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  #121  
Old 10-21-2016, 9:13 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 18)

The Crown: "Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, "For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation." (Exodus 17:15-16)

In ancient times, names revealed the character of a person, and it was the custom of the Jews to build monuments and give them a name to commemorate a significant event in their life. Abraham named the place where God had provided a substitute for his son, Isaac, The LORD Will Provide (Genesis 22:14); and Gideon built an altar where the angel of the Lord had consumed his offering and spared his life, and named it The LORD is Peace (Judges 6:24). After a long intense battle against the Amalekites, in which Aaron and Hur had to help hold up his hands so that Israel could win the victory, Moses built an altar to the Lord and named it The LORD is my Banner, as a memorial to the One who had come to their defense.

Banners were carried at the front of an army or set on a high place to rally the troops in preparation for battle, and then used to lead them to action. Moses held his rod high in his hands to encourage the soldiers on the battlefield. As long as his hands were raised they were victorious, but as soon as his arms wearied and he began to lower them, the battle made a turn for the worse. Moses lifted his hands up in prayer to the throne of God acknowledging that God alone would be their source of power and protection in the battle. "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:15b). God called Moses to be an intercessor for His chosen nation, and when His servant grew tired in the battle, He sent some reinforcements to support him. "When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset" (Exodus 17:12). There is no greater battle than the spiritual battles we face each day, and we cannot expect to achieve victory if we attempt to face them in our own strength. When we pray we draw the necessary strength and power we need from God to help us face the spiritual enemies who war against God's plans for our lives, and when the body of Christ rally's under the banner of of God, we find that there is even greater strength in numbers. Prayer is one of the most intense spiritual exercises in the Christian life; it requires daily discipline to build a successful life of unceasing prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we step out on the battlefield of life each day without first seeking God in prayer, we leave God out of His work in our lives and make ourselves vulnerable to the vicious attacks of the enemy, whose only intent is to rob, kill and destroy (John 10:10a); when we pray however we hold in our hands the power to bring heaven to earth. Let us praise God today for the victory we have been given living under the banner of Jesus Christ, and for the power He has given His army of praying saints to conquer the enemy and advance His kingdom on the earth. "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give all of you into our hands" (1 Samuel 17:47).

"He has taken me to the banquet hall,
and His banner over me is love."
(Song of Songs 2:4)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #122  
Old 10-22-2016, 9:44 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 19)

The Crown: "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

The Bible is filled with many names and titles for God. Some have calculated that there over a thousand names and descriptions in the Word of God which express the wonderful attributes and character of God. With each step of our journey we are discovering a God who is beyond our imagination, but who is instilling in us a deeper worship for who He is as we get to know Him more personally. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).

Of all the many names there are in the Bible for Jesus, the most important is Savior. The one who created the world, is the only one who can save it. When sin and death came in to destroy His creation and rob His creatures of the life He had given Him, God came down as Savior to rescue us. His name means deliverer. He came from the Father as a gift of love for the salvation of the world. "I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from Me there is no savior" (Isaiah 43:11). Jesus our Savior expressed His love for the Father and His love for mankind when in His loving obedience, He gave His life for us on the cross. Therefore, there is no more wonderful gift in all the world, and no one or no thing that is worthy of our love and devotion than the one who came into the world to save us from it and unite us to God for all eternity. "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). This is the name by which we came to our First Love, may we return to Him with all our hearts today and worship and adore Him for all the wonderful ways He continues to draw us into a deeper understanding of who He is. Let us express our gratitude for His redeeming love, by making the most of every moment He has given us and using that time to grow to know Him and to fall more deeply in love with Him, and then share His love with world that He came and gave His life to save. "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!" (Psalm 18:46).

"The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"
(Psalm 27:1)
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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #123  
Old 10-24-2016, 10:24 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 20)

The Crown: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

Our Creator has provided mankind with everything needed to live in this temporal world. He has placed Himself in charge of our eternal happiness. When He laid the foundations of the earth, He did not overlook even the minutest detail of His glorious plan as He thoughtfully put every mountain, river, and star in its proper place to provide for us a wonderful home in which to live. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider - the "God who sees beforehand and is able to provide for all our needs." He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 21:6) - He sees the end and the beginning in one view; therefore He is able to make provision for all our needs, before we even know we have a need, and He does so with perfect wisdom. Because He sees the end from the beginning - the past, the present, the future, and all that is in between - He is able to anticipate exactly what we need, and He has the power to provide it. What a wonderful provider our God is! "...your Father knows what you need before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:8b).

When the first man and woman despised God's great provision and disobeyed God's command, upsetting the order of the beautiful world He had provided for them, God was not at all taken by surprise. The plan He designed from the beginning is perfect and complete, and from the moment He said, "let their be light" His redemptive plan was already beginning to unfold. "There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world" (John 1:6-9). The light of creation was always meant to be a lesser light, for the light of redemption would be the true light that brings the light and life that God had always intended for man - for from the beginning the home God always had in mind for His people, was to be at home in perfect peace and rest with Him. "I did not see a temple in the city, because the LORD God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp" (Revelation 21:22-23). May the eyes of our understanding be enlightened to the wonderful plans of God and the sacred trust we have been given to steward His wonderful light (not only the light from the day, but more importantly the light of God that has been placed within). May we use the time we have left to be witnesses of our Redeemer's light and love to a world that is growing darker and more wicked with each passing day. May our lives reflect the beauty of His holiness, and our mouths be filled with constant praise for His peace, protection, presence, and provision in our lives. "He provided redemption for His people; He ordained His covenant forever - holy and awesome is His name" (Psalm 111:9).

"God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son."
(Genesis 22:8)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #124  
Old 10-25-2016, 9:19 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 21)

The Crown: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." (Psalm 46:1-3)

It seems the whole world is in upheaval and in utter chaos, and its' people are filled with more and more hatred and violence. All over the world, people are suffering and dying from poverty, war, famine and natural disasters. With all that is going on in the world today it is easy to lose hope and become fearful. The more we dwell on the condition of the world and forget the faithfulness of God, the easier it is to fall into despair. We, as His children, must not forget that, while the whole world may appear to be crumbling all around us, our God is still seated on the throne, and the world He created is firmly established."When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm" (Psalm 75:3).

The pages of the Bible are filled with exhortations from God to His people reminding them that He is with them and to "fear not." "Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you" (Isaiah 35:4). God has promised that He will not leave or forsake us. He is a God who saves, delivers, shelters and protects. Throughout the Scriptures, He is described as a refuge, shield, fortress, strong tower, and dwelling place for His people. God has promised to watch over and protect His people. He wants His children to look to Him as their first-line of defense. "But You are a shield around me, O LORD; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head" (Psalm 3:3). Our troubles and tribulations should drive us to God, not drive us from Him. He is our shelter from the storms of this life. While we are in this world, we have many spiritual enemies within and public enemies without, but God is our stronghold and our sure defense. "You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7). The One who saved our souls is more than able to save and protect our lives! Let us offer up a prayer of adoration and praise to our faithful, loving God who has promised to watch over us and keep us safe.


"Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress."
(Psalm 46:10-11)
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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #125  
Old 10-26-2016, 10:02 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 22)

The Crown: "On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this He meant the Spirit whom whose who believed in Him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." (John 7:37-39).

On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, as the priests performed the traditional water ceremony, which included marching around the altar seven times and pouring out the water that they had drawn from the pool of Siloam, Jesus made the great announcement that He was the fountain of living water where men would find eternal satisfaction. No longer would men have to labor to collect their water in pitchers to perform their endless religious rituals, instead Jesus invited them to find rest and refreshment in Him, and allow Him to make them a channel through which living water would freely and abundantly flow. "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3)

On the day of Pentecost the promised Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and took possession of them as God's holy temple (Acts 2:1-2). From their lips began to flow the life-giving water which alone could quench the spiritual thirst of the parched and weary people all around them. Immediately, those who heard experienced the benefits of the refreshing drink that was being offered, as one's who were once dying of thirst and close to death. "They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light" (Psalm 36:8-9). Jesus had offered this gracious drink to the Samaritan woman at the well, promising her an internal, ever-flowing supply of water that would quench her thirst eternally (John 4:10-14). To a people who depended on water as their source of life and spent their days continually at the well drawing fresh supplies, His offer was extraordinary. The human body can hardly go beyond three days without water before it will lose strength and eventually die. Water rejuvenates life and causes it to grow. What water is to man physically, the Holy Spirit is to him spiritually. Spiritual water is necessary for spiritual life. As water turns dry, cracked ground into soft soil, so the Holy Spirit turns the dry soul into a fertile field for God to use. Nothing the world has to offer can quench the spiritual thirst of man - only the presence of Jesus Christ in the heart of man can revitalize His life. To those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is given to take full possession of our being and bring into our hearts the joy of the abiding presence of Jesus Christ, so we can live a life of continuous, unbroken communion with God as His Spirit gives us the power for a holy life and through us flows His life-giving power into the lives of others. Let us praise the wondrous works of God who has given His people the fullness of the Holy Spirit for our daily refreshment and supply so we can live a life of obedience, joy and sacrifice, and have power to conquer the flesh and the world and bring forth much fruit to the glory of our heavenly Father. "Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 14b).


"He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give
drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
He who overcomes will inherit all this,
and I will be his God and he will be My son."
(Revelation 21:6-7)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #126  
Old 10-27-2016, 9:39 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 23)

The Crown: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:51)

God provided heavenly manna for His people during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell. They were entirely dependent upon the Lord, and He faithfully took care of their every need. "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD" (Deuteronomy 8:3). It was later expected that when the Messiah would come He would renew this miraculous feeding of heavenly manna. When Jesus declared that He is the bread "who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" (John 6:33), the people were only interested in having their physical needs met, not the spiritual needs that Jesus spoke of. The people had just experienced the miraculous feeding of the five thousand and they wanted more of what Jesus had to offer, but they didn't want Him. They were only interested in the provision, and not the Provider. "I tell you the truth you are looking for Me, not because you saw miraculous sings but because you at the loaves and had your fill" (v. 26).

We eat because we are alive; we need food in order to sustain and nourish our lives. We eat to live, but we are not to live to eat. The manna that God provided for His people in the wilderness sustained their daily life, but it could not provide everlasting life which Jesus came down from heaven to provide. "But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which man may eat and not die" (v. 50). Just as physical life needs physical food to survive, so must the spiritual life be fed with spiritual food. The soul cannot eat what the body eats, but it still must be fed. Jesus came to provide the awakened soul with spiritual meat. "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink" (vv.53-55). It is vital for those who have true spiritual life to feed upon Christ. He has given us this day to feed upon His daily bread. Let us come to His banqueting table and eat the gospel feast that He has prepared for us today, and nourish the spiritual life that He has deposited within us with the only food that matters - the Word of God and prayer. Let us praise our heavenly Father for the manna He has sent us to fill and nourish our souls, and thank Him for the privilege of knowing the daily sweetness of feeding on Christ. There is nothing else that can satisfy our souls! "To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy - to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen." (Jude 24-25).

"For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son
and believes in Him shall have eternal life and I will
raise him up at the last day."
(John 6:40)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
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  #127  
Old 10-28-2016, 10:07 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 24)

The Crown: "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Hebrews 1:3)

Before Jesus came into the world, the earth seemed to be cloaked in silence and the people were desperate for a fresh word from God. When God broke through the hush that enveloped the world, He spoke the most beautiful, eloquent word ever spoken, and all the earth was awakened to the sound of His voice. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, provided in Himself the greatest chapter of history when He stepped out of heaven and stepped into our lives. He came to communicate the love of the heavenly Father, not in words written on tablets of stone this time, but as the word wrapped in human flesh so He could write His word upon our hearts. "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

God wanted to make sure man understood who He is, and so, in His most important revelation to the world, He sent the only One who could communicate clearly the truth about Himself - His Son, Jesus Christ. He is "the most excellent messenger that was ever sent into the world!" "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touche - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. the life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us" (1 John 1:1-2). The Son provides for us a clear portrait of the Father - all His power, goodness and wisdom is revealed in Jesus Christ. The Word, Who accomplished the work of creation, had come also to fulfill the work of redemption, and now having created and redeemed His work, He continues to uphold all things by His powerful Word. "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). Let us praise our Father in heaven for the extraordinary way He has chosen to communicate Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the way He continues to communicate Himself to all who have received Him, through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Let us praise God for the assurance and confidence we have in Him, for the one who wrote the first words of creation has already written the final chapter and will be faithful to bring us all to that glorious and grand conclusion. Let us rejoice in what will be the greatest happily ever after there ever was written! Until then let us be faithful to daily feed upon and proclaim the Word that He has graciously given to us.

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower
and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
(Isaiah 55:10-11)
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"But these are written that you may believe
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  #128  
Old 10-29-2016, 9:53 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 25)

The Crown: "Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:16-20)

A rock is a symbol of permanence and protection. That Jesus is called the Rock speaks to His enduring faithfulness and security. He cannot be moved, and all who believe in Him have nothing to fear when everything else seems to be out of control. "When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm" (Psalm 75:3). Jesus is the spiritual foundation on whom believers build their lives. The One who upholds the earth by the power of His Word can be trusted to give us stability and keep us steady in the storms of life; we only need to rest in Him. He wants His children to be utterly dependent upon Him, and build our lives upon His trustworthy and powerful Word. "Listen to Me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn" (Isaiah 51:1)

Jesus Christ is both "the founder and the foundation" on which the church is built. Peter's right confession of who Jesus is became the great truth upon which the church was built: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." This rock solid foundation is the firmest of foundations; and it is also everlasting (1 Corinthians 3:11). Every other counterfeit support that we may look to is nothing but sinking sand. It is only when we build our lives on the Word of God and keep our eyes firmly fixed upon our Lord that we will stand firm and not be shaken. When times of trial and testing come, and they surely will, the ground which we have built our lives upon will be shown for what it is. "...his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work" (v. 13). Let us praise the Lord this morning for being the firm foundation upon which He has built His church. Praise Him that He has promised to preserve and protect His church and secure its presence on this earth no matter what forces rage against it to seek its ruin. "...the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Let us also remember the great responsibility He gave to His church when He handed her the keys which lock and unlock the doors of heaven to bring its blessings of peace and pardon to the earth; therefore, may we remain in unceasing prayer for His kingdom to come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line" (Isaiah 28:16, 17a).

"For no one can lay any foundation other than
the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."
(1 Corinthians 3:11)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #129  
Old 10-31-2016, 10:05 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 26)

The Crown: "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." (Psalm 23:1-3)

Of all the countless names of God which express His great love, the name Shepherd encompasses the constant care and protection He provides for His people. A shepherd is one who leads and protects his flock of sheep, and provides for all their needs. A true shepherd willingly gives up the comforts of home to live in the fields with his sheep. He gives up his sleep to search for any lambs that wander from the fold and get lost. He sets aside concern for his own safety to protect his sheep from predators who seek to destroy them. He lays down his life for the sheep because he will give everything to save them. He is always with his sheep caring, comforting, protecting, guiding, feeding, and rescuing them. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11).

In ancient times, kings were called shepherds. Israel's leaders were also referred to as shepherds of the people, but Jesus often rebuked them for failing to care for the flock. The twenty-third Psalm provides a description of what it means to be a good ruler, and it is also a perfect portrait of our great Shepherd. He leads us by walking in front of us, He does not drive us, but leads by example. "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them; and they follow Me" (John 10:27). He leads us to green pastures and beside still waters. Sheep won't lie down until they know they are totally secure. He wants us to know that we are secure in Him and that He will abundantly care and refresh us and restore our soul. He does all of this for His name's sake. "I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me" (v. 14). He guides and protects us through all the dark and difficult valleys of life; He has conquered death's power, so we have nothing to fear (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57). He is right there beside us promising to never leave us and lavishing His love upon us as He spreads a rich banqueting table before us to feast upon. Even when our enemies surround us we are able to sit down in perfect peace and rest and feed on Him, so we can have a fresh anointing of His power for our day to day duties. We lack nothing as our good Shepherd is more than willing and infinitely able to supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19). In Him we have all that we need for this life and the life to come. Our cup overflows with His abundant mercy and abounding love. Let us offer up a song of praise for the strong and tender way He cares for us. "He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young" (Isaiah 40:11). Let us praise Him for opening the door for us to enter in and be saved; we are now eternally safe in Him. "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep...I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:7b, 9a, 10b).


"My sheep listen to My voice;
I know them, and they follow Me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one can snatch them out of My hand."
(John 10:27-28)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #130  
Old 11-01-2016, 10:56 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 27)

The Crown: "For your Maker is your husband - the LORD Almighty is His name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth." (Isaiah 54:5)

One of the great promises and encouragements of the Bible is Jesus' departing words to His disciples, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20b). Jesus came as Immanuel, God with us, and He left with the promise to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b). He is a faithful God who will never abandon His people. In His passionate love and zeal for His people God is revealed as "husband" in the Scriptures. He presents Himself as the perfect husband, one who is loving, a faithful provider and protector, who pursues his wife with a jealous love. "I have loved you with and everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).

