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
“Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens” (Psalm 148:13)
Prayer of Confession
King of heaven and earth, today there is a clash of kingdoms, and as I share in Christ’s anointing, I have a holy calling—to confess the Prince of Peace, offer every day of my life for your service, and fight against sin and the devil. Holy Spirit, anoint me with boldness and courage to live out this calling wherever I am today. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 32)
*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 142 | Read Mark 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: Mark wastes no time in getting down to business—a single-sentence introduction, and not a digression to be found from beginning to end. An event has taken place that radically changes the way we look at and experience the world, and he can’t wait to tell us about it. There’s an air of breathless excitement in nearly every sentence he writes. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 143 | Read 1 Kings 3
- 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 1-4
Tim Keller notes in his introduction to The Prodigal Prophet that, “The narrative of Jonah seduces the reader into thinking of it as a simple fable, with the account of the great fish as the dramatic, if implausible, high point.
Careful readers, however, find it to be an ingenious and artfully crafted work of literature. It’s four chapters recount two incidents. In chapters 1 and 2 Jonah is give a command from God but fails to obey it; and in chapters 3 and 4 he is given the command again and this time carries it out. [What we often miss is that] the two accounts are laid out in almost completely parallel patterns…
The careful structure of the book reveals nuances of the author’s message. Both episodes show how Jonah, a staunch religious believer, regards and relates to people who are racially and religiously different from him. The book of Jonah yields many insights about God’s love for societies and people beyond the community of believers…
Yet to understand all of these lessons for our social relationships, we have to see that the book’s main teaching is not sociological but theological. Jonah wants a God of his won making, a God who simply smites bad people, for instance, the wicked Ninevites and blesses the good people, for instance, Jonah and his countrymen. When the real God—not Jonah’s counterfeit—keeps showing up, Jonah is thrown into fury or despair. Jonah finds the real God to be an enigma because he cannot reconcile the mercy of God with his justice.
How, Jonah asks, can God be merciful and forgiving to people who have done such violence and evil? how can God be both merciful and just?
…Many students of the book have noticed that in the first half Jonah plays the “prodigal son” of Jesus’s famous parable (Luke 15:11-24), who ran from his father. In the second half of the book, however, Jonah is like the “older brother,” who obeys his father but berates him for his graciousness to repentant sinners.”
These parallels are help us to understand the important role that Jonah plays in helping us to understand the message of the gospel, and it is what we will focus on in the coming weeks. For now, let’s simply observe the beauty of the mercy of God given alike to far off Ninevite pagans like you and me and to morally upright people like you and me.
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 poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)