There were years of my life in which I didn’t believe in devotional books. It wasn’t that I disliked them, per se, I just wasn’t interested in reading and/or utilizing them. I felt the bible, God’s word to his people, was enough. Just read it and don’t bother with someone’s commentary or opinion. Maybe it was the Western [ie Arizona] raised, individualist in me. I got to the point where I enjoyed the modernized version of Common Prayer which Shane Claiborne and his friends created. I used it pretty faithfully for a few years. But I never really considered it a devotional. It’s different. At least in my opinion it was. Shane’s a bit of a rebel, compared to the rest of Christendom, right?
Recently a friend gave me a copy of Jesus Calling. She reads my blog regularly, so I’ll give her a shout out – [thanks Lori!!!]. While I was familiar with Jesus Calling, I, due to my feelings towards devotional books, had not made a habit of reading it on a regular basis. Sure, we’ve used it at work during our prayer times. I’ve heard people mention from time to time how awesome the daily reading was on a particular day.
Well, something changed in my mind around this time and I decided…..what the heck? Why not see if Jesus Calling provides something positive. Something I actually need? It can’t hurt, right?
Meanwhile, since the beginning of 2014 I’ve tried to begin my day with a short reading on a website entitled, www.365biblepromises.com. Really, it’s been great. The guy that designs it, Barry Adams, posts a beautiful nature photo everyday, features a key verse, then writes a short blurb. Basically, it’s an old fashioned devotional. And what Barry writes fits my current life, nearly everyday. It’s a lot of do not worry/God will take care of you/encouraging promises. And despite being what a few years back I would have deemed as light, Christian fluff for those who don’t want to devote themselves to reading the minor prophets straight through, I, today, find it quite helpful. It’s really not fluff. It’s really not cheesy [IMO]. It’s basically what it’s titled…..God’s promises.
I had a devotional highlight last week, when the day’s reading from Jesus Calling matched the day’s entry on 365 Promises. And I realized more and more the message God is trying to articulate to me, and to all his people is this……… Draw close to me. I will take care of you.
Simple. Yet hard to completely grasp. But exactly what I need as I face times of being alone. Times of questioning. Times of fear and uncertainty. And also when joy abounds.