Israel was married to Jehovah-God at Mount Sinai. "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession" (Deuteronomy 7:6). God bound Himself to His people in a covenant relationship that would last throughout the history of the world. In linking Himself to His people in the bonds of holy marriage God demonstrated the sacredness and intent of the marriage bond. "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6b). The history of Israel reveals a people who, like an unfaithful spouse, kept straying from God and prostituting themselves with the world; while He, like a faithful husband, keeps pursuing her and forgiving her. calling her back to Himself. God's love is "as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave" (Song of Songs 8:6b); He loves with an unfailing love - He will never let His people go. Let us praise God today, as our faithful Husband. Even thought we may have been wounded and disappointed in past relationships, He will never abandon or disappoint us, and His love for us does not depend on our faithfulness to Him. Let us praise Him that nothing can separate us from His love. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from teh love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

"No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah;
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married."
(Isaiah 62:4)

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  #131  
Old 11-02-2016, 10:14 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 28

The Crown: "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." (Ephesians 1:18-21)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bedrock doctrine of the Christian faith. "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). In the story of Lazarus (John 11), Jesus makes His bold declaration, "I am the resurrection and the life" (v. 25a), and then proceeds to prove that He possesses the power over life and death by raising a man who had been dead in the grave for four days. Jesus had a way with words and always backed them up with His actions (John 6; 9). Up to this point the people believed Jesus had power to heal, but their faith fell short at the door of death, because that was the world they lived in. They lived in a world of sorrow, suffering, sickness, and grief, and Jesus wept with them, because He was "a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (Isaiah 53:3a). Jesus stood at the door of death, knowing that He Himself had an appointment to keep with that foe in just a little over a week, but today He would give them a preview of a promise He had made: "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned" (John 5:28-29).

In this wonderful illustration of God's life-giving power we see the glory of God put on display. "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). Jesus had declared that this sickness would not end in death, but that it would be used for the glory of God (v. 4). He did what He did for the glory of the Father alone. "I am no seeking glory for Myself; but there is one who seeks it" (John 8:50a). God wants us to see His power and glory on display in our lives, but to do that we need to turn our eyes from our circumstances and fix them on Christ, who alone has the power to raise the dead to life (Hebrews 12:2-3). Today let us praise God for His divine timing which reveals to us the glory of God when all hope seemed lost, and thank Him for His glory He reveals to us in the normal everyday circumstances of our lives.

"And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead
is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also
give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit,
who lives in you."
(Romans 8:11)

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  #132  
Old 11-03-2016, 10:13 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 29)

The Thorn: "They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off the path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!" Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: "Because you have rejected this message, and relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant." (Isaiah 30:10-13)

God sent His prophets to Israel time and time again to warn them of the impending danger and destruction that was coming upon them as a result of their sin and rebellion towards holy God, but they refused to listen and reform their ways. They did not want to be shown their faults and their sin. They couldn't endure being confronted with the holiness of God. They had contempt for the word of God that was being delivered to them, and they rebelled against divine authority. As a result, they endured God's wrath and suffered unnecessary punishment, when they could have easily been saved from all their calamity by repenting of their evil ways and returning to God. "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it" (Isaiah 30:15).

God is absolute holy perfection - He is perfectly holy and cannot change for the better - He is immutable. While He does not change, He has given man the blessed ability to change and experience a higher level of life through His Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). Through His death, Jesus Christ rewrote the law of death, that was hanging over mankind, into a covenant of life. Jesus was not sent into the world to deliver men from their political troubles, but rather to address their greater spiritual needs by rescuing mankind out of captivity and bondage of sin. God has provided us the remedy for all our troubles, by calling us to returning to Him with all our hearts; sadly, like Israel, our wicked and wayward hearts are bent on seeking foreign aid which will never bring us the relief they truly need. Truly we need the power of God to bend our will to His. God waits patiently for His people to return to Him, so He can meet our needs with His mercy and grace. The first step toward revival is simply elevating our concept of the holiness of God in the church. When men begin to see their sinfulness in light of the awful holiness of God they will begin to cry out in repentance and seek God's forgiveness, and then we can experience the presence and power of God in our lives and in His church once again. The presence and growth of the church in the land is a blessing to all mankind and proof of God's divine power and promise for His gospel to spread throughout the world. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:12-14). Let us repent of our lack of reverence and awe of the holiness of God and our tolerance for any sin in our lives which distorts His perfect image in our lives. Let us thank the Lord today that He has opened our eyes and our hearts to greater understanding of His holiness, and for giving us the power through His indwelling Holy Spirit to live a life of holiness, so we can honor and glorify Him with our lives. "But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16).

"I will make known My holy name among My people Israel.
I will no longer let My holy name be profaned,
and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel.
It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD.
This is the day I have spoken of."
(Ezekiel 39:7-8)
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  #133  
Old 11-04-2016, 10:08 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 30)

The Crown: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into his grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)

Israel was chosen by God out of all the other nations of the world to be His special people, His chosen possession; but rather than live in peace and enjoy this favored and blessed relationship, they lived in a continuous cycle of rebellion, repentance, and restoration. In the time of the Judges God provided Israel with various deliverers to restore them back to a right relationship with Himself time and time again. They were in the middle of another cycle of apostasy and oppression when God raised up His servant Gideon to be His chosen deliverer for the nation. For seven years the people had been hiding out in caves because the oppression of the Midianites was so great. It was then that they finally cried out to God for help. "Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help" (Judges 6:6).

Israel had no peace because they were in rebellion against God and He was no longer with them. The presence of God is peace. The absence of peace means the absence of God. When God visited Gideon and called him out of the winepress from threshing wheat to become His "mighty warrior," Gideon was fearful whether Jehovah was there out of wrath or to extend His mercy. When his "peace-offering" was received by fire, Gideon realized the Lord had come in peace and would now deliver His rebellious people once again. "So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace" (v. 24a). Having a relationship with holy God does not guarantee peace. Our peace with God is determined by our being in a "right" relationship with Him. God has provided peace with Himself through the death of His own Son, and He invites us to receive His peace through His atoning work on the cross. Jesus is our peace offering with God; an acceptable sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Let us praise the Lord our Peace today for the perfect peace He has given us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Source of all peace and in Him alone do we find safety, wholeness, completeness, and harmony with God. Praise Him this morning that we can live without fear of God's wrath, but have our minds filled with His perfect peace. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27).

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace
at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you."
(2 Thessalonians 3:16)
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  #134  
Old 11-05-2016, 9:43 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 31)

The Crown: "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness." (John 12:46)

God has given the sun to be the physical light by which we see in this natural world, and He has given His Son to be the spiritual light by which we see the spiritual world. Just as light is necessary for physical life and growth: it helps us to see things as we move and travel about, and it provides warmth and comfort and protection in the dark; so also, Jesus Christ provides the light for spiritually blinded people to receive the spiritual life necessary to help them walk safely through this life into their heavenly home. The One who created light is the Source of all light, both physical and spiritual; and He is also the Source of all life - physical, spiritual and eternal. Jesus is the greater light that has come into the world - the true light that gives light to every man. "For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light to shine in our hearts to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Jesus is the true light that has come into the world (John 1:9). "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). He is the Source of all spiritual light and truth; and He alone provides the spiritual light necessary for the spiritually blind to see the plan of salvation. Jesus shines His light into the dark recesses of sinful man's heart and illuminates the spiritual path for him to find his way into the presence of God and find peace with Him. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12b). We are the candle and Christ is the flame - the light of the gospel sets the spirit of man on fire, so that the once blinded soul will never have to sit in darkness again. Christ has set our hearts aflame with the gospel, so that we will eternally burn for Him. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord" (Ephesians 5:8-10). Let us praise God today for opening our blinded eyes with the light of His salvation, which has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into His wonderful kingdom of light, where we can enjoy the warmth and comfort of His presence, and experience His goodness and peace. Let us bask in the light of His glorious presence today. All glory to God, "For You have delivered me from death, and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life" (Psalm 56:13).

"You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light."
(Psalm 18:28)

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  #135  
Old 11-05-2016, 3:44 PM
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But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
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  #136  
Old 11-07-2016, 10:11 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 32)

The Crown: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)

The Source of all our spiritual light and life is found in Jesus Christ. Everything we need in and for life is found in Christ alone. It is in detaching from the world and attaching ourselves to Jesus that we experience the fullness of life which He has promised for believers (John 10:10). When we surrender and yield our whole lives to be entirely given over to Christ alone, we fulfill His purpose and prayer to become one with Him. "...that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and You in Me" (John 17: 21-23a).

In the parable of the Vine we are given a picture of the perfect abiding the Lord desires to have with His people. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, and the heavenly Father is the Gardener who has planted His Vine in the world. The Father has grafted us into His Vine and wants us to live our lives with "absolute dependence and perfect confidence" in Him, so that we may draw life and strength from the Vine. Our lives, as the branch, are to be lived with perfect conformity to the Vine, which is Christ, so we can partake of His divine nature and have all His living energy flowing through us. "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). In this abiding relationship we experience the all-sufficiency and faithfulness of our Lord as He provides all that we need for a fruitful and productive life. All that He has is stored for the life of the branch, and is entirely ours when we yield to Him. Let us praise Him, who has made us partakers of His divine life and supplies us with an endless flow of His life-giving sap to strengthen our lives, for this living union we have with the Vine so we can produce fruit that will bring glory to Him. May our worship of Him not just come from the fruit of our lips, but from lives that have been given entirely over in unceasing dependence upon Him.

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
(Philippians 4:13)

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  #137  
Old 11-08-2016, 10:14 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 33)

The Crown: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Fathers' house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:1-4)

The heavenly Father is our Master Gardener. He is the divine Husbandman who loves His children, and feeds, guides, trains, and disciplines them for His glory. As His children, we can know nothing of His love or the truth of His fatherliness apart from our abiding in the Vine, which is Jesus Christ His Son. It is only through union with the Son that we can truly know the Father and have communion with Him. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6b).

