Often people ask me for suggestions of good devotionals or Bible studies. It happened again this past week after John preached on the Bread of Life and it got me to thinking. I’m delighted to share what’s been helpful to me, but with a few caveats and a request to hear from you too. I am so grateful for my relationship with Jesus but…
1. I’m spiritually ADD. I think most people are. Changing up what I’m doing helps keep me engaged. Maybe you too. Although I have a spiritual rhythm of spending time with God every day, the particulars look different in different seasons. A devotional, or a spiritual practice that God uses in one season, may sound like a Charlie Brown conversation bubble “Whaa, whaa, whaa…” in another.
I just finished reading through 1st and 2nd Samuel, taking note of what I could learn about God and myself. Before that I was using a classic devotional, and on any day I may just try to meditate on a verse. I’ve written before that Solo is one of my favorite resources, but the devotional In The Everlasting Arms by Gail MacDonald is another.
2. I use whatever I can that helps me connect to God. And it’s ok to think outside the box. Technology can be a pain that lets in too much noise, but it can also be a great tool that helps us to weave our faith into the fabric of our day. If you have a smart phone, there are lots of devotional apps you can add or podcasts you can listen to. I have Jesus Calling, Streams in the Desert, Praying God’s Word, Courageous Faith (by Bill Hybels), and Bible Memory Verses on my phone. Depending on the day and time I may pull up one or another.
I wrote before about using my phone alarm to remind me to pray at different times during the day. That may not work for you, but something else may. Experiment. Let me know what you’ve come up with!
3. My goal isn’t to get through God’s Word, but to get God’s Word through me. If you or I are just checking “quiet time” off your to-do list, maybe it’s time to rethink. This is one reason that the Examen is a good practice – it’s a good way of assessing what effect God’s Word has had in our lives. How have we responded? What are we DOING that’s different? How is God transforming us?
4. No matter what I do, no matter how many minutes I spend or don’t spend in God’s Word, I am His beloved child. And so are you.
Those are just a few things that guide me, but what about you? I’d love to hear what resources, rhythms, or practices have been helpful to you. Please share!