Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Devotional Reading

My favorite form of devotional reading is just studying and meditating on a passage of Scripture. Many people enjoy and benefit from reading and meditating on the Psalms. However, there are times when it is good to have some variety in your devotionals and there are many books that would serve that purpose. Let me recommend a few in no particular order.

1. Tabletalk magazine. It is a monthly devotional magazine published by Ligonier Ministries. It gives an expositional treatise on a certain topic or section of Scripture. It also has articles that deal with the topic of the month. The articles are excellent and educational, and cover a good breadth of topics.

2. Awake my Heart. Written by J. Sidlow Baxter. It was originally published in 1960 and was republished in 1994. It is devotional readings for a year, and really it is more like a years worth of mini-sermons as it is expositional in nature. It offers wisdom, insight, and application.

3. George Whitefield's Journals. Published by Banner of Truth. This may seem like a strange book for devotional reading, but it is very personal, and reveals Whitefield's heart for Christ and his allegiance to the Word of God. It also reveals the working of God during the time of the Great awakening in England and America. It also is an inspiring example of faithfulness and trust; and most modern preachers should read it and be ashamed at how little we preach and at the shallowness of our knowledge of the Scriptures.

4. Gems from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Written by Tony Sargent. It is a collection of quotations from the sermons of one of the great biblical minds and preachers of the twentieth century. It is arranged topically and covers a plethora of topics. It is robust, full of wisdom, and prompts you to think.

5. Pulpit Magazine. This is the online magazine of John MacArthur's ministry. It has daily articles, which are usually excerpts from John's sermons, but occasionally they have guest authors contribute articles. Of course, since these are excerpts from John's sermons they are expositional, but they are arranged around different topics. The comments are usually interesting and it is a way you can interact with the article.

The key thing about devotional time is that you need to take the time to think about and pray about what you are reading. Don't approach it as something to be done or as a task to be accomplished, but consider how what you are reading applies to your life and take it to heart.

An additional thought...three of the above books were written by English "chaps". There are two countries that I have had a particular burden for, and that is England and the former Soviet bloc. I have been blessed to preach and teach twelve times in the Ukraine, and once in Siberia. I have asked the Lord to let me do the same in England. Who knows how He will answer that prayer.

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