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 good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7)
Prayer of Confession
God of truth and light,my sworn enemies—the world, my own flesh, and the devil—are not always obvious opponents. They are shifty prowlers, usually hidden and wickedly crafty. So make me wise to their schemes but mostly alert to your grace. In Jesus’ name, amen. (a prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Q127)
*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).
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: Revelation contains 404 verses into which St. John, the pastor, makes reference to earlier scripture 518 times. The message is clear: This last word on scripture will not being saying anything new. Instead, the Revelation reveals Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God by bidding us to look to the past to the Old Testament promises and to the resurrection; to live in the present as the people of God; and to look toward the future when the triumph of King Jesus will be fully revealed.Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
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: Matthew 3:16—4:11
A one word summary of kind of living that the fruit of the Spirit describe is: holiness. Each of these characteristics: love, joy, peace, patience…all of them are aspects of what it means to live rightly in relationship to our holy God. This devotional from Renovare helps to explain:
You shall be holy, for I am holy. — 1 Peter 1:16
For the next two months we will turn our attention to holiness and virtue. We’ll look at what holiness is and why it’s worth pursuing. We’ll look at sin and why it’s worth avoiding. And we’ll learn that while holiness is a gift to us from the Holy Spirit, there are concrete ways to offer our “bodies as a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) so that the holy fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23) overflows in our lives. That will lead us into a study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which we find recorded in Matthew.
Today, though, let’s start with the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. The end of Matthew 3 is included in the reading to remind us that before the temptations of the devil came the affirmation of Father God: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” God affirms identity; Satan questions it. Jesus’ responses to the devil’s three temptations tell us much about the nature of sin and the importance of purity.
Jesus fasted for forty days. Do you think that made him spiritually weaker or stronger by the time the devil came to tempt him? Why?
In the first two temptations, Satan asks Jesus to prove his divinity. Jesus had the power to do so, so why didn’t he yield to these requests?
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.
“The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Pet. 5:10)