Saving Tom, Richard, Scot, and Mike

Declaring the truth of the “B’sorah” [Gospel, more on the deep word later] is the same, whether one walks in christian or messianic circles.  If we do not clearly ‘declare’ [what ‘B’sorah’ means, ‘declaration of good news’, ie “gospel”] the death AND resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah, we may only win a mind, and NOT a soul.

Winning a mind is temporary.  Winning a ‘soul’ is eternal.  And there is a difference.

I have had the great blessing of bringing many people who formerly did not believe in our G-d nor His Messiah to new and lasting, transforming belief.  Several of them were when I first came to belief myself, way back in the fourth grade.  A young boy named Curtis, and his cousin we called “Tom Tom”.  Curtis and I were talking to Tom Tom behind the church we grew up in, and I remember him smashing his fist on the roof of the pump house and breaking a piece of it off, and then expressing his trust in Messiah; he transformed before our eyes.  Both of these young men are gone today.  I take comfort in their expression of faith and immersion in Yeshua.  There were several others in my young life that I saw come to trust as well.

Over the years, as I stated, I have had the great honor of seeing people leave death behind and embrace life.  Of seeing them turn away from sin and turning to His Word, which is perfectly expressed in Messiah Yeshua.  I have pretty much lived my life with a great desire to see people TRUST in Messiah, AND express that trust with obedience.  The second is indeed the more difficult, and the lies of men and devils often thwart that effort from the start.  But, Salvation is indeed the most important thing.  But, only salvation that is followed by love for G-d that produces obedience and fealty to HIM is a guarantee of ruling with Him as a Kohen in His Kingdom.  And that is what I strive for every day.  To save the lost, and to help the saved “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.”  I realize there are so many who disagree doctrinally, and are content merely to ‘punch the ticket into heaven.’  I am not.  I long to see genuine transformation, continually, in people of faith.

As I sat reading and praying this morning [05/08/19], one of the psalms reminded me of all of this.  Particularly of the four men whose names are in the title of this piece.  Each of those men, who are among a number I’ve lost track of in regard to bringing to faith, are the more memorable encounters with His Truth that I’ve had in my life.  Each of them needed something different, a different approach, a different perspective on the declaration of truth from His Word, and a different confrontation.  And the B’sorah is nothing, if it is not a confrontation.  I’ve told each of these stories at different times over the years, in trying to teach others ‘how’ to introduce a person to our Messiah, or some other biblical topic that related to the event.  I was compelled this morning to put them all in one place, and to share it with the wider community.  I hope someone benefits from the telling.

I’ve gone in chronological order, so I start with Tom.  I was in the Navy, and I met Tom at the gym on the Submarine base where I was last stationed.  He was clearly a marine, betrayed by his physique, his haircut, and his demeanor.  He came up to me and asked for a spot, and I spotted him, and we got to talking.  At that time, my faith had gone ‘warm’ from very hot just a few months before, as I was pretty much alone in faith on that base.  I was attending a church, but still frustrated with doctrine, having begun to eat kosher, and having seen the validity of “Rosh HaShannah” and its prophetic nature.  Tom and I took a shine to each other, and began to work out regularly together.  We shot pool on occasion, and went out a few times on the weekend, doing what young sailors and marines do to bide their time.  Eventually, Tom became a bit of a temporary roommate, staying semi-permanently at an apartment I shared with another sailor, to avoid the barracks and eat a home cooked meal on occasion.  We’d grown quite close, and I remember him having to go to sea on a sub tender, and how I ‘memorialized’ his spot in the kitchen til he got back.  After his return, I was packing a bag and planning to go and visit my grandparents, as I did each month the whole while I was in Georgia.  Tom saw me packing, and he asked where I was going.  I told him.  “Can I come?”  I was taken aback a bit that he’d want to go, but happy that he asked.  “Sure!”  “Cool,” he said.  “But there’s a catch,” I warned.  “What?”  I don’t know what went through his mind, but I finished, “You have to go church with us on Sunday morning.”  That was an understanding most people had about my grandparents.  Sunday is their Sabbath, and we go to worship.  Tom thought nothing of it, and we headed out.

I had learned that my uncle Billy was in Athens in the hospital, and everyone would be there by the time we got in the area, so we drove straight to the hospital.  My grandparents were there, my aunt, and my cousin Torry and his wife, and of course my uncle, the patient.  I greeted my family with hugs, introduced them to Tom, and we visited for a bit, just our usual cutting up, jokes, hugs, etc.  Then we went to Grandma’s house.  It was Fri evening.  The next day was pretty typical of my visits there.  Up for breakfast, clean up after breakfast and start making lunch. Torry and his family came over, my Aunt did, and we ate and cleaned, sat around the kitchen table, went out on the front porch.  I showed Tom the old, circa 1838 antebellum plantation home, and the land.  But most of our time was spent in the kitchen around the formica table, talking, telling stories, joking, etc.

