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
“God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5)
Prayer of Confession
Thank you for not allowing your church to get stuck in Jerusalem, limited to one location or bound to one era.
Instead, your church fits and functions in any and every context, spread across the world and yet joined in heart and will, united in one and the same Spirit.
Thank you that I am part of this amazing community of faith. Amen. (a prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Q27)
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
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: “Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. They are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced, and dealt with. The letter of James shows one of the church’s early pastors skillfully going about his work of confronting, diagnosing, and dealing with areas of misbelief and misbehavior that had turned up in congregations committed to his care.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
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?
Why Neighbor Day? Jack Miller answers this quite well in this short devotional on Galatians 5:14.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
Faith expresses itself in love, and the Spirit produces the fruit of love. The entire law of God is summed up in a single command: love others. But it is faith in Christ through his Spirit that enables us to fulfill the law.
Faith does not atone for our sins; rather faith brings us to Christ. Christ justifies us and out of our union with him we love others by faith, and so fulfill the law. Faith and the Spirit work hand in hand to fulfill the law of love. Our faith unites us to Christ; and the Spirit works in our hearts and unites us with Christ. So the Spirit unites us to Christ through faith. To believe is to be united to Christ, and then through faith, the very qualities that are Christ-like come into your life. When faith unites me to Christ, I have taken hold of the spiritual power source of life, or better yet, it has taken hold of me.
When we think about growing in Christ, or when we think about sharing our faith, we always wonder how to do it. The answer is to look to Christ in faith. Does looking at yourself produce fruit? No, but the Spirit has implanted Christ in you, and fruit grows as you focus on him and what he has done.
Reflect: How does today’s devotional help shape the way you are approaching Neighbor Day?
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.
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14)