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
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:8-9)
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.
Dear Heavenly Father, we bow ourselves before you and confess that we have too often forgotten that we are your sons and daughters. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if you do not exist, and we fall short of being credible witnesses to you.
We have denied you with silence, passivity, and cowardice. We have betrayed you by our idolatry, disobedience, and selfishness.Instead of following your ways, we have turned to our own ways. Instead of honoring you, we have desired the applause of man.
For these things we ask your forgiveness and your enabling grace. Transform us into courageous ambassadors for Christ. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may be your witnesses in a lost world. Draw us closer to you and embolden us to be your servants regardless of what we are doing, where we are, or whom we are with. For the sake of Jesus our Savior, 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: 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.
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 2:1-11 (esp. vv.5-8)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…
This section of Philippians is often referred to as “The Christ Hymn” (2:5-11). It’s a poetic retelling of the story of the gospel from the Garden to the New Creation in which the main theme is Jesus’ humility.
Story poems, or epics, use words and allusions to carry us forward and backward in time, to make us attentive to threads and themes within the story. In this case, Paul sends us back to the Garden of Eden.This should not surprise us as Paul is a Jewish Christian who came to see Jesus as the Messiah out of the rich, story-shaped framework of the Old Testament.
Eden is where Adam, though he was formed by God, counted equality with God a glory to be grasped. Hungering for a greater glory, a greater assurance, a greater importance, Adam sought his own interestsrather than God’s good will for him. The wreckage that sin wrought was far greater than those first folks could have ever dared imagine.
But Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, by taking on the form of a servant. And being found in human form…he humbled himself…” The contrast could not be more stark.
Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21–22, 44–49 tell us that, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive…Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” Our sin may be worse than we ever thought, but Paul tells us, the life and love Christ gives is far greater than Adam or we could have ever dared hope!
Questions to Ponder: What do you suppose Paul means when he says that “this mind…is yours in Christ Jesus”? In what way do you possess it? Sit in stillness and meditate upon this truth. Now ask God to make you attentive this week to when and where you will need to put into practice “this mind…which is yours in Christ Jesus.”
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.
Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. (Psalm 88:1-2)