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WHEN NOTHING MAKES SENSE

"And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD" (Gen. 25:22) 

We cannot walk with God without struggle and pain.  The LORD told Adam that his disobedience to His voice would cause him pain all the days of his life. (Gen. 3:17).  That may not sound very encouraging at the moment, however, understanding the reason for this struggle is the key to victory.  A perfect example of this kind of struggle begins with the story of Rebekah and her pregnancy with her twins, Esau and Jacob.  The children struggled together WITHIN HER.  

Our struggle is WITHIN US.  We can blame the struggle on our geographical location,  on our family, on our church, on our pastor, on our mate, or on our friends.   Even if this sort of blaming seemed to "work" in the past, it won't "work" anymore!  It has no permanent, godly solution.

We must understand that our primary struggle lies in the truth that - we need a true identity, and only God can give us the right one, the one He has chosen.  Although we will continue to struggle with all sorts of "fleshly struggles," once re-named, we  have the tools to remain at peace with who we are as we stand before God and before man.  

Jacob started his struggle in the womb of his mother. (Gen. 25:22).  Hosea 12:3-4 tells us that Jacob took his brother by the heel while in the womb.  That was only the beginning of his struggles with his brother, with himself, and with others.

Again, our biggest struggle is internal.  Too many times we don't understand our motives at all; we want to do what is right, but time after time, we don't do it. The Apostle Paul says that we actually do the very thing we hate.  Remember there is the law of sin and death at work WITHIN US that causes our will (flesh) to be at war with our (redeemed) mind (soul).  (Rom. 7:15-23).  Interpersonal battles (with others) are NOT with flesh and blood.... ever.  

Because we are human, we all encounter the internal and external struggles that are common to every man.  Our struggle is personal and, in fact, can be named. The list of names is vast and includes:  fear, insecurity, temptation, guilt, addiction, discontentment, manipulation, pride, and many others.

THE REAL STRUGGLE

If we honestly search for the root of all our struggles, we inevitably discover that our real struggle is with God Himself.  Jacob struggled with God. (Hos. 12:3). "And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day" (Gen. 32:24).  Jacob was actually in a wrestling match with God.  In this struggle, God asks Jacob to tell him his name. (Gen. 32:27).  God already knew his name, but wanted Jacob to admit what was going on WITHIN him.

The name Jacob can mean "layer of snares."  Hebraically, a layer of snares is trickery.  The name Jacob also means "to be a supplanter," one who wants to take over.  The natural man, the flesh, does not want to submit to God. Fortunately for Jacob, this story tells us that as the time came for Jacob to face God, get honest with himself,  be broken and re-named, he submitted to the Lord's will.  

Be encouraged!  Whenever we find ourselves in a struggle, know that God is trying to change our identity and give us a new name.  He is directing us to conform to His will. 

Here are keys to help us through these struggles:

  1. With honesty and respect, tell God what you are really thinking.  Do you feel things are unfair?  Are situations too painful?  Confess to the LORD as David did.  David in Psalm 13:1-5 says "How long, Lord, will you forget me?  Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with the sorrow in my heart everyday?  How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, my God!"

  2. Respectfully complain to God.  I heard a minister once teach that we are not to complain ABOUT God.  There is a way to come before the LORD to humbly present your complaint, as you express your anguish and disappointment about your circumstances.  Moses complained to God (about the people) and received God's help.  On the contrary, the children of Israel complained about what God was asking of them, and they were destroyed in the wilderness.  Your attitude toward and your respect for the Father are critical to your outcome and many times,  your survival.

  3. Remind the LORD of His promises to you.  Right before Jacob goes through his struggle with God, he prays.  "Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O LORD, You told me, 'Return to your own land and to your relatives.' And You promised me, 'I will treat you kindly.' I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness You have shown to me, Your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! 

O LORD, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But You promised me, 'I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.'" (Gen. 32:9-12)

Jacob struggled with God and WON a personal victory, a victory over himself. God gave him a new name, "Israel".  God said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel : for as a prince have you power with God and with men, and have prevailed" (Gen. 32:28).

Jacob had to be, and was emptied of self in order to receive his new name. Only then was he empowered to face his brother Esau, whom he greatly feared.

To make amends for his brother's anger against him, Jacob sent Esau gifts.  As the two were re-united, the exchange of words between the brothers gives us a key to grant us hope, especially if we are those who are going through the process of being emptied.  Esau tells Jacob he does not need his gifts.  In Hebrew, Esau says to Jacob, "Yesh li rab."  This means "I have many things." Because Jacob has been broken, emptied out and re-named, he replies, "Yesh li kol," meaning, "I HAVE EVERYTHING."  

You cannot say "I have everything" until you are completely emptied of self. Yeshua is the perfect picture of a man completely yielded and emptied.  He walked in divine power as He was wholly submitted and led by His Father—every moment.
 
Learn to use these keys  to get through struggles.  Remember that Jacob told the LORD he would NOT let him go until He blessed him. (Gen. 32:26).  Don't give up or even look back.  God truly wants to bless you.

Love,

P/Karen

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THE NEW BATTLE

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of 
God, that you may be able to withstand in THE EVIL DAY" (Eph. 6:13).

