Month 3:29, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5939:088 AM|
2Exodus 1/40, Omer Count Day 21/50
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 26 June 2014
Households & Orphans
Look to Your Own House in Messiah
Shabbah shalom kol beit Yisra'el and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) be with us all in this assembly and with our brethren and sisters abroad wherever they may be. I hope that today's message, which is addressed to families, will be a blessings to you.
Don't Bed Your Girlfriend
Yesterday my wife shared with me an article by Brett Wilson, a single from Virginia, who wrote a moving article  expressing her gratitude to a Christian boyfriend she had had at College who not only refused to bed her but taught her a lasting lesson about godliness that has been an anchor in her life ever since.
The Demise of Christian Teens
According to multiple researchers, more teens are turning away from the emunah (faith) than ever before. Somewhere in the order of 75 to 88% of Christian teens walk away from Christianity by the end of their freshman year of college. The same kind of statistics are being found in high schools too. There are obviously many reasons for this, and part of it is because of what our children are being taught (which is one of the reasons why we advocate so strongly for homeschooling). But there are other reasons too.
The Multigeneration Legacy of Broken Homes
In the 21st century families have inherited a multi-generation legacy from the 20th century and its brutal wars of broken and dysfunctional homes. Today, in the West at any rate, we live in a post-Christian, anti-family society. Though my father was an agnostic and my mother a nominal Christian, their generation did at least believe in, and teach, Christian family values. And though I spent many years of my life away in a boarding school, where survival of the fittest was the unwritten rule, where Darwinism and Anglican Christianity were freely and unapologetically mixed, that early matrix of family values has endured with me through every crisis and upheaval in my life. These biblical values I have endeavoured to pass on to my own children whilst society and the surrounding neo-pagan society has competed for their loyalties. One of my regrets now is that I did not homeschool my eldest children who are struggling as all Christians do in a world alien to their upbringing. Some have lost their faith. And yet I think it would be true to say that even those raised, hopefully, in the right way, will have their crosses to bear, their struggles to endure, and must discover just what it actually means to make a committment to Yah'shua (Jesus). We none of us escape out struggles and tests of emunah (faith), yet those who have known the Way of the Cross early are undoubedly prepared better to face the challenges life presents to them.
A Vision and a Revelation: The Curved Knife
Yesterday Yahweh shared a davar (word) with me that I am bidden to share with you today, though it was actually an amplification of another davar (word) received many days before. When I awoke I went straight into prayer, as is my custom, and asked Him to guide me how to exercise my stewardship in a heavy responsibility that has suddenly been thrust into my hands that will affect my own family and others connected to my family whether by blood or by spiritual rebirth. The vision itself shocked me, for I saw my left arm and hand, and in that left hand was a dagger that was curved a full 180 degrees. The blade of the dagger had pierced the middle of my forearm, not deeply, but I was wounded, even as I held the knife. As you can imagine I was shocked, because whatever the dagger was intended for, it was not obviously doing what I had intended it to do. Without speculating as to what this dagger represented, let me tell you what happened afterwards. Naturally, I begged Yahweh to explain what this extraordinary vision meant, and instantly He answered me audibly:
Questions With Unexpected Answers
Don't you hate it when Yahweh answers a question with something that seems to be totally unrelated to what you were asking Him about? When a talmid (disciple) who was following Yah'shua (Jesus) on His ministry circuit asked if he could be excused so that he could return home to bury his father who had just died, the Master replied:
Levels of Awareness
"Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead" (Matt.8:21-22, NIV).
Many a time Yah'shua (Jesus) gave answers to questions that seemed totally disconnected to the question being asked, and the reason why He did this was because he was answering a question that should have been asked with an answer that the talmid (disciple) needed to hear. We think on one level of consciousness and Yahweh thinks on another. I should have realised when I saw the vision that the left hand, as opposed to the right, signifies either our unconsciously-driven actions or (more likely) our flesh-driven ones. I was being shown ever so unsubtly that whatever task I was tackling that it was being sabotaged by the action of my fleshy or carnal nature. Wrong-thinking, unspirituality, anarchistic passion or whatever was in the end self-destructive. I was stabbing myself.
