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How do I pray?

Prayer is fellowship with God using God’s language to accomplish God’s will for God’s glory.

I hesitate to lay out specifics or guidelines for prayer because prayer is about relationship. It’s best if we don’t strive to be an expert in externals, but strive to allow God access to our internal – that’s where the healing begins. In prayer, there are some things to consider as we seek to deepen our connection to God.

Prayer is often (but not always) private. That is to say, a substantial portion of our prayer life should be hidden from others. See Matthew 6:6) where Yeshua tells us to pray in secret. This does not mean that we are not to pray in public or in the presence of others, it just allows us to see that some of our prayer time–our communication with Adonai–should be just us and Him, in communion. Yeshua modeled this for us. He was up early and off by Himself in prayer with the Father. (See Matthew 14:23, 26:36; Mark 1:35; and Luke 9:18)

Prayer is not assigned to one set time of the day. After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the Rabbis established a pattern for prayer that mirrored the times of the offerings that had been made in the Temple, namely morning, afternoon, evening, etc. This helps us to see that God would have us come to Him before our day begins, during the day and at the end of the day when we are preparing to sleep or wind down our day.

In Psalm 63:1, the psalmist models a time with God in the early hours of the day. “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water.” The prophet Isaiah says, “with my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early.” Isaiah 26:9 See also Psalm 55:17, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.”

In his epistles, Paul provides some insight into prayer. Philippians 4:6, urges the listener to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” He exhorts in another letter, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The implication is that communion with Adonai which includes praise (rejoicing), prayer (supplication and petition among other things) and thanksgiving are to be done without end–unbroken fellowship with the Father.

Once God can have real conversation with us, He can heal whatever kind of broken we have. The healing of God comes through communion and fellowship with God.

Prayer is fellowship with God using God’s language to accomplish God’s will for God’s glory.

 

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Magdala

Synagogue

Box found with images found in the Temple

Magdala is a place that the student of the Apostolic writings (Newer Testament) must visit. This location offers what few places in Israel offer, namely a sight that wasn’t build over several times in the 2000 years since the ministry of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). It offers archeological remains which were not disturbed or robbed in order to build other structures in the area. 

The most significant finds at Magdala are the two synagogues. The one pictured in this post is the first one discovered. A second synagogue was found recently and excavations have begun in that location. 

The synagogue in Magdala offers us a glimpse into the life of the Messiah Yeshua. We know from scripture that Yeshua (Jesus) taught in the synagogues around the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). (Matthew 4:23) Thus, given that this synagogue is believed to have been in existence in the first century, it can reasonably be assumed that Yeshua taught in this synagogue. He read the scriptures from the scroll. He sat on the bench where the teacher sat. Few other places in Israel today offer such direct connection to Messiah. 

Magdala was a thriving city during the first century. It was a port city on the west coast of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The city is believed, based on the archeological finds, to have been a wealthy city and Torah-observant city.

With regard to Torah observance, we find in Magdala evidence of many mikveh (ritual purity baths). These were used and continue to be used today by Torah-observant Jews as a means to ritual purity. Use of the mikveh involved immersing oneself into the mikveh and reciting certain scriptures and blessings. The land of Israel has many, many mikvaot. These testify of the strong faith culture of this city as well as the Galilee region.

The main industry in Magdala appears to have been fish processing. It is believed that fish were brought to Magdala and held in shallow pools until being salted and dried for transport and sale to locations throughout Israel and the Roman Empire.

When you visit the site, you are able to see the synagogue, the mikvaot, the pools and other remains of the industry and housing in Magdala. There is also a beautiful hotel and guest center.

 

Pedestal for holding Torah scroll

Ritual bath (Mikveh)

Pools for holding fish

Water channel for moving water from one location to another
Murals inside the chapel at Magdala

Chapel at Magdala

View of Mt Arbel from Magdala

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Early Will I Seek You

O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

I rise to greet You when the dew still soaks the Spring flowers.
The lush forest of your presence awaits me.
An alcove of lush green trees in the secret forest is my morning time with You.

Cool breezes, earthy fragrance, warm sunshine greet me as I walk toward You, arms open wide, anticipating Your embrace, Your Word spoken over me–my hope, my comfort, my strength, my teacher, my love.

