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/October 2001  Topic: Making Level Paths for Our Families

Dear Brothers,
Matt’s Mom called and told me to turn on the TV. Before the reporter’s words hit me, the image of the World Trade Center burning just caused me to start crying. I walked outside to where Sue was watering her flowers. She saw the tears in my eyes and all I could say was, “You have to come in and see this for yourself.” As with many of you we just sat there staring—numb with tears flowing down our cheeks. Later in the day I said to Sue, “A whole lot of people showed up in front of the Judgment Throne instantaneously.” 
Were those who died ready to face God? How many followers of Jesus were promoted to heaven ahead of us? I envy them. But tragically, how many entered an eternity where they would live in agony never to see Jesus? This thought grieves me. For instance, the Bible tells us that fornicators will not be welcomed in heaven. How many fornicators were among the dead? How many of the dead were never told about Jesus by their believing neighbors who saw their religious expression more in sitting in a church service than befriending a neighbor in the Name of Jesus?
This past weekend Sue and I did a Demolishing Strongholds seminar at the faith community in Redding, CA. where my sister Mary and her husband John attend. I listened with joy as John shared a testimony going back 25 years ago. He and Mary had been divorced for several years. During this time Mary had given her life to Jesus and wanted to remarry John. Prior to the remarriage and in answer to the prayers of many, John came to the Lord when Lars Wilhelmsen, a pastor in the area who had vowed to visit every home within a 10-block area of their church building within a year, knocked on John’s door. As they talked, the Holy Spirit knocked on John’s heart. How many people in your neighborhood have heard the Gospel from your mouth?

Jeremiah Is Still Speaking to God’s People Today
Yes, I was angry as more and more pictures came across the TV screen, but a deeper prompting kept speaking to me: “That act of violence represented tremendous hatred. You must match it in love. The people in this country consider themselves innocent, but not so. They have murdered millions of babies who will never know what love is. They export sex around the world, destroying people’s understanding of intimacy. More weapons of destruction are produced in this country than in any other, and sold to both parties at war with one another.”
The morning of the tragedy I had just finished reading: “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar” (2 Chron. 36:15-17).
I know people have a difficult time with a God who is driven by the immensity of the sins of His people to bring about severe chastisement. Those of us who have walked in the prophetic over the years understand acts of God which uphold His holiness. Yet, we know even more His mercy. Every prophecy the Lord Jesus ever gave me came from His mercy and compassion—His desire to see people repent and turn from their sins and turn to Him. What the Lord was compelled to do in ancient Israel because of the depth of idolatry of His people had been prophesied by the prophet, Jeremiah, the author also of the Book of Lamentations. It is interesting that tradition has him writing Lamentations on the hill next to Golgotha.
The prophet’s words bear repeating because he is speaking to the church today:
“Stand at the gate of the Lord's house and there proclaim this message: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you [Christians] who come through these gates to worship the Lord.’. . . To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it. . . My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. . . ‘Return, faithless people,’ declares the Lord, ‘for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding’” (Jer. 7:2; 6:10; 2:13; 3:14, 15). “I have struck you as an enemy would and punished you as would the cruel, because your guilt is so great and your sins so many” (Jer. 30:14).
Our Father never envisioned His Church to be “user friendly.” God sends His people into the world to bring them to repentance, not to indulge their sinful nature. As a naval warship fires warnings across the bow of a ship to deter it from its course, God has been warning the church for many decades to change its course. I would encourage you to read the warnings he has given the prophet David Wilkerson for this country. His website is <worldchallenge.org>. During my 11 years of counseling church leaders there were two men that many leaders despised: David Wilkerson and Bill Gothard. The first has been warning them for some time to get back to the Word of God. The second teaches how to live out the Word of God.
Our August newsletter was entitled, “Walking in the Holy Spirit in an Age of Concupiscence.” I had first heard the word “concupiscence” at the same Bill Gothard seminar where I had learned the word “lasciviousness”—inclined to lust, arousing sexual desire, wanton. The day after we sent our August newsletter, David Wilkerson’s letter arrived. It was entitled, “Turning the Grace of God into Lasciviousness.” Sue and I had a strong sense concerning the angel’s words to John in the Book of Revelation, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10b). By how many different prophets and in how many different ways has the Lord been attempting to warn His people?

