Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we should believe God and have faith

Do You Believe Me Now?
A devotional by Temeka Borden

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 
–Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Many people use the words “faith” and “belief” interchangeably, while others argue differences exist. For the purpose of this devotional, I’m opting to use these two terms interchangeably.

I have a question for you. How many times have you worried about something, possibly loss sleep because of it, went to God about that thing, and He let you know in a variety of ways that everything will be okay? Yet, you still could not seem to shake that worry, or anxiety, or fear as you were going through that trial. However, in the end, it all turned out okay.

At that moment when you discover that everything worked out just fine, it’s almost as though you can hear God say, “Do you believe Me now?” Also, how many times have you experienced moments of doubt regarding something you know God is leading you to do? As humans, we experience our “moments”, but worry should not dominate our lives. Doubt should not dominate our lives either.

When I think about belief (or unbelief or doubt), Sarah from The Holy Bible comes to mind. After God said that Sarah would give birth to a son, Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (Genesis 18:12) Sarah did not believe her being able to bear a child was possible. However, she eventually gave birth to Isaac (Genesis 21:2-3).

God kept His promise to Sarah. We must remember the Lord keeps His promises to us too. He does not lie. If God says He will do something, we must believe Him. This can relate to anything you can think of (from increase from a financial standpoint to complete healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually).

However, some things take true effort on our part and some things take time. In a piece I wrote some time ago, I stated that although we serve a God who can make anything happen at any time, we must be patient and wait for some things. Often, we must undergo a preparation period before we receive something or advance to the next level. Preparation periods are not easy, but they are necessary and worth it!

You may be in a season of difficulty right now. You may feel as though things will never get better. You may feel as though there is no way out of the situation you’re currently in. You may be so overcome with worry, anxiety, and frustration that you are unable to see God working in your life. Everything may appear chaotic, confusing, and just crazy. You may feel as though you have been waiting on God for something for a lifetime. However, remind yourself that anything is possible with the Lord, and He can fix anything in your life and create a blessing out of the chaos.

The phrase “Everything is going to be okay” is a very common one. However, what about those times when things don’t go as you planned in your life?

We should always ask that God’s will be done in our lives. At times, our flesh will get in the way and cloud our vision of what God wants for us. At times, we do not consult with the Lord as we should, and at times, failure to consult with the Lord will land us in some predicaments.

Thankfully, we serve a forgiving and patient God who can bless us even when we “mess up”, although we are expected to learn from our mistakes.

When you follow the Lord’s instructions and do things the way He wants them to be done, everything will be okay. Things may not turn out the way you always expect, but you will be okay. So don’t wait until you come out of the trial or receive that blessing to believe that the blessing will happen for you. Have faith and remember that God always keeps His word.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, help us to trust You. Build within us a faith that survives every trial and overcomes every doubt. Help us to believe more in You. Teach us how to trust You. Thank You for always being there for us and for keeping Your Word. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Note from Alexis: Temeka's message reminds me of the song "Broken Places" by Plumb. Listen to it here

Author Bio:

Temeka Borden, better known by her pen name “Positivity Inspires,” is an author, speaker, minister, PharmD, multi-state licensed pharmacist, founder and owner of Positivity Inspires, LLC, and most importantly, a servant of the Lord.

She was introduced to Christ at a very early age and was raised in the church. Her ministry focuses on encouraging Christians to love God first, to love all people, to continually strengthen their bond with Christ, and to study His Word, and live His Word daily.

Dr. Borden has been blessed with a variety of gifts, and she has gained much professional experience in a variety of settings. She also has served in administrative roles in the professional and church settings. In addition to obtaining her PharmD, she also obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology (minor in English), and she is working on her third degree. What’s more, as stated in her words, “I completed a specialty pharmacy residency that prepared me for the workforce and made me a force to be reckoned with.”

Temeka is a long-distance runner, a drummer, a singer, and she has a strong “fashion sense.” She also can read and type at almost supersonic speed in some instances.

Dr. Borden loves to learn and is constantly looking for new ways to challenge herself.

She loves God and she loves people. She is “crazy about her family,” and she adores her friends. She strongly encourages others to show kindness, respect, and love to everyone.

Temeka loves and welcomes diversity and flourishes in culturally diverse environments.

Dr. Borden loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh. She also is passionate about giving back to the community. Her favorite sayings are “Speak Up!” and “Watch God Work!”

Connect with Temeka:
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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Romantic Reads: The Shell Collector

Interview with Nancy Naigle about her book, The Shell Collector:

Congratulations on your new novel, The Shell Collector! Let’s talk about it …

Alexis: Your new novel is categorized as “Friendship Fiction” on What does that mean?

Nancy: The publisher selects three categories for each novel. I’m not entirely sure how they select them. In the case of The Shell Collector I think “friendship fiction” fits. This story features several really great friendships. The old woman, Maeve, who walks the beach collecting shells with the young widow and mother of two, Amanda. Amanda is reunited with her late husband’s best friend, Paul. Maeve and Tug, the owner of the diner, have a really special relationship too.

Alexis: What are the themes of this story?

Nancy: Love, friendship, trusting your journey, and sharing your gifts.

Alexis: Describe your heroine to me. What are Amanda Whittier’s hopes, dreams, fears, and strengths?

Nancy: She is focused on her children, and still trying unbraid herself from her past with her husband Jack.

Alexis: Describe your hero to me. What are Paul Grant’s greatest strengths, worst weaknesses, and quiet dreams?

Nancy: He is the kind of friend we all want. Genuine, kind, trustworthy and sincere.

Alexis: What kind of business did Amanda dream of starting? Why?

Nancy: She had dreamed of starting a business creating herbal salts. It was a perfect combination of her love for herbs and cooking, while giving her something she could do from home to still be with her young children.

Alexis: How is Amanda adjusting to life after her husband’s death?

Nancy: It’s been two years since her husband passed away, and she’s just moved to Whelks Island to try to get a fresh start.

Alexis: How did Paul Grant arrive in the area where Amanda lives? Does he like his new place?

Nancy: Paul Grant just opened his second location of Paws Town Square. It’s a unique business that repurposes Ghost Box buildings in tourist towns that enable families to kennel their dogs near the vacation site. But it’s more than just that. Paul also works to reunite retired military working dogs with their handlers, and helps veterans by offering the jobs in his corporation.

