As I was saying the prayers this morning, when I was meditating on the words of Yeshua as He taught the Talmidim to pray, “Deliver us from the Evil one,” for some reason two episodes from my past flooded through my mind, and the idea of sharing them here accompanied those thoughts. So, I am going to tell you all two stories.
I will start with the more recent.
I was working for a major oil company, and when I hired on with them about 11 years ago, they asked me if I would go to the Middle East if necessary. Seeing the immediate look of reluctance on my face, they said, knowing I am Jewish, “What if a trip to Israel was included?” “Now you’re talking!” said I. Four years later, the need arose for me to go to Oman, and the company kept their word and allowed me also to travel, first class, back through Israel. I was to go to Oman and meet with executives, and then go out into the desert to a huge oil patch, where about 7,000 people camped and ran the oil field, and assess the work that was being done on the systems I oversaw, and write a report with recommendations to solve issues. I was to take an expert from our software vendor with me to address a specific, known issue. This expert was a guy who was very, very intellectual, and I had worked with him on several occasions already. He was a very friendly guy, but worldly beyond the average person.
We flew to Oman, and we met with our liaison on that first day, and then checked into our hotel. We were staying in a five-star hotel in Muscat, Oman, that had several restaurants in it. I do not remember what night it was of our three nights there on the lead end of our trip, before going to the field, but we went to dinner in one of the several fancy restaurants. Mind you, we are sitting in a Muslim country, surrounded by Muslims. Being Jewish is not a ‘safe’ thing there; being a Messianic Jew would incur more trouble, if I were to be caught ‘evangelizing.’
So, we are sitting at dinner, and my travel companion, I will call him “Mikah” here, starts to ask me questions about my faith. After a brief description of what I believe, he shares with me, “Well, I’m an atheist; I don’t believe there is a G-d.”
Immediately I spewed: “O no you are NOT ! Because His Word says, “The FOOL says in his own heart, ‘there is no G-d,’ and you are NOT a fool!.” Mikah was stunned. And I began to tell Him of the Creator, to give him responses to all the typical reasons intellectuals say they don’t believe in special creation, responses I assess he had never heard before. And then I explained the B’sorah [Good News of Messiah] to him very, very plainly. Meanwhile, during all of this, our Muslim waiters are walking by, Saudi “Sheiks” are sitting only a few feet from us, and my hands are flying about as I’m passionately explaining things to him and answering questions. I’m certain my volume was a notch above. But it was as if we were in a bubble, and I am preaching my heart out, a Jew, in ‘enemy territory,’ declaring that Yeshua is the Son of the Most High God, and that Mikah knows deep down that he needs His Salvation.
There is so much more that happened on this trip, out in the oil patch, and back in the city again when we wrote our report and visited the execs again. But the part that I am going to finish with is that about a year later, after Mikah and I returned and he went back to Michigan, I was talking to a mutual colleague in California, and he told me that he had hired Mikah. This is a colleague and friend in whose house I taught scripture some two years before, ministering to his family and friends while on a business trip out there, where Mikah had helped us solve a major issue with the same product. He had overheard this colleague and I, I’ll call him Sean, talking all week long about Messiah and the Jewish nature of our faith. He had heard that I went out to Sean’s house for two or three evenings, teaching the Word. And I think this is why he asked that first question in Oman. On the phone that day, Sean told me not only that Mikah now worked for him, but also that he is a believer! Many times I had wondered if my efforts had availed anything; now I knew. I had basically risked my life sharing the B’sorah in a Muslim country, and had wondered if anything would ever come of it. After a year, I had heard that what had been planted in his heart in Oman had been watered by Sean, and others, and that a former ‘atheist’ is now one who trusts in the Son of Elohim, Messiah Yeshua, for salvation. There is NO GREATER JOY than to hear when someone is transformed from darkness to light, from death to life!
The second story is similar, but happened back in 1992 in Beaumont, Texas.
I had just gotten out of the Navy, met my future wife, and started a job at a government-contracted company that hired Navy vets almost exclusively. There were about thirty men working on site. I was very open about my faith [had just discovered the Sabbath and the feasts, and their relevance], and was very vocal about the ‘state’ of our country, even then. Many stories emerge from the short time I worked there, miraculous things. But, the one I’m about to tell is the most meaningful, and the one that came to my mind this morning, along with the unction to share it.
