Hearing God’s Voice from His Word
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Take a moment and turn your attention to God. Tell God that you desire to trust and obey Him. Ask God to speak to you from His word.
Psalm of the Day
Psalm 120:1-2 I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.
Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
Read the Entire Psalm
Are you in distress? Call on the Lord, he will answer. Are there others in your life in distress? Call on the Lord on their behalf. The Lord will answer.
2 Corinthians 2:12-3:6 – The Message
12-14 When I arrived in Troas to proclaim the Message of the Messiah, I found the place wide open: God had opened the door; all I had to do was walk through it. But when I didn’t find Titus waiting for me with news of your condition, I couldn’t relax. Worried about you, I left and came on to Macedonia province looking for Titus and a reassuring word on you. And I got it, thank God!
14-16 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.
16-17 This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.
3 1-3 Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.
4-6 We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!
Having God’s Ear through Prayer
- Express thanksgiving to God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you.
- Confess your sin to Him and receive forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”)
- Bring your personal requests to God.
(Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before God”)
- Pray for someone in your small group.
- Join with others from River and pray for Christian Challenge as they meet tonight at River.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
There is a third barrier in addition to the two perceptual barriers of time and ability. This barrier is priority. It is more about the heart than the head. We all live by our priorities. Some of us have more pulling on us than others, more family, or work, or health responsibilities. It is important to not compare ourselves one to another in terms of ministry investment in others. Some may be doing “more” ministry but less than they should. Some may be doing “less” ministry but they are doing exactly as they should at this time in their lives. The frame of reference is always going to be faithfulness. What faithfulness looks like from person to person is the same in terms of principle, we must all seek to know and love God and make his love known. What faithfulness looks like in practice will vary from person to person and even in a single person’s life it will vary depending on their current life circumstances. Since the principle doesn’t change but the practice may, we must do an ongoing heart priority check to see if we are actually practicing faithfulness. You may think, “Great, one more thing to do, I already don’t have enough time.” A heart priority check can and should be happening all the time, as you lay down to sleep, as you walk to a building, as you drive in your car, as you brush your teeth. It’s learning to live in the ongoing presence of Christ, letting him make small adjustments in your heart as you move through life. We don’t drive our cars making huge adjustments unless we have dozed off and are heading for the ditch. Good driving requires making many very small adjustments as we stay in our lanes. This is ideally how we are to stay in the lane of faithfulness. Many small adjustments as we move through our days.
Application: Try to pay attention to God throughout this day. Let him continually adjust your heart priorities as you seek to stay in the lane of faithfulness.