No one can deny that we are in evil times; that the battle that has arisen in our nation is fierce; and that we must be prepared.  This battle in the streets of our nation is not just over a man's death at the hands of another. It is much deeper than that. It has been a well prepared, well funded strategy conceived in darkness that waited for the right time and circumstances to emerge.

This war is a war of good versus evil. "The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the LORD and against His ANOINTED one."(Ps. 2:2 NLT). We know that God hates evil and promises that those who are at the core of and willing participants in the evil destruction of buildings, properties and human lives will be exposed by the Spirit of the LORD.

To be clear, I have not heard of one person who is not outraged at what happened to George Floyd.  No matter what his record showed, he did not deserve to be killed by his captor.  No one argues whether peaceful protesting is constitutional; the First Amendment states that we are able to do so, BUT, rioting, destruction and revenge on the streets is something different.  

I don't usually write articles like this, but after spending over ten hours on Saturday before the LORD asking for His thoughts on what is happening in America, I was shaken to the core over what was revealed to me by our HOLY GOD.

As I do each time I seek God's message for OTC, I entered into a holy place with Him.  During the preparation of a message from God, I separate myself to hear the words I am to relay to OTC.  This place is called the "Counsel of God."  In Jeremiah 23:18, this special place of God's counsel is known by the Hebrew word, "sod."  The "sod" is the secret place of intimacy where holy consultation and deliberation take place.  

What the Spirit of the LORD and His Word revealed to me this time was not about His grace and mercy, but about His righteous anger over rebellion, not just rebellion against our nation, but against the highest authority in the land, God Himself.  During all that is going on, the LORD is not sitting back idly.  So far, He has extended grace and mercy, but He cannot reverse what "is written." That is, that He will only let mankind go so far before inflicting punishment on evil intensions and deeds.  

As I further focused on hearing God's Spirit, I began to judge myself and allow the LORD to search me.  After repentance, the Spirit of the LORD began to move me in another direction, which I will share a little later in this letter.  I pleaded with the LORD to give me a word of hope and healing for our church, and He did. 

There is a discussion that needs to take place about the police department and authority.  There are good police officers and bad police officers, just as there are good doctors and bad doctors, good ministers and bad ministers, good....  The list goes on and on.  But, for the believers in Messiah, the message is clear about what is on God's heart regarding authority.  Knowing this, I pray that none who read this letter have gotten sucked into the insanity of de-funding police departments.  Here's why:

Romans 13:1-5 gives us instruction on how to view our police department and, in fact, all righteous authority.  

  •  Let EVERY soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of GOD. (Rom. 13:1 KJV)  All existing power has been instituted by Him.  Whether we like a personality or not has nothing to do with being subject to an office.  

  • So to resist righteous authority is to resist the divine order of God, which results in severe consequences.  (Rom. 13:2 TPT) We can bring judgment down against our own selves and suffer penalties that may well destroy us and our destinies.  Resisting righteous authority is an invitation for anarchy. God does not approve of brutality and corruption.  When the Apostle Paul wrote these words, Nero was the Emperor.  This was a dark time for believers.  Lawful authority is to be respected. 

  • Those in authority are God's servants for the good of society.  But if you break the law, you have reason to be alarmed, for they are God's agents of punishment to bring criminals to justice. Why do you think they carry weapons? (Rom. 13:3 TPT) Continue to be a law abiding citizen and fines and imprisonment will not be your lot. You will win the approval of the authorities in the land. 

  • For he is the minister of God to you for good.  But if you do that which is evil, BE AFRAID; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil.  (Rom. 13:4 KJV)  A ruler over people, or a President of a country is actually a servant or representative of the LORD.  Remember David and King Saul.  Even though King Saul became evil and attempted to murder David many times, David would not speak against him.  He continued to call him the Lord's anointed. (I Sam. 24:10)

  • Wherefore you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Rom. 13:5 KJV) We have a duty of citizenship.  The wrath of God is not an old testament idea.  We still must walk before him daily with good behavior and a clear conscience. 

THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL ARISE

Malachi 4:1 teaches us that a day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the proud and the wicked shall be destroyed, root and branch.  As the body of Christ comes together in unity and speaks the Word of God, may the world's eyes be opened to the Messiah and turn from their wicked ways.

Here is the word of hope the LORD revealed to me on Saturday. "But for you who fear/reverence my name, the Sun (Servant) of Righteousness/Messiah, WILL rise with healing in his wings" (Mal. 4:2 NLT). Through the spirit of Elijah, the LORD will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. (Mal. 4:6) He will cause the disobedient to be turned to the wisdom of the just (Luke 1:7 bKJV)and restore all things (Mat. 17:11 KJV).

I pray that we all continue to have an ever increasing hunger to delve into the Word and do as our Lord says, and think as our Lord thinks.

Love,

P/Karen 

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HOW TO PRODUCE 100-FOLD FRUIT 

"But that sown on the good ground is this: He who
hears the Word and understands; who also bears 
fruit and produces one truly a hundredfold; and
one sixty; and one thirty" (Matt. 13:23) MKJV

The Kingdom of God is not the kingdom of this world.  The Kingdom of God is made up of laws, principles, precepts, concepts, commandments and decrees.  How to operate in this Kingdom successfully is likened to planting in four types of soil.  We must thoroughly understand the condition of the soil (our hearts) and the nature of the seed planted.  God is the husbandmen (farmer) and WE are the farm soil He uses to bring forth fruit (I Cor. 3:9).  We are all going to be judged by the fruit we produce.  A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit (Matt. 7:18,19).  EVERYTHING that grows starts with a seed.  The seed in this case is the Word of God (laws, commands, principles, precepts). (Luke 8:11)

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 13:3-8 about four (4) types of soil. These four (4) types of soil are a picture of four (4) types of students/disciples or hearers.  If we are to bring forth an abundant harvest in our lives, we must remember first that John the Baptist said, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance" (Matthew 3:8).  Repentance is the Hebrew word "teshuvah" and means that you turn away from one ungodly thing and toward another that is acceptable to God.  It means to cease from incorrectness and do correctly.  

