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 87:1-2 He has founded his city on the holy mountain.
2 The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.
Read the entire Psalm
Zion is a special place. It was a mountain fortress. It was a city where the temple was built. The place where God dwelt with His people. It also represents a future place where believers of all time will dwell with God. God loves Zion. It is a place where His people will dwell with Him under His rule. God is a being who wants to dwell with His people. Does he need us? No. But He does want us. What a wonderful reality this is that God wants to dwell with us. Thank Him and praise Him for this reality.
1 Peter 2:1-10 – The Message
2 1-3 So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.
4-8 Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone in the place of honor.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,
The stone the workmen threw out
is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it’s
. . . a stone to trip over,
a boulder blocking the way.
They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
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
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
That is one description of your big “WHY.” When you approach your faith and life as merely a bunch of things to do and not do, then your existence becomes nothing more than a life behind the plow. It becomes mundane, and there is nothing of the epic about it. This is not the way things are, but it can be the way things seem to be. When people lose sight of the larger purposes of God for their lives, they go searching for the “epic” on their own terms. They trade life behind the plow for the life of the prodigal son. We all know what he found. He found life in a pig’s pen, and he realized that even a servant’s life in his father’s house was better than the life he had chosen for himself. Is your life less or different than what you hoped for or imagined? You must gain a vision for the larger “WHY.” Otherwise, you are in danger of chasing your own “why,” which will not end well for you. At best you will experience far less of the kind of meaningful life that God desires for you.
Application: Are you tempted to go looking for something more special, more exciting, more epic than the life you live now? There is nothing inherently wrong with that. Perhaps God does have more for you. But you must make sure your search for the epic is a quest for God, not something else. Ask God to search your heart right now. Ask him to show you what is actually true about your heart’s motives.