Book Review | The Wonder of Advent Devotional

The Wonder of Advent Devotional
by Chris  Tiegreen

I am a sucker for a good Advent or Christmas devotional book and I read several of them every year through the Christmas season.  No matter how many times I read through the Christmas story in the Gospels, I love the fresh look and the new lessons.  Besides that, with Christmas comes BUSY, so spending a few quiet moments tucked away with a devotional that brings you into focus and helps you bring it all back to Jesus instead of allowing yourself to get carried away by cookies and presents and decorating and doing, doing, doing and stuff…well, that’s a beautiful thing,  So, when I saw that Chris Tiegreen (one  of my favorite devotional writers) released The Wonder of Advent Devotional, I knew it had to  be one of my Christmas reads this year.

The book actually begins with extremely  brief readings for the last week of November. These are to prepare your heart for Advent and each takes less than five minutes to read.  Following the week of Preparation, the book then offers a slightly longer devotional for each day in December.  Each devotion concludes with a brief prayer, a moment  of reflection, an opportunity for further reading in Scripture, and a few lines from  a Christmas carol.

It’s  a beautiful book with the gold lettering  on the cover and the thoughtful reflections included in the text.  One of my favorite passages was, “God has no need to impress.  He is completely secure and excruciatingly patient.  He has the subtlety of an artist and the precision of an engineer.  He is content to dress in unassuming clothes until  the eyes of faith recognize him.”  I’ll  be enjoying this devotional myself this December, but it could also make  a lovely gift for someone else.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Disclaimer: Heather King is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Book Review: The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional

The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional: 365 Days of Intimate Communication with God
by Chris Tiegreen

Several years ago, I received one of Chris Tiegreen’s One Year Devotionals as a Christmas present.  I’m usually a devotional critic, expecting more meat and substance to be packed in than most devotionals really deliver.  Yet, I fell in love with Tiegreen’s style and made that Christmas present part of my daily reading all year long. Since then, I’ve used several of his devotionals as part of my regular quiet time.  I choose them because I know what to expect—quick, to-the-point writing that gives me some new way of looking at a particular verse or gives me something deeper to meditate on throughout the day, which is exactly what I’m looking for.hearinghisvoice

His book, The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional, follows the same format and style that I love.  Each entry begins with a Scripture, includes a one-page devotional thought and ends with a few lines of prayer.  Nothing fancy or elaborate, but still thoughtful and contemplative.  I like how his devotionals follow a particular theme for the entire year, in this case hearing God’s voice.  Right from the beginning, he addresses the skeptics who think surely God doesn’t speak to us directly. He highlights that it is the nature of God to speak and it is His desire to have a relationship with us.

I’m likely the only person to feel this way, but the only part of the book I didn’t like so much were the occasional entries written “From the Heart of God,” in the same style as the popular book, Jesus Calling.  About once a week, he has included these entries written as if God were speaking directly to the reader.  It does fit with the book’s theme of God speaking, but I have to say I prefer devotionals written from a third-person perspective.

Other than that personal preference, I have enjoyed the One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional and look forward to continuing to use Chris Tiegreen devotionals as part of my quiet time in the future.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

365 Pocket Devotions, Book Review

365 Pocket Devotions: Inspiration and Renewal for Each New Day
by Chris Tiegreen

This little book, 365 Pocket Devotions: Inspiration and Renewal for Each New Day, is another treasure from Chris Tiegreen, author of various One Year devotionals.  I fell in love with Tiegreen’s book, The One Year Worship the King devotional a few years ago, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to spend a year with his insights into Scripture again. pocketdevotions

The devotions in this pocket-sized book are shorter than most and aren’t necessarily the deepest of in-depth Bible studies.  Yet, I do find they often provide more insight and things to think about than many other devotions you could choose.  Often, he’ll look at a passage or concept in enough of a fresh way to stir me into deeper thought, deeper study, deeper prayer—and that’s the beauty of a well-written devotion.   It’s not utter fluff that leaves no impact.  It’s a stirring of the heart and mind to seek for more of God and His Word.

