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
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. (Isaiah 26:8-9)
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.
Lord Jesus, We sin – Would you grant that we may never be content with our sin?Kill our envy and command our tongues. Give us grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable,
to live for you and not for self,
to copy your words, acts, spirit,
to be transformed into your likeness, to be consecrated wholly to you,
to live entirely to your glory.
Deliver us from attachment to things unclean, from wrong associations, from the predominance of evil passions, from the sugar of sin as well as its audacity, that with deep contrition, earnest searching, we may come to you, cast ourselves on you, trust in you, cry to you, be delivered by you. 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: Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus. Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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 2:19-30 (esp. v.23-24)
“I hope therefore to send him [Timothy] just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also…”
When Paul writes just a sentence before, “I have no one else like him [Timothy],” he’s uses a word which means that they are “like-souled.” This is the second time that Paul has used this idea of having kindred souls. The first came during the Christ hymn when he urges the Philippians and us to be “one souled” in our fellowship and love for one another.
Now Paul offers Timothy up as an example of someone who displays this deep unity of soul. It is therefore clearly something which Paul is hoping the Philippians will cultivate and imitate in their own relationships. It also means that we should also factor their close bond into the way in which we go about forming and developing our own Christian friendships.
What is it that made them so close? This is a guess, but in addition to their mutual love of Christ, perhaps their lives were knit so tightly together because grace had given them a common language to speak to one another.A language known only by those who redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. It takes a lifetime to fully learn this humble tongue, but what rich and stabilizing friendships are born between those who learn to speak it well. I believe that’s what we witness between Paul and Timothy.
It’s what allows Paul to say, “I hope to send him to you soon.” Paul knows that Timothy will speak with the same tone of life as Paul. Their hearts and lives resonated at the same frequency which, as James Philip says, only belongs to “hearts that have been won by the Lover of souls” and so are “prepared to give the extravagant and prodigal devotion to Christ that is necessary to produce this kind of service in the kingdom of God. Only the man who can say from his heart ‘To me to live is Christ’ will ultimately make the grade.” Timothy was this sort of person. Am I? Are you?
Questions to Ponder:
Is there another Christian in you life about whom you could say: “We are like-souled”? If not, pray and ask God to bring someone into you life who is.
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.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are weary from the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, 133)