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
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
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.
O God, grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 832)
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 story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Acts makes it clear that these Christians Luke wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God—they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment. The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (the sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use theParables Reading Plan + Study Guideto journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Our passages overlap today with the theme of “shame.”
Jesus again tells us in Mark’s gospel that those who want to follow him must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him. It’s a summons to die to anything that would hinder you from following Christ. Trying to save your own life for your own desires will cause you to lose it, Jesus warns. Quoting Psalm 49 he says “For what can a man give in return for his soul?” The rhetorical “Nothing” hangs awkward and heavy for a moment. The crowds were not prepared for this onslaught of unattractive speech from the rabbi. A few choice words, some convincing zingers, yes, but not all this talk about the Son of Man suffering, being rejected, killed, and rising again.
To say that the crowds are disturbed is an understatement. But Jesus carries on and insists that He will be ashamed of anyone who is ashamed of Him and the words He’s just spoken. “Well, don’t sugarcoat it, Jesus,” we say. And He doesn’t mean to. Jesus, as we’ve discovered throughout our study of these parables, continually presses us to choose the road we want to travel down. The broad highway of the kingdoms of this world, or the single-track of the kingdom of heaven.
Those who chose the way of grace become travelers in this world. Pilgrims who, as Rich Mullins put it, call this place our country but long for home. Hebrews 11 tells us that Rich and all who long for that better country follow a long line of women and men who staked everything on a promise.
What happens to those who desire that far better country, who take up that cross, who scorn the mockery of those who see faith as a childish game? God says in Hebrews 11:16 that, “God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.” Losing your life now might not be so bad after all,and you just might find in doing so that, to appropriate Flannery O’Connor, “the life you save may be your own.”
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.
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. (Isaiah 26:8-9)