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
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Dear heavenly Father,we praiseyou for your daily mercies and steadfast love. We bless you for your providential care and everlasting kindness. We worship you for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of Christ’s righteousness.
Hear our confession and grant us your grace, Lord. Forgive us for living too busy, too noisy, and too cluttered of lives. Forgive us for being quicker to react in anger than repent in humility. Forgive us for maximizing our disappointments and minimizing your goodness. Forgive us for living more by fear than by faith—for over-believing our culture and under-trusting your promises.
Have mercy on us, Lord; have mercy on me, for Christ’s sake and your glory. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
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: How do we cope with the inconsistencies of life? Focusing on perseverance in the midst of trials, James exhorted believers to live out what they proclaimed. This letter is a call to faithfulness to the gospel in the midst of very difficult circumstances. Meditate on what this passage reveals about who Christ is and what he’s accomplished.
OT Context: Famous for being in the belly of a fish for three days, Jonah also has profound implications because all of the heathens are more compassionate and quick to repent than the prophet was. Jonah tells us how God has always had a plan to reach all nations with His glory. Reflect on the passage. In what ways do other parts of the Bible shed light on the text?
“Psalms Mix” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Let’s rewind our story a little. David had served Saul well. He was a great soldier, the best friend of his son Jonathan, and had even become Saul’s son-in-law. But there was just one problem. God had rejected Saul as Israel’s king and David had been anointed as the next king (a fact it seems Saul discovered along the way as David rose to prominence, 1 Sam. 23:17).
Once residing in a position of political influence, David now finds himself a nomad like his forefather Abraham. Like Abraham, he had left behind everything familiar and was headed for a destination he couldn’t point to on a map. All he had was God’s promise and presence. And so he cries out to the God of his fathers: “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
It’s interesting that David uses this rare (esp. outside the psalms) name for God which first appeared in the story of Abram meeting with a mysterious priest-king named Melchizedek (Gen 14:18ff). Melchizedek blessed Abram and immediately afterward Yahweh sealed his covenant promise with Abraham (and his name changed too! It’s a long story). Abraham and Sarah waited a long time for God to fulfill his promise, but like Abraham, if David has any hope it’s that God Most High really is more powerful than any of the other gods whose wood, stone, and metallic images were revered in the mountain-side shrines of surrounding nations. It was always a guessing game with those other gods. Whereas Abraham trusted that God could even bring resurrection life out of death (Hebrews 11:17-19).
He had fulfilled his purpose for Abraham. Surely God Most High would fulfill his purpose in David’s life as well, whether by taking up his cause and avenging in his favor, or by seeing him through this trial so that his anointing as king would end in a coronation. Or perhaps both!
In any case, David is certain that unlike the other gods who might send help from their hilltop hovels, Yahweh will send rescue from the heart of heaven itself. He is no distant deity after all. David’s enemy may have slandered him, hurled (among other things) insults his way, and be in hot pursuit, but God will put his enemies to shame by pursuing David with his hesed (steadfast love) and emet (truth or faithfulness). What more faithful companions could David ask for along the difficult road ahead?
Who is going to separate David from God’s love? Will distress, trial, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword be able to do it? Nope. He is ultimately more confident in God’s steadfast love and faithfulness toward him than anything else in his life. He’s convinced that only God can vindicate his good name. Only God can provide all that is needed for David to be what and who God wants him to be. The same is true for us. Are you convinced?
Questions to Ponder:
What about you? Do you share the same confidence that God will send out his steadfast love and faithfulness from heaven to rescue? We know that in Christ he already has, but often it’s hard to live that way. What we need is a mixtape of fight songs that give us “fighting words” to point our hearts toward the hope of the gospel. Try Romans 8:31-35 out 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 who did not hold back His very own Son but handed him over for us all, provide you with every good thing you need in order to do His will and do in you what pleases Him. Amen. (based on Romans 8:32)