VIDEO The Ascension – The Sanctuary And Sacrifice

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Hebrews 9:24

Preaching through the Bible sometimes results in important events getting little attention. An example is the ascension of Christ into heaven forty days after His resurrection—one of the most important events in all of Christian theology. But going verse-by-verse through the New Testament means you only encounter three references to this important event: Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11. But an entire chapter of the book of Hebrews discusses the implications of the ascension: Christ entering the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest and Intercessor before the throne of God (Hebrews 9).

We should take great joy from the Ascension of Jesus and contemplate what it means for us. As our High Priest, Christ presented Himself to the Father and secured the eternal redemption of His Church by His own blood. As our Intercessor, Christ stands between us and God the Father, defending us against Satan’s accusations (Romans 8:33-34). You are saved, and remained saved and sanctified, because Christ ascended to heaven.

Praise God today for what the ascension of Christ means in your life: saved, sealed, sanctified, secure forever.

Astronauts sink into insignificance beside this Ascension!

Vance Havner

Hebrews 9:15-28, The Sanctuary And Sacrifice

Wisely Weeding

Search me, God, and know my heart. Psalm 139:23

My grandchildren are running around my backyard. Playing games? No, pulling weeds. “Pulling them up by the roots!” the youngest says, showing me a hefty prize. Her delight as we tackled weeds that day was how much we enjoyed plucking the weedy roots—clearing away each pesky menace. Before the joy, however, came the choice to go after them.

Intentional weeding is also the first step in removing personal sin. Thus, David prayed: “Search me, God, and know my heart. . . . See if there is any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:23–24).

What a wise approach, to go after our sin by asking God to show it to us. He above all knows everything about us. “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me,” wrote the psalmist. “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar” (vv. 1–2).

“Such knowledge,” David added, “is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (v. 6). Even before a sin takes root, therefore, God can alert us to the danger. He knows our “landscape.” So when a sneaky sinful attitude tries to take root, He’s first to know and point it out.  

“Where can I go from your Spirit,” wrote David. “Where can I flee from your presence?” (v. 7). May we closely follow our Savior to higher ground!

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

When you ask God to search your heart, what personal wrongs do you discover? How does intentional “weeding” help rid you of a relentless sin?

Loving God, when You show me my personal sin, point me to Your plan to pull those weeds.

Building to Last Forever

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

When a high-rise building goes up in my city of Atlanta, Georgia, I think about all the construction involved. Underneath is a grid of steel and concrete giving strength to all the floors stacked overhead. In a similar way, we need a firm foundation to build a life with purpose. Jesus lays that groundwork for believers when they receive His salvation.

Christ’s saving grace gives His followers a new life. Sins are wiped away so that we have a clean “work site,” so to speak. Empowered by Jesus’ strength and wisdom, we can build on His foundation. The decision that needs to be made is whether to shape our eternal legacy with God-serving activities and habits or selfish ones.

Paul separates spiritual construction material into two categories: durable metal and dry kindling (1 Corinthians 3:12). A grass hut is easily destroyed by fire, but at the judgment, we want to greet the Lord from a sturdy structure, built with gleaming bricks of godly service and a diligent application of Scripture.

The life we create is useful to God only if it is consistent with Jesus Christ’s foundation. You might say that He is the architect and the Bible is the blueprint for successful living—and it’s in our best interest to follow those plans.

Other Preachers

“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18)

This verse seems to conflict with warnings about false teachers (2 Peter 2:1) and another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). The key is identifying what Paul is allowing on the one hand and condemning on the other.

Some teachers of his day (probably both in Philippi and in Rome) appeared to be taking advantage of Paul’s imprisonment to enhance their own reputations. Indeed, some were trying through their public preaching to “add affliction to [his] bonds” (Philippians 1:16).

Even though some with ungodly motives stood out among those preaching of “good will,” Paul was able to rejoice that “Christ is preached” (today’s text) by both categories, and therein is the source of the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).

The stern denunciation of “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6) exposes the untruth of all hybrid messages, whether human or angelic, that would attempt to preach anything other than “Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Here is the message for us. When the full gospel of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection—according to the Scriptures—is preached (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) by whatever means and even under sometimes questionable motives, the “good news” is cause for rejoicing. It is the gospel that has power, not the messenger.

However, when some people attempt to change that gospel to make it seem more attractive to those who wish to continue in sin, or change its message to allow for human works, we are to see such preachers as dangerous and under condemnation. May God keep us from both mistakes. HMM III

Please Pray for Me

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. —2 Timothy 4:7-8

Will you pray for me as a minister of the gospel? I am not asking you to pray for the things people commonly pray for. Pray for me in light of the pressures of our times. Pray that I will not just come to a wearied end—an exhausted, tired, old preacher, interested only in hunting a place to roost. Pray that I will be willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp!   WPJ074

Lord, I pray for all of my fellow pastors and Christian leaders. Help us, like Paul, and like Tozer, to finish strong. Amen.

Power in Action

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.—Zechariah 4:6

The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.

It was not an easy task which the Church faced….To carry on the work of a man who was known to have died…to persuade others that this man had risen again from the dead and that He was the Son of God and Saviour: this mission was, in the nature of it, doomed to failure from the start. Who would credit such a fantastic story?…

That the Church did not…perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. PTP007-008

[T]he same God who led Israel with pillar of cloud and fire, who spoke at Pentecost through the tongues of flame, who opened Peter’s prison doors, is waiting to work the greater wonders of His grace for us. CTBC, Vol. 2/187-1

Wagging Heads

Matthew 27:39

Recording the crucifixion, Matthew’s Gospel says, “They that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads” (Matthew 27:39 KJV). Pondering this scene of the thorn-crowned head of Christ and the shaking heads of the scornful spectators, one remembers Job’s words about the reversal of jeering judgments: “I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you” (Job 16:4).

