For our first Torah Family Interview, I would like to introduce Ed and Debbie. They have been messianic for four years, and are currently enjoying 14 grandchildren.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Debbie, and I have been married to my
wonderful Ed for 40 years. We have three married daughters and 14 grandchildren. My
husband and I have been believers in “Jesus” since our youth, and brought our girls up in
a traditional church. I home schooled two of the girls for several years, which was a great
joy. Looking back, I think that those years of studying together using Scripture as a filter
and foundation for our studies were early steps in the spiritual journey that became more
strenuous several years later.
I find great enjoyment and creative fulfillment in sewing, especially quilting,
scrapbooking, and other crafts (I‘ve dabbled in more than I care to admit). I love to create
and add beauty to our world, especially with fabric and thread. I also love to read,
About four and a half years ago I was challenged by a Messianic evangelist who was
staying with some friends to question almost everything I believed about what the
Scriptures said. When his teaching was first relayed to me I took an attitude of “I don’t
know who this man is and he sounds crazy.” But a voice in my heart said “Then prove
that he is wrong.” Thus started a really exciting journey into the Word. In a matter of a
few days the Scriptures opened up to me like never before. My searching was rewarded
with fresh insights each day. I’ve always been a questioner, a searcher. While
homeschooling, I read most of the material that I had my girls read, and then some. I love
to learn and understand our world and the people that have influenced it. I would go home
from church questioning a teaching or the practices of our church without understanding
at the time why things did not seem to line up. I must admit, before this, my reading of
Scriptures was more of filling a duty than a loving search because too many passages did
not make sense, especially in light of what I was hearing from the pulpit.
My “light went on” moment came with a simple word search in my fat Webster
dictionary for the word fulfill. Yeshua in Matthew 5:17 tells us “Think not that I am come
to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.” One dictionary
entry totally blew out of the water, for me, the “law is done away with” doctrine of our
Replacement Theology church. I then spent large parts of my days searching the Word for
passages that built on this new concept that the Torah was still applicable to me today.
Every day had wonderful, enlightening moments as I started to see for the first time the
eternal plan Our Father has for His people. At first, my study centered on the “Law” and
finding passages in the Apostolic Scriptures that verified God’s loving instructions. This
led me to the Tanach to see, in a new way, pertinent teachings, not just Sunday School
stories. I searched the internet and read as many books as I could find that taught about
this Hebraic Roots concept. I had three fellow searchers to share new teachings with and
toss around all these new ideas. One at a time several family members came to see these
truths and we learned together. I spent more time studying those first few months than I
had for years.
The greatest blessing I have found on this Torah journey is seeing all of His Word as
one continuous story and message. (Good bye dispensationalism!) Seeing a Father who
truly does not change makes it a true blessing to have a personal relationship with Him.
Doing the church’s “holidays” can not begin to hold a candle to the excitement and
blessing of actually observing the Father’s Feasts with family and friends. Each new part
of His instructions that we incorporated into our life brought blessings and more levels of
understanding. First it was observing Shabbat, which was challenging during the few
months that we continued to attend church, but soon became a vital part of our lives.
Kosher was a bigger hurdle, but as we learn more of the scientific reasons, all we can say
is “Our God is so smart!”
It has been an ongoing struggle to battle bitterness and hurt after learning the things we
had been taught by the church. One book we were given rather early had the “everything
is pagan” attitude. It may have been necessary to lead us to put certain things out of our
lives, but those truths can be painful and being judgmental of others too easily follows.
We had two rather painful encounters in our own home with pastors who felt they had
some divine assignment to correct our “faulty hermeneutics,” which I learned later was a
Greek world-view way of interpretation. I prefer to learn how to understand His Word
with Hebraic eyeglasses, which we still are adjusting to. But I continue to ask for Abba’s
forgiveness and help with those bad attitudes.
Most Shabbats find us at home, just the two of us. We live in a rural area with no
congregation to attend. We spend an occasional Shabbat and the feast days with some of
our family and one or two other families. The internet has been our lifeblood. We spend
many hours each week listening to Shabbat services and Torah portion teachings; God’s
Learning Channel, El Shaddai Ministries, and Rico Cortes being favorites, along with
several others. It did not take too long to reformat our “Sunday is church” mentality to
seeing our week as a progression that builds up to preparation day and climaxes as we sit
down for a special meal to usher in Shabbat. We never experienced anything but stress in
our church going days of driving to morning and evening services, choir, board meetings,
etc. It is hard to meet with the Father under those circumstances. Now we are blessed
with true rest, and a time to meet with and hear from YHWH.
Although we are now “semi-retired” and have more free time, health and financial
issues keep us close to home. At this season of our lives, what we can contribute to our
grandchildren is vital to us. I have heard it said that grandparents are mentioned more in
Scripture than parents. Spending time with them, teaching them and being role models is
so important. These precious souls, being taught the Torah from a young age, will be the
heart and soul of the Hebraic Roots movement in years to come. With all the challenges
of raising children for the LORD in today’s society, parents need all the support and
encouragement from like-minded extended family that they can get. We can be actively
involved with their education, spend the Feasts and Sabbaths with them and with humility,
show them that we still have plenty to learn about walking out our faith in a way that
pleases our Father.
We can encourage our loved ones, and keep reminding ourselves, to keep focused on
the big picture – loving and serving our Heavenly Father, and not getting side-tracked by
the minor issues that too often become major issues. Seeing paganism under every rock,
debates over calendars, how to pronounce the Name, differing views of prophecy and how
we should prepare for the future, translation issues, and many other conflicts, keep us
from our most important job. We need to concentrate on being salt and light in a world
that is bent on self-destruction and seems ready to implode. It is so easy to give into a fear
than can literally cripple us. We all need to keep focused on having a true servant’s heart,
putting our needs and wants on the back burner and putting serving the Father and His
precious children above all else. We must stay focused on our relationship with our
Saviour rather than on information. It is Yeshua who saves, not our getting all the facts
straight. And it is He who will see us through troubling times.
Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong,
And shall not stand in the path of sinners,
And shall not sit in the seat of scoffers,
But his delight is in the Torah of YHWH,
And he meditates in His Torah day and night.
For he shall be as a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That yields its fruit in its season,
And whose leaf does not wither,
And whatever he does prospers.
Tehillim (Psalms) 1:1-3
Thank you, Ed and Debbie, for sharing your lives with us.