"Who am I?"

Image from www.eraofpeace.org

Image from www.eraofpeace.org

[First  posted  in 2014.  This is an introduction to another introduction—- there are two articles here, Who am I? and Who am I – 2.  This is a 6th repost; why?   Read through, it’s self-explanatory. 

 

Original Introduction:

This is being revisited because of a recent development:  one of our Sinaites had a life-threatening situation during which she figured this was D-Day for her and started connecting with loved ones, friends and family to whom she said her ‘goodbye world’ and personalized message.   Predictably, the Christians on her farewell list were concerned, as is expected of Christians, about her spiritual state.  Here she was, a Christ-worshipper for all of her life except in the last four years when she turned away from Jesus as God and turned to YHWH the One True God.  And so came the last ditch effort to remind her of the ‘Savior’ of her former faith; she was reminded to say the Name above all Names, ‘Jesus’ of course; and she received texts from a Pastor and his wife with whom she and husband were once affiliated:  

 

We are praying for you, we love you.

 “Let it be known to you and to all the people of Israel that by the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.  He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-13.

“All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13

“Therefore repent and return that your sins may be wiped away in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that He may send Jesus the Christ appointed for you.”  Acts 3:19-21.

Love, P and D.

 

What do you think the effect was on this Sinaite?  Did she have any doubt in her mind who is her God and what His Name is?

 

 There is no turning back to that path we once trod, a detour from the true path.  To those NT verses, we repeat what we’ve quoted at the end of our Creed on our Home Pagec http://sinai6000.net/:

 

“Thus saith the LORD:

Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way is;

and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16

And perhaps this article and its sequel will adequately explain why we stubbornly cling to our newfound faith that is as old as the TORAH of YHWH.  And happily, our Sinaite did survive that close call and false alarm and have since gone through more health crises that landed her in more hospital check-ins, but praise YHWH she’s still alive and praising YHWH, her True Savior!  Unfortunately, we lost three Sinaites since we got on the pathway to Sinai six years ago;  to them, we have paid tribute through ‘In Memoriam’ articles.  

 

Not a surprise, guess what our former Christian colleagues still continue to think?  That these deaths are ‘judgments’  upon us for having abandoned our Christ-centered faith!   What think you, dear visitor?—Admin1]

 

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[Originally posted by Admin1@S6K on May 31, 2013 in OPINION with No Comments Yet]

 

In Les Miserablesa film based on a two-decade old broadway musical, which in turn was based on a novel by Victor Hugo published in 1862—there is a song titled “Who am I?”

 

Image from www.dreamstime.com

Image from www.dreamstime.com

Significantly, it is sung by the main protagonist Jean Valjean at the closing of Part I when he experiences an epiphany of sorts that would change his life direction.  He had been a convict identified only by the number “24601,″ unjustly sentenced to two decades in prison for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister, then released. Outside of prison, he experiences hospitality from a priest who feeds him and gives him temporary shelter, but he responds by stealing valuables, gets caught and taken back to the priest who, unexpectedly tells a ‘white lie’ that he had given the items and that they were not stolen.  The puzzled thief who had known nothing more than apathy and cruelty from his jailers is taken aback; the priest then explains to him in private that by giving him yet another chance to redeem himself,  ”I have bought your soul for God.”  And in a way, he had.

 

This totally unexpected act of forgiveness, grace, and mercy on top of earlier kindness and hospitality stuns Prisoner #24601 who, up to this point, has been living outside of prison without having shed his ‘convict’ mentality and criminal inclination. This leads him to introspection (in song of course), a review of his life and his essence  — “Who am I?”  Greatly touched by one person’s treatment of his worth as a human being, he declares his new-found identity which would henceforth determine his destiny. He chooses to follow a different path.

 

Many more twists and turns would develop in his lifetime but in the final scene as he is about to die, there is a reprise of the melody “I dreamed a dream of days gone by” with different lyrics; perhaps the most memorable line reflects a Torah principle:  ”to love another person is to see the face of God.”

 

While that is described from the point of view of the person choosing to love others by showing it in deed and action (as opposed to mere verbal declaration), the impact is even greater upon the recipient, not to forget others who witness something out of the ordinary. They become aware that this is not the norm in human behavior and relationships.  Ultimately it does translate to catching a glimpse of something ‘not of this world system’, call it Godliness or Godlikeness.  To those of us ‘in the know’, we associate the standard of goodness or better yet, RIGHT-ness (Righteousness) with the self-revealing God on Sinai who requires right behavior from His people as recorded in His Torah.

