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Call On Me!

October 28th, 2013

“Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

This verse of Scripture had a profound impact on my early walk with God.

First of all, if God will answer me, it means He can hear me.  This made God very real and approachable to me.  I can have a conversation with Him.  I can ask questions and He will answer.

Secondly, He is asking me to call on Him and to look to Him for answers.  This is an outright invitation to engage in a relationship with Him.  To me the way one calls on God is to pray to Him.

Last, but not least, this verse says my prayers will be answered and He will reveal to me things that I do not know.  That’s very exciting!

This image of God makes it very easy to see Him as a Father.  He is someone you can look up to and to whom you can go for answers.

God wants us to come to Him with the things we do not know; to seek Him in prayer when we need answers.  He promises to reveal the answers to us.

How often do we try to figure things out on our own, believing we know better?  We only turn to the instructions as a last resort.  Usually this is after we have exhausted all other means and ways.

Why not ask the question first?  It is so simple: stop and think, pray and wait, expecting an answer.

Do you have unanswered questions about the Messiah?  Have you ever thought about asking God?  When you pray, do you have an expectation of an answer?

If you are reading this, I would suggest that you are being led to investigate the claims of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus).  Do you have unanswered questions about Him?  Have you ever prayed to God to reveal to you His truth about Yeshua?

We here at New Covenant Forum would like to hear from you with this or any other questions you might have about Yeshua or the Holy Scriptures.

All you need to do is contact us.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Following God, Jesus and Jews, Personal Stories, Some Words and Thoughts, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

I Might As Well

September 25th, 2012

I stopped by to wish a Jewish shopkeeper I know a Happy New Year .  I had not seen him in many months.   At first he wanted to know why I was there.  I quickly asserted it was not to do business but rather to say hello and that I had been thinking of him whenever I passed his way. I further went on to wish him and his family a “Happy and Healthy” New Year.  He expressed how he was glad to see me.

He went on to ask me where I went to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year), and I shared that I had been at my brother’s house the first night and stayed home the second.  He said that he did the first night at his house and the second at his sister’s.  We continued with more small talk: how I had been, how business was and a few other topics we had shared in the past.

He also told me that he observed only the first day and opened his business on the second, since he had to serve his customers.  We discussed the issue of closing for the Sabbath.   When I had owned my shop, I had discussed this many times in the past with my Jewish customers.  He said he had had this argument many times, but noted that his competitors were open and therefore he needed to be.    Besides, when was he going to be open if he always closed?

Then he asked me,” so are you fasting for Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)?”  I responded “I am not sure, but most likely not”.  I went on to ask if he was?  He said yes, so I asked him why?  He responded that he was going to Schsl (synagogue) all day, so he might as well.

When I asked him where he goes he named the synagogue.  He said he went there because his wife was converted there, he was married there and he was a member.  He needed to get back to work so he wished me “an easy fast” (yet another tradition) and I went on my way.

From our conversation I began to understand his observance of Judaism.  I knew he had a strong Jewish identity from past conversations.  I think his relationship with God was quite clear. He went to synagogue on Yom Kippur because “it’s was what you do when you call yourself a Jew.”

As I left his store, it occurred to me that I used to be just like him before I knew Yeshua (Jesus). My practice of Judaism was one of tradition or “that is what we do.”  That’s what my Bubbe (Grandmother) would answer me whenever I asked her “why do we do this?”

I am so grateful the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) has been fulfilled by Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).  Besides, it is not even possible to celebrate the Holy Day biblically, without a Temple and High Priest; and the rabbinic substitutions have no biblical mandate. 

Mostly, I am grateful for Yeshua (Jesus) in my life as the one time eternal atonement for my sin.  All I have to do is what is commanded: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” 

I ask you, are you going to spend another year in tradition?  Maybe this year, you can check out the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) and check out the claims of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ).  He is the greatest rabbi of all times.  He is the Messiah of Israel.  He is the means of our atonement (our Kippur).   

