I had the privilege of receiving a free copy of the book Blessings for the Morning by Susie Larson in exchange for an unbiased review from Bethany House Publishing. I have never read any of her books before but I was encouraged by the idea of a quick read to start my morning off well as a busy homeschool mom.
This book is beautifully put together. The pictures are breathtaking. The layout is easy. I love that there are no dates so one can peruse and read at their own pace. The pages are thick and well structured. It would make a lovely little coffee table book in that way.
There is an index in the front that allows you to see titles of the blessings and their corresponding page numbers. While this can be helpful, it can be tempting to read the blessings that you feel you will get the most out of. Rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you in what He wants you to read, it angles towards a self medicating, quick fix solution.
Sadly to say, content wise I was disappointed. Each opened page has a verse on the left hand side and a prayer/blessing on the right hand side. These blessings are very 'self' focused and lean on the side of 'self help' used primarily lift oneself up. It praises the efforts of the self while rarely taking into account our absolute reliance on God. The verses are often too short and do not take context into consideration. In my opinion this book is filled with the empty superlatives that are too commonplace in the church today.
If someone is truly in thirst of encouragement, peace, joy, and faith then put aside the self-help and quick-fix crutches and dig deeper into God's Word. Study the original source in its full context. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you instead.
While not a bad book, I feel the temptation of replacing books like this with true Bible study is part of the problem with the Church at large today. We are afraid to be convicted and only want to feel good. Read and gift with caution. Use it as a springboard not as the source.