Thursday, February 17
Today, I bring you an interview with Susan Weagant, author of Essentials of the Heart. I’m giving away a copy of the book, so if you would like to be in the drawing, please leave a comment at the end of this post. Now, here’s Susan...
Q: Susan, you and your husband serve as Christian Camp missionaries. Share with us how this ministry-focus came about and how it influenced the writing of your book.
A: My husband and I have been missionary supported at Camp Peniel since 1992. The word Peniel comes from the Bible in Genesis 32:30 where Jacob wrestled with an angel. He named that place Peniel because he said that he had seen God face to face and his life had been preserved.
The man who started Camp Peniel had a desire that anyone who came would experience God face to face, either by coming to know Him as their Savior or growing in their walk with Him.
Many spiritual turning points in my life happened at Camp Peniel. Decisions that impacted my spiritual life the most were made at that place. Those decisions and disciplines that I learned there are what has influenced my book the most. It is for that reason that a portion of the proceeds will go to Camp Peniel’s scholarship program.
Q: I understand Essentials of the Heart is blessing both men and women. Did you consider the impact it would have on men when you wrote it? What are they saying about it?
A: I was blindsided by this one. I speak to women’s ministries, so, my audience is women. One day, my friend came to me to apologize for not reading my book that she got a month earlier. I told her that she didn’t need to apologize for that, but she insisted on telling me why.
Her husband had picked up the book and started reading it. She did not want to take it from him until he was finished, but it was taking a long time. (It is a small book so it shouldn’t take him that long.) He finally came to her and told her to go buy two more books because he wanted to give them to his adult sons for Christmas.
I was floored that he would enjoy it so much that he would want his adult sons to read it, too.
Q: Essentials of the Heart is divided into two parts, Decisions and Disciplines. What is the significance of this?
A: “He has made everything beautiful in its time; He also has planted eternity in men’s heart and mind [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun, but only God, can satisfy]…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a AMP)
What that means to you and me is this: God created us with a sense of eternity in our hearts and mind. We know that there is more to this life than the here and now. We sense it deep within us. The only thing that can bring lasting fulfillment to you and me is our relationship with God and growing in that relationship.
That is what has brought me the greatest fulfillment in my life, and it starts with heart “Decisions,” which is the first section of the book. The next section is “Disciplines.” These are daily practices, which are necessary to grow in the Lord.
Q: So the first Essential of the Heart is the decision we make personally for eternity … accepting Christ as our Savior. You list several more Decisions we need to make such as: Who do we want our life to count for, a Decision to Trust, a Decision to Build Intimacy, etc.
I’d like for us to look at the issue of Trust. You explain that though we often use the words trust and faith interchangeably, we first need to understand what they mean. Could you shed some light on this?
A: The word trust, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. Faith, according to the Bible, is this: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV) The Greek word for faith in the New Testament is pistis, which is a firm persuasion or conviction based on hearing according to Strong’s Dictionary.
If you look at all the definitions, that will give you a better picture of faith. It is important what you base your hope on in this life. Here is my definition of faith: Faith is a firm conviction of hope based on God’s character, God’s ability, God’s strength, and God’s truth when I can’t see what lies ahead. When I base my hope on God’s character and God’s Word, it is then that my faith will grow.
Q: I know your book is blessing individuals. Can Essentials of the Heart be used for a group study?
A: There is a pdf file of study questions for each chapter on my website and it is free to download.
Q: If someone would like to have you speak at their event, how can they contact you?
A: They can go to my website, SusanWeagant.com, for information on my speaking ministry.
(I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author's interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services.)