"Note to Self" - Not a mere devotional book (5/5)

We're told that we've been given everything "for life and godliness," that the Bible is "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in all righteousness," and that we are to meditate on the word of God both "day and night." But what does this mean? What does this look like? We know the Gospel is important, and we've been told to "preach the Gospel to ourselves." How? And to what end?

"Note to Self" answers these questions and more. Although each chapter is 2 pages at most, (the "Jesus is Enough" chapter is 3 pages), this is not a devotional. Or at least it is unlike any other devotional I have ever read. It does not merely dispense easy answers and pleasant thoughts and send you on your way. It does so much more because it is grounded not in the author's own opinions or self-help mantras, but firmly in the Word of God. Even starting with the Foreward by Sam Storms, I was challenged, strengthened, and encouraged. This book is full of the Gospel- what it is, what it means, and how it relates to every possible aspect of life.

"Note to Self" got me through my very stressful and hectic first week of work in a field I had no previous practical experience in. Here are examples of some chapters that I found useful in everyday situations:

- When my phone died the night before my first day (Rejoice, Give Thanks, Jesus is Big, Jesus is Enough, God Does Not Answer to - You, Stop Complaining)
- When commuting to my first day (Fear, Work, Worship in Private)
- When I heard my client's heartbreaking story (Love, Hate Well)
- When people on the train play their music without headphones, play first-person shooters without headphones, chew loudly, or have extended phone conversations about how their new business ventures "aren't about risk, but about opportunity!" (Stop Judging, Sow Grace, Forgive, Repent, You are Proud, Stop Complaining, Know Your Idols)
- When I was told my assignment would be due at 3:30, but the necessary report I needed for the thrust of my argument didn't come until 2 (There's no chapter on "Sheer Panic," but several of the aforementioned chapters were duly applicable)
- When getting to know my new boss and coworkers (Love, Sow Grace, Initiate)

And this was just after my first three days! Other chapters of "Note to Self" discuss how we interact with God, how we interact with our sin, how we interact with the Church, and how we interact with others. The term "practical theology" gets thrown around a lot, but I can't think of a better way to describe this book.

In my reviews, I like to pull quotes from the book to let it speak for itself. However, "Note to Self," has far too many good quotes. Every sentence is full of Gospel truth, exhortation, and encouragement. If I had to pick a quote to share, it would be Thorn's description of preaching the Gospel to oneself in the introduction: "The impact of preaching to ourselves is not found in dramatic moments of crisis, or in our ability to use words creatively, but in the ongoing, regular, and virtually plain preaching of the law and the gospel...to preach to yourself is to challenge yourself, push yourself, and point yourself to the truth." This book preaches the Gospel. "Note to Self" is an excellent tool for Christians, new and old, to preach the Gospel to themselves and to others.

(Disclosure: I was given a free copy of "Note to Self" by the publisher but was not paid for my review. The opinions and impressions expressed herein are my own.)