Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Devotional - A Weekly Encounter

This devotional grew out of my desire to “live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). My main concern was to focus on the hope promised us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Hence the title: A Weekly Encounter: Fifty-Two Meditations of Hope. It’s hopeful, for there’s the message of Jesus Christ’s resurrection and salvation throughout its pages.  Like other devotional books, this one not only quotes over many biblical passages, but also focuses on quotations drawn from BrainyQuotes, Goodreads, and the Dictionary of Quotations, to enhance the essays on these meditations.

Many of quotes used were used by famous and world-renowned personalities, such as Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), William Shakespeare (1564–1616), John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), Pope Francis (b. 1936), Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968), Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948), Billy Graham (b. 1918), Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), Aristotle (384 BC–322  BC), Voltaire (1694–1778), Confucius (551 BC–479 BC), and many more. These individuals are from diverse cultures, national origins, and creeds and have spanned the ages.

It was interesting to find that some secular and non-secular leaders often meditated on the magnanimity of the Creator. My objective, therefore, was to work their sayings into the basic teachings of Scripture and provide a “Thought of the Week” in Bible verses.
It’s hoped that a reader may focus each week on one of these fifty-two entries or spend much more time on the same meditation throughout the week. Each week’s meditation is generally broken down into smaller ones that are relevant to the main meditation discussed.
In pondering these Fifty-Two Meditations of Hope, a reader may find comfort in the following three helpful questions:

1)         What is your overall reaction to the meditation?
2)         Did the quotes in the meditation shed light on its contents?
3)         Did you find the meditation helpful?

At the conclusion of all fifty-two weekly entries, a reader may now answer a fourth question: “Finally, in the author’s message, was it clear that there was overall hope for redemption and salvation?”

Although the meditations are organized into various chapters, it isn’t necessary to read each in its proper sequence. A reader, if he or she likes, may choose to skip around and read what appeals to him or her on any particular week. Some may want to concentrate on a chapter at a time, while the more ambitious may read through the entire book of meditations in one sitting. What’s important is that you do what’s best and most convenient for you. You may even consider having a writing pad and pen handy to make notes as you explore and critique this book.

For more reading, I’ve carefully chosen books to include in the “Selected Readings” section for the further edification of readers. These are some of the more important Christian and non-Christian books I’ve read that have helped shape these devotions.

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