Posts tagged Holiness
One of a Kind {Team Journal}

Today’s team journal was written by our Administrative Director, Kate Haas. 

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I did not know, until recently, that comparison didn’t solely steal the joy of those around me.

For many years, I was looking for someone to see me outside of my circumstances. I began to believe that, though I desired to be unique, different, and one of a kind, it just wasn’t something I could achieve while also being known. The only option I saw was conforming to the measures I thought were being used against me, the one which would allow me to connect with others the way I wanted to.  I wanted to be deeply known and understood, while also being a little different. Maybe a lot different, but I like to skip, and sing silly songs, and make friends, and not share my food, and I think that’s generally okay.

I am unique because my Father is one-of-a-kind.

I could tell you fairly easily that I did not want to be compared to others. I didn’t want to match anyone, because then I would be even more like someone else. I wanted to be known for my best (self-diagnosed) traits, and I didn’t want anyone else to have these traits. If I was being compared to another by those traits, I had to win out, I had to be the best person people knew with that trait. If you’ve read that sentence, I know how it sounds. I would never admit that to anyone out loud, which is why I’ve written it down here, for honesty sake.

The worst part for me?  I knew that I could be known by God, so completely and fully that I wouldn’t need to worry about matching, or having similar qualities to anyone else. Could I trust this completely? No. That would send me out of control. I’ve also learned that I don’t like that much either. Maybe He wouldn’t really be able to know me? Maybe I’m too different? Sister, let me tell you that I am dead wrong. I am unique because my Father is one-of-a-kind.

How do I know that? Moses reminded the people of God as they entered the Promised  Land, and somebody wrote it down. Deuteronomy is a speech delivered by Moses before those with the ability would enter the Promised Land. He speaks on the law that was given to them for their sake, and they would perform it so that they could remain in the Land. He starts by reminding the people where they have been, and who their God is. Take a look: 

 

Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other beside him.  (Deut. 4:33-35)

 

Did you hear that sister? There is none besides Him! There are no others like Him, and I was made in His image. And so were you! I was meant to be different, and I was designed to be fully loved and fully known by this God.  It was completely undeserved, but He offered me forgiveness, He gave me the record of His son, Jesus. Then He did more! He took me into His family to be counted as an heir.  Have you heard of a God like this, sister?  What an extraordinary God.

I have experienced comparison as the thief of my joy for far too long. I have hidden behind walls when I could have been hidden beneath the wings of the Lord. I will hide no longer, knowing God loved me first and designed me to skip, and sing silly songs, and make friends, and share my food a little more often (but I’m still working on that one! Give me time). 


Kate Haas wants to live in a world with free coffee, hugs, and deep conversations. When she isn’t in class, you can find her she’s at home with her husband and four-legged toddler reading a book or watching a detective show. Her favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [Amen? Amen!]

In the Presence of Holiness {DWITW 365}
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I have a confession to make. At first glance, I thought that Leviticus was just a big book of outdated rules. Chapter after chapter chronicles the rules and sins and required sacrifices. Usually, when I open my Bible up to Leviticus, I employ my best ever skim-reading skills and tell myself it’s important to read every word of the Bible. But this year, Leviticus has taken on a whole new meaning for me. It’s one of those situations where I never noticed Leviticus before, but now that I’ve noticed it, it’s EVERYWHERE. It’s in our small group study of Hebrews, it’s in a random article that someone shared on Facebook, and (believe it or not) ...it’s the book of the Bible that my pastor is preaching through on Sunday mornings.

We are sinners, every one of our sins requires a sacrifice

When I started to read through the book of Leviticus, I found that it is a large book of rules...but it is so much more than that. The book of Leviticus records all of the required sacrifices for the sins of the Israelites. Every single sin required a sacrifice, and this fact should not be lost on us. We are sinners, every one of our sins requires a sacrifice. In Leviticus, an animal’s life was given to save the life of a sinful person. But now, Jesus Christ has given his life to pay the penalty of our sin. The book of Leviticus also chronicles the importance of worship and the need for us to be clean when we go before God.

Then, in Leviticus 16, we come across a chapter full of rules for how the priest was to prepare himself before he was able to meet with God. On the day of atonement, the people confessed all of their sins as a nation (Lev. 16:20-22; 24-25; 34) and the high priest went into the Most Holy Place to make atonement. However, making atonement for the sins of all the people was not as simple as that. First, the priest was required to prepare himself.

  • He was only allowed to enter the Most Holy Place on the day of atonement (Lev. 16:1-2).
  • He was required to enter with sacrifices- a young bull, a ram, two male goats and a ram (Lev. 16:3;5)
  • He was to bathe himself and then put on the sacred garments (Lev. 16:4)
  • He had to make an offering for his own sin before covering the sins of the people (Lev. 16:6)
  • He had to sacrifice animals to make atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar (Lev. 16:15-19)
  • Once he had finished sacrificing, he must come out and bathe himself and return to his clothes (Lev. 16:23-24)

This was a very thorough process of preparation (not to mention the actual sacrifice) to take on the atonement of the Israelites!

but Jesus is now the High Priest who has made one sacrifice for all, and for all eternity

Today, we have it much easier. The high priest of old was a sinful man that required making his own sacrifice for sin (Lev. 16:6; 11 ;32-33, ), but Jesus is now the High Priest who has made one sacrifice for all, and for all eternity (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 9:28).  The old system of sacrifice was temporary (Hebrews 8:13), but the new one under Christ is permanent (Hebrews 7:21). The old system needed perfect animals (Lev. 22:19-20), but the new system needed a perfect life (Hebrews 5:9). The Old Testament sacrifices required a very careful approach to the Most Holy Place (Lev. 16:2), but with Christ’s sacrifice we have “a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God. Therefore, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

What a privilege! What a gift! We can approach the very Holy of Holies with confidence. Not only that, but we can receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Too often, we overlook what it truly means to come before the actual throne of God- the actual Holy of Holies. While we are welcome to go before God through Christ Jesus whenever we please, too often we forget the sacrifice that occurred in order for that happen, too often we forget the holiness of the one that we are standing before. Sometimes, we need to step back from our current privileges of approaching the throne, and take time to prepare ourselves before we approach the throne. Our preparations will look different from Aaron the high priest, but they should still be regarded as extremely important in our prayer life. Let us attempt to prepare ourselves before God before we enter into the Holy of Holies.

In conclusion, here are some practical ways to prepare ourselves to head before the throne. Women of Dayton, let’s be intentional about preparing our hearts to go before the throne. Let us be grateful for the eternal gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But let us remember that we are going before a holy God and he deserves our utmost respect and intentionality.

Practical Ways to Prepare Ourselves Before God:

  • Right any wrongs that we have against others (Colossians 3:13)
  • Confess our sins (1 John 1:9)
  • Prepare our hearts (Psalms 51)
  • Enter his presence with Thanksgiving (Psalms 100:4)
  • Request supplication and place our needs at his feet (John 15:16)
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Suzanne Hines wants to live in a world where sunflowers bloom in eternal summer, where her children play instead of argue and where her family has an endless budget for travel. When she's not loving her husband, training and teaching her three children, and spreading education on the foster care system, you can find her writing, reading or running outside!

Her favorite Scripture is Romans 12:12 "...be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer..." (NIV)