The Seed And The Four Soils

Seed - The Kingdom Message, The Word of God. (Matt. 13:3)

Wayside - The student who hears the Word, but does not understand it.  The enemy is then able to snatch what has been sown. (Matt. 13:4)

Stony Soil - The student who hears the Word, begins to repent, has no root, yields to pressure and becomes offended. (Matt. 13:5–6)

Thorny Soil - The student who begins to repent but is deceived by riches, is distracted by the cares of the world, allowing the sprouting Seed to become choked. (Matt. 13:7)

Good Soil - The student who hears the Word, receives the Word and submits to the heavenly Kingdom. (Matt. 13:8)

Good Soil

Nothing is more important in our lives than good soil.  An example of what I am saying has never been more clear to me than what I see in my own life.  For years, our front yard would not produce much grass in certain areas.  My husband would plant seed and water it every day, only to have it seemingly disappear and leave nothing but dirt. I would pray over the yard and even ask God why our yard wouldn't yield beautiful grass.  When one type of seed wouldn't work, my husband would try another variety, yielding the same results, bare dirt, no harvest.  I even began to question if there was a curse on the land, even though I had blessed the land. One day our son said, "you need new soil."  My husband subsequently purchased the richest soil he could buy and planted again.  Today, we have a thick and beautiful lawn.  The grass is so lush, our 5 year old neighbor was running through the yard commenting on how soft the ground felt.

My case in point is that without good soil, you can hear the best godly teaching in the world and still remain bankrupt.  The prophet Jeremiah speaks about our behavior and land. "For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right" (Jer. 23:10).  Lack of good soil can make us vulnerable to a curse.  We are the soil of the earth, and if we have bad or even mixed soil in our lives, that soil (usually prepared by our words) can keep the ground from releasing the crop God promised.

Another case in point is the story of Caleb, Joshua and the ten spies. "And the men which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land died by the plague before the Lord" (Num. 14:36-37). Caleb spoke good words over the land declaring that they could possess the land and overcome. (Num. 13:30). Caleb had good soil, was able to receive the seed (Word of God) and enter the promised land.

How To Have Good Soil

I believe everyone reading this letter wants good soil that brings forth a rich harvest.  How do we as humans get good soil?  The answer is a simple one.  By obeying God's Word (Kingdom SEED), we are obeying what God calls "GOOD" (Deut. 12:28). "And God saw everything he had made was very good" (Gen. 1:31). That means that God calls man good (very good).  We must continue to mix good seed (Word) with good man (soil) to continually produce good crops. By disobeying the Word of God, we not only create an evil environment, but also suffer the consequences of evil. (Deut. 30:15, Romans 7:19). We lose the ability to reap a godly harvest. When man disobeys God, he is mixing "good" with "evil" which results in death EVERY TIME. (Gen. 2:17, Romans 6:23)

My prayer through this teaching is that all the people I mentor will desire to be and work to be the "good soil."  Spend time with the Lord and his Word. You will begin to be transformed by the renewing of your mind and yield a great harvest.

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE MONTH OF IYYAR

"I am the LORD that Healeth Thee" (Exod. 15:26) KJV

We have entered into the Second Month of the Hebrew Religious Calendar called Iyyar.  Iyyar is known as a month of healing.  Iyyar is an acronym for "I am the LORD that healeth thee." (Exod. 15:26)  Iyyar is a link between the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Weeks Shavuot/Pentecost.  We need to pay special attention to this linking time.  It is a time of transition.  The Children of Israel were going through a process, a transition in their ability to think differently. From the Exodus to Mt. Sinai, God was taking them through a process from bondage, from a slave mentality, to their receiving and understanding divine covenantal instructions and revelation.

During their short fifty day process from one place (Passover) to another (Pentecost), we see instances of murmuring and complaining.  Because of their spiritual immaturity, they could only focus on what was missing in their lives.  Forgetting all they had been delivered from, they became critical, possibly ignorant of the fact that unfounded criticism is actually a perversion of true discernment.  They temporarily forgot that they had a prophetic destination.  Moses called that destination "the Mountain of God." They temporarily forgot Moses' prophetic song of the LORD about their destiny -  Exod. 15:17 "You shall bring them in and plant them in the Mountain of Your Inheritance, the PLACE." I believe God offers continuous, new levels of clear thinking for all His people; that through faith and patience we inherit our prophetic promises, but with conditions.  We must caution not to murmur, complain or interpret our situation incorrectly.  

THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD

David had much to say about the Mountain of God in Psalm 24:3 "Who shall go up into the Hill of Jehovah?  Or who shall stand in His holy PLACE?"  Psalm 24:4 "He who has clean hands and a PURE heart."  If our hearts are pure, we have the ability to think clearly, SEE God and receive the secret of the LORD.  In Psalm 15:1, David says, "Jehovah, who shall dwell in Your tabernacle?  Who shall dwell on Your holy hill?"  Psalm 15:2 "He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart." Psalm 15:3 "He does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor."  

TRANSITION

Before the birth of a child in pregnancy, a woman goes through "transition," which is a very difficult phase in the labor process.  Though it is intense and can cause the mother to become discouraged and disoriented, it is the shortest phase usually lasting about one and a half hours.  During transition, a mother needs the greatest emotional support from her partner or coach.  She needs directions and instructions on how to breathe, how to focus, how not to give into panic and how to endure the pain.  

Spiritually, or otherwise, many of us are in this transition period. We must be encouraged to focus on the MOUNTAIN of REVELATION and not the VALLEY OF DOUBT.  If you heard the teaching on Sunday, you need to understand the TRENDS.  Just as the expectant mother is told to FOCUS, the Lord is encouraging us to do the same.  Focus on the mountain of the LORD.  Heb. 12:1 "Therefore, since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."  Heb. 12:22 "You have come to Mt. Zion and to the city of the living God."  Heb. 12:25 "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks."

ISSACHAR AND SET TIMES

The Feasts of Jehovah are set times and appointments when God gives decisive revelation knowledge.  Through this revelation, we must be able to interpret the times. Iyyar is also the month that the Tribe of Issachar is recognized.  Issachar, the 9th son of Leah and Jacob, received a blessing from his father.  Jacob blessed him by saying "when he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor" (Gen. 49:14-15).  This passage has been interpreted to mean that Issachar bent his shoulder (labored) to study the Torah/the instructions of God.  

Moses exalted Issachar by saying he was blessed in his tent, meaning he concentrated on studying Torah, God's instructions. (Deut.33:18-19)  The tribe of Issachar knew the times in which they lived. They knew how to bind the enemy.  They could do so because their study caused them to know the Word of God and understand secrets.  Likewise, we can know exactly what to do by studying the instruction of God (His infallible Word) (Rom. 12:1-2) received from the mighty Mountain of the Lord.  

May you be blessed and encouraged.

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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The Feast of Passover And Spiritual Applications

"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (I Cor. 5:7-8). 

 

As the children of Israel were delivered from bondage and slavery, we can likewise experience a freshness and newness of life. Old things are being purged and the fresh wind of the Spirit is blowing upon His people.  I am very grateful to God for the deep work He is doing in all of us through this time of shutting in.  

Moses and Aaron were given complete instructions in Egypt as to how to celebrate the first Passover.  In every instruction we're given, we are presented with the process necessary for every man and woman to receive eternal life.  God explains repentance of sin, why we must believe in the shed blood of Yeshua, and how to walk in newness of life. In each instruction He gives us, He reveals Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God. 

Spiritual Instructions And Applications 

Today, I am focusing on the instructions found in Exod. 12:11.  The Passover lamb was to be eaten in HASTE." And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in HASTE:  it is the LORD'S Passover" (Exod. 12:11).  

    1.  Loins must be girded.  I Peter 1:13 "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind." In the Eastern culture, men wore long robes. To gird up the loins is a picture of gathering the ends of the robe and tucking them under your belt, as if you were freeing yourself to travel or to run a race.  If the gathered ends of the robe were left to flow freely while running, a man would be hindered; he would trip.  Loose ends of a robe are symbolic of distractions and disobedience that left uncorrected, lead to failure.  Has anything hindered you today from running your race?  

Another word picture of girded loins is that of a camel whose knees have been hobbled (tied together) by a rope called an "egal."  The rope keeps the camel from rising and wandering away at night.  The word of God is to our minds what the rope is to the camel.  It keeps us in a place of submission before Him.

    2.  Shoes on our feet.  This is a symbol of our walk with God.  If our feet are shod, we are ready and prepared for the journey.  "And your feed shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:15).  To walk daily with the LORD, we must hear His voice; to hear His voice we must be studying the scriptures.  We must be ready for action at all times, walking in the authority and the power of God.  "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, making peace heard" (Isa. 52:7).

    3.  And our staff in your hand.  In the Kingdom of God, we have authority.  To prevail against all adversity, we must use it daily. "Behold, I give to you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the authority of the enemy.  And nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).  A serpent can be a symbol for a malicious person in our life.  If this is the case, we must remove ourselves from such people.  When we do, we will find that wrong things stop happening. King David had authority to confront his son Absalom about his disloyalty, yet chose not to and consequently suffered tremendously.  

    4.  And eat it in HASTE.  The influence of the world around us can affect our ability to walk in godly wisdom.  We must turn hastily from the deadly effects of wrong thinking.  A powerful story in the gospels teaches us about the benefits of a hasty turning from the ways of the world.  Zacchaeus was a chief tax-collector and very rich.  He wanted to see Jesus and being short of stature, had to climb a sycamore tree to see clearly.  When Jesus came to the PLACE where he (Zacchaeus) was, He said, "Hurry/make haste and come down, for today I must STAY at your house."  Jesus is coming to us today, to the place where we are in our situations and in our minds.  Once Jesus entered Zacchaeus's home, Zacchaeus confessed his sin, had an immediate heart change and began making plans for restitution to those whom he had wronged (Luke 19:1-9).  The appearance of Yeshua will set a person free immediately, and allow them to walk out of dark places of bondage and slavery and into His light.