A Broader Message
In actual fact, the vision and the davar (word) that followed turned out to be instruction to me on two entirely different levels. On the one hand, it was a direct reply to my question, and it was to make absolutely sure that my family was properly provided for during the collapse that is imminent, but on the other hand it contained within it a far broader message whose meaning was only given to me this morning.
A Gipsy Beggar
When I was in town yesterday I saw a young Romanian gipsy woman begging outside one of the shopping centres with a placard and a plastic cup for coins. Normally these people have accordians and play music, sometimes well and sometimes very badly. They have more success than those who do nothing other than to look dolefully up at you and then revert to their default expression when you aren't looking at them. Even though you know that part of what they are doing is an act - and some of these people are without a doubt rougues who won't work - you also know that they are in need physically and beyond that there lies an even greater spiritual need that would lead them out of the grinding cycle of poverty that for generations they have grown accustomed to because of the habits they have learned from their parents and grandparents who did the same as well as the fact that their governments at home not only don't care about them but openly oppress them.
An Experience in Oslo
I don't know about you but I'm always of two minds about such people. Sometimes I will give them something, along with a Romanian Gospel tract of which I always carry several when I am in town, and sometimes I will pass them by. I haven't quickly forgotten the experience I had in Oslo many years ago when walking alon down a deserted street early one Sunday morning to meet up with one of the brethren, when I was approached by a Romanian man asking for money. I told him I didn't have much on me, which I didn't, but I gave it him anyway, and he went his way. As I continued on my walk Yahweh told me that had I not done that, that he meant to do me physical harm. You just never know.
Muggers in Russia
People travelling from Finland to St.Petersburg across the Russian border viâ Vyborg (Viipurii) have reported how various scam artists lie on the road as if injured or collapsed from starvation and virtually force tourists to stop their cars to see if they are alright. Then these 'victims' suddenly get up and mug and rob the tourists. We have to be wise and listening to the Ruach (Spirit) in such matters because the Enemy will naturally prey on our tender sympathies and appeal to our philanthropy in order to abuse, hurt or even kill us. We can mataphorically stab ourselves even with good intentions.
Speaking to Roma People
But this is not my main point. I did not give that young gipsey woman anything. I saw her twice yesterday as I was about two different errands and on each occasion she looked up at me dolefully, as I said. Though I did not feel bad for not putting any coins in her cup, or giving her a pamphlet as I usually do with other Roma people, when I passed her the second time Yahweh laid on my heart a thought I had not had before. In essence it was that in future I should not only go and talk with these people (which is interesting because usually they can only speak Romanian, their own Roma tongue, and sometimes Russian, and don't know any English or Swedish at all), but that I should do so together with members of my family.
A Second Witness
What's interesting is that while I was in town yesterday my wife was at home and had been praying and worshipping most of the day, and similar thoughts were being laid on her heart in addition to the personal things she was talking to Yahweh about. And this morning she shared some thoughts about what the Ruach (Spirit) was saying to her spirit about family.
I have a number of separate, simple witnesses about the matters I want to discuss today, rather than some grand revelation that really ought to be common sense to all believers. As far as families go, Yahweh has given us timeless precepts and principles for multi-generational faithfulness, especially in Deuteronomy 6. Elohim's (God's) simple command to Moses to teach the Davar (Word) of Torah diligently to the children of Israel serves as the foundation of all family-driven emunah (faith) of the sort that Baptist Pastor Voddie Baucham Jr. has become famous for in his best-selling book . Though we ourselves don't believe in the 'church' system per se, there is no doubt that this pastor was inspired when he founded a congregation in Spring, Texas, and called it Grace Family Baptist Church. I emphasise the word 'family' purposefully.
