Compassionate Devotionals from a Shepherd
Pastor and author, Joe Thorn, writes:
“I hope that these reflections on the grace of our triune God will encourage those who find themselves battling fear, anxiety, temptation, affliction, and doubt. I am there with you, but more importantly, so is the Lord.”
When reading those words, “compassion” is the first word that comes to mind. In writing Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for The People of God, Pastor Joe Thorn ministers to his readers with a shepherding style expected from a pastor. This devotional stylebook sprang out of his personal journey struggling with anxiety and depression, even when everything around him was going well. Many people can relate to his journey. God used multiple means over time to help him, but he points out, “It was Scripture that drew me back to the hope, peace, and safety I have in Jesus.”
Experiencing the Trinity is a short book, just under 150 pages. The book provides 50 gospel-centered meditations, beginning with a short Scripture, and followed by an approximately two-page devotional. The book is outlined in three parts, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. For those who find it challenging to understand the roles within the Godhead, you will find wisdom, and down to earth application.
A Devotional Book
There are hundreds of devotional books on the market, so why this one? There is a uniqueness to this devotional that you don’t want to miss. Many devotionals present cute stories, followed by a nugget of truth towards the end. Pastor Joe begins and ends with a single truth of who God is, and why it matters in your everyday life. These personal devotionals move your heart to look at God, in light of your own weakness and need for Him. With a first person writing style, there are times when you may wonder if he had you in mind when he wrote.
Consider the fourth devotional, “He is Present.” The devotion begins with the omnipresence of God. He points out there is a massive difference between knowing God is everywhere, and knowing that God is actually with you. During the struggles of life, hope is often lost. The presence of God can help restore hope in the most challenging situations. There are numerous compassionate reminders such as, “You are never really alone, but unless you are seeking communion with the Lord who is there, you will feel alone.” These “tweetable” yet personal statements echoed throughout the book.
A Book for Counseling
Although not stated explicitly in Experiencing the Trinity, Pastor Joe has produced an excellent homework tool for biblical counselors. As you read the devotionals, you cannot help but see that these writings are from a man that has struggled but found refuge in the triune God. This is why his writing would be powerful when counseling. If you were honest, most would agree they struggle with helping people connect to understanding of the Trinity to everyday life, let alone experience the Trinity. Since biblical counseling is about helping people understand who God is, and how He enters their world, you need books that assist to that end.
This book is an excellent resource for those who struggle with reading. A two-page devotional would provide just enough fodder to follow-up with a meaningful conversation during your second counseling session, along with the Scripture reading outlined in the devotional. For those that can handle a larger reading assignment, you can select three or four specific devotionals for their struggle. Although the book contains a sweeping theme, each devotional can stand on its own. With 50 devotions to choose from, you can create specific homework assignments that match specific situations.
A Book for Small Groups and Small Group Leaders
If you are part of a small group or lead one and want extra material to keep the conversation going, then this devotional could assist. Because of the brevity of each devotional, you can safely read one during group, without the entire small group checking out. Having these short devotions in your pocket could also assist mid group, or when that awkward silence kicks in.
Reading chapter 13 at the beginning of a small group would set the tone for the night. The words “He hears. He listens. And it isn’t because you’re so interesting or that your issues are greater than another’s. He listens to you because of His love for you” are truths that Christians need to be reminded of. What a powerful reminder prior to heading into prayer. You call on the One who is the Upholder, Sustainer, and Provider. This is true, comforting, and humbling that the God of creation hears you, His child.
Wrapping It Up
Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for The People of God is great for daily devotionals, counseling homework, or a brief read during a small group. The overarching theme of the book will help you understand God, understand the distinctions within the Trinity, and experience the grace of Christ more richly.