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.
Heavenly Father, where can we go that you are not already present, waiting for us, and ready to bind up the wounds that sin has inflicting upon us, that we have inflicted upon ourselves? Yet do not, dear Lord, let us dwell there. No! Have mercy upon us…
…because we wander from your path into ways that seem right to us. Lord, have mercy!
…because we mistake your patience with us for acceptance of our sin. Lord, have mercy! …because we hold onto our grudges to the bitter end. Lord, have mercy! …because we so early forget your lovingkindness in favor of lesser loves. Lord, have mercy!
Have mercy on us, Lord, in all these things and more! And thank you! Your love is better than life itself, and so entrust ourselves to you, and say Amen in Jesus’ merciful name.
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: Job 9:4 + 12:13 + 36:5 + Romans 16:25-27 Today’s devotional comes from J.I. Packer’s Knowing God
“God’s almighty wisdom is always active, and never fails. All his works of creation and providence and grace display it, and until we can see it in them we just are not seeing them straight. But we cannot recognize God’s wisdom unless we know the end for which he is working. Here many go wrong. Misunderstanding what the Bible means when it says that God is love (see 1 Jn 4:8-10), they think that God intends a trouble-free life for all, irrespective of their moral and spiritual state, and hence they conclude that anything painful and upsetting (illness, accident, injury, loss of job, the suffering of a loved one) indicates either that God’s wisdom, or power, or both, have broken down, or that God, after all, does not exist.
But this idea of God’s intention is a complete mistake: God’s wisdom is not, and never was, pledged to keep a fallen world happy, or to make ungodliness comfortable. Not even to Christians has he promised a trouble-free life; rather the reverse. He has other ends in view for life in this world than simply to make it easy for everyone.
What is he after, then? What is his goal? What does he aim at? When he made us, his purpose was that we should love and honor him, praising him for the wonderfully ordered complexity and variety of his world, using it according to his will, and so enjoying both it and him. And though we have fallen, God has not abandoned his first purpose. Still he plans that a great host of humankind should come to love and honor him. His ultimate objective is to bring them to a state in which they please him entirely and praise him adequately, a state in which he is all in all to them, and he and they rejoice continually in the knowledge of each other’s love—people rejoicing in the saving love of God, set upon them from all eternity, and God rejoicing in the responsive love of people, drawn out of them by grace through the gospel.
This will be God’s glory, and our glory too, in every sense which that weighty word can bear. But it will only be fully realized in the next world, in the context of a transformation of the whole created order. Meanwhile, however, God works steadily toward it. His immediate objectives are to draw individual men and women into a relationship of faith, hope, and love toward himself, delivering them from sin and showing forth in their lives the power of his grace; to defend his people against the forces of evil; and to spread throughout the world the gospel by means of which he saves.”
Reflect: God’s wisdom leads to him drawing people to himself. Think back on how God has drawn you. Can you trace the stories and lines of God’s wisdom in carrying you along? Take a few minutes to reflect on this. Then, you might be asking, “What do I do with this knowledge?” Simply give thanks to God for his infinite wisdom in bringing you home!
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.
Return O my soul to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:7)