We must receive the life of the Son, Jesus Christ, as a branch receives its life from the vine, in order that we might see and know the Father. Jesus is the only way by which we can come to the Father; His divine life must come to us first through His redemptive work on the cross. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). The way of truth and life has been open to us through the blood of Jesus Christ. "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:19-23). Let us praise our heavenly Father this morning for the narrow path He has provided for us to find our way to intimate communion with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. Praise Him today that He has revealed to us this eternal truth - that there is no other path to heaven and no other way to the Father, except through Jesus Christ - and we have followed the path to life in Him. How wonderful are the ways of God! How glorious His path of salvation! How blessed we are to be called the sons and daughters of God! "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless" (2 Samuel 22:31a).

"Salvation is found in no one else,
for there is no other name under heaven given to men
by which we must be saved."
(Acts 4:12)

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  #138  
Old 11-09-2016, 8:05 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 34)

The Crown: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless...For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:25-27, 31-32)

God the Father sent His Son into the world to take for Himself a bride; and He paid the bride-price for her with His own life. "I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD" (Hosea 2:19-20). John the Baptist, fulfilled his role as the best man, receiving his instructions from the Lord and attending to His orders as He prepared the way of the Lord, and then he humbly stepped aside, so Jesus could receive the honor that was due His name. "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry" (Matthew 3:11). John was full of joy because the Bridegroom had come, and he wanted nothing more than to see the ministry of Christ succeed. "Go back and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor" (Matthew 11:4-5).

The love of God for His people is beyond understanding. "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15). He so loved the whole world that He gave His Son to die on a cross for their sins, but for those who believe in His Son He has a special kind of love - a love He likened to the love expressed between and husband and wife. "This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church" (Ephesians 5:32). His love for the church, His bride, is not for anything she has done or what she can do for Him, but solely comes from what He desires and delights to give to her. He gave to His bride the ultimate expression of His love when He laid down His life so she could be rescued from bondage and slavery to sin, and live eternally with Him in heaven, in the home He has gone away to prepare for her. The love of Christ for His bride is unlike any other kind of love, for His love is selfless and unselfish - everything He does is for the benefit of His bride; and everything He has is to be used for her eternal happiness and holiness. He only desires to fill us with the fullness of Himself, and for us to experience perfect union with Him. "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you" (John 14:20). How can we reject or neglect a love so infinitely wonderful as this? No human love can possibly compare. Let us praise our heavenly Father with the highest gratitude for the love He has lavished upon us that He calls us His sons and daughters, and for joining us in the eternal bonds wed-lock with His Son Jesus Christ. May we spend our lives looking for ways honor and obey Him, and spend our time cultivating a life of deepening intimacy with Him, so we can love Him more and more. "For Christ's love compels us..." (2 Corinthians 5:14a) He is worthy of our undivided affection and complete devotion. "I love You, O LORD, my strength" (Psalm 18:1)


"I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."
(Song of Songs 6:3a)

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  #139  
Old 11-10-2016, 9:52 AM
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Default Day 35: Hope of Israel

The Crown: "And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will put their hope in Him." May the God of hope will you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:12-13)

Hope is defined as "a desire with expectation of good, or a belief that it may be obtained." Websters 1828 dictionary goes on to say that hope is "confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God's gracious promises...the hope of Israel is the Messiah." "Hope is an opinion or belief not amounting to certainty, but grounded on substantial evidence." Hope is not wishful thinking. For the believer hope is firmly rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ, in His life, His death, His resurrection, and His future return. "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep with Him...For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God...And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Hope that is rooted in Jesus Christ provides the believer with a stabilizing force in a world that is full of uncertainty, fear, sorrow and disappointment. Hope in Christ gives the believer confidence to wait on God, and to trust Him to carry them through the roughest storms and greatest trials of life. "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19). Jesus is the only one who can save us and guarantee our safety in this life and give us the hope of a future life with Him in heaven. "According to my earnest expectation and my hope that in nothing I will be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:20-21). He has promised to never leave or forsake those who trust in Him. No matter how threatening the storms of life may be we need not fear, because God will protect and deliver us. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12). The object of our hope and faith is Jesus Christ; all that God has promised us in Him will be accomplished, so we can be joyful as we rest secure in Him. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for" (Hebrews 11:1). Let us praise the Lord this morning for the hope that we have in Him. "We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our trust in You" (Psalm 33:20-22).


"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles
the glorious riches of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
(Colossians 1:27)

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  #140  
Old 11-11-2016, 10:12 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 36)

The Crown: "Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5)

The Israelites had just been delivered from years of slavery and oppression in Egypt, miraculously passing through the Red Sea by God's gracious hand, but it wasn't long before their rejoicing turned to groaning. "For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water" (Exodus 15:22). The people were thirsty from their travels and began to grumble and complain when they came to the waters of Marah, because they found it too bitter to drink. So Moses cried out to the Lord on their behalf, and God showed His servant a tree to cast into the water to make it sweet. While His people were being refreshing and restored with the cool drink that Jehovah provided, He explained how they could remain healthy and avoid all the diseases that He had inflicted on the Egyptians. "If you carefully listen to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees..." (Exodus 15:26). God had promised to care for His people, if they would simply remain faithful to Him and obey His commands. But as history would prove, unfaithful Israel would come to the bitter waters time and time again, where compassionate Jehovah would faithfully meet His people to heal and restore them again (after a little smiting and punishing so they would be encouraged not to fall into sin). That is, until God halted this endless cycle by providing His own Son as the final remedy for sin, who through His death and resurrection would bring ultimate healing for all men.

Our God is the Source of all life, He is the Source of all hope, and as His name, Jehovah Rophe, reveals, He is also the Source of all healing. Jesus Christ is the Great Physician of our body, mind and soul. He heals, cures, restores, and makes us whole. He became the Branch that was cast into the bitter waters of our sin, and brought forth the "living water" that would bring us complete healing and eternal life. All we have to do is believe and drink from the cup He has provided. Sin is the cause of death and illness, and Jesus provides the only cure. Let us turn to our Healer today and praise Him for taking upon Himself all our sin so we could be completely free from its bonds and the consequences sin brings. Let us praise God, for He doesn't just provide temporary relief from sickness and pain, rather He Himself is the total cure which brings permanent health to the inner man. Praise Him for filling us with His peace and joy. "Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!... He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:1, 3).


"He sent forth His word and healed them;
He rescued them from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love."
(Psalm 107:20-21)

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  #141  
Old 11-12-2016, 9:43 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 37)

The Crown: "See, I will send My messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple, the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty." (Malachi 3:1)

From the very beginning of the nation of Israel, the people lived in a cycle of disobedience toward God and His Word, and He had to send prophets time and time again to call them to repentance and to turn their hearts back to Him. When the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, the Lord had his servant Haggai encourage the people to rebuild the temple, and to let them know that He was with them; God had not left or forsaken His people, but still had work for them to do. "Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the LORD, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the LORD Almighty" (Haggai 2:4b). The older generation dragged their feet and lamented about the former glory of Solomon's temple, but Haggai encouraged them to keep their eyes fixed on the present work and gave them a word of promise from the Lord: "The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace" (Haggai 2:9). He wanted them to know that all the gold which covered the former temple could not compare with the glory that would be within the present one. The presence of Christ Himself would fill it and provide them with inner peace. The word he had given was not just for the present time, but looked into the future when the Messiah would come to reign.

The people desired the former glory they once had, not realizing that ahead of them lay even greater glory. It can be difficult after a season of suffering and sorrow to look forward with hope, believing that better days lie ahead. Praise God that He reminds us of His promises and His love to encourage us that greater things are still to come. "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12). God uses our trials to refine us and purify us inwardly, so that we will be emptied and prepared to be filled with the "greater glory" of Himself. The Jews had experienced famine and poverty and now felt they could not afford to give God their tithes and offerings. They had been stripped of their former glory and had become too weak to see the blessings He now had in store for them; if they would simply come to Him in weakness and repent, He would forgive them and show them His strength, and pour out so much blessing they wouldn't have room enough for it. God is building His temple today with His people, His church. We are the "living stones" which adorn His sanctuary, and which also provide stability for all society. Because we are the temple of the Lord in which His Holy Spirit dwells, He must purify us so that we do not rob Him of any part of His glory. We are to be entirely emptied, so we can bring to the Lord the full tithe of ourselves; and then He will bless us so we can be a blessing to others. Let us praise the Lord today, for the Messenger of the covenant, Jesus Christ, has already come, and we have received His message of peace and have been reconciled to the Father. May we bring our whole selves into the storehouse and lay ourselves on His altar so He can refine and purify us and make us a clear channel for His blessings to flow, so there may be an endless supply of food to feed the spiritually starved and hungry in the world in this time of great spiritual famine. "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

"One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple."
(Psalm 27:4)

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  #142  
Old 11-14-2016, 10:14 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 38)

