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
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
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.
Jesus, here we are again, desiring a thing, desiring many things, that were we to indulge in, it would war against our own hearts. O Christ, rather let our lives be thine! Take our desires. Let them be subsumed in still greater desire for you, until there remains no room for these lesser cravings. We would rather choose you, Jesus— but we are weak. So be our strength. We are shadowed. Be our light. We are selfish. Unmake us now, and refashion our desires according to the better designs of your love. 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 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.
Read: Matthew 20
If you were to take a writing class entitled “How to Write Fiction,” then one of the first principles you’ll be introduced to is the difference between telling and showing your audience what is happening in the story. This parable shows us what is happening in the background. Let’s see if we can pick up on it as we read this week.
Here’s a little help: Matthew 20 begins with a parable which shows us who God really is, His character, His very heart toward His people, and how the upside-down nature of his kingdom moves forward in our world.
Spend your time today by reading Matthew 20 within its Context. Ask questions like: Where are we in the story? What happened before? What happens next?
Then Observe what is happening in this passage. What gets repeated? What words or phrases stand out to you? What do you suppose Matthew is showing us about God? About Jesus’ audience? About us?
We will spend the rest of the week examining what we uncover and, if we listen closely enough, being surprised by who God shows himself to really be…
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.
You have put gladness in my heart, more than when grain and wine and oil increase. I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep; for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:7-8)