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
Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name! Celebrate his deeds among the peoples. Proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done glorious things. Let this be made known in all the earth! (Isaiah 12:2-5)
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.
Lord Jesus, We sin – Would you grant that we may never be content with our sin? Kill our envy and command our tongues. Give us grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure, peaceable,
to live for you and not for self,
to copy your words, acts, spirit,
to be transformed into your likeness, to be consecrated wholly to you,
to live entirely to your glory.
Deliver us from attachment to things unclean, from wrong associations, from the predominance of evil passions, from the sugar of sin as well as its audacity, that with deep contrition, earnest searching, we may come to you, cast ourselves on you, trust in you, cry to you, be delivered by you. 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 (and the whole letter if you have about 14 minutes)
Paul, among the Apostles, provides us with the most autobiographical material about his life and ministry. In his letters we hear about his friends, who he is discipling and spending time with, that time he called out Peter for behavior “not in step with the truth of the gospel” in the face ofethnic prejudice, where he left his cloak, his need for parchment and books, and who he partnered with in spreading the gospel. Simply put, you cannot “read Paul” without getting to know Paul himself and his friends.
This week we will meet two of Paul’s “dear friends”who were known to the Philippians. It may seem at first as thought Paul is changing course as he talks about their travel plans to visit Philippi, but if we observe closely and follow Paul’s train of thought, we will see that Paul is framing their visit as an opportunity to see everything Paul has been talking about thus far in person. Here’s what I mean:
First, Paul has been expounding upon “living in a manner worthy of the gospel.” He shows how Christ is the ultimate example of this sort of life (2:1-11), then moves on to show how this ought to look in the Philippians (2:12-18). Now he gives two examples of people who exemplify this sort of living in Timothy (2:19-24) and Epaphroditus (2:25-30).
Each man is described as possessing the sorts of characteristics that Paul has just shared are core to gospel-worthy living: genuine concern for others, seeking the Philippians interests and not their own, standing side by side with Paul in ministry in unity for the sake of the gospel. And good news! Paul hopes that each of them will be visiting the Philippians soon.
We will unpack these more thought out the week, but here’s the thing I want us to see today.Notice why Paul is eager for Timothy to visit them. We can almost read past it. It’s so that he, Paul, will be cheered by news of the Philippians. What kind of news is Paul hoping for? Kent Hughes really gets “Paul’s heart rose and fell with his people. His greatest pains were heart pains over his people. But his greatest joys were heart palpitations over their advances. Paul anticipated that news from the Philippians would do his heart good.”
Questions to Ponder:
Does your heart ache for the gospel to advance in the lives of other Christians? One sign of advancing in unity as a Christian is that we grow in our desire to “ stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” Is this growing in you?
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.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)