Abba! Abba!
Good morning!
Blessings to You, my Father God–Creator–Redeemer–Almighty One–Precious Protector–High Tower–Imanuel–El Shaddai–Adonai Tz’avot–I am yours! You are mine.

Forever is ours, my eternal love!

If  you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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The Seventh Day

Jerusalem

Matthew Chapter 11

Read Matthew Chapter 11
1. What does Jesus do after He instructs the disciples according to Matthew 11:1?

2. What does John the Baptist do when he hears about what Jesus is doing according to Matthew 11:2-3?

Going deeper: Where was John the Baptist imprisoned?

3. How does Jesus respond in Matthew 11:4-6? What is the importance of these things they are seeing Jesus do?

Going deeper: Review the following scriptures which describe the things Messiah will do when He comes. How are the following passages relevant to what Jesus is telling John? Isaiah 35:4-6, Isaiah 29:18-19.

4. Who is Jesus talking about in Matthew 11:7-10?

5. Copy Malachi 3:1. Meditate on this record your thoughts and impressions on this and Matthew 11:10.

6. What does Jesus say about John the Baptist in Matthew 11:11-15?

7. What comparison does Jesus make in Matthew 11:16-17? What is the meaning He is trying to convey?

Going deeper: The phrase “to what shall I liken” was often used by rabbis when they were telling a parable.

8. What comparison does Jesus make in Matthew 11:18-19?

9. Where was Chorazin located in Israel at the time of Jesus?

10. Where was Bethsaida located in Israel at the time of Jesus?

11. What does Jesus say of Chorazin and Bethsaida in Matthew 11:20-24?

12. What is the significance of Jesus’ mention of Tyre and Sidon? According to Jesus, how would their reaction be different from the other cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum?

13. Copy Isaiah 14:11. How does this relate to Jesus’s statements regarding Capernaum in Matthew 11:23?

14. What is Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 11:25-26?

15. Restate in your own words the truths you find in Matthew 11:27.

16. Copy Matthew 11:28-30. Meditate on this. Record your thoughts and impressions.

Going deeper: What would the “yoke” mean to an observant Jew in the time of Jesus? How does that influence how we understand this passage?

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Read Matthew Chapter 10
1. What do you learn about John from the following verses?
Matthew 4:21

Mark 5:37

Mark 9:2

Mark 9:38-39

John 13:21-29

John 18:15-17

2. What do you learn about Philip from the following verses?
John 1:43-48

John 6:5-7

John 12:20-22

John 14:8-14

Acts 1:13

3. What do you learn about Bartholomew from the following verses?
Luke 6:14

John 1:43-51

Acts 1:13

4. What do you learn about Thomas from the following verses?
John 11:-16

John 14:1-6

John 20:19-29

5. What do you learn about Matthew from the following verses?
Mark 2:14

Luke 5:29-32

Acts 1:13

6. What do you learn about James, son of Alphaeus, from Acts 1:13?

7. What do you learn about Judas Iscariot from the following verses?
Matthew 26:14-16

Matthew 27:3-4

Luke 22:3-4

John 6:66-71

John 12:1-8

John 13:1-30

John 18:1-9

Acts 1:15-26

6. What did Jesus give his disciples according to Matthew 10:1?

7. What commands did Jesus give his disciples when he sent them out according to the following verses?
Matthew 10:5-6

Matthew 10:7-8

Matthew 10:9-10

Matthew 10:11-15?

Matthew 10:16

Matthew 10:17-20

Matthew 10:21-23

Matthew 10:24-26

Matthew 10:27

Matthew 10:28

Matthew 10:29-31

8. What does Jesus say about those who acknowledge Him and those who deny Him in Matthew 10:32-33?

9. What does Jesus say about his mission on earth in Matthew 10:34-36?

10. What does Jesus say about those who are worthy of Him in Matthew 10:37-38?

11. Would you be worthy of Jesus based on His criteria in Matthew 10:37-38?

12. Copy Matthew 10:39. Meditate on this. Record your thoughts and impressions.

13. What does Jesus say about those who welcome the disciples in Matthew 10:40-42? How can this apply to our lives today?

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Read Matthew Chapter 10
1. What does Jesus do according to Matthew 10:1?

