Okay, here it is! The Top 10 Free Resources for Christian Devotionals – on and off line. Enjoy!
And then you say, “You mean, that’s it? There’s not a bunch of filler content that I have to read through before I get to the list? Man, that’s unusual.”
10 – Google
It’s so obvious that often times we don’t even remember that an entire world of information is at our fingertips if we just search for it. You can search for anything in Google. It’s the number one search engine in the world. I just typed in “Christian devotionals for” and Google automatically suggested, “couples, seniors, newlyweds, college students, young adults, new moms, dating couples and anxiety” to name a few. Is there something specific you’re looking for? Type it into Google and you will more than likely have thousands of results in an instant.
Obviously, one of the reasons people hesitate to use Google is because anything goes on the internet. You never know if what you find is going to be helpful or not. I have discovered both helpful and unhelpful stuff out there.
9 – YouTube
Second only to Google, YouTube is the top search engine for anything you might be looking for. As you type in your search it will give recommendations based on the hottest topics. The nice thing about YouTube, of course, is that all your results will be video based. As with Google, however, you have to be discerning. There can be a lot of material to sift through, and not all of it is accurate or helpful. However, YouTube does host some of the best content out there, so it’s worth it to take the time to look into it.
8 – Personal Bookshelves
Between you and your friends I’ll bet you have more than enough devotional material on your own bookshelves to keep you busy for years. I was going to list the devotional and spiritual books that my wife and I have, but it was too overwhelming to even think about. We have the classics like Pilgrim’s Progress, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas À Kempis, The Confessions of Saint Augustine and many others.
We also have a friend that works at a Christian bookstore that brings us many brand new titles as well. And then there’s everything in between, and that’s just our bookcases (plural on cases). We could go over to our friend’s homes and the list would go on. Usually friends are very accommodating at letting you borrow their books.
7 – Your Local Library: On- and Off-line
Speaking of borrowing books, why not go to one of the bigger libraries around? Your local library has tons of materials to check out at no cost. What’s more, nowadays most libraries have an online component where you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks even in the middle of a pandemic, a snowstorm or any other reason that might keep you from leaving your home.
You can access your local library’s online resources, if you have a valid library card, through mobile apps such as Hoopla for Android, Hoopla for iOS and Libby.
6 – Your Church
Your local church organization will most likely have both online and offline resources for your devotional needs. Ask your pastor – or anyone in your church for that matter – what resources are available. If they don’t have anything that fits your needs, ask if there is a sister congregation that would have something for you.
5 – Your Denomination’s Main Website
Most likely the local fellowship that you are a part of is part of a larger fellowship of churches. It may be organized on the regional, national and even international levels. Each of these levels will probably have their own website with devotional resources.
For example, for Catholics there is a website called “Catholic Online” at https://www.catholic.org/. For more local chapters of Catholic organizations you can search for your local diocese. If you’re not sure about what websites are connected with your local congregation, check your local congregation’s website or ask your pastor.
4 – YouVersion Bible App Plans
The YouVersion Bible App has been installed on hundreds of millions of devices for a good reason. It’s filled with tons of great free resources and study tools. It even has a community component so you can connect with friends. Within the app there are a number of study plans and daily devotionals that you can sign up for at no cost. They even have a separate bible app for kids. Check them out at https://www.youversion.com/
3 – Podcasts
What’s surprising to me is how many people are still not aware of what a podcast is or how it works. Hey, no judgment here. It’s just surprising to me because they’re so awesome, so accessible and oh so free! If you’re not aware, a podcast is basically like an on-demand radio show. If you have any kind of device that’s connected to the internet, you can access them. In fact, you probably already have an app on your mobile phone to start listening to them right now.
One of the most impressive, informative and enlightening podcasts that I have heard is the BEMA Discipleship podcast. Unbelievably mind-blowing. Dudes, you GOTTA check it out! Visit their website here. What I love about their podcast – in addition to the fact that it’s so amazing – is that they include links to study materials in the show notes of their episodes.
Lastly, I also have to put in a plug for the Ask NT Wright Anything podcast put out by Premier Christian Radio. If you’re not familiar with NT Wright, I’m sorry. You’re REALLY missing out. He is probably the wisest, most brilliant, funniest, warmest theologian of our day. He also has an incredible voice! Please listen to him and read his books.
2 – The Bible Project
O. M. G. If I wasn’t a Christian I’d swear. The Bible Project is practically the best resource on the planet EVER to have come about. Please tell me you’ve watched at least one of their videos. However, they are like like Lay’s potato chips: No one can eat just one.
The Bible Project is a collection of short 5-10 minute videos that explain the Bible and its story in a way like no-other. One video and your mind will be completely blown. Check out the website here.
And guess what…they even have a podcast!
1 – The Bible
Okay, now we’re treading on holy ground. The Bible, along with the Holy Spirit, is a combination that inspires awe and reverence. Logically this is the number one resource for daily devotionals and inspiration. Plus, even if you have the most basic bible around, chances are it’s going to have references and possibly even a small concordance to help guide you through the scriptures.
First, begin with prayer. Ask the Spirit to guide you. Then, open the Bible. Read it. Take notes on what strikes you, even if it makes no sense. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Ask questions – lots of questions. Use the footnotes to cross-reference verses. Use the maps, notes and concordance to make it a richer experience.
Okay, Now What?
As you’re probably well aware, the problem is never a lack of information. If all we needed was information the world would be a much better place. We have more than we could ever consume in a million lifetimes.
The problem is direction and motivation. What do we choose? Why do we take the time to consume and process it?
The main thing you have to do is ask. If you’re not sure what to study, the first thing to do would be to pray about it and then ask a pastor or several trusted friends for their suggestion. However, when it comes right down to it, it’s the Bible, so can you really go wrong? Can you really make a “bad” or “wrong” decision about what to study? It only becomes problematic when it turns into spiritual pride. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up,” as Paul once said.
It’s okay to participate in a group study if it’s meeting your needs, but you may need to supplement a group study program with something that is more specifically tailored to your needs. You may even want to consult a Christian coach about it.
How about getting and/or staying motivated? It can be really easy to get excited about a new book or devotional series only to drop it like a diet plan within a couple days. This is where asking a friend to join you in the journey may be of some help. You could “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” as the scripture says.