By late evening, when the cousins and aunt left, and my grandparents were tired, everyone started preparing for bed.  Tom and I were staying up in one of the nearly 400 sqft bedrooms.  The room at the top of the stairs was huge, as all bedrooms were in that town.  The town was the original home of Mercer University, and there was an ordinance that anyone who built a home there had to house university students.  The room we were in had at least 3, if not 4 double beds in it.  I was in the one closer to the door, and Tom in the next.  Before we turned out the lights, we had started talking about the ‘night life’ around, and I told him how my cousin had taken me to Milledgeville, a little college town up the road, to a club, and the place was packed with beautiful college girls.  We started making some tentative plans, typical of young, single, military men.  But, the conversation took a turn.

Once we settled in for the night, Tom said, “Dude, I have never seen so much love before as I do in this family!”  Here is Mr. Tough Guy, picture a young Jason Stathom, a Marine, and he’s remarking about ‘love.’  “Really?”  “Yeah,” he said.  “There is so much love in this family… where does it come from?”  I knew what he was talking about.  That is why I went and visited at least once a month the whole time I was in Georgia.  My grandparents were remarkable.  They were simple people, products of the depression, believers in the Messiah, people of faith, and their whole life was their family.  Their love for one another was well known in the whole area, as they were never seen apart.  They had, at that point, been married for around fifty years.  They were people of faith who never missed going to church, even though, at that point, getting my grandmother to and from anywhere was a chore.  She had MS, and had finally succumbed to needing a wheel chair.  Yet they went to church every week.  In their simple understanding of the Bible, they loved God.  And they gave that love, to the best of their ability, to others around them.  And they loved their family.  And I simply loved being there.  I loved my aunt; she was my ‘favorite’ aunt, and a beautiful woman [all women in the family are beautiful], and I had a little innocent crush on her beauty.  She and I picked and joked a LOT.  I loved my cousin, probably more than he ever knew, and in spite of his mean streak, he was my ‘favorite’ cousin.  I had a deep admiration for him.  I can’t speak to their reciprocity, but Tom may have gleaned that it was a shared commodity in our family.  I explained that the source of all that he ‘felt’ was God.

Tom was not completely new to the concept of God.  He told me he was catholic, but had only been to church a time or two in all his young life.  I explained that, unlike catholics, our faith was not so much ‘inherited,’ but personal.  I remembered that Grandma had told me that when she met my Grandfather, he was not as yet a believer in Messiah.  They had gone to a revival however, as she had given him the condition of his going to church before they ‘dated,’ and Grandpa heard an itinerate ‘revival’ preacher preach the ‘good news,’ and he, at that point, became a person of faith, in a transformative way.  I explained that grandpa’s faith was genuine and strong.  Once, not too long before that night, I told Tom, my grandfather had met a man who had come into their little Baptist congregation in despair, dying of leukemia.  Grandpa put his hand on him and prayed for him, and the man was healed, and lived.  I told him how my mother stipulated to my father that we would go to church once he retired from the military, and that we did, faithfully, and that I met Messiah when I was in the fourth grade.  I explained how my mother was the most faithful, strongest, most loving person of faith, in spite of living with a very, very hard man, unlike my gentle grandfather.  And that her love held our whole family together.  But, I also told him that my grandparents were probably the real heroes.  They prayed for everyone they loved, faithfully, by name, every single night of their life.  They got down on their knees, literally, together, for over forty years, until they were physically incapable of getting on their knees.   I told him that any minute now he’d hear my grandfather go to my grandmother’s bed and hold her hand and pray for everyone they knew.  It was mere seconds when the ‘prophecy’ became a reality.  Grandpa went to her bed, took her hand, and started praying, and Tom heard them pray for my parents, all my four siblings, and me.  Then, they prayed for my aunt, and my cousins, her two boys, and their wives and children, and then for their son and his family, and then for their many living siblings, and then for people whose names I did not know.  If they got to someone who had a particular need they knew about, they asked Abba to meet it.  It was probably between a five to ten minute prayer time.

