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
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloudand your sins like mist;return to me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:22)
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 PREVIEW 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 1:1-8
It’s been a long week folks. I am tired and grieved. There’s so much in our world that is broken, and will only be healed when Christ returns. I think that’s why I am so looking forward to our study in Revelation: Revelation is less about the end of the world, and more about revealing the kind of world we live in. John’s apocalypse doesn’t pretend that all is well and a little more human effort will resolve the fraying edge of the world’s issues. And yet, he’s hopeful, because Christ himself comes and says not only to John, but also to us in the midst of a week like this: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
So here’s what I am proposing for today’s devotional.
Read the passage above. Meditate on it. Get it down deep inside your bones.
And then spend a few minutes with the art below. Weeks like this require art (+God’s Word) to fill you with fresh courage and confidence to “carry the fire” (to borrow a phrase from Cormac McCarthy) because it’s really true: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!
Carry the Fire by Andrew Peterson
Every Moment Holy, A Liturgy for Feasting with Friend
Every Moment Holyis a book of liturgies (written prayers) for a wide swath of every day circumstance. Each one is filled with beauty and a deep love of our Maker and Redeemer. The Liturgy for Feasting with Friends, however, feels most appropriate for a book like Revelation and a week like the one we just endured. You can find the whole liturgy here, but here’s a small sample:
In celebrating this feast
we declare that
evil and death,
suffering and loss,
sorrow and tears,
will not have the final word.
May this our feast fall like a great hammer blow
against that brittle night,
shattering the gloom, reawakening our hearts,
stirring our imaginations, focusing our vision on the kingdom of heaven that is to come,
on the kingdom that is promised, on the kingdom that is already,
indeed, among us, For the resurrection of all good things
has already joyfully begun.
Okay, one more bit of art. Ned Bustard’s illustrations bring some of the liturgies in Every Moment Holy to life. The one for this liturgy is my favorite. May it be fresh encouragement to indeed, take joy! Because one day, all the creatures of the earth (us included!) will join in celebration when the Lamb returns to feast with his Bride.
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.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloudand your sins like mist;return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;shout, O depths of the earth;break forth into singing, O mountains,O forest, and every tree in it!For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,and will be glorified in Israel. (Isaiah 44:22-23)