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
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Pet. 1:3)
Prayer of Confession
Living God, death is a bully and scares the wits out of the best of us, and yet I thank you for the utter confidence I can now have. What can death throw at me? I have Jesus, my champion, who has gone through hell and conquered death. Help me to boldly live, knowing that Christ’s resurrection is my pledge that the best is yet to be, a deposit guaranteeing my own resurrection. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 45)
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
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).
Pray Psalm 47 | Read 1 Corinthians 5
- 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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 48 | Read 2 Chronicles 27
- OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
We are in our Spring series in Romans 8. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this incomparable chapter and see how it alters the way we live “in Christ!”
Read: Romans 8:1-2
Tim Keller notes that, “The great twentieth-century Welsh preacher D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that: “Most of our troubles are due to our failure to realize the truth of this verse.” What happens if we forget that there is “now no condemnation”?
On the one hand, we feel far more guilt, unworthiness and pain than we should. From this may come drivenness from a need to “prove ourselves”; great sensitivity to criticism, defensiveness; a lack of confidence in relationships; a lack of confidence and joy in prayer and worship; and even addictive behavior, which can be a reaction to a deep sense of guilt and unworthiness.
On the other hand, we will have far less motivation to live a holy life. We have fewer resources for self-control. Christians who don’t understand “no condemnation” only obey out of fear and duty. That is not nearly as powerful a motivation as love and gratitude. If we don’t grasp the full wonder of “now no condemnation,” we will understand each word of the rest of 8:1–13, but completely miss the sense of it! Lloyd-Jones summed this up with a useful illustration:
“The difference between an unbeliever sinning and a Christian sinning is the difference between a man transgressing the laws of … the State, and … a husband who has done something he should not do in his relationship with his wife.
The husband is not breaking the law, he is wounding the heart of his wife. That is the difference. It is no longer a legal matter, it is a matter of personal relationship and … love.
The man does not cease to be the husband [legally, in that instance]. Law does not come into the matter at all … In a sense it is now something much worse than a legal condemnation. I would rather offend against a law of the land objectively outside me, than hurt someone whom I love … You have sinned, of course, but you have sinned against love … You may and you should feel ashamed, but you should not feel condemnation, because to do so is to put yourself back ‘under the law.’ ” (Romans Chapters 7:1–8:4, pages 271–272)
REFLECT: Do you see the difference between shame and condemnation? If not, read the commentary above again and then re-read Romans 8:1-2. Ask God to help you begin living in this freeing reality.
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.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)