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Answers, Questions, Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is by faith that the woman presses in and is prodded to touch the HEM OF HIS GARMENT.  The Hem of the Garment, the fringe, represents the 613 negative and positive Torah laws, specifically the "instruction" of God. Numbers 15:38-41 is known as the "Law of the Fringe".  After all the doctors had failed her, she must have remembered what the Torah said.  "For she said, if I may but touch only His clothes, (the hem of his garment) I will be cured." (Mark 5:28)  Once she does touch him, He ASKS a question.  "WHO TOUCHED MY CLOTHES?" (Mark 5:30) "But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done in her, came and fell down before Him and told HIM all the truth." (Mark 5:33)   His question brought her into fellowship with HIM and she was able to tell Him all of her heart.  What great news!  I believe years of grief, doubt, unbelief, bitterness, anguish, hopelessness, and loneliness were removed from her soul at the very moment of Her contact with Him, The Word.  He is the ANSWER.  "And he said unto her, Daughter, your FAITH has made you whole; go in peace, and be whole of your PLAGUE" (Mark.5:34).  She had a plague.  Had the enemy been able to lie to her all those years?  Had she doubted God by subtracting from the Word and opening herself up to the plague?  Are we subtracting from the Word?  Have we relied on men's formulas instead of pressing into HIM, the source of all healing?  

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

Simply put, the changes we are seeking will come from turning to the right hand.  May we be transformed/changed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2).   

Blessings and honor,


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Are You Living Under The Blessing Of Heaven

(The Days After Shavu'ot) 

More than any other year in the ministry of OTC, we focused more intently on the days between Passover and Shavu'ot.  I believe, because we focused on the application of the principles associated with the Feasts, we have had many manifestations of breakthrough and blessings.  We have seen healings; promotions in the workplace; the purchase of a new home; debt removal of over $37,000 for one couple; one woman honored with the Student/Life Award of the year at Vanderbilt; one congregant earning employee of the month for total sales;  one person relieved of a balance of $1,000 on a vehicle.  My husband and I were blessed with unexpected refunds from two different sources, and more blessings that I can recall at this time.  We give honor and glory to God who poured out His blessings as He promises to do as a reward for our obedience.  

As I began to meditate on the LORD this morning, questions came into my mind. (1) Where are we headed after Shavu'ot? (2) What are we to be doing? (3) Are we living under the blessing of heaven?  

In the Book of Acts chapter 2, the Lord fulfilled his prophetic word through Joel (Joel 2:28 - 29) that He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh.  Acts 2 is a fulfillment of what happened at Mt. Sinai some fourteen hundred years prior as recounted in Exod. 19 and 20.  Remember, God was the bridegroom offering his bride a covenant called Ketubah.   "Jewish marriage was patterned after the events that took place at Sinai.  Marriage is effected through two distinct stages according to Biblical law.  The first stage is called erusin or qiddushin and is loosely translated in English as "betrothal".  The word erusin is of biblical origin, while qiddushin is Rabbinic.  Qiddushin refers to a type of sanctification.  The major difference between erusin and qiddushin is that erusin ends at the actual marriage and qiddushin remains in force throughout the marriage."  Jewish Marriage in Palestine, pg. 192.

When a woman enters into the betrothal, she is called an arusa (one who is espoused).  If we have said yes to the Lord's offer of covenant, we are an arusa, and will remain until Jesus returns.  The second stage is called nissu'in.  Nissu'in is the part of the marriage when consummation/co-habitation takes place.  The young girl, called the arusa had to perform requirements during the time between erusin and nissu'in.  One of the requirements was to learn the document of marriage called the ketubah (II Tim.3:14-17).  Today, our Bibles are our ketubahs.  In the ketubah, the bridegroom (God) clearly identifies who He is and what He is pledging (Exod. 20:1).  The characteristics of betrothal are eternal and apply to us today.  Hos. 2:19-20 "I will betroth you unto Me forever..."  Now, how do we apply this to our lives today?   

Looking at the Torah, we see foundational truth regarding Pentecost.  In Acts 1, before Yeshua ascended, He told the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4);  that they would be endued with POWER from on High (Acts 1:8).  Peter and John experienced the fullness of Shavu'ot by being baptized in the Spirit of God.  In keeping with the Torah, you can say they became engaged on the day of Pentecost and entered into erusin, the first stage of marriage.  After Shavu'ot, they now walk forward in the Covenant.  In any covenantal relationship, the stronger partner/the LORD, is responsible for setting the terms.  Upon entering covenant, each participant has specific responsibilities.  The weaker in the partnership/The Bride, is responsible to do the will of the stronger/The Bridegroom, Yeshua.  We, as the Church, MUST understand the role of the Stronger.  The stronger partner must be the Provider.  He is responsible for total provision; physical, emotional, and financial.  This is to allow the weaker partner to perform the will of the stronger (Phil. 4:19).  The weaker partner must completely trust in the provision of the stronger and faithfully do the will of the stronger partner.  To know what we, as the weaker partner, are to do, we look at Prov. 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding." Prov. 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge HIM, and He shall DIRECT your paths." 

To understand living under the blessing of heaven, we can see the example of Peter and John after Shavu'ot in Acts 3.  As was their custom, they continued in daily prayer in the Temple during the appointed hours of prayer.  Hours of prayer are still valid for us today.   They see a man at the Gate Beautiful asking for alms at the (9th) hour or (3:00 p.m.).  In the day of Yeshua, time was divided into (3) hour segments. Significantly, the word "Beautiful" comes from the root of the Greek word "hora" meaning "to belong to the right hour or season, to be timely and flourish." Strong's Concordance/G5610.  The apostles knew how to flow in the hours of prayer with authority, as watchmen, and fully expected to see God perform supernaturally.   

Being the Bride of Christ, submitted to His will/covenant, and walking in obedience to His voice, qualifies us to walk in certain spheres of influence and areas of authority.  I learned over the years that you cannot exercise authority in areas where you are not "watching".   We, the chosen, are responsible to be "watchmen" over our homes, work, church and community.  The apostles not only walked in authority, but became "watchmen" in those areas. They lived under the "blessing of heaven."   

I believe that walking under the blessing of heaven is much greater than any material thing we could hope for.  To walk under the blessing of heaven, we must first understand covenant, the scriptures, and the role of the stronger in the partnership.  This will qualify us to ask for the "watchman anointing."  Dutch Sheets in his book "Watchman Prayer," states that there is a "watchman anointing."  This is an anointing so needed in the Body, and no one is asking for it.  We want a preaching anointing, healing anointing - even a prosperity anointing, but no one is crying out for a "watchman anointing."   

Duties of the Watchman

  1. See
    We need God to give us spiritual vision.  Without spiritual vision and discernment we cannot be watchmen.  Spiritual vision is the ability to see both what God is doing and what the enemy is up to.

  2. Hear
    What is God saying?  What is the enemy whispering to those under our authority in the darkness.  Can we hear the cries of God's people?  Are other watchmen sounding an alarm?

  3. Discern
    Now that we can see and hear, what do we do?  We need the wisdom of God on how to properly address issues and move in our spheres of authority.  Timing is just as important as action.

  4. Act
    Now we can move in authority.  We are seeing, hearing and discerning - now we can act in God's timing with authority to protect and to serve.   Dr. Michael Lake, Biblical Life Prayer Dynamics, pg. 193

We are in the days following Shavu'ot.  Now greater than ever, we must know where to go, what to do, and how to live under the blessings of heaven.  God may we be anointed to "watch."  Amen. 

Blessings and honor,



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My Sheep Hear My Voice

(Understanding Shavu'ot)

Jesus said "My Sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:27 (NKJV)  This is a promise from God, that we can HEAR the voice of the Messiah personally and daily.

If we are not personally hearing the Shepherd's voice, we are hearing another voice.  The voice of the LORD is powerful and clear and contains daily instructions.  The voice of the LORD is meant for us to enter into dialogue.  The voice of the Lord comes in power and in majesty (Psalm 29:4).  When you hear Him speak, you know for certain it is HIS voice.   So, what does this have to do with Shavu'ot?   Read on. 

Have you ever been confused about the real purpose of Shavu'ot/Pentecost?  Is it just a yearly celebration 50 days after Passover, and one of the seven feasts of Jehovah celebrated on the 6th day of the third Hebrew month called Sivan?  Is it a day when the 1st Century Church was baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire with evidence of speaking in tongues?   How does this day apply to our daily lives?  

To understand this subject, and to answer these questions more thoroughly, we must go back to the Torah and study the first Shavu'ot. The very first Shavu'ot occurred at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19 and 20) approximately 1,400 years before the Acts 2 observance.  There are characters and elements involved here, such as a mountain, people, God's Word and angels.  We know God gave the law to Moses that first Shavu'ot, and expected His instructions to be obeyed; yet something much greater was happening here than the implementing of an impersonal set of rules.

