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 has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.” (Psalm 47:5-7)
Prayer of Confession
Creator God,garden my life—turn it over, cultivate it, and make it ready for gospel seeds to take root.
And in quiet darkness let the gospel do its work, slow but powerful, stirring up life in my heart, increasing joy, strengthening all your graces until shoots of new life rise and good fruit bursts forth on the branches of my life, a life beautiful for you and a blessing to others. Amen.(a prayer based on the Westminster Longer Catechism, Q75)
*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: ” Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to [the gospel]. But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents’ worth.” We add on, we supplement, we embellish. Hebrews is written to “add on, Jesus-and” Christians such as ourselves. It wakes us up to the reality that Jesus is just plain better than all our add ons.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “People who want God as an escape from reality, from the often hard conditions of this life, don’t find this much to their liking. But to the man or woman wanting more reality, not less—this continuation of the salvation story—Joshua’s fierce and devout determination to win land for his people and his extraordinary attention to getting all the tribes and their families name by name assigned to their own place, is good news indeed. Joshua lays a firm foundation for a life that is grounded.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Read: Acts 2:42-47
The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This week we are going to explore what it means for us to be connected in covenant community as God’s people (the church).
It has always been God’s plan to create a community that displays his glory. The Bible starts with two people in a garden (Genesis 2). It concludes with a city full of all people groups (Revelation 21). But we don’t have to wait for that perfected future to live with others in the kingdom of God. It starts now. What does it look like when a community lives out the Sermon on the Mount? Today’s passage provides a vivid example.
In today’s passage, everything the group is doing—selling what they own, sharing with each other, breaking bread, praising God—seems to be coming from an overflow of their hearts, not some law or ideal they are striving to live up to. What motivated this radical lifestyle? (Reading a little earlier in may be helpful.)
Life with others can be exciting at first—a new job, a new neighborhood, a new project, getting married, having children. As time goes on, though, getting along with others can prove very difficult. What sustains healthy community beyond the initial “honeymoon” phase?
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.
“Go and make disciples of all nations. . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)