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September 23rd devo image, a tea pot and cup.

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

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm Psalm 8 | Read Mark 15

  • 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.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 9 | Read 1 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?

Sermon Devo

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 

Keller continues from our reading yesterday, 

Jonah mistrusted God and ran from him. What should he have done instead? 

Years earlier, God had given Abraham a command that made absolutely no sense. “Take your son, your only son, whom you love. . . . Sacrifice him . . . as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Genesis 22:2). No reasons were given, and God had never before asked for human sacrifice—it was an abomination. Also, he had promised in a solemn covenant to make Abraham’s descendants more numerous than the sand. God’s Word to Abraham was even more inexplicable than his Word to Jonah. 

Nevertheless, what did Abraham do? He went up the mountain. He refused to act as if he knew best. He reminded himself who God was. Abraham himself had said earlier, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). 

From our vantage point today we can see many things that God was doing in Abraham’s life. He did not know then that God was strengthening his faith, but he didn’t need to. He trusted God. Jonah knew the story of Abraham and of his faith. That should have been a spiritual resource for him. He could have followed in Abraham’s footsteps, but he did not. 

We have even less excuse than Jonah, because we have an infinitely greater resource in Jesus Christ. He saved us by saying, under unimaginable pressure, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). The mission God gave Jonah meant possible death and suffering…

Jonah, however, refused to go, thinking only of himself. The mission God gave Jesus, however, meant certain death and infinite suffering, and yet he went, thinking not of himself but of us. The “cup” of which Jesus spoke referred to Christ’s bearing in our place the divine wrath on sin, our penalty. And if you see him doing that for you, and if you take the wonder of it deep into your heart, it will finally kill off that stubborn belief that you can’t trust God’s goodness. 

You can begin to say, “He is good! If he did all that for me, he must love me. He must be willing to do anything to give me joy and what I need.” If you see Jesus trusting God in the dark in order to save us, we will be able to trust him when things are confusing and difficult.”

REFLECT: Take some time today to “take the wonder of God’s great love into your heart.” Ask God to renew your wonder at 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.

Benediction

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford