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
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)
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.
Gracious Father,we confess that we often cling to the idol of self-sufficiency. We conceal our weakness and faults, presenting only our best sides to one another. In doing so, we obscure the beauty of Your grace in our relationships and community. We hide behind our schedules and personalities as excuses to serve ourselves and neglect our neighbors. O Lord, cover our sin with the blood of Jesus. 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: In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word. Jesus, in this account, not only speaks the word of God; he is the Word of God.Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation. The story has generated an extraordinary progeny through the centuries as it has reproduced itself in song and poem, drama and novel, politics and social justice, repentance and conversion, worship and holy living. It continues to capture the imagination of men and women, especially men and women in trouble. It is significant that God does not present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as story. 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 25:31-33 + Ezekiel 34:12-23
Two days remain until he will be arrested when Jesus begins this final round of teaching by saying: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory…”
Michael Card notes, “The story of the separation of the sheep and the goats is the final block of Jesus’ teaching. It is based on a moment of confusion on the Day of Judgment that seems to have captivated Jesus’ imagination. He already painted this picture at the very beginning of his ministry (Mt 7:22).
Now as the cross looms in the very near future, he returns to the question of what divides the sons and daughters of the kingdom from those who have indeed done things for him but never really knew their master, like the third slave in the parable of the talents. Jesus has sketched a picture of his coming as a cataclysmic event that every eye shall see.”
What is amazing about this parable is that both groups are confused.
Card continues, “Of all the images…this is the most disturbing to me. Two multitudes beyond counting, one joyfully confused, relieved and deliriously happy that, without even knowing it, they had loved Jesus well. The other despairingly confused, horror filled, that what they must have suspected all along turned out to be true. The person they thought they were serving never existed.”
PRAY: Set aside some extra time today for prayer. Use the Prayer of Examen below to help you consider Jesus’ words in this passage. Use your journal to answer the questions and then listen for how God desires for you to respond.
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.
Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth. (Psalm 31:5)