We at New Covenant Forum would be glad to give you a free copy of the B’rit Hadashah (in almost any language) and discuss our eternal atonement in Yeshua.

May your name be inscribed and sealed  in the Book of Life forever!

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

 

Posted in Alan Friesner, Atonement, Jewish festivals, Jewish Identity, Jewish Tradition, Jews and Jesus, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Sceptics Can Also Learn!

January 25th, 2012

There is this Jewish acquaintance of mine who used to be a lawyer in family law.  Marty (not his real name) stopped practicing because of how badly people treated and acted towards one another when divorcing.  He has since developed a passion of his from a hobby into an ongoing business.

Over the years we have had many intellectually stimulating conversations about most anything and everything. The other day I stopped by his place of business, and during our conversation he asked me what I was up to.

I told him about my role in New Covenant Forum as a messenger telling my Jewish people about Yeshua (Jesus). He responded by telling me that he was on the fence, so to say.

Marty told me that, despite the fact of his fairly Orthodox upbringing, he spent most of his life as a member of the secular Jewish community, which he no longer  felt a member of.  He was unsure of whether or not there was a God and considered himself an agnostic.

He was willing to entertain and discuss the topic of a Messiah, but with much scepticism. He actually apologized for being so sceptical about it. Jokingly, I told him not to worry.  After all, scepticism is a Jewish birthright, and I was much the same before Yeshua (Jesus) came into my life.

I was quite surprised by his willingness to discuss the issues.  Then I changed tack. “There is not much chance that the dictionary was the result of an explosion of a printing press,” I said.  I pointed to a jar on the counter and said, “this jar did not just happen.  Someone made it.”

Marty then asked if I believed in creation rather than evolution.   When I said yes, our conversation abruptly ended.  He said he was not getting into a creation vs. evolution discussion.  Of course he could have, but he wouldn’t.  Yeshua he could entertain, but his scepticism drew the line at creation.  But why?

Are you a sceptic? An agnostic? An atheist?   Don’t let your scepticism get in the way of seeking and learning truth.

We here at New Covenant Forum are happy to discuss this or any other question you may have about God, Jesus, the Bible or Spiritual issues.  Feel free to contact us to learn more.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)”

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Evangelism, Jewish Identity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

D’Nile is not a river in Egypt

December 30th, 2011

“All people are accountable to God whether or not they have “heard about Him.” The Bible tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).”
(cited from http://www.gotquestions.org/never-heard.html, Ronald H. Nash in “What About Those Who Have Never Heard” by Fackre, Nash & Sanders. Downer Grove, Ill. : Intervarsity Press, c 1995)

The above statement came from an answer to a question that I once read on-line.  I never cease to be amazed at how many people, Jewish and Gentile alike, know the message of the Bible yet continue to  choose to walk away and follow their own plans.

The problem is they have rejected what they have heard and deny what they can readily see in nature. Creation has a creator!

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Deuteronomy 4:29

It is very clear from this verse that all are eligible to know God. All you need to do is to sincerely seek him. Make it your heart’s desire and you will find Him.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

I did this, and He revealed Himself to me in many ways.

Denying the existence of God does not make Him disappear. As one goes through life – living in and seeing the wonders of creation, looking up and pondering the stars, marvelling at simple and complex things alike – I wonder how one can deny the order and existence of a creator?

I do not debate the fate of those who have not heard, any more than those who have heard and choose to reject the reality of God. Rather I have chosen to spread the Good News to all who have ears to hear, Jew and Gentile alike.

Before I was walking with God, I too chose to deny what I actually knew to be true: there is a creator and he is the God of the Bible.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3

Feel free to contact us if you would like to know more, or to discuss this or any other postings.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Knowing God, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Why Take Chances?

December 23rd, 2011

I recently spoke to an articulate Jewish woman who expressed the thought that  Christians had “stolen our Jesus.” She went on to tell me that Jesus only preached to Jewish people. And much to my amazement she quoted His words from the New Testament!  “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24)

She challenged me to show her differently in the Scriptures. I responded with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42), to which she responded OK, only one. To which I replied that only one is enough to make it not only to the Jewish people; and said I was sure I could find more.

