Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives

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Cling to life-changing truths anchored in Scripture with Heart of the Matter, a CCEF daily devotional containing 366 selections.

This devotional will reorient your day, lifting your eyes toward God through brief messages of gospel hope.

Change that goes deeper than the surface of our lives happens as we daily remember the truths of the gospel. Every day we need to be reminded that Jesus, God’s own Son, came to this world to save us from sin, sorrow, and death.

We need to remember every day how Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return change the way we view ourselves and others.

In these daily reflections, readers are invited to consider the profound wisdom found in the Bible, deepening their experiences with the living God and his redemptive work in their lives.

In these shared practical insights, men and women will find the gospel in the midst of our emotions, thoughts, actions, and relationships, grasping consistent gospel application.

Heart of the Matter will be your next treasure. Use it to begin each day with inspiration based on Scripture, free from psychological jargon, and encourage the people around you.


The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) has been teaching people how to understand the wisdom and depth of the Bible and apply its grace-centered message to the problems of daily living since 1968. A biblical counseling and educational ministry located in suburban Philadelphia, CCEF operates a robust biblical counseling ministry in their home office as well as on-site training for others with a heart for discipleship. CCEF also teaches several accredited counseling programs both on-site and through distance learning in conjunction with Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. As an extension of the local church, CCEF accomplishes its mission through a unique synergy of counseling, training, publications, and conferences. 

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"Reading Heart of the Matter is doing Psalm 121. You read the pages and your eyes are lifted away from self toward God, seated on his throne in all of his glory. Your day is reoriented. Independence melts away as you look to the one who made the heavens and the earth; to him who stands firm and faithful, dependable, and trustworthy. It will point you to the loving Father who keeps you, both now and forevermore.”
Jack Delk, Pastor for Covenant Member Care, Bethlehem Baptist Church

"The daily reflections gathered in Heart of the Matter offer the reader the opportunity to anchor his or her life in the profound truths of the gospel. The result is a deepening experience of the far-reaching effects of God's redemptive work for all of life. These brief, practical insights will bring the gospel to bear on your emotions, thoughts, actions, and relationships in new and refreshing ways. In this devotional, CCEF provides readers with a clear path to rich, consistent gospel application."
Stephen T. Um, Senior Minister, Citylife Presbyterian Church, Boston, Massachusetts; author of Why Cities Matter

"This devotional is a treasure. Using it, we can begin each day with a crucial word of inspiration based on a portion of the Scripture, articulated by a proven team of sure-footed guides. Free from theological or psychological jargon, its simplicity is deceptive, taking us from the challenges of daily life into the very heart of our covenant relationship with the Lord God."
William Edgar, DrTheol, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary; author of Truth in All Its Glory

"If you've ever enjoyed a book by Paul Tripp, Ed Welch, or one of the other CCEF authors then you already know the words they share are water for a thirsty soul. Heart of the Matter, a devotional drawn from the practical biblical wisdom of these authors, is an ocean of encouragement packed into a palm-sized devotional. The short, daily reflections draw you into God's Word, help you understand how to apply its truth, and leave you marveling day after day over the grace of God. You won't find a better resource to help you apply God's Word and water your soul."
Marty Machowski, Family Pastor, Covenant Fellowship; author of Long Story Short, Old Story New, The Gospel Story Bible, and the Gospel Story for Kids curriculum

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RELIGION / Christian Living / Devotional
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32 Reviews

  • 5
    Helpful, biblical, practical and Gospel-centered

    Posted by Dave Jenkins on 10 15 2018

    Every morning when I wake up, I open up my Bible either on my phone or crack open one of my study Bible's or regular Bible's and read it. After I do that I typically start reading books by publishers. It's not often that I read a devotional in fact I think the last time I did was one of Oswald Chamber's devotional in high school. When I was asked to join the blog tour from Heart of the Matter Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives I was excited to read this daily devotional published by one of my favorite publishers New Growth Press. As I read this devotional, I came away challenged, convicted and blessed by the biblical and practical teaching of the faculty at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. The best part of this book is the bit-size chunks of each devotional. Each day takes you only a few minutes to read the one page devotional but each page, and I dare say every sentence is loaded with biblical truth that points you to the Savior. Whether you're reading this devotional daily or whatever your use of Heart of the Matter I believe this resource will bless you and help you to you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. I heartily recommend this resource and pray the Lord Jesus will use it in the life of His people around the world for the sake of His name and for the joy of His people.

