Few Christians would disagree that we should spend time daily in the Word. Those who are intimidated by the “read the whole Bible in a year” approach often turn to daily devotionals in order to make their quiet times more manageable. Such resources, however, can come up short in terms of Bible reading or beneficial content. I would like to recommend Heart of the Matter, which does a fine job of bridging the gap between an overwhelming reading plan and too little value.
One of the first things you notice about this book is that each day’s reading is more than just one verse – usually ten to twenty verses or a short chapter. This allows much more opportunity to see the context of the passage and hear more from God’s Word, rather than just the thoughts of the person referring to one verse. The commentaries themselves come from more than thirty counseling books and booklets, most of them published by the Christian Counseling Education Foundation (CCEF). One drawback is that the reader has to go to the back of the book to find the source of each day’s devotional, and there is no master list of all the resources.
It is truly a strength, however, that in Heart of the Matter there is so much Scripture, including Psalm readings on ninety-three days. Because the readings have been taken from counseling resources, they are pointing to Scripture passages and providing commentaries which focus on hope and the encouragement we find in Scripture (Romans 15:4).
You might ask, why not just read the Bible?! I agree, but often those who are facing trials struggle to read the Bible. They are down, discouraged, and distant from the Lord (in their opinion!). This book is a great resource to get yourself or someone you know back into the habit of drinking daily from the fountain of God’s Word. You will be reminded of the promises of God that are yours in Christ and the character of our God who does not change; you will be challenged to put off the old man and put on the new (Eph. 4:22-24); and, you will be encouraged to call upon the God of all comfort who hears your prayers.