19/08/2018: Listening to God

CALL TO WORSHIP[1]:                    Psalm 96

King of the World

1Go ahead—sing your new song to the Lord!
Let everyone in every language sing him a new song.
2–3 Don’t stop! Keep on singing! Make his name famous!
Tell everyone every day how wonderful he is.
Give them the good news of our great Savior.
Take the message of his glory and miracles to every nation.
Tell them about all the amazing things he has done.
For the Lord’s greatness is beyond description
and he deserves all the praise that comes to him.
He is our King-God and it’s right to be in holy awe of him.

HEBREWS 12:1-6, 12-15

The Great Cloud of Witnesses

12 As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.

We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

So consider carefully how Jesus faced such intense opposition from sinners who opposed their own souls, so that you won’t become worn down and cave in under life’s pressures. After all, you have not yet reached the point of sweating blood in your opposition to sin. And have you forgotten his encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said,

“My child don’t underestimate the value
of the discipline and training of the Lord God,
or get depressed when he has to correct you.
For the Lord’s training of your life
is the evidence of his faithful love.
And when he draws you to himself,
it proves you are his delightful child.”

12 So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees, 13 for as you keep walking forward on God’s paths all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed!

14 In every relationship be swift to choose peace over competition, and run swiftly toward holiness, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.

Quote for the week:

“It has been said that everyone has three lives – a public life, a private life and a secret life. Holiness is about living an integrated life, rather than a dis-integrated one. Holiness is where there is no difference between our public, private and secret lives and no difference between what we profess and what we practice. Holiness is linked to wholeness. When God calls you to be holy, he is saying ‘be wholly mine’.”

[Nicky Gumble: http://www.bibleinoneyear.org/bioy/commentary/2990]

Questions:

    1. What is the linchpin for an integrated and whole spiritual life?
    1. Can you list some of the ways God speaks to people?
    1. The key focus thought this week is on “learning to listen to the Father’s voice”. Have you tried to listen for God’s voice before? If so, how did it go?
    1. Learning to listen to God’s voice is called
    1. A practical exercise to help us learn about meditation:
    • Practice seeing in your mind you connected to Jesus as your partner in a “three-legged race” (Jesus walking with you; in your car with you; in the queue at the Till; washing dishes with you, preparing food with you; playing bowls with you …)
    • Practice seeing others, in fact all those around you, connected to Jesus in this way too! What does this new way of looking at yourself and others mean for you when you meet someone you despise, dislike or even hate?
    • Does seeing yourself and others connected to Jesus in this way, always in partnership with him; affect the way you deal with yourself, and others on a daily basis? What do you hear God saying to you while you try to face each day in this way? Make notes for yourself in a notebook, or on your phone…
    • In meditation an exercise like this is called “Practicing the presence of God”!
    • A further illustration – move apart from those sitting nearby, make a seat available for Jesus next to you. Imagine Jesus sitting in the chair next to you. Does this perhaps change the way you think about Church and about the way you see the people sitting around you in church?

Give this meditation exercise a chance this week – it could be life changing!

Have a blessed week,

Rev. Tim

[1] All Bible Readings taken from: The Passion Translation (TPT) The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by Broad Street Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com

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