2. Who are the twelve disciples?

3. What do you learn of Simon (Peter) from the following verses?
Matthew 4:18

Matthew 16:13-20

Mark 1:29

Mark 14:37

Luke 5:1-11

John 6:67-69

John 13:6-9

John 18:10-11

John 18:15-18; 25-26

4. What do you learn of Andrew from the following verses?
Mark 1:16

John 1:35-40

John 1:44

John 12: 20-23

Acts 1:13

5. What do you learn of James from the following verses?
Matthew 4:21

Matthew 27:55-57

Mark 1:19

Mark 3:17

Mark 10:35-45

Luke 5:10

Luke 8:51

Luke 9:28

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Matthew Chapter 7

Read Matthew Chapter 7
1. What is Jesus instructing them not to do in Matthew 7:1-2? Why?

2. What does God say about judging in the following verses?
Leviticus 19:15

Numbers 35:15-25

Luke 6:37:43-45

John 7:24

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

3. Consider words that are synonyms of “judge.” Make a list of some that might be applicable to Jesus’s point in Matthew 7:1-2.

4. Look up the following words in a dictionary. Record what you find as it might apply to this passage.
Discernment

Judgment

Criticism

Inspection

According to commentators, Jesus is not prohibiting all types of judgment or evaluation among believers. He is addressing the issue of criticizing those of the household of faith. His point is that we should expect to be judged according to the criteria or type of judgment we apply to others. As a result, we should always seek to judge righteously, so that any judgment applied to us would also be done righteously. It seems to be an extension of the command to love your neighbor as yourself. See Matthew 7:12.

5. What is Jesus describing in Matthew 7:3-4? (Hint: See Matthew 7:5)

6. What do you learn about hypocrites and hypocrisy from the following verses?
Proverbs 11:9

Matthew 23:13-30

Mark 7:6

James 3:17

7. What remedy does Jesus suggest in Matthew 7:5?

8. Copy Matthew 7:6. Meditate on this. What is Jesus’ point?

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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9. What is the lesson Jesus is teaching in Matthew 7:7-11?

10. How do the following verses help clarify or add meaning to Matthew 7:7-11?
Psalm 37:4

Matthew 21:21-22

John 15:7

John 16:23-24

11. Explain the meaning of Matthew 7:12 in your own words.

12. What is Jesus’ message to them in Matthew 7:13-14?

13. How is Matthew 7:13-14 similar to or different from Deuteronomy 30:15-20? Psalm 1?

14. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus is explaining how we are to judge people (as fruit inspectors). What does He say about false prophets? How can we know them?

15. What do the following passages add to your understanding of false prophets and how you can identify them?
Deuteronomy 13:1-5

Jeremiah 14:14

Mark 13:22

2 Peter 2:1-3

John 10:12

16. What does Jesus say about those who will enter the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 7:21-23?

17. What does Jesus say about those who hear His words and act on them in Matthew 7:24-27?

18. What was the reaction of the crowd to Jesus’ teaching according to Matthew 7:28-29?

Walking to nowhere

The last day I was in Israel was a Sunday, and I was staying in Jerusalem. As a final way to close the trip, my friends and I visited the Old City one last time. It was a beautiful day. In this post, I will share with you some of the splendor of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is a place that can be difficult to navigate for all the apparent organized chaos and the different manifestations of faith and ritual that are all around. This time, perhaps because it was a Sunday, I was able to genuinely enjoy the beauty and serenity of the church. Whatever you may believe about where Yeshua, the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was buried, this church is a place where generations of believers have come and remembered the crucifixion and burial of Yeshua. God said that He would be found by those who seek Him with all their heart. See Jeremiah 29:13.

Shabbat Shalom

I apologize for taking a few days to get back to the tour highlights. I left off in my last post about our recent tour of Israel with our visit to Tel Arad. That is definitely a place to visit. From Tel Arad, we headed north and made our way out of the Negev basin. As we climbed, we noted places along the way such as Maon, Carmel (not the Mt Carmel on the coast), and Ziph. (See Joshua 15:55 for the reference to these cities as being part of the allotment to the Tribe of Judah).

We were not able to visit all the tels, but from a vantage point in the wilderness of Ziph, we were able to remember David’s time in the wilderness of Ziph as described in 1 Samuel 23. We were able to see the route by which David would have easily traveled to En Gedi from Ziph. These connection in the land bring the scriptures to life.

