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?
Read: Acts 17:25 + James 1:17
There are so many ways to describe who God is. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He began it all and, if we take Scripture seriously, we believe that he will end it all by re-ordering and renewing it all.
But we live in the time between Creation and New Creation. A time in which the Creation is decaying because of the Fall, and yet, hope is on move because of the Redemption Jesus worked through his death and resurrection.
So how do we livein relation to God during this time of already (Redemption) and not yet (New Creation)? Here’s a suggestion: Live like all is gift (a rather helpful Dutch phrase, if I do say so).
That’s what our passages the last two days have been pointing us toward. Among God’s many names is Gift-giver. And not only does every good and perfect gift comes from God, but everything that God has given to us is meant to be received as a gift: those pancakes, that backyard, this breath, those neighbors, these years, those skills, that salary, this living and moving and breathing and everything (Acts 17:28).
Receive it as a gift from your Heavenly Fathering, and then liveas a gift by giving of yourself, because as Frederick Buechner notes in a reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:25:
To pray for your enemies, to worry about the poor when you have worries enough of your own, to start becoming yourself fully by giving of yourself prodigally to whoever needs you, to love your neighbors when an intelligent 4th grader could tell you that the way to get ahead in the world is to beat your neighbors to the draw every chance you get—that was what this God asked, Paul wrote.
That was who this God was. That was who Jesus was. Paul is passionate in his assertion, of course, that in the long run it is such worldly wisdom as the intelligent 4th grader’s that is foolish and the sublime foolishness of God that is ultimately wise… —Frederick Buechner, The Clown in the Belfry
Reflect: How have you seen God’s wisdom proven out when you have followed the “sublime foolishness” of giving yourself prodigally to whoever needs you?
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)