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
I will bless the Lord at all times;his praise shall continually be in my mouth.(Psalm 34:1)
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,your word tells us that with you all things are possible. Your word tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. You are a God who will do the impossible to bring your purposes to pass. Yet, we regularly live by sight and not by faith.
In your mercy, forgive us. Remove our doubt and secure our hope in Jesus Christ. Amaze us with grace – blood stained, incarnate, Messianic grace – the Glory of God in Christ. 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: Malachi gets in the last word of Holy Scripture in the Old Testament. The final sentences in his message to us evoke the gigantic figures of Moses and Elijah—Moses to keep us rooted in what God has done and said in the past, Elijah to keep us alert to what God will do in the days ahead. By leaving us in the company of mighty Moses and fiery Elijah, Malachi considerably reduces the danger of our trivializing matters of God and the soul. 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.
Read Ephesians 4:4-6
We have been looking at what it looks like to have unity in Christ this week. Unity happens while we are in motion, Paul tell us, while we are walking in a manner worthy of the gospel. Unity happens when we find our place through the gospel in the redemption story God is writing. Unity has three attitudes (among many others) that we are to cultivate: humility, gentleness, and patience.
The question that remains unanswered, though, is this: Why do we need to make every effort to keep the unity that we have by the Spirit? The answer, as is often the case in Scripture, is far more surprising than we might think. If you’ve been around Christians for any length of time, then you’ve probably heard some of these ideas: “one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father…” But do you realize the full extent of what Paul is saying?
A lot of people look at Christianity and what they see is a religion that makes you a better person, a nice person. Even some people who become Christians understand Christian faith in a rather shallow way as being solely about God rescuing you from the consequences of your sin. This is true, but the truth of the gospel expands well beyond only a transformation in your eternal destination to a very real transformation of your inner person.
Romans 8:10-11 puts it this way,
“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
What makes a person a Christian is that God rescues you from the death sentence of sin by bringing His very life to dwell within you by His Spirit. You see? You become more than simply a nice person. Tim Keller puts it this way,
“Don’t insult the gospel, and don’t insult yourself by thinking of Christianity mainly as being nice people. You’re not nice. Becoming a Christian means you become new. You’re not just nice; you’re new. You’re alive, and you have the life of the Trinity in you.”
The reason that Paul says to “keep this unity” is because breaking this unity by being boastful, arrogant, harsh, or impatient, you’re not only not being nice, you’re going against what it means to be a “new creation” created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10). But if Christ is in you, then you’re new, you’re united to God’s life and to other Christians, you’re desiring to walk in “the way you learned Christ!” (Eph. 4:20). And that’s what we’ll talk about tomorrow.
Questions to Ponder:
Spend a few moments in prayer with God reflecting on the last 48 hours. How has your life reflected the unity that is your’s to keep in Christ? Then identify the ways that it hasn’t (and there are always some) and make that a moment of confession before the Lord. Ask him to help you to see all behaviors that run counter to the gospel as going against the new creation work He has starting within you! And move forward in faith that he will complete it (Philippians 1:6).
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.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,for those who fear him have no lack!The young lions suffer want and hunger;but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.(Psalm 34:8-10)