Friday, December 31, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: New Year 2022 edition with new writers!

Dear Reader Friends,

Tomorrow (Jan. 1, 2022) marks the start of a New Year!

And it also begins another part of our devotional journey!

I am excited to announce that this year, we have three NEW monthly writers, 12 returning writers from 2021 who are continuing to write devotionals every month of this new year, and seven backup writers contributing to my blog's tri-weekly series, “Devotionals for the Heart!”

This is the introduction post. Scroll down to see pictures of ALL of my writers (new and old) then read their writer bios and starting tomorrow, read the first NEW devotional for this year!

Note: My backup writers will only contribute their original devotionals in emergency cases when my regularly scheduled writers for this year cannot meet their deadline. God-willing, a new devotional will be published every Monday/Wednesday/Friday of every week for all of this New Year 2022.

I hope and pray that God blesses you this New Year with His Peace, Hope, Joy and Love!

May this devotional series bless your heart too.


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

Read on for the author bios and photos of my NEW devotional writers, my returning devotional writers and my backup devotional writers for this New Year 2022!

NEW Writer Bio:

Jessica Borne Turner is a wife, mom, and LSU graduate with a degree in veterinary medicine. 

After practicing small animal medicine for six years, she traded in her stethoscope to become an online wellness coach, motivational speaker, and writer with a passion for mental health advocacy. This major life change was sparked after Jessica struggled with postpartum depression soon after she birthed her twin girls.

Along with Jessica’s career change came the discovery of who Jesus Christ really is and how He was the missing piece for her to be able to move forward from past trauma that she had suppressed for decades.

Jesus walked alongside Jessica as she underwent a transformation like none other. God transformed Jessica’s life from a broken mom who struggled with depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and PTSD from witnessing an attempted suicide, to using her experiences to make her a powerful vessel for Him. To this day, God enables Jessica to touch the lives of others through her often unfiltered, yet inviting, form of storytelling.

Throughout this process of refinement, Jessica has shared her life story with the world through her social media platforms, in-person events, blog posts, and podcasts. She values the gift of transparency and has discovered that what so many people need to know is that they are not alone. Jessica has walked in their shoes, and she wants the world to know that Jesus is walking with them as well.

NEW Writer Bio:

Sarah Cole’s interest in writing began in grade school when her poem was published in the local paper. As she got older, her mother’s chronic illness inspired her to design a line of greeting cards. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their “Best of” spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about her cocker spaniel Gigi was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

During this year (2022) and the next (2023), Sarah’s devotionals will be published in The Secret Place by Judson Press, as well as David C. Cook’s Devotions and The Quiet Hour. To this day, she smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she’s not writing, Sarah enjoys watching cooking shows, designing cards and mugs, and taking day trips.

NEW Writer Bio:

Tessa Huckstep grew up in rural Illinois to Christian parents and has known Jesus personally since the age of five. She is currently attending community college and majoring in elementary education. After graduation, she wants to teach in public schools, hoping to bring the love of God with her.

God’s dream of Tessa becoming a writer was revealed to her at the age of sixteen and she hasn’t been able to stop since. Though she has not yet been published, Tessa enjoys writing historical romance novels and speculative fiction. Tessa believes God loves stories, and through her writing, she wants to reveal the happily ever after God dreams of for each of His daughters—one where Jesus is the knight in shining armor.

Tessa loves all things Georgian/Regency, needlework, and dainty teacups of every size. When she isn’t writing or studying for exams, Tessa can be found in the kitchen with more flour in her hair and on the floor than in the mixing bowl, though the mess is always half the fun!

Returning Writer Bio:

Angela Anderson was born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in NJ. She found her love for writing when she was in elementary school. She continued writing through high school, college, and into adulthood.

Angela is the author of a devotional book titled, Just When I Thought I Knew God, and a children's book that is not yet published.

In 2021, Angela started writing articles for an online magazine called Christian Women Living, where she focuses on writing messages for mothers and sharing advice on parenting. In addition to this, Angela wrote a devotional that is featured in a book published by Proverbs 31 Ministries. The book title is Hope When Your Heart is Heavy

Angela has a passion for inspiring and impacting others through her writing as well as speaking.

Angela has been married to the love of her life, Duane Anderson, for 17 years. Together, they have two sons: Thomas (age 9) and Ryan (age 4). 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.

Returning Writer 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, Maryland.

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

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

Returning Writer Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie devoted to living her life for Jesus 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 life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

Returning Writer 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 teaching them 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.