The next time we met I showed her a few other places in Scripture where we see Jesus speaking with Gentiles. We agreed that there are not many examples (after all, he did come first and foremost for the “lost sheep of Israel”).

I went on to ask how a nice Jewish girl comes to know the New Testament and words of Jesus.  She explained that she had talked to Christians that she had worked with.

In my estimations her knowledge of Scripture goes much deeper than that which one can get from casual conversations. When I asked her if she believed that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel she was most definite that he was not. I went on to tell her that I believed that not everyone will be saved to which she responded, “I will take my chances.”

I left a little puzzled about her choice and wondered what I would ask her when next we met? I quickly decided on the question I had asked so many times before: what do you think happens to you when you die? It was my persistence in asking this very question of many, particularly Jewish, scholars that led me to seek God.

The next time I saw her I put the question to her. “What do you think happens to you when you die?” I told her she could think about it and we would talk the next time we met. She said she didn’t need to think about it, she already knew her answer.

“I came from dirt,” she said, “this life is all there is and I will become dirt when I die.”

I thought, “how does dirt know that it is dirt?”

I had the same attitude before I began walking with God, but it did not pass the test of time. I knew it was my choice to believe this, for whatever purpose it served.

Over and over, however, I said to myself, “How can this be by accident?” When I was SCUBA diving and looked at fishes in the sea or at the coral reef, when I hiked in the forest, when I visited the Zoo and marveled at the diversity of animals, when I looked up at the stars; I would say to myself, “Wow what an organized, systematic accident!”

I also looked at how I felt about other people, interacted with them, loved them, cared about them and wanted to be with them. For this I had no explanation in the absence of God. I had no choice but to change my false belief, if I wanted to be honest with myself.

Allow God into the picture and it all comes together.

Why take chances?  Feel free to contact us to know more. We would look forward to sharing the love of God and His Messiah with you.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of  New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Christianity, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Personal Stories, The Bible | No Comments »

All About Visiting Sadie

December 6th, 2011

Sadie (not her real name) is a Jewish widow that my wife, Esther, met in an Israeli Folk dancing class at the Jewish Community CentreSadie has a console record player and it was not working. Esther suggested that I could take a look at it and see if I could fix it.

We went to Sadie’s apartment and I sensed her joy just to have visitors, mixed with her scepticism that I would not be able to fix the record player. She proudly showed me her fifty or more year old console player, and I thought, “Oh no! What did I get into here?” (The record player is inside the console and therefore hard to work on.)

Esther and Sadie chatted as Esther asked her about the various photos around her apartment. Sadie shared about her children and grandchildren.

I am pleased to say I was able to make the record player work and went on to show Sadie how to operate it. We listened to a few songs.

Esther mentioned that Sadie has a problem with one of her eyes and that she fears that she is going blind. We asked her if we could pray for her and the look she gave us was somewhere between puzzled and sceptical. After a little prompting she agreed and I prayed for healing. Sadie  seemed on the verge of crying, she was so touched.

Sadie was overjoyed to have her record player working again and she offered to pay me. I declined, but she insisted that she take Esther and me to lunch one day. I look forward to hearing a little more about her life and sharing Gods love with her.

As we went about our way I thought, “This is what it’s all about: doing the work of God and changing people’s lives, one person at a time.”

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Evangelism, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Minority Report

November 21st, 2011

When I began working at New Covenant Forum, I was horrified at the thought of being seen in my “Jesus Loves You” t-shirt by the first person who knew me from my bike store. To my surprise, after many outreaches, I never met one person. Before long I began to be disappointed that it had not happened.

I was sitting behind the desk of our ‘Products Of Israel’ booth at the CNE, when I looked up to see an observant Jewish customer from my bike store. He looked at me twice over before knowing for sure it was me and then he greeted me.

