Each Wednesday during Lent, I am suggesting some resource or activity which can assist the Christian in his or her spiritual growth. We’ve looked at a news magazine, a collection of prayers, several excellent books, and some recording artists. This week, I want to acknowledge my own tremendous debt to a variety of online resources, all of which are free.
If you would like a daily devotional delivered to your inbox, the choices are vast. Here are a few I’ve used in the past couple of years:
The Park Forum’s 843 Acres is a devotional blog which I have mentioned more than once in the past year. I can’t improve on their own description of it:
“…843 ACRES is the devotional blog affiliated with The Park Forum, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that seeks to promote Bible engagement in the urban church. In 400 words or less, 843 ACRES provides a devotional reflection on daily Bible readings.
It follows a modified version of the reading plan created by Scottish minister Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), which has been recommended by Ravi Zacharias, Charles Spurgeon and John Stott. Our version cuts his plan in half so that busy city folks can keep up! We will read two chapters per day and cover the entire NT and the Psalms as well as the latter half of the OT.
On weekdays only, 843 ACRES provides a devotional reflection. Therefore, on Fridays, we list the full weekend readings in the devotional post…”
The devotional material’s format varies according to the day. For instance, Tweetable Tuesday is arranged as a series of brief “tweets”. Throwback Thursday is always a brief piece of writing from some well-known past Christian author, which relates to the Bible reading for the day. I’ve been quite impressed with the scope and the depth of insight in this blog, especially given its brevity. As is true of most blogs, you can subscribe via email and read it in your inbox.
d365.org is another daily devotional. It is even briefer than Park Forum’s. Beginning with a theme for the week (or for the season, as you can subscribe for only the Lenten and/or Advent seasons), the website guides you through five screens: Pause, Listen, Think, Pray and Go. Each day includes a scripture text, devotional thought and prayer. The site is attractive and very streamlined for easy navigation. I personally find the writing here to be a bit too brief, but if you’ve wanted to begin your day with something sacred and have limited time, this is not a bad place to start. (Note: if you click on the word MENU in the upper left corner you can find archives for all of 2012 and 2013 as well as this year.)
A nice bonus feature is the excellent instrumental music (you can opt to turn it off) to aid in your meditation. Several very fine musicians (including Ken Medema) have arranged and perform sacred music for this site. The musical selection for that day will loop continuously on your computer if you leave the site’s window open on your desktop, lending a pleasant background to the reading of other devotional material.
300 Words a Day is an impressive Wordpress blog I have referenced in the past. It’s written five days a week by a personal friend of mine, Pastor Jon Swanson. I’ve always found Jon to be insightful, practical and transparent in his writing. His contemporary, story-telling approach to Scripture makes “old” stories feel fresh and newly-relevant.
Jon has also written several books which are available in e-book form, including one for this time of year, Lent for Non-Lent People. This book is available for Kindle and Nook apps, as well as in paperback. It includes short readings for every day of the week, each week during the Lenten season, plus Easter Sunday and four more readings after Easter for further reflection.
(And in fact this book is not free…the e-version costs 99 cents. You should definitely buy it. There’s a link from his website.)
I hope that one of these sites may prove to be a blessing to you as you seek to follow Christ more nearly.