Tom was, I think, impacted by that.  He asked what the basis of their faith was.  I told Tom the “B’sorah,” the good news of Messiah.  That we were all born into the propensity to sin, and were guilty before G-d of breaking His commands, and that the punishment for breaking His law was death.  But, Messiah, a Jewish man born some 2,000 years ago as the Son of G-d, understood our flesh, our weakness, since He came here from G-d’s heart, and lived in flesh.  But, because He was born of G-d and not of man, He had the Nature of G-d in Him, and overcame sin.  And, because of His great love for us, He died in our place on the tree, taking the punishment for our breaking His law into His own flesh, so that we could be free from the guilt of our transgression.  I told him that our guilt would be lifted by trusting in that act, and we’d have a ‘clean slate’ before G-d, and that He would give us His Life, His Spirit, to enable us not to break His law any more.  So that we could ‘live for Him’ in a pure way.  I told him that He rose from the dead, displaying His power over sin and evil and death itself, and that if we trust in the blood that He shed, and in the fact of His resurrection, that we would also live forever, rising from the dead one day ourselves.  Then, Tom surprised me: “What do I need to do?”  I was absolutely floored.  Effectively, he’d asked, ‘What must I do to be saved?’  I told him that if he believed what I had just told him [and this is still a ‘summary’ of that night; I tend to be detailed and a bit long on words], that all he needed to do was to tell G-d that fact, and deal with Him about his own sin, confessing it, and being ‘sorry’ for breaking His laws, and that he desired now to obey Him.  Then I prayed quietly that Abba would forgive me for not being light to Tom up to this point, and I thanked Him for the opportunity to share His Son with Tom.

The room got quiet.  Moments passed, maybe five or ten, I don’t know.  Then, Tom said, “Dude, I did it.”  “What?” I replied.  “I asked Jesus to forgive me, and to save me.”

“There’s more you need to do, then, if you meant that.”

“What?”

“You need to tell people, and you need to be baptized.  Telling people affirms it for you, and baptism is your first step of obedience, and brings into reality the washing that you just experienced by His forgiveness.”

“Hmmm…”

“You can do that in the morning at church.”

And we went to sleep.

The next morning, we awoke to the sounds and smells of breakfast.  As we got up to get ready, Tom immediately said, “Dude, I don’t know if I can do it.”  I asked, “Do what?”  “Tell people at the church what I did last night.”  “That’s between you and G-d, dude.”  And I left it at that.  When we got there, the old, antebellum church was maybe half full.  It was a huge edifice, and the town was tiny.  There were maybe fifty old folks on the right side, and maybe the same number of recovering alcoholics on the left side.  My grandfather had helped to found a ministry there that was one of the more successful addiction programs in the state.  The old preacher was a country boy, a snaggletooth simpleton, but he spoke the gospel as plain as day, affirming my words from the night before, and apparently was reading Tom’s diary.  When the traditional, baptist altar call was given, Tom very nearly knocked me and my grandparents over getting down to the preacher.  He told him of his salvation the night before, and asked to be baptized.  There just happened to be an immersion planned that day for a few of the recovering addicts.  Tom was among them that day, and he was genuinely transformed before my eyes.

We left there that afternoon, and Tom said, “I need a bible.”  So, we drove to Athens, and I bought him a bible.  We took a little, winding highway back to our route back to the base, and Tom had asked to drive.  We were sporting through the hills in my little mid-engine sports car, and he said, “Man, I feel like a ton of weight has been lifted off of me! I feel like I could fly!”  “Your sin debt is gone, Tom; that’s the guilt you didn’t know you had, lifted off of you!”  When we got back to our apartment, he called his mother.  He told her that he was now a believer in Jesus, and unbeknownst to him or her, he quoted bible verses he had never read, explaining why he believed he knew Jesus.  “You’ve done gone down to the Bible Belt, and they’ve brainwashed you!  You’re catholic, Tom!”  “Mom, if I need to be catholic, I will, I’m just telling you I believe in Jesus now, and he’s saved me.”  He did not let her frustration phase him at all.  He promised her that he’d look into catholicism, and the two of us spent some time in the library studying the catholic catechism, and determining they were in fact in error against the scriptures.  Tom’s faith was secure, and I saw him tested in several ways over the next months.  I also saw him become the most kind, joyful Marine anyone had ever seen.  Sadly, some of those around us who called themselves believers have since accused Tom of being ‘not really saved,’ but I know different, even though I have not seen him in almost thirty years.  If their congregation was unable to train him properly in the discipline of Messiah, the fault lies on them to some degree.  They were some of the most self-righteous people I’ve ever met anyway, having already judged me by their misperceptions and twisted doctrine, and I regret ever having introduced him to some of them.  But, over the next six or so months, the last months of my time in Georgia, Tom and I experienced the presence of Messiah many times over, and I still remember several of those moments of my life.  His salvation impacted me so much that I wrote a poem about it.  It was truly as if I had experienced Messiah anew myself, ‘the day I saw Tom saved.’  For Tom, it was indeed the ‘fruit’ of righteousness, of the Spirit, that gave him the evidence he needed, in order to consider the Son of G-d for salvation.  My prayer for him, wherever he is, as I haven’t spoken to him for twenty years, is that he still remembers that day, and the One who saved him.

I left Tom behind when I got out of the Navy.  Before I had gotten out, though, I met a young man named Richard, not entirely different from Tom, though he was in the Air Force.  We met in the gym in a small, East Texas town every time I came home on leave.  He’d also be home on leave [usually around xmas time], and we hit it off, being the only muscular guys in that redneck gym.  When I got out, Richard had already been out of the Air Force for some time, and had married a beautiful girl, and had a handsome young son of less than two years old.  He and I became permanent fixtures in that gym, rulers of it, one might say, since the two of us were formidable young men.

