Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 1 (day three)
“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me…” Is it wrong to haggle with God? Would we even consider an “if-you-do-this-I’ll-do-that” arrangement? Have we decided to place ourselves above such dealings? Do we believe it would even make any difference? It’s interesting to consider that from the Old Testament to the New Testament, from people to demons and back to people, such conversations with the Lord have been common: Abraham, Moses, Hannah, David, Legion (!), Peter, Paul. Maybe we would see the power of God more if we would tell him what we want. That’s not the same as demanding what we want. Even the demons knew that. God will take care of his own responses to us. Just speak to him.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:1-17 (day one)
It is our privilege, this week, to reflect on the 10 Commandments. It is not unusual for moderns to claim that the law is no longer binding on believers, an “Old Testament thing”. I disagree. Jesus said, “Whoever shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven.”–Matthew 5:17. God’s law and God’s love are not separate things. Over and over, God makes the point that they are given “that it might go well with you.” (Deuteronomy 12:28, Ephesians 6:3) God is not arbitrary. He is not power hungry. Why should He be? He gives laws to live by, because, in the very nature of things, our lives will be better for the following. None of us can say WE LOVE HIM if we ignore His laws. All of us can say that HE HAS LOVED US by giving His Ten (der) Commandments.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 19:1-12, 16-22 (day five)
The main task for adolescents is to solve and settle one fundamental question, “Who Am I?” Identity formation is a long (social scientists indicate longer now than ever) and complex process. What’s important? What is true? Who can I trust?
4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’
Throughout Exodus and the Old Testament (for the Israelites) and all through the New Testament (for believers) (see 1 Peter 2) God continues to answer this crucial question. We best understand and discover our ID (Who We Are) in covenant relationship with God where we value, obey, and trust Him. As we examine our hearts and lives today, how do our perspectives, personalities, and priorities echo the Character and Promises of God?
Second Day of Advent
Micah 7:7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
God Is the Source of Salvation and Light
But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.
Have you ever looked forward to seeing someone? You wait. You watch. As the anticipation of their arrival grows you begin to pace, stopping occasionally to look out the window. You listen for the sound of a car coming down the street. Finally you see them and you can no longer contain your joy as you rush out to greet them.
The prophet Micah wrote “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” The people of Israel were in a season of anticipation and longing for the arrival of the Messiah who would save them from their sins.
For us The Messiah has come!
Advent is a time to focus on that coming. Like waiting for someone to arrive it provides us a time clothed in waiting, anticipation and hope.
Advent leads us to remember the hope of God’s people in the Old Testament as they longed and cried out to God for the Messiah, the one who would be their salvation.
Advent leads us to realign our lives with our own desperate need for a Savior to save us from our sins. It reminds us of the cost the Savior paid for our salvation.
Advent leads us to recognize the need to watch and wait with longing like the Israelites as we anticipate His second coming.
Advent leads us to prepare our hearts to invite Christ into our Christmas celebrations. For without the Advent of the Christ, there is no need for a celebration.
Re: Verse reading – John 1:1-18
Re: Verse reading–Isaiah 6:1-8; Revelation 4:1-11 (Day Three)
“The whole earth is full of his glory.” In one sense, the worship of God means seeing things as they actually are. The vision that the prophets in the Old Testament had in common reflected this understanding: “The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Elisha prayed for his servant: “‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” If we would worship God, we must be convinced of the reality of his reign. Perhaps a prelude to worship is this prayer: Open my eyes, Lord.