One of my early experiences as a sportscaster took place at an Atlanta Braves game. The Braves were about to set a record for most wins at the start of the season and I was in the stands during the seventh inning stretch, attempting to do an on-camera piece. The noise was deafening and the celebratory people were not making my job easier. However, because I knew the story I wanted to tell, I got through it.
Last night the memories of that day came back as hundreds of people gathered for fellowship after our church’s Shabbat service. It was loud in the church foyer. I saw the video camera set up off to the side and asked myself, Do I really want to do this—now? I had been asked to share my “Jewish” testimony but was tired, and wasn’t sure I’d be able to hear myself speaking as I attempted to tell the story. Obediently, despite the environment, I walked over. My Jewish testimony was recorded in my brain, so I rewound and it began to play.
My father, third from the left in the photo, was a Jewish doctor who died suddenly at age 39, two months before I was born, so I did not grow up with any Jewish traditions. However, I always knew I was Jewish. My grandmother called me her “little Jew baby” and God never let me forget my heritage. He placed me in a high school with a large population of Jewish kids. After I got married, he planted us next to Jewish neighbors who invited us to Bar Mitzvahs and Passover meals, and I was introduced to a Jewish woman who became one of my best friends. When I was in my first television job in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the two area rabbis called me up and invited me to synagogue. I wondered, How did they even know I had Jewish roots?
After I rededicated my life to Christ, the pull to my Jewish roots intensified. One day, in my car I prayed, Lord will you provide a way for me to go to Israel, the land of my people?” The next week I was listening to a Messianic Jewish rabbi give his testimony and I complimented him afterward. He wasted no time in asking, “When was the last time you went to Israel?” I responded, “I’ve never been.” He said, “Well, I don’t think anyone in ministry should be in ministry if they’ve never been to Israel. How would you like to go to Israel with me and a group of pastors for half-price?” God had answered my prayer with a discount!
Before I left for the Holy Land, I was given a prophetic word. I was told “The Host has invited you to Israel and He has a message for you there.”
It was a long flight, but when I landed in Israel, I was thrilled beyond words, and all ears. I did not want to miss this heavenly download from my Father.
At our first stop in Ariel, we visited the Biblical Gardens, and there was an olive tree lit up, as if God was saying, “Pay attention to the olive tree.” Everywhere I turned, it also seemed to be all about “the roots” of Israel. I asked the rabbi who led the tour, “Is it always about the roots?” He said, “This is more than usual. This must be for you.”
One day we’re sitting at the feet of a Jewish scholar and shopkeeper in old Town Jerusalem where he shared the meaning of the olive tree. He said, “The leaves of the olive tree represent God’s protective covering over our lives, but olive trees have to be threshed to get the fruit off of them.” He said that represents God’s discipline in our lives. He explained the trunk of the olive tree lives about 800 years but then he said this: “The roots of the olive tree never die.” And that is when I knew God’s message for me. “My Jewish father died, but my Jewish roots never died.”
Because I could have never had this thought, and it seemed to come out of left field, I knew this was my message from God, but what was I supposed to do with it? Take Hebrew? Join a Messianic Synagogue?
It took about a year, but God eventually led my husband and me to a church that honors the “Jew first,” gives its tithe to Israel, has a once-a-month Shabbat service and offers numerous classes on Jewish roots and traditions. I don’t know where all this is leading, but I am a sponge, and I am thankful for both my Christian and my Jewish heritage. —And that is my “Jewish” testimony.
What about you? Do you know your faith story? Would you like to be able to share it without thinking twice about it? Then you should consider attending the Roaring Lambs Testimony Workshop this Tuesday night from 6:00-9:00 p.m. (www.roaringlambs.org) We’ll teach you how to write and speak your story so you’ll feel confident to tell it any place and at any time.
1 Peter 3:15 says to, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Are you prepared?
Pearls of Promise wants to invite you to its annual “Level-Up Women’s Conference September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake. Tickets are currently half-price so just click on the link to the Eventbrite site and type in the Promo Code: “LevelUp.” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-level-up-womens-conference-tickets-44917660933?aff=eac2
We also want to tell you about Lisa’s latest book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love. The book is currently available on Amazon.com and with the backdrop of Lisa’s story, along with sixteen other testimonies, is designed to help those with father wounds.
Categories: Devotion of the Week