Cynthia Heald is the author of the best-selling Becoming a Woman Of…Bible studies.She is also the author of Dwelling In His Presence, a 30 day devotional for today’s woman.
This small book of devotionals was a pleasant surprise to me. I have read many such devotional type books in the past that are nice if you just want a quick paragraph or so to go along with your Bible reading, or to read as a pick-me-up throughout the day. But Dwelling In His Presence is much more than that. It goes beyond surface issues, cute stories, and words of wisdom from some well-known author you assume knows more than you. Cynthia has a way of getting past your walls of complacency and under your skin, to the heart of a matter.
In her preface she wrote, “A continual cry of my heart is that I might always be deepening my intimacy with the Lord. I do not want to become complacent, or even satisfied, in my current relationship with Him. I desire to keep growing in my love and knowledge of God—in essence, I thirst for His ongoing power and presence in my life.”
She uses much scripture to back up her words, showing how much God desires a close relationship with His children and how far He is willing to go to draw us to Himself. Each chapter or (day) she uses three or four pages to give a story example, leave us with scripture and questions to ponder and meditate upon, share a quote that is applicable to the topic, and call us to intimate prayer with the one who desires for us to dwell in his presence.
This cycle may sound familiar, the skeletal model of devotionals the world over, but I can assure you that it is much more. The subjects are familiar but she has a way of making it personal. Day 14 deals with abiding in the word. She uses Judas as an example when she writes, “…he was not steadfast, loyal, or faithful. He did not have an obedient heart. He went through the motions of being with the Lord, but he was not teachable or submissive to the Lord’s words. To be a disciple indeed, it is necessary to abide with a heart to obey.” That cut to my heart. So often I feel as though I’m going through the motions, but refuse to submit to what I know he wants from me personally.
The author writes not as one preaching from a head of knowledge, but teaching from personal experience with God–simple devotions that call us to examine our inmost desires and our love for God, that in obedience we will abide in his presence.