הָשִׁיבָה לִּי שְׂשׂוֹן יִשְׁעֶךָ ; ורְוּחַ נְדִיבָה תִסְמְכֵנִי

“Restore unto me the joy of your Salvation; and let a willing Ru’akh uphold me”

I have been meditating on and teaching/encouraging His Body concerning going ‘into’ His Presence, and ‘practicing’ it more and more.  It is as much a function of the mind as it is the Ru’akh.  The mind of a believer in Messiah is supposed to be a ‘sacred’ place.  It is the ‘seat’ of ‘renewing’ who we are.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of Elohim, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, consecrated and acceptable to Elohim, by means of reasonable service. Do not imitate the way of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may discern what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of Elohim.” [Rom 12:1-2]

“If you then are risen with Mashi’akh, seek those things which are above, where Mashi’akh sits on the right hand of Elohim. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Mashi’akh in Elohim.” [Kol 3:1-3]

This very thing is the ‘practice’ I previously mentioned.  And recent events have spurned me to hone the practice of actually going into His throne room; not that I’ve never been there, but to be evermore aware of what I’m doing when I pray.

Tehillah 51 is probably one of the better ‘praises’/’prayers’ to foster that.  It is Melekh David’s prayer of ‘teshuva’, or repentance, after he had committed both adultery and murder.  In the verse I cited in the title in Hebrew, there’s a bit of depth I wanted to “Selah” on, after having read the prayer this morning.  Typically, I read the “Tehillim” [psalms] in order, in batches of 15 or so per day, give or take a bit depending on circumstances.  This morning, however, I ‘chose’ this one, for some reason.  And stayed in it.  I read it in English first, and then ‘yearned’ to read it in Hebrew.  When I got to this verse, verse 14, I did ‘pause and reflect’, [Selah], as several of the words were very ‘familiar’, and their meanings redoubled on me.

First, “hashivah li”.  From the root word of ‘return’ , ‘shuv’, where we get our word “teshuva” for repentance.  “Return unto me”… then, “yishekha”, ‘your Yeshua’, where Yeshua’s name has the vav [nail] removed and replaced with an extended khaf, or ‘hand’. “Return to me joy your Yeshua”.  Our punctuation is what gives us more meaning.  But, what if the bare meaning without punctuation is better?  “V’ru’akh nedivah tism’kheni”. First, ‘nedivah’ is ‘free will’, and is the name of one of the offerings in the Torah, the ‘free will offering’.  We all know and trust that every offering was in some way a foreshadowing of Yeshua giving up his life for us.  So now, when we pray, depending on our prayers, He takes the place of those offerings.  In the case of asking Messiah to return to him, David says, expressed another way, “Let a spirit of free will lay upon me.”  “Lay upon” comes from ’tism’kheni’, where ‘samakh’ is the root, and gives us the concept of ‘the laying on of the hand’.  The verb describes ‘leaning on’, where the object leaned upon actually does the supporting.  This is pictured in the ‘smikhat ha yad’ on a lamb offering, where the lamb has the hand leaned upon him, and the lamb takes the sin burden off of the supplicant.  It’s kind of a ‘two way’ verb.

His Ru’akh is His, Yeshua’s, JOY!  And it ‘lays upon us,’ and ‘holds us up,’ as much as we ‘hold it up’ by having it upon us.  His Ru’akh is indeed ‘freely given’ to us by Yeshua, through our trust in Him.  Many times in the Tehillim we are told to rejoice in His “Salvation”, which is the meaning of Yeshua’s Name.

There are many ways to look at these words.  Not just the one from any singular translation we may read, however good.  When we err, then, does His abiding breath [Ru’akh] depart?  This is at least what David feared, and must have felt, as He asked Him to ‘return’ to him.  Or do we walk out from under it?  Either way, it is devastating.  When we do teshuva, like David does here, genuinely, in brokenness, then His Joy returns to us.  David said after this, “THEN will I teach transgressors your ways, and sinners ‘yashuvu,’ [will return, third person plural, from shuv] unto YOU!  Verses 14 and 15 are bookended by ‘return’.  When He returns to us, they return to Him.  The ‘declaration’ of His good news is sometimes best done through demonstration of true contrition over our own offenses, because when we understand the depth of our offense, and experience the ‘return’ of the Joy of Yeshua in His Ru’akh, ‘offenders’ of G-d cannot help but see it.

