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The first week of 2011 is in the books, and if you’re like me, it usually takes you a week to figure that out and about a month to stop writing “2010” on all your checks. Then again, who writes checks anymore?
Anyway, if you haven’t selected a devotional book for 2011 yet (like me), you might be interested in Robert Morgan’s devotional entitled On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes As you can infer from the title, this devotional book provides you with daily stories about great historical figures in church history and also people you have probably never heard of. The time span of these stories ranges from the past century all the way back to the Middle Ages.
The general format of the books are the same: a short 1-page story about the person covered that day with a Scripture reference at the end. If you want to find stories on a particular topic or theme, there is also an index at the end to help you out.
The purpose of any good devotional book is to briefly discuss a topic in your reading for that day, give you a Scripture reference, and then give you a question to consider or some type of focus for your prayer. At a functional level, this is where the book fails. I suppose that the stories are supposed to help you draw your own conclusions about a particular topic and how that person dealt with the issue, but it would have been nice to have had some unifying element to tie it all together and give you a way to carry that into your day. Also, the Scripture references appear to all be in the Contemporary English, so if you have an issue with that translation, you’ll probably want to tote your Bible along as well.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a change of pace that will supplement your existing devotion, you can’t go wrong with this one. The stories are short enough that they probably would only add 5 minutes or so to your time with God, and if you’re iffy on church history like I am and don’t know your Spurgeon from your Tozer, this can help you along. The majority of the people who are in this book don’t seem to be on that level, but maybe that is the charm–that ordinary people like you and me are what comprise the majority of the church.
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?—1 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV, 1984)