With his trademark enjoyable prose, this short motivational pep talk from Max Lucado, one of America's most beloved pastors, proposes that we live each 24 hours to the fullest. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't here, he writes. But EVERY DAY DESERVES A CHANCE, and if we can stack one good day on another, then we can link together a good life.
"Doesn't every day deserve a chance to be a good day?" he asks. Lucado formats his book in three sections: Grace, Oversight and Direction. The first is no surprise -- it wouldn't be a Lucado book without an emphasis on grace, and EVERY DAY DESERVES A CHANCE is no exception. What about our shame? What about our mistakes? Our addictions? Our broken promises? Using the scene of Jesus on the cross interacting with the thieves nailed to crosses on either side, Lucado reminds us that grace is possible. "When others nail you to the cross of your past, he swings open the door to your future. Paradise. Jesus treats your shame-filled days with grace."
Each chapter chronicles a different sort of day. One of my favorites was the humorous "Ungrateful Days," which begins with excerpts from the diary of a dog and follows up with excerpts from the diary of a cat. The dog, of course, sees life as an amazing gift. The cat finds life as one long unappreciated imprisonment. Cat lovers may take issue with this, but Lucado gets his point across. "Which diary reads more like yours?" he asks. Gratitude for each new day begins with our knowledge that we are forgiven. "Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so that we might see the blessings we possess." As Lucado says, "Make gratitude your default emotion."
The themes continue, chapter by chapter. If we refuse to forgive, we hoard our hurts and have "bitter days." Anxiety "ruins our health, robs joy, and changes nothing." Don't be afraid. Find your purpose. These are well-worn concepts, but in Lucado's hands they become something fresh.
Interspersed throughout are the perkily-titled "Daylifters," which offer motivational reminders to make each day count. I found myself tearing out one Daylifter page, which is now posted on my refrigerator, reminding me to "Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life" (Proverbs 4:23 NCV). If you don't want to mutilate your copy of the book in the same way, you can xerox the Daylifters you like best.
Lucado is always ready with a scriptural story and a personal anecdote, often one that doesn't cast himself in a particularly good light. This vulnerability is one of Lucado's most endearing traits as a writer, and one that helps readers connect the ideas he espouses and apply them to their own lives. It's difficult to sound humble when your books have sold more than 50 million copies, but somehow Lucado consistently achieves it. His sense of humor provides many laugh-out-loud moments, although if you take yourself too seriously, you might not handle phrases like "Christ offers a worry-bazooka" very well. But if you relax and go with the flow, you'll find that Lucado offers a solid pep talk for making the most of life. You'll be reminded to be grateful for each new day.
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby on May 1, 2007