A Christian daily devotional for a calendar year.
Philip’s substantial nonfiction debut has its roots in a Facebook page, “Daily Food for Soul and Spirit,” that she created in 2016 with the aim of providing Christian readers with daily reflections on Scripture and their personal faith. The book begins with an entry dated Jan. 1, and in it, and the 364 that follow, the author offers general observations—sometimes about the general time of year, the season, or a specific occasion—before broadening her themes and grounding them in the New Testament. Often, Philip asks questions of readers directly, as in May 28’s entry: “What is your greatest priority? Is it material or spiritual? What are you working towards?” The tone of many queries is one of gentle exhortation, with Philip consistently urging her readers to renew their faith and remember their commitments: “Let Christ be your priority,” she writes in the entry for Jan. 23. “He will direct your life and meet your needs.” The author’s prose throughout is smooth and invitingly lucid, and her calls to her readers are always encouraging and empathetic even when her concerns are pointed: “Let the warning or concern of another brethren be an opportunity for you to perform a self-assessment,” she writes in May 3’s entry. “Ask yourself, ‘Was my action in keeping with God’s Word?’ ” The literary device of a daily devotional calendar is a tried and tested one in Christian literature, and Philip’s take on it is warm and generous, providing readers with a wide, sometimes-unpredictable range of reflections on faith. They may occasionally present some doctrinal hurdles for some Christian denominations, as when Philip bluntly writes, “We are saved by grace, and not by our works!” But in general, the tone is broad enough—and certainly sympathetic enough—to include many of the Christian faithful, and it’s a book to which they’ll likely return often.
A thoughtful, soothing book of religious thoughts and affirmations.