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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: In Old Testament Black and White
By Joanne Sher
08/19/06


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I didnít have much experience with Christianity as a kid. I was Jewish, Bat Mitzvahed at 13, born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. Though my high school wasnít closed for Jewish holidays, a quarter of the students were absent for the High Holy Days.

My father was raised orthodox; my maternal grandfather was a former cantor; my great aunt still kept kosher. My Jewish roots ran deep, and were important to me.

I do remember, however, my first church service. I was eight or so, and we were visiting my aunt and her family. I donít remember the service, but I recall the pastor saying something disparaging about Jews, causing me to run out, quite upset. I still donít remember what he said, but I did not enter a church again for 10 years.

The next one was Catholic. I was in college, dating a Catholic who brought me to Mass. I remember looking up at the front of the church, seeing the crucifix, and feeling more uncomfortable than I ever had before. I kept my eyes down for the rest of the service. That cross haunted me for quite a while.

I had other minor "encounters" with Christianity, but it wasnít until I was married and living in the Midwest twelve years later that that cross grabbed my attention again.

My husband was nominally Jewish and we both followed our faith for a while. We soon stopped attending synagogue, however, neither of the local ones being to our liking. We still celebrated the major holidays, but nothing more.

I was working as a freelance writer for the local daily paper, and the religion editor had taken a liking to me, so I was writing for him. One day, he called and asked if I would cover a Christian womenís conference the following Saturday. I agreed skeptically, assuming it would be a bunch of fake, mushy women screaming "Hallelujah" and praising God for their wonderful lives.

Was I ever wrong.

The moment I walked into the arena, I felt a camaraderie among the women there, and a peace I simply couldnít explain. The speakers, who I normally would have dismissed as hokey, resonated with me, and I felt myself filled with the same camaraderie and peace as those around me. I didnít want to leave.

Unfortunately, I had no choice - I had a deadline to meet! And, as I left the building to walk the three blocks to the newspaper office, I felt that peace leave me just as suddenly as it arrived.

A myriad of questions ran through my mind.

What did those women have that I didnít?

Could I find that kind of peace in Judaism if I was more devout, or was this a Christian phenomenon?

I decided I needed to start this quest of mine with my own faith. I found my copy of the Hebrew Bible and read the entire Old Testament from beginning to end in two weeks. I also typed out about 20 pages of notes.

Those two weeks brought several things to light, including my lack of obedience to Godís laws, and the emphasis throughout the Old Testament on vengeance and justice.

I knew what I had to do next. I began reading the New Testament. And there, it seemed, were answers to all my questions, comfort from all my fears. I finished the NT in another week, and added another dozen pages of notes to my collection.

Yet, I had some serious misgivings. I saw Jesus as a wonderful man, someone to emulate, but as God? As Messiah? My Jewish background and teachings were digging at me - "God is One," "Christ was a Jew-hater," and other mantras reverberated in my mind. I MIGHT be able to accept Jesus as Lord, but Savior?

Still, I started attending a bible-believing church, and began reading the bible through again. I got many new revelations on the Old Testament the second time through, but none as monumental as the one I received about 5 months after the womenís conference, from Isaiah.

But he was wounded because of our sins,
Crushed because of our iniquities.
He bore the chastisement that made us whole,
And by his bruises we were healed.
Isaiah 53:5 JPS


There it was, in black and while - in the Hebrew Scriptures: Christís death on the cross as payment for my sins. At this point, I had no choice. I embraced the cross, and have never turned back.


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This article has been read 3187 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Birdie Courtright08/24/06
What an awesome testimony. Thanks for sharing your journey of discovery. Well written, too I might add.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/25/06
I love a story that enlightens me to other religions; giving me an insight into the "How?" and "Why?" one came to be a Christian. This did not disappoint - great job!
Folakemi Emem-Akpan08/25/06
Thank you for sharing. Sometimes the answer to our question sits practically under our noses but prejudice sometimes make us search in the wrong places.
I hope this is a true story...God bless
Pauline TAIT08/25/06
Awesome indeed as believers we all to seldom look at the cross to our own peril
Lynda Schultz 08/25/06
For many years, we prayed for, and worked with, a wonderful Jewish woman in Caracas. It took her a long time to accept Christ as her Messiah ó and it is all there in the Old Testament. Wonderful word.
Dolores Stohler08/26/06
Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so glad you took the time to search and read, to learn the truth about our savior. There are so many lies flying about. How great it would be if everyone would dare to venture out & seek truth instead of just believing the lies that are handed to them. God bless you.
Valora Otis08/26/06
I know this feeling well. Thanks for reminding me. Your story was well crafted and a blessing to read. Thank you!
Ann FitzHenry08/26/06
Thank you for sharing your story. Your testimony is beautiful!
Edy T Johnson 08/26/06
This is engrossing reading, which kept this reader glued to the screen. Like Marilyn, I love hearing about other's encounters meeting Jesus. Thank you for your story!
Lynda Lee Schab 08/28/06
What a marvelous testimony! And how obvious it is that your "assignment" at that Women's Conference wasn't really from the Religion Editor at all. I'd dare say God was pursuing your heart all along! How wonderful that you allowed Him to catch it and haven't turned back since. I, for one, was deeply touched by your entry. Thanks for sharing. :-)
Jan Ackerson 08/28/06
What an absolutely wonderful testimony! Thank you so much for writing this out for us. I loved it.
Marty Wellington 08/28/06
Marvelous testimony and writing! Praise God for His goodness. He pursues us with such intensity.
Trina Courtenay08/28/06
Such a testimony!

