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
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Heavenly Father, your love brings life to dead souls, light to darkened minds, and strength to weak wills. Depending on our own strength we stumble; proclaiming our own goodness we sin; glorying in our own righteousness we corrupt everything we touch; indulging in self-pity we blind ourselves to the needs of those around us.
Please forgive us and help us to believe that no wrong we have done, and no good we have failed to do, is too great for you to forgive through the merits of Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
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: Revelation contains 404 verses into which St. John, the pastor, makes reference to earlier scripture 518 times. The message is clear: This last word on scripture will not being saying anything new. Instead, the Revelation reveals Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God by bidding us to look to the past to the Old Testament promises and to the resurrection; to live in the present as the people of God; and to look toward the future when the triumph of King Jesus will be fully revealed. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: Written around the same time as Haggai, Israel had returned from exile in Babylon, but they were discouraged by the slow progress in rebuilding their national identity. Zechariah reminded the people that returning to their homeland would do no good if their hearts did not return to God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
“Psalms Mix” Readings
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide.
Read Psalm 107:23-32
Our fourth group of people are the seafarers. They are career-people (merchants) out to make a name for themselves through overseas trade. A storm spins their way and these sailors see the raw might and beauty of God’s “wondrous works in the deep” as God literally “sets in place” the stormy wind and raises up the waves that descend upon and flood the ship. Send them tacking this way and that, reeling like drunken, well, sailors.
Traveling by sea is a metaphor for life, for the uncontrollable, unforeseeable forces that roll over our lives. Our illusion of control is undone our world sent spinning. What else can you do but cry out to God as you careen overboard?
And how does God respond their desperate prayers for rescue? ”He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and he led you back to harbor.” (The Message)
We are reminded that the same Lord who sets the storm in place also brings us out of the storm and into the safe haven of his presence. Tim Keller notes that “the New Testament reminds us that he helps us two ways—either by removing the storm (Mark 4:35–41) or by enabling us to walk through it, looking to him (Matthew 14:29–31).”
Alec Motyer’s comment seems a fitting close:
Do we realize, then, how greatly we are loved, that under no circumstances – whether externally in our situation, or internally in our sinfulness – will that love either let us go or fail to be sufficient. When tempted to think otherwise, hold fast to and discern the meaning of the four pictures in this psalm…It is the love which hears and answers prayer. (Psalms by the Day).
Questions to Ponder:
Do you realize how greatly you are loved by God in Christ?Is it the thought that gets you up in the morning, and carries you through the pitch and sway of life’s storms? If not, what would change in your life if you really believed this was true?
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.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.(Psalm 107:43)