Our Park Slope/Gowanus Small Group Leader, Caroline Hughes, put together a Bible study from the psalms in Seeking God's Face during this Advent season. If you don't have a copy of the book, you can learn more about it here. You can also do this study alone, with family or in your small group with or without a copy of SGF. All you need is your Bible and a ready heart.
"No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame..."
Read Psalm 25:1-10
In this season of busyness and distraction, do we ever think we're forgotten by Christ because of our inadequacies and failures? How do these verses promise otherwise?
"Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved."
Read Psalm 80:1-10; 7-19
Christ has brought us into a new freedom; the Israelites leaving Egypt is a foretelling of this freedom to come for us all. Everything is leading us closer to peace. This Advent season, in what ways do we want to ask Christ for freedom? Maybe it's freedom from regrets in your past, from bad habits or insecurities. Make a list of all the things you want to ask Jesus to free you from this Christmas.
"I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants..."
Christ came to offer us forgiveness and love. He came to free us and give us a hope. Do we struggle to believe this? Do we struggle to listen to his calling for peace in our lives? How can we make peace with our imperfections?
Pray through the list of things you want freedom from this Christmas season and ask God to bring you shalom, wholeness and peace in the freedom offered through his son. Christ has already forgiven us. Pray for belief and the heart to listen to his forgiveness and love for you.
"May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth."
Read Psalm 72:1-7
We know the world is not as it should be, but that through Christ's birth and death there is a hope for peace and reconciliation. These verses remind us of the hope that is to come. How do we see celebration of Christ's return, the second coming, in these verses? How does the imagery in these verses remind us of Christ's everlasting presence, the Lord Almighty who is and was and is to come? In what ways do we see his presence alive in our world this holiday season?
Coming Savior, you are the Word, the wisdom, and the very image of the Father. Ready my ears to hear your word of truth, to believe in your forgiveness and love for me. Ready my heart to learn the ways of your wisdom, to move me to be an agent of your justice and mercy in the world. Ready my eyes to see the beauty of your likeness, to embrace your presence and peace all around me. Fill me with the greater hope this Advent season that in Christ's love, I am on my way to shalom, to new life in your presence.
In Jesus' name... Amen.