He tells us “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.

So I’m going to reread this as many times as it takes to remember that all I need to do is follow what it says in Matthew Chapter 6 verses 31-34. 31) “Do not worry saying ‘What shall we eat’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘What shall we wear’ 32) for the pagans run after all these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33) But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34) Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

What miracles has the Lord done in your life?  Do you think about them and give Him Honor and Praise? Have you told anyone? If not, this is the perfect time of year to talk about God, Jesus and Miracles.

 

Who is the true King of Israel?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she was telling me about the first time she heard or considered the possibility that Y’shua (Jesus) was the Messiah. It was when she was singing a Christmas Carol when she was part of a choir. 

That got me to thinking about the first time I even thought about Christians worshipping the Jewish God. I was in my Junior High School’s chorus, in the early 70’s. We were putting on the annual Christmas Concert (back before you needed to be PC and call it a Holiday Concert). In addition to all the Christmas Carols we sang, we also sang the Dreidel Song. It made me happy that the concert included a “Jewish song”. Here’s the first verse if you’ve never heard of it. It has 3 other verses, but like most Christmas Carols, people usually only remember the first one,

“I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay. When it’s dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.

Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.”

Of course, most of the songs we sang were Christmas Carols. I remember “The First Noel” in particular, because it talked about the King of Israel. As far as I knew, God was the King of the Universe (Melach Ha’Olam), but there hadn’t been a King in Israel for thousands of years. Here’s the first verse. There are 5 more verses after this one, all followed by the refrain.

“The first Noel the angels did say Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; In fields where they lay, keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep:

Refrain
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.”

I was really confused about why a Christmas Carol would talk about the “King of Israel”.

Many years later, after putting my faith in Y’Shua (Jesust) I read and started studying the book of Judges. The Judges were righteous men and women that God put in charge of the Nation of Israel before He permitted the Nation of Israel to have a king. I always pay special attention when the Lord repeats Himself in Scripture. Judges 17:6 says “In those days there was no King in Israel, but every man did what he thought was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:20 says “In those days there was no King in Israel and; every man did that which was right in his own eyes” I quoted both of these verses from one of my Tenakhs (what Christians call the Old Testament). This Tenakh was given to me on October 15, 1971 at my Bas Mitzvah from the Sisterhood of the Synagogue my family attended. It was published by the Hebrew Publishing Company in 1939. I’ve checked these Scriptures in other copies of the Tenakh and also in the Christian Bibles I have, and they are all basically the same.

While attending the Bible Study on the Book of Judges, the Pastor asked us to consider that the King spoken about in Judges was non-other than Y’shua (Jesus) Himself. That made a lot of sense to me.

The Prophet Hosea writes in Chapter 10 verse 3 (again from the Tenakh) “For now they shall say ‘We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us’”. The NKJV translation is practically the same; “And now they say, ‘We have no king, because we did not fear the LORD. And as for a king, what would he do for us’”. The interesting thing about this is that when Hosea was writing his prophesies, Jeroboam was the king of Israel.

Now let’s look at the New Testament. The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, verses 30-33, in the New King James Version  states: 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

After King David’s death, his son Solomon reigned over Israel. At Solomon’s death, the combined Kingdom of Israel split into the separate Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The last King of Israel was Hoshea who reigned from 732-712 BC and was king in 722 BC when the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria. The last King of Judah was Zedekiah, who reigned from 597-586, which coincided with the Babylonian exile. There were puppet kings after that, but no true king of Israel. While Luke was not Jewish, he knew about David and David’s throne. This Scripture tell us that Jesus will be given the throne of David and rule over Jacob (Israel) forever.

So the answer to the question of Who is the True King of Israel is Y’shua (Jesus).

 

 

My Testimony (How I became a believer in Y’shua (Jesus)

I was raised in a Conservative Jewish home. I attended Sunday school and Hebrew School, and at 13, I was a Bat Mitzvah and then continued my studies at Hebrew High School. The following year, I started to feel that there was something missing in my relationship with God, so I began attending an Orthodox synagogue for a few years. After that, not only didn’t I feel any closer to God; I started to doubt God’s very existence and went to synagogue mostly on the High Holy Days, more to please my parents than because I actually believed.

In my early 20’s I realized that I had never really doubted God’s existence, but that I was totally dissatisfied with my religion. I checked out a Mormon Temple once and actually considered converting, but had a problem believing in Jesus. In my late 20’s I married a man who was somewhat more religious than I was. He had a more traditional Jewish upbringing and so I started to go to synagogue on holidays again, but more to please him and our parents than for any other reason.