To Trust in Our Idols or To Trust in Jesus?
The Lord’s ten plagues against the Egyptians were His frontal assault against their false gods in whom they trusted. Even though our coins still say “In God we trust”, people will tell you that their security is in our financial markets and in our military might. Sadly, pollster George Barna tells us the values of the born-again are hardly different than those of unbelievers in this nation. As we have taught Demolishing Strongholds, for the past 10 years we have found the stronghold of idolatry to be the fastest growing among God’s people. Wherever idolatry exists, the strongholds of fear and insecurity begin to accompany it. If you are plagued by the symptoms of fear and insecurity, consider where your trust lies.
Consider this: Can it be that God is taking on the “gods” of our financial and military institutions in which many of His children have wrongly placed their trust?
Few present-day Israelites have faith in God; for the most part they have placed their trust in the Israeli Defense Force and in American aid. I received an article that recently appeared in the The Jerusalem Post.
By Michael Freund. (August 29) - The news, it seems, gives us no rest. Every hour brings with it another attack, another victim, more tears and more bloodshed. We reach for the tuner on the radio, like alcoholics grasping a bottle, punch-drunk from its effects yet unable to free ourselves from its stubborn hold. With each passing day, the danger facing Israel seems to mount, as does our frustration. We all want to help, we all want to do something at this critical hour that will make a difference for our people. And yet, we seem at a loss as to just what we can and should be doing.
The usual array of pro-Israel activities - contacting one's elected representatives, combating media bias or even writing a check - just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. People are dying in the streets, being shot on their way to work or blown up at the local pizza parlor. There must be something more, something that each and every one of us can do to directly affect the situation, no matter who or where we might be. And, in fact, there most assuredly is. However you might define yourself - be it Jew or Christian, agnostic or simply confused - the key to Israel's victory may very well lie in the palm of your hands or, more precisely, in the words of your heart. Israel's best defense is the power of prayer, and it is time we unleash this weapon with all the fury and determination that we can muster.
To modern ears, it might sound archaic, even simplistic. But modern solutions have failed us miserably in recent years, with diplomacy and statesmanship bringing us all to the edge of the abyss. For all of our advanced technology and finely-honed military prowess, Israel seems at a loss as to how to extricate itself from the current impasse. Perhaps it is time to put aside our cynicism and our doubts, and to do what people in trouble have always done in their hour of need - turn to their Father in Heaven and plead for help.

Keeping Our Families Out of Bumpass Hell
While on our trip to Redding, Sue and I visited Lassen Volcanic Park. Within the park is an area known as “Bumpass Hell.” It is named after a man named Bumpass who first found the site and lost his leg when he fell into a boiling cauldron. As we climbed the path out of the area I received a rhema for this newsletter: “The board walk across the geothermal area represents the narrow path of obedience I desire my people to walk. My ways are level paths for my people. They must apply my Word to all areas of their lives. Destruction lies outside the path of protection.” The visual image really had my attention and was especially strengthened by the strong smell of steaming sulfur.

Intimate Relationship Versus Religious Activities
“Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:13,14).
As God is bringing the Israelites back to the land during our day, He is sending forth a message to us Gentiles to restore the trust-filled faith of our father Abraham. Yet, religious activities rather than loving trust in our Lord make it hard for His people to hear. Remember that our Father desires that our activities flow out of our love relationship with Him. You cannot love Him as He deserves unless you ask Him to enable you to love Him as He deserves. In other words, we must humble ourselves and ask for help.
For those who refuse to love Him, Satan has introduced a myriad of religious activities that appeal to people’s concupiscent/lascivious motivations. If your Christian life is comprised of activities that serve your own desires but bear little reflection of Jesus, then it’s time to tremble. You don’t want to come to the Judgment Throne just as you are—the decision of the Judge will not be what you want to hear.

Christian Relationships:
Value Based, Positionally Based, or Activity Based
It’s nearly impossible to live on this earth and not form relationships. Our Christian relationships tend to reflect the intensity of our relationship with our Lord. The strongest are called “value based” and the weakest, “activity based.”
Value Based Relationships
Our emotions are attached proportionally to those things we value the most. When these important values are attacked, our frustration and anger are readily aroused. True followers of Jesus have established a value based relationship with Him. In this relationship the Word reveals a way of life that is opposite the relationships of the world. From the time of our conversion, the basis to our relationships must change in order to truly follow Jesus. Jesus reveals this new value system when He tells His audience about His true family:
“[Jesus] replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does what my Father in heaven wants is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matt. 12:48-50).
Followers of Jesus place tremendous value, even unto death, on their ongoing relationship with our Father. Since Jesus is the Firstborn among the rest of us who have been adopted into our Father’s family, He is our role-model for living out the values of the Father. The Bible tells us to “find out what pleases Him”; in response our love relationship will compel us to do.
A key facet of value based relationships is that you have to make choices. In other words, you make a series of decisions in your life that indicate those things you value over other alternatives. As a result of choosing to love and obey our Lord, we are attracted to others who place comparable value on their relationship with our Lord. It is because of the value we place on our love relationship with our Father and our desire to please Him that when we find others of like mind, these relationships grow into the sweetest fellowship. Value-based relationships in Christ are the strongest and most enduring, and they also bring the greatest glory to our Father. These are the type of relationships your family needs to see you sharing in.
I have written before that our mouths speak forth first and most often that which we value most. Do your words reveal the incredible value of your trust in Jesus? Even now in light of the current tragedy, do your words reflect fear and insecurity, or confidence in the Only One who can save us? No matter who carried out these despicable acts against this nation, don’t let your words be those that seek revenge; rather, pursue the path of justice and love.
Your wife and children need to see your relationship with your Lord. Out of this relationship make level paths for your family. Use your dinner time together to evaluate the events your family faced that day in light of God’s Word. The dinner table is your table as the spiritual leader of your household. It is your family time to share your testimony of seeing God’s activities around you that day and to guide the conversations of your family so that the foundations found in the Bible apply to their lives. You don’t have time for dinner together as a family? You most likely have lost them already then to the activities of Satan. Do all you can to get them back to the dinner table. Dinner with your family can be a life-changing experience.

