blood (4)



We gathered again in the upper room where we had celebrated the Passover on that last night before our Lord was crucified. This had been a very exciting year. It began with the greatest tragedy we had ever experienced. That led to the most thrilling event in history. Jesus was raised from the dead! Everything in us and everything in the world was changed by those events. The church in Jerusalem continues to multiply despite severe opposition. However, most of us are being sent by the Spirit to other places. Some have gone beyond the borders of Israel. Jesus told us many times what he concluded as He ascended into the heavens. By the Spirit we are to take the good news to all the earth. 

Jesus gave us what we are calling His supper at the Passover. He told us to remember Him with the Supper as we had kept the Passover. We have begun to celebrate it in our love feasts. But this is the first Passover after the cross. And we thought it was appropriate to celebrate it in the upper room where Jesus first gave us this wonderful reminder. 

I began by saying, “We have gathered here tonight to remember that last supper with our Lord. We welcome you ladies and family members, the mother, sisters and brothers of our Lord, and of course, Matthias who has taken the place of Judas.” Peter then set the bread and the cup of wine before us. 

He began by holding up the bread and saying, “Jesus said, ‘This is my body given for you.’”

Then I said, “I think all of you remember when Jesus fed the multitude the first time on the far side of the sea. Some men who thought food for our stomachs was what Jesus came to give said to Him, ‘Moses gave us bread from heaven as a sign in the wilderness.’ Jesus answered, ‘Moses did not give you the bread from Heaven. My Father gives you the true heavenly bread. The bread of life is the one the Father has sent to give life to the world. Truly, truly, I tell you, I am the bread of life given for the life of the world. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and died. Whoever eats this bread will never die. Whoever believes in me has eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day.’ 

‘The bread  that I give for the life of the world is my flesh. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.’ When we take this bread and drink this cup we remind ourselves that we are nourished to eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus. We feed on His flesh and drink His blood. He said, ‘My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. The one who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me. And I abide in that person. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.’”

Then Peter took the cup saying, “Jesus said, ‘This is my blood given for you.’” He passed the cup among us and we showed our faith in Him as we took the supper together. Finally Peter said, “Jesus said, ‘For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’”


This story is drawn from words spoken in John 6:35-59.






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In the Arab Gulf, fruitful conversations are continuing to take place. A Christian professor was surprised to see Alex (pseudonym)'s Instagram post from in stylish script, with a tiny reference to Matt. 19.  The professor wrote to ask, "Do you know the source of your quote?" 
Alex answered, "Umm. No." This exchange later led to a private explanation of the gospel, and Alex was delighted to take an Arabic New Testament home.  Pray for his salvation and growth.
Pray the prayer of Samuel Zwemer over Gulf Arabs:
Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952), "The Apostle to Islam", wrote this prayer in 1923.  It is still very relevant today.  Pray this prayer with us for Muslims all over the world, especially for the local Arabs in the AP and those on summer holidays in Europe right now.  
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast made of one blood all nations and hast promised that many shall come from the East and sit down with Abraham in thy kingdom: We pray for thy prodigal children in Muslim lands who are still afar off, that they may be brought nigh by the blood of Christ.  Look upon them in pity, because they are ignorant of thy truth. Take away pride of intellect and blindness of heart, and reveal to them the surpassing beauty and power of thy Son Jesus Christ.  Convince them of their sin in rejecting the atonement of the only Savior.  Give moral courage to those who love thee, that they may boldly confess thy name. Hasten the day of religious freedom in Turkey, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa.  Send forth reapers where the harvest is ripe, and faithful plowmen to break furrows in lands still neglected.  May the tribes of Africa and Malaysia not fall prey to Islam but be won for Christ.  Bless the ministry of healing in every hospital, and the ministry of love at every church.... Strengthen converts, restore backsliders, and give all those who labor among Muslims the tenderness of Christ, so that bruised reeds may become pillars of his church, and smoking flaxwicks burning and shining lights.  Make bare thine arm, O God, and show thy power.  All our expectation is from thee.
Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son in the Muslim world, and fulfill through him the prayer of Abraham thy friend, "O, that Ishmael might live before thee."  For Jesus' sake. Amen.
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PTAP: Hajj/Pilgrimage in Mecca, Day 3.

For the pilgrims, day three is the longest day. It might take some people two days, and the pilgrimage is not finished until they complete all of these sacred acts. 

There are five different sacred acts to perform today and they can be done in almost any order. This can take some people more than one day.

1. They will stone the pillars of Satan
2. Men will shave their heads (an act of humility and cleanliness)
3. They will sacrifice a permissible animal
4. They will circle the Ka'aba seven times
5. They will run between the two hills of Safa and Marwa
Key Scripture to Pray 
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest (Jesus Christ) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:10-14)

Going before the Father
Ephesians 6:12 states "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against... the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Muslims understand there is a spiritual battle caused by Satan. Throwing rocks at Satan during the day of stoning is meaningless apart from the cross and resurrection which defeated Satan. Pray that they will know Christ and have mighty weapons "for the tearing down of strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:4) 
* In the Old Testament, sacrificing animals meant the forgiveness of sins. After Jesus died on the cross, animal sacrifice was not required, for His death covered all sins. Pray that Muslims will understand the meaning behind the sacrifice and the cross of Jesus. Pray that they will understand that the Father so loved the world that He had to give His Son (Jesus) because whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). 
* As Muslims circle the Ka'aba and run from hill to hill, ask that they will see the futility of these acts. They can have peace with God and a commitment to Him, but it is only through what Christ did for them. Pray that they will hear this good news and believe.
 * Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6) As the pilgrims leave, pray they may still feel extreme emptiness and a lack of peace until they know the Redeemer of their souls, Jesus.
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Sacred Act 1: Ihram (cleaning, preparation day)
Pilgrims must enter into the state of Ihram (purity) which involves washing then wearing white, plain garments. These garments indicate that all pilgrims are equal. Following this cleansing, pilgrims are officially on the Hajj. As they cross the pilgrimage boundary, the men will shout the Talbiyah, a Muslim prayer: "Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners.* Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners."*
Before many of the modern conveniences, the first day of the Hajj was spent collecting enough water for the next day of the Hajj. Now it has become a day of cleansing, visiting the Ka'aba in the Grand Mosque, and entering the mosque with their right foot first. After leaving the Grand Mosque, many pilgrims will walk to the tent city of Mina to spend the night.
Key Scriptures to Pray
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)
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, 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, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 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 9:11-14)
Going before the Father
•Two to three million Muslims come together from all over the world for this spiritual journey called the Hajj. Pray for physical safety and protection from disease.
•Jesus Christ is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God. Pray that the radiance of Jesus would shine strong and bright today in Mecca. Pray for their spiritual journey to include dreams and visions of Jesus. Pray Muslims would know that Jesus provides "purification for sins."
•As these Muslims walk into the Grand Mosque and see the Ka'aba, they feel like they are entering the most holy place on earth. Hebrews 9:11-14 (above) talks about a "perfect tabernacle," built not by human hands and not of this creation that Jesus Christ entered to provide "eternal redemption." Pray that pilgrims would know that only in Jesus can they have an unblemished and clean conscience.
What does the Bible say?
* It would be in statements like these that Muslims would not allow room for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 10:21-23, Galatians 4:6
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