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]

March 2000 Topic: Forgiving Others (Part 1)

Dear Friends,
Bitterness is the number one destructive force crippling “Christian” families today! It is the driving force behind the rampant greed and selfish ambition found in both the Church and society. It creates an undue false expectation about how others, including God, should treat us. It is the cornerstone of denominationalism, racism, and sexism. It fuels heaviness of heart and cold love. Bitter people can be with others and still feel all alone....
In our list of strongholds on page 37 of Demolishing Strongholds, the occurrence of bitterness ranks 100-to-1 over other strongholds. Sadly, the false “gospels” of today have no problem with “saved” people  continuing in their bitterness—a condition most often emanating from unresolved issues from their upbringing. Bitterness is foremost a family failure.

“Family” in the Bible: An Action
We have mentioned in previous letters that unlike English, which places emphasis on the noun or subject, Hebrew emphasizes the verb. Isn’t it interesting that God would use Hebrew and Hebraic thought as the means for us to understand Him and His commands? Living His commands is not the same as just knowing them.
Hebraicly, “family” is a way of living out God’s commands and passing them on to the next generation(s). Zodhiates defines family as “an ever-burgeoning circle of relatives with strong blood ties.” For Christians, this living organism is tied together by the blood of Jesus! Because of Jesus, reproducing forgiving hearts in our children and disciples indicates that we are on the right way.
If we don’t do this, we produce relational cripples—people who keep records of wrongs and  are unable to maintain intimate, loadbearing relationships.

Restoring Forgiving Families
For various reasons God’s ways get lost from generation to generation. This loss has happened in my own family: About 10 years ago I was almost killed in a car accident. My mother, realizing that I had almost died leaving unresolved tensions with my two brothers, invited us all to her home one evening. Mom confessed, “What Mike is trying to show us from the Bible is what my father taught me as a young girl. But I was rebellious and didn’t pass these things on to you kids.” I appreciate the courage it took for my Mom to confess that. It’s been a slow process over the years to restore  the Bible as the basic guide to life for our extended family.
If Christians don’t pass along the biblical processes of “family”, then we doom the generations to come to unnecessary suffering. Not long after that meeting, Mom also related her father’s biblical pattern of forgiving his children when they had done wrong: After he spanked an offender (if the situation warranted it), he had the child kiss his wedding ring. That was a sign to let the child know he was fully forgiven, and also a sign to the father not to bring up the forgiven offense again.
I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d known this earlier in life. As I was growing up, offenses in our home of six were dealt with by screaming, but with no real closure. As an adult I regrettably did no differently.
• How is forgiveness carried out in your home? Is there full healing and closure, or is the matter brought up again and again?

To Follow Jesus is A Way of Living
I hope you’ll view “family” as a way of life and discover how to biblically reproduce it in the next generation. What things are produced and how they get passed along is the real emphasis of “family” in the Bible. The foundation of the Hebraic Restoration is found in Genesis 18:19. The Church began when Abraham showed his children the way of the Lord.
A prime fruit of walking in our Lord’s way is having a forgiving heart. People are not naturally forgiving, but are quick to maintain a record of wrongs. Some immediately show their bitterness, others just seethe in it, not only to their own destruction, but to the devastation of others.
Have you noticed: forgiving people are very teachable, open to listen to wisdom? On the other hand, bitter people are the difficult fools we discussed in Restoring The Early Church: hardened (always repeating the same mistakes); mocking (always feeling they know more than anyone); and God-denying fools (making God in their own image). These were the ones the Hebraic elders rejected as impossible to deal with.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on [us], because the Lord has anointed [us] to preach good news to the poor. He has sent [us] to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isa. 61: 1).  
This prophetic verse pertaining to Jesus is the way of life for those who embrace the Hebraic Restoration. God re-cruits from each family a person or persons whose hearts are burdened for their own relatives:
• to bind up the brokenhearted,
• to free the captives from generational strongholds,
• to release their family from biblical darkness.

