JASON JANZ, Journey Forth (BJU Press), 155 Pages, Paper, $9.95
As a new year approaches, many people would like their devotional life to be better—not another year of broken resolutions, guilt over a shorter and shorter time spent with God, and meaninglessness in what they do in a “quiet time.” Here is a perfect book with a doable plan.
Many people pick out some devotional and try to keep on schedule reading it. But Janz shows pitfalls in this mode. He begins his book by showing that we must see devotions as more than just reading something; it’s building a more intimate relationship with God, having a proper foundation for our spiritual growth, and ever keeping before ourselves the needs for these. Otherwise our efforts will drop away.
One of the great chapters in the book has to do with various myths that short-circuit our endeavors to have a true time with God. Janz counters each one with a statement of truth and explanation. After this chapter comes his eight-step plan to follow and what can be included in each. That way, the pursuer gets beyond perfunctory reading and perhaps a bit of generality praying. Following this material, the author focuses on meditation and also the effect that purposeful devotions can have on others if what we do gets into our heart.
The appendix material is designed to accompany the plan of the book. For example, concerning confession, one of the eight steps, there is a long list of sins mentioned in the Bible—personal, national, church, etc.—that we can forget and thus not be specific in our prayers. For another of the steps—adoration—there is a list of the names of God identified in Scripture. These are important in so doing.
One cannot imagine a person not improving in a close walk with God by seriously and diligently using this Scriptural book as a guide.