PART 32 – A HEART FOR GOD’S HOUSE (13/2/20)
‘After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”’ (2 Samuel 7:1-3)
‘“My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’ (2 Chronicles 6:7-9)
David desired to build a temple for God. He was not content to live in luxury whilst God’s presence - represented by the ark - was in a tent. Now, let’s be clear – as I mentioned in yesterday’s devotional – We are not to equate building the temple with church buildings; as important as buildings are, for Christians, a desire to build a temple for God must be equated with building the local church.
The heart of David says it’s not enough for me to invest my time and energy into good things such as my home, work, family, health, interests, holidays…The heart of David has a deeper desire to invest in building the local church. The heart of David doesn’t throw spare change or spare time at God’s passion - His bride!
We read this scolding challenge to God’s people from the prophet Haggai,
‘“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’” Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”’ (Haggai 1:2-3)
A few questions to ground this in our own lives:
Is our heart to build God's house reflected in our praying for her - the bride of Christ? If not, remember, that investing in prayer will give one a heart for what one prays for.
Do we see the local church as God's Plan A for mission and discipleship?
May God give us all a heart for His house - His people. May we refuse to be content with our personal ambitions whilst God’s house remains a ruin! Our attitude to the church is no small matter; Terry Virgo has written,
‘The rediscovery of the glory and significance of the local church is fundamental to God’s ultimate purpose, to glorify His Son among the nations. This is no small matter and demands our devotion and sustained commitment.'
If we are to 'seek God's kingdom' - seek to grow personally and see others coming to know Him, it's vital that we are in a local church.
David had a ‘seek first’ approach to life. This week, in our response each day, let’s endeavour to meditate on and memorise Matthew 6:33 (see notes below).
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – PRIZING GOD'S PRESENCE (FOR THE WEEK OF 10/2/20)
When in your life have you felt the most loved or treasured and why?
Introduction (Please read this intro to the group)
This week we are looking at 'prizing God's presence' from the account of David bringing the ark into Jerusalem the capital city. Maybe you've had a surprise party or have been involved in one; as one is waiting for the person to arrive, no one would forget to celebrate their entry distracted by the food, their phones, interesting conversation... no! We prize their presence -that's why we're here! How much more should we be mindful of and value God's presence when we meet together.
Please read and discuss 2 Samuel 6:1-5
Why were David and the people so excited about bringing the ark into Jerusalem?
Please read Matthew 18:20 - How aware are you of God's presence in our corporate worship, and how should such truth affect our attitude and approach to coming together?
Please read and discuss 2 Samuel 6:6-11
What does God's judgement in this event say about God?
If we are to escape judgement, what can we do? (See Romans 5:18-19)
Please read and discuss 2 Samuel 6:12-15
Through Jesus, God's presence is freely available to us. The Holy Spirit can fill us and our churches. In verse 13, we read of David's sacrifices; Jesus is our sacrifice - What does this say about how the gospel (Jesus' death for sin) is to feature in our public and private worship?
What expressions of worship are in this text, and how should this influence our expressions of worship? What holds you back from freedom of expression?
Note- Please ensure that everyone knows where to find the devotionals (our blog). Encourage the members of your group to use it, and to memorise Matthew 6:33 this week.
PRAY - IN GROUPS OF 3-4
Note - At the moment, please get into smaller groups every week when you meet, and, preferably, in the same groups each week.
Share anything from your life or the bible study that you'd like prayer for.
Share any encouraging things that God has done in your life recently.
Pray for Serendipity Cafe (See church news for prayer points)
Please continue to pray for our Community Group ministry. We need to multiply groups and, therefore, need loads more leaders.
Please look at the church news together.