By Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Abingdon Press, 2016
Do you long for serenity and refuge, peace and hope? Are you seeking a deeper spiritual life through a closer relationship with God?
If you're tired of dwelling in busyness and noise, then perhaps one word a day can change your life. Award-winning author Lucinda Secrest McDowell knows that if you spend time each day turning to God's Word for wisdom and guidance, your faith can flourish and grow.
Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word---such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace---to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.
These "dwelling places" that offer the joy of God's promise and presence cover four seasons: fall, Advent, Lent, and summer. Whether in the midst of busy holiday schedules, holy days, ordinary moments, or changing seasons, a deeper faith can be as simple as a single word.
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Dwelling Places is an excellent devotional, unique in its focus on one word a day. It’s not a deep book, yet it delves into deep spiritual truths in a way that reflects on how God’s Word and our lives intersect. Lucinda Secrest McDowell draws from Scripture, personal experiences, and the words of classic writers – Amy Carmichael, Catherine Marshall, Andrew Murray, etc. – and the result is a collection of meditations that is informative and inspirational.
The meditations are even more meaningful because of their seasonal grouping into topics. Here are some examples:
Dwell (Fall) … abide, still, singing, refuge, home
Shine (Advent) … peace, stars, afraid, glorifies, thankful
Renew (Lent) … wept, defeated, sheep, near, engraved
Grow (Summer) … rooted, harvest, mature, unplowed
Something I found especially touching is the epilogue in which Lucinda shares a learning experience shortly after completing this devotional – how the nest is a refuge, a residency, and a release.
Dwelling Places is a great book to keep close at hand – as a way to begin your quiet time or simply when you need to get your mind in tune with God. And it can be used at the section for the current time of year. Each meditation ends with a short “God speaking to you” thought, which is purely based on Scripture.
I’d like to end with a quote from Elisabeth Elliot that spoke to me, taken from the meditation on “afraid” . . .
Without a clear understanding of the ultimate objective, the immediate objectives make no sense to us. But if we bear in mind that we shall, beyond any doubt whatsoever, finally dwell in the house of the Lord, settle down to stay in His presence, then the intermediate pastures and waters, even the valley of the shadow, are understood. They are stations and landings along the journey and they will not last long.
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is the author of 11 books, including Live These Wo rds, Amazed by Grace, and Quilts from Heaven. She has contributed to an additional 25 books and has been published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she speaks internationally through her ministry Encouraging Words. An award-winning writer who has earned accolades from prominent writers' conferences and retreats, McDowell has also worked in radio broadcasting, in retreat planning, and on church pastoral staffs. She writes from "Sunnyside" cottage in Connecticut.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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