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
Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Prayer of Confession
Jesus, friend of sinners, your resurrected life is not a private experience or a soothing metaphor but a stubborn public reality.
May your well-attested resurrection impel me to openly announce the outrageously good news—
that sins are forgiven through what you have done when the gospel promise is received in truth faith. Amen!
*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 way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to nearly every action and thought through the day. Paul’s two letters to the Christians in Thessalonica, among much else, correct such debilitating misconceptions about the future and our present, prodding us to continue to live forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus. 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: Deuteronomy 6:4-9
If you had grown up in ancient Israel, then our Scripture reading today would be part of your DNA, the sort of truth that you know at a cellular level, and feel in your bones. That’s because it gets at the heart of what it means to know God, and perhaps no one has explained it better than Russ Ramsey who writes,
“Hear, O Israel. The Lord your God is one. Love him. Love him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…
…In the days of Moses not long after the Hebrew people’s exodus from Egypt, they began their worship gatherings with this one word: Hear. They were to worship the Lord, and they were to understand why they should. The call to worship wasn’t a detached decree to render affection to an unknown deity—the God who called them was anything but detached. This command was a call to remember. They were to rehearse in their minds and hearts and homes this story—their story—the story of how the Maker of heaven and earth had called their people to himself and bound himself to them as their God…
At that time most of the world bowed in worship to a host of gods, believing each had the power to bless or to curse…The pagan gods were not there to be known; they were there to be feared. They were not there to be loved; they were there to be placated. They were many, and they were temperamental. The people lived in fear of these forces, which could lavish great prosperity upon their households but could also scorch the earth beneath them.
Israel’s God was different. He was definite, and his character was immutably fixed. And they were to love him for it with everything they had…”
And we are the same. God has called us to himself and bound himself to us in Christ as our God. It’s remarkable! God wants to be known by us, loved by us. It’s extraordinary but knowing someone, loving them happens most frequently in ordinary moments. An early morning over coffee. A walk. At the end of a well done task in service of someone else. A spare moment in between meetings at work. What I’m getting at is that we are meant to worship God in and through our ordinary days, as we raise our families and work our jobs. We Americans have a penchant for trying to make everything an extravaganza or nothing. What if we tried to meet God, to worship him, in the ordinary everyday things of our lives?
Reflect: In what ways is your worship of God ordinary? How might your perspective change if you consciously sought to worship God in the ordinary things of your life? What do you think might happen?
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.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)