Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Stories of Love: 12 Christmas Romances (Introduction post)

Dear Blog Readers,

I'd like to introduce you to a NEW Christmas holiday book series to be featured on my blog next month! 

"Stories of Love: 12 Christmas Romances" is a 12-day series that will start on Dec. 1 and end on Dec. 12, 2021. 

Each day, a Christmas holiday book written by one of my author friends, will be featured here on my blog! 

Here's where it gets extra special: Each of the featured authors have agreed to give away one signed, paperback copy of their book to the winner of their book giveaway contest that will be hosted via Rafflecopter. If you're one of the winners then you should have the book in your hands before Christmas Eve!

I hope that you will enjoy "meeting" these authors and falling in love with their beautiful stories!

I wish you a Merry Christmas!


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

Monday, November 29, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Rest

Rest: The Forgotten Commandment
A devotional by Gena Anderson

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” – Exodus 31:12-13 (NIV)

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your to-do list?

Have you ever wanted a break but did not take one because then nothing would get done?

In my life the list of tasks is never-ending and I’m guessing yours is similar, yet God insists on rest in His Word. An interesting contradiction to what life demands, the idea of resting does not come naturally to me, and the execution of a day of rest is challenging.


While I’d like to say I cannot rest because I’m busy feeding orphans and caring for widows, being the hands and feet of Jesus, the reality is not quite that noble. What keeps us from resting is often one of these not so flattering reasons:

● Self-reliance over God-reliance

● Putting our identity in our work

● Materialism

● Envy

● Valuing achievement over relationships

● Insecurity, or the fear of not having enough

Contrast this with children. I often think how nice it must be to have someone provide for you, do your laundry and cook your food. They have no problem stopping work, none at all. We often have to bargain and threaten to get them to work. Somewhere in the transition to adulthood that changes.

We all learn to be self-reliant and not dependent on others, but we take that too far and try to function independent from God. Some are wounded from a childhood with unmet needs and don’t know what it means to have a dependable parent. As a child of God we are dependent on Him, whether we think so or not. He is our Good Father.

We need to stop striving for self-reliance and choose to be God-reliant.

What does God-reliance have to do with rest?

Resting on Sabbath on a weekly basis reminds us who God is. He is our God, our provider who will meet every worrisome need. The things on our to-do list are nothing compared to His great plans. A relationship with us is one of His greatest desires, and more meaningful than any accomplishment. When we rest we are choosing to make God a priority over everything else.

When we don’t rest we feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, and exhausted. Perhaps we should trust our Creator, who actually designed us, and operate by the manual.

Making rest a priority and setting aside the Sabbath is one of the most productive and beneficial things we can do.

How can you make rest a reality in your life?

When the Sabbath comes, make an active choice to rest. Plan for physical rest, and do things that recharge your body. Schedule a nap or a family bike ride! Recharge your emotions through creation and relationships. Refocus your spirit through intimate time with him without outside interference.

Watch what God does in your life when you prioritize Sabbath rest. You will undoubtedly benefit from remembering who He is and allowing Him to make you holy.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, you are so good to give us the gift of a command to rest. Help me to set aside time for you and go before me to enable me. Forgive me for the ways I’ve neglected rest and ignored your instructions. Help me to abide in you more and more through every Sabbath with you. Thank you for the opportunity to rest in your goodness, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Gena Anderson is a Jesus-lover, writer, nurse practitioner, and blogger who loves to share wellness information and inspiration with the world around her.

She is the author of The Well Woman: A Journey to Wellness Through Loving Jesus, which is available on Amazon.com.

Gena proudly holds the title of wife, mom, and the world’s most average CrossFitter. She loves writing, reading, traveling, and brownies. She's working on that last one.

Gena lives in Hutto, Texas with her husband and two children.

Connect with Gena:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wellwoman.blog
Website: well-woman-blog.com
Email: wellwomanbook@gmail.com

Friday, November 26, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Grace

Navigating Life with Grace
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Life is often referred to as a path each person navigates as they see fit.

Each person is traveling on their own, individualized path. Despite how many familiarities they share, no path is the same. It is anticipated that paths are easy to navigate. The expectation is that all paths will be smooth and safe for extended travel. However, like anything else that undergoes regular use, it is expected that overtime, well-traveled roads will eventually show the effects of the physical stress they have endured.

If you have ever been in place where the roads are riddled with potholes, you know the damage they can do to a vehicle. It’s one thing when you come across one or two small potholes. Their existence is a nuisance, but they can’t do too much damage when you are able to avoid them. But it is a completely different thing when the “pothole-to-paved road” ratio is 50/50. It is extremely difficult to avoid a pothole when the very place you swerve to in order to miss the first pothole is occupied by another pothole. No matter how much you swerve in and out of lane, you seem to continuously see another pothole.