What was happening here was the onset of an intimate and beautiful relationship.  A marriage was taking place and the loving Bridegroom (God) (Isa. 54:5) was giving his bride (Israel) a ketubah (marriage contract).  In this ketubah, God described in detail the terms of the union.  As Moses revealed the terms of the document, the bride was asked if she would make a commitment.  Exod. 19:7 - "And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which Jehovah commanded him". Exod. 19:8 - "And all the people answered together and said, 'All that Jehovah has spoken we will do'.  And Moses returned the words of the people to Jehovah."  Israel (the Bride) said yes to her Bridegroom, and oh what joy He must have felt.  

Then God spoke, and it frightened the people.  Exod. 20:18 - "And all the people saw the thundering, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking.  And when the people saw, they trembled and stood afar off.  Exod. 20:19 -  "And they said to Moses, YOU speak with us, and we will hear.  But let not God speak with us, lest we die."   Though they had made a commitment, once they heard HIS voice, they abandoned that commitment.  "They chose a passive, second-hand relationship with God rather than maintain a daily listening to God with a view to obeying everything He said." (Dr. Karl Coke, Timothy Program Int.)  They made a commitment to follow Him and immediately changed their minds. I don't believe there are human words to describe God's hurt that day and the hurt He feels today. The Lord still wants a Bride.  He was and is willing to make an exclusive commitment.  

I have great news today regarding His voice and Shavu'ot.  We now can have a continual, daily personal Shavu'ot.  Our ears must be opened to hear.  Such opening can only come from seeking an intimate relationship with the living God.  Hebrews 12:14-29 explains all of the characters mentioned above (a mountain, people, God's word and angels).  

How do you have a personal, daily Pentecost? 

1. You go to the mountain now called Mt. Zion - Heb. 12:22

What is this mountain made of?

1.  Angels - Heb. 12:22
2.  The church of the firstborn- Heb. 12:23
3.  God - Heb. 12:23
4.  Spirits of the righteous - Heb. 12:23
5.  Jesus - Heb. 12:24
6.  Sprinkled blood - Heb. 12:24

Because Jesus died for us, we, His bride, can go to this (invisible) mountain every day.  At this spiritual mountain, He speaks.  Heb. 12:25 -  "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks."  John 10:27 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me."  We must intimately set ourselves apart unto Him daily.  He wants to talk to us personally, face-to-face and one-by-one.

Once we take time to enter the set-apart secret place, we will personally become acquainted with Him and understand what He desires of us. He is not a church program. He is alive and waiting for our fellowship.  His voice is undeniable and different than every other voice. As we learn to daily go to the mountain,  He will continually make His will/ketubah known to us, and we will have the opportunity to follow Him. This is what a true Shavu'ot/Pentecost is all about.

Blessings and honor,


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At OTC, we have spent much time focusing on the Feasts of Jehovah, God's set times, and their applications we're called to practice in our daily lives. From Passover to Shavu'ot, the Lord revealed to the children of Israel what was in their hearts by testing them.  I will briefly explain the tests. The ancient Hebrews, in their exodus from the bondage of Egypt were tested four (4) times in fifty (50) days.  In our endeavors to prosper and be pleasing to our Heavenly Father, we must also consider and personally examine our own lives using the lessons we are learning from those ancient times of testing.  

The first test is found in Exodus 15:23, when the Hebrews were without an obvious supply of drinkable water until the bitter waters were made sweet.  The people murmured against Moses and Aaron because they were not mature enough to interpret God's instructions. Their discontent was a magnification of their mindset that the past (their time of bondage) was better, even though their bondage was bitter and hard.  In so thinking, they de-valued their deliverance and salvation causing them to despise the present.  Given their own minds, they would choose to die gratifying the flesh, rather than to daily follow God's Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire.

The second test is found in Exodus Chapter 16, where God gave them Manna.  This Manna (Man-Hu) served to not only physically feed the people, it was an instruction manual to see if they would daily obey the voice of God. The Manna from heaven was (and is) given for communication purposes and goes far beyond nutrition for the flesh. Their grumbling revealed their stubbornness in refusing to submit to God's order and ways.  

The third (3) test is found in Exodus 17: 1-7 where Moses struck the rock and water poured forth.  

The fourth (4th) test is also found in Exodus 17:8-15 where Amalek warred against Israel in Rephidim.  

My purpose in this writing today is to share a word I heard during my set apart time with the LORD. The word is, "BALANCE."  In looking at the tests that the Israelites encountered, I was shown a principle of God hidden in the Hebrew roots beginning in the first test.  In the first test when the Israelites grumbled because there was no water, God caused the bitter water to become sweet.  It was at this place in their journey, that God made for them a statute and an ordinance in order to prove them (Ex. 15:25). God tells them that if they will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord their God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give EAR to his commandments, He will not put Egyptian disease upon them.  Here, He reveals Himself as Jehovah Ropheka, the God who heals and cures (Ex. 15:26).

