I have some friends who absolutely LOVE devotionals. (I can think of one person who is usually going through two or three at a time!) A devotional is a collection of “devotions” or short spiritual reflections, typically about the intersection of life and Scripture. Personally, I don’t gravitate towards them. I love Bible study, and I’ve seen some people pick up a light devotional and never go deeper, or never get past reading someone else’s words about the Bible rather than encountering the Bible for themselves! But I have come to see that devotionals, in their place and time, can be a great tool to help us learn how to live more and love more like Jesus.
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#1 A devotional can help you love more like Jesus by making it easier to build a daily habit of spending time with Him.
A devotional’s greatest strength might be its size. Each day’s devotion is short, maybe a page or two, and will only take a few minutes to read. In both size and content, they are typically not very intimidating, so if you are trying to build (or rebuild) a daily habit of spending time with God, a devotional is a great place to start. Remember, small weights, lots of reps!
#2 A devotional can help you reflect on your life and walk with God.
Devotionals typically have one or a few reflection questions at the end of each day’s reading, inviting you to reflect on the topic, to bring it before God, and apply it to your life. If our reading is only “one-way” information, we aren’t going to learn to love like Jesus, but if we engage with it through journaling and reflection, this is where the change starts to take place.
#3 A devotional can help cure the all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to spending time with God.
This was the thing that sold me on devotionals. Like I mentioned before, I love Bible study! But there are seasons in life where we are just struggling to have that time to soak. Sometimes we are struggling with time, and sometimes we’re struggling with just the mental bandwidth to be able to process (and all the mamas of infants said “amen!”). It can be easy during those seasons to give up on Bible study or on time with God altogether, either for a day or even for weeks or months at a time. A devotional is a great way to avoid that all-or-nothing thinking and commit to spending time with God every day, even if it’s just a minute or two. I remember picking up Priscilla Shirer’s Awaken during one of these seasons. It was my “no excuses” devotion. It didn’t mean I wasn’t going to do the work; it just meant that if I was fried, my best was enough, and a few minutes was better than zero minutes.
My Review of LoveMORE
Things I liked:
- Some devotionals are fluff. This one is not. There was some good study behind this devotional, and it shows!
- The reflection questions are good. As a writer, this is one of the hardest parts about writing devotionals and Bible studies that are effective: creating questions that a) make sense and b) help you make connections and apply God’s word to your real life. This is where the change happens.
- I really enjoyed the word studies of different biblical words for love that appeared throughout the book.
Things that weren’t my favorite:
- The word studies – which I loved – and some other stories showed up in between the daily readings. This made it a bit confusing stuff to know when I was supposed to be reading what.
- There are a handful of places where the language used is a little too “seminary” and could be difficult for some readers.
- I didn’t always make the connection between the points the writers were trying to make, or between each devotion and the overarching theme of loving more like Jesus. This doesn’t make it a bad devotional; it just means it didn’t all seem to tie to the theme.
Overall, I would recommend LoveMORE if you are devotional lover or if you are trying to find a place to start spending time with God every day that also gives you a taste of some deeper study.
LoveMORE is on Tour with Celebrate Lit!
About the Book
Authors: Marta E Greenman and Maureen H Maldonado
Genre: Christian Devotional
Release Date: April, 2023
The Bible tells believers to love one another, yet the world’s definition of love greatly differs from what God teaches. Come join us and explore how God’s love transforms our thinking and actions. You can begin to apply these methods to your own life and become a vessel God can use to show His love to all in need.
- Loving Like Jesus can be difficult at times.
- The individual Hebrew and Greek meanings of love in Scripture.
- How to apply God’s strategies to our everyday life to LoveMORE.
- Love is an action, not a feeling.
This 30-Day Devotional gives an in-depth look at Scripture and how to love God’s way. Join us today.Click here to get your copy!
About the Authors
Marta left corporate America in 1998 to become a staff missionary with a church-planting organization known today as e3Partners. She led American churches in planting new ones with international church partners. During this period, Marta spent much of her time in the field on evangelism and discipleship, traveling to Colombia, Mexico, Moldova, Peru, Romania, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe. She also had the privilege of leading women’s conferences in biblical training.
