As January is already in our midst, we all have the best of intentions when we make our New Year’s resolutions. Among the most popular are losing weight, exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting closer to God through strategies like meditation or reading the Bible. We go like gangbusters for the first several weeks, but by February most resolutions are all but forgotten as old habits creep back in.

2014: A Book of Grace-Filled Days is the perfect tool to help you keep at least one of those resolutions. It gives you a simple, enjoyable way to touch base with God every morning. The author, Elizabeth M. Briel, works Biblical material into each day, so you’re learning more about the Bible at the same time you read inspiring passages that act as a daily meditation.

A Different Perspective

One of the great things about Briel’s books is that she often inspires her readers to look at Scripture in a different way. She offers different perspectives on familiar Bible verses that will really get you thinking. The daily passages are short enough to fit into a busy schedule, yet they pack a strong, thought-provoking punch.

For example, the Dec. 9 reading incorporates Luke 1:38, when Mary says, “Behold, I am a handmaiden of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Briel considers what it means to truly abandon yourself to God and how it might even mean “going a little crazy.”

Briel also attacks some standard beliefs, like the value society places on being assertive. She discusses how Matthew 11:29 shows the value of meekness. Most people immediately think of the Matthew 5:5 quote “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” but she chose the later passage to make her point: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”

Basically, Briel shows how Matthew 11:29 gives us permission to be ourselves instead of putting on a strong but false facade of assertiveness. She reminds us that Christ is the way to authenticity.

Short but Strong

When you flip through the pages of this book, you might be amazed at the brevity of each day’s reading. Don’t worry, Briel has a talent for making an impact in just a few words.

She uses one passage with each meditation and lists three that you can look up for yourself. You can do that immediately or use the book as a twice a day touchstone by doing the initial reading in the morning and going back to it to read the related Bible verses at night.

Kindle vs. Physical Book

This book is available in the traditional paper format and also in a Kindle version. It’s a very personal choice on which one is better. Some people love the convenience of reading their daily meditations on an iPad or other device. Others like the feeling of holding a book and enjoy jotting notes and insights on the pages. Of course, you can probably take notes on your device, but there’s something satisfying about physically writing down your insights.

Whichever version you choose, you’ll still get a lot out of it. It’s a book that you’ll literally enjoy every day of the coming year.

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