Perfect High Priest

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

As you prepare for today’s devotion, picture Jesus on the cross and then the empty tomb. Thank God for your salvation that comes only through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

“For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He doesn’t need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. He did this once for all when He offered Himself.” (Hebrews 7:26-27)

Read Hebrews 7:23-28 in your Bible. Think through the following:
• Record the differences between Jesus and the Levitical high priests listed in today’s Scripture. Make two columns in your journal and list the differences in each.
In order for the high priest to permanently intercede for the people, he had to be holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
• Why was this impossible for the high priests but completely possible for Jesus?
• In summary, what does Jesus offer that the high priests of the Old Testament could never offer?

RESPOND

Jesus is supreme—a new kind of priest—perfect and flawless in every way. He established the new covenant with His blood and acts as our High Priest, continually going before God on our behalf. His priesthood is permanent because He is alive forever.
• Explore this idea: Jesus’ sacrifice paid for all my sins, even the ones I haven’t committed yet. His sacrifice was enough to cover my mistakes forever. How does this help you handle your mistakes? Journal your thoughts.
• For further study on the supremacy of Jesus’ sacrifice, read Hebrews 8–9.

BEHIND THE STORY

When a Levitical priest died, another replaced him. The law of heredity required one of Aaron’s descendants to take over the role, even though he might not have the right qualifications to intercede for the people. However, this was not true with Jesus. He was the only one able to permanently fill the role of High Priest. Though He died, He rose again, defeated death, and will be alive to intercede for His people forever.(1)

THE POINT

Jesus is forever our High Priest. He offered Himself as the final perfect, unblemished sacrifice and is able to save anyone.

(1)Thomas D. Lea, Holman New Testament Commentary: Hebrews and James, ed. Max Anders, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1999), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under “Hebrews 7 – Safe in Jesus’ Praying Hands.”


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

The Perfect One

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

As you begin your quiet time, consider this quote from Charles Spurgeon,

“I thought I could have leaped from earth to heaven at one spring when I first saw my sins drowned in the Redeemer’s blood.”

Earlier this Fall, you learned that redeemed means to pay the ransom or price for somebody—like paying for someone to be released from slavery. Keep this definition in mind as you read today’s devotion.

“He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” —1 Peter 1:20-21

Read 1 Peter 1:18-25 in your Bible and explore the following.
Sin enslaved all people and in order to be free from our sins, we would have to be perfect. In a world ruled by sin, we couldn’t save ourselves. We needed a substitute because God needed a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was the only one able to die for our sins, a “lamb without defect or blemish” (v. 19).
• Why was it so important for the sacrifice to be perfect?
• According to verses 18-21, what was God’s plan for redemption?
• Read Ephesians 2:8-9. Why do people need a Savior?
Jesus’ perfect life redeemed us from an empty, sinful life and eternal separation from God. He redeemed us for a relationship with God.

RESPOND

• In your journal, list any sins you struggle with. Now, draw a cross over the list. Let this be a reminder to you that these sins do not control you anymore—Jesus paid the price for your sins on the cross and set you free from their hold on your life.
• Spend some time in prayer, thanking God for sending Jesus to set you free from your sins and redeem you from your empty way of life. Ask God to help you live in His freedom.
• For further study on how meaningless life is without God, read Ecclesiastes.

BEHIND THE STORY

God’s plan for Jesus was not haphazardly constructed—He knew what our redemption would require of Him, of His Son. As John Piper said, “Jesus was always God’s plan A.” God planned for Jesus to come to earth to live a perfect life and die for our sins well before sending Him to us. Note Peter’s use of the words “for you” (v. 20) and “so that your faith and hope are in God” (v. 21). God didn’t initiate His plan from a distance, but made it personal. Think of it this way: Jesus didn’t just die to give all people the chance to know Him; He died knowing that I was one of those people. Jesus died for me.

