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: Psalm 42 + Psalm 43
How many times this last week have you simply not had the strength or stamina to enter into your day, to take on the many and weighty obligations you carry in your roles? It’s not even that you’ve done a lot, it’s simply the redundant, unending nature of routine: Get up. Prepare meals. Wash faces. Spill coffee. Wash clothes. Dress children. Feed children. Hustle children out the door. Hustle children back in the door and up to bed. Fall exhausted into bed, and so on, and so on…
It is into this sort of ordinary routine that God desires to bring restoration. I’ll give you an example. Our family was recently away on vacation and, as often happens on vacation, the kids stayed up far beyond their parents had energy for parenting. The drum beat never quits some days!
On one such night, after getting two of the three settled into bed, the third asked to read something to me. I plodded over, eyes mostly closed, anticipating to be regaled by a story of Beezus and Ramona or Dog Man. Instead what floated my direction, in the pitter patter rhythm of a child sounding things out, were the words of Psalm 42 , “As the deeeer paaaannntss for floooowing streams.”
Eyes now opened we dug into the passage together. We talked it over. Prayed it and sang it. I realized at some point all of my exhaustion had fallen away. What happened?My soul was restored in the reading and the meditating upon and the praying of God’s word alongside my child.
Had I read this passage on my own it likely would have stirred me in a different way, brought healing to my weary mind as the Spirit reminded me to put my trust in God and not in myself. But this night was meant for a different collision with God himself,flint sparked and the kindling of faith caught fire if only for a few moments.
Psalm 42 and 43 are sister psalms. Their resonate voices weave together to sing you and me out of inner turmoil. “Why are you cast down, O my soul?…Hope in God; for I am sure that he’ll come through, I will sing to him again, I’m singing to him now, because he was and is and will be my salvation and my God.”
Sometimes our souls are cast down because of something traumatic has occurred, and at others they are simply numb to God’s voice because we’ve forgotten his cadence and wandered away for the day or the week. Whatever our inward frame these Psalms give us the language to question ourselves,to ask God to reorient us, to restore to us the joy of our salvation. Maybe we don’t even know that something is amiss until the words cross our lips, “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I walk around confused, mourning what I am just now able to name?…Hope in God, yes, but ‘Send out your search party of light and truth, O God!’ I’m lost in the wilderness! Bring me home!”
And He does! I can’t say how he will meet you but that night he met my numbed and down cast heart with a perfect measure of his light and truth.
Reflect: When was the last time God broke you out of the monotony of your day? What do you think he was directing you to do? What is he leading you to do today through the words of Psalm 42 and 43?
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)