Advent 2016: Christ Was Born For This: Day 9

A Priest Calls People to Worship

by

Today's Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 1 Chronicles 16:4-9, Romans 12:1-12

Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 1 Chronicles 16:4-9, Romans 12:1-12

PRIEST INTRODUCTION
   “Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifice, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God…” (Hebrews 10:11-12 ESV).
In the Old Testament, priests tended to the tabernacle, where the presence of God was said to dwell. Their work was bloody and holy, as they brought imperfect sacrifices for imperfect people before a Holy God, asking Him to forgive them. There was no chair for the priests in the temple because their work was never done.

   Today, there is a more perfect tabernacle—the throne room of God. In it, there is a chair for our High Priest. And in that chair sits Jesus, who has brought us peace with God by becoming the perfect sacrifice the Lord accepted. Jesus makes intercession for us based upon the offering of His own flesh and blood.
   This week we will look at what a priest does: calls people to worship, cares for their spiritual lives, and makes intercession for them. And we will see how Christ came as the perfect Priest and remains our perfect Priest today, calling us to share in the work of caring for the hearts of others.

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A priest calls people to worship. One of the main roles of a biblical priest was to anchor God’s people in the habit of regular worship, returning them again and again to the practices of gathering together to celebrate together the holiness and mercy of God.

When I was seven, my favorite thing to do was play school or store with Mary Marson. Mary lived a couple doors down from us, on the other side of the street. She was a few years older than me, but gracious enough to let a little kid hang out in her garage now and then after school, pretending we were teachers or students or store clerks.

The part I liked most about our “work” was the writing—not shaping words into sentences, but the actual, physical act of putting pen to paper. I loved filling out forms and drawing up bills, or making fill-in-the-blank homework sheets for our imaginary students. My dad ran golf courses for a living, and sometimes I’d strike gold in the way of nabbing an old ordering pad from the grill or a half-used bank ledger from behind the desk. To this day, I love filling out a good form.

You’d never have guessed that the seven-year-old who loved all things administrative would grow up to be one of the least organizationally inclined humans to ever grace a staff meeting. Oh, I can fill in the blanks like a champ. But please do not ask me to do math, organize a classroom, create an inventory system, or—heaven forbid—make a spreadsheet. Little Amanda was cute with her pigtails sticking out of her bandana, but she was not a reliable predictor of the future.

Grownup Amanda has a computer desktop akin to a junkyard and a rather unhealthy reliance on iCal for everything from remembering her husband’s birthday, to picking up her kids from school. Calendar alerts are a grace, my friends.

The hearts of Old Testament Israel looked like my sad, scattered desktop. Truth be told, we all have hearts so easily distracted and forgetful, not even iCal can help us. We need constant reminders of who God is and who we are.

And not just that—we need new hearts altogether.

The Old Testament priests could not give God’s people new hearts, but they could orient their broken hearts toward God and the things of God. They called God’s people to worship, regularly anchoring them in the habit of recognizing and celebrating God’s holiness and mercy. They gathered God’s people together and told them what was true: God is God and we are not.

A priest’s job was to echo the words of Moses from Deuteronomy 6:

“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
- Deuteronomy 6:4-5

They drew God’s people into worship, and the people, in turn, were to draw each other into worship, generation after generation.

“These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
- Deuteronomy 6:6-7

The priests of the Old Testament taught what the Apostle Paul would later declare: Worship does not stop when the worship gathering ends. Our very lives are to be acts of worship (see Romans 12:1-2).

You and I come by our scattered-heartedness honestly. Since the moment Eve ate the fruit and Adam followed suit, we’ve depended on these holy reminders to call our hearts back to our Maker. Fellowship with God is what we were created for, but it no longer comes naturally. With that first sin, we became like compasses with no true north, our needles spinning round, not knowing where to stop.