Please take special note that the Hebrew word for BALANCE is AZAN, meaning the EAR . Remember, in Exodus 15:26, they are commanded to give EAR. The human ear is the organ in our body that helps us keep our balance when we walk.  Balance brings health.  We have nine (9) systems in our physical bodies.  If all nine (9) systems are in order we experience optimum health. If one of the nine (9) systems is out of order or not in balance, this causes disease.  Spiritually, if our EAR is healthy, that is if we are hearing God, and doing exactly as He "says", we will enjoy all the blessings He promises for our obedience.

As we are approaching the Feast of Shavu'ot, we must allow the glory of God (Manna) to transform us.  We can only be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  

May this word be food for our spiritual diets.  Let us ask God to show us where we are personally out of balance and how to correct our thinking.  



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We are now in the Second Month of the Hebrew Religious Calendar called Iyyar. Iyyar is known as a month of healing.  Iyyar is a link between the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot/Pentecost).  We need to pay special attention to this linking time.  It is a time of transition.  The Children of Israel were going through a process, a transition in their ability to think differently.  From the Exodus to Mt. Sinai, God was taking them through a process from bondage, from a slave mentality of thinking, to their receiving and understanding divine covenantal instructions and revelation.

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

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

At the end of a woman's pregnancy, "transition" is a very difficult phase in the labor process. Though it is intense and can cause the mother to become discouraged and disoriented, it is the shortest phase usually lasting about one and a half hours.  During transition, a mother needs the greatest emotional support from her partner or coach.  She needs directions and instructions on how to breathe, how to focus, how not to give into panic and how to endure the pain. Spiritually, or otherwise, many of us are in this transition period.  We must be encouraged to focus on the MOUNTAIN of REVELATION and not the valley of doubt.  Just as the expectant mother is told to FOCUS, the Lord is encouraging us to do the same.  Focus on the mountain of the LORD.  Heb. 12:1 "Therefore, since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."  Heb. 12:22 "You have come to Mt. Zion and to the city of the living God."  Heb. 12:25 "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks."

The Feasts of Jehovah are set times and appointments when God gives decisive revelation knowledge.  Through this revelation, we must be able to interpret the times. Issachar, the 9th son of Leah and Jacob received a blessing from his father.  Jacob blessed him by saying "when he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor" (Gen. 49:14-15).  This passage has been interpreted to mean that Issachar bent his shoulder (labored) to study the Torah/the instructions of God.  Moses exalted Issachar by saying he was blessed in his tent, meaning he concentrated on studying Torah, God's instructions (Deut.33:18-19). The tribe of Issachar knew the times in which they lived.  They knew how to bind the enemy.  They could do so because their study caused them to know the Word of God.  Likewise, we can know exactly what to do by studying the instruction of God (His infallible Word) (Rom. 12:1-2) received from the mighty Mountain of the Lord.  

May you be blessed and encouraged.

Blessings and honor,


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A Word From Karen 05/09/2016

An Adversarial Environment

Each morning when we wake up, we are faced with an adversarial environment. Daily we must choose whom we will serve (Jos. 24:15). For the believer in Yeshua, who has been given the privilege of entering the Kingdom of God, there is also an opposing Kingdom called "The Kingdom of this World. "The Kingdom of this World" is ruled by principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in HIGH places"  (Ephesians 6:12).

Today, because many of you are facing some fierce opposition, you must know who the real enemy is and know his nature.  Our real enemy is the devil.  We are instructed by Peter to be sober and vigilant, because the adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, is walking about seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8).

The enemy comes to destroy our hope and paralyze us, keeping us from moving forward.  One of his favorite weapons to keep us from our destiny is distraction.  I once heard it said, that broken focus is the goal of all satanic attacks. The Good News today is that we have all the tools necessary to overcome our opponent.  Our battle is an invisible battle, therefore we must become experts in spiritual warfare knowing how to use all the weapons given to us by God.  We must never try to operate undressed (unprepared) for battle.  

There are six pieces of armor described in Eph. 6:14-18.  I would like to focus on the one piece called the "helmet of salvation" (Eph. 6:17).  A helmet is designed to protect your head from bombardment. If you can picture a Roman soldier wearing a helmet, you can also picture the Jewish High Priest's turban, representing atonement for haughtiness. The enemy's greatest strategy is to attack your mind.  He is not afraid of us, nor is he afraid of our words.  He is afraid of God and of God's Word.  When we endeavor to think for ourselves, apart from the scripture of God, we are actually powerless and open to operating in sensual and devilish wisdom.

In order to be effective against the enemy, we need to seek and obey the Holy Spirit and let Him reveal to us what is in our hearts/mindset.  Are you envious of anyone?  Is there strife in your heart?  Where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work.  Are you confused today?  If so, know that confusion is the fruit of earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom (James 3:14-16).  

We must know the Word of God. (Heb. 4:12)  Every attack from the enemy can be overcome by believing and speaking God's Word.  I have had personal seasons of warfare end quickly because I spoke God's Word of life and not fleshly words of death.  Our future begins today by our speaking life over our situations (Prov. 18:21). 

I Sam. Chapter 7 is a very encouraging story about warfare, vision, and victory.  The Ark of the LORD remained in a place called Kiriath-Jearim for twenty years.  Being separated from the Ark, the Israelites felt as though God had abandoned them.

Some of you right now feel like you have been abandoned and the battle is now too fierce to endure.  The Prophet/Judge Samuel rose up and told the Children of Israel to clean house. He said: "If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house.  Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he'll save YOU from Philistine oppression" (MSG). Oppression is one of the enemy's war tools against the believer's mind.  The children of Israel were afraid because they were (unprepared) for battle, yet they believed Samuel and did what he said.

Our foreign gods and goddesses act as faulty filters, causing faulty mindsets and keeping us from a proper knowledge of God's Word.  Samuel summoned the people to a place called Mizpeh. 1 Samuel 7:5  "Gather all Israel to Mizpeh."  Mizpeh in it's Hebrew roots means, "a watchtower", and "to peer into the distance."  I see this distant place as the place of vision and instruction for victory over the enemy.  Proverbs 29:18 states "Where there is no vision, the people perish: BUT he that keeps the law (instruction) happy is he."  Over the years, I have noticed that people often don't quote the second half of that verse.  Be encouraged today, that if you guard the instruction (Word) of God, your life will straighten out.  If you understand the words of God, you will receive vision/revelation and warfare strategy.

As Samuel offered a burnt offering on behalf of the people at Mizpeh, God thundered with a great thunder upon the Philistines and they were smitten before Israel (I Sam. 7:10).  Obedience and speaking God's Word creates a sound/a mighty thunder that causes the enemy to FLEE.  I Sam. 7:12 "Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpeh and Shen and called the name of it Eben-ezer" (The Stone of Help).  And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.   Let this reformation story encourage you - warfare, vision, and victory.   

God is for YOU.  He knows you cannot win any devilish battle by your own wisdom, but you can by His Spirit (Zec. 4:6) and by His word.  Matt. 4:10 "Then said Jesus unto him, GO, SATAN: FOR IT IS WRITTEN."   I speak life over all of you who read this letter.  Know, you are WELL able to overcome and possess the land (Num. 13:30). 

Blessings and honor,


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Principles of Privacy

Matt. 6:1-18

One of my greatest joys as a Shepherd is to hear testimonies from the congregation that God has rewarded them. The Lord has provided a beautiful reward system for us, not only to be received when we get to heaven, but in this present time.

You can see the concept of reward originating in the Torah and concluding in the book of Revelation. Yeshua teaches us in Matt. 6:1-18 how to apply three (3) specific principles or acts of righteousness that will bring open reward. These principles are called "privacy principles." These three (3) acts of righteousness called "tzedekah" are almsgiving, prayer and fasting. Jesus gives a warning in regard to all three acts. They must be done secretly in order to receive a complete reward from God. In this e-mail, I will cover one of these "privacy principles."


Jesus says, "When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets." (Mt. 6:2) What does "announce it with trumpets" mean? Understanding the Temple Service and Jewish idioms in the day of Jesus will give you a very clear understanding of what he was saying. Under the colonnades that surrounded the "Court of the Women" in the Temple were thirteen (13) Treasury/Donation boxes called "Shopharoth" or "trumpets." These "trumpets" had inscriptions, marked on them indicating various temple maintenance contributions, e.g. sacrifices, wood, incense, etc. The donation boxes were wide at the bottom and narrow at the top shaped like a horn. When donating, depending on the size of the coin, those present could hear a specific sound. If you wanted to brag about how much you were giving, you would drop many coins in the box at once. The sound announced your charity in public, revealing whether you were wealthy or poor. Jesus tells us to do our almsgiving so that our left hand does not know what our right hand is doing. If our charity is given secretly, the Father who sees in secret Himself will reward us openly. When God rewards you for secret giving, then it will become publicly apparent, and you will shine like a LIGHT. I have met a few people in my life that actually "shined." Their very physical appearance made them look like they were aglow and ageless. Job 11:17 "And your lifetime shall be clearer than the noonday; though there be darkness, you shall be as the morning."

