As you know, my faith is a big part of who I am. But what do I do when I am faced with a spiritual drought?
The Bible is filled with amazing stories, inspiring messages … but I don’t find it easy to read it every day. (I do read a bit of it every day, but that’s because of discipline, not because the book of Amos fills with me great joy.) But we still need to be filled with God’s truth, so where can we go to find that inspiration?
Devotional books – books filled with a Bible verse for each day followed by an observation on that verse or a practical application for it – have always been useful to me during those dry stretches.
Today I thought I’d review some of the devotionals that I’ve worked through over the past three years – especially since a bunch of them are on sale this week!
Each of these books were helpful, but definitely in different ways and for different seasons. I’ve never found a ‘one-spiritual-thought-fits-all’ devotional. I hope you see some in the list that might help you grow closer to God.
What it’s about: Daily devotions based on the Psalms.
Verdict: As the title says, it is seriously soothing. When you’re frustrated, it’s calming. When you’re battling fear, it’s reassuring.
The only downer is one common to most devotionals – that sometimes you’ll read a devotional themed to “what we’re called to do with your time on earth” that just didn’t sit right with your day or the season you’re in. But it’s okay, you can skip over them.
That’s the best part: you’re not tied to reading the devotions in order, day-by-day. A great start to the morning.
Get it from: WORD Bookstore http://word.com.au/Psalms-to-Soothe-a-Womans-Heart/Anonymous/9780764205514
What it’s about: Love letters from God affirming us of who we are in him, why we are here, and how much he loves us.
Verdict: Heart-warming and so encouraging. The smaller format makes it perfect for the bedside. A wonderful day to end the day – helps me sleep better knowing I am loved perfectly.
Get it from: Currently on sale with WORD. http://word.com.au/His-Princess-01-Love-Letters-From-Your-King/Sheri-Rose-Shepherd/9781590523315
What it’s about: 365 daily devotions based on Joyce Meyer’s New York Times bestseller Power Thoughts. Each day starts with a Bible verse, then a practical application of it, and then a ‘power thought’ that is a one-sentence truth that you can repeat to yourself during the course of the day whenever you need that reminder of God’s power in your life.
Verdict: Love the ‘power thought’ at the end of each devotion. A great way to start the day because that one thought can carry you through the day.
The only problem is that it’s listed by date (January 1, January 2) so you can either feel tied to doing them day-by-day, or you can (like me) be annoyed that the author has prescribed that a certain devotion should be read on a certain date.
Get it from: Currently on sale with WORD. http://word.com.au/Power-Thoughts-Devotional/Joyce-Meyer/9781455517442
What it’s about: This one is technically a memoir, but the themes / experiments were one-per-chapter, so I read one chapter a day and it worked for me. Evans is a strong-willed independent woman who embarked on a radical life experiment to spend a year being a ‘biblical woman’, growing her hair long, making her own clothes, calling her husband ‘master’, and camping out in a tent during that special time of the month. At the end, she’s proven that the biblical womanhood movement doesn’t need to impose so many rules on women, but she’s also gained a new respect for the women in the Bible and in the biblical womanhood movement.
Verdict: Absolutely hilarious experiments, paired with amazing insights into the historical lifestyle of Bible women. I LOVED IT.
This one changed my life by taking off the pressure to be the perfect woman. You know, that image of the beautiful without make-up, home-cooking, child-rearing woman that – even without being told we have to – we often feel like we should be.
Get it from: Koorong (https://www.koorong.com/search/product/a-year-of-biblical-womanhood-rachel-held-evans/9781595553676.jhtml) or WORD (http://word.com.au/A-Year-of-Biblical-Womanhood/Rachel-Held-Evans/9781595553676)
What it’s about: Devotions based on Bible verses about prayer. Artfully decorated with the theme of the devotion as the background watermark.
Verdict: Shorter devotions – faster to read. This book helped me to seek God in prayer again after a fall, so that’s a big win.
What it’s about: A Bible study that takes you through how to grow closer to God. After the introductory material, the authors give you seven ‘realities’ that you can expect to see more of in your life as you grow closer to knowing and doing the will of God. For example, # 4, God speaking to you through the Holy Spirit in the Bible, prayer, and circumstances; # 5, God’s invitation for you to work with him leads to a crisis of faith and action.
Verdict: This one is a Bible study, not a devotion, so it’s harder work to read than the other books in this list, but it’s life-changing.
What it’s about: Each page has a hymn, with the historic story behind the hymn on the facing page. Lots of hymns I knew, mixed in with heaps I didn’t.
Verdict: Tim and I read this together because we love old school music, but I found myself enjoying the tidbits of church history, both personal to the writer behind the hymn and global to the movement behind the ideas in the hymn. They made me think a lot about how God grows world-changing creativity out of personal struggle and suffering.
A thought: If they were shorter books with fewer hymns (sticking to the hymns that are still known in this era), I would have enjoyed them more … but maybe it’s important to hold onto more historical artistic culture than just ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘How Great Thou Art’.
Get Book 1 from Koorong. https://www.koorong.com/search/product/then-sings-my-soul-robert-j-morgan/0785249397.jhtml
Get Book 2 from Koorong. https://www.koorong.com/search/product/then-sings-my-soul-book-2-robert-j/0785251685.jhtml
What it’s about: This Bible has a daily one-page devotional every few pages based on one of the Bible verses on the facing page. Then every weekend you get a double-page devotional spread with a challenge to try out, and a quick “how’re you going?” quiz for the couple to answer together.
They’re all written by well-known couples: pastors, marriage therapists, and bestselling writers, including Bill and Lynne Hybels, John Townsend, and Henry Cloud.
Verdict: I have really enjoyed this one. I haven’t been able to read through the whole thing step-by-step, but flicking through it and reading the devotionals that appeal or apply at the time is really helpful.
Do you have any books that you read every day, or a morning-and-evening reading routine?
This post was written by TJ Withers-Ryan © 2015. Reblogging is always highly encouraged as long as you credit me as the author.