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.
Today’s Devo comes from Jack Miller on Philippians 4:1-9. Enjoy!
Read: Philippians 4:1-9
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:7
What is Christ’s secret for true happiness, or better yet, his secret for true peace? In Philippians 4:4–6 Paul gives us three commands from Christ: first, rejoice in the Lord at all times; second, be visibly gentle, be so gentle that others notice it (Philippians 4:5 NIV); and, third, don’t worry but pray. By now you’re thinking, Good night! Who can do all that? These commands may seem pretty far from where you live, but the result of practicing them is that the peace of God enters your life—not simply peace of mind, but full peace that comes only from God.
Whether we like it or not, we tend to idealize what we’re doing. You pour your heart into the perfect marriage, the most effective ministry, the most meaningful work, or the closest relationships. Pretty soon, you’re so identified with the work that you no longer have any vision of Christ. Your personality is so tied up in it that if something goes wrong—which it will—you are crushed. Paul’s message, though, is that we rejoice because Christ is in control. We are gentle because Christ is in control. We pray because Christ is in control. And when Christ is in control, you can experience true peace.
Questions to Ponder: If Christ is in control, then what out-of-control situations do you need to turn over to him?
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)