Devotional warm but shallow
Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day
For many women caught in the “rat race” of juggling family, work, church, and personal interests, it can be difficult to find time for quiet reflection in God’s Word. In Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day, Grace Fox uses a mix of Scripture, prayers, and stories to provide brief reflections for daily personal devotion. Fox is engaging and accessible, and uses creative and memorable illustrations to emphasize scriptural truth.
Fox is a B.C. author and speaker whose main passion is helping women become daring in their faith, deep in their convictions, and devoted in their relationship with Jesus. She has the gift of connecting with women through the written word in a profound way. As you read, you almost feel as if she’s sharing personal stories with you over a cup of coffee. It’s clear through her writing that she desires to help women become more intimate in their relationship with God.
Because Fox is attempting to provide a daily guide for busy women, each devotion is short and the accompanying Scripture passage brief. As a result, her book demonstrates the weaknesses inherent in approaching the Bible in isolated snippets. Reading short passages of Scripture removed from their context can encourage the reader to miss the larger metanarrative of redemption. It also doesn’t afford the opportunity to wrestle with the hard questions and truths found in the Bible.
Answers not so simple
Such is the case in Peaceful Moments. Fox rarely unpacks the real issues that underlie many of the Scripture passages she selects. Issues like sin, God’s judgment, God’s holiness, the demands of discipleship, and the importance of belonging to the people of God, are rarely touched on in this book. When these issues are mentioned, it is done at a surface level, which is unfortunate because Fox raises some important questions about abortion, divorce, pre-marital pregnancy, and homosexuality. Tackling these issues with the brevity these devotions employ can lead the reader to conclude that a faithful Christian response would be to simply love, be kind, accept people who find themselves in these situations, and nothing more. Picking and choosing favourite Scripture verses to answer difficult questions risks confirming preconceived notions about what the text may be saying. Yet, when we try to figure out what some of these questions mean in the context of the scriptural story of the people of God, we suddenly realize the answers are not so simple.
Many of Fox’s devotions focus on how God is at work in the life of the individual. Little is said about how God is at work in the world through his church. This is unfortunate, because it can lead the reader to assume God’s primary interest is in the personal salvation and self-actualization of individuals and not the reconciliation of all things to himself through his son Jesus. This individualistic conception of God’s salvation reduces the gospel, fails to call people into an accountable relationship with a local church, and encourages individuals to essentially feel good about themselves – they just need a little nudge here and there to remind them to give to the needy, drive their aging mother to the doctor, etc. Although Fox may not espouse this view of God, a reader who has adopted this common view will not be challenged to think differently.
Fox’s book is particularly suited for Christian women who are battling fear, whose lives are in turmoil, or who feel that God is distant and uninterested in their personal lives. Fox’s stories speak to these struggles and her scripture selections highlight the immanence of God, his care, his faithfulness, and his love. This book is also a great resource of stories and testimonies that can encourage other women as they seek to follow Christ, and a good reminder that we need to spend more time sharing our stories about the many ways that God is at work in our world. Because of this, I would recommend Fox’s book as a complement to a more in-depth daily Bible study.