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
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
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.
God of all hope and Father of mercies,we come boldly to the throne of grace today, trusting in Christ’s righteousness and confessing our sins.
Forgive us for lingering in our bad attitudes. Forgive us for grumbling over petty things. Forgive us for writing people off too easily. Forgive us for not following through on our promises. Forgive us for too easily neglecting time with you.
Our priorities, schedules, and busyness rebuke us, Lord. We humble ourselves and offer our prayer in Jesus’ name. 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: Deuteronomy 6:4-9
If you had grown up in ancient Israel (or in the home of an Old Testament professor, as I did), then our Scripture today would be part of your DNA, the sort of truth that you know at a cellular level, and feel in your bones. That’s because it gets at the heart of what it means to know God, and perhaps no one has explained it better than Russ Ramsey who writes,
“Hear, O Israel. The Lord your God is one. Love him. Love him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…
…In the days of Moses not long after the Hebrew people’s exodus from Egypt, they began their worship gatherings with this one word: Hear. They were to worship the Lord, and they were to understand why they should. The call to worship wasn’t a detached decree to render affection to an unknown deity—the God who called them was anything but detached.This command was a call to remember. They were to rehearse in their minds and hearts and homes this story—their story—the story of how the Maker of heaven and earth had called their people to himself and bound himself to them as their God…
At that time most of the world bowed in worship to a host of gods, believing each had the power to bless or to curse…The pagan gods were not there to be known; they were there to be feared. They were not there to be loved; they were there to be placated. They were many, and they were temperamental. The people lived in fear of these forces, which could lavish great prosperity upon their households but could also scorch the earth beneath them.
Israel’s God was different. He was definite, and his character was immutably fixed. And they were to love him for it with everything they had…”
And we are the same. God has called us to himself and bound himself to us in Christ as our God. Hearing lets us in on what God has spoken, but remembrance anchors us in who God is. God is one.
Reflect: We’ll see more of what this means throughout the week as we wade into the rich doctrinal waters of the Trinity, but for now let’s consider this:
God says that he is the one and only. He doesn’t share his divine place of privilege with others. No one else can be or become God. God simply is. That much is clear. But even more profound is what he says we are to do with this knowledge. He doesn’t say tremble in your boots, or appease me with great acts of service and fealty. Nope. At the heart of what it means to know God is love.
The Maker of the moon and the sun, the stars and the planets, the quarks and the neurons, that God, tells you that the best, the only response to his presence is to love him. Let that sink down deep inside your bones this week.
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.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:6-7)