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

Bright God, shine your light into my darkness; although I’m home, the lights are out. I’m scared in the dark, and yet I avoid your demanding light—who knows what it might reveal in me? Who knows what you might ask me to change? And so I choose darkness over your light. Only the light of your love can change me. Jesus, shine in me. 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

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


I recently taught my daughter how to mow the law in neat alternating rows. She was patient with me cat first, but my constant corrections made it painfully clear that I cared more about my orderly rows than her. She said nothing, but the exasperated look on her face said it all: Dad is a control freak.

I was being the opposite of what God is. When God put Adam in charge of his garden, God stood to lose more than manicured grass. You can almost hear the angels whispering: “He did what?! God put aa human child in charge of the garden? Why would god involve such amateurs? Why risk messing everything up?”

God involved his children because he would rather garden with us than garden alone. Gardening with God taught Adam and Eve that they were primarily made for relationship–relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation. 

There is something about gardening that grounds us in the basics of being human: the time it takes, the relationships that grow, the fruit that finally comes.

Here i am…gardening.


If your parish path doesn’t already include a garden, make a detour today. It doesn’t have to be a big garden, but don’t pass by it too quickly, and don’t just stop to smell the flowers. Throw away a piece of trash. Pull a weed. Hug a tree. Pick some cherries. Harvest a potato.

What can a garden teach you about your relationship with God, your neighbor, and yourself? Remember, God took six days to make the world when he could have just winked. And now our Father is patiently taking all of human history to teach his children how to garden, and how to grow at Godspeed.

A NOTE TO PARENTS: When you get home today, in the words of Ephesians 6:4, “do not exasperate your children.” Do not push them to perfection at the price of your relationship. Instead, be like your Father in heaven: prioritize time with your child over cutting the grass. 

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

Every so often we like to hear from other experts about our passages. Here’s what Dan Dorani has to say about vv.7-8:

The tongue is restless, unstable, and liable to break out at any time. It is half-tamed at best. At an aquarium, we may behold whales, dolphins, and seals heeding human commands. At the circus, we see birds, horses, camels, elephants, and even tigers perform their routines. If an animal fails to perform, the trainer barks commands to bring it back into line. But who can force the tongue back into line? There is a touch of poetry in James’s answer:

Every kind of beast can be tamed by humankind,
but no one among humans can tame the tongue.

Humankind subdues every kind of animal, but it cannot subdue itself. James’s literal phrasing is a bit awkward: “No one is able to tame the tongue—among humans.” This stilted language makes us think. Human nature cannot control the tongue, yet the tongue must be tamed. Who then, will tame the tongue?

Augustine explains that James does not say ‘no one can tame the tongue,’ but ‘no man,’ so that, when it is tamed, we admit that it was done by the mercy of God, the assistance of God, the grace of God.” This clarifies James’s pessimism about the tongue. James says two things: The tongue has vast influence, so we ought to control it. Yet no human can tame the tongue. This is a paradox: James says we must do something that we cannot do.

REFLECT: How does Augustine’s explanation help you in understanding what James means about taming our seemingly uncontrollable words? 

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)