Devotionals can be a dime a dozen. The way they are laid out is almost as predictable as a crime show procedural. Readers know there will be an entry for each day and that the entry will not be very long. Usually there is a scripture to accompany the devotional and after each one is read a reader moves onto the next day. As a result, it is tough to add something new to the genre, but Paul Tripp does this with his yearly devotional, “New Morning Mercies.” He does this by simply focusing on the foundational aspect of the Christian life, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is a mystery that Tripp helps the reader unpack each day in this devotional. As one learns from the book, it is uniquely simple, yet completely profound. As a result, Christians can pursue two paths towards the Gospel. First, they can believe they understand all they need to know about the Gospel and never go any deeper. This can stem from teaching that mainly emphasizes the saving element of the Gospel and not much else. However, the grace of the Gospel does much more than that, it sanctifies and grows a person in Christ. This is the second path Christians should take in regard to the Gospel once they are eternally secure by the grace of God. By growing in one’s understanding and application of the Gospel each day transformation occurs that eventually leads one to fall more in love with Jesus. There becomes a deep affection for Christ that encourages one to continue to unpack the mysteries that the Gospel has to offer. In other words, the ability to understand the Gospel is without end and Tripp masterfully writes about it each day in this devotional.
As Tripp writes each day’s entry one thing he does that is uncommon when compared to other devotionals is, he does not embed the scripture into the book. Instead he encourages readers at the end of each day by stating, “For further study and encouragement” and then provides the scripture passage connected. This is another strength of the devotional because it means the reader will have to go to their Bibles to read the passage. Too often many devotionals provide a small scripture quote at the top of a day’s entry, which may cause readers to feel they do not need to use their Bible since it is provided. However, Tripp does not do this because he encourages his readers to read “further” by giving them the text connected to the day’s devotional. Granted some people may not like this aspect of the book. They may argue that people will still not use their Bibles in either format. This may be true, but this is where New Morning Mercies content qualities excels. Often each days devotional inspired this reader to further read the scripture to grow deeper in the mysteries of God’s Gospel grace. In short, Tripp’s devotional points one towards scripture and not from it, and that is fantastic strength of this book. That said, there is one concern about the book.
The ebook version is not as accessible as a hardbound book. Admittedly this reader loves ebooks and it was still cumbersome to navigate through. Simply, a physical copy of the book navigates between various entries much easier. Despite this one complaint it is still worth the purchase at the ebook level because the way Tripp communicates the Gospel. However, if you have a choice and are looking to pick up a copy it is encouraged to buy a physical copy.
In conclusion, New Morning Mercies communicates the simple and profound nature of of the Gospel, which makes it a fantastic devotional for the whole year. Not every entry is an inspirational masterpiece, but most days one should be able to marvel at the grace of God from that day’s devotional. Plus, each person is different and the days that did not touch this reader are substantial enough that they may profoundly touch others readers differently. The great thing is that Tripp consistently connects each entry to the Gospel that each day should benefit someone, no matter who is reading. So go pick up a copy and you will not regret the purchase because it is a great return on the investment. You will be guaranteed to fall more in love with Christ, which will liberate your faith and life to new levels of grace and peace.
(I received this book through the Crossway Review program “Beyond the Page” in exchange for an honest review of the book.)