THE POINT

God raised Jesus from the dead and we can have redemption through His perfect life.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Sovereign and Eternal One

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Silence your phone, pause your music, and turn off the TV. Find a quiet place where you can focus as you read today’s devotion.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” —Revelation 22:13

Read Revelation 22:12-13 in your Bible and consider the following.
• Summarize verse 12 in your own words.
• All people will experience a final judgment and Jesus will be the Judge. List the words Jesus used to describe Himself in verse 13.

The Alpha and Omega begin and end the Greek alphabet. When Jesus called Himself the Alpha and Omega, He pointed to His eternal and sovereign nature. God was first called the Alpha and Omega (Isa. 44:6; Rev. 1:8), but here Jesus made it clear that He too, is eternal and sovereign.
• Explain what Jesus claimed about His nature and His relationship with God by the titles He gave Himself in verse 13.

Put simply: Jesus has the final say. From the beginning, He was God’s plan to reconcile His people. From the beginning, Jesus knew He would return for all believers and righteously judge all people for their response to how they either received or rejected Him.
• Knowing Jesus has the final say, do you need to change your lifestyle? Why or why not?

RESPOND

Jesus is all the righteousness of God and believers are completely covered by His righteousness. So when you approach Jesus during the final judgment, you can be confident in knowing that Jesus will see His own righteousness instead of your sin.
• Meditate on Jesus as “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 22:13). Praise Him for being the all-powerful, all knowing, ever-present God.
• Have you trusted in Jesus as Savior? If so, journal about the ways He changed your life and examine any areas that need to change. If not, talk to your parents, your Trailstones leader or a leader from your church to find out more.
• For further study on Jesus’ power to save, read Colossians 2:14-15.

MEMORY VERSE

Write Colossians 1:19-20 in your journal. Jot down two reasons it is important for you to memorize these verses.

BEHIND THE STORY

In verse 12, Jesus mentioned bringing a reward with Him when He returns. Revelation 1 also mentioned a reward, referring to the judgment of both the righteous and the wicked. His judgment will reward the righteous and destroy the wicked (Rev. 11:18). Again today’s passage tells us that reward and punishment both occur at judgment “to repay each person according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).

THE POINT

Jesus is sovereign and eternal.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Follow Me

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Mentally list the names of people you know who don’t know Jesus. As you read today, ask God to give you a passion to boldly share the gospel with them.

“When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look! The Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus.” —John 1:36-37

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” —Luke 6:40

Read John 1:35-42 in your Bible and think through these questions.
• Highlight the phrase “Lamb of God” (v. 36). Describe what this means in your own words.
• According to verse 37, what happened after the two disciples heard John’s claim?
• Jesus called the disciples to come and they went with Him, but they went beyond following Jesus. List Andrew’s actions after he stayed with Jesus. When Christ changes your life, He changes your identity. Believers are adopted into God’s family, trading in their own agenda for His—and He commands us to go and tell others about Him.
• After only a few hours in Jesus’ presence, how did Andrew demonstrate an understanding of Jesus’ message? How can believers follow Andrew’s example today?
• Read Luke 6:40 and explain the main idea of this verse in your own words.

RESPOND

We are not exempt from God’s missionary mandate. He was sent, and now He sends us. Sound intimidating? Through the saving power of the gospel and the filling of our hearts with God’s Holy Spirit, we are empowered to join God’s rescue mission—one person at a time.
• In your journal, name the people you thought of earlier who don’t know Jesus. Pray over them each day, asking God to help them see their need for a Savior and to give you the opportunity to share the gospel with them.
• For further study on truly following Jesus, read Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman (Zondervan, 2011).

BEHIND THE STORY

In verse 42, Jesus gave Peter a new name: Cephas. In Aramaic, Cephas means rock. God often changed people’s names in the Old Testament to reflect the specific calling He placed on their lives. In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (v. 18). Though Jesus caused the church to grow, He used the disciples to spread His message as the foundation of the church. He uses believers in the same way today.(1)

THE POINT

Jesus, the Lamb of God, calls people to follow Him. Christians must have a passion for and commitment to God’s mission.

