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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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PROPHETIC RESTORATION

"Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the LORD, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything"  (Acts 3:19-21)

For many years, the body of Christ has been in a time of prophetic restoration.  It's up to us to learn how to get into His flow and prosper.  

In the scripture verses above, there are three "R's" representing three principles of the kingdom.

1.  Repentance:  a change of attitude, a re-considering, a turn around from a place we have strayed or to turn back or away from something.  The ancient Hebrew letters shin (teeth) and beth (house) reveal that repentance means to destroy the house, meaning you leave nothing behind to which you can return.  Matt. 3:2-3,8; Malachi 4:5-6

2. Refreshing:  to recover your breath, be relieved and experience revival.  Revival means to bring something back to life that has died.  Ezek. 37:1-14

3. Restoration:  a restitution of health, home or organization; a restoration of purpose, to be rescued, to turn back.  This theme runs throughout the whole Word of God. 

God has been, and still is raising up prophets; and a prophetic generation of people.  A prophetic people are those that hear the voice of God and understand the mind of God. (I Cor. 2:10-16).  This prophetic movement is vital to the health of every church and even our personal lives.  

The Apostle Paul teaches us to follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts - but rather (more importantly) that you may prophesy (I Cor. 14:1).  The man or woman who prophesies is speaking unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. (I Cor. 14:3)  Paul further says that he wished that all would speak in tongues, but more so that they prophesied.  (I Cor. 14:5)  We are told to covet to prophesy. (I Cor. 14:39)

In the beginning days of my walk with the Spirit of God, He taught me how to prophesy and see the resulting things happen in my personal life, my city, state and even in the nations of the world.  The more I filled myself with the Word of God, the greater the gift of prophecy operated through me, and with manifested results.  We are to prophesy according to the proportion of faith we have (Rom. 12:6).  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God  (Rom. 10:17).  Because God's Word is the highest authority in all things, Scripture (God's Word) is the highest level of prophecy.

EZEKIEL AND THE PROPHETIC ANOINTING

God knows the heart of every man, woman and child.  He knows that each person is experiencing daily events or circumstances that don't look like the fulfillment of His promises.  When Ezekiel was carried away in the Spirit and set down in the midst of a valley full of bones, he noted that they were very dry.  The word dry in Hebrew is YABESH.  It means to be ashamed, confused or disappointed.  Whenever I am  ministering to people, they will usually describe a situation definable by one of these three words.  

The LORD asked Ezekiel a question, "Son of man, can these bones live?" (Eze. 37:3)  In so asking, the Lord indicated that the means of bringing the bones (representing anything in our lives that is dead, broken and dried up) back into order, had to be by a prophetic word (a declaration based in God's Word and spoken in complete faith).  Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy to the dry bones and command them to hear the Word of the LORD.  The LORD promised that He would cause breath to enter into the bones and that they would live.  Ezekiel's responsibility was to prophesy over an impossible situation.  God said he would lay sinews upon the dry bones and draw flesh upon them, cover them with skin, and put breath into them; and that they would live. (Eze. 37:6)    

The reason an Hebraic understanding of the Word is so vital to us all is because we learn the most accurate meanings of Scripture from the roots of the words.  Without the Hebrew, we could not learn God's original meanings, or the impact He desires His Words to have on and in our lives.

The word sinews in this sentence is the Hebraic root word gud.  Gud comes from the word Gad, which is one of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The tribe of Gad produced the prophet Elijah. Elijah was a Tishbite, from Tishbe in GILEAD. Gilead is the land of Gad. (I Kings. 17:1). Gad means to invade and overcome.  The tribe of Gad were fighting warriors. They were expert in war. (I Chron. 12:8)  Working in the prophetic is not just one giving or receiving a pleasant personal prophecy.  The prophetic deals in great warfare. As you learn to war with the prophetic, it is the Spirit of the LORD who invades your circumstances and enables you to overcome.  I have many personal battle stories about working in prophetic warfare over the years, some of which even affected my own body.  There is so much to learn about the prophetic.  We won't attempt to delve further here.  

