In my last installment, I closed out by referring to my journal Entry from May 7, 2012 and that I had decided, in light of the events discussed in the previous installment, that I would make good on my previous commitment about Torah.
Here is the part from my journal entry that I shared in the previous installment:
During last week, I recognized, had come to my remembrance, whatever might work best, my commitment to teach about Torah, and teach the importance of Torah for the NT, and that Gentiles need to become, at the very least, Torah reverent [having a respect for the Torah because without Torah there is no written testimony about Jesus]. I had recognized that I have not been doing this. I don’t believe I have neglected Torah, but definitely it has not been my focus. So I contemplated that on [the coming] Friday at [the Messianic Congregation] I would formally and symbolically formalize this decision.
Then I immediately continued:
During my meditation about this, I decided I would present myself at [the Messianic Congregation’s] prayer service and prostrate myself. … I did present myself up front and prior to doing so I asked [a particular man] to pray over me.
However, I did not prostrate myself. I stood as [that man] prayed. Mary later told me she did not know if [he] was praying for me or I was praying for him. Oops! But I asked [him] to pray for my commitment to Torah and present it and its validity, and to give me ability, courage, and endurance to do so…. I also asked for God to give me a specific sign if this is the correct avenue for me: to deliver a highly valuable Torah scroll as a gift, without me traveling the world to get it because I consider that [travel is] paying a price for Torah. So, I posted an image on a Torah scroll and mentioned this in my Facebook status.
I am not quite finished telling this part of the narrative, but now is a good time for me to discuss what I posted on Facebook. As soon as that is done, I will return to the larger narrative.
Keep in mind that the above journal entry is from May 7. This is important because that journal entry is about events that had already taken place. So the following Facebook post is from May 4, and while it occurred prior to my journal entry, that Facebook status is what my journal refers to when I said that I “mentioned this in my Facebook status”.
On May 4, I posted the following, along with a picture of a Torah Scroll, on Facebook:
A Torah Scroll. The Five Books of Moses also called the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Receiving a highly valued one has become my prayerful request. May Abba provide my Torah expeditiously.
From the Facebook post and from my journal entry, what these two things indicate is that I had made my petitions known to God and I had simply shared that petition with my friends on Facebook.
Two days after my journal entry, I posted the following to Facebook on May 9:
ok, stopped in at Half-Price Books to Find the TNIV as I just posted, as I walked by, from the corner of my eye, I saw a box setting on top of a book cart. “hmm. that box looks rather old.” Went back opened the box lid, and what do I see, a TORAH. AWESOME! a 1967 JPS binding of the Five Books of Moses, for $10. Is that some kind of sign? probably, since God works in tens. I am definitely thinking I am Torah bound.
When I am shopping at any Half-Price Books, I almost always visit the religious section. Do you know how difficult it is to find a Torah, just the Five Books of Moses? One can find all kinds of Bibles. But to find only the Five Books of Moses is rare. Since finding that Torah, I think I have seen only two more, maybe.
While I did locate a printed Torah, this is not exactly what I prayed for. When I prayed, I envisioned myself receiving something like a synagogue scroll, which is written in Hebrew, and looks similar to the scroll in the above image. That which I acquired at HPB wasn’t Hebrew but English, it wasn’t a scroll but book, and it wasn’t free because I paid for it. So technically it did not fit my prayer. But considering where I was in my prayer life and my need for God to verify, I definitely took the finding of Torah as an indicator.
Then on May 17, 2012 I posted the following, along with a photo, to Facebook:
This is the Torah Scroll that I received, a highly valued 100% gift. A confirmation of my decision and prayer. The Scroll was given by divine direction. Baruch HaShem and Blessed be the person…
Recall what I just said, my brain envisioned a specific type of Torah Scroll, so when it arrived I was someone discombobulated. What I received was in all actuality a Torah Scroll and, as you will see, met my specifications, but certainly did not arrive in the version that I had envisioned.
From experience, I am here to tell you something vital. When you pray, you also envision how God will answer that prayer. However, God may not answer your prayer meeting the exact specification of your expectations. My expectations were one thing, and those expectations almost kept me from seeing the beauty of what I had been given. But I am here to say that God delivered on my prayer.
From that Facebook post and from what I recall that person ordered a souvenir Torah Scroll from Israel and had it shipped to me, all because they believed God had led them to do so. That itself means something, because I sure didn’t ask that person to acquire this gift for me.
That same day May 17, I posted the following to Facebook:
Back on May 4, I prayed that I would be gifted “a highly valued” Torah Scroll. This Scroll is highly valued because it comes from a highly valued family, and the Scroll was shipped from Israel. This answers three parts of my prayer: 1) highly valued, 2) I did not have to travel the world to receive it, 3) the Scroll was a complete gift.
While I picked the Scroll up today, the Torah Scroll technically arrived here May 14, TEN days after my prayer. Between that Prayer and this Torah Scroll, I found a Bound Torah on the evening of May 9, by Jewish Time May 10, for Ten bucks.
