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
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
Prayer of Confession
Most High God, who can fully grasp this head-spinning resurrection news?
Like the disciples, we are still caught off guard, resurrection seeming stranger than fiction.
With all who doubt and struggle, I pray for a faith that sends us in search of Jesus, and that we might find him alive in us. 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: “This is Paul’s happiest letter. And the happiness is infectious. Before we’ve read a dozen lines, we begin to feel the joy ourselves—the dance of words and the exclamations of delight have a way of getting inside us. This letter guides Christians on how to honor each other as they endure overwhelming circumstances. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan…The great theme of the book is that God has saved and blessed his chosen people, whom he loves; so his people are to remember this, and love and obey him, so that they may have life and continued blessing. The key verses of the book are 6:4–6, and contain the words that Jesus called the greatest of all commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Read: Genesis 1:1-3
We’ve talked a lot about who God is this year. He is the God who is Three in One. He is the One is Unchanging, Wise, Truthful, Loving, Gracious, Jealous, and Near God. And he promises that, whatever may come, he is up to the task. Even his name, Yahweh, is a Story-name filled with the promise that he will be with us, lightening our darkness, guiding us home to himself.
How do you respond to a God like this? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to be exploring over the next 8 or so weeks! We begin by remembering that God is a talker.
And God said, “Let there be light…”
I like to imagine that when ancient Hebrew parents got creative when they told their children the story of Creation. Did they wait until the sun had set and after dinner chores were complete to gather their children around, extinguish all the lamps in the house, and set to telling the well-worn story of how Yahweh brought all things into existence? Hear the children drawing in quick gasps as they scoot closer to their father’s side. Darkness in the ancient world was as fearsome to children then as it is now. Can you imagine the mother waiting just out of the children’s sight with an oil lamp until the precise moment when out of the dark void (tohu va bohu in the Hebrew) the father’s voice recites those first creative words that sparked all that we know: “Let there be…LIGHT!”
Theologians have marveled at those words for millennia.Much hemming and hawing has occurred over how and when and exactly what happened, but here is something all Christians agree upon: God created, and when He did, He spoke his creation into existence. We shouldn’t rush past this too quickly.
God didn’t grunt the world into existence in some guttural show of force. No God communicated and his communication was creative. It made something. More precisely it made everything! And to put a finer point on all this, when God spoke the very fabric of this world, reality itself, began to weave itself together in response to his words.
Put another way:All Creation listened to the voice of the Maker. We know where the story goes from there, as Dave Radford says in one of my favorite lyrics, humanity “listened to the face of low desires.” You might say that the rest of history has been God calling out to his lost children, speaking at many times and in many ways (Hebrews 1:1), and finally speaking most definitively through the Final Word, Jesus Christ.
The real question for us as human creatures is: Am I listening? Am I being attentive to the voice of my Maker? The voice who is guiding me down paths that will deliver new life to me out of death. And so that’s the question we are asking this week: How am I listening to God?
Reflect: We were created to respond to God’s voice, and yet, other alluring voices vie for our heart’s affections. What words have you listened to today? Whose voice is most clear in your mind?
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 to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).