On the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24)

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Several weeks ago, I had a dream, and at the end of the dream, I heard one word.

It was the word Emmaus.

When I woke up, I immediately went to the Greek to discover the meaning. But the technical definition of the word didn’t resonate. I was missing something.

Just two weeks after searching fruitlessly for the meaning, I discovered what the dream meant. The word Emmaus is found in Luke 24. In the passage, Yeshua appears to two disciples who are talking about the crucifixion. The disciples aren’t quite sure how to piece everything together. They understand that Yeshua was supposed to be the Messiah, but His death on the cross was a point of sadness and confusion.

On the road to Emmaus, Yeshua opened the scriptures to them and showed them everything about Himself that was found in the scriptures and explained how all the scriptures and everything that took place was part of God’s plan.

The eyes of their heart and understanding were enlightened.

The journey on Emmaus concluded with them having a deeper understanding of the scriptures and deeper revelation of who God is. The trip also ended with them seeing the risen Christ with their own very eyes.

Emmaus is the journey of discarding your religious, theological and philosophical ideas of who you believe Christ is and then searching the scriptures for the Truth. Emmaus is the journey by which we allow Yeshua to reveal Himself to us.

This should be the prayer of every Christian: that God would reveal Himself to us as He did on the road to Emmaus.

Book of 70 Prayers (A Book Review)

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Sometimes books drop into your life at precisely the right time. And so it is with Book of 70 Prayers. Book of 70 Prayers is a Deja Vu experience of God’s favor gracing my life at just the right time. The author sent me a copy of his work, and the book is such a blessing.

The content is simple, easy to read, and practical. What I particularly loved about this book is that if you have a basic understanding of the Bible, then you’ll immediately notice that the prayers are scriptural.

There is nothing more powerful than praying the scriptures, and this is one of those books that brings the Word of God into your prayer life seamlessly. Another aspect of this book that I admired was the author’s wisdom in isolating the prayers of the Apostle Paul. When viewed in such a context, the prayers serve as a stark reminder of what we should be praying for the church today.

There are two primary things that this book can do for you:

1. This book will change your heart. Prayer has a way of cleansing the heart, soul, and spirit. I’m reminded of a promise found in Exodus 36:26 which reads: A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. This is something that we should all long for – a new heart.

2. This book will inspire you to become more reflective. I’m drawn to books that foster quiet introspection. I found myself reflecting as I read through Royle’s work.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” If you are interested in deepening your prayer life, you can purchase the Book of 70 Prayers here.

To find out more about the author (Jason Royle) check out his website here.

Understanding John 1:48 from a Hebrew Perspective

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The New Testament is filled with rich, enigmatic stories that can only be properly understood if kept in their cultural context. John 1 contains one such story.

After Yeshua called Philip to follow Him, Philip immediately became a fisher of men himself and went to share the news of the Messiah’s coming with Nathanael. When Yeshua saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” Nathanael’s response was one of surprise. He realized that Yeshua had an intimate knowledge of who he was. Yeshua saw beyond his exterior; Yeshua read his heart.

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.

Yeshua answered Nathanael with these words:

I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

This verse may lead one to believe that Nathanael was doing something very secretive underneath that tree. Something he didn’t want anyone to know anything about. However, this isn’t the case at all!

If one dives into the Hebrew roots and culture of that time and understands this passage from a Jewish perspective, John 1:48 makes beautiful and perfect sense.

In those days, it was customary for rabbinical students to pray under the fig tree. Those studying the law under the fig trees were taught to pray while they were under the tree. They were also taught to pray for the coming of the Messiah because the rabbis believed that if one hadn’t prayed for the coming of the Messiah under the fig tree, one hadn’t prayed at all.

Nathanael knew that Yeshua was Who had been praying for under that tree.

For more insight on the Jewish roots of the scripture HERE is a great resource!

Exodus 16 – Three Solutions to Chronic Complaining

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In Exodus 16, Israel was delivered from Egypt and crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. Israel was on the other side of the Red Sea, but there was a problem – the people were hungry, angry and discontent – they started to murmur and complain and ventured into dangerous territory.

Today, complaining has become a part of ‘normal’ daily conversation. Many people see complaining as a natural thing that we are just supposed to do. It would seem that if you aren’t complaining then you’re considered an anomaly. Being complaint-free is almost considered a virtue because it’s so rare to encounter people who never complain.

However, we learn in Exodus 16 and other places throughout scripture (Philippians 2:14, Ephesians 4:29, James 5:9, Numbers 11, 1 Corinthians 10:10) that complaining is evil. And the reasons are obvious.

When we complain, we are ungrateful. There is a lack of graciousness or thankfulness that we are simply alive. Second, complaining is not from the Lord; complaining is from Satan. Satan tempts us to complain, but let’s not fall for the temptation and open the door to the devil. Complaining and being discontent is simply bait.

The second thing that’s worth mentioning is that complaining and pride are linked. People who complain have a pride problem. Pride is dangerous – and complaining is simply a byproduct of pride.

If you have the habit of complaining I suggest three things:

First, go to God and ask for forgiveness. Repent if you’re a complainer and close any demonic spiritual doors that you’ve opened as a result of complaining.

Second, thank Him for all that you have. Be grateful. The opposite of complaining is gratitude. Creating a gratitude list is a powerful way to keep a complaint-free life. It’s difficult to complain when you’re examining the blessings in your life. Everyone I know (including myself) that’s created a gratitude list has been immensely blessed by it.

The third thing that I’ll suggest is to get a complaint bracelet. Sometimes it’s easier to conquer an undesirable habit by becoming aware of it. Some people simply aren’t aware of how much they actually complain. The complaint bracelet should be somewhat difficult to remove – wear it on your arm, and switch arms every time you complain. You’ll become more mindful of your thought life. I’ve done this before in the past, and it works.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger

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Many people believe that expressing anger serves no purpose, and it’s best left unexpressed. However, people with this perspective typically end up feeling resentful of their loved ones. They never express their anger, so it just simmers unproductively. The resentment builds, and the relationship deteriorates.

In some cases, anger is better left unexpressed. It’s wrong to express anger in a way that is physically or emotionally harmful towards the person with whom you are angry, but if you know how to communicate in a healthy manner, then expressing your anger can lead to a more fulfilling, honest and authentic relationship.

What many people don’t know is that the idea of not going to bed angry actually comes from the Bible. In Ephesians 4:26, it states; Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

Ephesians 4 is clear: resolve any conflict before drifting into REM.

Going to bed angry has a profound effect on your brain and subconscious. A study in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that going to sleep after experiencing anger (or any negative emotion) helps the negative emotion to lodge permanently in the brain. The brain activity that occurs while we sleep “protects” the anger and permanently embeds it our emotions.

If you have a fight with your spouse, don’t sleep it off. Instead, talk it out and choose to resolve the conflict – even if you must agree to disagree, let go of the negative emotions so that you can rest.

Recognizing the Voice of God

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You need to be able to recognize God’s voice so that you don’t confuse it with the enemy’s voice. When you don’t know God’s voice, the possibility for deception is there. You might think that what you hear in your heart, mind, or from other people is from God, when it’s not. Being able to hear and recognize His voice and distinguish between His voice and Satan’s is imperative.

God’s voice has distinct characteristics based on His nature. God is a God of love, order, clarity, encouragement – these are all characteristics of God portrayed in His voice. So, while Satan condemns, God convicts. The enemy discourages, God encourages – the enemy confuses, God clarifies. When you understand the character of God and the Word of God, you’ll recognize His voice. His voice is gentle, beautiful, confirming and brings about peace in your spirit. God doesn’t bring anxiety and fear.

Some people think that hearing God’s voice means hearing the audible voice of God. There are plenty of people waiting to hear God’s voice, assuming that it will thunder from heaven (and it can) – but because it hasn’t, they assume that God has never spoken to them. But God speaks in more than one way.

God can speak to us through other people.

He often speaks to us through His word.

He speaks to us in a still, small voice – sometimes it’s just a whisper in the heart.

God can even speak through music. I once asked God a question when I was a little kid and He immediately answered me through a song that was playing on the radio. I was so surprised and delighted I never forgot that moment. God speaks to us in numerous ways, so listen for His Voice.

When God Breaks, He Multiplies

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On Daystar, I heard a minister preach on the miracle of Yeshua feeding the 5,000. The preacher pointed something out that I had never noticed before. He pointed out that Yeshua blessed the bread and broke it, but the miracle didn’t materialize until it was in the hands of His disciples. His point was clear – We need God’s blessing for the miracle, but the miracle is in our hands – we have to take action. There are times when we should actively participate in the miracle and not just be passive observers of what God is doing, but actually act – with His Blessing.

However, I believe that the miracle of feeding 5,000 was twofold.

Throughout the New Testament, we watch God incarnate heal and fix everything that He touched. And now, finally, He breaks something – a loaf of bread. But, then we discover that God wasn’t actually breaking the bread, but rather multiplying it. Here is another beautiful mystery of the Father – that even when He seems to break – He is really multiplying.

Only God can bring abundance from that which is broken.

When God takes away something, we often writhe in pain, not knowing or understanding what He is doing. We don’t realize that when He breaks, He is creating something new. When God took away a rib from Adam, it was because he was going to multiply people upon the earth. Is it possible for God to divide without simultaneously multiplying? I think Job understood this concept when he said “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” I think Job understood that although it seemed like God had broken him and taken everything away, God could restore even more… and this is precisely what occurs at the end of Job. By the end of Job’s book, we read: And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Biblical Meditation – Matthew 11:28

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I’m one of those people who feels a little rough around the edges if I haven’t had enough sleep. Rising early has always been my Achilles heel.

And then something happened that changed everything. I moved from the East to West coast, and the move completely reset my circadian rhythm. Suddenly, I had a difficult time sleeping in later than five in the morning.

I became one of those type-A personalities who’s up before the rest of the world while even the sun is still sleeping. I awoke to think, pray, meditate, write, work, and I must say that it was exhilarating. There is something about the morning hours that hold a peacefulness that’s absent throughout the rest of the day. It was a tranquility that I was truly enjoying.

But then my husband questioned my sanity. For years, we had been an eccentric pair of night owls working in perfect synchrony and reveling in the late night hours – up at 2 AM watching movies and giggling in the dark like children.

My husband’s clock didn’t reset. Our schedules became less and less aligned until he finally said “You have to stop waking up so early.” Setting my clock forward a mere hour completely threw my circadian rhythm off. It seems like such a small sliver of time, but it felt like a giant leap. I started to drag throughout the day. I was tired, exhausted even.

My behavior became increasingly robotic. I was sleep-walking and going through the motions.

I moved my wake-up time up an inch – 7:30 AM.

I’ve learned that when you don’t get enough sleep, everything else in your life falls out of sync. Your productivity declines, your mental acuity flies out the door, and you aren’t able to process information very well so you make poor decisions.

And so, this is what happens when your life becomes burdensome, and your life gets weary. Everything declines.

In Matthew 11 Yeshua says something so beautiful. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Your body needs sleep. You need sleep to detoxify your mind, and you need sleep to rejuvenate your cells and properly manage your immune system… you need sleep.

Your body is a machine that is fearfully made, but you must give it rest. Yeshua offers us rest. He offers to take away our burdens. Yeshua came for people who don’t have enough hours in the day and whose fringe hours are infringed upon by the cares of life. He came for people rocked with insomnia because of apprehension about the future – these are the people that Yeshua wants to come to Him for rest.

But this rest has nothing to do with the circadian rhythm. His rest properly syncs our spiritual rhythm. When our spiritual rhythm is on the right track, the rest of our life falls into place – our spiritual quality of life is enhanced. In the same way that you need sleep to enhance your physical quality of life, the same thing happens in your spiritual life when you don’t get enough rest… so rest in Yeshua.