Priests helped restore direction to the hearts of God’s people. They pointed the people to God, held up His Word, and called them back to worship. Priests reminded God’s people who they were: they were not God, but they were God’s. They belonged to Him.

By the grace of Jesus, we do too.

SRT-Advent16-Instagram9s

  • My life is to be worship! I needed that reminder today! I often times find myself going through the motions of my quiet time with the Lord, but I’m challenged to make it worship!

  • Randi Schmid

    I liked forms too – checkbook registries, making menus for our pretend restaurant, things like that. I now rely on my Cozi app and pick up kids alarm (my husband ribs me about all my alarms).
    So thankful God is not unorganized or fleeting like us.

  • Love Romans 12:12… “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

    • Becca Bailey

      Yes. This is one of the joyous distinctions of belonging to Jesus – we actually have a hope in which we can rejoice. Though the whole world can seem a bleak and foreboding place, we have a hope that goes beyond even anything in this world.

  • I was exactly the same as a kid!! My dad would bring home sample forms that he got at work, and I loved filling them out like I was in business. I also loved playing school! We had a janitor who would save me papers the teachers threw away, so I could use them for my “class”. And even in Middle School, I worked in the school office filing paperwork, and I loved it!! Now, it is a much different story… some days I wonder if I’ll ever get myself organized again… I am so thankful for SRT. It’s a perfect way to keep me in the Word and keep my mind focused on Father! Thank you for your words today and for your transparency!

  • Keri McCue

    I was the opposite as a kid! And now I am obsessed with organization! Isn’t that funny! I love these words today and I love the gentle reminder of Romans 12:1-2 :)

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Hailey G

    So well written! Love the story of little Amanda and how it translates to adult, wife/mom Amanda!! I can relate! Love how today focused on worship – praising and thanking God, and also offering our bodies as a living sacrifice for Christ. So good – thank you!!!

  • Annette Briones

    My heart is easily distracted, I pray this Advent to be focused on the Reason for the Season!!

  • Lindsey Grudnicki

    The habits and heart of a life lived in worship are such a challenge but thank goodness it doesn’t fall to our own strength to hold fast to God. He holds fast to us even as we falter and fail.

  • A great reminder to ensure our compass is correct. I follow suite with Ashleigh’s comments below…recognizes distractions and removing them so I can be closer to God.

  • “We all have hearts so easily distracted and forgetful – we need constant reminders of who God is and who we are – we need new hearts altogether.” “With that first sin we became like compasses with no truth north”

    Father forgive me for being distracted from what is really important. Especially this season, I have gotten lost in filling my time with things that are good but not the best. I am that compass that has lost true north, remind me today of who you are and who I am in you. Reset my true north to be YOU, not the benefits of knowing you.

  • Ashleigh Rivers

    I’m totally connecting with this one today. Distraction is the bane of my existence, but I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in that. It’s so hard to prioritize spending time with the Lord when there are so many things vying for my attention throughout the day.

  • The thing that stood out most to me today was the fact that priests had no chair in which to sit in the temple because their work was never finished. And yet, Christ reclines with God. They aren’t inactive… But the work is finished! How great is it that we have a God Who isn’t running around trying to get everything done, but he is at ease, at rest, sitting, in authority? It is finished. The image of a Jesus our priest sitting is such a picture of that for me.

  • Jennifer

    “God is God and we are not.” I think I need this tattooed on my body.

  • Kelly Wilson

    I am finding forgiveness through this Bible study. I have been angry , really angry and hurt at a person that I called a friend. I loaned her money- when I didn’t have it to give. I helped her move, I helped her get a job, and then without warning she stopped talking to me. Stopped texting and cut off all contact. She even blocked me from her social media pages.I spent the last five months wondering what did I do ? What did I say that may have offended her or hurt her. The time reflecting made me wonder if I did all those things out of the kindness of my heart or because I wanted and needed her friendship.
    Then when I made the decision to move on, there she was back up on my Instagram page, and today I received a phone call from a company wanting a reference from me because she had given my name as a reference. at first I was hurt and anger came flooding back but then I realized, I had prayed for God to show me if this person was a true friend or foe- I’m still deciding- but what I did realize is that I want to walk like Jesus and forgive, and to do so with a clear heart. I don’t have to have this person in my life and I can leave this friendship knowing that the last thing I did was speak kindly of her and bestow a glowing reference and move on. I’m not perfect t- but by the grace of God I will strive to be stronger and forgiving and without malice.

