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
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace! (from Psalm 29)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Our Father, loving King, the earth is yours and everything in it. So nothing is hidden from you, including our thoughts and motives, and all the injustices of this world. The sin in us and in our world causes us to doubt your love and goodness. Forgive us LORD.We open ourselves to you and ask that you cover us in Christ. Let us hear your voice saying: His blood is our peace, His death is our freedom, His spirit is our power. And let our hearts know that your service is perfect freedom and joy. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
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: Mark wastes no time in getting down to business—a single-sentence introduction, and not a digression to be found from beginning to end. An event has taken place that radically changes the way we look at and experience the world, and he can’t wait to tell us about it. There’s an air of breathless excitement in nearly every sentence he writes. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God. Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide. Follow along with our Philippians Reading Plan + Study Guide as we all read Philippians every day this summer.
This weeks’ Devos come from Timothy Keller’s sermons on Philippians 4:1-9. Enjoy!
Read: Philippians 3:20-21 + 4:1-3 (and the whole letter if you have about 14 minutes)
“Paul has just said. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there…” What’s Paul talking about?…Paul knows instinctively, when we look out there and we see everything changing, no matter how good your marriage is, somebody dies. No matter how beautiful you are, no matter how many facelifts you have, eventually the face falls. No matter what wonderful group of friends you have around you, they change…or they move. In this world nothing lasts. Yet deep down inside we know we’re built for a place. We’re built for a situation in which those things do last.
What does Paul say? Paul says, “There’s a place. There’s a person in whose presence things don’t just stay the same. There’s a place where someone sits on a throne who says, “Behold I make all things new.”… in the presence of the Lord, things don’t just stay the same. They get stronger. They get newer. Think about that one. They get fresher. They get brighter every second. Forever…
This world is a blip in the universe. It’s a place of decay, a temporary place. Then he turns around and says in verse 1, “This is how I want you to stand firm,”and immediately applies it to a quarrel between two of his women friends in the church.
What is he doing to Euodia and Syntyche?…You don’t see Paul starting by saying, “Look, I have a little model for reconciling people. Here’s step one, step two, step three. This is sort of a listening model and a problem-solving model, and I’d like you guys to go through it.” That’s not what he says. There’s a place for that. That’s fine, but that’s never where he starts. That’s never where Christianity starts. That’s never the way they deal with stress and problems. Here’s how they start.
He says, “Sisters, remember where you’re from. You’re citizens of heaven. Remember where you’re going, the glory.Realize and remember what Christ has done so this could be true. If your minds are filled with that, where’s the pettiness coming from? How could there be divisiveness in the presence of those ideas. If you think about that, how could you be petty? How could you be divisive? How the moroseness? Lift up your thoughts,” he says. “Lift up your eyes. You’re not seeing the big picture. That’s the only possible way you could be so upset with each other.”
He brings the big things to bear. He brings eternity and judgment day and meaning in life. He brings it all. Every moment is about eternity. Every incident is about God, light, darkness, grace, truth, heaven, hell, the infinities, and the immensities. They’re all brought to bear. Somebody says, “Well, that’s intense.” Yes, of course, but it works.”
Questions to Ponder:
Are you like Paul? Bringing the “big things” to bear in your relationships with others? Are your thoughts, your eyes being lifted up to see the big picture? Or are you stuck?
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 be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)