Week 35 Past the Cross – (Finding a Foothold)
By Terri C
I love that I had to check back through the archives to find which week I was on in relation to deciding to walk past the cross and into an one-on-one relationship with The Father! The “newness” is gone, it is simply how I now live my life. I am journaling my first year for myself to look back on and for others who are new at this to have a place to come for encouragement. Although each experience in discovering that God is indeed One is unique, there are also common battles. It is these I will will address today. I will go in the order that I came across each one, but certainly, these may not have “hit you” in the same order! If you see some of your own journey in here, by all means, please share your own battles and triumphs in the comments section. I was blindsided by some of these events, but you, Dear Reader, don’t have to be. God has a way of giving us just what we need, just when we need it, to understand these new concepts. I hope that in telling my story, you might find relief from the issues you are facing, and be encouraged to continue seeking God with all your heart. That is, Scriptures say, when we will find Him. Here are some of the challenges I have faced and overcome since passing by that cross 35 weeks ago:
Not Just One Doctrinal Change. At first I thought that my walk would look exactly the same, except I wouldn’t be crediting Jesus with my salvation. As I set aside the writings that call themselves the “new testament” I realized how much doctrine I held came only from those writings, they aren’t presented in Torah or anywhere in the Tanakh. Even the “new testament” isn’t foretold of! In fact, the Tanakh says that there will be a time when the “New Covenant” will be written on our hearts…it isn’t going to be penned on paper! The idea of “original sin” is absent in the Tanakh, as well. The doctrine on “hell” I’d held was wrong, according to Tanakh. The “end days” the “coming of Messiah” the “great commission”….none of these in the “new testament” match what is written in the “Old”. The “new” teaches that the Jews were deceived, blinded, yet Zechariah tells us that “in those days” men will take hold of a Jew because they have heard that God is with them. Not take hold of a cross, or a man-god-savior. A Jew. Nowhere will you find in the Tanakh that Jews aren’t God’s chosen. Christianity claims that God “divorced Israel” but the very verse they use to stand on that claim shows exactly God’s stance. Check out the verses that follow the “divorce” statement:
~Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith YHVH; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith YHVH, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith YHVH.~from Jeremiah 3
Hmmm, “Return”, it says. Not “believe on” not “ask into your heart” and definitely not “cleanse though a human sacrifice” (something Torah calls abomination). Return.
My “Authority” I read that I could do all the things the man named Jesus did and more. I had authority, the writings said, to trample serpents. To heal. To ask anything from The Father and get it….especially if two people asked it. Anything. Really? When I looked into Tanak alone for my “authority”, I learned that all things come from God. All things. There is no opponent for Him. Should I then pray against this thing He has allowed for His reasons, which are above my own? I saw in Tanakh that my “authority” was in one thing, and one thing alone. My “authority” is in having free will. Period. I have the authority to choose His Way or my way, and that’s all. I will live the human experiences while wearing this flesh. I will both mourn and celebrate, and have seasons of darkness and seasons of illumination. Seasons of tragedies and ones of triumph. Good and bad will come my way, and because I have used my authority and chosen His Way, He is with me through them.
Prayer. Hand in hand with the above paragraph, my prayer life had to change. That change wasn’t easy for me and it will be tied to the next item on our “list” today. Suffice it to say I was happy with my prayer life, it was a neat little formula. It was set on the vision I had for my own life. My will. And then I studied the examples of prayer in the Tanakh, and saw how they were centered on exalting God. Seeking His will, His Way. Yes, they also asked for their hearts’ desire, but they didn’t “name it and claim it” they sought Him and honored Him in His authority. In retrospect, I now give thanks for not praying for my will, but His. I can’t imagine the trainwreck my life would be if God beckoned to my authority instead of me to His! He knows the desires of my heart, and knows that above them, I desire His will. As I mentioned, grasping these new concepts wasn’t easy for me, it takes time, study and much… you guessed it…. prayer. I’ll give a very personal account so that you can see this “new kind of prayer” concept applied. A very sweet friend was recently in a very bad car accident, and left in “critical” condition. I love her very much, and wanted to cry out to God to just heal her the moment I heard the news. I saw on social media that some people who loved her were doing just that. Proclaiming her healed in a name that isn’t God’s. Knowing what I know now, I had to pause and think of how to best pray for her. Nothing touched her that God hasn’t allowed. And so I prayed for His will for her to unfold. I thanked Him for His authority over the whole situation. I hoped out loud that many would turn to Him and recognize that authority, too. Twenty four hours after the accident, I saw people thanking God she was spared her life. It reminded me that He has reasons for everything. The accident will be, I’m sure, a dividing line in my young friend’s life. I’ll looking forward to learning where it fits for her in the “bigger picture”. The one thing I am sure of is that it does fit.
