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
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).
Pray Psalm 114 | Read Matthew 21
- 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.
Pray Psalm 115 | Read 2 Samuel 13
- 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?
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 18:10-11
The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. (18:10–11)
SELF-CONTROL: THE SOLUTION. In ancient times a wall was a safe place in an attack, but a fortified tower was even better. These two proverbs indicate that everyone has a place of ultimate security, a “fortification,” something about which they say, “If I have that, I’ll be safe.” The wealthy, the powerful, the beautiful all think that these things are their “towers.”
But the wise person runs into the name of the Lord. In the Bible, God’s name is a way of speaking of his nature and attributes. To run into God’s name is to deliberately rehearse and tell yourself who he is. Jesus asked his fearful disciples in the storm, “Where is your faith?” He chastised them for failing to remember all that they had seen him do (Luke 8:25). If you panic, you are failing to remember (to “run into”) his power, his wisdom, his love for you. Self-control in any situation is the critical ability to both recognize and choose the important thing over the urgent thing. To honor, trust in, and please God is always the most important thing. What are you facing right now that is difficult? What attribute of God might you be forgetting—and might help greatly if you remembered it?
Prayer: Lord, the more you are on the periphery of my thoughts and feelings, the less self-control I have. The more you are in the center, vividly before the eyes of my heart and attention, the more I can control myself. Lord, grab and hold my attention, moment by moment, so I can live as I should. 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.
“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)