• What JGIG Is:

    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forrest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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  • Broken Links – UGH

    Do you find it frustrating when you’re directed to a link that does not exist? Me too! My apologies for any broken links you may find here.

    JGIG occasionally links to to sites that sometimes change hosting sites or remove content, forums that periodically cull threads, sites/posters that appear to ‘scrub’ content from their sites (or YouTube posts, pdf files, etc.) when that content receives negative attention, and others that over time simply cease to exist.

    Please let me know via the ‘Contact JGIG’ drop-down menu item under the ‘About’ tab at the top of this page if you come across a link that is broken so that I can try to repair or remove it. Please include the name of the post/article where you found the broken link as well as the link itself. You may be able to find content specified by doing a search and viewing a relocated or cached page/post/video.

    Thanks,
    – JGIG

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Happy Resurrection Day! \o/

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Blessings to all as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!

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~~~ \o/ ~~~

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He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

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Hebrew Roots Movement and Children – Testimony

If you are a child whose parents have come out of  ‘churchianity’ and embraced the Hebrew Roots Movement or another similar Law-keeping view of the Scriptures, what is your view of the Gospel?  Following is the testimony of one young man whose family spent several years pursuing Torah observance.  Many thanks to Sondra (8thDay4Life) and her now 18-year-old son Jesse for allowing this post to be shared here at JGIG.  When you go to Sondra’s site, be sure to scroll down through the Recent Posts section in the sidebar . . . there’s lots of good stuff there written with a tender spirit and a humble heart.

As with other testimonies at JGIG, this post will also appear on the Testimonies Page here at JGIG.

If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HRM), please email me at joyfullygrowingingrace@gmail dot com.  From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience.  Many thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to contribute here.

Every blessing,
-JGIG

HRM and Children

Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving!   I have so many things to be thankful for this year, more than ever.  And no material blessing can come close to watching my children learn to know and trust God, to see His Spirit working in them.

Below my 18 year old son graciously agreed to share his perspective of what the HRM environment was like for a young heart and mind.  He saw this world through a completely different lens, one without the filters of denial that protected us as adults.

As a parent, I was heartbroken to learn this is what I put my older children through, and that I could not see I was continuing the cycle of how I was raised in  a legalistic environment.  Only recently have they both begun to share with me the effect the atmosphere and teaching had on them.   This post is the fruit of a heart-to-heart talk my son and I had that went till 2:00 a.m.  The Law did its job.. exactly as it was intended to do.  But the Remedy was seldom mentioned, and if it ever was, heavily qualified with conditions, both in words and our attitudes we projected.  I grieve not only for my own kids, but the several others that we had direct influence on.  I pray God can also bring good out of this in their lives, as He has for Jesse.

I saw a marked change in Jesse when God brought him to Grace.  He was already an amazing son, with a naturally compliant, loving temperament, but he went from “good” to ALIVE.. and that was visibly evident.

Jesse’s Story

Christians today are taught to be more tolerant of different beliefs, sometimes they don’t see the harm in what appears to be a slight doctrinal difference. Yet people are living in bondage not only to sin, but to their own beliefs as well. Another thing that is often overlooked is how alternate beliefs or perspectives can affect children; how they view God, themselves, and the rest of the world. I’m sharing my testimony in hopes that someone will see the danger of the Hebrew Roots Movement.

It started when I was about nine years old. My parents were under the impression that if they did more to please God, that God would bless the family more. The basic idea was that if we kept the law of Moses, and observed all the feasts (old covenant holidays), God would be pleased with us. When we made this change, my mother told me it was just an observation, more like adopting a new culture. We were gaining a new insight into what life and religion was like back in Bible times.

Soon after, we started attending a study group (or as they say in the Hebrew Roots, ‘Congregation’) based at a facility where children with disabilities could ride horses. My friends and I would play out there for hours while our parents would sit together and study the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).

A few years went by, we had been to a few different groups by that time, and eventually had started our own with friends we had made the whole time. I was a little older by this time, and I was listening to what the adults were saying. My mother still believed in Jesus, and the sacrifice he had made for our sins, and she thought I believed the same way, but it wasn’t exactly the case.

I believed Jesus died and rose again for my sins, but the obsession with the Law that everyone had gave me the impression I had to keep all 613 commandments to be saved. None of it made sense to me. How could Jesus die for me and still expect me to live a perfect life? I knew I wasn’t able to do it, and as hard as I tried to be perfect, I believed I was headed straight for Hell. I remember crying out to God on several occasions, pleading for mercy, and thinking to myself , “You don’t deserve it, He won’t listen to you”.

Not long after I turned 14, God led my parents out of the Hebrew Roots Movement, and we started going to a Baptist church. I was relieved to know at this point that I didn’t have to follow the Law of Moses to be saved, and that I just had to let Christ into my heart. But it wasn’t until I went with that Baptist church on a week long mission trip to Kansas that I actually got saved. The mission trip I went on to reach others, was really meant for me, so I could be saved. I remember sitting in the church building, my pastor giving us a sermon after dinner, and seeing the pulpit had a cross on the front. While I was listening, I started focusing on the cross. Being the 14 year old boy that I was, I started to think about how the cross looked like a sword, and how Jesus defeated sin on the cross. The image was simple, but it was powerful to me, and God changed my heart right there. I was free!

