A Truly Beautiful Devotional Book

I recently read through Stephen Payne’s new devotional book, I Lift my Eyes to the Hills: God’s Help in Times of Trouble. Steve is a former college housemate and long-time friend. He sent me an advanced copy. What makes this book different from other devotional books you may have read in the past is that it not only includes spiritually-refreshing reflections on Scripture—the Psalms in particular—it also exhibits gorgeous photography. Like this:

In fact, the book is itself a coffee-table photography book, containing over 140 landscape images. Here’s another:

But don’t think that this book is only a book of photography to peruse for enjoyment (though it is that!). Each chapter has a personal story of how God was faithful to Steve and his family in times of difficulty – difficulties we all face in life. And the devotional readings on the Psalms are insightful, challenging, and spiritually nourishing. But how might you use this book? I will offer a couple suggestions in a moment. But first, here’s an example of what a whole page looks like:

If you want to get the most out of this book, be sure to read the devotionals that accompany the photographs, but also make full use of the discussion questions at the end of the book, found on pages 171-174.

You can either interact with the questions on your own (say, write answers to the study questions in a journal), or draw upon the questions as you lead a small group study. (In fact, this could also be a good book for drawing in “seekers.”) I often hear of small church groups reading and discussing devotional books, but I have never heard of a group reading a devotional book together that combines stunning photography of God’s creation along with Christian reflections on life’s challenges.

Thus, for readings that will help deepen your spiritual life paired with beautiful photographs, I warmly recommend Stephen Payne’s new book, I Lift my Eyes to the Hills.

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