Returning Writer 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.

Returning Writer Bio:

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

She is 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

Jessica has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast.

She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

Returning Writer Bio:

Karen Marstaller is a retired high school teacher who spent most of her career challenging creative students to write. Her heart is for her readers.

She writes to encourage them, to make them laugh, to show them that life is a beautiful journey, and regardless of their past, to show them that there is joy ahead if they will just keep looking.

Karen and her husband live in central Texas in a sweet little home that they completely remodeled. They enjoy spending time with their family, which includes seven precious grandchildren.

Most of all, Karen writes in obedience to the command to love your neighbor, to offer a cup of water to those who are dying of thirst, and to comfort others with the comfort she has received.

Returning Writer Bio:

Patricia is an encourager. She passionately uses her gifting as an author, speaker, pastor, recording artist, worship leader and coach to encourage people around this world.

Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body & Spirit (a book that she wrote) was an Amazon Bestseller in October 2020.

Patricia sings! She has released two CDs titled Draw Me Nearer and Lord I Trust You.

She also travels to speak to audiences internationally.

When she is not ministering to save souls in God’s Kingdom, Patricia enjoys reading, writing and connecting like-minded people who can sharpen each other in the journey to their dreams and goals.

As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, her desire is to coach others to live life to the fullest by understanding their gifting from God and using it.

Returning Writer Bio:

Wendy is a Genetic Genealogist by day, a writer by night, and an artist in between.

Her love of what we can learn from history compels her to write the true stories she unearths because she’s found that truth is indeed much more exciting and inspiring than fiction.

Wendy writes about family, faith, grief, art, and overcoming obstacles in life by coming to know who we really are—the children of God, and the descendants of incredible people who paved the way for us despite their struggles. Wendy believes in learning from our ancestors, honoring them, and then standing on their shoulders to become a better generation.

As an award-winning family history writer, Wendy’s debut novel, Once Upon an Irish Summer, released in April 2020. This book is a dual timeline historical fiction novel about a young, gifted artist suffering from debilitating grief, who finds healing and inspiration in her Irish ancestry, and goes on to paint a masterpiece.

The sequel, Celtic Winter: Eliza’s Story, released in November 2021. The story goes back in time to the little sister left behind in Ireland to keep her family alive, woven with present-day Beth’s continuing story as she races the clock with the young man she loves to find the only person who could save his mother’s life.

When Wendy is not researching or writing, she hikes, paints, loves being a church youth leader, binges on epic Bollywood movies, and hangs out with her greatest loves—her family.

Returning Writer Bio:

Monique M. Anderson is a writer, creator, wife, and bonus mom. She was born and raised in Mount Vernon, NY, where she still resides. She released her always present yet hidden talent of writing to the masses in June 2019. 

Monique always felt like God was chasing after her but was never ready to surrender. Finally, she reached a point in her life when things started going left, and she no longer felt in control. At this point, she was ready to hand over the reins to God. After forming her relationship with God, she always felt compelled to share the revelation’s that His word gave her. She 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.

Her obedience provided more opportunities. In late 2021, Monique became a partner with the notable YouVersion Bible App as a Content Creator. With her first Bible plan debuting in December of 2021, she will continue to provide content for the app as long as God allows her to.

In 2021, God revealed her prophetic gift and how He wants her to use it. Monique always felt compelled to pray for others but had no idea God would use her in this way. Through this gift as a prophetic intercessor, she’s not just writing about what God can do but showing what God can do.

Since God has shown her who He created her to be, she now feels it is her life’s work to help those taking their first steps in their walk with Christ. She is doing so through her blog, prayer, and soon-to-be-published works. She is excited to extend her reach to YouTube, podcasts, and speaking engagements soon.

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

Returning Writer 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.

Returning Writer Bio:

Shirley A. Denson is a native of Statesboro, GA. 

She found out at a young age that she had a creative mind and a way with words. Later on in life, she learned to cultivate her passion for writing as a budding author.

Shirley is very passionate about writing. Each book that she releases will be a product of God stirring and cultivating the gift He’s entrusted her with. She has won numerous writing awards/certificates, and is a published poet and blogger.

For the past six years, Shirley has worked as a professional ghostwriter, editor, and author. It is her joy and goal that through print, she might impact lives and leave the imprint of the King.

Backup Writer Bio:

Born in the highlands of Scotland, Anthea Kotlan made her way to Texas as a third grader.

