Mishpachah Yeshua Newsletter

A Newsletter To The Family Of Jesus From Restoration Ministries

The Hebraic family is not simply an individual or private matter.
Rather, it is an institution in which the whole community has a stake.
Thus, the Hebrew word “mishpachah,” meaning family, not only refers to parents and children,
but to the whole extended family worldwide in the body of “Yeshua”—our Jesus.

[click here for a printable copy]

September 1997 Topic: Church At War

 

Dear Friends,
“When did the Church begin?” “At Mount Sinai, when God chose to establish a relationship with the Jewish people.” The answer was aptly shared by Dr. Howard Morgan of Restoration Foundation. Think about the implications of our understanding of the Church if it began at Mt. Sinai when God separated out a people for Himself.
As people let go of anti-Semitic lies about the irrelevancy of the Hebrew Bible, they are realizing that God is restoring the Hebraic roots of the Church. They are seeing God’s relationship with man from God’s vantage point. The entire Bible shows a loving, caring Father’s covenant relationship with His people. To view the Church apart from the Bible’s testimony of God’s motives and interactions in prior covenants with people does the Church a great disservice.
The Ten Commandments, given at Mt. Sinai, tell us that God wants His people to love Him. In return He promises to be merciful to a thousand generations. As part of our relationship with Him, He, as God, has the right to stipulate our responsibilities in this relationship: honor parents, do not steal or covet, care for those who can never repay you, etc. Our lack of love and ignorance of His righteous commands do not lead to a life of bliss, but rob many of the fullness of being a child of a wonderful, loving Father.
As the Israelites sought to live out God’s commands, they were faced with war. To receive the Promised Land, they had to fight for it.

The Church is at War
Quite often the Hebrew Bible gives us a physical picture of what the Church encounters spiritually. By studying the events that happened to the Jewish people we can understand what we are contending with spiritually. As with the Jews, God has promises for the followers of Jesus. How do we receive the promises? We fight for them in the heavenlies!
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:10-13).
The concept of combat, conflict, and warfare have a repugnant ring to them. Because of this negative connotation Satan is able to render the Church ineffectual. Many miss God’s promises for them and many more unconverted souls enter a Christless eternity.
“They did not belong to us”
Can it be that numbers of those considered to be part of the Church are not? We have encountered many who show no evidence of the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. These could be the ones that Jesus must tell at the judgment throne, “I never knew you” (see Matt. 8:21-23). The Gospel tells us that when we enter into a covenant relationship with our heavenly Father through the shed blood of Jesus, He seals us with the Holy Spirit. Conversion as understood by the early Church was “pouring new wine into new wineskins.” The old wineskins were completely discarded. A distinct and noticeable change in a person occurred. (See the Book of Acts).
Today, the unconverted who call themselves “Christian” may in fact be those within our faith communities whom the “devil has taken captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:6). The unconverted are owned by Satan to be used as he sees fit. Infiltration is a most deadly enemy strategy. One of the difficulties we faced in Vietnam was determining who was the enemy. They infiltrated us. On the outside they dressed and looked like everyone else even as they wreaked havoc.
Another group Satan uses to keep the followers of Jesus from the battle are those who, even though converted, are still controlled by spiritual strongholds. Strongholds are demonic fortresses in our soul (mind, will, and emotions) that can (1) control, dictate, and influence our attitudes and behaviors; (2) oppress and discourage us; (3) filter and color how we react to situations, circumstances, or people. Because we encounter so many who are influenced by spirits, we do a Demolishing Strongholds seminar as part of our Restoring the Early Church workshops. The stream of testimonies of changed lives is wonderful!
One person who attended a seminar as part of a home fellowship “conveniently” missed the strongholds portion of the workshop on the first day. On the afternoon of the second day, things were really coming together for most everyone except this home fellowship. I went into the bathroom to pray and bind spirits as I often do when I sense demonic opposition. As I walked back into the conference room, this particular person got up and left. That home fellowship contingent met with me privately and confessed how they had been controlled for years by this person. They set aside the scheduled group assignment of establishing halakhahs, and repented and bound the influence of spirits, especially the spirit of fear and insecurity by which this person had been able to control them. [For those of you who have Demolishing Strongholds, we’ve added two new symptoms. Under the stronghold of Bitterness we put racism. Racism is defined as “unjust narrow-mindedness; prejudice against whatever differs from your values or beliefs.” Under the strongholds of Independence and Divorce, and Control, we’ve added Devil’s advocate. We defined this symptom as “takes contrary position in discussions; argues without considering others’ feelings or needs.” Please update your workbook.]

