Look Well to Your Own Household
From the beginning of mankind God established a family and told them to go and make other families. The family unit is very important to God. Every person is a part of two families; one our natural family the other our spiritual family. When we accept Jesus as our Lord, God becomes our Father and Jesus our brother. We belong to the family of God.
Ephesians 2:19 "Now, therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of faith."
In this new family or household are all our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. No longer strangers to one another; no longer to be as foreigners with strange beliefs and odd customs. We are to get to know one another as closely as we know those of our natural born family. The household of faith is found in the local church. It is impossible for us to know one another in the masses of people around the world that are in the household of God. But it is imperative and achievable to know those of our own household of faith. Together we comprise the body of Christ. Divine order for our lives begins with each individual becoming strong in the Lord and establishing a strong family. So too, being part of the local church and adding strength to it. Each with a specific role - each with a divine destiny to fulfill.
God is very specific in His instructions to us as individuals within our natural family. So too He has given us specific directions in the operation of the church and the body as a whole. This teaching that the Lord has given me is one of vital importance for the times that we are living in. The Lord wants us to know and understand the spiritual impact of each member on the other; not just in the local church, not just in the body of Christ, but in our individual family. God has divinely ordained each member to be specifically joined in a family unit, just as He joins together specific individuals to comprise the local church. No one is in his or her family by accident. The family is supposed to be a refuge of security and stability. A household is comprised of members who make adjustments for the differences of one another and even knowing the weaknesses of one another remain loyal and supportive. A household is one unit - of like beliefs, like customs, like natures. How sad though that we rarely know what God has called each specifically to do for His Kingdom. It is time for the family to get to know one another. To know what the call of God on each life is. To know is to understand. Not knowing is to misunderstand. We are warned in II Timothy 3:1
"... in the last days perilous times will come."
Jesus told His disciples about the end of times more specifically in Mark 13:8-12
"... for nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom . but watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues . now brother will betray brother to death and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death."
I believe that the reason there will be so much betrayal is out of misunderstanding what the other is doing and misinterpreting ones words and actions because they do not really KNOW one another.
An example from the life of Jesus shows us that the religious leaders of the day thought they were doing God a service by killing Him. Preceding His crucifixion He was misunderstood by his own brothers; he was misunderstood by those in His hometown church; He was rejected by those that he ministered to and he was betrayed by one of his closest friends. There is nothing in the scriptures to indicate that Judas hated Jesus. I tend to believe that Judas loved Jesus and was very supportive of Jesus as Messiah. When Jesus and Judas did not agree on what being Messiah involved, Judas got very frustrated with Jesus. Judas perceived that Jesus was a weakling and failing to fulfill God's plan to rescue the Jews from the tyranny of the Romans. I do not think Judas knew the plan was to have Jesus killed. I do not think that he meant any harm other than shaking Jesus up - forcing Jesus to a confrontation with the political and religious leaders so that Jesus could overthrow them and take His place as King. When Judas realized that he had been tricked by the priests and realized what their plans were he tried to stop them. Once it was apparent that he was unable to he left in great sorrow and committed suicide. So too in the perilous times in which are coming, the family member that rises up against family member will do so because they think the son is crazy or that the father is a rebel, etc. It is vitally important that we know and understand what God has called each family member of our household to do.