The interesting thing about potholes is that you never really understand how deep they are or how much damage they can do until you unexpectedly find yourself falling into the pothole. The potholes we encounter on this path of life are our own shortcomings. Our flaws. Our failings. Our weaknesses. Those weaknesses we come across on our own paths cause us to proceed with caution. We know where the potholes are. So as long as we are intentional about how we travel, we know how to navigate the path with limited incident.

But what about when you’re traveling on a road you have never traveled across before? It’s raining. You can hardly see the road in front of you, but you trust that it is flat and smooth to travel on. Due to the heavy rain, you can’t see where the potholes are, and you don’t know how deep they are until you are stumbling into them.

Each person you encounter from day-to-day has their fair share of potholes. Shortcomings. Flaws. Failings. Weaknesses. You don’t always know where they are along their individual paths, but if we do know that potholes are inevitable, we could be more intentional about proceeding with caution. Additionally, some of us have the heart and desire to help fix those shortcomings and fill those voids caused by those points of weakness. But it’s not our job. It’s God’s job. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) tells us that God’s power is made perfect in weakness.

Our weaknesses amplify His power, and His grace is enough. His gift of grace is tailor-made for each person he bestows it upon. It is just enough for them in that moment. Sometimes we don’t know how to approach every person we meet with grace. We won’t fully understand how to have grace with others until we know how grace has been applied to our own lives. 

As we navigate our own paths of life, just remember to show each person you meet with kindness. We are all fighting challenges. Whether they are publicly displayed obstacles or silent battles, we are all navigating pothole after pothole as we journey through life in this world. Every pothole you come across is not yours, but each one still deserves to be met with kindness and grace.

Let’s Pray: Lord, thank you for grace. Thank you for teaching us what it is and how to share it with others. We know that we do not always get it right, but you continuing to have grace with us helps us learn how to condition ourselves to consistently have grace with others. We are only able to have grace with others when we understand how grace has been shown to us by You. Thank you for continuous opportunities for growth in you. 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, November 24, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Be You

A Word of Encouragement
A devotional by Heidy De La Cruz

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

A few days ago, I was feeling unmotivated about my writing/blogging and kind of lost my vision as to why I started in the first place.

I was focused on my numbers: the number of followers I had on each platform, the number of readers I was getting on my blog and the number of views my videos on YouTube were getting. I started to brainstorm how I could reach more people and expand my audience. I realized that Instagram was shifting more into videos/reels for audience engagements, but then I told myself, “I already do so much! I don’t have time to learn how to create reels on Instagram.”

As you can see, I was going down a spiral of negative thoughts and emotions that made me feel worse.  However, God intervened the very next day when I watched a video from Beloved Women with Christina Patterson. She was interviewing Courtnaye Richard from Inside Out with Courtnaye. And boy, did this interview come at the perfect timing for me!

Courtnaye talked about intentional rest, setting boundaries, and gave encouragement about following what God wants you to do. She said to know your identity in Christ. You don’t have to be anyone else but yourself. Know that your time is coming because God’s timing is perfect. She also mentioned comparing yourself to others online, which is what I was doing, and said remember to stay in your lane. A lot of people are doing a lot of the same thing. Do something different. Do what God called you to do. What a word!

It reminds me of the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s like whenever I feel some discouragement, God quickly reminds me that He is there and that I’m doing what I’m doing for Him. I cannot lose purpose when I focus on Him.

So today, I want to give you some encouragement. I want to remind you that you are where you are because God has placed you there. He will lead you to where you have to go next. Release your plans to Him, and He will establish your steps – just like scripture says in Proverbs 16:3 (NIV): “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” God made you unique and created you for a purpose. Your purpose is different than those around you, so don’t compare yourself. Be you! God needs you for what He’s called you to do. Trust that He will fulfill that purpose.

Let’s Pray: Father God, I pray for those who may be feeling discouragement right now. I pray for those who may feel lost in their purpose. I pray that you will meet them where they’re at and remind them what you called them to do. It’s so easy to fall into comparing ourselves to what others on doing online and feeling like we aren’t doing enough. But as long as we are living our purpose for you, we are doing enough. Thank you, Lord, for our unique talents and callings. Thank you, Lord, for guiding us in this life. 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:
Blog: https://heidyreynoso.wordpress.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heidy.delacruz13/
Read my poetry on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heidyspoems/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/heidyreynoso13
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heidyreynoso13

Monday, November 22, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Fine China

Like Fine China
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
–2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB)

A few years ago I inherited my grandmother’s set of china dishes.

They are white dishes with simple, white flowers and a silver trim. I love that they are just what I would have picked out myself if I had a chance to choose. I also love that when you look at them through my china cabinet’s glass doors or even set them out on a table, you would think they are all identical. On closer inspection, though, you would see that there are plates, cups, and bowls from two different manufacturers. One set is an upscale brand well-known for their fine dishes, and one of them is a department store brand. While they are both beautiful and have the same color scheme and trim, the two patterns are different yet still complement each other perfectly.

God has created each of us with a human body—a shell with characteristics like hair and eye and skin color, along with a combination of personality traits unique to us. We live in different countries, come from different backgrounds, and speak different languages. When we become believers, our physical characteristics do not necessarily change, but we definitely should become different on the inside. At the point of surrender to the faith, we each willingly choose a new way of living, a new way of interacting with others, and a new way of seeing the world. We must begin to allow ourselves to be transformed to the image of Christ—a work that will continue in us until the day we go to Heaven.

Should we all look alike? The answer is probably yes and no. We will never all be the same in language, worship style, skin color, or even doctrinal beliefs and theologies. However, if we are all becoming more like Christ then we should start to resemble each other more and more in other ways, such as our response to the darkness and chaos of the world and the peace we have during trials.

Our differences are beautiful. They are given to us by God and should be used to strengthen us in our purpose and mission in the world.

All my dishes—the inexpensive ones, the expensive ones, the broken ones, the ones with a trim that is a little worn, the ones with chips in them, the shiny ones and the scratched ones can all still serve up a delicious meal. God has a feast of grace, love, mercy, justice, peace, and kindness ready for us to serve to a very hungry world. So today, let’s gather the Body of Christ together, and set a beautiful table. His banquet is ready. Are you?

Let’s Pray:
Gracious God, help me see myself and others as you see us—beautiful members of Christ’s Body, available for You to work through us and with us. Give me a heart for unity with believers. Give me a heart of compassion for the world. Help me find ways to use my unique talents and personality for You and Your glory alone. 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 Glynis:
Website: www.glynisbecker.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beckerglynis/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GlynisBecker7

Friday, November 19, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Praise God

A Habit of Praise
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

In this season of turkey and dressing feasts, pumpkin spice everything, and gloriously cooler weather, it’s easy to find reasons to be thankful.

Riding horseback under a cathedral of autumn leaves in the crisp mountain air, experiencing the first snowfall of winter as it dresses the landscape in a garment of purity, or enjoying a wonderful rain shower that causes one of our national treasures to surge again in thunderous falls after a long season of drought—all these things cause us to feel gratitude welling up in our hearts.

We are grateful for our families and our friends. Looking into their beloved faces causes us to smile as we cherish the times we’ve spent together. Then we look forward with anticipation to the future, maybe even to Thanksgiving, when we will see our loved ones again and make more beautiful memories.

Pausing in our busy lives, we thank God for the places we live, the food on our tables, and the jobs that give us a sense of worth and fulfillment. We slide into our favorite boots, or our coziest coats, or even into our cars with the blissfully warm heated seats. For all of these, we are grateful.

Then there are the times when we don’t feel that same rush of gratitude. Houses burn, jobs are downsized, economies shrink, a tiny baby dies, or a dear old friend breathes his last, and we are faced with a dilemma. Will we stop in the middle of the great heartaches of life to bow in humble thankfulness to the Lord?

God tells us to use every circumstance as a reason for praising Him. The events when joy is plentiful—like a wedding or a graduation—exist side-by-side with the other events. These are the ones where joy is not as apparent—like a gravesite, or a packed box representing years of faithful service with a pink slip resting on top. Thanking God is sometimes easy, and sometimes it isn’t.

God’s Word encourages us to thank Him regardless of our circumstances. To some people, His instructions sound like we’re to put on a fake smile and pretend to be “holy” in front of others.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our thankful hearts are the bond that keep us in tune with our Heavenly Father. We gain peace in His presence as we pray because He is our peace. He is strength when we have none because He inhabits our praise (Psalm 22:3). We can’t see the path before us, but God does. A thankful, praying heart helps us to keep following Him, even in the darkest night.

And as we follow the Lord with our sometimes faltering steps, we rely on His vision, His path, and His plan for our lives. Moving along a trail in the dark teaches us one of the fundamental truths of living for Jesus Christ. Our steps are uncertain, but His are sure. Our sight is blurred, but His is crystal clear. Our thoughts are fearful, but His are higher than we can even imagine (Isaiah 55:8-9). We can trust Him with every moment on this beautiful journey we call Life.

We can choose to rejoice in our life. We can rejoice in the things that hurt and in the things that make us want to jump for joy. When our eyes are filled with tears, we may feel as though we are blinded. But God collects all our tears (Psalm 56:8) and He shines that much brighter to others through our tentative smiles in the sorrows, and through our hearts that humbly bow to His will. He is with us always—in our joys as well as in our sorrows.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, we thank You for everything. We ask for the courage to choose to praise You for all the days of our lives—not just for the ones that fly by, but also for the ones that seem to take forever. We thank You for Your Life in us, and as we take a deep breath for courage, we thank You for death, as well. Because You are the Giver of Life, we understand that You are also the Giver of eternal life after death in Heaven for all whom are in the family of God. You are all we need, and we worship You in every circumstance. Help us to trust You and help us to lift our prayers of heartfelt thanksgiving to You, for everything is from You. Thank You, Lord. 

We love You. 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: klmarstaller@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Waiting for when there will be no more night

Hoping and Waiting

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
–Psalm 130:5-6 (NIV)

If you’ve been a parent, then you know that children’s fevers, the scary ones, seem to come at night, usually on a weekend when the doctor’s office is closed.

More nights than I can count, I’ve sat beside a miserable kid, staring at a thermometer with phone in my hand, waiting for the on-call nurse. I’ve watched over my children, waiting for daylight and hoping for the fever to break. Whenever I read verse above, I think back to those nights where my whole being was focused on waiting in hope.

One of my favorite poems is by T. S. Eliot. It’s called “The Four Quartets: East Coker”. I’d like to share my favorite stanza from that poem. It reads:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Eliot wrote these words in 1940 after living through a pandemic and World War I. When he wrote this poem, he was then trying to survive World War II. In those dire circumstances came these words about hope and waiting.

We are presently living through a fractious time. Many of us have personal struggles on top of the discord our world is showing. It’s hard to have any hope at all, much less the right sort. The world’s version of hope is more like wishing—hope that is fixed on an outcome or an object, which isn’t lasting. Human hearts are fickle. We change our minds about what we want with the slightest impetus. As soon as an urgent need or want is met, where does our focus go? To thankfulness to the God of Providence or to that next urgent need?

We typically spend our days moving from one desire to the next, fooling ourselves that we’re “living our best life”. We’ll end up with what we wanted but still feel empty. The kind of hope that matters, the true hope that can transform a dark time, is the sort that is born out of faith in God. As the Psalmist says above, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope.”

Wait. It’s a hard thing to do even when it’s just a whim, but when it’s life and death, it can seem impossible. Waiting in hope beside a hospital bed is a terrible place to be, especially when a miracle is all that stands between you and immeasurable loss. It’s truly a dark night of the soul. When the miracle doesn’t come, only a hope that is rooted in faith in Jesus Christ can stand.

Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). We can place our faith in Him and wait in hope knowing that He is with us and will not fail us. The watchmen waiting for the dawn didn’t doubt it was coming. They waited knowing they’d see the sun rise. We have even more reason to hope.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, please help us wait in hope through whatever it is that is troubling us. Change our focus, keep our eyes upon Jesus and our feet on the right path. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Note from Alexis: Christa’s devotional reminds me of the song “No More Night” by David Phelps. 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:
Website: www.christamacdonald.com
Newsletter: https://christamacdonald.com/connect-with-christa/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1538432676468229/
Amazon: https://amzn.to/33uk329
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CricketMacD
Christa's book publisher: http://mountainbrookink.com/about-us/authors/christa-macdonald/

Monday, November 15, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: God Will Help You Right On Time

Help Is On The Way

A devotional by Angela Anderson

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
–Isaiah 65:24 (NIV)

I looked at the calendar for the third time that morning. Friday was only a few days away and I was trying so hard not to worry. The pandemic had just started, I had lost my job, and in my husband’s line of work, all financial transactions had come to a halt. It was one of those months.

We had to be careful and creative with paying bills: prioritizing the necessities, and putting off the ones that could hopefully wait. We had been successful in the past with this type of juggling, but this time it was different. There were more payments due than we had money to cover.

We tried all week to pull together the best we could to handle the enormous bill that was staring us in the face. It was Wednesday night, and this bill was due on Friday. My husband and I knelt to pray that night. We asked God for not just His provision, but also wisdom to handle the payment. Maybe we missed something and there was a way to do this, but we had not thought of it yet. We repeated back to God His promise that He would provide all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). We had faith that God would do something, but we were just not sure what that “something” would be.

Thursday came and went. Still nothing. Friday rolled around and before we made that dreaded phone call to the bank, we decided to check the mailbox. Everything looked the same as usual – a bunch of brochures and unwanted junk mail, but in the middle of that pile was a blank envelope addressed to me. I did not recognize the return address from across the country, but I opened it right then, out of curiosity.

Inside the envelope was a typed letter from a medical company, and right below the perforated line was a check. It was a reimbursement from a medical service that was rendered almost two years prior, and the amount of the check exceeded the amount of the enormous bill that was due that same day! We had no idea that we overpaid for this service, and we had no expectation for a refund, especially not two years later. 

When I looked closely at the envelope, I noticed that it was postmarked on Tuesday of that week. My eyes filled up with tears. When my husband and I knelt to pray on Wednesday night, that check was already en route to our address. I remembered the reassuring scripture found in Isaiah 65:24 (NIV): “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” God knew that we were experiencing this problem and He had already provided the solution.

What a memorable blessing and a reminder for us all that God is devoted to providing our every need! He has our best interest at heart and His timeliness cannot be matched. His love and gentle care for our concerns are proof that we serve a faithful God.

