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THE POWER OF PROPHETIC 

"Despise not prophesyings." (I Thes. 5:20)

Surely we are seeing Joel's prophecy, "And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and daughters shall prophesy." This is coming to pass before our very eyes.  The gift of prophecy is the one gift that Paul said to covet.  "So then, brothers, seek to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues" (I Cor. 14:39).  When you covet something, you earnestly desire it passionately.  In this sense, coveting is a good thing and not evil.  The gift of prophecy is a gift for the body of Christ.  This beautiful gift is an expression of the Holy Spirit to edify, encourage and comfort (I Cor. 14:3).  The prophetic is not limited to church meetings. The gifts of God are manifestations (exhibitions) to publicly show forth the glory of God and to give God's people divine advantage.

I am going to share a story through this email blast with the intention of impacting lives around the globe.  All OTC teaching e-mails reach out to all the nations of the earth, not just locally or the US alone.  

THE BIRTH OF THE PROPHETIC

Personally, the first time I ever had a vision and prophetic experience from Heaven I was 4 years old, playing in my parents back yard one summer.  I had been led to the LORD as a child through my grandmother.  This gifting was resident within me and not something I heard in a church.  Suddenly, I heard a voice, the voice of the LORD speak to me, whether audible or not I don't remember.  He said, "I am ETERNAL."

Other times, as did Samuel, I heard my name being called in a whisper, "Karen, Karen."  At that moment, even though I was a child, I was aware of the heavens opening and the voice of the Lord speaking.  In natural words, I don't know how to describe what happened, other than that I was having a visitation and an encounter with the Holy Spirit regarding ETERNITY.  This set the stage in my life for the personal relationship of hearing the LORD, and then seeing what He had said come to pass.  

THE PROPHETIC AND PAUL MCCARTNEY 

In October of the year 2002, I was leading my weekly prophetic ministry gathering in the conference room at Trinity Music City (TBN) in Hendersonville, TN.  That day the room was full, and as I did almost every week, I started the gathering playing prophetically on my keyboard.  I remember that the prophetic anointing was so strong on me that day.  As I began to play my keyboard, I started prophesying saying, "Sir Paul, the Master is looking for you."  At the time, I had no idea what that meant. Munday Martin of Contagious Love International was at that gathering that day.  His first name is Paul.  I thought that perhaps the Spirit of the LORD was speaking to Paul Munday Martin.  Of course, the prophetic utterances given by the Holy Spirit cannot be discerned by the natural mind.  I was naturally thinking one thing, but the Holy Spirit was revealing another.  He was revealing the future.  

My hands on the keyboard felt as if they were on fire that day.  With my eyes closed, I began to have visions of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix and Michael Jackson.  I distinctly remember saying, "You were all misplaced prophets."  They did not use their natural gifts to advance the Kingdom of God.  I spoke to the audience of what was happening when the Spirit of the LORD said to me privately, "I am taking you into Paul McCartney's world."  I never forgot those words, but naturally found them unlikely to happen, and pursued nothing to "make" that happen.  I did not even know what those words meant.

THE FULFILMENT IN NEW YORK CITY

Seven months later, I received a phone call from a man I did not know well, inviting me to go to New York City, to meet and have lunch with Paul McCartney's right hand person and licensing agent. I accepted the invitation, which coincided with a ministry invitation at the exact same time in the Bronx, NY. Before the lunch, I was invited by Sir Paul's administrator into the beautiful Brown Stone (building) where McCartney Publishing Company is housed. I was told that I was going to be taken on the grand tour of the building.  We proceeded to the second floor of the 3 story building where the agent said to me, "I want to show you pictures that were taken by Linda McCartney."  In a long hallway, hanging on a wall were enlarged black and white photos of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix and Michael Jackson.  I could hardly believe my own eyes.  Remember seven months earlier at TBN, I had a vision of these three people.

When Sir Paul's agent and I stepped out onto the sidewalk, as we exited the Brown Stone on our way to lunch, I looked at this person and said by divine utterance, "The prophets of God are alive and well today."  The anointing fell so heavily on both of us when those words were spoken that we could tangibly sense the anointing of God on us as our skin tingled, and trembled at the accompanying awesome sense of the LORD.

My relationship with Paul McCartney's right-hand agent continued for several years, and there were more personal meetings that took place in his office.  As the LORD had spoken that day in October of 2002, I was ushered into Paul McCartney's world because of the prophetic anointing.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the Spirit of the LORD would want to take me into the personal world of one of the BEATLES.  There is much more to this story regarding Paul McCartney and prophetic music, but this is all I can share today.

I am sharing this true life story with whomever has ears to hear.  God is no respector of persons.  God will use whomever He desires to see that His will is done.  He has to have a mouthpiece.  I was able, by invitation of the LORD, to enter into the world of one of the "Beatles" and speak as He dictated by divine unction.  God used my voice to decree things within those walls in NYC because God loves this man, Paul McCarthy and desires that every man be saved.

