I sit down alone,
Only God is here;
In his presence I open,
I read his books;
And what I thus learn,
Every morning I like to start off the day with some devotional reading. The idea is to focus the eyes of my heart and mind upon God as I move into the new day. For the past few years I have been using a few books during my morning “quiet time”. The most important book on the shelf is the Bible. All of my devotional reading in the morning is in light of the Word of God.
Over the last five years I have been reading and re-reading the morning devotional, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. God has greatly used the thoughts and words of this man, from the early 1900’s, to affect and form my life as a follower of Christ.
Another book from Chambers that I have been reading is Run Today’s Race. This little book is a compilation of daily quotes from Chambers that he would post on the door of the mess hall/chapel when he was ministering to the British troops in Egypt during World War I. Chambers' words are obviously derived from a life of prayer and abandoned commitment to Jesus Christ. They always pierce my heart deeply and oftentimes painfully as in response I am compelled to submit my life to the forming hand of God.
For the past two years I have been reading Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner by Frederick Buechner. This book is a compilation of 366 excerpts from Buechner’s writings that serve as diverse and thoughtful meditations on faith in God and living the Christian life. I have been challenged to look at life and experiences in a different way through Buechner’s writings.
Last year I also started going through The Diary of an Old Soul by George MacDonald. This is a book of devotional poetry that has served as a thoughtful challenge day after day. At times I struggled to understand the poetic thoughts of MacDonald but I think that is part of the literary dynamic of poetry.
Each of these devotional books has served to compliment one another as I have read them morning after morning. The diversity in their messages combined with the Word of God have shown me that God’s guiding Spirit is realized in the diverse perspectives of followers from around the world and from different eras.
This year of 2008, I am going to lay these books aside (except for Run Today's Race) and embark on a new book for my morning devotional reading. I am going to work through the book, A Guide to Prayer by Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. This a devotional book from Upper Room Publishing that includes the Lectionary Readings for each week of the year and focuses upon daily prayer and meditation. The devotional format follows the daily office of: Invocation, a daily reading of a Psalm, a daily Scripture reading, a reading for reflection, a recitation of a written prayer, questions for reflection and a reflection upon the lyrics of a hymn.
I am looking forward to delving into this new devotional book as it is my desire to draw closer to God through this daily spiritual discipline. I will keep you posted on how it goes.
Question: What do you have planned for devotional reading for 2008?