After studying the new language at length and mimicking the Houston locals, she found ways to blend in. Years later she floated down the San Marcos River, attended Journalism classes, and completed an undergraduate degree in in Journalism.

After getting married to Bill, she completed a graduate degree in English at Texas A&M. Ever the multi-tasker, she had two daughters and carried one of them into her graduation ceremony hidden under her billowing graduation gown.

Over the years she has served as a women’s ministry leader in several churches, spoken at women’s events, taught college freshmen English and led various Bible studies. She also writes whenever she can on her blog.

Anthea makes her home in Conroe with her husband Bill, a bi-vocational priest and engineer. She spends all the time she can with her two grandchildren: Ian Michael and Margaret Yael.

Backup Writer Bio:

Janis Van Keuren is a published author and freelance writer with stories appearing in “Divine Interventions,” a Guideposts’ compilation, and in denominational and secular publications. 

She began writing for her high school newspaper and the career stuck through college, despite a temporary blip when she toyed with majoring in economics. 

When she hung up her hat as an award-winning professional writer to raise a family, she discovered the Lord calling her to write and edit a publication for her Christian community. Occasionally, she guest posts inspirational pieces on other author’s websites.

Currently, Janis is working on her first devotional book revealing God’s touch in the stories of thirty individual women’s lives.

When Janis is not writing, she and her husband Tom enjoy traveling through God’s majestic and varied creations capturing His artistry in her photography and coupling it with Scripture.

Summers find these desert dwellers relaxing along the beaches and rugged coastline of California.

Backup Writer Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan. She is a multi-published author of historical Christian romance. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. 

Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She’s in the grip of God’s grace and is a fan of the three Cs—cats, coffee, and chocolate.

Kathleen is a mother of three children. She is a former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher.

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

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

Backup Writer Bio:

Learning to read as a young child opened a world of adventure for Kay Pflueger. She came to realize 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.

Kay recently completed a Copyediting certificate program and is currently pursuing a Creative Writing certificate. Her leisure time is spent with her married son and three grandchildren. She also enjoys writing, reading, and trying new recipes.

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

She is 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 as well as on her personal social media.

Backup Writer Bio:

Kerry Teravskis leads a full life as a wife and Marmee to her three adult children and one daughter-in-love.

She met her husband in college and served in the mission field for a few years before settling down in the States to raise their family.

They were a homeschooling family for 20 years and enjoyed it immensely. For the last 22 years Kerry and her husband have lived on a small farm in Northern California where they have raised many farm animals, along with growing and preserving their own food as well. Their farm has been a great source of enjoyment and a place to host many family gatherings. They keep the door of their home open for dear friends, old and new.

Following and serving Jesus is an integral part of Kerry’s life as well as that of her family. Whether it’s singing in her church choir, teaching children or leading and lecturing at a women’s Bible study, Kerry loves to demonstrate her love for Jesus by giving to Him in service.

She has been a blogger for seven years and a Bible study writer for one year. Kerry has spent this last year writing devotionals about finding God’s Sovereignty in our pain and suffering.

Backup Writer Bio:

Michelle Medlock Adams is a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist who has earned top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. 

Author of over 100 books with more than 4 million books sold, Michelle is also a New York Times Bestselling ghostwriter. She has won more than 70 industry awards for her journalistic endeavors, including the prestigious Golden Scroll for Best Children’s Book in 2020, 2019 and 2018 for How Much Does God Love You?, Dinosaur Devotions, and My First Day of School.

Since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University, Michelle has written more than 1,500 articles for newspapers, magazines and websites; acted as a stringer for the Associated Press; written for a worldwide ministry; hosted “Joy In Our Town” for the Trinity Broadcasting Network; blogged twice weekly for Guideposts from 2013 to 2015; written a weekly column for a Midwest newspaper; and served as an adjunct professor at Taylor University three different years.

Today, Michelle is President of Platinum Literary Services, a premier full-service literary firm; Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Serious Writer, Inc.; an online instructor for the Serious Writer Academy; and a much sought-after speaker at writers conferences and women’s retreats all over the United States.

When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites articles, blog posts, and books for celebrities, politicians, and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers.

Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff. They have two daughters (Abby and Allyson), two sons-in-law, two granddaughters and two grandsons.

She and Jeff share their home in Southern Indiana with a miniature dachshund, a rescue Greyhound/Lab mix, and two cats.

When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys bass fishing, cheering on Indiana University sports teams and the Chicago Cubbies, and all things leopard print.

Backup Writer Bio:

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

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

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

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

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel, and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.

Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is studying Christian fiction writing.

~ The End ~

Devotionals for the Heart: Following God's path and staying on track

Get Back on Track
A devotional by Monique M. Anderson

"Jeremiah, say to the people, 'This is what the Lord says: "When people fall down, don't they get up again? When they discover they're on the wrong road, don't they turn back? Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around."
— Jeremiah 8:4-5 (NLT)

The car is packed, your essential snacks are in tow, the gas tank is full, and you've just entered the address to your destination into your navigation system. Finally, you are ready to go. You hit the road, and things are running smoothly. Traffic is minimal, and it looks like you will get to your desired destination in good time.

As you're singing along to your favorite tune, you suddenly realize you've missed your turn. The navigation starts to re-route you, but that will take you miles out of the way and add more time to your travels than you would like. So instead of being re-routed, you decide to turn around to get back on track. It saves time and energy from having to be taken entirely out of your way.

If only we made it that simple to get back on track with God when we deviate off course. Like Jeremiah 8:4 (NLT) says, "When they discover they're on the wrong road, don't they turn back? Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?" We won't allow ourselves to stay on the wrong path for too long while driving, mainly because we don't want to veer off too far from our intended destination. So why can't we do the same in life?

We will veer from God's path for our life and somehow think we can figure out how to get back on track on our own. Then, instead of just making a U-turn, we decide to re-route ourselves, which takes us farther and farther away from the intended destination and we end up completely lost.

In the first few chapters of the book of Jeremiah, God is casting out His judgment and plans of destruction upon Jerusalem because they turned their back on God and worshipped other idols. All the while, He gives His people plenty of opportunities to turn away from their sins and get back on track, but they refuse. They instead choose to continue down a destructive path.

Sometimes the easiest thing to do instead of being re-routed is to stop and turn around. Why continue down a path of destruction? Why do we always think we know better than God? He is forgiving, loving, and merciful, but somehow, we always want to do our own thing. It is much easier than we think to get back right with God. Just stop, turn around and go back to Him.

Don't let your own desires for life make you too proud to turn back to God. It is never too late. You can avoid a fate of devastation, confusion, and ruin by simply turning around.

Let's Pray:
Father God, forgive us for turning away from you, even for a moment. Forgive us for thinking we know a better way than yours. Father, we are stopping today right where we are and turning back. We are making a U-turn and coming back to you in total surrender. We ask for your mercy and forgiveness. We will trust you from here on out to be our forever guide through this journey of life. In Jesus's name we 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, December 29, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: When God chooses you to do a mighty work

The One You Least Expect
A devotional by Temeka Borden

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.” –Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV)

I have been listening to my Bible app quite a lot lately, and when the story of David and Goliath was read to me, I was especially attentive.

The Bible says that David was a warrior and the future King of Israel. I have always enjoyed this story, ever since I was a little girl. However, once I became an adult, and after I have witnessed much and experienced much in life, the story of David and Goliath resonated with me even more.

This story of David’s battle with Goliath can be found in 1 Samuel, Chapter 17. Goliath taunts the Israelite army and they become terrified and deeply shaken by his threats. But David is courageous enough to face this “giant”. When David volunteered to fight Goliath, King Saul doubted his abilities to battle Goliath and win. After David describes his previous fights with lions and bears—ones that Saul was not aware of—Saul then grants David’s request for a one-on-one dual with Goliath. I think most of us who spent time in Bible study and church service, know how the story ends: Using only a sling and a stone, David takes down the giant and chops off his head.

What a victory! Right? However, when you look closer as you read this story, you see that David was not confident in himself. Better than that, David’s confidence was in the Lord. He knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was on his side and that victory was already attained. What a powerful realization that can serve as a life lesson to us today!

This story makes me think about how we shouldn’t count out people who God has counted in. We shouldn’t judge people based on their physical appearance. The Bible says that “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT).

David may have been younger and shorter in stature compared to many of the soldiers in the Israelite army. He may have been considered untrained by some–lacking the required credentials to go up against such a large man. Yet, the one whom many considered unqualified was the very one God had chosen. They say that “God doesn’t call the qualified; He equips the called.” And that is very true in this case. God equipped little shepherd boy David to successfully slay an enemy that even the most experienced soldiers feared.

