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.
Use this devotional from Martin Luther on Galatians 5:16-26
Read: Galatians 5:16-26
“Let no one despair if they feel the flesh often stirring up a new battle against the Spirit, or if they cannot quickly subdue the flesh and make it obedient to the Spirit. I also wish myself to have a more valiant and constant heart, which might be able boldly to scorn the threatenings of tyrants, the heresies and tumults which Satan and his soldiers (the enemies of the gospel) stir up. But also that I might soon shake off the vexations and anguish of spirit and might not fear the sharpness of death, but receive and embrace it as a most friendly guest. Others also wrestle with temptations and trials such as poverty, reproach, impatience, and such like.
When you feel this battle, resist in spirit and say, “I am a sinner, and I feel sin in me, for I have not yet put off the flesh, in which sins dwells so long as it lives. But I will obey the Spirit and not the flesh—that is, I will by faith and hope lay hold on Christ, and by his word I will raise myself up, and will not fulfil the desire of the flesh.”
I remember that Dr. Staupitius (Luther’s spiritual supervisor when he was a monk) used to say, “I have vowed to God a thousand times that I would become a better man. But I never performed that which I vowed. From now on, I will make no such vow, for I have now learned by experience that I am not able to perform it. Unless, therefore, God is favourable and merciful to me for Christ’s sake, I shall not be able with all my vows and all my good deeds, to stand before him.” This was not only a true, but also a godly and a holy desperation—and all those who want to be saved must confess this with heart and mouth. But let not those who feel the lust of the flesh despair of their salvation; because the more godly someone is, the more they will feel that battle.”
When you next feel the battle between the flesh and the Spirit, will you give in or resist?
What would you say to someone who said they did not experience an internal battle such as Paul describes?
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)