Let’s Pray: Our Faithful Father and God, we just want to praise You for each time that You have answered our prayers, even before we spoke the words. We are eternally grateful for Your love and we are humbled to know that You care so much about us. May we all draw closer to You and learn to trust You even more. 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: https://m.facebook.com/angela.thomasanderson
Facebook fan page for her devotional book, Just When I Thought I Knew God:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelanderson1104/

Friday, November 12, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Gratitude

A Season of Gratitude
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.” – 2 Samuel 23:8 (KJV)

It is already November 2021! Can you believe it?

I’ve been wondering, “Where has this year gone?”

Since the end of World War I, we in the United States of America have celebrated Armistice Day on Nov. 11. This is because the armistice that ended World War I was effected on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It is an unforgettable time and date for an event that the entire world noted and reflected upon for the first time in 1919.

November has also become known as the month of gratitude.

At the end of WWI most people believed that there would never be a war like that again. Yet, 20 years later the world was warring again. WWII lasted six years, but it involved more soldiers globally than did WWI.

Nine years after the cessation of World War II, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day. In doing so, this annual celebration of valor would perpetually include all of the men and women who served in defense of the United States of America and our allies.

War is antithetical to the character and will of God. Because of original sin there will be conflicts and casualties until the world order is divinely reset after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Because there will be conflict, encroachments and violations of civility and humanity, there must be people who will prepare for and respond to evil advancements. These are our first responders along with soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and guardians.

Celebrating warriors, patriots and patriarchs is biblical. The Old Testament book of 2 Samuel, chapter 23 gives a list of 37 men of valor. As he neared the end of his life, King David paid homage to the men who valiantly fought, with supernatural ability, to protect Israel.

In chapter four of the book of Judges, two women are lauded for their valor in combat: Deborah, (a prophetess who led 10,000 men into battle) and Jael (the wife of a diplomat who assassinated an enemy of Israel named Sisera).

The fifth chapter of the book of Judges is a song of honor. It was a national celebration that extolled the providence of God in delivering Israel from warmongering neighbors. While these stories of valor include miracles, they also demonstrate that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Honoring the valiant among us who invested years of their lives in the service of our nation is a good thing. Decades ago, some churches posted the names of congregational members who were veterans. Those who were killed in combat were differentiated on the plaques. I have not seen that lately, but I always thought it was a good idea.

November 11 is a good day to express some gratitude to the veterans in our social circle. If you know a veteran, say a kind word or share a blessing with them.

A few years ago, my daughter and I went out to dinner on Veterans Day. We wore some of our military swag. When we were ready to pay the bill, the waiter told us that our bill had already been paid. He pointed across the room to a man who was having dinner with his family. As we were leaving the restaurant, we stopped by his table to say thank you. He was a patriot who could not serve, but he was profuse in his sincere appreciation for those of us who did.

Nationalism can be leveraged inappropriately, but national service should be affirmed. During the month of gratitude (November), look for someone who serves in your community and affirm them. I usually leave an envelope with a small gift for the mailman and greet the men who collect our garbage with a gift at Christmastime.

Unexpected affirmations carry more weight than those that are expected. Join me, this month, in affirming those who served in the military and showing gratitude to the civil servants in our community.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank you for the men and women of valor who served in the military. Thank you for those civil servants who provide security and support within our communities. Bless them because of their devotion to duty. As we honor them, may our gifts of affirmation be like prayers to you. Enlarge our deeds and offerings of gratitude. Like the fish and the loaves that Jesus used to feed thousands, may the magnitude of our gratitude be larger than the substance of our gifts. In the name of Jesus 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, psanderson75@gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Worship God with a Thankful Heart

Thanksgiving in Worship
A devotional by Kay Pflueger

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.” 
–1 Chronicles 16:8-11 (NIV)

The month of November naturally seems to beget thoughts of gratitude. In the United States of America, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day in just a few weeks. It’s our tradition to gather with friends and family to share a meal and to give thanks to our Lord.

Expressing our gratitude should not be limited to just one day in the month of November. Our personal and corporate worship should always include moments and thoughts of thanksgiving. Is it possible to speak of the love and adoration we have for God all the while ignoring what He has done for us? I don’t think so.

How do you react when you have gone out of your way to do something for someone, and they neglect to say “Thank you?” It is possible to feel taken advantage of and that is not a comfortable emotion. If we feel that way, how might God feel when we neglect to thank Him for His provisions? 

But, before we can truly be thankful to God, we need to have a relationship with Him. We need to trust that He is looking out for us. Once we recognize that we are dependent on Him, we can begin to develop an attitude of gratitude. An outgrowth of that attitude is the desire to worship Him with our whole life—our everyday life, our devotional life, our work life, our home life—and with our whole being. If we choose to worship Him in this way, then our corporate worship in church on the weekends becomes a culmination of the time we have spent worshipping Him all week long. It is a time to celebrate our blessings with our church family.

