Monday, September 30, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Poems

We are the Poems of God

A devotional by Voni Harris

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” –Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

What do “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” “Cat in the Hat,” “The Road Not Taken,” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” all have in common?

They are all poetry.

Yes, John Keats, Dr. Seuss, Robert Frost and Shel Silverstein were all poets. Such a great variety of poetry, each poet individual and personal.

Each poem individual and personal.

Each reader individual and personal.

But did you know that you are a poem?

Yes. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul calls us Christ’s “workmanship.” That’s sweet to hear, and stirs us to do the good works God prepared for us to do.

When you take a moment to look at that word workmanship, though, there is brain explosion, full of color and beautiful sound, for the word is translated from the original Greek word poiema, which means “something made.” In this context, it means, something made by God!

Just think!

God did not run some raw materials through a human creation factory.

He created each of us … He created you … individually, personally, purposefully, skillfully, artfully. With a huge diversity. He did so the way the poets write, only perfectly, and to a level we cannot comprehend with our human minds.

And He loves us.

So let’s go out and get on these good works He has prepared for us to do!

You may ask, “Wait, what good works?”

Allow me to answer in storytelling style…

I’ve seen two movies recently that provoked me to look at that. Sports movies like Overcomers. Running movies like Chariots of Fire. I loved each one!

In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel the pleasure of God.” In real life, he stated, “I believe God made me for China.” Liddell knew deep in his soul why God made him: to be a missionary in China. His running feats and his Olympic gold message gave him a platform to share Christ and prepared him for China.

How did Liddell know this deep in his soul?

In Overcomers, the coach is urged to do one thing: strip away all he does and discover who he is.

It’s about our identity in Christ.

Regardless of your identity or title be it that you are a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a doctor, a writer, an athlete, a victim, or alone … your identity as a child of God, your title of being a Christ-follower is what really matters.

Remember this:
Those identities and titles that describe us to each other and show us our place in this world, don’t matter unless they come from who you are in Christ. And that starts with the word we looked at from the beginning of this blog …



Strip away all the things you "do" that define you and seek to understand who you are in Christ then watch Him change your world!

After all, we are each God’s unique poem to the world.

Author Bio:

Voni Harris writes from her family’s home on the rain forest island of Kodiak, Alaska.

A legal-eagle husband, a breathtaking daughter, an adventurous grandson, and two enthusiastic dogs all conspire to keep her from spending too much time at the computer.

She holds a Radio-TV degree from Drake University, and her short story “The Wedding” was published in Heart-Stirring Stories of Romance.

Voni's novel Nothing Hidden won the 2013 ACFW’s First Impressions contest and the 2015 Daphne du Maurier unpublished inspy suspense category. It was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis finalist.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Listen

God Still Speaks
A devotional by Heather Martin

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
— John 10:27 (NASB)


God still speaks.

But the question is, “Are you listening for His Voice?”

Reading the Bible sometimes used to make me envious of the direct contact others had with God.

He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He spoke to Moses and helped him write the Ten Commandments.

God was always showing up and during His time on earth, so many people had the opportunity to talk to Him, touch Him and directly, and rather tangibly feel Him. However, as I’ve grown older and my relationship with Him has grown deeper, I’ve realized that God is always speaking to me too, even if I cannot see Him face-to-face.

Sometimes it’s easy to recognize His voice and other times I question if I’m listening to myself.

There have been so many incidents that I can recall Him speaking and interacting with me! One such incident happened about three years ago.

My husband and I were casually looking for a bigger house for our growing family. I say “casually” because we were praying about it but not in any hurry, unless it was just the right house and situation.

We saw a house that we both were interested in and decided to go have a look. Within moments of stepping into the house I’d already written it off!

All of the flaws stood out: I didn’t care for the traditional style of the house. It was too outdated. The wallpaper was all over the place. It had a gaudy fireplace, green walls, carpet in the kids rooms, etc. By the time we’d walked through the whole house, we were sure it was not going to work for us. This was on a Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning, my husband and I brushed our teeth in silence and then looked at each other with these crazy grins.

He said, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I said, “That house?!” He said, “Yes!”

Since we both couldn’t get that house out of our minds, we decided that we had to go see it again!

They were having an open house the next day on Sunday, so we contacted our realtor that night to tell her that we wanted to go see this house.

