Friday, October 29, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Humility

Humble Yourself
A devotional by Monique M. Anderson

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around.”—1 Kings 3:7 (NLT)

If you are a Christian who goes to church and reads the Bible, then you probably have heard the story of Solomon. He was the king of Israel who asked God for wisdom to rule the nation. God not only blessed him with wisdom but also gave him riches and long life. We all learned the lesson from this story that when you ask God for what you truly need, He will bless you beyond measure giving you more than you even asked for.

However, while reading 1 Kings recently something different stood out to me. It was Solomon’s humble and vulnerable spirit in 1 Kings 3:7 that really pricked my heart. Solomon was just anointed as king of an entire nation. Imagine yourself in Solomon’s shoes. You’ve just been placed in a highly appointed position as king over an entire nation after the reign of your father (King David). God makes you ruler over His people and gives you power to govern. A position of this magnitude could have anyone’s ego running wild. When people are given positions of power, it often goes to their head. However, Solomon’s approach to this role was very modest.

God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he wants. Let’s pause there for a second and appreciate the blessing in that. Oftentimes we go to God asking for what we want. Can you imagine God coming to you asking for what you want? What a blessing.

The Bible often references how much God loves a humble heart.

“A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.”
—Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV)

Solomon’s response to God’s question is very humbling. First, Solomon acknowledges what God has already done for him (1 Kings 3:7). Recognizing what God has already done for you shows reverence to God. Next, King Solomon admits his inadequacy for the role, referring to himself as a “little child”. He acknowledges the fact that he has no leadership experience and was undeserving of the position. He realized to do this job well, he needs God.

Solomon understood he needed something more than just the riches and lavish appearance of being a king. He needed an “understanding heart” to govern the people well. Solomon wanted to please God, and not just look the part. In 1 Kings 3:9 (NLT), he admits, “For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

In other words, he was admitting to God that he had no idea what he’s doing. Solomon was asking God for the help that only He could give. There was no ego, there were no erratic emotions, just his bare vulnerability. Solomon was aware of the great responsibility placed in his hands. He recognized that there was no way he could do this alone or in his own strength. This humility led Solomon to not only being the wisest king of Israel, but also the richest.

When we ask God for what we need, and we recognize that we are not worthy of being used for such a great task, He will not only give us the ability to complete the task, but He will give us provision along the way.

Whatever role God gives you, more than likely it will be something much bigger than you. It will be a position of influence and great responsibility. You will have no idea what you’re doing. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask for His wisdom and understanding for the assignment. Don’t allow the title to run you, but instead run to God and He will be sure to give you more than you can ask think or imagine.

Let’s Pray: Father God, I thank you for wanting to use me. Thank you for seeing value in me for what you need me to do in this world. Humble my heart and give me the strength to be vulnerable enough to seek your guidance, wisdom, and help. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Monique is a writer, wife, and bonus mom to a 14 year old. She just recently unleashed her always present yet hidden talent of writing to the masses. She was born and raised in Mount Vernon, NY where she still resides, and serves on the prayer team of her church The Gathering Harlem.

Monique always felt like God was chasing after her, but never felt the need to surrender. Until that is when life started veering left, and she no longer wanted to steer so she finally gave Jesus the wheel. After forming her relationship with God she always felt compelled to share the revelation’s that the word gave to her. She always felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to write, but was afraid of what people might think. So her writing started in her journal. The journal turned into a book, and the book into a blog.

Slowly but surely God’s love started to cast out all fear. She started to consistently update her bi- weekly blog Her obedience led to further revelation. God revealed to her that he would use her to help others along their walk the same way God helped her along hers. Since Monique did not grow up in church she always felt intimidated by the Christian life. She thought that she would be losing so much of herself, not realizing that she would actually find her TRUE self.

Since God has shown her who he really created her to be, she now feels it is her life’s work to help those that are taking their first baby steps in this walk with Christ. She is doing so through her blog, and soon to be published book. She is excited to extend her reach to podcasts and speaking engagements in the near future.

Her blog is the stepping stone to fulfilling the vision God gave to her – “Sharing God’s revelations so we can all reflect his image and fulfill his purpose.”

Connect with Monique:

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Community

Joining a Community
A devotional by Heidy De La Cruz

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

Have you seen the movie, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Or maybe read the book series the film is based on?

If you haven’t, I’ll give you a quick summary: A group of four female friends are out shopping, and they come across these jeans. They all end up trying on the jeans, and although they all have a different body figure, the jeans fit them each perfectly. They decide to share an equal amount of time with the jeans because they are all going away for the summer the next day. So, in a sense, the jeans keep them tied together.

I want you to ask yourself, do you have a group of friends with a pair of magical jeans that fits everyone? Probably not, but do you have a group of friends who are believers? Do you have one, two, or maybe three friends or acquaintances who you can talk to and request prayer from? If you don’t, it is important that you do because Jesus Christ calls us to be part of a community of believers, who pray for each other, who can confess our sins to each other, and to be there for one another. James 5:16 (NIV) says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Having other believers pray for you is encouraging and uplifting, especially during turbulent times. You have this sense of fulfillment and hope afterward. It’s a little hard to explain. But being part of a community can also help with your relationship with Jesus. When I joined a “growth group” at my church, (what we call small groups), they would encourage us to worship God for twenty minutes, read the Bible for twenty minutes, and then pray for twenty minutes. Before joining, I had never done that before, and it became part of my routine. I felt like I was growing closer to Jesus and getting to know him like never before.

Think of Jesus like the pair of jeans from the movie; He fits everyone, no matter our shape. He is with each of us always, and when you gather with others to worship His name, you can feel His presence. It’s just like Jesus says in Matthew 18:20 (NIV), “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

If you are currently not involved in a small group in your church, I encourage you to pray about it and seek to join a group. Or maybe search for an online, Bible-based faith community that you can join. I’ve even been part of Christian book clubs, which also is good, but I encourage you to seek community within the Body of Christ (church).

