Isaiah 62:4a: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken . . . but thou shalt be called Hephzibah.”
I do not usually take one small phrase out of context from our Scriptures, and am especially careful when it clearly is speaking of Israel and the Jewish people. (Bet you can guess I’m about to say “However”)—however, the other day I read the above passage from Isaiah and it spoke to me so personally. I don’t know about any of you, but the idea of NOT BELONGING evokes some very painful memories for me (and sometimes fears for the future). Back in public school the message “You don’t belong” was engraved into my heart. And even today memories of living alone in New York City can still bring tears to my eyes—such as a time period in which I paid for a room in a women’s boarding house and the image of my sitting on a bed playing solitaire all evening.
I know this won’t relate to everyone reading this, but if such NOT BELONGING resonates within you, I pray you are one of His Redeemed—for truly we who are redeemed have something so precious to celebrate. WE DO BELONG to our Father and the only purpose such painful past memories can serve is to provide a contrast to who we are today. The Hebrew word Hephzibah represents the Lord’s favor toward her.
From HALLELUJAH TO YOU, GOD OF THE REDEEMED:
We belong to You, Father
Love has come and we’re orphans no longer
Brought into Your light and freedom
By the blood and mercy of Jesus
We are happy to announce Naomi, the Rabbi’s Wife has gone into a second printing with Xulon Press. The novel will now be more reasonably priced, and Xulon will be doing some exciting marketing. We are posting the new link for Amazon as well as for Xulon’s own bookstore website. Oh, and it should be available in ebook format by the end of this week.
Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s bookstore will now carry Naomi, the Rabbi’s Wife. Walk through the world of theatre and life as a rabbi’s wife, receiving a deeper understanding of how most Jewish people misunderstand the identity of their Messiah. You will also learn of how one can be healed from the trauma of having chosen an abortion.
Naomi, the Rabbi’s Wife, will be going into a second printing, to be published by Xulon Press, part of the Salem Media Group. You may be most familiar with Salem through its syndicated radio hosts (including Janet Parshall, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager). Xulon will be doing a special marketing of my novel, writing press releases, etc., with a special emphasis on this book as being a unique work of Messianic Fiction. Since the novel will be receiving more attention, if you have read the novel and not reviewed it on Amazon.com as of yet, would you please consider writing one? Oh, and it would be best if you don’t write anything such as “the author and I are friends” – I’m sure you understand. BTW, the sequel is in process!
Had to go to the dentist the other day for what I was told would be a plain-old cavity. Oh, how i dread even the pain (cute typo, huh?) plain old fill and drill. So before he starts, I’m told “this could become a little complicated. Could become a root canal and crown . . .” Charming.
Now here’s the prophecy part: our dentist is a Jewish man who says he doesn’t believe in Jesus, but he’s been reading Jonathan Cahn, first The Harbinger and then The Shemitah. So I ask, “What if I delay having anything done since it doesn’t hurt right now and we wait and see?” He says, “Well, eventually you’ll need to get it fixed.” Thrilled to have found a way out of the dreaded dentist chair and also an opportunity to witness to this Jewish man, I said, “Hey, you’re reading Jonathan Cahn, right?” He nodded. Then I said, “So, I’ll take my chances and wait until after September. If I’m still here, then you can drill and fill.” If you could have seen the sparkle in his face when he realized what I was saying. “The Shemitah,” he exclaimed.
I signed the “declining of services” paper, walked out of the office, and prayed he would be talking to his entire staff (one Believer in the office).
Ezekiel 36:26 — I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Twenty-six years ago, I left my heart [of stone] in San Francisco. On March 19, 1989, the Lord gave me His Spirit and a heart of flesh, right there in San Francisco. This week Michael and I visited the city and I was overwhelmed as I saw our Lord’s sovereignty and His goodness.
