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
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 3:2)
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.
Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as those who have been delivered from the wrath to come through the blood of Jesus Christ, we come now to confess our sins, and to seek the grace and mercy that can be found only in you.
You have called us to be people of faith, hope, and love, but we are guilty of unbelief, despair, and hatred. When we should have delighted in Jesus, we have sought refuge in created things.
Have mercy on us, O God, and bear fruit in us by your Word and Spirit. Turn our faces and our hearts upward to glory, so that we will live as those who are saved in hope. In Jesus’ name we pray, 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: 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: Written around the same time as Haggai, Israel had returned from exile in Babylon, but they were discouraged by the slow progress in rebuilding their national identity. Zechariah reminded the people that returning to their homeland would do no good if their hearts did not return to God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
“Neighbor Day” Readings
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.
TRUE SERVICE BUILDS COMMUNITY The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. — Coretta Scott King
The final distinction we want to make between self-righteous service and true service has to do with the impact our actions have on our communities. “Self-righteous service,” Richard Foster warns, “fractures community. . . . It centers in the glorification of the individual.
Therefore, it puts others into its debt and becomes one of the most subtle and destructive forms of manipulation known.” True service, on the other hand, “quietly goes about caring for the needs of others. It draws, binds, heals, builds.”
Questions to Ponder:
1. Do you ever find yourself looking down on those you seek to serve? If so, how would your acts of service be different if you genuinely regarded those you were serving “as better than yourself” (Philippians 2:3)?
2. Have you participated in a social justice initiative that ended up fracturing community? How about one that built community? What makes the difference between an initiative that fractures community and one that builds community?
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.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Philippians 2:1-2)