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
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!For he is our God,and we are the people of his pasture,and the sheep of his hand. (Psalm 95:6-7)
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.
God of mercy, we humbly confess our need of your pardoning grace.
We shelter arrogance and pride in our hearts, believing that our efforts will secure what only you can give us. We are quick to judge and grumble when our plans, pleasures, and preferences are threatened. We are slowto offer mercy, both inwardly and outwardly, towards those you have placed in our lives and called us to love.
Forgive our self-righteousness and our self-absorption. Fix our eyes on our savior, Jesus Christ, that we may become enraptured with Him, for it’s in his 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
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.
David beings this psalm by literally saying, “Only toward God my soul is silence itself.”
When was the last time you sat in true silence? Silence on its own, even before God, is not always helpful. It depends on what you are doing with the silence. It’s one thing to sit in a quiet room, but our inner worlds, our souls, are seldom quiet. There’s anxious chatter deep inside us, especially during stressful seasons, that says: “We have to have this, or we won’t make it. If this doesn’t happen, then it’s over.”
Tim and Kathy Keller note hidden in this chatter is the assumption, “that God alone will not be enough—some other circumstance or condition or possession is necessary to be happy and secure.” We become restless and search for something to satisfy our longing to feel like everything will be okay.
David is telling us that the only thing that will truly cure our restlessness is cultivating the practice of waiting in silence before God. How?
See the next lines: “from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” David has set his hope solely on God as the only thing he needs in this life. He has everything that he needs. Everything else is expendable, because God is, as Eugene Peterson puts it, the “solid rock underneath my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle.”
Do you see what he’s doing? He’s composing himself not in his abilities, but in God’s sufficiency. He’s resting as he rehearses within his soul God’s character and track record. There’s no rock, no fortress, no rescue like the one that only God can provide.
In the end, there’s nothing left to say. If God is for us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8:31; Psalm 118:6; 1 John 4:4).
Questions to Ponder:
Think through the last 24 hours. What things leave you feeling restless, unhappy, and insecure? What are the things you brood over? How would having the perspective David has in this psalm transform the way you approach your emotions and circumstances?
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)