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
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
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.
O God, grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 832)
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: 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.
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 theParables Reading Plan + Study Guideto 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: Luke 14
Michael Card starts us off this week with a quick summary of the context surrounding our parable:
“In the last scene from chapter 14, we are on the road with Jesus once more. As the crowd comes nearer and nearer to Jerusalem, the intensity of his call and message increases. Although the group that is following him is clearly growing, Jesus’ words are not designed to attract followers—especially not these next words.
Jesus tells the crowd that they cannot become his disciples unless they hate their family and their own lives. This is clearly hyperbole, since in Luke 6:27 and Luke 6:35, Jesus commanded that they love their enemies. But even though it is hyperbolic, it is no less severe a call because it includes the cross, which for Jesus and his followers is no hyperbole. It is a painful reality that awaits them in Jerusalem. He will never call his followers to take up their crosses unless he is ready to take up his own. The cost of following Jesus could not be higher. And anyone, then or now, who is truly serious needs to count the cost.
Jesus follows this costly call with two parables of counting the cost. The first is a picture of a man who begins building a tower without calculating the total cost. Eventually he is only able to finish the foundation. Who builds a tower without first counting the cost? If someone tries and cannot finish, the onlookers will see the unfinished stump of the tower and ridicule the man as someone who can’t finish what he starts.
The next parable concerns a king who goes to war without determining beforehand whether his army can match his enemies. What kind of king goes to war with only ten thousand when he’s fighting an army of twenty thousand? If he does, he better call it quits and seek terms of surrender. Anyone who wants to follow Jesus must first determine whether they are ready to pay the price for being engaged in such a war.
Jesus’ closing statement about salt seems abrupt. But it is perfectly in keeping with all that has gone before. The salt in Jesus’ area came from the Dead Sea and could contain impurities that would cause it to become rancid. This explains the notion of how salt could “lose its saltiness.” It must remain pure to fulfill its purpose. Likewise, if anyone who follows Jesus falters in their allegiance to him, they lose their purpose and their reason for being is gone.”
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.
Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. (Isaiah 26:8-9)