Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dealing with Confrontation

A quote concerning Jacob and his preparation to meet Esau (who had years ago desired to kill him):
"Jacob prepared himself for his confrontation with Esau in three ways: he sent Esau a gift to appease him, he prayed, and he made ready for war."

The above quote provides with good instruction on dealing with those that oppose us. Whether spiritually, in business, or among those who at one time we considered close to us, but now stood in opposition. First, send an act of kindness. Perform some good deed for the one who may oppose you. Treat them the way you would like to be treated. Demonstrate the love of YHWH to them. Second, you should pray. Pray for G-d's blessing on their life and on yours. It is not wrong to pray that you would be blessed. It is not an act of selfishness; it is an act of good sense. Finally, prepare for war. Every one has freedom of choice. We may not always be able to anticipate the choices of others. In all cases, the final act to prepare for war is an act of self preservation. Life is precious, and that includes yours. So prepare for war, and prepare well.

Follow these three suggestions and you will be prepared to deal with all opposition, no matter where it originates.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Ayin)

The sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called Ayin. In ancient Hebrew, Ayin meant an eye. The pictograph of an eye symbolizes to see, to understand, to experience, and to be seen. Words with Ayin demonstrate some aspect of the eye or sight. The Hebrew word for to continue or forever is ad. The word picture tells us that you can continue when you see the door. The Hebrew word for pleasant or the garden of Eden is e-den. The word picture for e-den informs us that it was where you could see or to experience the door of life. The word for weep is da-ma. The word picture describes weeping as the blood of the eye. The word for to hear, to understand, and to obey is sha-ma. The word picture tells us that to hear is to see the name.

Psalm 119 verses 121-128 all begin with the letter Ayin. Since the letter Ayin is the eye, these eight verses speak of seeing or understanding. It is to the G-d of lovingkindness (v.124) and precepts (v.128) that we place our trust. Verse 127 says: "Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold, yes, above fine gold." Can you make that declaration? Do you love G-d's commandments more than gold?

Today is a good day for considering what you love above all else. What controls your heart? Is it the commandments of G-d or something else? It doesn't matter what the something else is; if it is not G-d's commandments, you have erred.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Samech)

The fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Samech. In ancient Hebrew, it meant a prop, i.e. a support. It symbolizes: (1) support; (2) a slow twisting; or (3) turning aside. Thye Hebrew word for refuge or trust is cha-sah. The word picture tells us that a refuge comes from the fence of support. We have previously learned that the Torah is a fence to keep us from difficulties. The word for grandfather is sav. The word picture is that a grandfather supports the house or family. There is great wisdom with those with grey on their heads. We should listen to the older generation for their wisdom. The word for moody is sar. The word picture informs us that a moody person is a propped up person. Finally, the Hebrew word for book is se-fer. The word picture is that a book will support the mouth of a man or woman. The contents of a book will help you speak to other people. What have you been reading and how has it helped you speak to other people?

Psalm 119 verses 113-120 all begin with the letter Samech. Since we know that Samech means a prop, these eight verses teach us how G-d supports and upholds those who lean completely, not selectively, on His Torah. Verse 113 says: "I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Thy Torah." Do you love the Torah? Or, are you like most Christians that believe the Old Testament has passed away? Are you free from those restrictions? I have one question, "So, how is that working out for you?"

Today, consider what supports you. What holds you up? Is it the word of G-d, or is it the traditions of man or a church? When you can lean completely on G-d and His word, you will find peace, i.e. shalom (nothing missing, nothing broken).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Noon)

The fourteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Noon. In ancient Hebrew, it meant a fish. It symbolizes a fish darting through water, i.e action and life. We would expect words that contain Noon to have action and life in their pictographs. The Hebrew word for son is ben. The word picture says that he is the life of the family. This means that he will continue the family name. He continues the life of the family. The Hebrew word for eagle is ne-sher. The word picture reveals the eagle as the living prince. The Hebrew word for expel or reject is nee-dah. The word picture tells us that to expel is what comes from the moving door. Again, we see action; the door moves to expel. The Hebrew word for please is nah. The word picture informs us that to ask please is an action of strength.