As you have read this far in the newsletter, know that the Word of the LORD to you today is to begin to prophesy over your situation.  It is the Spirit of the LORD who will invade your life's circumstances and cause you to prevail.  You must rise up and speak.  You must never give up.  Ezekiel had to prophesy over and over and over. 

Finally, remember and use the lessons of the three (R's).  Then you will begin to experience God's eternal purposes in your life and in God's spiritual government. 

Blessings,

P/Karen

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THE BATTLE

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

Most of us would agree that we are in evil times and the battles have become fierce.  We thank God that His Word is filled with wisdom and strategy on how to walk through every battle victoriously.  We heard the Word of the LORD at OTC this past Sunday on the topic of "THE BATTLE" and studied a definitive chapter from Deut. 20, on how to plan for, and execute effectively at each stage of the battle. 

Before we go to Deut. 20, let us examine the word "battle" in Hebrew and its root meaning.  Battle is the word "Milchamah."  The root of the word battle is "lacham." Lacham is structured with the Lamed, the Cheth, and the Mem. The Lamed, Cheth and Mem  spell the word "BREAD" (Lechem). From an Ancient Hebrew perspective, in the battle (milchamah), we find our bread (lechem).  What does bread have to do with a battle?  We can see the answer in picture form by examining the process of making bread.  We must first mix the flour and the water together in order to make the dough.  Then comes the vigorous process of kneading the dough.  Kneading is a form of war in the sense of having to "fight" with the dough in order to produce a proper loaf.  Whether making bread or battling in war, we are in a struggle for our lives.  Without food, we perish; without victory in battle, we perish.

STRATEGY FOR WARFARE

In Deut. 20, we receive the strategy for warfare.  "When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than YOU, be not afraid of them°" (Deut. 20:1).  We have no choice but to learn how to walk through every battle fearlessly, because we are commanded by God, NOT TO FEAR.  

From experience, we all know this is not easy to do, especially when faced with critical and overwhelming circumstances.  In Deut. 20, we see that the priest in every battle would approach the people and speak these words, "Hear O Israel, you approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye afraid because of them."  For the LORD your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you" (Deut. 20:3-4).   

The Rabbis have taught that if we don't strive for the victory in every battle and do not fight with all of our heart and soul, we are guilty of shedding our brother's blood.  The officers spoke to the people before a battle asking if any man was fearful and fainthearted.  If so, the man was commanded to return unto his house, lest he cause his brother's heart to faint as well.  Being fearful would be considered transgressing the command of God, that is to TRUST Him with all of our hearts.  

We must never allow the fear in others to influence us.  Fear can be contagious and contaminates the soul. Fear is tormenting and increases the size of our enemy in our mind.  Fear can cause us to forfeit all that is waiting for us in our promise land.  We have not been given the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7)  Fear creates a barrier and changes our focus.  I learned from other teachers over the years, that it is not the giants that are a threat, but our fear of the giants that destroys us.  The giants must be conquered, and fearless warfare is necessary for the victory.  

Remember these keys.  They apply whenever we are facing a battle. Personally, every victory in my life has come from believing the Word, standing on the Word,  and speaking the Word back to the LORD.  He has taught me that once I had His direction through His Word, I was to never give up.  He has always given me the strength to battle, or the patience to let Him war for me.  

Victory in battle, is

  • By faith.  Heb. 11:33-37; I John 5:4-5 1

  • From God.  I Co. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14 1

  • Over all that exalts itself. 2 Cor. 10:5 1

  • Over the devil. Rom. 16:20, 1 John 2:14 1

  • Over death and the grave. Isa.25:8; 26:19; Hos. 13:14; 1 Cor. 15:54-55 1

  • Over the sinful nature. Rom. 7:24-25 1

  • Through Christ. Rom. 7:25; 1 Cor. 15:27 1

  • Triumphant.  Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 10:5 1

Whatever we are facing today, we must remember that it is the LORD who contends with our enemy.  "For the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chron. 20:15).

Blessings,

P/Karen

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GOD IS NOT A MAN THAT HE SHOULD LIE

"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? Or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good" (Num. 23:19).
 

