Sunday, September 15, 2019

Celebrate Lit Tour: Waiting for God

Welcome to my blog's Sept. 15 stop on this book tour with Celebrate Lit!

We're promoting Xochitl Dixon's true story, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God's Plan and Pace.

Read on for my review of Dixon's book and remember to enter the fun giveaway contest at the end of this blog post!

God bless you, friends.


About the Book (Official Book Blurb from

Inhale God’s Word. Exhale in prayer. Rest in God’s love.

If your heart is weary and longing for answers—for healing, for provision, for miracles—Waiting for God renews your hope with strong biblical truth and encouraging Scripture-based prayer.

Conquer your fears and frustrations as you inhale God's Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God's love. Live a life of deeper connection and immediate communion with God that can lead to contentment in His constant presence, no matter what your days hold or how long God’s deliberate delays may last.

Xochitl Dixon writes each chapter with heart-touching transparency and vulnerability, as she shares her own story as well as the stories of others who are trusting God through waiting seasons with no apparent end in sight. As a woman who lives with chronic pain, Xochitl understands constant struggle yet chooses to put God on the throne of her life.


My Review of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God's Plan and Pace 

I enjoyed reading this nonfiction book by Xochitl Dixon, titled, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God's Plan and Pace.

The author (Dixon) truly does write to encourage her readers to, “Inhale God’s Word. Exhale in prayer. Rest in God’s love.”

Every page is filled with precious words of wisdom – most gleaned from Dixon’s real-life experiences, trials and tribulations – that encourage the weary heart and refresh the soul. The author is transparent in telling her story. She doesn’t hold anything back in hopes of reaching people who need to hear how she survived challenges with God’s help.

Dixon has experienced God’s healing, provision and miracles in her life. Her book, Waiting for God testifies to all of that and more.

She backs up her claims with Scripture. The Bible does say that God is our Healer, Provider, Miracle Worker and (Best) Friend. I found her story to be inspiring! I admire her strength and tenacity. I believe that readers will be blessed by seeing how God can transform the darkest nights into bright days (regarding the seasons of life and the challenges that we as humans on sin-ridden planet Earth face).

After reading this book, I feel encouraged to conquer my challenges as I, as the author would say, “inhale God's Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God's love.”

This book challenges the reader to go deeper in their search for truth, God’s Truth. The pages in this book don’t just keep the reader engaged; the message on the pages also propels them into God’s Word (The Holy Bible)! Ultimately, this book is an altar call to people who want to grow closer to God and learn how to cling to Him when life throws us curveballs.

Learning to trust God is an essential survival skill in this life. Dixon’s testimony about trusting God as she waits on Him is so inspirational! Her life story is proof that God never leaves nor forsakes His children.

Ultimately, Dixon’s story reminds me of the song by SELAH “Through it All.” God is faithful and forever loving to His children. Get a glimpse of God’s love for you too when you read His daughter Xochitl Dixon’s story about how He brought her through tough times and proved His love for her (and you)!

Endnote: If you live with chronic pain or know someone who does, this book is one that will encourage your hurting heart and point you to the Balm of Gilead! Trusting God when life is hard is not easy but Dixon’s story proves that it can be done.

*I (Alexis A. Goring) received an ARC of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God's Plan and Pace from Celebrate Lit. My opinions in this honest review are my own.

About the Author:
Xochitl (So-Cheel) E. Dixon has a heart for loving God and people. 

She’s passionate about intercessory prayer, nurturing spiritual growth, and the prayerful study and application of Scripture. 

Through her daily struggles with chronic pain, due to an upper back injury she endured in 1992, she writes with transparency, ministers to the hurting, and inspires hope through worshiping God in all circumstances.

She serves as a regular contributor to Our Daily Bread (, a ministry devoted to making “the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all.” 

Her devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace (Discovery House Publishers) released on August 7, 2019. She is a contributing author for the upcoming Our Daily Bread devotionals: "What Really Matters" (August 7, 2019), "And He Walks with Me" (October 2, 2019), and "Moments of Peace for Moms" (October 2, 2019).