“Bloodstains” I said that this paragraph will tie into the above one, and it does. There are times when we feel pressured, like our back is against a wall, and what’s inside of us takes over. Call it auto-pilot, call it instinct, or call it indoctrination, it happens. In the beginning of my new journey, it sometimes took me several weeks to discover that I was still looking at any given situation through Jesus-colored glasses, complicating a simple situation. For so long I believed that I was “covered in the blood”, that I’ve come to call this mindset “blood stained”. Christianity made God’s plan about me. The Messianic movement added tzit-tzit, Feasts and Sabbaths, but was still centered on man, and what he “knows”. I am learning that everything is centered on God, and not on me. I’m learning to take my focus off myself, and to live like I trust Him. If He has favor, mercy and grace to bestow upon me for His Name’s sake, than nothing will stop Him. If He sends me hardship, struggles or peril, He is with me, and I will be refined. I am slowly being cleaned from these “bloodstains” as they show up in my life, and am learning to trust God in ways I never thought possible!
Who am I? A friend likened walking away from the cross to flailing like a newborn. I think that’s an apt description. Humans enjoy the feeling of community. The Scriptures certainly encourage it. It’s all about relationships! It’s pretty easy to describe who we are when we switch from being a “Baptist” to a “Methodist”. Even going from Catholicism into Judaism is self defining. We can say we are “this” or “that” in terms of religion, and most people have at least a minimal grasp of that concept. What, then, do we call ourselves when God has not led us to convert to Judaism, and we are certainly not Christian or Messianic? Who are we now, here? I see that question often, and had to work through it, myself. But maybe “Who are we?” is not the right question. We are dust, the Scriptures say. I see words like “Ger” and “sojourner” and “Noahide” but they just don’t fit to me as well as the word “dust”. For me, “dust” puts it all into perspective in a nutshell. I am dust with a soul that belongs to God. It came from Him and will return to Him when this flesh finally fails me (and it will). This is all about Him, and none about me. I do not devalue myself in calling myself dust. Because of that spark that makes me “me”, I am dust that has the authority to follow The Creator. To live and love and laugh and sing. I’m happy to be me, no “label” is required! I have learned not to ask “Who am I?” but instead “What can I do?”
Without question, the journey past the cross is one with unique new concepts and will offer brand new facets of our God to meditate upon. On this side of the cross, He is bigger and we are smaller. We learn that our focus shouldn’t be so much of what lies beyond this life but instead what we can do to be light right here in this life. Since walking away from the cross, I seek God’s Way, thus opening myself to change, and I help others. Even in times when I feel like a newborn flailing, I’m still secure in my knowledge that my God, YHVH, is sovereign. Even as I blunder, and and bad, are an opportunity to be propelled closer to Him. I trust that He will protect me, because the last line of Psalm 91 says so, along with many other passages of Scripture. Whether He chooses to protect me in the physical sense, or to protect this soul in me by returning it to Him, I will leave up to Him and His will. It’s enough for me to know that I have that protection. It’s a win/win situation. Looking through this new lens is freeing, and not binding. It is allowing God to be God and me to be me, following Him! I’ll “see” you next week. Until then, be strong and courageous!I do blunder, I am driven ever closer to Him. I know that all things, good