I have read my share of devotional books over the years. I have my favorite go-to’s that always speak to me profoundly. Every once in a while a devotional comes across my table that just wows me. That’s what Soul did this past week.
I was sent the digital version of this brand-new devotional by the author and was asked to read it and then give my honest opinion about it. This can often be a daunting task, since I’m known for being a bit “too honest” and run the risk of hurting someone’s feelings.
Beyond the occasional typo, I found this devotional book to be deeply refreshing. So, today you’ll get quite a “raving review”!
The name of the devotional book is Soul: Songs of Unconditional Love – A Study and Devotional on the Song of Songs. The word “Soul” is actually an acronym (S.O.U.L) for Songs of Unconditional Love, which I think is so cool!
The book, Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon), found in the Old Testament of the Bible and is a book that most Christians haven’t known how to handle. Therefore, it’s often skipped over or, at the very least, read without going deeper into the story.
It’s not a book about sex, folks. But it is about passion.
Josie Carnes, the author of Soul, takes the reader through each chapter and explains the meaning behind the conversations with Solomon and his new bride, and does so in such a way that we have a greater understanding of God’s passionate love for us – and how the believer responds to such overtures.
I was impressed to discover that the author took the time to do the historical and cultural research which gives the reader a much greater understanding of some of the phrasing in Song of Songs. Here’s an example:
Solomon begins speaking to his future bride in verse eight by telling her where to find him. He then continues on by complimenting her and her beauty. Verse nine may seem odd, as Solomon compares the Shulamite woman to a mare, but let’s put it into context. During this time, horses were extremely valuable and a mare among a chariot would cause a ruckus. All chariots during this time were pulled by stallions, not mares. Solomon is telling the Shulamite, in a charming Biblical way, that she excites him with her beauty and grace.
Nicely done, right? And each chapter provides you with the background necessary to understand similar references. I found myself saying, “ah! Now that makes total sense!”, often as I read.
The structure of this devotional book is done in such a way that the user can either read a chapter a day for a week (for a more intense experience), or read a chapter a week for eight weeks (giving the reader more time to process). Each short chapter comes with a prompt to either read a passage of scripture, write out a verse and/or answer a pointed question to aid in internalizing what was just read.
Soul does two things: 1. It opens your eyes to the deep, passionate love that God has for you. 2. It Invites you to move beyond your hesitancy to fully receive this love and reciprocate it with the same passion.
The devotional, with its eight chapters, is subdivided into three sections: Part 1 – The Beginning of Love, Part 2 – The Building of Love and, Part 3 – The Growing of Love. In the Forward of the book the reader is asked to rate “How confident are you in God’s love for you?” And at the end of each section the question is repeated, with the hope that each time the reader becomes more confident.
After reading this devotional I realized that it’s quite possible that many Christians, even though we know God loves us, keep Him at arms length much of the time. We also express our love for God but often unable to truly open ourselves up to thoroughly express that love. We often live very much guarded.
I highly recommend Soul for the person who has trouble believing that they are completely loved by God. This is for the person who has had an ache in their heart to go deeper with Him.
About the Author
Josie Carnes is from Wasilla, Alaska and is an author, blogger, mother, and student. Her books encourage growth and reflection through the Word to help you gain insight into your relationship with God. She dreams of helping others nurture their relationship with their Heavenly Father and encourages them to do so through her writings. She owns the blog Only What Matters.
Win a Copy of Soul!
You can enter a giveaway to win your very own copy of Soul, the devotional. Here’s where: I want Soul!
Coming July 1, 2019!
The Challenge of Positivity: A Devotional by Josie Carnes
The Challenge of Positivity is that life and sin get in the way. We have bad days and it feels like the world is against us. It is. That’s why it is so important to remember that God is here to strengthen us and guide us!This devotional will take you on a journey through Scripture to find positivity in the little things and to remember that God is there for you. Included are:
Daily Bible verses
Places for gratitude
Space for prayer,
And time to reflect!
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