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
Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice! (Psalm 141:2)
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.
Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.
Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open us to a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. 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: What does it mean to be secure in Christ? Peter challenges Christians to look for the hope that Christ provides as the apostle addresses conduct within and outside of the church. Meditate on the passage. What new insight have you received?
OT Context: Listing a large amount of sins, Micah tells Israel that Babylon and Assyria will be God’s instruments of judgment against them. Yet in the midst of this, Micah speaks of a Shepherd King who will gather and lead a remnant forward. As you reflect on the passage, pray its truths into your heart.
“Psalms Mix” Readings
We took a break from our Psalms series on Sunday, so this week we are going to sample some excellent devotionals on the Psalms (some you likely didn’t know even existed). Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Psalm 103 is not unique in the psalms of David but like, for example, Psalm 145, it is an exercise in sheer concentration on Yahweh, without mention of circumstances good or bad, no reference to enemies. Just Yahweh, his benefits and sufficiencies.
The three wonderful comparisons in verses 11–13 tell us everything. The first concerns height, the second distance and the third parenthood. Just as the heavens overarch the whole earth, so Yahweh’s unfailing, committed love prevails. The same verb is used of the floodwaters (Genesis 7:18–20) irresistibly covering the earth and swamping every opposition. Just so his love is always there (overarching) and is an active force fighting like an armed man on our side, irresistibly sufficient for every opposition and eventuality. ‘East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.’ I don’t know what the poet meant, but geographically the words are correct.
Micah (7:19) saw all our sins in the depths of the sea (like atomic waste sunk where it can do no more harm). David went one better:the distance is infinite, never ending; our sins are gone without trace, irrecoverable, never to be located.
Verse 13 is best of all: ‘like a father has a mother’s passionate love for his sons’. The word ‘compassion’ (rachamim) belongs to the same word-group as rechem, a womb, and we see it in action in 1 Kings 3:26. Here is perfect parenthood, father and mother all in one, Joseph as well as Mary.
Yahweh’s love is thus an overarching, constant, powerful, active love; it is a saving love, taking our sins from us, bearing them away to such a place as is ever infinitely beyond reach. And it is a fullness of love, a love that lacks nothing that makes true, perfect love what it is, a love of welcome, protection, warmth and strength; passion and steadfastness is equal proportions. ‘There is no love like the love of Jesus.’
Questions to Ponder:
Think about your life in Christ. How does Psalm 103 tell you that God’s love for you is “overarching, constant, powerful, and active”? If you really believed that God’s love for you was like this, what would change in the way you respond to fear, doubt, failure, rejection, or (you-fill-in-the-blank)?
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.
Now to him who has given you all his benefits in Christ Jesus, who forgave your iniquities even as he lifts your life out from the pit, crowning you with his committed love and compassion, satisfying you with life that is truly life. To Him be all glory and honor and power. Forever and ever. Amen.