Marta began teaching inductive Bible studies in 1997 at her home church, where she taught faithfully for fifteen years. Debbie Stuart, the former women’s ministry director, said, “Marta Greenman is a master teacher, weaving biblical principles, personal stories, and clear application with every lesson. She walks in truth, loves the Word, and has dedicated her life to teaching that truth to women.”
After seven years on the mission field in Romania, Marta began to write Bible study curriculum.
Her first study, Bound to Be Free, was published in 2011. Marta founded Words of Grace & Truth in May 2011, a ministry devoted to teaching God’s Word to the nations and teaching others to do the same, using curriculum God birthed through her teaching ministry. Since then, Leaders, Nations, and God and ACTs420NOW have been published. Her fourth book is a thirty-day devotional entitled FearLESS, co-authored with Maureen H. Maldonado. LoveMORE: Your 30-Day Devotional to learn to love like Jesus is also co-authored with Maureen H. Maldonado. She continues to write additional biblically-based materials.
Marta’s latest ministry venture is GraceAndTruthRadio.World (GTRW), a global radio station outreach with God’s message of grace and truth. Her program Under God, with co-host Maureen Maldonado, airs on GTRW Mondays at 3:30 p.m. CST. Marta’s passion, regardless of the nation where she may be, is teaching God’s Word and equipping others to teach. She is a gifted teacher, speaker, and expositor of God’s Word. Marta lives in the Dallas–Fort Worth area of Texas with her husband of almost thirty years.
Maureen is the second of seven children. Growing up in a home where worldly wealth was a foreign concept, she always felt treasured by her parents and knew she was rich in love. Maureen married young and raised two amazing daughters. Her grandchildren are a blessing beyond anything she could imagine. Recently, she was able to add a granddaughter-in-love who adds joy to the mix.
Maureen has a master’s degree in education from California State University and spent her career as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal in elementary education. Maureen never planned to leave California or the education system, but God had other plans. After Maureen’s husband was transferred to Arizona in 2006 and then to Texas in 2011, she spent several years teaching Just Moved, a Christian-based ministry program developed by Susan Miller for women who are moving home due to life changes. God used her teaching education and experience as a training ground to begin teaching for Him. Involved in Bible studies in California, Arizona, and Texas, Maureen grew exponentially in her faith, love of God, and His Word. The culmination of these experiences led her to co-host the radio program Under God on GraceAndTruthRadio.World, where God’s Word is taught to the nations. Maureen’s first book FearLESS was co-authored with Marta E. Greenman. LoveMORE is Maureen’s second book, also co-authored with Marta.
Today Maureen is using her new-to-her method of studying the Bible and her long-applied teaching methods to teach the next generation of believers.
Her prayer is for others to gain as much insight into God’s transformational Word as she has received. She describes it as “opening the shades and letting in all the sunlight on a gloomy day.” Maureen feels honored and humbled to be a part of Words of Grace & Truth and asks others to join in prayer for this needed ministry and for the church, our country, and our world. Maureen and her husband, Raymond, reside in Texas, where they have transplanted almost their entire family from California.
More from Marta and Maureen
Marta and Maureen’s second Devotional LoveMORE: Your 30-Day Devotional to Learn to Love like Jesus, is the second of a planned series of twelve devotionals. Today we live in a world of divisiveness. We, as believers, need to learn to love like Jesus loved. Only then will we be able to reach people who are lost and in desperate need of Him. Jesus is the one who can transform them from the inside out. Before we can be His mouthpiece, or His hands and feet, we have to have His heart.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, October 13
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 14
Cover Lover Book Review, October 15
Texas Book-aholic, October 16
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 17
Its Mama Safe, October 19
Lily’s Book Reviews, October 20
The Book Club Network, October 21
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 22
Simple Harvest Reads, October 23 (Author Interview)
Real World Bible Study, October 23
Lights in a Dark World, October 24
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 25
Stories By Gina, October 26 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, October 26
To celebrate their tour, Marta and Maureen are giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.