Positionally Based Relationships
Unlike value based relationships that require a conscious choice, people are often plopped into positional relationships. All of us were born into a particular family without the chance to choose our relatives or circumstances. People who fail to biblically question the doctrine of the denomination they were raised in make their faith positional rather than value based.
Family members using the phrase, “Blood is thicker than water,” are reaffirming their positional relationship. Mothers can cause unnecessary tension in their son’s marriage by emphasizing their position against the value relationship he has with his wife.
Where positionally based family relationships are strong, it is often very difficult for people who would choose to follow Jesus to establish value based relationships. Often your extended family perceives these other relationships as a threat to the good order and controls already being practiced within the family.

Activity Based Relationships
Relationships that form because of common activities are the most pervasive throughout Christiandom. They insidiously block out a Christian’s ability to establish value based relationships. Because of the programmatic methodology of the church growth movement, leadership of a faith community need to have a personal relationship with the individuals they are leading. How else can they fulfill: “Obey the ones leading you and submit to them; for they watch on behalf of your souls as those who will render account. May they do this with joy and not groaning, for this would be profitless to you” (Heb. 13:17, from the Greek).
Instead of servant, role-modeling leadership we have corporation-style control and direction without personal involvement. The sad part is, so many Christians like it this way. Organizational control produces the least personal accountability to God or anyone else. All you need to do is attend any of the designated activities. You vicariously have a relationship because you find yourself sitting in a row alongside other people. In reality you are no more relationally closer than you are with a gas station attendant or supermarket clerk
Activity based programs are so widespread because they are the most efficient to manage. Very few in leadership are needed in order to direct the activities of so many. On the other hand, in value based relationships a leader who follows Jesus probably would have a difficult time leading more than 6-10 people. For most leaders, more than this would be impossible for them to have the time to know others personally. The leader would never be able to render account to God for each one.
Several years ago a friend of mine purchased a 200- year-old house in Connecticut. As he was tearing out a wall during remodeling, he found 12 dead mice, one-behind-the-other, stuck in the narrow passage behind the wall. They were emaciated, having been in the wall a long time. As best as he could determine, each followed the other until the first got stuck and the passage was too narrow for any of them to turn around. How would you like to die nose-to-tail? Isn’t that what the activity based church is doing to so many?
With clergy leading this country in divorce— 600,000 congregations throughout the land producing so few changed lives to bring this nation under the trust-filled Lordship of Jesus—a Christianity in name only where the values of those who sit in pews on any given Sunday are hardly different than those who don’t—because of unfaithfulness among His people there is 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?” (1Peter 4:17). The “Jeremiahs” have been warning long enough; only a value shift borne on repentance may still save us. Selah
Your brother in trust,
Mike    Psa. 32:10

Choices: To Follow Jesus or Satan

Isn’t it time for us husbands and fathers to truly lead our families into establishing the way of the Lord for our households? Satan has introduced through a psychological view of life the concept that all Christian pursuit should be pleasurable—“If it doesn’t feel good, it can’t be of God.” That makes it all the tougher for us men who build our path on the Word of God. Men who stand on God’s principles appear uncaring to those bent on giving in to the sinful “feel good” desires of others. Yet, we are the most caring! Our path leads to life! Theirs ultimately leads to death.
 Love for our Lord compels us to uphold the freedom and boundaries of the Bible regardless of whether they make people feel good. In loving our Lord and standing on His Word, we confront the sinful concupiscence that Satan uses to lure our families away from loving obedience to our Lord.
May our children never have to confess before God for our failures, as the refugees did who came back to Jerusalem with Nehemiah:“[Our fathers] were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies. So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies” (Neh.9: 26,27). Selah