A Personal Testimony

(Published in The Vineyard magazine, November 2013)

I was born and raised in a Conservative Jewish American home in which our Jewish identity was accepted, and belief in Jesus Christ was (is) not, at least not for Jews.  I came to terms with my own primary identity as a Jew at the age of 17 during the Six-Day War in 1967 between Israel and the Arab states.  Following my university studies (Political Science), I sought “to make things right” through the secular political system.  My faith was centered in Man.  After marrying a secular Christian woman, I continued my search for Truth, having no expectation that It would be Jesus.  Later on this vain faith was stripped away, and, thankfully, God was there to meet me at this time of crisis.  Through another man’s witness I finally listened to God’s good news concerning the truth of the Bible and Jesus Christ.  By God’s grace, I was prepared to listen and to believe from my heart and with my mind that Jesus is God’s Son and Messiah, that He IS LORD!

For many years, especially beginning with my more independent life away at university, I took a liberal, or so-called humanitarian, approach to the problems and existence in the world and life.  I believed that Man was responsible, if not accountable, for coming to terms with human needs in the world — peace, righteousness and justice, dignity — having to somehow come together and allow the world to live in peace.  I hoped, but was unsure, about the existence of a real God; and if there were one, then what that really meant.  As a Jew, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob was the true God . . .if there was God.

The Judeo-Christian principles upon which America and Western civilization were based I accepted as the “right” foundation, but I did not really have any firm basis for believing that.  It just seemed right for a Jewish boy in a Christian country!

I began to become more aware of my identity as a Jew and of our role in history, but without any understanding of that perception.  I came to Israel twice as an unbeliever, but it was not ‘home’:  important, but not home.  Books I read began to turn my thinking away from some common, current theories about evolution and other prevailing notions in the world.  I also began to realize that the authors I respected the most held Christian principles as a motivating force in their own attitudes towards life and the condition of man.  Jesus as a person was someone I acknowledged as one of several persons in history whose ideas helped to shape my own, but I was always defensive about saying that His teachings were possible of being the ones from which all other “good” persons’ personal philosophies came.

During a bicycle trip after our wedding, my faith in Man — or in any institution or agency of Man — was brought to a complete and seemingly hopeless end.  It just became very apparent that no matter what I or anyone else did or has done or would do was going to make the world better for everyone, and for all time.

At that crucial moment when hope was gone, a man with whom I had become acquainted (at a temporary job) as a reasonable, intelligent man, asked me what was wrong, and I told him.  It was then that he began telling me that the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ had a plan that was going to make things right.  After satisfying my need for understanding this as a person generally and as a Jew specifically, I realized in my mind and heart that Jesus must be who I had always heard He was but never believed in because I wasn’t supposed to!

At the moment I acknowledged this — that Jesus is the Truth — God washed over and within me with His Spirit to confirm it.  I became a new person!  I was free and saw that truly everything would be fine according to God’s perfect way.  Life is full of eternal hope now, and because of knowing and believing in the truth — repenting from faith in lies — I know that all things are purposeful and that it will be far better than I had ever conceived of when “trying to make the world better”.

The Holy Spirit convicted me of my own personal need of repentance with respect to my thoughts and ways, and that the truth of Jesus/Yeshua also included that I myself was a sinner for whom He had to die to bring me home to my Father in Heaven.  I was baptized a week later with my wife, Randi, who responded to the work of the living God in me, and we immigrated to Israel seven months later in obedience with faith to the Word of the LORD spoken to me:  “Go to Israel!”.  Jesus made Israel ‘home’ on Earth, bringing me back to the land which God promised to our Fathers and to their descendants.  Ezekiel 36 was my haftarah (prophetic portion) reading for my Bar-Mitzva when I was 13!

We were led by the Lord to choose to live in Beer Sheva, where we have been now for about 32 years.  The local fellowship was not fully developed here when we arrived.  We have from the outset been active in Yeshua’s Inheritance Congregation and have both seen and been part of its development.  Due to the circumstances here, I became involved early on in Bible study teaching and later preaching.  I have served as treasurer, deacon, elder, and now in full-time pastoral ministry.  My training has been “on-the-job” in the school of Messiah, with some Godly men as examples, but without specific role models and training for the pastorate and the greater expectation attached to that.  God has been faithful to be strong in my weakness for His own purposes and the honor of the name of His Son.  Praise God for His grace and truth!

