What do you do when God turns your world upside down? You know, when youíve got everything figured out and you seem to know the right road to the future--but God throws you a curve ball? You are going along, minding your own business, serving God to the best of your ability and, wham, God teaches you something that throws your life into a tailspin? What would you do if it happened to you?
This is my story of being turned upside down! For a couple of years I had a roller coaster ride much wilder than I could ever have anticipated. Thank God that He was in control because there were times when I didnít know which end was up. Only my trust in the Almighty One who exists from Eternity, the Creator of all, knows the end from the beginning, loves us with an unending and passionate love, and has a magnificent plan to redeem His people and the planet, could have kept me on His path during those years! Wow, did He ever; but why not--it was His roller coaster!
It all started in April 2003 when I was utterly convicted that God expects us to keep all of His commandments--you know, the big 10. I thought I was keeping them. I didnít lie, murder or steal and I went to church every Sunday. You know, the basics. Ah, but thereís the rub. You see, what I learned was that the Sabbath that is referred to in Exodus 20:8-11 is not Sunday, but Saturday, and God takes His Sabbath very seriously!
8"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Now, now. Donít get upset with me and stop reading. Iím just telling you what happened. You can choose to think Iíve gone off my rocker or fallen into heresy if you want, but at least hear me out and then talk to God about it and ask Him if maybe, just maybe, I might be on to something. At the very least, satisfy your curiosity.
Okay, so back to the story. Iím going to make this very brief because I canít go into all the details and I canít even remember all the twists and turns the roller coaster took. There were so many times during those first two years that I had the conscious thought, "Oh! So that's what God means by that!" or "Oh! Now that event years ago makes senseÖ" You will find just a few Scripture passages like that on my Challenging Scriptures page.
I have to tell you I am so awed at how God has led and taught me all these years and brought me to this point in history. He is an awesome God!
When I was a child we lived in a small community where there was a mission church just down the road and I went there faithfully for years. Thatís where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I am absolutely convinced that my first teacher there (Mrs. Robinson, I think her name was) prayed me into a solid, faithful walk with the Lord. I was about twelve years old when something Mrs. Robinson said grabbed my heart like a vise. I believe the context was the biblical story of Daniel.
She talked about how we need to be prepared to walk with God no matter what happens and even if we have to do it alone, and she said that really tough days were going to come on the world in which even believers might be tempted to deny the Lord. She explained that many adults would become caught up in the worldly cares of making an income and raising a family and this would make it hard for them to always do the right thing. My response to this message was to give God, right then and there, my permission to do whatever it took in my life to keep me on the right road and to make sure that I never denied Him. Somehow I knew in my spirit that this challenge would come when I was in my 50ís. (I was born in 1949.)
One of the Scripture passages Mrs. Robinson used was Matthew 7:21-23, and this passage bothered me for years. It would pop up when I least expected it and challenge me.
21"Not every one that saith unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?' 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (lawlessness)."
I couldnít figure out how a person who called God "Lord" and was spiritually powerful enough to prophesy or even cast out demons could miss heaven! If it was possible, I certainly didnít want to be in their number! So I prayed this Scripture back to the Lord often over the years, reminding Him that I didnít understand what He meant and asking Him to please be merciful and explain it to me. In fact, many times over the years I prayed, "God, if there is anything that I donít know that I need to know--please show me, because I don't want to miss Your Kingdom. I love you so much, and I want to be in the Kingdom with You!"
Be careful what you pray, because God will answer--even if the answer turns your world upside down.
When I was in my early twenties I studied the book of Revelation for the first time, and it scared me silly. I really didnít understand the book, but thatís when my fascination with prophecy began. I read everything I could get my hands on, watched the rapture movies, went to the Bible studies--and prayed that I would be ready for whatever I would have to endure. But the theories I read and heard didnít fit with Scripture and I continually asked God to teach me the truth. When I was in Bible College I heard some alternative ideas for the first time and they registered in my heart. No pre-trib rapture for me! Nice as that would be, it just did not fit the Scriptures!
