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

“Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57)

Prayer of Confession

Father of mercies, like Thomas, I offer you my often skeptical and stumbling heart. And like him, I depend on you to give the gift of faith. Though I do not touch your wounds, let your Word and sacraments be faith’s sense of touch, which will quench my doubt and stir my faith. Amen. (Prayer based on Canons of Dort, Question 3/4.14)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 55 | Read 1 Corinthians 9

  • 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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 56 | Read 2 Chronicles 31

  • OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

We are in our Spring series in Romans 8. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this incomparable chapter and see how it alters the way we live “in Christ!”

Read: Romans 8:5-11

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Verses 7 and 8 round out Paul’s opening argument about God’s provision of his Spirit for weak Christians like you and me. And, if that was where the letter ended, we would all head out into our days with our heads hanging down. Because all of us experience the daily struggle of doing the wrong thing instead of the right thing that we know we should do, and some days do desire to do, yet don’t always desire to do, and sometimes don’t desire to do for the right reasons! (see Romans 7). 

Paul calls it a law that is at work within us (the law of sin and death) but, and here’s where Romans 8 becomes so exciting, there is another law at work within “those who are according to the Spirit.” The law of the Spirit of life who sets us free from the law of sin and death AND brings life that is truly life and peace that is truly peace (Romans 8:2, 6; John 10:10). And that’s just what Paul points us back to in verse 9.

“You, however…”

Whatever follows that “however” changes everything. And so, we wait with bated breath like a hospital patient awaiting the doctor’s full diagnosis, or a contestant on the Great British Bake Off awaiting Mary Berry’s verdict on the composition of his pie’s crust (“Absolutely scrummy!” or “Soggy bottom”?). 

“…are not in the flesh but in the Spirit…”

Elation! And the joyful undoing of all that was dreaded by those who still possess a strong suspicion that God does not fully accept them despite their faith in Christ, despite the promise of no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, despite all of the stories and scripture that reveal the merciful character of God. 

Despite all of those things we still wonder if our faith is “good enough,” if the promise is secure enough, and if the stories are true. And in this surprising, stranger than fiction passage we hear affirmed again and again the beautiful gospel-reality that “if Christ is in you, although your body is as good as dead because of the reality of sin, the Spirit is life because of Christ’s 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.”

Again everything Paul is giving to us as good news hinges on the Spirit of God having made you alive and giving you union with Christ Jesus. If that Spirit who so powerfully raised Jesus from the dead, if He dwells in you then you’re golden! Signed, sealed, delivered. You’re his and will be raised again to life through his Spirit in the new creation! Now that’s something you can build a life on!

REFLECT: We walk through most of our lives waiting to find out about some thing or another: a job, test results, whether our affections are returned. Here in Romans 8:5-11 we hear that we don’t have to wait to find out about how God thinks about us. He tells us right here: “if Christ is in you…” then everything has changed. The “day of no more condemnation” has arrived! Take some time today to thank God for this, and to ask him to help you live into this wonderful gospel-reality!

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.

Benediction

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford