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
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
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.
Gracious and holy God,we praise you as the triune God who lives in perfect unity. Though Jesus prayed that we would be one, we are a people divided against ourselves as we cling to the false values, priorities, and commitments of this world.
We repentof our narcissistic preoccupation that has ruptured our relationship with you and others. May your Spirit convict and heal us by showing us again the cross of Jesus, which is mighty to subdue, comfort, and save us. For we pray in Jesus’ name and by the power of the Holy Spirit, 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: Revelation contains 404 verses into which St. John, the pastor, makes reference to earlier scripture 518 times. The message is clear: This last word on scripture will not being saying anything new. Instead, the Revelation reveals Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God by bidding us to look to the past to the Old Testament promises and to the resurrection; to live in the present as the people of God; and to look toward the future when the triumph of King Jesus will be fully revealed. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: Written around the same time as Haggai, Israel had returned from exile in Babylon, but they were discouraged by the slow progress in rebuilding their national identity. Zechariah reminded the people that returning to their homeland would do no good if their hearts did not return to God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
“Neighbor Day” Readings
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.
Neighbor, says Jesus, is . . . the person near us, the person in need. Jesus refuses to put walls around the word neighbor. No national heritage, no racial origin, no ethnic background, no barriers of class or culture can separate us from our neighbor. — Richard Foster
Most people in the ancient world viewed certain ethnic groups as irreconcilable enemies and certain social classes as unequal: Greek and Jew, slave and free, male and female. These divisions in Paul’s world produced terrible injustices. Jews, for instance, struggled to believe that Gentiles could become part of God’s new community—the church— apart from accepting circumcision, the mark of membership in Abraham’s family.
But in Christ, traditional walls of separation are broken down: “All of you are one in Christ Jesus.” In modern times, we also see what happens when people made in God’s image refuse to recognize each other as neighbors. Hitler labeled the Jews as “vermin,” and acted accordingly. Similarly, Hutus branded Tutsis as “cockroaches,” and hundreds of thousands were slaughtered. The unity we experience in Christ is a key antidote for the poison of injustice and oppression.
Questions to Ponder:
1. How did Christ break down the walls of separation? Why does his life, death, and resurrection make us all “one”?
2. Are there people that you struggle to consider your neighbor? Why?
3. Explore opportunities you may have to expand your circle of friends to new ethnic, social, or religious groups.
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.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.(Romans 8:10-11)