In this area, we were also able to remember the story of Abraham and the three visitors. We could look out and see the Salt Sea, and the traditional location of Zoar at the south end and remember that Lot had asked to be able to go to Zoar after leaving Sodom when it was slated for destruction. Recent excavations and other findings at Tall el-Hamman to the north east of the Salt Sea suggest that the location for Sodom may be in that area, but I leave that for another day. (See article in Nature Journal A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea)

We reached our final destination, Hebron, with time to visit both the tel and the cave of the Patriarchs. This was not the first time I visited tel Hebron or the Cave of Machpelah. You can see my earlier post here.

We visited the tel first. This is definitely worth the climb. The tel has been partially excavated.

After visiting the tel, we visited the cave of Machpelah – the burial place of the patriarchs. Here are some images from our visit.

Matthew Chapter 6 (Part 2)

Read Matthew Chapter 6:16-34
1. What does Jesus teach them about fasting in Matthew 6:16–18?

2. What do you learn about fasts and fasting from the following passages?
2 Samuel 12:20-22

Ezra 8:21-22

Esther 4:16

Psalm 69:9-11

3. Read Isaiah chapter 58. This passage reveals a great deal about what God thinks about fasts, how they should be conducted, and what they should be about.
a. What does God accuse Israel of doing on their days of fast in Isaiah 58:3?

b. What motives does God accuse Israel of having in their fasts in Isaiah 58:4?

c. What does God say about the fast He has chosen in the following verses?
Isaiah 58:6

Isaiah 58:7

d. What does God promise will be the result of such fasting in Isaiah 58:8-9?

e. Record His additional conditions in the following verses:
Isaiah 58:9

Isaiah 58:10

Isaiah 58:13

f. Record His additional promises in the following verses:
Isaiah 58:11

Isaiah 58:12

Isaiah 58:14

Going Deeper: For more on Fasting, refer to Daniel 9:2-4 and Joel 2:12-32

4. What does Jesus teach them in Matthew 6:19-34?

5. What further insight into Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:19-34 do you gain from the following verses?
Proverbs 11:4

Proverbs 12:25

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Luke 10:40-42

Luke 12:22-34

Philippians 4:6-7

6. Copy Matthew 6:21. Meditate on this. Record your thoughts and impressions.

7. What do you learn from the following passages about loving God first?
Exodus 20:1-11

Deuteronomy 4:23-24

Deuteronomy 6:4

Going deeper: What did the idiomatic expression “eye is good” or “eye is bad” mean in first century Jewish society?

8. What do you learn about the light and darkness within from the following passages?
Isaiah 5:20

John 3:18-20

9. What application regarding prayer in your own life can you make from this chapter?

10. How can you apply Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness to your own life?

11. Have you been storing up treasures somewhere other than heaven? How does this chapter help you to reconsider that practice?

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Blessings for Shabbat

Read Matthew Chapter 9:18-38
1. Who came to see Jesus according to Matthew 9:18?

2. What was the leader of the synagogue’s name according to Mark 5:22?

3. What does Jairus say to Jesus according to Matthew 9:18? What is his posture?

4. What is Jesus’ response according to Matthew 9:19?

5. What happened on Jesus’ way to Jairus’ house according to Matthew 9:20?

6. What are we told of the woman’s thoughts in Matthew 9:21?

7. What is Jesus’ response to her reaching out to touch Him according to Matthew 9:22? What happened to the woman?

8. What does Jesus see when he came to Jairus’ house according to Matthew 9:23? What was the significance of what he saw?

9. What does Jesus tell them in Matthew 9:24? How did the crowd respond to him?

10. What does Jesus do next according to Matthew 9:25? What happened to the young girl?

11. What do you learn from Matthew 9:26?

Going deeper: You can read the account of the healing of these two women in Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 8:40-56.

12. Who does Jesus encounter next according to Matthew 9:27? What are they crying out?

13. What does Jesus ask the blind men according to Matthew 9:28? How do they respond?

14. What does Jesus do next according to Matthew 9:29? What is the result?

15. What evidence of their faith can you see in the passage?

16. What stern warning does Jesus give them in Matthew 9:30? How do they respond?

17. Who is brought to Jesus according to Matthew 9:32?

18. What happened according to Matthew 9:33?

19. What was the response of the Pharisees?

20. What does Matthew tell us that Jesus was doing in Matthew 9:35-36?

21. Copy Matthew 9:37-38. Meditate on this. Record your thoughts and impressions. How is this still true today?

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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For Zion’s Sake

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