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
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. (Isaiah 33:2)
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.
Most Holy and Merciful God,we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us to change what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Through Christ, our Lord. 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. 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. Follow along with our Parables Reading Plan + Study Guideas we all read the Parables every day this Fall.
Read: Matt 9:35–38
Our devotional is rather short and direct today, because I’d like us to focus on contemplating on Jesus’ attitudes, actions, and words in the passage, and then praying in response.
Contemplate: Jesus had compassion on the afflicted “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew’s description recalls Number 27:17 and Ezekiel 34:5 where God’s people are described as without spiritual shepherds to help them listen to and love the LORD their God.
Pray: Thank God for how Jesus came to you when you were helpless. Ask God for a heart like Jesus’: filled with compassion for the afflicted, for those in your community, neighborhood, friend groups who are like sheep without a shepherd.
Contemplate: Jesus will send his disciples out into the “harvest fields” in the next chapter. Mike Card notes that, “the Gospels say [Jesus] gave them his “authority,” a concept from the Old Testament world comes to the surface. It was known as the saliach. The saliach was the “authoritative representative.” Often his task was to legally represent the one who sent him. In these cases, his word was legally binding for the one he represented. Speaking to the saliach was legally the same as speaking to his master.”
Jesus words here then are a foreshadowing of what he will commission them to go out and do. They will go out as saliach laborers who will speak with the same authority as their master. They will harvest not what belongs to them, but what belongs to “the Lord of the Harvest.” Every aspect of their commissioning is as faithful servants, not owners, who have a weighty and significant calling.
Pray: Thank God that he still sends his people out into the fields. Ask God where and to whom he might be calling you to go?
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.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)