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
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
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.
Dear heavenly Father,for the welcome we receive as we come into your presence, we praise you; For the freedom to call you Abba, Father, we adore you; For the assurance of your daily mercies and steadfast love, we worship you.
There is no other god like you—none more worthy to be loved with all our heart and soul, mind and strength. You know our weaknesses, and do not despise them. You know our brokenness, and will not shame us. You know our sorrows, and are filled with compassion. You know our foolishness, and promise more grace.With our eyes fixed on Jesus—the author and perfecter of our faith, we ask you to forgive us.
Forgive us for hurting people we love by our impatience and irritation, by our lack of listening and our un-kept promises. Forgive us for thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, and thinking of others less compassionately than they deserve. Forgive usfor giving more power to what others say about us in public, than what you say about us in heaven. Forgive usfor being too busy to behold your beauty in your Word; meditate on your mercies in Christ, and hear you sing to us in the gospel.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on me. Our hope is built on nothing less, nothing more and nothing other, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. We trust in his finished work, not in our vain promises. 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
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.
Read Psalm 32:1-2
One of the things I love about the psalms is how painfully honest they are about us as human beings. They often get us better than we get ourselves. Want to know what will truly make you feel a sense of complete well-being and satisfaction in life? Ask a psalm. Want to know what will dehumanize and unravel you? Ask a psalm. For an answer to both, ask Psalm 32.
“Blessed is the one…” Notice, then, who David says is blessed. It’s not: “blessed are those who never do anything wrong,” or “blessed are those who are killing it at life.” No, David says, it’s those who have been forgiven who are truly blessed. That is remarkably counterintuitive, isn’t it? It’s only when we take a good, honest look at ourselves that we’ll be able to honestly appreciate being forgiven.
David tells us that the happiest people are those who confess that they are messed up and in need of forgiveness, and who then fully experience God’s pardoning voice. David seems to be in a confessional mood even in his word choice. He use three of the most common words for sin name the ways we need forgiveness.
Avah (iniquity) shows how great pain and damage is caused when our hearts are twisted out of shape, like a bone dislocated from its socket; when they are not centered on God and instead filled with deeply distorted beliefs about ourselves, God, and others.
Chatha (often translated sin) shows how our sin puts us out of harmony with God, others, and the world by missing the mark for living as God created us to live: for his glory and not our own.
Pesha (transgression) shows how we need forgiveness for the ways in which we willfully rebel against God who rightly deserves our allegiance.
According to this psalm, then, everyone tends to feel that we are either toogood or toobadto be deeply forgiven. You will tend to have either too high of a view of yourself (and be unwilling to admit, or be ignorant of, your sins), or too low of a view of yourself (and be unable to escape the condemnation of your sins). We’ll talk more about the effects of these sins tomorrow, but here’s what I want us to see today.
Wholeness or happiness is within reach. You simply have to acknowledge that your sin is worse than you thought, yet David tells us that forgiveness is deeper, wider, more abundantly given than you ever dared imagine! God promises to forgive our willful rebellion against him, to bury the ways we try to steal His glory by living for ourselves, and to not count our painful distortions of Him, his will, and of ourselves against us. We just have to stop deceiving ourselves! How?
It’s by trusting in Jesus as the source of our forgiveness. Jesus who did not rebel but submitted to God’s will. He lived to glorify His father (John 17:1) and there was no deceit in him. Want to be happy? As the old hymn says: “Look to Jesus. Mercy flows through him alone.”
Questions to Ponder:
What are you currently looking at to bring you happiness and wholeness in your life? How might God be using to help you confess these things and move forward in faith with Him?
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 the God who in Christ forgives our our willful rebellion, buries our glory-stealing, and does not count our distortions of Him and His ways against us, thoroughly bless you abundantly with his grace so that you might have all sufficiency in all things at all times and so abound in every good work to the glory of God the Father. Amen.