New Testament Conversion of Households: The Royal Official's Son
You will have noticed in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) that when the father or mother converted very often the whole household converted too, not because the parents picked up a whip and said, 'We're boss, therefore you must become a believer too' but because of the intimate ties that exist in a family relationship, there is a greater chance that all, or most, will be touched. I am sure you will recall this story:
The Angel's Prophecy at Joppa
"Once more [Yah'shua/Jesus] visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Yah'shua (Jesus) had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and begged Him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. 'Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,' Yah'shua (Jesus) told him, 'you will never believe.' The royal official said, 'Sir, come down before my child dies.' Yah'shua (Jesus) replied, 'You may go. Your son will live.' The man took Yah'shua (Jesus) at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, 'The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.' Then the father realised that this was the exact time at which Yah'shua (Jesus) had said to him, 'Your son will live.' So he and all his household believed" (John 4:46-53, NIV).
That would, of course, have included not only his wife and children, but his servants too, who in a good household would have been like sons and daughters too. The apostle Peter relates an incident of his own to illustrate this family principle:
"Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Ruach (Spirit) told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man's house. He told us how he had seen a malak (angel) appear in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved'" (Acts 11:11-14, NIV).
What a promise! And there are many more like this dotted throughout the Scripures. A righteous father in particular can have a huge impact on his immediate family. Brother Yun, the 'Heavenly Man' of the Chinese House Churches , relates how whole families convert, followed by whole villages, upon a mighty encounter with Yah'shua (Jesus), and that it usually starts with the family where that is tightly bonded in some way. It's not just individuals who get changed when they hear the Besorah (Gospel) and respond in emunah (faith) but whole households, and then all can sing with King David:
"I will sing a new song unto Thee, O Elohim (God)" (Ps.144:9, KJV).
Do you remember Lydia (if I may give an example of the impact an adult woman can have on her family)?
The Household of Crispus
"On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of Elohim (God). The Master opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptised, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Master,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us" (Acts 16:13-15, NIV).
Here's another example of a whole household being converted:
Households to be Emulated
"Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of Elohim (God). Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Master; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptised" (Acts 18:7-8, NIV).
Obviously this was not universal (as in the case of Stephanus' family - 1 Cor.1:16; 16:15) and only some members of a household converted (Rom.16:11; 1 Cor.1:11). The important thing is that households - that is, houses that hold people, whether they are blood family or others living under the same roof under the same patriarchal authoriry, are important. We belong to a Household ourselves, the "Household of Elohim (God)" (Eph.2:9; Phil.4:22), and fathers (and here, deacons and elders) are commanded to manage their "children and [their] household[s]" well (1 Tim.l3:12, NIV) for the express purpose that these households, with their diverse personalities, ages and genders, "will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Elohim's (God's) household, which is the messianic community (church) of the living Elohim (God), the pillar and foundation of the emet (truth)" (1 Tim.3:15, NIV). Our households are therefore an essential part of our witness both to other believers and to the world in our evangelism. They are to be models to be emulated, particularly the households of congregational leaders, and especially that of the Pastor.
Evangelism and the Household
And that really is my main message today. Evangelism is an affair of the whole household, not just its parental leaders. When we build a household we are building the foundation of the Kingdom of our Elohim (God) because in that Household of the Most High everyone matters and everyone has a part to play. We're all in it together. That is why households are also blessed as a single unit and why households are also judged and why the whole Household of Elohim (God) is judged as a single unit , in addition to its members being judged individually too. The Kingdom of Elohim (God), as you now know so well, is both/and - it consists of both individually saved believers as well as collectively saved believers, which is why we are commanded to observe the spring festivals that speak of individual salvation and why we have the summer and autumn (fall) festivals to teach us about community covenants (Shavu'ot), household and national Messianic Israelite salvation.
