Several folks have asked for devotional ideas for this year. I love these getting these questions!
Here are some top choices for spending time with the Lord:
- Just Read your Bible. Start with a particular book and read a chapter or passage each day. Ask yourself three question:
- What does this passage tell me about who God is?
- What does this passage tell me about who I am?
- What is this passage calling me to do by the power of Christ living in me?
- Tim Keller has a new devotional: The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms. Each day has a Scripture to read, an encouraging word and a prayer to pray.
- Ken Boa has written several devotional books over the years and you can find them at www.kenboa.org The one that I have used regularly for over 20 years is called Handbook to Prayer. It’s a daily prayer guide that only uses Scripture, no commentary. I absolutely love it. These books come in leather which makes them a little pricey, but well worth the money.
- Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers is Andrew’s favorite and he has been leading our staff times with it. Highly recommended.
- Valley of Vision, a compilation of Puritan prayers. We use these prayers in corporate worship at times.
- Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies was my top choice for 2016, so if you didn’t get it yet, then definitely order it, immediately. Gospel centeredness every day, it is awesome. I’m doing it again, especially since I know that I didn’t actually read it every single day this past year.
- Heath’s top pick is Voices from the Past, Puritan Devotional Readings.
- You probably know that John Piper is one of my favorite authors/pastors/theologians. Piper has written numerous devotionals. The Godward Life is exceptional and I highly recommend it. You can also download his app called Solid Joys, which is a daily devotional on your phone. I have really benefited from this one as well.
I could go on and on, but we need to leave some information for another blog post. Bottom line is to encourage you to read your Bibles daily, spend some time praying and believing that the gospel changes everything!
What is YOUR favorite devotional?
All for Jesus,
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says,
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”
The gospel is the good news that Jesus has come to save us from ourselves for Himself. Apart from Christ we face Read more
“All Scripture is breathed out by God…” The apostle Paul exhorts his young church planter Timothy that he is to preach and teach from “all of the Scriptures” because they are “profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-18). Remember, the Scriptures that Paul was referring to were the Old Testament Scriptures
In 1 Chronicles 16, King David brings the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. If you remember, during the time of King Saul the Ark had been stolen and misused. But King David recaptures the Ark and brings it back to Jerusalem and plans a huge worship service. 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 recount the songs of praise and prayers during the worship service.
In verses 25-29 the attributes of God are magnified. As you read (pray) through these verses look for specific attributes of God. I think too often we miss looking at the Scriptures this way. We can get caught up in the narrative and miss seeing who God really is and how we should worship Him. These attributes have an impact on our daily lives. Here are a few that I found.
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; (1 Chronicles 16:25-29)
great, above all gods, maker of the heavens, majestic, strong, joyful, glorious, holy, beautiful, eternal, compassionate, humble, a reviver of spirits and hearts
And if you keep reading (praying) to the end of the worship service (v.35-36) you will see that it ultimately points us to Jesus, who is our salvation. God alone is worthy of our worship and praise. It is good to get to know His attributes and His characteristics because this creates more intimacy in our relationship with Him. It also strengthens and encourages our faith in the One whom He sent to die for us, be raised from the dead and is now seated at His right hand, ruling over all creation.
All for Jesus,
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
To follow God is a way that will always be best. It may not be the easiest or the safest way, but it is always the best way. “For your way is perfect…” You just can’t go wrong if you choose the path that God leads you down.
To live according to God’s Word has proven to be Read more
The famous football coach Vince Lombardi believed that if his team could learn two things they would win football games. Just two things were the key to winning games? What about a thick and complex playbook? Don’t you need the fastest running backs and the most agile quarterbacks? Well, according to Vince Lombardi all you need to learn and execute are two things: blocking and tackling. If he could get his players to do those two things better than anyone else then they would win football games.
The Christian life points us in this direction as well. Not that we need to learn how to block and tackle, but there are two basic skills that are so foundational to life that we will be at a great loss if we don’t learn them. There are two things that Read more
The gospel provides rest from all of our burdens, anxieties and fears because the gospel is founded upon the character of God. This is the God, the great I AM, the sustainer of all things, ruler over the entire universe and everything else.
The gospel says that God is taking what is broken beyond our ability to fix and fixing it; the gospel is God taking our sinfully dead hearts and bringing them back to life through the life, death, resurrection and reign of Christ. Read more
1. Read your Bible.
This sounds basic but many people read a devotional written by someone else. There might be a verse or passage in the beginning or end of the devotional but the bulk of the material comes from the author. Now there is nothing wrong with reading devotionals written by human authors. Two of my favorites are Paul Tripp and John Piper. However, nothing is better than just reading a passage out of your own Bible. I’m sure these two authors would encourage you to read more the Word than their own words.
2. Study for Yourself.
Pouring over the Scriptures yourself is life giving. Some people are literally afraid to read the Bible because they might not understand it all. God has written the Bible in such a way that anyone can understand its basic meaning. The Scriptures contain God’s grace to you, and you do not want to miss out on receiving it.
3. Listen to God.
I’ve never heard God speak in an audible voice to me but He has given me his Word, the Bible. God wants to speak to you and His best medium is through the Bible. When you prayerfully go through the Scriptures you will begin to experience and hear God speaking truth into your life, He will speak comforting words to your hurting heart and He will give you wisdom to make difficult decisions.
The Lord wants to hear from you as well. Don’t be afraid to pour out your heart to God. All your thoughts, emotions, struggles, hardships, joys, pains, thanksgivings and praise. God wants to hear it all. I love praying the Scriptures back to God for myself and for others. To keep me focused while I pray I write in a journal.
It is really hard to keep a secret. I mean, if you know something that most other people don’t know, then you have this urge to tell someone what you know. It’s impossible to keep a juicy secret Read more