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 compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” (Ps. 145:8)

Prayer of Confession

Living God, I confess I have crossed your commandments of life; by my sin I’ve willingly separated myself from you, my true life. I’m damaged goods. My guilt hangs like dead weight in my heart; I can feel the sentence of death, in my body and soul. There is no health in me. Lord, have mercy. Amen. (Prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Questions 14)

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

Lent Devo: Backyard Pilgrim

Day 2:
Troubled Womb | Read: Genesis 1:2

“Sometimes we think God’s goodness requires that he avoid anything or anyone that might get him dirty, or tarnish his reputation. We equate God’s goodness with being distant, or untouchable. 

In that case, God should show up at the end of the creation story, once his children are safely delivered, cleaned-up, and well-behaving. But that’s not how parenting works, nor how Genesis begins.

God desired to be with us from the beginning. That’s why God doesn’t wait to show up after the child’s birth. God is with us in the beginning, as we grow and as we learn to depend on him. He will also be there when we sin, as we diminish, and when we die. God is the Alpha and Omega of our creation and redemption. 

For better or worse, in sickness and in health, God freely chose to be an active parent. God didn’t want to miss out on any part of his children’s lives, however messy. Time and again, this desire would prove costly, but God knew that. And having children was worth it. Here I AM…hovering over the waters.”


Imagine God’s Spirit not safely perched in heaven, but drawing close, hovering near the troubled waters of your life. As you walk, imagine God’s Spirit hovering over your path, drawing near in creativity and joy. Can you imagine his delight in who you are and who you will be? With each step, pray, “hover over me.” 

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 2:14-26

Kent Hughes writes, 

Illumination through an Imaginary Objector (v.18)

James now brings forth an imaginary objector who has what we call a laissez-faire, “live and let live,” “I’m OK, you’re OK” attitude regarding faith and works. This objector says, “You have faith; I have deeds” (v. 18a), or as the NEB has it, “Here is one who claims to have faith and another who points to his deeds.” He says in effect, “You like theology and are more theoretical and prefer to talk about faith. On the other hand, I’m of a practical bent. Faith for me is living out Jesus’ teaching. We’re both Christians, but we have different emphases.”

James explodes, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (v. 18b). James challenges the pseudo-faith of the “live and let live” objector, believing that faith and works are inseparable.

James’ divine brother, the Lord Jesus, agrees. In his Parable of the Sower the first three soils (the hard soil, the rocky soil, and the weed-infested soil) yielded no fruit. But as Jesus concludes, “what was sown on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23). True living faith produces fruit—living action. 

Similarly, at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns, “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:16–21).

Faith and works are like the wings of a bird. There can be no real life, no flight, with a single wing, whether works or faith. But when the two are pumping together in concert, their owner soars through the heavens. Faith and works—neither is authentic without the other!

REFLECT: James shows us that we cannot be laissez-faire about either what we believe (faith) nor how we live out what we believe (works). Read through the parable in Matthew 13. Which soil represents where you find your heart right now?

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.


Redeem us from all wickedness, purify us and make us your very own, eager to do what is good. (see Titus 2:14)