The following parable was given to a pastors’ group which met at our retreat center. For years afterward we would tear up at its intense truth.

A PARABLE OF WAR
(Paul Knight, ca. 1986)
“We were sitting outside the village frustrated. We had been enlisted to defend and win the allegiance of the members of the village for the Crown. But there seemed to be so little response to the consistent goodness of the throne. We, the soldiers of the King, were growing tired and apathy was around us like a dense fog.
It was then that we heard the blast of the horns warning us that they were advancing. The Enemy, whom we had grown to hate and despise, was advancing his troops close to the village.
We knew full well that the enemy and his workers were ruthless. They breathed the fire of hatred. As the others around us began to speak, we knew that the village we were caring for and seeking to win would be devastated. One of the female soldiers with us began to cry out in alarm for the innocent children who would be devoured in the jaws of wickedness and deprivation. Her voice cracked with fear and urgency, for she had been one of their prisoners. Her scars, emotional and physical, were still fresh.
Those around the woman, knowing that the King had prepared us with a power far beyond that of our enemies’, stood in resolve to fight. We shouted to our fellow soldiers to stand and bear arms for the King, to defend the village and to fight against the advance of the army.
We sent messengers into the village, sounding warnings again and again that the enemy would take prisoners. We testified to the tactics of the enemy and to the promised care for those who follow the King. Some followed and took up arms with us. We resolved to defend to the end those left and to continue begging their enlistment under the King’s banner.
When we returned to our camp outside the village, we again tried to rally our fellow soldiers to stand and to prepare for battle. The enemy had landed and was advancing with greater strength. We could hear the hellish cries of those who were being taken and those who so joyously performed the enemy’s deeds of war. From the infants to the aged, we knew that they would be trampled and put in bondage. Untold horrors would be their fate. We again cried out to our fellow soldiers to stand and to fight.
A few of us ran to our fellow soldiers and with tear-filled eyes begged them to stand and to bear arms. But the fog had grown so thick, it seemed not only to block their vision but to silence our cries in their ears. They continued to rest and to talk.
One of our comrades was again explaining how to fight, how to use weapons. He was explaining the need to defend ourselves and the people of the village. With sweat on his brow and with great passion he began to lift our fellow soldiers up, urging them to stand. In panic he was running from person to person, propping them up, but they did not want to stand. In exhaustion, our comrade fell among them. We wept.
With greater determination we began to fight, still urging our fellow soldiers to stand. All around us the devastation, even of the King’s army, began to overwhelm us. Still we cried out to stand and to bear arms for the One Who cared for us. We shouted out the names of the villagers. With fading breath we called out, “Help us, please fight with us. The enemy is here.”