Last week, I gave you keys regarding fasting as found in Isaiah 58. Isaiah 58:7 speaks of "giving" bread to the hungry and "giving" clothes to the naked. Giving food and clothing is part of the Isaiah fast. The benefits of this kind of fast will be that your LIGHT breaks out as the dawn. Albert Barnes in his commentary on Isaiah 58:8 believes that light breaking forth is a picture of abundant prosperity: "The image is, that such prosperity would come on the people like the spreading light of the morning."

While I was being mentored under Dr. Karl Coke, he brought to my attention the work of a very influential Sephardic Jewish scholar named Maimonides. Maimonides was born in Cordoba, Spain in 1135 and died December 13, 1204.

Maimonides defined eight (8) levels in giving, from the highest form to the lowest:

  1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.
  2. Giving assistance in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other. Communal funds, administered by responsible people are also in this category.
  3. Donations when the donor is aware to whom the charity is being given, but the recipient is unaware of the source.
  4. Donations when the recipient is aware of the donor's identity, but the donor still doesn't know the specific identity of the recipient.
  5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.
  6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.
  7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.
  8. When donations are given grudgingly.

For you readers of these e-mail blasts, my deepest heart's desire is to give you keys for living an abundant, purposeful, and continually rewarding life; a gift from God. When you learn the secret of giving, which certainly includes, but is not limited to finances, your light will arise in darkness, your healing will spring forth, and heaven will open over you, giving back to you what you have sown. God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Co. 9:7 "Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver."

"May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."
(3 John 1:2)

Blessings and honor,


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There will always be obstacles that rise up against the believer, causing your faith to be tested. We can experience every perceived adversity from divine delays, to discouraging circumstances and much in between. The Apostle Paul said he was troubled on EVERY SIDE, yet not distressed. (2Co.4:8). I sense that some of you, too are experiencing the feeling of being pressed on EVERY SIDE. Some of you may indeed need a miracle; perhaps financially, in your health, your work environment, or in your marriage.

Sometimes we must face incredible odds. Jehoshaphat knew what it was like to have much coming against him from multiple fronts. In 2 Chronicles 20:1 "It came to pass AFTER THIS also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle." Verse 2 tells us there came a GREAT multitude against Jehoshaphat from beyond the sea on this side of Syria.

The first verse of 2 Chronicles 20 says "AFTER THIS." You must ask, "AFTER WHAT?" In Jehoshaphat's case; After he went forward to establish order in the Kingdom. After he went to bring people back to the Lord God. After he set judges in the land. After he went forward to bring REFORM. (2 Chron. 19: 4-5). I have experienced the same. Establishing divine order comes with a high price tag.

2 Chron. 20: 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. The King was afraid and we may also fear, but we have keys to use to help us win every battle.

THE FIRST KEY: Set Yourself Apart To Seek The Lord. (verse 3)

Learn how to position yourselves before the LORD. This takes much experience, energy, time and love. We must learn by practice, how to quiet our souls. We must wait for God to speak. His perspective and ours are vastly different. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

THE SECOND KEY: Fast. (verse 3) See Isaiah 58: 3-12

I would advise anyone not familiar with fasting to do your research and/or consult professional advice. Fasting will cause your light to break forth; your health to spring forth speedily and righteousness to go before you. (Isaiah 58:8)

THE THIRD KEY: Pray (verses 5-12)

Jehoshaphat knew how to ask right questions. Dialoguing is a form of prayer. He asked the LORD, "ARE YOU NOT? (verse 6) "DID YOU NOT? (verse 7). WILL YOU NOT? (verse 12) Jehoshaphat is praying exactly like Solomon in 2 Chron. 6:20, 28-30. Asking right questions takes skill. Praying the word of God will bring answers to those questions.

THE FOURTH KEY: Face God (verse 12)

Jehoshaphat admitted that he did NOT know what to do, but he humbled himself and said, " but our eyes are upon you." He faced God.  Don't be afraid to say you don't know what to do. God knows. He wants you to ask for wisdom and he will not chastise you for asking. After asking, believe He will give you wisdom. (James 1:5-8)

THE FIFTH KEY: Stand (verse 17)

After facing God, the answer came through the Levite, Jahaziel, saying, "You shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord with you."  Hab. 2:1 "I will [in my thinking] stand upon my post of observation. Hab. 2:2 And the Lord answered me…" AMP

THE SIXTH KEY: Be Thankful (verse 21)

As they began to sing and praise the Lord saying "Praise Ye the Lord, For His Mercy Endures Forever," the Lord set ambushments against all of Jehoshaphat's enemies. God moves on behalf of grateful people. Murmuring, complaining, ungratefulness and grumbling will shut the heaven's against you and open you up for a curse. Deut. 28:47 "Because you served not the Lord your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of ALL things." Deut. 28:48"..therefore you shall serve your enemies which the Lord shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in the lack of all things." None of us want this to happen. So, may we become a praising and thankful people and expect revival to come to our land.

