August 11th devo image, a butterfly.

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

“The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” (Ps. 103:6)

Prayer of Confession

Saving God, I stand in awe before the mystery of your providence. Through our sometimes desperate decisions and fearful circumstances, you work your loving will. Give me patient confidence in troubled times and gratitude when things go well, knowing that all things are in your hand. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism Question 28)

*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 96 | Read Matthew 12

  • 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.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 97 | Read 2 Samuel 4

  • OT Context: “Four lives dominate the two-volume narrative, First and Second Samuel: Hannah, Samuel, Saul, and David. Chronologically, the stories are clustered around the year 1000 b.c., the millennial midpoint between the call of Abraham, the father of Israel, nearly a thousand years earlier (about 1800 b.c.) and the birth of Jesus, the Christ, a thousand years later.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

This summer we are exploring what it means to keep “in step” with the Spirit. Each week we will consider a specific fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) by looking at other stories and themes throughout Scripture that express this fruit.

Some days, it’s good to simply take God’s word and pray it. To help you in praying about God’s goodness, read the passages and Scotty Smith’s prayer below:

Read:

You are good and do good. Psalm 119:68

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Psalm 27:13

Heavenly Father, as I get older, my eyes strain to focus and hearing requires more intentional listening. But as I wear the lens of the gospel and listen for your voice in the Scriptures and providence, I see your hand everywhere and hear your heart loud and clear.

Thank you for being at work, when we see it and when we don’t; when we sense it and when we wonder where you are; when we feel near to you and when we feel displaced and forgotten. “You are good and you do good.”

My heart is full of praise to you this morning as I savor yesterday’s unmistakable sights and sounds of your goodness. I did “taste and see” that you are good in “the land of the living.” It was a smorgasbord of your faithfulness and grace, mercy and kindness.

A visit to my old stomping grounds of Burlington and Graham, North Carolina yielded a feast of grace, a banquet of mercy, and a buffet of your sovereignty. Driving by the homes of my youth and the graves of my parents, the church of my childhood and difficult places of my life-story fueled a spectrum of feelings. Sad, mad, and glad were all in play.

Father, in all the brokenness, you were at work. In every storm, you never abandoned us. In the hard stories of loss, you were authoring a greater Story of redemption. The barn where I was sexually abused no longer stands, but your faithfulness does. The movie theatre where I came to Christ is gone, but you’ve never been more present in my life.

The hours spent yesterday with my 87-year-old Aunt Cynthia were the dessert of the feast-day. Thank you for using her as an unmistakable display of the truth, power, and beauty of the gospel to me over these past several years. She has shown me how you were/are at work in all things all the time, for your glory and our good. Give each of us eyes to see, and ears to hear, just how good you are, Father. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

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

“The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Ex. 15:2)

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