The gospel goes out to all people until the end of the age; bringing the born-again believers to full spiritual maturity until the harvest continues within the Body of Messiah; the ministry of reconciliation which all believers in Yeshua/Jesus have received is on-going until the prayer of the Lord in John 17 is fully answered. 

Our living and blessed hope since our new birth by the Holy Spirit is the coming again of the Lord Yeshua/Jesus, with the resurrection and rapture of believers, and the re-establishment forever of the Kingdom of God over Israel and the nations.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

A’S DEDICATION – 31 Dec 2011

–We have been in Israel for more than 30 years now, and I have to admit that when we came, I did not expect to be a grandfather – I wasn’t even a father then!  That changed 26 years ago, when our first daughter was born.

–Before coming to faith I thought about the significance of the beginning of a new year.  What is important to us as Jews and new years in general?  Someone is watching over us . . . and  preserving us. (Ps 121:4)  Another year of life.  I thank God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the Watcher over Israel, the Preserver of our souls!

–Great joy for us that A, a new soul, has come into our life through R and J, and that God is with them, that their house is under the grace of the New Covenant.  I did not grow up in such a household, but I thank the Lord for His hand upon us and them.  Today J and R want to dedicate A to God in Yeshua’s name as a token of their faith in Him and in His covenant. (Ex 13:2; 1Cor 7:14)

 –I want to share some thoughts which I had during Randi’s first birth, including the birth pains and the birth process, as well as the expectation of parenthood: 

    Ps 139:13-17   Fearfully, wonderfully made; from almost nothing to a living person; creation of God; true miracle.  Bones, mind, brain, senses, eyes, speech:  Something only the living God could do!  When I saw the head of the child (not knowing yet who “it” was), it was just a joy to realize the manner of our coming into the world, that God designed this way to do this!  Truly, as it is written, nothing clean can be born of a woman! (Lev 12; Ps 51:5 [7 Heb])  And yet how lovely and wonderful!

    Rom 8:16-25   All creation experiencing labor pains.  Can’t we feel them now?  Jesus tells us that the last days leading up to His coming back will be like that.  Some of us prepare in advance for the birth of our babies and for the post-birth period.  Are we preparing ourselves for the process coming upon the world until such time as the Lord takes us?  Are we placing our faith and obedience and trust in God to see us through the birth as well as to enable us to be of help to others?  While with Randi during the birth, I was impressed with the controlled yet increasingly difficult contractions.  I knew that God had designed this way and was encouraged that He was in control.  It may vary for each woman and     each birth.  We need to help one another believe in our hearts that the Lord will guide us through. (1Tim 2:15)

    Gen 3:16,20   Pain and sorrow in childbirth for the mother, out of which springs forth life!  Life from the dead; bread from the earth.  And her name is Eve, because she is the mother of all the living.  Christ and the Church!  Grace, blessing, joy!

    Gen 5:3   Children are born in image of their parents – physically, emotionally, spiritually.  All are born in separation from God due to inherited sin.  A is a little sinner who needs a Savior!  She needs to know Jesus Christ as her own Savior and Lord.  R and J are entrusted with responsibility to train up A in such a way as to lead her to Messiah.  Only in Him will she be restored to the image of God in the likeness of His holy and righteous character by the power and life of the blood  and the Spirit and the Word of God in her life.  Just as God gave His Torah (instruction, laws, rules) to teach Israel of their sinful nature and consequences so that they might know their need of God’s  mercy and grace in His love, so I think we have an example in this to instruct our children that they will not only recognize their need of God’s salvation, but also to want it – to want Him, who is a much better parent than we can ever hope to be.  R and J gave their daughter the name A – ‘my Father is YAH’; God gave His Son the name Yeshua (Jesus), because He will save His people from their sins.

Our heavenly Father is our pattern, yet they also need His grace to raise A.  He forgives our sins as parents when we do not do or can not do all that His Word requires.  Yet they want A to honor them – for her own benefit as well as theirs – so they must trust the Lord to help them be worthy of her honor.  Our Father in Heaven is the perfect Father, and sadly most do not yet know Him as their Father, rejecting Him and His love.  This relieves us as mothers and fathers of a great burden and of any overwhelming guilt, and we can rest in His love and grace as we seek to know and to do His will.

    Gen 18:19   Command children in the way of YHVH.  What is the way of YHVHEach child is different and we must consider them individually accordingly.

 Jesus says that He is the Way:  to the Father, to the Kingdom of God, to salvation and eternal life.  What is His way?  The way of the cross; of dying unto death; of willing, whole-hearted obedience and trust in His Father in Heaven; of love, sacrificing Himself for sinners and enemies to deliver us out of an evil world into that which is really life.  He humbled Himself in service in His holy love, for the cross is God’s judgment upon sin and its works.  Jesus humbled Himself and God has exalted Him.  He is risen from the dead and awaits His return to sit on His throne to bring peace to Earth through righteousness!

    2Pet 3:9-15   Knowing that the day is near, then how do we want to prepare ourselves and our children.  Nothing is better for J and R and for A but that the Lord Jesus will return.  Satan is the god of this world until the Lord is here.  What can be worse than the devil ruling?!  What could possibly be better than Jesus ruling?!  No matter what our current blessings or troubles, whether in  our personal lives or in society or in the nation or anywhere in the world, the day is near when the Kingdom of God will destroy all the kingdoms of this world and the fruit of them.  We pray that we will be ready for His appearing.

We ask today for prayer for J and R that God give them the wisdom to train up A in His way, and that she know that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

R’s and J’s WEDDING – 28 Apr 2010

–Present amongst extended family and friends in the Presence of God.  Even the moon is reflecting as much as it can of the glory of the sun shining upon it this evening!  But, R and J, the radiance shining out from each of you is even greater than that!  Glory to God!

–We are all gathered together here to celebrate a wedding between a man and a woman.  God has sanctified marriage in a way that many will give up much to celebrate with the Bride and Groom.  They do not do this for two people simply deciding to live together, or for a husband and wife who divorce from one another.  A lawful wedding between a man and woman, who have chosen to join themselves together in love, with joy and hope, is holy, and we who have come to know the God who has made weddings and marriage so special,  look forward to the wedding of Messiah with His Bride – all those who love Yeshua for who He truly is.

–White – the symbol of purity and hope – is not a very popular color in our days.  This is a sad commentary on the faith and moral level of our generation.  What a lovely bride you are, R!  And you, J, as the groom!  You will both thank and praise God throughout the rest of your lives together that you have kept yourselves for each other.

–Those who wait with hope in the Lord are not disappointed.  Joey, you have had your heart and hope set  on this lovely lady for about six years, and have waited patiently and faithfully.  You asked permission from R’s parents to woo her, and we gave it to you to try, if it was from God.  Look and see all these here tonight who are happy with you that R, who also gave her heart to God, had a change of heart to make this night different from all other nights in your lives!

   For both of you, your experience in your walk with the Lord and with each other is a solid foundation for trusting the Holy Spirit to work in your lives for your good and to the honor of God.  As you love Yeshua above all, you will know that the fear of the Lord is key to your married life together.

–Marriage is a covenant relationship, where each gives 100% of what you have and who you are to each  other.  (God’s higher math is a bit different than ours!)

    –Humility
    –Lovingkindness/Grace/Hesed
    –Complete trust in the faithfulness of the other, and commitment to each other which is never in doubt
    –Complementing and supplementing one another
    –Forgiving one another without keeping account – even without being asked!
    –Honoring each other when you are together, and when you are not!
    –J, you have the high and impossible calling to love your wife R even as Messiah loves the Church!
    –R, you are given by God to your husband J to humbly and wisely help him obey the Word of God.

–At your birth, R, your mother and I dedicated you (and your sister and brothers) to the glory of God.  Miracles still happen!  And you have grown up to know God as your Father in Heaven and to love His Son, the Lord Jesus.  Now, biblically, we are giving you to marry into J’s family, even as you both leave your parents’ households to build your own family and house.

–Tonight we celebrate your wedding:  a good start.  Work to make the marriage finish well, to bring even greater joy to yourselves, to your own children, family, and friends, and to our wonderful Creator and Redeemer!

–Until death do you part, or until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah!

BEGINNINGS UNTIL HE COMES: E’S BAPTISM – 16 July 2005

1Cor 15:14-19, 29-34   And if Messiah is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. . . .Otherwise what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all?  Why then are they baptized for the dead?. . .If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”  Do not be deceived; “evil company corrupts good habits”.

Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.

Today we have been witnesses to the baptisms of E and of L.  As we read in our passage, our baptism into the death of Messiah Jesus testifies to our faith in the unique truth that Jesus was raised from among the dead, in His body, to everlasting life, and we (if we have died) will also rise from among the dead in our bodies in the day of the first resurrection.  This fact – this point of truth – is so central to the Biblical faith in YHVH God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, that without it, life is futile and there would be no reason to live in the fear of God and to do His will. If everyone who ever lived were to be saved, there would no reason for baptism; if there were no resurrection of the body, but rather some so-called ‘soul travel’ or ‘disembodied spirits’, there would be no meaning to immersion.  Baptism into the New Covenant is unique to the faith in the God who took on flesh and blood and died on the cross for our sins and rose again!

Praise God, it is true, and we do not baptize for the dead, but for the First and the Last – who was dead and came to life!  There is a Judgment Day!

Last week I said that God uses our troubles and sufferings in this life to bring us to obey Him, to trust in the love and promises of our Father in Heaven, and to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to come and bring God’s Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit to His people and to the world He created.  The Apostle Paul warns us as believers not to be deceived:  if we truly believe in the blood of Jesus crucified for our sin and risen from the dead for our justification before the Holy God, then our lives need to demonstrate this through real changes in our heart, our thinking, our life-style.

When we repent and believe the good news that there is forgiveness of sin and salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, baptism is actually only our first act of obedience to the faith we have received.  We are born again and begin a process of sanctification to become conformed to the image of being God’s son or daughter, to come to fullness.

Paul says in v. 34 that believers who are not awake, sensible, to righteousness (i.e., believing in Jesus and doing what He says) lack the knowledge of God.  A very practical test of our relationship to the Lord is whether we maintain a high standard of right and wrong, of good and evil, of honor or dishonor to the name of our God and Lord when we are with others – whether believers or unbelievers.  If we see that certain persons or groups of persons succeed consistently to bring us down from the standard of the Holy Spirit as written in the New Testament – if that person or group will not change – then we are to look for other friends and companions!

 Next Thursday evening we will participate in the wedding of Sergei and Stella.  Just as baptism is done once by a believer in the gospel and marks the beginning of a new life with God as Father and with Jesus as Savior and Lord and with other believers as God’s family, so a wedding between a man and a woman is ideally done once, and marks the beginning of a life together which is to prepare us for the wedding and eternal marriage with Yeshua Himself.

Everyone of us here who knows he or she is a son or daughter of God through Messiah Yeshua has a goal in your life:  to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to learn to obey Him in all areas of life.  As we do this, we will

–evangelize so that others can come home to God our Father in Heaven;
–change our old ways of thinking and behavior;
–take responsibility for our decisions and actions;
–humble ourselves before God and before other people;
–see fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives;
–not stumble in the days of trouble;
–give glory to our wonderful Savior;
–love and anticipate His return to take His Bride and to bring the Kingdom of God to Israel and the rest of the world.

Do not lose hope!  The promise of good things to those who have begun their pilgrimage of faith – like Abraham – will be fulfilled by our faithful God who keeps covenant and ways of righteousness.

1Jn 3:1-3   Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

T’S BAPTISM – 16 July 1993

It is with joy of a father and mother that we can witness and participate together in the baptism (immersion) of our first child, T.  We give thanks to God our Father that, by the Holy Spirit, Tamar has been drawn to Jesus His Son.  T has responded by asking Jesus into her heart even from the age of five and now, by obeying Him, to be baptized by faith in His Name.

Baptism is essentially a public act of acknowledgment that the one being baptized believes with all his or her heart that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and that He saves the believer from his sins.  When we are baptized we are agreeing with God that the Lord Jesus died for me and my sins on the cross in my place, and that I have died with Him.  And even as He rose from the dead, so will I be raised from death.  Baptism in water gives a vivid picture of our sins being washed away by God’s Word on the basis of Jesus’sacrifice.  When we are baptized we are saying that we want to be with Jesus and with His people.  We are saying that we need to be changed from the way we are and think and feel and do to the way God is and thinks and feels and does.  In other words, we need to die to ourselves so that we can live unto God in the power of His resurrection, because God loves you, T.