Her devotions have also been included in All God’s Creatures (Guideposts, 2019), God Hears Her (Discovery House, 2017), Our Help (Discovery House, 2017), and This Far by Faith: Legacies of the Black Church (Discovery House, 2017). Her nonfiction has been published in My Amazing Mom (Chicken Soup for the Soul, 2018), Second-Chance Dogs (Revell, 2018), LIVE Magazine (2019), and Church Health Reader (2019).

She followed God from California to Wisconsin and is enjoying Midwest adventures with her best friend and husband of over 25 years, Dr. W. Alan Dixon, Sr. 

She loves their sons, A.J. and Xavier, spoils her service dog, Callie. Xochitl likes serving as a speaker, traveling, photography, reading, singing, sketching, studying Scripture, and nurturing authentic relationships.

Xochitl connects with readers and shares encouragement devotions, prayer, and Scripture-based memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog at


A Message from Xochitl Dixon about her book Waiting for God:

“Never pray for patience.”

My friend’s warning pricked at the back of my mind. Without realizing it, I began lacing my prayers with fear, doubt, and caution. I couldn’t risk being thrust into situations that would force me to develop patience, so I did everything in my power to avoid asking the Lord to help me be patient.

But even when I didn’t ask Him to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in me, I always seemed to end up in circumstances that stretched my faith as much as my patience.

When my agent challenged me to write the book I had to write, I pitched Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

I thought I’d be sharing tips about how to persevere through trials and endure suffering with grace. But after I signed the contract and received a deadline for my manuscript, my husband received an unexpected job offer.

We followed the Lord from California to Wisconsin.

Writing became a challenge as I suffered a setback in my healing journey. I endured high levels of pain and fatigue. My husband and I struggled with frustration as we adjusted to life in the Midwest during one of the coldest winters in history.

And God changed my perspective on waiting for Him, which has nothing to do with patience.

I’ll be sharing my answers to the end-of-chapter questions on my blog ( I’m excited to invite you to join the adventure.

I look forward to growing with you as we wait for God, inhaling His Word, exhaling in prayer, and resting in His love as we trust daily in His plan and pace.


Blog Stops

April Hayman, Author, September 3
Genesis 5020, September 4
A Diva’s Heart, September 4
AndreaChristenson, September 6
Kelly Harrel, September 7
Mary Hake, September 7
Just the Write Escape, September 10
Texas Book-aholic, September 12
A Reader’s Brain, September 13
janicesbookreviews, September 13
Inklings and notions, September 14
Cultivating Us, September 15
God is Love, September 15
Giveaway Contest Details:

To celebrate her tour, Xochitl is giving away a grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Waiting for God, and a copy of God Hears Her
(Our Daily Bread 365-Day Devotional)!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 

Click the link below to enter:

Saturday, September 14, 2019

My thoughts on "Sweet Inspirations"

Dearest Readers of my "God is Love" blog,

Earlier today, I rewatched a favorite movie of mine called Sweet Inspirations.

It’s available for viewing on PureFlix, which is the Christian version of Netflix. 

PureFlix is a wonderful platform that is filled with inspirational content for you to view and most of the material there is guaranteed (in my honest opinion) to be amazing!

Sweet Inspirations is one of their most amazing stories yet! I loved watching this movie for the second time around and loved sharing it with my Mom.

Here’s an interview with the star of the movie, Cassie Self: 

I’d like to encourage you to watch Sweet Inspirations too and share this movie with a friend or family member. It will inspire your heart!

Continue reading this blog post for my favorite lines from the film then if you can, go watch the movie! 

Listed below are my favorite lines from Sweet Inspirations ...

“Is crazy contagious?”

“Have any of you quilted a prayer blanket or done a house blessing or a bake off? I mean, outreach programs do make a difference but sometimes we have to stop asking the community to come to the church. Sometimes we have to get out from underneath those prayer blankets and take the church out into the communities because that is where the real difference is made!”

“Maybe this was His plan all along.”

“We both need to remember that this is not our burden to carry alone. Believe me, I have wrestled with God over this issue many nights. And I don’t think there’s any sort of easy answer. But He’s bigger than any debt. He’s bigger than any injustice. We just have to believe that He’s in control. All we should ever do is seek Him first. Surrender this.”

*Note from Alexis: Toward to the ending of the movie Sweet Inspirations, the main characters who are best friends, prayed together. I believe that is one of the sweetest scenes in the entire film. 

