Devotional guides are meant to help us as we read and study God’s word. Devotional guides are written for specific topics, specific books of the bible, specific periods of time and sometimes even about specific Biblical figures. There’s even a devotional guide for The Daniel Fast book that I just purchased; so far it’s been very informative!
Clearly, there’s a range of devotional guides available and I hope you have one (or more) that you use regularly.
When I make the statement that devotional guides are like people, what I really mean to say is that they come in all shapes and sizes and that their contents are as varied as their covers. At my house is a perfect example of this. Vicki and I are currently using two very different devotionals on a daily basis that are each excellent in their own way. And they couldn’t be more different.
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is tremendously popular. It is a 365 day devotional that contains a paragraph or two of God talking to you (I say “you” but these are notes Sarah took in her prayer journal as if Jesus was talking to her and that’s how she wrote them down) and then two or three bible verses that pertain to the devotional text. It’s easy to read. It’s comforting. It tends to be short and to the point and is perfect for when you are time crunched but still desire to be spiritually fed.
I have very much enjoyed reading Jesus Calling these past few months and I can see why so many people read and recommend it. And it’s available in about 12 different sizes and covers and even has a kids version, so there’s likely to be one that fits your lifestyle.
My Utmost for His Highest
Then there is My Utmost for His Highest. Compiled by Gertrude Hobbs after the death of her husband Oswald Chambers, this is a 365 day selection of his sermons and teachings. It was first published in 1924 and is considered to be one of the most popular religious books ever written.
My Utmost for His Highest is tough reading. Not only did Mr. Chambers use larger words and more complex sentences than we are perhaps used to seeing in 2013, he was also a very intelligent man who was not afraid to challenge believers with hard truths. Mr. Chambers pulls no punches in delivering his sermons and lessons and sometimes what he has to say is difficult to wrap your mind around. Rather like raw vegetables are the lessons of Mr. Chambers; they may not taste good but they are very good for you.
The really neat thing about both books is that our Lord is in both of them. “Jesus Calling” contains the same Jesus who said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “My Utmost for His Highest” contains the Jesus who told the rich young ruler “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21).
The Lord’s Words to Us
Two different statements made by our Lord in two different situations yet both were exactly right for those who heard them. God always says what we need, when we need it and both of these fine devotional books contain Godly wisdom for those who are searching. However, do not mistake a devotional guide as a substitute for the Bible! The Bible has no substitute and is a living word that is designed to speak to you personally, in whatever situation you find yourself. Make reading the Bible your priority in your devotional time and then, as you feel led, seek out a devotional guide that can enrich and enhance your worship experience. That’s the only way it should be done.
Are you currently reading and using a devotional guide in your study time? If so, which one and would you recommend it? Feel free to comment below.