…Breaking the Bad…

 

Revelation 12:11

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.[1]

 

                As I sit here, in my prayer chair, I realize that it has been too long.  Everyone should have a place where he or she meets the God of heaven.  Moses had his tent of meeting, some have a prayer closet, some a shawl, some can just withdraw into themselves and meet God in that place.  Me, I have my chair; it is here I come to meet Yahveh and let the Ruach[2] have His way with me, to teach, to preach, to pour out my heart.  It has been to long that I have told my story.

 

                        What is testimony?  Well, my friend Noah Webster in his 1828 dictionary defined it as:

 

“...tes•ti•mo•ny  1 : evidence based on observation or knowledge 2 : an outward sign : symbol  3 : a solemn declaration made by a witness under oath esp. in a court syn evidence, confirmation, proof, testament...” 

 

If we want to bring it into a spiritual context, there are plenty of examples, as a quick search through Nave’s will show:

 

....Religious:  1 Chr. 16:8, 9; Psa. 9:11; Psa. 18:49; Psa. 26:6, 7; Psa. 119:27,172; Psa. 145:11, 12; Isa. 12:4–6; Isa. 32:4; Isa. 43:10 Isa. 44:8. Isa. 45:24; Jer. 51:10; Mark 4:21 Matt. 5:15; Luke 8:16. Mark 5:16, 19, 20; Luke 8:38, 39; Luke 12:8, 9 Matt. 10:32. Luke 24:48; John 4:28–30, 39, 41, 42; John 15:27; Acts 1:8, 22; Rom. 10:9, 10; 1 Cor. 1:5, 6; 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Cor. 13:1; Eph. 5:19; Phil. 3:7–14; 1 Tim. 6:12, 13; 2 Tim. 1:8; Heb. 2:3, 12; 1 Pet. 3:15; 1 Pet. 5:1; Rev. 12:11 See Confession.

 

Religious, Exemplified:  Job 19:25–27; Psa. 16:5–9; Psa. 18:2, 3, 35, 36; Psa. 22:22; Psa. 23:1–6; Psa. 26:12; Psa. 27:1–6, 13; Psa. 28:6–8; Psa. 30:1–6; Psa. 34:1–4, 8, 9; Psa. 35:28; Psa. 40:1–3, 9; Psa. 54:7; Psa. 57:7–9; Psa. 62:1, 2; Psa. 66:16–20; Psa. 71:15–18, 24; Psa. 73:23–26, 28; Psa. 77:12; Psa. 89:1; Psa. 91:2–13; Psa. 116:1–14; Psa. 119:13, 26, 27, 46, 67, 71; Psa. 145:4–7, 10–12; Dan. 4:1–3, 34–37 vs. 1–37.; John 9:17, 30–33; Acts 2:4–11; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:18–20; Acts 5:31, 32; Acts 13:31; Acts 26:12–23 Acts 22. 1 Cor. 15:15; 2 Cor. 4:13, 14; 2 Cor. 5:1; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3:4–14; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8; Tit. 1:1, 2; Tit. 3:3–7; 1 Pet. 5:12; 2 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:1–4...[3]

 

                But what exactly is a testimony?  It is, I believe, what we do, what we are, along with what we say.  In searching out a meaning for testimony, in Vine’s and Smith’s Bible dictionaries, they both referred me to “witness”.  And what is a witness?  Someone who sees, someone who has firsthand knowledge of an event or occurrence.  It is also actions, examples, all those little minute details of our lives that give color to it, to reveal to others and ourselves who we are and what we believe in.  Someone once said to me that integrity is what you do when no one else is watching.  Isn’t this our witness, our testimony also? What we do when we think no one is watching truly defines our character, our moral compass. 

 

                So. What is all this about? Do I just sit down in this chair and ramble on, as if no purpose is in mind?  No, actually, I have a tale to tell, a testimony of what I know and have seen.  It many people who by their actions are about doing the will of God, but in a real sense, they hardly ever see how or if the seeds they plant ever go anywhere.  That is the purpose of this testimony, this observation, to edify those and give glory to God.

