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
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
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.
Gracious Father,we confess that we often cling to the idol of self-sufficiency. We conceal our weakness and faults, presenting only our best sides to one another. In doing so, we obscure the beauty of Your grace in our relationships and community. We hide behind our schedules and personalities as excuses to serve ourselves and neglect our neighbors. O Lord, cover our sin with the blood of Jesus. 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: In deliberate parallel to the opening words of Genesis, John presents God as speaking salvation into existence. This time God’s word takes on human form and enters history in the person of Jesus. Jesus speaks the word and it happens: forgiveness and judgment, healing and illumination, mercy and grace, joy and love, freedom and resurrection. Everything broken and fallen, sinful and diseased, called into salvation by God’s spoken word. Jesus, in this account, not only speaks the word of God; he is the Word of God.Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: The Exodus is a powerful and dramatic and true story of God working salvation. The story has generated an extraordinary progeny through the centuries as it has reproduced itself in song and poem, drama and novel, politics and social justice, repentance and conversion, worship and holy living. It continues to capture the imagination of men and women, especially men and women in trouble. It is significant that God does not present us with salvation in the form of an abstract truth, or a precise definition or a catchy slogan, but as story. 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: Matthew 13:24-43 +Malachi 4:1–2 + Psalm 84:11 + Isa. 53:5
In our parable this week Jesus draws imagery from Malachi 4:1-2 (mistakenly printed as Hebrews 4:19-20 in the Parables Reading Plan). The passage takes of chaff and stubble from a field being burned up in judgment “that…will leave them neither root nor branch.” Our Western ears may recoil at the imagery of judgment in verse 1, yet it is the passage which Jesus himself chose to base his parable upon.
Perhaps, however, Jesus has a specific reason for referencing this passage? If we continue reading, we discover that he indeed does because verse 2 continues a glimmer of gospel hope: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.” (similar language appears in Jeremiah 23:6 and Isaiah 53:5 as well). So we have judgment and restoration, rootlessness and rootedness, arrogant rejection of God and jubilant rejoicing in God and his redemption.
Take some time today to reflect on these passages in light of the gospel and then meditate on these passages through prayer:
Meditate (pray the passage back to God)
Adoration: How can I love and praise God on the basis of what I’ve read?
Repentance: How do I fail to realize this in my life? What wrong behavior, harmful emotions or attitudes result when I forget this?
Gospel Thanks: How can I thank Jesus as the ultimate revelation of this attribute of God and the ultimate answer to this sin or need of mine?
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.
Return O my soul to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:7)