The story of David and Goliath also makes me think of the story of Samuel and his mission to anoint the next king of Israel. Saul had lost favor with God due to his disobedience (1 Samuel 15:10-11), and David was selected to be Saul’s successor (1 Samuel 16:12). After seeing all of Jesse’s sons, and after Samuel made his own assumptions of who would be the next king by considering appearance only, in the end, it was evident that David was the one. He was the youngest of all of his brothers and the “least expected”, but he was to be the next king.

Unlike David, we may never be a king or queen. Many of us may not do something heroic that will gain national or international attention. However, we all have been issued a God-given assignment that is of utmost importance! God has called each of us to do something extraordinary for Him, and He has given all of us the necessary tools to carry out that assignment and to complete it successfully.

Our specific assignments may differ. Yet, the ultimate goal is the same: To bring God glory!

So if someone looks at you as though you do not matter or says to you that you are not important, that you do not have any of the necessary credentials, that you have nothing to contribute, or that you are not capable of accomplishing a certain goal, remind yourself of David’s story. Remember that the one who is often underestimated is the one who is often destined to do great things. Also, keep in mind that we all have a little bit of David in us.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, Thank You for equipping us to do a mighty work for you! Help us to always listen to you and follow your lead in this life. Help us to not be afraid of any giant in this world. Make us brave like David and help us remember that it’s “not by might, nor by power” but by Your Spirit that we overcome the obstacles we face. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Note from Alexis: Temeka’s devotional today reminds me of the song “Not By Might” performed by Leslie Phillips. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect with Temeka:

Monday, December 27, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: When God Gives You A Divine Interruption

Divine Interruptions During Ordinary Days
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“The mind of a person plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
—Proverbs 16:9 (NASB)

I like my morning routine. Part of that routine includes drinking coffee in my favorite chair while clearing my email inbox or reading a book. My chair looks directly out an east-facing window and most of the year I get a front-row seat to watch the sunrise.

The other morning, I saw an early text from my daughter and because my phone was on the couch perpendicular to my regular chair, I sat down on that couch and had a quick conversation with her. Through my peripheral vision, I caught sight of a spectacular streak of color out the window. It might have been one of the most amazing sunrises I’d ever seen. Later that day my Facebook feed was filled with pictures of that same sunrise from all over the area, so I knew I wasn’t the only one stunned by its beauty.

But the part that hit me the hardest was when I realized if I had been sitting in my usual chair I would have missed it completely. The sun is rising farther south than normal this time of the year and with our Christmas tree up, my window view is obstructed. If I hadn’t had a reason to be doing something different than I normally do, I would have missed a wonderful moment.

Divine interruptions are the best kind. The Bible stories we love are full of interruptions, especially the Christmas story. Mary was going about her life, planning to get married and start the next chapter of her story, never expecting a visit from an angel (Luke 1:26-38). The shepherds were in their fields, doing what they always did, not for a moment thinking that a choir of angels would show up to tell them to go find a baby in a manger (Luke 2:8-17). What amazing interruptions to perfectly ordinary days!

Do I cultivate a life that is open to God’s interruptions? Is my schedule so tightly packed that I have no margin for a moment of reflection? Is my heart so closed off that I don’t have a place for Jesus Christ to interrupt my day to show me something beautiful? Do I make myself available to let God direct my steps to someone who needs me at a given moment?

I want God to be able to change my routine, get me out of my comfort zone, hand me His Divine interruptions, and use me as He wants. To do this, I need to have my eyes open for opportunities and a heart willing to be moved. What would our world look like if we all lived every day this way? Let’s try it and find out!

Let’s Pray: Father God, help me to be open to whatever interruptions You want to give me in the next hour, the next day, the next year. Help me see what You are doing in the world and give me opportunities to work for your Kingdom alongside You. Shake up my routine and show me ways to love You deeper and to love my neighbors. 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:

Friday, December 24, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Reflection

Reflection for Growth
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“…but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:10-13 (NIV)

Reflection is a beautiful thing.

As we approach the last few days of 2021, many of us may feel overwhelmed with goal setting, creating resolutions, and identifying the promises we are agreeing to take into 2022.

But while we are so focused on preparing for what is to come, it is just as important to take a moment to reflect on the experiences you have had thus far. The trajectory you are on now is primarily based on the experiences you have had up until this moment. Because of the significance of your experiences, it is important to take a moment to reflect on where you have been, what you have experienced, and how those things affect where you may be going.

Reflection helps us to make wise, sound decisions. Reflection helps us take a moment to measure our effectiveness in the work we do from day-to-day. Reflection helps us ensure our ‘why’ is still our ‘why’ right now.

