Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Family, My Tribe!!

A copy of Chuck Pierce’s latest book, A Time To Advance came in the mail. I bounced around in the book and ended up reading a chapter on the order of the tribes of the children of Israel. The tribes of Asher, Naphtali, and Dan brought up the rear. They were at the back of the lineup when moving or in battle. Okay with me—I’m not a fighter either! Let the big rowdy guys go first and take all the flack!

Dan was a tribe of skilled craftsmen—these were the guys who worked with Moses to construct the tabernacle. They were tapped by Solomon to oversee the craftsmanship and construction of the temple—they were good with wood, metal, stone, fabric, leather—you name it. Asher had a special ability to make the land produce and from this tribe come the farmers, bakers and chefs. He worked the land and cooked the food. Naphtali brought forth “beautiful words.” Here we have the poets and writers. He was also like a deer let loose—these were the worshipers and dancers. (I wonder if they had a special relationship with Judah since they were warrior dancer--worshippers, hmmm.) Not exactly the kind of guys you want watching your back if an enemy were to come from behind!

Then the author (Linda Heidler) went on to say that these tribes were tasked with expressing the glory of God which actually was the rear guard! Scripture tells us that creation is the handiwork of God, it expresses the craftsmanship of God and that is what Dan was doing—taking the patterns he saw in the heavens and nature and expressing them in/by his handiwork and craftsmanship. Asher causes the land to flourish. “The fullness of all the earth expresses the glory of God.” There is something about the land flourishing that is a reflection of the glory of God. “Naphtali had the ability to bring forth beautiful words. The word beautiful means “to glisten.” His words had the glory on them. They were to shine.” Naphtali was also agile and nimble like the deer leaping. He brought glorious words accompanied by glorious movement into worship in the sanctuary.

The reason the highlighted words struck me was that when I was writing the manuscript for The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity I showed it to a friend for feedback. After reading it she sat for some time, looking for and choosing her words carefully—she wanted to express how it had affected her. She finally said, “Your words are beautiful. They are like sunshine on the water—you know, how it skips and moves? They glisten; they dance; they are lively!” As I read those words I remembered her words and my eyes widened; I gasped! It was almost verbatim!

Being Christian means my roots are Jewish; I have often wondered what tribe I would belong to if I were Jewish. Perhaps I have found my tribe? And my people?

If I have found my tribe, what does this mean for me personally? It brings a sense of belonging and of being “home” where I can let my hair down and really be me. I think it also means that I must hold closely to my calling so I do not lose sight of my assignment in all the familial hubbub! The calling is to make plain (understandable) the mysteries of God which necessitates having time away with God to delve into whatever mystery He chooses to expound upon. My assignment for the time being is to learn the tools of the age (ugh, computer) and walk one step behind Jesus so that I can hear what He is saying and write it down. I have His word to me that He will provide. I have not figured out if there is some way that I need to position myself differently so that can actually happen. I seem to be supporting my own habit rather than the books supporting themselves . . . why is that?

Specifically, what does finding family and tribe mean in relationship to John 3:16 marketing network that I’ve joined this year? I think being part of a tribe is a noisy, busy, distracting enterprise. At this phase of my life, that equates to overwhelming and exhaustion. I believe God wants me to be part of this group but to allow the life of the network to swirl about without it distracting me. That’s a tall order. How exactly does one do that? Firstly, by acknowledging that I cannot do everything. I think, for me, it is by finding my niche and sticking with that without guilt or condemnation. From that place of freedom I can look up from my work and applaud someone else’s performance. Perfectionism would condemn and foster guilt and shame—that is not to be part of the picture! They are foreign elements—rude Philistines not to be long entertained!

How I see the purpose of John 3:16 Marketing Network.

· To nurture the spirit, and soul (mind, will, and emotions) of our brothers

· To fill them up so they do not become discouraged and languish

· To keep them encouraged so they can complete their assignments without falling away in unbelief

· To foster awe and love of God

· To come alongside those who are discouraged and languishing to bring comfort and point the way out—to be the evidence of the hope they once had.

· To repair emotions through laughter and unwinding of the mind with the enjoyment of a good book of one’s favorite genre

· To do what we do with excellence and to call others to excellence by example rather than dictum

· To find the heart, spirit and life of God so that our words are infused with His essence; they cause life to spring up—faith to spring up

Oh, ya, there is that bit about doing our part in changing the cultural environment by flooding the secular market with good, clean Christian literature—quality literature!

When I look at Jewish families and culture I see that they work hard, study hard, practice diligently, perform for each other regularly and enjoy each other immensely! Well, mostly. Sometimes the study is grueling, the practice tedious and the performance terrifying—ah, but we get over it! So we push and cajole and exhort and support because we know we are chosen, special, and are here to express the heart, nature and craftsmanship of God. This is our part in bringing heaven to earth!
What about you? Have you found your place, your niche?

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