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
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)
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.
Our Father, loving King, the earth is yours and everything in it. So nothing is hidden from you, including our thoughts and motives, and all the injustices of this world. The sin in us and in our world causes us to doubt your love and goodness. Forgive us LORD.We open ourselves to you and ask that you cover us in Christ. Let us hear your voice saying: His blood is our peace, His death is our freedom, His spirit is our power. And let our hearts know that your service is perfect freedom and joy. 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: Mark wastes no time in getting down to business—a single-sentence introduction, and not a digression to be found from beginning to end. An event has taken place that radically changes the way we look at and experience the world, and he can’t wait to tell us about it. There’s an air of breathless excitement in nearly every sentence he writes. 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.
This weeks’ Devos come from Timothy Keller’s sermons on Philippians 4:1-9. Enjoy!
Read: Philippians 4:4-7
“The premise of the Bible is that there’s a difference between a morally restrained heart and a supernaturally changed heart. There’s a difference between controlling or suppressing the natural self-centeredness and insecurity of the heart through willpower and seeing it permanently changed through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We’re going to learn three things from this classic passage: the character of peace (Today), the three disciplines of getting peace(Wednesday), and the secret (Paul uses that word) of peace (Thursday).
The opposite of joy is sadness, or despair, grief. But the opposite of peace is anxiety, fear and debilitating worry. So you see here in verse 6 it says, “Do not be anxious about anything …” and the antidote is the peace of God. By the way, this word anxious is not normal care and concern. If you love somebody…you have the burden of loving concern that comes with that automatically. But this is a word that actually means to be torn up, to be torn into pieces by debilitating worry and fear.
So what is this peace of God?…Two things Paul tells us about it. First, it’s an inner calm and equilibrium. Down here at the bottom, verse 11 and 12, he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,” which is to say, “I am the same in one situation as the other.” What does that mean? It’s not natural to me. In fact, it’s not natural to you, either. “I have learned it, this calm, so that I have this equilibrium in any situation.”
The second thing Paul tells us about the character of this peace is it’s not just an absence of fear. It’s the presence of something.In particular, it’s the sense of being protected…The word guard is a military word. It’s a very vivid word. It means to take a bunch of soldiers, to take an army, and surround a city with the army to protect it from invasion. So if you have an army out there, you sleep really well.
Here we see the peace of God is not the absence of some thoughts. It’s the presence of God himself. “… the God of peace will be with you.” Christian peace is not expelling negative thoughts. The problem with expelling negative thoughts is what you’re really doing there is just refusing to face how bad things are. You’re not being realistic. “I’m going to get calm by not facing the facts.”
Essentially, Christian peace is not that you stop facing the facts, but you get something in your life, a living power that comes into your life, that enables you to triumph over those facts, lifts you up, over, and through them. There’s a sense of being protected.
Questions to Ponder: How do you go about trying to get some peace in your life? How could this passage transform the way you pursue peace?
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.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)