  • 5
    The perfect, Gospel-centered, daily devotional for 2013

    Posted by R Hayton on 10 15 2018

    The Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF) is a ministry focused on providing biblical counseling materials to the church. Their materials connect the Gospel to all of life and are designed to equip local churches to minister to all of the needs of their congregations. I have previously reviewed some of their books (here and here), and helped teach one of their courses (How People Change). I am constantly impressed by the quality of their work and how practical it is for the real problems people face. New Growth Press has compiled a collection of excerpts from books written by such CCEF authors as Timothy S. Lane, Paul David Tripp, David Powlison, Edward T. Welch, Michael R. Emlet, William P. Smith, and more. The result is a year-long devotional, "Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives," edited by Nancy B. Winter. This hardcover book includes daily devotional readings for every day of the year. The selections are short and readable, yet thoughtful and weighty. The readings are meant to complement a Scripture text to be read each day. These devotional nuggets provide a practical out-working of a Gospel-centered perspective on all of life that under-girds the counseling approach of CCEF. The sovereignty of God, the reality of the kingdom, the cross of Christ, and grace-based sanctification are a few of the themes explored in these pages. Included in the back of the book is a listing of the source of each excerpt. Particularly poignant daily readings can be traced back to the book they were excerpted from, allowing the reader to turn to the source for more from the author on that subject. Also helpful is a lengthy index of Scripture passages commented on in the book. This index could be used as a guide for reading through the Bible. As you read passages, you can turn to the index and see if any devotional thoughts are available that intersect with the verses you just read. If you're looking for a new devotional for 2012, look no further than this volume from CCEF. I'm confident its Gospel-centered, practical application of Scripture to all of life will make a lasting impression on your heart. It can help facilitate real change, by the power of the Holy Spirit-and that is what CCEF is all about.

  • 5
    A Daily Christian Devotional That Does Get To The "Heart Of The Matter."

    Posted by Harold Cameron on 10 15 2018

    "Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives" "Start a Year of Deep-Down Change Today! Change that goes deeper than the surface of our lives happens as we daily remember the truths of the gospel. Every day we need to be reminded that Jesus, God's own Son, came to this world to save us from sin, sorrow, and death. We need to remember every day how Jesus' life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return change the way we view ourselves and others. This devotional will be a daily reminder of these life-changing truths. The 366 selections, anchored in Scripture and saturated with the gospel, will help the reader to: * Learn how God in his Word addresses a host of life situations; * Focus on how the gospel intersects with life; * Look beyond circumstances to God's purposes; * See how God values relationship and to learn to value it too by persisting, by speaking truth in love, and by not shying away from conflict. * Grow in wisdom when confronted by life's changes. * Learn that God works change that is effective and visible. Topics covered in the devotional include: love, hope, grace, redemption, faith, contentment, conflict, relationships, prayer, fear, patience, humility, and anger." (From the New Growth Press Publishing Company Website) Author's Information: The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) has been at the forefront of the biblical counseling movement for more than forty years with the mission to restore Christ to counseling and counseling to the local church. CCEF teaches people how to explore the wisdom and depth of the Bible and apply its grace-centered message to the problems of daily living through counseling, training, writing, and partnering with churches. For more information and a comprehensive list of publications go to[...] My Thoughts About The Book: The book, "Heart of the Matter" is a devotional that takes us to the "heart of the matter" concerning a different spiritual topic for each day of the year. The devotionals are written by such highly regarded Biblically sound in the faith and practice authors as Edward T. Welch, David Powlison, Paul David Tripp, Timothy S. Lane and others. From January 1st to December 31st, each day a different author presents good solid and wise counsel along with Scripture to guide and direct our thoughts and affect our behavior for that day. And the range of topics written about in the book is quite diverse covering such life issues as Anger, Depression, Conflict, Change, Relationships, Marriage, Resentment and much more. As it is said, "there is something for everyone," in the book. And maybe not every devotional applies but I can assure you there is enough Biblical wisdom and guidance in the book that surely anyone and everyone who knows and loves the Lord and desires to be more like him will receive encouragement and experience edification from it. And the devotionals are as they say, "short, sweet and to the point" so the book is ideal for Christians on the fast pace of go who wants to be in the know when it comes to dealing with life as it happens. So, if you're a "short, sweet and to the point, " "you can handle the truth" sort of Christian who is seeking a daily devotional that will be encouraging, edifying and at times convicting and rebuking then "Heart of the Matter" is the ideal daily devotional for you. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book at no cost from the New Growth Press for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

  • 5
    This stuff is addicting!

