Friday, December 30, 2011

Turbo Charge Your Devotions in 2012

Would you like to make 2012 a particularly fruitful and rich year of growing in the Lord?  Here are three simple suggestions to spice things up a bit.

Add a Daily Devotional to Your Current Reading Plan
One of my all-time favorites is Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest.  Another classic is A.J. Russell’s God Calling.  What I like about both of these is that the entries are so short I still have plenty of time left over for other study, and yet both prove consistently helpful. I have to be honest here, though—while I appreciate Russell’s work as a writer and the movement out of which he wrote, I have a difficult time with writers presenting God (or Jesus) speaking in the first-person. It seems presumptuous at best, and that format alone can be enough to make the experience uncomfortable. Still, there are some nuggets here worth holding on to.  If you’re looking for something more contemporary, Zondervan recently released a daily devotional culled from 12 of my books entitled Simply Sacred.

Get Inspired with Spiritual Biographies
I’ve been reading through James Gilchrist Lawson’s (100 year old) Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians and am loving it. It’s so inspiring to read accounts of how God used some of the most common, simple people imaginable to spearhead great movements of the Spirit. The book has plenty of weaknesses. It’s not the most theologically precise, to say the least, and there’s at least one howler, when Lawson calls Charles Finney the greatest theologian since the apostles. But please don’t let that rob you of benefiting from a heart-inspirational recounting of how God has moved so powerfully in so many lives. It has given me increased desire to see God move afresh in our own day and age. I’m on the teaching team of one of the largest churches in the nation that saw over 3,000 people baptized this past year. While that’s amazing, these stories remind me that God can move even more powerfully than that.  Another suggestion is to wade through John Wesley’s Journals, which, frankly, tires me out just reading it (but in a good way).

Try Something New
It’s easy to fall into a spiritual rut. We do this in our human relationships (most notably, in marriage), and we do it in our relationship with God. Find some fresh ways to meet with the Lord, read about some new devotional exercises, make a point of intentionally cultivating a dynamic and growing devotional time with the Lord. If you haven’t read my book Sacred Pathways, consider doing so. It features nine different spiritual temperaments, all spoken of in Scripture, and all practiced throughout the history of the church, representing different windows through which Christians have beheld the face of God. If you have read Sacred Pathways, you might consider following up with What’s Your God Language? by Myra Perrine. Myra takes the Sacred Pathways model and updates it with some helpful exercises.
Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.

1 comment:

  1. I too love Oswald and have also very much enjoyed and use Brad/Eden Jersak's Rivers from Eden, a 40 day devotional involving listening prayer. Blessings to you and Lisa for a fabulous 2012 :)