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
Lord God, I’m sluggish in faith, thick of head,
and I need your Holy Spirit’s power to help me see Jesus in all the Scriptures and in the breaking of bread.
Kindle in me a burning heart of rich faith that opens my eyes and recognizes you as Lord. 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: “Paul is unswervingly confident that Christ occupies the center of creation and salvation. Writing with both humility and the energies of most considerate love, Paul exhibits again what Christians have come to appreciate so much in Paul—the wedding of a brilliant and uncompromising intellect with a heart that is warmly and wonderfully kind. 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: Psalm 19
Psalm 19 is one of the most image-laden descriptions of God’s creative word. God creates and the whole of Creation joins in a song “proclaiming…pouring forth speech…revealing knowledge” about this God who is worthy of glory.
Tim and Kathy Keller call it the “soundless word” that Creation speaks to us. It’s the reason that mountains and beautiful sunsets over a lake move us deeply. They are art. We are “listening” to what they are saying about this world we live in. Likewise, there is beauty in a well-crafted painting, or piece of woodwork. In the same way, the Psalm is tell us, God the Craftsman has purposefully crafted everything to “run their course” beautifully, to draw us in to wonder: Who made such beauty? In this way, God speaks through His Creation.
Yet, Psalm 19 tells us that God speaks another way as well: through his perfect word. Creation speaks of God’s presence and power but its soundless words cannot tell us of His character and merciful love (hesed). We need to listen to more than just Creation to relate to God. This is why we emphasize thereadingand the receiving of God’s Word. We need God’s perfect, soul-refreshing, trustworthy, folly-reversing, joy-giving, life-illuminating words to guide our way home to him.
How should you read God’s Word, then? The Kellers offer this insight,
“Since the Hebrew word for “soul” means one’s psyche or self, the Bible has the power to show and restore your true identity. For the Bible to do all this, you must accept that it is perfectly true and trustworthy in all its parts (verses 7–9). Then don’t just study it but let it search you (verses 11–14). Finally, ask Jesus, the Word made flesh, to give you his Spirit in order to find him in the written Word. The result will be wisdom, joy, and sweetness.”
Reflect: How has God’s word helped “show and restore your true identity”? When was the last time you sat in silence and stillness and worship before God’s “soundless word”?
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)