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
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
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.
Almighty and most merciful Father, you alone are worthy of our honor and praise. And you alone forgive our sin. You sent your Son in humanity’s likeness, that your image may be restored in us.
Forgive us when we refuse your mercy with self-centeredness and unbelief. Once again heal and renew, that we may rightly bear your image to our broken world. In the name of Jesus Christ, who dwells with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. 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: The letter to the Romans is a piece of exuberant and passionate thinking. This is the glorious life of the mind enlisted in the service of God. Paul takes the well-witnessed and devoutly believed fact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and thinks through its implications. How does it happen that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, world history took a new direction, and at the same moment the life of every man, woman, and child on the planet was eternally affected? What is God up to? What does it mean that Jesus “saves”? What’s behind all this, and where is it going? 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 Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
We are currently in between major sermon series, so our devotional for the next few weeks will bePREVIEW of what the Men and Women at OPC|Milford will be reading and discussing this Winter: Genesis 12-50 (Women’s Groups) + Revelation (Men’s Groups)
Read: Revelation 1-3, again
I want to offer us a unique perspective on Revelation today. It comes from a Christian theologian named Marva Dawn who has struggled with chronic and debilitating illness throughout her life. I think her perspective is one which we all can learn from as we read Revelation. Here’s what she says,
“Obviously I am weak, but physical handicaps alone do not suffice to teach me how weak I truly am. At times I am deeply aware of the feebleness of my Christian life, and yet far too often I fall into the trap of thinking that somehow by my own great effort I can accomplish the purposes of God…
A theology of weakness emphasizes that each of us is helpless and hopeless in our sin and desperately in need of God’s grace. However, because cause we have so many physical and mental capabilities, we are usually unable able even to recognize – much less to acknowledge – how helpless we are…
Many people find The Revelation difficultbecause it cannot be analyzed scientifically. In our technological craving for facts and fixes, we can hardly understand a book that is flooded with images, memories, ries, symbols, and mysteries. Consequently, we miss some of God’s best promises and the comfort that Christ would give us through this wonderful book of hope. Our culture needs the gift of hope more than any of the other theological virtues. The Revelation is a book that overwhelms us with hope – but it is accessible to us only if we can acknowledge our weakness, and that is awfully hard for us. We don’t want to shed our facades, our pretentiousness.
The value of The Revelation for everybody is that it portrays the Lordship ship of Christ. One of its great themes (often missed) is that Christ reigns especially in the midst of our suffering. In my experience, some of the Christians who have understood best what that reign means have been disabled people or people with other limitations itations that force them to live out of weakness. In their suffering they have learned enormous lessons usually ignored by a culture that focuses on power and success. People who have learned to trust God in their physical challenges or other struggles, therefore, often render us all a great service by teaching us a theology of weakness sometimes lost in a triumphalistic gospel. The Revelation invites us to learn a theology of weakness.”
What joys will be ours when we discover alongside the Apostle Paul that Christ’s grace is sufficient for us, and his power is made perfect in our weakness. Revelation leads us down this humble path. The only remaining question is: are we willing to truly journey into our weakness? If we do, we shall discover an even stronger Christ than we ever dared imagine.
Excerpt from: Marva J. Dawn, Joy in Our Weakness: A Gift of Hope from the Book of Revelation
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.
Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth. (Psalm 31:5)