A Year with God by Richard Foster (Julia L. Roller, ed.)

I have long been a fan of Richard Foster starting back with the classic Celebration of Discipline (now a 25th anniversary edition) and the aptly named Devotional Classics. But I will admit that, despite collecting a number of his other books and the The Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible, I haven’t read as much of his work as I would like. 

So when I saw that he had come out with a daily reading orientated work, A Year with God: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines, I knew I should check it out.  I am glad I did as it turned out to be just what I needed: a short but insightful and inspirational daily reading.

Here is the publishers description:

Many people are longing to find the footprint of God in their daily lives. This beautiful daily companion is comprised of 365 selections of scripture, commentary, meditations, and daily exercises to help readers see how they can bring their entire life into a life with Immanuel – a God who is with his people. In Richard Foster’s best-selling book, Celebration of Discipline, he explored the “classic disciplines,” or central spiritual practices of the Christian faith. Foster showed that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found.

In A Year with God, the spiritual disciplines are presented in such a way that does not destroy the soul but enables the reader to enter into a transforming life with God. Through daily spiritual exercises and meditations, A Year with God explores eighteen spiritual disciplines. The inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service help prepare one to make the world a better place. The corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration bring one nearer to others and to God. Each discipline will be given twenty days of readings, beginning with scripture and followed by commentary, a meditation, and a spiritual exercise. Practicing these spiritual disciplines will help readers live intentionally, contributing to a more balanced spiritual life and a reformation of the inner self.

For more of my thoughts, see below.

The challenge of any daily reading source is the balance between too little and too much. Too little substance and it feels like fluff – which in the long run will keep you from using it. Too much substance can be a time challenge and also has the danger of discouraging use or follow through.

A Year With God balances this tension very well. It is well laid out, has a specific perspective (The With God Life) and offers enough depth to make the short reading worthwhile. It also has a cumulative effect in that each day and section builds on each other – instead of seemingly random meditations that other readings often have.

If you have read other Foster works – or are using the Renovare Bible- it has the added benefit of blending in well.  if you have not read Foster, it strikes me as a great introduction.

I have been able to use this resources for over a month so far and have felt I wanted to read it every day and that it was worth taking the time to do so.  And that is worth something.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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