Let’s Pray: Father God, I pray for those who are not involved in any faith-based groups that they will be able to find one. I pray that the group will encourage them and lead them closer to you, God. And for those who are already part of a community, I pray that they continue to be involved and participate. I pray that they can lead others into the group and grow in faith together. In your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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, October 26, 2021

Interview with Leslie McKee about her NEW devotional book

Today is a special day for my guest Leslie McKee. It's the release date for her NEW devotional book! Let's wish her a "Happy BOOK Birthday!"

In celebration of this special day, I've invited Leslie to talk with you about her devotional book via this author interview feature (below). She's also agreed to give away one copy of her book to the winner of the giveaway contest (details are at the end of this blog post). Enjoy!

Interview with Leslie McKee about her devotional book (Hope Amid the Pain: Hanging On to Positive Expectations When Battling Chronic Pain and Illness)

Alexis: What inspired you to write this book?

Leslie: Friends told me for years how I should share my story because of how it could encourage others. I resisted because I didn't want others to view me differently because of my chronic pain/illness. However, a few years ago, I felt a nudge from the Lord. I tried to ignore it, but it didn't work. In fact, it became a bit more insistent. I, reluctantly at first, began jotting down some notes and verses that were meaningful to me and helpful on the flare-up days. That later turned into the devotions in this book.

Alexis: What was the inspiration behind your book title? How did you come up with this acronym for HOPE (Hang On to Positive Expectations)?

Leslie: Years ago, before I started writing the book, my pastor did a sermon on HOPE, and it’s something that has always stuck with me, especially on the days when I’m having a flare-up. I needed something to grab on to, to remind me that God still has a plan. This little acronym has helped me through many days, and I hope it can help others as well.

Alexis: Is this your first devotional book that you’ve written? Will there be more? Why or why not?

Hope Amid the Pain is my first solo book. I have had my devotions published many other places, including three devotional compilations with Worthy/Ellie Claire, literary journals, and blogs. I do hope there will be future books. I have a few ideas, and I’ve even started working on what may become a 365-day devotional journal. It’s still a work in progress.

What main message are you hoping to convey to your readers?

Leslie: My book is a 60-day devotional journal that will remind women it is possible to hang on to positive expectations and cling to the hope that can only be found in the Lord ... even while living with chronic pain and illness.

Alexis: What was the most challenging part of writing this book? And the easiest? Explain.

Easiest: Choosing Bible verses that encourage me and lift me up on the difficult days. Most Challenging: Being willing to share my story with others—strangers, as well as those close to me, as I’ve rarely opened up about my chronic pain and illness.

Alexis: In what ways do you hope this devotional will help people who suffer from chronic illnesses and/or chronic pain?

Leslie: In addition to Scripture verses that I hope encourage them and remind them they’re not alone, I also include helpful hacks and tips, information I wish I’d been told when I was newly diagnosed, details on two things I find helpful (journaling and square breathing), and a list of resources where the reader can find information and support.

Alexis: In what ways did your faith in God impact your writing of this book?

Leslie: I’ve been a Christ follower since I was quite young. If I didn’t have Him in my life, I don’t know where I’d be, but I’m certain it wouldn’t be where I am now. There have been many days along the way where a part of me has wanted to throw in the towel, but then a song comes on the radio, or I read an encouraging verse, etc., and it reminds me that I’m not alone. The Lord is with me. I’ve survived 100% of the situations I’ve encountered thus far. He hasn’t left me yet, and I know He’ll continue to see me through each moment, including the painful ones.

Alexis: Who is your target audience for this message? Why?

Leslie: When writing the book, the audience I had in mind was women battling chronic pain and illness, ages 30–60, who want to know that they are not alone in their daily struggles. A believer or a woman who is a seeker or spiritually curious. However, I believe the devotions would apply to women in any geographic location, though some references may be a bit unfamiliar to non-Christians or those outside the USA. For a secondary audience: Caretakers, spouses, or family members of women battling chronic pain and illness. Also women of all ages struggling with a physical hardship or life loss.

Alexis: How do you think this book will reach readers who are Christians and who are not of the faith?

We all want to know that we are seen, that we are heard, that we are not alone, and that we belong. I pray my book reminds women that God sees them. He hears them. He knows their pain. He is with them, and He loves them.

Would you describe yourself as a “chronic pain warrior”? Why or why not? Share your story.

Definitely, though I haven’t always seen myself this way. My view of myself in this regard changed a bit after a friend told me how she viewed me as an overcomer. To me, a chronic pain warrior is someone who is always in pain, though they look fine on the outside. But despite that painful truth, they keep going. Their pain fluctuates, and it’s not a life they would’ve chosen, but they’re more than their pain. While the battle may not always be a literal one, it’s still there, in part, every single day. It may take longer to do a task, even simple, basic ones, but they don’t give up. Progress is progress, no matter how slow the pace may be. And that truth is represented by the turtle on the cover of my book, who demonstrates the slow and steady pace a chronic pain warrior goes through every day. I’ve learned over the years that while this was never in my plans for my life, it was always in God’s plan. And He has one for me, pain and all. And I’m stronger through it because He’s right there with me, every painful moment along the way.

Alexis: What Bible verse keeps you going when you want to give up?

I have a number of verses (including the sixty used in my book). The key one for me is Romans 8:37 (NIV): “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” 

Alexis: If you could sell your book in one sentence, what would you say?

Hope Amid the Pain will remind women living with chronic pain and illness that hope can always be found in Jesus, and He has a purpose for their life, even amid the pain.

Thanks for the interview! Do you have any closing comments?

Leslie: Thanks for having me, Alexis. I appreciate the opportunity to share about my book with your readers. I hope you all have a wonderful, blessed upcoming holiday season.

Author Bio:

Leslie is an editor, author, and reviewer, but editing, writing, and reviewing are not merely jobs—they are her passions.

Leslie is an avid reader with an eye for detail.

She has been a chronic pain warrior for more than twenty years, so she is familiar with the peaks and valleys associated with living with a chronic illness. She has felt God come alongside her through His Word and remind her that the battle is His and she’s not alone.

Leslie is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and The Christian PEN. She has had devotionals published in Ellie Claire/Worthy Publishing compilation books. She’s also published flash fiction stories.