The Crown: "He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name." (Acts 10:42-43)

Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind and who rose again is the Judge of all mankind. "For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life sot hat He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living" (Romans 14:9). While many of the names of God we have studied and meditated upon during our season of prayer have warmed our hearts toward God, this name causes us to tremble in fear. The thought of standing in a courtroom before a judge who holds our future in his hands, makes us quiver and shake in our shoes. As Shopet, the Lord acts our behalf in manifold ways - He governs, vindicates, decides, defends, delivers, and disciplines. "And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:27). As our Judge, Jesus Christ holds our future in His hands; and at the final pounding of His gavel He decides the course that we will take for all eternity. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Jesus Christ has been given judicial authority over all mankind by the Father in heaven. As Mediator between God and man His work is to judge and pardon sinful mankind. This is a role He alone is entirely qualified to undertake, because He was crucified on the cross and shed His precious blood to pay the penalty for our sins. He died as a substitute for all mankind - we have all broken His holy law! He now sits on the heavenly Bench in the garment of our humanity, and, having lived a perfect, sinless life and dying an obedient death, He is able to judge in equity. Through the power of His shed blood He has authority to freely pardon us. He is a righteous Judge who condemns or acquits. "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Let us praise the Lord today that we, who have come to Jesus as Judge and believed in Christ as Savior, no longer stand before Him condemned; for He has provided the perfect pardon for us through His life, His death and His resurrection. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Let us praise our Lord that He softens the blow of His justice with His great mercy. He is righteous and just; He will always do right because of His righteous nature, and He will always treat us fairly because He is just. Praise Him today for taking away our soiled garment of sin and clothing us the royal robe of His righteousness. One day we will stand before His throne and receive our reward for faithful service, and He will give us our crown. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12).

"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -
and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."
(2 Timothy 4:8)

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  #143  
Old 11-15-2016, 10:01 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 39)

The Crown: "To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a kingdom of priests to serve His God and Father - to Him be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:4-6)

Our Faithful and True High Priest, who came as a gentle lamb to be despised and rejected of men and wounded and pierced for our transgressions, will be returning one day as the great Conqueror to wipe out the enemies of the earth and to establish His kingdom. His name Faithful and True stands in contrasts to all His enemies who are unfaithful and false. As the Faithful and True witness who shed His blood for our sins, He can be depended upon to keep His Word and be truthful about the consequences and reality of sin. His name is the Word of God and from His mouth comes the words that conquer the hearts of men. No one can stand when He opens His mouth to speak. When He came to us the first time He spoke a message of love and peace, but He is returning with the sword from His tongue, which will smite all the nations who rejected the words of His mouth.

All of God's promises are "Yes" and "Amen" - they are already done; they are already complete. God has spoken, and He expects His people to simply agree with Him, and then do what He says. When Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up and seated on His throne in glory, he responded in reverential awe and said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8). All that was needed was a glimpse of the Creator and Ruler in His position of authority, power and majesty and Isaiah was on his knees in humble submission, willing to go wherever the great I AM would lead. Our response to He who is I AM, should simply be "here am I." If He is Lord of our life, we will trust Him and do all that He says. If we tell Him "no" then He is not Lord of all. He is Faithful and True, and will never lead us astray or fail to accomplish His purposes for our lives and in the world. "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19). This morning, let us praise the One who did all that the Father had sent Him to do. Jesus depended fully on the Father, and He expects the same of us. His response to the Father was "yes" and ours should be the same. "By Myself I can do nothing...for I seek not to please Myself but Him who sent Me" (John 5:30). May our worship of Him not merely be lip service. May our actions line up with what we say as we seek to glorify our Faithful and True Lord with our whole lives entirely consecrated and surrendered to do His will.

"For no matter how many promises God has made,
they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him the "Amen"
is spoke by us to the glory of God."
(2 Corinthians 1:20)

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  #144  
Old 11-17-2016, 10:18 AM
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Default CROWNED 40 Days (Day 40)

The Crown: "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:22-23)

Here we are at day forty of our journey, and we are ending where we began, with our eyes fixed on Christ Jesus, the glorious crown and Head of the church, His bride. One saint has said that the best remedy for a broken and weary heart is a fresh glimpse of the glory of God. As He did for His servant Moses when he requested to see God's glory, our Faithful Lord has not disappointed us these 40 days; He has given a glimpse of His glory that has moved our hearts to deepening love for Himself and for others. God has extended His scepter of favor, arrayed us in His royal robes, and crowned our head with the royal diadem of Himself. According to Tozer, at the root of all our troubles and decline in the church in recent years is a loss of the concept of the majesty of God. How wonderfully blessed we are that our Bridegroom has seen fit to take us up that high mountain, where we could rise above the pollution of this world, and just sit with Him for a while each day, and breathe in the intoxicating air of heaven. Our thoughts have risen with Him, as He has reminded us of many of His wonderful names and attributes. In doing so, He has restored to us a vision of His majesty, and has endeared us more deeply to Himself. "But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. For surely, O LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield" (Psalm 5:11-12).

It is the Father's desire that He be all to His children. His Son came down to the earth and brought the atmosphere of heaven to us; He expects that He would be the air that we breathe - that we would live wholly upon Him. It is in daily study of His Word and in continuous prayer that we can catch our breath and breathe in the fullness of the one who fills all. "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority" (Colossians 2:9-10). We don't need to add anything to the all-sufficiency of Christ; He provides everything we need. He is the only one who can save us. Our Savior is seated in heaven in the sovereign position of power and authority, and the Father has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to live in us; we have all we need to lay hold of all our eternal riches, so that Christ can be formed in us. "the riches of His glorious inheritance of the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians1:18b-19). In every area of our life Jesus wants us to look to Him; when our eyes are fixed on Him we will find that He will change all our desires and He will become our one pursuit. Let us praise God that we can rest everything with and in Him. In everything we say and do, He is all in all. Jesus Christ is the spiritual Head and crown of the church, and through the Holy Spirit, we, His body, are united to Him in a vital, living union. What an extraordinary relationship we have in Christ. If Jesus be truly our all in all, then we have received our crown of glory. Let us cast our crowns at His feet and worship Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. He alone is worthy! "To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13b).

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,
set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."
(Colossians 3:1-3)

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  #145  
Old 12-14-2016, 9:57 AM
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God’s Will in One Word
This is the will of God, your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3a, ESV).
Often discussions about God’s will seem to revolve around answering life’s big questions like where we go to college, who we choose to marry, which job to take, which house to buy, what our kids’ lives will be like when they grow up . . . and then before we know it, we’re discussing where they’ll go to college, who they’ll marry, what job they’ll take, and the whole thing cycles into the future.
But believe it or not, God’s will doesn’t focus on these kinds of issues. He’s not holding His breath, hoping you’ll choose to move to Bolivia instead of California, or vice versa. His will is not a secret blueprint for making specific, minute decisions—a master plan He’s hiding from you, testing you to see if you can figure it out. Because here’s the truth: if you are busy being the person God wants you to be—the parts He does make clear in Scripture—you’ll already be where He wants you to be.

God’s will for you is “your sanctification.”

Sanctification is one of the key words we learn from Scripture that helps us understand what our salvation means. It covers the space of time between our justification (the moment of conversion when God declares us righteous through our faith in Christ’s payment for sin) and our glorification (when we stand before Him in eternity). Sanctification means to make holy—a process that is crucially important for us since by nature we are not holy, and we need to be holy. More and more holy. So this is what God is doing with us right now as we wait for Christ’s return, as “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We’re being sanctified. Little by little. Day by day. One step at a time.

This is God’s will for us.

To the believers living in Thessalonica, much of what apparently needed sanctifying in their lives were their sexual practices and their understanding of moral purity. That’s why Paul zeroed in on their need to “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3b). In other cities and places where he wrote his first-century letters, the more pressing matters may have been idolatry, immaturity, materialism, or some other spiritual deficiency. But in every place—including our place today—the overarching, sanctifying need was and is to increasingly conform ourselves to the Word of God, living with a pure conscience, being quick to respond to the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. For not only does this transformative lifestyle give proof that we are growing in holiness, it also helps us not “be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17).

God’s will, plain and simple, is the Bible. The will of God is the Word of God, not merely the specific answers to life’s various multiple-choice questions. Because if you’re doing what the Word of God says, you’ll be making the right decisions already. If you are increasingly the person God wants you to be, you will not make wrong choices about the details like where you are or who you’re with.

You’ll be doing His will.

Because you’ll be growing in sanctification.

JOURNAL

Is there one area of your life in which you’ve been wishing God would show you His will?
How might this change if you understood more deeply that God’s main will for you is something you can absolutely know and do?