Our God is a promise keeper.  All of His promises are confirmed in Jesus Christ, contained in Scripture, fulfilled in Christ and given to those who believe.  Every promise of God is inherited through faith and patience. (Heb. 6:12)  

Many of you are waiting for the fulfillment of prophetic words and promises.  Do not abandon your hope!  Do not grow weary in the waiting!  "But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Rom. 8:25).  God is NOT unrighteous in that He would forget your days of expectancy and waiting, yet He admonishes us to not be slothful, but to follow those who through faith and patience INHERIT the promises.  (Heb. 6:12)  The Word of God is loaded with examples of those who inherited their promises because of their faith.  

PROPHETIC PROMISES ARE INHERITED

Our promises/prophetic words are inherited.  In Hebrew, the word "inherit" (yaresh) means that you occupy space by driving out the previous tenants.  You then possess their place. This lets you know that obtaining promises comes not without a fight, and sometimes even requires a war.

 The Apostle Paul admonished Timothy according to the prophecies which went before him, that he was to war a good warfare concerning them. (I Tim. 1:18)  Once a word has been given to us, it is the same as seed being planted by the farmer.  "Behold, the husbandman, waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain" (James 5:7).

ONLY OVERCOMERS INHERIT THE PROMISES

Our warfare is not against flesh and blood, therefore human beings cannot stop our promises from being fulfilled.  We have heavenly weapons available to us in order to dispossess the enemy from the spiritual land (and sometimes physical land) that belongs to us.  The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.  Therefore we are to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  We have authority to bring every thought into captivity. (2 Cor. 10:4-5)  We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the WORD of our testimony. (Rev. 12:11)

Rejoice today that your victory is always assured as we submit to and obey Christ, our Captain. (Heb. 2:10)  The battle is fought with endurance of hardship. (2 Tim. 2:3, 10)  It is fought with faith, prayer, self-denial and steadfastness.

ABRAHAM OUR MODEL

We recall that one of our examples in fighting with faith is Abraham, "Who against hope believed in hope°" (Rom. 4:18).  "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform" (Rom. 20-21).  

The characteristics of God's promises are that they are unfailing.  "Blessed be the Lord, that has given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised; there has not failed ONE WORD of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant" (I Kings 8:56).

Be encouraged saints of God, for as Elijah said, "°there is a sound of abundance of rain"  (I Kings 18:41).

Blessings,

P/Karen

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THE POWER IN THE AARONIC BLESSING

"The LORD bless you and keep you" (Num. 6:24)

For Moses said to the fathers that the LORD would raise up a prophet from the brethren just like him.  He admonished the people that the one raised up was to be listened to in everything He said. (Deut. 18:18). We know this "one" as Yeshua HaMashiach.  God raised Him up and sent Him to BLESS us by turning away every one of us from our iniquities. (Acts 3:26). From the beginning, it has always been the heart of the LORD to bless His children.

We learn the heart of the Father through the scriptures. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).  All scripture means every word from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22.  This means the Aaronic Blessing is still alive and offering great benefit to all believers. 

To fully appreciate its power and to fully benefit from the Aaronic Blessing, we must study it in its fullness.  We must learn how to access the impartation that is available to us every day through this prayer of blessing in Num. 6:24-26.  The LORD told Moses to speak to Aaron the High Priest and told him exactly which words he was to speak to the children of Israel.  He also said He would PUT HIS NAME upon the children of Israel and bless them. (Num. 6:23,27). 

4 LEVELS OF HEBRAIC INTERPRETATION

In understanding the Word of God through Hebrew culture, the Scriptures take on new and deeper meanings.  I learned from my mentor that there are four different levels in understanding the Scriptures.  In Hebrew, they are: peshat, remez, derash and sod. 

Defined, they are:

  • Peshat -The simple and literal interpretation of the word.
  • Remez - To hint.  To understand beyond literal.
  • Derash - To search out from beginning to end to gain clarification.
  • Sod - The secret or hidden meaning of the word. 

Using an acronym, the letters P(peshat), R (remez), D (derash), S (sod) spell the word PARDES, which interpreted, means an orchard or a park.  The LORD wants His children to come to His Word daily and enjoy all He offers, a literal Garden of Eden experience. 