(1)Holman Christian Standard Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2010). Accessed via mywsb.com.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

A Holy Challenge

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Find a comfy chair and sit quietly for a few minutes before you begin today’s devotion. Thank God for sending Jesus to die for your sins.

Think about your favorite sports team, the armed services, police, and nurses. These people all have one thing in common—they wear uniforms and their uniforms represent the people they serve. In the same way, when you trust Jesus as Savior, you bear His name; you represent Him. The way you live should call others to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8).

Read 1 Peter 1:22-23 in your Bible.

“By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart. —1 Peter 1:22

Answer the following questions:
• Underline the word “obedience” (v. 22). How did Peter call believers to obey God?
• What does it mean that believers are “purified” (v. 22)? Explain.
• What does the word “earnestly” indicate about the way we should love each other?
• According to Peter, how are believers empowered to love one another?

RESPOND

Our relationships with others point to our relationship with Christ. Do we truly love others from a pure heart? Do we love them as He loves us? This may sound difficult, or even impossible, but this is the life God calls us to live.

• In your journal, create three columns with the headings God’s LoveMy Love, and Love Better. Under the appropriate heading, record ways God demonstrated His love to you, how you show love to others, and the names of people you need to love better.
• Glance at the names you listed in the third column of your journal page. Ask God to help you have the courage to seek or extend forgiveness in those relationships. Pray for those people to see God’s love as well.
• For further study on loving others, read 1 John 3:16-24.

BEHIND THE STORY

Peter used two different words for love in today’s passage: phileo and agape. His call for believers to love one another indicates a love that is genuine and strong. The word deeply reiterates this and connects with the idea that Christians “love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

THE POINT

Living on mission for God requires us to love others out of a pure heart, just as God graciously chose to love us.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Unlimited Access

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Take a minute to journal a few the times you recognized God’s presence in your life. Thank Him for constantly being with you.

Before Jesus’ death on the cross, people were separated from God because of their sin. Priests interceded for the people by offering yearly sin sacrifices, but the people did not have direct access to God. Read Matthew 27:50-54 in your Bible.

“Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.”—Matthew 27:51

Explore the following and write your answers in your journal:
• List the events that occurred when Jesus died.
• The high priest was the only person allowed beyond the curtain that separated the people from God’s presence. Why is it important that the temple veil was torn? What is the significance to you today?
• In your own words, explain the guards’ exclamation in verse 54.
• Describe the guards’ reaction when all of these things occurred. Imagine you were at the cross, would your reaction be like the guards’?

RESPOND

Before Jesus’ death, people only had access to God through the priest. Now, Jesus is our High Priest—constantly interceding for us at the right hand of God in heaven.

• Meditate on today’s Scripture. Praise God for giving you direct access to Him through Jesus.
• Prayerfully consider what Jesus’ death on the cross means to you personally. Then, record your thoughts in your journal.
• Does Jesus’ death on the cross affect the way you live your life? On a scale of 1-10, how much does His sacrifice affect your daily life?
• For further study on the temple veil, read Exodus 26:31-35 and Hebrews 10:19-21.

BEHIND THE STORY

Prior to Jesus’ death, God’ presence was confined to the Most Holy place in the temple. The veil mentioned in today’s passage separated the “holy place and the most holy place” (Ex. 26:33). Only the high priest had direct access to the presence of God on one day—the Day of Atonement. The curtain splitting from top to bottom indicated that God tore it. He removed the barrier between Himself and His people— an action made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

THE POINT

Jesus provided a way to reestablish the relationship between God and us.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Full of Life

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Close your eyes and think of things people often use to fill their lives, other than Jesus. Ask Him to help you see how to fill your life with Him as you study Scripture today.

What comes to mind when you hear the word thief? Think of famous thieves from movies, TV shows, or books and jot down some of their characteristics in your journal.

Now, read John 10:9-11 in your Bible.

