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
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
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 letter to the Romans is a piece of exuberant and passionate thinking. This is the glorious life of the mind enlisted in the service of God. Paul takes the well-witnessed and devoutly believed fact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and thinks through its implications. How does it happen that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, world history took a new direction, and at the same moment the life of every man, woman, and child on the planet was eternally affected? What is God up to? What does it mean that Jesus “saves”? What’s behind all this, and where is it going? 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 21-22
Here’s a little preview of where our study will conclude in the final chapters of Revelation. These chapters have been a light which Christians throughout the ages have held onto when all other lights in their world go out.
“As the great undoing [you’ll have to read Revelation in full to understand this phrase] comes full circle, John sees a “new heaven and a new earth.” We understand that what seemed the terrible ultimate end is actually the luminous beginning—that the bereshith (“in the beginning” in Hebrew) of Genesis was really only a word from the wings. That first phrase of the Old Testament now echoes back, full of new meaning, in the final fulfillment of the New.
The center of this new creation is the New Jerusalem, the new capital for the ancient King, the bride for the Bridegroom. If Babylon was the wicked whore, Jerusalem is the spotless bride. If Babylon was stumbling toward sudden, eternal destruction, Jerusalem is proceeding to the final, everlasting wedding. The place called ‘the City of Peace,’ which has for the last several thousand years been anything but peaceful, will at last live up to her name.
Here the great hope at the center of the heart of God becomes a reality. Here at last He will walk with us and be our God; and we shall be His people. Here He will finally reach out His hand, touch our faces, wipe our tears. For as the loud voice proclaims, ‘At last the dwelling of God is with men and women, and He will live with them.’ It has not always been our hope, but it has always been His—from the moment He breathed life into Adam and watched with excitement as he came to life in the garden.
‘I am making everything new!’ He proclaims. And it is impossible not to hear the thrill in the thunder that is His voice. And behold everything is new! The heavens are ablaze, the earth a verdant paradise. And we have become brilliant beings that we might have been tempted to worship in our old, earthly existence. The river of life is there to quench our thirst, the eternal Sabbath to ease our weariness. The light of God Himself illumines our new world. Above all, His presence—palpable, electric, sizzling—is in the air around us.
We, as children, have experienced the reality of our earthly father’s presence in our rooms as we drifted off to sleep. There was the familiar smell of his aftershave, the sounds of his breathing and moving about the room. The knowledge that he was there was al the comfort we needed to drift off to sleep.
Now, as we wake forever, there is another Presence, not so unlike the other. It is our Heavenly Father. We can smell the aroma of His glory. We can hear the comforting sounds of His rumblings. And even when He is not before our eyes, the knowledge that He is at last fully there is all the comfort we can bear. ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,’ we hear the thunder whispering as we settle into eternity.”
Excerpt from: Michael Card & Scotty Smith, Unveiled Hope: Eternal Encouragement from the Book 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.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)