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
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God?…He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:6-8)
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.
Holy Father, you see us as we are, and know our inmost thoughts. We confess that we are unworthy of your gracious care. We forget that all life–all life–comes from you and that to you all life returns. We have not sought to do your will with our whole heart. We have not lived as grateful children, nor loved as Christ loved us. We have paid lip service to our own dear brothers and sisters. We have separated ourselves from them in our hearts. We have not shown compassionate love to those who are hurting. Apart from you, we are nothing. Only your grace can sustain us.
Lord, in your mercy, forgive us, heal us, and make us whole. Set us free from our sin, and restore us to the joy of your salvation now and 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: 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?
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 the Intro below
Read the whole letter of Philippians (takes about 14 minutes).
INTRO Philippians is Paul’s warmest letter, which is surprising because there is unrest in his world. Things have not gone according to plan. He has been imprisoned, and yet throughout the letter a strange happiness emanates from the page producing what Tim Mackie calls, “the gospel in poetry.”
In fact that’s exactly what we find in Chapter 2: a poem about Jesus as the Messiah. It’s the centerpiece of the letter. Everything feeds into and flows from this poetic retelling of the Story of Redemption including a subtle nod to Adam’s rebellion to an obvious allusion to Isaiah’s suffering servant.
Paul pulls the words and ideas from this “Christ poem” into each section in order to help us see how our own story should become a walking, moving, breathing expression of Jesus’ story, of the gospel.
As “citizens of heaven,” then, we will be both more realistic about the shortcomings of our society and more hope-filled about the answers the gospel provides. Living a life worthy of the gospel means that our approach to suffering, to unrest, and even to politics will alwaysprovide a slightly different answer to what troubles our society most.
Should this surprise us? Paul thinks not, and instead encourages us to see every aspect of our lives as places where God is completing His “gospel work” in us. Philippians shows us that the gospel is not simply what saves us,but also what continues to transform us as we seek to live the gospel out into our everyday lives.
Questions to Ponder:
Take a few minutes to write down 3 things you would like to see God transform in your life during this coming season. Got them? Good. Now spend some time in prayer asking God to use Philippians to help you to see how the gospel can transform each of these things.
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.
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)