I am sharing my personal story to encourage you to COVET TO PROPHESY.  "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" (Prov. 18:21).  We live in a voice activated Kingdom.  Jesus said "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall SAY unto this mountain, be removed, and be cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he SAYS" (Mark 11:23).

Rise up!  Speak life!  "You shall also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto you: and the light shall shine upon your ways" (Job 22:28).

Blessings and hope,

P/Karen

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IS CRITICISM AFFECTING YOUR PROGRESS?

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults--
unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a 
way of boomeranging" (Matt. 7:1-2) MSG

Definition of criticism from the Oxford Dictionary: "The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes."

In Hebrew, one word for criticism and/or a critic is biqqo^reth, (Strong's Concordance H1244) from the root word baqar (Strong's Concordance H1239).  This word is a picture of one who is inspecting you, and examining you, so as to scourge you.  

JESUS, JOHN THE BAPTIST AND CRITICISM

We have all been the critic at some time in our lives, and we have all been the object of someone else's criticism.  The truth is we must expect to be criticized.  It is not our assignment in life to please men, but to please God.

John the Baptist and Jesus were constantly criticized. "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners'" (Luke 7:33-34).  If we are still trying to please men, we are not the servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10).  

MOSES AND CRITICISM

Moses knew first hand the effects of criticism from those closest to him; Miriam and Aaron.  Jesus says that a man's foes are they of his own household (Matt. 10:36). Behind his back they criticized Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman, (Num. 12: 1-2), but the spirit behind that conversation was envy and jealousy of his position and power in God.   This critical spirit evoked anger from G0d and brought immediate negative consequences to Miriam (Num. 12:9-10).

The greatest danger of one with a critical spirit is how another man's progress can be interrupted (Num. 12:15-16).  This critical spirit was so dangerous, it shut the whole Hebrew camp down from journeying for seven (7) days.   Almost all criticism is malicious and motivated by anger, jealousy, envy and even a hidden agenda within the perpetrator.  One of the reasons people secretly criticize is to make their victim look incompetent, in order to advance their own position.

The Book of Romans teaches us that those who criticize are practicing the same thing they see in others.  "Therefore you are without excuse, O man, who ever you are that judges; for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things" ( Rom. 2:1). Being critical is a serious offence against God Himself. A critical spirit is the OPPOSITE of loving your neighbor as you love yourself.  

THE APOSTLE PETER AND CRITICISM

Your very obedience to the will of God in your own life can evoke great criticism.  When the Apostle Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and accused him by saying "you went into a house of uncircumcised men and ate with them" (Acts 11:2-3).  Peter did not retaliate in anger or defense, but wisely responded with a spirit of humility and laid out the facts.  He was operating in direct response to the voice of God, and was criticized.

The Spirit of the LORD is cleansing His body.  " Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not so to be.  Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and the bitter? (James 3:10-11).  Critical words bring great emotional wounding and have the ability to damage one's own soul.  The very word for being critical in Hebrew comes from the root baqar and consists of three letters:

Beth= house
Qoph= weapon and a hole of an axe
Resh= head

In looking at "criticism" from an Ancient Hebrew perspective, think of this the next time you are tempted to be critical.  We are now the house of God. Critical words are as a weapon, an axe wounding the head.  Your head is the vessle for your mind, which Hebraically is your soul (your heart, your will and your emotions). Again, criticizing each other is like wounding someone in the head with an ax.   That image should be enough to give us pause. 

The Holy Spirit, when asked, will empower you today to have victory over criticism, whether you are the victim of a critical spirit, or the perpetrator of the criticism.  For those who have been hurt and otherwise damaged by this evil spirit, I encourage you today to remember that God will not be mocked. "But, no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, [those in whom the ideal Servant of the LORD is reproduced];  this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the LORD" (Isaiah 54:17).

When we feel the temptation to be critical, there is an antidote. We must stop and examine our own selves.  Jesus said it clearly: "And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye?  Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother's eye" (Matt. 7:3-5)  Let's corporately ask God to forgive us of and deliver us from this sin.   We may even discover why we are so critical of others.

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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THE WORD OF GOD AND SNOW

"Come now, and let us reason together, says Jehovah; though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isa. 1:18)

Nothing is more beautiful and pure in appearance than snow.  For many of us reading this e-mail blast, we are seeing the beautiful blanket of snow outside our windows.  Snow is very beneficial to the earth's soil for FUTURE crops.  Yet, at the same time something so delicate as an individual snowflake can be combined with other snowflakes to become the material for a dangerous, life-threatening avalanche. 