One idea that stuck with me from my studies of prophecy was that it looked like a second exodus, as it were, was coming--one that would be so awesome that people wouldnít even mention the first one anymore. Jeremiah 16:10-18 says,
10"And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, 'Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?' 11Then shalt thou say unto them, 'Because your fathers have forsaken me,' saith the Lord, 'and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law; 12And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me: 13Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.14Therefore, behold, the days come,' saith the Lord, 'that it shall no more be said, "the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;" 15But, "the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them:" and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. 16Behold, I will send for many fishers,' saith the Lord, 'and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 17For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. 18And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable things."
Here is the promise again in Jeremiah 23:7-8:
7"Therefore, behold, the days come," saith the Lord, "that they shall no more say, 'the Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;' 8But, 'the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country,' and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land."
I often speculated what that could refer to. Was the (post or mid-trib) rapture going to be like an exodus? Or was the tribulation itself going to be like an exodus? It certainly looked to me as though the trumpets and other events described in Revelation were somewhat parallel to the plagues with which God afflicted Egypt so that Pharaoh would let His people go! I had never heard of anyone teaching such an idea but it made enormous sense to me, so I kept it in my heart and waited for further light. Around 2004 I found someone who teaches the concept of a Greater Exodus and he has become one of my favourite prophecy teachers, though I donít expect that he has everything right, either. One thing my studies have convinced me of, if nothing else, is that nobody has it all together! And many fall far shorter than they imagine...
While I was at Bible college I attended a small evangelical church where, one evening, we were asked to stand up and give testimonies. I sat there with my heart pounding, knowing that God wanted me to stand up and share a certain Scripture verse. I did not know why--it wasnít one that meant anything to me--yet I knew God wanted me to share it, and I learned why only recently. It was because He wanted it to stick in my heart, so that I would remember it when the time came. Deuteronomy 4:29:
29"But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."
All I could make of this at the time was that if I wanted to find God, then I needed to keep my whole heart and soul fixed on God. But recently I read this in context and it jumped off the page at me. The explanation is there in the entire 4th chapter, but especially in verses 27 to 31:
27"And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. 28And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 30When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; 31(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them."
Here God is saying that He will bring His scattered people back home, during the tribulation of the latter days, when they turn to God and obey His voice! He will do this because He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would!
Was I one of His scattered people?
Wow! Big leap! I need to explain how I got where I am today after that deep repentance experience of learning to keep Saturday Sabbath back in 2003. For starters, I knew only one thing at the time--God expected me to obey Him, even if I didnít understand. Well, that described me. I did not understand why the Sabbath was so important to God, but I determined to keep it anyway.
Fortunately, praise God, He provided me with a study partner who had made the same decision I did to keep Sabbath. The two of us spent months studying this out, not caring whether the search confirmed that the Sabbath was Saturday or indeed Sunday, as our friends and families insisted. We just wanted to get to the bottom of it, one way or the other. Our search took us through volumes of encyclopaedic literature and commentaries and several different belief systems in which we were challenged on issues that we had never considered before. It took us into realms where we did not want to go. It drove us deeper into the Scriptures and onto our knees.
Finally, in November 2003, we asked ourselves an important question. "Who should know, if anyone, why God wants us to keep the Sabbath?" The answer was obvious once we asked the right question. The Jews, of course! After all, the Israelite nation was built and the Scriptures were given and the Saviour was born through Godís plan, so that the world would be blessed. It was only at this point that I remembered that there was such a thing as Messianic Jews--Jews who knew that Jesus was their Messiah and had received Him as Saviour. How could I have forgotten that? I had supported a Messianic ministry for years! I had always been interested in and prayed for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem, and the only place in the world that I ever wanted to visit was Israel. It was a "duh" moment!
Well, now we were getting somewhere! I did some networking and found a group of Messianic believers online and started asking questions--and finally started getting satisfactory answers! I prayed that my study partner would give up the particular line of study that had caught her attention and she phoned me the next day to say that she thought we ought to pursue the Messianic Jewish angle. Praise God! He was guiding us in this!
Just the simple act of obeying the commandment to keep the Sabbath made it possible for God to open our eyes to an entirely new way (to us) of looking at Scripture, and it all fell into place. Many things that didnít make sense now made sense, many apparent inconsistencies and contradictions disappeared, and we discovered such depth in the Scriptures that we never imagined existed! There are many things we are still trying to figure out, and we have a greater urgency to do so, but we are at peace knowing that we have landed where God wanted us.
