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
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)
Prayer of Confession
Shepherding God, if left to me, my faith would flounder and I would undoubtedly be lost and wandering.
Thank you that my salvation rests on your undeserved mercy and unfailing promises.
I am kept and protected because you have laid down your life for me. Amen.
*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).
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: “In his letters to two young associates—Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete—we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and his letters shows us how to do it right.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “People who want God as an escape from reality, from the often hard conditions of this life, don’t find this much to their liking. But to the man or woman wanting more reality, not less—this continuation of the salvation story—Joshua’s fierce and devout determination to win land for his people and his extraordinary attention to getting all the tribes and their families name by name assigned to their own place, is good news indeed. Joshua lays a firm foundation for a life that is grounded.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Read: Luke 6:1-11
What do you think of when you hear the word “sabbath”? Rest? A slower pace? An 80s heavy metal band? Here’s what I want to suggest: every one of us is in deep need of restoring, and being restored by, our understanding and practice of Sabbath.
Christopher Hall and Carolyn Arends explain that,
“The Sabbath day was provided by God for rest and worship. Does this mean that only “spiritual” things can be done on the Sabbath? Jesus often healed people on the Sabbath. Why? For one thing, he was teaching the Pharisees that their Sabbath-day restrictions missed the point of why God had established the Sabbath in the first place.
Yes, Jesus taught, the Sabbath is a time to worship. But the Sabbath was also a time to rest, a God-provided time to experience a pause from the normal patterns of work engaged in during the other six days of the week.
Rest also included, in Jesus’ perspective, the restoration of health. As Jesus healed on the Sabbath day he was acting out an important lesson for God’s kingdom-dwellers. “I have provided this day for you. Rest in it. Relax in it. Worship in it. Be restored in it. I did not create the Sabbath to be another burden for you. It is a joy to be anticipated, a day to be made well, a day to be restored and renewed.”
So what does it mean to “keep Sabbath”? Marva Dawn offers this excellent insight:
A great benefit of Sabbath keeping is that we learn to let God take care of us — not by becoming passive and lazy, but in the freedom of giving up our feeble attempts to be God in our own lives.
1. Do you find it difficult to practice the rhythm of a Sabbath day? Why?
2. What are some ways that you bring patterns of rest and renewal into your Sabbath?
3. Challenge yourself to experience Sabbath in a different way, being open to the ways the Lord wants to be with you “in the flesh” during this time.
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 may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)