Snow falls from a place called the "treasury of heaven."  Job was challenged by God when He asked Job this question: "Have you entered into the treasuries of the snow? Or have you seen the treasuries of the hail which I have kept for the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?" (Job 38:22).  God challenged Job with many questions like these, such as "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell if you have understanding" (Job 38:4).  God laid the foundations of this world with His Word.  God's Word (Jesus) is His wisdom.  The carnal man cannot receive the wisdom of God, only the spiritual man can. 

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Is. 55:10-11).  As the power of the snow starts with one individual snowflake, so begins the power of the Word of God.  

As we gather together to corporately hear the Word, it becomes as the snow, more and more powerful as one lesson builds on the previous one.  It purifies and brings nutrients to our person, our soil.  It prepares us for our future harvest.  God told Job he had reserved the snow for the day of battle and war.  As we come together in unity, the LORD is developing us as strong warriors and ministers, skillfully operating in our unique gifts, consistently adding strength to the body.  

It is not a time to forsake the assembling of ourselves.  We are as the individual snowflakes, that is without power, if we do not come together as one.

I have put together a study of scriptures that you can share with your family or friends to edify and encourage you regarding the public reading of the Word of God.

  • Deut. 31:11-13
  • Joshua 8:33-35
  • 2 Kings 23:2
  • 2 Chron. 17:7-9
  • Neh. 8:1-8, 13, 18
  • Jer. 36:6
  • Acts 13:15, 27
  • Col. 4:16
  • I Thess. 5:27       

Remember, like the snow, God's Word goes forth and PROSPERS wherever He sends it.

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen 

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THE CURE FOR DOUBLEMINDEDNESS

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8)

In judging the quality and the fruit of your life today, can you  locate any double mindedness on your part?  You might ask yourselves these questions:  

 

1. What does it mean to be double minded?

2. If we are double minded, what is missing or misaligned in our lives that causes this condition?

3. What is the cure?

 

  1. To be double minded means that we are operating out of two different mindsets.  This can be further explained as operating out of two souls. Adam Clarke describes this as: "The man of two souls, who has one for earth, and another for Heaven; who wishes to secure both worlds; he will not give up earth, and he is loth [extremely fearful] to let heaven go."

    James explains that double mindedness makes us unstable in ALL of our ways; not in just a few ways, but in ALL ways.  Jesus says: "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13). 

     
  2. Our clear understanding of what double mindedness indicates, might be hidden from us.  We all need to look at James 1:3 and 1:5.  Faith and wisdom are not in operation when we become double minded. Remember "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).  Faith must be tested.  We all must face our various uniquely designed (yet common to all) trials.  James says to count it all JOY when we fall into or are surrounded by trials (testings).  Our trials are doing a work in us in order to test our FAITH.  The testing of our faith is creating and fashioning PATIENCE.  "In your patience POSSESS ye your souls" (Luke 21:19).  

    When we are going through various trials, we must ask for WISDOM, and we must ask in FAITH.  We cannot waver in opinion when we are appealing to God for wisdom.  A wavering man is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (James 1:6).  The fruit of a man who is not operating in faith produces wavering and instability.  I personally believe the root of all double-mindedness is the lack of faith.  Lack of faith is usually a picture of our pride in action, causing us to try to think from our worldly knowledge and fleshly logic and not from the principles of  God's Word.  

    King David understood both double mindedness and faith when he wrote Psalm 12: "Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak" (Psalms 12:1-2). 

    If we operate out of two hearts (mindsets), only one is able to bring forth truth; the other a lie.  This phenomenon is called duplicity. Duplicity is trickery and deception.  All of us who stand in a place of leadership must speak truth to the hearers, otherwise we are spinning a delusion or lie which instruction could never be followed and lead to success (pleasing God).  The Apostle Paul tells us:  "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me" (I Co 4:16).  Specifically, we are to follow him, as he was following the Messiah.  We follow leaders only as they follow Christ. 

    Martin Buber, in his book Good and Evil, pg. 10, explaining Psalm 12 says of the double minded man, "They speak with a double heart, literally with 'heart and heart.'   This expression must be grasped in all its depth.  The duplicity is not just between heart and mouth, but actually between heart and heart.  In order that the lie may bear the stamp of truth, the liars, as it were, manufacture a special heart, an apparatus which functions with the greatest appearance of naturalness, from which lies well up to the 'smooth lips' like spontaneous utterances of experience and insight."

     
  3. The cure for double mindedness is:  
    1. Repent of all doubt and unbelief in the power of the Word of God.  It is the Truth (of God's Word) that sets us free.  "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32).  
       
    2. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you; cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8).  This is a personal responsibility of all saints.  We have to take the first steps in drawing near God, cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts (minds).  The Word of God is as water and fire and brings transformation and healing.  We have to choose to no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).

May God bless all of you who have taken time to read this letter. "But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25).   

May 2018 be the most productive and greatest year of your life.