I felt that peace leave me just as suddenly as it arrived.

I encounted this as well while I was searching. Thank-you for sharing your personal journey with us.
Rita Garcia08/28/06
This wonderful testimony brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing this powerful story!
Pat Guy 08/28/06
This is awesome! This touched the depth of my soul! Wow! What perfect evidence of the power of God' own Words. Great writing too! ;)
Jen Davis08/28/06
What an awesome testimony! I admire your pursuit to discover truth. You have done a wonderful job of articulating your journey. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.
T. F. Chezum08/28/06
Very well written. Thank you for sharing this great testimony.
Jan Ross08/28/06
Oh my ... your testimony is so beautiful! I have such a passion to understand the Jewish roots of Christianity and have studied it for years. But to read of your encounter with the Living Messiah, brings tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for opening up and giving us a glimpse of the Holy Spirit as He continues to draw His own to faith in Jesus, our Messiah! Awesome!!!!! :)
Shari Armstrong 08/28/06
An amazing testimony! Well written and needs to be shared! :)
Virginia Gorg08/28/06
In black and white - good title for a well-written profound testimony. Only comment I have is to write out the numbers (such as ten, etc.).
william price08/29/06
A great testimony! Very interesting. God bless.
Joanne Malley08/29/06
Just goes to show you, God grabs exactly who He wants and it doesn't matter who they are! Terrific testimony. I'm so glad snatching you was part of His plan. :)
Linda Watson Owen08/29/06
Oh, yes, Joanne! What a glorious testimony! So beautifully written! I really enjoy your crisp, clear writing style. May God bless your eloquent pen!
Rebecca Livermore08/30/06
I love the way you wrote this from a Jewish perspective. Beautiful!
Brenda Craig08/30/06
Ahhh,this is so beautiful and encouraging. Nothing is impossible with God. Heart and pen as one. Blessings
Ruth Neilson08/30/06
is this your testimony? If so, that is really powerful! Thank you for sharing.
Val Clark09/01/06
A very powerful, well written, story and even more so if it is autobiographical! (BTW thanks for commenting on my Silent Stars entry)
Edy T Johnson 09/01/06
I just want to add a note of thanks for your comment on my "cross" entry, as well. I appreciate you!
Carol Gray09/07/06
Joanne, what a wonderful testimony that you shared. Keep telling your story! Be Blessed, Carol Gray
Pat Guy 10/03/06
Just as awesome the second time around! It's worth your extra undivided attention to get it published!
Crista Darr11/17/06
Woo hoo. Right there in black and white! What an awesome testimony. He promised if we seek Him we will find Him. I'm so thankful. Welcome home, Joanne.
Venice Kichura12/12/06
I so enjoyed reading your testimony, Joanne! A belated "excellent" job as always. It's sooo encouraging to see how God moves on the hearts of Jewish people...The ones I known are more fired-up for Jesus than most Gentiles.
Chuck Livermore12/29/06
Cool story, Joanne. It really shows how the Holy Spirit drew you in bit by bit, and then brought every thing home with Isa. 53.
Claudette Wood01/08/07
whoo! what a witness for God. amen, sister.
Sharon Hillary02/10/07
God instructs us to love His people Isreal and pray for them. From the time I learned who the Jewish people were I have felt a tremendously strong love in my heart for the chosen of God. It is because of them, that we as gentiles have Him. When I was studying Revelation a few years ago, I learned about the Antichrist and the possibility that because of Jewish beliefs, many of God's chosen were in danger of accepting a false "messiah". This concerned me and scared me. This should be a concern to all believers and a motivation to pray for Isreal as a nation. Your testimony was so moving I had to read it again so that I could tell my friend, Patricia. Her ministry and calling is to witness to Isreal. We are believing for her to be able to go there this year. Thankyou for reminding me of how important the Jewish people are. ove in Christ, Sharon
Emily Gillilan04/14/07
Amen sister. I needed to hear a commitment of faith from a person who formally followed Judaism. It's hard, at present, for me to understand how the Jewish are God's chosen people...but if they do not accept Christ, they will parish in hell. If you have any comments on this, I'd love to hear it!
Jacquelyn Horne06/06/07
Wonderful account of coming to know the Lord. I got right into this. I was once a newspaper reporter and am a believer.
Ruth Mossing07/21/07
Dear Sister Joanne, God Bless,
This was a great article,
thanks for your great review of my Poem,"The Birth of Life"
and your belief in Jesus.
Isa 28-16 God Speaking:
"Therefore thus saith the
Lord God, Behold I Lay in
Zion (Church) for a foundation a Stone, a tried
Stone (Who else was tried in
Pilots Hall?), a precious
corner stone,a sure
foundation, He that believeth
shall not make haste.
Love and God Bless You,
quickening. Thanks for the
advice, I do need work on
my grammer.
Patricia Todd09/23/07
Thank you for sharing your testimony. It is good to know how you came to know the Lord.
Sharon Henderson09/23/07
Joanne,

Wow!

