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.
Dear heavenly Father,we love you because you first loved us and gave Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. We humble ourselves before you today because of your promise to complete your work in our lives. We praise you for your loving welcome, daily mercies, and sufficient grace.
Forgive us for treasuring the pleasures of the world more than the riches of grace. Forgive us for dwelling too much on our fears and too little on your beauty. Forgive us for rehearsing the failings of others more than the truths of the gospel. Forgive us for being quick to whine and slow to worship.
We offer our confession in Jesus’ name and for your glory. 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: The letter to the Romans is a piece of exuberant and passionate thinking. This is the glorious life of the mind enlisted in the service of God. Paul takes the well-witnessed and devoutly believed fact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and thinks through its implications. How does it happen that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, world history took a new direction, and at the same moment the life of every man, woman, and child on the planet was eternally affected? What is God up to? What does it mean that Jesus “saves”? What’s behind all this, and where is it going? 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: Genesis 1:1-3
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. Perhaps they waited until the sun had set and after dinner chores were finished 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. Can you 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.Watch as the mother waits, just out of the children’s sight, with an oil lamp until the precise moment when out of the dark void (tohu wabohu 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. But God’s speaking doesn’t stop there.
Ryan Lister’s wonderful children’s book, Emblems of the Infinite King, describes it this way: “Instead of speaking something into existence immediately, this time, he slows down and lets you listen in on his divine plans: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Human beings, according to Genesis, are the direct result of God’s speech, but unlike the rest of Creation, humans are given the imago dei (the image, or mark of their creator) and so we also speak, we also create through our words and actions.
There is much more that we’ll see this week about The God Who Has Spoken, but for today it is enough to remember that the very first word that God shares with humanity is one which brings light and life.
Question: What are the first words that come to mind when you think of God? How has God spoken light into your spiritual darkness?
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.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)