Blessings and hope,

P/Karen

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DEPRESSION - THE SECRET INTRUDER

"He delivers the poor (depressed) in his
affliction, and opens their ears in oppression" (Job 36:15)

There are approximately 9 words in the Hebrew language that mean to be poor.  Only one out of the nine words means to be depressed in your mind.  The word poor referring to depression is the Hebrew root word (anah).  It's the word on which I am focusing today.

Depression can be so debilitating that one so afflicted may, and too many times, consider suicide as an option.  Having lost my father to suicide, I do not ever treat this subject lightly.  Depression is not to be ignored, especially in the church.  For some it is hard to believe that a believer can suffer from depression, yet the statistics prove otherwise.  Many who once had a vibrant and healthy relationship with the LORD, now suffer from depression.  It is as though one day an intruder walked into the believer's life with authority to silence them and, disconnect them from their life in Christ while painting the dismal picture of a hopeless future.   

King David understood depression first hand.  He said, "I am poor (depressed) and needy; yet the LORD thinks upon me" (Psalms 40:17).  He did discover the cure, "You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not tarry" (Psalms 40:17).   In another place he names the source of depression. "The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor (depressed)" (Ps. 37:14).   

Solomon said "Where no counsel (steerage) is, the people fall:  but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Prov. 11:14).  The LORD has raised up skilled, trained, professional counselors in His body to lead His people through deliverance.  In the scripture above (Prov. 11:14) the very word safety means deliverance.   

Quotes From Professional
Christian Counselors And Doctors:

(From: The Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling)

"Depressed persons often believe they are alienated from God.  Significant feelings of distance from God are noted rather than closeness to him" (Hart, 2001; McMinn and Campbell, 2007).   

"In this alienating equation, depressed people often believe they are being punished by God, that the punishment is usually deserved or just (sometimes there is a powerful obsession with having committed the unpardonable sin), and that there will never be a complete reconciliation - God has abandoned them for all time, and Hell is inevitable" (see Ohlschlager and Clinton, 2002).  

"Depressed people often are alienated from others; they are typically non-participant spectators to life" (Wetzel, 1984, pg. 216).   

"The gospel tells us that God has supernaturally broken into the realm of alienation and disbelief.  When he shows up in a person's present experiences and proves that he is truly present in love and grace, the person experiences a moment of renewal and relief from the legacy of alienating despair"  (Koenig, 2007; Hook and Worthington, 2007; Richards and Bergin, 2005).

*********

Depression creates an illusion that you are alone in the universe, which is a lie from the enemy.  Depression can drive a person further and further away from relationships, causing them to believe that existing in isolation is a better way to live.  The truth is that isolation causes greater pain, damage and destruction.  The human soul was not created for isolation.  Today, the LORD HIMSELF is extending His hand to those of you suffering from depression. He will lead you out of a silent hell.  I know there is no quick fix or a snap of the fingers to bring one out.  I do believe by the power of the Holy Spirit, an afflicted person can cry out to the LORD for the next step and receive His answer.  

I earnestly pray that bands of wickedness, heavy burdens, oppression and un-holy yokes begin to break off of God's people, off of you.  Jesus IS LIFE, and today He says, "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST" (Matt. 11:28). 

If you are in need of help, and do not know where to turn, please write our office at admin@olivetreeconnections.com.  We will steer you toward one of the many ministries in Nashville who specialize in healing and deliverance.  

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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THE BLESSING OF THE LORD

"The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and
he adds no sorrow with it" (Proverbs 10:22) 

There is a major difference between a blessed man and a cursed man.  Every man and woman alive has the ability to daily choose whether or not they want to be blessed or cursed.  Moses spoke and said "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live" (Deut. 30:19).  To walk in a state or position of blessing rests solely upon our own shoulders.  Meditate on this for a moment, that no man can keep you from being blessed, only yourself.  "Whatever we receive in the way of providence has God's blessing in it, and will do us good. Cares, troubles, and difficulties come with all property not acquired in this way; but God's blessing gives simple enjoyment, and levies no tax upon the comfort" (Adam Clark's Commentary).

There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than his brothers.  His mother named him Jabez because she bore him in sorrow.  Jabez called on the God of Israel saying "Oh that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that it many not grieve me!  And God GRANTED HIM THAT WHICH HE REQUESTED" (I Chron. 4:9-10).  He was in a position to be blessed because he was walking in a place of honor. 

THE BLESSED (From So That's In The Bible, pg. 43-44)

There are many scriptures in the Bible about being blessed.  I have included a partial list of scriptures for your enjoyment.

  • The bountiful.  Deut. 15:10; Ps. 41:1; Prov. 22:9 

  • The children of the just.  Prov. 20:7

  • The faithful. Prov. 28:20

  • The just. Ps. 106:3

  • The righteous. Ps. 5:12

  • The undefiled. Ps. 119:1

  • Those who avoid the wicked. Ps. 1:1

  • Those who delight in the commandments of God. Ps. 112:1

  • Those who have the Lord for their God. Ps. 144:15

  • Those hear and keep the word of God. Ps. 119:2;James 1:25; Matt. 13:16; Rev. 1:3

  • Those who wait for the Lord. Isa. 30:18

THE AARONIC BLESSING IN ANCIENT HEBREW

BY: Jeff Benner

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

Numbers 6:24 YHWH will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection. 

