Online Bible Study

Online Bible Study

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review - Essentials of the Heart

I have pondered for hours on how I want to write this review. I would love to provide a summary of the highlights of the book, but don’t want YOU to miss all the awesome information in-between! So, I thought the best thing to do would be to provide “snippets” from my bended pages and highlights throughout the book. Honestly, I have so many marks/page turns, the book is a mess!

I also wanted to include a special “thank you note” to the author. When I received this book in the mail (which is so exciting for my entire family – if I don’t get home right after work, I can COUNT on one of my girls opening the package! Then I have to scream out, when I see the empty package sitting on the table, WHERE’S MY BOOK!!!!!), the author included a very special second book in the package. The title of the book is Grammy’s Favorite Gift and I hope to read it to a very special someone in the next couple of years! My wonderful son of 27 years is getting married on March 11th and their prayer is to be blessed with children-to which I will be an extremely involved grandmother!

On to the quotes:
“Whether God chose to save them or not, they would not abandon God, and their life would count for him no matter what it cost.”
“No matter what the Lord allows or doesn’t allow that you would have the resolve that your life would count for him!”
“Trust is an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” – Hebrews 11:1
“When you faith is based on the character of whom and what God is, then our faith graows.”
“When God leads me to a place in my life where there seems to be no way out, it is there that I can see the power of God at work in my life.”
“So I have a decision to make. Do I focus on my circumstances, or do I focus on the Lord?”
“Focusing on God brings peace that no one understands, especially the world.”
“…my life is for the purpose of bringing glory to God.”
“…my life needs to have an eternal perspective.”
“I live my life with an eternal perspective, then I know that my life has purpose beyond the here and now.”
“Have you ever noticed that when suffering happens, God’s sovereignty becomes an issue?” (I even have a BOLD note beside this one – HOW TRUE!)

I could go on and on – but I don’t want you to get bored (or discouraged because of me!). So please, do yourself a favor and enter to win your own copy here:
If you don’t win, purchase a copy. You won’t be sorry!

Now, for an interview with the author:
Susan, you and your husband serve as Christian Camp missionaries. Share with us how this ministry-focus came about and how it influenced the writing of your book.

My husband and I have been missionary supported at Camp Peniel since 1992. The word Peniel comes from the Bible in Genesis 32:30 where Jacob wrestled with an angel. He named that place Peniel because he said that he had seen God face to face and his life had been preserved.The man who started Camp Peniel had a desire that anyone who came would experience God face to face, either by coming to know Him as their Savior or growing in their walk with Him.Many spiritual turning points in my life happened at Camp Peniel. Decisions that impacted my spiritual life the most were made at that place. Those decisions and disciplines that I learned there are what has influenced my book the most. It is for that reason that a portion of the proceeds will go to Camp Peniel’s scholarship program.

I understand Essentials of the Heart is blessing both men and women. Did you consider the impact it would have on men when you wrote it? What are they saying about it?

I was blindsided by this one. I speak to women’s ministries; so, my audience is women. One day my friend came to me to apologize for not reading my book that she got a month earlier. I told her that she didn’t need to apologize for that, but she insisted to tell me why.Her husband had picked up the book and started reading it. She did not want to take it from him until he was finished, but it was taking a long time. (It is a small book so it shouldn’t take him that long.) He finally came to her and told her to go buy two more books because he wanted to give them to his adult sons for Christmas.I was floored that he would enjoy it so much that he would want his adult sons to read it, too.

Essentials of the Heart is divided into two parts, Decisions and Disciplines. What is the significance of this?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time; He also has planted eternity in men’s heart and mind [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun, but only God, can satisfy]…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, AMP) What that means to you and me is this: God created us with a sense of eternity in our hearts and mind. We know that there is more to this life than the here and now. We sense it deep within us. The only thing that can bring lasting fulfillment to you and me is our relationship with God and growing in that relationship. That is what has brought me the greatest fulfillment in my life, and it starts with heart “Decisions”, which is the first section of the book. The next section is “Disciplines”. These are daily practices, which are necessary to grow in the Lord.

So the first Essential of the Heart is the decision we make personally for eternity … accepting Christ as our Savior. You list several more Decisions we need to make such as: Who do we want our life to count for, a Decision to Trust, a Decision to Build Intimacy, etc. I’d like for us to look at the issue of Trust. You explain though we often use the words trust and faith interchangeably, we first need to understand what they mean. Could you shed some light on this?

The word trust, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Faith according to the Bible is this: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). The Greek word for faith in the New Testament is pistis, which is a firm persuasion or conviction based on hearing according to Strong’s Dictionary. If you look at all the definitions, that will give you a better picture of faith. It is important what you base your hope on in this life. Here is my definition of faith. Faith is a firm conviction of hope based on God’s character, God’s ability, God’s strength, and God’s truth when I can’t see what lies ahead. When I base my hope on God’s character and God’s Word, it is then that my faith will grow.

If someone would like to have you speak at their event, how can they contact you?

They can go to my website,, for information on my speaking ministry.

I know your book is blessing individuals. Can Essentials of the Heart be used for a group study?

There is a pdf file of study questions for each chapter on my website and it is free to download.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author's interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services.

No comments: