As a pastor I often mention that as Christians our lives should point to Jesus. Whatever we say, whatever we do, are our lives pointing to Him? At times life can seem so mundane and unspiritual. Yet we are called to shine the Light in the darkness, and that Light is Jesus.
So how do we do that? What parts of life point to Jesus? What does it look like from season to season, from good days to bad days, from solitude to spiritual community? Pastor and worship leader Darlene Zschech teaches us about these issues and more in her new devotional book, Revealing Jesus (Bethany House).
Revealing Jesus is beautifully packaged and prepared with full color printing. Each month has an introductory page that unfolds the theme partnered with a personal prayer or reflective quote, some of which are hymns.
Each day begins with a title and a Scripture verse, taken from many of the Bible versions available. The text of the devotional follows, at times splattered with song lyrics. Finally comes a prayer based on the thought of the day.
Now, some people expect a devotional to only be inspirational, to be consistently uplifting and encouraging. But Revealing Jesus is about more than feeling good, it is also about living right and in right relationship. At times the content of the devotion is challenging. Zschech points us to God, to each other and to righteousness. She does explain away life’s difficulty or fill you with quick lines and happy feelings to go on with your day, put pushes you to lean into and trust in Jesus, which at times can be very difficult to do.
Here’s an example of a challenging word:
I hope you know by now that I am for you. I am an encourager. I believe in emphasizing the grace and mercy of our Father. But I still must speak out about spiritual laziness, something I think is a plague in today’s church. I don’t want to be harsh, but I want so much for you, for myself, for the Body of Christ … I don’t want any of us to “lazily slip back in those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing.” (March 26, “Don’t Be Lazy”)
This candid conversation about the realities of Christian living is a refreshing devotional to me. It is more than a quick part of your daily routine, as some devotionals can become. Because she is willing to push the issue, to make Scripture the center and Christ the goal, this devotional is going to stick in your head and encourage you to grow. Not just feel good, not just read a heartwarming story, but grow.
For these reasons I highly recommend Revealing Jesus, but you have to jump into it knowing that it is different from many of the other devotionals you may have used in the past.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.