The Lord never changes (Mal. 3:6).  "For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.  He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross." (Mal. 3:2-3 NLT).  He is still seeking those who will walk with Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).  He desires truth in our inward parts (Ps. 51:6).

During this week of Passover, may we all allow The Lord to transform our lives. May any and all of our loose ends be tied up.  May we be free to run uninhibited into His arms.  

Blessings and love,

P/Karen

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Questions, Answers, Faith

"Then shall you call upon me, and I will hearken unto you" (Jer. 29:12)

Did you know that scholars have discovered approximately 3,300 questions in the Bible?  The very first question in the Bible was not asked by any human, but by a serpent.  In Gen. 3:1 the serpent asks Eve the question, "Did God really say?"  Eve was tempted to doubt God's truth and responded by disobeying His Words.  As if this were not bad enough, she added to His Words.  Deut. 4:2 and Rev. 22:18–19 say the same thing.  Do not add or subtract from the Word of God.  Rev. 22:18 says if we add to the Word, He will add plagues to our lives. Rev. 22:19 tells us if we subtract from the Word, He will take away our share in the Tree of Life.  The enemy of our soul is still tempting us with the serpent's question.  Eve's doubting the words of God, led to her separation from the Spirit of the Lord.  Every time we make a decision without seeking guidance from the Word of God, we face the same danger of becoming an independent spirit separated from God's truth, His Word.  

In Gen. 3:9 we see God's first question to man, Adam, "Where are you?"  Of course, God knew exactly where he was, but Adam had to give an account for his self-appointed independent positioning.  In the Hebrew language, what God was really asking was, "HOW are you?"  In other words, "How is everything working out for you now (that you have disobeyed Me)?"  

In the Yeshivas (Hebrew schools of Higher Learning), the highest accolades go to those who are able to ask good questions. "Judaism is considered a faith based on asking questions, sometimes deep and difficult ones that seem to shake the very foundations of faith itself. 'Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?' asked Abraham.  'Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people?' asked Moses.  'Why does the way of the wicked prosper?  Why do all the faithless live at ease?' asked Jeremiah."  Quote from Britan's Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

PRESSING IN– QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

As believers in Messiah, we must learn to ask the right questions. Asking questions is an art form that has been lost to many of us as we are steeped in our Roman-Greco society.  We need to know what to ask and how to ask it in order to receive answers to our questions, "The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and cases of His people" (Heb. 10:30) Amp.  Our faith has everything to do with receiving answers from an invisible world (Heb. 11:1) and an invisible God (I Tim. 1:17). 

In Mark 5:25–30 we read an incredible story.  We're introduced to a woman who has had an issue of blood (hemorrhage) for twelve years.  Please note, twelve is an interesting number in the Hebrew alphabet.  The twelfth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called "lamed".  The lamed is a picture of an "ox goad."  An ox goad is a sharp stick used for prodding cattle forward. The word, "lamed" is related to the root word "lamad" which refers to both teaching and to learning.  The lamed is positioned in the middle of the Hebrew alphabet, much like our physical heart is positioned in our bodies. Isn't learning the Word of God and not doubting His Word, CENTRAL to our lives?  The Word of God is as an ox goad pricking man's heart to action.  Jesus is the Word of God.  We will see later in this story how all this ties together.  

"This woman suffered many things of MANY physicians" (Mark 5:26).  Putting herself in the position of dependence upon the physicians, caused her to become physically worse off and financially exhausted.  How many times have we chosen avenues in our lives similar to this lady's choice to depend on physicians rather than go straight to the Scriptures, to the Lord?  She must have had many questions as to why she was not being healed.  Once she couldn't pay for any more treatment, her questions about her health went unanswered. She may have been deemed by the physicians as incurable. Can that which we seek apart from the counsel of the living Messiah, convincingly feign a similarly "incurable" disease in us?  Is that from which we are seeking relief aside from God's Word, be causing us more suffering?  Did the Lord allow her, and will He allow us to become bankrupt in order to get us to seek only Him?  

"When she HEARD of Jesus, she came in the "press behind" and touched his garment" (Mark 5:27).  Think for a moment of the term press behind.  To "press behind" can mean "to watch from a distance."   Are we watching from a distance, afraid to PRESS in and through the multitude to get to Him?  I like to think of the multitude as all the thoughts that bombard us daily, often keeping us from Him.  How many years have we allowed our situations to control us instead of us pressing through in faith to touch HIM for the solution?  How many days have we allowed the enemy to ask us questions intended to cause us to doubt God's Word?  He said in the Torah, that He is the healer. (Exod. 15:26)  He said in the Prophets, that by His stripes we WERE healed. (Isa.53:5)  He said in the Writings, that He is the Lord who heals ALL of our diseases. (Psalm 103:3)   

It is by faith that the woman presses in to touch the HEM OF HIS GARMENT.  The Hem of the Garment, which is the fringe, represents the 613 negative and positive Torah laws, specifically the "instruction" of God.  Numbers 15:38–41 is known as the "Law of the Fringe".  After all the doctors had failed her, she must have remembered what the Torah said.  "For she said, if I may but touch only His clothes, (the hem of his garment) I will be cured" (Mark 5:28).  Once she touches him, He ASKS a question.  "WHO TOUCHED MY CLOTHES?" (Mark 5:30).  "But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done in her, came and fell down before Him and told HIM all the truth" (Mark 5:33).   His question brought her into fellowship with HIM, and she was able to tell Him all of her heart.  What great news!  

