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
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
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.
Our Father in heaven, you are good, and your lovingkindness endures forever. And you have told us what is good, and what you require of us — that we would do justice, that we would love kindness, and that we would walk with you.
Lord, these are days of upheaval.The whole world is crying out, “No justice, no peace,” in response to injustices faced by African Americans. Lord, would you forgive us for the ways we as your people have refused to do justice, and given that pursuit over to the world. By the power of your Spirit help us to demonstrate to our neighbors that righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. We ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who dwells with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. 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?
“We Are One” 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.
The three attitudes to nourish are humility, gentleness and patience. Paul tells us first to be “humble” (v 2). Being “humble” is not being shy. It means restraining our sense of entitlement to be the focus of other people’s care and attention, by submitting ourselves to others with respect, in order to promote their best interests…In the words of an oft-quote paraphrase of C.S. Lewis’ observations in Mere Christianity: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Next, being “gentle” (literally “meek”) is not being weak.It means dealing with other people with kindness rather than roughness, with empathetic compassion rather than roughness, with empathetic compassion rather than demanding force, and with soft encouragement rather than hard bullying—for instance, urging people to raise their standards for Jesus’ sake by setting a good example rather than cajoling them to adopt our own agenda by being demanding or critical.
Third, to be “patient” means to be long-suffering of the faults of others and slow in seeking to rebuke them, recognising that spiritual growth takes time and that we are all work in progress. We are called to be patient, for instance, when those who are younger in faith seem unreliable or lazy; or when we experience less love than we have tried to show to others….
Obeying Paul’s words here really means growing more like Jesus. It can happen as we seek the Spirit’s help to recognise and repent of the selfishness that was perhaps indulged in our upbringing, of those poisonous influences of Western education encouraging self-promotion and attention-seeking, and of the pride of our hearts, which makes us demanding and consumerist…
Growing in Christ-like humility, gentleness and patience will enable us gradually to achieve Paul’s twin aims for church communities: first, “bearing with one another in love” (v 2) means accepting the failures and flaws of others because we love them; and second, making “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (v 3) means protecting the “unity of the Spirit”, which is the special togetherness that the Holy Spirit creates in a congregation.
Questions to Ponder:
Questionsfor reflection How can you proactively help to maintain unity in your church? Who do you find it hard to act patiently towards? How can a deep love of the gospel enable you to remain loving towards that person?
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.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)