In Psalm 119 verses 105-112, each verse begins with Noon. Since Noon means action or life, these eight verses tell us that G-d's word is like a lamp to my feet (allowing action even in the midst of darkness). When I find myself in trouble, I can turn to G-d's word to revive me and carry me through whatever I am facing. Verse 109 says: "My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Thy Torah." Can you say that? Can you affirm that your life is in G-d's hand? Can you testify that you have not forgotten His Torah? If you can't, you can not pick and choose what verses you want from this psalm. Do you want His word to be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path? Don't forget His Torah. Do you want ADONAI to revive you? Don't forget His Torah.

Today, ask yourself, "Have I forgotten G-d's Torah? Do you want His word to light your path and be a lamp to your feet? If so, don't forget His Torah. Incline your heart toward the statutes of Elohim. He will guide you and never fail.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Mem)

The thirteenth leter in the Hebrew alphabet is Mem. In ancient Hebrew, it meant water. It symbolized: (1) a mighty, massive or many; (2) chaos; or (3) to come from like water down a stream. The Hebrew word for mother is em. The word picture informs us that a mother is the strong water. A mother is like the water that never fails; she is the life giver. The Hebrew word for thirst is tsa-ma. The word picture is that when you thirst, you are hooked by water strongly. The Hebrew word for bitter is mar. The word picture is that a bitter person is as a chaos man. Have you noticed that those who are bitter in life are surrounded by chaos? They go hand in hand.

In Psalm 119 verses 97-104, all verses begin with the letter Mem. Since Mem means water, these eight verses tell us that as water in the desert produces life and growth, G-d's word causes us to flourish. When you grow in G-d's word, you increase in insight, understanding, and wisdom. If you want these attributes in your life, they are available to you. However, you will need to study G-d's word. The power is in His word. There you will find wisdom and life.

Today, consider your study habits. Do you really take time to study G-d's word? Or, are you content to read a few passages and wait for church to receive some nourishment. Make today a day of study. Dig into G-d's word. As you do, you will find insight, understanding, and wisdom increasing in your life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Lamed)

The twelfth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Lamed. In ancient Hebrew, Lamed meant a cattle goad or shepherd's staff. A cattle goad was used to drive animals to their destination. The pictograph of a rod symbolizes control, prodding or urging forward, going forward, or a tongue. As we consider several Hebrew words with Lamed, remember the picture of control or going forward. One Hebrew name for G-d is el. The word picture informs us that G-d is the first or the strong authority. The Hebrew word for heart is lev. The word picture tells us that the heart is what controls the inside. One life lesson is that people generally do what they want to do. People are not overwhelmed by some outside force. Instead, they give in to an evil inclination that is inside of them. Too often, Christians like to "pass the buck" and blame the devil, when it is themselves at fault. The Hebrew word for tongue is la-shon. The word picture explains that the tongue is the rod that devours and establishes life. Proverbs 18:21 says: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue...."

In Psalm 119 verses 89-96, all verses begin with Lamed. Since Lamed means a staff, these eight verses tell us that G-d's authority controls and protects us like a shepherd's staff. When we see the Sovereignty of G-d and how it impacts our lives, we will be able to speak in confidence verse 94: "I am Thine, save me." However, don't forget the rest of the verse, "For I have sought Thy precepts." The Hebrew word for "precepts" is pikkudim and it means to take oversight or charge. G-d will save us when we allow Him to take charge of our lives. That includes obedience to Torah.

Today, consider who is in charge of your life. Who or what controls you? What is inside your heart that is the hand that guides you? If it is anything other than YHVH, you are on dangerous ground.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Kaf)

The eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Kaf. In ancient Hebrew it meant a palm or a wing. It symbolizes to allow, to cover, or to open. The hand performs all these functions. It allows; it can cover; and it can open the way. Hebrew words that contain Kaf will demonstrate some attribute of the hand. The Hebrew word for yes is ken. The word picture informs us that to say yes is to open your hand to life or activity. The Hebrew word for priest is ko-hen. By placing Hey in the middle of the word for yes, the word picture is formed that tells us that the role of the priest is to reveal the heart of the "yes." The Hebrew word for all, complete, or everything is kol. The word picture tells us that it is "whole" when you open the hand of the rod. The Hebrew word for forgive is kee-per. The word picture tells us that to forgive comes when, instead of pronouncing judgment, you cover the mouth of the person. This is exactly what occurs by the grace of G-d. The mouth of the accuser is covered when we receive grace from ADONAI.

In Psalm 119 verses 81-88, each verse begins with the letter Kaf. Since Kaf is the open hand, these eight verses inform us that we all need the open hand of G-d. Too often we seek the open hand of man, when it is the mercy, compassion, and grace from the open hand of G-d we need. Consider whose hand you seek. Is it the favor of man, or the favor of G-d?

Today, consider the hand of G-d. Look to His past faithfulness to act in the present. It is because of what His hand has done in the past, we can have trust in His hand to open in the present. Our future, as well as our present, is secure because of His open hand. Seek His open hand and not man's.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Yood)

The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Yood. Yood in ancient Hebrew meant a hand. Yood symbolized to work or a deed done. As we examine Hebrew words with Yood in them, we will see a hand at work. The Hebrew word for fear or awe is ya-ray. The word picture tells us that you will fear the one whose hand you see. The Hebrew word that means straight or upright is ya-shar. The word picture for upright is the hand of the prince or warrior. The Hebrew word for despair is ya-ash. The word picture says that you despair when the hand or work is fire (when that which you have labored for is destroyed). When one considers a hand, one thinks of action. Whether one is in fear, upright, or in despair, it is about the action that accompanies the emotion. This is not mental assent. It is action founded on belief.

In Psalm 119 verses 73-80, each verse begins with Yood. Since Yood means hand, these eight verses inform us that when we know the hand and the work of G-d, how He made and formed us, we will be able to trust Him to work faithfully in times of trouble. Those that trust in the hand of G-d will trust in His character and that includes trusting in His lovingkindness. We act on our knowledge of G-d's faithfulness in the past to guide us to the future. Because G-d has been faithful in the past, I can trust Him for the future.

Today, what do you trust about ADONAI? What do you know for certain about His past faithfulness that encourages you to trust Him in the present and in the future? Meditate (means mutter to oneself) on His past faithfulness. When you do, tomorrow looks much better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Tet)

The ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Tet. In ancient Hebrew it meant a snake, or to surround. It symbolizes to surround or to twist. When we study Hebrew words with Tet, we see the word picture clearly. The Hebrew word for belly or womb is be-ten. The word picture is the house that surrounds life. The Hebrew word that means to trust or to be safe is ba-tach. The word picture informs us that it is safe to be inside a surrounding fence. We have previously seen that Torah is like a fence that surrounds us and keeps us safe. When we leave the safety of what ADONAI has provided, we lean on our own understanding to keep us safe. The Hebrew word for adversary is sa-tan. Does that look familiar? The word picture tells us that an adversary like Satan is like the snake that devours life. The serpent in the Garden of Eden was the snake that twisted the truth of ADONAI's word. He is still doing that today when he convinces people to disregard the Hebrew Scriptures, i.e the Old Testament. The Hebrew word that means good is tov. The word picture says that good is what surrounds and is inside. The inside and outside match. This is Hebraic thought versus the modern Christian view that says my spirit is saved, but my flesh is in rebellion. Pure nonsense!

In Psalm 119, verses 65-72, they all begin with the letter Tet. Since Tet means to surround, the eight verses tell us that when G-d teaches us discernment and knowledge, we will be able to distinguish truth from deception. If we believe that G-d is good and therefore does good, we will desire to learn His ways through His Torah. Our G-d is a good G-d and He desires the best for His people. We get into trouble when we substitute our ways for His ways.

Today, consider your ways. What surrounds you? Is it the truth of ADONAI's word, or just a portion of it? If you believe He is all good, why would you not want all of what He says? The safest place to live is surrounded by His word. Come inside the fence and be surrounded by His goodness.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Chet)

The eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Chet. Chet in ancient Hebrew meant a fence or an inner room. It symbolized to be separate, to be cut off, or to protect. As we review several Hebrew words that contain Chet, we will see "the fence." The Hebrew word for brother is ach. The word picture tells us that a brother protects us like a strong fence. The Hebrew word for grace is chen. It may come as a surprise to many in modern Christianity, that the Hebrews also had grace. It is not limited to the ministry of Yeshua. The word picture for chen is to fence or protect life. The Hebrew word for refuge or to trust is cha-sah. The word picture says that a refuge is a fence of support. The Hebrew word for keeping silent is cha-shah. The word picture is to fence the teeth, i.e. refrain from speaking. All these words containing Chet reveal some aspect of a fence.

In Psalm 119 verses 57-64, the verses all begin with the letter Chet. Since Chet means a fence, these verses inform us that ADONAI's favor, grace, and Word are a fence that will keep us safe within and from our enemies without. It still amazes me that most Christians do not see the importance and necessity of obeying the Torah of ADONAI. They are His words of instruction to us in how we should live our lives. Why do we approve of some and disregard the rest? Does this not reveal your intent to act like Elohim? If you can decide which words of Elohim are binding, does that not make you superior to Him? We need all of ADONAI's fence in the world we live in to be safe.

Today, ask yourself, what is your fence? Do you rely on your own good judgment, or do you rely on Elohim's? This is an important question because we live in a sick world. There are many complex issues before us. I am thankful we have the Torah to guide us. What about you? How is your fence holding up?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Zayin)

The seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Zayin. In ancient Hebrew, it meant a weapon. It symbolizes to cut or to pierce. The Hebrew word for enemy or foreigner is zar. The word picture describes an enemy as a weapon man. The Hebrew word that means to prune is za-mar. The word picture informs us that to prune, we need to cut off the bitterness or to cut the rebel. The Hebrew word meaning to be taught is za-har. By placing the letter Hey in the middle of the word, the word picture is that we are enlightened when the enemy is revealed. The Hebrew word for bad counsel is zee-mah. The word picture tells us that if we follow bad counsel, it will back fire on us. You can see that when a word begins with Zayin, there will be a cutting or piercing in some aspect of the word.

In Psalm 119, verses 49-56, all the verses begin with Zayin. Since the letter Zayin means a weapon, these eight verses tell us that there are powerful weapons that ADONAI has given us. ADONAI's Name and Word are our primary weapons. As you read these eight verses, see the weapon aspect of each one. Elohim's Word will carry us through the darkest of times. It will give us guidance and instruction (Torah). It will defeat the enemy of our souls. Remember in the desert, Yeshua defeated Satan with words from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Today, check how much word is in you. You do this by listening to how much word comes out of you. Do you speak words of despair and discouragement? Or, do you speak His words that bring life? Remember, it is your choice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Vav)

The sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Vav. In ancient Hebrew, it meant a nail or wooden peg. Vav symbolizes: (1) joining together; (2) making secure; and (3) becoming bound to. The meditation of Vav causes us to consider our alliances, our friends, and our way of life. What does your life, not your stated beliefs, reveal about what you are nailed to? The Hebrew word for at home or to rest is na-vah. The word picture tells us that resting comes from a life that is secured, i.e. nailed to something. The word for lust is a-vah. The word picture informs us that lust is the strong nail that binds you to itself. It can be what controls you. Who or what are you nailed to? The word ka-vah means to bind together. The word picture is that of the binding together that comes after the nail. This is the result of being nailed or secured to someone or something.

In Psalm 119, verses 41-48 all begin with the letter Vav. Since Vav is the nail that secures, these eight verses inform us that the security of ADONAI's word and loving kindness will provide us an answer to reproach and will allow us to walk in liberty. Notice, this is not a freedom to do as we please. Instead, it is a freedom that comes from being bound to His Torah. Freedom is freedom to obey. Obey what? Obey the Torah, i.e. instruction or guidance, that comes from ADONAI.

