Installment 31

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This Installment picks up were the previous ended, my journal entries discussing “Two Choices”. As I mentioned in the previous Installment, I am not certain how the events of September 9 worked and tied in with the events of April/May, but they did.

Those two major events caused Mary and me and to go back to the Bible and study. Our entire life, we had heard that God demands that marriage be only between one husband and one wife. Yet, the events forced us to re-examine. We asked questions like: Is this really happening? What does the Bible really say about marriage?

One of my answers can be seen in my journal entry from September 25, 2012 entitled “TWO CHOICES: PURITY”. In that entry, I wrote:

It must go on record that the LORD [God] is not against [a marriage of one man and two or more wives]; it is man, meaning humanity, that does not understand and/or accept this sanctified marriage. Perhaps, it is just the western world that does not get this understanding and/or appreciation, but such is the culture. So, what I say is unwelcomed and considered apostate to Jesus and his teachings in Matthew 19, but such is not the case. Jesus was never against marriage, even [a marriage of one man having two or more wives], he was against divorce. Jesus seems to be implying that [a marriage of] one man one woman is the wiser choice, but he cannot annul the permission in Torah for one man [with] two women, or one man [with] many women. Period.

I say that to express that celibacy, [one husband one wife], [one husband two wives], and [one husband many wives] are all acceptable to Jehovah in Messiah. But not all arrangements provide equal opportunity in the church, in marriage, or [in] the world community. But lived, in Messiah, these arrangements are acceptable, in essence pure.

That is a synopsis, but it is true. And it is that truth that makes so many in the church uncomfortable. Not only is that synopsis true, that synopsis is biblical, and that biblical truth challenges the doctrine of monogamy-only.

As one who has been in pulpit ministry, and one that teaches Bible, the Bible is what it is. It is challenging. It is difficult. It comes from ages past, handed down to us in modernity. While we can have our preferences, preferences cannot become dogma, preferences are options, and the Bible contains options for marriage.

 
September 27, 2012 – TWO CHOICES: ME

I am confident that Mary and I had to experience this situation in order for us to be the servants we need to be for service in the Kingdom. And, I am just as certain that [the brother who had given prophecy] saying “Two Choices” is the catalyst for this [“Two Choices” discussion]. I cannot say that I was happy during those days [of discussion], but I can say I am pleased with the results.

The night of September 08 [2012], I spoke with Mary about these Two Choices, at that time I believed each woman represented a type of ministry, I am not certain of that now. …

[I got to thinking about the possibility of a marriage with two wives]. Would that marriage serve as a parable? I asked that meditatively, but instinctively, because I knew that god uses marriages as symbols (e.g. Hosea) but that does not / did not necessarily mean that this would be the case for me. But it did cross my mind.

With some hindsight, how am I really to share this test with anyone? How does one describe this scenario without the audience considering me something other than wanting complete faithfulness to God and Mary? Through this I have come to accept that God orchestrates events, events that can upend a person’s world, a family’s world. …

So, as I recount these events forgive me of many things: inability to be clear, or specific, or too specific, unable to be decisive or being overly verbose, and/or preoccupied. You see, I once thought this kind of stuff only happened to those in Scripture, they had to wrestle with God, but I am coming to understand that God has not changed, God still interacts, even to humanity’s discomfort.

The biggest hurdle I had in choosing [what to do] was an inner lack of resolve about the [possibility of having a marriage with two wives]. By this I mean: Did I so fear the ramifications that I would simply not [choose to have that type of marriage]? This left me with regret. I want to be faithful to God, Messiah, and Mary. But it wasn’t until Mary was able to share things with me about her personal wrestling with God that I came to see that the [marriage with two wives] was a choice, a torahful [Biblical] choice, a choice I, we, could choose….

That journal entry really helps reveal the rethink that was given me. Back in April/May, I responded to what happened, but did so after private meditation and made a decision that solidified my commitment to Mary and our marriage. But come September, inner preference for the events of April/May to be symbolic seemed to be challenged.

Yet, I was still doing my best to keep events symbolic. Consider how I interpreted the events as making Mary and me into better servants. Without doubt, that is true, but here in 2016, I have come to accept that there was more to those events.

Consider how I interpreted each woman to symbolize different ministries. Back then, there was no way I was ready to admit what I am seeing today.