    • Brittany

      This was really inspiring, Kelly. Thank you for sharing. I have found forgiveness towards others in this season as well and it has been one of the greatest gifts. I learned not to allow myself to be walked over, but reminded that we also are called to be a humble in love and pray for those who have trespassed against us. I am continuing to pray and sort out friendships and figuring out what is true as well and I thank you for sharing this. May God reveal his will to you and bless you in demonstrating a real act of love in a tough spot. That’s real giving. Merry Christmas!

    • Alexis

      Kelly I completely relate. Two years ago a friend of ten years did that to me as well. She lived with my little family and me and moved her whole life to be near us, then out of no where no returns of communication at all. The time away from that relationship as drawn me even closer to Jesus and as helped me as well to walk in love toward her even if I don’t ever get a chance to understand what happened. It hurt and it has been a hard process but you are on the right track! Wanted to encourage you to read Lisa TerKeurst book Uninvited. Completely changed my life. Be blessed! You are not alone and very loved

    • Anon

      Thank you for these words Kelly. I’m currently going through some hardships myself within friendships that I’m having a difficult time understanding, but I am faithful in God and what he will continue to reveal overtime. Even if that means certain friendships fading away, I know that I am and was loved by Him first, and have people all over who still care about me.

  • We need to strive to stay in his word every moment of every day in all we do.

  • Kellie G.

    During this Advent study, I feel God impressing upon my heart that I belong to HIM and am loved by HIM. Today’s reading was so encouraging. At this time of year, it’s really easy for me to feel melancholy and lonely. Remembering that Jesus came to earth and died for a sinner like me helps me to remember that I am LOVED — not because I earned it, not because I did or said the right things, not because I brought the right gifts, but because I was created by the Lord God. God let my life be a living sacrifice. That my heart would be conformed not to this world, but to your will. (Romans 12:1-2)

  • Romans 12:10-12 was also SUCH an encouragement to me!

    We belong to Him because we are in Him.

  • Caroline

    Thankful that worship extends way beyond 4 walls of a church. Thankful that worship is tithing and loving and serving.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

    • Lori

      Caroline I just went on your blog and I must say I love it! Its so inspirational and encouraging, blessings to you my friend.

  • Diane Huntsman

    The hearts of Old Testament Israel looked like my sad, scattered desktop. Truth be told, we all have hearts so easily distracted and forgetful, not even iCal can help us. We need constant reminders of who God is and who we are. LOVE THIS

  • I love the fact that we are responsible to continue our relationship with Christ outside the church walls. It is not the churches responsibility once or twice a week, but ours.

  • This hymn played in my soul today, thinking about these passages:

    “O to grace how great a debtor
    Daily I’m constrained to be!
    Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the God I love;
    Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
    Seal it for Thy courts above.”

    This is my prayer today, that Jesus’ constant grace bind my heart to His goodness. That my distracted nature fixate upon the grace of worshiping the Savior!

  • Two things stood out to me this morning –

    Amanda’s words (summarizing Paul’s), “Worship does not stop when the worship gathering ends. Our very lives are to be acts of worship” is so important in our world today. My brother is not a believer and deals with depression, alcohol dependency, and very low self-confidence. My prayer for the past many years has been for him to come to know God, by making a friend who belongs to a good, honest, real Christian church (he lives far away from where I do). The reason my brother (and many others) is against Christianity is because of all the double-standards (preaching love while bashing the marginalized, preaching acceptance and charity while bashing refugees, preaching wisdom while spewing hatred, etc, etc, etc). Growing up, the kids wearing WWJD bracelets were often the rudest, which is a big part of why I didn’t become a believer until I was 17. Now, our generation of facebook ranting presents a very different image of christianity than the worship we give during church, and it’s turning people off. I don’t know how to help fix this, other than try my best to be an accurate representation of a life lived to serve and honor Jesus through my words and actions.