Today, ask yourself what are you bound to? What secures you? Is it your own efforts and abilities, or is it the word of ADONAI? If it is ADONAI, then you should be following the Torah. After all, if you are bound to ADONAI, and He has given you the Torah to know how He wants you to live, then the Torah is the nail that will keep you secured.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Hey)

The fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Hey. Hey in ancient Hebrew meant behold. The picture of a man with his hands lifted up, or of an open window can be seen in the ancient symbols for this letter. The pictograph of a window symbolizes to show or to reveal. The idea behind behold is that you are being shown something that is distinct and clear. That which you may behold may answer that which you seek. The eight verses 33-40 in Psalm 119 all begin with Hey. The eight verses inform the reader how G-d's teaching can give us understanding of His Torah. When His word is established in our lives, we should honor and revere Him.

A review of the first words in each verse referenced above in English are: teach, give, make, incline, turn away, establish, and behold. They are all requests from the Psalmist to ask ADONAI to do something for him. The requests are to: (1) teach me Thy statutes; (2) give understanding; (3) make me walk in Thy commandments; (4) incline my heart to Thy testimonies; (5) turn my eyes away from vanities; (6) establish Thy word to Thy servant; (7) turn away my reproach; and (8) behold, I long for Thy precepts; revive me. The heart cry of Hey is a plea for understanding of the ways of ADONAI.

Today, what is your heart cry? Do you seek to learn more of ADONAI and His ways? Consider the letter Hey. Meditate on the ways of ADONAI and seek to follow Him according to your best ability.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Dalet)

The fourth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Dalet. In ancient Hebrew it meant a door. The pictograph for Dalet is: (1) a door; (2) a path or a way of life; and (3) movement especially into or out of. The Hebrew word for judge is dan. The word picture informs us that a judge is the door to life. This is because a judge provides justice, protection, and redemption. The Hebrew word for knowledge is de-ah. The word picture is that knowledge is the door of the eye. Through knowledge, we see and understand, which will in turn affect our lives. The Hebrew word for weep is da-ma. The word picture describes weeping as the blood of the eye. Psalm 126:5 says, "Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. The weeping is a door to joy.

When we begin to understand that every letter in Hebrew is also a number and picture, we begin to see a deeper meaning to the Scriptures. Hebrew words that begin with Dalet will have some reference to a door. The word will be a pathway from one place to another. Who is another door? In John 10:9, Yeshua said, He was the door. When we remember that He would have been speaking Hebrew or Aramaic (a first cousin language to Hebrew), the powerful meaning becomes clear. A door is a passage way that enables you to be transferred from one place to another. Through Yeshua, we have a door of transformation if we will avail ourselves of it.

Today, consider Dalet. Think about the doors in your life; the ones you have walked through and the ones you didn't. Remember, Yeshua is the door to life. Walk through it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Gimmel)

Today, we will examine the third letter in the Hebrew alphabet, Gimmel. In ancient Hebrew, the letter meant a camel. The picture of a camel symbolizes: (1) a camel or beast; (2) something benefited or lifted up (like a camel rising from his knees); and (3) self will or pride (like a stubborn camel). When meditating on Gimmel, consider how following Yeshua has lifted you from where you used to be, to where you are now. If you are a follower of Him, your actions will have changed. This is not to emphasize you or focus on yourself; instead, it is to focus on what He has done for you.

Each of the verses in the third stanza (17-24) of Psalm 119 start with Gimmel. Since Gimmel means to lift up, or reward and can symbolize a lifting up, in pride, revelation or exaltation, these eight verses tell us that it is ADONAI who will lift us up in either reward or rebuke. We that understand this truth will trust Him and His word. Read the verses and focus on the fact that it is ADONAI that lifts us and not we ourselves.

Today, choose to meditate on Gimmel. Focus on what ADONAI has done for you. Do not fall for the new age trap that you are the author of your own destiny. It is true that obedience brings blessings, but it is ADONAI that has provided the instruction (Torah) so you will know how to obey. It is no accident that the modern church has so many problems, sexual sin, and greed; it is a direct result from the abandonment of the Torah. Focus on Elohim's lifting power. Focus on Torah as the way to blessing through obedience.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Bet)

We are focusing on meditating on the Hebrew alphabet. Today, we consider the second letter, Bet. In ancient Hebrew Bet meant a tent or house. It is a three sided letter open to the left with a dot in the middle. The pictograph is of a house which symbolizes: (1) a physical house or building; (2) a body (house) of someone or something; (3) family, household; or (4) inside, within or amid. The dot represents one who lives within. When Jacob slept in the wilderness, he was certain he was alone. However, when he awoke, he had learned about Bet: "Surely G-d has been in this place, and I didn't even know it!" Bet reminds us that we are never really alone if we obey Elohim.