 

Unfortunately, right behavior and right choices do not always translate into right consequences in a world whose systems and values run counter to Torah. Often those who choose the right path, do the right thing, consistently live as righteously as possible in a world system where, unfortunately, wrong, ignorance and misinformation prevail—often find themselves ill-fitted, even and especially among ‘religionists’.

 

So how does this relate to the original question “Who am I?”

 

Ponder this: You are not your thoughts, your emotions, your body, your money, your career or your property. You discover your essence usually in life-threatening situations such as natural calamities like devastating earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes when you are reduced to wanting only to survive and nothing more and you fast realize what is of supreme importance to you.

 

There is an article that well explains ‘who am I’, here are some select quotes:

 

Who are we, after all?   Are we our work, or are we eternal souls? If we fear that we’ll become nothing if we let go of our persona, then we are in a state of spiritual exile. If we have always defined ourselves in terms of our career, property, social status and what others think of us, then we are not our own person. Our soul is then in exile. We are trapped in our thoughts, our feelings, our body, our money, our social status, and everything else that makes up our transient character. The soul is lost in the ego and we will feel estranged to our true selves eternally connected to God.

 

We need to reclaim our self — our individual “I” — and redirect it to its source, the “Ultimate I.” When we do this, we experience the mystical meaning of the first commandment heard at Mt. Sinai 3,300 years ago: “I am God your Lord, who took you out of Egypt.” This is the true path to personal empowerment, spiritual liberation, inner peace and fulfillment.

 

We naturally want to experience the truth of who we. We seek a connection to a greater whole because we are connected to a greater whole. The spiritual disciplines of a commandment-driven life enable us to consciously center and anchor our self in God and live in service. They empower us to disengage from the outer trappings of our persona and feel at one with God through the joy of service.

 

A Torah life is all about freedom and self-actualization. It is not about changing who you are, but being you.

 

To be all that you can be, you need to know who you really are, who is your eternal root, what is your divine purpose and service on earth.

To serve God means to embody and channel into the world God’s love, wisdom, understanding, kindness, justice, compassion, beauty, truth, peace, etc.  When you act mercifully, you are serving to make manifest the source of all mercy. When you act intelligently, you are serving to make manifest the source of all intelligence. And when you serve justice, you are serving to make manifest the source of all justice. You experience the joy of ultimate meaning when you make your life a means to an end, greater than yourself. But when you make your life the be all and end all, then that is the end of your life.

 

We will not be punished for our sins, but by our sins. Nor will we be rewarded for our service, but by our service [underscore added].

 

Notice the wording of the last entry.  Dabariym/Deuteronomy 28 spells out blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.  The consequences are ‘automatic’ as in ‘built-in.’  

 

When people look at you, what do they see? There is a game played by some talk show hosts whereby a picture is shown to a guest who is supposed to say one word to describe the person in the picture.  If someone were to describe you in one word or a phrase, don’t you wonder what will be said?  Most likely, your dominant trait or characteristic or feature would be it.  Physical features are most likely to be cited: bald, bearded, tall, short, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly. mole on nose, etc.  Those who know more about you might say:  feisty, sweet, kind, greedy, boring, etc.  Often people are surprised at the word used to describe them by those who know them better than others.  Wouldn’t it be heartening to hear this word:  ”Godly”.  When that word defines us, that’s the best answer to the question “Who am I?”

 

For a good article that further elaborates on this, please go to this link: http://www.aish.com/sp/ph/48939787.html?s=rab

 

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[Originally posted by Admin1@S6K on June 14, 2013, in JOURNEYSOPINION with No Comments Yet]

 

The first article Who am I? was intended to stand alone, complete in its message.  However, at one Shabbat Torah study of our Sinai 6000 core group, there was a discussion that expanded this topic to where the issue became not so much ‘who am I’ but to another more important aspect relating to the same question.

 

What is involved in the question “Who am I”?

 

The individuals composing the Sinai 6000 community share common characteristics and mindsets.