“A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” —John 10:10

Ask yourself:
• How do believers “enter” (v. 9) through Jesus?
• What did Jesus mean by “life … in abundance” (v. 10)? Explain.

When we repent and believe, Christ gives us a new life, an abundant life. Therefore, every genuine Christian believer has been redeemed from an empty existence to a full life in Christ. Jesus didn’t just call us to this kind of life—He lived out an example through His perfect fellowship with God. We have to remember that having life in abundance doesn’t mean we will have everything that we want—it means we have everything we need in Christ Himself.
• In plain terms, explain what Jesus said in verse 11.

RESPOND

Jesus’ blood sacrifice for our lives has supreme value. Our lives should be lived in testimony to that—He is far more precious than earthly wealth.
• In the margin, list a few things you tend to value above Jesus. Confess those struggles to the Lord, and ask Him to help you recognize His value and give Him the highest place of honor in your life.
• Consider “The Point” for today’s devotion. Ask yourself: What do the words empty way of life mean to me personally? Journal your thoughts.
• For further study on the value of Jesus’ sacrifice, read John 15:13; Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 10:10; and 1 Peter 1:19.

BEHIND THE STORY

The Greek word zoe translates as life. The word for life was used at least 36 times in the Gospel of John, which accounts for over 25 percent of references to life in the New Testament. Bible scholars even suggest that life summarizes John’s main theme— Jesus provided physical, spiritual, and eternal life. Only He can give us new life.(1)

THE POINT

Jesus is the unblemished Lamb who redeems us away from an empty way of life.

(1)Kenneth Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary –John, ed. Max Anders, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), under “John 1 — the Lamb of God” and “John 10 — the Good Shepherd.”


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Once And For All

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Imagine what it would be like if you had to take one animal to church every year to be sacrificed for your sin. Take a moment to thank Jesus for fulfilling the law.

“According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” —Hebrews 9:22

Read Hebrews 9:11-28 in your Bible and thoughtfully answer these questions.

• Reread verses 12-13. Describe the process used by priests in the Old Testament to atone for the people’s sins and the ways Jesus replaced the need for those sacrifices.
• In verse 14, highlight the phrase “how much more.” Reread the entire verse and describe the main idea in your own words.
• What had to take place (v. 15) for redemption and the establishment of the new covenant? Why?
• Review today’s passage. Explain the concept of salvation.

RESPOND

Christ’s death on the cross was God’s plan all along—Jesus shedding His blood to cover our sins fulfilled the Old Testament law to the fullest extent. Jesus was not a victim of the Roman government; instead His death was the perfect sacrifice and exactly what we needed to be forgiven.

• Take a few minutes and journal a prayer of thanks to Jesus. Here are some things you may consider thanking Him for:
»»living a perfect life
»» enduring such tremendous pain physically and spiritually as He hung on the cross
»» shedding His blood so you could be forgiven
»» conquering death and sin for those who place their faith in Him
• For further study on the sacrificial system, read Leviticus 16:6-22.

BEHIND THE STORY

Christ was unblemished by sin. The importance of His sinless life can’t be overstated. Sin would have disqualified Him as our Savior because of the requirement of a sacrifice without defect. Only Christ’s perfect obedience was able to accomplish redemption for those who choose to follow Him. Christ is our unblemished lamb without defect (1 Pet. 1:19).

THE POINT

Christ was our unblemished Lamb; the once and for all sacrifice for sin. His death and resurrection nullified the rituals set forth in Old Testament law.

MEMORY VERSE

Grab an index card and jot down 1 Peter 1:18-19. Keep the card with you and glance at it throughout the day to help you remember the verses.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Redeeming Sacrifice

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Listen to Hillsong Chapel’s song “A Beautiful Exchange” (Forever Reign Live, 2012). Meditate on what it means that Christ carried the blame for your sins.