Based on the area and some other biases, she tried talking us out of it. She sent us at least 50 other homes to look at instead! We insisted and told her how we felt led to that house and would like her to come with us. She agreed and met us there.

This time when we walked through the front door I still noticed the flaws, but when we got to the kitchen, I saw it with new eyes. I had this feeling that something important and special would take place there. I can’t explain it, but it was as if God was speaking directly to me and I found myself asking Him questions aloud, right there during the open house.

I said aloud, “But I don’t really like the finish on the cabinets, and do you think we could change the countertops?”

Our realtor was quick to answer and quiet me because she feared that our serious inquiries would cause the other people to take interest in the house too.

Looking back on this time, I realize that God was speaking to my husband and I as He set us up for the next phase of our lives…especially concerning our children.

All four of our children have severe food allergies. I cook and bake special recipes everyday to keep them healthy and safe. Therefore, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and since we moved into this house, God has impressed me to use this kitchen as a stage.

I not only prepare meals for my family there, but I started a YouTube Channel called, 
Chef Mommy.”

Each week I share with hundreds of people via my YouTube Channel, recipes and tips to cook healthy meals that are allergen friendly.

It turns out that the kitchen was perfect for taping because the stove is on the island, which allows me many angles to video the cooking.

Although I did end up changing the countertops and painting the cabinets, it has been such a blessing not only to my family and I, but to so many people.

When I get discouraged about communicating with God and wondering if He hears me, or still speaks, I remind myself of this time and so many other times when He’s spoken to me so loud and clear!

What about you? How has God spoken to you?

I’m so glad that God still speaks!

We just need to listen and recognize when it’s Him.

Author Bio:
Heather Martin was born the last of six siblings in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was raised by an amazing single mother (Rebecca Trotter) and was taught at an early age to love God and how to sing! 

She graduated from Oakwood University with a Bachelor's Degree in Language Arts Education and later received a Master’s Degree in Education from Kaplan University.

Shortly after graduating she followed God’s call to minister. She joined the Stellar, Dove, and Grammy-nominated gospel group Virtue, which was founded by her two older sisters Ebony Holland and Karima Kibble several years prior. Virtue has used their talents to spread the love of God across the world! They have recorded 7 studio albums and have been the recipients of numerous awards.

God has not only blessed Heather professionally, but personally. She met her husband, Dr. Colin Martin, and they have been married for 14 years. They have four children: Colin Jr. 11, Harper 10, Clark, 7, and Charleston 5.

In 2016, Heather started an online blog and vegan and allergen-friendly cooking channel called “Chef Mommy.” Heather (Chef Mommy) has cooked with numerous celebrities and top chefs to spread the news of healthy cooking and lifestyle.

In addition to this busy schedule, Heather enjoys, running, reading, writing and spending time with her family.

Connect with Heather:

Instagram for Heather:
Instagram for Virtue (Heather’s singing group):

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Healing

Words of Healing
A devotional by Carrie Del Pizzo

“Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases. Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick.” 
– Luke 9:1-2 (CEV)

Isn’t that (the words in the Bible verse above) an interesting combination? 

Jesus gave His disciples power and then sent them to nearby cities to talk to people and heal them. If they had power, who wants to hear them talk? Enough chit-chat. Get to the action. Just heal me already.

But what if words could do the healing? Sure, the disciples used words to ask God to heal people or to command demons to leave. And we use words to pray for others. But what if the words themselves had a healing effect on more than just illness?

With Jesus, they can. As surely as words can pierce hearts and break down relationships, words can also be a salve to deep, festering wounds.

Ever been down in the dumps and had a friend say something silly that made you laugh?

That laugh really takes the edge off. Remember the last time you had to deal with a difficult customer or coworker who tore you down and made you feel incompetent? What a lift when your boss pulled you aside and said, “You handled that well.” Or maybe you’ve felt self-conscious about your new haircut and then someone compliments you on your outfit.

We’ve all experienced that flip-flop in attitude when someone’s words give us a new perspective. Imagine that type of change on a God scale: 

· If you’re feeling alone in this big world, God promises never to leave us. Open a Bible and
 read about this in Deuteronomy 31:8.

· If a parent walked out when you were a kid, rest in the knowledge that we are called sons of God. O
pen a Bible and read about this in 1 John 3:1.

· If you’re weighed down by the guilt of your sin, Jesus has washed our sins away. 