He hung on a cross by the wayside. He was lifted up within sight and sound of the motley crowd. Men trample and push as they look, point, jeer and talk within the shadow of the cross. Maybe some few would weep, or recall His kindness, as the crowd went home to sup and to sleep.

As the most impressive part of the human body, the head plays a leading role in expressing man’s reactions to life. Doubt, questioning, agreement, denial, refusal, rejection and, indeed, almost the whole range of feeling and opinion may be conveyed without a spoken word by the head alone. These gestures at Calvary were the language of contempt.

And so the crowd passed by. They wagged their heads contemptuously at the Man whose ideals of love were so unworkable that they brought Him to a cross.

The cross says to man, “This is the way God loves and forgives.” The wagging heads say, “Love us if you like, but do not ask us to kneel and be forgiven.” It was the language of dismissal. God must keep His distance and not interfere in human affairs.

With the same mind and the same verdict of scorn, the world today parades past the cross. Without complete repudiation, is our impersonal view of the Savior declaring that though at times we think Him interesting, we do not really regard Him as relevant or important to the main business of living? Do we give Him a nominal acknowledgment without the least intention to own up that our sin had anything to do with Calvary?

One of the persistent follies and sins of mankind is the refusal to take Jesus Christ seriously—to wag the head and say, “A most interesting figure in history, but what a pity He was so idealistic, so set upon dying!”

The head laid in the manger, bending over the carpenter’s bench, anointed with spikenard, hurt by a traitor’s kiss, beaten with hand and rod, defiled with the persecutor’s spittle, crowned with thorns, bowed in death, will be raised in power and crowned with glory.

Albert Orsborn, The War Cry

VIDEO By the Blood – Best explanation of Christianity

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the [heavenly] Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12

Christianity has been called a ghastly religion because of its emphasis on the shedding of blood. Indeed, the writer to the Hebrews says, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22).

Here’s where our theology takes a serious turn. The image of blood is no more ghastly than what it corresponds to: the ghastliness of sin. We forget, at times, just how serious sin is in the face of a perfectly holy God. It was God’s plan to enjoy fellowship with His creation for eternity, and He ultimately will. But when man sinned—a ghastly offense in the sight of our holy God—it required a correspondingly serious solution. A perfectly sinless Man had to die—that’s what “shedding of blood” means—for a perfectly sinful mankind. So Jesus shed His blood instead of God shedding ours. And in doing so, He “obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).

Contemplate today what God did to ensure eternal fellowship with us. He allowed His own Son to die that we might live.

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood; sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Philip P. Bliss, “Hallelujah, What a Savior!”

John Lennox gives the best explanation of Christianity I’ve ever heard

No one can hand you GOD, you must reach out to him for yourself. He’s waiting for you, He is LOVE. GOD BLESS!!!

Got Your Nose

I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. Exodus 12:12

“Why are the statues’ noses broken?” That’s the number one question visitors ask Edward Bleiberg, curator of Egyptian art at the Brooklyn Museum.

Bleiberg can’t blame it on normal wear and tear; even two-dimensional painted figures are missing noses. He surmises that such destruction must have been intentional. Enemies meant to kill Egypt’s gods. It’s as if they were playing a game of “got your nose” with them. Invading armies broke off the noses of these idols so they couldn’t breathe.

Really? That’s all it took? With gods like these, Pharaoh should have known he was in trouble. Yes, he had an army and the allegiance of a whole nation. The Hebrews were weary slaves led by a timid fugitive named Moses. But Israel had the living God, and Pharaoh’s gods were pretenders. Ten plagues later, their imaginary lives were snuffed out.

Israel celebrated their victory with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when they ate bread without yeast for a week (Exodus 12:17; 13:7–9). Yeast symbolizes sin, and God wanted His people to remember their rescued lives belong entirely to Him.

Our Father says to idols, “Got your nose,” and to His children, “Got your life.” Serve the God who gives you breath, and rest in His loving arms.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

What false god is suffocating your life? How might you show God you’re trusting only in Him?

Father of life, I give You my life. Help me recognize that any perceived “enemies” in my life are nothing compared to Your power.

God’s Will and Prayer

Nehemiah 1

Certain aspects of God are beyond our full understanding, and one of them is how He uses our prayers to work out His will. Although He is the sovereign, omnipotent, all-knowing God who needs no one’s help, He has chosen to allow us to participate in the achievement of His divine plans through our prayers. 

Nehemiah was moved to pray after hearing about the hardships of the Jews who’d returned to Jerusalem following Babylonian captivity. At the time, he was doing his job as the cupbearer to the King of Persia. But the Lord quickly answered Nehemiah’s prayer by paving the way and providing the resources that would allow him to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem.

Although we may not see answers as dramatic and obvious when we pray, the Lord still wants us to present our needs and believe that He’ll respond in a way that furthers His will for our life. There will be times when we can’t perceive any change, but that doesn’t mean God is not working everything for our good. And remember, even when we don’t pray as we should, the Holy Spirit helps our weakness by interceding for us according to God’s will (Rom. 8:26-28).