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.
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: Romans 8:31-35
The parable of the two debts is the story of the gospel in miniature. It whispers the rumor that disastrous debts can be forgiven and that there is mercy for the most hopeless case among us.The parable also speaks bluntly of the readiness to forgive and extend mercy that evidences that God’s gospel grace really has taken root in our hearts.
Today we encounter a passage which speaks words of assurance over us. Why do we need such assurance on a day like this? We need it simply because our insecure hearts need to feel, to know the love of God on a moment by moment basis. What’s even better is that God wants us to feel his love. He doesn’t begrudge having to give his love to us again today. No, his mercies are new every morning. He wants us to have a deep certainty that he’s on our side!
Ray Ortlund paraphrases the Apostle’s words this way, “If we did not qualify for God’s love to begin with, how can we disqualify ourselves now?…’If God is for us, who can be against us?’ And that makes a difference, doesn’t it? The God who is never defeated by evil but always uses evil for good, the God who can never be outflanked or surprised or wearied or perplexed—this God is for us!”
Jesus Christ makes a way not only for our debt to be forgiven, but for the God of the Universe to be actively, at this moment, on your side. What are you facing today? What pressures, anxieties, nagging doubts, insecurities? If God is for you, can these things ever truly defeat you? God would have to be defeated in order for you to be defeated. So, no, nothing can ever be against those who are in Christ Jesus.
Now here’s the reason why you can never truly be defeated, because “he [that is God] did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Do you see what that’s saying? It’s saying that because God has already given us the greatest give on the cross (forgiving our beyond belief debt of sin), how could he ever begrudge giving us anything else? And that’s enough to build our lives upon. God willingly gives us what we need to continue moving forward in relationship with him. He won’t hold out on us! We can rest secure in both his debt-cancelling mercy and his life-giving love!
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)