Book Review, Faith, Inspirational

Imagine God: A Testimony from a Jesus Believing Jew

God is love that is revealed through the relationship of the perfect Adam.

Last week I received an encouraging message, which touched me to my core:

It is with sincere adoration for your professional and divine commitment that I am writing to you. Not that long ago, I came to the realization that the discomfort I was experiencing was the result of being separated from God. That is when I received Jesus into my life to mend that separation. It was a big transition from my Jewish upbringing. I also survived a near-death experience that helped me realize just how precious our time here is. I’ve since prioritized my efforts on spiritual growth and appreciating those who share similar values.

Rick Pribell is the author of Imagine God. He welcomed some interview questions by me:

Can you tell me a bit about your Jewish faith and how you came to having faith that Jesus is Messiah?

For me, I came to Jesus because there was no other way that I could come up with in order to break the separation from God that I had felt and determined was the real reason for my discomfort — Like the story of Samson, where he got his strength from his long hair and then lost his strength when it was cut. I interpret the story of Samson describes all of us. That is, we all put our self-identity (strength) into something. For some it is their appearance, for others, it is their athleticism, and for me, it was making money. What happens when your identity has been shattered? For example, when a beauty queen becomes disfigured, an athlete sustains an injury not allowing him to compete any longer, or, like me, a businessman loses his money. Well, the only pathway to feeling good (again, and even better) is to see that we ought to die unto ourselves and recognize the truth of God. And then, we need a way to channel our guilt, shame, and regret. Instead, we are able to accept Jesus as having paid our sin debt, therefore, we are now able to “believe, be grated and be renewed” [quote taken from Imagine God].

I see the heart-felt teachings of Jesus in the teaching of many rabbis today that I feel compliment my understanding of Jesus as a Jew by understanding Jewish observances such as Jewish holy days and how they are observed by the Jews. I am wondering how you see Jesus as a Jewish man?

The bible says, ‘we are who we are in Christ’. For me, I see myself as a ‘completed Jew’, living under grace, rather than the law. Perhaps Jesus came into the world as a Jew, because Jews actually believed in the one true God. My upbringing was much more of a cultural thing rather than as a religious thing.

Cliff note from Rick Pribell on Imagine God: I believe it comes through our emotional responses to life experiences. Have you noticed that God designed all of us with the same variety of feelings and emotions, regardless of our nationality, language, color, age, gender, or religion? I don’t think that is just a coincidence. Let me demonstrate: we know that God is against us violating the 10 Commandments, right? Now, reflect on a time when you were a victim of someone who violated one of those Commandments. For example, how did it feel when someone you knew and trusted stole from you or cheated you? Betrayed, disappointed, and hurt, right? Don’t we all get that feeling when it happens to us?  Why? Perhaps that is the feeling God wants us to get; simply by reflecting on those feelings, that is how we know He rejects that behavior (perhaps this is what it really means to have been created “in His own image”. In the same way, we make computers (we build hardware and then program it with software), God created us in body and programmed us in Spirit – that reflects His image. One more example: how does it feel to be valued and praised by others? Good, right? That’s how we are best able to understand how God appreciates it when we value and praise Him! It is infinite how we can relate to God. I have determined that getting to know and developing a relationship with God is seen through the lens I just shared with you. In fact, I believe this is the pathway to develop an INTIMATE relationship with God.

Rick Pribell, author and speaker who’s done interviews on national radio stations including iHeart Radio is passionate about helping others discover God for themselves or deepen their relationship with God. His first book, Imagine God, shows how our emotional responses to life experiences are by design, enabling us to relate to, get to know, and develop a personal relationship with God. Rick has been blessed as it’s received 16 book awards and has a 5-star Amazon rating. Rick is currently working on a second book that explores the possibility of an additional “hidden” layer of meaning in The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

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