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 people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness (Isaiah 9:2)
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.
Almighty and most merciful Father, you alone are worthy of our honor and praise. And you alone forgive our sin. You sent your Son in humanity’s likeness, that your image may be restored in us.
Forgive us when we refuse your mercy with self-centeredness and unbelief. Once again heal and renew, that we may rightly bear your image to our broken world. In the name of Jesus Christ, who dwells with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. 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: The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Acts makes it clear that these Christians Luke wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God—they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us.Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
We are currently in between major sermon series, so our devotional for the next few weeks will bePREVIEW of what the Men and Women at OPC|Milford will be reading and discussing this Winter: Genesis 12-50 (Women’s Groups) + Revelation (Men’s Groups)
Read: Revelation 6-9
Many people find the book of Revelation intimidating, perhaps a bit scary, or just plain confusing. But there’s no need to be scared—and every reason to be excited.
Imagine looking close up at the details of an impressionist painting. All you can see are strokes of paint and dabs of color. It’s hard to make sense of it. But take a step back, and the picture becomes clear. And what emerges is not just a scene but the mood it evokes. That’s how we should approach the book of Revelation. Lean in too close, look only at the detail, and it’s all a bit perplexing. But step back, look at the big picture and Revelation not only becomes clearer, but grabs our imaginations. That’s John’s aim. Since we are faced with the threat and seductions of the world around us, John wants to recapture our imagination about how God is at work in the world.
The book of Revelation draws on a style of literature called “apocalyptic”, which was written between 400 BC and AD 200. It’s a genre with its own conventions and symbols. The key feature of apocalyptic is its claim to offer a divine perspective on history. John is showing us the world—the real world in which we live—but he’s looking at it from the perspective of heaven.
But the book of Revelation is as much a book of prophecy as it is a book of apocalyptic. This is how the book describes itself (1:3; 22:7, 10, 18, 19), and it’s stuffed full with allusions to the writings of the Old Testament prophets.
It’s also important to remember that Revelation is a letter. The start of the letter (1:4) follows the conventions of first-century letter writing: “John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you”. What we often call the “letters” to the seven churches in chapters 2–3 are in fact called “words” or “messages” by John himself. Revelation as a whole is a letter written to specific people to address the specific situation they were facing. In this sense our reading of the “letter” of Revelation is no different to our reading of 1 Corinthians or Galatians—it’s just the form of apocalyptic writing that is unfamiliar to us.
We’re used to the idea that Paul, for example, wrote 1 Corinthians to address particular concerns in the first-century church of Corinth. We know we need to understand how Paul addressed their concerns then before we can understand how he speaks to our concerns now. It’s the same for the book of Revelation. John is writing to Christians facing the threats and seductions of life in and under the Roman Empire. We need to put ourselves in their shoes and see how Revelation inspires them to remain faithful to Christ before we apply it to ourselves.
Want to continue learning about Revelation?Watch this video from the Bible Project to learn a little more about the second half of Revelation:
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.
In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)