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
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
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 4:8
“…think about these things…”
First, thinking. Notice in verse 8, he says, “Brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure … think on these things. And the God of peace will be with you.” So the first thing is thinking.
That sounds pretty generic, doesn’t it? Whatever is true, noble, and right. Paul is saying, “If you want peace, think about doctrine. Think about what you know about life and about God.” This is so completely different from what you’re going to find if you walk into a Barnes & Noble bookstore and you go to the section on anxiety, worry, stress…They go right to techniques. They go to relaxation techniques. They go to work, rest, balance…They will never tell you to think. They go right to technique.
Christian peace comes from thinking out the implications…Paul is saying you think big picture. Everything is going to be okay…There’s stupid peace and there’s smart peace. The Christian’s peace is not by making yourself stupid; it’s by making yourself as aware of your beliefs, as thoughtful as possible.
Thanking. We see how very important that is in verse 6. Paul says, “Don’t be anxious.” Okay, don’t be anxious. Fine. Well then, what should we be doing? “Make requests to God with thanksgiving.” So thanksgiving is put against anxiety.
But look carefully here. It’s a little counterintuitive, isn’t it? What we would say is you make your requests to God, and then…if you get your requests, you thank. That’s not what it says. It says you thank him as you make the request. “Why should I thank him as I’m making the request? Don’t I want to wait until I see what he’s going to do?” No. Paul says you’re never going to be content unless you make your request, that means you acknowledge life is in his hands, and you thank him for whatever he’s going to do.
Loving. The first three have more to do with the mind. “… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right …” But then look. “… whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, [whatever is] excellent …” This is attraction. This is love. He says it’s not enough just to think on the right things. It’s also important to love the right thing…The reason we don’t have peace, is we’re loving mutable things, things that circumstances can take away from us.
But there’s one thing that’s immutable. Not only can circumstances not take it away from you, but even the worst circumstances in this life only give you more of it. Have you thought about that?… There is one thing that if you love it supremely, even violent death gives you more of it. What is it? The presence of God. The beauty of God. The face of God.”
Questions to Ponder: Which of the three disciplines of peace stands out most to you? Why?
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.
Return O my soul to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:7)