G-d has many houses: the house of being set apart (Bet Ha-Mikdash); the house of meeting and prayer (Bet Ha-Kenesset); and the house of searching and study (Bet Ha-Midrash). You can walk into Bet through the opening and you are at home. ADONAI wants us to be at home whether you are living set apart from the ways of the world, meeting and praying with others, or studying the Torah to find truth. The Hebrew word for blessing, i.e. Beracha, begins with Bet. It is true that it is a blessing to never be alone, to always know that ADONAI is watching over, and that you are a part of a community.

Today, consider the letter Bet. Meditate on the goodness of Elohim who is constantly with you. Remember you are part of a community that is separated from the world. However,know that with Bet, you are not afraid of the world because at any time you can walk into His house and be safe.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Daily Word: Meditating on the Hebrew Alphabet (Alef)

Yesterday, we read that Yeshua went to the mountains alone to pray. We discussed the difference between saying ritual prayers and contemplative prayer. The latter focuses on meditating on some aspect of the Word of God. This is the opposite of Eastern religions that seek to empty oneself; instead, in this type of prayer you are filling yourself with something sacred. We are going to spend a few days considering the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. My 10 year came out of a Sunday School class and told me that speaking in tongues was Elohim's language. She knew that didn't sound right. I told her Hebrew was ADONAI's language and He created it to communicate to His chosen people. Let us get to know His alphabet.

The first letter is Alef. It has no sound. It is the breath you make when you begin to make every sound. It is the letter beginning the first of G-d's names, Elohim. It also is the beginning of a word that sets our G-d apart from others; He is One, i.e. Echad. The name of the first man begins with Aleph, i.e. Adam. It also begins the name of the first Jew, the father of our faith: Abraham. It is no accident that all these words begin with Aleph. The most basic words begin with the most elementary sound; the almost sound before you make any sound.

Today, go before Elohim and consider the words that begin with Aleph: Elohim, Echad, Adam, and Abraham. Remember that Elohim means mighty one. He is One. He is all powerful. Remember the error of Adam and commit to follow Yeshua, the second Adam, not the first. Finally, remember the faith of Abraham, who left the security of his family to follow a G-d he had just heard. As you consider these things, your prayer life will be embarking on a wonderful journey.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Daily Word: Praying Alone

After the feeding of the five thousand, Yeshua sends the disciples to go before Him to Bethsaida. He then, "Went to the mountain to pray." The Jews had many form prayers, such as the Amidah, which we have previously examined and were spoken together in unison. Yeshua also practiced solitary prayer. This would have included the principle of Kavannah. As Maimonides put it, “any prayer without kavannah is no prayer”. Kavannah is a state of mind that is seldom achieved; it’s the split second of the present moment—here it is; now it’s gone. It is the present moment where we face ADONAI. In the Torah, we read of Moses' request to see the face of Elohim, and Elohim explains to Moses that He is not available: “You cannot see my face, no man can see Me and live. Behold there is a place near me and when my presence passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover my hand over you until I have passed. Then I will remove my hand and you shall see my back, my face shall not be seen” (Exodus 33:20-23). Some definitions of kavannah include attention, awareness and mindfulness, but more precisely it is the ability to concentrate on one single object for extended stretches of time, rather than being scattered. The practice focuses on the mystical side of prayer.

Some religious groups are fearful of what has been called contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer, also known as “centering prayer,” is a meditative practice where the practitioner focuses on a word or phrase and concentrates on it. While contemplative prayer is done differently in the various groups that practice it, there are similarities. Contemplative prayer involves choosing a sacred word ot text and seeking God's presence. Contemplative prayer usually includes sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settling briefly and silently, introducing the sacred word. Yeshua spent complete nights in prayer. He wasn't reciting formal prayers since He was by Himself. He would have been seeking the presence of His Father. He provides us a perfect example in how to pray.

