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
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)
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.
Good God, you didn’t turn your back on a world plunged up to its neck in physical and spiritual death but set out to rescue it.
We confess that we often and subtly are drawn back into living as though you have not rescued us by your grace and steadfast love.
We worship you for your resolute goodness and wisdom that sought and found us;
We thank you for the blessing that has come to us in Jesus,
And we pray that our lives may be a blessing to others. 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: “Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians was written during a difficult period in his relation with the church at Corinth. Some members of the church had evidently made strong attacks against Paul, but he shows his deep longing for reconciliation and expresses his great joy when this is brought about.” 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 Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan…The great theme of the book is that God has saved and blessed his chosen people, whom he loves; so his people are to remember this, and love and obey him, so that they may have life and continued blessing. The key verses of the book are 6:4–6, and contain the words that Jesus called the greatest of all commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”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: Ephesians 2:1-10
Talk of grace is commonplace in churches. It is the lynchpin of Christian belief. If divine grace is a fiction, then we’ve been foolishly wasting our Sunday mornings. That, at least, seems to be what the Apostle Paul was getting at in 1 Corinthians 15:19, because this pardoning grace is at the heart of the promise of resurrection into the undying lands of the new creation. Our reading today from Ephesians reminds us that grace is what has saved us, and then some! Grace is where the ABCs of faith start.
But words can lose their edge, if only in our own minds and hearts, and so it is crucial that this word in particular is kept from becoming one to which we pay lip service without any real experience of it in our lives.
In his keen-sighted theological lexicon entitled Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner describes grace this way,
“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth…
A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do.
The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.
There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it.
Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”
In my observation, there is no concept in the Christian faith which seems more prone to being misinterpreted than grace.
Give a man a fish and that’s grace. Give a man a fishing pole and that too is grace, but he is by nature disposed to spend the remainder of his days proclaiming himself a self-made fisherman.
The Christian faith counters our self (deluded) orientation by reminding us that in the economy of grace: We are beggars all. Spiritually impoverished, yes, but dearly loved by God in Christ who has given us all the grace we can handle.
Reflect: What is it about the reality of grace that is so difficult for us to live within? How does Ephesians 2:1-10 help to reshape us around God’s grace?
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. (Numbers 6:24-26)