You might think it’s peculiar that I’m doing Part II of Devotions for 2021 just now. I don’t think so at all, because this is Holy Week. On Good Friday, we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus, but on Sunday, we glory in the celebration of His resurrection.
With that in mind, I want to share with you devotional books that several of my friends use, or have used, as a part of their daily worship. I’ll write a bit more about Easter toward the end of this post.
We often think of starting a devotional book at the beginning of the year. Indeed, many of them are presented in that format. However, it pleases Jesus anytime we start reading a devotional book, because He wants us to know more about Him. Learning more about Jesus is a form of worship.
Anne and Morgan Littleford read “Our Daily Bread”, which is available from www.ourdailybread.org. They enjoy the message, which is Biblical, but at the same time, relevant to today’s world. The Littlefords get a new one in the mail each month.
Anita Taylor’s favorite devotional book is Morning and Evening Devotions: Holy Moments in the Presence of God by Dr. David Jeremiah. Anita’s two favorite versions of The Bible are Holy Bible: People’s Parallel Edition, King James Version and The Living Bible. Anita is also a fan of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling.
Carol Dubay is another friend who mentioned Jesus Calling. Carol gave me a copy for Christmas, which was my first exposure to the series. I can certainly understand why the series is so popular. Thank you, Carol!
Nancy Williams says that Fixing My Eyes on Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz and A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works, edited by Patricia S. Klein are books she has recently used in her daily devotions.
Nancy has also found great meaning in Moments of Peace from the Psalms, Moments of Praise for the Morning, Moments of Peace for the Evening, Moments of Peace for a Woman’s Heart, Quiet Moments in the Presence of God, Moments of Peace in the Presence of God and Moments of Peace in the Wisdom of God. These books have all been compiled by Baker Publishing, and make great gifts.
Dr. Sherry Williams finds great meaning in Evelyn Christenson’s What Happens When Women Pray. Sherry says this book teaches prayer in a more personal and believing way. She’s also used Life in the Word by Joyce Meyer as a devotional guide.
Another close and prayer warrior friend, Lisa T. Smalling, doesn’t use a devotional book. Instead, Lisa follows a Bible reading pattern. She says, “My favorite, and the one I am using now, is to start at the beginning of Genesis and of Matthew and read one chapter of each daily. Obviously, I complete the New Testament much, much sooner than the Old Testament, so I just start the New Testament all over again while continuing with the Old Testament.” I like Lisa’s thinking!
A friend who wishes to remain anonymous says she regularly reads and finds meaning from Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman and Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon.
All good books and thoughts that I hope you will find meaningful.
Now to Easter.
For many years, my church did a 36-hour prayer vigil following our Service of Darkness on the night of Good Friday. Church members committed to hour-long increments, and as I recall, each time slot could accommodate up to about a dozen people.
I no longer remember if she was doing a communion meditation or if she was making a general announcement, but Margaret Fugate said words from the pulpit one Sunday morning that I harken back to every Easter season.
Margaret’s profound words went something like this: “We’re getting ready for our Easter prayer vigil. There are still many time slots that are completely empty. You would think in a church this size that there would be a waiting list.”
And at that time, First Christian Church probably had a membership in excess of 1500, to say nothing of regular attenders (i.e., college students, etc.)
Last year, I adopted Debbie McAlear’s practice on Good Friday. From noon until 3 in the afternoon on that day, Debbie reads the accounts in each of the Gospels of the crucifixion of Christ. Debbie is in one of my prayer groups, and I always find her ideas insightful and significant. Reading these eight chapters from the Bible can easily be accomplished in the three hours.
If you want to do this, you’ll read these chapters:
Matthew 27 and 28;
Mark 15 and 16;
Luke 23 and 24; and
John 19 and 20.
I thought this year I would take Debbie’s idea one step further, however, and read the account of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life as it is presented in each of the four Gospels. This entails reading 32 chapters. I began reading three chapters a day two weeks before Easter, so I am on pace to finish tomorrow.
If you elect to do this, here are the chapters you will need to read:
Matthew 20 – 28;
Mark 11 – 16;
Luke 18 – 24;
John 12 – 21.
Read six chapters, starting today, and you will finish on Easter Sunday by reading John 20 and 21.
I wish for you the peace of our risen Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Copyright, March 26, 2021 by Rebecca A. Henderson