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
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
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.
Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for being the God from whom all blessings flow;
the Judge who declared us righteous in Christ; and the Lord now working in all things for our good. In response to such incredible grace and love, we gladly take the low place of humility and confession.
Forgive us for caring more about people’s approval than cherishing your acceptance. Forgive us for being quick to judge others and slow to forgive them. Forgive us for scheduling ourselves into exhaustion and bad attitudes.
Father, teach us how to live and love at the pace of grace.In Christ’s name, we confess our sins and offer our prayer. 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: How do we cope with the inconsistencies of life? Focusing on perseverance in the midst of trials, James exhorted believers to live out what they proclaimed. This letter is a call to faithfulness to the gospel in the midst of very difficult circumstances. Meditate on what this passage reveals about who Christ is and what he’s accomplished.
OT Context: Amos prophesied during a period when Assyria was ebbing in power and both Israel and Judah were prospering. Israel saw a “golden age,” but Amos had the hard job of telling them that they were about to be overrun again. Reflect on the passage. What’s one way you can immediately apply this text to your life?
“Songs for Every Season” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from 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.
Read Psalm 13:1-6
When was the last time you watched a storm roll in? Watched darkness race toward you under wind-driven clouds? Counted the seconds between bursts of light and the air cracking to measure the storm’s distance? A storm’s arrival is inevitable. You can only prepare for its arrival and endure its fury.
The Psalm we have been reading together this week sets us in the middle of a storm. Violent winds have swept into David’s life and all he can do is cry out, “How long…how long…how long?” His anguish is met with silence. No light comes to steer him clear of his trouble. He feels abandoned. Rejected. Alone. No word of answer or comfort falls from heaven.
But heaven did have an answer. David lived and continued to trust in God’s hesed (God’s love, mercy, and goodness unexpectedly lavished on undeserving people). But eventually David’s days would come to an end. He would sleep the sleep of death, just as every generation before him, still holding onto (or being held by) God’s hesed. And generation upon generation would cry out: How long, O Lord, till you “deliver us from all our sin and sorrow?” (Psalm 130:8).
Until one day heaven’s ultimate answer came as the Word became flesh and God’s hesed became human in the person of Jesus Christ.
What happened in Jesus was that David’s questions were finally and fully answered. The silence, rejection, and abandonment by God that we all fear fell on Jesus like a storm. He was crushed for our evils, felt our punishment, and by his wounds we are healed.
Jesus got the full fury of the storm and abandonment David thought he had gotten but hadn’t. He was absolutely and utterly truly abandoned. Why? Why was God’s face turned away from him? The answer is because God wants to forgive us. He wants to pour out his hesed on us. That’s why Jesus slept the sleep of death in our place. He was trounced by our last enemy (1 Cor. 15:25-26), but death could not hold him (Acts 2:24).
Saint Augustine said it well: “He who is our very life came down and took our death upon himself. And then He slew our death by the abundance of his life.” All so that we can “rejoice in God’s salvation” and “sing to the LORD because he has dealt bountifully with us” because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. How do you respond to that kind of salvation? The way David did! You sing!
How are you responding to God’s love for you? Are you throwing yourself headlong into his love for you, or are you holding out for something better? Do you feel like you’re in the midst of a storm? Good news! Christ has gone before you into the storm and come out the other side. His love for you ensures that “this is the dark before the dawn, the pain before the balm, the tears before the song.”
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.
And may the God of peace Himself make you holy through and through. May your whole being, spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will accomplish it. Amen (1 Thessalonians 5:23)