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.
God of grace, you love us, but we have not loved you. You call, but we have not listened. We walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped up in our own concerns. By our actions and our attitudes we praise what you condemn. Help us to admit our sin, so that as you come to us in mercy we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. 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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. 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: Isaiah 28:14–19 + James 1:22–25
In our parable, Jesus has been talking about how reality can run on two different tracks for people who are right beside each other in life. We have two builders who each approach constructing their homes with differing views of what makes for a good house.
The wise man and the foolish one both live in the reality of God’s created world, but their connection to God’s reality is completely different.
The same situation existed for Israel during Isaiah’s day. Two groups of people: those who listened to God’s words, and those who said, every day it’s the same thing from you God: “it’s precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little…” (Isa. 28:10). The Hebrew is literally “ṣav lāṣāv ṣav lāṣāv qav lāqāv qav lāqāv” or “blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada!”
Jesus wasn’t addressing a new issue in Israel. He was addressing the heart of a people who continually got bored with what Yahweh said, and looked for other words upon which to build their lives.
But what will happen, Isaiah asks, when your “covenant with death is annulled” and your “house of lies” is overwhelmed and swept away by hail, storms, and the violent waters of life? He doesn’t mince words, but neither does Jesus. Hearing God’s words, but then just saying “yada, yada, yada” rather than building our lives upon them can only lead our lives collapsing in upon us.
James summarizes Jesus’ teaching well when he says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:22-25)
Looking in the mirror can often lead to despair about the reality of our appearance. But rather than be disheartened about the ways our hearts have been deceived, James points us to a deeper gospel reality. Jesus Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection, loved the Father and did exactly what God commanded told him to do (John 14:31). Why? Hebrews 12 tells us “for the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” He was no mere hearer of God’s words, but a doer, and a everything he did, he did on our behalf so that we might be called sons and daughters of God.
Questions to Ponder:
When do you tend to get bored with God’s words to you? How does being a doer of the word help to counteract that “yada, yada, yada” mentality?
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.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. (Psalm 16:8-9)