I know people go through much worse than I have, in a sense, I’m very blessed to have suffered very little, though when I look back now, I don’t so much see myself as I do another 10 year old boy, in torment, feeling unworthy of God’s presence, of His mercy. I hope that in writing this, someone will spare themselves, and their children of the bondage that is in the Hebrew Roots movement.

But until today, when Moses is being read, a veil lies on their heart. But whenever it turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. And the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord Spirit.         2 Corinthians 3:15-18

(Jesse said when he wrote this out, he opened his Bible for a reference, and his bookmark was on this Scripture!  God’s exclamation point!)

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Again, many thanks to Sondra and Jesse for sharing their story.  The following diagram came to mind as I read Jesse’s story . . . one much like the one I saw when I was eight years old and which made it so clear to me that the Way to God is found only in Christ:

One thing that I’d like you to take notice of in the above illustration is that Jesus paid the penalty for SIN, not just for the penalty of the LAW.  In discourse with those who pursue Torah I have found this to be a distinction – how do they view (and communicate) the work of Christ?

Was the work of the Cross meant to

  • pay for the penalty parts of Mosaic Covenant Law, making just those parts and the sacrificial portion of the Law obsolete, keeping every other part of the Law in place (if you think this is the case, then please provide contextual Scripture to support that view), or
  • pay the penalty for sin in a primary sense, restoring the spiritual life lost at the Fall when Adam sinned?

Romans 5:12-20
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ephesians 2:4-10
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

It’s all about Jesus!

Having faith in

Who He is.

What He did.

Walking in Him.

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Edited to add 8/14/13 – I wasn’t quite sure where to add this link, so I’ll just pop it in here.  I hope it does not go unnoticed.  This is part 3 of a testimony from a man who was brought up under the legalistic teachings of Bill Gothard during his childhood.  I include this here because many of the families I got to know through the Momys Digest were faithful followers of Gothard’s IBLP and ATI courses/camps/conferences.  Many of those families ‘progressed’ into Torah observance; it really was a natural progression, and for them brought an ‘authenticity’ to stuff they were already doing, as Gothard incorporates many OT laws in his teachings.  The following is available from a site called, Recovering Grace – A Gothard generation sheds light on the teachings of IBLP and ATI.  I found that Part 3 of the following testimony fit in really well with Jesse’s story above, going into more of the transformation that the author experienced and continues to experience in Grace as an adult.  

Two more pages that you may find interesting, as they cover a lot of ground regarding legalism:

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If you’re someone in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE.  For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page.  General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE.  Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE.  Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well.   Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.  May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.

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Other related articles available at JGIG:

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Testimony – thatonechick’s Story

It is with a grateful heart that I’ve received yet another testimony.  This one came as an email recently and is a great blessing to me and to others who contend for the Gospel in the arena with those who pursue Torah.  Many thanks to “thatonechick” for the following. 

This testimony will also appear on the Testimonies Page here at JGIG.

If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HRM), please email me at joyfullygrowingingrace@gmail dot com.  From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience.  Many thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to contribute here.

Keep ’em coming!  Testimonies are a powerful witness to the Gospel of Christ!  Thank you!

Every blessing,
-JGIG

 

thatonechick’s Story

When I originally considered Torah observance, I wasn’t really aware that I was even looking for a way to observe Torah.  I didn’t even really know the word Torah.  I was looking for a denomination that wasn’t the same as what I was a part of growing up.  I went to a Southern Baptist Church growing up, and stopped going in my late teens because I felt like I was attending a hypocritical, judgmental social club rather than a church.  I looked into several, and had heard of Messianic Judaism from someone I know.  I was mildly curious, but my curiosity didn’t last very long and then I moved on.

A few months ago, I became convinced that observing Torah was extremely important.  I came to believe that it was almost essential to salvation.  I kept thinking, “He said go and sin no more, did He not?”  Thus, began my journey into observing Torah.

But, I found myself on an emotional roller coaster.  It was bothersome.  I have learned some things along the way.

I no longer observe Torah in the sense that “Torah Keepers” do.  As I stand outside the box, I look back in and see some things that I now find a little disturbing.

First of all, the idea of using Father’s real name and the real name of His Son as opposed to the ones I learned as a child seemed almost a salvational issue.  I can’t speak for ALL Torah observers, but I can say that I know of some who at at least one point, believed that calling on any name besides Yahweh or Yeshua was like calling on empty space, or even satan himself.  I even almost believed it myself. 

But, I now find it very hard to believe that it is wrong to use God or Jesus.  One issue is that Jesus said to call God Father.  So why do some insist that we MUST use Yahweh?  I have heard the argument that Jesus is a paganized name for Zeus.  I find this arguable at best.  I myself was saved using the name Jesus.  I know that many people were saved using the name Jesus throughout history.  I know that the Holy Spirit has been with me for a long time now, and not when I suddenly started saying Yahweh and Yahushua.

