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August 31st devo image, sheep in a field.

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

“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Ps. 57:9-10)

Prayer of Confession

Covenant God, how could your people be so close to the promise—almost tasting the milk and honey—and yet fail to receive it? Keep my heart from failing to grab hold of your promises. Take this heart and make it yours so that I give up everything rather than run against your will. In the Savior’s name, amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 94)

*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 124 | Read Matthew 26

  • 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 125 | Read 2 Samuel 18

  • 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.

Today’s devotional comes from Tim and Kathy Keller’s God’s Wisdom for Navigating Lie

Read:Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (15:1)

AGENTLE WORDS. When Proverbs talks of kind words, it speaks of our speech’s motives. When it speaks of gentle words, it is speaking of speech’s form—its tone and demeanor. Being gentle does not mean agreeing, but it does mean being respectful and friendly. We are called to speak gently even (or especially) in an angry confrontation, rather than answering with harsh, hard words in kind. Speaking gently in such moments is difficult, not least because of the fear of appearing weak. So Rehoboam, afraid of looking unkingly, gave a harsh answer that actually destroyed his kingdom (1 Kings 12:1–16).

If you do not curse back when cursed (Romans 12:14), it disarms and de-escalates the argument. If you respond gently, there’s a chance the angry listener may say, “I don’t want to hear this, but it’s very obvious this person cares.” Ironically, gentle speech is ultimately more persuasive than “so take that!” arguments. Harsh words play well with people who already agree with you, but they won’t persuade or help the truth to spread. Follow the one who, when he was reviled, did not revile in return (1 Peter 2:23).

When was the last time you saw someone de-escalate an angry situation with gentle words?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are meek and gentle (Matthew 21:5) and yet threw out the money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12). Lord, conform me to your image, make me

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

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford