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
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
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 4:7
The Secret of Peace. “The peace of God, ‘keeps your hearts and your minds’ not just in God, but ‘in Christ Jesus.’…Paul is trying to say it’s one thing to keep your thoughts in Christ Jesus but it’s another thing to keep your heart in him…How do you do that?
If you love anything more than God, if you live for anything more than God, your life is going to be like a tossing sea, restless, constantly casting up mire and mud, because your life is like a house built on sand instead of on the rock. You’re always going to be having cave-ins.
So God is saying, “The natural consequence of turning away from me, the natural consequence of not building your whole life, centering your whole life on me, is restlessness. Deep restlessness.” Who took those consequences? You know in 2 Corinthians 5:21, which I always quote, “God made Jesus sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”
What does this mean? On the cross, he got all the consequences of what we have done. This is one of them. Can’t you see it? Do you see Jesus Christ just walking through the crucifixion saying, “I’m just keeping my mind centered on God. I’m okay. I’m content in whatever circumstance I’m in”? Jesus didn’t say that, because he wasn’t. Why? Because he lost all of his peace. He cries, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In fact, we’re told he died with a cry. He died screaming. Jesus lost all of his peace so you could have eternal peace. Looking at that is what will get you through. That’s what will make him lovely.
Let me prove it to you. Horatio Spafford was an American lawyer who lost everything he had in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Only two years later, he sent his wife Anna and their four daughters on a ship across the Atlantic Ocean to England for a trip. The ship hit another ship on the way and began to sink. As it was sinking, Anna got the four little girls together and they prayed. Then the ship went under the water and they all were scattered into the waves. All four little girls drowned.
Anna was found unconscious by a rescue ship, floating. They rescued her, they took her to England, and she cabled Horatio Spafford with the words, “Saved alone.” When Horatio Spafford was on the ship over to England to bring his wife home, he began to write a hymn: “It is well with my soul … peace like a river …” He wrote that. Here’s what I want you to think about. Why would a man dealing with his grief, seeking the peace of God, the peace like a river, spend the entire thing on Jesus?
What does that have to do with his four little girls who are dead? Everything. Do you know why? Look, when things go wrong, one of the ways you lose your peace is you say, “Maybe I’m being punished.” But no! Look at the cross. All the punishment fell on him. Another thing you say is, “Maybe God doesn’t care.” No! Look what he did for us! Look what he bore for us! The Bible gives you a God who says, “I’ve lost a child too, but not involuntarily. Voluntarily, for your sake.”
You sing that hymn, and you watch a man thinking, thanking, and loving himself into the peace of God. It worked for him under those circumstances. It worked for Paul under his circumstances. It will work for you.”
Questions to Ponder: Do you have this kind of peace? Or are you restless and anxious? Spend some time today meditating on Philippians 4:1-9 and ask God to make his peace powerfully real in your life.
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.
You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase. I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:7-8)