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
“Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. . . . Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:14, 16)
Prayer of Confession
Ascended Jesus, I often move through my days with a guilty conscience, an accusing voice that tells me of the evil I have done, or the good I have failed to do.
Cleanse my conscience by your shed blood, and strengthen me to serve the living God. Amen. (a prayer based on the Helvetic Confession, Q56)
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: ” Our main and central task is to live in responsive obedience to [the gospel]. But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents’ worth.” We add on, we supplement, we embellish. Hebrews is written to “add on, Jesus-and” Christians such as ourselves. It wakes us up to the reality that Jesus is just plain better than all our add ons.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: “Twice in Judges (17:6 and 21:25) there is the telling refrain: “At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.” But we readers know that there was a king in Israel: God was king. And so, while the lack of an earthly king accounts for the moral and political anarchy, the presence of the sovereign God, however obscurely realized, means that the reality of the kingdom is never in doubt.” Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Give: Using our Spiritual Gifts to Serve
A LIFE THAT USES SPIRITUAL GIFTS IN LOVE*
The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become. — C. S. Lewis
One of the mysteries of coming to faith in Jesus is that we are given spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit. In today’s passage, Paul outlines a few of them. It is possible to use our spiritual gifts in unhealthy ways, disconnected from relationship with Jesus (Matthew 7:21–23).
Gifts can also be overemphasized or even fabricated. But God’s desire is that we use spiritual gifts motivated by love and in relationship with Jesus. This is good for everyone! We receive the joy of serving, others receive the encouragement of being served, and God receives the glory in it all.
1. Which of these spiritual gifts are you familiar with? Which are unfamiliar?
2. Depending on culture and denomination, spiritual gifts can be a divisive topic. What have been your own experiences with the spiritual gifts?
3. What are your spiritual gifts? If you are unsure, consider praying and talking with a pastor or friend to identify how the Holy Spirit has gifted you.
*Today’s Devo comes from The Reservoir by Christopher Hall and Carolyn Arends.
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.
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13)