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Book Review: Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim by Philip Yancey

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Philip Yancey's writings both encourage and challenge me. The insights and observations he offers in his work bear witness of his contemplative walk with God. It is for this reason that I anticipated reading his new devotional Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim.

In this 366 day devotional, he includes key sections from previous works such as The Jesus I Never Knew, What's So Amazing about Grace?, and Where is God When It Hurts?, as well as many of his other writings.

The form of this devotional is quite different from most. The majority of devotionals I've read take the form first of a select scripture, then perhaps a related quote, a short grouping of text to illuminate the scripture and sometimes a prayer.

In Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim, scripture is mentioned and referenced in the text but not listed separately at the beginning or ending of the devotion for that day. It is a different approach to devotional reading and brings a more conversational tone to the book.

So many areas of Christianity are covered in this devotional which makes it one to keep and return to year after year. If you are new to the writings of Philip Yancey, a descriptive bibliography is included referencing many of his books and articles.

If asked which one of Philip Yancey’s books was my favorite, I would be hard pressed to give only one. Yancey is thoughtful and provocative, engaging and inspiring, and always sincere and genuine. This makes this devotional rare indeed.

Consider the following concepts:

* From June 1st, entitled “Atrocious Mathematics” — "I hear a loud whisper from the gospels that tells me that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment but I got forgiveness."

* From August 12th entitled “Downward Surrender” — "Jesus suggests that we discover self not by staring inward but by gazing outward, not through introspection but through acts of love."

* From November 4th, entitled “Weapons of Mercy” — "If my activism, however, well-motivated, drives out love, then I have misunderstood Jesus' Gospel. I am stuck with the law, not the gospel of grace."

This would be a wonderful gift for any occasion. I recommend it highly.

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