We will look at this type of prayer over the next few days. Begin to seek Him in your quiet moments. This is not a quick rush prayer that is thrown up in the air. This is knowing before Whom you pray and seeking His presence. Yeshua did this and if we are His disciples, we should also.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Daily Word: Our Part in Miracles Part 2

Yesterday, we examined the miracle of feeding the five thousand. The emphasis was on the role the disciples played in the operation of the miracle. Today, we want to summarize Yeshua's teaching to enable us to be involved in miracles today. Why is this important? It is important so that others will see the hand of Eloheim and also become followers of the Way. If we, the true disciples of YHWH, would act and live the way he has instructed, then we would most likely see many coming to YHWH. The problem is that we spend too much time just trying to get people to agree with us about some particular doctrine. How silly and what a waste of time! Yeshua wants His disciples moving in authority according to His word. Are you ready for such a radical lifestyle or would you rather just play church?

From the verses in Mark 6, we find the following principles:
1. Action is more important than understanding. At one point, the disciples completely misunderstand what is about to happen. Yeshua commands them to feed the five thousand and they check their finances. They are looking for a natural way to obey. Yeshua is operating in the supernatural and He desires us to operate in that realm also.
2. Action is required to receive. At any point in the process, the miracle would have ceased if the disciples quit moving. If they had refused to pass out the food or if they had stopped mid way of the feeding, the miracle would have ceased. Yeshua was requiring them to be involved in the process. Presumably, He could have called down manna from heaven, but He did not. He wanted the disciples to act, see, and then believe. Notice the order. Action first; seeing second; and then comes belief.
3. Yeshua's word directs our actions. This is not a call to individual thinking. This is a call to follow what Yeshua has said. You don't get to decide what miracle you want to perform. You must wait for the command, "to give them something to eat." This can be the most difficult part; the waiting. We are in to big of a hurry to hear the command. We act and then want Yeshua's blessing on what we have decided to do. Wait until you receive the command, and then act, especially if you don't understand it all. Faith is in the action. Faith brings the miracle.

Today, spend time alone with ADONAI. Here the voice of the One who loves your soul. If He gives a command, then act. If you hear no command, still enjoy His presence and let Him know you are available.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Daily Word: Our Part in Miracles

What does Yeshua teach about our involvement in miracles? In Mark 6, we read the familiar story about the miraculous feeding of the five thousand men, not including women and children. The crowd has gathered and it is late. the disciples want Yeshua to send them away so they can buy food. Yeshua says to them in verse 37: "You must now give them something to eat." The word "give" is the Greek word didomi and it means to give of one's own accord and with good will. It is in the aorist tense, imperative mood, and active voice. This means that Yeshua is commanding them to a specific act that they are to perform, and that act is to feed all the people. Of course, the disciples immediately think that they are to go and buy the food so they calculate the budget to determine the feasibility of the request. Yeshua then begins to operate in a realm of faith beyond their comprehension. He has the crowd sit down. He thanks ADONAI first, breaks the bread, and gives the food to the disciples so the miracle can be performed. Notice, He does not bless the food. Hebrews bless ADONAI, but not the food. Blessing the food is a Christian custom. The miracle is performed as the disciples act on the words of Yeshua. Remember, faith is action. The disciples demonstrate their faith, which activates the miracle by starting the feeding process and continuing on as they distribute the food to the crowd. If at any point they stopped, the miracle stopped.

Yeshua wants us to know that when we act on His words, we can see miracles. Yet, we are to be involved in the process. Too many people cry out for a miracle, but sit on their hands and do nothing. If you want to see a miracle, determine what the word of ADONAI is and act on it. James said, "Faith without works is dead." A faith that is alive is a faith that can be seen and is moving. Faith is not a stagnant belief in a creed. It is Abram leaving his comfort zone and going to a place he doesn't know. It is Moses standing before the Red Sea with the Egyptian army about to over take him and he raises the staff to divide the waters. It is Peter speaking a word of healing and then lifting the lame man at the Temple. The man's legs were not healed until after Peter began to raise him up. Our involvement in miracles involves the potential for our embarrassment. This is why we must to act on faith, not think about it.