Here’s what the star of the story said when she prayed:

“Dear Heavenly Father: I don’t know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it. As hard as it is to believe, I trust You. I trust that You have something far greater than anything we can think of or do. God, these girls at the shelter, they need you right now. Please, God, pour out your love and your blessings on them during this very dark time. And above all, Your will be done. Amen.”

Those were some of my favorite lines from the movie but I believe that other lines that the characters speak may inspire you too! So don't delay, watch Sweet Inspirations today!

It is a truly special movie with a message that will resonate with your soul, uplift your spirit, and encourage your heart.

God bless you, your heart and your home.


Alexis A. Goring
Founder of "God is Love" blog

Friday, September 13, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Alchemy

A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” –Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

The word alchemy denotes a process of transforming something common into something special.

Anciently, the term alchemy was associated with heresies, snake oil sales and fairy tales. 

Alchemists were caricatured as mad scientists who were obsessed with formulas and compounds that could turn base metal into gold.

Many of these unsuccessful alchemists became con artists who found ways to make things look and feel like real gold. They then looked for gullible people to buy their wares. From this era of hucksterism the phrase “all that glitters is not gold” was coined.

But alchemy really is a divine attribute. God is an alchemist and the transformation of human character is His greatest work. Biblically, the creation narrative is a story of divine alchemy. God created everything out of nothing.

The Joseph story and the Moses story are legends about the alchemical effect of vision and perseverance to transform individuals and communities.

Education is alchemy. The ability to read, learn and be taught is how character is formed. An unlearned person may bend toward primal attitudes and fulfillment. A person of refined exposure should develop a more sterling orientation to life.

Romans 12:2 calls for an alchemy of the mind. According to 2 Corinthians 3:18, the alchemy of character is ignited by what we see regularly. Contemporary motivational speakers often say that the difference between us now and five years from now will be found in the quality of the books that we read, screens that we watch and the people who surround us.

Most of us have visions, dreams and ideas of who our best selves would be. Most of us shrink back from the process of becoming that best version of ourselves, perhaps because we do not know the formula.

Ralph Waldo Emerson reduced the formula of personal alchemy to an agricultural ditty. He said, “Sow a thought and you reap an action. Sow an act and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

The formula for divine alchemy within people is simple: The first element is the catalytic presence of God. Add to that the other elements of vision, exposure, courage, perseverance and the cultivation of good habits. Adversity agitates the mixture. Trials bring the heat that fuses the elements into the mettle of character. 

This is the secret of the alchemy that can transform an undirected life into a legacy of integrity. 

Now that you have the formula for personal alchemy, what will you do with it?

Author Bio: 

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Columbia Union College (WAU) in Takoma Park, Maryland.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees–a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Pennies

One Hundred Pennies

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” – Job 42:10 (ESV)

Visiting a friend at his family gathering, a young grandson brought smiles to our faces by practicing his new skills in salesmanship on us.

He was selling rocks packaged in snack bags, freshly collected from the river running directly in front of us. His “bargain price” for these rocks was one dollar.

Unable to resist the dimples and charm of this sweet entrepreneur, the adults dug deep for small cash. As we produced dollar bills, we were quickly informed that the preferred currency was coin. Four shiny quarters were better than one piece of paper and one hundred pennies were highly valued. No one cheated the boy, but he would have gladly accepted two of any coin over one piece of paper. Chuckles and knowing looks were exchanged. It was understood among the adults that soon enough, this child would know better.

While thinking about the value of small pieces, a recent study of the book of Job came to mind. The Old Testament recounts the story of a wealthy, admired man named Job whose blessed life becomes shattered into the least valued pieces of human existence. All of his worldly bragging rights were stripped away. His personal property, business resources, his staff, his children and his health were all destroyed through no fault of his own. It wasn't punishment, as believed by his friends. But, as the Bible book of Job explains it was all part of an unknown spiritual war between good and evil (God and the devil).

The life of Job was broken to fragments, yet he continued to pursue God as the One with the answers. His wife instructed him to turn from God and die. His friends insist Job repent of sin. Eventually, Job did receive an answer. God revealed Himself to Job. Job’s response was humility and praise.

