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 the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
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.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, we praise and bless you for the great salvation you have freely given us in the gospel.
We find great peace in the finished work of Jesus. We find great joy in the ongoing work of your Spirit. We find great hope in the future blessings of heaven.
As your beloved daughters and sons, we confess our sins, longing for the day we will be made perfect in love. Forgive us and free us, in Jesus’ name, we humbly 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: 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.
Yesterday we looked at the Psalms’ honesty about us and the honesty they demand from us in order to rightly relate to God, others, and ourselves. David told us that those who know what it is to be deeply forgiven are those who know the greatest happiness. This is at the heart of what it means to become a Christian. But as you move along in Christ, you will also find the need for ongoing confession and forgiveness. This psalm, much like Romans 6, shows us that forgiveness does not mean that we are free to “continue in sin that grace may abound.”
That’s where David takes us next: directly into the heart of what it feels like for sin to fester unconfessed. Sin is a disease, the cure of which only come by God gifting us his righteousness (Romans 4:6-8). Before he confessed, David tells us that his sin had a psychological effect (groaning), but also an intermingled physical/spiritual one: my bones wasted away and my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I remember bailing straw and hay on my grandfather’s farm during the heat of summer. You start as early in the morning as possible, because by midday the heat is so intense that your energy is sapped. That’s what David says it’s like trying to hide your sin. Embarrassing as the sin might be, the hell of hiding it from the God who sees it all is worse.
But remember this is a song about the heart-satisfying happiness that comes from being forgiven. Now David maps out what brought him relief. “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the inequity of my sin.” He took the antidote. He confessed his sin. He’s now relieved of the burden of pretending before God and free to genuinely change.
Three thingsto note about how confession works: (1) You need to take full responsibility for what you’ve done wrong; (2) You need to distinguish true confession from either self-pity or self-flagellation; (3) You need to stop trying to cover up your unrighteousness (v.5) with everything from self-pity to self-condemnation to simply pretending it’s not there, and then God really covers it (v.1).
True repentance can be difficult. It brings an end to only being sorry for the consequences of our sin, rather than the sin itself. It brings an end to trying to convince God (and ourselves) that we are so truly miserable about our sin that we deserve to be forgiven. It brings an end to confession being a traumatic, bitter pill to swallow. And instead, it causes us to rest completely upon God’s grace, mercy, acceptance, and love.
Questions to Ponder:
How are you doing with practicing confession on a daily basis? Are you experiencing ongoing guilt, shame, self-righteousness, or bitterness? Do you find yourself trying to minimize your sin, or wallowing in self-pity? Turn to Jesus. Take full responsibility without trying to cover your sin up. Rest fully on the grace that God has given to you in Christ. Then move forward in faith.
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. Amen (Romans 15:13).