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 10 | Read Mark 16
- 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 11 | Read 1 Kings 12
- 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
When we connect the story of Jonah to the gospel, suddenly we are awakened to the heart melting reality of God’s love. A love that Jonah misses, not because it wasn’t there all along in the heart of God. Israel sang about God’s great love again and again in the Psalms. Jonah himself knows deep down, “Oh man, Yahweh, you really are going to be merciful to these pagans, aren’t you?!”
Somehow in all his cultural and religious upbringing, all of his studying of God’s Word. He missed the reality that Yahweh is truly gracious. His heart was just plain hard to this truth. He’s blind to it because deep down Jonah doesn’t see his need for God’s grace. He’s already part of God’s people. He’s moral. He’s good. He’s a self-righteous…well, you can fill in the blank.
But lest you feel like we’re just beating up on Jonah. Let’s be honest about the fact that we’re all Jonah at heart. Every single one of us is faster to identify someone else’s sin than our own. We might acknowledge that we’re sinners but until we wake up to our own need rescue from the ways we’ve been trying to outrun God in our own Christian lives, we’ll never fully experience what God’s grace has in store for us.
Why is our resistance to God’s grace transforming us still so strong? I’ll suggest this and maybe we’ll see some of this idea borne out in the rest of Jonah. Perhaps the reason that we resist God’s grace is that we don’t see the hilarity of our spiritual condition apart from God? I mean no offense. I’m in the same boat.
Apart from God finding us with his grace, we’re like one of those dehydrated marathon runners in a YouTube video. Our legs have given out. We are spiritually uncoordinated, and much like those videos, it’s more heartbreaking than humorous. We haven’t only collapsed spiritually. We’ve died. Christ arrives on the scene and brings us back to life. We can’t help ourselves so Christ carries us and that’s the gospel truth!
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)