Old & New Covenants

Hebrews 9

Old Covenant Ministry

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Now the first covenant also had regulations for ministry and an earthly sanctuary.

2 For a tabernacle was set up, and in the first room, which is called the holy place, were the lampstand, the table, and the presentation loaves.

3 Behind the second curtain, the tabernacle was called the most holy place.

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4 It contained the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which there was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.

5 The cherubim of glory were above it overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now.

6 With these things set up this way, the priests enter the first room repeatedly, performing their ministry.

7 But the high priest alone enters the second room, and he does that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.

8 The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing.

9 This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper’s conscience.

10 They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of restoration.

New Covenant Ministry

11 But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation),

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12 He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,

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14 how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?

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15 Therefore, He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

16 Where a will exists, the death of the one who made it must be established.

17 For a will is valid only when people die, since it is never in force while the one who made it is living.

18 That is why even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood.

19 For when every command had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll itself and all the people,

20 saying, This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded for you.

21 In the same way, he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the articles of worship with blood.

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22 According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these.

24 For the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that He might now appear in the presence of God for us.

25 He did not do this to offer Himself many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another.

26 Otherwise, He would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

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27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment—

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28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.


“There Is Power In The Blood – Kaleb Brasee”


“Are You Washed In The Blood? – Antrim Mennonite Choir”

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26 thoughts on “Old & New Covenants

  1. Daily Devotional — 11/29/16

    EVANGELISM FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
    “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19

    Johan Companjen, President Emeritus of Open Doors International, was travelling in the Philippines. Finding it extremely hot in his hotel room, he called for a staff person. “Is the air-conditioning not working?” he asked. “Oh yes sir,” the man replied, “It’s working. It’s just not functioning!”

    Jesus Christ ordained five functions for His church to be involved in for Him. We are to evangelize (Matthew 28:19); to disciple or train those who are evangelized (Matthew 28:20); to minister or serve people demonstrating God’s love (Matthew 22:39; Ephesians 4:12); to fellowship together (Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 6:10); and to worship together (Matthew 4:10; John 4:23). In the Bible, there is not necessarily a priority order for these five purposes. They are all equally important.

    Evangelism is one primary function. If we really have come to know Christ as Lord and Savior, we will want to share this wonderful experience with those we love. It sometimes seems hard or embarrassing to share the Gospel with our friends and relatives. But if we really love them, and if we really believe that without Christ they will suffer for eternity separated from God, we will tell them no matter how oppressive the culture or the political situation may be.

    Restrictions on the church cause new creative means of evangelism to arise. In a restricted country of Asia, one such creative method is to hire a bus and invite relatives and friends to a free outing to the beach. Once in the bus, the pastor with a hand-held loudspeaker starts preaching to his “captive audience” about the love of Christ. At the beach the sharing and fellowship continues…as well as a water baptism for new believers.

    In Soviet Russia, a group of Christians took advantage of the funeral of a small daughter of one of the members to present a public evangelistic witness. On the way to the cemetery, they stopped every few hundred meters to sing triumphant songs of praise. The father of the dead child also gave a clear message of salvation in Christ. Many listeners along the way were deeply touched.

    In Vietnam, Pastor Ho Hieu Ha spent over six years in prison for pastoring a growing church right under the noses of the unhappy authorities. But he felt that his imprisonment was not a waste because he used the time to witness to others who were also in prison. When he was released, he had led ninety-six people to Jesus and discipled them.

    RESPONSE: I am committed to sharing Christ’s love with others. It is a primary function of the church.

    PRAYER: Pray for those in restricted environments as they creatively find ways to witness about their faith.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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  2. It is an interesting idea that is vaguely perhaps even strongly confirmed in the scripture when it comes to the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat how it affects prayer in a less favorable manner for us, here it goes!

    Remember Daniel and how he struggled before prayer was answered in the form of an angel who said he had to battle the Prince of Persia to come through!

    The mercy seat has two angels covering! It is said in the Kjv that the devil was the ANOINTED cherub that covereth! Christ means ANOINTED also!
    The devil was confronted by the archangel who rebuked him in the name of the Lord because he has something in his title namely the anointing that gives him some special rights even to this day like in Job he presented himself amongst the sons of God!

    Some say he was the third cherubim on top covering the Lords glory which was his supreme and anointed title until pride made him fall!

    This anointing is still in effect until he will be thrown down and can only be removed by the Lord when he is thrown down into the pit! Saul was anointed and David did not raise his hand against him precisely for that reason! Remember the archangel also.