God your Father in Heaven, T, is very happy and pleased that today you are taking your first big step of faith – the faith of a child which is so special and precious to the Lord that He even tells big people that they must have the simple, trusting, dependent faith of a child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now that you are born again by God’s Word and Spirit through your believing God and His good news about Jesus Christ, your mother and I want to read to you from our announcement at your birth almost eight years ago our blessings and prayers for you then that we see God is wonderfully in grace and mercy bringing to pass:

Your name T means the date palm tree and the fruit.  The date palm tree symbolizes uprightness, righteousness, prosperity and fruitfulness; beauty; salvation and victory; kingly glory; constancy, perseverance.  We hope and pray that you will grow and develop in accord with your name and in the fear of the LORD.

לשמך תמר יש פרוש עץ תמר ופרי שלו, ויש לו סמלים יושר, צדקה, הצלחה, פוריות. הדר. ישועה ונצחון. כבוד מלכי. חזק, התמדה.  אנו מקווים ומתפללים שאת תגדלי באופי שלך לפי השם שלך וביראת יהוה.

 

Do you believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God? . . . . yes
Do you believe that He suffered and died for — and because of — you and your sins? . . . . yes
Do you believe that God the Father and Jesus forgive you for all your sins? . . . . yes
Do you believe that Jesus is Lord and is now alive in Heaven and in your heart? . . .. . yes

Then in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ – I baptize you, T, into His death and into the newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit of God in you.  Praise the LORD!

CIRCUMCISION: A DEFENSE

Excerpt from a letter from me to a believer in Holland on 11 Jan 1993:

. . .Bless you, Brother, for taking the courage and being sincerely honest in asking why we circumcised our sons.  I have enclosed the content of words I spoke to both unbelievers and to believers who attended the circumcisions in our home.  I have also enclosed the word I spoke at E’s dedication before the congregation and before God.  I trust that these will both answer the question and help to give sufficient understanding that the Holy Spirit will give you peace regarding it.

I, too, struggled with the issue before God before E, our first son, was born.  I did not want to do anything that would compromise the cross or my walk as a Christian.  Prior to the birth and subsequent circumcision, the Lord gave me peace regarding it as a Jew descended in the flesh from the fathers, and as one born again in Christ confirming God’s promises to my people in the flesh.  E and T, as my sons, would be, apart from circumcision, unconnected to Israel and the Jewish people – simply Gentiles from American-born parents, or even within the State of Israel.

Rabbinically, they are not considered Jews since their mother is not Jewish.  My concern is not what the rabbis may approve, but rather what God approves.  As a Jew believing in Jesus, I have not become somehow a gentile (and therefore uncircumcised covenantly speaking) [1Cor 7:17-20]).  Taking the N.T. instructions as a whole on the subject, I have done this as a matter of faith – not regarding salvation, but regarding our identity in this body in the world with my people to whom God gave circumcision as a sign for both relationship and identity (Gen 17:14).

If what is written here together with the enclosed papers still does not help, please feel free to say so.  The main thing is not whether someone is Jewish or Gentile, but rather whether he/she is in Christ Jesus.  Praise God! . . . .

CIRCUMCISION OF T Shimon – 13 Oct 1992

Some of you were with us for E’s circumcision, and it is good to have another occasion to celebrate together the LORD our God, both during this week of Succot (the Feast of Booths, or of Ingathering), and also in remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the circumcising of our second son, T Shimon.  (T’s means ‘dew’, and his middle name, Shimon, is a testimony of our faith that the promised inheritance to Simeon, Jacob’s son and the Tribe of Israel, will be fulfilled:  he will inherit Beer Sheva in the apportionment of the Land of Israel after Yeshua returns to set up His kingdom.  Our prayer is that T will have a better inheritance in Christ by being born-again before the Lord returns.)

The circumcision of the flesh of every male Jew is a symbol both of God’s covenant and also of His ways of fulfilling His promises and purposes for His treasured people Israel.  Succot is a testimony of a people at peace with their God – a people whose heart has been circumcised – whose soul has been afflicted, and then refreshed and revived through God’s gracious atonement for sin – and among whom YHVH is pleased to dwell in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Randi and I are circumcising T as his parents in willing obedience to the LORD and to His honor and glory.  But it will amount to nothing if either we or T should place any confidence in the flesh and unless T should circumcise himself to the only wise God and Savior through personal faith and in a spirit of meekness.

