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
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)
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.
Most holy and merciful Father,we confess to you and to one another that we have sinned against you by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ.
You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, and by wandering from your ways. Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father, and free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior, 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: Revelation contains 404 verses into which St. John, the pastor, makes reference to earlier scripture 518 times. The message is clear: This last word on scripture will not being saying anything new. Instead, the Revelation reveals Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God by bidding us to look to the past to the Old Testament promises and to the resurrection; to live in the present as the people of God; and to look toward the future when the triumph of King Jesus will be fully revealed. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: Written around the same time as Haggai, Israel had returned from exile in Babylon, but they were discouraged by the slow progress in rebuilding their national identity. Zechariah reminded the people that returning to their homeland would do no good if their hearts did not return to God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
“Neighbor Day” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
This week’s devo will focus on loving our neighbors. Today’s devo is shared from The Reservoir: A Spiritual Formation Devotional.
Read: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” —Hosea 6:6
HESEDThe steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. — Lamentations 3:22
The Hebrew word hesed is difficult to translate into other languages. It means unwavering compassion, steadfast love, lovingkindness. These terms describe God’s unceasing hesed toward his wayward people, Israel. And toward all the wayward people made in his image. Scripture calls us to model God’s compassion for all people, but especially for the widow, the orphan, and the poor—folks often cruelly exposed to an uncaring world.
Murder. Robbery. Bribery. Exploitation. All these are horrible violations of God’s covenant. All pollute the habitation of the widow, the orphan, the helpless, the poor. Hosea calls us to respond with hesed. How? By imitating God’s unwavering compassion—God’s hesed—with concrete acts of love.
Questions to Ponder:
1. Hosea says that the Lord desires steadfast love and knowledge of him rather than religious sacrifice and burnt offerings. But in the law of Moses, God had commanded sacrifice. Why then would God say this?
2. In what ways is it easier to sacrifice—to offer God religious service or to go through the motions—than to have a relationship with God and love others?
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 steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. (Lamentations 3:22)