Consider how I interpreted any potential marriage as symbolic. I am not so sure today. Sometimes marriage is marriage and does not always have to have symbolic purpose. But when one prefers symbology over leading, one interprets things symbolically.

Consider how ill-prepared I was to discuss these matters. In a real way, those events shattered my world. The discussions with Mary were difficult enough, but then came the discussions with family and friends. As for today, things are easier. The topic is uncomfortable, but only because it challenges the preconceptions that we have taught ourselves.

In many ways, I was tongue-tied, incapable of articulating what I was experiencing. Truly, I went into those events thinking that God would never lead in such ways. I once believed that God only worked personally with those in the Bible. The events of 2012 truly changed my thoughts regarding that theology, and the extent to which God would lead one regarding marriage.

I had no idea what I should do regarding the possibility of a marriage that consisted of two wives. I feared the thought of the possibilities. That I feared bothered me, and bothered me to the point of regret. Was I so afraid of people that I would hide my experiences? Back in 2012, sadly, my answer was yes.

Yet, the discussions between Mary and me, our prayers, our being challenged by the events, and the Bible opened possibilities. Things were no longer the same.

As can be seen with my next journal entry, I still was confused about the events of April/May. But the events of September opened up a discussion about a topic that I never expected.

September 27, 2012 – TWO CHOICES: MARY

All I can say, with uprightness of heart, I thought my choice was made in April/May and I had to simply move forward to teach Torah. Only with [the brother who had given prophecy] statement did I realize that things were not finished. I had no idea what to make of it when he said “two choices” ….

[Mary and I had discussions about wives], the roles each would play, responsibility to each other’s children, housing, intimacy, problem and conflict resolution, fallout with family and community, and more to be sure. The fact that we were openly, candidly, honestly talking about another person in the marriage was truly ground breaking. How many marriages could openly discuss such? Few, very few. So, I consider us pretty privileged. …

… [After lengthy heartfelt dialogue with me, Mary] began discussing possibilities. For the first time, this [marriage] seemed possible, it was no longer unavailable.

Let me make something very clear, I love Mary and consider her a tremendous blessing. She hears God. Asks things of him, receives answers. She [is a gift] so valuable I did not want to [hurt her or] lose her.

I still very much love Mary, will protect her, and do not ever want her hurt. She is precious to me. She has been with me over half my life, without her I could not be who I am, or have the family we have. So nothing of those months and events were easy. In many ways, I would have rather committed suicide that hurt her, but since self-extinction is out of the question, I had to simply discuss what I experienced and pray for God to give me the correct and wholesome way to handle a topic that I never expected.

Yet, from the next entry, my reader can see that we really had to come to terms with ourselves and our fears, weaknesses, and our willingness to be selfless. Through these experiences, our prayers, our meditations, our discussions, God matured us, changed us, and truly opened in us a desire to have a larger family.

September 27, 2012 – TWO CHOICES: LESSONS

To face our greatest fears and weaknesses. To learn that we really are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the other’s benefit. But what we had to learn was that we had not surrendered our marriage to God. Weird. Right? I mean we thought we had but up until that moment, when we learned we had not.

One major concept that was given to me during this process, and I believe it was from above, is that a man can marry and love two or more women, and he has enough love for them all. This [seems explained] by a father’s [proper healthy fatherly] love toward his children. He could choose to have one, two, or more children. He could choose to love one, two, or more of his children, if he has two or more. But a father’s love is best seen with he loves each child uniquely, yet equally as any other. This is how multiple wives works. No partiality.

So God did a major maturation within us. Neither Mary nor I will ever be the same. God changed our perceptions of marital reality, how/when/if this knowledge will ever be used, I don’t know, but one thing is certain God is making us better suited in order to minister together.

Yet that entry reveals that I came to understand a type of parable, a parallel, or analogy about a marriage of one husband having two wives. The parallel is not perfect, because the relationship between a husband and his wife/wives is so different than a father and his children. There are dimensions to husband/wife/wives reserved only for them, but the concept that a father, or mother for that matter, can have so much love that they can, without partiality, love each and every one of their children. Since that can be done and should be done, then a husband can love each of his wives without partiality.

