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

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Ps. 145:13)

Prayer of Confession

God of boundless mercy, I come empty-handed, confessing the bankruptcy of my works and drawing on your infinite grace by faith. Thank you for the gift of righteousness in Jesus, who was made to be sin and a curse in my place, on the cross, making me right with you. In the Savior’s name, amen. (Prayer based on the Canons of Dort, Question 2.2)

*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 13: Seeds of Doubt | Read: Genesis 3:1


Is a “fall” the best way to picture what happened to Adam and Eve? The word never appears in Genesis 3. God’s children don’t suddenly walk off a cliff. They get lost in the woods—lost in sin, lost in shame, and finally lost hiding behind trees. And the first step toward getting lost is listening to a talking serpent. 

The Genesis snake is questioning God’s character. “Eve, are you sure? Did God really say ‘you must not eat from any tree in the garden’? Why would God, who says he’s good, keep you from tasting something so delicious?” The questions cast God as a kill-joy, an over-protective parent keeping Eve from a “better good” than the current good she already has. 

Eve begins to wonder: Is God really so generous? Is God hiding something from me? If God is such a good parent, then why is God keeping me from something good? The seeds of doubt the devil sows in Eve’s ear will begin to grow in her heart. 

Unless they are uprooted and exposed as lies, a new and deadly harvest will invade Eden. Unless Adam and Eve trust God’s word (and doubt the serpent’s), God’s first children will reach a crossroads and take a tragic step toward getting lost. 

Here i am . . . doubting God’s goodness. 


Notice an advertisement. What is it selling—what is it promising? Is it something good God has made? Is it something the ad promises to make better? Draw a picture of the advertisement. Beside it, name or draw something or someone you already have. 

Also notice a crossroads today, or a fork in the road. Stand there and ask yourself: “Do I believe God is a good parent?” Why or why not? There are probably good reasons for both answers. 

Wrestle with any disappointment you feel.
Also pay attention to any hope.
Now chose the path that will lead you back home. 

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 3:13-4:12

Tomorrow we will dig into the dirt and details of our James passage, but for today let’s learn from J.I. Packer as he again helps to unfold for us what wisdom means,

“We ask again: What does it mean for God to give us wisdom? What kind of a gift is it? 

If another transportation illustration may be permitted, it is like being taught to drive. What matters in driving is the speed and appropriateness of your reactions to things and the soundness of your judgment as to what scope a situation gives you. You do not ask yourself why the road should narrow or screw itself into a dogleg wiggle just where it does, nor why that van should be parked where it is, nor why the driver in front should hug the crown of the road so lovingly; you simply try to see and do the right thing in the actual situation that presents itself. The effect of divine wisdom is to enable you and me to do just that in the actual situations of everyday life. To drive well, you have to keep your eyes skinned to notice exactly what is in front of you. 

To live wisely, you have to be clear-sighted and realistic—ruthlessly so—in looking at life as it is. Wisdom will not go with comforting illusions, false sentiment, or the use of rose-colored glasses.”

James expresses something similar in our passage. The problem with our wisdom, he says, is not only that it’s filled with jealousy and selfish ambition. It’s that our wisdom is blind to what causes quarrels and fights among us (4:1). Our wisdom is warped by our pride-filled desires, you know, those things that we believe will bring us the joy and stability we crave. Our pride always leads us to say, “I deserve better…Forget God! I deserve what I want!” Packer continues,

“Most of us live in a dream world, with our heads in the clouds and our feet off the ground; we never see the world, and our lives in it, as they really are. This deep-seated, sin-bred unrealism is one reason why there is so little wisdom among us—even the soundest and most orthodox of us. It takes more than sound doctrine to cure us of unrealism.” 

If you feel slightly insulted, consider that James has already told us this with his myriad illustrations of what we are really like: we are like a man so dumb, he can’t even remember what he looks like; we are like a self-involved jerk who doesn’t even notice that his sister is starving and about to die from exposure; we are like a horse that rips it’s mouth to shreds by refusing it’s bridle; a spark that sets the hilltops ablaze. The picture isn’t pretty, but our only hope of healing comes from taking a realistic look at our sin. That’s true wisdom.

REFLECT: Thankfully our long look at our folly is not the final word. Our sin is the precise reason that Jesus came. He loves rescuing fools like you and me! So today let’s be realistic about, as Ireneaus of Lyon put it, the “naked deformity” of our sin. But for every 1 look at our sin, let’s give 10 looks to Christ and his merciful rescue of unwise sinners-become-saints like you and me!

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.


“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (Ps. 130:5)