Open a Bible and read about this in 1 John 1:7.

You see, while doctors have treatments for diseases and injuries, God can perform miracle physical healing. And while we know words to brightens someone’s gray day, God’s Word can restore life.

If you know Jesus, if you have received that life, then Jesus has given you the power to tell about God’s kingdom and heal the sick.

Know someone with some deep wounds that need healing? Introduce that person to your friend Jesus Christ. The results could be life changing — for both of you.

Ask God who around you needs His healing words. If you already have someone in mind, ask God to give you His words and the courage to deliver them.

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.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: The Bubble

Bursting the Bubble
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 
–Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB)

I fear I’ve found myself inside of a bubble.

A quiet, Christian bubble. 

Maybe it’s time to burst it.

I’ve been a churchgoer my whole life. Since youth group days my closest friends are those that look and think a lot like me. My social circle looks a lot like a Bible study group. For more than a decade, I’ve worked day-to-day in either a church or a faith-based non-profit.

These are not bad things. It’s certainly human nature to make friends with people who are similar to ourselves. They are the people with similar interests that we can do things with and have conversations with. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

And having a group of Christian friends who will pray with and for you, help you live out a life of accountability and wrestle through the Scriptures in daily life with you is a treasure we need to cultivate.

But if the only people I come in contact with on a daily or weekly basis already know the Truth and have heard the Gospel, where is my mission field? Where is my ministry?

Years ago, I saw a sign in a church as you exited the sanctuary that said “Now entering the mission field.” It made such an impact on me because it was a very new way of looking at the world. I have never thought of myself as a missionary or an evangelist, but truth be told, all believers should be both. If we have encountered amazing grace, we have an obligation to pass it on. If we have discovered the love of Jesus, we need to share it with others. And if we are serious about our faith, then we shouldn’t be able to keep from doing any of those things.

What was the last book you read that you loved? A movie you saw that you enjoyed? A product that worked better than advertised? Did you tell anyone about it? I do all the time. And I realized that if I’m willing to share about makeup, shoes, music, and cleaning products, then I have to be willing to share the really important things in life…especially the most important thing in my life.

The key, and one of the hardest parts about this realization, is that I need to share with people outside of my Christian circle. I need to have relationships with people who are not in the church, who are not part of my Bible studies, who are not believers.

So let’s get out there, myself included, and make some friends. Find relationships that may look different than the ones you already have. And let’s share grace, peace, and the love of Jesus with a world that needs it more than anything.

Let’s Pray: Holy Lord, give me a path to walk and people to meet that need to hear what You have to say. Give me patience to share, love to give, and the willingness to step out of my circle and widen it, including in it all who have ears to hear. I love you. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:
Glynis Becker writes devotions and inspirational fiction, hoping someday to have a published novel on her resume.

She has co-written several screenplays, including the film Sinking Sand, available on DVD and digital streaming.

Glynis, whose childhood was spent all over the country as an Air Force brat, has called South Dakota home for many years, along with her husband and two teenage children.

When she’s not writing or reading, she is watching more television than she should and crocheting. You can find her at

Friday, September 20, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: The Harvest

Sowing and Reaping
A devotional by Victoria Bylin

You know that Fall is in the air when social media platforms are full of references to pumpkin spice lattes. Those aren’t my favorite. I’m not a fan of pumpkin-anything, but I’m a huge fan of autumn weather, colorful leaves, crisp red apples, and the sense of completion that comes with this season of harvest.

The Bible talks about harvests, too. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7 NIV)

It’s such a simple concept. What we plant is what grows in our lives. If we plant love, we reap love. Good habits lead to good results. There’s another truth at work here: We reap those benefits after we sow and often much later than we sow.

Those ripe apples I enjoy? They don’t ripen to perfection overnight. They need water, light, and healthy soil. So do the pumpkins for those lattes I could do without.

I, too, need water, light and good soil. The living water of the Word, the light of Christ’s love, and the good soil of faith.

Those seeds of love? Sometimes they lay dormant for months, even years, before circumstances change. Maybe you’re praying for family members to come to Christ (I am). Maybe you’re praying for a job that doesn’t put you through the wringer every day (been there and am there again). This season of waiting can be challenging, but it’s also when those our tiny little seeds are transformed into giant oaks.

