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Blessed Assurance: A Devotional Journal for Fruitful Living Review by Tess HamrePrescott Publishing
Jennifer Flanders has been keeping journals for over 45 years. She made her devotional journals with her own children in mind. She thought "perhaps other people (young or old) might like them as well." Filled with black line drawings, blank spaces, and scripture, Blessed Assurance is a "devotional journal for fruitful living."
The title comes from one of Jennifer's favorite hymns, Blessed Assurance. She designed the book to get users thinking, and her goal to prod deep thinking about the fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians 5:22-23.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. "(KJV)
The devotional journal is not a study of Galatians 5:22 per se but rather a tool for exploring and examining our own choices considering the fruit of the Spirit. The sections of chapters of the journal include
- Passion & Purity
- Gracious Words
- Walking in Truth
- Showing Mercy
- Hopes & Dreams
- All Loves Excelling
- Joyful Hearts
- Peace of Mind
- Prayers for Patience
- Acts of Kindness
- Gifts of Goodness
- Forever Faithful
- Gentle Strength
- A Quiet Confidence
- Freedom of Choice
Each of these "chapters" or "fruits" begins with a cover page. The design, a ring of roses, is the same for each one. At first, I thought, "how boring!" but then I realized that each cover design allowed me to explore how different colors and different mediums could change the picture and make each one stand apart. I still have not decided if I like a pen or colored pencil best. I think it depends on my mood.
The last page of the "fruit" section is a mostly blank page with an appropriate scripture version. For example, the gifts of goodness section ends with Mathew 5:16
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify you Father in Heaven." (NKJV)
Speaking of Bible verses, the devotional journal does not use just one version. Scripture quotations are clearly marked to easily identify whether the verse is from The Holy Bible New King James Version or The New American Standard Bible. If a page focused on a scripture quotation from a version I did not prefer, I would look up the verse in my preferred version. Sometimes I would copy it into the blank area of the page. Other times, I would just read the verse in my preferred version and make notes and color the image, take notes, or doodle.
Jennifer Flanders points out in the introduction that there is no right or wrong way to complete the journal. She lists many ways to use the journal, such as record thoughts, compose poetry, and write prayers. This journal's flexibility lends itself to a wide range of uses.
I tend to flip through the journal and complete pages randomly. Usually, I prefer to start at the beginning of a book like this and work through each section, but sometimes I just want to color while listening to a podcast, so I might page through until I find a picture that grabs my attention.
For me, the size and shape of the journal are perfect, but I do wish the binding would allow the book to lay completely flat. The left-side pages do not lay as flat and are not as easy as the right-hand pages to use. The perfect style binding does allow it to lay flatter than typical softcover books, but I do have to push it down a bit when using.
This is an exceptional tool to use for personal quiet time with the Lord. I recommend checking out Jennifer Flanders ' devotional journals for those who want or need a creative way to record their thoughts or write prayers.
-Product review by Tess Hamre, Single Product Reviews Manager, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2021