DAY-BY-DAY, ALL YEAR ROUND
THE LOVE DARE
STEPHEN E ALEX KENDRICK
From the movie Fireproof, a Christian cinematography hit with significant impact worldwide, comes the devotional series The Love Dare, especially dedicated to married couples facing a crisis, just like in the movie.
This is one of the best tools for restoring relationships by nurturing trust and union between the husband and the wife. It is not about changing your partner to be who we desire him/her to be, but about learning how to truly love. More than a feeling, love is also a decision.
The Love Dare is meant to be followed by the couple throughout forty days, with three daily elements. Each day hosts a healthy discussion about an aspect of love, as well as a challenge for the couple to devote themselves to, and ending with a blank space to register what they are learning, how they are reacting to the challenges and how each spouse is progressing through the program.
Dare to love, unconditionally!
THE LOVE DARE, BY STEPHEN & ALEX KENDRICK. PUBLISHED BY BV BOOKS – BRAZIL
ADVENT FOR EVERYONE
N. T. WRIGHT
“A Journey with the Apostles” is the subtitle given by N. T. Wright to a devotional specifically directed to the Advent season – four weeks of daily reading followed by the author’s own thoughts, helping the reader understand the preparation for Jesus’ birth.
The Advent, the “Coming,” refers to Jesus’ arrival, and Christians live in hope of Christ’s second coming. The author, an expert of theological teaching as only he could be, wrote this brief devotional with the goal of instructing Christ’s followers to personify the Advent community (not to be misunderstood with “Adventist”). Wright elaborated this work so that believers may be “people of light in a dark world, people of hope in times and places of despair.”
Advent for Everyone is not your common devotional, with a little reading and a prayer. Its structure requires dedicating of enough daily time to study what N. T. Wright transposes from the biblical passages, which are quite more than a short verse. Just as is his timbre, so Wright’s way of writing always strives to simplify his prose, smoothing its understanding.
Attention is given on a weekly basis to the following themes of the season: thanksgiving, patience, humility and joy. Each daily segment ends with challenges of reflective introspection to the reader, or to discuss in Bible study groups. Highly recommended to people “who truly follow Jesus.”
ADVENT FOR EVERYONE, BY N. T. WRIGHT, PUBLISHED BY WJK PRESS – USA
THE BREATH OF THE SOUL
The North American, award-winning author and Benedictine nun Joan Chittister is one of the most popular names of our day; not only by her books, which make a great emphasis on prayer, but also by her ministry as a world-class speaker.
The Portuguese publication of The Breath of the Soul by Paulinas Editora actually incorporates two books: The Breath of the Soul and God’s Tender Mercy.
The first one comprises forty-two reflections over time spent with God, which can help us acquire the right attitudes for prayer. In The Breath of the Soul, the author bases each section on a sentence from historical mentors in spirituality, from Julian of Norwich to Francis of Assisi, and then conferring her own personal touch, complementing it with a daily mnemonic, before finishing with a portion of Scripture. She suggests that these lessons should be read without following a definite order, but according to the reader’s interests.
The second, shorter part of this book delves into mercy, as well as the guilt and healing associated to it. According to the Portuguese publisher, this “2-in-1” book format is totally reasonable as it allows a broader look to the author’s full work, which calls for a mature spiritual walk.
Father Tolentino Mendonça praises Chittister as being a relevant author for those who seek inspiration and spirituality, “as was Thomas Merton in his time [read article on p. 29], or more recently, Henri Nouwen [p.20]”
THE BREATH OF THE SOUL, BY JOAN CHITTISTER, PUBLISHED BY PAULINAS EDITORA, LISBON
There’s nothing like a lively and stimulating reading to shrug off that morning grogginess and start your day better; but it’s even better when the author places a special emphasis on facing the day. Craig Groeschel has gotten us familiar with his innovating dynamism, yet he surprises us by doing it through an unexpected format – the devotional. The morning reading advises calm and peaceful meditation, which is still possible with Daily Power as we read the biblical verse that starts us off on our time with God.
As we move to Groeschel’s message, the “power” of his arguments, of his encouraging words, of him taking us from the depths of our inertia to raise us to the top of human empowering, makes this daily practice a true “spiritual gym.”
We can clearly see this project is well put together, with messages that are appropriate to each day.
And to finish the session with an extra “push” – the “Power Lift” – Craig challenges the reader to speak in the face of God, improving the trust and dependency in Christ needed for the rest of the day.