Recap: In week 2 of Heart Work we begin by asking the question, “If there was one thing you could ask of the Lord, what would it be? King David asks to dwell in His presence and “seek the Lord”. He briefly touches in verse 5 on some of the incredible impacts that comes from this one desire of the heart. What ONE THING will your heart will chase after this week?
Scripture: Psalm 27:4-8;
Icebreaker: When you set a morning alarm, do you snooze for a while, or wake up right away?
- If a friend or family member was describing you to a stranger, what would they say your favorite topic of conversation was? (This could be baseball, muscle cars, politics, cooking, farming, etc.) Stop and take note of what you think about the most. Would you agree with your friend/family member?
- How would your life be different if throughout every waking moment all you were trying to do was do whatever was necessary to find and experience God?
- For every Christian, our personal relationship with Christ should be the “one” thing that soothes our sorrows, guides us in difficulty, and strengthens us in weakness. What are some other avenues (people, habits, food) you use to soothe, guide and strengthen yourself?
- If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be?
- What does it mean to pray expectantly? How would you describe that to a new believer? Over the course of your faith journey, have your prayers strengthened or have they become stagnant? What holds you back from praying expectantly?
- Do you practice Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”? What is the longest continuous amount of time you have spent listening with your whole heart for His still, small voice? How does not sitting in God’s presence limit your relationship with Him?
- Is praising God your daily habit? Should your praise be quiet? How does Psalm 27:6 say we should praise God? What can you do to begin praising God this way?
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
Read Psalm 27:4-7-9 from The Message:
“I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic. God holds me head and shoulders above all who try to pull me down. I’m headed for his place to offer anthems that will raise the roof! Already I’m singing God-songs; I’m making music to GOD. Listen, GOD, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!” When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking him!” Don’t hide from me now!”
On a road trip a few years ago, we pulled into a fast food drive-thru for lunch in order to continue driving toward our goal. Because I have celiac disease, I need to be extra careful with my choices (which can be depressingly limited). To keep it somewhat simple, I ordered the biggest hamburger they had with all the fixings – without the bun.
Exiting the drive thru, we pulled over to pass out everyone’s lunch. Mine came in a plastic bowl but there was no fork to eat with. We pulled back into the restaurant parking lot to run in and ask for a fork in person. It didn’t take long and we were back on the road in no time!
Except when I went to pull the lid off my bunless burger, the fork slipped and fell between my seat and the car door. I peeked, felt around, stuffed my hand as far as it could go, but could not find the fork. I meekly asked if we could please pull over (again) so I could deal with my fork.
But the fork wasn’t there. We had the door swung wide open, in the middle of a bright afternoon, using the flashlights on our phones and checked everywhere. We moved the seat back. We moved the seat forward. We checked in the car door. We checked in the bag. We checked in places we knew there was no possible way it could end up, like the closed glove compartment and in my pockets.
Everyone in the car searched for the fork because if I wanted to experience the goodness of this greasy burger, dripping with mayonnaise and ketchup, tomatoes and onions, relish and lettuce – I needed the fork. Sure, I could use my fingers but that wasn’t the way the food was intended to be eaten. It’d be a mess. Sauce would be dripping down my arm, I’d probably spill and get frustrated. Although we were eager to get to our final destination we understood the importance of pausing to look for (seek) the fork.
We know we can live our life without God. That, however, isn’t the way God intended it. He will definitely allow us to make a mess. Get frustrated, angry, fed up. He will allow us to walk around dirty and stained from the sin that we let drip all over us. And the whole time He’s thinking how much easier things would be if we just pulled over, paused, and took however long it takes until we find Him.
When being interviewed about her song, “First,” singer/songwriter Lauren Daigle said, “When we are finding our identity and security in [God] and constantly seeking Him first, His desires first, His will first, His character first — when we are found in that, nothing else can come and take its place. Fear can’t come and survive because His love pushes it out.”
We need to focus on God’s perfect love, on His Kingdom. But how do we do that? Here are a couple challenges for this week for you to consider:
CHALLENGE: Seek God through prayer! Daniel 6:10 describes a pattern to pray three set times per day. Luke 18 shows that we are to pray night and day. Acts 3:1 gives us a sense of prayer length when it describes Peter and John going to temple for the “hour of prayer.” For one day this week, set an alarm to pray three separate times for an hour each. Make a list of people or things you want to pray for and just go through the list. Even if you run out of things to say, you can sit still with God thinking about Him. He knows your heart.
CHALLENGE: Seek God through His Word! In order to know and do the will of God, the Scriptures need to be meditated upon, read, or heard two or more times per day (Deut 6:4-9, Joshua 1:8). Choose one day this week to read the Bible on your own or with others. This can include Bible studies, devotions, or studying the origin of biblical words in scripture.
CHALLENGE: Seek God through Others! Seeking God and helping others are always tied together in the scriptures! When Jesus was asked what was the most important part of the Law of Moses, He said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). Take one day this week and decide that is your day to serve others! Fill your day with simple things like holding a door open for others, but also make an earnest effort toward something more impactful. Offer to watch someone’s children to allow the parents to go on a coffee date – you can even give them a gift card to your local coffee shop. Drop off a dinner to an elderly neighbor. Follow Walworth In Action on Facebook (or your local community volunteer page) to see ways you can help others in your community.
CHALLENGE: Seek God through Avoiding Distractions! There are many things that ‘get in the way’ of us seeking God the way we were designed to. Work, children, school, parents, taxes, lawn maintenance, car repairs, finances, health concerns, and so much more that tends to distract us from seeking God. Pick one day this week to take serious steps to intentionally clear your calendar from interruptions and diversion. Choose either silence or Christian music when driving in the car. Choose either to read the Bible, pray with your family, or watch an online sermon after dinner. Do not check your emails or respond to text messages for 24-hours. Make no plans with anyone (unless it’s a Bible Study or volunteer opportunity). Take a complete 24-hour period in your life to intentionally spend with God. Pray while sorting laundry. Thank God out loud for all the blessings you’ve been handed while washing the dishes. When you’re on your run, listen to a Christian podcast. Twenty-four hours. No distractions. Just you and God.
Are you in a right relationship with God? How would you define your relationship with God? As an acquaintance, neighbor, casual friend, best friend, dating, engaged, newly married, married for a little while, or celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary? Ask God to show you how you can improve your relationship with Him.