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 is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam. 3:25-26)

Prayer of Confession

Surprising God, the Bible is filled with your mighty acts, sometimes leaving me wishing for more of the same today. In doing so, I often miss your most regular miracle, the renewal of a human heart, a marvelous, powerful work—resurrection and new creation. Fill me with awe and praise every time I gather with other Christians, each one of us walking miracles of your supernatural work. Amen.(Prayer based on the Canons of Dort, Questions 3/4.12)

*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 25 | Read Romans 10

  • 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.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 26 | Read 2 Chronicles 16

  • 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?

Sermon Devo

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

We’ve been talking all week about what it means to be quick to hear and respond to God’s Word, but where does this quick hearing come from? 

The answer, James tells us is that God plants it in you. Did you see that? This is the ridiculously good news of the gospel! God does it all! Not only did he “chose to give you birth” (v.18) through the grace of the gospel, he then plants, as Tim Keller puts it,

some information, the essentials about God, about sin, about who you are as a sinner, about who you are in Christ, about what Jesus has done to reconcile us to God, the essential truths of the central message of God have been planted in you. It’s in you. It’s part of you. It has been grafted in.”

Think of it this way: God’s word becomes like an acorn that God has planted in us. The more we meditate on it, the more it grows in us, changes us from the inside out. Once it’s planted, God’s word sprouts and bursts forth in life-giving and grace-filled words, rather than “morally filthy and evil”ones. So while we all will still fail in our words. What James is saying is that, if you’re a Christian, God has planted this a capacity in you for spiritual growth, and you cannot help but (yes, slowly, but surely) grow into what he has made you: his son, his daughter. 

So what do you do with this “planted” Word? (v.20-21) Humbly accept it! On one level what this looks like that you stop resisting what God’s word is showing you needs to change in your life. James uses the example of anger, but I’m sure each of us could offer a few additional areas given a few mins. On another level it means recognizing how easily we become deceived ourselves about our own sin, which is why I think he uses anger as an example. 

Anger can feel so justified when someone has treated us poorly. But if we’re “looking intently at the perfect law that gives freedom,” then we immediately see that we’re called to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, to forgive, and to pray for those who persecute us. This certainly doesn’t mean that we become doormats, but it does mean that we are called to resist the self-righteous posture of condemning those who have wronged us. God didn’t condemn us, but instead declared us righteous, even though we had every reason to expect a “guilty” verdict. This is the ridiculous grace of the gospel: the guilty are set free and can love with a radical freedom that would have been impossible for us before God set his grace upon us.

REFLECT: Spend some time thanking God for his grace in your life. Ask him to help you to continue humbly accepting his word, so that it grows evermore in transforming you. 

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

“May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” (Ps. 33:22)

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