Holy Cost

I’ve been seeing lots of holocaust articles and memes of late.  It’s caused me to think back on my discovery of my Jewish lineage, which I always suspected, but especially when I discovered a love for the Torah back in my early twenties.  “Dreyer” was my maternal grandmother’s heritage.  Her grandfather was one of the many Jews who fought in the U.S. civil war, and is memorialized in the Simon Wolfe database, perhaps along with another family Jew, Jacob Shuler, on my dad’s maternal line.  L.A. Dreyer’s son followed him from Germany, and I have books that must have been carried in his luggage, with personal notes written in German.  Many of the Dreyers in the second image  below, who were murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust and are memorialized in the Yad VaShem database in Yisra’el from where I captured this image, were born in Germany around the same time as the son previously mentioned.  They may be his siblings/kin.  One day I will do the research to find out.

About twenty-six years ago, my wife and I were standing in a book store here in Texas, and doing research on both our family names.  I was curious about her maiden name’s origin, as it is very rare, so we looked it up to find out it originated in northern England, a few counties away from where my Crouch family originated.  We then went back a generation, and I looked up “Dreyer,” and the book said, “Jewish name of German origin”.  About six months later, we visited my grandmother in Georgia, and I told her, “Grandma, did you know Dreyer is a Jewish name?”  In a matter-of-fact way she simply said, “Yes.  I’m Jewish.”  And she had someone fetch a leather-bound book that a family member had made that told the story of the second Dreyer, one of many children [I think twelve] of the first, the Civil War soldier, from Germany to Savannah, Georgia.

About twelve years later, while working on my Master’s Degree in Military and Jewish history, I was doing a paper on “Jews in the Civil War”, and it was then that I learned of the Simon Wolfe database of Jewish Civil War veterans.  Out of sheer curiosity, I typed in L.A. Dreyer’s full name and the state of Georgia, and to my amazement, he was in the database, listed in the 63rd infantry regiment of Georgia.  Years later, at my grandmother’s funeral, I found myself standing beside his grave, and noticed the Confederate flag on his tombstone.

My son, who was about fourteen at the time of that discovery of the Wolfe database, came into my study while I sat there in amazement, and he was looking at the memorial to Crouch family veterans of American wars that I had made for my father before he passed, that was hanging on the main wall in my study.  He saw Jacob Shuler, curious about the name because his name is also Jacob, and asked if he too was in the database, but we only found a J. Schuler.  However, J.M. Shuler, which matches the poster we’d made, was indeed listed as a prisoner of war at Ship Island in Mississippi.  His name is Ashkenazi, but he’s not found in the Wolfe database; perhaps I will submit it to those who maintain it.

posterCrouch Family Veterans of American Wars, poster

Later, in doing my master’s, I did a paper on Jews in World War II Germany, and I discovered the Yad VaShem database of holocaust victims, and decided to see how many Dreyers may have perished in the holocaust.  The number was significant, reaching near thirty.  I captured some of them below.


Dreyers in Yad VaShem Holocaust Database

I pondered the possibility of myself and my son not existing at all, if those two Dreyers and Jacob Shuler had stayed in Germany.  I remember sitting in silent meditation for a bit, contemplating the horror of what these families went through, and thanking G-d that my forebears had left.  DNA tests have since found Jewish cousins in Lithuania, and a large swath of kin that are of ‘unknown origin’.  As the rest of my family is of very English and Scottish pedigree, I am certain that the 1/3 of my ‘missing/mystery dna’ is my Jewish heritage.

Understand, I put zero stock in my dna for my inherited righteousness that comes from Yeshua and a circumcised heart.  I do rejoice in having some actual kinship to Avraham, and Yeshua, and His people.  But more, I only contemplate the amazingly thin line between life and death, and the constant threat to the existence of the Jewish people, and how precarious our very existence is.  It made me consider the statement to the Navi, Yirme-Yahu, “Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb I set you apart,” and of one of the songs of David, “Your eyes did see my unformed body, and in Your Sefer they were all written, even the days that were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”  As chaotic and random as birth and death seem to be at times, our Creator planned the path of His redeemed, way ahead of time.  That is comforting, and makes me very grateful, considering what ‘could have been’.  Those Dreyers on that list had to endure watching their own loved ones die, being imprisoned in concentration camps, and then being murdered themselves by heartless people who yet claimed to believe in Christ.  Dreyer and Shuler of civil war fame survived the brutality of war and imprisonment on American soil, or myself and my son would not exist.  How precarious is our history! [Incidently, the civil war Robert Love on the poster, one of my father’s maternal great-grandfathers, nearly had a duel with Andrew Jackson; had the townspeople not intervened, we’d have not had that seventh president, or my son and I would not exist.] How very improbable was our birth!  How grateful I am that it went the way it did amidst all the chaos, and how I mourn for those who did not survive, and wonder who in the Dreyer or Shuler families may have survived the Holocaust, to give me a Jewish cousin in eastern Europe today.

“Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble.” [Iyov 14:1]

לְכוּ לָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ וְהַכְרִיזוּ אֶת בְּשׂוֹרָתִי בְּכָל הַבְּרִיאָה

Visit the new “Torah of Messiah” YouTube site!

This is an educational site where we will teach the depth and richness of ALL the Hebrew scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, from the perspective of Messiah Yeshua’s teachings on the Torah, and His principles.

“I give you good doctrine, do not forsake My Torah.”

We are still working out the technology.  But this video introduces the channel, and gives a very birds-eye view of what we will be doing over the coming months, even years….

If you are familiar with our teaching methods already, please, like, comment, and share!


I Declare!

So, I have been ‘declaring’ the good news of Messiah for forty-three years now.  I can honestly say that I cannot count how many Messiah has revealed Himself to through my efforts.  Please understand, I boast in Messiah Yeshua, who uses me in spite of myself.  I did ‘sleep’ a bit, as I have put it, during my high school and early adult life, until I was at sea on a submarine, cut off from the world, and cut off by a girl friend, and also cut off by my nearest friend at that moment, who thought his wife and I were developing intimate feelings for one another, though each of us viewed the other as a sibling. Because she mentioned me in their ‘family grams’, radioed messages from home to the submarine, he resented me.  He took his vengeance a few months later, shortly after we returned to port. [I wrote a related episode you can read here: He did it for good! ]  But, before that episode, he ‘tested’ us to see if we would cheat.  It almost seems that when we did not, he got more angry.  But, I digress.

Yokhanan HaYakhid, Yeshua’s ‘best friend,’ one might say ‘bosom buddy’, has always been my ‘favorite’ Shali’akh [apostle].  While I came back to obedience through the writing of the Shali’akh Matti, by reading Yeshua’s first ‘drash’ in his account [Matti 5-7], Yokhanan’s account of Yeshua’s life appealed to me more, which I read a mere few days after Matti’s account ‘turned me around.’ As I said, I was at sea on a submarine.  The girl I had been dating, for whom I’d just bought a necklace, had stood me up for the date where I was going to present her that gift, just before I went to sea.  Shortly after going to sea, my friend began to shun me.  Deeper into that patrol, I was not hearing from my family, not receiving any of my ‘family grams’.  This was the longest patrol of my career, and I did not like the Navy anyway.  I did NOT mind being on the submarine; I quite liked it.  But, the morale on our boat was very low, as we had a tyrant for a captain.  But, I was always ‘blessed’, and seemed to be supernaturally protected from his tyranny.  But, nonetheless, I was distraught and dissatisfied with my life.  My grandmother, who I later learned was Jewish, had given me a bible when I was fourteen years old.  I had taken it with me on each of my three patrols on the boat.  But I had not once, to my recollection, picked it up and read it, until that night.  I have the journals from my patrols, and the ‘tone’ of my writing shifted drastically from before my encounter with Yeshua and directly thereafter.  Before that night, I had written, “I still cannot reason why more of us are not conscious of the need of being good to one another.  Being good to one another is being good for one another [yes, I did italicize in cursive].  I am certain we would all be healthier and happier. This [inability of man to be kind to his neighbor] is no cause to hide from society, but it is perfect cause for being cautious in our association with others; after all, the lamb has yet to lie with the lion.”  Little did I realize that the lion I need to lie with was about to visit me!  And that I would then ‘see’ His deep affection for His friends in Yokhanan 13, at the Pesakh Seder that was His last meal.  And in the reading of that, I learned what a true friend is, and realized I had one on the boat, and it was not the ‘buddy’ who had silenced our friendship over suspicions, suspicions I now realize were birthed of the adversary.  That friend was a young man from Massachusetts.  I had written of him after the ‘turn of events’ with Messiah: “Dennis and I are starting to get along quite well.  He is trusting me with personal experiences from his past which are normally not discussed, and I the same with him.  I really admire this young man.  He has the mettle to adhere to the moral discipline that his parents wished him to practice.  He never says anything that is unkind, even to people that are not deserving of such treatment.  He is confident in himself, but not to the point that he is haughty.  His only problem is that the guys in his division are envious of his intelligence, so they treat him like Cinderella.  [very direct comments and names of his persecutors are left out] I am rueful of his situation; it is extremely unjust.”  As I write, I fondly remember my last visit with Dennis in Mass just last September, and our latest conversation just weeks ago. It has been a thirty-three year friendship, and Abba has seen fit to cause two of my jobs to send me to his state many times over the years so that we could visit.  I was contemplating friendship in my journal at that point, because of the shutdown from the other friend.  And then, while mourning that and the girlfriend, and the lack of communication [I love to communicate] from home, I picked up that bible.  I said a prayer I will never forget.  “Father; I want to know what Yeshua [I still called him by His English name then] would say to me if he were standing here.”  My eyes were closed, but I ‘saw’ Yeshua standing next to the top bunk in which I lay, in bunk room five on the U.S.S. Ohio.  I opened my Bible and my eyes, and I turned somehow to Matti chapter five and read what most call the ‘beatitudes’, and the following two chapters.  I ‘saw’ for the first time, having heard those scriptures all my life, that Yeshua was not describing different groups of people, but ONE person: a true believer.  I realized that the qualities He attributed to the “Happy” man were not in me, and this was why I was not happy.  I vowed that night to pursue those qualities.

