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
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
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.
Heavenly Father, for our life in Christ and citizenship in heaven, we praise and worship you. For your promise of daily mercies and sufficient grace, we trust you.
By your grace and for your glory… Forgive us for heeding the opinions of others more than the declarations of the gospel. Forgive us for being quicker to judge hearts than wash feet. Forgive us for keeping our burdens, heartaches, and struggles from our friends. Forgive us for trying to justify our busyness, grumpiness, and emptiness.
We turn once again to you, Father, in humble dependence and expectant faith. In Jesus’ loving name, we trust and pray. 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: What does it mean to be secure in Christ? Peter challenges Christians to look for the hope that Christ provides as the apostle addresses conduct within and outside of the church. Read the passage and ask: how would my neighborhood, my family, my church, my friends be different if they saw the truths in this passage?
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.
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!”
The long night has passed and seemingly David awakes with this phrase on his mind: “My heart is steadfast…” They’re the sort of words you repeat to remind yourself of something that will anchor you before heading into the uncertainty of the day. Repetition in Hebrew poetry draws our attention to what’s important to the poet, what they want us to see.
Remember Verse 1? “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful…in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I take refuge.” All throughout this psalm, David has been repeating phrases and words to leave little clues for us to follow, so that we can see what is anchoring his soul during this long season of struggle.
So what does it mean that David’s soul is “steadfast?” The Hebrew word means that David’s heart is “well-prepared” for this moment. His inner world is steady, which allows him to have confident joy amidst his trouble. But that joy didn’t just pop up out of nowhere.
David’s mind and heart were shaped by God’s Words. He delighted in them. He thought about them day and night (Psalm 1). God’s Words rooted him like a tree, so that when harsh storms came into his life like this one, he wasn’t blown over by them. His life, it seems, was saturated by Scripture and it gave him stability. The steadfastness of our hearts is often tested and revealed by our response to trials. Psalm 1 tells us that you are one of two things in this life: you are either a tree or a tumbleweed (Ps. 1:3-4). Either you’re rooted and flourishing, or you’re rootless and blown about by every “storm of destruction” (Ps. 57:1).
Trees (among other created things) are also often described in Scripture as singing for joy because of who God is and what he has done (Ps. 96:12). Now David joins in with this song of creation, not because his circumstances have significantly improved, but simply because these truths about God in his mind have given him control over the turbulent emotions of his heart. One scholar puts it this way,
“David has spent a chilly and uncomfortable night in unpromising surroundings, yet the sunrise does not awaken him—he awakens it! He is already alert, telling his own soul, and the harp and lyre of his praising heart, and the dawn itself, that it is time to sing and make music to God.” —Michael Wilcock, The Message of Psalms
And the lyrics that go along with the music he’s making all center on God’s steadfast love (his hesed). It’s the reason that David wants to sing. God’s unstopping, never-giving-up, always-and-forever love has given David stability in his life. Pause and think about that for a moment…What does it look like for a life to be settled upon and kept by God’s love? What would it look like for your life to be like that?
Questions to Ponder:
Pause and think about that for a moment…What does it look like for a life to be settled upon and kept by God’s love? What would it look like for your life to be like that? Then ask God to help you to build your life upon his love for you in Christ.
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 Savior who died, who lives and who reigns, grant you joy in labor, peace in troubles, hope in despair, and faithfulness in temptation. Amen.