I see I am late to the party--very late, but I just wanted to add a comment or two--or more
. For the last three or four years I served as editor, as well as one of the writers, for our church's online weekly devotional study. (One year, five days a week--whew!)
Several thoughts stand out to me as a reader of devotionals, those I edited and others:
If I want an exposition of a Scripture, I'd prefer to read a commentary by one of my favorite theologians.
I can understand facts and opinions better if there are good examples.
Creativity draws me in. Some years ago I submitted a devotional to a well-known devotional magazine. The editors rejected it and advised me to use sensory images to make it come alive.
I feel like I've read a good devotional when my faith is strengthened, my soul is blessed, I am encouraged, and/or I'm inspired to follow Christ more closely.
Here are several suggestions for those who enjoy writing devotionals:
When studying the Bible, look for a new insight the Spirit whispers to you.
Jot down personal experiences that you can develop later.
Keep your eyes open to articles you read in the newspaper or other media that prompt a response from you and put them in a folder.
Finally, Jan, I loved your latest devotional in JewelsofEncouragement.com--the perfect example of an encouraging devotional.
This is one of my devotionals that was in Jewels of Encouragement a long time ago--open to critique.
While standing in line to pay for a purchase in a department store, I enjoyed watching the antics of the children in front of me. A young mother had three very active children dancing around her. The two little girls, outfitted like child models, sang and circled each other in perpetual motion.
Their brother, a little older than they, put his around one of his sisters and tried to kiss her cheek. When she quickly pulled out of his reach and moved away, he put his arm around the other sister. As he attempted to kiss her cheek, she muttered, “No, no, no,” and with no great gentleness pushed him away.
Brother announced in a petulant voice, “Nobody wants a kiss from me.” He looked up at his mother, who was opening her purse to get ready to pay for the little dresses and boys’ dress shirts she had laid on the counter. He said, “Mama, lean down and let me kiss your cheek.”
Immediately, she stopped shuffling in her purse and bent down to receive his kiss. She said, “I love you.”
He said, “You always love me.” And that’s the way of it with a true mother’s heart. Even so, much more, that’s the way of it with God’s heart. What precious security we have in God’s love.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 / ESV)