Jacob will know the blessings of the covenant when, as Israel, he becomes a true son of Abraham, being justified through personal faith in God Almighty, Who can raise the dead to life in order to fulfill His Word.  As it is written, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Gen 21:12; Rom 9:7)  “He (Jesus Christ) shall see His seed and the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.” (Is 53:10-11“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise.” (Ps 51:19 Heb.)

E HAIM’S CIRCUMCISION – 28 Dec 1988

Gen 17:1,7,10-14 – Establishment of the covenant by YHVH with Abram (Abraham); identification with and relationship to the people, the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
            John 7:22 – The circumcision is not of Moses, but of the fathers.

Deut 10:15-19 – Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.

Deut 30:1-6 — The LORD will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love YHVH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Jer 4:1-4 – Circumcise yourselves to YHVH.

Jer 9:22-25 – Glory in the LORD; there is no difference –in themselves—between the circumcised and uncircumcised.

Rom 2:28 – 3:2 – For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly [only]; neither is it circumcision which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart – in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.  What advantage then has the Jew?  Or what profit is there in circumcision?  Much every way:  chiefly, because unto them (us) were committed the oracles of God.

1Cor 7:19 – Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but rather the keeping of the commandments of God.  (E Haim means “stone of life”; our prayer is that he will become a “living stone” — e chaya — through spiritual new birth by repentance and faith in the gospel at an early age.)

Gal 5:6 – For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Philp 3:3 – For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

R’S DEDICATION – 7 Mar 1987

      1.  “Registration” of our children with the government of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Kingdom of God, before the Lord and before you, the local assembly of God, our brothers and sisters.

      2.  Want all honor to go to YHVH God and to His covenant of grace.

      3.  All come into the world with a sinful nature and in need of salvation.  This truth is taught in both the Old and New Testaments.  R (whose name is a ‘white broom bush/tree’ is by nature a sinner!  Have you ever considered that every person who enters the world contributes to the sin and evil of the world?  Parents – mothers and fathers – have a great privilege and responsibility to train up our children to both know their need of salvation and also to know Him who alone is the Savior.

      4.  Jn 16:21   It is interesting and noteworthy that in this passage, Jesus compares the sorrow and the joy of childbirth to His own return to His Father in Heaven and also to His coming again to the Earth.  We, as members of His Bride – and indeed all of the creation – wait and look for His appearance that all our sorrows be turned into joy.

      5.  Ps 25:10-14   the secret of YHVH to those who fear Him – to be His friends to whom He speaks freely, and to know His Son.

      6.  Is 49:5-8   The covenant of YHVH is Him whom Israel at this time still does not accept, that hates Him, the Servant of the LORD.  Jesus is He that will gather Israel!

      7.  Jesus alone fulfills all that is written concerning the covenants of God with Israel and for the nations, and the New Covenant is sealed in His body given for us and in His shed blood.  So it is that tonight Randi and I want to dedicate R to our Lord and God, Christ Jesus, with the Lord’s Supper, remembering the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God, who provides the blood covering for our household under the New Covenant, the everlasting covenant.  This better covenant with better promises was the desire and intent of God’s heart before ever there was a man on Earth to sin.

      8.  Jn 1:1-14   Jesus Christ is the true light of all who come into the world.  All who seek truth and true identity and purpose for living find them in Christ Jesus – or else remain in some measure of darkness – for the Light has come into the world.

      9.  True life is in Him.  Eternal life.  All men seek to live.  God has promised that in His Anointed One (Messiah/Christ), the Savior, in accord with the everlasting covenant, we have eternal life – life which is really life.

    10.  As parents we want to teach our children, by the grace of God, both through instruction and also by our own lives as examples, that the Word of the one true living God is our light and our life, in order that they, too, will want to know personally the Father and His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent into the world.

    11.  Rev 5:9-14   Worthy is the Lamb. . .

T’S DEDICATION – 14 Sept 1985

–Next week marks four years in Israel:  full and interesting

–Before coming to faith I thought about the significance of Rosh Hashana, beginning of a new year.  What is important to us as Jews and new years in general?  Someone is watching over us and preserving us.  Another year of life.  I thank God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that He is the Watcher over Israel, the Preserver of our souls!