Job prayed for the people who blamed him (Job) for his pain. He prayed for the people who blamed God too. When doing so, Job’s life was restored and blessed. He was made whole.

The story of Job isn't the only biblical example of the value in brokenness. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to Earth to make change. The breaking of Christ was for restoration of the whole. It was an exchange.

Told in the New Testament gospels, Jesus feeds thousands by breaking up a single lunch of bread and fishes into pieces. He prays. He breaks. He fills.

Somehow in some way, more are blessed with the pieces. There is excess where once there was insufficient.

The Gospel of Luke recounts the Last Supper in a way that paints the picture of this divine broken way. Jesus addresses the Apostles in Luke 22:19 (ESV). Let’s read that verse: And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Jesus tears his portion of bread into pieces and hands those pieces to the Apostles. Did they remember serving up the bread and fish to the multitudes? Now Jesus is telling them to do likewise. Tearing and sharing and saying, “Be broken too.”

Jesus took the pain of the world upon himself. He truly did “carry the weight of the world” on His shoulders.

Job prayed for the men who told him that he deserved his brokenness. He asked for God’s blessing on these men. Job made the exchange by accepting the cost of the wound for forgiveness. Healing was the result.

My life is in pieces. Perhaps yours is too. What would happen if we stopped trying to get ourselves together? What if we, like Job, said a prayer for each?

Let’s say a prayer for the hurting, a prayer for the blaming and a prayer for the angry. What if we, like Jesus, accept the pain of the wounding for the abundant joy of the healing and complete restoration that God gives?

How does a child selling rocks for one hundred pennies correlate to the pain of this life here on Earth? It's about value…about God's kingdom economy. How does God use bad for our good? By using it to show what's of higher value.

One hundred pennies, my friends, is still worth a dollar.

Author Bio:
Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior.

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Remember

Remember to Remember
A devotional by Amanda Wen

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.” 
– Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

This verse contains some of Moses’ final words to the Israelites, the people he’d led out of slavery in Egypt and through four decades of wandering in the desert.

He spoke them as they were about to cross the Jordan River into the land God had promised to give their ancestors centuries before. And of all the things he urged them to do, one of the last and most crucial was to remember.

Remember the plagues God brought on the Egyptians, and how you yourselves did not suffer the same effects.

Remember how God delivered you out of slavery in dramatic fashion, plundering the Egyptians as you went.

Remember how God parted the sea and drowned the Egyptian army as they came after you.

Remember the many times God came through for you.

Why would Moses give this advice? Because he knew human nature.

Moses knew how easy it is to forget God’s miracles in the heat of stressful circumstances. He knew how soon songs of celebration would turn to questions and complaints, how quickly Israel went from rejoicing in God’s miraculous deliverance to griping about the lack of variety in their diet.

I read these accounts, and I think, “Seriously? They watched God part an ocean for them, but then wished they were back in chains in Egypt?”

But if I look at my own responses to circumstances that are less than my version of ideal, I ask the same questions. “Where are you, God? When are you going to intervene on my behalf? Or do you plan to abandon me? Did you bring me this far only to bring me this far?”

The key to avoiding the vicious cycle of complaint is to remember God’s faithfulness. Remember the times when He’s moved mountains, when He’s come through in ways only He can.

Sometimes these are times of enormous blessing, like when He led me to attend a Boston Red Sox watch party where I met the man who would become my husband. Or when He provided the means and the guidance for us to purchase our home. Or when He nudged me to enter a writing contest where one of the final judges was the literary agent who later signed me as her client.

But frequently, the times God has come through have been in times of great trial.

Like our car accident twelve years ago, where He protected us from significant physical injury and provided professionals to guide us through the longer-term psychological trauma. How, as part of the healing process from that accident, I began writing fiction as a way to cope. How my cello, which was severely damaged in the collision, sounded even better once it was repaired.

That accident was unpleasant, to put it mildly. But God has brought—and is still bringing—so much good from it.

My family right now is going through a very difficult season. It’s tempting to fall into the trap of self-pity, to wallow and wonder why God allows His children to struggle. To wonder if this is finally the time God leaves us hanging.