Let me illustrate this with a hypothetical family. In this marriage the wife is a devoted Christian who spends hours every day in prayer. There is absolutely nothing she would rather do with her time then to pray. Rather than a vacation to the seashore she will choose to attend a prayer conference somewhere. Her Christian husband, a brilliant entrepreneur loves his work. There is nothing that excites him more than a new deal coming together. This man loves to give money for the work of the Kingdom of God. So far a godly union right? Here's where the problems are though; the wife only has a heart to give what is necessary - the tithe, the $20 offerings and an occasional donation to the local food bank. The husband prays, but only what is necessary for obtaining wisdom in business deals. He could not care less about the spiritual condition of some far away country. She cares nothing for that new Christian radio tower that he has just donated $20,000 to. What happens in this kind of marriage? Major misunderstandings! She is continually trying to pressure him into spending more time in prayer because she sees the power of prayer (control)! He gets to feeling guilty - a sin. She thinks she is closer to God than her husband (pride) and loses respect for his position of authority (disobedience). He thinks she is stingy and bound by poverty mentality. He puts on tapes for her to listen to hoping that she will recognize her "love of money" and get delivered. She is at her ladies prayer group bawling and squalling because her husband 'refuses to take his place as spiritual leader of the home.' The truth? BOTH are in the will of God! Both are answering their calls! The strife and division are there because neither one has taken the time and interest in the other. To LISTEN to what God has called he or she to do, then through discernment and spiritual understanding ACCEPT the call, then LEARN about the call and then ENCOURAGE the call. God put them together so they would be flowing in the anointing of a marriage that is 'heaven on earth". Recognizing that God has created each of us different from the other and generally speaking, we do not marry those of like calls. God puts these marriages together however because He wants her to get behind her husbands giving and through her anointing for prayer and his anointing for giving they are going to accomplish great and mighty exploits for God! God has ordained that he get behind his wife's praying and through his God given ability to earn money they are going to impact nations for the Kingdom of God! They also have been put together to LEARN from one another. He needs to learn the joy and benefits of prayer and she needs to learn the joy and benefits of giving. None of us are complete in and of ourselves. We desperately need one another. Lets take it up to the next level now and get the kids involved. Each of their children are uniquely gifted and called. To "train your child in the way he should go ." means knowing WHAT each child has been called by God to accomplish and training them to answer that call. To "raise them holy as unto the Lord" is a spiritual training that goes beyond memorizing a few scripture verses and teaching them to pray before every meal and at bedtime! Each child has something special to impart into that family. Each family member is lacking when they do not have an understanding of the importance of one anothers calling. We are to help, encourage and do whatever we can do to help one another fulfill the plan of God for each life.
"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." I Timothy 5:8
If the mother under-girds each family member with her prayers; if the father plants and invests into the callings and gifts of each child, just think of the power of God that comes from that household! And if a child understands why his mother is up all night interceding for the President as a divinely directed instruction, he is not likely to turn his mother over to the authorities should they come probing about a 'report of covert activities and threat to national security' that one of the neighbors has complained about. A child that is raised knowing and equipped to fulfill the call of God meets life with a greater authority and a deeper security and confidence. Always having the support of a family to discuss details, to plan with, to pray together with and to receive advice from is a wholesome foundation on which to build a life and ministry.
When we learn to support those in our own household, in the gifts and callings of God upon their lives, being manifested in their talents, skills, interests and goals, we will be supportive of those that are in the household of faith in our local church body. Our family is our number one mission field. The church is our second. The same scenario for misunderstanding because of different calls is in the church as well.
Those in the 5-fold ministry offices (Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Pastor and Evangelist) have been given definite and specific persons that they are accountable for and accountable to. How can God trust us to minister to others in the world if we neglect those that He has entrusted to us with the day to day influence of nurturing, teaching, training, loving, encouraging and supporting. A wholesome church that is flowing in the divine order of God's Kingdom will allow the full ministry of the Holy Spirit through the 5-fold ministry gifts in each service as the Lord wills. The Pastor has been delegated in God's divine order to be the head over the church body. It is his or her responsibility to see well to the operation of the people, to oversee the work of the ministry. When a Pastor is submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit then we will have services where the fullness of God is manifested through the various gifts and callings from those who are members of this household of faith. It was never intended to be a 'one-man show'. None of us is complete in and of ourselves. We must have each other in order to be complete and whole. In a church the backbone or mainstream support (financially, prayerfully and physically) comes from the people in the congregation. How sad it is that most Pastors do not recognize or acknowledge the gifts and offices of their household of faith but go to others outside the church for an occasional demonstration of the spiritual gifts. The scripture "a prophet is not without honor save in his own country" is a sad commentary that Jesus makes in reference to the wrong attitudes in the church. This is not an excuse. Jesus is not condoning it. It is not the will of the Father. Jesus is pointing out something that is wrong. But many take this scripture and shrug and resign that this is just the way it is. If we honored a prophet in the church to which that prophet was assigned by God, then the divine will and purpose of God would be flowing in that church. It is up to the Pastor and his leadership to seek the Lord to discern whom the Lord has sent and appointed to be a part of the 5-fold ministry in this church. Denial of self-promotion and selfish agenda' s is required. Any insecurity will stop and deny God His divine will and purpose. Just as the leaders of the New Testament churches met together for prayer, praise and fasting to hear from God for direction and plans the time has come for the individual church to follow their example.