Authority and Household Echad
Ministers speak with greater toqef (authority) when the Messianic Community and unbelievers see families and households walking in ahavah (love), emet (truth) and echad (oneness). This is the "fragrance" that Paul speaks of, the fragrance or "aroma of Messiah amongst those who are being saved and those who are perishing" (2 Cor.2:14-15, NIV). We are households (families) within households (congregations) within a Greater Household of our Elohim (God) and each household, in its own place, must have this fragrance or aroma that invisibly draws unbelievers, as well as weak believers struggling in the emunah (faith), to come to Messiah and be saved, or to come to Messiah to be strengthened.
The New Covenant Levite
If we are to be a household thus walking in the Ruach (Spirit) and accoring to Yahweh's Torah - His Law, Teaching, Mitzvot (commandments) and Standards of morality - then we must have a clear vision of what we are all doing, and be united around that. Firstly, we must begin as individuals, and live according to the revelation that Yahweh gave to Brother Yun when he was told:
Separated From the World and To Messiah
"Yun, you are a Levite belonging to me. You should separate yourself from your relatives because you belong to Me" .
When I read these words a day or two ago, they literally bowled me over. I heavily underlined them in my copy of his book. What Yah'shua (Jesus) meant by that was not that Yun should have nothing to do with his relatives, but to be spiritually separate from those who are unsaved, neither imitating their ways nor compromising the emet (truth) for the sake of family tradiion, habits or the like. This is the Ruach haLevi (Spirit of Levi) in the B'rit Chadashah (New Covenant), and as you know from our own revelations, we are to embue all twelve characteristics of the twelve tribes in their perfection even if one tribe naturally dominates in us either by descent or my adoption. The secret of the success of a household in Messiah is to be separate, which is another way of saying that we are to be 'set-apart' or 'holy'. The qodeshim or 'saints', 'set-apart ones' or 'holy ones' are precisely those who are separated from the world and its ways. We are separated to Messiah, or as Paul says of himself and his apostolic calling, "separated to the Besorah (Gospel) of Elohim (God)" (Rom.1:1, NKJV). As households we are to be separated from the world and separated to Yahweh.
Yah'shua on Orphans
What if you are an orphan, physical or spiritual? Such are to be attached to households so that they can be a part of that nurturing, loving and safe environment. Yah'shua (Jesus) promised His followers before He departed:
Adopting Orphans in Local Congregation Households
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18, NIV).
There is no such thing as an orphan in the Kingdom of Heaven. We are not fatherless without Yahweh and we are not motherless without the Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit when we are in Messiah. But what about physically here on earth? If there are no spiritual orphans in the Kingdom of Elohim (God), should there be any in the Messianic Community (Church)? Of course not! They need homes or households to belong to, and that is the responsibility of the Messianic Community (Church) itself. Except as a temporary expediency - as a transit camp, as it were, while homes are found for them - we should not be building permanent orphanages! It is not in the heart of Yahweh that we do, even if we are surrounded by intense poverty and are struggling ourselves.
Do Not Imitate the Ways of the Churches
Our brother and presiding pastor in East Africa, Brother Dackson Agoi, knows this only too well because according to his testimony his entire life in Yah'shua (Jesus) has centred on them. We cannot leave these children without families - there is no such thing in Scripture as a 'household of orphans' (orphanage) - it is totally contrary to Yah's ways. We are commanded to take care of widows and orphans (Jas.1:27). Therefore we must help support families to adopt orphans as their own, just as we have been adopted into Elohim (God) through Yah'shua our Messiah (Jesus Christ). I cannot tell you how strongly Yahweh has laid this on my heart. So in the missions we must not imitate the ways of the churches - we must follow the Davar (Word).
The Greater Vision
Men of Elohim (God) are given visions as to what their life calling is as servants of Yahweh but there is a great vision that must not be compromised by personal visions. Brother Yun put it this way:
Hungering for the Souls of Men
"As Christians we are not to live avy any vision or dream, nor should we seek after them. We must only live by the Davar Elohim (Word of God) and seek the face of Yah'shua (Jesus)" .
