Joe Thorn's book, Note to Self, has completely changed the way I journal during my private devotional time. Looking at Scripture this way makes it very personal, and when I write a note to myself about what God is saying to me, I find myself going over those thoughts throughout the day. I highly recommend this book.
I've never been a devotional reader...but if this is considered a devotional, then I've been converted. This is not your "feel good" book. It is a powerful, hard hitting, soul-searching study...packed into incredibly short yet concise and complete messages. What a great way to start or end a day...or just read and devour the messages as they prompt you to allow the Lord to work on your heart. Tremendous insight into Scripture and into both the ugly and beautiful parts of life and human nature. Powerful.
This book represents some of the best devotional material I have ever read. Joe Thorn writes simply, powerfully and personally and connects with both head and heart. I have finished the book, but am already looking forward to reading it again.
Preaching to yourself is new term to me, but the spiritual discipline of applying Scripture to the specifics of one's life has been around for a long time. The forward by Sam Storms is excellent-- like an exhortative sermon reminding readers of the transformative power of God's Word, how we need to crave it and energetically apply it to our lives. The introduction spells out the crucial balance between law and gospel when preaching to oneself. The "notes"are grouped in three categories: Gospel and God, Gospel and Others, Gospel and You. Each begins with a Scripture passage and, while never more than two pages long, gives readers plenty to consider in applying that Word personally.
A pitfall all of us can fall into is to look at the Bible as a book to conquer, like a Shakespearian novel, and not a book to be lived. We read, study and pray over a particularly hard text with understanding as the only goal when we should do those things so we can learn how to live the life of obedience God desires from us. Joe Thorn in his book Note to Self gives us multitude of examples of how we can put our doctrine into practice.
This books set up is simple; Thorn takes 48 different Biblical topics/doctrines and gives us a one to two page exhortation on how to live each, all from the perspective of his own shortcomings. He starts each chapter with the title "Dear Self" because he is expressing his own struggles with living that doctrine as it should be lived. Each chapter is hard hitting but those that deal with the war against sin are his best (maybe because that is my main struggle and it's yours if you are honest with yourself).
This is a book that I can turn to throughout my life to find help and encouragement and conviction in the myriad of struggles I may and will face. It will do the same for you.