He seemed puzzled to see me at the Products of Israel booth. When I stood up to greet him, he saw my “Jesus Loves You” t-shirt  and his puzzled look turned to confusion. After talking a bit, disbelief came over him as he realised we were Jews who confessed that Yeshua (Jesus) is the promised Messiah of Israel.

He made his certainty that this was not true very clear, and asked why I was doing this. I went on to share my heartfelt conviction that Yeshua was Messiah and  that I closed my bike store to serve him.

All the time his wife was trying to get him to stop talking to me and move on. She wanted no part of the discussion or for him to continue it, yet his previous interactions with me at the bike store made him want to pursue the conversation.

In short time she won over and they moved on, and I had encountered my first customer. I prayed for him and the seed I had just planted.

About three weeks later I was in the York Farmers Market, when this same man showed up. He came right up to me and told me he was very bothered by having seen me at the CNE. When I asked him why, he told me that what I was doing was wrong.  Again, I asked him why?  He said that what I believed was not true; it was not what others believed.

I pointed out that there were very many Jewish people in the world who had come to know Yeshua as their Messiah, the promised One of Israel. They worship in churches and Messianic congregations all over the world, including in Israel.

He insisted that most Jews  in Israel and around the world do not believe this, so I am wrong.  In response I pointed out that many more people in the world do not believe in the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob than do believe in Him, though we did. Does this make us both wrong? Does this mean God does not exist? “Of course not,” he responded.

Being in the majority does not make one right, any more than being in the minority makes one wrong. God, after all, is a majority of one.

Do you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the living God of Israel?  Do you believe in the God of the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).

At New Covenant Forum, we do not just believe it.  We do all we can to live it. Feel free to contact us, so we can share with you how you can receive the minority report about Yeshua.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Evangelism, Following God, Israel, Jesus and Israel, Jesus and Jews, Jewish Identity, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, Messiah, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

Forgiveness

November 15th, 2011

I was at a presentation during Holocaust Education Week. This talk was dealing with Polish issues; more specifically about those people who just stood by and said nothing. It was well presented and I found it enlightening that there are, to this day, new discoveries as well as new avenues to research, but it is not about this that I write.

After the presentation they opened the floor up to questions.  Lo and behold, the first two people at the microphone, who I believe came early to get front row seats, were the same two individuals who had been at a presentation a few nights before, also dealing with Polish issues.

This evening, the hosting Rabbi asked that questions be kept to one or two sentences since we had only 15 minutes.

The first man, a child of Holocaust survivors, started by saying this was not the first presentation where the ambivalence of the speakers bothered him. He said that the suffering of his parents was the motive for his presence.

You could sense his unhappiness and desire to seek restitution; to hold someone accountable for what had happened to his parents.  In this case, the accountability lay at the doorstep of the evening’s speakers.

He directed his questions at the speakers as though they were the very perpetrators of the hideous Nazi crimes. Imagine! He was not even alive at the time of the atrocities.

After venting his feelings for a time he finally did ask a question: “What is Poland doing about it today?”  But I sensed his sole purpose for being there was to talk about himself and his issues and have someone acknowledge his case.

The second man was a much older man.  He was disdainful of the speakers’ considering themselves as experts on the topic. He was a Holocaust survivor.  He was there, in Poland.  He knew what really went on.  He was about to begin a long-winded story, as he did at the previous event, when the Rabbi stepped in and stopped him from continuing.

Both these men came to tell their story, rather that to listen to the presentation or to learn something or to even ask a question.  Just as I had witnessed night after night, I sensed a question and answer session was not going to happen here, so I got up and left.

All the time, however, I thought, “Forgiveness!  Forgiveness! Forgiveness!! That is what they need to free themselves from the bondage of their bitter thoughts.”

While driving home, I thought about my best friend’s dad. He was a great supporter of the Jewish people, the State of Israel and B’nai Brith.   I looked up to him and admired this man as a mensch (Yiddish for an upright man).

When he heard that I had come to know Jesus as my Messiah, the first and only thing he could say was, “after what they did to us in history!?” It was not about disagreeing, or what he believed in, or even what had happened to him, but “what they did to us.”