We see a common thread among those the Lord is using: emotional hurt from their past  healed by the power of Jesus Christ! Both Jesus and Stephen cried out, “Father, forgive them.” Forgiveness is an act of tremendous love, a love which only the Lord can give.
The Hebraic Restoration has to be lived, and is best shared as a testimony of personal experience. A passage pointing precisely to this: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Cor. 1:3,4).
People who meet Sue and me today can barely comprehend the depth of emotional healing God has done in our lives, especially through His power embodied in the truths of the Hebraic Restoration.
Because of what the Lord had restored in us, we were privileged to watch my parents put their trust in Jesus after we did. Sue and I were the first representation of Christ’s miraculous healing power which they had encountered. When my father saw what the Lord had done in our lives he told me, “I want the same Jesus you have!”
Up until the day my Dad put his trust in Jesus he had lived in the prison of unforgiveness his own Mother had left him in after her death. Freed of that prison by our Lord, Dad attempted to undo the damage the unforgiveness had caused in others. I have a special Christ-mas eve memory in which Dad asked me to help him express the love of God that he was experiencing. We both cried a lot.
We have written about the Gospel of the Hebrew Bible and the importance of sacrificial love (ahav). Remember that the Hebrew letters for ahav mean “a window into the Father’s heart.” People who embrace the true Gospel, as did my Dad, can be recognized by God’s love producing healing and forgiveness.

Those who don’t have the true Gospel live and reproduce an eternal death spiral:

Unforgiveness: Prideful Rebellion Against God’s Word
Sadly, bitterness blinds many believers from concern for the eternal welfare of others, especially their own relatives. There are two as yet unconfronted reasons why bitterness is so pervasive in Christianity:
1) Bitterness is the number one stronghold of clergy—the #1 occupation for divorce in the US. This fact is a reality, not my criticism. Bitterness, particularly toward the clergyman’s father, was the predominant stronghold I encountered in my years as a counselor to clergy. Tragic fruit of this bitterness is its permeation throughout many who attend the faith communities of these clergy.
2) Another source to the epidemic of bitterness in believers is an unscriptural use of laying on of hands (see 1Tim. 5:22). The Bible provides for fathers and elders to lay hands on people: fathers to bless their children and elders for healing and ordination.
Consider this: If the Holy Spirit can be imparted through the laying on of hands, so can demons. An example: Sue suffered an onslaught of depression and anxiety after an older, bitter woman who is highly connected in a well-known international prayer ministry came to our office one day and laid hands on Sue and prayed.
Only later did she tell us that she had divorced her husband many years earlier because “God told me to so I could marry a more godly man.” (Oh, brother!) We were naive to let this happen and suffered for it! Maybe we followers of Jesus need to wear a sign: “Keep your hands to yourself!”

Forgiving: The Way of the Lord
Forgive others because you are commanded to do so by God. It is a step of faithful obedience. Emotional healing follows forgiveness. God does the healing; your part is obedience. If you suffer from bitterness, here are some steps to take:
If you really want out of the prison of bitterness, refrain from grumbling to others about your pain. You’ll be engaging in the sins of slander and gossip by presenting only one side of the situation. It is time for you to trust God’s command and forgive from your heart. Your action is one of obedience, not a feelings response. And don’t go to the offending person and announce that you’ve forgiven him. That’s arrogance! That person may not even be aware he’s offended you! Someday he may  ask for forgiveness; you can tell him at that time that you have already forgiven him.
After you have forgiven an offender, use each time that person comes to mind as a reminder to pray God’s blessing on him or her. Forgiving them only gets you out of negative territory and back to ‘ground zero.’ If you stay at ‘zero’ you will always be susceptible to further bitterness toward that person or toward someone who reminds you of him or her.
You need to take steps into increasingly positive territory. Pray God’s blessing on that person! Pray that God would lead him to repentance through His kindness, not His judgment. As the person who hurt you comes to mind, the Lord is watching to see if you will bless him. If you do, then the Lord will heal your heart (see Exo. 23: 4,5; Rom. 12:20). If you don’t, you will stew in the self-imposed emotional prison you have created.
You may also have to deal with the stronghold that is inciting your attitude. We hear from many who, after going through Demolishing Strongholds, develop compassion for those who have previously hurt them. This was the sign for Sue and me that the strongholds were really gone for us. Let it be your sign too!