 

  • First and foremost, each Sinaite is a God-seeker, that is a ‘given’ even if that is applicable to anyone and everyone who ends up in a religion or church or fellowship.  Nobody would be in those faith communities if they were not seeking God, and wanting to worship Him.
  • Secondly, while God-seekers are content in finding a ‘religion’ where they are content to stay in, Sinaites continued to go farther than ritual and prayer, seeking to discover the root and source of their belief system.
  • Thirdly, in the continuing study of the Bible, Sinaites moved from religion to religion — those who started in Catholicism went to Evangelical Christianity where Bible study was emphasized as important as church-going.
  •   That led them to what was claimed to be the source of Truth, that is, the Bible, specifically the Christian Bible of two parts: Old and New.
  •   When Messianism came into the picture and the Old Testament was re-focused on because it is crucial in the understanding of “progressive revelation” —prophecy and fulfillment — Sinaites moved on to that too, getting their introduction to Old Testament and sinking their teeth into many of its overlooked, untaught, or forgotten “prooftexts.”

What is the point of reviewing this journey of a Truth-seeker or a God-seeker?

 

To go back to the question of ‘Who am I?”, we Sinaites realized that at each stage of our development, we were the same obedient religious practitioners.  Our individual character and growth reflected the same unchanging desire to obey rules of our church or teachings of the New Testament.  In terms of behavior, we exhibited the same consciousness to be kind and forgiving, gracious and generous, endeavoring to be of service to our fellow church members, to outsiders, desiring to be of use to God in everything we did, perhaps not always successfully, but with all intentions to be “good Christians”.  The purpose?  Partly because we were simply obedient and compliant to the new ‘truth’ we learned. Partly, so that non-believers or believers of other religions will be attracted to our faith and might even join our fellowship or church.  Numbers were always a sign of ‘success’ and blessing from God, or so we thought, so the more we evangelized others and converted them to join our faith community, the better for our church leadership. 

 

Image from newsletter.followersofyah.com

So . . . . if we were good Catholics, good Evangelicals/Protestants, good Messianics . . .  exhibiting the character and lifestyle according to what was taught us from the New Testament, what then is the difference in us now?  If we look more or less ‘the same’ in our zeal and service and love for the God we serve, where is the difference?  Should not our former Catholic friends, Evangelical colleagues, Messianic co-religionists continue to accept us because in behavior and lifestyle and service and friendliness, we really have not changed?  We are as “good” as we had always been through all the stages of our development, though changing religions, though worshipping their Christian God?

 

The change is in the God we now worship . . . and that appears to be an offense to our former Christ-centered colleagues.  When we declare that we worship the God of Israel, we are called Jew-wannabes.  When we declare His Name as YHWH, we are looked upon as having lost our salvation and are facing damnation because the key to the “Father” is through the “Son”.  Says who? Says the NT teaching which radically departs from the teaching of the TORAH.

 

So finally, what is the point?  Ultimately the point is that the question should not be “who am I” . . . but “who is our God?”  What is the Name of the God we now worship?

Image from truthbook.com

Image from truthbook.com

We have been the same God-seeking people through decade after decade of our faith journey, behaving as best as we could in obedience to each new command we would learn, endeavoring to be as attractive to non-believers or other-faith religionists so that we could bring them to the God we believed in and worshipped. As far as behavior and character are concerned, we are the same . . . as far as the object of our faith NOW, that is where we depart from all others.

 

Do we draw, do we attract others because of our behavior at this point in our lives?  Probably . . . Torah life was intended by YHWH for all mankind, Jew and Gentile, Israel and the Nations.  But Christianity— because of the teachings of Paul — declared Torah to be passe, obsolete, only for the Jews, no longer applicable to “Christ-ians” or Christ-believers.  . So there goes the Torah . . . and with it, the God Who gave it to all mankind through His firstborn son, Israel.

 

We look the same even as we’ve aged; we act the same as we did as Christians/Messianics and now Sinaites.  Where lies the difference?  The  difference is the God we love, serve and worship, and His Torah which we have chosen to obey. 

 

Never mind “who am I?”  The more important issue is: 

  • WHO is the God I serve?  
  • What is HIS NAME? 

The God that Sinaites have embraced revealed His Name to Moses and to Israel:

 

Image from goodnessofgodministries.wordpress.com

Image from goodnessofgodministries.wordpress.com

 

Sinaites are not reluctant but are proud to declare His Name! In  fact in the translations that we use which substitutes LORD for the Tetragrammaton, we take the liberty of restoring what should have been written by the translator(s) to be read by all readers!  Declaring and writing His Name, YHWH, is as much an act of reverence, if not even more than simply saying LORD.

 

YHWH is our God, YHWH is His Name,

let us proudly declare the Name of our LORD and KING!

 

 NSB@S6K

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