3“Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is Malkhut HaShamayim.  4Happy are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  5Happy are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  6Happy are those who hunger and thirst for tzedaka, for they shall be well satisfied.  7Happy are the merciful, for to them shall be mercy.  8Happy are those who are pure in their hearts, for they shall see Elohim.  9Happy are those who make shalom, for they shall be called sons of Elohim.  10Happy are those who are persecuted for the sake of tzedaka, for theirs is Malkhut HaShamayim.”   11“Happy are you, when they reproach you and persecute you, and speak against you every kind of bad word, falsely, for my sake, 12then, be glad and rejoice, for your reward is increased in heaven; for in this very manner they persecuted the Nevi’im who were before you.”

I was a bit of a money-grubber, even writing in my journal my financial goals; I did not ‘mourn’ for the right reasons [over unrighteousness, though I had rejoiced in Dennis’ righteousness], I was certainly not meek, I had not hungered or thirsted for righteousness [looking back, I was ‘starved’ for it, but did not realize it]; I was not merciful, having just sucker-punched a guy for a very minor infraction against me; I was not pure in heart, nor one who made shalom, nor was I ever, during my navy tenure up to that point, persecuted for Messiah’s sake [not until shortly after that night!].  In short, I realized my confession of Yeshua was not producing any fruit whatsoever.

This was nearly 33 years ago.  Shortly after reading that passage, five of my sailor friends trapped me in that same bunk room and asked, “What gives? What happened to you? Why are you all of a sudden so happy, so kind?”  One of them was a cook, whose girl I had stolen from him a year before.  One was a sonar tech, a professed atheist, whom I actually liked.  Another was a missile tech, a bit of a comedian.  Memory fails as to who the other two were, and I did not write about them.  But, my point is that a mere few days after Yeshua showed me the ‘goal’ of my life [Rom 10:4, Phil 3:14], the very PURPOSE for my life [which I had questioned in my journal], I was ‘declaring’ the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, the Son of God, and His free gift of salvation by trust in that event that is a most foundational, historical FACT.

I brought up Yokhanan earlier, because after these events, which were so ‘monumental’ in my life [I still remember most of the details, without having to resort to my journal], I was indeed ‘tested’, ‘proven’ by Messiah as to whether my ’emunah’, my ‘trusting, absolute, firm faith’] was real, whether the soil of my heart was good soil [the parable which I discussed with the atheist friend, whose name was “Chris”; isn’t that rich, an atheist named after “Messiah” 😉 ].  That first test was the meat of the story linked earlier. Those times of testing STILL come!  Most recently, I have been hearing complete misrepresentations of me, by people who are supposed to be righteous.  I did not willingly leave, but was forced out.  We did not one time ever ‘take’ from our former ministry.  I begged for a meeting, and did not refuse to go to one.  I never once even hinted at threatening a woman and a child in email, a child for whom I only cared and prayed and blessed and doted over since shortly after her birth.  Yet several ‘elders’ are spreading that doozie. And worse.  But, every time a trial comes, I am COMPELLED from within to SHOUT the “B’sorah”, the GOOD NEWS of Messiah Yeshua, to anyone who would but ‘hear’.  To rescue anyone who belongs to the adversary and sin, and bring them into the Shalom of Messiah Yeshua.