Not to mention I have seen Jesus’ Hebrew name spelled and pronounced several ways, which in itself, goes against the argument that we MUST use His correct name.  How can we say that when it is spelled and pronounced so many ways? Yeshua, Yashua, Yahushua, Yahowushua, Y’shua and on and on.

I have no problems or hostilities with using our Heavenly Father’s name, if that’s what He wants.  But Jesus said to call Him Father.  This promotes a family unit.  I believe He wants us to draw near to Him as we would our dads.  As humans, we typically revere our earthly fathers and respect and honor them, and love them.  We go to them when we are sad, lonely, or happy.  We seek guidance, acknowledgement, understanding, forgiveness, and protection.  I believe this is the kind of relationship God wants.  Not fear, but love and trust.

After following Torah as best as I could (which wasn’t that great in my opinion) I came across the terms “Spirit” and “Letter” of the Law.  This was something new to me.  So I looked into these ideas, and suddenly I began to question what I was doing.  Was I pulling myself away from the Spirit in following the letter?  I was unsure.  I often felt like I didn’t know who Jesus was anymore.  I didn’t find myself relating to Him very often.

I knew that Jesus became our sacrifice, and our High Priest.  I knew that WE became the temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell.  I started to think, how is it that He replaced some of these things but not all.  Everything was a shadow, something to point towards Him, but was it all things?

I remembered one time, someone mentioned that Jesus WAS our Sabbath.  I never heard that growing up.  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.  I also remember reading once, that ALL the 10 commandments besides the Sabbath was reiterated by Jesus in the Gospels.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Interesting that He didn’t really talk about resting on Sabbath, but He did say rest in Him.

This also got me to thinking about which Laws are written on our hearts.  I realize now that the moral Laws are most definitely written on our hearts.  At least I know this for myself. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, and so on and so forth. In fact He even expounded on them not just physically but spiritually,  by saying it’s wrong to even THINK about doing these things.  Is the sacrificial law written on our hearts?  Not really.  Except for when we accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, and received the Holy Spirit.  But this is received in Spirit.  Not on paper.  But I don’t feel that the 7th day rest is written on my heart, or even the feasts.

If morality of the Law is written on our hearts spiritually, and the remaining law wasn’t, then it remains the “letter” of the law.  That part was nailed to the cross.  The reason it was “nailed to the cross” is because those things are now found in our Savior.  And He was nailed to the cross.

Another thing I am failing to understand is the idea that the New Testament was translated wrong, or that we are just simply misunderstanding it.  I believe the message is simple, and that simple message can be translated in all languages. The premise, that we must learn Hebrew or Aramaic to understand what is being said, seems, well, ludicrous to me.  How can I ask people in the poorest parts of the world, who possibly can’t even read or write in their own language, to learn Hebrew in order to understand what is being said throughout the New Testament.  No.  That’s unrealistic.

What about the feasts?  We know that the feasts pointed towards Christ, but do we still observe them?  I think we certainly can, but some people say it’s demanded.  That the feasts are still honored in order to remember what Jesus did on the cross (or pole or stake as some insist), but isn’t this what the Lord’s supper is for?  Jesus said eat this bread and drink this drink in remembrance of me.

I now find it somewhat amusing, seeing some people struggle to celebrate these feasts on their own, having no real guidance in how to do it, and when one denies Rabbinical teaching, what can you do?  I see people getting the dates wrong, and not observing it properly, even as said in the Bible.

I don’t understand the obsession with all things pagan, and what they may or may not have represented.  I have heard that the names God and Jesus are pagan, along with Sunday, the Cross, church steeples, Christmas, Easter, the names of the days of the week, wedding rings, and so on and so forth. 

I think this obsession overwhelms and consumes some people.

As I observed Torah, I began to feel depressed, condemned, and less Christian than I have ever felt before, even when I was leading a less than righteous life.  And what’s with people not even wanting to claim the title “Christian”?  Insanity.

I again saw a comment regarding the “Spirit of the Law” vs. the “Letter of the Law”. What was this, I wondered.  I began to look and these are some of the things I began to realize.

Colossians 2:16-18 (King James Version)
16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

I have heard people say that the Colossians were all Gentile, and therefore the people who would be giving them a hard time would be non-christian gentiles.  Why then, in vs. 17 would Paul call the things listed in vs. 16 a “shadow of things to come”, would non-christian gentiles even know of these shadows?  I think not.  The reality is, the congregation was made up of Gentiles AND Jews.  Look at vs. 18.  Who was worshipping angels?  I am still looking into this.  But the evidence I found suggests that the Jews (some of them) prayed to angels as intermediaries to Father.

