- The Anointed (Mind) Head
David, in this great passage, identifies his relationship as one of the Lord’s sheep. The Lord is his shepherd. Jesus, speaking in His time, identifies His followers as sheep. He says, “My sheep hear My voice, another they will not follow.” David, during his years as a shepherd, received this revelation of God, the Shepherd of His sheep.
This morning, pray and receive your Shepherd. Ask Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to anoint your head with oil. A Shepherd anointed the sheep with oil not once, but many times, to keep flies from constantly tormenting them as they followed. We think of the anointing for ministry only, but how effective can we be with tormented thinking? This is for our daily protection. This was to keep the flies from laying eggs in the sheep’s mouth, where they get small cuts from blades of grass.
Jesus called Satan Beelzebub, lord of the flies, tormenters. Flies would lay eggs in the cuts and maggots would hatch and bring infection. The anointing is what keeps the evil one’s lies from tormenting our soul (mind, will, and emotions), where our thinking and decisions take place. David says God anointed his head with oil, and his cup runneth over with the anointing of spiritual thoughts and truth. Our cup spills over from us into our lives with His anointing renewing our minds. Without this, the devil and his lies begin to attack our heads and make us vulnerable to the world around us. It spills over into our marriage, family, friends, brothers and sisters, and the world.
The continued anointing, and sanctification of spirit, soul, and body will keep our hearts and minds. In this time we need our heads anointed. Our Good Shepherd, Jesus, the lover of our souls, is faithful to do it as we follow Him. We are the sheep of His pasture and we hear His voice.
- Blessed Valentine’s Day
Blessed Valentine’s Day to all. This is one of my favorite celebrations. Of course, honoring the love of my life Betsy, but also because I am reminded of this word of the Lord:
I am thankful for how wonderful our God’s mercy and truth are to us. Jesus told us to love God with all of our hearts. ♥️ We are not to be as men and women who see people by their appearances or circumstances. Love to all. -KC
- Israel’s Resolve
As we see in this passage, God refers to Jacob and Israel as His servants, He made them: “You are MY Servant Israel.” He has chosen Israel to serve His purposes in the earth. It is the epicenter and focus of the only wise God as the gap between history and the prophetic is narrowing in time. It is vital that Israel’s resolve to eliminate Hamas, which in Hebrew means violence, continues to victory.
Hamas started this war, massacring some 1400 innocent civilians. The narrative of the media, fueled by the Islamic proxies of Iran and the United Nations, under the guise of humanitarian issues, is illustrated in Secretary Blinken’s statement regarding Israel “dehumanizing Palestinians.” Even the narrative of denial that October 7 did not happen.
The continuing evidence that the IDF is discovering is revealing the darkness that has been hidden in those tunnels of darkness. Armories of weapons, manufacturing of rockets — all that have rained down on Israel — and an underground system of tunnels and rooms. It is now coming to pass as Jesus said: “That which is being done is being shouted from the housetops.” The fact is Israel, for years, has been in a war declared by Islam. Their Jihad, holy war, for the genocide and extermination of Israel and the Jews.
The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement was issued on August 18, 1988. The Islamic Resistance Movement, also known as the HAMAS, is an extremist fundamentalist Islamic organization operating in the territories under Israeli control. Its Covenant is a comprehensive manifesto comprised of 36 separate articles, all of which promote the basic HAMAS goal of destroying the State of Israel through Jihad (Islamic Holy War). The following are excerpts of the HAMAS Covenant:
We have ourselves, the United States, during Ayatollah Khoemene’s reign of terror, were held hostage during the Carter administration. The hostages, 52, were held for 444 days, from November 4, 1979, to their release on January 20, 1981. Not to mention the terrorist attack on the Marines on October 23, 1983. 220 Marines, 18 U.S. Navy sailors, and 3 U.S. Army soldiers lost their lives in the Marine Barracks at the Beirut Airport. Since then Iran has continued to be emboldened and has continued in Jihad directed at Israel and the United States. They have not ceased one day since then.