Love and honor,


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I am writing today to bring you encouragement. I stand in agreement with the Apostle Paul when he said in Phil 1:3 "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Phil. 1:4 "always in every prayer of mine making my request for you all with joy," Phil. 1:5 "for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,"  Phil. 1:6 "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

This word is not only for you, the sheep of Olive Tree Connections, but to those of you who love God and want to see His perfect will come to pass in your lives. The Apostle John said in 3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." This is true. There is no greater joy for a Shepherd than to know that each member is walking forward in the Truth.

There is one word that comes to my mind today and that is COURAGE. It takes COURAGE to walk daily with the Spirit of the LORD, but it is not impossible. It takes COURAGE to walk in the glory of God. A story that comes to mind regarding the glory of God, takes place in Numbers 14.  Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb were opposed by the Israelites because of the fear of the giants in the land.  Their unbelief, murmuring and slander caused all of the Israelites to become DISCOURAGED.  As God was speaking face to face with Moses because of this situation, He told him, Nu. 14:21 "But, truly as I live, the earth shall be filled with the glory of God." Nu. 14:22 "Because all those men who have seen my glory and my miracles which I did in Egypt, and in the wilderness and have tempted me now these ten times and have not listened to my voice," Nu. 14:23 "surely they shall not see the land that I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of them who provoked me see it." To walk in COURAGE is a commandment from God, releasing His glory. DISCOURAGEMENT affects your ability to receive the glory of God. Through the mouth of Moses, God spoke to Israel and commanded them to "Be strong and of a good COURAGE. Do not fear nor be afraid of them. For Jehovah your God is He who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6). Moses then called to Joshua and personally gave Him this charge, "Be strong and of a good COURAGE. For you must go with this people to the land which Jehovah has sworn to their fathers to give it to them, and you shall cause them to inherit it." (Deut. 31:7) "And Jehovah is He who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear; nor be dismayed." Joshua is a type and shadow of the Messiah leading us. 

None of us have been left alone to try and figure out how to walk in the glory of God. How do we do it, you may ask?  By following the voice of the Shepherd; the one true leader, Yeshua HaMashiach. John 10:4 " And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know His voice. John 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."  Not only have we not been left alone, it is the LORD Himself who makes us COURAGEOUS. The pattern runs through the whole word of God ,that we have ONE who goes before us daily. It takes COURAGE to follow HIM and His instructions. COURAGE was commanded upon Joshua. Jos. 1:7 "Only be strong and very COURAGEOUS, so that you may be careful to do according to all the Law which my Servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may act wisely WHEREVER you go." Isaiah speaks of being COURAGEOUS, Is. 41:10 "Do not fear; for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am your God. I will make you strong; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness." God commanded the Israelites to have COURAGE in Lev. 26:6-8; and 2 Chron. 32:7-8. God commanded Jehoshaphat to have COURAGE in appointing judicial and executive officers. (2 Chron. 19:11). It takes COURAGE to appoint the right leadership. God commands us to have COURAGE, despite enemies. Phil 1:28 "and not being frightened in any way by your opponents. For them this is a sign of destruction, but for you salvation - and that from God." (Tree of Life Version)  There are many prophetic words being released that God is releasing His glory. Yes, He is and we are experiencing this personally, but we must always see both sides.  This is why I want you to look again into the story in Nu. 13 and 14.  We do not want to fall short of the glory, and miss the LORD's movement in the earth today.

One of the words for courage in Hebrew is "chazak." In my studies, over the years, I discovered that "chazak is the root of the name Ezekiel "God Will Strengthen."

Let's look at some of the meanings of this word in more detail from the Strong's Concordance.

Ezekiel: H 3168 yekh-ez-kale' From H2388 and H410; God will strengthen;

Meaning: to fasten upon; hence to seize, be strong (figuratively courageous, causatively strengthen, CURE, help, repair, fortify), to bind, conquer: - aid, amend, catch, cleave, confirm, be constant, constrain, continue, be of good (take) courage (-ous, -ly), encourage (self), be established, fasten, force, fortify, make hard, harden, help, (lay) hold (fast), lean, maintain, play the man, mend, become (wax) mighty, prevail, be recovered, repair, retain, seize, be (wax) sore, strengthen (self), be stout, be (make, shew, wax) strong (-er), be sure, take (hold), be urgent, behave self valiantly, withstand.

Whatever you may be facing today, know that you are not alone. The LORD is with you. He will not fail you. You are well able to overcome and take the land. This is my prayer for all of you who read this letter. Ep. 3:16 "that he would grant you, according to the riches of HIS GLORY, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." May all that is contained in the name Ezekiel become part of who you are, and a guide for your walk with God.

Blessings Olive Tree Connections and friends.

Love and honor,


All scripture references from KJV, MKJV and The Tree of Life Version

Strong's Expanded, Exhaustive Concordance, Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary, pg. 112, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tn. c 2001

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016


This morning as I was quiet before the LORD, a scripture came into my mind. Rev. 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony." Two ingredients are present here for breakthrough: blood and the word of our testimony. The blood of the Lamb is still alive and present to overcome every situation we face. Because of the price paid by the Messiah at Passover, and the Spirit being poured out at Shavuot/Pentecost, we can daily go to a spiritual mountain called Mt. Zion. Heb.12:22 "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels," Heb. 12:23 "to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect," Heb. 12:24 "and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the BLOOD OF SPRINKLING that SPEAKS better things than that of Abel," Heb. 12:25 "SEE THAT YOU DO NOT REFUSE HIM WHO SPEAKS."

I have felt the tremendous warfare against us, the body of Christ. Because it is a an election year, there has been much stirring/war in the spirit realm. The enemy has tried to weary our souls and keep some bound. Dan. 7:25 "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws." We see this happening right now, as well as a great shaking (Heb.12:26-27).

The enemy of our souls would like us to stay impotent, blind, halt, and withered like the man who lay for 38 years by the Pool of Bethesda, never able to get into the water when it was stirred. He was stuck in an impossible situation; only a few steps away from his miracle and without strength to receive it. He could not seize his healing alone, nor can we. Through the power of the Messiah and the question, "Do you desire to be made whole," his paralzed existence ceased. This man did not refuse him who spoke. This past week, as I was separated in my time before the LORD, He showed me that some of us need to answer this same question. Only then we can "seize" what belongs to us. We must overcome and take possession of what is ours, just as Caleb spoke in Numbers 13:30 "And Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once and possess it. For we are well able to OVERCOME it." Num. 13:31 "But the men that went up with him said, We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we." Align yourselves with the nearest Caleb or Joshua.  Whatever you speak has the power to increase, whether good or bad. 

For those of you reading that are sheep of OTC, I want to encourage you to make up your minds to CONQUER. It is "overcomers" who are rewarded. You may ask, "How do I take the land that belongs to me?" You take/seize new land by obeying the word /voice of God.

There is much wisdom, strategy and insight about this available to us by understanding the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The 7th son of Jacob and Leah's handmaiden, Zilpah, was named GAD. One of the definitions of the name, Gad is "to OVERCOME, press into and invade." This is what we have to do right now. Matt. 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence, and the violent take it by force." Understanding the blessing from Jacob to his son, Gad, should encourage those of you who have been oppressed, depressed, defeated, discouraged, in debt, indifferent, isolated and without hope. Jacob spoke this blessing to his son in Genesis 49:19 "Gad, a troop shall OVERCOME HIM: but he shall OVERCOME at the last." He was revealing to his son that he would be overcome at first, but there would be a reversal and he would end up being the overcomer. Some of you may have been defeated or overcome, but you will be the ones who rise up and become the VICTOR. You can see Jacob's word about Gad coming to pass in I Chronicles 5:18 "The sons of Reuben, and the GADITES, and half the tribe of Manasseh, were valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skillful in war." Gad became expert in war. I Chrn. 12:8. "And of the GADITES, they separated themselves unto David into the stronghold in the wilderness, men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes/gazelles upon the mountains."

I was taught by my mentor, Dr. Karl Coke, that one of Gad's greatest spiritual fighting warriors was Elijah from Tishbe in Gilead (GAD). I Kings 17:1.

One last thought here for those of you who are discouraged and feel close to failure. War injuries caused Gad to question "Is there no balm in Gilead/Gad?" (Jeremiah 8:21-22). Yes, today there is still balm, there is still the blood, there is still the Word of God and we still have the freedom to align our words with HIS.

Rev. 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony."

Rise up, walk through this transition and SEIZE the land.

Blessings and hope OTC.

Love and honor,


Scripture references from KJV, and NKJ version.

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