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
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8)
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.
Father, we are far too easily pleasedwith the limitations of this world instead of enjoying the limitless blessings that come from you.
We have sinned times without number, and have been guilty of pride and unbelief. We cling too tightly to our selfish ambitions and earthly possessions while neglecting to seek you in our daily lives.
Our sins and shortcomings present us with a list of accusations, but we thank you that they will not stand against us, for all have been laid on Christ. Help us to approach your throne of grace with confidence,so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. 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.
How blithely we read that ‘for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross …’ (Heb. 12:2), and many have been heard to say that the ‘joy’ in question was the crown that awaited him. Very likely so, but Isaiah says it was the joy of saving us.
We think of the intended humiliation and actual pain of the crown of thorns, but to the Lord Jesus it was a bridegroom’s priestly head-dress (61:10). We picture the bedraggled and bloodstained seamless robe that he wore to Calvary, but to him it was a wedding garment!His Calvary-joy was wedding-day joy. He was winning his bride.
Just as ‘we may not know, we cannot tell what pains he had to bear’, neither can we enter into that joy, but we can be awed by it; our hearts can be moved and our tears flow. This is how much we mean to him.His wedding garments were ‘salvation’ and ‘righteousness’, says Isaiah (61:10). In the Bible, clothing speaks of capacity and commitment.
When the Lord showed himself to Joshua as an armed man (Josh. 5:13), it was to display his warrior might and his commitment to win the Lord’s wars. Jesus was dressed in ‘salvation’ because he alone has power to save (Acts 4:12), and because he is personally committed to the work of saving us (John 18:11; Heb. 10:7, 9).
He wore the robe of righteousness, first, because he is the perfectly righteous Jesus who knew no sin (2 Cor. 5:21), did no sin (1 Pet. 2:22), and in whom there was no sin (1 John 3:5). Only the sinless can bear the sins of others.Secondly, he was committed todoing the righteousness – the righteous will – of God, to ‘fulfil all righteousness’ (Matt. 3:15). And thirdly, the salvation he has accomplished is itself a righteous work:the whole law of God is totally satisfied in the price paid, the penalty accepted and endured. Righteousness without salvation would mean our eternal condemnation; salvation without righteousness would not be acceptable to the inviolable holiness of God. Jesus is all-perfect, all-sufficient – all-loving.
Questions to Ponder: Jesus was “dressed in salvation” for you and for me. Carry this image with you throughout your day. He has both capacity to rescue and a commitment to you that he will never break. How does this change the way you will face the challenges of your day?
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.
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)