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: “The two letters Peter wrote exhibit the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit shaped in him: a readiness to embrace suffering rather than prestige, a wisdom developed from experience and not imposed from a book, a humility that lacked nothing in vigor or imagination.” 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?
This week our devotional is focused on Neighbor Day. One aspect of neighboring is doing justice to our neighbors. Justice in the sense is simply putting things right that are not the way they are supposed to be. Tim and Kathy Keller describe the justice we owe our neighbors this way:
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—when you already have it with you. (Proverbs 3:27–28)
DO JUSTICE. The sixth mark and means of wisdom in Proverbs chapter 3 is a concern for justice. The good that we must give to our neighbor means practical aid for an economic or physical need. It is striking that the text adds that this is not simply a matter of charity but is your neighbor’s due. To not care for them when they are in need is not merely a lack of charity; it is injustice.
Put bluntly: If you have things your neighbor doesn’t have, share them, because he or she has a right to the part of the world over which God has made you a temporary steward.
John Calvin wrote, “We are not to consider what men merit of themselves, but to look upon the image of God . . . to which we owe all honor and love. . . . You will say, ‘He has deserved something far different of me.’ Yet what has the Lord deserved?”
Verse 28 goes even further and tells us not to delay doing good. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:27–36) defines our neighbor as anyone we encounter who is in need. If you are involved with your needy neighbors, it will teach you wisdom. Are you?
Prayer: Father, I live in the most competitive society ever, and so I get fixated on what people “merit of themselves.” Let me remember that every human being, even the most flawed and broken, is of infinite value to you. Let me go beyond the platitudes to truly love my neighbors with my worldly goods. Amen.
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)