We reap what we sow, but God multiplies our tiny efforts into something far more than we could ever generate on our own.

Not everything we sow is healthy. Galatians 6:8 (NIV) goes on to say: “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Some seeds blow in like weeds. I know all about weeds because we live behind a farm for retired race horses. The weed battle is real. They would take over the back lawn if my husband didn’t tackle them on a regular basis.

Those bad weeds in our lives need the same kind of diligence. I love what comes next in Galatians 6:9. It reads, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I’m a firm believer in grace. We can’t destroy the weeds in our strength, but we worship a Savior who has already won the battle for us. My challenge is to hang on tight to what Christ did on the cross. And like the verse says, in His time, we’ll enjoy the victory.

Let's Pray: Thank you, God for knowing what’s best and when it’s best. Help me to sow wisely, reap generously, and wait patiently.

Author Bio:

Victoria Bylin is the author of 18 traditionally published romances. Known for tackling difficult subjects with great compassion, she delights in stories that shine the spotlight of God’s love on ordinary men and women facing realistic challenges.

Writing has always been a part of Victoria’s life. As a child, she wrote hundreds of letters and scribbled in journals. As an adult, she worked as a freelance journalist and editor before taking on the challenge of fiction.

She had one goal when she started her first novel: to finish a book-length manuscript, good or bad. That first effort will never see the light of day, but it led to a second manuscript and a sale to Harlequin Historical. Since then, she has written westerns and contemporary romances for both mainstream and Christian publishers, with Together With You winning the 2016 Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary.

Writing is a joy and a challenge for Victoria, but faith, friends and family matter to her far more. She’s a wife, mom, proud grandmother, and a dog-mom to a wacky Jack Russell Terrier. Originally from California, she and her husband currently make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys long walks, travel, and dark chocolate.

Connect with Victoria:

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Burdens

Making our burdens light and telling the world about Jesus Christ
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

September is my least favorite month. With the exception of my firstborn’s birthday, there’s not a thing I like about it. Well, maybe harvest season.

I do like the backyard garden full of tomatoes and chilies, not to mention the farm stands bursting at the seams. We have a short growing season in Massachusetts, so this month is all a race against the first frost to get everything in and preserved or canned for the long winter. But that’s about it.

This is also the official back-to-school month (after a stutter of a few ‘orientation’ days right before Labor Day weekend) and for our particular family, this means three different schools with conflicting dates for open house meetings and various paperwork deadlines. This is our most “broke” month monetarily as well, since my husband’s current primary job is seasonal and in August, it pretty much dries up altogether. 

September is stress to me. Oh yeah, and stress’s cousin, anxiety arrives! This week, I’ve worked longer hours than any other this year and I’m just done.

Jesus knows what it is to work hard, to have life challenge your ability to cope. He is fully God and walked this earth fully human. I think that’s why the verse above appeals to us so much. We’re weary and burdened. Life does that to a person. Jesus knew that firsthand. He created this world, watched as the first humans – created in His image – fell into sin, and lived out His incarnation on the planet that groans under the weight of that sin curse. The thorns that Adam experienced after the curse that happened after Adam and his wife (Eve) sinned, were experienced in quite a different way by our Savior (Jesus Christ) en route to the Cross of Calvary. But there was a difference.

Jesus Christ’s human experience here on Earth was sinless, although He continually encountered the effects of sin. He paid the price of our sins on the cross, but He had to deal with the lesser wages of sin every step of the way from the manger to the grave. He could have cried, “Unfair!” and used His power like a force field, but instead, He showed us His work ethic. Despite everything He went through, Jesus persevered and stayed true to His mission to save our souls.

He deserved none of it, but Jesus humbled Himself and took on the weight of the world for the duration of His whole life on this planet, up to His death on the cross.

We can use Christ’s example of how to deal with the stress, anxiety, pressure, oppression, intolerance, and persecution that we do deserve because we are still under that curse. Christ will give us rest, and we will find rest for our souls when we repent and put our faith in the One who is our Savior and the Lord of our lives.

Jesus is offering us rest beyond our understanding. He’s offering us work too, but learning from Him, the task is easy. He’s recruiting souls for the Gospel truth.

This is the amazing thing about Christianity. It’s not a wish-fulfillment faith. Jesus doesn’t offer us money to make our lives easier, or the power to change our circumstances. He offers us a heart transformation to view the burdens of our life through new eyes. He isn’t promising us that life will be easy and untroubled.

