Enjoying the Journey
Books are wonderful tools. When it comes to the daily quiet time there are a number of wonderful books that may be used with great benefit. Occasionally I enjoy reading after an author whose sole purpose in writing is devotional in nature. Oswald Chambers is a wonderful example of this. His highly recommended My Utmost For His Highest is thought-provoking.
E.M Bounds books on prayer are another good example. They stir the heart to seek the Lord more fervently and purposefully in prayer. Recently I ran across a rather new book that has been a great help to me in this way. Though I know little about the writer, Bob Sorge’s Secrets of the Secret Place has served to enhance my daily time with God. Through the years I have discovered that reading a little in a good biography also helps to warm my heart. The lives of men and women who have walked with God provide instruction and inspiration for our own journey.
Good devotional books help to “prime the pump.” Like any resource devotional writings can be misused. The test of a devotional book is not the level of enjoyment you have in reading it, but the level of dependence you develop on it. If reading devotional writers begins to take the place of time spent with you and God alone this is not healthy.
A good counselor points you to the Wonderful Counselor, the Lord Jesus. A good father points his children to the Heavenly Father. A good teacher points his students to the Teacher, the Holy Spirit. And a good author points readers to the Author of all truth. Devotional reading must never become a substitute for direct contact with God.
For this reason, I would like to recommend three books that should be used in your devotional time:
- The Word of God. There is no book like that Book! I enjoy having a copy of Scripture that is not overly marked up already for my Bible reading. This keeps me from getting distracted by previous notes. Come to God’s Word fresh every day. And come hungry!
- A good hymnbook. Personal worship is so important. Reading over great hymns and singing them to the Lord in your devotional time will help lead you into His presence. You may want to adopt a hymn each day to sing and hum throughout the day. Recently in my quiet time I was meditating on the soon return of Christ. The words of the song, “Is It the Crowning Day?” took on new meaning. Every time I found myself singing, “Jesus could come today! Glad day! Glad day!” the truth came alive in my heart again. “Speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19).
- A journal. Apart from prayer and the Word of God this has become the most beneficial thing in my own devotional time. This is not a list of everything I have done or intend to do. In my journal I write prayers to the Lord. I record Bible truths the Lord is teaching me and specific things about which the Holy Spirit is prompting me.
A journal will help you now and it will help you again in the future. (Read more about the discipline of using a journal here.) Write down the “handfuls of purpose” the Lord drops for you to find! Gather up “the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.”
Jesus said that when we go into the secret place we are to shut the door. Literally, shut everyone else out! Leave the world and those you love in another place. Go in to meet with God alone. And when you do, take your Bible – to hear His voice, your hymnbook – to sing to Him, and your journal – to record what He says. Make the most of your devotional time.