Introduction by Jon Lieberman:
I met Steve in 2005 when he came to Grace Community Church after he became a believer. His marriage was not yet restored. (The miracle of reconciliation happened shortly thereafter). You will read about this amazing transformation in his personal life and marriage in his story below. Steve had read one of the articles I had placed in the Indianapolis Star about the Jewish people, Jesus, and Atonement, but it hadn’t impacted him until God began to work on his heart through the trial of his life he would soon be facing.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a very culturally Reformed Jewish family. I had been taught about the great heroes of our Jewish faith in the Old Testament. We celebrated the Holidays in our home. I learned from my parents to be proud of our own great family lineage of Rabbis and Cantors that dated back to the 1200’s. But in spite of this heritage, I never saw the Holy Scriptures in our home. It was something you basically only talked about at the Temple.
When I was 13 years old I had the traditional Bar Mitzvah. As the Rabbi was talking in the Temple, I remember focusing so intently on the words I heard that are found in Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” It was if God was personally speaking directly to me at that moment. I responded that Sabbath morning by promising to God that I would love Him.
My dad worked two jobs and very long hours and mom had to take on a dual parent role while I was growing up. At a very young age I learned to be very independent. This attitude of self-reliance was very instrumental in my belief that if something had to be done I could accomplish the task better than anyone else and on my own. This attitude deeply affected my personal convictions about believing and trusting in a God that I could not see. Like most youth of my day, I soon put aside what I had heard that day in the Temple and went on with my life and forgot about God. Though I now can recall that moment of “God’s presence” so clearly, it would be another 33 years before I would be open again to consider that promise I made as a youth and “hear God again.”
I was pretty much insulated from Christians growing up since we lived in a very Jewish area. Most of my friends were Jewish; the others were secular Catholics. My personal feeling about Catholics was that, for some reason, they just didn’t like Jewish people based on the prejudice remarks I had encountered. I also had no knowledge about Protestant Christians since I had never met one. I never knew or met any true follower of Christ or evangelical Christian growing up. None of my Jewish friends ever talked about the Bible.
Things were about to change when I headed off to Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the fall of 1978. I was now immersed in a new culture, religious environment. I met other students that were very different than my secular friends in New York. Then I had an encounter with two fraternity brothers whom asked me to accept Jesus in my life. They tried to win me to Christ, but to no avail. I always assumed that the one true God was for the Jews, I was in God’s family by being born a Jew and thus I was covered.
In my junior year I met and fell in love with a girl named Angel from Westfield, Indiana. Angel had no problem with me being Jewish since she was taught at her church that the Jews were God’s Chosen People. She just thought being Jewish meant you were one close to God. Three years later we were married.
It was soon after our marriage that our religious differences really became more evident to us and many problems erupted in our marriage.
For many years Angel tried to tell me that I needed to read the Bible and consider Jesus as the Messiah for the Jews too. I have to admit that I was a stubborn and prideful man, and I refused to listen to Angel when she talked about the Bible. I thought over and over again, how could she be right and how could I be completely wrong in my beliefs. If I was wrong, in my belief about Jesus, then all that I had been taught at the Temple and even those words that I heard God speak at age 13, must also be untrue.
My mother, even when I was very young, had warned me about “Jews that believed in Jesus” and how they were evil and traitors to our religion. She emphasized that they were really bad people, actually the worst of people. She made me wonder, “How could those betrayers do that after all that we Jews have been through?”
Later in college when I told her I joined a fraternity, my mom said to me on several occasions, “Do they know you are Jewish?” She just thought I would have faced the anti-Semitic attitudes we were accustomed back home. I explained to her that the people I had met at the school did not have the same anti-Jewish sentiment that I witnessed back East.
When we were first married, Angel bought me a glass stone that was etched with an Old Testament Scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The words were “A time for everything.” I have always kept it on my bedside table.
Many years later I found out that my own last name, found in The Talmud, literally means “at the appointed time” or “God’s order” as described in Leviticus, chapter 23. (The Talmud is the authoritative book that contains the oral traditions and centuries of Jewish interpretations of the Old Testament that are to guide the beliefs and daily life of observant Jews).
I spent many years struggling in my mind and outwardly debating, this Jesus I did not know with my wife throughout our marriage. I knew in my heart that Angel and my children had this special peace, joy and a confidence that “life would always work out ok.” I on the other hand continued to believe I could work things out for myself. It was awesome though to watch their lives. I was actually envious of them, but still was not willing to open my eyes or heart to investigate the truth of what they were saying.
Even as I watched my children get baptized, I was still totally ignorant of what they believed. I was fearful of being wrong and was also concerned about my parents’ reaction. Remember, I was told that the worst kind of human being was a Jew that believed in Jesus. I had a “spirit of offence” which led me at times to disrespect my wife and not listen to her or her feelings.