I want to say more but...Wow!

I've heard Billy Graham say that if only one person comes to Christ through one of his crusades, that every penny spent on the crusade was worth it. I wonder if the organizers of the women's event that you went to ever found out about the seed they planted in your life.

I'm so glad that you are indeed part of the 'family'.
Debbie Wistrom11/21/07
I was directed to this by a comment you left on one of my pieces. The main reason that I wanted to read it is because my step will be marrying a Jewish gal who we adore and during a phone call a couple nights ago he talked about the questions involved with the convergence of the two religions, he had been doing some reading. I know there are uncertain times ahead of them and if I hear that she is thinking of conversion, I will share this piece with her. Thanks for the thrilling testimony.
Betsy Cobb Wise12/19/07
Joanne:

God's Word is so complete and encompasses every need for every individual. I pray that the present day Jews will see that their Messiah has already come.

Thank you for sharing your story of faith for those of us who do not have a Jewish culture and heritage to draw upon.

K. J. Cash01/25/08
Your testimony is as touching as your life. I'm not sure if I would have stuck around, or felt good about participating here, if it weren't for you. Thanks for reaching out.
Jamie glaser03/22/08
praise God! i too am a jewish believer, and was born again in college-i guess the truth kinda gnawed at me for 4-5 yrs also, until on eastere of sunday 2002, i gave in, and accepted Messiah! It has been a blast(though hard at times), but God has taught me so much about the love of His jewish son! always great to meet another jewish sister in Christ!

God bless
Karlene Jacobsen 10/24/08
Thank you JoAnn for sharing this powerful testimony. His love is amazing and His promises are true. He said seek and you will find, and you did.
I know it was a while ago, but the power of it never fades.
Diana Dart 10/29/08
This was a fabulous story Joanne (the writing was good too!), it's wonderful to hear how God reaches each of us. Thank you for sharing it (I know it was awhile ago, but I'm a late bloomer).
Teresa Lee Rainey02/17/09
Joanne, I'm praising God for your testimony! Our stories are so different, and yet Jesus Christ is still the answer! Your journey to that answer is beautiful and it is a pleasure to now get the priviledge of getting to know you as a Sister in Christ!
Michael Blackston03/02/09
As busy as I am, I have only just had the opportunity to stop and read a few articles from other writers. Apologetics is a passion of mine, so this immeditely intrigued me. I'm so happy and blessed to have read your account and I praise God that you are a sister in Christ. Beautiful writing and wonderful testimony.
LauraLee Shaw03/12/09
This gave me goosebumps, Jo. Wow, what a powerful testimony. I'm so thankful for that assignment, and for God leading you to Himself through the Truth of the gospel. YOu're my sister!
Geraldine Rose04/20/09
This is a great testimony. I wrote my testimony in a poem.I will submit it. Thanks for sharing it!
Gerri
Eileen Knowles07/12/09
Hi! I am new to faith writers. I really enjoyed reading your testimony. What a great reminder that if we seek Him we will find Him! Very well written too. Thanks for sharing :)
Bob Gotti08/05/09
That is a wonderful and very candid testimony Joanne, and I felt the moving of the Spirit as I read your description of the atmosphere that enveloped the Christian Conference. God is truly amazing in how He leads people to the Truth and ultimately how He lead you to the one passage in the Old Testament that is unfortunately avoided by many Jews today.
Noel Mitaxa 12/13/10
I love the warmth, the gentle pace and the honesty of this piece. Beautiful job.
Len Snider05/23/11
Since my miraculous rebirth six years ago, I love to read personal testimonies. Thank you for yours! The hand of the Holy Spirit is obvious in your uplifting writing. To know something of your background makes your comment to my "I Am Not My Own" All the more special. Abundant blessings upon your family, Sister.
Len
Lynn Wallace06/24/11
Joanne, what a beautiful testimony. God led you through an assignment to that women's conference. You searched, and made notes on the Old and New Testaments. You became convinced of the truth. Wonderful! I know two women who are friends of Jewish men. I have witnessed to one of these and he does not object. I will share your testimony if he shows interest in coming to the Messiah. I am also interested in finding out all I can about my heritage as a believer through the Jews. Without them we would have no Bible.
Clyde Blakely 12/11/12
Thank you for the tears and look forward to worshipping our Lord and Saviour in Heaven with you.