But remembering His past faithfulness and knowing His character does not change, I’m confident He’ll come through yet again. Remember that He’ll bring beauty from these wounds and scars just as He did before, just as He always does.

During difficult times when you can’t see God at work, look back at the times He’s blessed you. Look back on the difficulties He’s already brought you through.

Looking back and remembering to remember God’s Providence in your life story thus far, will enable you to move forward.

Author Bio:

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. 

A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.

Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.

Connect with Amanda:

Friday, September 6, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Defeat

A Beautiful Defeat
A devotional by Mirachelle Canada

“He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” 
– Colossians 1:17-20 (NLT)

Why are we afraid to fail in front of others?

Recently, I found myself in a situation where the fear of failure stalked me.

It began during a lunch break at teacher conference a few days before the start of school. I had received an email message with evidence that I had relayed wrong information to a parent. I had thought a glitch in our new registration system was the culprit, which would have been easy to fix, but the harsh reality was I had made the mistake. It had occurred months previous to this, when a grade point average minimum policy removed the student and I had missed officially informing the parent.

To make matters worse, I was nowhere I could call the parent or talk to my colleagues in person. The only alternative was to email them with the news, but it was late in the day so I knew I wouldn’t hear anything back until morning. That night as I lay in bed, I played out every scenario in my mind: From my boss’s condescending lecture, to the look of disappointment on the head of counseling’s face, and the yells of anger spewing from the parent on the phone.

I was in mental hell, wrapped in steal blankets of imagined humiliation and defeat. I prayed but felt nothing. No peace. No alternative answer. No way out.

That morning, I resolved to call the parent immediately, then to face my boss and so on. In the parking lot I sought God. His question rose, “Are you done striving in your own defeat?” I surrendered everything over to him. “Now that you have placed me between you and the world, I can fix this,” He replied, then prompted me to text my church life group and ask them to pray for me. After they positively replied, I went into work feeling unburdened.

A half hour later, after I had told the parent the truth, I waited for the yelling, but it never came. Instead I was met with a calm voice of understanding and acceptance. Afterward, my sense of failure washed away on a morning tide of forgiveness. I opened my email anticipating my boss’s curt response, but my inbox was empty. My self-inflicted moments of anticipated humiliation dissipated like a vapor. The outcome of my failure was nothing I had imagined it. I’d been ready to face my failure and defeat but had forgotten that His cross had already done it for me.

So often we forget the power of the cross. We get comfortable among the world when things are going right and seek to fix our problems with the world by our own actions and words when they aren’t. Then we wonder why we are tormented by the spirits of humiliation, anger, and fear of failure.

God is the ultimate overcomer, but He is also a gentleman, which is why His word tells us to ask of Him. When we ask Him for help and surrender our situation to Him, we place the power of the cross and His blood between ourselves and the world.

As we lay everything down at His feet the tormentors are ceased, and the battle is won by our Savior through the victory of His blood that He shed for us. He washes us clean once again and lifts us back up rich in hope and acceptance.

We are made humbled and reconciled, but it is a beautiful defeat wrapped in the freedom of His love as we face the world again; this time, with His cross before us.

Author Bio:

Mirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter and theatre director/producer from Northern Virginia. She teaches television production at C.D. Hylton Senior High School. 

She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Script & Screenwriting from Regent University and is a member of Act One: Hollywood Film & Television Writing Program, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), ACFW Virginia Chapter, The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and Your Novel Blueprint.

Mirachelle is passionate about awakening creativity and the gifts of God in everyone. She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel set during WWII, inspired by her time studying theatre education in London, England.

In her spare time, she also writes and directs Christmas and Easter passion plays at Christ Chapel Assembly of God in Woodbridge, Va.

Connect with Mirachelle:

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Gentleness


A devotional by Allison M. Wilson

Key Scripture: 
Galatians 5:22-23, Psalm 18:35, Colossians 3:12, James 3:13, Galatians 6:1 (NASB)

When you hear the word meek, what do you think?

The misuse of this word to mean weak has caused a lot of confusion over the years. Meek, by definition in the Scriptures, means, “strength in control,” based on Strong’s Concordance. 

We’re told that Christ was meek, and we know He was not weak! So, what does meek have to do with gentleness? Everything. Look at Psalm 18:35. We don’t think of gentleness as something that makes us great, do we?

