VIDEO The Day of Atonement, The Holidays of God

July 11, 2012

The ark of the covenant. An exotic treasure of power, adventure and mystery. A gold covered chest linked supernaturally to the presence of God and to the Highest Holy day of the Jewish calendar. The Day of Atonement. But does the Ark and its Day of Atonement hold meaning only for the people of Israel? Or can Christians and others as well find equal significance in the spiritual principles of this ancient religious holiday?

The Holidays of God… Comparing Jewish and Christian Perspectives on The Day of Atonement.

2 A.M. Friends – His Temptation and Ours

2 A.M. Friends
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He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. Colossians 4:12

A friend told me about a group of people who share a strong bond of faith in Christ. One of them, a 93-year-old woman, said, “I feel like I can call any of you at 2 a.m., and I don’t even have to apologize if I feel the need for any type of assistance.” Whether the need is prayer, practical help, or someone to be there during a time of need, these friends are unconditionally committed to each other.

The same sense of commitment shines through Paul’s letter to the followers of Jesus in Colossae. Writing from prison in Rome, Paul says he is sending Tychicus and Onesimus to encourage them (Col. 4:7-9). Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus send their greetings (vv.10-11). And Epaphras is “always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (v. 12). These are bold assurances of practical help and deep-seated love.

Are you part of a “2 a.m. group”? If so, give thanks for the faithfulness of friends. If not, ask the Lord to connect you with another person with whom you can share a commitment to pray and care. I suspect it will soon grow to include others. Share the love of Christ with one another.

Anything. Anytime. Anywhere. All in Jesus’ name!

Jesus, thank You for friends who demonstrate Your love to me. Help me to do the same for them and those around me. Most of all, thank You for being the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Jesus

By David McCasland

His Temptation and Ours
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We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. —Hebrews 4:15

Until we are born again, the only kind of temptation we understand is the kind mentioned in James 1:14, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” But through regeneration we are lifted into another realm where there are other temptations to face, namely, the kind of temptations our Lord faced. The temptations of Jesus had no appeal to us as unbelievers because they were not at home in our human nature. Our Lord’s temptations and ours are in different realms until we are born again and become His brothers. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a mere man, but the temptations of God as Man. Through regeneration, the Son of God is formed in us (see Galatians 4:19), and in our physical life He has the same setting that He had on earth. Satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things— he tempts us to make us lose what God has put into us through regeneration, namely, the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.

Temptation means a test of the possessions held within the inner, spiritual part of our being by a power outside us and foreign to us. This makes the temptation of our Lord explainable. After Jesus’ baptism, having accepted His mission of being the One “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) He “was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matthew 4:1) and into the testing devices of the devil. Yet He did not become weary or exhausted. He went through the temptation “without sin,” and He retained all the possessions of His spiritual nature completely intact.

The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R

Oswald Chambers

The God to Whom We Pray

Nehemiah 1:1-11

Nehemiah demonstrates power in prayer. As a servant to King Artaxerxes of Persia, he had no right to request leave to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, much less to requisition materials and protection. Yet knowing the nature of the God he served, Nehemiah did not hesitate to act boldly and ask the king for what was needed.

His prayer began, “I beseech You, O lord God of heaven” (Neh. 1:5). Lord, when it appears in all capital letters, denotes the word Jehovah (a form of Yahweh, the Hebrew name for God). It means “God who is eternal in His being”—conveying that everything everywhere is in His presence. So, when God makes a promise, He knows how He will keep it. That is why Nehemiah called Him “the awesome God who preserves the covenant.” He knew God was committed to bringing repentant Israelites back to their homeland to dwell in His presence (Neh. 1:9).

Another Hebrew name used to refer to God, Elohim, is translated “He who is absolutely sovereign.” If He spoke the world into being, then He is certainly more than able to provide Nehemiah with supplies, some time off from work, and favor from the Persian king.

There are many other names for God, such as Adonai (“master”), Jehovah-Jireh (“provider”), and Jehovah-Rapha (“healer”). Since the Hebrew language is precise, it can help us to better know who He is—when we need solace, we call upon the God of comfort; in our confusion, we have the God who teaches. Just as knowing one’s audience affects which words we choose to speak, the way we view God impacts how we pray.

Father, Abba, Father

“They are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:14-15)

Charles Wesley’s great hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” concludes with a stirring testimony of the joy of salvation.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear.
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh, (repeat)
And, “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). As our text explains, once we have received the spirit of adoption, we are the sons of God—He owns us as His child. This is a “new” thing. We who formerly were estranged from our Creator have been reconciled to Him. “Old things,” such as the bondage to fear, are “passed away.” The close-knit ties are strong, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. . . . I will not fear what men shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

Now that He is our Father, we have direct access to Him. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). As an earthly father desires the best for his children, “how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

This father/child relationship goes deep. The term “Abba, Father” reflects a most sensitive and loving bond, perhaps best rendered “O Sweet Daddy.” “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM

Deliverance Comes by Deliverers

Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. —Exodus 3:9-10

Yes, if evangelical Christianity is to stay alive, it must have men again—the right kind of men. It must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and it must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made. God will hear the cries of His people as He heard the cries of Israel in Egypt, and He will send deliverance by sending deliverers. It is His way.

And when the deliverers come—reformers, revivalists, prophets—they will be men of God and men of courage. They will have God on their side because they are careful to stay on God’s side. They will be coworkers with Christ and instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Such men will be baptized with the Spirit indeed and through their labors He will baptize others and send the long delayed revival.

Lord, send those men to the Church soon. Raise up a mighty army even among young people today who will become that kind of man. We need a great movement of the Spirit of God that would bring the much-needed revival. Amen.

Who Dares to Soften and Change Christ’s Words

.. By the resurrection of Jesus Christ; who is gone into heaven… angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 1 Peter 3:21, 22

As believers, we should be warned that any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquility must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian!

Strange, is it not, that we dare without shame to alter, to modulate the words of Christ while speaking for Christ to the very ones for whom He died?

Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name!

He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster!

He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords!

He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac!

He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers!

Only that is truly Christian which accords with the spirit and teachings of Christ. Whatever is foreign to the Spirit of the Man of Sorrows and contrary to the teachings and practice of His apostles is un-Christian or anti-Christian, no matter whence it emanates!

Fun and Religion

Thou therefore endure hardness… if we suffer, we shall also reign with him. 2 TIMOTHY 2:3, 12

History reveals that times of suffering for the Christian Church have also been times of looking upward. Tribulation has always sobered God’s people and encouraged them to look for and yearn after the return of their Lord.

Our present preoccupation with the world may be a warning of bitter days to come. God will wean us from the earth some way—the easy way if possible, the hard way if necessary. It is up to us!

It is apparent that many now think Christianity is jolly good fun—another and higher form of entertainment; because Christ has done all the suffering. He has shed all the tears. He has carried all the crosses. So, we have but to enjoy the benefits of His heartbreak!

The “work of Christ” has been stressed until it has eclipsed the Person of Christ. We need to reexamine much of popular fundamentalist theology which emphasizes the utility of the cross, rather than the beauty of the One who died on that cross.

Merciful Father, I pray today for the silent heroes who faithfully serve Jesus throughout the 10/40 Window in the face of extreme pressure.