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
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 118:28-29)
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.
Merciful Father,forgive us the sins of our tongues—for deception and untruthfulness in our dealings with others; for resentment, coldness, impatience, and ill temper.
Forgive us for the sins of our eyes—for impurity in our glances and imagination; for pining after more beauty, comfort, status, and wealth than you have given us.
Forgive us the sins of our hearts—for hard-heartedness toward you and our neighbors; for pride, self-absorption, self-pity; and above all for rebelling against you and doubting your love.
Father, transform us by your grace to live wholly for your glory. Take away our mourning and replace it with songs of joy, for it is in Jesus’ name we pray. 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.
For generations, Christians have found the book of Psalms to be a rich source of theological instruction as well as a sound guide for worship. Of course, any believer may turn to the Psalter and receive great benefit, but in so doing it can be easy to miss the book’s particular association with the king of Israel. In a real way, the book of Psalms is a prayer book for the king, as it deals with specific kingly concerns in many passages.
Today’s passage is an excellent illustration of how Psalms is the king’s prayer book. Psalm 20 was written as a prayer for the king, as a prayer that the people of ancient Israel were to offer up for their leader who represented them before the nations and before the Lord. It opens in verse 1 with the congregation praying for the Lord to answer the king in the “day of trouble.” This likely is a reference to battle, so Psalm 20 was a fitting prayer for the people to offer whenever the king went out to fight against his and their enemies.
Note that throughout the psalm, the trust of the people is directed first and foremost to the Lord God and not to the king himself. This represents a positive change from the original motivations that the nation had in seeking a king. When the ancient Israelites first asked Samuel to anoint a king over them, they did so in rejection of God’s Lordship (1 Sam. 8). It was not inherently wrong to desire a king, for the law of Moses foresaw a day in which a king would reign over God’s people (Deut. 17:14–20). Yet the people originally did not want the kind of king that the Lord sought, namely, a humble servant. Instead, they wanted a king like the rulers of the other nations, one who would glory in himself and his own abilities. David rejected this sinful desire, directing the people to seek refuge in the Lord first and foremost, not in his own gifts and strategies. The evidence for this is his writing a prayer to the Lord for the king in Psalm 20.
David rightly called for the people to trust in God and not in him, for as good a king as he was, David was a mere creature. Things are different with David’s greatest son, Jesus Christ, for He is the very incarnation of the Lord and has every right to trust in Himself. Yet in taking on human flesh, Jesus set aside His divine prerogative to glory, choosing to live as a man wholly reliant on His Father in heaven (Phil. 2:5–11). He likewise trusted in God to deliver Him, and that is exactly what His Father did, raising Him from the dead to vindicate Him as Savior and Lord of all (Rom. 1:1–4).
CORAM DEOLiving before the face of God
Jesus Christ exemplifies what it means to trust wholly and completely in God. Our Savior did not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from our Creator (Matt. 4:1–4). He never failed to serve His Father, and He entrusted Himself wholly to the hands of God, even when it meant enduring the cross for the sake of His people. If we want to know what wholeheartedly trusting the Lord looks like, we need only to look at Jesus.May we follow suit and trust Him with our all.
Questions to Ponder:
Where is God calling you to wholeheartedly trust Him today?
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 Lord answer you in the day of trouble. The name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion. Amen. (based on Psalm 20)