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 16:5-8 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Read these verses again and look for who God is and what God has done. The Lord is his portion, his cup. The Lord makes a place for the writer. The Lord is his counselor.
Now look again, the Lord is all those things, but what is the writer of this Psalm doing? He commits to praise, to keep his eyes on the Lord, to keep the Lord near.
Turn this Psalm into a prayer. Pray it to God and then read the passage below.
1 John 4:7-21
7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
13-16 This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
20-21 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.
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. Ask God to speak through the message and the worship time.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
I just want my kids/friends/self to be happy? This can be right and this can be very wrong. What if being happy is measured in the moment; what might be wrong with that? What if being happy is measured by feelings and emotion; what might be wrong with that? What if being happy is measured by selfish desires; with might be wrong with that? There are countless stories, some in the news every week, of adults whose desire to be happy has ruined their lives. Our “wanters” are broken, we cannot fully trust them. The longer we walk with Jesus the more they are being restored to their original factory condition. In this life, they will never be all the way back to their pre-Genesis three condition. Please don’t fully trust what you want. Please do work on your “wanter.” Pursue Jesus and tell yourself this truth…you can seek happiness if you understand that it is found ultimately in faithfulness to Jesus. Reorient to this fact. Do it a hundred times a day if need be. Do it right now to start or end this day.