Devotionals: Many Christians love their devotionals. Many ministry meetings and classroom discussions begin with a favorite devotional. But how many of us can remember the entire content of that same devotional at the end of the day? How many of us can remember at least “half” of how it made us “feel”? Devotionals are wonderful in the way they can place our minds in the right frame at the beginning of each day and with peace at the conclusion of each day. Topical, theological, historical, personal, and even children’s devotionals can warm the spirit and heart like a soft fuzzy blanket on a cold winter night. But isn’t it frustrating when we try to recall what we’ve read, to our friends, merely half a day later, and somehow that mysteriously warm current of energy which zipped through our body at the time of reading is now stagnant, dull and fuzzy, not like a warm blanket, but more like a long lost dream!? Why? The answer may not be the same for all of us, but for some, it might simply be the length of the devotional itself! What if we were to limit our devotionals to one idea or “thought-frame” at a time? Does it matter how much we read, or can we be satisfied with perhaps one statement that we can build upon throughout the day with our experiences and journal those episodes at night?
For example, let’s take a popular favorite, Oswald Chambers. Obviously, there is much to be unpacked in each and every daily reading; one could walk away from his awesome insights with so many truths! What some people have discovered to be tremendously helpful is to use a single daily reading for a week and take one simple truth from the reading, reduce it down to it’s main lesson and make intentions to incorporate it in your day either by discussing it or just noticing how it fits into your activities.
For example, below is Oswald Chamber’s devotional. See if there is a main point that inspires you 🙂
“The Lord spoke thus to me with a strong hand . . .” (Isaiah 8:11). There is no escape when our Lord speaks. He always comes using His authority and taking hold of our understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you. God speaks in the language you know best— not through your ears, but through your circumstances.
God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. We say, “I know that this is what I should do”-and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We show our ignorance of Him in the very way we decide to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, and hurt Him by our defense of Him. We push His claims in the spirit of the devil; our words sound all right, but the spirit is that of an enemy. “He . . . rebuked them, and said, ’You do not know what manner of spirit you are of’ ” (Luke 9:55). The spirit of our Lord in His followers is described in 1 Corinthians 13 .
Have I been persecuting Jesus by an eager determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty, yet have hurt Him in the process, I can be sure that this was not my duty. My way will not be to foster a meek and quiet spirit, only the spirit of self-satisfaction. We presume that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord— “I delight to do Your will, O my God . . .” (Psalm 40:8).
What “one” concept can we remember and apply it throughout our day? By thinking and remembering a single concept it is much easier to include it in our discussions, thoughts and prayers. Sometimes, it’s better to do 1 thing often rather than 10 things rarely 🙂
We would love to hear your thoughts and how perhaps this technique helped you in specific scenarios, please leave a comment to begin a discussion or just to make a point 🙂