My wife and I were slowly but surely becoming increasingly bitter and angry with each other. We hardened our hearts and erected walls around us. It became more and more obvious that only a supernatural power could penetrate these walls, change our lives and, as a result, save our marriage.
Over the years I received a whole collection (almost like a library) of Bibles from my wife and her family, but I never opened one! I have kept on my office desk a decorative stone my wife had given me engraved with the words from Psalm 100, verse 5, “For the Lord is good and His love endures forever.” It would take however, this Jewish man a long time to experience how true these words are. For Gods is relentless in pursuing us with His love and His forgiveness.
It was like I had a veil over my eyes and heart that prevented me from listening and hearing anyone tell me about Jesus. I considered myself basically to be a very open-minded person and explored new ideas about life – except in one area. I could not accept that faith in Jesus was the only way to heaven. I even became willing to give up everything important in my life -- my family. They could go their own way religiously, but I wasn’t willing to change or talk about Jesus. I just didn’t want to listen to this gospel message that Angel kept sharing with me. I was not willing to go there.
It was difficult to understand how others could say that the most Jewish thing that I could do was to believe in Jesus as my Jewish Messiah. My internal mental battle never stopped. It was like I was in a cage and couldn’t get out. On several occasions I would try and step out of that cage and listen to the truth, but there was this powerful strong force that seemed to always keep me from hearing the truth. I didn’t yet know about this power of evil or the devil that followers of Jesus talked about since as Jews we didn’t believe in a devil or a hell.
My wife would often pray in our home for long periods and ask God to save me, our marriage, and our family. When she would go to a quiet place, like in our master bedroom closet, I thought she was crazy, reading her Bible and praying there.
During 24 years we had many blessings, among them were our two wonderful children, family and our custom home building business mixed with much marital disharmony and difficulties. We found our marriage and relationship falling apart and honestly, destroyed. Our differences along with our deep hurt and pain were just too great for us to endure living with each other any longer. One Saturday night while sitting on our patio, we decided to just end our marriage after our last child graduated from high school.
On Sunday morning, while resting on the couch in total confusion with my life, I contemplated the realty of my marriage coming to an end. I decided to turn on the television to forget about my problems. I began to watch this movie, A Vow to Cherish, about unconditional love in which a man in the prime of his life finds out that his wife has Alzheimer's disease at the young age of 50. Though tempted to turn away from his original marriage commitment, he ultimately turned his life over to God and found the strength to be faithful to his wife no matter what happened to her.
What an amazing movie to watch at this time in my life! It had brought tears to my eyes. At the end of the movie I found out it was produced by Billy Graham’s Ministry.
Then immediately after watching A Vow to Cherish, I started watching the next show which was Marriage Today hosted by Jimmy & Karen Evans. Jimmy Evans is a nationally known speaker on marriage enrichment. Pastor Evans taught directly from the Bible and the words of truth that he spoke that Sunday morning convicted me of my pride and stubbornness and finally pierced my heart of stone.
I knew it was time to reach for one of my many never-opened-Bibles and read what God had to say about my situation. If Jimmy Evans’ teaching was from the Bible and was indeed God's Word, then I definitely needed these words for my life and marriage right then. I have to admit that it was initially hard to read the New Testament because I knew the truth would be convicting, but I knew I had to do it.
Looking back, I see that my wife and her many friends had sown many “seeds of truth” in my life. Their prayers for 20 plus years had finally taken root in my life. Soon after I finally opened the Bible with a humble heart, I was saved and received Jesus as my Lord and Messiah. I spent the next year reading my Bible every day and night, often in tears. I would read how blessed Israel was when they obeyed the Lord and God’s eternal plan for the Jewish people.
I then read various portions of the New Testament that told the stories of the first Jewish believers after Jesus was raised from the dead (The Book of Acts) and letters written by Paul and other Jewish followers of Jesus (Romans and Hebrews). I was in tears again and my hard heart was progressively becoming softer, and I kept pressing on for the truth. I read almost every book that I had been given over the past 24 years, but never had opened. The books did need to be dusted off. The Lord was faithful to guide me to pick up and read a certain book that was just perfect for what I was going through at that time as a new believer.
A couple of books the Lord directed me to read were “The Prophets Still Speak” by Fred John Meldau. It explained Bible prophecy and the many Old Testament predictions about Jesus as the Messiah. The other important book in my life was “The Gift of Forgiveness” by Charles Stanley. That book helped me understand unconditional love and true forgiveness.