Numbers 6:25 YHWH will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will give you comfort and sustenance. 

Numbers 6:26 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. 


Choose blessing and life, allowing God  to turn things around for you, and position you to receive blessings.  Remember God blessed Abraham and made him a blessing.  "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and YOU shall BE a blessing:" (Gen. 12:2)

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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WILL YOU PAY THE PRICE OF DISCIPLESHIP?

"If anyone comes to me
and does not hate his father and mother,
and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters,
yes and his own life, also, he cannot be my disciple".
(Luke 14:26-27)

The words of Jesus are strong as shown in the scripture above.  For those who claim Him as Lord and Savior, He demands total commitment to Him, and insists that His followers enter whole-heartedly into the Kingdom of Heaven.  The first words Jesus spoke after his wilderness testing, were instructions to "Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" ( Matt. 4:17).

Understanding the word repent from an Ancient Hebraic understanding gives it layers of life-giving meaning.  The word for repentance in Hebrew is Teshuvah. Teshuvah in it's root form is pronounced shub or shoov, and is spelled with the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Shin and the second letter of the alphabet, Beth.  Shin = teeth and to destroy.  Beth = a house.  Repentance literally means "to destroy the house."   For those of you who are not familiar with Hebrew, that definition could sound very destructive.  This definition, however, is a word picture illustrating that in order to go fully forward, you must abandon everything from your past to which you may be tempted to retreat.  In other words, in order to enjoy ALL the benefits of following the Lord, you can have no plan B.    

First century discipleship looked a lot different than what we consider to be discipleship in this country.  To be a disciple of Jesus one must first count the cost then be willing to leave everything and everyone behind in pursuit of Him.  There is no such thing as being half-way committed to Jesus.  By your agreement with Jesus' statement "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and himself, as well," shows us that without the 100% commitment to follow Him, we don't qualify as being one of his disciples/students.  The word "hate" in the Hebraic sense does not carry the same meaning as "hate" in its usage in English.  Hebraicly, "hate" means to "love less."  

As we know from Scripture, one day a certain scribe came to Jesus and said, Master, I will follow you wherever you go.  Jesus replied to him that foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.  Jesus never painted pictures of luxury inns and high quality food to get people to follow Him. He never spoke as to create false expectations.  Very much the opposite, He said the road is narrow and hard and few find it.  

Then another disciple (student) said to Jesus, "LORD, allow me first to go and bury my father."  Jesus plainly tells him to follow HIM and let the dead bury their dead (Mat. 8:19-22).   Upon first examination without knowing Hebraic thought, you might think that Jesus was being cruel in discouraging him about attending his own father's funeral.  Jesus would never have taught contrary to the Torah's 5th commandment given in Exod. 20:12, "Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you."

Understanding the Hebraic allows us to know that this sharp sounding statement from Jesus was being directed at a Jewish tradition concerning a "second burial" which was in violation of Scriptures.  Without a working understanding of Hebraic idioms, culture, thought processes and ideas, interpreting the Word accurately is impossible.   To more fully understand theHebraic idiom:"Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead," the information in red will open your eyes to what this represents. 

From Dr. Ron Moseley's book, Yeshua, A Guide To the Real Jesus And The Original Church, pgs. 27 -28  

Understanding the Secondary Burial

"This tradition required the body of the deceased to be placed in the ground on the day of his death (Deut. 21:22-23, John 19:31 and Acts 5:6-10).  This was the first burial.

The family then observed a seven-day period of mourning called shivah, during which they were not even permitted to leave the house.  After the body was placed in the burial chamber, it was left to decompose.  The Jerusalem Talmud says "When the flesh had wasted away, the bones were collected and placed in small chests called ossuaries.  After the flesh had gone from the bones, and the bones  were placed in the ossuaries, the son stopped mourning."

This transfer of the bones to an ossuary was known as the second burial.  It was done by the oldest son, who took the bones, either to the holy city of Jerusalem or to a family burial cave, where they were placed near the bones of their ancestors.  This practice had become popular during the first century, but had an UNSCRIPTURAL concept behind it of which Jesus apparently did not approve of."

The reason Jesus objected to this practice is because of the cultural belief that once the flesh fell off of the bones, a man's sins were atoned for.  We know that only Jesus is the one who can make Atonement for sin.  From the observed circumstances in this story, it is believed that this man's father was buried a year earlier, since he was not in mourning at the time he asked Jesus the question. 

