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?
This week we enter into the second half of the Christian year. The first half (Advent-Pentecost) traces the grand arc of God’s saving action in Jesus Christ. Ordinary Time offers us time (half the year!) to find our place in God’s story. It gives us time to absorb the story of the gospel, and then allow it to shape our ordinary lives, making connections between Jesus’ story and our lives.
Call to Prayer
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezek. 36:26-27)
Prayer of Confession
Giver of every good gift,you never send your people off empty-handed but always outfit them with good things—your guiding presence in the fiery cloud, the manna that rained down from heaven on the wilderness trek.
Thank you for pouring out your Holy Spirit and all his gifts for the journeys you send us on. Make us freely generous with all your gifts to bless the world, the very reason for which you sent us. Amen. (a prayer based on the Helvetic Confession, Q51)
*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: “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?
Read: Matthew 5:13-16
Write out a short description of what it might look like for you to “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” How in the coming year can you help the church to be “a city set on a hill” giving off light to the world around us?
Plan some time to answer the following questions: Who’s in my Top 3? Who has God brought into my sphere of influence? How can I display the love of Christ to these people? Can I invite them to something: an event, a service project, a golf outing, a weekend service, a life group? Can I ask them if there is something I can pray for them about?
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 God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)