In the early 1950s, the Arab governments organized paramilitary commando groups — fedayeen — which undertook raiding and sabotage missions into Israel. In our lifetime we have seen Hamas, Hezbollah, Isis, and the Houthis, to name a few. All of these, proxies of Iran, carry the declaration and vision of Jihad, their Holy War, aimed primarily at Israel and any allies, especially the United States. It has never ceased, but has gained more and more momentum, and exploded on October the 7th of last year.
This is Islam’s eschatology and world view, to bring the nations under Shariah Law. These events, nations, and terrorists are all part of the prophecies concerning the end times in which we live. May Israel continue to stand in its resolve. Not only in its resistance but its goal to eradicate Hamas from its borders. Remember Israel out of all its trouble, let Israel not be ashamed, let not its enemies triumph.
- The New Year
As I was watching New Year’s Eve celebrations across time zones, I was struck by the continual spiraling down of the world’s approach to the New Year. I was reminded of Jesus’s words, “As in the days of Noah.” The contrast of the two calendars in terms of the approach of the people of the world and the people of God is telling. The Jewish calendar begins with, “Rosh Hashanah,” which means, “head of the year” in Hebrew. The two-day holiday is considered a time to reflect and repent in anticipation of the coming year versus the revelry and merriment displayed in most of the world at the New Year. The time of introspection according to the Hebrew calendar, Tishri, has a different spirit. It brings to mind God’s time in contrast to man’s.
In this post, I want to address the attitudinal approach, not the issue of the two calendars. Although the Church’s lack of celebrating the Feasts, which mark God’s calendar, is lamentable. I want to address our attitude toward our plans and strategies. Our labor in this could be called dead works: labor done in vain.
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.Hebrews 6:1-3 NASB
The beginning of the Hebrew year calls for introspection and repentance, which are elementary principles and foundations for maturity. It is receiving, without condemnation, the truth brought to us by the Holy Ghost. Our thoughts that are not His and seeing where we went our way and not His — these produced dead works in the year. The saying that is often used, “How is that working for you?” minimizes sin and repentance. Sins cannot be called just “mistakes.”
In dealing with situations put before me, minimizing missing the mark and continuing to go our own way, rather than receiving correction, is labeled judgmental. Only in this course correction will enable us to go on into maturity, which can only be done in repentance.
All the New Year celebrations, good intentions, resolutions, and our will, cannot produce a happy New Year. So many resolutions and good intentions are verbalized yet lack a repentant attitude, which keeps us from pressing on to maturity.
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.“ ”For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NASB
The contrast of godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world is night and day, life and death, maturity and immaturity. Paul refers to them as points of reference:
For [you can look back and] see what an earnestness and authentic concern this godly sorrow has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves [against charges that you tolerate sin], what indignation [at sin], what fear [of offending God], what longing [for righteousness and justice], what passion [to do what is right], what readiness to punish [those who sin and those who tolerate sin]! At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in the matter.“2 Corinthians 7:11 AMP
Paul tells them to look back, to see what true repentance and godly sorrow have produced in us. Vindication, free from accusation, indignation at sin, fear of the Lord, not offending Him, longing for righteousness and justice, a passion for doing right — not just being right, readiness to call ourselves and one another into account, not tolerating sin. He goes on to say that in every one of these points they have proved to be innocent. One free from guilt or harm. I am not saying whatsoever that I am innocent in any of these points, only that I see my lack of maturity and a desire to press on to turn from that which hinders me in my relationship to Jesus and His Body.
There is no Happy New Year without our repentance and renewed faith toward God.
Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB
In closing, be sure that as you look into your heart with introspection, you finish by looking up and only to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. He has made a way for us to continually be made new.
Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!
- What Determines a Happy New Year
He is faithful to His plan — not man’s plans and strategies. They are set in His heart and no circumstances or ideas will change this. The plans of man are what dead works are made of and our only response is to repent.
Onward and upward into His plans in 2024.
Praying for all of us. He is faithful to the one and only plan: His! Jesus!
