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
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:8-10)
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.
God of everlasting mercy and love, we confess that we have been unfaithful to our covenant with you and with one another. We have worshiped other gods: money, power, greed, and convenience. We have served our own self-interest instead of serving only you and your people. We have not loved our neighbor as you have commanded, nor have we rightly loved ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God, and bring us back into the fullness of our covenant with you and one another. Through Christ, our Lord.
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).
Pray Psalm 12 | Read Revelation 21
- 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.
Pray Psalm 13 | Read Malachi 2
- 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.
Sometimes someone else says it best. Today’s Devo comes from Eugene Peterson’s As Kingfishers Catch Fire.
Read Ephesians 4:1-16
What does it really mean to become a mature Christian, growing up, in Paul’s words, to the “stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13)? Paul’s letter to the Ephesians provides the context to answer that question. A sentence from the pivotal center of the letter gives us our focus: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (verse 15).
The most significant growing up any person does is to grow as a Christian. All other growing up is preparation for or ancillary to this growing up. Biological, social, mental, and emotional growing are all ultimately absorbed into growing up in Christ. Or not.
The Scriptures frequently refer to growth and growing, almost always containing elements of fascination and delight that we are used to as we watch trees, flowers, and children grow. The concluding word on the growth of John the Baptist is this: “The child grew and became strong in spirit” (Luke 1:80). An almost identical observation is given of Jesus: “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
Paul uses a similar vocabulary in describing the agenda he sets out for Christians in the Ephesian letter, using grow as a metaphor for maturity in Christ. Paul also has a striking phrase to clarify what is involved in growing up: “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This is the curriculum for the growth we are called to. Be the kind of person who expresses truth in your whole being, using love, not just words, to do it. Assert your integrity. Be yourself as yourself is defined by love.
The one thing it does not mean is to say true things or to make true statements. You don’t grow up or help others grow up by giving them accurate advice or precise information. Your life tells the story, not just your words.
So the commitment we make to grow up into Christ has “speaking the truth in love” as its source and fuel, has consequences that feed into generation after generation. Our growth is of interest not only to God; it is also of interest and full of consequences for our children, our friends, our neighbors.
Questions to Ponder:
Luke’s Gospel says that Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom…” Why do you suppose that Paul uses similar vocabulary to describe becoming mature in Christ? Peterson writes, “Your life tells the story, not just your words.” What do you suppose he means? How does this relate to the “speaking the truth in love” that the Apostle Paul says is the key to growing up in Christ?
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.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3)