 

                As with any tale, it always has a beginning, and this is the part I have struggled with.  To tell this tale, requires speaking about the subject of it.  How much do you reveal about someone, without it becoming a story more about them and overshadowing the real goal?  A mighty man of God once told me that his past was worth only 15 seconds of his testimony because the real importance of his story was what Messiah Yeshua had done for him, not what he was rescued from.  In a way, I can totally agree with this, for that is the real issue, what Yeshua did for me, but there again, to reach out, to show the lost that they can have hope also, do they not need to be able to identify with us, to show them that we were all just like them, lost in our sins, our worries, our troubles, and that hope lives?  Is it important that our testimony show that no matter how far away from God you think you are, He is as close as your knees?  This is the struggle of a testimony, to not be all self, but enough to let those you witness to know that you were there once yourself and Yeshua Ha’Machiach[4] redeemed you from that life of death, that there is another way.  I know, I know, I’m probably preaching to the choir, but, hey, I’m only a secretary when I sit here, it is the Ruach Ha’Kodesh[5] that dictates.  Anyway, the beginning of this tale will be short because I want to get to the heart of the matter, so....

 

                This one has a story, a beginning that extends back over almost five decades.  I was molested by a stranger at the age of 13; this one act changed a boy, took away all he had ever known and turned me toward the only relief for the pain, shame and anger of this deed I could find, rage or drugs. So began a nightmare of drug use and abuse that would last forty years. No one knew what had happened, for I kept it all inside, my secret, because in all honesty, I did not know how to articulate it.  Too young to utterly understand what had occurred, I blamed myself though I had done nothing wrong to bring this upon me.  I then blamed my parents, and eventually God, for surly this had to be someone else's fault. By the age of sixteen I was addicted, a heavy drug user; I enlisted in the military at seventeen and became a life taker by eighteen. By the time of my 21st birthday I was totally lost to the world and fully embraced the ways of the enemy; I joined an outlaw motorcycle club (“Breaking Bad” has nothing on me) and became the type of man you would cross the street to avoid.

 

My life continued to spiral downhill at breakneck speed. I married, then divorced; then married again. I have four boys (all men now) but my addictions marred their childhoods. Things got so bad  that I abandoned my family and began been living on the streets for almost two years, separated from wife and children, divorced from life, without hope. The drugs had ravaged me, turned my life upside down, and all I wanted was for my heart to finally stop beating, for the drugs to end my pain. At this, the lowest point of my life, someone spoke to me three words, just three words that broke a dam in my heart.  Under a bridge, a eleven-year-old boy came up to me with a can of soda and a blueberry muffin and spoke these words:

“Jesus loves you.”

 

Those three words led to the next three words that saved a soul. In the darkness, surrounded by pain, despair and no hope, those words led me to my knees to say the next three words:

 

“God help me.”

 

Six words changed a life. A life lost was moved that day by the  Ruach (Spirit) of the Most High G-d.  Heaven opened and began the process of mending a broken heart and soul.

 

Most do not know if what they do will have an impact.  What I do know is each of us have the potential to change a life. By words or deeds – we can change reality and Tikkun olam (Hebrew: תיקון עולם ) literally, 'repair of the world', one life at a time.

 

At the age of 53, G-d spoke these words into my soul:

 

Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (NKJV)
8     “Every commandment which I command you today ayou must 1be careful to observe, that you may live and bmultiply, 2and go in and possess the land of which the Lord 3swore to your fathers.

2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God cled you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and dtest you, eto know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, fallowed you to hunger, and gfed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall hnot live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. [6]

 

What the Father began, Yeshua[7]the Messiah finished. I discovered His mitzvot[8], I discovered the roots of my faith, and name of my Messiah . Now, I  walk by the Torah of Moses as defined by Yeshua in the Brit Ha’deshah[9]  and my life began anew.

 

It was the power of the Living God that broke this “bad”; I have had for the first time in my life freedom in my Messiah, no pain, depression, drugs,  guilt, or shame.  Delivered and redeemed, all glory to God. 

Thank you, Father; thank you Yeshua. Come join me at the Gates of Yerushalayim and rest awhile.

 

[1] The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2] Ruach – Hebrew for “Spirit”

[3] Swanson, James, New Nave’s Topical Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1999, c1994.

[4] Yeshua Ha’Machiach: Hebrew for “Jesus the Messiah”

[5] Ruach Ha’Kodesh: Hebrew for “Holy Spirit”

a  Deut. 4:1; 6:24

1  observe to do

b  Deut. 30:16

2  increase in number

3  promised

c  Deut. 1:3; 2:7; 29:5; Ps. 136:16; Amos 2:10

d  Ex. 16:4

e  [John 2:25]

f  Ex. 16:2, 3

g  Ex. 16:12, 14, 35

h  Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4

[6]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Yeshua: the Hebrew name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth

[8] Commandments

[9]Brit Ha’deshah: Hebrew for “Renewed Covenant”

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