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
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
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.
Heavenly Father, we come to you today as your children, fully at peace with you, because of the blood of Jesus’ cross. All things were created by, through and for Him including us!
Yet Lord, in the face of such mercy, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole hearts, we have not loved our neighbors as we’ve loved ourselves.
Instead, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your 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 apostle John explains how our understanding (or lack thereof) of God’s love affects the way that we view ourselves and others. God’s love is key in knowing that we have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: Nahum prophesied destruction to Ninevah at the height of its power, and Nineveh fell just sixty years later. Nahum reminds us that God is still in charge even when His people are not. God uses everything for His purposes and there is no nation that can intimidate God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
“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 as sort of a Psalms Devo Mix. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit . . . with the princes of his people. (Psalm 113:5–8)
This psalm is about the nature of grace: the stooping of the Most High. It has been said that if you don’t understand this psalm, you don’t understand any of the psalms.
In Psalm 113 God is pictured as the Almighty—El Shaddai—who brings praise to his all-powerful name. God’s name is so great that it requires that even the enemies of God—the nations (you and me)—be brought in.
This is the gospel:those who are far off are brought near by the blood of the cross. Praise is a form of sanity where you suspend thoughts of the future and dwell in the eternal now lifting up God as the center.
True praise involves paying attention to God with a surrendered heart.Even to glance at us requires God’s condescension. What we might expect is for the psalm to progress to a glorious vision of the Almighty.
But instead we see God visiting the trash heap on the outskirts of town. He visits the destitute—the poorest of the poor, the utterly cast down. God’s power is revealed through the weakness of the barren woman (Psalm 113:9), a prominent theme in Scripture. He lifts up the destitute and makes them royalty. This is grace.
Questions to Ponder:
When was the last time you took 5 minutes and wrote out the ways God has been gracious to you? The psalms are filled with such lists (Psalm 103, for example) like we see here. If you struggle for having language to describe the ways God’s has lavished his grace on you, then spend time today reading this psalm. See how it overlaps with your own life. Then read another!
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.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)