    In the Shinar directive Michael Lake bases an idea that the devils anointing works today to hinder prayers made like in Daniels case and that it takes perseverance and faith to overcome this hindrance!

    Paul says to run and compete like an athlete to finish the race, Christ says watch and keep vigil.

    We have alot there is still in effect from the old covenant but the new covenant replaces those things but it is still in effect until the death of the testator! And Christ said the Lords words ie the old testament will stay in power until eternity comes, as long as heaven and earth remains! These are though spatial and time concepts and i though mortal and fallible i am assume that as the new creation comes into effect the perfect order will once again assume and the covenants made for our fallen condition will be null and void decreed by the Lord!

    And also the old anointing title given to the devil and other anointings which give royal rights to the recipient will be subjected to the Lord and him alone, both in good and bad!

    So it is a daunting thing to perceive and study these things but Jc has produced a good framework where to step from here!
    Run and study and show yourself to be a workman in studying and applying the word!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that with us Stig. Feel free any time to reference the specific books/chapters/verses and I will be glad to pull over the details from those. Maybe these will start a new post topic?

      I sometimes have to pull up several versions of the Bible at the same time — it gives me a better understanding of meaning.

      I agree that studying is good and being able to apply the word is even better 🙂

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    2. Wow, timely post and response, James and Stig! It’s the same one I am studying here via Chuck Missler. I got corrected “again” over prayer for leaders, and wish there was more regarding why Satan and Michael fought over Moses body! It goes back again to “the Lord rebuke thee” from Michael to Satan, even Michael dared not bring accusations against Satan etc. personally. Much to that but the scary part is wondering if there’s a Saul/Paul somewhere in the middle of the mess at the WH……………………

      Daunting is a good word Stig.

      I often wonder too, if the battle of warfare is to keep us from entering in to the Holy of Holies……..a perfect rest while here also……..thus the battles of life rage around us to distract and attack from all areas…… seems they are in high gear, overdrive and the sulpher dwellers are working in and through new people, and more people on a personal level more and in sneakier ways…..

      Great reminder to wake up and read again!!! Just the visual of the temple causes one pause:)

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  3. Here’s a good reminder in scripture about Spiritual Warfare:

      Ephesians 6:10-18

    10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.
    11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.
    12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
    13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
    14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,
    righteousness like armor on your chest,
    15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
    16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
    17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,
    which is God’s word.
    18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

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  4. Good one James! It is on my desktop, what is that thing…….wallpaper lol.
    Asking for prayer over a lady very close to me, to really know the love of Christ. The person is adopted, struggles to name any feelings and has come through many abusive relationships. Searching through lists on the attributes of His love. God has adopted us, yet this can be a difficult challenge for many when the heart is torn and soul are in a battle……..One that really ministered to me years ago:

    Zephaniah 3:17
    The Lord your God in your midst,
    The Mighty One, will save;
    He will rejoice over you with gladness,
    He will quiet you with His love,
    He will rejoice over you with singing.”

    I still remember my thoughts over 20 years ago when I came across this verse. He sings over us……..what a personal Father who expressed such emotion! …….one of many……off to search more:)

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  5. I studied a little into the concept of the (false) anointing of the devil last night and looking at it from a biblical perspective when he says I WILL 5 times in Isaiah 14-13-14

    13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

    14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    He is doing a sort of false anointing exalting himself 5 times and titling himself while the number 5 represents death. So in essence by exalting and pride taking over he kills whatever greatness used to be in him before he fell!

    There is more to this also as Michael Lake says there seems to be a false anointing over many congregations of today especially charismatic movements that forego the Word of God with programs and human techniques to attract people into their congregations.

    Get thee behind me Satan said Christ and remarked that the devil is always looking out for human things that lead away people from true worship. That ought to be a lead in an organisation if the Word of God is only superficial with main emphasis being on glitz and attraction of followers!

    Can anyone say purpose driven church……..i rest my case and if anyone has a Columbo moment please write below 🙂

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    1. Stig, I thought that part of scripture looked familiar. I think I had referenced this in some prior posts about the Fall of Babylon. This part of scripture to me lets me know that any nation or leader:”King, President, Queen, Prime Minister, etc.” whose pride, sin and arrogance is a total abomination to the Lord, can expect to be utterly destroyed as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah. We see this Globally, but it seems to be more obvious with the leaders in the United States.