To walk with Jesus is a full time apprenticeship.  He needs our undivided attention in order to successfully teach us about Himself as written in the Torah, in the Prophets and in the Writings.  Because Jesus can be found throughout the entire Bible, the Western Church should surely stop calling themselves a New Testament Church. Doing so deprives the congregation of knowing Jesus in His fullness.  "Whoever transgresses and abides not in the doctrine /teaching of Christ, has not God.  He that abides in the doctrine/teaching of Christ, he has BOTH the Father and the Son" (2 John 1:9).   One translation says "whoever goes beyond his doctrine." I believe this is why the secondary burial practice was an abomination to God.  How many places in our lives and ministries have we created a substitute?   

If we choose to be His apprentices, Jesus reveals Himself to us from the BEGINNING.  What is BEGINNING?  "And beginning at Moses (Torah) and all the Prophets (Nevieem), He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning HIMSELF" (Luke 24:27).  "And He said unto them, these are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses (Torah), and in the Prophets (Nevieem)  and in the psalms (Ketuvim) concerning Me" (Luke 24:44).  Jesus will always reveal the end from the beginning.  (Isaiah 46:10).  Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Tanak.  

Torah - Law - Pentateuch
Nevieem - Prophets
Ketuvim - Writings         

If you have walked away from the apprenticeship of Jesus, the Father extends His hand today, opens His heart and His door longing for your return.

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

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How To Enter The Gates Of Heaven

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise;
be thankful to Him, and bless His name." (Psa 100:4)

There is one way and one way only to enter into the gates of Heaven, and that is with a joyful noise of thanksgiving.  Psalm 100 is a beautiful instruction manual for how to come before the presence of the LORD.  Psalm 100:1 says we are to make a joyful noise. Noise in this sentence means that we are so loud, it's literally ear spliting.  Over the years, it has baffled my mind how people can go to a football game or concert and scream so loudly, you "can't hear yourself think."  The same people then think it strange to see worshipping believers make a loud, joyful noise unto the Lord.

When Paul and Silas were imprisoned for casting a spirit of divination out of a woman, they were put into the inner prison with their feet held in the stocks.  At midnight Paul and Silas began to pray and sing until there was an earthquake.  This shook the foundations of the prison, caused the prison doors to open, and the bands on all the prisoners to be loosed.  I imagine they sang with considerable volume as the joyous sounds filled not only the inner prison but the entire structure.  I speak this word today to bring to your attention that God wants your heart and your mouth to be grateful and rejoice.  As we become so, we readily discover that it is impossible to rejoice and complain at the same time.  (An answer to the question: "How do I do this?")  

Some of us reading this letter may need a sudden earthquake in our life to cause us to be delivered from any religious bondage.  This will come by our praise and thanksgiving.  Our praise can cause others to be set free or become barren and unfruitful. The story of King David recovering the ark of the covenant from Obed-edom's house demonstrates a grateful and thankful, forgiven King.  As his wife Michal, Saul's daughter looked through a window and saw him leaping and dancing before the LORD; she despised him in her heart. This is a very powerful picture of a religious/judgmental spirit. David confronted his wife by saying "It was before the LORD, which chose me before your father, and before all his house to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel; therefore will I play before the LORD, And I will yet be more vile than this, and will be base in mine own sight; and of the maid-servants, which you have spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor" (II Samuel 6:21-22).   Because Michal despised her husband's freedom to worship the LORD with all of his might, she was barren until the day of her death. (II Samuel 6:23).

Regarding Thanksgiving

(Taken from So That's In the Bible?, pg. 502-503)

Believers are to:

  • Abound in the faith with. Col. 2:7

  • Come before God with. Psa. 95:2

  • Exhorted to.  Psa. 105.1; Col. 3:15

  • Magnify God by. Psa. 69:30

  • Resolved to offer.  Psa. 18:49; 30:12

Christ set an example of:

  • Matt. 11:25; 26:27; John 6:11; 11:41

The wicked are characterized by an absence of:

  • Romans 1:21.

It's our choice.  Be a joyful sound, as we are commanded, or don't be.  The rewards are too great to miss it here.  And the consequences are too dire to choose to be other than filled with recognizable joy.

Blessings and honor,

P/Karen

 

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RETURNING TO THE BEGINNING

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask where the old (ancient) road is. Ask where the good road is, and walk on that road. If you do, you will find rest for yourselves. But you people have said, 'We will not walk on the good road.'" (Jer.6:16)

In quoting this scripture from the mouth of the Prophet Jeremiah, we discover that there is ONE ROAD that causes our souls to find rest.  This road is an ancient, tried and true road that has never changed, nor will ever change.  Without rest to our souls, we upset God's original pattern for man found in the Book of Genesis Chapter One.

All too often, we create chaos in our own lives and sadly, in the lives of those close to us.  We are commanded by God to labor to enter into the rest (Heb. 4:11).  This admonition comes with a warning, that if we do not enter into that rest we will fall due to unbelief, which is disobedience.  Disobedience has severe consequences.  The same attitude existed in Jeremiah's day, as the people said "We will NOT walk on the good road" (Jer. 6:16).