Life is no longer a roller coaster for me. Now itís more like a ferris wheel where I go up to a point from which the bigger picture can be seen, then come down to pick up more data. Then I go back up to the higher vantage point to gain a deeper understanding than last time 'round. It's exhilarating to know that God, Maker of the Universe, has a plan that transcends our puny human thinking--and chose to let me in on it.
Oh, yes! God is very serious about His Sabbath--serious enough to turn my world upside down so that He could put it right side up!
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since April 2003--but unfortunately, I don't have time to tell you about it all. Actually, I can--if you'd like to listen to a couple of internet radio interview mp3's, and they don't even tell all! You can hear the Lacelle's version and the Valliere's version here on this website (double click on a link and give it lots of time to load). If you'd like to hear those, and more, at the site for which we were interviewed by Susan Hooge, please visit the Walkabout page of Messianic Lamb Radio.
I will say here, in the text, that my husband was very angry with me when I repented, and for years I walked on eggshells. However, my steadfastness and his eventual and then continual exploration of Monte Judah's teachings finally turned him around, and he began telling me about this guy at church who was into Hebraic things! My friend's husband and his parents repented and so there were finally eight of us. What do you do at such a point? You start a group! And start adding people to it! We don't know any other like-minded believers in our area, so if you are one please contact us! We want to get together with you!!
We attended Lion and Lamb's 2012 Sukkot in Chandler, OK (double click the link and give it lots of time to load), and added more people to our group that we met there. The first picture (Mike with Cam and Dave) was taken beside an RV stationed as close as possible to the teaching tent. (You can see a "honey wagon" cleaning out one of the several banks of portable toilets.) My favourite picture from Sukkot shows me with my Vallieres buddies: Barb and Gaetes behind me and Tony and Marilyn in the back. (Mike is taking the picture.) Several golf carts like this one were used to transport people back and forth between the parking area and the teaching tents. Hurray for that, since the walk "up the hill" taxed my poor body. Marilyn and Tony hoofed it very easily, however. I really need to get into shape! Just to give you a better look at the campsite, here is a picture of me beside the Tabernacles Registration sign. That's just one section where people parked their mobile "sukkahs." A more traditional sukkah was built in the middle of the teaching tent area and the children decorated it with paper chains. Here is a picture of us beside the sukkah and one beside the menorah. And here is my hero--Lin Judah is the mastermind behind the organization of sukkot and she reminds me of me when I was young enough to be able to do this stuff as well as she does! This picture was taken in the Lion and Lamb offices on the day we were taken on a tour. We also saw the studio from which the Lion and Lamb erev shabbat and Q & A sessions are broadcasted.
As a result of all this and hearing the excellent teachings at Sukkot, we are all prepping like it's the end of the world. Wait, maybe it is! At least the end of the world as we know it. We are not looking forward to enduring tribulation, but we are excited about the Millennial Kingdom that will begin at the end of it. Most of all, we're eagerly anticipating the Return of the King!
Well, if you want to know what the Messianics have taught us, you are going to have to check out the other information in this Hebrew Roots section of the website. Check out my favourite Hebrew Roots links; it includes Torah teachers, websites, music, recommended reading suggestions, fellowship opportunities, and so on. Check out the Challenging Scriptures that I referred to earlier. And check out some articles I have either collected or written and the Hebrew Roots Principles page. There I have put some of the most fundamental concepts of the Messianic worldview, as well as links to some websites that will give you more thorough information than I can provide. God willing and time permitting, I want to develop these principles into complete articles. They are listed in the order in which I think you need to consider them. They are short but strong statements that you need to spend time considering. Pray, pray, pray--and let God guide at the right pace for you.
I highly recommend that you read "Christianity Reconsidered" by Warren L. Bowles! In this book he explains how and why he made the same faith journey that I did--itís like heís been reading my mail--but in a professional, well organized manner. This may be the shortest route you will find to the answers raised by this website.
Do let me know what you think and if you have questions, I will try to connect you with someone who can answer them better than I can.