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

“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” (Ps. 115:1)

Prayer of Confession

Incarnate Jesus, thank you that you formed in me good desires and fashioned a body that feels pleasure. Yet how quickly desire turns into an all-consuming idol, how easily pleasure becomes a god. Chasten in me the lingering looks, leering thoughts, and hurtful desires for what is not properly mine, knowing that these are not harmless sins but violations of my soul and your honor. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 109)

*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 5 | Read Acts 28

  • 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 story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Acts makes it clear that these Christians Luke wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God—they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, IN US. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 6 | Read 2 Chronicles 6

  • 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

Our Winter series in the Book of James begins this week. 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 1:1-12 (esp. v.9-12)

James has already told us that (1) suffering is inevitable; (2) if you’re going to suffer, then you should draw true wisdom from that suffering; (3) God gives this true wisdom to those who ask (that is, who humbly stop pretending they can draw the right conclusions about their suffering on their own).

Now he continues talking about two kinds of affliction, or difficulty that people experience in life: poverty and prosperity. One of these probably seems intuitive. People for whom “everything has fallen apart economically” are more obviously experiencing trouble. But is James really saying that prosperity is a trial? Surprisingly, yes, he is, and it’s a good thing too because most of us don’t think about life this way. 

Tim Keller explains for us how wealth can be an affliction:

Here’s what’s so bad about prosperity. When things are going well, you don’t get to see the real reason for troubles anyway. Here’s what makes a trouble a trouble. You have hitched your heart to something that fades, so that when it fades, you fade with it.”

James is telling us that we need to shift how we think, because, rich or poor, we know that death is the great equalizer. James acknowledges this: our lives fade faster than we’d care to admit. We are like sun-scorched prairie grass flowers, here one day and gone the next (v.10-11). Life is short and, in the end, we all want to end up with what James says awaits those who remain steadfast under suffering: true wholeness, happiness, and never-ending, never-fading life after life after death that does not (v.12). 

So what’s the key? How do we endure not only the trial of poverty but also that of riches? The surprising key to both is boasting. Yes, you read that correctly. James says that the right kind of boasting is the key to surviving both much poverty and much wealth. 

So what are we to boast in? Exaltation and humiliation. Again, I’m not making this stuff up, go ahead and re-read the passage. It’s right there. “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation…” In what way is the poor person elevated out of impoverishment? How are the rich brought low, and why would they boast about that? Have you ever heard of this kind of boasting?!

The only place where this kind of mutual joy can happen is in the gospel. And that’s exactly James’ point! The cross is where rich and poor are made equal. Equal in their spiritual impoverishment. Equal in their share in God’s grace! Equal in their need to rely on God for wisdom to endure their unique trials. Equal in their ability to boast only in Christ, because at the end of the day, if you don’t have God’s promise of life eternal, what have you really got?

REFLECT: Do you see yourself in James’ riddle of being either richly humbled by the grace of the gospel, or delightfully elevated? Take time to worship Christ today for making it possible for you to boast only in him.

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.


“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Num. 6:24-26)