My experience with other Hebrew Roots people has been on the internet.  People that I have met through forums or articles I have read through various sources.  It’s no surprise to me that many of these people feel the same way I felt in a sense.  When you embrace Hebrew Roots, you suddenly feel the need to witness to people who ALREADY BELIEVE in Jesus. This is neglecting non-believer’s in a terrible way.  We are to spread the Gospel to all nations, not to people who already have the Holy Spirit as their guidance.

When you embrace Hebrew Roots, you start to feel guilty about every aspect of your life, questioning every move you make, and thinking that if you screw up, you could, well, be screwed.  

I felt fallen from grace.

I notice that many people who embrace this movement, first of all deny they are in the movement, but also they are often arrogant, judgemental, condemning, nasty, hateful, and prideful.  Once I embraced this movement, I noticed these qualities in myself.  It’s like you automatically feel prideful and self righteous.  It was so stupid, and that was shameful on my part.

And what’s with this obsession with being the least or greatest in Heaven? I don’t think that should be our goal in life.  We should be loving and caring for people.  Not trying to beat them in some spiritual race to get to the top.

Another thing I noticed, is how some regard Torah so much more than the Gospels.  The Gospels show the light of the shadows of Torah.  It seems strange to me.

Once I started seeing the spiritual aspect of my faith, I found it harder to accept the letter or physical aspect as binding.

I believe that many many Torah keepers are honest about their faith, and they honestly believe they should be doing this and that they honestly believe they should be telling (warning) others that they should be doing this.  I have met some very generous and very kind people, but I can no longer believe what they believe.  All I want is the truth, and I don’t think they hold it.

I prayed often every day to be shown the truth.  I was never fully convinced of everything and often felt like I was wrong, but wasn’t sure how because many things “seemed” right about the movement.  I thank our Father so much for showing me the light in the shadows and giving me His guiding hand to lead me out.  If it wasn’t for Him, well, I don’t know what.

I just wanted to share my side of it.  I apologize that this is not more in depth, nor does it sound like I am all that educated **smile**, but I feel that this movement is from the wrong kind of spirit, and if I am wrong so help me God.

Thank you so much for listening to what I had to say.  I hope it helps in the fight against this “movement”.  I feel like it’s taking advantage of people who have good intentions but get mixed up in the wrong thing.  I partially feel like God sent me there to help me understand WHY I am saved and WHY He sent His son.  But another part of me thinks that there are bad spirits involved.  I am just glad I am out and glad I am saved.  Praise God!  I love Him!

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Thanks again, to “thatonechick” for sharing her heart with us here.   

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See also:

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Testimony – Serioussly S’african’s Story

It is with a grateful heart that I’ve received another testimony.  This one came as an email recently and is a great blessing to me and to others who contend for the Gospel in the arena with those who pursue Torah.  Many thanks to “Serioussly S’african” for the following. 

This testimony will also appear on the Testimonies Page here at JGIG.

If you have a testimony you’d like to share about coming out of the Hebrew Roots Movement (or a variation of the HRM), please email me at joyfullygrowingingrace@gmail dot com.  From talking to those who have come out of Law-keeping sects, I understand that it can be a difficult thing to write about the experience.  Many thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to contribute here.

Every blessing,
-JGIG

  

Howzit from Sunny, Beautiful South Africa

Wow what an incredible journey the past 5 weeks has been. I thought I had found a new and exciting “family” of serious believers, scholars and lovers of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of our journey (cos it sounds like everyone elses!!) but I am just grateful that I came across your website within a month or so of being “sucked in” to this movement.

I can detect from your various articles, testimonies and discussions that most of us have been disappointed with mainstream churches, are independent, are desperately searching for the Truth and yes I am also a homeschool Mum.

The whole family of us rushed off to a HRM weekend (only 3 beautiful children not 7!) on the weekend of my 43rd birthday, 14 May 2011 (another HRM no no among various pagan holidays including Christmas, Easter and Birthdays). We LOVED it!  We bought the dvd’s and were enthralled with the message. 

How could we have been so deceived – only receiving “half” of God’s Truth.  We had neglected our roots and more than half of God’s Word ie THE TORAH, THE TANACH, THE HEBREW PROPHETS.  We enrolled to begin Hebrew classes and an in depth study of The Torah.  We had to get back to our roots, to study to prove ourselves and learn all we could. 

Having studied Psychology and Linguistics this study was right up my street.  In fact, I became know as a “Torarist” because I had become outspoken against precious, mainstream evangelical pastor friends of mine and had even had the audacity to haul them over the coals over celebrating Easter.  (Cringe – I have subsequently publicly apologised to them and told them that I am once again “joyfully growing in grace”!).

I could not get enough.  I was addicted.  I would watch HRM preachers for hours through the night enthralled at their awesome revelations and deep, ancient insights.  Wow four different levels of interpretation, Two Houses of Judah, us vs the Arabs, never mind the Roman Catholics, Islam was now the Beast, End Time Prophecy through Hebrew eyes, the analogies, allegories, meanings within meanings, THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY, whoa never mind that just the MYSTERY ……. then it hit me . . . “enthralled” . . . “addicted”.  I had been heavily involved in the New Age before becoming Christian and I could sense the same excitement I had at the “MYSTICISM” of the New Age and the age old lie that “did the Lord your God really say that?”.  

