Updated: Nov 11, 2019
A devotional is a book that helps you grow in your relationship with God. Most devotionals have a daily reading with a Bible verse and a few paragraphs with insight on that verse. The day's reading usually takes just a few minutes to read. Devotionals are extremely popular. The Christian bookstore I worked at had an entire isle just with devotionals. On the Christianbook website I searched for "devotionals" and there were 11,941 search results! My goodness! Apparently a lot of Christian authors are feeling the devotional route. There are devotionals for women, men, children, teens, couples, singles, graduates, teachers, recovery, sports/ athletes (golfers, hunters, soccer moms, etc.), and the list goes on and on!
A daily devotional can be a great way to start or end your day.
Over the years I've accumulated quite a few devotionals as you can see by this picture. (Now you see why my husband gives me grief when I bring another book in the house.) You have probably heard of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It is the most popular devotional right now. I tend to lean more towards classic authors - C.S. Lewis, Charles Stanley, Henri J.M. Nouwen, Corrie ten Boom, Andrew Murray, Augustine,... But hands down my favorite is the classic devotional, My Utmost for HIs Highest by Oswald Chambers. (Because of their popularity both Jesus Calling and My Utmost for His Highest come in hardback, paperback, and imitation leather.)
Oswald Chambers was born in 1874 in Scotland and spent most of his life there. He became a traveling speaker and teacher at a Bible college. The last two years of his life he was a YMCA chaplain for British soldiers in Egypt. He died in Cairo in 1917 at the young age of 43 from complications of an emergency appendectomy.
Chambers' widow took the notes from Oswald's talks and compiled the devotional My Utmost for His Highest. It was first published in 1924 and has never been out of print since. It has been translated into 39 languages.
I recently cleaned out my aunt's room and I found her copy of My Utmost for His Highest. I opened it up and looked at some of the sections she had highlighted. It made me smile and feel connected to her.
Here's a sampling of what she highlighted:
February 3 - The marvel of the Redemptive Reality of God is that the worst and the vilest can never get to the bottom of His love.
February 25 - The real test of the saint is not preaching the gospel, but washing disciples' feet, that is, doing the things that do not count in the actual estimate of men but count everything in the estimate of God.
June 28 - Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow man, remember who you are - not a special being made up in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.
August 29 - Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand by us.
September 1 - The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness.
December 2 - Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness to God. God is not after perfecting me to be a specimen in His showroom. He is getting me to the place where He can use me.
December 31 - Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistable Future with Him.
My Utmost for His Highest isn't a feel good devotional. It isn't light reading like so many others. It is deep. It will make you squirm. It will convict you. It will encourage you. And mainly, it will help you grow spiritually. And isn't that the goal of reading a devotional?
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