      This is Isaiah 14:3-22 “Downfall of the King of Babylon”

      3 When the Lord gives you rest from your pain, torment, and the hard labor you were forced to do, 4 you will sing this song of contempt about the king of Babylon and say: How the oppressor has quieted down, and how the raging has become quiet!
      5 The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers.
      6 It struck the peoples in anger with unceasing blows. It subdued the nations in rage
      with relentless persecution. 7 All the earth is calm and at rest;
      people shout with a ringing cry. 8 Even the cypresses and the cedars of Lebanon
      rejoice over you: “Since you have been laid low, no woodcutter has come against us.”
      9 Sheol below is eager to greet your coming. He stirs up the spirits of the departed for you—
      all the rulers of the earth. He makes all the kings of the nations rise from their thrones.
      10 They all respond to you, saying: “You too have become as weak as we are; you have become like us!
      11 Your splendor has been brought down to Sheol, along with the music of your harps.
      Maggots are spread out under you, and worms cover you.”
      12 Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens!
      You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground.
      13 You said to yourself: “I will ascend to the heavens;
      I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly,
      in the remotest parts of the North. 14 I will ascend above the highest clouds;
      I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you will be brought down to Sheol
      into the deepest regions of the Pit. 16 Those who see you will stare at you;
      they will look closely at you: “Is this the man who caused the earth to tremble,
      who shook the kingdoms, 17 who turned the world into a wilderness,
      who destroyed its cities and would not release the prisoners to return home?”
      18 All the kings of the nations lie in splendor, each in his own tomb.
      19 But you are thrown out without a grave, like a worthless branch,
      covered by those slain with the sword and dumped into a rocky pit like a trampled corpse.
      20 You will not join them in burial, because you destroyed your land
      and slaughtered your own people. The offspring of evildoers will never be remembered.
      21 Prepare a place of slaughter for his sons, because of the iniquity of their fathers.
      They will never rise up to possess a land or fill the surface of the earth with cities.
      22 “I will rise up against them”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts—“and I will cut off from Babylon her reputation, remnant, offspring, and posterity”—this is the Lord’s declaration.
      23 “I will make her a swampland and a region for screech owls, and I will sweep her away with a broom of destruction.”

      This is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts.

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      1. Strong Words! Curry Blake talks much about the false anointing too. How much of the world has come into the church along with Mid East stuff. Think we’ll keep on praying for the pastors to wake up, repent and speak Truth.

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    2. We need to keep anyone in a church leader position in prayer. I agree Stig, that there are many out there that are “Seeker Friendly, Purpose Driven” churches that are primarily interested in cash-flow and really don’t care about the eternal life of their members. These people are going to come under hard judgment unless they repent and turn back to the truth. If leaders refuse to talk about repentance, Hell and the consequences of continuation in sin — they will be held accountable!

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  6. Daily Devotional — 12/1/16

    A Scar Shaped Like Your Picture
    Isaiah 49:8–18

    Recommended Reading: Psalm 13:1–6; John 20:24–28; Romans 8:35–39

    For whatever reason, from the time they’re little boys guys like to show off their scars. A polite conversation with any average group of guys can suddenly turn into some bizarre, male-bonding ritual. First someone tells a story about crashing his mountain bike and the resulting scar on his knee. Then another guy regales the group about the scar left from his shoulder surgery. Another points out the scar on his hand and tells about his hunting-knife accident. Before you know it, the whole group is showing off their scars and relating the incidents behind the wounds.

    Today’s passage tells us that God likes to do this as well—not to one-up anyone else with another great story but to reassure us of his devotion to his people.

    In truth, there is something interesting about scars: They follow us wherever we go, and the stories behind them remind us of significant people and events in our lives.

    The people of Israel had certainly wandered all over the place—both physically and spiritually. After the nation had faced devastation, occupation and deportation by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies, the people of Israel wondered, “God, have you forgotten us?” God answered through the prophet Isaiah: “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15–16).

    Did you know that God bears a scar on his hand in the shape of your picture? Of course, because God is a spirit, he doesn’t have a literal hand. But you’re so present on God’s mind that it’s as though he has engraved your image on the palms of his hands.

    Perhaps the fury of whatever storm you’re facing dims God’s voice and blurs his presence. You might ask, “God, have you forgotten me?” How can he be present in the midst of your turmoil? But regardless of the storm’s intensity, you remain in the forefront of God’s thoughts. He’s thinking of you, sustaining you, comforting you, giving you strength. He doesn’t mentally check out. Whatever challenge you’re facing isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst that could happen would be for God to forget about you.

