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
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
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.
Most Holy and Merciful God,we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us to change what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Through Christ, our Lord. 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 8
Luke 8 finds Jesus on the road. He’s traveling and teaching along the way. As he goes, Luke draws something to our attention. Jesus is walking an number of people. Some of whom are mentioned by name. Why does he do this?First, we should note that Luke is always warm toward the powerless and the social and religious outcasts. So it is unsurprising that here he begins with a description of the women who financially supported Jesus’ ministry (8:1-3).
It would not have been unusual for rabbis to have female supporters, but Luke’s description would have surprised his original audience: unlike most rabbis of the day who didn’t speak to women in public, Jesus is having a conversation with the twelve disciples and these these women as they walk along the road! Luke is drawing our attention to a core reality of the gospel: everyone is invited to the party.
But, as we’ll see this week, while everyone gets an invitation, God’s kingdom doesn’t take root in every person’s life. There is embrace of and there is resistance to the upside-down ways of God’s kingdom. It’s a parable of welcome and warning. Parables often function this way: reminding us the the wideness of God’s mercy and the thunder of his judgment. Ours is to ready ourselves to receive his message of divine sacrifice and mercy.
It is no mistake that Luke situates this parable within a chapter that focuses on people’s varied responses to the message of Christ’s kingdom.Each seed type is represented within the stories and commentary that Luke provides. The women, the demon possessed man, the woman who touches his cloak, Jarius, and, yes, the disciples (even with their fear-filled doubt in the storm) appear to be those in whom the kingdom of God has taken root. While many in the crowds, the citizens of Gerasene, and the religious leaders whose absence in this chapter is palpable fill out the other categories.
We have much to see this week, but for now let’s content ourselves with simply observing what Luke records about how Jesus’ message was received with an eye toward the events that would occur during Passion Week. How many of among the crowds would eventually cry out, “Give us Barabbas!”? Among whom would we have chosen to rank ourselves? Where do you find yourself now?
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.
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:6-7)