Author distills half-century of devotional insight

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Reading scripture is an important part of the spiritual life of many Christians, and while gleaning insights from personal study of the Bible can be rewarding, the pursuit can require an investment of time that many busy folks cannot spare. Author Sarah McRae has published a volume of lucid and practical daily devotionals that draw on her half-century of experience as a Bible study teacher, and her book, “Truths That Conform to Reality: A Book of Daily Devotionals,” is intended to share the benefits of her thorough and repeated readings with a wider audience.

“I taught adult Sunday School classes for fifty years, and I kept my notes and outlines on computer and in my files. So I decided that I’d like to share that with people because it’s my faith, and I like to share my faith,” says McRae. “When I got ready, I just dug out all my old notes and lessons and started writing.”

Sarah McRae, author of “Truths That Conform to Reality: A Book of Daily Devotionals”		Photo by Samantha Lyles

Sarah McRae, author of “Truths That Conform to Reality: A Book of Daily Devotionals” Photo by Samantha Lyles

The result is a compendium of 365 themed devotionals aimed to inspire the reader toward contemplation, spiritual strength, and better understanding of the inspiring lessons contained within God’s word.

A Darlington County native, Sarah McRae was raised on a family farm in Dovesville by adoptive parents Pauline and Fuller Jackson. Though her father passed away when Sarah was just 7 years old, Mr. Jackson left the family with a solid home – a brick house where Sarah still lives today.

The church played a large role in Sarah’s life since childhood, and she has attended Black Creek Baptist Church since the age of 9. She began teaching youth Sunday School as a young woman, shortly after her 1955 marriage to John L. McRae of Cheraw, a man she credits with helping her faith find a voice.
“He really helped me grow to spiritual maturity,” says Sarah.

Teaching both children and adults was both challenging and rewarding, and Sarah says that while she enjoyed having fun in her classes, she maintained an awareness that lighthearted moments should be tempered by sincere study.

“I liked to have fun, but I was serious, too, because I think God’s business is serious,” she says. “I liked to tell stories to illustrate points, and I included a lot of those stories in my book.”

One such story touches on the events of Exodus, when the Israelites safely crossed the parted Red Sea and the angels in heaven celebrated as the pursuing Egyptians drowned in the returning waters. McRae talks about God chastising the angels and stressing that the Egyptians are his children, too, so their deaths should not be cause for joy. She draws a parallel between God’s love for all, and the need for Christians to accept and love all people, without regard to race or creed.

“That was my way to bring up the subject that God wants us to love everybody… sometimes I wasn’t very subtle,” McRae says, laughing.

Along with her Sunday School students (thanked by name in the book’s preface), McRae has always emphasized the importance of inclusive, open-hearted faith, and worked to remind her church family of the need to grow with the times, to welcome all into God’s house, and find roles for those willing to work for the church’s success – regardless of race or gender.

“I guess I’ve been a little bit controversial at times, but as long as I stood on God’s word and who Jesus is, I didn’t worry about it,” McRae says.

This clear-cut pragmatism was also present in her classroom Monday through Friday as McRae taught business education for thirty years at St. John’s High School and the Darlington County Career Center. She and her husband raised four sons – Lane, John, Allen, and Ken – to whom this new book is dedicated as thanks for their loyalty to family and persistent faith in God.

Sarah Pauline J. McRae also published a memoir, “Smiling Through the Years,” in 2012. Her new book is available through Amazon.com, and she will be selling and signing copies at the Magnolia Mall Barnes and Noble Bookstore on January 30 from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Copies will also be available at the News and Press office for $15. Cash or check only, please.

For more information about the book, contact Sarah by email at: espijayem@aol.com.

Author: Duane Childers

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