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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Non-fiction Book Review: Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles

Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles: 25 Keys to Having Memorable Devotions, by John O’Malley is a book you’ll not want to miss!

Have you ever experienced “mind block” about devotions? Are you at a blah plateau? Do you often read the Bible and ten minutes later not have any clue what you just read? Do you compare yourself to the Pinterest/Facebook “perfect devotions” people? (You know, the ones who take pictures of their open Bible, quiet place on the porch, coffee cup beside their Bible, and notebook half-filled.) Do you think you fall short? Do you have problems concentrating—or is your mind on the rest of your day?

The author takes on each of these obstacles and more, but he also shares how to change the way you view personal devotions. He challenges you to slow down, get serious, stop comparing, and actually communicate with God. In the Introduction, Mr. O’Malley says, “Your time with God each day must become the moment where you pause your life and listen to God.” He says he wants to “take my reader from the Bible learning classroom on a field trip to a place called Bible Living.”

This book offers several different practical plans to revolutionize your private time with God. What I especially liked is that he lets you pick and choose what you want to try—finding the plan that might work for you. He doesn’t have one pat solution for each problem. He offers several different ways to approach devotions and overcome each obstacle.

Another plus is that the language is simple. It makes Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles an easily teachable book. You might want to teach it in your Sunday school class or in your Bible study group. It’s so easy to follow his acrostics, ideas for cards (He loves 3 x 5” cards!), and other ideas for effective devotions. (Have you ever thought of listening to sea sounds while reading your Bible?)

The ideas are original and innovative, as well as varied.

I enjoyed the author’s personal illustrations, as well. I cracked up reading about his breakfast in Dubai! Being a missionary who didn’t know a word of Spanish when we came to Spain, I really identified with this experience. There are several more, and I know you’ll enjoy his personal touches.

After you’ve read through the book, you’ll want to download the outlines of the plans you’d like to try. Mr. O’Malley has made Internet links to all of them, and you’re welcome to print out and use his nifty outlines. Also, he urges readers to give him feedback and ask questions.

I think this is one of the best books about personal devotions I’ve ever read. I would even say it’s a “Christian must-read.” We all need it! No one has perfect devotions (not even those people who take awesome photos), and we all can use some of these ideas to fix problems, change it up, and enrich our time with the Lord. It’s a great teaching tool, as well. I can totally recommend Overcoming Your Devotional Obstacles to you and your family. (It’s perfect for junior high age through adults. This book would be great to use along with homeschool Bible classes or family devotions.)


Mr. O'Malley gave me his book in exchange for an honest review.

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