Alexis: Why does Paul enjoy working with military dogs? How does that help him and others?

Nancy: Paul Grant worked with military working dogs while enlisted in the Marines. When his best friend doesn’t make it back from his last deployment, Paul feels guilty and becomes reckless. He left the Marines out of necessity, and Paws Town Square is his healing path.

Alexis: Why does Paul believe that he’s not suited for romance?

He once met the girl of his dreams, but she was already spoken for. Now Paul’s focus is solely on his business.

Alexis: Who is Maeve Lindsay? What role does she play in this story?

Nancy: Maeve is in her eighties. She grew up in Whelks Island and walks the beach every day, rain or shine, searching for shells and sea glass. She’s still very involved with the town. She doesn’t miss a town meeting, and works hard to help preserve this small town feel of the beach town.

Why did you write this book?

Nancy: This story was inspired by a true story of a friend of the family who was once walking the beach with something heavy on her heart. She found a shell with a scripture written in it in the surf. It was the right message at the right time. That, coupled with the loss of my husband in 2014, had this story churning in my heart for several years. This is truly a book of my heart. I can’t wait for readers to grab a copy to join me in this beautiful setting with the colorful residents of Whelks Island.

What do you want readers to remember most about The Shell Collector?

I hope readers will realize that friends can originate in unexpected places. The cross-generational friendship is really special. I hope they’ll also find themselves wanting to share small moments of joy with others.

Complete this sentence: If I were not an author, I’d ____________________ because ______________________.

Nancy: If I were not an author, I’d definitely still be working in big business because that’s what I was good at. I never aspired to be an author. I was a senior vice president with Bank of America. My original goal was to write one book, to help one girl through one lousy day. That’s it. But my first book deal was for three books and I really loved writing them. My husband was diagnosed with cancer at the end of October 2013. He died on January 30th, 2014. I felt the need to shift the focus of my life. I took an early retirement at that time to write full-time. It’s truly been a blessing.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Nancy! Do you have closing comments?

Nancy: Thank you for letting me share a little inside information about The Shell Collector. This book is available in digital, trade paperback and audio formats. The audio book is narrated by Erin Cahill who starred as Kelly in the movie based on my novel The Secret Ingredient on Hallmark Channel. It’s a wonderful audio book. This book will also be available in hard cover large print on September 8. It’s available for preorder now.

Please stay in touch with me on my website You can subscribe to my newsletter there too to be the first to hear about books, movies, sales, events and contests. You can read the first chapter of the book at

Hugs and happy reading!

Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. She began her contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career as an SVP for Bank of America and life on a seventy-six-acre goat farm.

Now enjoying an early retirement from the financial industry, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, cooking, trail riding on her Palomino, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she now calls North Carolina home.

Best known for her small town stories set in Adams Grove, Sweet Tea and Secrets leads off this small town series. Stay tuned for news about the release of Porch Swings and Promises.

Nancy writes romance and women's fiction for Montlake Romance and St. Martin's Press. She enjoys the diversity of adding mysteries to her list of accomplishments through Crossroads Publishing House. She's also working on several projects with Hallmark. Watch for Nancy's novels Christmas Joy, Christmas in Evergreen and Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa on Hallmark Channel, and Hope at Christmas, on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. New in 2020, The Secret Ingredient made its Hallmark Channel debut, and stay tuned for news about the movie based on Sand Dollar Cove.

Sign up for Nancy's newsletter at the bottom of this page to be the first to hear about the new movie. Stay in touch with Nancy through social media and her newsletter.

Book blurb for The Shell Collector:

The Shell Collector is a beautiful story full of love, loss, and second chances.” 
– #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

From USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle, The Shell Collector is a touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good.

Two years after her husband’s death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved.

Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he’s convinced he’s not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning—alone—through his work and role in the community.

Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk’s Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move.

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that’s bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.

Buy The Shell Collector on Amazon, CBD, TARGET, or Walmart

Connect with Nancy:

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Monday, June 28, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Following Jesus and sharing Him with the world

Seeking the Lost
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.””
– Mark 16:15 (NASB)

I have been a Christian for a long time.

I grew up in the church with a family who loves Jesus Christ. I made a decision to put Jesus first at a very young age and never went through a “rebellion” stage like many church kids do. I didn’t leave the church when I left home or went to college. My faith and relationship with the Lord has certainly had its ups and downs, although I’d like to think that on the whole it’s been pretty consistent and so have I.

But no matter how long we’ve been a Christian, or how many times we’ve read the Bible, if we are still breathing, God is still working on things within us. As we study and pray, our eyes are opened to new truths about Him and our hearts need to be open to transformation.

In this season of my life I’m beginning to recognize how little I share my faith today and how little I have over the course of my life. Having spent my childhood in the ‘80s, for me the word “evangelist” conjures up tarnished images of slick-talking television hucksters exploiting the masses, but it shouldn’t. 

According to the dictionary, “Evangelism” is simply “spreading the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.” So an “evangelist” is simply a witness. We may not all have a public pulpit, but we all have a witness and therefore, we are all evangelists to one degree or another.

My own personality is one-part shy introvert and two-parts peacemaker who hates conflict or confrontation. “Evangelist” is not on a list of job descriptions for which I would naturally consider myself a good fit, but several things come to mind when I think about these six points: 

Point #1: We may not all be preachers or evangelists, but we all have a story.

Point #2: Even if evangelism is not our spiritual gift, we still need to be a witness to the world.

Point #3: Sharing the most important news of our lives shouldn’t be looked at as a burden, but a privilege.

Point #4: We do not share Jesus by ourselves. The Holy Spirit equips us as we speak and He is the one at work. Only He can convince another person of the Truth, which is how we came to know it in the first place ourselves.

Point #5: When someone rejects the Gospel, they are not rejecting us. And even if we do feel rejected, remember we are children of God and co-heirs with Jesus. It’s okay if the world doesn’t love us.

Point #6: The name of Jesus has great power. It shouldn’t surprise us when people who are not ready to hear the Gospel are rude or sharp or argumentative. The natural spirit inside us loves the things of the world, not the things of God.

Our church is studying through the book of Acts right now. If spending time with the amazing stories and astonishing miracles of the first Christians doesn’t make you want to see revival in today’s church or give you courage to seek out those who are lost, then maybe you need to read it again!

The world is so desperate for what only Jesus can give. How can we be silent? I’m ready to ask for opportunities to bring light to dark places. How about you?

