5 New Devotionals for the New Year

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Devotionals not only baptize us in Scripture and prayer, but often are the catalyst for deeper study and reflection. Here are a few of this year’s offerings:

fixing-my-eyes-on-jesus-daily-moments-in-his-word1Fixing My Eyes on Jesus: Daily Moments in His Word
Anne Graham Lotz offers reflections on Jesus and teaches us about walking out our faith. Because of the clarity and simplicity of her presentation, this would be a great gift for a new believer, or anyone in need of straight talk about living out the gospel. It’s a refresher course on God’s heart and character, an answer book for tough questions, a defibrillator for hardened hearts, and a new set of spectacles to aid in fixing your eyes on Jesus.

 

 

 

 

All To Jesus1All to Jesus
Sometimes the smallest word can contain a big impact. Robert J. Morgan realized how often the word ‘all’ pops up in the Bible, so he began to research its many appearances. The result is a collection of 365 devotions which focus on a verse containing, and often highlighting, the word “all.” Morgan’s writing is so well crafted and meaningful that it is difficult to stop at just one page a day. He has done Christians a great service by proving that just a little time reflecting on a verse or two can reap big spiritual benefits. “All” church leaders should encourage “all” of their congregants to read “all” of All to Jesus

 

 

 

Unglued Devotional1Unglued Devotional (60 Days of Imperfect Progress)
The title gives a hint at Lysa Teurkeurst’s plainspoken, culturally and spiritually relevant material. Terkeurst is transparent, comforting, confrontational, honest, funny, confessional, and insightful. She speaks the language of our culture and lays down truth that connects with authentic needs as she calls us to active engagement with God and reality. Pithy thoughts for each day, Scripture, prayer and relatable stories pull you from page to page; getting called out on your stuff has never been so engaging, entertaining, or helpful.

 

 

 

 

One Thousand Gifts1One Thousand Gifts Devotional
One Thousand Gifts
Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You has captured the imagination of readers around the world and started a movement of intentionally looking at each event, environment, relationship, and circumstance with thanksgiving to God, and an awareness of his grace. Voskamp’s longer, emotionally and visually dense chapters from the original book are presented in manageable bites in One Thousand Gifts Devotional, much of the material in the present incarnation is carved from the original book, with the new form truly facilitating devotion, prayer and contemplation.

 

 

  

Daily GIfts Of Hope1Daily Gifts of Hope
The Women of Faith have a history of delivering meaningful and Scriptural devotional material that is born out of the writers’ (Sheila Walsh, Patsy Clairmont, Lisa Harper, Marilyn Meberg, and Sandi Patty) everyday struggles as each looks to God for answers and then births hope in other women … and men.

The River


The River1The River (Novel DVD/Discussion Kit)
Michael Neale

Thomas Nelson

Worship leader and songwriter Michael Neale’s debut novel The River tells the story of young man Gabriele Clarke’s encounter with destiny. How choices to face his fears, release his anger and resentment, and forgive his enemies result in a transformed and immeasurably fulfilling life. The book reflects how our choices to reach out and to allow others to reach us can change the past, present and future. At the heart of the story is the beauty, danger, excitement, and transcendence found in jumping into your river of destiny. There is an accompanying DVD for church or home groups to use with the book to bounce off of and explore issues that relate to one’s life in the world and life with God. Because God is only rarely mentioned and Jesus never mentioned, it would not only be a jumping off place for an evangelically oriented youth group, but an easy fit for many non-Christian faith traditions as well, which depending on your perspective could be as a strength or a weakness. For the seeker friendly oriented, a plus, for the “not ashamed of the gospel camp,” a negative. Although, one would hope for a deeper development of the books characters and more “showing” than “telling,” nevertheless kudos to Michael for courageously jumping into his destiny and first novel.

Michael Neale has been featured on Song DISCovery and has written for Worship Leader magazine. The River is his inaugural novel as he pushes the limits of his creative gifts.

– Andrea Hunter

 

Lifted By Angels

Lifted By Angels
Joel J. Miller
Thomas Nelson

Thankfully, Joel Miller has given the Church a book on angels that doesn’t sentimentalize or fictionalize angelic reality, but rather relies on Scripture and the historical perspective of the Church and its leading theologians and pastoral leadership, especially during the first few hundred years, to present a picture that is instructive, edifying and inspiring. Angels here only increase awe for our Triune God and gratitude that he has appointed them as “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14). The book looks at the fall of Satan and of man, the role, purpose, actions, and attributes of angels, how the liturgy on earth reflects angelic worship of God in heaven, and how guardian angels represent God’s care, among many other subjects. The book gives insight into both pre-Christian experience of angels in Scripture and the earliest believers understanding of angels—angels are referenced countless times in both Old and New Testaments. Regardless of your view on the teachings of early Church Fathers such as Clement, Augustine, Basil, Jerome and others on angels, the book can’t help but enrich your faith and ignite renewed wonder for God, his kingdom and his manifold wisdom.

Andrea Hunter

Formation of the Bible

Formation of the Bible
Lee Martin McDonald
Hendrickson Publishers

While flipping through the channels (especially during Christmas or Easter), it is a fairly common occurrence to stumble upon a documentary about one or another writings from the first century that was excluded from the Bible. In a worst-case scenario, our congregations look to their leaders as if the Church has hidden its secrets a la The Da Vinci Code. In the words of Lee McDonald regarding this phenomenon, “It’s encouraging to see a growing interest in how the church got its Bible, but also disheartening to discover how few Christians know anything about the Bible’s origins.” Formation of the Bible is not a book about the movement of the Spirit to inspire the Holy Scriptures; it is a historical account of how the Scriptures were chosen. And it’s fascinating. Reading through is like taking a course on biblical Mythbusting. Deftly, Dr. McDonald leads us through the story of our sacred collection of books—a story that explores such questions as, “Why did ancient humans collect sacred texts?” “What comprised the Scriptures for Jesus?” “What was Constantine’s influence on the canon?” And many more. The fact is many followers of the God of Israel and of Christ wrote their stories down, many still are. And McDonald is a fitting guide to help us understand why some of them are bound in leather and sitting on our bed tables, and why others are nothing more than dust.

Jeremy Armstrong

Relentless Pursuit: God’s Love Of Outsiders


Ken Gire
Bethany House 

God’s writers have a unique ability to help us find our place in God’s story. If we are ever to extend love, justice, and mercy to others then we must truly know at a heart level how each of those have been and are eternally extended to us. We have all felt like an outsider at one time or another. “Jesus, though he made himself available to everyone, didn’t pursue everyone. But the passion of his life formed the pattern of his ministry. From his first breath to his last he constantly, relentlessly pursued the outsider.” Our worship forms us to be like Jesus. We, the relentlessly pursued and loved, learn to love outsiders … like us.

Preview the book here