Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dwelling Places by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

McDowell has written inspiring explorations of 130 words. She has compiled the writings into seasons, paralleling the rhythm of life. Her writing was shaped by her experience of living with Elizabeth Elliot when McDowell was a young seminarian. Helping with the housekeeping, driving, typing manuscripts for Elizabeth, McDowell was encouraged to follow God's call to write. I'm glad she did.

Each of the devotions is a good lesson on an aspect of the Christian life. McDowell includes Scripture quotes, examples from her own life and the lives of others. She sometimes includes thought provoking questions and other times has practical suggestions with particular steps to take. Each devotion takes just a few minutes to read and provides insight into spiritual growth.

I think my favorite devotion was the one on “still.” I like it because it spoke to me the “loudest.” Being still is hard in this society that includes so many distractions. I was reminded I needed “training in how to discern the movement of God's Spirit in ordinary and everyday circumstances.” I need a designated time for stillness and listening. McDowell encouraged me to find a time and place to make stillness a regular habit.

I liked the variety McDowell offers. I mean, have you ever read a devotional that gave a spiritual lesson on kudzu? That writing gave me a new understanding of what it means that Jesus is the vine.

I highly recommend this devotional. It need not be read from cover to cover or daily, as a book with 365 devotions might be. One can choose a word for the day that might best address current circumstances. Some of the devotions are about seasons in the liturgical year and could be read during Lent or Advent. It is a nice resource to keep handy for spiritual encouragement and insight.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is the author of eleven books. She has contributed to an additional 25 books and has been published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she speaks internationally at conferences and retreats. She writes in her cottage in Connecticut.

Abingdon Press, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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