The following is an excerpt from our forthcoming book, Restoring Spiritual Gifts: “A spiritual battle can be won when the righteous courageously band together in their faith communities to concentrate their efforts. Recognize that in areas where God calls for concentration of effort, Satan brings about dissolution of both commitment and intimacy. One way he accomplishes this is by involving believers in a myriad of unrelated church activities. Another way is his manipulation of those he has taken captive in our faith communities to continually drain and distract us from God's real objective. You can spot these people because they never seem to have any victory in their lives. They continually complain and grumble, never able to see beyond their own needs.
When Jesus sent the disciples out, He concentrated their effort and told them whom to engage: "Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits" (Mark 6:7, emphasis added). "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go....The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name'" (Luke 10:1,17, emphasis added). Concentration of prayer effort and assurance of our authority in Jesus routs the enemy. Satan knows that he and his minions must submit to God's people in the name of Jesus.
The current level of uncoordinated activity in so many faith communities reminds us of a poster that Mike saw in the Navy. The poster was designed to remind each person to keep focused on the objective. Whatever he or she started was to be seen through until completion. The poster showed a man being eaten by alligators. The caption stated: "When you are knee deep in alligators, that's not the time to remember you forgot to drain the swamp." Can it be that the church is knee deep in demonic strongholds because we forgot to take the offense and concentrate our prayer efforts to evict the demons that oppose us in Jesus’s name? How many people in the churches today can report: "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name"? Let us appropriate the power of a life submitted to God, believing that His power can free us from spiritual hindrances and enable us to go forward to share the gospel in triumph!”
In certain ways the Vietnam conflict parallels many of the warfare issues facing the Church today. Why were we involved in Vietnam? The lack of a clear reason divided this country. When I was in the Navy, my strategy and tactics classes taught us that there are two “jugulars” of commerce in the world. Whoever dominated these two places could control the nations. One is the Malaccan Straits near Singapore, through which a tremendous amount of world shipping passes. The other key position is the Straits of Hormuz between Saudi Arabia and Iran, where tremendous amounts of oil pass. The US believed that it needed to keep the Malaccan Straits out of Communist hands; thus, our involvement in Southeast Asia. The USSR hoped to gain control of the Straits of Hormuz when it occupied Afghanistan. The Gulf War was fought over control of the Straits of Hormuz.
We need to fully understand the goals of our spiritual enemy, Satan. Misperception of his goals will divide us and keep us from fighting him effectively. The consequences we face are as eternal as heaven and hell!
The US participation in Vietnam began when I was in grammar school. I thought it would be over before I graduated from college in 1968. When Sue and I were dating, she obtained immigration information from Australia. They were recruiting teachers from the US, and paying incredible bonuses. We were really attracted to the opportunity before us. However, I was also aware of the tag, “draft dodger.” My concern lay with my father, who enjoyed passing time with his friends at the Polish American Club each week. Since so many of these men had fought in previous wars, I feared they would misunderstand my reasons for teaching in Australia. Thus I went into the Navy, so that my father would never be called the “father of a coward” by his friends. [Some people thought that concern for my father’s feelings was too shallow a reason to go into the military. My love for him, however, resulted in three deployments to Vietnam.]
All the converted may not have a global view of God’s concern for all mankind. But if we follow Jesus, we cannot help but be burdened for those we know personally who may enter a Christless eternity. If our Father has sealed us with His Spirit, He will compel us to be burdened by what burdens Him.
How burdened are you about the unconverted members of your family, friends, schoolmates, co-workers? Is there a demonic stupor keeping you from being burdened for them? We encourage you to repent and renounce the spirit of stupor which blinds you. Ask your Father to burden you with the burden of His heart. His Son’s blood was shed to offer those you know eternity with Him. If you have put loving trust in His Son, this has to matter to you!
One of my closest friends fled to Canada rather than fight in Vietnam. I knew he had left the country out of deep conviction rather than just to dodge military duty. I had and still have the greatest respect for him today. Vietnam caused this nation to differentiate, as the Bible does, between those who act on their convictions and those who like to express their opinions. Opinions mean nothing more than the air that comes out of one’s mouth.
Whatever you are convicted about in the Bible will normally cost you something to obey. This separates those who live abandoned to the will of our Father from those who are biblically knowledgeable but hold (and express) a lot of opinions (hot air).

New Wine Skins
From God’s perspective He looks for new wineskins filled with new wine:“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38, emphasis added).
Our Lord is giving us the minimum standard for following Him. Our conviction combined with His grace provides the means to fulfill the above. In this light let us encourage and spur on one another to keep our wineskins pliable and useful for our Master’s use. May others see in us what people saw in Peter and John when they were arrested, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). If we claim to follow our Lord, let us look like Him in love, courage, humility, and forgiveness.

May God empower you,
Mike & Sue Dowgiewicz