In her spare time, Leslie enjoys reading, playing piano, crocheting, spending time with family and friends (and her turtle!), and rooting for the NY Giants.

Blurb for Leslie’s devotional book:

Why me? Is God punishing me? Is my faith not strong enough for God to heal me? How can I achieve my dreams? What’s my purpose? 

If you’re someone living with a chronic illness or chronic pain, these are just a few of the questions you’ve likely asked on more than one occasion. You may feel overlooked or even resentful. You try to stay positive, but some days it’s hard. It’s natural to feel this way and grieve, but it’s still possible to have a hope-filled life. God has a purpose for the pain.

Christians aren’t immune from pain and illness, but we don’t have to go through it alone. Jesus promised that He would “never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV).

Millions of women suffering from chronic pain and illness want the reassurance they’re not alone. The devotions in Hope Amid the Pain are written by a chronic pain warrior with over twenty-five years’ experience will point them to hope and encouragement. It’s possible to Hang On to Positive Expectations (HOPE) even amid the pain.

Buy Leslie’s book on Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo ~ Booktopia

Connect with Leslie:






Amazon Author page:

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN an e-copy (for Kindle) of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Stand Up and Stand Out for Jesus Christ

Out of Place
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:16 (NASB)

When was the last time you felt out of place?

When have you felt so conspicuous you were sure that everyone was watching you?

A few weeks ago we went to see our daughter in the marching band at her college’s homecoming game. I’m embarrassed to admit that until we walked through the doors to the stadium, it had not occurred to me to wear something with the school logo or even the school’s colors! This was a weekend trip and I had only packed a few clothes, so I didn’t have any options to change into.

As I sat in the stands with my bright green shirt sticking out in a sea of maroon and gold, all I could be thankful for was that I hadn’t accidentally worn the colors of the opposing team!

My embarrassment eventually gave way to an enjoyment of the beautiful fall weather and an exciting (though losing) football game. This experience made me think about how much my situation mirrored the Christian life.

That crowd of cheering spectators is the world. And me, standing in the midst of it with a shirt that doesn’t match, represents the Christ-follower. It makes us uncomfortable to be different, but Jesus Christ reminds us to be strong in that place. He prayed to the Father for us (Christ-followers) in John 17:15-16 (NASB): “‘I am not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them away from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.’”

Standing in the crowd is good. Standing out from the crowd is even better.

Several Old Testament books were written during and about the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon. These Jews were forced from their land and homes and sent to live among their enemies. The Jews stood out from their Gentile neighbors, just as Christians today stand out from an unbelieving world. But God gave words to the prophet Jeremiah during that time that I believe we should take to heart ourselves. He said, “‘Seek the prosperity of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord in its behalf; for in its prosperity will be your prosperity.’” (Jeremiah 29:7 NASB)

God has created us for this time and this place. While our eternal home is with Him in Heaven, we need to be mindful of our work in this world too. The world we live in will remain broken until Jesus returns to Earth to take us home and make all things right. We should eagerly await His return and promise of restoration. At the same time, we must continue to seek justice, share truth, feed the poor, build the kingdom, and love others here, even if we will never see the perfection of those things in our lifetime.

My grandmother used to say that too many Christians are, “so heavenly-minded that they are of no earthly good.” Let’s do good while we’re here, but never forget that our true home is elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to stand up for Jesus and stand out in this world!

Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the courage to stand for you, especially when it’s hard. Remind me that this world needs love and justice and freedom. Help me to remember that Your words of truth are the only keys to all those things. Help me to dwell here in the world lightly, always looking forward to being present with You in Heaven. In Your powerful and 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 college-age children.

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

Connect with Glynis:

Friday, October 22, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Deep Joy

Joy Deep Down
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”– Psalm 8:2 (NIV)

I love the notion that most of us first heard and sang the song, “I've Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy (Down in My Heart)” by Heritage Kids, at a very early age.

While I don’t personally remember when I first learned it or sang it, I have witnessed it being sung by the youngest and smallest children. Many of them were singing it before they were actually able to talk, speak clearly, or hold conversations that were understood by others. Nonetheless, many of us witness children sing this song with so much enthusiasm and exuberance despite the fact that many of them may not actually know what it is they are singing about.

In their few years of living, they have not actually had a chance to experience a life that has allowed them to understand the depths of what joy is. But it is their innocence coupled with their limited scope and worldview that attributes to their ability to sing with so much passion and reverence.

And then comes life, maturity, and adulthood. This is when we know what we are taught, but ‘joy’ is harder to put into words. There is so much that you face from day-to-day. The interesting thing about life is that these are opportunities to groom the gift of joy that was given to us as small children. When the world around you seems to be crumbling and nothing makes sense, it can seem like the appropriate response in those moments is to feel defeated. Be it work, finances, family, friends, or physical or mental health, at some point these things can become difficult. It can appear as though so many things are stacked against you that it would make sense to feel oppressed or broken.

However, when you find yourself in those challenging moments and what you see and experience in the natural can be daunting, you have an unexplainable feeling to describe how great you feel. Despite how disconnected things appear to be, you still go through every encounter feeling empowered, protected, and thrilled at the thought that is often expressed as “I’ve got this!” That is joy. The wonderful thing about this level of joy is that it is not the encouragement that you say to get yourself through a particularly difficult season. It is a genuine feeling as you are going through that difficult season.

Psalm 8:2 (NIV) tells us, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Because of the joy you sung about as a child, you learn about joy as a Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Life teaches you to praise your way through. The praise is what activates the joy.

Singing the song in our youth plants the seed. Difficult storms of life provide the water. His continuous provisions, protection, and comfort provide rays of sunshine. It’s not until you have endured the storms and the conflicting heat which both test the depths of your roots and the strength of your leaves that you are truly able to see, understand, and experience joy at its full capacity in your life. The harvest that comes from that initial seed is what proves that you truly understand what joy is.

