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
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
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. vv.29-30)
Who do you want to be like when you grow up? It’s a question that we ask children. But perhaps it’s a question that we should be asking ourselves as we grow in Christ.
Reflecting on this passage, Dennis Johnson suggests a few kinds of people whom we should watch and desire to “grow up in Christ” to be like:
“Look at Paul, and at Timothy, and at Epaphroditus. Let Paul teach you the reality of Christ’s control of your life, so that you frame your plans and dreams and hopes in the light of Christ’s lordship. Let Timothy show you what it looks like to push back against your own fears, and instead to have your heart opened to the cares and concerns of others. Let Epaphroditus show you the quiet courage that takes risks to health and safety, that puts one’s own comforts and convenience in jeopardy, for the work of Christ, in service to the servants of Jesus.
But also look around: do you see fathers and mothers in the faith in your own congregation about whom you would say, “I want to be like him, like her, when I grow up”? Get close to them, watch them, and discover what makes them tick. Or do you see sons and daughters in the faith who are looking to you to be a replica of Jesus, showing them what it looks like to surrender our plans to Jesus’ control, to have Jesus turn our cares outward to embrace others, to have the gospel so captivate our hearts that we gladly risk all for Jesus’ glory?
As you look at Paul and Timothy and Epaphroditus, look through them to the Lord Jesus whose gospel they preached, by whose Spirit they lived and served. In them the Philippians could glimpse—in miniature, but “up close and personal”—the compassion of Christ the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.”
Questions to Ponder:
Who are you watching to discover how to grow in Christ?
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)