My Best Book of 2011

Yes, I do know that it is now 2012.  But it just occurred to me that I never shared with you the book which most impacted my life in 2011.

It’s a wonderful little devotional book: Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young.  Most of you probably already know about it.  It seems every time I recommend it to someone, they already have it.  It has been around a while (published in 2004).  But I had not heard of it until a friend gave me a copy last spring.  Since then, I have been reading it pretty much daily.  And day after day, I have the feeling she’s writing just for me.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say He wrote this just for me, as the book is based on scripture verses for each day that Sarah Young has loosely paraphrased in the first person—as if Jesus is talking directly to you.  I love that the verses from which she’s writing are included at the bottom of each day’s reading.  It’s a great way to find yourself dipping into words from God that you may not have encountered in a while.

The underlying theme is captured in the subtitle: Enjoying Peace in His Presence.  Morning after morning, we are encouraged to be aware of our Savior’s presence with us throughout the day, whatever may happen.  Here’s an example:

“I want you to learn a new habit.  Try saying, ‘I trust you, Jesus’ in response to whatever happens to you. . . . This simple practice will help you see me in every situation, acknowledging my sovereign control over the universe.  When you view things from this perspective . . . fear loses its grip on you. . . .”  (January 4 entry)

The concept of living in His presence all day long, trusting Him for that day and trusting Him for the future, is certainly not a new one.  It’s as old as scripture.  And as I read, I am often reminded of Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God and John Ortberg’s God Is Closer Than You Think.  Both wonderful books.  But somehow—maybe because she is a woman?—Sarah Young seems to strike even closer to the bone.

Of course it’s really God Himself—and His words—that do this.  But thank you, Sarah Young, for reminding us!

A closing word for today (January 17) just in case you don’t yet have this book:

“Come to me with a thankful heart, so that you can enjoy My Presence.  This is the day that I have made.  I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow. . . . Come to me with all your needs, knowing that my glorious riches are a more-than-adequate supply.  Stay in continual communication with me, so that you can live above your circumstances even while you are in the midst of them. . . .” (Psalm 118:24; Philippians 4:19, 6-7 NASB)

Good words for me today—and for you, too!