Let’s Pray: Lord, thank you for life and for showing us all that it has to offer: the good, bad, ups and the downs. Thank you for entrusting us to your servants who planted the seeds of joy so we were able to experience the growth that produces this Fruit of the Spirit (joy). Experiencing your joy teaches us how to gravitate to you in everything we do. So, thank you. Our desire is to spread that joy to others and plant the seeds. We can only hope that we are able to see the harvest that started with the seeds you called us to plant. Thank you for giving us joy and helping us understand its value in our lives. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Author Bio:
With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more.’ With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry.

When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we should not fear anyone or anything!

Whom Shall We Fear?
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

We all go through difficult seasons in our lives, but some of us go through tremendous difficulties where comparisons to Job aren’t all that out of line.

I’m thinking of a family I know who lost their brother and just a few months later discovered that their mother had inoperable cancer. They had to endure her quick decline and passing while still in the early stages of profound grief. I think, as well, of the many families who have suffered multiple losses due to the pandemic. There’s a lot of grief in our world right now.

Along with collective grief I think a lot of us are struggling with fears we never experienced before. As a people, we Americans tend to be optimistic. We have a ‘can-do’ spirit for the most part. We believe in forward progress, making sure our kids have a better chance at a good life than we did. But the last few years have taken a toll on our optimism. Living through cultural and political upheaval is rough enough, but add in a pandemic and the safe assumptions we could make about our world seem to be gone.

Making it worse is a media that seems determined to keep us afraid. I get a newsletter from what used to be a pretty staid outlet. But the titles in the email subject line lately are giving me agita. They’re all some version of ‘things are bad and you should be worried.’ I firmly believe in being well-read, informed and educated, but I don’t need a daily email telling me to worry. Throughout the Bible God tells us not to worry, to not be afraid.

Right now it’s hard to resist fear and anxiety. There’s a lot to be worried about, but as the passage above states, who do we need to fear? Certainly not our neighbors, though they have different views and cultural ideas than we do. Every human being on Earth is an image-bearer of God (Genesis 1:27) and we are called to love all humankind. 

Should we fear governments (our own or others)? No. We must remember God is our fortress and He will not be shaken. What about disease or economic disasters? Not those either. It’s totally normal to feel the dread or stress from living in difficult times, but what’s important is how we chose to act when those feelings come.

We need to live out our faith, trusting in God, emulating Jesus. For starters, that means finding and joining a church whether that’s in a house, in a mall, or an old stone building with stained glass. Having community with other Christians in real life can keep us grounded, supported, and accountable. We need each other in times like these. While online communities can be helpful, the goal is to have local support and teaching.

Remember the verse above the next time you see an article, a Facebook post, or a video telling you to be afraid. We worship and awesome God and He has us in His hands.

Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

Please be with us.

Help us to maintain and grow our churches to support each other and reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We love You, Lord.

Help us to be ready for Your soon return.

In Jesus’s Name I pray,


*Note from Alexis: Christa’s devotional today reminds men Keith & Kristyn Getty’s song, “The Lord Is My Salvation”. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Christa MacDonald is a 2017 Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

She began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. After publishing a few short pieces in her college’s literary magazine she took a long hiatus during which she embarked on a few different careers, got married, had three kids, and renovated an old barn masquerading as a house.

Her most recent work, The Redemption Road, finished the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty. She and her family live along the coast of New England.

Connect with Christa:
Christa's book publisher:

Monday, October 18, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: When Jesus Christ prays for you

My Past Does Not Predict My Future
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” –Luke 22:32 (NKJV)

In my profession of Human Resources, there is a technique called behavioral interviewing that is often used when assessing candidates for a position within the company.

This technique involves posing open-ended questions to the candidate that create a scenario or circumstance. The candidate will then draw upon past employment experiences and provide specific examples that demonstrate how they handled the situation. The answers to the behavioral interview questions are supposed to deliver evidence of how candidates would react under certain circumstances, using their skills, knowledge, and abilities. This technique is based on a principle indicating that past behavior predicts future behavior.

For the purposes of this devotional, let’s focus on the Bible story of when Peter denied Jesus Christ. In the scripture above (Luke 22:32), Jesus is talking to Peter, one of His disciples, about the impending danger that Peter would soon face. Jesus explained that Satan would be coming for Peter, in an attempt to steer him off course and ultimately destroy his ministry.

As a preemptive strike, Jesus prayed for Peter. Jesus knew that Peter would deny knowing Him three times and He just wanted Peter to prepare for this test of faith. Instead, Peter confidently expressed his undying loyalty to Christ by saying “…Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33). Not too long after that, Peter ended up denying Jesus three times just as Jesus said he would do. “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’” (Luke 22:61)

After making such a grave mistake, this could have marked the end of Peter’s ministry. He was distraught by his failure. “So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:62) He could have taken matters into his own hands and ended his life just like the disciple Judas who also betrayed Jesus (Matthew 27:5). However, Peter went on to do amazing and noteworthy things.

Peter was the first disciple to enter the tomb when Jesus rose from the dead (John 20:6). Peter was responsible for gathering the disciples together in the Upper Room to lead prayer meeting and select someone to replace Judas (Acts 1:12-26). Peter was the disciple who preached a powerful sermon at Pentecost that led to the baptism of over 3,000 people (Acts 2:14-41). Peter also wrote two epistles in the Bible, titled “1 Peter” and “2 Peter”, that still serve the purpose of strengthening our faith. The last part of Jesus’ prayer for Peter came to fruition, the part where Jesus said, “…when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:32)

Despite Peter’s past failure, he found favor in God’s sight. Because Jesus prayed for Peter, this disciple’s past had no power over his future. The same applies to us today.

When Jesus was on this earth, he prayed for His disciples then and now—that includes you and for me. (John 17:6-26). Jesus knew that we would be in danger because the enemy wages war against believers. One of the schemes of the devil is to bring up our past in a feeble attempt to control us or make us feel unworthy. But remember, Jesus prayed for us and more importantly, Jesus died for us (John 3:16)! Those sins of the past hold no merit and they do not define who we are in Christ.

Regardless of what we have done, the blood of Jesus covers us if we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). Because of Jesus, we can confidently say that our past does not predict our future.

Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

We praise you for the blood of Jesus Christ that covers a multitude of sins. 

Thank you for loving us and caring about us enough to protect us from the enemy. 

May we always be reminded that You have erased our past and You have allowed us to have a future in You. We want to live with you forever in Heaven and on the Earth made new. 

Thank You, Father God, for everything! We love you. 

In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Angela’s devotional today reminds me of this song “The Mission Field” by Blessid Union of Souls. Listen to it here.

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.

She 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, October 15, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Radiance

Reflecting the Radiance of Christ
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
— Psalm 34:5 (ESV)

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into a room full of women whose faces were illuminated with their love for God. Their radiance brought back a long-forgotten memory.

It was just a tiny, dusty little west Texas town, but I was home from college when I heard that an old Bible teacher in our church was dying. Mrs. S. had always been kind to me, and for some inexplicable reason, I decided to go visit her.

Since I wasn’t a Christian at the time, it seems strange that I willingly walked into the same hospital where my mother had died just a few years earlier. The memories of that day clung to me like burs as I approached the front desk.

Pointing down the hallway, the woman in charge gave me the room number and then said, “The family can’t get here until the weekend, so I’m glad someone will be with her.” It seemed like a cryptic comment, but I shrugged it off and walked quietly to my destination.

Mrs. S’s room was large, with her bed in the middle of it. What was unusual was the light. The windows were bare, facing the mountains that surrounded the community. Sunlight poured through the plate glass, lighting everything in the room—the bed, the IV drip, the morphine dispenser, and even the gleaming floor. It enveloped the room with comfort and warmth.

Asleep for a few blessed moments, Mrs. S. wore a peaceful smile on her face. Then my eyes saw the ravages the cancer had inflicted on her. The hands that had clapped for joy, or patted discouraged shoulders, or eagerly reached for her Bible to teach young people about her Savior, lay motionless on the bed covers. Well, almost motionless. One pulsing vein was slowly doing its job. It was clearly visible; Mrs. S’s skin was translucent.

Two nurses came to check her. Gently they woke her, stroking the sparse hair that had escaped the colorful scarf she wore. Tenderly they replaced the IV bag and checked the port in her hand. Lovingly they held her fingers between their own to warm them. “Mrs. S., did you see your visitor?” one of them asked.

When she searched the room for her guest, her eyes finally focused on me, and her emaciated face radiated joy. Speech was beyond her, but I’ve always thought she recognized me and was glad to see me. She was beautiful.

Through all the years of her life, Mrs. S. had poured out her days in order to serve the Lord. Faithfully she had taught squirming, inattentive children the truth about Jesus, the Savior of the world. Tirelessly, she had loved and nurtured all the kids in her classes, always making sure we knew that we mattered.

One insignificant little town, a “wide place in the road” was where God sent Mrs. S. to share the truth about Jesus to a bunch of skeptical girls. I can’t recall a single lesson she taught in our classroom, but the lesson from her hospital bed is the one I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Mrs. S. spent her life in the presence of the Lord. She shared her love of Jesus with everyone she met. And even in her dying, her devotion to the Lord was evident everywhere I looked. It was mirrored in the faces of her caregivers. It poured into the room through wide-open windows. It even reflected off the wax on the floor.

It’s taken a long time to understand the enduring lesson from my old teacher. Because Mrs. S. had obeyed the Lord in taking on a class with my jaded, disbelieving self in it, I was given a glimpse of a life well-lived for Christ. In her room that day, God’s peace was apparent. She rested in the glorious light He allowed me to witness.

The Lord knows all our days, and has recorded every one of our names, along with the number of days He gives. And for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and follow Him, He gives the privilege of sharing His joy, His radiance, and His light with the people around us, just like Mrs. S. did.

In the Amplified Bible, Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious [and of great consequence] in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones [so He watches over them].”

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the teachers we’ve had who taught us about Jesus Christ. Thank You for shining Your holy light into our lives, even when we don’t know Who You are. Please teach us how to spend time with You, and to be faithful in reading Your Word, the Bible. Please give us strength to obey You all the days of our lives. Help us to become a reflection of Who You are, the only true God, King of the Universe. 

In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

During this time of quarantine, Karen enjoys reading, writing, and connecting with friends and family via phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, live-streams, and video conferencing.  

She is grateful that the Lord has provided so many ways for humankind to stay in community, even when we are all hunkering down in our homes.

Karen says, “In this unprecedented time, we know that He has prepared us for such a time as this! To God be all the glory!”

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Recognition

Seeking Recognition
A devotional by Kay Pflueger

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” –1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)

In my family, I am in the middle of three sisters.

My older sister was two years ahead of me in school and thus, was starting her junior year in high school when I was a freshman. Because she was older and had an established place in the ranks of high school students, I became known as “Lynn’s little sister.” I am not sure any of her friends even knew my name for the first semester of my freshman year!

Lynn was quite popular in school as a member of the dance team. She was well-liked and outgoing. The youngest, Joanie, is five years younger than me and was the cute “baby” of the family who could charm anyone and everyone. And there I was, the middle one—introverted and shy and uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt as though there was no special place for me as I was not the favored first child or the cherished last one. I was the unnoticed one in the shadows.

Recently, while I was looking for a particular book on Amazon, I stumbled across a book by Amy E. Reichert titled Two Pairs of 6” Heels and One Comfortable Shoe. This could have been the title of my autobiography! I was the comfortable shoe between two pairs of 6” heels. Oh, how I wanted so much to be noticed and to feel I had significance other than just being the middle girl. I craved recognition for my accomplishments no matter how small or insignificant they were.

Our human nature leads us to want acceptance by our peers. We want to be noticed by others, so we fill our social media feed with the “best of the best.” We only show what we think will garner “likes” and want to hide the reality of our daily lives. Satan knows we crave that recognition and tries to convince us that our worth is tied up in how many of those “likes” we receive.

However, we don’t need to do anything heroic or mind blowing or spectacular to prove our value. Our worth is defined by who we are in God. If we take to heart what the verse above says, we can accept that we are chosen by Him and are part of His royal priesthood. He loves us and has given us significance just as we are.