Thank God for "second chances."  Through repentance and humility we can be restored to God, experience proper alignment with Heaven and obey the command to be fruitful and multiply.  Only then will we find the true REST of God for our souls.  

THE HEBRAIC MEANING OF REPENTANCE

God is still and always has looked for men and women who are willing to live a life of repentance.  The Hebrew word for "repentance" is teshuvah.  Teshuvah means to turn from one thing to another, ceasing from doing incorrect things and beginning to do correct things.  The ancient Hebrew word picture of teshuvah (Hebrew letters shin = teeth, beth = house)  means to "destroy the house."

In his Book, Sharing The Word,  Dr. Frank Seekins teaches that "Ancient conquerors wanted their captives to become a part of the conquering kingdom.  This could never happen if the new captives continued to long for their old home.  To make a total break with the past, the conquerors would force the captives to watch as their old home was completely destroyed."

It is easy for all of us to leave options open and return to an old state of mind when we don't see things happening as we supposed they should.  When times of hardship come, we are tempted to reach back into our carnal thinking and easily forget about the ancient path on which we can walk, that always brings REST to our soul.  

Frank Seekins states that "To destroy the house is to chose which kingdom, which covenant we will follow and to totally commit ourselves to that one covenant!" 

THE NEED TO REPENT

In this email blast, I am including this study "THE NEED TO REPENT" written by Dr. Karl Coke, Ph.D, which I believe will put things in order in your mind.  This outline is from the Timothy Program International Weeks 53-65.

  1. God created man by mixing "Good" with "Good."
    1. The earth is called "Good" by God (Gen. 1:10 and 1:31).
    2. Man created out of the earth (Gen. 2:7).
    3. God is called "Good" by Jesus (Luke 18:19 and Mark 10:18).
    4. God mixed His "Good" breath with "Good" man resulting in eternal life (Gen. 2:7).
  2. Satan lied to get man to mix "Good with "Evil." (Genesis 3:1).
    1. God told man to keep "Good" mixed with "Good" by obeying His word. (Gen. 2:15-17).
    2. Satan asked man a question to see if man knew God's word (Gen. 3:1).
    3. Satan (then) lies to man in order for man to mix "Good" with "Evil" (Gen. 3:4).
    4. Man disobeys God's Word and follows man's ways, mixing "Good with "Evil."  (Gen. 3:6).
  3. The sin and punishment of mixing "Good with "Evil."
    1. Obeying God's Word is obeying what is "Good." (Deut. 12:28).
    2. Disobeying God's Word is the definition of "Evil." (Deut. 9:18 and Rom. 7:19).
    3. The punishment of mixing "Good" with "Evil" is sorting them out. (Gen. 3:17-19).
    4. The inevitable result of mixing "Good with "Evil" is death. (Gen. 2:17 and Rom. 6:23).
  4. Receiving Christ via repenting again mixes "Good" with "Good."
    1. Jesus and John preached "Repentance" as the way into God's kingdom (Matt. 4:17, 3:2).
    2. Dying men must confess by mouth and believe in heart that Jesus is LORD (Rom. 10:9-10).
    3. Obeying God's Word produces eternal life in each believing man (John 3:16-21).
    4. Obeying God's Word equips for every "Good" work (II Timothy 3:16-17).

I hope this study will open your eyes to the warfare surrounding us as believers.  The evil one is working relentlessly to cause us to mix good with evil.  There is no road other than the right one, which is Jesus Christ.  We are told in Ep. 2:10 that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God BEFORE ordained for us to walk in.  This is telling us that we can be restored to the beginning, to the garden, and to the good works we personally have been assigned to.  

"Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find REST to your souls"  (Matt. 11:28- 29).

I sincerely believe as each believer is restored to his original purpose, the true REST of God will permeate our souls.  

Blessings and honor,

 

P/Karen

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WHY ISN'T EVERYONE HEALED?

"He sent his word, and healed them…" (Psalm 107:20)

One of my deepest heart's desire is to see everyone in the body of Christ healed.  I have been used by God for many years to pray for people for their healing, and then seen them healed. This includes praying for myself, animals, plants, trees and grass.  I have prayed for many people who have been delivered from demons, but I have also seen some not improve or become progressively worse.

 The reason I am writing about healing today is because I am appealing to heaven to understand why everyone is not being healed.  

