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, when we were dead in our sins and trespasses, you raised us to new life in Christ. We praise you for so great a salvation, so glorious a hope, and so firm a standing in grace. We humble ourselves before you today, in gratitude and repentance.
Forgive us for our attitudes that deny your grace. Forgive us for our words that violate peace. Forgive us for our habits that sabotage beauty. Forgive us for our passivity that accepts the unacceptable. Forgive us for our pettiness that robs people we love. Forgive us for our unbelief that robs you of glory.
Have mercy on us, Lord; have mercy on me. In Jesus’ strong and loving 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: Psalm 90
In his classic book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer writes,
“They tell us that the Bible is the Word of God…that we shall find in it the knowledge of God and of his will for our lives…But as we read, we get more and more puzzled. Our reading is not helping us; it leaves us bewildered and, if the truth be told, somewhat depressed. We find ourselves wondering whether Bible reading is worth going on with.”
Packer goes on to say that part of our trouble is that when we read the Bible we enter into a different world—the world of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the world of Moses and Solomon and a thousand other ancient people. Their world is not our own. It’s fascinating but, if we are being honest, it feels distant and disconnected from our own world. What are we supposed to do with these stories, these histories, laws, and poems? How are they meant to overlap with our present time, concerns and, most of all, troubles?
Enter our focus for this week: the God who is unchanging. God himself forms the link between the words and worlds of His ancient and modern people alike. We may struggle to understand the meaning within all the changes in our lives and agendas, but God is “from all eternity” (Ps. 93:2), from “everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90:2), he is the Alpha and Omega, the Amen and the source of God’s Creation (Rev. 1:18; 3:14).
God does not have any need to change, or to become any wiser, stronger, or more merciful than He already is. But what does God’s “changelessness” have to do with us?
Precisely this: God’s changelessness is what binds him to us. God is unceasingly loving. Always has been, always will be. We are unceasingly prone to wander off to other loves. And yet, He sets his affections upon us and has been the dwelling place of his people throughout all generations (Psalm 90:1). Now that’s something to build your life upon: a God who is relentlessly, unchangingly pursuing your good!
Reflect: What surprises, encourages, or troubles you about this picture of God?
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)