    Also, Deuteronomy 6:6-7 stood out to me because again, with people like my brother who just see the flaws of Christianity, it’s difficult to openly talk about my faith with him. I say things when applicable, but don’t want to come off as preachy or forceful. I would like to share more about my faith with him when I visit for Christmas, but need to pray for wisdom and tact.

    How have you dealt with sharing your faith with friends or family members who are not believers for pretty concrete reasons? I know we should live as good representations and I know my brother sees that (he’s even made comments about me and my husband being some of the “only good christians”, which of course is far from the truth), but I’m growing more and more concerned about him and feel it’s important to share more.

    • Regan Vickery

      Jeanne, your words sum up so much of what I feel, see, and hear. Thank you for sharing your insights and the love and concern you have for those who are truly lost in this world with no real hope to cling to. I have a roommate who says the reason he walked away from his faith is because he was tired of the hypocrisy he witnessed in Christians. And he has definitely swung in the complete opposite direction, let’s just say the last 4 years hin this house have been challengin and frustrating for me. I’ve spent the last 4 years trying to live honestly in front of him in my daily walk and screwing up plenty of times and not trying to hide it but rather be honest in how I lived it out in front of him in hopes that I could be a little light, a way for him to be open to hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. I’m not sure if anything has gotten through to him, but that’s not my job that’s between him and God. I’ll pray for your brother because I understand how desperately he needs The Lord, and if you could pray for Brandon I’d appreciate it. Also my Dad who lives a whole country away and is a very angry, hungry for this of this world unsaved man he needs Jesus especially!

      • French

        Jeanne and Regan. From what you have said here, you both are living God-centered lives in the real world! Be courageous and strong! Persevere in what you know is Truth in your daily activities! As noted, others are watching you. Let God do His work in their lives as you live your lives for His Glory!

    • churchmouse

      It is not hypocritical to not be perfect. Those who are not Christians often throw that hypocrisy issue out there – as if Christians have an in for perfection and if they are not perfect then they are not Christians or at least not very good ones. The unbeliever is mistaken. Guess what – none of us, labelled Christian or not, will be perfect this side of heaven. But the Christian stands forgiven. The Christian life is a journey and like any journey there are rough spots and lessons to be learned. There are also bad habits to break and that takes time. The non Christian wants grace for their missteps but refuse to offer the same. Rather than admit their own guilt, they say ” look over there, look at them!” Deflection did not make one escape responsibility. I have talked to my own family members about this. I’m usually met with silence. It is my job to speak the truth in love. The Holy Spirit does the convicting. I pray to plant a strong seed and that others will water it. I do my best but I do not expect perfection. It is not about me and my imperfect behavior but it’s about God and who he is and what he has done. Non Christians want to focus on a non perfect Christian rather than a holy perfect God. Point to Him. He is the point.

      • Jess Gardiner

        wow churchmouse what a great response! Unbelievers want to focus on a non-perfect Christian rather than a holy God. So true!!

      • Rachel

        Wow! Thank you for your wisdom and a reminder that as Christians we should take the focus off ourselves and be a neon sign pointing to what Jesus did for us. Sometimes I have not been as bold to share Christ because I’m afraid someone will just point out all my imperfections. But this reminder makes me bold to lift up Jesus and live with thankfulness that I’m a sinner just saved by grace. I can still talk about the difference Jesus makes and how he has the power to transform our hearts for the rest of our lives until we meet Him.