When we rely solely on outsiders to teach, prophesy and heal our people we are receiving crumbs from the Masters table instead of the fresh warm loaves that are available. It is the people of the local church that are divinely appointed by God because they are the ones prepared and positioned to do the most good in an area and in the local body. They already know the spirits through discernment - they already have established authority through prayer. It is their heart to be that area. They are devoted and dedicated to the work of God for that particular area and in that particular church. They know the vision of the Pastor and the Pastor knows their vision - their call and their anointing. They are flowing together in love and unity - working together to get the job done. Although other anointed men and women of God can be used to come and deliver a Word from the Lord, it is often not the highest and best plan.
In this same manner, others can minister to your family and help a member to fulfill their call. But this is secondary to the impact that a parent has when they take the time to really know children and train them daily in preparation to fulfill that call. God has given all instructions that we need in His Word. I encourage you to seek His Word to firmly establish the boundaries of your gifts and callings. You will find answers to many questions that you have had about yourself! You will find that someone really understands you and that will give you great confidence to pursue His plan!
In the New Testament we learn how God ordained the office of the Apostle to get the churches started. They raised up the 5-fold ministers in each church they established. Each church was well able to stand-alone. The Apostles often times did not return to that church for years. They remained connected to the people in their spirit but the work that God called them to do was completed and they continued in the will of God in another area. By the Spirit of God we know that there is coming a day when we will not have the freedom of travel. There is coming a day when we will be isolated from one another outside of geographical areas. There is coming a day when we will have no communication with those outside of face to face relationships. How sad will fair the church that has relied on those outside the local body for their spiritual impartation. If we are not careful in this area we will find ourselves pursuing those that have made a 'name' for themselves' or others with ability to repay our attentions with their own. This is wrong motives and will never be a blessed relationship.
The word that describes the Godly relationships that I have been teaching on is partnership. The word means to take part in. Partnership is a relationship of giving and taking. In the business world two people may join their skills, their dreams and their finances to establish a new business venture. They form a partnership that calls for equal responsibility for the success as well as for the potential failure of that business. There are risks involved in partnership. It involves discretion and trust to go into partnership with someone. In our family we are partners with our spouse in the raising of our children. Their success or failure is jointly assumed. In our church we are partners with the Pastor and with the other committed members of the congregation. It's a two way street. (There are some people who are in the wrong churches and there are some churches that need to get rid of the wrong people!) Use Godly wisdom when you go into partnership with someone. It is a powerful tool of strength and utilizing resources but a wrong partnership, whether marriage, church or business is hell on earth!
Partnership is a God given plan for us to become stronger. "Two are better than one". The Word tells us from Genesis to Revelations about right and wrong partnerships. To be a partner with an anointed man or woman of God has many benefits and blessings to all parties involved in the relationship. To be a partner means you are unified with them. It means you become sad when they are sad and happy when they are happy. When they suffer a loss - you as partner have suffered that same loss. When they profit you as partner profit as well. When they have a battle that needs to be fought they do not stand-alone. When you have a need they work with you until that need is met. This truly is the love of God in action
"And they will know you are My disciples by your love."
True partnership is a commitment that is stronger than a legal commitment - it is a 'come hell or high water' covenate that will never be broken. David and Jonathan had this kind of partnership. Jesus has this partnership with each of God's children. We are to have this kind of loyalty and faithfulness and commitment to one another that God has ordained us to be partnered with. The scriptures admonish us to "not be yoked together with unbelievers". This goes beyond marriage relationships. We are to have nothing in common with those outside the household of faith.
When we see our marriage partner and our children as divinely appointed by God to help strengthen us then we treat them with more honor and bless them for all that they impart into our lives. When we see each member of our local church as divinely appointed by God to help strengthen us then we treat them with more honor and bless them for all that they impart into our lives. When we see how valuable we each are to our family, to our local church and to the body of Christ we have greater commitment to obey God in all that He tells us to say and to do. The insecurities are gone - the fear of man has been abolished and the fear of failure with it. When we see the value of one to another, in the midst of personal shortcomings, we become closer to the Kingdom of God on this earth. This is what it will be like in heaven. Flowing together, one divinely orchestrated body. It is God's divine purpose and His plan. Seems insurmountable? Yes, there has been tremendous abuse in our homes and churches. The scriptures even warn about this.
"... those who creep into households and make captive of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts."