That is our purpose.  Those of us who trust in the blood that Yeshua shed on the tree, to SAVE us from OUR sins, are to DECLARE that GIFT to those whom Abba brings into our lives; that is our purpose in this life.  Like Yokhanan HaMatbil, we are in a wilderness of bad doctrine, of deceit, of fake people, “P’rushim” [dividers who follow religious pride and not Messiah], and we are to SHOUT out the truth of The Lamb, “HaSeh”, to all, regardless if they respond or not.

This morning, before setting out to write this, I read Tehillah 68.

12Adonai gives the word; those who declare the good news are a great army.

And a few verses later, which is interpreted by Sha’ul to be about Yeshua:

19You have ascended on high, You have recaptured the captives; You have taken gifts to mankind. And even among the rebellious, Yah, Elohim, is to dwell.  20Blessed is Adonai, day by day He bears our burden, even the Elohim who is our Salvation. Selah. ….. 36Awesome is Elohim out of your Mikdashim [sanctuaries]; the Elohim of Yisra’el, He gives strength and power unto the people; blessed is Elohim.

I hope someone is inspired to DECLARE GOOD NEWS!  Too many these days are distracted by Torah, and not practicing the ‘spirit’ of the Torah, which is the declaration of SALVATION in Yeshua!  When Yisra’el came up out of Yam Suf, Moshe sang,

2Yah is my strength and my song, and He is become my Yeshua[h]; this is my Elohim, and I will glorify Him; my father’s Elohim, and I will exalt Him. 3 יהוה  is a man of war,  יהוה  is His Name. 4Paroh’s chariots and his army has He cast into the sea, and his chosen captains are sunk in Yam Suf.

Paroh’s army is out for death.  The great army that declares good news is out to give LIFE!  ETERNAL life!  Yeshua’s very name means ‘SALVATION’.  He SAVES us from our sins!  The Torah is indeed the ‘target’ for our lives, His perfection, but it is NOT gained by OUR POWER, but HIS.  And if it is bereft of the DECLARATION OF HIS SALVATION, then it is just noise.  Jews keep His Torah, and in many ways they do a better job than Messianic people.  But they have MISSED THE MARK!  And so do many who ‘think’ they follow Torah. They have stopped ‘declaring’ SALVATION.  All they talk about is the works of the Torah, and not the GIFT.  And therefore they do not declare Yeshua.  So few actually receive SALVATION by that, and many actually become twice a son of Gehinom by their teaching.  They do NOT understand the compassion of Elohim, and His ABUNDANT patience with us.  So they ‘bite and devour one another.’

If I have seen anything afresh these days, it is the SALVATION of  יהוה … That His compassion is bigger than people’s condemnation, judgment, betrayal, and lies.  That one of the greatest proofs of “Emunah” is the WILLINGNESS to declare SALVATION to a dark world, in spite of our suffering in the doing of it. And to come along side brothers to HELP them in their weakness and trials, and not to kick them, talk about them, judge them, and abuse them.  I take my own advice from thirty three years ago, or as one friend puts it, ‘eat my own dogfood’: “This [inability of man to be kind to his neighbor] is no cause to hide from society, but it is perfect cause for being cautious in our association with others; after all, the lamb has yet to lie with the lion.”

Our little congregation’s message this week was very, very powerful and practicable, and is already changing lives.  I hope that this missive on the heels of that will help someone come out of their shell and be VALIANT in the declaration of Yeshua, the Son of G-d. That is indeed the very thrust of my life and motivation.  And I give ALL PRAISE to Him for what great things He has done.  And look forward with HOPE for the things HE IS STILL DOING, because of absolute trust in the blood of  His Son, and in His resurrection from the dead.

גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוה אִתִּי; וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו

Dang, I just LOVE how  יהוה  is ‘all up in my business’…

גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוה אִתִּי; וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו

“O magnify יהוה with me, and let us exalt His Name together!”

This morning, after prayers, I read Tehillah 34, and He ‘spoke’ to me very comfortingly, and personally.  That is hard to describe to someone who has not experienced it.

Then, I got a message from a friend who is geographically distant, but getting ‘close’.

