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 whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (Psalm 65:8)
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.
Our Father in heaven, broken hearts and bodies are part of this life and we are vulnerable to it. You would have us trust you even in the midst of deep pain. We confess that try to heal ourselves by ourselves. Forgive us Lord. Jesus came to bring us into the liberation that only his Spirit brings. The liberation that enables us to entrust our entire being to you. We come to you by faith, asking for help, based on your compassionate heart. We offer ourselves to you. Remake us. Glorify your name. We ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who dwells with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. 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. 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. Follow along with our Parables Reading Plan + Study Guideas we all read the Parables every day this Fall.
Read: Matthew 13:44-46
Our passage today contains three verses, two parables, and one theme. Can you spot it?
Read slowly again as if for the first time, and as you do, remember that Matthew’s original audience is likely sitting in a synagogue. Perhaps they have just finished hearing a reading from Isaiah 55 or Proverbs 23:23. Can you picture Matthew standing, teaching, and connecting passages like these with the parablesthat Jesus himself had shared with him and the other disciples?
And Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.” Those who find the treasure recognize it as the kind of wisdom described in Proverbs 2: worth seeking like silver and hunting like treasure. It’s the joy of water to a woman dying of thirst, and free bread to a penniless beggar-of-a-man.There’s no way you let it slip through your grasp! You cup your hands and joyfully slurp it! You dive headlong after it, enduring scrapes and broken bones, just to bite into that soul-satisfying morsel.
And Jesus said again, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant…” who knows his pearls. He’s after just the right one. A rare beauty that he’s only ever eyed as a white unmistakable blur, and which he will never get out of his mind. But, Ah! When he finds it, that “one pearl of great value,” he goes and sells his whole portfolio just to possess this one of a kind treasure. He buys it like Proverbs 23:23 says to buy truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. Not to sell it, but to enjoy and delight in it.
The kingdom of heaven is worth, in a phrase, selling the farm to buy a field. It’s value will not likely be visible to most in this world. Their eyes scan the clumps of dirt and tangle weeds, and broken-down farm machinery, but what is buried underneath is worth more than all the kingdoms of this world, because as J.R.R. Tolkien put it, “All that is gold does not glitter…”
But how do you get ears that catch word of this buried treasure kingdom? Or eyes that can discern dirt-caked treasure from fool’s gold? Herein lies the secret of the kingdom: only those who know that they bring nothing but spiritual need to God, only ones like these find healing and a feast for their ragamuffin soul in the kingdom of heaven.
Wonder: The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ!” Underline “gain” in your Bible. Put a star next to it. Marvel at it for a moment.
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.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. (Psalm 91:4-5)