    But he hasn’t yet, and he never will.

    To Take Away
    Do you find it hard to accept that God knows your needs and cares for you to the extent that you’re always on his mind? Why?
    What events in your life have caused you to ask, “God, have you forgotten me?”
    How can you foster a deeper and more constant trust in the reality that God is always present with you?

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  7. Scripture — 12/1/16

      Ephesians 2

    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins
    2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient.
    3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!
    6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens,
    7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
    8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—
    9 not from works, so that no one can boast.
    10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
    11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands.
    12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
    13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.
    14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh,
    15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace.
    16 He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it.
    17 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
    18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
    19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household,
    20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone.
    21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord.
    22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

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  8. I’ve witnessed some amazing things the Lord has done with my neighbor and everyone around her. Continued prayers for her, that the Lord’s will be done in a family matter.

    Prayers for someone she knows in a similar situation. She also requested prayers for someone else that was just diagnosed with cancer.

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  9. As to your comment of mideastern stuff above Sonshine Roger Oakland talked about it way back in his video New wine babylonian vine in was it late 90s or early 2000s! There is an movement within the church that is looking only for concrete mystical experiences at the cost of spiritual development!

    Jesus said back in his days on earth that this generation looks for signs but they would be given only the sign of Jonah! Christ rescurrected that meant, so im a little wary about all kinds of mystical experiences portrayed in churches today!

    During my days i can only remember one time witnessing tongues in practical use that i can say i found it genuinely convincing from a biblical perspective+ some minor things like small scale healings.

    We need to be on our toes, experiences are not always from genuine biblical root, Maurice Strong Un affiliated billionaire wrote that Satan is the god of experiences!

    Let that be a reminder

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    1. Excellent reason for all of us to continue and pray for Clarity, Discernment & Wisdom. Without those, one can be fooled by anyone professing to be a Christian. Many are out there twisting scripture for personal gain.

      False signs and wonders can even fool the saints. I agree we should be concentrating on our Daily walk with the Lord and not go chasing after signs and wonders.

      Only those with Faith can expect to receive blessings from the Lord. Those blessings are too numerous to list — this is just a small example (healing of people & animals, financial help, receiving needed items as gifts, destructive storms moved out of the way, demonic spirits removed, etc….). Remember that if we believe and have faith (and do not doubt) the size of a mustard seed, whatever is asked in Jesus name will be given according to the will of the Father.

      Remember all the True Gifts Of the Spirit. Look for the characteristics of Christ in anyone proclaiming this title or that title.

      We need to be careful that none of us ever falsely accuse someone of consulting with demons, when in fact they can be receiving a true word from the Holy Spirit (Blasphemy Against The Spirit is the only sin that will not be forgiven). We could also be found guilty of such blasphemy by claiming someone with the gift of healing is receiving power from Satan. (Very important for Clarity, Discernment & Wisdom).

      **************************************************************************

      Some reminder scriptures:

      Acts 2:17-21
      17 And it will be in the last days, says God,
      that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;
      then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
      your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
      18 I will even pour out My Spirit on My male and female slaves in those days,
      and they will prophesy.
      19 I will display wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below:
      blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
      20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
      before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes.
      21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

      **************************************************************************
      Faith

      Matthew 21:21-23

      21 Jesus answered them, “I assure you: If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And if you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

      Matthew 17:20 “Because of your little faith,” He told them. “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

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      Gifts Of The Spirit

      1 Corinthians 12:4-11

      4 Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit.
      5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord.
      6 And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.
      7 A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:
      8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit,
      to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit,
      9 to another, faith by the same Spirit,
      to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
      10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy,
      to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages.
      11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.

      *******************************************************************
      Characteristics of Christ
      http://seekthisjesus.com/60-character-traits-of-christ/

      ******************************************************************
      False Prophets

      Jeremiah 14:14 But the Lord said to me, “These prophets are prophesying a lie in My name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, worthless divination, the deceit of their own minds.

      Micah 3:5 This is what the Lord says concerning the prophets who lead my people astray, who proclaim peace when they have food to sink their teeth into but declare war against the one who puts nothing in their mouths.

      Matthew 24:24 False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
      *************************************************************************
      Unforgiven Sin

      Matthew 12:31-32
      Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come.

      **************************************************************************
      The Lawless One Performing False Signs & Wonders

      2 Thessalonians 2:5-12

      5 Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I told you about this? 6 And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, 8 and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming.