We, too, became fast friends, and I began to go everywhere with them.  They introduced me to several young ladies, hoping to make a pair, but it never seemed to work out.  So, we were the ‘three musketeers’ for a season, four if the little one wasn’t with his grandparents.  Richard was your typical ‘good ole boy,’ cut of great cloth and of really good character.  Having grown up in a nearby, Texas town, he was certainly exposed to the gospel.  The more we hung out, the more I think he realized that I lived my life just a bit differently than the average, small-town Texas redneck.  Though I was single, I had stopped pursuing what most single, military men and rednecks do, that night after Tom became a believer.  One weekend, Richard and his family had decided to go to the lake.  He asked if I wanted to come, and I obliged.  While we were there, Richard was drinking a few beers.  He’d offer me one at the very onset, which I declined, not because of ‘religious sensitivities,’ but because at that point I had not developed a taste for beer.  After he’d had a few [they were the tiny Budweiser bottles], he took one out of the ice chest, looked at me very intently and said, ‘want a beer?’.  It was more of a strong suggestion than a question.  In spite of my distaste for Budweiser, I took the beer.  I actually ‘felt’ motivated to take it, to show him that I was not judging him for drinking.

It was not long after that when he and I were working out one day, and the subject of G-d somehow came up, the casual mention of the creator.  “What do you believe?” I asked Richard suddenly.  We were on the ‘low row’ machine in the corner of that little gym.  “What do you mean?” he asked.  “About G-d, about Jesus, about the Bible,” I clarified.  “What do you believe?”  He very matter-of-factly said, “I really don’t know, Dan.”  And I began to tell him basically the same thing that I had told Tom that night, of who Yeshua is, where He came from, why He came, what He did while He was here, and where He is now, and what our response to Him should be.  I stressed our propensity to sin, our great need of salvation through repenting, and choosing to do right, the resurrection of Messiah and His being the Son of G-d, still living in flesh, standing beside the Father right now.  Richard just ‘thought’.  He didn’t say anything in response.  He just thought.  We continued our workout and parted ways as usual.  We didn’t hang out together for a bit, and time passed for us as usually, with no futher conversation on the matter.

Not very long at all after that, I was sitting at my parents’ house one evening, and the phone rang.  Mom answered, and she said, “Danny, it’s for you.”  Let me explain the dynamic: today, I’ve now known Richard for about thirty-three years, and he never calls me.  Even while we were young and hanging together almost every weekday, and probably part of every weekend, he never called me.  In thirty-three years, he’s called me about five times.  So, this phone call was the first, and I was very surprised.  “Hello?”  And Richard began to pour himself out with so much joy and amazement.  He explained to me that his brother-in-law had been struggling with drugs and alcohol, had small children, and was in a very bad way.  A domestic incident occurred, and formidable Richard was called to intervene, because of his size, his quiet strength, and his willingness to get physical when necessary.  Richard went over to the situation, and when he arrived, somehow managed to get his brother-in-law calmed down enough to listen.  “I told him everything you told me, Dan, about G-d, and about Jesus, and how to be saved.  And He believed!”  Richard explained that his brother-in-law broke down before him weeping, and prayed, and asked G-d to forgive him, and told Him that he would walk with Him and serve Him.  Richard was beside himself with enthusiastic joy, which is a bit out of character for the man, but having seen the power of G-d transform his brother-in-law before his very eyes, he himself was ‘filled’ with that same joy, just like I had been when I shared the same with Tom.  His brother-in-law never touched drugs and alcohol again, and I understand that he later became a minister of the gospel of Messiah.  Richard was later immersed, and has lived a circumspect life these thirty-plus years.  He was the best man at my wedding, and remains one of my closest, most cherished friends.  And I know that part of the reason for that fidelity is because of his fidelity to Messiah, and the love of Messiah in him.

Not long after that, I took a job in a larger town, out of necessity.  I had proposed to my wife of nearly twenty-eight years by the time of this next event.  She and I were truly brought together by Messiah, as I had prayed for a “Proverbs 31 woman,” and for a spiritual “helper, suitable for me.”  On that job, which was a place where I worked with nearly forty former military men, I found out the reason that Abba sends us to work.  I must divert the thread a bit, because the background for this next sharing of the B’sorah is very, very important.  On the very day I checked in at the Port Authority for work, the guys I would work with for the next six months or so were waiting at the pier for the tug boat.  They were expecting me.  Two older men were sitting in front of the security booth.  One of them saw me approaching in the issued cover-alls and hard hat, and said, “So you’re the new guy?”  “Thats me.”  “I hear you live in Woodville?”  “Well, near there,” I said.  “So do me and Pete.”  He gestured toward the older gentleman sitting beside him.  “Maybe we could car pool?”  At this point, I cannot explain the sensation that overcame me, but lets just say a big ole “NO!” was hanging over his head.  It was a gut-wrenching warning in me, and I had no obvious justification for the sensation.  “Maybe so,” I said, “Let me think on it,” trying to brush it off.  I introduced myself to some of the other guys waiting around.  That night I asked G-d for wisdom in the matter.  The very next day as I approached, the same fella looked at me and preempted me, saying, “We talked about it, and you probably don’t want to ride with us two old codgers, being that we smoke and all.”  “Yeah, I like to stop and work out on the way home anyway, and I go through Silsbee to get to my house.”  And the situation was abated. 

