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
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” (Ps. 40:1-2)
Prayer of Confession
Inviting Father, you have laid down the invitation of a lifetime: to ask you for anything. A long list of things I think I want easily comes to mind, but let my prayers wisely be for what you want—for all that I might never dare ask and couldn’t even dream of wanting but trust is good because it is from you. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 118)
*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).
Pray Psalm 40 | Read Luke 15
- 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: Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 41 | Read 2 Kings 4
- OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This Fall our sermon series is in Jonah. Follow along here as we explore this work of literary genius (it is really multilayered and complex) and theological profundity (we discover much about the nature of God, humans, and redemption in just 4 chapters)
READ: Jonah 2:1-7
God’s redemption of Jonah from beneath the waves and from inside whale is only part of the his deliverance. The real deliverance that God brings is inside Jonah. We may not know exactly what Jonah was thinking but we do know that he repented, and that the next time the Word of Yahweh cam to him, he obeyed.
True there was still much that was not-quite-right in Jonah. His obedience doesn’t come without complaint. He is still full of little rebellions against God and his grace, but this is the great news of the gospel! God doesn’t rescue Jonah because he has somehow gotten his attitude right. He rescues because he is gracious. As Exodus 34:6 says, Yahweh is “full of steadfast (hesed) love.”
The gospel is the good news that God declares us right-with-himself even while we are still sinners. We are transformed by his grace but not immediately, not fully, not yet. We still sin. We are, as Martin Luther describes us, simul justus et peccator (sinners yet righteous).
Jonah did not emerge from the belly of the fish fully changed. He’ll need more and more breakthroughs in grace, and so do we. In fact, we need ongoing renovation of our hearts by God’s grace applied by the Spirit of God.
REFLECT: Let’s think back on what we’ve seen this week. What stood out most to you? Take some time and thank God for what he has shown you. Ask him by his Spirit to make his work in you stand and carry you to completion on the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
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.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)