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

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isa. 6:3)

“The Lord is . . . patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9)

Prayer of Confession

Surprising God, who would have thought that dying was good? My instinct is to avoid it. But, in Jesus, I see that dying is the way to life. Equip me to do what is so difficult—to die to myself and become new. May I be genuinely sorry for my sin, to hate it more and more, and to run away from it. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 89)

*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 26: Wholly Tempted | Read: Luke 4:1-3


What lies at the heart of the devil’s temptation of Jesus in the desert? This is no horned figure pushing wine, women, and song. Note the opening line of attack: “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 

If you are God’s Son . . . prove it. Prove it by doing something. Something spectacular. Prove it by doing a miracle. Prove it by becoming king. Prove it by jumping off the temple and letting people marvel as angels rescue you from certain death.” 

Notice that none of these temptations are bad—making bread, receiving angelic aid, becoming king. In fact, they are all things Jesus will soon do. But even good things become devilish if done to prove oneself. They are devilish because they take potentially good gifts meant to flow from our Father in heaven and make them litmus tests for proving ourselves to the father of lies. 

Ever since Eden, the devil’s goal has been to sabotage human belief in God’s love, and so steal our identity as God’s children. But here in the desert, a new Adam is being tempted to prove his Sonship by taking food within his grasp, rather than waiting to receive what his Father gives. 

For you, here I AM . . . tempted to prove myself. 


In the desert, who looked more like a Son of God: a starving man from Nazareth or a powerful angel? Anyone seeing these two figures in the desert would have judged the devil to be blessed and Jesus forsaken. As you walk today, notice people who look blessed as well as people who appear forsaken. Talk to somebody who looks like Jesus did. 

Consider how the devil tempts you to prove your identity. Find an empty field or lot. Stand there for three minutes, doing nothing. 

What answer will you give the devil the next time he tempts you to prove yourself by doing something? Where the first Adam failed, the second Adam will succeed. Jesus resisted temptation and is now empowering you to do the same. Don’t give into the devil’s tests. Rest instead in your Father’s delight. 

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 5:1-12

James follows up his agricultural metaphor for patience with an allusion to “The Day of the LORD” which in the Bible is a reference to the day when God, as King of all Creation, would come and “put all things to rights” as the British phrase it. But perhaps those two images are too distant or abstract for some, so James puts forth some real life examples of people who suffered and waited patiently for God to vindicate them. 

First, James tells us, are the prophets. They “spoke in the name of the Lord” and things did not always go well for them. Yet, it was their messages that both directed God’s wayward people toward redemption in the past by pointing them toward God’s future provision for them, ultimately, in Christ! 

Second, we have Job who remained steadfast, albeit filled with questions, and whom God not only blessed materially, but entered into direct conversation with! (For more on Job see Eric Ortlund’s excellent book “Suffering Wisely and Well”).

Finally, there is a veiled reference to Exodus 34:6 where God reveals his merciful nature toward his people. Yes, God’s people have always been prone to wander, but God declares to Moses the mountain that his steadfast love (hesed) is what roots his covenant with his children. If you’ve been reading this devotional for any portion of time, then you know how significant the Hebrew word hesed is within our relationship to God. 

But just for a quick reminder: Hesed is when God gives us the love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, healing, hope, and about a thousand other things buried deep within the heart of God even though we have no reason to expect anything other than rejection from him. In short, hesed is when we have every right to expect nothing, but God gives us everything! 

REFLECT: James gives us three examples to shore up our patience in suffering. Each points to a different portion of the Old Testament: The Prophets, The Writings (Job), and The Books of Moses (Exodus 34:6). 

The point is clear: Take heart! God is steadfast in his commitment to his people even when they cannot see the end. But the point becomes even more clear when we consider the inclusion of hesed into the frame. 

Not only is God steadfast in working all things together for the good and salvation of those who are in Christ. But, in Christ, God’s hesed became human! So not only cannot, will not, God go back on his promises to his children patiently enduring hardship. He actually entered into history in Jesus to ensure than his purposes for us as his children will be accomplished. So to terribly misappropriate a Bon Jovi line: “We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got…” and that is Christ himself with us and for us. 🙂

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.” (Num. 6:24-26)