He and I have been ‘working together’ in prayer over some very critical issues.  He messaged me this morning I think, saying he had good news over the issues.   So we talked early this afternoon so he could tell me the good news. We had prayed on Mo morning, and I had messaged him with the confidence that Yeshua had heard, and will move.  Indeed He has!!!!  There would have been EVERY reason to doubt, based on past ‘signs’, and my buddy confesses he had a smidge of doubt.  But GREAT things happened instead.

When he finished telling me the details, the verse in the title, 34:4, immediately went through my head.  And then I realized it was also in a Miqedem tune, “Ta’amu”; and then, as I started to ‘share’ this here, I realized it was the Tehillah I read this morning, and re-read again on my first break after I got to work.

Then, I started working on my little song from Tehillah 146, and BAM!  It’s a GREAT melody by which to MAGNIFY HIM!

And, as I was contemplating all of this, I realized how ‘sharp’ my mind seems, and how aware of just how ‘close’ to me Yeshua really is, in spite of people.

Now I’m going to listen to Ta’amu!  I wish EVERYONE could really TASTE and ‘see’ that יהוה is GOOD!



Now Islay Me Down To Sleep

Last night, I had some of the best Islay Scotch I’ve ever had, with a friend who is a true friend.  Thanks for the Scotch!

But, seriously, no.  This is a story about a young man, barely away from home, who was thrust into circumstances that could have overwhelmed him, or even undone him.  But Messiah Yeshua decided to take ‘all things’ and use them for the good, because this young man was indeed ‘called,’ for the purposes of Elohim.  Unbeknownst to him.

He had just given his life over to Messiah, the Son of God, a few months before these events.

He was sitting with a group of military personnel one day.  A lieutenant was grilling a “seaman deuce”, who could not figure out why he was so distraught.  Our young man, whom we will call Yosef, was senior to the seaman deuce, as a “second class petty officer,” but far junior to the lieutenant who was the leader of this group of sailors.  The petty officer, Yosef, asked the lieutenant, very respectfully, “May I ask him [the seaman deuce] a question?”  “I guess so,” she said, obvioulsy reluctantly, “since this is a group.”  He ignored the lieutenant’s chagrin, and simply looked at the boy, younger than himself, and asked his first question. But, to be fair, we have to ‘see’ what was in Yosef’s mind that prompted the question.  While the lieutenant was grilling the boy, which is truly what he was, Yosef ‘saw’ in his mind that blond-headed boy, and about nine other younger, blond-headed boys and girls, frolicking in a huge yard which was in front of a white farm house, in the midst of fields of wheat, a barn off to the right, a tractor, and an old pickup truck in the dirt driveway. Mom and Dad were on the porch resting. Yosef ‘felt’ a sense of happiness and peace in that place he saw in his mind, and the Presence of Messiah; all the while the lieutenant is grilling the boy, who, in Yosef’s mind, was at that place with what looked like his family.  Having gotten permission, he asked the boy, “Are you from the midwest?” He looked Yosef dead in the eyes, obviously distressed, and said, “Yes.”  And the next question, “Do you come from a very large family?”  A bit surprized, he answered, “Yes.”  The next question, “Is it a Christian family?”  A tear came to his eye, “Yes….”  The room of about twenty sailors was perfectly silent, but Yosef was oblivious to the presence of everyone else, only seeing this young, sad boy.  His last communication was a statement, and not a question, “You want to go home, don’t you….”   And the boy started balling, shedding tears in front of twenty or so men.  The room was aghast, because those twenty men knew that Yosef had only been part of the group for a day, and did not even know the boy’s name, much less anything about him or his family.  The lieutentant got up and left the room, angry.

