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
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” (Ps. 33:5)
Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, give me the grace to admit, every day, that I am the sinner, that I stand guilty before you. When the latest spiritual fad promises me the key to finding real life, let me calmly pass by that advice and come back to the simple truth that I am a sinner you freely forgive for the sake of Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 83)
*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 24 | Read Luke 7
- 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 25 | Read 1 Kings 19
- 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)
The email had some technical issues yesterday, so if you missed it, here is the link: October 4, 2021 Devo
READ: Jonah 1:3-16
Try to picture with me for a minute Jonah’s conversation with the ship’s captain as he secured passage on the docks in Joppa. How clandestine was he? Did he scuttle about trying to hide his face? Did the name Tarshish surprise him as it came out of his mouth or had he been muttering it under his breath all day as he planned his flight from God’s presence? And, if so, was “Tarshish” simply his answer to David’s irksome question “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)
However it came out, the deal was struck, money changed hands, and Jonah was off on a one way trip to the ends of the earth. The narrative is sparse but we get the idea. Jonah is hacked off at Yahweh. This is not what he signed up for, and this is certainly not the God that he thought he knew. And, while it was the back of beyond, at least there would be no Israelites or Ninevites in Tarshish to whom he’d have to deliver any more of Yahweh’s confounding words.
So distressed was Jonah that upon boarding the ship he heads down to the cargo hold and sleeps the sleep of a man who has given up on life. Guilt, anger, grief, and anxiety have sapped his strength. The Hebrew word for sleep here is actually the same word that is used in the creation narrative when God puts Adam into a deep sleep before creating Eve from his rib. But, whereas that sleep led to new life and joy, Jonah sleeps in sorrow trying to escape reality and somehow undo the new life that God seems intent on creating within the Ninevites (and, ironically, Jonah himself)!
REFLECT: Tomorrow we’ll see how Jonah awakes to the severe mercy of God’s storm, but for today let’s consider our own lives. When have you found yourself deeply dissatisfied with God and the path he’s called you to travel? What thoughts crossed your mind?
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 those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)