I believe years of grief, doubt, unbelief, bitterness, anguish, hopelessness, and loneliness were removed from her soul at the very moment she touched Him, The Living Word.  He is the ANSWER.  "And he said unto her, Daughter, your FAITH has made you whole; go in peace, and be whole of your PLAGUE" (Mark 5:34).  She had a plague.  Had the enemy been able to lie to her all those years?  Had she doubted God by subtracting from the Word and opening herself up to the plague?  Are we subtracting from the Word?  Have we relied on men's formulas instead of pressing into HIM, the source of all healing?  In light of what is happening in the world, will we trust the prognostications about the corona virus, or will we trust GOD? 

There is much hidden in this story.  There is positioning, as symbolized by the lamed; there are questions, good ones from the Lord and evil ones from Satan; there is the truth of confession; finally, there is healing that comes from faith in action.  All biblical faith is centered in the person, Messiah.  The Hebrew word for faith is "emunah."  This word is comprised of the Hebrew letters (aleph + mem + nun). "Emunah" comes from the Hebrew root word, "Aman" which among many things means "to go to the right hand," or "to turn to the right."  Jesus is the image of the "Right hand of God."  Ben-jamin = Son of the Right Hand.  

Simply put, the changes we are seeking will come from turning to the right hand of God, Yeshua.     

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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HOW TO OPEN HEAVEN

"Your prayers and your alms are come
up for a memorial before God." (Acts 10:4)

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius.  This was a man who deeply respected the LORD and one who gave much alms (offerings) to the people in need.  He was also a man of prayer. (Acts 10:1-2)  One day he was praying at the 9th hour of the day.  It is important to know that this was 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon.  That time of prayer was called "Minchah."  "Minchah" is a Hebrew word meaning to bestow a gift, to give a donation.  At the 3:00 p.m. prayer hour, he had a heavenly vision and an angel of God came to him calling him by his name. (Acts. 10:3)  The angel told him that his prayers, as well as the offerings he had given, had come up before the LORD as a memorial.  Because Cornelius understood the prayer hours, he was able to be positioned in such a way as to open heaven and receive divine instruction. 

On a particular day, Peter and John were going up to the temple to pray at the 9th hour (3 p.m.).  There, a certain lame man had been laid at the Beautiful Gate in order to beg for alms.  It was at that time, Minchah, that the lame man received his healing from Heaven.  (Acts 3: 1-7).  

All the Jewish hours of prayer correspond with the crucifixion of Jesus.  Jesus died at the 9th hour (Luke 23:44-46), at the time called Minchah, when translated, can also mean "a gift." 

According to tradition, the three daily services of prayer,  Shachrit, Minchah, and Maariv were introduced by the Patriarchs.  Abraham introduced the morning prayers, (Shacharit); Isaac introduced the afternoon prayers (Minchah); Jacob introduced the evening prayers (Maariv). 

You may ask, "what does the 9th hour of prayer have to do with me?"   The answer is:  Everything!  Learning how to pray at specific times can dramatically change your life.  As noted above, Jesus died at the 9th hour to give us eternal life, the true Minchah.  Peter and John were going to prayer at the 9th hour and saw a healing.  Cornelius, a non-Jewish, devout fearer of God practiced prayer at the 9th hour and was visited by an angel.  The angel told him that his prayers and almsgiving had come up before the LORD as a memorial.  His obedience to the instructions he received at that prayer hour allowed him to receive heavenly instructions to send for the Apostle Peter.  Likewise, Peter who had been in prayer at the 6th hour (noon) received his instructions to bring the gospel to Cornelius.  'A beautiful example of God's perfect timing!  As we position ourselves as did Cornelius and Peter, like them, we will be in perfect synch with God's plans for us.

THE POWER OF PRAYER

We must not think of prayer as a religious form.  That kind of prayer has no power.  Our prayers are to be effective, prayers that bring results because of our relationship with the LORD.  The LORD told Jeremiah that He watches over His Word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12). As we pray and make decrees based on the Word of God we will experience what the Word says about the Word.  "For the word that God speaks is alive and full of power-making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and (the immortal spirit), and of joints and marrow (that is, of the deepest parts of our nature) exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart" (Heb. 4:12) (Amplified Bible)

As the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He will likewise teach you by the Spirit. (Luke 11:1)

Your prayers are being answered in some form.  May you recognize how he is answering your prayers, and implement His instructions daily. 

Blessings,

P/Karen

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Wealth  From Hebraic Truth  

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4:6)

The scripture above, as known in its Hebraic roots, must not be ignored.  Without proper interpretation, we can liteally, all be led into destruction.  To be destroyed means that we have now become dumb and silenced.  To be dumb and silenced is the Hebrew-root-definition of the word widow.  In ancient Israel, a widowed woman suffered more than her husband's death.  She experienced an economic and social crisis.  If she had no children, her situation would have been even more aggravated, making her predicament critical.  If we lack godly knowledge because we have not spent time in the presence of the LORD to SEE what He is saying, we too may experience what that widow would have to have faced. 