PRAY

Father, thank You for being bigger than my biggest problems and questions, and for knowing me better than I know myself. Thank You for fully understanding and providing for my true needs. Today I bring my concerns to You not as someone desperate for answers, but as someone simply committed to being Yours—in every way, manner, and decision. By Your Spirit I ask You to bring to my mind what I already know of Your will, and I ask You to give me a willing and obedient heart to do it. Thank You for Your sanctifying work in my life. This is what I seek, confident that in the process You will keep me exactly where I’m supposed to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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Old 12-16-2016, 9:43 AM
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Default Greg Laurie Daily Devotions

Friday, December 16, 2016
Worthy of Our Worship
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

—Matthew 2:10–11

The wise men, these followers of the stars, met the Lord Jesus Christ who created the stars. They were occultists, yet God reached into their dark world with a star to bring them to their Creator.

Matthew's gospel tells us, "They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh" (2:11).

Everyone worships at Christmas. There are no exceptions to this. Christians worship. Atheists worship. Skeptics worship. Republicans worship. Democrats worship. Independents worship. Everyone worships at Christmas, but not everyone worships God at Christmas. Some worship material things, which they never seem to have enough of. Others worship their bodies. Others worship their families. But everyone worships something or someone.

The wise men worshiped Jesus. And what does it mean to worship? Our modern word worship comes from the old English word worthship. We worship the One who is worthy. A god of our own making isn't worthy of our worship, but the true God is worthy of our praise.

Two words often are used in the Scriptures to define worship. One word means to bow down and do homage, which speaks of reverence and respect. The other means to kiss toward, which speaks of intimacy and friendship. So when we put these two words together, we get an idea of what worship actually is. To worship is to bow down and have reverence, and it is also to have tender intimacy.

Jesus was born, He died, and He rose from the dead so that you and I could come into a relationship with Him and become God's adopted children. Simply put, we should worship the Lord because He deserves it—every day of the year.
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  #147  
Old 01-04-2017, 10:33 AM
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Default SANCTUARY

"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." (Hebrews 3:1)

The day has dawned on a whole New Year. Like the crisp, blank pages of a new prayer journal, 2017 stretches out before us, ready to be filled with all our hopes and expectations for a new beginning. And what better way to begin a new chapter and start a new season, then with our eyes firmly fixed upon the Master and Builder of our faith, our ears tuned to hear the voice of our Shepherd, and our hearts longing for our coming Bridegroom. Each new year provides a new opportunity and a renewed understanding of the great need for the children of God to experience the presence of God. It is His life and power that we desperately need in the church today. He is the source of all our health and strength. Moses understood well the necessity for the guiding presence of God in the life of Israel. "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not sent us up from here" (Exodus 33:15b). How vital His presence is in the life of the believer and for the health of the church today.

As we embark on this new journey, feasting on the words from the book of Hebrews, and being led into the heavenly sanctuary to experience the rest of God, may we resolve to be intentional in opening our hearts to be filled with the full blessing of the knowledge of Christ, and heeding the words of warnings against the dangers of neglectfulness and unbelief. True spiritual rest is not found in a place, it is found in a person - Jesus Christ. May we commit this year to separating more from this world and holding fast to Jesus; giving more diligence to feeding upon the Word of God and being nourished in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our source of health and strength (the neglect of which is the source of all our weakness in the church). One saint has said that "the strength of faith is the food it feeds on." These seasons of fasting and prayer provide us, as believers, an opportunity to eat more "spiritually" healthy, and awaken our dormant and weak spiritual muscles, so we can exercise and strengthen them. While the carnal nature looks more to the external and resolves to get more physically fit and healthy in the new year, may we see our great need within, and look instead to the One who sustains and upholds all things, to be our Sustainer and Trainer this year; He is willing and able. Let us feast on the words of Hebrews 1:1-14, and begin this day in praise for the glory of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Let us look into the heavenly sanctuary today and see Him as He lives in heaven, in the position of power and authority. Let us bow before Him and worship Him in the beauty of holiness. Over the course of these next couple of weeks, may we allow the Father to reach into our hearts and speak to us through His Son, that we may experience more fully the blessings of the heavenly life. "O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:1).

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory
and the exact representation of His being,
sustaining all things by His powerful word.
After He had provided purification for sins,
He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of heaven."
(Hebrews 1:3)
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  #148  
Old 01-05-2017, 9:42 AM
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Default SANCTUARY

"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: ""But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:9)

As we begin the new year with our hearts fixed on the heavenly sanctuary of God, we find ourselves picking up where we left off in our previous journey CROWNED: The Restoration of the Majesty of God. In the opening chapter of the epistle of Hebrews the flame of holy love was stirred within us from the very first words, as we were reminded of the crowning achievement of the person and work of our Savior in His redemptive work and glorious ascension to the throne. "After He provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of heaven" (Hebrews 1:3b). Behold the beauty and majesty of our Lord and King - crowned with glory and honor and seated on the throne in heaven.

Jesus is the crown of the church, His Body. Let us tarry a little longer in the throne room and consider the One who sits on the throne, encircled by thousand upon thousands of angels who sing: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise"; and living creatures with six wings, covered with eyes, who never stop, day and night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come"; and the twenty-four elders who fall down and lay their crowns before Him, saying: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being" (Revelation 4:7-11; 5:11-12). Behold the One, who looks like a Son of Man, eternally cloaked in a garment of human skin, seated in the midst of all the creatures of heaven, who look upon Him with wonder and awe, and who refuse to silence their praise. Gaze for just a moment upon the scarred and torn vestment of our human imperfection and frailty seated on the throne of heaven, and weep with gratitude over the love of the Father who has accepted the sacrifice of His Son in our stead. What does the world have to offer that is more enticing and captivating than this? Today as we meditate on the warnings of Hebrews chapter two, let us resolve this year to "pay more careful attention" to the glorious person and work of Jesus Christ, lest we get caught in the current of carnality and drift away from our First Love and lose our desire for the One who is the center of all worship in heaven. Let us join the chorus of heaven in their unceasing praise.

"To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power
for ever and ever!"
(Revelation 5:13b)

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  #149  
Old 01-06-2017, 10:27 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." (Hebrews 3:1)

One writer said it well, that Jesus walked on earth as a man living entirely in heaven. This should be our aim and goal of our Christian walk. Not to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good, as another has said, but rather to live our lives on this earth in the atmosphere of heaven, so that everyone we come in contact with would breath that rarified and intoxicating air, and so desire to taste for themselves how good the Lord is, and discover His beauty and glory. "Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus Christ" (v.1, NKJV). Our reading in the third chapter of Hebrews today exhorts us to consider Jesus - to study Him - to discover all that we can about Him. If we truly want the full blessing of the heavenly life and to live a holy life, then we must consider Jesus; we must fix our thoughts entirely upon Him, the One who makes us holy, to bring the power of the heavenly life into our lives today.

Heaven is not just a place, but also a state of life. We become "partakers of the heavenly calling" when we first trust Christ as Savior, and the Holy Spirit, with all the life and power of heaven comes to dwell in us. Jesus spoke of the coming of the Kingdom when questioned by the Pharisees: "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20b, 21). We are God's house. We are His dwelling place. He wants full possession of us. He doesn't want to be just an occasional visitor or guest of our house - He owns the real estate and holds the keys. He bought us as the highest price. He lived our life and died for us, so that He could have all of us. May we let Him have full access that He might fill us with the fullness of Himself. He is the Builder and the Maintainer of the house. He is a faithful, trustworthy and merciful apostle and high priest. Let us trust Him to complete the work He has begun in our lives. Let us go on to lay hold of the joy and power of the heavenly life. Take time to bask in the beauty of His holiness this morning and offer Him adoring praise. "The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made. All You have made will praise You, O LORD; Your saints will extol You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might" (Psalm 145:9-11).

"Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses,
just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself."
(Hebrews 3:3)

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  #150  
Old 01-07-2017, 10:28 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His." (Hebrews 4:9-10)

The Sabbath-rest of God is salvation-rest; it is the promised rest of complete deliverance found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The cure for all our restlessness, wandering and struggle is found in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work of salvation. Just as the Israelites were led out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt to enter into the promised land of rest and abundance, today the Lord leads believers out of the bondage of sin and self into the promise of God's presence and power. The key to entering His rest is to cease from works, just as God did from His, and allow God to work a higher life of power and victory in and through us. He alone is our Source of life and power.

While the season before us is aptly named The Year of the Sabbath, do not suppose that it is a call to inactivity, where we neglect the duties of life and spiritual watchfulness; on the contrary, the title is simply a reminder to us, as the children of God, to cease from self-effort and self-work and enter instead into the finished work of Christ, to experience the spiritual rest He provides for us. It is a call to yield not to the things around us, but rather to be given utterly over to Christ to live His life in us. The Lord is calling us away from the endless struggle of dead works, which so often disappoints and leads to hopelessness, back to the place of restfulness in God's presence. He wants us to experience the inner stillness and peace of abiding in His presence, even in the midst of all the activity that swirls about us and vies for our attention. Cultivating this stillness is vital in the times and seasons in which we live, where many live in hopelessness, while the love of others is growing cold. As we read and meditate on the words of Hebrews 4:1-11, let us see Jesus seated on the throne resting in the Father's love, and praise Him for opening the way up into the Holy of Holies for us to experience the rest of God. This year, let us answer God's call to the higher life, the holier life, and the deeper life of intimacy, trust and rest in God. Let us cease our wilderness wandering and follow Jesus into the promise land of life, victory, abundance, and restfulness. "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him" (Psalm 62:5).

