My Top Five Favorite Devotionals (Right Now)
I’m such a lover of devotionals. And though I am NOT a lover of early mornings (the struggle is SO real)…there is honestly nothing I love more on this earth than those mornings that I wake up super early and snuggle up in front of my fireplace for my quiet time with a cup of coffee and my trusty stack of devotionals. I say “stack” of devotionals because I’m a bit of a hoarder in the book department (as many of you know) and that tends to bleed over into my devotional collection. While a couple of my devos are constantly in rotation, a few others weave in and out as the mood strikes me, as I get new ones, or as my awesome publisher (who generously sends me boxes of books on the regular, which totally makes this whole writing gig worth it! HA!) sends me new ones to check out. So, as we close the book on 2014 and open up this new chapter called 2015, I thought I’d share my list of favorite devotionals that I am reading right now. Hopefully they will encourage and inspire you as much as they do me! These are in no particular order…
1) Arms Open Wide, by Sherri Gragg: This book is a different take on a traditional “devotional,” which I love. I’m not even sure it’s technically considered a devotional, but I’ve started reading it each morning during my quiet time and it is blessing my socks off. There are 34 readings total, each one about 5-7 pages in length, detailing the major events of Jesus’s ministry from a fictional perspective. Which makes the stories come alive for me in a whole new way. Rarely is there a morning that I close this devotional and don’t have tears running down my face. The word that comes to mind when I think of this book is GRACE. The dignity and grace that Jesus imparted to everyone He touched – people who were largely deemed outcasts and losers and sinners by the rest of society.
A Favorite Passage: “Jesus spoke with kindness and forgiveness, and His words reverberated deep within her soul until she believed that His message of forgiveness was for her, too.”
2) Savor, by Shauna Niequist: An early copy of this was sent to me by my publisher, much to my delight, as the book itself doesn’t come out til March. (But no time like the present to pre-order!) I have LONG been a big fan of Shauna’s books, so when I heard she was writing a devotional, I was thrilled. Shauna has a such a gift of making the most ordinary moment seem magical. This book is made up of 365 readings (I LOVE devotionals that are year-round!) and interspersed in between the readings are some of Shauna’s favorite recipes (Blueberry Yogurt Morning Cake and Peach & Caramel Sundaes and Poppy Seed Cake – OH MY!). The word that comes to mind when I think of this book is SAVOR, so it’s perfectly titled! Shauna’s message is all about savoring your life, savoring the NOW, savoring each and every moment, as imperfect and challenging and even painful as it might be. Anyone looking to extract more joy out of everyday life will LOVE this book!
A Favorite Passage: “When life is sweet, say thank you celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and GROW.”
3) It Is Finished, by Tullian Tchividjian: I’ve been a huge fan of Pastor Tullian’s on Twitter for years now, and I’ve only just started reading his books. (I’m reading One Way Love right now and it’s a game changer!) It Is Finished: 365 Days of Good News is his latest offering, and though I’ve only been reading it for a few days (it actually doesn’t technically release until January 1st, but Amazon has copies in stock and is already shipping!)…this book just makes me breathe easier. That’s the feeling you get when you read Tullian’s books – that it’s okay to stop working and striving and earning and just BE. This is another 365-day devotional (YAY!) made up of wonderfully encouraging readings that remind you that You. Are. Enough. And more importantly, that God’s grace is enough. The word that comes to mind when I think of this book is EXHALE. Because it really is okay and safe and even necessary sometimes to just be still and know that He is God. If you’re always stressing and sweating and planning and striving and waiting to exhale (and no, I don’t mean the movie – but man, is that a great movie or what!?)…this is the devotional for you.
A Favorite Passage: “God is not at the top of a ladder shouting ‘CLIMB!’ He is at the bottom on a cross whispering, “It is finished.”
4) One Thousand Gifts Devotional, by Ann Voskamp: There are not enough words in the English language to fully detail my love for Ann Voskamp’s work. For years I walked by her book One Thousand Gifts in the bookstore and never picked it up…until one day that I did and it wrecked me forevermore (in the best possible way). Ann’s writing is like poetry and her way of weaving thankfulness into every single moment of her life will quite literally change yours. This book and devotional opened my eyes to a whole layer of life and joy and blessings that I spent most of my life staring blindly at. My ONLY complaint about this devo is that it’s only 60 readings instead of 365…but it’s the kind of book you’ll want to read over and over and over again. PLUS it has a really awesome journal area in the back where you can list your own “1,000 gifts.” (Once you start listing them, you’ll never want to stop. It’s like taking your finger out of the hole in the dam and watching your life overflow with abundance and gratitude.) So, of course, the word that comes to mind when I think about this book is GRATITUDE. I really don’t think I ever truly understood thankfulness before Ann’s books.
A Favorite Passage: “The counting of all blessings is ultimately summed up in One. The radical wonder of it stuns me happy, hushes me still: It’s all Christ. Every moment, every event, every happening. It’s all in Christ and in Christ we are always safe.”
5) Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young: This is the #1 bestselling devotional of all time, and for very good reason. It literally feels like you’re speaking directly to Jesus. Or that He’s speaking directly to YOU. 365 readings spoken in first person and pulled directly from scripture, this book will bless you, restore you, encourage you, challenge you, heal you, redeem you, move you, and everything in between. It is my most cherished devotional, and I’ve already read through it probably three or four times. The word that comes to mind when I think of this book is TRUST. Though the readings cover a wide array of topics, the underlying theme of each one seems to be TRUST. Learning to trust God with your dreams, your heart, your time, your failures, your hopes, your fears, your talents, your LIFE. Much like the Bible, each time you read it, the messages take on different meanings according to what you’re going through at the time. What a gem this little book is!
A Favorite Passage: “Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My power performs most brilliantly.”
What are YOUR favorite devotionals? Comment below!