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
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Ps. 106:1)
Prayer of Confession
Good God, thank you that this life is not a random roll of the dice, but is watched over by your favor and fatherly care. That’s easy to confess when the wind is at my back and the sun is on my face; give me the same trust in your will when the circumstances of life turn tragic and are tearstained. Let me understand that even then I am kept by you. In Christ’s name, amen. (Prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Question 13)
*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 110 | Read Matthew 19
- 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.
Pray Psalm 111 | Read 2 Samuel 11
- 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?
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.
Today’s slightly longer Devo comes from the late John Webster
Read: Psalm 78:1–20
The psalm on which we are focusing our thoughts is a psalm of remembrance…What we will be is to be shaped by our recalling of the deeds of God, and our trusting ourselves to them as promises of his future faithfulness. As he has been, he forever will be.
Memory is thus a basic part of what it means to be a covenant people. It’s an intrinsic aspect of understanding ourselves as having a life in relation to God, a life in which God elects and calls and sanctifies a people for himself, and in which God calls us to a faithfulness which matches his own faithfulness. Memory is crucial because in it we grasp hold of the covenant character of our relation to the God of grace.
The call to remembrance, the call to renewal of life in covenant faithfulness, is a call which is issued in the midst of human disobedience. It is God’s people as sinners who are here accosted by God’s call. That call is not one which is eagerly anticipated, gladly heard and greeted with delight. It is resisted. It is spurned. It is rejected. Why?
…The remembering for which the psalm calls is painful, disturbing and dangerous; it is something which we have almost to be forced to do. Hence the imperious summons in verse 1 of the psalm: Listen! Incline your ears! Do not turn away!
Remembering means being exposed to judgment. It means facing the truth from which we ordinarily hide. The judgment happens because remembering exposes the yawning gulf between God’s great acts of faithfulness and our sheer human infidelity. Remembering shows us the inescapable truth about God and about ourselves.
Who is the God whom we encounter in remembrance? He is the God of Exodus. He is the God who for no other reason than the sheer abundance of his mercy and love took Israel to be his own people, his special possession. He is the one who elected that there should be a human object of his creative love. He is the one who despite all the odds established this people by setting them free from their masters and gave them the most precious freedom imaginable—the freedom to obey the Lord God himself. He is the one before whom the sea divided and the rocks were split. He is the one who led and fed his people in the wilderness. And so, quite simply, he is the God of salvation, the one who makes the impossible to be possible, who brings into being the things that are not.
And who are we in this encounter?….We remember that we are sinners…
But we remember also that we are the people whom the Lord Jesus feeds. In the wilderness, the psalm reminds us, God cleaved the rock to give his people drink, and sent food to satisfy their hunger. And in the gospel we hear how Jesus, faced with the sheer need of the multitude who gathered around him, took the loaves and fish and gave thanks and broke them and distributed them, and they were all satisfied.
So for us: Jesus is among us, our host at his table. He takes bread, and breaks it and offers it to us; he takes wine and gives it to us to drink. And why? So that we will remember. He gives us these tokens so that we may lodge in our memories and hearts and minds and wills that once for all on that Friday afternoon his body was broken so that we might be healed. In that dying, the covenant is remade, and we are set free to praise him and to serve him among his people.
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.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Ps. 16:11)