Fully aware that we may, and often will experience failure because of lack of knowledge, we have started  this year at OTC by studying WISDOM, VISION and GOAL SETTING.  The LORD wants our dreams and goals to come to pass.  Goal setting is not the same as a new year's resolution.  To set proper goals, we need the wisdom of God, the proper knowledge of the Word of God and the discipline to write the vision He gives us. We know King David received the pattern of the Temple that Solomon would build because he said "the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me. (I Chrn. 28:19).

Every problem in our lives can be traced to a wisdom problem.  Wisdom is the ability to rightly apply godly knowledge.  In the Ancient Hebrew letters that spell the word VISION (Chazah), you find that vision means "What happens when you cut the barrier." Cutting through our natural limitations by studying the wisdom of God (His Word) allows us to see past external and internal limitations. 

WISDOM

  • Begins with the fear of the LORD (Ps. 111:10) 1
  • Granted to those who ask (James 1:5) 1
  • Is Priceless (Prov. 8:11) 1
  • Is beyond human comprehension (Ps. 139:6). 1
  • Is Unsearchable (Isa. 40:28) (Rom. 11:33) 1
  • Is chief and foremost in the order of our lives (Prov. 4:7)  
  • Is revealed through the treasures in the gospel (I Cor. 2:7) 1


PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD

In the beginning of this teaching, I started by telling you that you must interpret the Scriptures properly. For instance, in Prov. 8:12 the Scriptures say "I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions."  "Witty inventions" is not usually translated properly.  "Witty inventions" in almost every instance (aprox. 13 times) in the Old Testament, means evil, wicked and mischievous plans against you.  Most people that I have heard teach on "witty inventions" teach that a person will have the ability to come up with a new gadget or a new idea that will benefit them.  

I have received many revelations about this upcoming year.  I have heard many people confirm the exact things I am hearing.  But above all else, my sincerest prayer for all who follow the teachings at OTC is that this year we desire WISDOM greater than any other year in our lives.  Once we take the time to learn how to Hebraicly study the Word of God, we will find that it will be very difficult to receive anything we hear without doing a thorough, personal study. 

May none of us be destroyed this year because of a failure to spend intimate time with the LORD allowing HIM to open our eyes to SEE.

Blessings,

P/Karen

_____________

1. "So That's in the Bible?," by John Perry, B & H Pub. Group, 1997, pp. 549.

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TIME  FOR  NEW  GOALS

"Beloved, I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers" (3 John:2) 

Do you have a goal (God's mandate)?  "We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails" (Prov. 19:21).  "Form your purpose by asking for counsel, then carry it out using all the help you can get" (Prov. 20:18).  Are you willing to take the steps necessary to accomplish that goal?  I believe the LORD wants to re-charge you today with fresh hope and vision.  He doesn't want you to perish because of sickness in any area of your life.  There are many such areas that need constant scrutiny.  

 

A partial list includes: 

  • spiritual health 
  • mental health
  • physical health 
  • financial health 
  • emotional health 
  • relational health 
  • vocational health   

One of the Bible's greatest examples of setting a goal and striving to accomplish it is seen in the life of the Apostle Paul.  He said he didn't count himself as already possessing his goal, but he was determined to  forget the past and reach forward. (Phil. 3:13)  From his writings we know that he did press forward toward his God-given goal; all the while he was expecting his (God-designed) reward. (Phil. 3:14) 

We must set our own goals as directed by God - or someone else will set them for us.  To achieve any goal, we must first focus.  We hear this over and over, but ignoring the need to focus will not change the critical importance of doing so. 

To begin, we must do what Paul did.  We have to forget the past. Memories of past failures can become  strongholds in our minds that paralyze us. Have you ever tried something that failed?  Failure is part of our educational process.  Despite temporary setbacks, we must continue until we succeed.  The inventor, Thomas Edison, when questioned about his unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb, is reported to have said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." 

If we fail to focus, we can and often do create various disasters with immediate or future consequences.  As a child in science class, I learned that if you place a magnifying glass between the sun and a combustible material, then tightly focus the sunbeam on that material, the focused light will generate enough heat to cause a fire.  Concentrated sunlight (energy)starts fires.  Diffused sunlight (energy) may warm, but it will not create fire.  A definition of "diffuse" is:  to spread out over a wide area in many directions.  When working to achieve our goals, We must stop diffusing.  The Apostle Paul says, "┬░but this ONE THING I do" (Phil. 3:13).  Focus is the secret to reaching our goals. 

We are the only ones who can take responsibility for our focus. Wisdom tells us to guard our heart, for out of it are the issues of life. (Prov. 4:23) We must take the guarding of our gates seriously. We all know that wrong relationships can cause major distractions.

How do we get started?

Begin with these two things:

  1. We cannot accomplish any goals without the direction and the power of the Spirit of God.  "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Zec. 4:6).
  2. We continually need the Word of God before us to guide us.  "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for THEN you shall make your way prosperous, and THEN you shall have good success" (Josh. 1:8).

Let this upcoming new year be the greatest year you have ever experienced.  Look over the list in the beginning of this message.  Pick one area.  Master that area then proceed to the next while continually asking God for the power to accomplish the goal.  STAY FOCUSED.  

Love,

P/Karen

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DO I HAVE TO CHANGE?