Instead, Jesus asking us to join Him in working as His disciples to tell the world about Him and allow God’s love for humankind to change us and everyone we encounter, for the better!

Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at

Monday, September 16, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Walking with Jesus Christ through life

Walking with Jesus
A devotional by Nanci Rubin

I like the fact that Jesus addressed this statement in Matthew 6:34 (KJV). He said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

It is wisdom for then that is still applicable for today. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we do know Who (God) holds tomorrow!

Many years ago, Cristy Lane performed the song, “One Day at A Time.” It was and still is, a Christian mantra. Books have been written about walking with Jesus, not ahead or behind, but with Him. Songs have been sung but it all boils down to is the fact that we need to wait upon the Lord. There are benefits when we do.

Isaiah 40:3 (KJV) has this to say about waiting upon the Lord: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

It's evident that when we wait upon Him, He will be there with us. We will be strengthened by His counsel and will excel in whatever we endeavor to do.

It is so easy to fall into doing things on our own without seeking God’s counsel.

I have to admit, I’ve been guilty. Every time I’ve made a critical decision without consulting my Father (God), nine times out of ten, I end up in a mess or gravely disappointed at the outcome. We should wait for His voice to bring us peace and not step out in uncertainty. Those who wait and listen for what the Bible calls, God’s “still small voice,” will reap in abundance for doing so.

Read 1 Kings 19:12 (KJV). It’s the story about when God spoke to Elijah in a small voice. The Bible verse reads, “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”

Sometimes, when we hear God's still small voice, we don’t like His answers to our questions. Often, we may want to do or have a thing that’s not the best for us. Or we simply can’t wait.

Let’s say you have questions for God about a job you applied for. It’s exciting and you’re going to make a lot more money than you were making, but this job is going to require you to work on Sabbath. God might have had another job for you that would allow you to have every Sabbath off. The salary was a little less but your health benefits would be better. That is an example of when we need to trust God’s will and wisdom more than our wants. God is very thorough and thankfully He can see beyond today, that is why we must trust Him with every aspect of our lives. He cares for the life of a sparrow, how much more does He care for us?

Let’s read Matthew 10:29-31(KJV). It says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

I don’t always love the lessons I’ve had to learn. But they were ALL my own doing and ALL because I didn’t wait on the Lord and decided to take matters into my own hands. A wrong decision made today might very well affect your life twenty years from now. It is always best to seek God’s counsel and not always trust your own.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Following the footsteps of Jesus and trusting Him with all your heart as you lean on Him is not an easy path. One is ever learning to trust God and the road to Heaven is truly narrow with many distractions along the way. We fall down. But we get up, dust ourselves off and began walking with Jesus again.

We have a Father (God) who loves us and will never love us more or less than He already does, no matter what we do. God loved us from the very beginning and He’ll love us through the end. When we fall and scrape our knees, He is right there, ready to pick us up and cleanse away the hurt and pain no matter what it is or how we got ourselves into trouble.

God does expect us to repent of our sins on a daily basis. He is ready to forgive you before you ask, but do ask Him to forgive you still. Pray to God on a daily basis. You need to keep the lines of communication between yourself and God open, so that you don’t feel distant or separated from Him.

The devil would like nothing better than to isolate us from God and each other because he wants us to be defenseless against his fiery darts. We need to stay prayed up, communing with God daily and assembling ourselves with other believers of like mind. Read Hebrews 10:25.

Given all the above, let us hold tight to God’s Hand and walk with Him through the hills and valleys of this life here on Earth. Don’t look too far ahead, but journey through this life one day at a time with Jesus Christ by your side.

Remember: God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) because He loves you with ALL of His Heart! Be encouraged, friends. God will be with you to the very end (Matthew 28:20).

Author Bio:
Nanci is a poet and short story writer published in Cypress News, Family Times E-Zine, Free Verse and the Commonwealth of Poetry

She belongs to RWA, ACFW, and Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild where she’s enrolled in his novel writing program.

Nanci lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and cats, Romeo and Juliette, along with their newest member of the family, Roni who is a seven-month-old Goldendoodle.

Recently, Nanci completed her debut novel, A Betrayal in Cross Keys. It is an Amish romance that she has placed in her agent's capable hands. The rest is up to God.

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.