But, I closed out that entry not knowing if that which Mary and I had experienced would ever be utilized in life. Yet here I am. Writing and incorporating these lessons into my advice to married people, even when they are a couple. The truths are true, even when lived between one husband and one wife. So yes, God has shaped me into a person better suited to minister unto others.

My journal entries continue on this topic of “Two Choices”. On September 28, 2012 there is an entry entitled “TWO CHOICES: LESSONS, CONTINUED”. I wrote a few more things that I believed the experience gave me.

I sit here and wonder. I know I have other journal entries to enter, but I don’t feel like I have finished “Two Choices”. I am not sure how to record these things, so I will just begin. I feel there is no particular order, but maybe there is.

…I want to convey that prior to this test, I don’t recall specifically when, but I know it was earlier in 2012, Mary felt God asked her “Will you take any orders?” At that time, Mary had a quick response, “Yes.” I, however, debated, meditated, prayed, and responded -because I believe that God does not give unjust orders- “Yes” even though it took me some time. I am almost thoroughly convinced this was a test of that concept “will we take any orders?” Mary came to believe, what I believe, that in Torah one can be celibate, [one husband one wife], [one husband two wives], or [one husband many wives], thus one has the choice of marriage, because marriage is not a command. …

…I learned a new lesson about marriage and the phrase: “therefore what God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” I came to understand, via this experience, marriage is orchestrated by one of three parties: God, the adversary, or humanity. From that knowledge came the realization that marriages the adversary puts together can be put asunder, marriages humanity puts together can be put asunder; but marriages that God puts together should not be put asunder. Of course, this requires one to investigate and ultimately learn the author of that particular union….

…the message I gave at Havdalah September 21 is that valuable gold only becomes 99.9% pure when it has been in the refiner’s fire for a long time. Removing the last part of the dross takes the most amount of time. … But when God has refined you, me, we will like the change. It takes time, energy, patience, endurance, willingness to remain in the fire, but the process is worth it and you will be pleased.

 
This Installment has become somewhat lengthy. This will be last journal entry I will discuss regarding “Two Choices”. This entry speaks specifically about me deciding between establishing a church and doing mission work.

September 30, 2012 – TWO CHOICES: CHURCH OR MISSION

I find myself again wrestling with what to do. I guess my prayer for God to choose for me was insufficient…. God expects me to choose.

In many ways, I don’t want to choose because in choosing, I will have made the choice, and once done cannot be undone.

Today, Mary was asking for divine help to help me decide. She received two ideas/visions/dreams that describe me pretty well. One of the two was feeding children, the other was someone doing the chicken dance. Talk about humiliating. But I am fearful, to some degree.

I have enough experience in the pulpit that I am now gun shy. I have enough experience to know some of the things that could happen. Thus I hesitate.

I have enough experience from bus driving that I have come to realize just exactly how naiveté kept me bold. With experience I have less patience with some things, but a much better realization of the danger I dance with every day. Heaven forbid I ever have a passenger get hurt, or another driver, or pedestrian. Not having awareness of risks in my new driver status kept me from mental anguish. However, awareness of bus driving experience, my experience with ministry, I simply hesitate.

I have found myself meditating more toward church than missions, but perhaps it is what I am comfortable with, because I simply have more experience. I simply have [no experience with] missions. I feel totally inadequate.

I found myself praying last night [September 29] at Havdalah for God to help answer the direction: church or mission, I received no assistance. But I did ask: When am I do to this? And I heard within my spirit, “Now.” Talk about scared.

I have to respond. I have to act. The time is now.

I have spent far more time considering establishing/directing a church than doing mission work. I have spoken with people. Listened. Drawn on my own experience.

I feel that it should reach the dechurched – those who accept God as real, Messiah is Yeshua/Jesus, but have come to disillusion by the churches actions/behaviors. These people could be desynagogued just as well.

The church must emphasize the whole: heart, soul, mind, and strength. The importance of Torah and Christ as the cornerstone. The value of the first century church, and the value of tradition (both Jewish and Christian), but where tradition (both Jewish and Christian) fail to meet God’s expectations, it must be cast aside.

