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
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3)
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: Luke 7:36-50
I love Michael Card’s commentary on this parable, so I’m sharing it with you today. Read more here.
“Jesus’ brilliant parable is only two verses long, yet it can stand alone as a work of literary art. But when we see it in the frame Luke alone provides, it leaps to another quantum level. His story provides a place for all of them: the woman as the great debtor, and Simon as the one who owed less.
Luke means to ask you and me to take our places in the parable. In the same instant, he invites us to find our place at Simon’s banquet. Will we sit beside Jesus and acknowledge only a small debt, or will we fall down at his feet and, in tears, beg for the forgiveness we do not deserve?
This parable is the means for a miracle: the opening of Simon’s blind eyes. At precisely this point in Matthew’s narrative, Jesus heals the eyes of two blind men (Mt 9:27-31). Luke, a companion to another Pharisee, Paul, chooses at this point to tell the story of another kind of healing miracle. We cannot say for certain whether Simon, like so many other Pharisees, eventually becomes a disciple of Jesus. What we can say for certain is that his blind eyes start to see, which is no less a miracle.
Part of the bottomless miracle of this simple, two-verse parable is that as he listens, Simon discovers that he is hearing the story of his own life. The gentleness of Jesus’ story leads the Pharisee, like a lost sheep, to a place of understanding he could never have reached otherwise. How could he have known that the simple exchange that began with the words, “I have something to tell you,” would end with the promise of a new life? The parable reveals that Simon has the answer in his head. The parable also makes it possible for the answer to move to his heart.”
Questions to Ponder: Imagine yourself in the room with Jesus, Simon, and the woman. What is going through your head as the scene unfolds? How do you think you would have responded to Jesus’ parable?
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.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. (Psalm 16:6-7)