"And God said to Jacob, Arise, go
up to Bethel, and live there"  (Gen. 35:1).

This week marks the end of the Fall Feasts and the start of another God-ordained cycle - a new year.  The Torah readings will start over at Gen. 1:1 and continue through the year.  These cycles are a prophetic picture for us in the body of Messiah.  New cycles bring the hope of change.  

We are now in the Hebrew year 5780, another year in which we can allow ourselves to be transformed into the image of the Messiah.  New cycles with new circumstances can be both exciting and challenging at the same time.  

This message is directed to the believer who wants the keys that open the doors to successful change. Change can be exciting.  Change requires keen circumspection.  On the cautionary side, some may be aching for change so desperately that they are tempted to take drastic measures to achieve that change.

In both man and woman, believer and non-believer, there seems to be some degree of discontent, sometimes precipitating an explosive cry for change.  We sometimes go to great lengths to change our earthly environment.  We may move into a new home, buy new clothes, have a personal makeover, lose or gain weight, yet we still feel empty, void of Heavenly peace and contentment.  The change the LORD desires for us is a change within our minds.  This can only happen one way, and that way takes much desire, diligence and discipline. 

Effective change requires motion and action.  For beneficial, lasting change, we must start with something small.  God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there" (Gen. 35:1).  Jacob had to take this first step.  He had to get up and stir himself to action. The Apostle Paul instructed his spiritual son, Timothy, to stir himself.  "Wherefore I put you in remembrance that YOU stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands" (2 Tim. 1:6).  

The gifts of God in our lives are as logs in a fireplace.  If the fire is not fed and properly tended, it can die out.  Some of us may only have a tiny ember left in our life, and no energy to stir the ashes or re-kindle the flame.  Today the breath of the LORD is here to re-fire our flame and breathe His stirring breath upon our weary soul.

From Shechem To Bethel

Jacob had been living for many years in Shechem (the place of burdens).  At a certain time, the voice of the LORD called him to return to the place where he had a dream.  In his dream he saw a ladder that reached into heaven. This ladder connected heaven and earth and is the place where angels ascend and descend.  The ladder is Jesus Christ, The Messiah.  In the place Jacob called Bethel, "The House of the LORD," the LORD told him He was with him, and would keep him wherever he went (Gen. 28:15).  

The LORD promises all of us that He is with us and will never leave us, that He is our ever present helper (Heb. 13:5-6).  Perhaps, because of many years of trials and burdens, we may feel the LORD has abandoned us, forgotten us and left us in a hard place.  The thought of taking a step out of that trouble land of Shechem, may seem exhausting or even impossible.  The carnal mind is hesitant to change because of fear of the unknown; a false security with familiarity, and the fear of not being able to manage the change.  The truth is that change requires us to think differently!

Change Your Garments

Once Jacob took the first step out of Shechem, he was able to advise his family and company to follow him.  He gave them these instructions:

(1)  They are admonished to "put away strange gods among them" (Gen. 35:2). Some of those strange gods were the belief that amulets and charms could protect them from evil and even cause them to know the future.  Isaiah the Prophet warned strongly against these practices. "In that day the LORD will take away the beauty of the ankle-bracelets, and the headbands, and the crescents, the pendants, and the bracelets, and the veils; the headdresses, and the leg ornaments, and the sashes, and the houses of the soul, and the amulets" (Isa. 3:18-20).  

(2)  "Be clean and CHANGE your garments" (Gen. 35:2). Change is the Hebrew word chalaph. Chalaph means to be pierced, changed, altered, renewed; to sprout.  Let's take stock in ourselves.  Are our garments soiled from hard testing, trials, disappointment and discouragement?  Is the temptation to doubt God shouting in our ears?

How To Change

The first thing we must do to start the process of change is to take "the first step."  Abraham took his first step when he left the Ur of the Chaldeans.  He obeyed the voice of the LORD by faith and walked into the world of the unknown.  He totally trusted the LORD and His ability to lead him forward.  Moses took the first step into becoming a deliverer by obediently taking off his shoes.  David became a King by first obeying his father's instruction to check on his brothers' welfare.   

Jacob is told to ARISE, GET UP and DWELL/ABIDE.  Jesus says the same thing, "Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me" (John 15:4). 

The key to change is found in the Hebraic understanding of Isaiah 40:31.  They that wait (qavah) upon the LORD shall renew/chalaph their strength.  Qavah is a beautiful Hebrew word meaning to be twisted together strongly (with The Lord) like a rope.  For us to change and develop strength of character in our lives we must bind to, tie to, and weave our lives into Jesus.  We do this by having a personal, face-to-face relationship with Him (through the study and understanding of His WORD), avoiding all performance for its own sake, or any form of insincerity.  In His presence, we are free to be ourselves, and in that place, He changes everything in and around us that needs to be changed.  Those who are bound to a relationship with the LORD WILL chalaph/change.  This change brings renewed life, a sprouting of hope, and the fruit of our labors that we have so longed for.  

Please pray with me, "We desire change, Lord. May we twist our lives together with You in the secret place and allow You to change all that needs to be changed." 

I pray renewal of strength for all of us.  May we come out of our trouble/Shechem and enter into our Bethel, the place of abiding with Him.  May we step forward in this new year, this new cycle, with great anticipation, seeking and expecting great things.

Blessings,

P/Karen

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