During their exodus, the Aaronic Blessing was spoken over the children of Israel everyday.  What was the benefit?  Their clothes and shoes did not wear out. They had the protection of angels. They were granted health, provision, direction, guidance and prosperity.  The LORD walked with them day and night, as seen through the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Some believe that these miracles and the peoples' lives lived in the supernatural were a result of the Aaronic Priestly blessing being constantly spoken over them. There is more to the Aaronic blessing than just the literal interpretation.

Previously, I showed you the scripture that mentioned that the NAME of God would be placed on the children of Israel after the priestly benediction. (Num. 6:27)  If we can grasp the power of the NAME being placed upon us, our lives will begin to reflect the benefits of that power.  God's Name incorporates His breath, His character and all that HE is.  The Prophet Malachi says about the LORD and His Name: "For I am a great king, says the LORD of Hosts, and my NAME is to be feared among the nations" (Malachi 1:14).  

We simply must learn the power of the NAME of the LORD. "For from the rising of the sun to its setting, My NAME will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to MY NAME, and a pure offering. For My NAME will be great among the nations, says the LORD of HOSTS" (Mal. 1:11).

Today's message is to whet your appetite and cause you to seek the face of the LORD in order to reveal to you the beneficial power of the Aaronic Blessing and the powerful results of HIS NAME being placed upon you. 

AN HEBRAIC INTERPRETATION OF THE AARONIC BLESSING

With the Hebraic understanding of each of these Hebrew words, we can better comprehend the true meaning of the Aaronic blessing as it was understood by the Ancient Hebrews. 

******************

"YHWH will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection. 

YHWH will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will give you comfort and sustenance. 

YHWH will lift up his wholeness of being and look upon you and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete." 1

Blessings in and on your new adventure,

P/Karen

___________________
1. AHRC, Jeff A. Benner

 

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EVICTION  NOTICE

"Give me justice against my opponent" (Luke 18:3)

Each of us has an adversary who accuses us day and night before the Throne of God. (Rev. 12:10).  Satan is that adversary, known in legal terms as the Plaintiff or Complainant in a lawsuit.  What comes against us every day in the heavenly realm can best be illustrated through the picture of a courtroom.  There is a Judge (God) (Heb. 12:23), the Plaintiff (Satan), and the Defendant (us). The Plaintiff initiates a lawsuit before the courts, which begins with a Motion (accusation) against the Defendant (us), seeking legal remedy (condemnation).  Once the Plaintiff brings the lawsuit, the Defendant must appear before the Judge.  He or she is then in need of a Defense Attorney.  For those who are obedient to and trusting in Him, Jesus is our Defense Attorney. 

Whenever we sin (miss the mark), a wound is created in our soul.  This wound/sin gives the enemy a legal right to take us to court.  The court, with God sitting on the Bench, exists in Heaven, in order to settle accounts on behalf of all "believers."  

In Matt. 18:23-35 we learn that the Kingdom of God is likened to a King who settles accounts with his servants.  One day a servant was brought before the King to judge his situation and render a verdict. The servant owed a huge debt, close to a hundred thousand dollars in today's money, that he was unable to repay. The King/Judge demanded that the servant, his wife and children be auctioned off at the slave market in order to settle the debt.  The servant threw himself at the king's feet and begged for mercy.  Touched by this plea, the king granted the man mercy and erased his debt.

No sooner had the servant left the courtroom, when he came upon a fellow servant who owed him ten dollars ($10.00).  That servant asked for mercy. Instead of showing him mercy and forgiveness, the recently forgiven man grabbed the other by the throat and demanded payment.  Although the servant owing $10.00 begged for mercy and for time to pay back money, the unjust servant had his fellow servant thrown in prison.  When the King found out, he was furious.  Matt. 18:34 tells us that the King had the same servant to whom he had previously shown mercy, delivered to the tormentors until he could pay his original debt in full.  The tormentors are demons, who have a legal right to torment our minds when we sin.

 Jesus says that the Father will deliver anyone who acts as the first servant did.  Because He is a just God, He will do the exact same thing, deliver us to the tormentors, if we do not forgive our brothers all their trespasses, as He has forgiven us ours. (Mt. 18:35).  The unjust servant's sin of un-forgiveness created a soul wound (guilt, regret, anger, bitterness….), giving the enemy the legal right to afflict him and torment him. 

