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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. 


"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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32 Reviews

  • 5

    Life changing!

    Published by Sean Stickel on 10 15 2018

    I agree...This devotional can be life changing, profound wisdom from biblical counselors. I often read it then give it to my young adult son, hoping he will mature in these areas much younger than I am! I am buying one for a dear sister in Christ who has many really good Christian books because I want her to have this one too! I'm so grateful that someone gave it to me!

  • 5

    Excellent Resource from CCEF

    Published by Melissa Griffin on 10 15 2018

    Over the past few years of studying biblical counseling, I have been greatly helped by the ministry of CCEF (The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation). On my blog, I often share videos and book excerpts from men like David Powlison, Ed Welch, or Paul David Tripp, because their teaching has benefited me significantly and I want to pass as much of it on to others as I can. For that reason, I'm glad that I can now recommend a new resource from CCEF called Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Changing Lives. In this one year devotional book, you will find comfort, challenge, conviction, and encouragement in the form of brief, daily readings provided by the faculty of CCEF. These daily devotionals cover a wide array of topics such as suffering, relationships, the process of change, overcoming fear and anxiety, trust in God, forgiveness, and much more. As you read this book, you will find that your attention is continually being pointed to Christ and the hope of the Gospel, God's sovereignty over all things, and His loving purposes for you as His precious child. The readings are deep, yet completely accessible. Because I was reading Heart of the Matter for the purposes of this review, I had to move through it more quickly than I wanted to, and I often found myself thinking that I would benefit much more from reading and considering just one devotional at a time, which is of course, how the book is intended to be used. I am thoroughly convinced that the Bible contains every truth required to care for the human soul (2 Pet. 1:3-4), and I believe that Heart of the Matter illustrates well what a rich resource God has provided for us in His Word. The authors go deep into the Scriptures to reveal profoundly beautiful truths that we too often miss in our hurried approach to Bible reading.

  • 5

    Gospel Focused Daily Readings

    Published by Justin Woodall on 10 15 2018

    What sets Heart of the Matter apart from other daily devotionals? First of all, the writers of Heart of the Matter are fantastic. From Paul David Tripp to David Powlison, all of the folks from CCEF pitch in. If you are not familiar with these authors, this book is a great way to get familiar with them. Each devotional reading includes a text from scripture and is followed by a mediation signed by the author. Secondly, having multiple authors helps with monotony. It is easy to get into a rut hearing just one voice. Heart of the Matter is great because each of the authors has their own style. Each day brings a fresh perspective and a fresh voice. Third, Heart of the Matter is a book that deals with real life. With passages drawn from books like Recovering from Child Abuse, Grief, Depression, I'm Exhausted, Freedom from Resentment, and How People Change; each devotion connects to us where we are. Most devotions avoid any specifics so they can relate to a larger audience. The authors at CCEF know the sins that so easily beset us all and root them out, specifically. Finally, Heart of the Matter is gospel focused. This is not a collection of guilt ridden passages encouraging you to "try harder". It is a series of devotions that encourage you to run to Jesus and His cross. This devotional takes very seriously the hideous sin that lies hidden in your heart, and beckons you to run in repentance to your loving father. I can not recommend this devotional highly enough.

  • 5

    Excellent Compilation

    Published by S. Grotske on 10 15 2018

    This devotional is a great way to look daily into Scripture to focus on God's character, our need of the Gospel, and application for daily obedience. We have been going through the meditations and have appreciated: their Scriptural foundation their Gospel focus their application their diversity their clarity We have read many works by CCEF authors and are always challenged by them to renew our focus on Christ, and strive toward obedience by faith. This work is no different.

  • 5


    Published 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.

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