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
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8)
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, when we were dead in our sins and trespasses, you raised us to new life in Christ. We praise you for so great a salvation, so glorious a hope, and so firm a standing in grace. We humble ourselves before you today, in gratitude and repentance.
Forgive us for our attitudes that deny your grace. Forgive us for our words that violate peace. Forgive us for our habits that sabotage beauty. Forgive us for our passivity that accepts the unacceptable. Forgive us for our pettiness that robs people we love. Forgive us for our unbelief that robs you of glory.
Have mercy on us, Lord; have mercy on me. In Jesus’ strong and loving name. 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 33
God’s purpose does not change. Not only does God not lie or change his mind, but when he speaks, he acts. If he promises something, he makes good on that promise (Num. 23:19). Again we find ourselves both understanding this aspect of God, but being limited in our understanding. We’ve never met a single person who is this constant, whose words and actions perfectly align. Whereas our words and actions require repentance at every turn.
Which leads Jim Packer to explain God’s unchanging purpose this way, “Repenting means revising one’s judgment and changing one’s plan of action. God never does this; he never needs to, for his plans are made on the basis of a complete knowledge and control which extend to all things past, present and future, so that there can be no sudden emergencies or unexpected developments to take him by surprise.
“One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of foresight to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for him to revise his decrees” (A. W. Pink). “The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Ps 33:11).
What God does in time, he planned from eternity. And all that he planned in eternity he carries out in time. And all that he has in his Word committed himself to do will infallibly be done. Thus we read of “the immutability of his counsel” to bring believers into full enjoyment of their promised inheritance, and of the immutable oath by which he confirmed this counsel to Abraham, the archetypal believer, both for Abraham’s own assurance and for ours too (Heb 6:17-18). So it is with all God’s announced intentions. They do not change. No part of his eternal plan changes.
It is true that there is a group of texts (Gen 6:6-7; 1 Sam 15:11; 2 Sam 24:16; Jon 3:10; Joel 2:13-14) which speak of God as repenting. The reference in each case is to a reversal of God’s previous treatment of particular people, consequent upon their reaction to that treatment. But there is no suggestion that this reaction was not foreseen, or that it took God by surprise and was not provided for in his eternal plan. No change in his eternal purpose is implied when he begins to deal with a person in a new way.”
Reflect: How does God’s unchanging purpose both in the world and in your life comfort 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.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day. (Psalm 91:4-5)