We are told in Colossians 3:12 to put on, “…a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,” as chosen ones of God. In James 3:13, it says that good behavior is shown in deeds of gentleness and wisdom. 

Gentleness and meekness are very intertwined in the Word (The Holy Bible). We don’t always think of gentleness as anything more than a light touch, like we would care for a baby, but it’s so much more. It’s how we treat one another, believer or non-believer. It’s also a sign of how we have allowed the Spirit to work in our lives. We cannot be gentle without the Spirit doing the work in us.

Gentle people draw others in. When you know someone who is a gentle soul, you know that they are unlikely to be hurtful, cruel, or a gossip. They just don’t want others to be damaged by anything they do. That has a lot to do with mercy, I believe, which is another manifestation of God’s work in a person’s life. We are called to be gentle in how we talk to other believers when the Lord calls us to speak into their life. 

The Bible has been used as a weapon by too many of God’s children against God’s children. That goes completely away from what Christ teaches us in Galatians 6:1. The term “Bible thumper” comes to mind when I think of someone who beats people over the head with the Word, expecting them to want to follow Christ after the “beating.” That’s not gentleness, and certainly not how Jesus drew others to Himself.

Gentleness does not mean ignoring sin. It may be that God tells you not to speak about a sin in someone’s life, but rather to pray. God knows what each of us needs, and sometimes that is just His voice speaking into a situation. Other times, He may call you to speak. Be sure you have done what Galatians 6:1 says, though!

Humility and gentleness go hand in hand. To be humble simply means to think less of yourself than of others. That doesn’t mean you think poorly of yourself. God certainly doesn’t! Honoring others above yourself is the hallmark of humility. That takes a laying down of our pride. In order to do that, you have to have taken up the righteousness of Christ. You have to have laid down your filthy rags of the flesh to be clothed with Christ.

Can you see how the progression from love to joy to peace to patience to kindness to goodness to faithfulness to gentleness has worked in your life? This pattern of His growth into the image of Christ is amazing to see unfold. We’re likely going to go through the process many times in our life as God grows us into a more perfect picture of Jesus. Each time you learn more of His Love, the cycle continues to take off the parts of the flesh that have held us back. 

Aren’t you thankful God lets us do this a little at a time over our life with Him? I truly am!

Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Daddy, May Your gentleness seen through me draw others to You. I want my life to be such a reflection of Who YOU are that they don’t see me at all. Let Your Son shine through as a beacon of hope for a dark world. Show me how to love, gently, as You love us. In the Name of Christ I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:

A very early reader and lover of the written word, Allison M. Wilson has been writing since the age of eight with the heart to impart stories and God's truth. 

She has judged countless contests for the last 25 years, reviewed for several online publications, professionally edited, and written articles and devotionals.

Wife, mother, writer, editor, teacher, mentor, and mompreneur, God keeps her busy while living in east central Florida with her family.

Connect with Allison:

Monday, September 2, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Cooking

Cooking up some love
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

When I was younger, I didn’t know how to cook, nor did I want to learn. I had it in my head that as a strong, independent, intelligent “career woman” I just needed to know enough to get by, enough to eat healthily on a regular basis. If I needed fine dining, I could go to a restaurant, thank you very much.

That thinking changed as the years passed. The first time my sister came to visit, I was excited and wanted to do something special for her, so I hauled out my grandma’s old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. How hard could it be?

It turned out not to be so hard, but also kind of fun, too.

I started pulling out that cookbook at other times, too—a homemade instead of a store-bought treat for my office potluck, a yummy appetizer for my friend’s Super Bowl party, a special dessert for Thanksgiving. One year I was tight on funds at Christmas, so I decided to make homemade biscotti cookies as presents. It was hard but deliciously worth it.

When I had kids, cooking became not just something I needed to do so they could stay alive. It became a way I could love them and care for them. If they were sick, I could fix them their favorite meal as a way to comfort or cheer them. When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies, I didn’t panic. I just figured out how to cook things without his allergens. Easy peasy.

I’ve hosted my share of family Thanksgivings and dinner parties, I eat at home 99% of the time, and I still love my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. But I’m no master chef, nor do I ever want to be. Most nights, we get by on leftovers. And I get frustrated if anything I cook takes longer to prep than twenty minutes. Who has time for that?