That afternoon, the group decided to go have some liesure time playing a game of baseball.  The blond boy caught up to Yosef and said, “As soon as you started speaking to me, I knew you knew what I felt.  I miss my family so much. How did you know?”  Yosef said, “I ‘saw’ you and about nine other kids playing in this big yard…” and he described the rest that he’d seen in his mind.  Two of the other sailors were walking with them to the ball field.  The boy said, “I know I should be living a Christian life; but I haven’t been.”   One of the other sailors, a bit older, said, “Me too!  I think that’s why I haven’t been happy.  I haven’t been living for Jesus.”  The blond boy interjected excitedly, “I feel so much weight lifted off of me now.”  Yosef declared happily, “Praise God!  Hallelu Yah!”  And they played ball that afternoon.   That evening, the other sailor who had said, “I haven’t been living for Jesus” visited Yosef in his quarters… “Can we talk?”  “Sure,” Yosef said happily.  They sat down in front of each other.  He looked at Yosef and said, “I’m not even certain that I’m actually saved.  When you looked at him [blond boy] and said, “You’re from a Christian family, aren’t you?”, my heart hurt.  How did you know?”  Yosef said, “I don’t know.  I just saw it, and felt it.”  “How do you know you’re saved, Yosef?”  “Because I trust that the blood of Jesus was shed for ME, for MY sin.  I know that I am a sinner.  I know that I will perish eternally if I persist in sin.  But I also know that He is the Son of God the Creator, and that He came to this earth to die in our place, to take our sins into His flesh, so that we would not be punished for our sins.”  He looked Yosef in the eyes and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever truly asked God to forgive ME, of MY sins.  Will you help me?”  Yosef took this older man’s hand in a double-handshake fashion, and began to pray with him.  He simply asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins, and to show Himself to him, that He had taken his sins into His flesh, and to let him ‘know’ that he was forgiven, and to give him His Spirit, to help him to live a life worthy of that calling.  The older gentleman wept with joy.

The next day, the group was sitting around during a break, and the song “Don’t Worry,  Be Happy” came on the radio, and Yosef began singing it at the top of his lungs.  The whole group finally came round and began to sing it all together.  The lieutenant walked in, and turned around and stomped off.  A few minutes later, Yosef was headed to the ‘head’, and heard the lieutenant tell the Captain, “I don’t like it one bit!  This ‘Christian “B%%^&%^t” is a lie, and a smokescreen!”  Yosef almost stuck around to hear the rest of the conversation, but was compelled not to.

That night, another of the twenty came to Yosef.  He asked him, “Do you think Satan is real?”  “Absolutely,” Yosef said.  “The reason I ask is because my girlfriend often went missing late at night.  One night, I decided to follow her, and I found her and some other girls out in the woods, they had a fire going, and they were dancing around it, outside a circle and, what do you call it, the five pointed star?”  “A pentagram.”  “Yeah, the pentagram and circle were around the fire, and they were dancing around it and chanting something.  It freaked me out.”  “It should,” said Yosef.  “So you think Satan is real?”  “More real than you and me,” he said.  “You don’t know if you might have shaken hands with the devil!”  “Holy %&^*!  It feels like you just sent a knife up my #%$!”  [remember, these are sailors]  “I’m just telling you, Satan is alive and well, and he responds to worship.”  And then Yosef began to describe the fall of Satan, and his role in trying to destroy man.  “Dude, how do you protect yourself from that stuff?”  And Yosef told him about a dream he’d just had, right after he started living for Yeshua again while at sea.  In the dream, Yosef had ‘assembled’ with some ‘false believers’, but left the building because of his unease; they chased him down, and offered him a cup to drink.  “It’s blood” they said.  Knowing the prohibition against drinking blood, he said, “I won’t drink it.”  So one of the cult took the cup and began drinking.  “It’s wickedness!” Yosef yelled.  And the car behind them blew up, waking Yosef from the dream.   He then explained that he had actually gone to a church and left because the spirit in the place was one of judgment, and not of Messiah’s compassion.  They talked for hours, and Yosef shared the fullness of the gospel with him.

The next day, the senior member of the group came to Yosef.  On the day Yosef reported to the group, he confronted Yosef, because he thought he did not want to be there.  On this day, he came to apologize.  On the first day, in front of the whole group, he had asked Yosef, “how can you be so happy now, being here against your will?”  Yosef had answered, “I will tell you, but it’s going to open up a can of worms.”  Like baby birds they all chimed together, “You have to tell us, this is group session!”  So Yosef began, “I am a follower of the Messiah; and any time I find myself in a situation I don’t like, whether I put myself there or not, I turn to Him and ask Him to help me get through it, and invariably, He does.”  “So, you think you’re Daniel in the Lion’s Den?” he said sarcastically.  “You guys are hardly lions”.  On this night, he apologized to Yosef for trying to humiliate him, and told Yosef, “My dad is a preacher.  I grew up as a believer, but when I got into the Navy I started sinning; drinking, carousing with women, all kinds of stuff I knew I should’nt do.  I’ve been in this group for twelve weeks, and I have not been able to figure out how to get out of here.  Your words made me feel the guilt of my sin, and I got angry.  I took it out on you.  I just wanted to apologize, and tell you that you’ve helped me ‘see’ what I need to do.”  

