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August 23rd devo image, two ducks looking over a city.

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

“Your name, LORD, endures forever, your renown, LORD, through all generations.” (Ps. 135:13)

Prayer of Confession

God of grace, thank you for the wisdom and grace of the law—not as a way for me to prove my holiness but for the way it makes me eagerly look to Jesus and his salvation. Let your law teach me to live a flourishing human life, no longer driven by the crack of the law’s whip but moved to obedience by the love of Jesus who saved me. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 115)

*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 112 | Read Matthew 20

  • 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 113 | Read 2 Samuel 12

  • 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.

We are starting our week discussing Self-Control with two days of devotions from Tim and Kathy Keller’s God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life

Read: Proverbs 25:28

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. (25:28)

SELF-CONTROL: THE PROBLEM. Without a wall the residents of ancient cities were vulnerable to attacks by bands of robbers, other nations’ armies, and even animals. A person who lacks self-control is just as defenseless. If you can’t control your appetite for food, you will ruin your body. If you can’t control your tongue or temper, you will say things that can’t be unsaid or taken back. If you can’t control your sexual desires, you will ruin relationships. If you are impulsive and imprudent, not thinking things out, you will make rash decisions. If you can’t say no to people, you will overpromise and either be exhausted and overextended or have a life filled with disillusioned people and broken relationships.

A city doesn’t have to be completely without a wall in order to be sacked. The wall just needs to be broken through at one point to let the enemy in. So a lack of self-control—even in just one area of life—is a life-threatening problem. Where is your “wall” broken or most vulnerable? In what area of life do you most need self-control?

PRAYER: Lord, help me to do a survey of my life the way ancient soldiers examined their city wall. Show me where I most need fortification in my self-control. I have an idea, but I want to take time to examine myself with your help. Amen.

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

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford