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

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” (Ps. 119:103-104)

Prayer of Confession

God, I confess I get judgmental when I forget your saving grace. Replace my fault-finding eyes with a clear-eyed vision of the judgment I deserved and yet the grace I’ve received. May genuine faith in Jesus, childlike awe and worship of you, godly sorrow for my sin, and a hunger and thirst for righteousness be the natural fruit of your undeserved choice of me for salvation. Amen. (Prayer based on the Canons of Dort, Question 1.12)

*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 11 | Read Romans 3

  • 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 12 | Read 2 Chronicles 9

  • 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 1:13-18

Yesterday, we made some observations about our passage. What stood out to you? What questions did you have?

Here’s what I noticed: If you read what James is writing, then, at first, it seems like he shifts gears mid-thought from trials (suffering) to temptation. That’s the way that it reads in our English translations, but if we were lived in James’ world and spoke the lingua franca of the day, we would use the same word (peirasmos) for both trials and temptation! 

But this doesn’t mean that James is equating the two. Instead the same word has a couple of nuances. Dan Dorani puts it this way, 

“James knows that a test can be taken two ways. We can view it as a trial and turn to God for aid, so we persevere. Or we can read it as a tragedy, or as a senseless accident, or as a failure—on God’s part—to love and protect us. Worse yet, some who meet trials blame and attack God for them, accusing him of malice. They say he tests them too severely, pushing them toward sin so they will fall. When they face tests, they do not endure, but give up. Believing failure is inevitable, they do fail, and then seek someone to blame. “God is tempting me,” they say (James 1:13). “He is leading me to ruin. James says that this is preposterous!”

What he’s saying is that God doesn’t single people out to give them Mission Impossible-style tests that they are doomed to fail. So while it is true that God tests his people, it is only to reveal, for our benefit, the true nature of our faith. 

Think of it this way, strength conditioning reveals the true nature of our physical capacities. If I’ve been sitting on the couch for the last several years (a safe assumption) and I decide to enter a triathlon that starts the following day, what’s going to happen? The true nature of my physical condition is going to be revealed. My body is going to break down, I’m going to fall to pieces. 

It is the same with us spiritually. All trials contain the temptation to start blaming God when what the trials are meant to produce is a steadfast reliance upon God. When we begin to feel, in the midst of a trial, the temptation to start accusing God of malice or apathy toward us, it is a sure sign that our faith muscles are either out of shape, or that they are being stretched. And, in that moment, we are left with an option: we can either we can strain against it, tear a muscle, and wallow, or we can embrace the faith conditioning that God has brought into our life and look for how it is strengthening our faith.

THANKFULLY, even when we do strain against his training, God is gracious to us. He doesn’t quit on us. How could he? Christ, our elder brother, stands there interceding and advocating for us. He cheers us on in our trials because he knows exactly the good they are producing in us. See him smile because he knows that he has made it so even these severe trials cannot be the end of us. No trial or temptation is the end of the story for those who are in Christ Jesus. Not only has he been faithful on our behalf, but he has “pioneered” and is making our faith whole! What can we do but fix our eyes on him (Hebrews 12:1-2)? And that’s just what we’ll do tomorrow!

REFLECT: How do you respond to trials in your life? Do you feel like they are senseless accidents, or perhaps even a failure on God’s part to love and protect you as he should? Do you tend to look more at your struggle or at Jesus? 

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.


“Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Ps. 25:4-5)