Nothing new under the sun.

It was the mean and judgemental “fruits” that were squeezing the life out of me that made me look for critiques of the HRM. 

I must admit when I typed in a popular HRM pastor’s name and “heretical teaching” next to their name on Google, I actually thought there would be little or no representation, after all God is Holy, His Laws are Holy, the Torah contains His Laws, The Torah must be Holy and mandatory for us Christians to follow (forgive the simplistic argument but I do not want to write a thesis!!).  Well up your website came and I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit spoke straight to me and took me to 2 Corinthians 3 and the whole of Galatians.  He loves us, He speaks plainly to us if only we will listen, and keep our faith like a child’s.

I pray we find a mature, Bible-based church in our area where we are going to settle in, offer our time, talents and resources and be accountable as Believers in our Lord and Saviour who tells us plainly that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it!

Thank you for your fastidious research, your intelligent articles and the love and grace you show all people who come to your website, including those who show no genuine fruits and those who hurl insults and fallacious arguments at you. (Feel free to edit my testimony as we have enough problems to deal with in our beloved country without me having to contend with mockers and hair splitters).

Kind regards
Serioussly S’african

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Thanks again, to Serioussly S’african, for her very brief but effective testimony!  I wish I could cover that kind of ground with so few words! 

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See also:

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A New Reality

The last couple of weeks have been eventful indeed for our family.  This post will be a departure from the norm here at JGIG to share some personal occurrences in our family, as well as fill you in as to why posts here have been a bit sparse lately.

Some of you know already that I am very pregnant with baby #7, due to arrive late July to early August.  So I just haven’t had the energy to put into much of anything right now!  I have some posts rolling around in my head and in drafts that I’d like to get posted, but am just pooped most of the time at this point in the pregnancy, so the posts go undone.

Add to the above our recent family crisis . . .

Our 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with sudden onset juvenile diabetes about a week and a half ago.  It was both a scary and an incredibly busy week, with her in the hospital for 4 days (2 of them in intensive care), juggling our 6 other children and hubby and I alternating times at the hospital and arranging times that we could be there together for education about our daughter’s new condition.

The balance of this post will relay our experience, in the form of daily updates that we sent out to our church and family.  Though not terribly common, juvenile diabetes is not rare, and my hope is that our experience will possibly aid other parents to identify or rule out diabetes in their own children should there seem to be a “bug” their child is just having a tough time kicking.  Hopefully none of you ever has to go through this, but our experience may help you to identify a potential illness in your child.

I’ve edited the following slightly to maintain our relative anonymity.  More to follow below.

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“Sally” is in the hospital diagnosed with diabetes.  She’s at a nearby hospital right now and will be transferred to the Children’s Hospital when they have her stabilized.  They expect to have her there for several days. Please pray for “Sally” and her family.  I’m sure her parents will send out more information when they have it.  – J.J.

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Sally’s Dad here.  What a day and a half.  Thank you all for praying.  I really realize more and more how much each little word can make an impact before our Heavenly Father’s throne.

Here is the deal . . . Sally was ill two weeks ago Sunday morning with vomiting.  She was ill for a day and then had a low grade fever for three days.  The next day she was riding her bike in her jammies and got in trouble for it.  Back to her normal bubbly self.

We had noticed that she has been sprouting lately and had grown an inch and a quarter since Feb and a half inch in the last three weeks alone.  She had thinned up and we simply thought that it was due to the growth.  She looked pale this past week and we sensed that she wasn’t well but thought she’d pop out of it with rest or simply getting past her spurt.

Saturday we got up really early and went  for a 10 am graduation for my niece, about an hour and a half away.  She looked sallow and had difficulty catching her breath as we crossed a large lawn quickly. She was in good spirits but many relatives asked her if she felt OK during the day.  She said, cheerfully, yes.  We went two hours further to another graduation and headed  for home about 9 o’clock.  We were about five miles from home and she woke up and barfed in the van.  Interestingly, I had a dream a night or two before about “Sally” being ill and barfing.  Hmmmm.

Sunday was a rest day and she looked awful.  We measured her and found the half inch of additional growth.  Then she weighed herself.  She was down fifteen pounds.  We were aghast.  How do you miss that?  She had literally disappeared these last few days.  I looked at her more carefully and she was really skinny.  Were did Sally go to?

We called the doctor and told the symptoms.  They recommended an appointment today at 11.  After a pee cup was processed we were immediately whisked across the street to the ER with a nurse to go along.  Sally got put on fluids and insulin with a diagnosis of diabetes at age 7.  Wow.  My dad was diabetic all my life.  This will take some time to soak in.  But praises in the midst…I am soooo thankful for diabetes and not other things I thought about.

