August 13th devo image, a blue bird perched on a branch.

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

“The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” (Ps. 103:6)

Prayer of Confession

Saving God, I stand in awe before the mystery of your providence. Through our sometimes desperate decisions and fearful circumstances, you work your loving will. Give me patient confidence in troubled times and gratitude when things go well, knowing that all things are in your hand. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism Question 28)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 100 | Read Matthew 14

  • 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: Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus. Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 99 | Read 2 Samuel 5

  • OT Context: “Four lives dominate the two-volume narrative, First and Second Samuel: Hannah, Samuel, Saul, and David. Chronologically, the stories are clustered around the year 1000 b.c., the millennial midpoint between the call of Abraham, the father of Israel, nearly a thousand years earlier (about 1800 b.c.) and the birth of Jesus, the Christ, a thousand years later.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

This summer we are exploring what it means to keep “in step” with the Spirit. Each week we will consider a specific fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) by looking at other stories and themes throughout Scripture that express this fruit.

Read: Psalm 27

All throughout Scripture we see descriptions of God as good. The psalter gives us image upon image of God’s goodness. He’s like a rock we can shelter under when the storms of life overtake us. He is like a shepherd whose sheepdogs of goodness (tov) and mercy (hesed) keep us in his pasture.

The psalmist in Psalm 27 says, “I am sure of this: I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living.” It’s a poetic phrase to be sure. It’s more than a comforting thought, though, it’s rooted in knowing God’s person, character, and history through personal experience and through other’s experiences of his goodness. In short: It is saving faith. Surety that God is who he says he is. Surety that stakes the whole weight of your life on his goodness.

Isn’t that what we believe as Christians? We don’t believe that God is just benevolent in doddering, grandfatherly way (complete with Werther’s Originals to show us he’s sweet). No, he is determinedly good toward us. He doesn’t look past our sin with a little pat on the head. He deals with our sin at great cost to himself. That’s true goodness. It’s God being truly himself, truly the same in every situation yet determined to bless us with his lovingkindness (hesed).

Take some time to worship him for being so good with these two songs by Greg LaFollette:

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.

Benediction

“The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Ex. 15:2)

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