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 praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Prayer of Confession
God who speaks and listens, if I waited to feel in the moody, I fear you wouldn’t hear too much from me. I need prayer to keep me freshly aware that I depend on you for everything and that everything I have is a gift from you. And so here I am, with open hands and grateful heart. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 116)
*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 Psalm 4 | Read Mark 13
- 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 5 | Read 1 Kings 9
- 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 1:1-4
Yesterday we spent some time making observations about our passage. What it says about God, about people. What did you observe?
Here’s what caught my attention: Here we have Jonah and the people of Nineveh. Both are running from God. One very clearly knows it. The other is likely ignorant of the fact. Yet a’running they are, each in their own way. Jonah because he mistrusts Yahweh and Nineveh, well, because they haven’t become acquainted yet.
Although, according to Paul in Romans 1, they knew enough to know about God and enough to know that their society promoted violence and wickedness. The king even commands everyone to “turn from their evil plans and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows?,” the king says, “God may not call them to account for their evil?!” (Jonah 3).
Whereas Nineveh’s running is explicit and in your face, Jonah runs away subtly, right under our noises and, he thinks, perhaps God’s. It’s been happening for years, just like the elder brother, says Tim Keller, from Luke 15.
“The older brother stayed home and obeyed the father completely, but when his father did something with the remaining wealth that the older son disliked, he exploded in anger at his father. At that point it became obvious that he, also, did not love his father. The elder brother was not obeying out of love but only as a way, he thought, of putting his father in his debt, getting control over him so he had to do as his older son asked.
Neither son trusted his father’s love. Both were trying to find ways of escaping his control. One did it by obeying all the father’s rules, the other by disobeying them all. Flannery O’Connor describes one of her fictional characters, Hazel Motes, as knowing that ‘the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.’”
REFLECT: How can obedience be used to avoid God? Have you seen this to be true in your own life? How has God brought you back?
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 mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)