All I can say is that in the mouth of two, truth is established. I have been given two indications that my resolve and my prayer have been answered. I know my path.
May Abba, bless my coming days, and journey – study of Torah and presentation of its NT validity (1 Timothy 1.8). Torah (God) and Grace (Jesus) are not divisible.
From those things, I felt that my prayer was definitely confirmed. So in short order, I began filming a ten-part series making my intentions known. If memory serves, in early June 2012 that series was filmed then published as ten parts during the months of June and July. Here is the link to the first part of that series, and visit here for all ten parts of a playlist of that Special Presentation. From that point forward, most of my video presentations and published material at Faith and Conviction have involved the Torah and its association with the New Testament.
But let me return to my journal entry and tell the rest of that moment and discuss the following line: “However, I did not prostrate myself. I stood as [that man] prayed. Mary later told me she did not know if [he] was praying for me or I was praying for him. Oops!”
My journal entry continues:
At Havdalah, at the start of service, [a gentleman] was asked to lead a prayer to open [services]. He did not lead a prayer, per se, he called everyone to the front. He instructed us to pray. So I stood there and prayed.
Several moments, perhaps minutes went by, and [he] said in effect that God was waiting on some people to do what they needed to do. So my mind was racing hoping it was not me, but I was still having thoughts about prostration.
A few moments later [he] said “Ray! God is waiting on you.” and I was dumb struck, “Oh crap!” I thought.
I became quite nervous, then [he] said again “Ray! God’s waiting on you.” “Oh crap! Oh! Crap! Oh! Crap!” was the only thing in my head. I knew, without a doubt, what I had to do.
I fell to the floor, catching myself as setting up for a push-up, when I caught myself, I put my face, forehead to the ground, arms stretched out looking like a “t” or a cross.
I stayed there, not sure how long, but my mind raced with thoughts, so I told myself to shut up and listen. I heard little children: “He’s mad.” I took it at the time they meant I was angry, but now that I am thinking back on it, maybe they meant “He’s crazy.” if so, I agree. I also heard “He’s dead!” No I wasn’t and gestured to assure them, but thinking about it, part of me did die, I had nothing else to do but do prostration before my Creator.
As I lay there prostrated, it occurred to me that I could not just lift myself up. I was not physically restrained, I was restrained spiritually, so I stated that He would have to give me the strength to rise. About that time, the children touched my right hand, and I interpreted that as the sign I need to arise. I set up and interacted with the kids, praying with them.
What may not be clear is that two different men worked with me. On the previous night, one man worked with me, the night I received prayer but did not prostrate myself. Now what is important is that on the previous night I told the man with me “to pray for my commitment to Torah to present it and its validity, and to give me ability, courage, and endurance to do so”.
But, at Havdalah, another man called everyone to the front then told me that God was waiting on me. As far as I knew, this man knew nothing about the previous night’s event.
Quite candidly, I had kept private all the experience of this installment and the last. I told no one, not even Mary. Therefore, the only one who could have known anything about it was God himself, because that is where I kept it – prayer, from me to him.
When I heard “Ray! God’s waiting on you.” that was the first time, the very first time, I had ever been called out by name. I kind of doubted the first utterance of his statement, and as you can tell was quite apprehensive about the situation.
When I heard “Ray! God’s waiting on you.” it scared me as much as the voice on the bus scared me. But I knew what I had to do. I had told God I would do something – prostrate myself, which I failed to do the previous night. No body knew it but me. God held me to that commitment.
My May 7 journal entry continues, speaking of other moments that surrounded these events. But there is one thing that stands out. Later, someone unrelated to either of those events, told me that they hoped I would come to know Mark 11.23.
In Mark 11.23 (ESV), Jesus says
Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
That statement becomes all the more poignant when one reads Mark 11.22 that contains the first part of Jesus’ thought, “Have faith in God”. That pretty much sums up my entire experience of “My Story” – have faith in God.
But let me tell you, I thought the whole matter had been settled, because in my journal I wrote that “I also asked for God to give me a specific sign if this is the correct avenue for me: to deliver a highly valuable Torah scroll as a gift, without me traveling the world to get it because I consider that [travel is] paying a price for Torah.”
As far as I could tell, God answered that prayer, a Torah Scroll was sent to me. I took that as a sign that what I was thinking regarding Torah was the only thing I had to be concerned about. As such, I thought God had finished with me, and is why I immediately went to talking about Torah and it’s relevance to the NT.
With that understanding, I relegated the events discussed in the previous Installment as possibly superfluous or simply God’s way of getting my attention and having me commit to teaching the relevance of Torah, which I had not been doing.
I had been stunned, but once that was done, I wiped the sweat from my brow, feeling content, and proceeded on my merry way. I continued driving, continued writing my journal entries, and began incorporating Torah into my teachings.
God, however, was not content with me.
Blessings and Shalom