The second segment of Day of His Power 2020, titled The State of the Family, saw Jason Wong, a key figure in the Elijah7000 movement; Raphael Zhang from Focus on The Family Singapore' and 3:16 Church Senior Pastor Ian Toh talking about the root of relational poverty in Singapore and how God's love can change that. Screengrabs from Day of His Power 2020.

The second segment of Day of His Power 2020, titled The State of the Family, saw (from left) 3:16 Church Senior Pastor Ian Toh; Raphael Zhang from Focus on The Family Singapore; and Jason Wong, a key figure in the Elijah7000 movement; talking about the root of relational poverty in Singapore. Screengrabs from Day of His Power 2020.

“Singapore is so rich, but yet we are so poor. We are a first world nation, materially rich, but relationally poor. Beautiful houses, but broken homes,” said Jason Wong, founder of Dad’s for Life, during the second segment of Day of His Power 2020, titled The State of the Family, on Aug 7.

Even though churches are investing more resources into family ministries, trends point to the fact that there is still relational poverty in Singapore families, where people lack “deep, genuine, healthy connectedness with other people”, added Wong.

This has been made more evident in the recent reports of rises in domestic violence and family conflicts during the Circuit Breaker, as families with pre-existing fault lines have cracked under added stress and pressure.

Wong, founder of Dad's for Life, said relational poverty in Singapore is a result of "an orphan spirit" that does not recognise that we are loved and cared for by the Lord.

Wong, founder of Dad’s for Life, said relational poverty in Singapore is a result of “an orphan spirit” where “we feel rejected, we feel unwanted” and start to look for love and affirmation in all the wrong places.

Raphael Zhang, family life specialist at Focus on the Family Singapore (FOTF), agreed that the pandemic has exacerbated existing familial tensions and conflict.

He shared that in a recent survey of some married couples, FOTF found that 44% showed an increased risk of marital distress.

It also found – “worryingly” – that three in five husbands had viewed pornography and one in 20 have had sexual encounters outside of marriage.

For wives, one in five had viewed pornography and one in 50 have had sexual encounters outside of marriage, said Zhang, adding that the church is not exempt from these trends.

The orphan spirit

While it is easy to blame weak family relationships on external factors such as technology and culture, the root issue is that our hearts are turned away from each other, said Wong.

“Even though I do have parents, I had felt like I was on my own. I had to fend for myself.”

What results from this is an orphan spirit, where “we feel rejected, we feel unwanted” and start to look for love and affirmation in all the wrong places, like gangs, pornography and extramarital affairs, he added.

Elaborating on what it means to have an orphan spirit, Zhang shared his personal “journey of mistrust” where he had closed his heart to both his earthly and Heavenly Father.

“What that meant was that even though I do have parents, I had felt like I was on my own. I had to fend for myself.

“I was alone in the world emotionally and I had to strive to get things because I couldn’t trust that someone has got my back. I couldn’t trust that there were loving parents looking out for me.”

Zhang shared his personal experience grappling with an orphan spirit and how God brought him back to His Father.

Zhang shared his personal experience grappling with an orphan spirit and how God brought him back to his earthy and Heavenly Father.

During this season, the Lord showed him that he had also brought the same attitude of mistrust into his relationship with God the Father, making it difficult to form a real bond with Him.

“And so, in my observation, I do feel like if we don’t address this phenomenon of the orphan spirit, many people in the church will function from that place of not really knowing God intimately (and) not being able to bring the Father’s heart to the community.”

A generational problem

Furthermore, the orphan spirit is passed down from generation to generation, said Wong. 

“The sad thing is that when fathers and mothers, we parent out of the orphan spirit, we create orphans, and then it will spread.”

“We can only give love if we have received love.”

He recounted a conversation with one of his mentees, who was having a difficult relationship with his father.

Through their conversation, Wong found out that his mentee’s father had had a difficult relationship with his own father, who had never been there for his son.

“That was when the Lord spoke through me to him that, you know, your father cannot give you what he has not received. We can only give love if we have received love. 

“But if we have received pain, we have received hurt, we have no choice but to pass down some of these pain and hurts.”

This is where the Church can come in to fill the gap, he added. “If I don’t have love from home, if I come to the church, I can receive love from a spiritual mother, from a spiritual father.”

The Church should also be a place where singles can find deep intimacy and connection through spiritual friendships, so they do not feel the need to turn to “unhealthy means” to find validation, said Zhang.

Drink from the Source of love

When asked to paint a picture of what God has laid upon his heart concerning the outlook for families, Wong described a vision he had of the pouring of wine into champagne glasses at a wedding banquet.

“We love our children, but we have nothing to give unless we receive from God the Father.”

“I saw the champagne coming down from the top, filling every glass. And when each is full, it overflows, it goes to the next glass.

“At the same time, what I saw was that those at the bottom are like those with an orphan spirit. They’re just waiting to be filled, they’re just waiting for their turn. They’re empty.”

Stressing the importance of fathers as heads of households, he added: “If we are not filled, how can we even give? We love our children, but we have nothing to give unless we receive from God the Father.

“I believe that this vision, this picture, is going to happen because God the Father is going to pour forth His love, abundant love, the source of love.

 

“He is stirring our hearts to believe that he’s able to forever quench that orphan spirit.”

“And when we receive from God the Father, it overflows to our wife, our marriage, our children, into the church, into the community. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

Closing the segment in prayer, Pastor Ian Toh, Senior Pastor of 3:16 Church, who was facilitating the conversation, asked viewers at home to join hands with their family members.

“God is here with us,” he said. “He is stirring our hearts to believe that he’s able to forever quench that orphan spirit, that has so plagued sometimes our family and also the church.

“Jesus, thank you … that you are concerned that every home be filled with the joy of the Lord, that You will not want anything to hinder each family from tasting the fullness of the Father’s love. 

“So today we declare and we decree that the orphan spirit be forever broken in every home represented right now for everyone tuning in.

“We are asking for the Father’s heart to be revealed and poured out in every home. So Father, answer this prayer, prayed in the center of Your will.”

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