In Psalm 130:13-14 (ESV), David reminds us: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Remember who you are in Jesus Christ!

Let’s Pray: Why do we keep seeking significance in the opinions of others when we know that our worth is in You (God)? Turn our eyes toward you, Lord when we begin to doubt our value. Shed light on the lies that Satan is planting in our minds and fill us with your Truth. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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.

Connect with Kay:

Monday, October 11, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Grief

God of My Closet Floor
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.” 
– Psalm 139:7-8 (NLT)

As ribbons of light peeked their way through the blinds, I was instantly aware something was amiss. The familiar fur head piece that typically wove itself around my head was missing. My Harley had never made his way onto my pillow the night before which was quite unusual for him. As my feet found the floor, he wandered his way into the bedroom.

Taking his customary post on the bathroom floor he waited patiently for me to complete my morning dental routine before heading to the kitchen to prepare his breakfast. When the next morning revealed the same odd behavior change, I made a note on my calendar and scheduled a vet visit for a few days later. Little did I know that three weeks, two ER visits and two oncology visits later my faithful feline friend would be gone.

Psalms 36:6 affirms that God cares for people and animals alike. So, I admit without reservation that the sadness and heart break I have experienced since Harley died has been like no other. It has brought me to my knees in moments of weeping where I have asked God why He didn’t just take me too. At times I have felt that I might be swallowed by the grief that consumes me. My shattered heart seems beyond repair. But God.

The Bible tells us God is everywhere but sometimes it feels like He is nowhere. It’s in those moments where we have to walk by faith and stand on the promises God has made in His Word. Promises to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Promises to be near to the broken-hearted (Psalms 34:18). Promises to collect all my tears in a bottle (Psalms 56:8). And the promise that one day God will wipe away all the tears from our eyes, and there will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, and no more pain (Revelation 21:4). Our feelings deceive us, but our God never does. Our feelings may fail us, But God never will. Our faith may falter but God is forever faithful.

It’s easy to feel God’s presence when serving on the mission field or in the midst of a worship night at church. When we are experiencing Holy Spirit highs or basking in God’s blessings His nearness is almost palpable. But He is no farther away and no less God when our world seems to be crumbling around us. When we receive a cancer diagnosis, need a job, our marriage falls apart or we lose a loved one, He is still nearby and sitting on His throne in complete control.

I spent time on my closet floor this morning remembering my final moments with Harley and you know what I discovered? The God of the mountain tops and mission trips is also the God of my closet floor. The God of joy in the morning is also the God of weeping in the night. The God of peace that surpasses all understanding is also the God of profound pain. The God of hope is also the God of the hurting. The God of blessing to overflow is also the God of the broken-hearted. Our house feels like a Grand Canyon of emptiness that only the fullness of God can fill.

My heart harbors a God-sized gap that only He can satisfy. Deep grief is the price of great love.

And He is the God of them both.

Let’s Pray: Gracious Father, when the trials and pressures of this world seem too much to bear, help us remember to draw near to You because when we do, You promise You will draw near to us. You have assured us we will have trouble in this world, but also remind us to have faith because You have overcome the world. In our darkest moments, You are the Light of the world. When we pass through the waters, you promise to be with us. When we go through rivers, you ensure they will not overwhelm us. When we walk through the fire you guarantee we will not be burned and the flames will not consume us. We never have to go searching for You, because You are always near. Even when we don’t see it, feel it, or believe it, You are working and moving on our behalf. You are for us and not against us and are forever on Your throne. Help us to not just read these promises in Your Word but believe them to be truth in our lives. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Cyndi’s devotional message reminds me of the song “Beauty for Ashes” by Crystal Lewis. Listen to it here.

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, October 8, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Failure

The Remedy for Failure
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.”
–Mark 9:18 (KJV)

There are some people in this world who do not or rarely fail at anything. I am not one of them. Failure is humbling and humiliating. It is embarrassing to the one who failed as well as those who had great expectations.

In Mark chapter nine, Jesus Christ enters a scene where a crowd had gathered around His disciples. They were contending with them because they had publicly failed to exorcise a suicidal demon from a young man. Can you imagine, or remember when you approached a task with confidence and through no fault of your own, failed? It can be frustrating and demoralizing.

I spent 20 years in the Navy as a chaplain. My first three years were with the Marine Corps. I did a great job and loved the challenge. The Chief of Chaplains personally selected me for my next assignment in Washington, D.C. I excelled in that job too. While in the second job, I became eligible for promotion to Lieutenant Commander. I thought that I would be a “shoo-in”, even though it was a competitive process. I was not selected. It happened again the next year. Just like He did in this story, Jesus showed up for me.

When He approached the crowd and asked what was happening, the crowd gave a negative report. They said that Christ’s disciples failed! In a stroke of masterful leadership, Jesus, without condemning the failure, stepped into the gap of expectation. He shifted the focus from the disciple’s failure to the faith of the father whose child was possessed.

Once the father articulated his faith filled doubt, Jesus rebuked the demon. In so doing, He demonstrated three spiritual leadership lessons:

Lesson #1:
He turned a public failure into a teachable moment.

Lesson #2: He met the needs of the father, the boy, the crowd and the disciples. Everyone left the scene, whole, with restored confidence in the power and grace of Christ.

Lesson #3: He raised the level of spiritual preparation that the disciples would have to pursue to meet future challenges.

Failure often teaches more indelible lessons than success. Easy, immediate, and frequent success can lead to an inflated sense of capability and arrogance. In this story, after Jesus healed the boy, the crowd dissipated, and Jesus came into the room where the disciples had retreated. They asked Him why they had failed. They had done what they had seen him do. What made the difference?

His answer gives a key to the ascending levels of spiritual power. The disciples were learning the basic math of spiritual leadership and power. Now, Jesus was introducing them to Algebra in preparation for the Calculus that would be required to lead His church into the geometric impact that they would have on the world.

