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
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
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 humbly bow before you.What is mankind that you are mindful of us? We are too entitled to the trivial things in life. We are too proud in our own eyes, and we hold on to past hurts that reap the bitterness of a controlled life.
Lord, we need help.Please deliver us from how we’ve placed ourselves, our nation and our future prosperity into our own hands. You are the salvation that we need. We believe in Jesus, your son. Help our unbelief. Seal us with the assurance that grabbed our hearts from when we first believed.
We put our hope solely in you, our refuge and strength. In Jesus’ name we pray. 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.
Read: Philippians 3:1-14 (esp. v.8-9)
Paul had a many reasons to be confidently self-sufficient. His education, career, and social background set him among the elite. He was as morally righteous as a person can be, and yet, he confesses “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.”That’s significant! What rare humility! But this is what comes when your life is rooted in the One who “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage…”
If we are reading closely,then this is the moment where we slide to the edge of our seats as Paul reveals what he has gained in the wake of losing everything that he, his family and his culture prized above all else.
Read Philippians 3:7-9 again:
…Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. That I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. (Philippians 3:8–9)
Jack Miller offer us a unique perspective what Paul is saying about the process of growing in Christ:
“Unless you’re assured that God loves you, it’s pretty hard to do anything in the Christian life. You set out to try to change something in yourself, and you have this vague feeling that you’re going to mess it up anyway. You’re convinced that God is always planning some way to trip you up, and none of your efforts really lead to anything. There’s no freedom, no power, no joy.
What Paul is talking about is getting your roots down into Christ and his righteousness, so that you can have the assurance that God loves you and that never again do you have to try to build your own righteousness. Your foundation is only in Christ.
Paul points out that this is a process. In Philippians 3:12, he writes, “Not that I have already obtained this.” Tree roots are a good picture of this in that they continue to grow down into what is unchangeable soil. In the same way, the foundation of our assurance of God’s love for us is Christ, and we must continue to root ourselves more deeply in him.”
Questions to Ponder:
What things do you “count as loss for the sake of Christ”? Where are you setting down your spiritual roots?
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.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)