The enemy is monitoring us every moment, and brings accusation against us day and night.  Each opening created by our soul wounds, allows the enemy legal right to accuse.  Each wound has to be healed (closed) before we can move forward productively and without fear. Rev. 12:11 "They overcame him (the accuser) by the BLOOD of the Lamb and the word of their TESTIMONY." A testimony is judicial evidence given in a courtroom. All this courtroom (life and death) drama takes place daily in the heavenly courtroom of God.   

THE HEAVENLY COURTROOM

Heb. 12: 23-24 tells us "We are come to the general assembly, to God the Judge of all, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood that speaks."  The blood of Jesus testifies in court on our behalf.  This means we HAVE to go to Court (not "run away") to allow the Mediator to defend us and legally set us free.  Jesus (our Mediator) is righteous and judges in righteousness.  He is the only one who can successfully defend us in this Courtroom. Satan has no claim over Jesus or anything in common with Him. Satan has no power over our Mediator because nothing of him exists in Jesus. (John 14:30-31).  Only with Jesus as our Mediator, can we win the case against us; and win we will…every time!

As we are entering  a new Hebrew month (Nissan/Aviv), we enter a season of repentance, redemption and miracles.  In this time, we have a special chance to have our souls healed.  This healing is a process.  May we understand and learn even more about the courts of Heaven, how to access these courts, and how to legally prevent the tormentors from torturing our souls.  

Blessings

P/Karen

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LOYALTY AND BITTERNESS

"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave you,
or to return from following after you:

for where you go, I will go" (Ruth 1:16).

The Book of Ruth is one of the most powerful books in the Bible.  Hidden below the surface in this story are rich nuggets of wisdom pertaining not only to the Jew and Gentile, but demonstrating universal qualities necessary for success.  

Ruth was a Moabite widow willing to leave her homeland to follow her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi, into the land of Judah. Naomi confessed that because of her losses, she had become embittered, emptied out.  She blamed the LORD for her present situation. Because of Naomi's poor assessment of her situation, she tried to persuade Ruth to leave her and return to Ruth's Moabite people and their gods. (Ruth 1:15).

Bitterness does strange and terrible things to a person's soul.  One of the key components of bitterness is unresolved anger. Bitterness leaks out of the heart through resentment, critical remarks, blame-shifting, conflicts with other people, controlling behavior, and many times through thoughts of revenge.  We have all been touched by bitterness at some point in our lives. Naomi re-named herself Mara (bitter) and blamed God for causing her to suffer. (Ruth 1:20).  Question!  Have you re-named yourself something other than who God designed you to be? 

Bitterness can temporarily blind us, causing us to forget that God wants to bring us out of our present circumstances and into a wealthy place.  When we experience hardships (and we all do), our first test is in our attitude.  Our attitude can make us or break us…quickly.  Our attitude is a frame of mind.  It is the way we perceive a situation from our vantage point. We can choose to look at our life from God's perspective or from the vantage of our limited and often tainted memory bank.  

Loyalty Is Not A Mood

The young woman, Ruth, had a characteristic that caused her to inherit great wealth and become the great grandmother of King David.  Ruth was loyal. Her loyalty was not, nor ever is a mood.  When her bitter mother-in-law urged her and her sister-in-law to leave, only Ruth chose to stay and make Naomi's God her God.  You may have bitter people in your life right now, or the bitterness could be in you.  God wants to deliver his people from the contamination of this enemy, bitterness, and lead them into a healthy, fresh new place.  This fresh new place is reachable only through a transformed mind. (Rom. 12:2)

Early in the story, Naomi asked the LORD to reward both daughters-in-law, "And may the LORD reward you for your KINDNESS to your husbands and to ME" (Ruth 1:8).  Kindness is the Hebrew word CHESED.  It is so powerful a word in Hebrew, it is hard to capture its fullness in translation.  It reflects an unconditional loyal love - despite all circumstances. It is a giving of oneself to the needs of others.  This characteristic in Ruth resulted in her future wealthy harvest, as well as a new life for Naomi. 

The LORD wants to bring us all into the bountiful land of Judah/Praise.  In Judah, good crops are growing AGAIN. (Ruth 1:6).  Some of us need CHESED to help us receive our harvest.  CHESED is also the Hebrew word for MERCY.  

It is the LORD who redeems our life from destruction. Destruction is a pit, and bitterness can lead us into it. There we are robbed of a potentially amazing harvest and wonderful future.  Because of God's great love for us, He crowns us with loving kindness and MERCIES. (Ps. 103:4).  

Boaz Is In The Field

I perceive the LORD saying, "I want to take you out of Moab into Judah.  You cannot make the journey alone.  It will require a step by step, God-led process. My MERCY and KINDNESS will lead you and guide you by the day. Do not let bitterness, anger, and resentment, either thought or spoken, or misunderstandings with others rob you of your greatest harvest ever.  Don your royal robes; Boaz is in the field….waiting for you. " (Ruth 2:2-4).

Blessings and Hope,

P/Karen

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UNITY - A MARK OF PROGRESS

"That they all may be one" (John 17:21)

The world will recognize that Jesus Christ is LORD, and was sent by the Father …. when we walk in unity.  One of Jesus' spoken desires is that we be joined together as one with Him and the Father.  Only then can we can become one with each other. This can only happen by our repenting, yielding wholly to the Spirit of God, and obedience to His Word.   

After long hours of prayer and fellowship with the LORD, two words were revealed to me: "consecration" and "unity."  Jesus has always wanted unity; and He never changes. When we differ with others in their interpretation and/or application of the Word, we cannot let that difference cause disunity.  Out of habit and often without realizing it, we make unspoken judgments in our hearts against others.  Because we are so accustomed to reacting to others in a habitual fashion, we may be ignoring that our judgmental response to differing interpretations of God's Word is negatively affecting our personal walk with Him.  

Paul exhorted the Corinthians to speak the same message; that there be no divisions among them; that they be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (I Cor. 1:10).  He told the Ephesians to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph.4:3).  The Apostle Peter said the same thing.  "Be all of you of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren" (I Pet. 3:8).

EXHORTATIONS TO UNITY

  • It is possible to "forget" old differences. "The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off:  Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim" (Isa. 11:13).
  • Harmony can exist between leaders of different camps or within the same camp.  "Thy watchman shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion" (Isa. 52:8)
  • Repentance can unify believers.  "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the LORD their God" (Jer. 50:4).  
  • Everything that has separated believers can be removed in Christ.  "For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us" (Eph. 2:14).

HEBREW WORD PICTURE OF UNITY

When we are united with one another, we are creating a strong fence of protection.  The Hebrew word for unity is ECHAD made up of the ALEPH, CHETH and DALET.  Combined this means to "strongly fence the door."

ALEPH - strong ox
CHETH - fence
DALET -  door

We are not strongly fencing just any door.  We are strongly protecting our brother's door.

The Hebrew word for brother is ACH made up of the ALEPH AND CHETH.  This is hidden in the word above for unity.

We are our brother's keeper. (Gen. 4:9)

"I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me" (John 17:23).

With love,

P/Karen

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THE VALLEY OF DECISION

"Choose ye this day whom you will serve" 
(Jos. 24:15)

Multitudes, throngs of people live in a place the Prophet Joel calls the "valley of decision." "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14).  Every time we make a decision, we have divided our thoughts between two choices.  The heathen have chosen to dwell in this dangerous spiritual valley with only their uninformed choices to support them.

Why do the heathen rage?  Why are the nations making a roar?  The Psalmist answers these questions clearly. "Why do they rage and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed" (Psalms 2:1-2).  Void of the Lord's companionship and resulting guidance, those mired in the valley of decision have chosen to take counsel against Jesus and His anointed ones in order to establish their own dominion (agenda) over the entire world.

"He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision" (Psalm 2:4).  Yet, in His mercy and according to His promises, the Lord gives His instruction to us who seek Him, and tells us to be wise. "Be wise now therefore, O you kings: be instructed, you judges of the earth "(Psalm 2:10).  For those counted in His fold, He commands that we ask Him; and when we do, He will give us the heathen for our inheritance and the uttermost parts of the world for our possession. (Psalm 2:8)  Ask Him for the souls of those who are trapped in this most difficult place, the valley of decision.

Ancient Hebrew Word Picture Of Decision

When studying Hebrew, we learn that most of its words are verb oriented.  The action of the verb helps paint a picture in our minds.  There are actions and concrete pictures associated with each word.  The word "decision" is the Hebrew word (charuts) and can mean "to dig a trench."  To better see this picture, envision a hoe, which you know to be a long handled garden tool.  When the hoe strikes the ground its rigid and sharpened edge breaks up the soil.  This is a picture of wounding.  Therefore, the Hebrew word "decision" can be understood to be a "sharp hoe."  Making decisions is a sharp and sometimes violent action.

Because the Lord is near in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14), then all those who live there will face a sharp judgment, unless they turn away from their will and turn toward the face of God.  This is why we are commanded to ASK for the heathen.  When we hear things on the news or read things in social media that we despise, ASK the Lord for the heathen, for your inheritance.  We must not take it upon ourselves to argue with fools who only want to air their own opinions. "Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions" (Prov. 18:2) (NLT). 

May God grant all His people wisdom; the priceless gem we need to ask Him for daily. (James 1:5).

Blessings,

P/Karen

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JESUS AND CHANUKAH

"It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Chanukah, the Festival of Dedication". (John 10:22) (NLT)

When Gentile followers of Jesus consider Chanukah, some may think of this feast as primarily an 8 day period where Jewish families light the menorrah and exchange gifts.  I grew up in a neighborhood where almost 35 percent of the families were Jewish. Little did I know that I was receiving an Hebraic education during my childhood years in the homes of my Jewish friends, and that Chanukah had such rich meaning.

Chanukah is Hebrew for the word(s) "dedication" and "train."  In a nutshell, "The Feast Of Dedication" (Chanukah) is the celebration and commemoration of the Maccabean revolt against the Army of Syrian Greeks, and Hellenistic (Greek) influence.  A miracle took place when the Maccabeans returned to Jerusalem. When they entered the Temple they had only one vial of oil to light a small cruse (lamp).  The "miracle" oil lasted for 8 days.  This victory over the Syrian Greeks led to the re-dedication  of the Temple in Jerusalem.

CHANUKAH AND ENOCH

Chanukah in its root form gives you the name of one of Jesus Christ's ancestors ENOCH (Chanuk). Enoch is believed to be the originator of letters and learning.  The Book of Jude is also ascribed to him.  

CHANUKAH AND EDUCATION 

My purpose in writing this letter is to give you information on the root word of Chanukah (Chanuk), as it relates to educating children.  We are all acquainted with the biblical text in Prov. 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  The Hebrew verb translated "train" is the word "chanuk."  To train is to discipline. From the Hebraic perspective discipline is education.  Jesus' last words in Matt. 28:19 command us to make students (disciples) and teach them to become observant.  

I learned from the Hebrew scholar Marvin Wilson in his book, Our Father Abraham, that it was Jewish practice to use honey in a special ceremony on a child's first day of school.  The child was shown a slate which had written on it the letters of the alphabet, and two verses of Scripture (Lev. 1:1; Deut. 33:4).  Along with the Scriptures was one other sentence:  "The Law will be my calling."  Then the slate was coated with honey, which the child licked off. After this ceremony, the child was given sweet cakes to eat with Bible verses from the Law written on them.  Remember, God's words are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. This reminded them of Ezekiel, who said after eating the scroll, " I ate it; and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth" (Ezek. 3:3). 1

Pastors have a responsibility to educate their sheep in the fullness of Hebraic understanding.  When taught accurately, this education should result in the sweet taste of each word taught; each word drawing the student to a closer personal relationship with the Father, His Son and with the person of the Holy Spirit. "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven" (Mat. 18:3).
 

Blessings,

P/Karen 

_______________________

(1) Wilson, M. (1998). Our Father Abraham. Grand Rapids, Mi.: Wm. B. Eerdmans. pgs.291-293.

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