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 will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:1-4)
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.
God of grace, you love us, but we have not loved you. You call, but we have not listened. We walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped up in our own concerns. By our actions and our attitudes we praise what you condemn. Help us to admit our sin, so that as you come to us in mercy we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. 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: 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.
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: Luke 7
Luke’s Gospel is the Gospel of Amazement. Everywhere that Jesus goes he leaves everyone “amazed,” “astonished,” “in awe,” “astounded,” and “spellbound.” People are surprised by him at every turn. After a while, you begin to wonder if Jesus will ever be amazed by something? Enter Luke 7.
Luke 7 begins with a story in which Jesus is amazed by the faith of a centurion and it concludes with a story of surprising forgiveness. Both are stories of cultural outsiders receiving unexpected welcome from Jesus. The centurion was a religious outsider. The woman is a social outsider.
They weren’t the sort of people the religious leaders expected the Messiah to be spending his time with. But there he was, “eating and drinking” with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus not only astonished people, he confused them. They didn’t know what to do with him. Most still don’t. And so Jesus compared them to children playing a game where one group of children doesn’t do what the others expect. His point is simple: the religious leaders wanted “the ascetic John to dance and the joyful Jesus to mourn, but neither John nor Jesus will satisfy them.”
Why did all those people go out into the wilderness to see wild John (Luke 7:24)? It was because they knew what they were: brokenhearted sinners in need of mercy. The banks of the Jordan River became a confessional, and John their baptizing prophet. There they told him things they swore they’d never tell another soul. There in the murky waters of baptism crooks and outsiders were reborn as Wisdom’s children (7:35) and as the least, yet greatest citizens of the kingdom of God(7:28).
The religious leaders were astounded by Jesus because they thought of themselves as Wisdom’s children. After all, they made God’s words their business. They were the religious insiders who set the bar for what pleases and displeases God. But the wonder of Jesus’ kingdom is that the least becomes the greatest, the excluded are included, fools are made wise and, as we’ll see this week, the morally debt-ridden are forgiven beyond their wildest dreams.
READ Luke 7 SLOWLY as if for the first time. Then look for three things:
Light Bulbs:Anything that stood out to you?
Question Marks:What didn’t make sense? What do you wonder about?
Arrows:Anything that seems to apply directly to you.
PRAY Make each of these three things a matter of conversation with God. Ask him about the things that didn’t make sense. Ruminate on the things that stood out. Ask him for strength in making those arrows a reality in your life.
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.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20 & 21)