Gratitude keeps us centered. It takes the focus away from us and places it on the source of our blessings. In our corporate worship, in our private prayer time, in the small and mundane tasks of our daily lives, and in the most earth-shattering moments of life, we always have a reason to be grateful to God for what He has done and what we know and trust that He will do. 

If you are at a loss for words of thanksgiving, I encourage you to read Psalm 100 (ESV) and focus on what He, our Lord, has done for you. Let’s read this song of praise together:

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his; 

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.”

Let’s Pray: Dear God, we give you thanks for all that you are and for that all you have done for us. It is easy to praise you when life is good. Help us to praise you even when life becomes difficult. Thank you for your never-ending faithfulness to us. You, and you alone, deserve to receive our praise. In Jesus’s name we 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:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kay.m.pflueger
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/irishsweetpea/

Monday, November 8, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: What happens when you seek God first

Seek God First

A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” –Matthew 6:33 (TPT)

I have always admired stories of faith-based heroes who have stepped out in faith in incredible ways.

Over the years, these heroes have inspired me to offer several specific prayers to God. These are prayers that I have prayed over and over for years and will continue to pray until Jesus Christ calls me home. One of those prayer mantras is that I would have faith like Abraham. I admire the fact that when God called Abraham to step out on faith, he packed up his things and went before he knew where he was going! Open a Bible and read that true story in Genesis 12. I have prayed this prayer almost daily since becoming a Christian. Earlier this year, God gave me an opportunity to exercise that kind of faith.

As a single woman I have always struggled with fully relinquishing control of my finances and work over to God. I have been prone to overworking and obsessing over my finances to ensure I am able to pay my bills, remain as debt free as possible, and have enough cushion to travel or go to dinner with friends here and there. In early 2020, when I received a surprise sizeable raise, to the exact amount I had casually stated would allow me more breathing room in my finances, I knew God’s hand had been at work. I was able to let go of some part-time jobs I had been holding onto and I had more time for serving with a local anti-trafficking organization and writing—two things I was incredibly passionate about and felt called to by God.

Imagine my surprise when, just one year later, God asked me to lay the Isaac of my raise, as well as my comfortable, secure lifestyle, on the altar. Allow me to explain. Fourteen years prior, I had felt God call me to work, not simply serve, for an anti-trafficking organization. At the time He spoke that into my spirit, I had no idea what that would look like or when it would happen. But I was confident that when it was time, He would make it clear to me so I wouldn’t miss it. That time came earlier this year when the anti-trafficking organization I was serving for free, offered me a position on staff. It was one of those moments in your spiritual walk where everything feels in sync and aligned. It was a time when I knew that I was in step with God in that moment and I believed in what He has spoken. There was no hesitation in my obedient answer of “yes” to His call.

However, as the details of what this would look like unfolded, I realized I was stepping right into the middle of my specific prayers! Allow me to explain that too. While I had been working full-time for an organization for more than eight years, with full benefits and retirement package, this new venture would only be offering me 16 hours a week, with no benefits nor retirement. Not only would I be earning less than half of what I needed for my monthly expenses, now I would have to figure out health benefits and retirement as well.

As my mind began to process the basic mathematics of this scenario, God immediately spoke to my spirit and reminded me of Matthew 6:33, which is one of my life verses. He reminded me that seeking Him should be at the top of my priority list—all day, every day, for the rest of my life. He encouraged me that I am to seek Him, not His plan, not His will, because He leads through relationship. And as I develop my relationship with Him, my faith will grow, He will reveal His perfect plan and will, and I will realize that He is the God of provision for the vision He lays out. Our God cannot lie, and when He promises to give all the “less important things” to us “abundantly” then we should believe Him.

God was not simply calling me out of my comfort zone, He was asking me to test the authenticity of my faith and of this prayer I had prayed for years, by boldly stepping into this space where I would need to be completely dependent upon Him. And as I did, that I wouldn’t make my priority finding additional work to provide for my needs, but would keep seeking Him at the top of my “To Do” list. God promises that when I look for Him wholeheartedly, I will find Him, and He will take care of all those less important things!

Let’s Pray: 

Gracious Lord, You really don't ask for much from us and your Word is clear on the actions that will grow our faith and draw us closer to You. When the demands of life and allures of the world vie for my time and attention, remind me that seeking You first is the catalyst for true fulfillment and carries with it the promise that You will take care of all the other things I might need. Help me place You in Your rightful place on the throne of my heart and as Lord of my life, delighting in You and seeking You, knowing that when I do, I will not only find you but You will give me the desires of my heart. I claim these promises in the mighty name of Jesus, 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:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/souledoutcyndi/

Friday, November 5, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Stillness

Be Still
A devotional by Mirachelle Canada

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” 
– Psalm 46:10 (ESV) 

“Be still...”

I heard the words but knew I was alone. I opened my eyes and scanned the empty room as I lay on the ER gurney with wires tethered all around my heart and a pulse finger oximeter strapped to my pointer finger. I felt my heart flutter and drop, as it had been doing for the past couple of nights. I waited but no one came through the door, so I closed my eyes again, trying to keep my pulse low. Something irregular was happening at home, mostly while I slept, and I wanted proof for the doctors to see because something felt off inside my heart.