My first step as a new believer was to forgive everyone that had hurt or offended me and apologize to my wife. I attended many different churches either by myself or with my daughter on occasion. Every message seemed as if it was personally for me; the words always spoke to my heart. It may sound funny, but I actually believed that at times my family members were calling the pastors and telling them that I was coming to visit their church. But how could my wife know which church I might attend each weekend? But I kept going to all these churches in our community anyway.
I was now saved, but our marriage seemed to be headed for divorce, even though we continued to live in the same home for a year. It finally did end in divorce. In order to get a fuller picture of the miracle of restoration God actually performed in our marriage, I will now let my wife tell her part of the story.
“I moved out of our house three weeks later. I went to stay with my Mother. Three weeks after that, I was reading a book by Charles Stanley called “The Gift of Forgiveness.” By the time I got to the middle of the Book it seemed like the Holy Spirit with a large sharp knife cut right down through my spirit and spoke to my heart “go back to Steve.”
God told me to forgive Steve for everything he had ever done or would ever do in the future. I was to forgive him upfront and in advance of any wrong doing; then there could be no future unforgiveness not addressed on my part. I called Steve to tell him that I thought we should talk and discuss getting back together. He was shocked and not sure how to take all these things I was now presenting to him.
I spent the next three weeks praying, lamenting and crying out to God to save, heal and restore my marriage to Steve. I spoke the word over my marriage and prophesied for it to be restored. God spoke to me and said, “Believe, Take Your Hands off, Let Go and Let God” and do this for the next 30 days. He said do only what I was speaking to you. Let Me work.
I began emailing Steve and asking for him to forgive me for everything that I had done or not done in our marriage. God began working in Steve’s heart; I later learned that Steve had also ready read Charles Stanley’s book “The Gift of Forgiveness” months before I had read it! The book had helped Steve forgive me even before our divorce. After approximately three months, we were reunited. Steve proposed to me in November 2006. Nine months after we were divorced God restored our marriage. We have now been married 2 times -- the first time for 24 years, and now, almost 2 years, as two believers in Jesus.
Shortly after we were remarried, my mother who had been married for 53 years to my father was facing the trial of her life, a battle with cancer. My parents were living in New Jersey. One day God had placed on my heart this urgency to let my family know that Jesus was also their Jewish Messiah.
I realized that a believer could not claim a love for the Jewish people or Israel and keep this good news (gospel message) from their Jewish family. I decided to send my mother a love letter, reminiscing about the past, and telling her both of my love for her and also that I had found true peace in our Jewish Messiah, Jesus. I explained to my mother, who had warned me about those Jews that had become traitors, that I now believe it is true that you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus.
My mother wrote back, and her letter was one of acceptance and love. She had seen the change in my life and the resurrection of our marriage which was something she could not deny. Also, over the past few years, my parents had developed a close friendship with a Christian couple. My mom also was blessed to have a Christian hairdresser and both showed her Messiah’s love.
Angel and I began to write down on index cards Scriptures from the Old Testament and mail them to my mother. My mother told us that she read them attentively. She would at times, however, question me about the origin of these texts. I had read her passages from the prophet Jeremiah, Chap. 31, verses 31-34: “Behold the days will come that I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and Judah…” and also Psalms 22 which predicted the suffering and death of the Messiah by crucifixion. She said to me, “These aren’t from the Old Testament, but are from the New Testament.” She was surprised to learn that these words were from the Old Testament.
I then made a visit to New Jersey to give her a complete NIV Bible. Mom cried and thanked me. Over the next few months we spoke on the phone and corresponded by mail. One time, when I visited her in the hospital, we prayed for the first time together and my mother clearly affirmed to me that she had accepted our Jewish Messiah, Jesus. She also told my father & family and her Christian friends of her new faith.
Just two weeks later my mother passed away and went to be with the Lord. My father did not deny the reality that my mom accepted Jesus. Even though he has not yet believed, he lovingly acknowledged my mom’s acceptance of this new faith in God. We continue to pray for my dad every day.
For the last couple of years my wife and I have attended regularly a non-denominational church in our community, and we also have attended Bible studies together. We also have a small group and attend larger gatherings of Jewish and Gentile couples who are believers. We attended our first Messianic Jewish Passover Seder last April, 2008.
God has done marvelous things in restoring our family and marriage, and we look forward to many more years of serving the Lord and reaching both Jew and Gentile with the gospel. We have a passion to see other marriages transformed through faith in the living God. Praise, honor and glory to God Almighty. Who redeemed, saved and healed our marriage and our family. To God be all the glory.
Angel & Steven Moed
Married 7/18/81 and…Remarried 1/06/06
If you have further questions about anything written in the testimony, please send me an email, write, or call me. I will also provide Steve and Angel with your email address if you would like to talk to them directly. - - - Jon Lieberman