I brought my bible with me every day, and would read during break times, taking a spot somewhere on the foreward part of the ship.  I often sang praises while doing the more menial tasks.  I didn’t engage in foul conversations.  I’m a quiet person by nature anyway, and I was very big compared to most of them.  I’d been out of the Navy, and my hair had grown quite a bit, and I was wearing an eye patch due to a bizzare eye infection, and I looked a bit like a pirate.  I was a bit foreboding, I think, so they pretty much left me alone.  But then, after the eye patch came off, some of them started coming to me and asking questions.  A little bible study and prayer time started organically with about five or so guys, and the rest of them saw us doing so.  It became common knowledge that I was a believer, and I looked like a bit of a leader, even to an old, retired missionary who joined our little group.  I’d answer their questions to the best of my ability, and my ‘teaching’ nature came out.  Meanwhile, the country was in an election cycle, and one of the issues was abortion, as usual, and at lunch one day there was a group discussion about the politics.  One of them brought up abortion.  They looked at me and asked my opinion on it.  I quoted Yirme-Yahu [Jeremiah], saying, “G-d told the prophet, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you!’  Abortion is murder.”  Several of them started really asking me questions, and one of them was our supervisor.  He had been sitting beside me when that conversation occurred.  One day, as I went to turn in my papers for his review, I approached the makeshift office where he had set up on the port side of the ship’s berthing.  As I approached, I heard conversation.  He was talking with “Travis”, [not his real name] the older gentleman who’d invited me to carpool.  As I got closer to the office, I heard Travis say something about “masons”.  I knew nothing of them.  When I entered the room, he saw me, sat upright from slouching, looked at me point blank, and then looked at Joe and said, “I think every good christian ought to be a mason.”  I ‘felt’ that same “no” again, only worse.  I handed the supervisor my papers, and left the room.  “Travis” was, I had learned, one of the most crass, foul-mouthed, dirty, arrogant, and rude people I’ve ever met.  I went down that passageway about fifty paces, and turned into an empty bunkroom.  I got down on my knees.  “Abba, I do not know what a mason is, but I know the fruit I see in that man’s life.  And I know that Joe [supervisor] has been hearing your Word.  I believe this is a distraction from Joe hearing You.  Take Travis out of the way.”  I got up and returned to my station and told one of the fellow believers what had happened, and he told me he had grown up as a junior mason, his grandfather being well advanced in the cult.  He explained to me briefly what they were about, and gave me some references so I could learn more.  I told him what I had prayed, and he joined me in that request.  That was a Tuesday.  By Friday, ‘Travis’ was not at work.  I told Joe of our prayer.  The next time any of us saw Travis was about six weeks later, and he had gone blind, and was carrying a blind man’s cane, having been at the Houston lighthouse for the blind.  This background was necessary for telling what happened next, with Scot.

All the while all the above was going on, all of us dealt with Scot.  He was incorrigable.  He was petulant, and violent at times, the most unpleasant of souls, and no one really wanted to be around him.  He never did anything to me, but I did not give him any opportunity to.  After all the time had passed encompassing the above events, we were about to transfer to the Mississippi River and the port at Harvey, La.  I was having my lunch one day, alone.  As I sat eating my sandwiches and boiled eggs, I had the strongest ‘unction’ to go and tell Scot the gospel.  This is not something I wanted to do.  He was sitting a few tables in front of me in the galley, and I could see him, and hear him being the difficult person he was.  The more I sat there and tried to defer the sensation, the stronger it got, and I told myself, ‘if he’s still in here when I finish my lunch, I’ll talk to him.’  I finished my lunch at a liesurely pace.  He was still there.  He started for the trash can near the door behind me, however, and I figured he was leaving the galley.  I got up and threw my trash away first and closed my lunch box.  As he walked by, I said, “I’d like to talk to you, Scot.”  He did not hesitate.  “I know what you want to talk about, and I don’t want to hear it.”  He left, and I followed him out to the starboard gangway, saying,  “I just have one thing to say, and then I’ll leave you alone.”  He blurted, “I grew up in a ‘christian’ home, and I don’t want anything to do with your ‘god’.”  He stopped walking, as I continued, “I just want to tell you that G-d loves you, and that Jesus is calling you to serve him.”  “Yeah, I know all about the *&^%*&; My father is a ‘preacher,’ so don’t tell me anything I don’t already know.”  “I can’t speak for anyone.  But, what I can tell you, is that you will stand before the judge one day, and you will not be able to point at your father, or christians, or anyone, as to why you did what you did.  You will be judged on your response to His gospel, and on your actions.  He loves you, and He has forgiven you, but you are running from him.”  I truly did not know why I said those things.  They just came out.  He look at me with piercing intent, and said, “If you really knew me, you’d hate me.”  At that moment, I had no reason to speculate, but I ‘knew’ that he was a homosexual, even though there was not one outward shred of evidence.  “I’m already not fond of you, Scot, as a person. But, as a believer, I am commanded to love you, and that is what I will endeavor to do.  I will not bother you again; I just needed to tell you that He loves you.”  And our conversation ended.