“Be still and know...”

This time I heard the phrase in my head, but it was in a voice I recognized. God was speaking and now He had my full and undivided attention. “Yes, Lord, I’m listening,” I said and pictured Jesus Christ standing beside me. Then I felt a warmth, though moments earlier I had covered up with a blanket to block the room’s chill. I knew beyond any doubt He was in the room with me.

How did I know? How could I be sure what I sensed was really God? Because of over forty years of tested faith and coming through impossible trials. Just like the old hymn "‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" says, God had proven Himself to me over and over. In my current trial, He was reminding me all I had to do was “Be still and know.”

We all face situations when we don’t know. We immediately question what we should say or do. It’s hard to wait before acting or reacting because of our innate desire to know, especially when we feel vulnerable or uncomfortable. There are times when all we can answer is, “I don’t know.” These are the moments we choose to be the most truthful, and they provide opportunities for us to wholly trust God.

Not long ago I had a dear friend whose husband tragically died. I didn’t know what to say or do when I saw her for the first time after the loss, but I knew she needed something from me. I prayed God would show me what to do or say while she grieved in front of me. I sat and listened to her talk about anything and everything, waited and listened, and waited some more. Later, I simply sat nearby as she slept, even during the middle of the day. 
In the stillness I found my own comfort and peace. I felt God’s presence and songs of worship and praise came into my mind. The song called “Everlasting God” by Chris Tomlin reminded me that when I wait upon God, His strength will rise in me. God gave me the strength to simply be present—to be still—as I sought how to help my friend. I didn’t need to have the answers to her grief. 

In the same way, as I was laid up in a hospital room for over six hours while they ran tests on my heart, it felt like a mere few hours because I heeded His words to “Be still.” While I waited upon the Lord, I felt His love and peace flow over me once again. I rested, assured He was in control of the outcome because I relinquished my need to know what was going on to Him. All that mattered was my willingness and obedience to “be still” and submit to His will for me to know “He is God” – the one who will be exalted among the nations and in the earth!

What a peace it is to know the ruler of all things holds my heart securely in His hands!

Let's Pray: Dear God, thank you for always being with me in every situation, even when I am unsure of myself. Help me to be still and know you are God, acknowledging you are greater than my circumstances. Through your son, Jesus, you overcame the world and I know that same power will help me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Question from Mirachelle: 
In what situations have you learned to “Be still”? Tell us about it in the comments section!

Author Bio:

Mirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director/producer from Northern Virginia, where she teaches television production at her high school alma mater. 

She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Script & Screenwriting from Regent University and is an alumnus of Act One: Hollywood Film & Television Writing Program.

Mirachelle is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, American Fiction Writers Virginia Chapter, The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and Your Novel Blueprint.

She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel set during WWII.

Connect with Mirachelle:
Website: www.mirachellecanada.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mirachellecanada/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/miracan

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Questions

Questions for God
A devotional by Patricia Russell

“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.” 
–Psalm 73:2-5 (NIV)

Have you ever found yourself asking God any of these questions: How long Lord? When is it going to be my turn? Are you even listening Lord? When is relief coming?

If you’ve ever expressed these thoughts, you are definitely not alone.

There have been days when I sat by my window and wondered how much longer it would be before the change I needed to see would come. It’s very likely many of us go through phases like this and then we receive a call, an email or a text from someone who is going through a situation and their questions are the same or more complex. Essentially, we are both asking God for an answer. This is not new to God because He has been listening to human beings from the beginning of time (He created us). He is quite familiar with our pain and uncertainties.

For me, this is comforting to remember. It lets me know that God is not afraid of my questions. He is committed to seeing us become all that He has purposed for us. We just need to trust Him. The writer of Psalm 73:3 (NLT) struggled with similar questions. He was struggling with the fact that people around him who weren’t serving God, were living their best life (or so it appeared) without any struggles, prospering and were yet wicked. How is that possible?

Later on, King David (the psalmist) is given some insight into what really happens to the wicked when they appear to be prospering. It’s not a very good picture. God sees and God hears! There really is a payback when you sow evil into other people’s lives because the Bible says you “reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7-9).

Yet no matter how bad a situation looks we have the hope and blessed assurance that God is always extending mercy. He is always showing us that there is a reward for living faithfully. And that He really does hear our cries.

Jeremiah was a prophet who was given a very hard task to speak on God’s behalf to His people and warn them of things to come, to get themselves together and live right before God but how much do you think they listened? They did not. Yet God once again extended mercy and hope. God lets them know that despite their wicked behavior, He still has good plans for them.

In Jeremiah 31:3-4 (NLT), God says to Israel:

“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself
I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.
You will again be happy and dance
merrily with your tambourines.”

