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Monday, October 7, 2013

"40 Days of Grace" (Rich Miller)

TITLE: 40 Days of Grace
AUTHOR: Rich Miller
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Monarch Books, 2013, (256 pages).

Grace is one of the most beautiful virtues in the Christian faith. Unfortunately, it is talked about often but not equally lived out. When applied to one's relationship with God, the gulf widens. Miller is President of Freedom in Christ Ministries, founded by Dr Neil T Anderson, who also wrote a foreword for this book. One of the best demonstrations of grace is freedom. Freedom to give and the freedom to receive. For the author, there are two things that is critical to freedom in life and in love. First there needs to be grace. He describes grace as follows:

"Grace is like the clean, oxygen-rich atmosphere we breathe. It is necessary for life, for health, for growth. When you are surrounded by grace you flourish; when you're not, you gasp for air. You feel like you are being smothered. Graceless living is like choking pollutants in the air - or worse, like carbon monoxide. You may not realize it is killing you spiritually until it is too late." (13)

It is the way we relate with God. The second thing is truth from which all grace builds upon. Truth is the "solid ground" that grace stands firmly upon. So Miller aims to help readers discover both grace and truth through an exercise called the "40 days of grace." It is not a race course but a grace course. Spread out in six weeks, each week deals with a particular expression of grace. In Week One, "Amazing Grace" is introduced as the beginning of an exciting life. We discover from Scripture that God is gracious. From knowing God, readers will be prompted to reckon grace in their lives, apply it outward to others, and live it out as an expression of love. Week Two begins a journey of being rescued from the "spiritual quicksand" of the lack of grace. Grace is not about how we feel. It is about the person of Christ. The way to grace is through Christ. We need to be reminded about our own need for grace as we ponder on our sinful nature. In forgiveness, we learn to receive with humble hearts the grace of God. On Week Three, we begin the journey from "ungrace to grace." We move away from shame. We are given a second chance. We are accepted by God. For Week Four, we learn to beware of the oppositions to grace. Guilt, shame, fear, and trickery can derail our path to God's grace. As we learn to depend more on God's approval, we will reduce our dependence on human approval. Week Five continues with the "Power of Humility," where living for God essentially means humble service and fighting pride. Week Six leads to the culmination of it all, where one get a better glimpse of what a "Grace-Rest" life looks like.

This book can be used as a 40-Days personal devotional. There are biblical references fully printed out for ease of reading and meditating. Following a brief writeup, readers are given a Thought to chew on, a Truth to remember, a Question to mull over, and Talking with God. At the final day, that is, Day 40, readers are to provide their own TTQT.  Like many things in life, there is no guarantee how an exercise regime or a time-based project will pan out. Here, I remember the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson who writes:

"It's better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would've happened if I had tried."

If you do not have a plan at all, and are intending to start on one, why not try out this book?

Rating: 3.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Monarch Books and Kregel Publications without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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