From day one, Jesus had shown them the power of plenty that lay just beyond the surface of their efforts. Miraculous demonstrations of God’s provisions won their trust and allegiance. They gained power through their proximity to Him. Now, He was preparing them to suffer the cost of leadership and power.

Isolation, intense expectation, and condemnation often typify the atmosphere that surrounds top tier leaders. Athletes, tycoons, evangelists and other apex leaders graduate into an accelerating vortex of ever-increasing challenges and expectations. 

Fasting and prayer were the spiritual disciplines that would prepare the disciples for their future trials and victories. Fasting and prayer are the antidotes for arrogance, the fear of failure as well as the corresponding highs and lows of leadership. Lessons learned in the trenches and valleys are the vehicles that transport us to our peak performances.

Fasting and prayer drive us back to the foundries of faith where once again we are tried and purified in the fires of failure. It is there that our characters are refined and displayed. It is through increasing expectation and fatigue that strength is formed.

Fasting and prayer is where divinity introduces us to vision, providence, and possibility. Faith is the key that opens the transparent veil between what we envision and what we can grasp. Fasting and prayer is not simply deprivation, it is preparation.

Getting ready for your greatness? Do what Jesus taught his disciples to do: fast and pray.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, if we have failed, help us to learn. Strengthen us so that we can fast and pray. When we do, speak to us through our hopes and dreams. Open our eyes so that we can see what lies ahead and face it without fear. Bless us with Your guidance, wisdom, faith, and fortitude, as you did for the disciples with whom you lived. Live similarly within us. 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, October 6, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we should thank God at all times

Give Thanks at All Times
A devotional by Patricia Russell

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
– Psalm 34:1 (NKJV)

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you've questioned what the Bible has to say?

I get the feeling your answer is a loud, "Yes!"  If it weren't, I would have to check your pulse. Because to be honest, I've had to question if the Word really means what it said many times, especially when life is hard, and when life takes a turn in a completely different direction than you planned.

David, the chief songwriter of the Bible book of Psalms, asked a lot of questions too. There was a time (1 Samuel 30) when his family was kidnapped, and his household ripped apart, and he must have asked God how could He let this happen.

The enemy came and ransacked his camp and took not only his wives and cattle but the possessions of his fellow fighters. David perused the damage done, and he did what any human being would do – he wept. And then he did something remarkable. Would you believe that this man did something while in the pit of despair that most of us would find deeply difficult to do? In the midst of the pain, he began to encourage himself in the Lord. This is what the scripture encourages us to do. David may have sounded something like this, "Self, it's going to be alright. Self, be encouraged. Self, bless the Lord!”

Throughout the book of Psalms, we can see where David encouraged and strengthened himself. 

Let’s read three examples:

Psalm 42:11 (NIV): “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Psalm 18:5-6 (NKJV): “In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”

Psalm 34:1 (NKJV): "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praises shall continually be in my mouth."

So where do you gather that kind of strength to give thanks in the midst of pain and disappointment? This is not an overnight lesson, but it is learned behavior. 

Today, wherever you find yourself, make a conscious effort to bless the Lord, to give thanks in all things. Remember, this is the will of God plainly written for is to obey. Tell your will to get on board and in all things give thanks.

David had learned how to worship God for who He is. He learned to praise God in his struggles. He practiced praise and it became a habit. He was honest with his pain, and his grief and developed a pattern of looking up to God especially in his darkest hours.

There will come many times in life when there is no human being to look to for what you need so I implore you to develop this habit to bless the Lord at all times, so it becomes natural.

I encourage you to give thanks at all times and in everything (1Thessalonians 5:18). Giving thanks develops a habit of gratitude is life-changing it affects or perspective and gives us the grace and the power to truly stand in the storms of life, knowing that God will carry us through.

Let's Pray:
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me that in the middle of the storms you are with me. You are aware of everything that is happening and I am thankful. Today and every day I am thankful for your lovingkindness which is better than life. Help me to remember this at all times, in Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Patricia’s devotional message today reminded me of the song “Find Rest” by Francesca Battistelli. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Patricia Russell is a speaker, worship leader, author, certified life coach and songwriter.

Her gifts have been shared internationally with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through words and songs. She has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers. Over her 30 years in ministry, she has been a featured artist in musical cantatas locally and the United States of America.

Patricia had the honour of leading worship at the kick-off event for the 2006 the “Just Give Me Jesus” Toronto Revival with Anne Graham Lotz who is the eldest daughter of Billy Graham, a well-known American evangelist.

Patricia serves in ministry along with her husband Rev. Wayne Russell. Together, they have served as guest hosts on a local early morning call in program called “Nite Lite Live” that formerly aired on the CTS Television Network. They have two adult children: Raquel and Benjamin.

Patricia has recorded two CD’s: “Lord I Trust You” and a live recording “Draw Me Nearer.” She is also an author. Her first book is titled Lord I Trust You: Words of Encouragement. It is meant to further encourage and share life lessons as a result of her cancer journey. She is a co-author of a #1 bestseller book titled Crushed Diamonds Still Sparkle, and she has compiled the recent #1 bestseller book titled Stronger Resilience.

Connect with Patricia:

Monday, October 4, 2021

My Review of the NEW movie "God's Not Dead: We the People"

My Review of God's Not Dead:We the People (movie)

Recently, I had the remarkable opportunity to view a pre-screening of the new movie, God's Not Dead: We the People. This is the fourth film in the God's Not Dead franchise and it's just as poignant and well-done as the previous installments!

Before I share my review with you, I'd like to tell you about the movie through a word 
from Momentum Influencers: “The God’s Not Dead franchise continues in God’s Not Dead: We the People as Reverend Dave (White) is called to defend a group of Christian homeschooling families. He finds himself taken aback by the interference of the government, and believing that their right to educate their own children is a freedom worth fighting for, Reverend Dave is called to Washington D.C. to testify in a landmark congressional hearing that will determine the future of religious freedom in our country for years to come. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is a fragile thing”. Individual freedoms and liberties are at the center of this passionate and emotional story, and it runs from the heart of the country to the corridors of Washington. Who will decide what a child needs to know for generations to come? Will God be left behind?”

