What is the first thing you do after waking up? Be honest. I’ll admit that I reach for my smartphone—mostly because it’s my alarm clock, but also to see if Vladimir Putin killed anyone overnight. (I like to check the headlines.) It turns out I’m not alone. 79% of us reach for our phones within 15 minutes of waking, and 62% go for it immediately. Among 18-24 year olds the numbers are even higher. (Stats from IDC Research.)
Occasionally I’ll wake to a genuinely important headline or valuable email from a friend, but usually my phone greets me with braincell-killing celebrity gossip and spam. Is that really the best way to receive the gift of a new day—Kardashians and car rental coupons?
Hold that question for a moment.
Three years ago my book WITH: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God was released. While not a runaway success (as the world measures such things), I have been astonished at the responses I’ve gotten from readers who have been affected by the book. Nearly everyday I receive an email, Facebook message, or Tweet from a reader expressing how WITH has transformed their faith. (Today it came via a phone call from a stranger.)
It’s clear that WITH has struck a nerve by articulating the struggle many of us are having with contemporary forms of Christianity, and our longing for a more authentic communion with Christ. The fact that the book is selling more briskly now than two years ago, the opposite of industry trends, is another sign that people are thirsty for a life with God and not merely one forhim.
So what does WITH have to do with Kardashians at 6:30 in the morning?
What if we redeemed the impoverished way we begin the day with the invaluable treasure of communion with God? That’s my hope for the new project I’m beginning on August 1. The With God Daily Devotional is an email that greets us first thing in the morning by turning our eyes toward God and the wonder of entering the day with him.
Formatted for smartphones,tablets, or laptops, each day’s devotion includes a brief reflection on Scripture, theology, or culture, and walking with God through joys and fears. Every email also links to Bible readings, and features a prayer to guide our own communion with God throughout the day. I will be writing a new devotion each day, sometimes incorporating current events into the readings and prayers, and subscribers will receive the email by 6:00am every morning.
These short messages are designed to be read in those quiet moments, perhaps still in bed, after you’ve reached for your phone but before the challenges of the day rush at you. Those who’ve read WITH will recognize themes and ideas, but also be drawn deeper into a new way of seeing God and our place in his world.
With the upheaval in the publishing industry, the With God Daily Devotional also represents my first foray into self-publishing. Philip Yancey, a bestselling Christian writer, recently admitted that the “golden age” of publishing is over. Sadly, his observation is accurate. So I’m taking this year to bypass traditional channels and engage directly with my readers. To make this a viable project, the devotional will be available for a monthly subscription of $1.99. You can learn more and subscribe at SkyeJethani.com/devo.
I hope you’ll sign up, share the devotional with your friends, and join me in beginning each day with God.