Good day everyone!
Welcome to this episode of week in the Word. A blog I started on a Facebook page I operate called “My Journey”. Now after some consideration I’m planning on carrying it over to my blog site, BNATL.com and soon I’ll be broadcasting on my Spreaker channel.
I feel this series is important because we are living in times of great uncertainty. The great uncertainty is mainly due to people still searching for the meaning of life. Many are living with an uncertainty of what will happen to them once they die.
Through ‘Week in the Word’, I’ll be sharing biblical teachings of how to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are in a right relationship with God and that you can rest assured that your name will be written in the Lambs book of life. Along with discipleship teachings I’ll share what I learn through either revelation or through prayer that I believe will be a benefit for you in your walk with the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus.
I’d like to take this time to share a little of my background with you. It’s important to know the source of any teaching and it also helps if you know the background of the one teaching. One of the first items you will notice in my posts is I refer to the Hebrew name of Jesus which is Yeshua. Rarely do I refer to our Lord and Savior as Jesus Christ, but please allow me to explain by starting at the beginning.
When I was sixteen years old God moved mightily on my heart. I went to church with my mom one Sunday, probably begrudgingly as I was a very rebellious teenager. But as I sat in the pew and listened to the pastor deliver the message a holy conviction gripped my heart. For the first time in my life God revealed His righteousness and at the same time my sin. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the congregation crying and saying that I was ready to repent and give my life to the Lord, and that day marked my first real encounter with the living God.
However, without anyone to disciple me I quickly fell away, just like the seed that was sown and was quickly overcome by the cares of this life. However, one thing I’m certain of, even though I didn’t begin following the Messiah at that young age, God’s presence became very real to me.
Let’s fast forward nine years. During that span of time I had been hot and cold when it came to Yeshua/Jesus. I realized around the age of twenty-five that my life had been a continuous cycle and it always ended at the same place. I’d get into a relationship, everything would be fine for the first three months, then after three months everything would fall apart and for the remaining time I was with that person I was miserable. Eventually, I would be on my knees asking Jesus to forgive me and crying out for God to save me. He always did, and I always pledged my loyalty, however it lasted until the next girlfriend came along. I was locked in what felt like a never-ending cycle of heart break.
So, what changed at twenty-five? I was at the bottom once again and things were falling apart in my relationship at the time. I once again turned to the Lord to save me and truly felt I needed to repent once and for all. It just so happened that I met a campus minister one afternoon as I was going between classes at Georgia State University. I met one of the students at a “Truth Booth” and he invited me to a campus meeting. It wasn’t long before the campus minister and I had become friends and I began attending church. Soon afterward the relationship I was in came to an end and I pledged to never date until God blessed me with a wife.
This was the first time I had truly repented of my sins. The first time I had chosen to no longer live the life I once was, and instead I began following Yeshua/Jesus. I was heavily in bible study and meeting with a bible study group of international students that attended the same church I was attending and to show you the faithfulness of God, it was during this time I met my future wife.
My wife and I wed in December of 1995 and have been married for twenty-two years. Now, I’ve read where the first year of marriage is the most difficult and to that I’d have to agree. However, if you do not remain faithful to the Lord and allow Him to continually change you and encourage you there can be many years of difficulty in a marriage.
So, what does all this have to do with Yeshua/Jesus? Let’s fast forward from 1995 to 2012.
During our marriage the one thing my wife and I desired was to have children. Once it became painfully obvious we were not going to have kids and the hurt we experienced through two miscarriages my walk with the Lord took a very dark turn.
Unknown to most people, for many years I struggled with a pornography addiction. I would view it for times and then I’d repent and put it away, however it was one vice my flesh, as well as the devil, used to pull me into an emotional black hole.
At the lowest point in my life I remember standing outside one afternoon and talking to God. I was doing more cursing than talking, however, that day became a very pivotal day because I believe it was on that very day, I nearly walked completely away from Him.