One person on that crew was most unpleasant. He was rude, foul-mouthed, hateful, and had started several fist-fights. He is also a ‘Sean.’ I kept away from him simply because he was not a pleasant person. I had been ‘ministering’ to our boss quite a bit, and many other people on the job, including singing gospel with a soulful black man, starting a lunch-time bible study, etc. Everyone knew my position on most matters of public discussion.
One day, I was eating lunch, and Sean was sitting directly across from me, three tables away. I had an inner ‘unction’ to share the B’sorah with him, more precisely, to tell him that Yeshua [Jesus] loved him. It was not a thing I relished doing, so I delayed, and thought, “if I finish my lunch and he is still here, I’ll do it.” I slowly ate my lunch. To my chagrin, he was lingering as well. Then, as I was packing my lunch box up, he got up and started walking toward the door behind me. Suddenly, I caught that ‘spiritual wind’ and fell in behind him and tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Sean, I need to talk to you.” “I know what you’re going to say, and I don’t want to hear it,” he gruffly replied. “I will say what I have to say, and I will never bother you again, but I want you to hear me,” I said, following him out the next door. He stopped, looked at me intently and said, “I was raised in a preacher’s home, and I don’t want anything to do with you hypocritical Christians.” To that I said, “Well, certainly there hare hypocrites who call themselves Christians, but you won’t be able to blame them on Judgment day for your sins. I just wanted to tell you that Yeshua loves you.” Immediately he replied, “If you knew me, you’d hate me, so don’t give me that garbage.” Immediately I knew he was a homosexual, though he certainly showed no sign of it. “I’m sure I would not; I don’t care what you’ve done in your past, and neither does Messiah; He loves you. He’s calling you. I was compelled simply to tell you that, and as I said, I will never bother you again.”
We parted ways. I told my soon-to-be wife of the exchange, and of my thought about what he was hiding that he thought would make me hate him. I also told a fellow believer I’ll call here, ‘Will.’ Shortly thereafter we were all sent to New Orleans. While there, I went home and married, had a brief honeymoon, and returned to New Orleans, only to find that Monday morning that Sean was wearing makeup, and apparently had ‘come out’ in a big way, dressing in drag each night down on Bourbon Street and telling everyone at work, but me, that he was ‘gay.’ He flaunted it by me that morning, and I simply smiled and said, “Hey, Sean.” For several months, that was our daily exchange. I never said another word to him.
I quit that job because I wanted to be home with my new family. About a year later, I had prayed one morning, and I had just told Abba that I wanted to ‘know’ that I was serving Him in Truth. That evening, I found Will’s phone number on top of our refrigerator [this was long before cell phones, kids!], and I gave him a call. After the typical, cordial greetings Will immediately said, “Guess who gave his life to the LORD?” I started naming everyone on that job to whom Will and I had ministered. The LAST person in my mind was ‘Sean.’ Finally, I said his name. “Yep! You would not believe it, Daniel. He is a different man. All that feminine charade is gone, he is a man; he’s kind, he’s sweet and loving, and he loves Messiah. And guess who led him to the LORD over the phone?” To Will’s credit, I said, “YOU?” “NO! HIS DAD! The ‘preacher’ that he hated! They reconciled, and he brought him to Messiah over the phone! And Sean told me that the ONLY reason he started thinking about the Messiah again was because of you, and me. He said we were the first people he ever met who actually LIVED their faith, and that he could NOT get “Jesus” off his mind after you talked to him.”
I write this now to glorify Messiah, and to encourage someone who might be laboring in Him NOT to think for a moment that your efforts are in vain. I felt like I got nowhere both of these times, with Mikah and with Sean. And both times, long after the work was done, I was ‘fed’ the fruit of that labor, and was told that my seemingly faint, weak efforts had meant something to someone. “One plants [the seed, His Word], another waters, but Elohim gives the increase.” “Do not be weary in doing good.” So, I am writing to someone who is struggling in their efforts to gain souls for the Kingdom of Messiah, and to you I say, “Bless your FEET!”
Why? “How BEAUTIFUL on the mountains are the FEET of the one who DECLARES THE BESORAH, who causes them to hear “SHALOM!” Who declares GOODNESS, who causes them to HEAR YESHUA [Salvation] ! Who says to Tzion, YOUR ELOHIM RULES!”
The feet are your ‘dirtiest’ parts; they are your ‘base,’ what carries you to do His Will. And the humble of the earth, humbled by their circumstances and the true declaration of Messiah Yeshua, the Salvation of Elohim, will see the ‘goodness’ of your feet. One day, you will hear how those nasty feet helped someone. You never know…..