• Matt Beaney

#478 (10/11/21) THE HIGHWAYS OF THE HEART



This week’s devotionals are based on Dave Holden’s message from our New Ground Sunday. You can watch the service and the message at https://vimeo.com/638751563

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” (Psalm 84:5 ESV)

This phrase, ‘in whose hearts are the highways to Zion’ is about a people whose hearts and lives are focussed on eternity; going up to Zion can be seen as our going up to God’s presence in heaven. We are not to live for this world. This is not our home. In Hebrews, we read,

‘All these people (the people who live by faith) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.’ (Hebrews 11:13)

Our lives and this world is temporary. God is waking us up to live for things of eternal worth. Paul expressed this when he wrote,

‘For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me...’ (Philippians 1:21-22)

Where do the ‘roads’ in our heart lead? Do our roads lead to worldly comfort and ambition? Do the highways of our heart lead to God? Are we guarding our hearts against worldly values? Are you and I mindful and battling the drift toward settling and living, distractedly for this passing world. God will do great things through people who hold lightly these temporary things because their hearts are set on heavenly things.


OVER TO YOU - PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” (Psalm 84:5 ESV)

I find it helpful to use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).


1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.



1. Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary.


2. Don't forget to come along and invite your friends to our Christmas Pudding making event on 20th November. Go to the website to book tickets.


3. We have our next gift days on the 14th, 21st November. Let's be praying for How the Father wants us to get involved.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?


3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, Dave Holden spoke from Psalm 84:5-7

'Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.' (Psalm 84:5-7)

Dave made 4 points from this text about the kind of community that God wants us to be so that we can become fruitful in our service to Him.


i) Our strength in God

We need to learn to say 'all my strength is in you'. God is teaching us through this Covid season to rely on Him alone.


ii) Live for eternity

God is reminding us to live for eternity. This phrase, 'in whose heart are the highways to Zion' speaks of living for God and things of eternal worth.


iii) Make the valley a place of springs

People whose strength is in God and who set their hearts on God and things of eternal worth will inherit the promise: 'As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.' As we trust God and keep going - keep trusting and walking through the valley - we will experience the joy of the Spirit and we will bring the blessing of the Spirit to others.


iv) Strength to strength

Finally, This promise of ‘strength to strength’ is for those who apply the message of this psalm: those who love God’s presence (v.1-4), rely on God’s strength (v.5a), those who will live for eternity as pilgrims in this world (v.5b) and will keep moving forward in faith (v.6). Such people and such churches go from strength to strength!


Discussion questions

1. How has the Father taught you to say, "All my strength is in you"? (Psalm 84:5a)

2. What does it mean to 'set our hearts on pilgrimage' and how would such an approach to life be seen in us?

3. We are promised, 'As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.' Who are the kinds of people that inherit this promise what does it refer to?

4. If we are the kind of church that embraces the teaching of this Psalm, we are promised that we will 'go from strength to strength'. Whats does this mean for you personally and for the church?

5. How has God spoken to you from this text or Sunday’s message?

6. SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard?

7. SIV - Who are you planning to invite to the carol service on 5th December?

8. Prayer - Let's spend some time in prayer regarding this week's message and anything else that you would like to pray about.







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