The church needs to reach the Gentile more than the Jew, but Jew’s are not to be excluded. The Gentile and Jew must be forged into one new man. The Jew does not have to become Gentile. The Gentile does not have to become Jew. In essence, Gentile churchianity must go; Messianic Judaism must go, because both peer-pressure the other into changing.

Father,

I choose to establish a church, an ekklesia, an assembly of believers that Yeshua is the Messiah.

Please grant me your favor to successfully bring this into fruition.

Please grant me the laborers who will help; please grant me those who love You and [love] others more than [they love] tradition.

Please bring people willing to be a force for good. Willing to learn, set aside uneeded tradition; yet willing to grow, mature and live as Messiah – sacrificially for the benefit of others.

Please grant me stability in my family – with my wife, my children, their future families, my parents, my in-laws, my extended family….

Please continue to train me, please better prepare me for the task at hand.

Please allow the work to flourish, and in due course, allow it to come to pass that I travel teaching the Torah.

Please bring to me my replacement. May he be like-minded, and then bring to him his replacement, and permit this to be for as many generations you see fit.

Please allow this work to reach the four corners of the earth.

Please allow me to complete an interlinear Hebrew/Greek/English Strong’s Numbered Torah, with concordance of Torah to New Testament words, and my own translation.

Please train me further in Hebrew and Greek and English; continue to refine my language and grammatical skills.

Please let this interlinear Torah become a powerful tool for those seeking your truth.

Please grant eternal favor to my wife, children, their future families, and my extended family….

Please grant to me permission to seek your favor in this area, for your favor in things I have yet to consider.

Please keep me humble. May your truth, your essence, your faithfulness, your kindness, your mercy, your justice, your love ever be on my lips, my heart, my tongue, and in my inner being, lived faithfully through my hands and feet.

I have prayed all that I can consider at this time, so I simply ask for your ear, if the need arises.

I ask all this for your glory; and the Messiah Yeshua’s glory in the name of the Anointed One from Nazareth, Jesus/Yeshua the Messiah, the Christ, the Holy One of Israel, I pray. Amen!

I did just have another [request] please, please allow me the ability and privilege to see how your spirit works in, on, and among the people; may many great works, deeds, signs be done in Yeshua’s name for your glory Father. Amen!

How amazing it is that this is happening Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Perhaps my wanderings will come to an end.

It seems proper to think of the church as a stopping place along the road for the disciple’s maturation. They must be encouraged to share with this church and visit others, test them against the Scriptures, learn, grow, share. In essence, helping them grow in their skills, so they can work in God’s vineyard.

In that entry, I make it clear that I chose to establish a church. Later, I am not sure when, God helped me understand that the assembly is to be in the style of Philemon guided by the letter to the Romans. It took me another three years to come to terms with these events of 2012.

However, in February and March of 2015, I published my initial draft of my translation of the Book of Philemon. In October 2015, I began my translation of Romans. Those translations, and my study and commentary on Tao Te Ching (begun in January 2015), learning about Christians in ancient China, and attending Mandarin classes, relate directly to this choice in September 2012 to establish an ecclesia.

My Romans translation and my Tao Te Ching commentary are incomplete. When I complete the writing of “My Story” I have to return to those tasks.

But just as important as is the recording of my prayer is the reality that in the previous Installment, I put the decision into God’s hands. I wanted him to choose. He chose. By making me choose. The hardest thing to ever do is to make a choice when one can NOT see what one is choosing.

However, there is one other thing that I want to talk about. After my family and I returned to Texas, I put more emphasis on learning about the Feasts of the Torah. So if there is one thing that cannot escape my attention is that my April/May event occurred around Passover of 2012 and the events of September 2012 occurred around the Feast of Tabernacles. I am not completely certain the significance of those events happening near those Feasts, all I can simply say is that the more diligent I became in my prayer life, meditations on God, paying attention to holy days, things happened in my life.

My life has changed. Even though Mary and I are waiting for the lady who will join us, I no longer have the internal turmoil and fear that I used to have regarding a marriage with two wives. In fact, I look forward to that married life, and I look forward to seeing how this ministry will unfold.

As I write these things, since God led Mary and me about this marriage, it is my prayer that God is leading the lady who will join us, and it is my hope that she is reading “My Story” and finding encouragement that my heart, Mary’s heart, and our house is prepared for her.

Blessings and Shalom

2016.03.15

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