    • Samone

      Ladies, I am in the same boat with my sister. Try as I might to be a good steward of Christianity, but it hasn’t sunk in yet with her. I am so thankful for this Advent study because it reminds us how to be/act. This Christmas, I bought my sister a Bible. I am scared to give it, but I know those are lies from the devil telling me negative things. If I can just say one thing, it is we have the power of prayer on our side. The battle has already been won. All the lost sheep will come home on God’s time. Prayer has the power to change things. Make prayer journals and keep track of all the answered prayers. My husband was a lost sheep and now after many, many prayers he is finally seeing God’s grace after being blind to it for so long. I highly recommend two books ladies: 1. “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer (it will teach you how to stomp out anything that prohibits your prayer life.) 2. Any book by Stormie Omartian. She does the “power of a praying” series. I am currently reading “Out of Darkness” by her. It is her story of darkness into God’s light. I am going to give it to my sister. Stormie struggled with all sorts of things and was freed when she accepted God’s love. That peace is what I wish to give my sister. I will pray for you ladies to stay strong and to know the words to say. God will speak to you when it is right to talk to them. Let His words flow through you. Pray and don’t give up hope. Thank you for sharing your struggles.

      • Jenn

        I also have a non believing sister. We grew up in church and she now claims to be far too educated to believe in that nonsense. She even goes as far to say that the afterlife was created to calm people’s nervous system as they used to believe that nothing happened to them after they die. I really don’t ever talk to her about it. I just continue to live my life as best as I can and I let Christ shine through me. There is a sadness in her, she doesn’t have any great close friends, she sometimes feels isolated and alone and it breaks my heart because I know if she had the love of Jesus in her heart, she would view the world so differently. As to those who say there are so many hypocritical Christians that is fact, but why let them ruin your personal relationship with God? I just pray for my sister every day. It is all I can do. I have faith that one day she will one day come to be a follower of Christ.

    • Jess Gardiner

      Your brother sounds very similar to my own. I shock him a little when he pulls out the hypocrisy card, because I agree with him. In fact I go a step further. I tell him that I am a filthy rotten sinner that stuffs up everyday and so do other Christians. I am quick to become judgmental and I am often hypocritical. Non-Christians are often nicer than me! Yes, yes yes! And yet I have and do experience the outrageous grace of a merciful Saviour. Jesus came to save the sick, not those who think they’re healthy or able to fix themselves. Christians are not perfect people. You only have to read the Bible to see what a bunch of broken sinners we are. But we know our great need and trust in Christ to meet that need!!!!

      And then I turn it back on him. Just say I’m right, on judgement day, is your argument to the Creator of the world, the Saviour who offered you his mercy and forgiveness going to be that you rebelled against him and rejected His love because His kids were hypocrites????? He will say, depart from me. I never knew you. We are meant to be following Christ, not his people. You will stand before the judgement seat of Christ for your response to his offer of salvation. Not anyone else’s!

    • Lori G.

      I have observed that Christians are judged very harshly, especially by those who did not or have not experienced what it really means to have a relationship with God. When I share with my unbelieving (and critical) sisters about my faith, I speak about my intimate experiences with God: hearing his (I will even say “it’s” or “their” as a pronoun, which may even be more accurate) voice, feeling encouragement and love in certain situations, things like that. I try to be as specific and open as possible instead of vague. I try to show them what my relationship with God is actually like and about, and why I need God. I hope this helps them see why Christians aren’t perfect – we are always in need of a saviour. Thank you for sharing and opening up this conversation.

  • Nicolette

    Today’s reading so encouraged me! As a worship leader my passion is to redirect people’s focus from the temporary to our eternal awesome God. But I still need that same repeated direction for my scattered, distracted heart… just thinking about who Jesus is and what he’s done for us changes my perspective. I also loved what Amy shared a few comments up, the passage in Romans 12 from the Message, what a great reminder!!

