Izzy here. I've been pregnant with a new series of lessons for the last several months, and finally just gave birth yesterday after being in labour for most of last week - WHEW!! The baby is called "Mishnah Snapshots".
See the baby - i.e. watch the first lesson - for yourself FREE here or at the bottom of this email, and read on to hear WHY I'm feeling a sense of urgency about this series.
Here's how I introduce these lessons on the new Mishnah Snapshots area of the website: I'm studying through the Mishnah because it sheds light on the New Testament (they're from the same Jewish world, after all) and because I have a personal passion to know Yeshua better through his Hebrew language and Jewish religion. That's what these Mishnah Snapshots are - glimpses of the Master, and insights into the writings of his disciples, that I've caught through my personal studies of the Mishnah. I hope they thrill your soul like they thrill mine!
There IS one other reason I didn't mention on the website, and it's the more urgent one - I'm amazed at the urban legends surrounding the Mishnah. Most people go entirely by hearsay about the "oral Torah" without having read a single page of it, or really understanding its history. Candid confession, I was one of those people. Why is this a problem? Because traditional Judaism is based on the Mishnah. If you don't understand what the Mishnah's all about, you won't understand the Jewish people and their traditions, and that relationship will suffer in ways you probably won't even be aware of. This in turn creates a vacuum that false teachings and latent antisemitism can rush in to fill.
So my hope in creating this series isn't just to enrich your relationship with Yeshua - it's also to strengthen, and possibly even rescue, your relationship with his Jewish people.
I hope you enjoy the rest of this digest. And if there's anything on your mind, just hit reply. We're here for you!
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For Hebrew Verses we read Genesis 38:1-14. One of the things I talk about in this study is how Judah's experiences of grief and loss changed him into a better and more compassionate man. The meanings of some of the names in this story are rather mysterious, too. Watch here, and discuss it here.
We also read Matthew 14:1-18 and talked about a synonym for "gospel" that comes from the verb to shema! Watch here.
Wanda is following Yeshua in a Hebrew way! Here’s her story.
Shalom everyone, my name is Wanda and I have been following Yeshua the Hebrew way for the past three years. I grew up being raised by my grandmother who attended a Baptist church and attended Pentecostal revivals from time to time. I grew up having a fear for G-d as a child, but during my teenage years is when my rebellious years started to take place. After graduating High school I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and that's where things took an even more extreme turn for the worst. I started using drugs on a daily basis. It didn't take long for that to influence my belief of who and what God was to me. I began exploring into many different New Age ideas of why we were put here on this earth. I was way out there. I battled depression at the same time isolating myself from friends and family. It was just me, my apartment, and the paranoia that settled in to torment me and my mind.
To make a long story short, I needed peace and did not know where to find it. I cried myself to sleep many nights because I could not sleep. After I had enough that's when I decided it was time to go home. And when I did, I did everything I could think of to get better, but nothing ever seemed to help. Every time I made plans to go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting something always got in the way. I never made it to those meetings. I tried putting a crystal to my heart because many of my hippie friends told me it would absorb all the bad energy, but that never helped. The doctor who counseled me for one session prescribed me anti-depressants but it only made me feel high again so I trashed them immediately. I began searching and researching many other religions trying to find something to believe in for peace. During the time I used drugs I was convinced that the God of the Bible was just like all the other gods out there. And I thought I already kind of knew a little about Him. But at this point I was just so desperate so I finally began reading a Bible starting from Genesis, the very beginning, which cleared up so many questions I had but I still wasn't sure.
I was still putting the crystal to my heart before I went to bed and every morning when I would wake up. I did it secretly and hid it in hopes of not wanting my family wondering what I was doing. But one morning when I woke up, the crystal was gone! I began searching everywhere for it in my house but could not find it. I became so frustrated in the middle of trying to look for that rock that I somehow felt as if someone was watching me. So I looked up to the ceiling and yelled "ok what do you want? You have my attention!" Then I heard a voice that wasn't audible but I heard the words "Just follow me" and so I questioned "follow who?" And that was it.
A few weeks later I began reading the New Testament and as I was reading I found those little words which I heard that one day as I was searching for that little crystal rock, "follow me." And I knew it was Yeshua who spoke to me that day. It forever changed me as I accepted Yeshua as my savior and believed in him. He became my Shalom. When I began my walk with him I had this real sudden desire to meet someone who was Jewish and didn't know why. I just felt like they could teach me some important things about G-d. But since there aren't really any Jews in our area where we lived that desire just began to fade away. I wanted so much of G-d so I faithfully served in the church I began attending.
After two years of being clean and single I met my husband and got married. We helped in a couple of ministries together. You name it, we were there. From serving in youth ministry, children's church, praise and worship, intercessory prayer, and revival outreaches on the Navajo Reservation. Through all we were doing I started to feel as if something was missing or that something about me started to change. I questioned myself many times wondering what was wrong with me. Those feelings compelled me even more to start reading my Bible more than I already was. And as I began reading in Acts about how the believers had formed a community together by sharing everything they had and meeting in each other's homes, it made me crave for that kind of fellowship that I thought didn't even exist anymore. I wanted to be part of that kind of unity. It wasn't too long after that that my heart changed. Who did I become? And where was the authenticity of who G-d created me to be? I was too afraid to tell anyone in fear of others thinking I was crazy or falling away from the faith. I just wanted to follow Yeshua and do what he and the Apostles did from what I read in the bible.
At this point besides my husband, I didn't know who to talk to. Then one day I heard a pastor say that if you ever feel lonely ask G-d to lead you to his true sheep so I did just that. And almost a week or so after that prayer I got a notification that Holy Language Institute started following me on Pinterest. All the articles they had pinned sparked an interest, so I looked them up on Facebook and that's where I saw one of Izzy's most current post which was being commented on at that very moment. I reached out to someone on that comment thread who had experienced what me and my husband were going through. And it all began from there. We left the church we were attending for the past 8 years. It was hard to do because of all the relationships we had made with many other families but we just knew we needed to follow Yeshua. To our surprise we discovered that there was a fairly new Messianic congregation in our little town. That is a whole other story about how good Abba is in helping us to find each other.
One more thing that Abba wanted to make clear with me was about my wish of always wanting to meet someone who was Jewish to teach me about Him, but I thought I wouldn't get the chance to because of the little town we live in. And this is how He made that clear. Just last year I dreamt that I was sitting at a bar like counter just babbling on about something and there beside me on my right side was a man who was just sitting there listening to me babble on. He didn't say anything but just listened. Then in the middle of my babbling I paused and turned to him with tears in my eyes and said to him "this whole time I've always said I wanted to meet someone who is Jewish, and here you are this whole time who is Jewish." I didn't see his face clearly but I could tell that his countenance was full of a kind and gentle patience that didn't mind so much to hear all the babble. It was as if he overlooked all that babbling talk because he was looking forward to the moment of when I would realize who he truly was. And when I did he smiled. I did meet a Jew who was going to teach me about my Father! It was Yeshua the whole time who was and is my Rabbi. He was always there I just needed to realize who He really was. And I did and am forever thankful for Him being so patient with me as it took me 11 years to realize this. My husband and I hear a Rabbi say that if you ever go overseas and would like to get to know a group of people you have to dive into their culture, so if you want to know Yeshua more, dive into his culture. And that's exactly what our family did. So now we tell many others every chance we get of our Jewish Messiah, our Rabbi Yeshua. And we remember to be patient with others as He was with us as He clearly displayed in my dream.
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