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
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
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.
Have mercy on us according to your steadfast love. We confess that we have forgotten your compassion and grace, how You bore us on eagles’ wings and brought us to Yourself; and we have forgotten your glory and holiness, and have not trembled before you in reverential wonder.
Forgive us all our sins, we pray, through the finished work of Jesus Christ our Savior.
By your Holy Spirit, please purify us and shine the light of Your gospel in our hearts, that we may live and serve You in the joy of resurrection life. 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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” 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 Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Over the next few months our sermon series will explore who God is and what it means for us as His Creation to know Him. Each day this devo will tread along a variety of paths connected to the week’s theme in Knowing God. Consider this your invitation to come along for the ride as we head into the wilds of coming to know and experience God’s person and grace.
Read: John 14 + John 18:38 + Psalm 103
Frederick Buechner’s portrait of Pontius Pilate has always fascinated me. Ever the storyteller, Buechner depicts Pilate in noir fashion as a beleaguered bureaucrat taking “a long drag on his cigarette and through narrowed eyes asking, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) The Roman governor’s world-weary question is the perfect place to start our exploration of God as Truth-teller.
What is truth? How do you define such a thing in a world filled with choose-your-own-adventure truths? Truth in Scripture is a God defined reality. He is “the God of truth,” (Ps. 31:5; Isa. 65:16). He is “abundant” in truth, a veritable Niagara Falls of truth (Ex. 34:6). The words that he speaks? They have not only the ring of truth, but are the very definition of truth itself! (John 17:17). Not only does God speak the truth, his words are true in that they hit the mark and accomplish exactly what he intends (Isaiah 55:10-11).
So what is truth? Truth is whatever this Creator God who speaks says it is. We struggle with that definition, though. “That’s great,” we say, “but what if I don’t like what he says is true about the world, me, or even himself?” Much like gravity, we don’t get much say in the matter.
But lest we think that our lack of say leads to some sort of divine tyranny, we should remember that when God wanted to show us what he’s truly like, he sent Jesus who “came full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). God may be the One who tells us how it is, but he knows our frame, he knows that we are dust and to dust we will return. God’s truth on its own is crushing weight, because, truth be told, our sin deserves judgment and wrath. It’s a burden we have shouldered every day since our first breath, and something which we cannot throw off our backs in our own strength.
That is precisely why the Redemption is such good news! It’s why Jesus Christ comes with grace and truth in his hands. Perhaps God truly does give with both hands! And what a beautiful thing it is that instead of treating us the way our sins deserve, he removes them (and every untruth in us) from us as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103)!
Reflect: Rest a while in the verses you’ve read today. Thank God for telling you the truth about the world, himself, and yourself! Ask him for humility and wisdom to accept as true only what he says.
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.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)