In the mean time, Sally is in the Pediatric ICU at the Children’s Hospital now for extra close supervision.  She was transferred at 80 miles an hour with lights and siren from the local ER.  Wendy asked the EMT if they were “told” to go fast or if the lights and siren and speed were for Sally.  He told Wendy “It’s for her.”  Sweet.  She is not critical now but is in serious condition.  They feel her blood chemistry has bottomed and her blood sugar will get resolved in time.  She was in complete metabolic acidosis (we now know the proper term for her condition at the time is diabetic ketoacidosis).  She is a trooper and in capable hands.  By the way, her blood sugar was at 315 at the ER to give you an idea.  It was down to 197 when I returned home to tend to our other kids.

AJ_diabetic_ketoacidosis

I hope this isn’t too long but I thought you might like to know more detail.  This has been an emotional day.  No one has overtly said so, but I have the strong impression that she didn’t have much longer to go until she would have been in real trouble.  I feel really bad as does Wendy, but really thankful all the same.  Our Children’s Hospital nurse told us that these cases manifest in so many different ways that they are hard to see.  I understand that.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

By the way, I told Sally last night in a rich drawl that “wees gonna find out warts aylin ya” at the doctor.  She replied “Maybe a space ‘alien’ .”  She will be fine I’m sure.

All for now.  Blessings,

Sally’s Dad

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Hi All,

Wendy here.  I’m home (around midnight) and having some food and winding down from a big day.

Sally is in the PCCU at Children’s Hospital (Pediatric Intensive Care – she was there for 2 days in serious condition) . . . they hope to have her blood sugars and chemistry in relative normal ranges by sometime tomorrow, after which she can be moved to a regular room.  It’s a slow go and her blood is drawn and sugars and gasses are measured hourly, and they adjust meds accordingly.  They have to bring her down slowly or there is risk for swelling in the brain (she also had a brief neurological exam hourly to check for brain swelling).  I saw that hubby had written that her sugar level was down to 197 . . .  they actually brought it back up (to over 300) so it can come down more slowly in pace with her other blood gasses and chemistry.  The docs and nurses describe it as a fine balancing act, and one that is very closely monitored.

Sally has been a trooper . . . her greatest discomfort is two IV sites, one for meds and the IV, the other for hourly blood draws.  She’s very tired, but her color is better.  She’s looking forward to having the IV lines out and being able eat food.  She was also having a really hard time staying warm, but as her blood chemistry has improved, she’s warmed up (extra blanket helped, too).  Her top two coolest things about the experience so far is the ambulance transport ride from the local ER to the Children’s Hospital with the lights and sirens (the EMT guys were really great), and surprisingly watching the IV lines go in.  She said it hurt (they had a hard time getting good veins), but that how it all works is really cool =o).

Hubby and I are knowing that there’s a very important learning curve coming our way in the next couple of days and for the foreseeable future.  I’ve had a few good cries . . . one or two when we sensed that something was really wrong, and a few more after the diagnosis.  We are sobered on one hand, thankful on the other . . . things could have been so much worse, the diagnosis could have been so much more serious.  In the PCCU, we have had cases around us obviously more grave than what we face.  So we are thankful and resolved to settle into a new reality.

Thank you all for your prayers and email notes . . . they are an encouragement.

And a big thank you to those who are helping/supporting in concrete ways with childcare, etc.  We appreciate you =o).

I’m off to bed.  Hubby is at Children’s Hospital tonight with Sally.  I’ll be going back early in the day tomorrow.  We’ll update when we can.  

Thanks again, all.

Wendy

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Hi All,

Sally had a good day, overall, though it started off with a bit of vomiting.  Her body is getting back in balance, and unfortunately that’s just part of it.

Her siblings all got to see her in the PCCU today . . . something Sally had been asking for – she misses them a lot.  I think it did her a lot of good to see them . . . especially to spend a few minutes chatting with her sisters.  They all did a great job at the hospital – they made us very proud with their good behavior.  We also learned today that our 2-year-old is afraid of elevators – who’d a thunk?

Sally started eating at about 4pm and didn’t stop till 10pm.  No kidding.  She ate a total of 9 packets of saltines, a garden salad with Italian dressing, a bowl of chicken soup, 6 and a half LARGE fish sticks (with mayo), and a piece of pizza.  They said she could eat whatever she wanted . . . they took blood sugars and gave insulin accordingly.  They were just happy to see her eating (ME TOO!).  I felt much like a mother bird for most of the day, as she can’t feed herself because of her IV placement, and all was given in very small bites.  I enjoyed every moment =o).  She’s cleared to go to a regular room, just waiting for space.  So for now she’s still in PCCU, though the crisis has passed =o).  Sally was looking MUCH better by early evening . . . that wonderful sparkle and that sweet way she has about her was definitely coming back.  VERY good to see!

Tomorrow starts our education on life with diabetes.  Please pray that we understand and retain all the info.  Sally is starting to grasp that what she has is a condition and not just a sickness that we can get rid of.  We understand that the learning curve will be a process . . . we need to get up to speed fairly quickly, but to really have a handle on how life will be will be a process over the next several weeks and months.

Thanks again for all your prayers and email notes, and also to those who have been able to help with the practical needs we’ve had this week.  What a blessing you all have been and continue to be!

Bye for now,
Wendy

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Hi All,

A good day for Sally.  Hubby and I are exhausted, so this will be short.

Short version – Sally tested her own blood sugar twice today (she did GREAT), and Hubby and I have both given her an insulin shot.  Lots of education today from a great teacher.  We’ll be going over it again tomorrow and meeting with her Doctor.  Tons of info, and just the basics for now with lots more continuing ed. to come over time.

Sally was finally brought to a regular room this evening.  She could have gone into one last night, there was just not one available.  She and Hubby are glad for it . . . It’s more comfortable with a real bathroom and a much more comfortable sleeping situation for Hubby (relatively speaking) and a real door providing a much quieter environment.

Hopefully we’ll be bringing Sally home tomorrow evening.  Not a definite thing, but looking good for that possibility.  She ate well again today and continued to improve.  Her sugar numbers are still high, but will be coming down slowly over time (a matter of weeks) as docs learn how her body responds to sugar/insulin.  Her blood chemistry is good now, so she is feeling much better.

Off to bed in prep for another day.  I will return calls tomorrow AM.  Hubby didn’t notice the machine this evening when he brought the children home and did the bedtime routine.  I saw it blinking at me when I got home really late.  Sorry about that.  We’ve been going pretty much non-stop, juggling, learning, and walking through the emotions of this all from morning till late night for 3 days straight.

Thanks for your prayers.  Must sleep =o).

Wendy

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Sally’s Dad here.

Sally is home!!!  Praises to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!  We are soooooooo glad to be home!

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support.  To those that called, stopped by, brought meals, prayed, kept the other children….thank you!  You have served us so lovingly.  We’re exhausted, but richly blessed all the same.

Please pray also for Tori and her family.  She is in ICU still and critical. She was in the room next to us.  She is 17 and aspirated her own vomit. Tori is physically and mentally challenged, but very loved and loving and her family is dealing with this ongoing challenge.  They really don’t know where it will end.

Please pray for the family of the infant with a heart attacked by Strep B.  Five cases nationally.  The first four have died.  I met her grandmother and great aunt. They are not hopeful and can’t go home either.  They are four hours from home.

For the family I met today on the elevator that had been at Children’s Hospital for four months.  I don’t know why or anything.  Just that time humbles me.

You see a picture here.  I am staring at a pile of diabetic supplies tonight that will keep my daughter alive.  I am realizing that this is for the rest of her life barring a cure or a healing.  I realize that in all of this, we don’t have the issues facing these other families and many more like them still there tonight.  Wow!

Sally was thrilled to watch two helicopters land on the building out of our window today.  I was fascinated too, but I also know that it meant that two families’ lives might never be the same again.  I’m going to try to remember those anonymous folks up there in prayer.

Thanks again so much.  It was a huge blessing just to know you were there. We look forward to seeing you soon.  At the church picnic for a few of us actually.

Wendy might send her own summary.  That is all for me.

Much love,

Sally’s Dad
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Hi again All,

Just a quick note to let you know how Sally is doing.  She’s gained over 7 lbs. back since Thursday (I sent this update on Sunday), so that should give you some indication of how she’s eating =o).

She’s been doing all her own blood testing, and logging her numbers and insulin injections/amounts (I’ve been giving her the shots and have a “grown-up” log that I keep).  The diabetes team at Children’s Hospital has upped her insulin a little bit each of the past two days, but that’s to be expected to get her to her target blood sugar range.  Insulin
requirements will probably go up, then drop, then go up a bit again and level off over time from what I understand at this point.

It will be another busy week this week.  A follow-up pediatrician’s appt. tomorrow, an OB appt. for me on Wed., Hubby’s mom is coming for the day on Tues. with his sister and possibly her 4 girls.  And daily calls to Children’s Hospital to report the 5 blood sugar readings and 4 shots that Sally is getting.  Then more appointments over the coming weeks and months.  Yup, we’re settling into a new reality.  But it’s going well, and the emotions of it all are beginning to level out a bit.

Thanks again for all your prayers, emails, and your practical help.  We appreciate all of you!

Off I go . . . our Bottomless Pit aka Sally is having another snack, then a check of her blood sugar and off to bed =o).

Love you all,
Wendy

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So there you have it in a nutshell.  Sally came home Friday evening and we’ve been going non-stop since then with normal life, a few extras thrown in (Hubby took the rest of the children to the church picnic on Sat., church on Sun., follow-up with Sally’s pediatrician on Monday, Hubby’s mom for a day-visit on Tues. (along with aunt and
cousins).  I have an OB appt. on Wed. and then I think we are commitment-free for a few days =o).  Throw in 5 blood sugar tests and 4 injections a day with a daily call to the Children’s Hospital Diabetes Team to report all the numbers for Sally’s blood tests for tweaking of insulin doses and you can see where life is kind of non-stop!