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, author of salvation, be in us today as we share the truth with those around us. Help us to know when to speak and when to be silent, when to move forward and when to stand still. Even when we are scared, remind us that You are close. We love you. In Jesus’s 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 college-age children.

When she’s not writing or reading, she is watching more television than she should and crocheting.

Connect with her at, @beckerglynis on Instagram or @GlynisBecker7 on Twitter.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: A Life Lesson Learned in a Texas Snowstorm

Nothing Surprises God
A devotional by Kathleen Rouser

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
–Romans 8:39 (NLT)

As my husband Jack and I stepped outside of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport terminal, a blast of chilly air hit us. Regardless of the hint of inclement weather, we thought: We’ll still have a good time and find some fun things to do. We’re here to visit our son.

A little abnormally cold weather wasn’t going to ruin my long-awaited special birthday trip. God gave us the window of time where it worked out for all of us. I’d just thought we’d have a break from our usual February dreariness in Michigan. Instead, we met with a record storm of snow and ice.

We had two decent days, so we had some time to see where our son lived and to do a little sightseeing. Then came the ice and unprecedented snowfall. Each day the weather grew more frigid, and the ice and snow continued. In Michigan they know how to handle snow, but in Texas they were completely unprepared—no plows, no salt, water pipes buried too shallow to deal with the freezing cold weather.

We planned on being there for five days, but our return flight was canceled and even our rescheduled flight was canceled, so we were there for ten. Next, we lost water pressure in our hotel room. All stores and restaurants were closed. Amid all of this, our credit card had been hacked and our son got sick. My thyroid medication was running out. I began to ask God, “Why?”

When our first flight was canceled, I started a list of blessings on my memo app to help me keep perspective. Since we were only going to be gone a few days, I hadn’t packed a notebook. I wanted to write my thoughts down on paper. There wasn’t even a notepad in the hotel room, due to COVID-19. I went to the front desk to see if they had anything. The manager brought me a small notebook with a pen. The Lord provided! I could now write down my thankfulness journal.

The hotel brought dinner into the hotel each evening that we were stuck there and unable to get food, while everything was closed. They provided boiled water for brushing our teeth, and we could take pool water up to fill the toilet tank. Somehow, with our few snacks left we had enough to eat. However, for some reason when I awoke in the wee hours of Thursday morning, the day after we lost water, panic consumed me. I couldn’t sleep. Please pardon my dramatic flair, but all I wanted was to return home where they knew how to handle snow, and to not be stuck in a hotel room without running water. Father, I prayed silently, I just want to go home.

Then in His still, small voice He said, "I am your home." Why hadn’t I realized that? What was I worried about? Even if the worst-case scenario happened and I somehow died, I would be with the Lord when He takes me to Heaven (the real home for everyone who follows Jesus Christ). And with that peaceful thought, I returned to sleep.

Later that morning we managed our way through the ice and snow to our son’s house for food and showers and – best of all – to see him. God cared for us in many ways that week. And early on Saturday morning we were finally able to fly to Detroit.

Though our time in Texas didn’t go the way I expected, it didn’t surprise the Lord. It’s a comfort to know wherever I go and in whatever the circumstances, I am home, with my Father (God). As Colossians 3:2-3 (NLT) says, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Let’s Pray: Dear Father, thank you that wherever I go and whatever I do, You are with me. Thank You for providing for me so lovingly, even in times of difficulty. Help me to trust You more with all the details of my life, knowing that each day I can rely on your loving care. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan. She is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary Christian romance.

Kathleen is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers and a current member of Novel Academy. She has loved making up stories since she was a little girl.

She was so enthralled with the books her Mom read to her she wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She’s in the grip of God’s grace and is a fan of the three Cs—cats, coffee, and chocolate.

Kathleen is proud to be the mother of three adult children and mother-in-law to one. She is a former homeschool instructor, a mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher.

Kathleen lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.

Her writing is represented by Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency.

Connect with Kathy:
Facebook Author page:

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: When God's desires become your desires

Changing for Jesus
A devotional by Heidy De La Cruz

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the reviewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Do you remember when you gave your life to Jesus Christ? Do you remember why you decided to give your life to Jesus? Most Christians do. I’ve heard many people sharing their stories of when they encountered Jesus, and that was life-changing. My story is a little different. I didn’t have a life-changing encounter with Jesus when I decided to give my life to Him.

It was 2012, and I had started studying at the community college. I had to work with a classmate on a project, and we met after class to work together. After we worked on our project, she invited me to her church. The exciting part about it is that the church rented out the community movie theater, where they held their services. After the second visit, they did an altar call at the end of the service and asked everyone to close their eyes and have those who had never given their lives to Jesus raise their hands if they wanted to accept Him. I raised my hand this time.

Although I accepted Jesus in 2012, it wasn’t until 2016 that I started living for Him and made life changes. After being in such a dark place in my life for years, I knew I needed a change to get out of this place. So, this is when I really decided to live for Jesus. I started with devoting myself to attending church every Sunday unless I was out of town. This was a new church, though, not the same one where I had accepted Jesus. I joined a growth group or small group at the church, and I also decided to only listen to Christian music.

Listening to Christian music was the hardest for me because I enjoy Spanish music, but I realized that what we listen to and consume truly affects our mood and thoughts. Within the new changes also came no more drinking alcohol. Although I would only drink with friends, I gave it up altogether. Instead, I read the Bible daily, and I would pray daily with my daughter and do her weekly memory verses.

In Romans 12:2 (NIV), the Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the reviewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I didn’t understand this verse until I truly made changes to live for Jesus because after you devote your life to Jesus, whatever you used to like that was of this world, you lose interest in it. The closer you get to Jesus and the stronger the relationship becomes, the more your interest changes from worldly desires to Godly desires.

After making these changes in my life and getting close to Jesus, my life changed, my interest changed, I found my purpose, I was able to get out of the dark place I was in, and I’m also more cautious about my choices. If you are looking for a breakthrough in your life, I encourage you to start a relationship with Jesus Christ. He wants us to come to Him as we are; we don’t need to change first before giving our life to Him. He will guide us and help us change for the better.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, I am ready to live my life for You. Please help me and guide me into living my life for You. Help me to renew my mind. Lord, I am ready for a breakthrough, and I know you are the only one who can help me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Heidy’s devotional message reminds me of this song by Jaci Velasquez. Listen to “God Loves You” here.