I have heard it said that the Holocaust is a central defining theme of Jewish identity today.  If that is so then it can be said that unforgiveness is the bondage of Jewish people today. For it is hard to find a Jewish person alive who is not bitter to the point of hatred over the Holocaust.

I am not trying to say that what happened was right or justifiable; it was not even explainable. “Where was God?” we ask.  But as one man put it: “where was man?”

I once had a conversation with a woman who, as a result of her experiences in the Holocaust, did not believe in God. I pointed out that it was man, not God, who did such horrific acts. She responded that it was not man, but God, who did the crimes. Her explanation?  The Bible says God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27), and so God is ultimately responsible!

As a result of my experiences at Holocaust Education Week, I now have much more insight into why we study history in an effort to change today and tomorrow. But forgiving is not forgetting, and forgiving sets you free.

When we see people as God does, and when we forgive as easily as God does, we are set free.

Yeshua said,

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Matthew 6:14-15

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Jewish Objections to Jesus, Personal Stories, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

So, what are you going to do next?

October 25th, 2011

The fall feasts have come and gone: Rosh Hashannah, (Leviticus 23:23-25) Yom Kippur, (Leviticus 23:26-32), Sukkoth (Lev 23:33-43) and Simchat Torah (which is a rabbinic festival, not a biblical one).

So has anything changed in your life? Do you feel that your sin has been atoned for? Are you thankful to God for having kept you another year? Are you joyous for having completed reading the Torah and excited to be starting over? Do you know for sure if your name is inscribed in “Book of Life?”

Or are you just feeling under the weather and already tired of the autumn gloom after a week of rain and no sunshine? Are you missing summer and thinking ahead to a long cold winter, worried about making it to spring!

I ask you, did you participate in the fall feasts as a matter of routine (that is, physically), or as a matter of coming before the living God (that is, spiritually)?

When you got up this morning did you thank God for bringing you to another day? Or do you just feel burdened, and wish you did not have to go to work?

God has a solution for you:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matt 11:28-30)

Do you know God and have you made Him the central part of your life?  God is inviting you to rest in Him – in his Son, Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. ”
(Isaiah 55:6)

I propose that today is as good a day as any to change your next year. Why not start the year differently? Read the Scriptures while seeking God’s will for your life. You are part of God’s plan. Why not make Him part of yours?

“If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have got!”

We here at New Covenant Forum would be pleased to give you a copy of the Scriptures and any assistance you would like on how to read and study them. Just contact us.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Following God, Jewish festivals, Knowing God, Messiah, The Bible, This, That, The Other Thing | No Comments »

A New Covenant

October 14th, 2011

 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house  of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.  But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34

Forgive: to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence or mistake.

Atone: to make amends or reparation for ones transgressions against God.  In the Tanakh (the Hebrew Scriptures) the Hebrew means to make a covering for ones sins.

Covenant: Theologically, a solemn agreement between God and his people.

Now this is good news!  God will forgive your sins!  Also, you will no longer have to think about who is right in their interpretation of the Law and how it should be carried out.

You will have a New Covenant!

It won’t be like the one God made with your fathers. They had to sacrificing animals to atone for their inability to follow the Law (the Torah).

And it won’t be anything like what the rabbis have come up with because they would not put their faith in the New Covenant.  Theirs is not based on God’s covenant at all!

This new covenant will be in your heart and in your head.  You will believe it, you will feel it, and you will live it.

Now this is truly good news!

This New Covenant is Yeshua (Jesus)!

“If you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9

Then you will be in Covenant with the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  That’s where I want to be!

If you are not there yet, we would like to hear from you so we can talk about how to be in Covenant with God.

Contributed by Alan Friesner: a Jewish believer in Yeshua on the staff of New Covenant Forum.

Posted in Alan Friesner, Atonement, Following God, Jesus and Jews, Jews and Jesus, Knowing God, New Covenant, The Bible | No Comments »

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