An Embittered Prosperous Nation—Judged by God
Because of the epidemic of destroyed marriages and other relationships, many Americans are embittered people compensating for their pain through greed and selfish ambition. God’s kind prosperity is intended to bring us to repentance. Yet, even bitter believers, who should repent and put their trust in their Father, are instead being enticed to put their trust in economic and political solutions.
Rejecting God’s kindness and aligning themselves with the world’s values, many will now experience His judgment:For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17).
Already His judgment has begun with His family: A higher divorce rate than among unbelievers! The “Christian family” can’t even pass a viable marriage on to the next generation. Why? Because their bitterness has produced the same idolatry as in unbelievers. God’s accusation against bitter, greedy, and proud presumptuous churchgoers:
“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. [When] you forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be de-stroyed for not obeying the Lord your God” (Deut. 8:17-20).
•  Friend, where is your trust? Ask your parents, spouse and children. They know in what or whom you’re trusting.

We encourage you to vote and to invest as God directs. But be careful where you place your confidence! (see Luke 12:16-21, Deut. 28:45-47).
My Family is Going to Heaven!
The Lord defines God’s family when He says, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother” (see Mark 3: 31-35). God’s true family are those who will be welcomed into heaven. Think about it!
•  How many of your family and descendants will join you in heaven? What are you willing to do about it?
In our Feb. 2000 Mish-pachah Yeshua we included the Dart Board illustration. For Sue and me, true “family” are those who live in the “bull’s eye” and “one ring out.” As sojourners on earth, we encourage each other as “family” to leap-frog on one another’s praises for answered prayer until we can thank our Lord face-to-face.

Now is the Time to Prepare Your Family for the Dark Days!
In our book Pastoring by Elders, the Lord impressed upon me to refer to the coming judgment on the US as the “Dark Days to come.” As with the Israelites, there comes a time when the righteous can only save themselves: “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD” (Eze. 14:13,14).
All you can do now is prepare your family to be light in the dark days to come, and to pray and bear spiritual fruit while it is yet day. As God told the Jews to prepare for the Passover by getting rid of all leaven, rid your home of all bitterness and selfish ambition. End the death spiral and cover your home in the BLOOD OF THE LAMB. “Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Pet.1:17-19).
This judgment will not be the end of this country. It will be a severe chastisement for serving other gods. All of God’s kindness that He has poured out on this country is going unheeded—people are not repenting. Even many of God’s people are misperceiving the current prosperity as the work of their own hands.

When the Dark Days Come
It Will be Too Late to Prepare
Now is the time to align yourself with our Father and His Word. He will answer your prayers to show you that you’re ready!
During the dark days, fear and starvation will be overwhelming. People change for the worse when they go through hunger and are deprived of conveniences. Yet God encourages us, “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the [unrepentant] (Pro. 10:3).
Anyone not prepared for the dark days will not repent any quicker than the Israelites did in the Book of Judges. God had to judge them harshly for many years before they cried out to Him. During times of judgment, embittered people only become more bitter: “[They] cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done” (Rev. 16:11). Those who are not trusting God now will be like the embittered Germans in the 1920’s: Instead of repenting during the post-war difficulties, they put their trust in Adolf Hitler!
As did the Israelites, in the dark days many will blame God. But His reply will be the same as it was before, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1,2).
Some will not see the true God behind the judgment and will only reaffirm their idolatry. In Jeremiah 44 God brought disaster on the Israelites because of their idolatry for worshiping the Queen of Heaven. The Lord told them (and us today), “To this day they have not humbled themselves or shown reverence, nor have they followed my law and the decrees I set before you and your fathers” (v. 10). They mistook His judgment for retaliation by the Queen of Heaven: “But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine” (v.18). Don’t you mistake the coming darkness!!!

Forgiving Others Bears Witness that You’re on the Right Way
Have you noticed that forgiving people SHINE? Today is the day to begin establishing pro-cesses that halt the death spiral of bitterness that you may be passing along to your children. When the dark days come, you’ll be too late to stop it!
SHINE, JESUS, SHINE in all who read this letter!