"Now we who have believed enter that rest,
just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in My anger,
'They shall never enter My rest.' "
And yet His work has been finished since the creation of the world."
(Hebrews 4:3)

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  #151  
Old 01-09-2017, 11:12 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)

When we think of a god or a king, we often think of one who cannot understand the plight and poverty of common man. But Jehovah God is not a god made by human hands, nor a mere human king who lives in luxury. Our God is the Creator, the One, true, and living God, who understands us perfectly because He lived on earth as a man and "was tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." Jesus was tempted in all things so that He could help us, and He is willing and able to give us what we need. Jesus is a compassionate high priest who patiently bears with our weakness and can help us in the depths of helplessness and despair. "Why so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God" (Psalm 42:5).

Our reading in Hebrews 4:14-5:9, begins with the words, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest..." Jesus came down to earth to bring us near to God, and now we have a high priest in heaven whom we can trust to help us and provide all that we need. His eternal work in heaven is to be our High Priest and Mediator, and He delights in leading us into the life and love found in fellowship with the Father. May we see our Savior as He is before the throne, a compassionate and kind high priest, who knows the cost and suffering involved in conquering the sin and temptation that prevented our access to the Father, and the weakness and helplessness of man unable to do it on his own. Let us offer up a prayer of praise expressing our confidence and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ as the one who utterly understands our suffering and sympathizes with our struggles here in this world. Let us claim His life in heaven as our own, holding fast to Him and following Him into the presence of God.

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest
who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess."
(Hebrews 4:14)
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  #152  
Old 01-11-2017, 9:54 AM
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Solid Food for the Mature

"But solid food is for the mature,
who by constant use have trained themselves
to distinguish good from evil."
~ Hebrews 5:14

We've come to the end of our first week in our journey to enter the holiest of all and experience the rest of God in His sanctuary. In the first few chapters of Hebrews we have seen God in His humanity, taking on our human flesh and revealing Himself as a God of compassion, sympathy, and kindness; learning obedience through His suffering. And in His divinity, with His ascension to the throne of heaven as the crowning revelation of who His is and what He has done for us; removing the hindrances out of our way so He can lead us into perfect fellowship and loving communion with the Father. These first few steps of our journey lay an important foundation that will lead us on to higher teaching and the deeper truths of God's Word as revealed in the Book of Hebrews, and the rich spiritual blessings available to those who desire to progress in their Christian walk and go on to the perfection made available to us in the inner sanctuary.

Today, more than ever, it is vital for the believer to understand and experience what it means to live the surrendered life of rest in God, and to take authority in prayer; fervent, effectual prayer that lays hold of the wisdom and power of God and wars victoriously in the heavenly realms. We must be better prepared and equipped to take our stand against the forces of evil in this world (Ephesians 6:10-18). The invisible battle for the heart, mind and soul of mankind wages on internally, while visible warfare from external threats like Islam and the post-modern culture, which seeks to eliminate all traces of God from society, is relentless in its attacks, and directed at hindering the true pilgrim from advancing along the path towards perfection. We must not settle for the lower stages of the Christian life, nor stagnate in our progress towards the heavenly life. If we truly desire to experience the fullness of the abundant life found in Christ, and long to see the purposes of God accomplished and His kingdom advanced in this world, then we must be more intentional in our pursuit of the knowledge of the heavenly priesthood of Jesus Christ and the heavenly life He brings into our hearts. As we read and meditate on the words of Hebrews 5:11-14 today, may we find, in these first 21-days of the New Year, our hearts awakened to hunger for the deeper truths of God's Word and to thirst for more fellowship and communion with the the Lord. May it be our aim this year to advance on to maturity, to a life of obedience and holiness, with a heart sensitive to sin, and a will yielded to the purposes of God. "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me...I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12, 14). He is worthy!
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  #153  
Old 01-13-2017, 9:21 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment." (Hebrews 6:1-2)

Our Sanctuary journey is leading us to understand what true spiritual rest is. It is not a rest from work that leads to inactivity and neglect of duty and responsibility. Rather it is the experience of power for higher activity found in ceasing from human works and self-effort to yield oneself fully to enter into the rest of God, allowing Him to work and live in us. The believer's rest is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His ascension to the throne in heaven. Our whole duty now consists of pressing on to the perfection provided in Christ.

Just as a parent expects their child to leave the infant stage and learn to walk and use all their limbs and faculties to move on to maturity, our heavenly Father expects His children to progress in their spiritual life. The beauty of the spiritual life is that the length of time that is required for growth and maturity in human nature is not necessarily the same for our spiritual growth. Higher levels of spiritual progress are available to the heart that desires it and willingly yields to the work of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. Sadly, however, many believers remain in the infancy stage of the Christian life, dependent upon the "elementary" teachings of God, and never go on to experience the higher life of perfection. We become like a plant that is withering, rather than a blossoming tree that bears much fruit. Instead of seeing the house built, furnished, and occupied by the Master, we remain at the foundation and never begin the construction. As a result, many believers miss out on becoming a true habitation for the Holy Spirit, and all the blessings of the life and power that brings. As we read and meditate on the words of Hebrews 6:1-12, let us ask our High Priest to take us behind the veil to experience His perfection and the fullness of the heavenly life He has prepared for us. Let us surrender to the work of the Master Builder to complete the work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

"For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man,
I put childish ways behind me.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known."
(1 Corinthians 13:9-12)

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  #154  
Old 01-14-2017, 10:44 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged." (Hebrews 6:17-18)

Most people begin the New Year with a list of resolutions and a renewed determination to do better in all areas of life, particularly in the areas of health and fitness, however, for the Christian, there is nothing more important than the care and attention that is given to the inner life. As partakers of the new birth, ours is a spiritual life, and it is essential that we listen to the exhortations and warnings written in the letter to the Hebrews, calling believers to press on to maturity through daily diligence and perseverance. This message is as important in the age we are living in as it was to the early church, for the threats of falling away are as real now as they were back then. "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on our guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen" (2 Peter 3:17-18).

Much of this earthly life serves to unfit the believer for the heavenly life, but God has promised through His Son to work in us all that He has promised. It is His plan and purpose to bless us and to make our lives a channel of blessing for others, if we will trust in His faithfulness to complete the work He began in us. As we read Hebrews 6:13-7:10, let us look to the unchanging nature of God and His purposes, and rest in the One who cannot lie to us, to do what only He can do. Let us praise Him for the promise of blessing given to Abraham, of which we are heirs, and open our hearts in deeper faith to honor Him with our willingness to wait for the fulfillment of all that He wants to accomplish in our lives.

"God is not a man, that He should lie,
nor a son of man, that He should change His mind.
Does He speak and then not act?
Does He promise and not fulfill?"
(Numbers 23:19)

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  #155  
Old 01-19-2017, 10:14 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "For when there is a change of priesthood, there must also be a change of law...And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life." (Hebrews 7:12, 15-16)

The Levitical priesthood was set up as a shadow of the work our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, would come to do on earth. The work of sacrifice and blood-shedding was repeated over and over in the life of Israel. Atonement and acceptance were achieved by constant and continuous effort, and only temporarily; for the work had to be repeated. The New Covenant, provided in Christ, would rewrite the law and put an end to the powerless, imperfect system. The culture of death would become a culture of life with the sacrificial death of the spotless Lamb of God when He ascended to heaven to sit upon the throne and become our living Priest-King.

Jesus provides for us the power of an indestructible ("endless" NKJV) life. The weakness of our flesh and the past system of law, with its helplessness to produce perfection, has been replaced with pardon and power. As we read and meditate on the beautiful words of Hebrews 7:11-28, let us lift our hearts in praise and worship to our Priest-King, who has opened the way for us who believe to experience the fullness of His resurrection and ascension power in our lives. Let us take time to be still in His presence and bask in His perfection. As we learn to rest in this posture of surrender, we will experience the blessings of His life flowing through us and the joy of delighting in His presence. Let us draw nearer to God. The closer we are to Him, the further we will be from this world. Let us seek greater separation from the world this year - and all the weakness associated with it - and go on to the life of power and perfection waiting for us in the throne room of heaven.

"The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless
(for the law made nothing perfect),
and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God."
(Hebrews 7:18-19)

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  #156  
Old 01-20-2017, 10:56 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant." (Hebrews 9:1-4)

The earthly tabernacle ("the sanctuary of this world" NKJV), in its design, revealed what separation exists between sinful man and holy God, and, in its activity, foreshadowed the work that would be done for man to gain entrance into the presence of God. The tabernacle was divided into two spaces: the Holy Place and the Most holy Place. The priesthood ministered in the Holy Place. In this outer chamber of the sanctuary man was able to worship and serve God, but a veil kept him from entering in and enjoying fellowship with God. Man was kept at a distance from God. In the Most Holy Place, the Holiest of All, was God's dwelling place and man was forbidden to enter, except for once a year, on the Day of Atonement, when the high priest was allowed to enter into the presence of God. In the fullness of time, Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, came to open the way for man to enter into the presence of God, into the Holiest of All, the presence of God. It is here, in the inner chamber, that the Lord desires for His people to enter in and dwell today.

