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.
Grant, O God,that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 823)
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: Luke 13:18-19 + Ezekiel 17:22-23 + Matthew 13:31-32
Why does Jesus tell these parables (which are really metaphors or similitudes)? He’s revealing a truth that is at the heart of what his kingdom is all about.
Tim Keller notes, “Both the seed grows and the yeast grows. It’s very interesting because the power of the yeast and the power of the seed are kind of deceptive almost. For example, here’s this seed, a mustard seed. If you’ve ever seen a mustard seed, it’s very, very small. That’s the reason why Jesus brought it out. It’s much smaller than an acorn, much smaller than a walnut, much smaller than something that would grow a tree. Most seeds that grow trees are a lot bigger.
Jesus shows us the tiniest seed, saying, “Boy, there’s no way a tree would grow out of this.” Let me ask you … If a mustard seed were to have a head-on collision with a slab of sidewalk concrete, who would win? The sidewalk, every time. We also know if you stick a seed underneath a sidewalk, give it a few years, and there’s no contest. The seed will crack the concrete. That’s the power of gradual growth.”
Such is the growth of the kingdom in the world and our lives. Slow, patient, and powerful. Growing the way that God decides it should. It’s why Jesus uses the imagery he does. The kingdom grows in the world and in our hearts like “a sprig sprig from the lofty top of the cedar…planted that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest” (Ezekiel 17:22-23).
It’s a picture of abundant life that overflows into blessing everything around it. This is the sort of life we are called into as Christians. We don’t become citizens of heaven only to hoard its resources all to ourselves. No. That simply will not do for those who have been redeemed by such mercy and love.
We are called to take what we have received in Christ and bless the world through it both spiritually and materially. We are also called to patiently abide in him that we might bear much fruit (John 15:4).
Meditate (pray the passage back to God)
Adoration: How can I love and praise God on the basis of what I’ve read?
Repentance: How do I fail to realize this in my life? What wrong behavior, harmful emotions or attitudes result when I forget this?
Gospel Thanks: How can I thank Jesus as the ultimate revelation of this attribute of God and the ultimate answer to this sin or need of mine?
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.
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:2-4)