I never spoke to Scot again beyond saying, each and every morning, “Good morning, Scot.”  We were indeed transferred to Harvey.  Each morning, as we boarded the van to get to the port for work, I would see him, and I’d say, “Good morning, Scot.”  And that was it.  The fellowship of the brethren continued, and others were impacted by our humble and weak efforts to ‘shine.’  One day, when we all showed up to wait for the van, Scot showed up.  He had makeup on his face, and went around telling everyone he’d been in drag the night before.  And, that he was gay.  He did not tell me.  “Good morning, Scot,” I said, and smiled.  And my usual, daily greeting continued, as the whole while Scot’s demeanor changed more and more.  He acted feminine.  He’d show up with shades of makeup on.  He’d blurt profanities about his sexual exploits.  “Good morning, Scot.”  That is the only thing I ever said to him.  My wife and I had gotten married, and she and I both began to pray for him, along with Bill, the former junior mason, and a few others.  Since I had just gotten married, I no longer wanted to be away from my family, and I told the managers that I would like to be transferred back to the warehouse in our city.  They did not oblige me, so I resigned.  We continued to pray for Scot.  About a year or so later, I found Bill’s phone number on a small piece of paper on the top of my refrigerator.  Bill had given it to me the day I left the job, sensing that I would not come back on that next Monday.  I called him, just to see how he was doing.  The very first words that came out of his mouth when he found out to whom he was talking were, “Guess who is saved now?”  “I don’t know, Joe?”  “Nope.”  “Jerry?” “Nope.”  “Andy?” “Nope.”  “Then who?” I enquired.  He said almost gleefully, “Scot.”  “No way!”  “Daniel, he is a totally different man.  We were working in Alabama.  He reached rock bottom.  He told me he remembered you, and how you treated him, and said that because of you and me, he started looking at Jesus again.”  “Wow,” I said.  “And guess who brought him to salvation?”  “You?”  “Nope.  His father!  He called him that night on the phone, and they prayed together over the phone.  All that feminine behavior vanished, all the foul language, the hatred, it was all gone.  He is a brand new person.”  I was so thankful to hear of his salvation, of his repentance.  I had just told Abba, that day, that I didn’t feel like I was accomplishing much, still unemployed, and newly wed, and no congregational home.

The next years, for me, were a shift of a sort.  I ventured into a new career, and that took me to Houston eventually.  I still got to minister on the job and in the gym.  I started a bible study, by request, at a company I helped get off the ground.  And then three businessmen at the gym asked me to teach them the bible, and eventually they became believers, immersed, and began a life of faith.  We met every week for eight years.  Some of them were ‘flashes in the pan,’ just doing it because their friend was.  And their friend eventually ‘gave up,’ as his wife was not fond of me, and judged me, ‘a good judge of character’ laid baseless hatred and accusation on me, even though she really did not know me, and only knew what her husband told her.  She effectively split up the group that had grown to about eight to ten men.  But, a core group remained faithful, and Abba started a fledgling Messianic Jewish congregation shortly after that.  And He has given me real ‘brothers,’ which to that point had eluded me.  It’s as if He was waiting, planning it all along, and He used the beligerent wife’s prideful hate to prune the vine.  And then the vine began to flourish.  Most of the men of that study were in fact ‘dead weight’ that was thwarting the work of The Creator.  A few remained faithful, and learned, and grew, and became fully obedient to their Creator. 

During that time, I changed jobs, and my new job took me to California a lot, to West Texas nearly every week, and once to the Middle East.  In California, I had helped to troubleshoot a new SCADA control system, but we had to call in a representative from the software company we were using, and he fixed our issue within ten minutes.  When our Middle East contingent was having issues they created, I called him (his name was Mike), and the two of us ventured to the desert to solve the problems.  