My father passed away in May of 1992, my husband in December of 1992, and my mother in October of 1993. I felt the Lord’s presence in my life, but didn’t really understand about having a relationship with Him. All I knew was that something was keeping me sane and able to continue to go on.  I started searching for answers to the “meaning of life,” “what happens to you after you die,” and ideas along those lines. I began to believe in re-incarnation and reading Tarot cards. I also recognized that if I didn’t want to do something, all I had to do was agree to do it and then something would happen to prevent my having to do what I didn’t want to do. At the same time, I was praying to God to let Him know that I knew He existed and wanted to make sure I believed in Him the right way.

On the day before my 41st birthday, a friend called me and asked me to go roller-skating with a group of people she knew. She said they were going to church and dinner first and would I like to go. I agreed to meet them for dinner, but had no interest in going to church.

I was excited about skating again. I hadn’t had a pair of skates on in years. When I got the skates on, I stood up and went to get onto the rink and immediately fell down. The only thing that really got hurt was my pride. I ended up sitting and watching folks going around and around the rink. My new acquaintances kept asking me to join them on the rink, but I declined. I suddenly realized that was a picture of what my life had become  — watching life from the sidelines, watching and waiting for something good to happen. Not only was this a lonely existence, it was a miserable one too. I left them at the rink and went outside and cried. I drove off and stopped to get gas. While filling up, I realized I had behaved badly and drove back to the rink to apologize.

One of my new acquaintances, Doug, asked me if I wanted to start reading the Bible. I had been thinking about it for quite some time, but never had gotten around to it. I told him I would study the Bible with him, but that he couldn’t use the Bible to try to “convert” me. I told him that he couldn’t use the New Testament at all and that he couldn’t bring Jesus into our conversations. I really thought I was safe. Here was a way for me to get more “Jewish” and not have to worry about trying to be converted to Christianity. 

Doug suggested that I start by reading Genesis and he began asking me some questions that I couldn’t answer. I know now that the questions were directed toward my finding the truth about Jesus. Doug also had me read Isaiah chapters 52 and 53, in addition to some of Leviticus and various other passages. I felt very uncomfortable, because this was the Old Testament and I should have been able to answer his questions. This went on for a few weeks and I was having more and more questions but no answers.

My wedding anniversary was on November 2, and after Michael died, I sometimes went to Temple close to that date to be with God. Although I had never been to a Christian church, I decided to go on Saturday, October 30, 1999, figuring that God lived in a church as much as He did in a Temple. I listened to the worship part of the service and was impressed. I even commented later that it was a shame that Jews didn’t worship God with the joy and happiness I saw and heard there. That night, I also heard the truth about Jesus for the first time. I was pretty amazed. It was also astonishing that the Bible was being read and explained in a way I understood. There was no “preaching” going on – just a clear concise interpretation of the Bible. But being Jewish I knew I couldn’t just accept Jesus.

After services that night, a bunch of us went out to dinner. I had many questions and the Christians I was with were patient and took the time to answer them as best they could. After we left the restaurant (about 1:00 in the morning), Doug and I stayed out in the parking lot talking. I had many questions, like, “If all this is true, then that means I won’t see my husband or parents again, because they didn’t believe in Jesus?” and “Would I still be Jewish if I accepted Jesus as my Savior?” Finally Doug told me the one thing I needed to hear in order to believe in Jesus. He told me that God knew me and that He loved me. I had always told God that I wanted to hear that.  Once I did, it was easy to realize that Jesus had to be who He said He was.  I still had many questions, but it didn’t matter. I knew I had to acknowledge Jesus as my God and my Savior.

I didn’t feel comfortable accepting Him in the parking lot of a restaurant, so Doug and I got back in the car and pulled over to the side of the road. Doug told me that all I had to do now was acknowledge Jesus and that there was a simple prayer I should say to do that. I wasn’t able to say the prayer. It felt like something was desperately trying to stop me. I got to the point where I couldn’t breathe and told Doug to take me home because I couldn’t do this. He agreed and on the way home he said we had to pass the Church and did I want to try accepting Jesus again.

I told him I did and he pulled in the Church’s parking lot. It took quite some time for me to say the prayer. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and my stomach was going to explode. Every time I ran out of air, I would feel the wind coming through the open car windows giving me fresh air to breathe. It took some time, but I was finally able to acknowledge Jesus as my Savior. Doug told me later that he knew there was a battle going on for my soul and that the angels were dancing because I chose Jesus even though I had been a child of the enemy. (The following week, I destroyed my Tarot cards and my crystals. I’ve also lost the ability to control the future by agreeing to do that which I don’t want to do.)

Doug and I stayed up the rest of the night and went to the 8:15 am Sunday morning service. I heard the altar call this time and came forward and publicly repented of my sins and acknowledged Jesus as my Lord and Savior. 

 9 That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 NKJV)