on FAMILY and FRIENDS
A Two-Year Series of
Bible-Based Devotional Thoughts
by Perry Thomas
Aids to the devotional life come in all types and topics, all shapes and sizes. What’s so special about this two-year series of devotional messages?
Two obvious things:
• First of all, it’s free for the downloading, rather than being published with a price tag.
• Also, it has been arranged week by week rather than day by day. (Don’t you sometimes need a spiritual lift between Sundays? Isn’t that why we used to have midweek prayer meetings?)
Something else that’s different:
• These MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS are written partly in prose and partly in poetry.
• Other distinctive features include a special focus on Jesus’ earthly ancestors, and on women and girls in the Bible.
Are you allergic to poetry? Have you ever been bored or puzzled by poetry in the past? Do you tend to think that any poem on a religious theme is likely to be either too obvious or too obscure, or else it’s likely to be suitable only for use as the clincher in a sermon?
Maybe this two-year series of devotional thoughts entitled MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS can help you take a new and fresh look. Many spiritual truths are indeed best expressed in prose; others seem to demand the medium of poetry.
The 104 poems included in these two years of MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS are not long or obscure. They are direct and down to earth — even conversational in tone. Often they have been put into the mouths of familiar (and not-so-familiar) Bible characters.
All of them have been written with rhyme and meter, in a variety of traditional styles. Some of them deliberately echo the sound and cadence of old-time ballads.
Each Bible-based meditation in poetic form has been
prefaced with a brief Scriptural quotation and a brief prose
section offering commentary or explanation relating to the quoted Bible verse or verses. Some of the present-day incidents related in these prose sections use changed names, but all of the stories are true. After the Bible-based poetic meditation, each devotional thought then ends with a brief suggested prayer.
If you printed it out, each week’s devotional thought in these two full years of MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS would average less than three pages — just long enough for a few quiet moments of personal devotion.
Notice how the over-all title FAMILY and FRIENDS also fits with week 1 of MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS, the devotional message “From Such as These Christ Jesus Came”:
• Each one of these 104 devotionals grows out of the miraculous incarnation of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who for our sake was willing to become a human being like us – yet without sin.
• Each one of these two years of meditations also speaks of human relationships, of FAMILY and FRIENDS, as highlighted by taking a fresh look at many different Bible characters.
Do you sometimes tend to feel — even subconsciously perhaps — that the great men and women of the Bible were really superhuman? Even though we can read about the all-too-human flaws of Abraham and Sarah, of Moses and David, of Peter and Paul, we still somehow suspect that they were made of different stuff than we are.
Yet James 5:17-18 reminds us that “Elijah was a man just like us.” These verses then go on to tell us how God did extraordinary things in response to the prayers of this ordinary man.
Notice that there are several subgroups within this series of devotional thoughts focusing on Bible characters. Over the two-year span, each of the eight quarters begins with one or more general meditations on “Family and Friends.” There are also two seasonal subgroups, “Passion/Easter” and “Advent/Christmas.”
Beyond that, you will find subgroups of devotional thoughts about “Wives and Husbands,” about “Mothers” and “Daughters,” about “Fathers” and “Sons,” about “Sisters” and “Brothers.” Nor do these Scriptural meditations leave out “Singles,” “Grandparents,” or “Enterprising Women.”
The devotional thoughts within each subgroup are arranged in approximate chronological order, according to when the various Bible characters appear in the broad Scriptural narrative. In other words, Old Testament people tend to appear in the earlier part of each subgroup and New Testament people in the later part.
Among the 104 poetic meditations, a good half of them express the thoughts of notable women and girls in the Bible.
An index to all of these subgroups, and to the devotional thoughts placed within each one of them, may be found under the heading MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS: Index. Another index, referencing all of the Bible verses used, has also been included.
You might be interested to know that this is not my first attempt at writing devotional materials. Many of my earlier Scriptural meditations have appeared in such publications as (among others) Adventure, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, Open Windows, Encounter! and Reflections.
How can you gain free access to all of MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS on FAMILY and FRIENDS?
The full two-year series will be appearing week by week, from New Year’s 2015 on through Christmas 2016, in the form of a weekly blog. Just go to blog.PerryThomasBooks.com. You may also sign up as a (free) subscriber and receive the current installment by email every week. You may read these Bible-based devotional thoughts online, or you may download and print them out for reading, as you prefer.
How, then, should this series of downloadable devotional thoughts be used?
That’s up to you.
• MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS could become an aid to private devotionals once a week for two full years (or, once a day over a period of three to four months, if you prefer to wait till the entire series has been made available online).
• MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS could be used in a family setting. (Notice carefully, however, that not all of these devotional thoughts are appropriate for children.)
• MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS could offer helpful materials for preparing brief devotional messages, or for enriching sermons or Bible lessons that focus on Bible characters. For this third purpose, note the comprehensive index of Bible verses already mentioned above.
However you use this devotional series, remember that the Bible-based poetic lines within it will take on deeper significance if you read them aloud. This is true of any kind of poetry. It is especially true of these poetic meditations, since reading them aloud – even in a whisper – can help you hear again the voices of long-ago men and women, boys and girls.
As you begin to read MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS, remember that the Bible characters featured in this devotional series were much like your own FAMILY and FRIENDS . . . and yet, also remember that “From Such as These Christ Jesus Came.”
And while you’re remembering, . . . please remember that not all of my writings can be offered free of charge, as this two-year devotional series is.
Be sure to visit the websites www.PerryThomasBooks.com and www.ParsonPlacePress.com. Note helpful information about other writings by the author of MIDWEEK MEDITATIONS on FAMILY and FRIENDS.
Unless otherwise stated or marked, all Scripture quotations in this online devotional series have been taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. “NIV” and “NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society.
Certain Scripture quotations in this online devotional series (marked GNT) have been taken from the GOOD NEWS BIBLE, GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION, Second Edition. Copyright © American Bible Society, 1992. Old Testament Copyright © American Bible Society 1976, 1992. New Testament Copyright © American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992. Used by permission of American Bible Society.
Certain Scripture quotations in this online devotional series (marked CEV) have also been taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION. Copyright © American Bible Society, 1995. Used by permission of American Bible Society.
Other Scripture quotations in this online devotional series are properly credited where used.
Copyright © 2014 by Perry Thomas