Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year [Yom Kippur], not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Whatever we direct our affections, energies, and hopes towards is our object of worship. Our heart needs Jesus; our flesh craves idols. This is why growing in love for Christ requires daily execution of idols. But how do we know what our idols are?
In The Bookends of the Christian Life Jerry Bridges offers twelve “questions” to help us identify our functional saviors:
1. I am preoccupied with ________. 2. If only ________, then I would be happy. 3. I get my sense of significance from ________. 4. I would protect and preserve ________ at any cost. 5. I fear losing ________. 6. The thing that gives me greatest pleasure is ________. 7. When I lose ________, I get angry, resentful, frustrated, anxious, or depressed. 8. For me, life depends on ________. 9. The thing I value more than anything in the world is ________. 10. When I daydream, my mind goes to________. 11. The best thing I can think of is ________. 12. The thing that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning is ________.
Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food.
So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
"Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.
"But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."
The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them. The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.
“The principle crime of the human race…is idolatry. For although each individual sin retains its own proper feature… they all fall under the general heading of idolatry…. All murder and adultery, for example are idolatry, for they arise because something is loved more than God‑‑yet in turn, all idolatry is murder for it assaults God, and all idolatry is also adultery for it is unfaithfulness to God. Thus it comes to pass, that in idolatry all crimes are detected, and in all crimes idolatry.”—Tertullian- On Idolatry
How many “things” or “people” are we putting our faith and trust in? In other words, who else and what else are we relying on instead of God? I wish I had a more gentle way to introduce that idea but I was accosted by it myself today as I prayed through Psalm 33:
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let NO ONE go there UNWARNED or UNPRAYED for!”—Charles Spurgeon (via danohlerking)
Wikipedia knows everything. Even how honey tastes:
Whatever. Belief in the most intellectually astute explanations on Wiki will never replace the simplicity of TASTING a drop of pure honey. You might be able to rattle off all the technical reasons why honey tastes the way that it tastes, but…
“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But it’s absolutely vital to grasp that He didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace. His purposes are not random or arbitrary. If you are still alive on this planet, it’s because he has something for you to do.”—Francis Chan (via grandmotherwillowwisdom)
“In many cases, we may, by the rules of the gospel, be obliged to give to others, when we cannot do it without suffering ourselves. if our neighbor’s difficulties and necessities be much greater than our own, and we see that he is not like to be otherwise relieved, we should be willing to suffer with him, and to take part of his burden on ourselves; else how is that rule of bearing one another’s burdens fulfilled? If we be never obliged to relieve other’s burdens, but when we can do it without burdening ourselves, then do we bear our neighbor’s burden, when we bear no burden at all?”—Jonathan Edwards (via christiansimas)
From the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, The Return of the King:
“But Sam lay back, and started with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last has gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”
“A great shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.
“How do I feel?” he cried. “Well I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel” – he waved his arms in the air – “I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!”’
“Behold, I am making all things new.” – Jesus (Revelation 21:5)
I know it’s not easy, but this is the call from our Lord Jesus the Christ: give love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness where it is least expected. Of course you’re angry about Islamic violence. Of course you desire to do something to make them feel pain the way you have. Of course you’re frustrated by the feeling that your own religious liberties are being trampled on. But, as Jesus instructs, it doesn’t do you ANY good at all to take matters into your own hands. This is not the way of Jesus. Listen to his sermon from almost 2 millennia ago: "But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”(Luke 6:27-36 ESV)
“One of the greatest aspects of being in relationship with the Holy Spirit is the intimacy, security and encouragement He brings us. It is then we can serve God as a beloved child rather than a stressed-out, guilt-ridden slave.”—Francis Chan (via peacenotwar)
This book is practical advice on living your life on mission for Christ. Max Lucado takes verses from the book of Acts and expands upon them to put together a book that is both easy to read and deeply convicting. Each chapter focuses on different subjects like care for the poor, letting God bring you out of your shell, intercessory prayer and much more. Included at the end of the book is a discussion and action guide.
I was highly moved by this book. It’s simple style and down-to-earth language made it highly compelling and moved you along from subject to subject in anticipation of what comes next. Max Lucado shows that his heart is with God’s heart for the poor in this book and backs it up by actions. (James 2: 14-17) One hundred percent of the author’s royalties from Outlive Your Life products will benefit children and families through World Vision and other faith-based compassion.
I highly recommend this book!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
“External activities can’t change us, says Jesus, because sin comes from within, from our hearts. Our rituals might change our behavior for a while, but they can’t change our hearts.”—Tim Chester, You Can Change (via ryancollman)
“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”—John Piper (God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself) (via endodo4ever)
“An idolatrous attatchment can lead you to break any promise, rationalise any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance, in order to hold on to it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries. To pratctice idolatry is to be a slave.”—Tim Keller (via peacenotwar)
“Let affliction come —God has chosen me. Poverty, you may stride in at my door —but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude, but I have a basalm already —God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that He has chosen me. Fear not, Christian, for Jesus is with you. In all your fiery trials His presence is both your comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own.”—Charles Spurgeon (via caitlinfaith)
It is appropriate for Christians to love their nation, to serve their country, and to seek the shalom of their city. It is not appropriate for us to confuse our national citizenship with our citizenship in the kingdom of God nor to attempt to confuse these two things by appropriating Christian terminology in the service of political zealotry.
Your plan for the anniversary of the September 11 attacks has recently come to my attention and I feel compelled, under the authority of Christ, burdened by the Holy Spirit by the clear command of Scripture in the Word of God to plead with you, in love, to repent from…
Don Whitney’s 10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, from the book of the same name:
1. Do you thirst for God? 2. Are you governed increasingly by God’s Word? 3. Are you more loving? 4. Are you more sensitive to God’s presence? 5. Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others? 6. Do you delight in the bride of Christ? 7. Are the spiritual disciplines increasingly important to you? 8. Do you still grieve over sin? 9. Are you a quicker forgiver? 10. Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?
“We shouldn’t worry about our lives, what we’ll eat, buy, or wear. God says the American dream is absolute foolishness. It’s exactly what Christians are doing and defending. God could take your life at any time. Don’t conform to the patterns of this world.”—Francis Chan (via shewashurrican)
“Our sin must be extremely horrible. Nothing reveals the gravity of sin like the cross… . It is impossible for us to face Christ’s cross with integrity and not to feel ashamed of ourselves… . For if there was no way by which the righteous God could righteously forgive our unrighteousness, except that he should bear it himself in Christ, it must be serious indeed.”—John Stott, The Cross of Christ.