    Posted by Matt Mitchell on 10 15 2018

    I call myself a "CCEF Junkie." I'm "addicted" to the writings of the leaders of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, a kind of "think-tank" for biblical counseling based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I'm "addicted" because they've been so helpful to me! Over the last fifteen years, I've learned more about growth in godliness, how people change, and how to help others to change from CCEF than from any other one source. It started with reading their Journal of Biblical Counseling, then I started attending seminars and reading their books (and blogs). And then, I found out that they offered doctoral-level seminary classes that fit my schedule. How could I pass that up?! Honestly, I'm an unashamed addict. I read everything that CCEF produces. I think that they have a lot of wisdom to offer the Church today. So, when I heard that there was a new devotional based upon the writings of the CCEF faculty, I knew in advance that it would be good. Unsurprisingly, Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives is very good. I had already read all of the books that are quoted within Heart of the Matter, so I didn't need to read every page to know that the content was going to be valuable. But I also liked the format. It's a compilation book with multiple authors, divided up into 366 daily readings. You get a "bite-sized" chunk of wisdom for each day of the year. For a junkie like me, I get a daily "fix." I recommend getting Heart of the Matter for just about any Christian who likes to read and wants to grow in godliness. It is accessible, readable, and focused on short bursts of wisdom for change. The main theme is "change." Readings cover areas such as love, hope, grace, redemption, faith, contentment, conflict, relationships, prayer, fear, patience, humility, and anger. It would be no substitute for reading one of the works the excerpts come from, but it might be a good introduction to any and all of them. Of course, by reading Heart of the Matter, you might whet an appetite for more and more CCEF. You have been warned: this stuff is addicting!

  • 5
    A Quality Devotional From CCEF

    Posted by Nate Claiborne on 10 15 2018

    Typically, I'm not a big fan of devotionals. Not because I don't like them, they're just not the type of book that I'm drawn to. Historically, I've never made consistent use of a devotional, which may or may not surprise you (if you've looked at the all the books I've reviewed on my blog for instance). However, over the past several weeks I've been loosely using Heart of The Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives as a daily devotional. It's had a familiar feel to it, but that's because it takes excerpts from books that I'm familiar with and love: How People Change A Quest For More Instruments In The Redeemer's Hands Relationships: A Mess Worth Making Other notably used books are Running Scared, Depression, Caught Off Guard, and Marriage Matters as well as various pamphlets published by CCEF. Each day there is a Scripture reading listed, followed by an excerpt from one of the many published CCEF resources. Just looking at the resources I listed, you can see that there is a bit of preference given to excerpts that are more heart searching. CCEF can always be counted on to offer practical, life changing resources, and having slices of those resources put together into a daily devotional is no different. Over the last several weeks I've been using it, it has proven very helpful. I'm actually planning on starting to go through it with my wife in the evenings since the excerpts are short enough to read aloud together, but long enough to stimulate good conversation about where we are spiritually. If you're looking for a good devotional to try out, I'd really recommend this one. The material is solid and well arranged and if you're start with the Scripture reading, you're not trading reading the Bible in the mornings for a devotional. Plus, this devotional you can count for solid theological content that in many cases, cuts straight to the heart. If you're worried about a fluffy devotional, then have no fear!

  • 5

    Posted by Dr. David P. Craig on 10 15 2018

    How would you like to spend every day of the year with a wise biblical counselor to encourage you and help you apply the gospel to your life? In this daily devotional that's exactly what you get. From the writings of Paul David Tripp, Edwin T. Welch, Timothy S. Lane, William P. Smith, Michael R. Emlet, David Powlison, Robert D. Jones, and James C. Petty you will get advice, encouragement, direction, and plenty of gospel centered grace for each day. The topical meditations in this devotional are all based on passages of Scripture and include a suggested daily reading from the Scriptures to illuminate the subject of the day. All of the authors of this book are a part of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation which "exists to teach people how to explore the wisdom and depth of the Bible and apply its grace centered message to the problems of daily living." One of the nice features of this devotional is that there is a Scripture index in the back, as well as a source index so you can go to any one of the author's writings for more study or advice on the particular subjects that are of interest to you. All of the sources include the page numbers from which the meditations are derived so you can track them down easily. If you are looking for more grace in your life and want to go deeper in your understanding of, and application of the gospel - look no further than this devotional gem. I highly recommend this outstanding devotional as one that will help you grow in intimacy with our awesome God and change you to become more like Him as you daily center your thinking on who He is and what He has done for you in Christ Jesus.

  • 5
    Five Stars

    Posted by App on 10 15 2018

    This book gives a clear message of the Christmas season we celebrate and is packed with all kinds of heart changing stories and Proverbs. Once you start reading you can't put it down!

  • 5
    A great, short book for those who don't particularly enjoy reading that much!

    Posted by Chris Wisler on 10 15 2018

    Love it!

  • 5

    Posted by Margaret on 10 15 2018

    Daily gleanings from the writings of the folks at Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Extremely thought provoking, gospel centered, heart searching. Not just another daily devotional - get it, read it, digest it!

  • 5
    Great way to connect with God each day

    Posted by Anonymous on 10 15 2018

    Excellent daily reminder of how much God loves us. Helps to keep Jesus in our thoughts as we go through each day. Totally look forward to each selection.

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