June 17th devo image, gardening tools.

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

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12).

Prayer of Confession

God, when I count on my pious actions to make me right with you, I get the gospel confused. I’m flattering myself, relying on my capacity to gain your approval.

Today, help me first to trust only in Jesus, transferring my heart’s confidence to him and so making mine all of his satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness. Amen. (a prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Q61)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 18 | Read 1 John 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: “The apostle John explains how our understanding (or lack thereof) of God’s love affects the way that we view ourselves and others. God’s love is key in knowing that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 19 | Read Judges 21

  • OT Context: “Twice in Judges (17:6 and 21:25) there is the telling refrain: “At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” But we readers know that there was a king in Israel: God was king. And so, while the lack of an earthly king accounts for the moral and political anarchy, the presence of the sovereign God, however obscurely realized, means that the reality of the kingdom is never in doubt.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

Read: Genesis 15

This week we are looking at the story of Abraham for Father’s Day (so it’s gonna get interesting).

Iain Duguid writes that, 

“Here in Genesis 15, it is Abram’s simple faith that is reckoned to him as righteousness. Certainly his faith led him to perform good works—otherwise it could hardly be called faith at all. But at the moment in which Abram was justified before God, faith was all alone. As the hymn writers put it,

Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to thy cross I cling.

Just as I am, without one plea, save that thy blood was shed for me.

Faith does not look at itself at all. It looks entirely to God and finds in him a righteousness that is not our own, but is reckoned to us.

It is faith that bridges the reality gap. The same apparent contradictions still confronted Abram. How could God do what he had promised? How could a man almost one hundred years old have a son? We too sometimes face such hard questions and apparent contradictions. How is it possible for God to be both perfectly holy and the one who justifies the ungodly? How could the sins of someone like me, who blows it over and over again, be forgiven? Is it possible that the church of Jesus Christ, with all its faults and failings, can survive and prosper in such a day as ours? Faith silences our questions and lays hold of the one who does the impossible.

Abram, believing God’s promises, asked for a sign (v. 8). This was not the request of unbelief, but of faith. He desired a token by which God would give him assurance of his promises. What he received was something breathtakingly awesome. He received the covenant commitment of God (vv. 18–21), a commitment sealed by what seems to us today a very strange ceremony (vv. 9–17). Abram was told to prepare various sacrificial animals—a heifer, a goat, and a ram, along with a dove and a pigeon—by cutting them in half. If we saw Abram the king in the previous chapter and Abram the prophet earlier in this chapter, here we see Abram the priest getting all the necessary items ready for the covenant ceremony.

A covenant was a common form of agreement in the ancient Near East…At the conclusion of a covenant agreement, it was sometimes the custom for the parties to walk between the pieces of a torn-up animal. This served as a kind of acted-out curse. What they were saying was, “If I break the covenant, may I be torn to pieces like this animal.” But in God’s covenant with Abram, only one of the parties passed between the pieces: God himself in the form of a blazing, smoking torch (v. 17). That foreshadowed the pillars of cloud and fire on Mount Sinai.

The one who would give the law was here showing that grace comes first, for this was a totally one-sided covenant. It depended entirely on God for its fulfillment. Do you see how amazing this was? God, the ever-living One, was saying, “I would rather be torn apart than see my relationship with humanity broken, the relationship that I have promised to establish through Abram’s descendant.”

Reflect: God’s covenant with Abraham anticipates the covenant that he makes with us through Jesus. He was torn apart so that we might be healed. As we’ve seen, Abraham was far from perfect but he did have one thing going for him: he believed God and that was enough. Where in your life do you need to believe God and let that be enough?

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.

Benediction

“May you be ‘filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.'” (Philippians 1:11)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford