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
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)
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.
Father, you brim with compassion and overflow with unchanging love. You do not grow weary or tired, you do not grow irritable or impatient, your face is turned toward us this moment in full-strength kindness.
But we are so wanton, we scarcely think of others. We work only for our own happiness, provision, and security.
You have forgiven us an unthinkable debt that we add to daily. But we exact revenge on others for even the smallest of offenses. You bless with constant joyful generosity toward us, But we act as if every good thing we have will run out before we have gotten to enjoy it, so we are resentful of the needs of others and see them as a threat to our comfort.
Father, you are our God and we are your people. Please give us again of your Spirit, that we would share your heart and mind, that we would join in with what you are doing all of our days, following after you as you move to give and give and give again.
Through the mercy secured by the cross of Jesus, we come to you and ask. 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).
Pray Psalm 22 | Read Matthew 4
- 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: Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus. Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 23 | Read Genesis 3
- OT Context:First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God. Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving. 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. Follow along with our Philippians Reading Plan + Study Guide as we all read Philippians every day this summer.
Read Philippians 1:9-11
Paul’s Prayer. “And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
We may not notice it right away in English, but Paul is praying not for an individual, but for a whole community. Even as we think about community, our culture conditions us to think first of my role within the community instead of our role together.
It is important to note this, because our ability to “discern what is best” requires us to think in terms of we and not only me. We are to discern what is best, our love is to abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. This plural nature of the Christian life originates in how God calls us to himself. We become Christians by receiving what we have no right to expect from God: his gracious, life-giving, life-restoring presence.
That’s the deal, the unbreakable covenant promise, God makes with us. We come empty handed or not at all. We come knowing that our sin separates us from God’s presence, but even more so that Jesus made our separation his own. He was cut off from His Father’s presence, so that we could enter in and never experience the death-sentence of separation from the love of God ever again.
We receive this covenant but never alone. God “covenants” with us by grace. We become a new people, a new covenant community. A community instituted and transformed by the grace of God. We become church. Church is always plural never singular. “Wherever two or three gather in my name, there I am with them” (Mt. 18:20).
It is a place of equality. Church is the most peculiar of gatherings where all are sinners, yet beloved sinners, who are now together called saints. What guides and sets this strange community in motion? Love abounding more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. Love that, because of the very nature of the gospel, means we can never give up on each other. How could we? God didn’t give up on us. He has redeemed and is presently restoring us! So there’s no cancel culture in the church. Not for politics, not for differences in how we approach fighting racial injustice, not for anything. We need each other. This gospel love, though, means that we also must listen to one another. We can’t block each other out. When one part of the body is hurting, we bear their burden and so fulfill the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:10. That’s how we’ll know when Paul’s prayer is being answered in our lives: when we love each other truly, deeply, and sacrificially.
Questions to Ponder:
Read verses 9-11 again. What are you being filled up with right now? The fruit of righteousness, or another kind of fruit (hint: that would be sin)? Make some notes this week. Listen, actually listen, to what you are filling your heart and mind with. Is it producing in you a love for other people, even those you deeply disagree with? Are you seeking to discern how to love them better? Is it producing humility?
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.
“And this is my prayer, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)