The Year of Family

by Jennifer A. Miskov, Ph.D.

I was at the School of Awakening conference in Germany last month and was marked by God in a profound way one night. The leader of the meeting decided to let worship go the whole night rather than have a speaker because there was such a heavy presence of God in the room. As a result, we all went deeper together into the heart of God. As we rested in His presence, I could feel God melt away walls in my heart I didn’t even realize I had. I felt changed and able to let people into my heart in a deeper way.

I believe that 2018 is a year of family, both of our natural families as well as our spiritual families (or tribes). As we gaze ahead at the horizon of what’s before us, I believe it’s a time for building upon the inheritance of what’s already been given to us. Most of us remember the story how Joshua and Caleb, through faithful endurance, held onto the promises of God to eventually enter into the Promised Land. After 40 year of waiting patiently in the desert by Numbers 14, their breakthrough had come, they defeated their enemies, and now it was time to deepen roots and build in the land of their inheritance.

The Patriarch Moses had made a promise to Caleb 45 years earlier that he could have any of the land he wanted. To redeem and take hold of this promise, Caleb had to approach Joshua to remind him of that promise 45 years after it had been released. Caleb did not go alone to make this request. He went with his tribe, his family to ask for the inheritance that was promised (Numbers 14:6-15). Joshua blessed him and granted him the land he desired. Caleb and his tribe drove out the Anakites and took possession of the land of Hebron. In family, one person’s breakthrough becomes a corporate victory. Caleb’s whole tribe got to be a part of sharing in the inheritance promised to him. It is interesting to note that Hebron means to join, team up, make a covenant or alliance. There is something powerful in uniting with our tribe as we move toward the promises of God together.

In the summer of 1727, there was great dissention in a community called the Moravians. These refugees had previously been given permission to settle on Nicolaus von Zinzendorf’s estate in Herrnhut, Germany. Because of the quarreling going on in this religious community, some of the leaders set a date to sort out these differences and to become unified once again. On August 13, 1727 in Berthelsdorf Parish Church, they decided to set aside all their differences to come together to make “a covenant of loyalty and love.” When they did this, God’s presence fell in a powerful way.

Soon following their new devotion to each other, “they were stirred by the mystic wondrous touch of a power which none could define or understand” where they felt “the purifying fire of the Holy Ghost” rested upon them. Less than two weeks after this outpouring of love and unity, on August 27, 1727, the 24-7 prayer movement was born when the Moravian community united as one to organize a prayer union that would be marked by 100 years of uninterrupted prayers.

Not long after this surge of prayer was initiated, in August 1732, the first two Moravian missionaries were sent out from this community. They sold themselves as slaves in order to reach the slaves on St. Thomas Island who had yet to hear the Gospel. From that point on, missionaries from this small but mighty tribe were sent around the world spreading the Gospel. In 1738, Moravian missionaries were on a boat headed to American when they encountered a storm. The way that they stewarded peace and assurance of their salvation in the midst of impending death marked an English onlooker named John Wesley who later befriended them. The Moravian missionaries had a profound impact on his life, preparing him for what God was about to birth in his life through The Great Awakening and the Methodist Movement.

Unity is powerful and can shape world history (Ecclesiastes 4:12; Psalm 133). When we dive deeper into relationship with our tribe, we can step into even more of the fullness of our destinies together. We really do need each other in the Body of Christ. Staying close and growing deeper with the community of saints God has placed us in will help launch us further into our destiny than we could ever go on our own (Ephesians 3:14-21).

So what does it look like in this new year to more closely align ourselves with the tribe or community God has placed us in? In what way can we be more vulnerable today with our tribe to build even deeper roots together?

Is there anyone in our community that we are offended with and need to reconcile and forgive (Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:25-27)? Is there anyone who is offended by us that we need to approach before we dive back into worship (Matthew 5:23-24)?

May the fire of God come and melt down any walls between us and our brothers and sisters today. Life is too short to keep people out because of an offense. Remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers that we have authority and power to defeat in Jesus’ name (Ephesians 6). May a fresh baptism of God’s love melt away all offense and fear in Jesus’ name as we dive deeper His presence and into family in this new year together.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8


*To learn more about my recent Germany trip in 2018 see Inheritance in Germany: 2018

**To learn more about my trip to Herrnhut, Germany in 2015 see Moravian Legacy: Unity in Love Births a 100 Year Prayer Movement

***Quotes taken from J.E. Hutton’s A History of the Moravian Church (1909)