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
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
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?
Read: 2 Corinthians 4:6
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)
Yesterday we noted that God speaks ultimately through Christ. Today we are going to see how God’s speaking helps us to see and receive “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
There’s a lot to unpack in that phrase. Paul seems to be paralleling, or making an analogy between what happen in Creation: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), and what happens when the gospel becomes clear to us, when we believe.
According to Paul, God’s speech in Creation and in Redemption has creative power.God speaks and Creation springs into being. God speaks and new creation shoots forth like a branch from a tree you thought was dead, or skunk cabbage breaking through snow and ice to let passersby know that spring has finally arrived!
Psalm 106 asks, “Who on earth can tell of all God’s mighty acts, and broadcast all his praises?” The psalm goes on to recount God’s rescue during the Exodus: “He rebuked (again he speaks!) the Red Sea, and it became dry.” Again and again, God’s people “forget,” “murmur,” “despise,” “exchange the glory of God” for an golden idol, and again and again God is “slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.”
Here’s what I’m getting at: Psalm 106 gives us a litany of downright rebellious acts that God’s people committed (and still commit) against their Redeemer. But here’s what is incredible, God speaks and they (we) are saved. Why? “For his name’s sake,” or we might say, “for his glory!”
What glory is that? The very same glory that is displayed in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord, who makes a way for us to be forgiven despite our folly, to be shown mercy despite our murmuring, and to receive an inheritance, despite our long history of idolatry. God speaks, light shines in the darkness of our hearts, and helps us to see the miracle of his mercy coming to brokenhearted sinners like you and me.
Question: Take a few minutes to remember how God “let there be light” in your spiritual darkness. How would you describe that experience? How is God still illuminating the darkest corners of your heart?
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.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)