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
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Ps. 84:10)
Prayer of Confession
Purposeful God, there is a definite grain to the universe, a way this world works, a holy and common wisdom that shines in what you have created and how you continue to handle it. Give me the good sense to pay attention to it—to observe, enjoy, learn from, and live it. Amen. (Prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Question 2 and the Westminster Confession 5.1)
*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 54 | Read Luke 22
- 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 55 | Read 2 Kings 11
- 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 3:1-10
Yesterday we observed our passage for this week. What stood out to you?
Here’s what stood out to me: Jonah has been told to “arise” numerous times throughout the story. Again and again this is the posture that is described for making decisions. Someone tells Jonah to move and he either moves with that person (usually God) or he moves against their desires.
It’s interesting how often this is our own posture. We arise and in an instant we make a decision to align ourselves with God’s good desires for us, or not. We arise each day and choose. Will we be for ourselves and our purposes, or God’s?
This time Jonah runs with the rhythm of God’s words to him. It carries him all the way to his original destination with the original message he was called to deliver: Repent!
And to our surprise, even as modern readers who know the story so well, they do! They repent in a way that Israel hasn’t. Perhaps Jonah is a bit surprised by this. Perhaps it pains him to know that his own people haven’t responded to him this way. Perhaps not. He admits this later that he had an inkling that God would respond this way, with abundant mercy for a people who don’t deserve even a half of a percent of that mercy. But, hey, that’s what mercy is!
Here, however, is what I want us to see for today. Jonah obeys. He does it out of a heart that is learning to rely upon God again. Can you relate? Almost every week of our lives is made up of little wayward voyages away from God’s desires for us. And yet, there he is bringing us back to himself. We arrive in church on Sunday a mess, yes, but like Jonah still desperately longing for God’s presence in our lives.
REFLECT: How have you “arisen” in the last week? Where have your feet carried you? How has God met you with his mercy?
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 peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)