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

God of grace, I can’t go very long without sin showing up somewhere again in my life. It’s tiring to think that I carry this sin around with me, in me. It’s a family curse that I’ve inherited, like a genetic deficiency that plagues my life and infects my living. Lord, be my help and my health. Amen. (Prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Questions 15)

*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 7: Roots | Read: Genesis 2:15


Adam didn’t wander into Eden. He was placed there on purpose. Adam was grounded by God for a reason. English translations of this verse miss the significance of the Hebrew word “man,” which can also mean “grounded.” You could paraphrase the verse:

“The LORD God took the earthling and earthed him” or perhaps
“The LORD God took the groundling and rooted him.”

It won’t do for Adam to be blowing in the wind, like a tumbleweed or tourist. That’s no way to be known or to know, much less to love. 

In fact, this is the way of Cain the wanderer, whose consequence for killing his brother is to be put always on the run. God’s original plan for humanity is to be grounded. To be human is to be played somewhere we can grow. And growth requires roots.

The first thing that God’s children need to grow up is a place to put down roots. Then God’s children can grow to know who they are, by discovering where they are. 

Here i am…rooted.


Scottish-American naturalist John Muir said,

“I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about was far as we do.”

To be or not to be fully human depends upon whether you are to be someplace, or no place at all. 

As you walk, ask God: Why was I placed here? Am I rooted or wandering? With each step, pray, “Ground me Lord, ground me deeper.”

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

What did you notice as you read yesterday? Here’s what stood out to me:

James uses a slew of images to help us understand the importance of taming our use of words. He goes from talking about being a teacher within the church (more on that later this week) to suggesting that all human beings lack spiritual balance and must harness (pun fully intended) their speech like one might a horse: with bit and bridle. You’ll pardon me while I roll on the floor laughing (go ahead and picture it!).

But notice James isn’t horsing around. He’s deadly serious and he means what he says. Horses have bits so they won’t throw their riders. Ships have rudders that keep them from being dashed against the rocks. But humans have a tongue that is capable of great evil: selfish boasting, burning down reputations, friendships, and marriages.

We know this to be true. Some of us carry around words that were spoken to us as children. Words that haunt and mock and, try as we might, we can’t get them out of our system. If you carry these wounds, then you know what I’m talking about.

Tim Keller, gets at this better than most in a sermon from the mid-90s. He says that these world-igniting words are,

“Things people said about your body, or things people might have said about your character, and you’ve never been able to forget them. What James is saying here, what the Bible says, is they can set your life on fire. They come in and penetrate. They don’t just wish, but they have a power to them.

Words are acts in the Bible. Do you understand that? Words are actions. Words are deeds, to a great extent. Let me put it the way the Bible would put it, the way James would put it. “Sticks and stones can only break my bones, but words can penetrate into my soul and pollute it forever.” “Sticks and stones can only break my bones, but words can destroy my soul.” They can set the whole course, the whole person on fire. They curse.”

It’s Wednesday and we all can use some gospel hope. So here’s the good news of the gospel:

We have a savior who came for precisely that little bit of gossip you shared the other day and for the family meal you destroyed with your anger. We also have a savior who knows how bad it hurts to have your character assassinated and for someone to use their words to pollute your soul.

Jesus is a savior for both those who can’t control their tongues, and those who have been wounded by the fiery words of others. And He promises a redemption bigger than the wide swath of destruction words have cut both in the lives of others and in us. In him we stand as people who are complete wrecks and yet have received mercy and are learning to speak the language of grace.

REFLECT: How are you learning the language of grace in your life?

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)