“I Lift Up My Soul” by Charles Stanley (REVIEW)

I Lift Up My Soul: Devotions to Start Your Day with God by Charles Stanley is a short devotional book.   The format is basic with a Scripture passage to read, a verse, a few paragraphs of inspiration and a sentence prayer.  Each devotion fills a single page and can be read from start to finish in less than 5 minutes.

Though the devotional thoughts are short, they are not without merit.  I found each thought to be both challenging and engaging.  Many of the devotional thoughts were very inspirational and call for serious reflection.

Though I wouldn’t recommend this book to be the sum total of a believer’s daily time in God’s word, I would recommend this book for other uses where a short devotional thought is appropriate.  I could easily see this book being read by a family at the breakfast table before they scatter for the day, or an individual taking it to the office and reading the devotional thought during a quick coffee break, or even as a starter for someone who isn’t into reading (get an audio bible), but wants to start somewhere.

I recommend I Lift Up My Soul: Devotions to Start Your Day with God to anyone wanting to share a light devotional thought each day.  The retail price is $19.99 (hardcover), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $13.95. I gave it four stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. 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.”

 

Balancing Ministry And Family (Part 1:Children)

My dad was a pastor and church planter while I was growing up.  He would often work a regular job, pastor a small church, and do a bible study and some ground work in a community or ranch (sometimes up to 60 miles away) that would lead to a church plant.  Needless to say he was busy.  (Oh, and I forgot to mention there were four of us kids, all begging for his attention.) Yet, unlike several PK’s (pastor’s kids) I knew my dad always had time for me.  I never felt like I was in competition with the church or the ministry for his time.

http://mrg.bz/FSOPLN

Perhaps this was because my Dad was incredibly gifted in balancing his time.  I still remember the fishing trips to a bend in the river 15 miles outside of town, the fossil hunting expeditions, catching snakes, looking for arrowheads, discovering a dinosaur bone, and pestering him while he worked on the car that always seemed to stay broken.  My favorite memories though are the weekly trips we would take out to a Bible study he was leading.  I was blessed to have a 45 minute ride each way with my dad.  All along the way there we would talk about life.  All the way back we would listen to radio preachers like John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, and Chuck Swindoll.

So then fast forward several years and now I’m an Associate Pastor of Students, taking graduate classes, and have my own little girl looking at both the ministry and my daughter thinking (with all of my other responsabilaties) that there isn’t enough time in the day.  How did my dad ever do it?  Then I realize that he didn’t view his time with me and ministry as in competition, but as a complimentary.  Sure we took special trips to hunt for arrowheads or go fishing (Quality time) but along the way he was sure to get plenty of time (quantity time) with me along the way through taking me along on some of his ministry outings.

So I stole a page from my dad’s playbook when it comes to stretching the hours in a day.  I take my little girl to the sporting events that our students are playing in.  Last week we went to three different games.  She got to watch a basketball game, a race, and a football game all in one week.  With my wife being a stay at home mom and pregnant with baby number 2, this works out well to give her a little personal mom time while Rebekah and I hang out and cheer our students on.

We also schedule consistent father daughter hangout time.  Right now because of her age its usually pancakes at McDonald’s every Friday morning.  She usually hangs out with me after I run in the evenings and I tell her everything I did that day (which has evolved into her telling me about her day… very strange for a 3 year old).  Sometimes I’ll walk instead of run so she can “run” with me around our neighborhood.

How do you ensure that you are spending quality time with your children when you are busy?