Online Bible Study

Online Bible Study

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Renee Swope's - A Confident Heart Devotional

It has been quite some time since I’ve reviewed a book – but when I saw Renee Swope’s, A Confident Heart Devotional:  60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself, come across the screen, I had to sign up as quickly as possible.  This devotional is based on the book, 2012 Retailer's Choice Winner, A Confident Heart:  How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Find Security in Christ, by Renee Swope.

I love many of the books (and Bible studies) Proverbs 31 Ministry authors have published.  I have participated in their on-line Bible studies too, and loved each one of them!  As a matter of fact, I have been a follower of Proverbs 31 Ministries for many, many years.  I think I may have been one of the first to become a “member” (entitling me to newsletters, etc.). 

When I review a book, I do a few things prior to actually reading the book.  First, I review the back cover to get an idea of what the book's about. Next, I review the year the book was published (to see if the information is outdated).  After that, I read the dedication page (if there is one) to see what or who motivated or inspired the author to write the book.  And finally,  I read the book’s Introduction chapter (if one is included in the book) to obtain a more in-depth understanding of what the author will cover in the book.  I find all of these things very helpful to understand the author, the theme, and the purpose of writing the book.  When I received this book, it was no different; however, after I did all of those things, I read the Table of Contents.  This may sound a bit strange, but I don’t like to read devotional books in order (from cover to cover).  Instead, I like to pick out the issues that leap off the page at me – the ones that will affect my life immediately - and go straight to that page and read it!  To give you an idea of where I’m at in life, I picked the devotions entitled:  “I Just Don’t Have It in Me” and “When You Feel Empty.” 
In the first reading (I Just Don’t Have It in Me), I highlighted (yes, I highlight my books - I write in my books - I even write prayers in my books!):  “I could either walk away from God’s calling on my life or I could allow Jesus to live His life through me.  I could die to my desire to protect myself from getting hurt again and choose to tap into His power by relying on the strength of His Spirit.  I wasn’t enough…wasn’t strong enough, resilient enough, or humble enough, but Christ in me was more than enough.  You see, Jesus did not die on the cross just to get us out of hell and into heaven.  He died on the cross to get Himself out of heaven and into us!  WOW!  Can I get an AMEN!  The reading went on to remind me that I have a choice!  Freedom!  “let’s allow Him to be enough!  For indeed He is.”  PRAISE GOD!

In the second reading (When You Feel Empty), I highlighted:  “We look to our relationships, our stuff, and our status to define us.  From the time we are kids, we look to our parents, friends, teachers, bosses, boyfriends, ministry leaders, or whoever else is in a position of importance to us.  We long for their approval because it makes us feel significant.  As we get older, we look for someone who will bestow on us a sense of beauty and belonging, of being chosen and wanted.”  Although I know these things – for some reason, I continue to find myself in the same place time and time again!  Renee provides some valuable tools at the end of the chapter, if put into practice, will assist us in getting ourselves out of this place.  Once again, we must choose to put these tools in action!
Another great reading in the book was entitled, “I’m beyond Hurt.”   Renee provides “I am beyond blessed” statements to repeat to ourselves when we are feeling hurt.  He has given us so many blessings (have you taken the time to notice the beauty of the sun rise in the morning) - we just need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and FOCUS on His many blessings!
Another helpful aide in this book was contained in the Appendix (B).  I don’t know about you, but I love to recite Scriptures.  I know HIS WORD will change my life – if I make time to place it in my heart and dwell on it.  I love that the entire appendix is devoted to Scriptures!  The scriptures are organized in table form – listing your questions and His Promises - “When You Say, God Says” – followed by Scriptures confirming each promise.  I love reading each promise and that they are organized and easy to keep track of.  (Normally, I find myself writing Scriptures on note cards and sticky notes for repeating back to myself, in an effort to change my way of thinking.  But what ends up happening is I scatter them from here to there – and I can’t remember what situation they applied to and what I hoped to gain by reading them.)
I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this devotional book for themselves and as a gift (Christmas is right around the corner!).  There are many nuggets of Godly Wisdom contained in each chapter!
"Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

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