For the next two days, Yosef spread joy everywhere. And then the Captain gave Yosef new orders to another duty station.  The senior member of the group had tried to hang himself.  The one who dated a satanist had tried to drink and drug himself to death.  The one who asked Yosef for Salvation had tried to cut his wrists.  The blond boy had jumped off the deck of an aircraft carrier.  One of the group not yet mentioned tried to hang himself.  Yosef was there because he was falsely accused of trying to kill himself, even though the Captain knew there was no evidence of it whatsoever, and did not want to ‘admit’ him.  Naval regulation stated that they had to be detained for seven weeks.  The group was supposed to vote each other through the steps of recovery.  On day one, the whole group voted against Yosef progressing, because of his statement, “I am a follower of the Messiah; and any time I find myself in a situation I don’t like, whether I put myself there or not, I turn to Him and ask Him to help me get through it, and invariably, He does.”  After only six days, Yosef was temporarily assigned to duty in an office in the same building as the group, a naval hospital.  Four of the five just mentioned passed by Yosef in the break room one day.  The one who asked for Salvation saw him, and they veered from their path and came into the break room. “I’m outta here next week!” he said.  “Me too,” said the pastor’s son!  The blond boy was grinning ear to ear and said, “I’m at step three already.”  The last, the one who’d tried to hang himself, a senior chief, looked at Yosef, to whom he’d never spoken, and with tears said, “I should have voted yes for you.  I wanted to.  I wanted you to know I’m sorry, and I’m so glad we saw you today.  You should never have been in there, you didn’t belong there.”  “Yes I did; for whatever reason, He wanted me there.”  

Yosef was me.  Yosef was supposed to be there for six more weeks, but was realeased in six days.  When I arrived, I was indeed a mite upset.  But, I got down on my knees in my room and prayed these words, “Father; I do not know why I am here.  But, I will stay here for thirty years, if you will allow me to bring one soul to you.”  And I meant it.  And in all of it, Messiah had been ‘very present’ in my time of need.  There was recently an attempt to share only the ‘byline’ of this story, which I had told to a person I thought was a friend, and I told it to them in order to glorify Messiah Yeshua, who had done “great things” for me.  But the byline was that I ‘was admitted to a mental insitution while he was in the Navy,” without the statement as to “why”, because I was falsely accused of trying to kill myself, and certainly without ANY mention whatever of the glorious things Yeshua did while there for a mere six days.  The purpose of sharing only the byline was to twist this story, in order to denegrate me in the eyes of this other friend.  I’m certain this has probably happened more than once.  Why was I falsely accused of attempted suicide?  Because the person I was accused by thought that I was in love with his wife.  That person, a shipmate, was sent right back to sea on another boat by our “XO” [executive officer] in order to punish him for having done this.  Our XO read my diary, by which this shipmate framed me, and said that I wrote better than most of his officers, and suggested I make a living at it.  While on the phone with the XO, a Lieutenant Commander, he told me, “He [the shipmate who ‘turned me in’] should be the one in there, not you.”  A very glorious truth of mine, one of the most powerful weeks of my life, was thus perverted, and used against me to try to paint me as unstable, even though this happened thirty-two years ago, by a person who claims to be a brother in Messiah.  “27And He who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of HaRu’akh, for HaRu’akh prays for the K’doshim according to the will of Elohim.  28And we know that those who love Elohim are helped by Him in everything, for goodness to those who, from the beginning, are destined to be called.” Rom 8:28  It is the job of the serpent, however, to pervert and twist, to take what Elohim does ‘for good‘, and to make it sound evil, to twist it, to pervert it. This is not the only perversion of His goodness by this accuser, either. I will continue telling this story, even though there is always the risk of some evil person taking it and twisting it to his wicked will.  Yeshua saved/rescued five people that week.  I was used in that, whether hasatan will admit it or not.  People who believe the perversions of hasatan are just as guilty as hasatan. 

20But You, O  יהוה , be not far off; O You my strength, hasten to help me. 21Deliver my soul from the sword; my only one from the power of the dog. 22Save me from the lion’s mouth; yes, from the horns of the wild-oxen do You answer  me. 23I will declare Your Name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise You. 24“You that fear  יהוה , praise Him; all you the seed of Ya’akov, glorify Him; and stand in awe of Him, all you the seed of Yisra’el. 25For He has not despised nor abhorred the lowliness of the poor; neither has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard.”