My Review of God's Not Dead: We the People (movie):

This movie was amazing from start to finish! 

The viewer is able to join the characters on their journey. It's like you're invited into every scene and experience all the feelings of the actors who did a great job of staying in character!

God's Not Dead: We the People tackles an issue that is close to the hearts of many Christian parents who feel led by God to homeschool their children instead of sending them to public schools. The debate and conflict around this issues was perfectly portrayed in this fiction story on film. I believe that any Christian parent who struggles with deciding what's best for their child's eduction, will appreciate this story brought to life by these wonderful actors!

Speaking of the actors, I was delighted to see that one of my favorite Contemporary Christian musicians had a lead role in this movie! Francesca Battistelli stars as a wife and mom who wants to homeschool her children. 

(Pictured above: Francesca Battistelli in character)

Just like her mother Kate Battistelli who played Anna opposite of Yul Brynner in the Broadway play The King and I, Francesca delivered a believable and well-done performance! Clearly, the acting apple doesn't fall far from the tree and singing is not Francesca's only amazing talent.

This movie included several subplots that enriched the overall story and each little picture contributed to they big picture. Speaking of pictures, the Director of Photography truly delivered! Every scene and backdrop is beautiful.

I also enjoyed seeing several of the actors from the previous movies in this series, return to the screen. It was wonderful to see how their personal stories continued in this movie.

God's Not Dead: We the People arrives in theaters tonight (Oct. 4) and will continue playing on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6. However, those are the only dates for when you can see this movie for now. So don't wait! Buy your ticket here and visit the movie's official website here for more details.

Watch the official trailer for this movie here:

Learn about the heart of the movie here:

Devotionals for the Heart: Seasons

Loving Well in Changing Seasons
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.”
—Lamentations 3:22 (NRSV)

Have you ever experienced a love that changes?

When I was a kid, I remember being struck by how my grandmother would take care of my mom sometimes, even though my mom was a grown woman and had kids of her own.

Now, this wasn’t the same kind of caregiving my mom did for me. After all, I was a child and couldn’t cook for myself or keep house, but it was visible in the little things—the way my Gram made sure my mom had gotten herself something to drink when she came over for dinner, or the way she made her sit down because she could tell my mom was stressed out.

Gram was a natural caregiver—she took in her own mom, my great-grandma, whom we called Bubba (honest truth!), until Bubba passed away. She took in my great-aunt Ethel until Aunt Ethel passed. She took in my cousin and her young son for a while, and she faithfully cared for my grandpa until he, too, passed on.

Then Gram was suddenly alone.

Somehow, my mom convinced Gram to sell the house she’d lived in since 1952 and move three states away to live in a mother-in-law suite at my mom’s house. That’s when things really began to change. Slowly Gram, always one of the smartest women I’ve ever known, began to slip mentally. She’d forget things, and eventually the decline quickened. Eventually my grandma was the one in the hospital bed, family gathered all around her, showing her love and saying their goodbyes.

Gram went from caregiver to being cared for herself.

I’m not there yet with my mom, who is active and vibrant and still very youthful, but I know things will one day change. Just like my mom once washed me and dressed me as a little girl, one day I’ll be doing the same thing for her. And my daughter will do the same for me.

One of the most profound things about love and the expression of love is the way that it changes. It is not stagnant but fluid, evolving to serve and grow in new and sometimes unexpected ways. The love itself does not change, but it appears to change, and the way it is expressed can change.

It reminds me a bit of the love God has for us, his people. God’s love is timeless.

We cannot box it in or even begin to define it, let alone comprehend its fullness. But we sometimes see it reflected in different ways depending on the stage of life we are in. Sometimes it feels like a close, personal love, a love that walks with you in every step. Other times it’s a tougher love. The kind of love that tests us to help us understand the big picture. God did not love Abraham any less when he asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18).

It likely broke Abraham’s heart to have to do what he did, take his son and lead him off to a presumed sacrifice. And God did not love Isaac any less either. God did what was hard to help Abraham understand a necessary fact—no matter how much love we have for our self or our children, nothing must be stronger than the love we have for our Heavenly Father. Nothing can stand in the way. That’s a hard lesson to learn, but God taught it in love and for a higher purpose. (And thankfully, Abraham passed the “test” and didn’t have to sacrifice Isaac after all.)

Throughout the Bible God is known by many names. He’s the same God—God Almighty, the Great I Am—but he has other special names that don’t detract or diminish his greatness or other names. These other names often express the type of love a person might be experiencing at that moment.

For example, God is known also as:

· Yahweh (Lord)

· Adonai (Master)

· Elohim (Creator)

· Abba (Father/Daddy)

· El Roi (The God who sees me)

· Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will provide)

· Jehovah Rapha (The God who heals)

· Jehovah Nissi (God as banner or protector)

· Jehovah Shalom (God of peace)

Right now, the name that is most appealing to me for God is El Roi, the God who sees me. It’s been a really hard season in my life, and while things are getting back on track, I’m often exhausted mentally and physically. But I know that God sees me right now, in the space I’m in. He understands, and he walks with me.

I love Lamentations 3:22, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end” (NRSV). The way we experience God’s love might change over the years and even over the course of a month, a week (or in my roller-coaster life, a day!). But God’s love is always the same perfect, inexplicable, steadfast gift.

As God’s people, our experience might be different, but it’s the same love.

And it’s up to us, God’s people, to model that beautiful love in the relationships we have with others. In 1 John 4:19, we’re reminded that we love because God first loved us.

Today, I hope you will think about the way you love others. Sometimes roles change, life changes, and our feelings change, whether that’s in a parent-child relationship, a husband-wife relationship, or a friendship. But that agape love remains.

Hold onto that truth, my friends. Just love.

Let’s Pray: Lord, Abba, El Roi, please help me to love people in my life well, whether I’m in a “good” period in life or not. Help my love to expand along with changing life situations and accept those changes with grace, peace, and compassion. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Jessica's devotional message today reminds me of the song "Seasons Change" by Crystal Lewis. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

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

She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism.

Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at

She has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.