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 trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Ps. 145:13b)
Prayer of Confession
Covenant-making God, thank you for the deal of a lifetime you cut with me, promising to be my God and the God of all who trust in you. As I live out this life with you, may it be marked by deep trust and open gratitude. In Jesus’ name, amen. (A prayer based on The Westminster Confession, Q7.3)
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
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).
Pray Psalm 78 | Read Matthew 3
- 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.
Pray Psalm 79 | Read 1 Samuel 26
- OT Context: “Four lives dominate the two-volume narrative, First and Second Samuel: Hannah, Samuel, Saul, and David. Chronologically, the stories are clustered around the year 1000 b.c., the millennial midpoint between the call of Abraham, the father of Israel, nearly a thousand years earlier (about 1800 b.c.) and the birth of Jesus, the Christ, a thousand years later.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This summer we are exploring what it means to keep “in step” with the Spirit. Each week we will consider a specific fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) by looking at other stories and themes throughout Scripture that express this fruit.
Read: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:7–9)
What does it look like for Spirit-empowered peace to take root in your life? Tim and Kathy Keller write,
EVERYTHING YOU NEED. Proverbs tells us to be merciful to our enemies (25:21). We can’t forgive someone if we feel superior to them, if we think we have no sin. But in the gospel our hearts are humbled out of our pride. Why will we be shown mercy from God? Only because Jesus in his death got none: not from Pilate, not from the crowd, not even from his Father. When we see that, we can be merciful to others. Why will we someday be able to see God? Because he was perfectly pure in heart, without sin (Hebrews 4:15). We will someday see God face-to-face because on the cross Jesus lost the face of his Father.
Why will we have peace? Only because the whole world, including his Father, warred against Jesus Christ, attacking him. There is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22), and on the cross Jesus got what we deserved so we could have the eternal peace that he earned for us. And that, of course, equips us to be peacemakers.
In Jesus we receive everything we need to live in wisdom. Do you know him? Do you desire to be wise?
Prayer: Lord, I have learned that wisdom is only a by-product of wanting something more than wisdom—to see God! Aim at knowing you, and you get wisdom thrown in. Aim just at wisdom—in order to be successful—and you get neither. At last I see it. It took me long enough. I praise you for your patience with me. Amen.
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.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jer. 29:11)