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 in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habakkuk 2:20)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Heavenly Father, where can we go that you are not already present, waiting for us, and ready to bind up the wounds that sin has inflicting upon us, that we have inflicted upon ourselves? Yet do not, dear Lord, let us dwell there. No! Have mercy upon us…
…because we wander from your path into ways that seem right to us. Lord, have mercy!
…because we mistake your patience with us for acceptance of our sin. Lord, have mercy! …because we hold onto our grudges to the bitter end. Lord, have mercy! …because we so early forget your lovingkindness in favor of lesser loves. Lord, have mercy!
Have mercy on us, Lord, in all these things and more! And thank you! Your love is better than life itself, and so entrust ourselves to you, and say Amen in Jesus’ merciful name.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
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).
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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “The book of Numbers plunges us into the mess of growing up. The pages in this section of the biblical story give us a realistic feel for what is involved in being included in the people of God, which is to say, a human community that honors God, lives out love and justice in daily affairs, learns how to deal with sin in oneself and others, and follows God’s commands into a future of blessing. And all this without illusions. The Bible, our primary text for showing us what it means to be a human being created by God and called to a life of obedient faith and sacrificial love, nowhere suggests that life is simple or even “natural.” We need a lot of help.Wise discipline is required in becoming a people of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Over the next few months our sermon series will explore who God is and what it means for us as His Creation to know Him. Each day this devo will tread along a variety of paths connected to the week’s theme in Knowing God. Consider this your invitation to come along for the ride as we head into the wilds of coming to know and experience God’s person and grace.
Read:Proverbs 14:12 + Philippians 4:8-9
There is much wisdom in this world. Does this surprise us? We humans bear this mark of our Creator in all things from our everyday problem solving to our complex arithmetic. And yet, all of it, all of our wisdom also bears the mark of our calamitous Fall. Our thoughts and plans are a muddied mix, part God-honoring and always part self-aggrandizing. Proverbs 14:12 tells us that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Such is our wisdom! Limited, blurry, and tending to turn deadly on us.
Yet, I fear that Christians have too often discounted the unique insights found within their cultures as being “worldly” and unfit for Christian consumption. While others have uncritically imbibed the so-called wisdom of their cultures. What’s a Christian to do? How do we live wisely in such a world?
Here’s one suggestion: Eat the meat; spit out the bones. This seems to be what the Apostle Paul is suggesting in Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…”
Here’s a second suggestion, and one that will help you discern what is “true, honorable, just…”: Accept that you are finite and foolish, ask God to help you distinguish between his wisdom and your own. Which is another way of saying that wisdom’s path begins with “the fear of the Lord and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Pr. 9:10).
How do you become wise? First we must recognize that only God is truly wise, humble ourselves before him, and pursue knowing him on his (not our own) terms. Second, as Jim Packer notes, “In Scripture, wisdom is a moral as well as an intellectual quality, more than mere intelligence or knowledge, just as it is more than mere cleverness or cunning. For us to be truly wise, in the Bible sense, our intelligence and cleverness must be harnessed to a right end. Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.”
Reflect: How have you pursued wisdom in the past? How do these passages help course-correct your pursuit?
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.
Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. (Psalm 88:1-2)