2010 is just around the corner. A new year. New beginnings. A fresh start. There are so many opportunities with a new year. To begin again . . . or just begin. And if one of your beginnings is a desire to start your new year drawing closer to God, what a great time to begin a new daily devotional. In the month of December, Laridian has released 5 new devotional titles: two from popular preacher and teacher John MacArthur, a new devotional for women, written by women of faith, a heart challenging compilation of select readings from John Calvin’s Commentary of the Psalms and Daily with the King: A Devotional for Self-Discipleship.
To me, you can’t go wrong with John MacArthur. His teaching is always sound, insightful and purposeful. And these two volumes of Daily Readings from the Life of Christ are no exception. Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1 follows Jesus’ first year of ministry. From his public baptism and start of his ministry, through His teaching with parables, John MacArthur walks us daily through the first 13 chapters of Matthew and Jesus’ earthly ministry. I can’t think of a better teacher in the ways of God and the Christian life than our Savior. Even though many entries are stories Christians know by heart, there is new learning and revelation each time we meditate and study God’s word. Circumstances of life change, and though God’s word never does; how God uses His word to touch us and teach us in those circumstances is always new and refreshing.
Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 2 goes deeper into the miracles of Jesus and his confrontations with the Jewish leaders by focusing on the Gospels of Matthew and John. I especially enjoyed the days covering the calling of the Disciples and their commission. MacArthur gives at least one day to each disciple, giving insight into who each man was and how each man’s character traits were chosen and used by Jesus. It is interesting to see how Jesus used men with characteristics just like mine and people I know, both good and “bad”, to bring about the spreading of his gospel and the furthering of his kingdom. For example, my 10 year old son can inundate me with questions. Sometimes I think he spends his day trying to think of questions to ask me, but when I read the account of Jesus’ calling of Peter, I realized in reading that paragraph, that Peter was a lot like my son. He is described as “constantly asking questions . . . and though many were superficial and immature . . . self-centered and off the mark . . . .”Jesus used Peter’s questioning as opportunities to train him in leadership. To be the leader of the apostles he intended Peter to be. As a parent, I have learned, that reacted to in the proper manner, my son’s questions can be an opportunity for me to mold him into a proper leader (a character trait he naturally exhibits). Will he be a Peter? Only the God who has called him to himself can answer that, but I now better understand how my reactions to his questions can train him, having either a positive or negative impact on the man he will become.
I can’t leave this review without touching for just a moment on Daily Seeds from Women Who Walk in Faith. As I skimmed through the pages while preparing this for PocketBible, I was drawn to the stories of the women in this devotional. As a daughter, wife, mother and friend, there is much I can learn from these women who have experienced life’s trials and joys and the lessons they have to share.
As this new year approaches, there are many ways we can begin anew. No beginning will enrich your life more than a new beginning with the Savior. So whether you have resolved to begin a daily quiet time with God, or are looking for a new devotional to continue your existing quiet times, I highly encourage you to take a look at what’s new from Laridian.