  • Abby MacDougall

    Thinking of Jesus as our perfect priest pointing us to the Father (and reminding us that we are far from being God!) leaves me so joyful! We now have His Spirit that can constantly point us back north. Especially in this season, what a hope we have that keeps us from focusing on shopping lists and finals and all the to-dos before the holidays. Thanks be to God!

    • Hannah

      This /is/ such an encouragement! His Spirit is a constant reminder for our constantly wayward hearts. Joy, oh joy. He has come!

  • Today, Romans 12:11-12 really touched my heart. It says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I so needed this reminder today. The stresses of college and being away from my family during this Christmas season have really put a damper on my spirit. This verse reminds me to be joyful and know that Christmas is coming! Thank you, Jesus!

    • Deena

      Jaclyn, I’m on the other side of your coin. Mom, educator and children not coming home anymore. I am praying Numbers 6:24-26 over you has I do my own. Shalom

    • Nath

      Jaklyn, take refuge under His loving wings.In your hurt, pray for the many college students who are feeling this sadness..without the hope of Jesus. My college daughter was sharing with me about this.. For me to pray for her friends..I send you a mama hug and will add you to my prayers.

  • The Message version of Romans 12 helped put worship and drawing near to God into perspective for me:

    1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

    This is it – the definition of worship for today! Offer everything you are, ordinary and all, and give it to God. “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Fix your attention on God and you’ll be changed from the inside out.” Thy will be done, Lord!

    • Jeanne

      What a beautifully simple and meaningful way to put it <3

    • Hannah

      Thanks for sharing the passage in The Message! I love how it puts it so radically and clearly! Worship is harder than we make it and better than we imagine it!

  • Robin W.

    For a girl like me – scattered thoughts, the best of intentions often forgotten – this study today reminds me that there is nothing I can DO to earn God’s love. Thank you, God, for the grace and mercy of your Son who loves me…for exactly who I am.

  • on my way to work I listened to a Christian radio station, it oriented my heart back to a place of worship. it’s true, my compass goes batty. I forget where north is, I just need to stop, breath, and do what I was made to do, worship him!

  • Erica Thesing

    “Worship is a lifestyle to be lived” is much like an expectant bride set out to choose the beloved gown she will adorn for all to see and admire on her special day. As Christians the choice of worship in the everyday, highlights the beauty of our returning Saviour. An expectation ensues and dances in the heart of a believer despite mundane responsibilities and multiplies the joys of life with adoration for Him. The bride waiting for her expectant groom, worship is not an event to attend but a life to be lived. Beauty that is unparalleled, may the love of God encompass all hearts through a life intentionally lived in worship.

  • I am so thankful for the pastors in my life who diligently point me back to the cross,
    back to a Holy God, back to sincere worship. Thank the Lord.

  • Lindsay Sterchi

    I love the reminder today of how important it is to worship, and how that’s so much bigger than an hour on Sunday. It’s about remaining connected to God, seeing EVERYTHING we do as an act of worship and a response to the love of Jesus. I want to remember to stay connected to Jesus in every moment of my day.

  • After reading Romans 12:1, I looked up the definition of sacrifice. It is “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”.
    What do I need to give up so that Christ is regarded as more worthy in my own life?

    • Sarah

      Asking myself this question with you today Morgan. Praying that I accept the answer God gives me even if I don’t like it.