Author Bio:

Hello, my name is Heidy (Reynoso) De La Cruz.

I am Dominican-American and I’m passionate about writing! I write poetry, encouraging blog posts about personal experiences and any message that God has stored in my heart. I am working on publishing my first poetry book.

First and foremost, I am a daughter of Jesus Christ. I am also a wife and a mother. I have my master’s degree in Healthcare Administration through Belhaven University’s online course. I have my bachelor’s degree in Science with the concentration of Psychology and Healthcare Administration.

I currently work in the medical field as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist, and I’ve been in the medical field for the last six years. I love my career!

My hobbies include writing, reading, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, traveling, and spending time with my family.

Connect with Heidy:
Read my poetry on Instagram:

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Romantic Reads: The Maritime Cure

Interview with Michelle S. Lowe about her book, The Maritime Cure:

Alexis: Why did you write this book?

Michelle: I wrote The Maritime Cure in memory of my mom and her battle with MS.

Describe your story’s heroine, Sage Patterson. What does she look/sound/act like? What are her primary passions? What is her best quality and worst character flaw?

Michelle: Sage Patterson is soft-spoken, with long auburn hair and green eyes that reflect how deeply she feels. She is passionate about helping others. Her best quality is her confidence as a nurse. Her worst character flaw is reliving the past, and of course, her hard-headedness when it comes to dealing with her estranged father.

Alexis: Why did you make Sage a nurse? What does she love about her job?

Michelle: I am a nurse and I love the nursing profession. I have been fortunate enough to work with so many wonderful nurses who put their patients first as Sage does in the story.

Paint a picture with words of the beach house that Sage’s mother loves. Why is it special?

Michelle: Sage’s mother’s beloved beach cottage, once painted a bright beachy pink, is now weathered and unkept due to the last few years of neglect. The white porch and railings that were once pristine, now look abandoned and neglected under the tawny sunshine of late summer. The outdated cottage is surrounded by tall, invading dune grass swaying mockingly in the ocean breeze. The beach house is special because inside, Sage’s mother’s special touch remains in every detail and reminds her of her happy childhood.

Alexis: When did Sage adopt her rescue dog Molly? How does Molly help Sage in life?

Sage adopts her beautiful Belgian Malinois, Molly, when the injured puppy is abandoned outside her clinic in Asheboro. Molly, with her unconditional love, is therapeutic to Sage during a year wrought with disappointment and the unimaginable.

Alexis: Why is Ocean Isle Beach a picturesque place? Paint a picture of it with words.

Michelle: Ocean Isle beach is serene with its ribbony sunsets of pink and gold against the beautiful blue-green ocean. Neatly manicured sidewalks and backstreets lead to treasured beach homes along the waterway. On quiet nights one can sit at the dock and hear the fish jump along with the low rumbling motors of incoming boats.

Alexis: What role does the unknown painter whose work Sage admires, play in this story?

The role of the unknown painter is my favorite part of this story. This mystery man teaches Sage about forgiveness through his watercolor painting of praying hands without saying a word.

Why does Sage feel that she needs to escape to Ocean Isle Beach to decompress?

Michelle: Sage’s personal and professional life have been turned upside down by someone she thought would never do her harm. She escapes to Ocean Isle in hopes for respite from all the shame and embarrassment she feels when in her hometown of Asheboro, North Carolina.

Alexis: Describe your story’s hero, Jacob Gable. What does he look/sound/act like? What is his motivation? What are his greatest strengths and worst weaknesses?

Michelle: Jacob Gable is a tall, handsome, distinguished attorney. But being down-to-earth and honest are his most endearing traits. He is dedicated to his faith as a Christian, and his greatest weakness would be falling for Sage the moment he sees her.

Alexis: Why did you make Jacob a real estate attorney? What makes him good at his job?

Michelle: I made Jacob a real estate attorney because having to sell her mother’s beach house has been something Sage has been avoiding for some time, and I really like the irony of her meeting and falling in love with the kind attorney who would ultimately be assisting her with that task.

Alexis: What is it about Jacob that makes Sage’s heart flutter?

Michelle: His strength, yet tenderness and composure, even when he’s upset.

Alexis: What is it about Sage that draws Jacob to her?

Michelle: Jacob is drawn to Sage immediately when he sees her accidentally squeal her tires at a stoplight, her loudly barking dog in the seat beside her. But he is especially moved when he witnesses the gentle emergency care she provides to a young boy having a seizure outside his office, with no thoughts of tearing her dress or ruining her sandals against the rough pavement.

How does Sage and Jacob’s individual faith in God help them take a chance on love?

Michelle: Sage’s faith was there all along, she only needed a push from Jacob. At one point in the story, Jacob is forced to walk away from Sage, relying solely on strength from God.

Alexis: What is the theme of this story? Why?

Michelle: The theme of this story is forgiveness. I am amazed by a God that is willing to forgive me completely of my sins. This reminds me that we, as mere humans, should most certainly be willing to forgive others.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this book?

Michelle: I would like for readers to remember the freedom and healing that forgiveness can offer.

Thanks for the interview, Michelle! Do you have closing comments?

Michelle: Thank you so very much for interviewing me Alexis. I am honored and I hope readers will enjoy my book.

Author Bio:

Michelle Smith Lowe lives in Asheboro, North Carolina with her husband of twenty years, Brian, and their son, Jake.

She is the proud owner of a very spoiled bluetick hound dog.

Michelle is a Registered Nurse as well as a Certified Multiple Sclerosis Nurse.

She has always loved to write and wishes to thank God most of all for her ability to write fiction.

Her hobbies include searching for Native American arrowheads on her property and cooking for her family.

Book Blurb for The Maritime Cure:

Forgiveness can heal even the deepest of wounds 

Nurse Practitioner Sage Patterson is accustomed to giving her time and resources to others—and she wouldn’t want it any other way. But when someone she thought she could trust puts her reputation on the line, she can’t find the strength to move past the embarrassment and hurt. To make matters worse, she must now sell her mother’s beloved beach house.

Sage, along with her loyal rescue dog, Molly, head to picturesque Ocean Isle Beach where she finds refuge in watching the work of an unknown painter in the evenings. This tranquility is exactly what she needs to decompress… And then she meets real estate attorney Jacob Gable.