One night, after having finished our work in the oil field out in the desert, while we were in a five star hotel’s restaurant in a major Islamic nation’s capitol, sitting among Arabian and other Islamic Sheiks as we had dinner, somehow, the conversation made it’s way around to G-d.  I do not remember the trigger, but I remember very clearly and very early on Mike saying that he was an athiest.  I’m a Jewish man who believes in the Messiah Yeshua, sitting among muslims, in hostile muslim territory, and I immediately blurt out in my Texas accent, “No you are not!  The FOOL says in his heart that there is no G-d, and you are NOT a fool!”  Mike was, to my estimation, shocked.  Thankfully, none of our ‘neighbors’ took note of the conversation, but I was already my typically ‘animated’ self, and I began to break down the erroneous conclusions he had drawn, showing in the scriptures how misinformed he had been about G-d and His Creation, and His plan of Salvation.  This was a very intelligent, scientifically-minded person, who had ‘logical’ and ‘intellectual’ reasons why he thought there was no G-d.  All of his conclusions were based on the diliberate and willfull choice of mankind to use their ‘great intellect’ to decide to be stupid.  I told Mike this, citing Kefa [I’m certain I paraphrased, but I’ve cited these verses so much when sharing the gospel to those who have already been exposed to it, so I likely got very close to ‘word for word’]: 

“There shall come in the Akharit HaYamim [Last Days], mockers who scoff, following after their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since our fathers died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” Of this they are willingly ignorant, that by D’var HaElohim [Word of G-d] the heavens were [created] of old, and the earth emerged from water and by means of the water; and those men, because of whose deeds the world of that time was flooded, perished under that water; but the present heavens and earth are sustained by His D’var [Word / Torah / Yeshua ] and are reserved for fire on Yom HaDin, which is the day of the destruction of ungodly men.”

I explained to Mike that what these so-called scientists use as ‘evidence’ for spontaeouns ‘creation’ without G-d, and an ‘old earth’ estimation of the universe, is deliberate misrepresentation of the evidence.  And that the flood is what ‘marred’ the earth’s surface, giving it the appearance of ‘age long erosions’ [grand canyon, etc].  I answered questions about carbon dating, explained that the atmosphere was different before the flood, having been watered from a mist from beneath the earth, and having never rained before.  He interjected that “Noah’s Ark” had always been a problem for him, since animals would never ‘volunteer’ to come to Noah, and surmised that two of every kind would never fit on a boat that size.  I explained that the scriptures address that: before the flood, there was no enminity whatsoever, no fear, between man and beast, as mankind was wholly herbavorian as were all living creatures.  And to the ark, that there were actually SEVEN pairs of CLEAN [Kosher] animals, and only two of the UNCLEAN, and that I find it interesting most of the ‘believing’ community that eats unkosher meat does not know this.  Further, I posited, “What if it were seven and two pairs of INFANT animals?  Would there not be enough room for all of them then?  Would there not be a breeding issue, since they were only on the boat for a year?  Would there not be less food required for storage?”  And we discussed that for a bit.  I explained that after the flood, the atmosphere had changed, and that G-d commanded mankind to eat meat.  He put fear in the beasts, for their survival, and to keep glutonous mankind from eating them to extinction right away.  This new atmosphere is the cause for the disparity between pre-flood and post-flood lifespans, as before the flood there was a protective canopy of water, a ‘sea’ of a bubble in which the earth floated, and that it fell to the earth, because G-d caused it to [the ‘outside’ force’ that ‘scientists’ say had to have been there for a flood to occur, duh, G-d was that outside force, and the Word says so].  Water is a radiation barrier.  Mankind lost a heavy layer of protection from the sun’s rays.  Lifespans changed.  We discussed the details of animal migrations and survival, and extinctions, showing that dinosaurs are mentioned in the scriptures, post flood, and that they merely died off for various reasons.  Also, that many [not all] of the ‘dinosaurs’ mankind has invented are merely that, INVENTIONS, to further old earth, evolutionist lies.

After giving him convincing proof of the Creator, then I shared the Messiah sent by the Creator, and that He, Messiah, is the power of Creation manifested in a human Body.  That G-d remained on His throne while Yeshua was on earth, and that Yeshua worshipped His Father, יהוה, the G-d of Creation, in a Jewish context, as a Jew, and that He never broke any Torah law.  He did not come and create a new religion, but taught JEWISH people that FAITH saved Avraham and all the patriarchs, and that SIN has to be dealt with FINALLY by a substitionary, perfect sacrifice, and that He had come to BE that perfect sin offering.  This cleared up the ‘trinity’ confusion he had, and showed the continuity in the scriptures.  He received the same further explanation of the process of Salvation as all the others.  

