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
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.” (Ps. 68:19-20)
Prayer of Confession
Jesus, Word of God: your teaching is fresh with wisdom and piercing with clarity. If I’ve ever wondered about the mind of God, if I’ve ever struggled to know God’s heart, I need look no further than you. Help me listen to you as you perfectly reveal the hidden wisdom and will of God for my deliverance. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 31)
*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 21 | Read Romans 8
- 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:The letter to the Romans is a piece of exuberant and passionate thinking. This is the glorious life of the mind enlisted in the service of God. Paul takes the well-witnessed and devoutly believed fact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and thinks through its implications. How does it happen that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, world history took a new direction, and at the same moment the life of every man, woman, and child on the planet was eternally affected? What is God up to? What does it mean that Jesus “saves”? What’s behind all this, and where is it going?Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 22 | Read 2 Chronicles 14
- OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
We are in our Winter series through the book of James. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this New Testament wisdom book which will, by the end of the week, help to give you a fuller portrait of the kind of lives we are called to live as Christians. passage that will be preached on Sunday.
Read: James 1:19-27
Yesterday we spent some time making observations of the passage. What caught your attention? Were there words or phrases that seemed familiar? Did anything confuse you? Take a moment to re-read the passage if you haven’t yet, or to refresh.
What stood out to me was a single word: “Hear.”
It’s true that hearing is an important part of all relationships. Speech is a muttering to ourselves until there is someone to receive and consider our words. Then comes a response. Will it be a ponderous, “Hmm…”? Vacant eyes that tells us our words have gone unheard? A rejoinder to an idea we’ve put forth?: “No, Mr. Fox, caviar is not, in fact, a garnish.” Or, worst of all, will it be a cavalier dismissal of our words as possessing little importance. And we’ve just barely scratched the surface of what it means to hear and to be heard.
Why all this focus on a single word?
James is not writing his tightly-packed letter of wisdom literature to just anyone. Not, at least, in the original sense. His original hearers were Jewish Christians spread throughout the Roman world. Hearing was in the warp and woof of their relationship with God. It was one of the earliest commands that they would have learned as children in synagogue, and it was the first word in every worship gathering: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD your God is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your might…”
Since the first Christians met in synagogues (they would eventually be forced out) and the early church’s worship was shaped by Israel’s worship, we can be fairly certain that Deuteronomy 6:5, and the command to “Hear” what God had to say, would have been at the core of how they understood what it meant to follow Jesus.
Hearing was not an optional activity. It was tied up with obedience. It might be better to understand it as a compound word: hear|obey, and be quick about it! And that’s what we will spend much of the rest of the week exploring.
REFLECT: How have you thought about what it means to become a “quick to listen”? Does today’s devotional help to expand your understanding? What would change in your life if you really believed this was true?
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.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jer. 31:3)