But I’ve come to understand that cooking for others is a way I can love them. It has nothing to do with my so-called status as a career woman, wife, woman, or mom. It’s a sweet act of service I can do, a loving gift, and an investment of time all rolled into one. Plus, it saves money!

As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, serve with a cheerful heart.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24 NLT).

And as he wrote the Corinthians, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT).

Whatever we offer in love—whether that’s a meal, a handcrafted piece of furniture, a piece of writing or other artwork, a sermon, or a good word of advice to a friend—remember that we are reflecting the love of God with it.

As Jesus Himself said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).

Bon appetit!

Author Bio: 

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden

She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team.

Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at

Friday, August 30, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: How to Prepare for the Battles of Life

Stand Strong in the Armor of God
A devotional by Kristy Horine

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” 
– Ephesians 6:10-13 (NKJV)

The white clad figures sat in a circle on mats in the strip-mall-type row of Louisville warehouses. Huge fans at the bay doors sucked air into the sweltering room. Sensei Lane paced at the center of the circle, arms folded, black belt cinched tight at his waist. Training in defensive technique is the heart of Jiu Jitsu. It is serious business. It is warrior business.

Sensei Lane points to a volunteer.

“When this guy pushes us from behind, what is his main objective?”

As one, the people in the circle point to the mats. Sensei Lane nods.

“That’s right. He wants us on the ground. He’s pushing. He wants to pursue. It’s very, very important that you redirect that.”

The volunteer pushes the sensei from behind. The sensei steps forward, pivots, raises his hands in a defensive position. He combines a number of maneuvers and in seconds, the volunteer attacker is on the ground.

Sensei Lane straightens his gi, adjusts his belt. The teaching continues.

“Realize something is happening. Be prepared to take a punch, and a hard punch at that. Be ready to do something instead of just close your eyes and hope it goes away,” he says.

I sat on the chairs at the side of the room and watched. Part of me wanted to be in that circle, learning, moving and being cool like they were. But the bigger part of me was thankful I didn’t have to take the hits and the throws. After watching the Black Belt test that morning, which was the reason why I was there, I realized there are parts of Jiu Jitsu that make you move much slower the next morning.

Sensei Lane chooses a different volunteer and demonstrates another maneuver. There are endless ways to prove the value of defense.

“He’s hoping he’s going to get me to the ground, but as soon as I start to defend, his reaction changes.”

The sensei twists his attacker’s arm under his own, bending the attacker’s wrist into a tight V. A light series of taps from the volunteer indicates a certain pain threshold has been reached. Sensei Lane immediately releases the volunteer. The taps are a safety mechanism. This is, after all, just training.

“Everything has to work,” Sensei Lane stresses. “I want him to want to get away. If you don’t have strikes that work, if you don’t have pinpoint accuracy, if you don’t have proper throws, it’s not going to work.”

I went home that night thinking about what the sensei said. While I have taken a self-defense class and I could probably fend off an attacker if that time comes, I am not quite ready to join the work at the dojo, don a white gi and move through the skill levels.

But what about in my spiritual life? How are my defensive maneuvers? Will I be ready to stand when the day comes?

In Ephesians 6:10-11 (NKJV), the Apostle Paul gives the Christians of Ephesus practical advice in spiritual defense. He said, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Paul goes on to tell us in Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) exactly who we fight against. He said, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

In the final verse of this section of Scripture, Paul restates the practical advice, and then looks forward to what will happen when we use our spiritual defensive maneuvers.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV) 

In the end, we stand.

But we don’t get there until we are willing to get off our sideline chairs, join the warrior’s circle, and prepare.

This is how we dress ourselves with the Armor of God:

· The belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14)

· The breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14)

· The shoes of the gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15)

· The shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16)

· The helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17)

· The sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17)

All this armor seems heavy, doesn’t it? If we had to carry it by ourselves, surely we would fail. The good news is that we aren’t alone.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
–Ephesians 6:10 (KJV)

His strength. His might. His truth. His righteousness. His gospel. His faith. His salvation. His sword.

