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The Undivided Heart by Florence Joseph

An invitation to engage deeply with our own heart issues, and so be better able to communicate with God

UndividedHeart225The Undivided Heart: Reflections, Stories and Scriptures to Evangelise the Heart
By Florence Joseph
Publisher: Onwards and Upwards Publishing
ISBN No: 9781910197301
Reviewed by: Jeannie Kendall

I love the idea of this book. In the Preface Florence describes how her own journey to discover the real person she is, and to enter into deeper places of her own heart, and the heart of God. Her expressed hope is that the book will help us engage with our own heart issues. I was hooked.

The book has four main sections, then subdivided, which follow aspects of our physical hearts: heartbeat, contractions, enlargement, and rest. The verse underlying the title is the prayer of the Psalmist in Psalm 86:11 “Give me an undivided heart” Each contains a mixture of prose, quotations, occasional song lyrics and anecdote. It is a mix of those written by the author and some gleaned from other sources. The footnotes being on each page is a helpful way of working out where these came from, rather than the more customary place at the end of the book.

There are some really good insights in this small book, and you sense that Florence has travelled deep pathways both in her emotional life and in her walk with God (those, of course, being inseparable). For myself, I did struggle a little with the format. The switching between genres left me losing the thread. I was a little unsure how much to read at a time to gain real benefit. This might sound odd, and I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly linear thinker, but it did, sadly, impact on my enjoyment of the book. I think I might have found it easier to absorb if it were divided into daily readings each with a single thought, illustrated in different ways.

That said, she has some interesting things to say, and if the format will not distract you as it did me, and you can take it at the slow pace it demands, I am sure you will find things of interest and nuggets to ponder on.

Jeannie is co-minister of Carshalton Beeches Baptist church and a member of the Sutton Street Pastors’ Management Board

Baptist Times, 08/01/2016
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