Is there a miracle in your life that has been delayed because of your embarrassment to act on the word? If so, know that the delay is not Elohim's, but yours. Decide what you really believe about a situation and then act on it. Don't be afraid, if you have a word from ADONAI, you can trust Him even if your knees are shaking.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Daily Word: Taking a Break Part 2

Mark 6:31 reads: "And Yeshua said to them, "Come aside yourselves to a lonely place and rest a little." Yesterday, we examined the different Greek words that are translated as "rest." Today, we continue to consider our rest. I have just completed my Sabbath prayers. There is a comfort and rest I receive, even if physically tired, from repeating prayers that have been spoken for hundreds if not thousands of years. I begin every Sabbath by having a time of prayer. It is my stepping away from my busy life full of responsibilities and I rest and speak to ADONAI. Two phrases struck me this morning: "Enlighten our eyes in Thy Law, and let our hearts cleave to Thy commandments." That is a cry of my heart. May my inner being hold tight to the Law of Elohim, i.e. His Torah. It is how He wants me to live and it brings honor to Yeshua who was the covenant sacrifice for the renewed covenant. Jeremiah 31 informs us that the renewed covenant will write the Torah on our hearts. If you are part of that renewed covenant, you also should love Torah because it is written on your heart. The second phrase was: "Happy is the man who hearkeneth unto Thy commandments...." To hearken is to hear and obey. In this prayer we find one way to happiness: to obey the word of ADONAI. What does obedience have to do with Yeshua's call to a time of rest? There is a Sabbath rest reserved to the followers of Yeshua. Every week, we are commanded to "keep the Sabbath." I have little doubt that Yeshua has this in mind, i.e. the concept of Sabbath, in His call to rest.

Abraham Heschel said: "The seventh day is the armistice in man's cruel struggle for existence, a truce in all conflicts, personal and social, peace between man and man, man and nature, peace with man, a day on which handling money is considered a desecration, on which a man avows his independence of that which is the world's chief idol. The seventh day is the exodus from tension." If you want to improve the quality of your life and your relationship with both Elohim and man, I encourage you to follow the words of Yeshua and come to a place of rest. Now don't think you can pick any day you want, ADONAI has taken the guesswork away; He has chosen the seventh day as your day of rest. It is His Sabbath. It is for our benefit.

Today, it is the Sabbath. Try to rest. Have a time of prayer, study of His Word, do something nice for someone, perform acts of kindness and charity. Bring honor to the words of Yeshua, come and rest.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Daily Word: Taking a Break

Mark 6:31 reads: "And Yeshua said to them, "Come aside yourselves to a lonely place and rest a little." There are three words in Greek translated as rest. First, there is epanapauomai and this means to lean upon, to trust in something, and it is used only in Luke 10:6 and Romans 2:17. The second word is kataapausis and it means a permanent rest of the eternal kingdom. The third word is anapausis and it means a temporary rest like a coffee break. In this verse, Yeshua is teaching on the necessity of physical rest as an essential ingredient of our being of service to the Kingdom of Elohim. At times we are so busy that we get fatigued and sickness can develop. We can simply get "worn down." Yeshua understands this and gives us an answer. The question is, will we hear Him? Remember, in Hebrew you don't hear something unless you apply the words to your life and it is seen in your actions.

Notice that we are to have this rest in a "lonely place." You can't rest like Yeshua is speaking about in the middle of your work place or a shopping mall. You need a place to go to be alone and meditate on the teachings of Yeshua. This is a quiet place where you will not be distracted. A place where you can read the Scriptures and allow Elohim to speak to you. This is a place of rest that is temporary. You will be both physically and spiritually recharged and be ready to resume your work and ministry. If you neglect this teaching, you will reach a point of fatigue that will negatively impact what you are trying to do. Hear His words.

Today, do you have a "lonely place" to go to? If so, how long has it been since you visited it? If you don't have one, take a few days to find one and then go there. Don't allow the business of life steal your quiet time with Elohim. Yeshua knew what He was talking about. Have you heard Him?