He doesn’t just turn her world upside down; he steals her heart, too. But will Sage’s anger and fear of betrayal get in the way of everything Jacob has to offer? Or will they, together with God, be able to move on from past hurts to embark on a journey of forgiveness and love?

Buy Michelle’s book on Amazon

Connect with Michelle:

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Monday, June 21, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Promises and His Perfect Timing

It’s On the Way
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” 
–Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

It was New Year's Day. I just received the news that my friend had given birth just a little earlier than her due date. The baby was healthy and my friend was doing well. She was relieved that the delivery was over. My friend and I went through the ups and downs of our pregnancies together.

We both experienced morning sickness and all of the special conditions that pregnancy had to offer. We encouraged each other through the process and we both wondered if we would make it to 40 weeks. Well, her waiting period had come to an end. As for me, I was still pregnant and I felt like my waiting period had no end. Secretly, I wished that I was the one who had given birth on New Year's Day. I wanted this pregnancy to be finished and I especially wanted the delivery to be over so that I could hold my baby and then continue with the next phase of raising a newborn.

The doctor strongly suggested that I induce the baby. I really did not want to choose that option, but I was running out of time. I was 39 weeks pregnant, my due date was steadily approaching, and there were no signs indicating that I was close to delivery. This would be my second child and I was getting uneasy about the inaction. I had frequent check-ups and stress tests to make sure that the baby was alright. All of the tests results were fine, but why wasn't anything happening? At this point in the game, the baby was supposed to drop, I was supposed to be dilated, and there was a slew of other symptoms that I was anticipating. None of these things had taken place. I felt like I was in limbo. The uncertainty was excruciating!

I scheduled the induction for a very early Wednesday morning. The day before, a good friend who is also a midwife came to visit me at my home. She told me about a few natural formulas and strategies that would hopefully prepare me for the next morning when I would be induced. I still was not dilated and there were no changes from the previous week. I followed her instructions at the beginning of the day on Tuesday, and I continued the natural procedures all day into the evening. Still no change.

As I was making plans for the next morning, my friend suggested I soak in the bathtub to relax since it had been a long day. I soaked only for a few minutes when all of a sudden I felt movement in my abdomen. I got out of the tub, my friend took one look at me and then informed me that we would not make it to the hospital. The baby was coming now! Much to our surprise, my baby was born in my bathroom that Tuesday evening. Thank God my friend who is a midwife was there to help me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for delivering a healthy baby boy safely into my hands!

And just like that, God's promises to you will be born. It may seem like nothing is happening and everything is at rest; but God is moving and He is working on the inside. Your talents, gifts, skills, and abilities may be laying dormant, but they are waiting to be set loose so that you may reach the potential that God created in you. It's like pregnancy. There is something growing and developing inside of you and at the appointed time, everything He promised will come forth and you will give birth to God's purpose for your life. In the meantime, you have to pay attention to the opportunities God brings to you and pursue His will for your life at all costs. 

It will be worth it in the end.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, we want You to fulfill Your promises in our lives. Help us to discover Your will and to follow Your purpose so that we can reap the blessings that You have in store for us. We love you and we thank you. In Jesus's Name I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:

Angela Anderson was born in Brooklyn, New York. She was raised in a Christian home in New Jersey. Angela dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized at the age of 12. 

As a child in elementary school, she developed a penchant for writing book reports and entering writing contests. By high school, she was taking advanced placement courses in English and Speech & Creative Writing. Angela’s love for journaling also had its beginnings in high school and it evolved into prayers journals and detailed notes for prospective book ideas. As a result, Angela is the author of a published 40-day devotional book titled Just When I Thought I Knew God. She also wrote a children’s book that is not yet published.

Although Angela wanted to somehow incorporate writing in her life, she is currently a Certified Human Resources Professional. Angela graduated from Rutgers University in NJ with a double bachelor’s degree in Labor/Employment Relations & Sociology. She also has an MBA from Strayer University.

Angela founded a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization called Head to the Sky, Inc. It was formed in order to assist those in prison with their transition into society and to reduce the rate of recidivism in the community. During this venture, Angela received a certification in grant writing from The Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College. Angela was very passionate about teaching, training, and sharing the love of Christ in this ministry; but she had to refocus her passion when she and her husband decided to start their family.

Angela has been married to the love of her life, Duane Anderson for 16 years. Together they have two sons: Thomas (age 8) and Ryan (age 3). Angela’s favorite pastime is journaling and she also enjoys spending quality time with her family. Her personal mission is to empower others to achieve their goals and dreams.

Connect with Angela:
Facebook fan page for her devotional book, Just When I Thought I Knew God:

Friday, June 18, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: A Lesson On Childlike Wonder and Heaven

Releasing Your Inner Child
A devotional by Jessica Collazo

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 
– Mark 10:14(b)-15 (ESV)

My family and I recently visited Disney World.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of excitement leading up to the trip. As we spent the day at one of the parks, we entered an area dedicated to Star Wars. There was an experience that you actually had to register ahead of time to participate in, and well, my very determined husband was able to ensure that we secured a spot.

As we walked through the experience, my husband’s face lit up. There was an excitement and wonder on his face that cannot be described any other way than childlike. It was as if the little boy in him surfaced as he explored the exhibit. I took picture after picture of his reactions because there was a refreshing ease about him at that moment.

Without realizing it, the next day was my turn to have a similar experience. As we entered Magic Kingdom, and saw the Cinderella Castle, it was as if the little girl in me jumped out in excitement. There was a pure moment of joy that was unadulterated.

I reflected on those moments at the parks and felt that the Lord was reminding me to embrace that childlike excitement, but to focus it on Him. To allow myself to approach His throne with awe and wonder once again. Those moments at Disney were a small glimpse of reality for me. I was able to see that it is possible to allow my inner child to surface and experience God’s goodness in a pure simple way.

Life has a way of making us forget about the simple things that bring a smile to our faces. As kids, we are in a hurry to grow up, because we think that there is freedom that comes with adulthood. However, as adults, we tend to get bogged down with the troubles that this world brings us and we quickly lose the awe and wonder that we had as children.

If life has you a little uneasy these days or maybe even feeling a little hopeless, I urge you to pause and try to think about the last thing that took your breath away or brought you pure excitement. Think about something that made you remember God and His faithfulness.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank you for the reminders all around us that you are a good Father. Lord, allow us to see things with childlike eyes, to look at you and your creation with awe and wonder, and to allow the child in us to believe in you when the troubles of this world try to distract us and keep us from you. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Jessica Collazo is a Chicago native with a heart that beats for Jesus.