Get dressed in the Armor of God. Know the basic defensive maneuvers found in His Word (The Holy Bible) then Stand strong!

Let’s Pray: Oh Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that when the enemy comes – and he will come – I don’t have to fight alone, dressed in my own flimsy armor. Give me the desire and the perseverance to get dressed in Your Armor and to train for Your glory. In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:
Kristy Horine is a Kentucky writer, freelance journalist by trade and creative by God’s grace.

She writes a little bit of everything including poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Her professional and creative work has been published in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Kentucky and beyond.

Kristy founded 3rd Letter Christian Writers in Lexington, Kentucky in 2015. Read more of her work at

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Commands

God’s Commands
A devotional by Carrie Del Pizzo

“And on the next day he arose and went away with them.” 
– Acts 10:23 (NASB)

The Bible is filled with examples of God asking His people to do things that sounded crazy: Noah was told to build a boat when he had never seen rain. Joshua was told to march around Jericho as a way to defeat the city. Gideon was told to face 135,000 Midianite warriors with an army of only 300.

And then we come to this passage in Acts 10. Ancient Jews did not associate with Gentiles, who were considered sinful and unclean. A Jew wouldn’t risk contamination from a Gentile because the purification process could be a lot of work.

So, the earliest Christians were Jews who shared the good news with their fellow Jews. But in this chapter, a Roman centurion named Cornelius reaches out to Peter—unheard of! And Peter willingly goes to him—insane!

Why would these men risk their reputations by defying the accepted standards of their culture? Because they both received clear instructions from God, just as Noah, Joshua, and Gideon had.

My husband and I have received a pretty clear command from God. But while the command is clear, the exact instructions are a little fuzzy.

Last fall (season), God told us to begin volunteering at the local crisis pregnancy center and to prepare the spare bedroom in our home for a young lady and her baby who would need a family. We were given the option to get our foster care license, just in case there was a girl in foster care who needed help. We decided to be prepared even though the maternity home rarely gets wards of the state.

Until today.

There is a young mom who is over 18, but she is struggling desperately. She has no family, no friends, and no place to live. The house parents at the maternity home are the only people who have been kind to her in the last year, so that’s where she went.

Because her situation is so dire, the house parents are faced with finding her a home or calling Child Protective Services. Their call to me is not unexpected. This is what we signed up for. What we didn’t sign up for is the fact she may not want to keep her three-month-old baby and could ask us to adopt.

Whoa! God, we did not talk about adoption.

I paused to think about what we did talk about … a young lady and her baby who needed a family. And that’s us.

Nothing is decided or set in stone or signed into law at this point. But we are earnestly praying about how God wants us to proceed. (Feel free to join in. We covet your prayers!)

Meanwhile, we are remembering these Bible-based truths:

· God used Noah’s boat to save eight people and the animals from a worldwide flood.

· God used the tired feet of Joshua and friends to crumble the walls of Jericho.

· God used the noise of 300 trumpets and broken pitchers to defeat the Midianite army.

· God used two unlikely friends, Peter and Cornelius, to bring the good news of His great love to a desperate and sinful world.

· And God will use my house and my family to share His Love with a girl and her baby.

What “crazy” thing is God asking you to do? Volunteer in the kids or youth ministry? Take in a stranger? Reach out to people you’ve never met?

Prayer Point: Instead of telling God, “No way! I can’t do it,” ask Him if He can do it. (Hint: the answer is always “Yes!”)

Author Bio:

In this world of texts, memes, and emojis, slowing down to truly communicate can feel like straining a muscle you haven’t exercised in far too long.

Seventeen years of business experience across a variety of industries has taught Carrie Del Pizzo the fine art of professional communications.

Partnering with corporate executives and entry-level employees alike, she has written and edited major project proposals, direct marketing pieces, sensitive client communications, employee handbooks, and user manuals.

Carrie’s love of literature and story has led her to develop and exercise her fiction writing skills as well. Aside from her personal creative efforts, she also edits for self- and traditionally-published authors and enjoys writing short dramas for church presentation.

Carrie is a wife, mom of three Americans and host-mom to numerous exchange students. Italian-by-marriage means she loves to cook and eat. She lives in Spokane, Wash., with her hilarious family who keep her in stitches and provides piles of material for great stories.