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 gracious and merciful,slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 145:8)
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.
Dear heavenly Father,we love you because you first loved us and gave Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. We humble ourselves before you today because of your promise to complete your work in our lives. We praise you for your loving welcome, daily mercies, and sufficient grace.
Forgive us for treasuring the pleasures of the world more than the riches of grace. Forgive us for dwelling too much on our fears and too little on your beauty. Forgive us for rehearsing the failings of others more than the truths of the gospel. Forgive us for being quick to whine and slow to worship.
We offer our confession in Jesus’ name and for your glory. Amen.
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: 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.
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: Psalm 19
Psalm 19 is one of the most image-laden descriptions of God’s creative word. God creates and the whole of Creation joins in a song “proclaiming…pouring forth speech…revealing knowledge” about this God who is worthy of glory.
Tim and Kathy Keller call it the “soundless word”that Creation speaks to us. It’s the reason that mountains and beautiful sunsets over a lake move us deeply. They are art.There is beauty in a well-crafted painting, or piece of woodwork. In the same way, the Psalm is tell us, God the Craftsman has purposefully crafted them to “run their course” beautifully, to draw us in to wonder: “Who made such beauty?” In this way, God speaks through His Creation.
Yet, Psalm 19 tells us that God speaks another way as well: through his perfect word. Creation speaks of God’s presence and power but its soundless words cannot tell us of His character and merciful love (hesed).We need God’s perfect, soul-refreshing, trustworthy, folly-reversing, joy-giving, life-illuminating words to guide our way home.
How should you read God’s Word, then? The Kellers offer this insight,
“Since the Hebrew word for “soul” means one’s psyche or self, the Bible has the power to show and restore your true identity. For the Bible to do all this, you must accept that it is perfectly true and trustworthy in all its parts (verses 7–9). Then don’t just study it but let it search you (verses 11–14). Finally, ask Jesus, the Word made flesh, to give you his Spirit in order to find him in the written Word. The result will be wisdom, joy, and sweetness.”
Reflect: How has God’s word helped “show and restore your true identity”? When was the last time you sat in silence and stillness and worship before God’s “soundless word”?
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.
Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to your never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that you are doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer 831)