Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Prayer of Confession
Jesus, friend of sinners, your resurrected life is not a private experience or a soothing metaphor but a stubborn public reality.
May your well-attested resurrection impel me to openly announce the outrageously good news—
that sins are forgiven through what you have done when the gospel promise is received in truth faith. Amen!
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: “The way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to nearly every action and thought through the day. Paul’s two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica, among much else, correct such debilitating misconceptions about the future and our present, prodding us to continue to live forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan…The great theme of the book is that God has saved and blessed his chosen people, whom he loves; so his people are to remember this, and love and obey him, so that they may have life and continued blessing. The key verses of the book are 6:4–6, and contain the words that Jesus called the greatest of all commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Read: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 + Revelation 19:6-9
Tiny crumbs fall from the unleavened bread as I turn it, examining it, between my thumb and forefinger. A few more castaway fragments cling to my fingertips. I brush them away and adjust my grip on the undersized cup in my right hand which sends the grape juice running in fine little waves that threaten to spill over the rim. I recover, but just barely, and the meal is saved.
But I always wonder, “How is it that such plain elements become something as real and spiritually sustaining as The Lord’s Supper?” And what is this worshipful meal anyway? Is it a snack? Is it a feast? We call it “The Lord’s Supper” but as many a disappointment child can attest, you will find no biscuits and gravy at this table. So what exactly is it that we are doing in this ritual of tastable, sippable worship?
We are remembering.The elements are meant to draw us into worship by calling to mind the story of the gospel. The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is a chance for us to again rehearse this most foundational truth: A body was broken. Blood was spilled. This is worshipful remembrance, “deliberate celebration,” as Robert Farrar Capon put it, “of the worst thing the human race—which includes all of us—has ever done; the murder of God Incarnate.”
Jesus’ last meal is the first meal in the Christian life.The simple and predictable fare tells us what we can expect to experience around this table each and every time: hope that there is a mercy and a forgiveness for our worst failings and all of those secret fearful things which you wouldn’t dare tell another soul. This is a table of naming and reckoning with who we have been and who we are now in Christ.
It is a table where worship happens as we remember and publicly proclaim the reality and reign of grace where sin does not have the final word.Grace does. We do this publicly to remind one another that we all come to the table in weakness. Needing to extend grace to others as much as we need to receive it ourselves. Eating this bread and drinking this cup is a way of publicly saying together that “We don’t have what it takes to sustain ourselves this week, much less for a lifetime. So we are staking our entire lives on Christ to sustain us by giving us communion with God through his death and resurrection from the grave.”
How long does Paul say we should keep this up? Until…he comes again.“Until” means that we are anticipatingan end to this common meal. There will come a day when we no longer gather around this table in faith. Christ will return and faith will be sight. He will gather his people like a groom gathering up his bride. We’ll be swept off our feet and carried to another table, to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9) where every sad thing comes untrue.
Until then, though, the communion table unites us as friends. “This meal,” notes Russ Ramsey, “is meant to stir in us a collective hunger for Christ’s return. It is a call to spiritually feed upon Christ together and nourish one another in him. It is a call to love what Christ loves and to love who Christ loves, as one body, one Bride—the visible church on earth.”
Reflect: Take a few moments and ask: “Is this how I approach the Table?” Take note of what we’ve explored today and make a plan to Remember, Proclaim, and Anticipate the next time we celebrate Communion (usually the second Sunday of the month).
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)