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
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
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.10)
Today’s Devo comes from a 1994 sermon by Timothy Keller on our passage. Enjoy!
“Paul says, “I love my pedigree. I love my religious observance. I love my family. I love all these things. Even though I love all these things, I have an ambition that’s greater than any other ambition. My ambition now is to know Christ.It’s what I glory in, to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” Before we move on and explain what that experience is, let me just ask you … Don’t you see to be a Christian is not simply to believe in a set of propositions? It is that, but it’s much more…
A Christian counts everything as rubbish compared to the surpassing worth of knowing him. What a Christian says is, “If trouble in my love life has helped me get to know him better, so his love comes down on me, so I’m more dependent on him, so he’s more real to me, so I’m clinging to him in prayer… If a lack of success in my career, if that’s what it’s going to take for me to get to know him better, great! I count all these things as rubbish because the surpassing thing is to know him.” Test yourself with that.That’s what the whole chapter is about.
He also says, “I want to know the power of his resurrection.” What’s that? The difference between knowing Christ and knowing the power of his resurrection is Paul’s way of saying there’s a difference between knowing a person and resembling a person.When we know Christ, that means we’re dealing with him personally. The power of his resurrection is the very life energy that took his dead body and raised it up. This is saying the same power that came into Jesus’ body and raised him up can come into my dead soul and raise me up.
This is not talking about the relationship. It’s talking about supernatural character growth. When he says, “I want to know him,” that means I want to be with him. When it says, “I want to know the power of his resurrection,” that means I want to be just like him. What does that mean? Look at the deadness in your life. Look at the dead stuff. Look at the anger. How’s that going to be turned into forgiveness? Look at the insecurity. How’s that going to be turned into confidence? Look at the self-centeredness. How’s that going to be turned into compassion and generosity? How?
The answer is the dead stuff is taken over by the Spirit of God when you believe Jesus died and rose for you, when you make him your ambition, when you make him your hope.”
Questions to Ponder:
Where in your life do you need to “know the power of Jesus’ resurrection”?
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.
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. (Psalm 119:54-55)