      9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

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  10. Daily Devotional — 12/2/16

    MINISTRY FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
    …to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. Ephesians 4:12

    Another function of the church is ministry. As Christians we need to be aware of the spiritual needs of others and sensitively seek to help them at every opportunity—both fellow-believers and non-believers. A word of encouragement or a small act of kindness may be the deciding factor in whether or not a struggling friend is able to stand against the enemy.

    In a tribal area of northeast India, the poor Christians of one tribe made great sacrifices and took great risks to aid and encourage the new believers in another tribe after their leader, his wife and ten-year-old daughter were killed for their witness.

    Ministry is demonstrating God’s love to others by meeting their needs and healing their hurts in the name of Jesus. Each time you reach out in love to others you are ministering to them. The church is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry.

    A co-worker and his family were visiting in the southern part of the Ukraine. As they entered the hotel after a tiring day in the streets, their daughter came sobbing into their room. “I saw a man today begging for money. He had no legs and was sitting on a skateboard. He looked so poor and lonely.” The tears rolled down her cheeks. She truly felt compassion for a sight that they didn’t even notice.

    “I think Jesus wants us to give him a Bible when we see him again,” she commented after they prayed together.

    The following morning early, as they started their journey through the streets of Odessa, it wasn’t long before she saw him. They knew that there was a certain amount of risk involved in handing out Bibles in the streets and thus didn’t want to make it too obvious. He opened the Bible and slowly started paging through it. He reached down and took all the money in the handkerchief next to him and offered it to them.

    They suddenly realized that he must be under the impression that they were selling the Bible on the black market and therefore the offer of all his savings. “Nyet, gift, gift,” and they pushed back his hand with the money. He took the Bible, pressed it against his chest and then tears started rolling down his cheeks. He opened the Bible spending several minutes reading and paging through a book that he had obviously heard about but had never seen. They left him with hearts overflowing with gratitude.

    Jesus made ministry so simple. It can be as easy as offering a thirsty person a glass of water in His name!

    RESPONSE: Today I will look for opportunities to minister to needy hearts in Jesus’ name.

    PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I ask You to show me today those to whom I can minister in Your name.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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  11. Daily Devotional — 12/3/16

    WORSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
    “…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

    All true believers recognize the privilege and responsibility to worship God. This worship begins when the Holy Spirit enters our being and grows and continues throughout our lifetime. Every believer should worship the Lord privately as well as gather together with other believers to worship whenever possible. We can worship the Lord because of who He is, because of what He has done in creation and redemption, and because of all that He has done for us individually.

    Worship in Scripture seems to revolve around praising God. This is an act of the will not necessarily related to how a person “feels” or the immediate circumstances of life. In other words, we should praise the Lord even when things seem to be going wrong. This is an act of submission to His divine will and pleases the Lord (Psalm 67:3; Hebrews 13:15; Isaiah 12:1).

    Worship is evidently a matter of attitude that may be expressed outwardly in prayer, various bodily positions (such as kneeling), singing, dancing, clapping etc. Music plays a very important part in the heartfelt worship of most believers. The form of worship should reflect the believer’s cultural methods of showing adoration as long as it does not conflict with biblical guidelines.

    Worship in the early church was simply an outpouring of thanksgiving from a heart that rejoiced in the Lord in complete disregard of circumstances. This type of worship cannot be stopped by anyone. A group of Christians in hostile surroundings can worship in this simple way without being limited to a certain building, a special time, or a prescribed program.

    Worship is basically recognizing and declaring God’s glory, holiness and worth. An act of worship is an expression of this recognition. The New Testament writers seemed to assume that all people knew how to worship. They give us few examples of how the early Christians worshipped. Participation in the Lord’s Supper appears to have been their highest expression of worship. As they prayerfully remembered Jesus and His sacrificial death upon the cross for their sins, they were worshipping.

    There are scriptural references to other times of worship such as Peter’s prayer (Acts 4:23-28), and Paul and Silas’ experience in prison (Acts 16:23-25). Pastor Jack Hayford enjoys sharing the story about this as told by his favourite African-American preacher. Paul and Silas’ prison cell singing was heard all the way to the heavenly throne room of God. He began to tap his toe to the music. And since heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool, that toe tapping created an earthquake!!!

    RESPONSE: Today I desire every aspect of my life to declare God’s glory, holiness and worth.

    PRAYER: Pray today for Christians in countries like North Korea who rarely have opportunity to express openly and publically their worship of Almighty God.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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