by Pearson Johnson, Director of Student Care
I wanted to take a few minutes in our blog to recommend a newer series of devotional books that have recently been published by P&R Publishers called "31-Day Devotionals for Life." This series makes a valuable contribution to the biblical counseling efforts of pastors and counselors as an additional means to help, by God's Word, strengthen those who are struggling with different life issues.
Deepak Reju, the series editor, is engaged in helping others not only as a writer and editor, but primarily as a pastor. He is an Associate Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, where he serves alongside of Mark Dever with primarily responsibility ot oversee the biblical counseling and family ministries of the church. A number of years ago, I had the privilege of talking to Deepak in his office at CHBC. He has a pastor's heart and burden to apply God's Word to the discipleship and counseling needs of church and community members. His entry in the series: Pornography: Fighting for Purity is very helpful.
I am currently reviewing the devotional by David R. Dunham called Addictive Habits: Changing for Good. David is the Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Counseling at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Roseville, MI (Cornerstone is Pastored by BJU grad Bob Johnson). Dunham's main contention is that "God has much to say in his Word about addictions" (11). In each of the 31 day devotionals, a scriptural passage is given as the focus and a teaching of about two pages is provided with a point of reflection and application at the end. The devotional is designed to be a tool to accompany personal, pastoral, and counseling encouragement to help orient your thoughts and actions toward the gospel (13).
Dunham divides his 31 days into four parts that form a structure for thinking about addictive habits. The first is responsibility. "Freedom begins with our willingess to accept our own role in cultivating our addictive habts" (16) . The second is relationship, reminding us that lasting change "doesn't happen simply through behavior modification," but through our relationship to Jesus Christ and his church (34). The third section, restructuring, is very practical in helping us change patterns of life to avoid and deal with the often inevitable temptations and failures that come with this struggle (53). Finally, the devotional concludes with remaining, a series of encouraging devotions on staying faithful for life (70). Dunham has structured the devotionals in a way that really helps us think biblically about the multi-faceted approach to fighting addictive habits.
I concur with the way Reju describes the overall series of devotionals: "like rain filling up a bucket. It's slow and it builds over time" (9). Some of the greatest needs in a counseling relationship or personal struggle are not one-time revelations or someone with special knowledge, but the steady, personal application of God's Word through preaching, teaching, life-on-life ministry, and personal study. These "regular means of grace" remind us of truth, re-orient our minds and hearts, and redirect our path forward according to God's Word.
I would recommend doing what I have done-- order a few of them for personal reading and then pass them on to those with specific needs in the areas addressed. You will find these devotionals to be very accessible, helpful and practical tools for growth and ministry.