Nine years ago today, I posted my very first devotional. So… it seems a good moment to announce the project I’ve been quietly working on for the past year:
A Year of Tenacity: 365 Daily Devotions will be (you guessed it) a one-year book of daily devotionals, compiled from updated versions of the best of nine years’ devotional posts here.
The book will release in print and electronic formats in April, and I hope to do a cover reveal soon.
Does this mean I’m not writing more fiction? Definitely not! The first book in the Green Dory Inn Mystery series is well in hand, and I’m aiming for a late 2017 release. My newsletter subscribers will hear about it first, but I’ll be sharing here on my blog as well. Want to subscribe? Click here: bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews.
The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp (Tyndale House, 2013)
What better antidote to the stress and hurry-hurry of December than a few quiet minutes, every day, to re-orient our thinking and ponder the true meaning of Christmas?
The Greatest Gift, subtitled “Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas,” is a collection of Advent devotional readings tracing the promise of a Saviour – “the love story that’s been coming for you since the beginning” (p. x).
Each day’s reading begins with a page of Scripture and a brief look at how this is part of the Advent story and how it’s relevant to us today, whatever our circumstances. It ends with a practical suggestion for applying the day’s thought and with three questions for further exploration.
Ann Voskamp is known for her lyrical prose and for her call to recognize God’s grace – and find gratitude – in both the happy and the difficult days. These daily Advent reflections speak to wherever we may find ourselves, and they offer hope, peace and perspective.
My favourite lines:
The Light never comes how you expect it. It comes as the unlikely and unexpected – straight into Bethlehem unlikely and the feed trough hopeless, and Christmas whispers there is always hope. (p. 139)
The secret of joy is always a matter of focus: a resolute focusing on the Father, not on the fears. All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends. When does He ever end?” (p. 189)
I found these daily moments of reflection helped me to more fully appreciate the days leading up to Christmas. The Greatest Gift is a lovely gift book for yourself or a loved one, and it’s rich enough in content to read again in future years.
The author’s website offers downloadable paper ornaments which readers are encouraged to place daily on a simple “Jesse Tree” (instructions included). This could be a personal or a family act. For those interested in a family Advent devotional, there’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas.
Ann Voskamp is the bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts. She blogs daily at A Holy Experience. The Greatest Gift is a 2014 “Christian Retailing’s Best” award winner.
[Review copy from my personal library.]
Everyday Christian offers daily devotionals, among other things… and their new devotional writer is Canadian author Brenda Wood. I’m using her published devotional book, Heartfelt, for my daily readings this year. Brenda also blogs at Heartfelt Devotionals.
The High Calling has a number of fine posts, and one that stood out to me recently is Bradley J. Moore’s “Your Artisanal Life“, that asks the challenging question, “What if we viewed our jobs – all of them – as divinely artisanal?”
Invitation to Fitness is a new site with daily fitness and exercise tips.
Grains of Sand is a devotional blog from Canadian author Lynda Schultz. It’s not new, but it counts as “new to me” because I’ve just rediscovered it… Lynda is the author of Divine Design for Daily Living.
New year’s resolutions… some people make ’em, some don’t. Some keep ’em, some don’t.
For Christians, another aspect to this turning of the year is often “How will I pattern my Bible reading this year?” Will I crack open the next edition of my favourite devotional publication or try something different? Read through the entire Bible in a year? (If so, which reading schedule will I follow?)
My daily quiet times tend to be just God and me, in whatever section of Scripture the day finds us. As it happens, I’ve finished the book of Titus and am wondering where to feed next. And I’m thinking of taking the Bible-in-a-year challenge again. It’s been a few years. I may try RBC Ministries’ schedule in their Our Daily Bread. I like how it has readings from Old and New Testaments each day.
Something else I’m looking forward to is a new series of daily devotionals at the Other Food: daily devo’s site. Canadian author Violet Nesdoly has good insights, and she also has the stick-to-it-ness to deliver a new devotional each day. She did it all 2009 for kids at Bible Drive-Thru. I’ve signed up for email delivery on this one, since I never remember to check blogs daily.
A daily quiet time with God can be short or long, depending on your life. But we need to take some time each day to consciously spend in His presence or we’ll miss the growth He has for us. How about you? Any plans?