Jesus And Healing

After Jesus went through His wilderness test, He emerged with power.  He began His ministry in Galilee "teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL MANNER OF SICKNESS, AND ALL MANNER OF DISEASE among the people" (Matt. 4:23).   They brought people to Him that were sick, tormented, possessed with devils, lunatic, and had the palsy, and He healed them all.  I think about these scriptures all the time and practice prayer for the sick at our OTC gatherings.  Jesus gave His twelve disciples power against unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Matt. 10:1).  We have this same power for all sickness and disease to be healed. (Mark 16:17-18) 

After Pentecost, when Peter and John encountered a lame man begging for alms,they prayed for him to be healed.  He was instantly healed (Acts. 3:6-7).  Was it because of their empowerment and set-apart walk with God that this man was healed?  No!  The diciples said "Men, Israelites, why do you marvel at this?  Or why do you stare at us, as though we had made this man to walk by our own power or holiness?" (Acts 3:12).  This should grab our attention, that it was not by their own power, or by being set apart that those for whom they prayed were healed.  

Abraham And Healing

Genesis 20 teaches us a similar lesson about Abraham.  In this story we see Abraham journeying in the south outside the land of Gerar, which was ruled by King Abimelech.  King Abimelech sends for Sarah who was instructed by Abraham to tell the king she was his sister.  This story reveals many things operating in the heart of Abraham.  For one, he was being governed by a spirit of fear, which had reared it's head in his earlier journeying in Egypt (Gen. 12:10-17).  As before, he demonstrated fear and manifested a lying spirit by declaring Sarah was his sister and not his wife.  Because of this half-truth (she was his half sister), the women of the house of Abimelech had their wombs shut up and there was no reproduction.  A half-truth is an un-truth.  Once confronted by the King, Abraham told the whole story, but not without passing blame onto God whom he accused of making him wander.  Then something miraculous happens.  "Then Abraham prayed to God and God HEALED Abimelech and his wife and his slave women, and they gave birth" (Gen. 20:17).  

 

Moses and Healing

There exists an ancient Egyptian medical book dating back to 1550 B.C.E. called the Ebers Papyrus.  In this book are hundreds of recipes for healing through the use of a multitude of natural ingredients (then) thought to be magic formulas.  The problem with these formulas is that people died anyway.  During the time of these "medical" practices, Moses was growing up in Egypt.  Acts 7:22 tells us that Moses was learned in All of the wisdom of the Egyptians.  It would not be far fetched to believe that he would have been acquainted with this medical book.  

We have a great God who knows what we need to live in optimum health. God gave Moses breakthrough instructions for health and cures.  Hear what God told Moses to tell the people:  "If you give careful attention to the VOICE of the Lord your God, do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put NONE OF THESE DISEASES upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you" (Exod. 15:26).

In his book, Eating God's Way, pg. 26-27, Dr. Michael K. Lake has discovered that what you eat affects your soul. Given to Moses were these words of God, "You shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and you shall not make your SOUL ABOMINABLE by beast or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean" (Lev. 20:25).  Abominable in this sentence means to abhor, disdain, have a strong emotional response of rejection and antipathy.  Dr. Lake further states "When we partake of things that God has said are NOT FOOD it causes God to have a strong emotional response of rejection toward us! This is the strongest word for disgust in the Hebrew language."  

May we all carefully consider this interpretation.  

Isaiah And Healing

Most of us have read miraculous stories about the benefits of fasting.  In my own life, abstaining from certain foods has brought healing to my body. Isaiah the prophet describes in Chap.58:6-12 the portrait of a true fast.  In these six scriptures, which must be studied personally, the prophet uncovers information promoting divine healing.  In the subject of fasting, he also points out that finger pointing and speaking vanity affect our health negatively.

Let us look at the list below labeling the benefits of a true fast, and ask God for the ability to put these principles into practice in our lives.    

The benefits of a true fast according to Isaiah:

  1. Looses bands of wickedness;
  2. Undoes heavy burdens; 
  3. Causes the oppressed to go FREE;
  4. Breaks every yoke;
  5. Causes your light to break forth;
  6. Causes your HEALTH to spring forth; and
  7. Causes your righteousness to go before you;
     

WHAT TO EAT

"It is important that the body be kept healthy, because, as the Besht taught, only a healthy body can be fully fit for spiritual activities

When your body is sick, your soul is weakened, and you cannot pray as you should, even though you are free of sins.  So be very careful about the health of your body.  (Keter Shem, Tov, pg. 25b

Eat nothing that does harm to the body.  (Derech Hayim, 2-18)

It is not only a matter of how much food, however, but what food. Since the goal is to have God-consciousness, we should pay attention to how different foods affect us personally.  Watch what you eat and see how it affects your spirituality; and adjust your diet accordingly.  When we eat to serve God, we will not choose our food to suit our taste and lust, but according to its health qualities and how it affects us spiritually." From Jewish Spiritual Practices, pg. 278

It is time to seek the LORD to discover what may be blocking our healing and the healing of those to whom we minister.

May we gather all the glorious healing scriptures in the Word, ask God what they mean and how we should apply them to us and others in need. 

Father, may we have wisdom to know all your instructions, the discipline to use what we learn, and the faith to believe that ALL your Word is for our benefit, for our health. 

Blessings and honor

P/Karen



 

 

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