–Great joy for us that T, a new soul, has come into our life and that God is with us, that our house is under that grace of the New Covenant.  I did not grow up in such a household, but I thank the Lord for His hand upon us.  Tonight Randi and I want to dedicate T to God in Jesus’ Name as a token of our faith in Him and in His covenant.

 –I want to share some thoughts which I had during Randi’s pregnancy, including the birth pains and the birth process, as well as the expectation of parenthood:
    Ps 139:13-17   Fearfully, wonderfully made; from almost nothing to a living person; creation of God; true miracle.  Bones, mind, brain, senses, eyes, speech:  Something only the living God could do!   

       When I saw the head of the child (not knowing yet who “it” was), it was just a joy to realize the manner of our coming into the world, that God designed this way to do this!  Truly, as it is written, nothing clean can be born of a woman!  And yet how lovely and wonderful!

    Rom 8:16-25   All creation experiencing labor pains.  Can’t we feel them now?  Jesus tells us that the last days leading up to His coming back will be like that.  Some of us prepare in advance for the birth of our babies and for the post-birth period.  Are we preparing ourselves for the process coming upon the world until such time as the Lord takes us?  Are we placing our faith and obedience and trust in God to see us through the birth as well as to enable us to be of help to others?  While with Randi during the birth, I was impressed with the controlled yet increasingly difficult contractions.  I knew that God had designed this way and was encouraged that He was in control.  It is different for each person and  each birth.  We need to help one another believe in our hearts that the Lord will guide us through.

    Gen 3:16,20   Pain and sorrow in childbirth for the mother, out of which springs forth life!  Life from the dead; bread from the earth.  And her name is Eve, because she is the mother of all the living.  Christ and the Church!  Grace, blessing, joy!

    Gen 5:3   Children are born in image of their parents – physically, emotionally, spiritually.  All are born in separation from God due to inherited sin.  T is a little sinner who needs a Savior!  She needs to know Jesus Christ as her own Savior and Lord.  Randi and I are entrusted with responsibility to train up T in such a way as to lead her to Christ.  Only in Him will she be restored to the image of God in the likeness of His holy and righteous character by the power and life of the blood and the Spirit and the Word of God in her life.  Just as God gave His Torah (instruction, laws, rules) to teach Israel of their sinful nature and consequences so that they might know their need of God’s mercy and  grace in His love, so I think we have an example in this to instruct our children that they will not only recognize their need of God’s salvation, but also to want it – to want Him, who is a much better parent than we can ever hope to be.  We gave our daughter the name T, which is a ‘date palm tree and fruit’;  God gave His Son the name Yeshua (Jesus), because He will save His people from their sins.

       Our heavenly Father is our pattern, yet we also need His grace to raise T.  He forgives our trespasses as parents when we do not do or can not do all that His Word requires.  Yet we want T to honor us – for her own benefit as well as ours – so we must trust the Lord to help us be worthy of her honor.  Our Father in Heaven is the perfect Father, and sadly most do not yet know Him as their Father, rejecting Him and His love.  This relieves us as mothers and fathers of a great burden and of any overwhelming guilt, and we can rest in His love and grace as we seek to know and to do His will.

    Gen 18:19   Command children in the way of YHVH.  What is the way of YHVHEach child is different and we must consider them individually accordingly.

       Jesus says that He is the Way:  to the Father, to the Kingdom of God, to salvation and eternal life.  What is His way?  The way of the cross; of dying unto death; of willing, whole-hearted obedience and trust in His Father in Heaven; of love, sacrificing Himself for sinners and enemies to deliver us out of an evil world into that which is really life.  He humbled Himself in service in His holy love, for the cross is God’s judgment upon sin and its works.  Jesus humbled Himself and God has exalted Him.  He is risen from the dead and awaits His return to sit on His throne to bring peace to Earth through righteousness!

    2Pet 3:9-15   Knowing that the day is near, then how do we want to prepare ourselves and our children.  Nothing is better for us and for T but that the Lord Jesus will return.  Satan is the god of this world until the Lord is here.  What can be worse than the devil ruling?!  What could possibly be better than Jesus ruling?!  No matter what our current blessings or troubles, whether in our personal lives or in society or in the nation or anywhere in the world, the day is near when the Kingdom of God will destroy all the kingdoms of this world and the fruit of them.  We pray that we will be ready for His appearing.

We ask tonight for prayer for us that God give us the wisdom to raise T in His way and that she know that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!