I remember as I paced underneath a large tree I did nothing but curse God. I was calling Him out to fight. Years of pain began to boil over in my heart as I had believed God didn’t love me or want to bless me. I mean, anyone who reads the bible and comes across passage after passage that says children are a blessing from God and yet when they’re not blessed in that way one’s heart can turn bitter and angry, that’s exactly what happened to me. Hate filled my heart and bitterness and rage became all the emotions I felt toward God and anyone I knew who ended up having a child.
That faithful afternoon I paced back and forth and cursed God. I told Him I was through and thanks for nothing. Little did I know He was listening and would choose to reveal His wrath later.
During the night, at three o’clock in the morning, a thunder storm arose, and our house was struck by lightning. It sounded as though a bomb had gone off in the backyard. At first, I was stunned since it had awoken me from a deep sleep, but then I realized the gravity of the situation and went to make sure nothing was on fire. Thankfully nothing caught fire.
Now was this a coincidence? I truly don’t think so. What I discovered while surveying the damage was the tree where I had been pacing earlier and cursing God had been struck at the base by lightning. The bolt traveled across 50 feet over the rain-soaked yard and up the downspout until it came into the kitchen at a circuit. The force of the lightening blew out walls, disintegrated light switches and caused over three thousand dollars’ worth of damage. Once the contractors began arriving, every single one said they were surprised our house was not destroyed by fire. I knew God was trying to get my attention and believe me, He had my attention. However, I was not ready to repent.
Eight months after the lightening strike I had finally hit bottom emotionally. I was at a point where I was done with life. In fact, I felt suicide was the only choice I had left. Everything felt cold and even though most everyone on the outside saw someone who had everything, I was miserable and wanted to end my life.
During this time, I had begun working from home. One afternoon the Holy Spirit began dealing with me and I felt God trying to stir my heart. Finally, in a fit of rage I cried out, “what do you want from me?!?” I’ll never forgot His response. It was softly spoken into my heart. The Lord said, “Bert, I don’t want anything. I love you just as you are.”
At that moment I fell to my knees and began weeping and worshiping. In fact, for the next three months I cried every single day. I began reading my bible and praying. I repented of all the ‘secret’ sins I had been entangled in doing. Then one afternoon as I sat on the floor in prayer I said aloud, “I’m never going back.” Meaning, I was never going to return to doing anything that the Lord convicted my heart of doing. I was only going to live for Him, no matter the cost. In reality, I had finally died to myself.
Immediately I was free from the bondage of pornography. I was free from my anger, rage and bitterness. Instantly I was delivered from all the years of pain I had been secretly suffering and not only was our loving Heavenly Father gracious enough to free me, He told me why we were not able to have children. He began to open His word to me and as I read the bible He renewed my mind and began to pour out His revelations to me. And this is where I first began to discover the Hebrew roots to the Christian faith.
I was on the floor reading the gospel of John where Yeshua/Jesus prays for the disciples. In John 17:11 Yeshua prays, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” And the Holy Spirit prompted me, and I said out loud, “the Father’s name isn’t Jesus.” I began to do research on God’s Hebrew name YHWH. A holy name in which I choose not to say. I know that sounds a bit too orthodox however, it is my conviction.
Fast forward till today. For the past 5 plus years I’ve been faithfully following the Messiah in every aspect of my life. I’ve seen God move in many ways. He’s blessed me with a couple of new jobs and brought amazing people into my path and offered me opportunities to share the gospel. He has also continued to stress the importance of the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and has been placing more of His love and devotion to Israel into my heart.
In the coming weeks I will be sharing on what I believe is His central message for the body of the Messiah. I can tell you it centers around repentance. A repentance that flows from the heart and not one that leads to dead works. I hope you will join me along the journey. I’m aware that those who teach will be judged more strictly as it’s written in James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
I understand there will be great judgement, however I know the God I serve is greater than anything that could come against me. And I fear Him with all my heart, just as I love Him with all my heart.
So, let’s do this journey together and let’s grow deeper in the ways of our Lord and Savior Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. Till next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face shine on you and be gracious to you, may He turn His face toward you and give you His Shalom.