  • Pregnancy doesn’t love me and like the others before it, with my last, I found myself on hospital bedrest more times than I can remember. One blessing is that you get to know the nurses pretty well and they can love you amazingly in a difficult season, even blessing you with the “good rooms”, another blessing is the random people you meet. One in particular was a woman named Elizabeth. We hit it off because I am also an Elizabeth, although I’ve gone by Betsy my entire life. She was a faith volunteer in the hospital and she sat bedside to me an extended time as we laughed and shared. I can still remember her face. She spoke about God and how her life changed because of Him and she felt the calling immediately to show her appreciation for that as a changed person, so she went from being Betsy her entire life also, to meeting Jesus and never going by Betsy again. The very word Elizabeth means “my God is abundance” and she wanted her life to reflect that, like Saul to Paul, saying that each time she heard her name, she would smile knowing she was changed. The other thing that stuck with me in that conversation was how she addressed her grandkids, they lived with she and her husband and she said that the one thing she wanted them to know above all is *who* they are, to whom they belong, so each day as they left for school, she’d put her hands on their shoulders and say, “You are God’s precious son/daughter. He loves you.” She said that was they way she’d say “good-bye” to them each time they walked through the door. I just smiled that these sweet kiddos were blessed with a grandmother so determined to help them know “who” they were, to give them words over their days so when faced with any adversity, they will likely have those words so engraved in their hearts and heads, they won’t even realize they’re referencing it. This woman didn’t wear the title priest, but in her being she was one. She truly lived out the message of God.

    Prayerful this Monday morning as the lives of many around me are flailing, that I reflect who I belong to in my words, my actions and my heart. That though I am still “Betsy”, I *know* that my God is abundant and that I am able to share that with anyone who may need to hear it, to know it, to feel it.

  • Alicia K

    I’m doing this Advent study to draw near to God because I’ve felt so very far from Him for so long. Often I give in and believe the lie that He is disappointed with me and I must prove myself as faith before I “come back.” Such a silly thing to write out since in my head I know all the right things to say in response to that statement but my heart is hesitant and weary. So, to know that the High Priest works and has worked on my behalf….oh Lord let this truth change and soften me. Amen

    • Robin W.

      Amen. ❤️

    • ~Amy F.~

      Everything you’ve written here describes me exactly. The temptation to “fix” myself before returning to God is sometimes overwhelming, but I have to remember that that’s not my job, nor does He ever ask it of me. All He asks is that I come as I am and let Him make me new. “Come unto me, all he that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) May the Lord help us accept in our hearts what we already know in our heads to be true!

  • God pointed something out to me in Deut. 6 that I had never seen before: “These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children, and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all His decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” (vs. 1-2)

    The fear of the Lord is always something I’ve struggled to understand. I still don’t understand, but today God shed a new light on it. First off, obedience to the Lord is evidence of the fear (awe, reverence) of Him. Secondly, beautifully, obeying Him brings life. So often, I run to other things or people before turning to the Lord in obedience because I think that I can make my own life…and it never ever works. If obedience to the Lord brought life in the old testament, how much more so will life come about now that Christ has perfected our imperfect obedience with His own perfect obedience! He bowed to the Father’s will in death at the cross, and He sits in glorious life at His right hand forevermore – He invites us to do the same. <3 Praise hands all around! :)

    • Christy

      I have heard it stated this way: fear of the Lord means not fearing anything else BUT Him, I.e., trusting that His plan is better than ours, His opinion is more important than anyone else’s.

      • Amanda

        Whoa- I love that interpretation! So incredibly inspiring for my ever-anxious heart!

    • Jessica

      I love this! How often do I look to other things for life and end up dissatisfied? Thanks so much for sharing.

    • DebbinAz

      I agree with what Chrissy said, and to take it a step further… In Bible days, fear of the Lord, reverence, awe, respect for the Lord, was so high that they didn’t have words to describe Him. Or they would not even say His name because it was too awesome for a mere human to say. Sadly, we have lost that high of respect for our Lord today. I personally have found myself being disrespectful in my lackadaisical attitude toward Him. But God… thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you that through the cross, Your grace is sufficient for me. Help me to fear You with the true awe and reverence that only You deserve.

      Have a blessed week sisters.

    • Amy

      Fear of the Lord always catches me in every verse I’ve read. I love digging in and seeing it in different lights and understandings. Thanks for bringing that insight to us today!

