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
Oh Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth your praise. (Psalm 51:15).
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.
Father, we humbly bow before you.What is mankind that you are mindful of us? We are too entitled to the trivial things in life. We are too proud in our own eyes, and we hold on to past hurts that reap the bitterness of a controlled life.
Lord, we need help.Please deliver us from how we’ve placed ourselves, our nation and our future prosperity into our own hands. You are the salvation that we need. We believe in Jesus, your son. Help our unbelief. Seal us with the assurance that grabbed our hearts from when we first believed.
We put our hope solely in you, our refuge and strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. 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.
Read: Philippians 3 (and the whole letter if you have about 14 minutes)
A lot of jokes have been made about the way Paul begins the first sentence of this section of Philippians, and perhaps rightly so! Preachers are, after all, well known for uttering a “finally” only to happily ramble on as if Sunday’s dinner wasn’t in the oven and the tables filling up at Cracker Barrel.
However, in this case, we simply have an example of a poor English translation. It’s better to understand Paul as saying, “Well then…” or “And so, my brothers…” or “Furthermore, my brothers, rejoice!” That’s better isn’t it? “Well then, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord!”
What does Paul want them to rejoice in and about? It’s Christ! He is the suffering and conquering servant whose name will one day make every knee bow and tongue confess him as King of Creation when he returns to take up his rightful reign. Now there’s something to rejoice in!
Yet,Paul’s next words might strike us as odd, because they are about the doctrinal difficulties that they may soon encounter. However, as we have seen, suffering and wilderness trials are not a sign of unfaithfulness, but often come as we obey Christ (2:12), as we live as citizens of his heavenly kingdom who eagerly wait his return. But for now we wander like pilgrims through the wilderness.
How do you enter into a wilderness? What gear and provisions will you bring with you? If you went to REI, what gear would they recommend? Paul recommends something that on the surface seems impractical: joy in Christ as King.
Paul will spend the remainder of this portion of the letter “writing the same things” to the Philippians that he has apparently already warned them about, but bear repeating, because reminding them will keep them “safe.” But, first and foremost, joy in the Lord is to be strapped to their backs like a pack carrying all the other supplies they’ll need for the journey.
Questions to Ponder:
Why do you suppose Paul told the Philippians to have joy in the Lord? Where in your life do you need to begin to take joy in the Lord?
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 keep them in perfect peace whose minds are stayed on you, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord for ever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)