Israel was not in a good place at the time when they are given this message. How often do we find ourselves being disobedient and not living in alignment with God’s will? How often are we living contrary to how He has instructed us to live. Yet we see that God’s love for us is not based on our behaviour. His love is unconditional and when He says He will do something, you better trust and believe it’s a done deal.

During the times we are waiting for change and answers, God reminds us that His love for us is everlasting. It’s unfailing and will not change. Can we strive to be consistent like our Heavenly Father? Can we trust Him a little more today, especially in those moments when the future seems so uncertain?

We can continue to hope. We can continue to trust. We must certainly be convinced that God’s love for us is constant and when He states He will do something, it’s a done deal!

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and caring for me every day. Thank you for your lovingkindness and faithfulness to me. Thank you for your promise of hope even when it seems that change is taking long in my eyes. Help me to trust you even when I cannot see. Lord, I trust you. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/patrussellsings/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/patrussellsings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patrussellonline/
Email: patrussellsings@gmail.com

Monday, November 1, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: The Gift

The Gift of Laughter
A devotional by Tema Banner

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”
–Job 8:21 (NIV)

As we turn the calendar to November, we who live in the USA think of Thanksgiving.

Many people in this country favor this holiday. Families and friends gather for the sole purpose of breaking bread and speaking aloud those things for which we are thankful. This holiday, more than any other, speaks to the heart of how God created us: as beings created to glorify Him with praises of thanksgiving and joy and to serve kindness up to our fellow man.

Family, health, and employment usually top the list of items on our gratitude list. But what God placed on my mind and heart to be thankful for today is laughter.

I was surprised to discover that the book of Job is tied with Genesis for the most mentions of laughter. If you have ever read the suffering and sorrow that Job endured, you too are likely surprised. Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for many years. But now as November arrives, I have other memories that darken my mind ahead of our family gathering. The first day of November marks the anniversary of the passing of my son, Steven.

Thoughts batter my mind of what I could have done differently, with hopes of a different outcome. Laughter is in short supply the week leading up to the first, fighting the threat of tears is more the order of the day. Laughter is one of the many joys that Steven brought into the lives of those he knew. The beauty is that laughter did not leave this world with him. God never promised an easy life or one that would fall into place as we plan. Life can change in a matter of seconds and leave you wondering what happened and asking if you will ever be able to smile again, let alone laugh.

Laughter is vital to our recovery, even when it is laughter through tears. The more I remember the laughter my son brought into my life, the more I laugh anew at his antics, and the more my heart heals. I realize that as Sarah said in Genesis 21:6, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Laughter is indeed a gift, and it is not the only one that helps us heal. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that having a cheerful heart is also beneficial to our livelihood and health. These are gifts from God that we do not always think of when we are counting our blessings.

We live in a world that is bent on destroying the good gifts that God has bestowed on us. Therefore, we would be wise to cultivate the laughter and cheerfulness in our lives.

How can we do this?

First, ask God to open your eyes and your heart to the blessings He has given you. Sometimes we become accustomed to what we have, and we no longer recognize it as a gift from our loving Father (God).

Second, our brains are wired to think negatively, but we can change this by taking simple steps, such as writing out a scripture of hope and meditating on it, place it on your mirror so you’ll see it first thing every morning.

Third, recognize negative thoughts, give them to God and replace them with a positive thought.

It won’t happen overnight, but eventually you will create a good habit of positive thoughts which will make it easier to laugh and give you a cheerful heart.

Do you have an activity that brings you pleasure that perhaps has gotten lost over the past two years? My activity is walking. I enjoy nature and it is a special time between me and Jesus. Surprisingly, working from home seems to have curtailed my walking. It is important to push away from the world of work and take a stroll with God. He will refresh your soul and return laughter to your lips, just as He promised.

Let’s Pray: Thank you God for the beautiful gift of laughter! When I hear it flow uninhibited from the mouth of a toddler, I recognize what a beautiful gift you have given us. Thank you, Lord, for the memory of past laughter that still brings us joy. Lord, this Thanksgiving season bind the hearts of those who mourn with Your everlasting, unstoppable, love. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Writing stories that take the reader on a journey to parts unknown has been a lifelong love for Tema. She enjoys all history and continues daily to hone both her knowledge of history and her writing skills. 

God is her guiding light and the reason for every endeavor in her life. She is a member of the South Carolina ACFW chapter as well as an active member of her local RWA chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

Tema has served as past President and Secretary as well as holding various chair positions of her local RWA Chapter, Carolina Romance Writers. She is the honored recipient of the Harold Lowery Service Award, presented by the Carolina Romance Writers.

God has gifted her with a loving husband, two children and four grandchildren who are the delight of her life.

In her spare time, she gardens and digs into genealogy for nuggets to use in her stories.

Connect with Tema:
Website: https://temabannerauthor.com
Blog: www.temabannerauthor.com/blog
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/temabanner/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/tema.banner