Her passion is to challenge women to think differently, gain a new perspective and live confidently. Because she knows, it’s possible. 

Using God’s Word, a little bit of humor, strategic way of thinking and personal stories, Jessica offers a fresh take on where to go when women feel stuck, overlooked or overwhelmed.

Jessica’s greatest passion is to help women take off the identities they have been given by the world and realize who they are in Christ: known, dearly loved, set apart, and chosen.

Jessica is the senior manager of operations at Proverbs 31 Ministries who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Jerry, two sons and dog, Sawyer. Prior to working at Proverbs 31 Ministries, Jessica has over 10 years of experience working in women’s ministry, marriage ministry and outreach.

Connect with Jessica:

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: A day with Jesus can change your life forever

Where Do We Go From Here?
A devotional by Malinda Fugate

Key Scripture:
Luke 5:1-11, John 21:1-14, Ephesians 2:10

An ordinary day at the office can be the day that your life is changed.

When Peter, Andrew, James, and John began their usual night of fishing, they didn’t know that morning would bring an encounter with Jesus, a miraculous bursting-the-nets catch of fish, and walking away from their jobs to follow Christ. They didn’t anticipate the wild journey of the next three years as they witnessed healings, began to understand the kingdom of God, and learned how to be “fishers of people.” Nothing about them would ever be the same.

Suddenly, their world was turned upside down again. Their Teacher was brutally killed on a cross. Then, days later, He walked alive among them after defeating death. Life as they knew it was completely transformed. The challenge was that Jesus was not with them in the same way He had been the past three years. The rhythm of traveling, teaching, and healing had been disrupted. They were frightened of the officials angry enough to cause them harm. What were the disciples supposed to do now?

One particular night, they decided to return to what they knew: fishing. Unfortunately, even that was a discouragement as the sun rose over their empty nets. They saw someone on the shore and heard a voice cry out to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. With nothing to lose, those nets splashed into the sea. In a moment, they were filled with fish! This had happened before and they were immediately struck with recognition and familiarity. They shouted, “It is the Lord!”

Peter jumped into the water, eager to reach their beloved Teacher, even if it meant swimming. Soon, they were all reunited on the beach, enjoying the breakfast their Lord provided.

The repeat fishing miracle must have reminded the disciples of that morning on the Sea of Galilee when they took their first steps alongside Jesus. Here they were again—same body of water, same amazing catch, same Savior. Did they remember those words from years ago, “From now on, you will fish for people”? Did this clarify their direction, guiding them into their next steps of spreading the gospel? One thing was sure: They were never intended to return to their previous life of boats, nets, and fish guts.

Jesus Christ had changed the disciples from their initial encounter. And when we are changed by Christ, there’s no going back to who we were before. The disciples had a God-given purpose, and so do we. When we met Jesus the first time, He transformed our lives for good. We entered a journey alongside Him with many of life’s ups and downs. With every mountain and valley, we grew. Our faith was strengthened and everything about us matured, all with a purpose for our good and to bring Him glory.

The past year has been full of mountains and valleys, one after the other. We are tired, bewildered, and uncertain about the future. We might understand how the disciples felt post-resurrection – tired, bewildered, uncertain – but full of hope in Christ. They couldn’t go back to who they were and neither can we.

Through this year, God has refined us in the fire of difficulties, preparing us for where He will take us next. In Christ, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). There’s no going back to old ways or even standing still in a life following Jesus. So what does going forward look like for each of us?

That answer may look different in our individual circumstances, but there is something we have in common with the disciples. We are intended to spread the gospel and bring glory to the Lord. We aren’t meant to quietly keep the good news to ourselves.

God has brought you to this point with purpose. Where are you planted? Who do you encounter daily, or who are you connected to that needs more of the love of God in their life? What skills and experiences have you gained this year? Give them to the Lord and seek what He has prepared for you.

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10 (ESV), “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Remember where you’ve gone with the Lord and take the next steps with Him. This is a new beginning. The adventure continues!

Author Bio:

Malinda Fugate writes from the heart.  

Though she serves full time as the Children’s Education Director at a church in Southern California, she is also a crafter of words published in books.

Her writing includes children's faith resources, commercial copywriting, and various faith-based stage and screenplays.

Malinda invites you to explore the various 3:16s in the Bible with her new book, The Other Three Sixteens (published by Ambassador International in May 2020).

She also invites you to read her previously published books: Bible Time for Active Kids, which is an activities-based devotional that is available for purchase on, and The Pen and the Sword: Connecting With the Word of God, which is an interactive creative writing journal.

Malinda earned a communications degree with a theatre emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, and then worked behind the scenes at the Los Angeles Salem radio stations, including The Fish and KKLA.

When she's not writing or working at church, Malinda might be creating art, reading, or exploring the many adventures to be found in the Los Angeles area.

She lives by the beach with her pup, Yoshi.

Visit Malinda online via

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Romantic Reads: Delayed Justice

The Story Behind Delayed Justice by Cara Putman:

If you've followed along with my writing for any length of time, you know I love writing. It's also one of the hardest things I do. Writing is hard work plain and simple. To give readers an emotional experience I have to dig deep. I need to cry. I'll want to chortle. For any emotion to resonate, I have to be willing to go there.

For some books that's relatively easy. I'm writing a book set in WWII on the home front. There's rationing. There's boys going to war. But there's also dances. And games. And the importance of family.

Then there are the books that require deep things from me. Delayed Justice was one of those books. Jaime Nichols was a character who was shy to make her story known. In Beyond Justice, she said a few snarky lines and gratefully slid into the shadows. In Imperfect Justice, she hinted at darker secrets, but kept her difference. But in Delayed Justice her story erupted. It oozed with pain and angst...and to get her to a point of healing and hope, I had to walk through the pain, too.

That meant I had to research the lingering effects of childhood abuse on adults. I had to explore the trauma's impacts in emotional and physical ways. I had to talk with survivors and read their stories, so I could honor their experience in the telling of Jaime's. I also wanted to write the story in a way that conveys hope without triggering those who may have experienced the painful realities.

