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September 2nd devo image, coffee cups on a table with potted plants.

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

“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” (Ps. 57:9-10)

Prayer of Confession

Covenant God, how could your people be so close to the promise—almost tasting the milk and honey—and yet fail to receive it? Keep my heart from failing to grab hold of your promises. Take this heart and make it yours so that I give up everything rather than run against your will. In the Savior’s name, amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 94)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 128 | Read Matthew 28

  • 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.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 129 | Read 2 Samuel 20

  • OT Context: “Four lives dominate the two-volume narrative, First and Second Samuel: Hannah, Samuel, Saul, and David. Chronologically, the stories are clustered around the year 1000 b.c., the millennial midpoint between the call of Abraham, the father of Israel, nearly a thousand years earlier (about 1800 b.c.) and the birth of Jesus, the Christ, a thousand years later.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

This summer we are exploring what it means to keep “in step” with the Spirit. Each week we will consider a specific fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) by looking at other stories and themes throughout Scripture that express this fruit.

Today’s devotional comes from Tim and Kathy Keller’s God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life

Read:Proverbs 25:15

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. (25:15)

GENTLE PERSISTENCE. A “gentle answer” can quickly de-escalate an angry feud (15:1, July 4). We might infer that gentle speech means being mealy-mouthed, compliant, or pacifying, like saying to a bully, “I give up.” Here we see that is not true at all. The metaphor of breaking a bone means that a gentle tongue is better at breaking down hardened resistance to an idea than aggressive words. You may still argue pointedly, but in a gentle, patient, respectful manner.

This insight fits in well with the New Testament exhortation that no matter how much someone may oppose us or may even have wronged us, we must forgive him or her from our heart, first and unconditionally. This drains out so much of the contempt and disdain (18:3) that can easily creep into our voice when we are contending with someone. Most of us are either temperamentally direct, bold, and persistent or gentle, calm, and deferential—but never both. Yet the wise learn to be both. They follow the one who always showed boldness without harshness, humility without uncertainty, who spoke truth but always bathed in love.

Do you tend to be direct and persistent or gentle and deferential? How can you combine them?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you combined qualities of humility and majesty as no one else has ever done. And through the gospel, which both humbles us into the dust and makes us kings

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.

Benediction

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

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