Devotionals


A "devotional time" or "quiet time" is a few minutes set aside, usually daily, to spend focused time with God. It can be done both individually and as a family (some suggestions, here and here). It is a great way to refocus and grow a bit spiritually on a daily basis and throughout the week. These times often include Scripture reading, prayer, and reading a resource that helps direct the time. Try to find a regular time and a quiet place. Here are some suggestions to making the most of the time:

SCRIPTURE READING:
  • Read through a single book of the Bible. You can read a short part or the whole book in one sitting each day. Ask God to speak to you through what you are reading, and read for the purpose of just becoming more familiar with the content of the Bible or to study it more deeply. "How to Read the Bible Book by Book" by Fee and Stuart (Amazon/CBD) is a good help along the way. A New Living Translation Bible is suggested for ease of reading, as mentioned in our FAQ page.
  • Read through part of or the whole Bible in a set period of time. YouVersion's Bible App (Android/iOS) has a variety of plans that can help with this.
  • Read through Psalms or Proverbs in a series. The Psalms are songs and prayers of God's people and Proverbs contain godly wisdom, valuable for young people today. There are 150 Psalms, so read one a day to finish them in 5 months, or 5 a day to finish in 1 month. There are 31 Proverbs, one for each day of the month!
PRAYER:
  • Many of us pray here and there to God, but oftentimes it is hard for us to spend more than a few seconds focusing on prayer. Because God doesn't often speak to us audibly, we really do need to read the Bible diligently to hear from him, and to spend some time in quietness praying to him.
  • Make sure distractions are limited. Turn off notifications and put away your phone or tablet. Turn off the TV and computer and be in a place where the things you see will not pull your attention away from God.
  • Close your eyes and think about what you have read in Scripture. Ask God to speak to you through what you have read and spend some time meditating and waiting on Him.
  • Consider writing out your thoughts in a journal. Some people will find it helpful to guide their thoughts. Don't worry about getting it "right" but just let your thoughts and words flow as they naturally would.
RESOURCES:
Have you wanted to spend some time with God but you're stuck in a rut?

WHAT KIND OF BIBLE SHOULD I HAVE?

The Bible is God's Word, and doesn't change. But there are many different translations of the Bible, and kids may actually benefit from having different Bibles at different period of times, because they change and develop in how they read and understand the Bible.

In our English worship service we use the 1984 version of the NIV Bible. Like the Chinese Union version, it has been very popular but is becoming outdated, and was refreshed in 2011 with some slight differences. There is a newer, more readable version called the NLT which uses language that is easier to understand for youth. Being a bit more friendly to teenagers, it is more likely to be read and understood on their own, especially with Bible study helps. There is also the ESV version, which is an accurate and more literal translation. It is generally recommended that youth have an NLT Bible, though if they already have an NIV Bible it may be fine to use. We have several kinds of NLT Bibles supplied at the church for immediate purchase. If your youth is in the last year or so of high school, relatively mature, and quite motivated to read their Bible on their own, you could consider buying them an ESV for their future years of study.

Here are some general suggestions for Bibles for kids of different ages in our church:
0-2 years old: Baby Bible Storybook, Bible for Me: 12 Favorite Stories and Quiet Time
8-12 years old: The NIV Adventure Bible
13-17 years old: An NLT Bible
18+ years old: An ESV Bible
FOR PARENTS:

"One Year of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters: 365 Opportunities to Grow Closer to God as a Family" by Nancy Guthrie (Amazon/CBD)

"Night Light for Parents: A Devotional" by James C. Dobson and Shirley Dobson (Amazon/CBD)

"Pillow Talk for Couples: Drawing Closer Before the Lights Go Out" by Les Parrott and Leslie Parrott 
(Amazon)

"Night Light: A Devotional for Couples" by James C. Dobson and Shirley Dobson 
(Amazon/CBD)

"21 Days to a Great Marriage: A Grownup Approach to Couplehood" by Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend 
(Amazon/CBD)

"The Love Dare" by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick 
(Amazon/CBD)
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