(II Timothy 3:6) When the 5-fold ministry gifts are in operation however and when we obey the scriptures to "know those that labor among you" the opportunity for these creeps will be non-existent. And there will be no gullible women loaded down with sins among us either. There is so much more that can be said about this in teaching from the Word of God. I urge and encourage each of you, if you do not already know what your divine call and purpose of God is to seek God. There are many excellent teachings available that will help you to discover your call so that you can pursue the perfect plan of God. Take the time to talk to your family. Let them hear your heart. Then listen carefully to theirs. Take the time to seek God's Word for instruction in each member's call. I have found a truth in that your favorite bible character (aside from the obvious choice of Jesus) is one of like call and anointing. Learn about this individual. See if your heart is cheering them on as they pursue the plan of God, grieving with them when they are suffering and responding as they respond in the various situations of their life that have been recorded. Learn from their life. Who are your favorite teachers, preachers, minstrels, prophets, evangelists, exhorters, etc. in the body of Christ? A parent? A Sunday School teacher? A friend? A Pastor? A TV minister? A singer? A writer? Chances are you have the same call and anointing on your life and they are imparting from their call into your life. These are partners that God has divinely appointed to help you answer the call of God on your life. It is important that you let these people hear from you and that you make a partnership commitment to them if they are willing. To be yoked together in prayers, encouragement and assista nce. Someone that you can say "I believe in you and honor the call of God on your life. I want to do whatever I can to help you accomplish the goal and vision that God has called you to." And when you partner with someone you will also take part in their blessings; their anointing; their achievements that count for all of eternity. Who is it that stirs your heart whenever you connect with them? Who is it that brightens your day with a word that imparts wisdom and revealed knowledge to you that impacts your life and helps make you a better person? This is someone that God has divinely connected you with to be in partnership with them. Look for them in your family - in your local church and in the body of Christ. I recognize that they are not always going to be real obvious, especially if it is someone that has grated on your nerves for years because you did not have a clue as to why they acted so weird! Seek God before you commit to partnership with anyone. You cannot be partners with everyone! There are very specific individuals that God has ordained for you to be connected with. Whenever you are imparted with a gift from someone's life and ministry check out your heart to see if it is being stirred to partner with them. God never intended His people to be leeches. "Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall MEN give unto your life." We need to take our place in the Kingdom of God. It is imperative that you know what God has called you to do and be quick to obey it. The days of living for ones self is over. Unity is required. There is a job that needs to be done and it must not suffer because someone is off doing his or her own thing. I need you and you need me. We are to be one even as the Father and Jesus are one. One with God, one with each other. There are no parts that are more important than the other. Sometimes the hidden parts are the most vital. Follow after the stirrings of your heart right now and act on what you are sensing. Bless someone's life TODAY! Be what Jesus wants you to be. You do not have to go buy a ticket to Africa and hold open air crusades to be in God's perfect will. For most people in the body of Christ the call of God is to help finance the end-time ministries. Most people are not called to the 5-fold ministry offices. But many are called to administration, hospitality, stewardship, helps etc. Be faithful to Him Who has called you. He has appointed you to accomplish great and mighty things for His Kingdom. He has been preparing you all of your life for this time. You are not lacking. Just Do It! Your strength is needed to bring strength to another and together you will bring strength to a larger body and then the whole body of Christ Jesus. He will always see to it that we are in the right place at the right time and with all the right connections! It does not matter if you are a single working mother or a gas station attendant or President of a bank. God does not care if you are a college professor or a salesperson. Every one has a position to take in the end time ministry of the family, the local church and the ministry offices of the body of Christ.
In Philippians 1:3-5 Paul prayed this for his partners;
"I thank my God every time I remember you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now."
We too know that a minister is of little value without the prayers, faith and support of those that share his vision to make an impact on the world. When you are partners with a life or ministry you share in every life saved, healed and set free through that life or ministry. The spiritual principles from God's Word make it very clear that we are to share equally from the partnership. It is of absolute vitality in these last days that you are doing your part to impact lives for the Kingdom of God. We know too that not every one is called to be in full-time, five-fold ministry. But we are all called to use our faith, use our time, use our money and use our talents to help those that God has ordained to do the work of the ministry. Act on the stirring in your heart and be obedient to the Holy Spirit to follow the desire that you hold there.
This teaching has come after many days and weeks of prayer and meditation. It is written straight from my heart to all who receive this around the world. I pray that it is seed that falls on good ground and that it's roots go down deep into the soil of your life. There is no greater joy than knowing that you are being stirred and encouraged as you press deeper into the plan of God as you sit under the anointing of this ministry!