(Wish the Haight Ashbury street signs were bigger, but trust me, we were there)
As I contemplate the story God wove together, I am brought to my knees in gratitude and amazement. Back in the hippie days, a church followed Yeshua’s command and opened a Christian coffeehouse right there in Haight Ashbury. A young man named Peter walked into that coffeehouse and heard the truth. Peter then prayed with a member of the church in the back of this place, asking Jesus to cleanse him of his sin and become his Lord and Savior. When I met Peter in New York City back in 1989, he did not walk like the new creation he was meant to be. When Peter refused my attempts to reform him and I refused to marry him, he went back to San Francisco and began attending the church which had sponsored the coffeehouse. I remember an entry in my journal at that time: I’m looking for my great savior love, but I can’t find him. Thinking that savior was Peter (oy vey), I flew to him in San Francisco. The night I arrived, Peter had me pray with him, asking Jesus to cleanse me of my sin and asking Him to be my Lord and my Savior.
This morning the last song before the Pastor came to the pulpit was In Christ Alone. Together as the Messiah’s Body, we sang, Till He returns or calls me home, Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
And when Pastor Billy then made mention of how we are all longing for His return, it reminded me of an unexpected moment i had yesterday morning. i was attending my monthly Word Weavers writers’ critique group. I did the unforgiveable– I forgot to turn my cell phone off. So there we were in our beloved writers circle when my husband texted me. I have an extra special text tone for Michael–it’s the sound of the shofar. So, when out of nowhere everyone heard the sound of the trump, WOW, if you could have have seen the look of sheer delight on everyone’s face. Of course, it didn’t take long to realize it was not the sound of the LAST TRUMP (oh, if only it were), but, I believe, it afforded us a moment to remember and reflect on our mutual longing.
TRUST AND OBEY
I remember the day I was baptized turning to Jeanne Waterman, the precious woman who had been discipling me. My relationship with the Lord had been like a “whirlwind romance.” My Messiah had wooed me, I had fallen into His strong arms, and Yeshua had transported me into the Land of my Longing. After being baptized, I asked Jeanne, “What’s next?” Her answer was simple: “Trust and obey.” Didn’t sound all that exciting. Now, twenty-five years later, those words resonate with all their profound truth.
In 1 Peter, we are told that those who have been begotten again, according to His abundant mercy, are being kept by the power of God through faith. THROUGH FAITH. More and more I realize He is training me for the battles of this world. I will be kept by His power if I hold onto faith—and my faith is in His faithfulness. As for the battles, we are told we will be grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of our faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And He alone is the Wise One—the One who knows if need be. He provides the trials/battles as opportunity for me to trust Him—to exercise faith—that I may actually experience His power keeping me.
And don’t I want that?? Yes, it is a trial of endurance, but the goal of experiencing Him in all His power, His love and His majesty—it is worth fighting for.
Yesterday morning, while having time alone with the Lord, I kinda kvetched about my list of chores. Isn’t our King marvelous? He takes the kvetching and turns into a moment of realization. Scorn: that’s how I treated all those “I have to’s.” I’ll admit, some chores are truly a burden and easy to scorn, but others only perhaps mundane. But—boom-I saw: it’s my choice. I can look at what lies in front of me with scorn, or I can embrace these items as a gift. If I believe each activity, responsibility, etc., is specifically chosen by Yeshua for me, then it is an opportunity to receive from His Hand THE SACRAMENT OF THE MOMENT.
Twice in my life I chose not embracing two lives given to me. Those lives were conceived in sin, but nonetheless, I scorned what now I wish I had embraced. Only when I enter into His Kingdom (which is only by His Grace), will I hold them.
Now I live in the Light of His love and truth – therefore, may I not scorn the life He has given me, but instead receive it from Him and embrace it. Each and every moment, treating them as sacraments.
The other day a friend posted the image of the feet of a ballerina, both feet on their tippy-toes. However, one foot was exquisite in its pink satin ballet shoes while the other was red, swollen, and bandaged. The message was to never forget elegance required hard work–always an important admonishment. Yet it evoked other thoughts for me. About twenty-six years ago, I was desperately searching for grace–only thing is at the time I thought that meant I was tired of being a klutz and wanted the grace of a ballerina. It was at this time I wrote a play entitled Comic Relief . The main character was Ruby, a Jewish stand-up comedienne, whose goal throughout the play was to find grace. Ruby even goes to her rabbi and asks him, “Where can I find grace?” His answer: How should i know?
On March 19, 1988, grace found me. Y’shua redefined the meaning of grace. “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24