I can say, without a doubt, that some of the most potent, Christ-exalting, gospel-centered biblical counsel I have encountered has come through the speaking and writing of the faculty at the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). These men and women are not interested in quick-fix, self-help, moralistic nonsense. They are unswervingly committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are of the conviction that real, Spirit-wrought power for the changing of the human heart occurs as we dive more deeply into the gospel, applying it to the myriad of circumstances and situations of our daily lives.
The writings and resources of the CCEF are incredibly extensive. Effectively working through all of them, though undoubtedly worthwhile, would take years to accomplish. That’s why I was immensely excited when I was introduced to Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives (New Growth Press, 2012),ed. by Nancy B. Winter. This daily devotional is a collection of some of the most powerful excerpts from the writings of those on staff at CCEF. The authors include, but are not limited to, Paul David Tripp, Edward T. Welch, David Powlison, and Timothy S. Lane. Organized by the calendar year and paired with a daily reading from the Scriptures, these vignettes are sincere, to the point, and clearly hopeful in the power of God to change hearts through the gospel of Christ. While deeply steeped in the grace believers have received from God in Christ, each devotion then includes questions for personal reflection and application. As I mentioned, these devotions are not designed to give the reader 5-steps to personal change/fulfillment, but rather are written to make the reader aware of the sovereignty of God, the grace presently available in the gospel, and hope that real Sprit-wrought change is possible.
Two things that make this resource particularly helpful are the Source Index and Scripture Index included at the conclusion of the volume. This will be of great assistance to readers who, when particularly impacted by a given devotional, desire to know the resource from which the excerpt came. Additionally, the Scripture Index allows the reader to use the devotional as a companion when studying a specific book of the Bible.
In a day and age where so many “Christian” devotionals are filled with mere fluff, Heart of the Matter is a distinctly different resource that will assuredly encourage believers to reflect more seriously upon the gospel and be used by God to powerfully change hearts and lives to the praise of his glorious grace. I wholeheartedly commend it to you!
*A copy of the book was provided by the publisher, at no charge, for the purpose of review. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review.
You may also pre-order the volume for $17.59 from the New Growth Press webstore: Available Here.