  • “We need constant reminders of who God is and who we are.” So true! I need daily – sometimes hourly reminders. If I believe God is who he says he is and I am who he says I am – what an amazing difference that makes in EVERYTHING!

  • churchmouse

    I think of all the noise of the bleeting of the animals as they waited and then were slaughtered at the Temple. And the smell! Oh my! And that all these sacrifices were never ending. Day after day after day. A constant reminder of constant failure. I think I would have felt so discouraged, hopeless and weary. The task of keeping His commands was just too much. My thoughts would have been overwhelmed by the weight of all those sins and all that death. Would I have eventually just thrown my arms in the air, admitting I just can’t do it, give up and walk away? Maybe. Probably. Would I have listened to the prophets and been encouraged that one day there would come a better Way? Maybe. Maybe not. Probably. Probably not. I can be so fickle in my faith. Praise God He placed me on this side of the Cross. Praise God I have met the One who became the final sacrifice. Praise God for His mercy and grace. Praise God that He takes away the burden of sin and gives me eternal hope. Praise God. Praise God. Yes!

  • Sarah_Joy

    Romans 12 spoke to me as I have wrestled recently with wanting the gifts others have or the lives others live. I have gifts to enhance the body of Christ, and we all bring something different. Not one is worse. Unless, we sit on our hands and mope and don’t use them.

    Perhaps a departure from the reflection, but these verses were truth I needed to hear.

    • Amy

      Sarah Joy – those verses touched me in a new way too. The Message version really cut through to me about the importance of *your* gift just for you but integral in God’s plan for us all.

  • A great reminder today as I tend a sick kiddo and our daily routine is interrupted by snuggles on the couch, endless movies and the ever growing pile of laundry. All of this is grace, the opportunity to serve God by laying down my desires for the day and loving on my little guy. This too is worship.

    • Jen

      Ah! Thank you for that reminder! God changes the way we see those little set backs.

    • Jenna

      Oh how I needed to read this! As simple as it is, it actually brought tears to my eyes.

    • mixmemeg

      Brie, thank you for sharing this. As someone who struggles with severe anxiety and fear over my kiddos getting sick, this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Not a disappointment when it happens, but an opportunity of grace to lay down my desires in worship to the One who is most worthy.

  • Thankful for the reminder that I belong to God and that in my own strength I cannot worship Him properly and reverently without first, acknowledging that Jesus…., Jesus is my High priest…Amen.

    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me..this is not just a whimsical sentence or verse, this is TRUTH…..we need Him to strengthen us in the good and the bad, we need Him to walk with us thriugh the highs and the lows, we need Him whatever tge the situation…He is our Light, our strength, our song…
    This is a link to the song that came to mind as I wrote.. https://youtu.be/tZIMDcgrF-Q no lying there…we need Jesus….every minute, every hour, every day….
    Thank you Jesus, thank you for your grace, love, mercy…for everything, thank you Jesus. X

    Its been a while my dears, but you are not far from my thoughts…. sending some Advent love and hugs to you.. wherever you are…xxxxxxx

    • Dana

      Beautiful song! Thank you for sharing. <3

    • Tina

      P.S….Worship does not stop when the worship gathering ends. Our very lives are to be acts of worship (see Romans 12:1-2)…….Amen….
      Writing this on my heart this morning….everything I do shouks be an act of worship to the One who loves me beyond words….Amen…xxxx

    • Pat

      Missed you Tina ,Sending Gods Blessings!

    • Wendy

      I’ve not done a SRT study in several months but wanted to come back for Advent. I immediately looked for you, Tina, and am so glad to see you back today. Your words are always encouraging to me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tricia Cavanaugh

      Tina,
      I have been thinking about you and praying that you are doing well. May you be blessed with the Joy of Christ’s birth this holiday season. Xoxo
      Tricia

    • Kiki

      Music speaks to me so very much. A little more modern but this is a current favorite! https://g.co/kgs/z5ogyR

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