Together, as families and households, we are to be hungry for the souls of men to save them and are to seek to destroy every concept of 'orphan' by making sure that everyone has a family, everyone has a household, and together become witnesses of the Davar (Word) which is Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus). There are orphans in the world, our own members die from disease, war, and famine. Think about it, if you were one of them, what would you want to happen to your children? You do not need me to answer that question. We are to give them loving homes and trust Yahweh to provide the means to take care of them. This does not mean it will not be easy, this does not mean that there won't be suffering, this does not mean that there won't occasionally be lack, but it most definitely does mean that Yahweh's approbation and blessings will be with us. It is better to struggle together in a loving home than in some boarding school. Having lived at two boarding schools from the age of 10 I know first hand the misery that was for me and how I missed and craved home so much. It was not good for my development and left a deficit that has taken years to make right.
Get the Evil Out of Your House: Cleaning Up Our Act
Now I understand better more about that huge revelation Yahweh gave me several weeks ago when He said seven words most emphatically; Get the evil out of your house! This was not only a mitzvah (command) to each of us to clean our personal acts up. This was not only a mitzvah (command) to clean our families and households up - it was also a mitzvah (command) to clean our local congregations up and in particular, for us, to clean up the fellowship of the New Covenant Assemblies of Yahweh which is now rapidly spreading abroad and acquiring new members from all kinds of backgrounds.
Eliminating Any Sense of Alienation
That means that we must begin by eliminating the sense of alienation and the feeling of not belonging because fellow believers have excluded us and are treating us as 'orphans' in the Body of Messiah; or because we view ourselves in that negative light because we won't integrate with the Household of Yahweh according to His precepts and serve Him as we ought to be doing, or for whatever other reason. And that will never properly happen - there will never be true echad (oneness) among us - until we have eliminated the label 'orphan' as well, by giving these children homes and helping the members to take care of them. We will doubtless still need simple structures were we can take care of orphans while we find them families so we must devote much effort into increasing the wealth of our congregations and their households by getting people self-sufficient in food. Not only must every member become a witness but every member must become a farmer too! We have to feed our people bodily and spiritually and not separate the two needs. We are Israelites and we do not separate spirit from body. We are living souls, organic whole beings in Messiah, and that message must be shared through living it out.
Dealing With Sickness
Finally we have got to deal with the problem of sickness, and in particular AIDS and malaria. Traditional medicine will, for the most part, remain beyond our means, so we have to learn and implement herbalism and other natural remedies. This is something that must happen alongside our farming, aquaponics and permaculture.
The NCAY Vision
If anyone can find a Davar Elohim (Word of God) from the Scriptures that says orphans are a natural state of affairs in the Messianic Community (Church) I will listen. But I cannot. Rather, the Bible tells me we are to be echad (one) practically everywhere. It is the divine tavnith (pattern). We must get every last vestage of evil out of our households and pursue these scriptural goals as part of our witness, part of our hunger for souls. But before we can do this, we must first look to our own households, and walk as our Master in these things, for the world as we speak is under judgment. If we do, Yah'shua (Jesus) will exchange our weaknesses for His strength. We will bear the load better and more successfully for the King and the Kingdom.
This is my vision and this my witness and I pray it is yours too. We don't have much in the way of resources but we have our ahavah (love) of, and emunah (faith) in, Yah'shua (Jesus) our Messiah and His people that must grow and mature, and we have willingness to labour hard. Please join arms with us as we harvest the wheat and fill the barns. Amen.
 Brett Wilson, To the Man Who Won't Sleep With Me
 Voddie T. Baucham Jr, Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God
 Brother Yun & Paul Hattaway, The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chibese Christianh Brother Yun (Monarch Books, Oxford: 2002)
 MISHPAT YAHWEH Ic: The Judgment of Believers First
 Brother Yun & Paul Hattaway, op.cit., p.159
 Brother Yun & Paul Hattaway, op.cit., p.108