- O Holy Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem – Worship and the Word
Join us in this series with Keith Curlee and Ben Ward discussing classic Christmas carols and their amazing, deep theology. Today we are looking into “O Holy Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Listen to Ben’s podcast: https://benwardmusic.com/morningprayer
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Worship and the Word
- Come Thou Long Expected Jesus – Worship and the Word
Join us in this series with Keith Curlee and Ben Ward discussing classic Christmas carols and their amazing, deep theology. Today we are delving into “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” by Charles Wesley.
Listen to Ben’s podcast: https://benwardmusic.com/morningprayer
- O Come O Come Emmanuel – Worship and the Word
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Eight
We come to the last day of Hanukkah with the Spirit, anointed oil, and the word of God, His light, returning to the Holy Place. The supernatural sign to Israel of His promise of His mercy and the end to His anger. He is slow to anger, but when angered it is not without end.
The number eight is significant in scripture, meaning new beginnings. For Israel, this time in their history will bring a greater light than creation has ever seen. The true light that will never be darkened and will shine for all eternity. Jesus, God’s light, shining forth, into the very hearts of men.
Our response to His light is to “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.“ (Isaiah 60:1)
This is not just His Light, but now has become our Light to shine We are His Light, shining for His Glory, so that men will see and also glorify God. His light risen on us and shining through us. This is not a reflection of Him, but it is refracted light, which is like a prism. It is called bent light. That which comes into us and then is bent out of us. Thus we are to let our light shine.
On this last day let us set our hearts on Yeshua (Jesus), encouraged and returning to God. He spoke of knowing His sheep and following His voice on a day that celebrated the return to the Torah.
From its inception, Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, is a time and season for rededication to God. It could refer to the rededication of the Temple at the time of the Maccabean revolt. But what started the revolt was dedication to the Torah and to the God of Israel.
God loves responding to those who take the time to dedicate and rededicate themselves to His ways, regardless of personal cost.
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Seven
After all the Great I Am had done for them, once again, they were sent into captivity. Heaven went silent.
Assimilation and annihilation seem to be Israel’s end. But God is faithful to His Word. He is the Covenant God and will not relent. He does not leave—we are the ones who go astray.
The light had gone out in the Temple and they once again found themselves oppressed and ruled by that which cannot comprehend the light: the world. The result of this loss of light was a darkened condition:
- Listening but no understanding
- Looking but no perception
- The heart becomes dull, no response
- Ears barely can hear
- Eyes become closed
This is what happens when the world begins to make its way into our lives, as we begin to be assimilated and stray from the path God has set for us. When the word does not light our way we begin to wander and lose our way. Once again, It takes the light of Heaven, God’s great mercy, to bring the conviction of the Holy Ghost touching our dull hearts.
More of Jesus is more light. The more of His light brings forth the fountain of life and life more abundant. A spring, not a well, but a continual, everlasting flow. Not running out.
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Six
The word that came to the Maccabees that brought light.
“Who is Like You, O Lord, Among the Mighty!” I believe that this word that became their cry brought forth light, not only in the Holy Place but illumined their hearts to believe this confession. They answered this eternal question—there is no one like the Lord. This brings to my mind a chorus we sang in the 70s from Isaiah 44:8:
There is none Holy as the Lord,
There is none beside Thee,
Neither is there any Rock like our God,
there is none Holy as the Lord.
Again this great confession: THERE IS NONE! May we proclaim on this sixth night as the light of this truth illumines us, “There is none, no one, no mighty, no not one like the Lord our God.” We celebrate His might this day. Hallelujah!
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Five
Who is Like You, O Lord, Among the Mighty!
The fifth day of Chanukah is the day before Rosh Chodesh Tevet. The day before every Rosh Chodesh is known as Yom Kippur Katan (“Mini Yom Kippur”) and is a day of introspection and repentance for any wrongdoings during the past month.
As believers, we are known as children of light. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:19, ”And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil.“ John begins by writing that Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night. I am sure that Nicodemus wished he would have come earlier in the day.
God’s light is very intentional, exposing and driving out the darkness in our lives. It is the light of the word that brings conviction and introspection to our hearts. The conviction of the Holy Ghost calling us to righteousness and right relationship to God brings repentance with regret. David refers to the word of God and its illumination of His soul and its cleansing power. “Create in me a clean heart Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” This continual cry of our hearts brings truth to our lives.