I love that the entries in this book are not firmly linked to the calendar.  Instead, they simply are marked as “Day 1….Day 2….etc.”  That means you can start any time you feel like it rather than waiting for January 1 to roll around.  It also means if you fall behind, there’s no need to catch up.  You just keep going where you are left off.  Days one through five in each week are regular devotions with extra short offerings on days six and seven (presumably when you might hit on a weekend day if you are reading Monday to Sunday).

Perfect for that first moment with God every morning or the last thing you read before sleeping at night, these pocket devotions could really fit in any time of the day, slip into a purse or car easily, and bring a little fresh inspiration into your Christian walk.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Weekend Walk, 09/03/2011

I hated missing out on last week’s Weekend Walk and the opportunity to choose a verse to meditate on all week.  I hope you blazed ahead without me and chose a verse of your own.  If not, I’ll get us back on track today!

Hiding the Word:

At Women of Faith, my friend leaned over and pointed to a verse in her prayer journal that she had underlined.  It was perfect as we contemplated the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene.  The day after the storm, I opened my devotional and found the exact same verse.  When God repeats Himself, I have learned to listen.  So, my verse for this week is simple and sweet:

Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:20

This week, I’m committed to contemplating the ever-constant presence of Christ in my life.  I want to be aware of Him rather than distant from Him.  I want to rely on Him rather than be independent.

Weekend Rerun:

Your Comforts Delight My Soul, Originally Posted 02/21/2011

Last night I had a terrible dream that I was preparing to lead worship—sitting at the piano all ready to go—when I saw my cell phone bill.  Obviously, in dreams it makes total sense that I’m checking my mail just before the music starts.  Anyway, I looked at that bill and it was $1,717. Then the music started and I couldn’t worship.  I couldn’t figure out what words to sing or what notes to play.  I was playing a different song than the congregation was singing.  It was a disaster.

Obviously, I woke up in a cold sweat from this dream (who wouldn’t be freaked out by a cell phone bill and public disaster like that) and couldn’t get back to sleep for a while.  I was anxious and worried about something that only existed in my dreamworld.

Today, as I was doing my devotions, I was reminded of how so much of my worry is about “fantasy situations”—the what if’s I stress over that never actually come true.  These anxious thoughts also always affect my worship.  It is just not possible to fret and praise at the same time.

In her book, Me, Myself and Lies, Jennifer Rothschild notes that the Old English and Old High German origins of our word “worry” mean “to strangle.”  Indeed, worry strangles us, choking out hope, joy, trust and, as it says in her book, “the life-giving truth that should be filling our thought closets” (p.23).

The Psalmist wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV). I have always loved that verse and I copy it into my journal every time I read it in my devotional time.  Yet, it’s not something I find easy to do.

It’s difficult sometimes to hand over our thought lives to God.  Even though we know worry harms us and our relationship with God, we don’t want God to search our hearts and test our thoughts.  Somehow worrying makes us feel in control and we feel that handing over our anxieties means truly relinquishing any modicum of control we have in our lives.

Thomas Merton said, “Anxiety comes from strain, and strain is caused by too complete a dependence on ourselves.”  It’s true that when it’s broken down, worry essentially is a lack of trust or dependence on God.  We’re telling Him—“we know that Scripture promises us You will provide, You will comfort, You will bring peace, You will be our Advocate, but I’d rather just depend on my ability to fix my circumstances.  Thanks anyway, God”

Chris Tiegreen in Worship The King goes one step even farther than that.  He calls our fear “anti-worship.”  In his devotional, he writes:

But we who worship God cannot praise him with such insecurities.  Our fears are a form of anti-worship–a clear declaration that our God might not have promised us enough, or might not be able to follow through on what He has promised.  Yes, He will let us go through hard things, but never outside of His timing or beyond His protection. So worship Him.  And don’t worry about it.

Refusing to worry, fret, stress, fear and be anxious doesn’t come to us naturally.  It is a discipline of the heart and mind.  We must reject anxious thoughts, deny our emotions the opportunity to take over our lives, and fill up with the truth of God’s Word and His promises to us.

In Psalm 94:19 it says, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Take delight in His comfort today and consciously choose trust over fear.

In Kathryn Scott’s song, At the Foot of the Cross, she sings, “I lay every burden down at the foot of the cross.”  That’s the best place for those burdens to be—not on our back, but at His feet.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King