To do that I balanced Jaime's journey with her stand-offish cat Simba and a lovable Golden Retriever named Aslan. The two of them provided comic relief and a mirror for the growing friendship between Jaime and Chandler Bolton. The animals also reflect the shifting nature of Jaime's spiritual journey. I also surrounded Jaime with friends, and made sure she couldn't escape one. It was impossible for her to continue to hide behind a mask when Caroline is around. We all need friends like that, don't we?

The other element that made Delayed Justice a challenge to write is that Jaime doesn't know God as her personal Father. She's heard about Him from her friends, but He's not good and He's not safe. If He were, He would have protected her. As I was writing Delayed Justice I was wrestling with those questions in a very personal way. I'll be writing more about that in the coming weeks, what God's been showing me and what I'm trying to learn.

God actually used the writing of this story to allow me to wrestle with some of these hard questions. Where is God when things don't go well? When we obey and follow Him and He drops us off the cliff? Where is He when we're hurt or abused? How do we reconcile that reality of living in a fallen world with the truth that He is good?

These are hard questions. They don't have easy answers.

And Jaime wrestles with them, just as I wrestle with them. Maybe you do, too.

Isn't that what a faith journey is about?

Some days we are running down the path God has in front of us. The path is clear. The light shines brightly and I can see Him. I can see His smile. I can feel the warmth of His love.

Then there are other days, weeks, and months, where the path is shrouded in fog and darkness. In those days my journal is filled with questions. God, where are You? What did I do? What am I supposed to learn? Help me follow You when I can't find You or see You. These are the days that faith is hard. Some days I have wrestled to continue believing what I know is true, when my heart is broken and hurting.

But I'm finding after the deconstruction comes reconstruction. It's hard work, but God meets me in it. Jaime gets to discover some of that truth too.

Book Blurb for Delayed Justice:

Jaime long ago gave up the desire to be loved. Now she only needs to be heard.  

Jaime Nichols went to law school to find the voice she never had as a child, and her determination to protect girls and women in the path of harm drives her in ways both spoken and unspoken. As Jaime, now a criminal defense attorney, prepares to press charges against someone who wronged her long ago, she must face not only her demons but also the unimaginable forces that protect the powerful man who tore her childhood apart.

Chandler Bolton, a retired veteran, is tasked with helping a young victim who must testify in court—and along with his therapy dog, Aslan, he’s up for the task. When he first meets Jaime, all brains, beauty, and brashness, he can’t help but be intrigued. As Chandler works to break through the wall Jaime has built around herself, the two of them discover that they may have more to offer one another than they ever could have guessed—and that together, they may be able to help this endangered child.

This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life.

Author Bio:

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history.

There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently writing book 35 and dreaming up future books, not hard when she sees what-ifs everywhere.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW and gives back to the writing community through her service on Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is also an attorney, full-time lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is.

She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management.

You can learn more about Cara at

Buy Cara’s book:
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ CBD ~ Target ~ Walmart ~ Cara’s website

Connect with Cara:


Monday, June 14, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Way

My Way or The “Most High” Way?
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing Him and what he does.”— Romans 4:16 (MSG)

I keep a journal where I write down what I study in the Bible, how God speaks to me, prayer requests and sometimes even my prayers themselves. Sometimes I like to go back to my journal and read the things I've written, specifically the prayers I've prayed to see if and how God has answered.

Do you ever read back through your journal and see a pattern of you asking God for things for yourself and others? Do you see yourself asking God to bless your plans and ideas? I would be lying if I said I didn't. How often do we ask God what His plans are for us? If I were to read back over the last couple months of entries, I might be disappointed in myself to see how few times I asked God what He had planned for me or what Kingdom work He had going on that He wanted me to be a part of.

While God wants us to be productive, He is far more concerned with whether we are walking in our purpose. He places passions and desires in us, but their main purpose is to be used to further His kingdom and bring Him glory. God created us for a purpose, and we will be happiest and feel most fulfilled when we are pursuing that purpose. Our job is to get on board with what God wants us to be doing and how He wants us to be doing it. Our best efforts are useless if they are not aligned with the will of the Father. And God (our Father) tells us this, more than once, in His Word.

Have you heard the saying, “It’s my way or the highway” yet? The Bible tells us in Proverbs 14:12 (NLT) as well as in Proverbs 16:25 (NLT), “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” All of a sudden “my way” doesn’t sound so appealing, does it? 

I have known God to repeat a recurring theme or topic to emphasize its importance. I have even seen in the Gospels where exact words are repeated as different writers recounted the same story. But I don’t recall many times where the exact same words are repeated in two different places within God’s Word (The Holy Bible), were completely unrelated to each other. Seeing these two verses that read exactly the same makes it pretty clear God doesn’t want us to miss this. I’m also pretty sure He knew we’d need to hear those words more than once.

One of the many things I love about God is that He doesn’t place expectations on us without giving us the means to fulfill them and usually examples of how to carry them out. This topic is no different. Romans 4:2-3 (MSG) states, “If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”

We see here that “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him” instead of asking God to enter into what Abraham was doing. How many times have I tried to write a “Cyndi story” with God’s stamp of approval on it? Far too many times, I can assure you. And I love that we see here that “God was doing something for Abraham”. When we align our plans with God, He will not only work with us but also for us. That’s when we tap into the full power of the living God.

This verse also tells us Abraham "trusted God to be right" and set him straight "instead of trying to be right on his own". Does that feel like a Holy Spirit punch to anyone else? 

So often I think I know what’s best for me and my life only to find out over and over again that God’s ways are not only higher than mine, but far better (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Often, I think I am working so hard to accomplish something for God and yet it feels like I’m swimming against the current. Usually, I discover I am trying to bring God on board with my plans, plans I wasn’t called by God to carry out. Instead, I should be trying to do something with God and then He will do something for and with me.

Romans 4:16 (MSG) above makes it clear that if we want to experience fulfillment of God’s promises then we have to trust Him entirely and then embrace Him and what He does. We have to decide, daily, that even when things seem hopeless, we are going to live on the basis of what we know to be true about God, rather than what we see or feel in the natural. This is the “Most High way” and it’s so much better than our own way! 

Let’s Pray: Gracious God, we know Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts and Your ways are higher than our ways. Yet we still often try to take control of our lives usually leaving a mess in our wake. You are always faithfully waiting to pick up our pieces and lead us back into Your will and Your ways. Help us to more consistently seek You first and to always be on the lookout for the Kingdom work going around us that You prepared in advance for us to be a part of. It's our heart’s desire to walk confidently in the path and purpose You created us for. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him. 