After a couple of days, Mike got to see the hand of G-d in my life, albeit in a small way.  We went back out to the desert, and left the country from there.  The Royal Army of our host country was the security force in that tiny, desert airport.  When we got there, the luggage clerk told me that I would have to unlock my suitcase when the police got there, for inspection.  I realized that I had left my Siddur, a Jewish prayerbook, on the very top of my clothes.  In this country, Jewish religious items are contraband.  I went and sat next to Mike, and I leaned over and told him that there was a Jewish prayerbook in my suitcase.  “What?  Where is it?”  “On the very top of everything, in plain sight,” I said. “Oh my G-d!”  [coming from a professed atheist]  “What?  What are you going to do?”  “I dunno.  I’m just praying they don’t ‘see’ it.”  We sat there for maybe twenty minutes, and the whole while, Mike was more worried about my fate than I.  My number was finally called, and I went and opened my suitcase. The Siddur was right on top, where I had left it, with its Hebrew writing in gold glowing in the light.  The royal policeman pushed it aside, but I could not tell if he knew what it was.  He rummaged through all my belongings, moving my Siddur several times, but, for whatever reason, overlooked my Siddur.  And we got on our flight and left in peace.

It was not until two or three years later that I learned that Mike had become a believer.  One of the coworkers in California was a believer who had invited me once to teach the feasts at his home when I was in California for a week or so.  Mike had left the software company and taken a job there.  The coworker and I spoke on the phone once about some of our mutual business, and in similar fashion to Bill telling me of Scot’s salvation, this coworker, named Scott, told me that Mike had become a believer.  And my heart rejoiced.  I cannot say for sure that anything I said was the catalyst, because Mike and I have not spoken since that day on the plane leaving the desert behind.  We parted ways, since I went to Jordan, as I was on my way to visit Israel, and he went on home.  But, if I did do anything, it was to break up fallow ground, and maybe, just maybe I also planted a seed.

So, these four encounters that I have had, among a larger number of people that Abba has privileged me to participate in their eternal Salvation in some way, are the most memorable so far.  And they vary in how the approach went, what their individual place was in life, what their background was in regard to exposure to the B’sorah and the whole Word of G-d, and what it took to get them to ‘taste’ and to ‘see’ that יהוה is good.  Two of them just ‘believed’ on the spot.  Two of them denied and/or resisted the Truth that was told to them, but then LATER considered what they fought so hard against.  One saw the long-term affect of the B’sorah lived out over a brief period of days, and that provoked an envy for such blessing, even though the people who were his ‘witness’, his ‘light’, were old, frail, and poor.  One was simply told by a friend, who was not judgmental of his ‘non-christian behavior’.  One, who hated religion, specifically the ‘christian’ religion [which I did not preach, but I preached SALVATION by the SON of G-d, a human being, a man raised from the dead and seated in Heaven beside His Father, G-d, and trust in HIS BLOOD], continued to hate me, but received only love in return.  And one, who needed intellectual ‘evidence’ of Creation, got it.  All of them were clearly shown THEIR sin, but not such as to condemn, but such as to show their NEED of salvation.  

I hope that these accounts of Salvation help someone who is hoping for salvation for someone, or who believes so strongly in His Son and His Salvation that they want to share Him with others.  As I said, I was compelled to write this for some reason.  Shalom!

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4 thoughts on “Saving Tom, Richard, Scot, and Mike

  1. Amein I think one of those reasons was accomplished in me reading this. I’ve had struggles in my walk that I never fully understood – difficult or painful things I brought on myself or that just happened – but then I later realized were my testimonies to others who would face the same hardships. As a brother in your congregation who I am close with has told me many times over the years, the way we walk is evidence of the Word and shows Yeshua in the way we walk. Growing up in church and bouncing across denominations as an adult looking for “something” I never felt quite where I needed to be – where G-d wanted me. To this day I am weak, imperfect, anxious, fearful, but at the same time I recognize that as I draw closer to G-d through obedience to His teachings, He delivers me each time, and not only that teaches me even more about His nature. I hope and pray every name you mentioned here continues in faith and trust in Yeshua. I pray for the congregation Bat-Tzion and yourself and this blog has been an added blessing to me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel wrote:
    “The very first words that came out of his mouth when he found out to whom he was talking were, “Guess who is saved now?” “I don’t know, Joe?” “Nope.” “Jerry?” “Nope.” “Andy?” “Nope.” “Then who?” I enquired. He said almost gleefully, “Scot.” “No way!” “Daniel, he is a totally different man. We were working in Alabama. He reached rock bottom. He told me he remembered you, and how you treated him, and said that because of you and me, he started looking at Jesus again.” “Wow,” I said. “And guess who brought him to salvation?” “You?” “Nope. His father! He called him that night on the phone, and they prayed together over the phone. All that feminine behavior vanished, all the foul language, the hatred, it was all gone. He is a brand new person.””

    Wow! Praise God!
    If this doesn’t exhilarate a person, then they need to check their “Save O Meter”. It must be on empty?

    Like

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