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I took a friend’s advice…

May 24, 2008

and her insightful book review to heart and ordered Lydia Brownback’s On-The-Go Devotional entitled Trust: A Godly Woman’s Adornment.

As a rule, I have not generally used devotional books in my life for my quiet times. In fact, I am quite suspect of the books which generate or sustain the idea that time with God is effectively contained within a quick 15 minutes. I was party to such poor discipleship as a young Christian that all the accumulated experiences of purchasing themed devotionals, daily devotionals, read through in a year devotionals combined with failing to be obedient in my reading gave me a distaste for anything titled “devotional.” I ended up doing nothing for many years.

I can look back at that time now and realize that it wasn’t the fault of the devotionals as much as my fault of failing to be consistently in the Word of God. I believe a good devotional is meant to be only an appetizer to the real feast. Trying to subsist on appetizers alone and not even with diligence understandably left me frustrated. Once I was truly taught how to study the Bible, various in-depth studies became my particular preference, which is where I have stayed to this day. So while I no longer bear any great animosity to devotionals, I had not found any that intrigued me.

Reading Leslie’s review at Light Came changed that because she said this:

I do not normally enjoy devotional material for women. Most tend to emphasize my emotions over truth. Brownback’s devotional, however, is well-crafted, with each entry serving the purpose of presenting the truth and respectfully demanding a response. Though the entries can be read in five to ten minutes, each one proves relevant and insightful. Because the entries are short, each sentence counts. Brownback doesn’t waste any words.

Presenting truth and demanding a response? Now that is the type of appetizer I’m looking for. The one that makes me hungry for a meal.

So I ordered a book. It arrived yesterday, and I am really, really satisfied with my purchase. The introduction alone captured me because it whopped me upside the head for what my current struggles have been. She is addressing why women fear. Want a taste?

Brownback writes:

Perhaps the most faith-shaking, fear-generating experiences are those in which God provides a blessing and then seems to pull the rug out from under us by taking away the blessing as soon as we get a taste of it. (She illustrates with a life example.) When we go through that sort of experience, our foundation can be shaken to the core. ‘I obviously cannot depend on God,’ we think, ‘so somehow I have to fix everything. And if God could do this to me, what other painful thing might he do?’

What we don’t see at such times and in the swirl of such thoughts is the fact that we were resting on the wrong foundation in the first place. Our view of God has actually been wrong all along. We thought we’d been relying on God, but the truth is, we’d actually been relying on our idea of God and on what we were hoping God would do for us to make our lives happier. What we don’t see is that disappointments and other difficulties that seem to threaten our faith are really blessings in disguise. They are designed by God to draw us closer to him, to enable us to see him as he really is, and to dispel our misconceptions about him and our wrong understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

The disappointments and struggles that He has given to me in this season are filing off the complacencies I’d allowed to determine my perspective. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, it’s revealing. Yes, it’s humbling.  And it is all for His particular glory.

I claim no talent in reviewing books.  I hope you’ll stop at Leslie’s and read hers. I am thankful I did, and I look to more appetizers and feasts as I work through this book. Even when it’s hard to swallow. I pray the end result is a greater view of my Lord.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2008 9:46 pm

    And I almost didn’t post that review on my blog. I’m so glad you’re benefiting from Brownback’s wisdom. It’s a really good devotional, even though it doesn’t look like much on the outside. The one she wrote on Contentment is very good, too. I read it twice!

  2. Ellen permalink
    May 25, 2008 12:22 am

    Well now two people I admire from afar have recommended these. I think I’ll order one and go from there. Blessings Elle!

  3. May 27, 2008 2:10 am

    GOOD STUFF! I’m adding it to my birthday wish list. 🙂

  4. May 27, 2008 2:57 pm

    “I believe a good devotional is meant to be only an appetizer to the real feast.” Sooooo TRUE for me as well. I’ve had the same problem with devotions – too emotional. My FAVORITE will probably always be “My Utmost for His Highest.” I always go back to it.

    I’m trying to approach “The Excellent Wife” book study as an appetizer too. It’s no secret that I don’t agree with much of what I’m reading, but I’m trying to use the experience to gain Biblical wisdom and to confirm WHY I believe what I believe. I may be posting my reactions on a blog read by other people, but the truth is, I’m documenting my learning process for ME. This study is taking me DEEP into the Bible – multiple versions, original Greek, cross references, commentary. I may not like the book, but I very much like this journey. It’s drawing me closer to the Word and initiating some very insightful conversations with FirstHusband.

    I know we don’t view the content the same, but I respect your opinion very much and hope that my responses to the study reflect that.

    JSM, I have only the utmost respect for your method of searching the Word for understanding and application. It thrills my soul to see a diligent work done by you in building your first foundation upon His eternal truth and then practicing His eternal truth in your earthly relationship with FirstHusband. I believe this is more than pleasing to the Father. I am edified by it immensely.

  5. May 27, 2008 8:01 pm

    I think I must get this one! Thanks for the recommendation!

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