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

Connect with Cyndi:

Friday, June 11, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Don't Quit!

Get back up, again!
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” –Proverbs 24:15-16 (ESV)

I have learned that failing and falling are essential to excellence. When I learned to ride a bicycle, I fell. Several times. When I learned to skate, I fell, several times. When I became more confident and began learning tricks on the bicycle and my skates, I fell again, often. But, I fell with a bit more grace and with determination, then I got back up and tried again.

In karate classes, one of the first and most important lessons is how to fall, how to roll and how to quickly recover. When learning to play scales on my flute and cello, I did not get it right. As I practiced, over and over, my hand placement and breathing became synchronized with the notes on the sheet music. Pretty soon, instead of noise, I was making music.

The text above is one of 30 wisdom sayings found in the middle of the book of Proverbs. The first of them is in Proverbs 22:17. They are what I call a compendium for character development. They were written in Hebrew, but they seem to reflect a similar collection of wisdom sayings from Egyptian literature, attributed to the philosopher Amenemope. This may suggest that character and faith development is similar in every culture.

The development of a person’s character demands repetition in failure. The repetition creates confidence. Confidence leads to mastery. In the process of falling, failing and recovering, grit and determination become a part of our personality. The fundamentals of success become automatic.

In contrast, when a person does not fall, fail and learn how to recover and try again, there is less confidence. Fear, unwillingness to persevere, closed mindedness, shortsighted pessimism and lack of adventure are traits that accompany those who will not risk falling or failure. These are those who are overwhelmed when they meet crisis and calamity.

By the time I was five years old, I was riding my bicycle without training wheels. Since then, I have almost always owned a bicycle. Last year, while following my son who was also riding his bicycle, I fell, again. We were about two miles from home. As life had taught me, I got up, mounted the bike again and rode home.

The gospel singer, Donnie McClurkin, popularized this concept with his song “We Fall Down.” He said, “We fall down, but we get up. For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up.” Falling is not failure and failure is not fatal. Failure in deeds are lessons learned. Failing to try is failure indeed.

As you rise and meet today, do so with the confidence learned from the times in your past when you fell or failed. You are still here. You know what did not work. Get back up, again. Do it, again! Instead of being bitter, get better!

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank you for today. Please unfold Your desire for me. Put within me the grit, discernment and desire to grasp what you have placed out there. Help me to use Your mercy and gifts to be all that I can be and to help others. Make me a blessing in the path of someone else. If I should stumble and fall, if I should fail in some endeavor, please make me rise. Make it so that when I rise, that I learn, that I grow and that I thrive. Be with others who like me have fallen or failed. Put within them the buoyancy and resilience to get back up again. As they do, let them see success and be successful, for your glory and according to your will, I pray. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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 Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in 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.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Obedience

Worship in Obedience
A devotional by Kay Pflueger

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” – John 14:15-17 (NIV)

As parents, when we give instructions to our children, obedience is the expected response. But how often do we hear “Why” in reply? Children do not always find rules easy to follow and we, as adults, can find them hard at times as well.

Psalm 119:33-34 (TPT) says, “Give me revelation about the meaning of your ways so I can enjoy the reward of following them fully. Give me an understanding heart so that I can passionately know and obey your truth.” This verse encourages us to enjoy following God’s ways and to walk in obedience to His truth.

In the Bible book of Daniel, we find a perfect example of how obedience and worship go hand in hand. Daniel was a Jewish prophet in the Old Testament who was gifted with the ability to interpret dreams. He was living in exile in Babylon but was well-liked by the king due to his gift. The Babylonians did not worship God and at the urging of some of his trusted officials, the king outlawed worshiping any god other than the idols of their culture. Anyone caught doing such would be put to death in the lion’s den.

In direct disobedience to the king’s decree, but in obedience to God, Daniel knelt and worshipped the Lord three times a day. He knew the ultimate consequence could be death but his love for the Lord ruled his life. He did not veer from his principles. Due to those actions, Daniel was condemned to death by the king.

We can learn four life lessons from Daniel’s obedience:

Lesson #1: Daniel was in the habit of prayer. Daniel 6:10 (NIV) says, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daily prayer was a pattern in Daniel’s life and not just in times of crisis. God knew the sound of his voice.

Lesson #2:
Daniel trusted in the sovereignty of God. He bent down on his knees to pray—reminding himself of the authority of God as he bowed before him.

Lesson #3: Daniel gave himself entirely to God. He knew he did not have the strength on his own to walk this path, so he prayed for God to give him strength.

Lesson #4: Daniel asked for God’s intervention. He may have asked for the edict to be overturned or possibly for God to be glorified in his death. God did not deliver help in the way Daniel expected but rather He sealed the mouths of the lions and Daniel was spared.

In Colossians 3:17 (NIV) we read, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” When this is how we live our lives, we give honor to the Lord, and we acknowledge that He alone is worthy of our worship and praise.

The One who calls us to obedience gives us everything we need to obey Him (2 Peter 1:3).

Theoretically, we know this to be true but do the Lord’s commands bring you joy? Do you accept that they are for your good? If we are honest with ourselves, we often balk at following His commands despite having all we need to live a life of obedience. Obedience begets worship. It is the outward result of a heart that is unimpressed and uninterested in anything but God.

Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, despite what you were facing at Calvary, you humbled yourself and became obedient to the Father’s will. We do not face death each day, but we ask that you bestow on us that same spirit of humbleness and obedience so that you are glorified in our actions and in our words. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Kay’s devotional today reminds me of the song “Pray On” by Babbie Mason. Listen to it here

Author Bio:

Learning to read as a young child opened a world of adventure for Kay Pflueger. She came to realize that words can have a unique power and beauty. 

Choosing to share those words in her devotional writings has become a joyful and rewarding experience for her. As a widow, she feels a special affinity towards those who are grieving or experiencing loss.

When she is not spending time with her married son and three grandchildren, she is either reading, cooking, writing, or working on pursuing her Copyediting Certification.

Kay is an avid baseball fan who looks forward every summer to following her favorite team, the Chicago Cubs. 

She is an active member of Victory Lutheran Church in her hometown of San Diego, California. 

Kay enjoys writing devotions to be shared on her church’s website and personal social media.

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