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
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
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.
Do not be distant, O Lord, lest I become so mired in yesterday’s hurts, that I miss entirely the living gifts this day might hold. Let me neither ignore my pain, pretending all is okay when it isn’t, nor coddle and magnify my pain, so that I dull my capacity to experience all that remains good in this life.
For joy that denies sorrow is neither hard-won, nor true, nor eternal. It is not real joy at all. And sorrow that refuses to make space for the return of joy and hope, in the end becomes nothing more than a temple for the worship of my own woundedness.
So give me strength, O God, to feel this grief deeply, never to hide my heart from it. Recreate my heart, O God, by your Word and your Spirit’s deep work within my very being. 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).
Pray Psalm 70 | Read Acts 16
- 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: The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not stop with Jesus. Acts makes it clear that these Christians Luke wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God—they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us.
Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 71 | Read Leviticus 15
- OT Context: “Holy” is the word that sets God apart and above our attempts to enlist him in our wish-fulfillment. The first thing that strikes us as we read Leviticus in this light is that this holy God is actually present with us and virtually every detail of our lives is affected by the presence of this holy God; nothing in us, our relationships, or environment is left out. The second thing is that God provides a way (the sacrifices and feasts and Sabbaths) to bring everything in and about us into his holy presence, transformed in the fiery blaze of the holy. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use the Parables Reading Plan + Study Guide to journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Read: Psalm 14 + Psalm 49:6, 10
We have already noted the surprise with which this rich fool was surely met when the Lord came a knocking that fateful night, but should he have been so surprised?
After all, Scripture is filled with warnings against such foolishness. Psalm 14 even gives a diagnostic to help determine whether or not you might be one such fool? It basically begins by saying, “If you’re thinking this in your heart…you might be a fool.”
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
Foolishness is reality-denying, God-denying “non-sense.” It’s the conspiracy theory of all conspiracy theories! The fool says in his heart, against all the evidence of the universe, “But, what if, there is no God?”
But it’s not as simple as that. The psalm is not just going after agnostic or atheistic people. Instead, what is being said is that the fool not only says that there is no God, but he lives like there is no God. Our diagnostic is modified to include: “If you act this way…you might be a fool.”
The Hebrew rhymes: the words are “hishitu hitibu.” They are wicked, and they act wickedly is a rough translation. Rhymes like this are meant to stick in the mind, to prevent foolish wickedness in us whenever we are tempted to say or live as though God’s presence in the world doesn’t make a darn bit of difference to us.
The Psalmist in Psalm 49 takes a different approach. Unlike the fool in our story and in life, he recognizes that God is very much active and present in the world. So he says, and I paraphrase: “Why should I fear in times of trouble, when I’m hemmed in by the sin of enemies, and pushed around by bullies, and having to listen to the foolish boasts of the rich?” Eugene Peterson’s translation of the psalmist’s answer is better than anything I could put down for you, so I’ll leave it to him:
Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue,
pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.
The cost of rescue is beyond our means,
and even then it doesn’t guarantee
Life forever, or insurance
against the Black Hole.
Anyone can see that the brightest and best die,
wiped out right along with fools and dunces.
They leave all their prowess behind,
move into their new home, The Coffin,
The cemetery their permanent address.
And to think they named counties after themselves!
Peterson’s translation only gets better from there. Look it up if you get a chance.
APP: Now, what are we supposed to do with all that? Well, for one, read these psalms into the context of Luke 12. They surely would have come to Jewish minds as Jesus spoke. Second, spend some time in prayer. Ask God to search your heart, to help you know any foolish ways in you. Third, rest easy in Christ’s provision of forgiveness and friendship for fools like you and me. His grace is better than wine.
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.
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are weary from the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, 133)