I’m not a regular user of devotional books or study Bibles. The problem is not with the volumes themselves; rather the problem is with me. I simply end up spending more time reading the opinions of others about the Scripture than the Scripture itself.
In fact, when a daily devotion doesn’t include the Scripture text fully written out on the page, I’m tempted to just skip it and go for the “meat.” OK, I’m sure you never do that.
That’s why a number of years ago I decided to make it a practice in my personal devotions primarily to use the Scripture and only refer to a commentary or concordance when necessary. Being a poor student of Scripture anyway, I think it’s been a good practice for me.
But please don’t get the idea that I’m implying you’re a less-than-serious Christian if you don’t follow my practice. Truth is, there’s generally plenty of time for a daily focus on the Scripture alone and drawing from those whom God has gifted to explain and apply His Word.
Now that I’ve said all that, I’m feeling justified to diverge from my own stated practice these days and use a daily devotional book that I’m finding particularly edifying. The name of the book is New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional, written by Paul David Tripp.
Here are three reasons why I invite you to give it a try:
1) Every entry has the gospel in mind. Rather than come to me with formulas on how to live the Christian life, Tripp first reminds me of the unending mercies of God toward sinners like me. As I come to a deeper appreciation of the Just becoming the Justifier on my behalf, I’m encouraged that over the course of a lifetime, the gospel can change even me to be more like Jesus.
The publisher (Crossway) says New Morning Mercies is “[f]ocused less on behavior modification and more on helping people encounter the living God… .” I agree.
2) Tripp is an insightful, experienced counselor and pastor who knows a thing or two about how the gospel speaks to the real street-level issues of life. For example, this following is from an entry referencing 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 in which Tripp recognizes the sinful tendency to think security comes from analyzing life correctly:
But it never works. In your most brilliant moment, you will still be left with mystery in your life; sometimes even painful mystery. … So rest is never found in the quest to understand it all. No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for His glory and our good.
3) New Morning Mercies helps remind me each day of Christ’s unending supply of exactly what I am helpless to muster up myself – mercy.
A free month’s worth of devotionals can be downloaded here.