“For you know that you were redeemed
from your empty way of life inherited
from the fathers, not with perishable
things like silver or gold, but with the
precious blood of Christ, like that of a
lamb without defect or blemish.”
—1 Peter 1:18-19

Redemption requires one person paying a price to ensure another’s freedom or release. Redemption breaks bonds of oppression and slavery to sin. In this verse, we see that we were purchased or released from slavery to sin into a living hope in salvation through Jesus Christ.

Read 1 Peter 1:18-19 in your Bible and consider the following:

• Reflect on the definition of redemption italicized above. Explain the term in your own words. The Jews would recognize the concept of redemption in God’s deliverance of His people out of Egypt. For us, it is the picture of a person who was enslaved to sin and set free by Christ’s death on the cross.
• Why is it so important to realize that we were enslaved to sin and in need of being set free? Explain.
• Peter described life without Christ as “empty” (v. 18). List some things people often try to fill that emptiness with.

RESPOND

We can only experience redemption because of the blood of Christ. He was the perfect sacrifice because He lived His whole life without sin. The gospel—the way Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection unfolded—was always God’s plan for bringing redemption to us.

• In your journal, jot down the story of how you came to know Jesus. Practice sharing your story with a parent or friend. If you have not yet trusted Jesus as Savior, talk to your parents, a trusted member of your church, or your Trailstones leader for more information.
• In your journal, list two people you know who need to hear the gospel message. Commit to sharing your story with them.
• For further study on Christ’s redemption, read Romans 5:6-11.

BEHIND THE STORY

During the time of Peter’s writing, Christians faced fierce persecution. It was much easier to renounce Christ and live in relative safety than to remain faithful to Him and risk everything. Peter reminded the believers that this world would be a temporary residence and heaven would be their eternal home. He urged them to remain faithful in the face of difficult circumstances because Christ claimed the victory and redeemed them through His death on the cross.

THE POINT

God offers permanent redemption for His people through Jesus’ sacrifice.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply

Passover Lamb

Posted by Karah

Take a moment to thank Jesus for dying on the cross to offer you forgiveness for your sins.

Our world is full of symbols. Road signs use symbols to warn us of potential danger. We use emojis to communicate to our friends. We identify things through symbols and understand their intended meaning. In today’s passage, Jesus changed the disciples’ understanding of the Passover when He used the elements of the meal to symbolize His death on the cross. From that point on, every element of the Passover meal would remind those who participated about Jesus’ sacrifice and atonement for sins.

Read Matthew 26:26-29 in your Bible.

“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take and eat it; this is My body.’” —Matthew 26:26

Answer these questions:
• In the Old Testament, the bread represented God’s provision for His people in the desert. In using the bread (v. 26) and cup as symbols (v. 27), how did Jesus reinterpret their message?
• Why was it necessary for Jesus to become the sacrifice for sin? Explain.
• Read Jeremiah 31:31-34. In verse 33, underline the phrase “I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts.” Then, look closely at the end of verse 34. In your own words, explain the difference between the old and new covenants.

RESPOND

• Meditate on Jesus as the Passover Lamb—what that means for you, those you love, and those you don’t know.
• Journal a prayer of thanks to God for sacrificing His only Son to pay for your sins.
• List four ways you can show your thankfulness for Christ’s sacrifice.
• For further study about the Passover, read Exodus 12:1-28.

BEHIND THE STORY

The Passover was the Israelites’ celebration of God’s deliverance from Egypt. Before Pharaoh released God’s people from Egypt, God instructed them to sacrifice a perfect lamb and spread the blood on the doorposts. The blood on the doorposts identified those who feared the Lord—His people. That evening when God passed through the city, He passed over their houses; however, in the houses with no blood on the doors, God killed the firstborn. These circumstances led to Israel’s freedom and became known as the Passover. God instructed His people to celebrate the Passover as a memorial.

THE POINT

Jesus was the ultimate and final fulfillment of the Passover. His death established a new covenant between God and His people.


Posted in Devotions, Girls | Tagged , , , | Leave a reply