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 close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)

Prayer of Confession

Suffering Savior, thank you for the confidence I have to come to you when I stumble in sin. You’re not shocked by my sin, and you don’t turn away from me because of my weakness. You know the lure of sin because you were tempted in all things, so you can help me in my struggle against sin. I turn to you, compassionate Savior: help me today. Amen. (Prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Questions 26)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Lent Devo: Backyard Pilgrim

Throughout Lent this year we will follow along over the next 40 days with quotes from Backyard Pilgrim by Matt Canlis which gives us a daily Bible Path (the story of God’s redemption) and Parish Path (a literal path through town where you can walk and ponder what God has shown you through his Word).

Day 8: Platypus | Read: Genesis 2:19

If God is capable of making the universe, isn’t he capable of naming the animals? As if putting human children in charge of Eden wasn’t enough, now God is giving Adam the freedom to name the animals—whatever he wants!

Picture Adam newly created, new to the game, trying to name the animals when an egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal passes in front of Adam. We might assume Adam could fail, botch the name, or disappoint. But verse 19 portrays God eagerly waiting “to see what Adam would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.’

God wasn’t just looking for suggestions; he was actively inviting Adam’s creativity. Are you surprised at the freedom God gives his children, the freedom both to join in the creative process, and to soon fail miserably? Many parents struggle to give their children the freedom to even name one pet! But God is a different kind of parent. 

We underestimate the playfulness of this passage, the sheer joy Adam took in naming the animals, and the sheer delight God took in watching him do it.

Here i am…naming the animals


We are starting to see why, in the beginning, God did not build a factory with clock-like precision or perfect gears. God planted a garden. And God didn’t make robots. God wanted children, not slaves.

God conceived of, hovered over, stocked a nursery for and breathed his Spirit into…children, children with surprising freedom. It meant having a few animals with strange names, having to teach beginners how to garden, and having to rescue them from deadly fruit. But having children was worth it. For God, once again, the pleasure outweighed the pain. 

Today, practice being Adam, walking with God in the cool of the day when the world was young. As you walk, name something. It could be a tree, an animal, or a familiar place that is winning its place in your heart. 

Sermon Devo

We are in our Winter series through the book of James. 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.  

Read: James 3:1-12

Our tongues are terribly inconsistent, James tells us. They can’t make up their minds. Are they formed by God for his praise, or for cussing out the person who hassled us under our breathes? 

James gives us a picture from God’s good creation: a spring that people draw water out of to sustain daily life. If you live in the city (I do), then you are several steps separated from the source of your water. But if you ever happen to wander across a spring while out hiking, you’ll notice that they do not come with fixtures for turning them from hot to cold, or from mineral to reverse osmosis. Springs are what they are.

James gives us another image for the same reality: olive trees and fig trees. If you plant an olive tree, it’s likely because you’re hoping to enjoy some olives. Though if you’ve planted a classic olive tree, don’t expect to have a steady harvest anytime soon! The slow-growing trees take 65 to 80 years to reach stable yields! But imagine your great-grandchildren anticipating eating olives and getting figs instead!

But human beings, James says, have the remarkable capacity for growing mixed fruit and springing forth with surprisingly salty speech. 

It’s not simply a matter of doing the wrong thing, though. James is telling us that “it should not be so” because Christians are supposed to have God’s word growing up inside us, changing us more and more into the likeness of Jesus, our elder brother. 

REFLECT: What does your speech reveal about what is growing up inside of 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.


“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)