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
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)
Prayer of Confession
Shepherding God, if left to me, my faith would flounder and I would undoubtedly be lost and wandering.
Thank you that my salvation rests on your undeserved mercy and unfailing promises.
I am kept and protected because you have laid down your life for me. 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: “In his letters to two young associates—Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete—we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and his letters shows us how to do it right.” 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?
The late David Powlison described restoration (or what Christians have called “sanctification”) as “God meeting us with his promises” in the midst of our ordinary, everyday lives.
Restoration assumes that something is not as it should be. We need to be restored on a daily basis because we break down, we get distracted and lose interest in God, or we simply become overwhelmed with the thousand different little things life throws our way. This is just part of what it means to be human after the Fall (Gen. 3:1-24).
I suppose that’s why after using such visceral imagery to describe his afflictions (“my teeth grind on gravel” “I have forgotten what happiness is”) the author of Lamentations says, “But this I call to mind and in remembering, I have hope: the steadfast love (hesed) of the LORD never ceases; his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning!” (Lamentations 3:21-23).
Each night I close my eyes and whether I have forgotten what happiness is, or feel like a joke, or have simply forgotten God, God remains at work. Now there is a promise to hold on to. A promise that can meets with me as I walk through lonely days tempted to believe that I have been forgotten, and on clear days where I am tempted to believe I have no need of my God.
Here’s another passage that has restorative power: Deuteronomy 32:10-12
[The LORD] found Jacob in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him.
What does this passage do for you? I can promise that the Lord will write these words on each of our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) and that the Holy Spirit will take hold of these ancient words and breathe life into them and us but He will do it in different ways.
You, perhaps, feeling like a castaway on this particular day will grab hold of the first half and say, “I did not realize until this moment but I feel in need of being found, rescued, cared for, encircled, and for once to be the apple of Someone’s eye. I am not alone. The Lord sees me. Knows exactly what I need.”
Whereas, I might be drawn in the phrase “the howling waste of the wilderness” because I am feeling especially windblown and barren, not despondent, but made acutely aware, just in this moment, of my lack of resources to take on the day.
I pray. I ask God to meet me in my wilderness to guide me in my day, to lead me home. You pray. You ask God to make you more attentive to his promise that his eye is on you, he delights in you. What has happened?
God has restored. He has taken us, cared for us, changed how we each will live this day. The Spirit has sanctified us. This is the first thing Christians mean when we talk about restoration: God by His Spirit takes His words and meets us by His promises. But wait, there’s more, as we will see throughout the week!
Reflect: What areas of your life are in need of restoration? How has God meet you by his Word and Spirit today?
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.
“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)