Jesus speaks of Himself,
May we become lovers of His light and continue to pursue Him and walk in His light.
Draw near to Me, the Lord, and I will draw near to you.
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Four
As we continue in the celebration of light, we can not underestimate the silence and the darkness engulfing Israel in the time between Malachi and the gospel of Matthew, some 400 years. The miracle of the one-day supply of anointing oil and the faith of the Maccabees in lighting the candlestick in the inner court resulted in the intervention of the supernatural power of heaven, which continued burning brightly for 8 days. We see that the zeal for the House of the Lord moved Heaven to come down to earth and intervene on behalf of Israel. Light returned and would begin ushering in the Light of the world prophesied by the prophets.
When Jesus came to earth, the world was trapped in spiritual darkness. His people’s hopes lay shattered in the darkness of their own failure and inability to throw off the yoke of hundreds of years of dominating nations.
How important is light to we as believers. To walk in the light, to continue let our light shine. This remembrance of the miracle and celebration of light coming back into Israel cannot be minimized by the Church. We as Gentiles were darkened in our understanding and far from the promises of God and without hope.
But now—but God has sent His light
The call still goes out to the House:
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Three
Light it up!
The Word of the Lord came and changed the hearts of this group of Jews who were moved with zeal for the house of the Lord. Their confession was, “Who is Like You, O Lord, Among the Mighty!” Surrounded by the darkness of idolatry and pagan worship, they refused to continue to remain idolatrous and rebellious. God always has a remnant in every generation who believes there is no one like the Lord. The word of God always brings light with it.
”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it.“John 1:1-5
John declares it so in the beginning of his gospel, his witness and testimony of Jesus. The Holy Ghost inspired John to write, “In the beginning was the word and He was the light of mankind.” All life must have light—it is sustained by it. There is no darkness in Him.
As they began the process to repair, restore, cleanse, and rededicate the Temple to the Lord, the necessity of the word and the oil—Spirit—brought light.
”For You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness.“Psalms 18:28
”For the fountain of life is with You; In Your light we see light.“Psalms 36:9
As we celebrate this time once again, as it was in the beginning, God the Father said, “Let there be light.” Jesus was born, the light of the world.
”for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),“Ephesians 5:8-9
Light it up!
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day Two
Once the Maccabees evicted the pagan, removing a statue of Zeus, driving the idolaters from their Holy Temple, they began the process to repair, restore, cleanse, and rededicate it to the Lord. The dedication was an eight-day process and required the use of sanctified oil for the Lampstand—the seven-candlestick menorah that stood in the first room of the sanctuary. But they only had a one-day supply of holy oil, and it would take eight days to make more. Nevertheless, they lit the menorah and began the sanctification process. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days! This is the essence of the eight-day celebration. The miracle of the anointed oil with the lighting of the Lampstand in the Holy Place, restored the light of the Word of God again. 400 years of silence and darkness was now going to be broken.
Jerusalem was ablaze in light, as each family burned candles at the doors of their houses. Today they celebrate this festival with a nine-candlestick menorah—one for each day the oil burned, and the center candlestick is the “servant candle” which is used to light the others. God spoke through His prophet Isaiah: “My servant shall bring light to the Gentiles.” John, the disciple of Messiah, said, “Jesus is the true Light that lights everyone who comes into the world” (Isa. 42:1, Jn.1:9). Jesus Himself declared two months earlier, at the close of the Feast of Tabernacles, “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). Every day for eight days the candles are lit: one on the first day, two on the second, etc., until on the last day all eight candles are lit. This is why it is also called the Festival of Lights. Unlike other feasts, there is no fasting or mourning. It is a celebration of joy.
Joy to the world!
*See this article by Sharon Hardy Knots and R. G. Hardy for more background.
- Hanukkah, the Celebration of Light – Day One
Break out your Menorah and candles!
Tonight, December 7, 2023, is the first night of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. We are going to explore this celebration, the story, and the miracle over the next eight days. To kick us off, here is a summary of Hanukkah from an article by Sharon Hardy Knots and R. G. Hardy.
- Setting is in winter
- 400 years between Malachi and Matthew
- God’s silent as Israel was sent into captivity of the Assyrians and Babylonians, because of idolatry.
- Secularized by Alexander’s rule during the Golden Age of Greece.
- Jews had become secularized and assimilated into the pagan culture.
- Finally a group known later as the Maccabees revolted.
- Their motto was: “Who is Like You, O Lord, Among the Mighty!”
- The name Maccabees. An acronym, from the first Hebrew letter of each word in the motto.
- They took back the Temple that had been desecrated and defiled to restore it.
- The rededication to the Lord was an eight-day process.
- The miracle of the sanctified oil, of which there was only enough for one day of the eight-day process is the celebration of lights—Hannakuh.
- The Power of Thanksgiving
- 2023 Holiday Open House
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- Israel’s Resolve
Israel and the pressure to ceasefire and stop the war before absolute victory.
When Elisha became sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over him and said, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Lay your hand on the bow.” And he laid his hand on it, then Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. And he said, “Open the window toward the east,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot!” So he shot. And he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, and the arrow of victory over Aram; for you will defeat the Arameans at Aphek until you have put an end to them.” Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground,” and he struck it three times and stopped. Then the man of God became angry at him and said, “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you put an end to it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times.”
2 Kings 13:14-19 NASB2020
The pressure that is building momentum on Israel to ceasefire, to diplomatically come to a peace, to vilify them in the name of humanity, while Hamas continues its total disregard for humanity, should be rejected by Israel. In both wars, Yom Kippur and the Six Day War, where they were invaded in both instances, they answered with force and were on the verge of dealing with their enemies, and were diplomatically pressured to stand down. Both were victorious, but because the nations brought pressure for peace they could not finish in real victory.
Now, once again the nations say, Israel has the right to defend itself, but that’s enough. The barbaric invasion they are fighting for is the right to exist, not just defend. Where is the nations’ outcry for ceasefire in the Ukraine/Russia conflict? The nations have always put limitations on Israel and held them to a different standard.
The “peacekeeping” UN is anti-Israel. They fought Israel and the 1948 recognition of becoming a nation. The Sovereign God and His prophetic word brought it into being. Israel needs to continue in its resolve to wipe out Hamas and drive them into the Sea of Forgetfulness, never to be again.
In the passage above, the King of Israel cried out to Elisha for Israel’s deliverance from its enemy, Aram, the Arameans, Syria. He was instructed to shoot an arrow out the window and then strike the ground. He did so but not with the resolve to see the enemies totally defeated. Elisha asked, “Why did you stop? Where was the resolve and the desire to see total victory?”
So often we cry out to God for deliverance and settle for relief and for comfort to be restored.
In 1994 I met on the border of Lebanon with a Syrian Senator concerning water purification. After our discussion concerning business, he asked me to talk politics. He said, “You are a Zionist?” I replied that I was American. He then proceeded to tell me Israel is like sugar in water—it will soon be dissolved. I referred him to the historical fact of the above recording in scripture that Syria exists because of King Joash’s lack of resolve and Syria’s history of conflict with Israel was not something to boast about. Not to mention the fate of Damascus prophetically stated in the scriptures. So much for that business deal.
Back to the subject of Israel’s resolve to deal with Hamas. David resolved to kill Goliath by choosing five stones to slay not only Goliath, but his brothers who stood with him. David did not just kill him, but he took Goliath’s sword and cut his head off. Making sure he did not just knock him out, but ensuring his defeat. He took it and paraded it before all of Israel declaring “the Lord of the armies is our God.”
“To You, Lord, I lift up my soul. My God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies rejoice over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.”
Psalms 25:1-3 NASB2020
My prayer for Israel is that they will not be ashamed and give in to the shamelessness of the nations and their vain imaginations. Shame was the first ungodly emotion that Adam and Eve felt that caused them to hide from God. Hamas will not, will not rejoice over Israel and Israel will not be put to shame. May those who deal treacherously with Israel be put to shame. Hallelujah to the Lord of armies!