All told, Sally is doing really well, gaining a good chunk of her lost weight back and handling “thinking like a pancreas” a novologreally well.  As parents, Hubby and I are settling into a new reality of having an insulin-dependant child and all that that entails.  After we picked up supplies from the pharmacy (2 types of insulin, syringes, test strips and a lot of other stuff), we sat on the couch and looked at the two bags full of things that would keep our daughter alive for the next 1-2 months.  Yup.  A new reality.

God has been so good . . . our church family has been a wonderful support in prayer and in the practical with childcare for our other children and supplying meals for our family when needed.  We are very blessed.  We are also grateful for a diagnosis that is a manageable condition . . . when we realized at the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend that Sally was more than just fighting a “tummy bug” and made her appt. with the pediatrician, we had a day or two (holiday weekend and the triage nurse I talked to seemed to think that she would be okay till Tues.) to look up some stuff with her symptoms online . . . many of which were much scarier than diabetes.  So though this is a life-changer for her and us, we know it could have been so much worse.

I’m learning to log blood sugars and administer (give shots) and log 2 different types of insulin, count carbs (not so much now, more after a couple of weeks as we learn how her Diabetes Team wants us to do it – continuing ed. is ongoing).  Sally is learning to log the info as well, in her own little log book.  She does all her own blood tests (she’s a pro now!) and I’ve been giving her her 4 shots per day.  This should be interesting when we have a newborn – between nursing and testing and injecting and counting . . .

A wise friend of mine told be a phrase that Elisabeth Elliot clung to after her husband Jim was killed and she was alone with their small child(ren) –  “Just do the next thing.”  It’s been a good phrase to have echo in the back of my mind.  Next week this will all be easier than this week, the week after better still.  We will have continuing education at Children’s Hospital for the foreseeable future, and should be pretty much up to speed by the time the baby comes.  Then I suppose for a while it will be back to “Just do the next thing” for a while as we get to know this new baby and adjust to what the baby’s and Sally’s schedules require.

Looking back (as is often the case), we can see where Sally’s symptoms lined up with a diagnosis of diabetes.  EVERY doctor and nurse that spoke with us reassured us that diabetes can be ambiguous in its presentation, and to not beat ourselves up over it.  A good list of symptoms to tuck away in your brain can be found at
http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/544/main.html#SymptomsofJuvenileDiabetes.

Though Sally did not exhibit all of the symptoms, she did exhibit most of them – the ones consistent with a persistent tummy bug.  Her peeing in a cup was all it took at the pediatrician’s office to quickly determine (at her stage of illness) what the trouble was.

Mostly we’re just thankful to be on this side of the crisis and to be on a navigable path.  And we are thankful that we live within 30 minutes of one of the top children’s hospitals in the country, with a top-notch juvenile diabetes team.  God has been gracious in so many ways over this eventful chunk of time in our family.  We would appreciate any prayers you feel led to pray for us.

spring-country-road

“God is Amazin’, id’n He?”

To those of you who may think I’ve fallen off the planet, I have not.  Okay, so the election did distract me a little . . . 

In spite of all that, I have continued to work on research for my next post.  That post has morphed into two or three posts, kind of being written simultaneously.  I’m in the process of placing the appropriate information in the appropriate places.  I’m checking all my facts, adding, editing and polishing, and when they’re ready, you’ll see them.

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This sweet account of God’s provision was passed on to me from one of the folks at church.  It touched my heart and I wanted to pass it on here.  

GoodSoil Ministries is located in Jellico, TN and serves the community in a number of different ways there, as well as affecting missions world-wide.  I’ve posted once before about GoodSoil and some of the work they do in Jellico.  That post, with video, is well worth a peek.  I especially like the music on the last half of the video – it stuck with me for days.  Take 10 minutes.  You will be blessed.  Click HERE to view “Jesus Changes People” .

This mass-email was originally from Steve Meeks of GoodSoil Ministries:  

This will only take a minute, but you gotta hear this story from Sunday….

Sunday evening, the church ate together after worshipping. I sat with Bobby and Larry–both less than 3 weeks old in Christ. Bobby is in his 60s; Larry is 22.

They talked. I listened (and ate).

“You know,” said Bobby, “I fed my horse the last bag of feed I had the other day. Honestly, Steve, I didn’t know where I was going to get the money to keep feeding him. So, I just left it to God.”

He continued in his slow quiet metered voice, “The next day Jeff (a neighbor) called me. He said, ‘I have a bag of feed over here for you. Come get it when you want to.'”

At that moment Larry jumped in (less metered, more excited and with youthful volume), “That’s just like me! I prayed for a job the other night and the next morning the phone woke me up and it was the motel asking if I could come to work!”

We grinned with pride in our Heavenly Father.  Bobby said, “God is amazin’, id’n He?”

It took parted waters to amaze some; ten plagues didn’t phase others, but here in Jellico a bag of horse feed and a minimum wage job have us on the edge of our seats!  I’m telling you……hearts are ripe here–riper than anyone ever imagined.  Keep praying out there, there is a harvest here…

Amazed as well,

Stephen Meeks

http://www.goodsoilministries.org/

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