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 will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. (Deuteronomy 32:3-4)
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.
CONFESSION Father in heaven, we confess to you this morning that you have sent your Son to declare the coming of your kingdom. And we need your kingdom. Our city needs your kingdom. Our world needs your kingdom. Yet we resist your rule at every point. We are constantly trying to limit your kingship.
We confess that we try to take power from you. We want the control and fear trusting you with our priorities, our schedules, our money, our relationships, our children, our bodies, and our reputations. Forgive us for doubting your goodness.
We confess trying to limit your power. We act like you are a private god who does not exercise authority over every facet of this world, from individuals to institutions. Forgive us for doubting your power.
Father, you have said that your Kingdom makes all things new. Prove it to us. Prove it in us, we pray. Be our Lord; reign with your loving power over us.Meet us where we are and enter our lives, our city and our world. We ask this not because we deserve it, but because Christ has earned it for us on the cross. Amen.
PARDON (try committing this one to memory this week!) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
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.
Today’s Devo comes from a sermon from Kent Hughes. I want us to see how Paul says we are to live “worthily of the Gospel.” Look for these words: standing, striving, fearless.
Read Philippians 1:27-30 (especially v. 29)
The proofs that the Philippians’ courageous stand was a sign of their salvation were the twin facts that they were graced with salvation and with suffering: “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (v. 29). The verb “granted” can be literally rendered “graced”because it means “to give freely or graciously as a favor.” And the passive voice means that the twin gifts are from God.
The gracious gift of believing in Christ is a magnificent blessing. It is the grand evidence that God looks on you with favor. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12, 13).
It is the eternal boon of God. But with this there is also another magnificent boon, as Karl Barth explains: “The grace of being permitted tobelieve in Christ is surpassed by the grace of being permitted to suffer for him, of being permitted to walk the way of Christ with Christ himself to the perfection of fellowship with him.” The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings moves the believer beyond the role of beneficiary of Christ’s death to a sharer in his sufferings (cf. Colossians 1:24).
The suffering that comes to a Christian (as a Christian) is not a sign of God’s neglect but rather a proof that grace is at work in his or her life.
Questions to Ponder: All of us will endure suffering of one kind or another in this life. How do you interpret difficult times in your life? As God’s neglect of you? Or evidence that he is working to complete his good gospel-work in you? (Phil. 1:6)?
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.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)