The Minister of the sanctuary of heaven wants His people to experience all the power and joy that is available to us behind the veil; sadly, however, many believers still serve at a distance and have not entered in to experience a life of fellowship and communion with holy God. As we read and meditate on Hebrews 9:1-10, may our hearts be awakened to intense desire for the presence of God above all else this year. May we understand the access we have been given through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and there is an open heaven available to us when we pray. May we seek to spend time in the presence of God every single day, and not just once a week when we enter the earthly sanctuary of our church. May our lives become a holy and heavenly sanctuary for His presence to dwell.

"When everything had been arranged like this,
the priests entered regularly into the outer room
to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest
entered the inner room, and that only once a year,
and never without blood, which he offered for himself
and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance."
(Hebrews 9:6-7)

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  #157  
Old 01-21-2017, 9:43 AM
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2

Look: "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, He went through the greater more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:11-12)


In his service to the Lord in the Most Holy Place the high priest only entered the inner chamber of the Most Holy Place once a year, but not without blood (Hebrews 9:7). This he did as an offering, not only for himself, but also for the sins of the people. The Levitical priesthood was established as a ministry to honor and worship God and to bless others. The power to serve both God and man was utterly dependent upon the blood. "For the life of a creature is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). Without the cleansing power of the blood the work of the priest had no effect. Let us look, with grateful hearts, upon the One who entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, for us. He gave up His life that we might live - and not for ourselves, but in loving service toward God and others.

As we read and meditate on Hebrews 9:11-28 today, may we receive, with humility and gratitude, this glorious reminder of the power of our Savior's perfect sacrifice and precious blood which opened the way to the heavenly Sanctuary, into the Holiest of All - the presence of God. How apt we are to turn the focus on ourselves and the work we must do, rather than rest in the finished work of our Redeemer and Mediator, who has obtained for us eternal redemption by His blood. Let us bask in the spiritual light that no longer hides behind the veil, but shines brilliantly in our hearts through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, cleansing and enabling us to serve the living God. Let us lay aside all desire to work in our own strength, and trust in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ which saves, cleanses, perfects, sanctifies and fit us for fellowship with holy God. "Would you do service for Jesus your King? There's power in the blood, power in the blood; Would you live daily His praises to sing? There's wonderful power in the blood." (Lewis Ellis Jones, 1865-1936, Would You Be Free From Your Burden of Sin).

"How much more, then, will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,
so that we may serve the living God!"
(Hebrews 9:14)

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  #158  
Old 01-24-2017, 10:31 AM
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"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
'May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.'
For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say 'Peace be within you.'
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your prosperity."
~ Psalm 122:6-9

Israel had a special covenant relationship with Jehovah God. He delivered His people out of slavery in Egypt to lead them into the Promise Land of freedom and blessing. All along the way He purposed to bring them into His perfect peace and rest, but they struggled, grumbled, complained, and failed to believe God's promise, and tragically an entire generation was denied access into the promised land. At Mount Sinai the Lord entered into a covenant relationship with Israel, and the people joyfully accepted His offer, "Everything the LORD has said we will do" (Exodus 24:3b). Their intentions were admirable, but their commitment was short-lived. The stones were barely hot off the presses when the people revolted. "They have been quick to turn away from what I have commanded them and have made themselves an idol..." (Exodus 32:8a). The people began well, but lacked the power in themselves to continue.

As we read and meditate on the words of Hebrews 8:7-13, we are reminded of the faultiness of the first covenant spoken of in the previous chapter. "The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless" (Hebrews 7:18). The old covenant made no provision to empower the people to live a life of faithfulness and obedience to God's holy law. Hebrews records Jeremiah's prophetic announcement that a better provision would come (Jeremiah 31:31-34). "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering" (Romans 8:3). The people did not have the power within that was necessary to continue in the ways of God. The old covenant was written on tablets of stone; hard, temporary, breakable, and external. No matter how many times Moses went up the mountain into the presence of God, he could not achieve for the people what Jesus Christ, the great Mediator of the covenant, did when He ascended on high and "entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood" and "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of heaven" (Hebrews 9:12b;1:3b). Our great Minister and Mediator entered the heavenly sanctuary once, and opened the way for sinful man to have fellowship with holy God. The external law, powerless in its effect on the interior life, would now, because of the superiority of the new covenant, be written on the soft, pliable tablet of the heart of man; and, because it is founded on better promises, would bring the necessary transformation to the inner nature to make it responsive to the will of God; causing the nature to act the way it was created before sin polluted God's sanctuary. Truly we can experience all the peace and rest of the heavenly life when we open our hearts to trust God and let Him have full possession of our lives.

As we pray for Israel today, let us lift our hearts and voices in praise to our great Mediator and Minister of the Sanctuary for bringing all the life and power of the true sanctuary of heaven into our hearts, and for the indwelling presence of the Holy spirit who enables us to continually abide in God's presence and enjoy fellowship with Him. May God's covenant people, Israel, come to "know the Lord" and experience His peace and rest, without work or effort, but entirely based on His infinite mercy.

"I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest,
and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth."
(Isaiah 62:6-7)
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that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #159  
Old 01-25-2017, 10:16 AM
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Godbetheglory Godbetheglory is offline
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"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2



Look: "Therefore, when Christ came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, O God." (Hebrews 10:5-7)

The sanctuary was opened up and cleansed so that sinful man could enter into the presence of holy God through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The blood of our Savior is infinite in its power and ability to save. The law was only a shadow, not the substance, of the living reality that was to come in Christ Jesus. The law was ineffective in its ability to remove sin, because the body of an animal could not provide an adequate substitute for the body of man who was made in the image of God. "But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Hebrews 10:3-4).

The sacrifices of animals that were presented year after year on the altar were given to symbolize the act of substitution; it reminded the people that someone had to die in their place. When God prepared the body of Christ to be the final substitute on the altar of sacrifice for mankind, a new and living way was opened up. The body of a perfect man, made in the image of God, was sacrificed, and full access into the Holiest of All became a spiritual reality. The body of Christ achieved what the body of animals never could, and demonstrated that the pathway out of the bondage of sin and into the presence of God could only be achieved by offering the body up as a sacrifice to God. Jesus offered up the body God prepared for Him lovingly, willingly and obediently to God and for mankind. Today as we read and meditate on the words of Hebrews 10:1-18, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to our Savior for His great sacrifice. May we not just offer lip service, but be willing to follow His example wholeheartedly by giving up our bodies entirely as an offering to God. "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing" (John 6:63a). We were created in the image of God to be in fellowship with Him, may we go on to experience the blessings of the heavenly life which Christ has provided, by allowing Him to take full possession of our bodies to be made into His glorified image. Let us remove the obstacle that stands in our way, once and for all, and love God with our whole being. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).

"He sets aside the first to establish the second.
And by that will, we have been made holy
through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
(Hebrews 9b, 10)

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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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  #160  
Old 01-26-2017, 10:11 AM
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Godbetheglory Godbetheglory is offline
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Default SANCTUARY

"We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty of heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary;
the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man."
- Hebrews 8:1b-2



Look: "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:19-23)

Access to God's presence has been provided in Christ Jesus, and now we are exhorted to enter in and appropriate the salvation we have received by living and abiding in the fellowship of God. We, like the Israelites of old, have been called to leave the old life behind and enter into the promise land of rest in God. The inner chamber into the heart of God has been opened to us through the blood of Jesus, and all the riches of the heavenly life and love of the Father are available to us, if we will honor His sacrifice and the infinite worth of His blood by coming boldly and with confidence into the Holiest of All. "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..." (v.22).

The wondrous work of our great Mediator is to bring us near to God. He has delivered us from the power of sin and has prepared for Himself a sanctuary in heaven and within the hearts of His people. The promise of the new covenant is that God would write His law upon our hearts (v.16). He wants our whole hearts for Himself, and so He calls us to draw near with a sincere heart. The heart, which was created to experience the love and fellowship with God, but turned from its Creator to self because of sin, and which is in great danger of always wandering and becoming worldly, is the place that God has chosen as His dwelling place. Let us heed the exhortations and warnings of Hebrews 10:19-34, and ask the Lord to empty our hearts of all else so that we can live wholly for God this year, and not for ourselves, but for His glory and for the good of others. May the love of the Father, which we experience in the Holiest of All, become the breath of our lives, as we are filled with the Spirit and with the love of Christ, so that we can go out and lead others into His love. May the work of our inner lives be proved in the love we show to others, as we care for needs of the body of Christ, by helping and encouraging each other to leave the other courts and enter into the the Most Holy Place of the presence of God. "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18).

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another - and all the more
as you see the Day approaching."
(Hebrews 10:24-25)
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"But these are written that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you may have life in His name."
(John 20:31)
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