As we reflect to prepare for a new year, we can easily find ourselves focusing on all the things we were not able to accomplish in 2021. We quickly recall all the ways we feel that we failed: in our professional life, in our personal life, in our relationships, in the way we show up for others, and even in the way we show up for ourselves. We focus on the things we did not do in efforts of making these things priorities that we can cross off our to-do lists.

But please allow me the opportunity to encourage you to leverage your strengths by acknowledging all of the things you accomplished this year. It may have been the success in your relationships or the promotion in your professional life. Maybe it is that you made strides with your health and nutrition goals. Maybe it is something else that is tangible and documented.

I also want to make sure we allow ourselves the space to own the growth we have experienced in our spiritual life. We have opened our hearts to be willing to hear God as He may speak to us in a new way that is unconventional to us. We have learned to be still for the purpose of thinking more clearly and simply waiting to hear God’s voice.

We have accepted that we must view ourselves with a Kingdom mindset. We have recognized that our identity is rooted in His purpose for us and is not limited to the roles we play in the lives of those we love. We have shifted our perspective and our posture before Him in order to receive all the things He has in store for us. And at the end of it all, we have learned to “praise our way through” so we can truly embody the joy we have been searching for.

Whatever you do, don’t allow the things you were not able to do to overshadow the major milestones you have reached in your life. The growth you have experienced simply serves as a reminder that you have been equipped for this, and there is so much more to come.

Let’s Pray: Lord, we simply want to use this moment to reflect and say thank You. We thank You for allowing us continued opportunities to grow in You. We thank You for your grace, your mercy and your kindness. We thank You for the love you show to us. We thank You for loving us when we struggle to know what love is and how to show love, grace, and kindness to ourselves and others. We thank You for life. We thank You for everything—seen and unseen, spoken and unspoken. We are in awe of You and or your work. Thank 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, December 22, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Advent

Advent Season
A devotional by Heidy De La Cruz

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 (NIV)

Advent season is such a special season.

It’s a time for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. According to, the word “advent” comes from the Latin word adventus which means, “coming” or “arrival”.

This season is also used to celebrate the new life, such as when someone accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and also the anticipation of Jesus coming again. Like it says in Hebrews 9:28 (NIV), “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”

There are different ways people celebrate the Advent season, but it’s usually based on the themes of the four weeks of Advent. According to, “The purpose of each theme is to spend time reflecting on the true meaning of the season – the life of Jesus Christ.” People read scriptures on their own and in church, that reflect the theme of each week. Week 1 is “Hope”, Week 2 is “Preparation”, Week 3 is “Joy”, and Week 4 is “Love.” There are also four candles lit for each Sunday of Advent, which correspond to the themes of each week as well. The candles are usually placed around a wreath.

This year is the first year my family and I are starting an Advent tradition. My husband and I started reading an Advent Bible plan on YouVersion called “Advent: The Journey to Christmas.” It’s 25-day plan where we read a devotional and a few Bible verses each day. We started the plan on Dec. 1 and will finish on Christmas Day (Dec 25). I’m hoping that we can continue this tradition every year. I also hope that as my daughter gets older and understands more of the Bible, we can include her in reading the plan with us.

The plan really breaks down the meaning of Jesus coming to this world. One day that stood out to me was the devotional named “The Great Exchange.” It says that Jesus came to give us the gifts of forgiveness, healing, acceptance, and peace. But those gifts were not cheap. Jesus paid the price for us (John 3:16) by experiencing the most significant rejection. And because of this, we don’t have to pay the price (Romans 6:23). How wonderful is that? It’s not something we can ever repay nor something that we deserve, but God loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us and reconcile us to Him.

The devotional is followed by the verse Isaiah 53:3-5 (NIV), “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

This Advent season, I hope you take some time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas. Dig deep and ask God to reveal to you how deep His love is for you and how much it meant for Jesus to come down to Earth to save us all.

Let’s Pray: God, I pray for those who are lost and need to find their way to You. I pray for those who want to grow closer to You and are unsure how. I pray that You will lead them to You. I want to thank You for your covenant, promises, and love for us because it is truly unconditional. I pray that in this Advent season, more people are saved and learn who Jesus was. In Jesus’s Name 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:

Monday, December 20, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you can trust God to meet your every need

A Sovereign God
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” 
–Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV)

When I was a child, I would always hear adults use the phrase, “God moves in mysterious ways.” When I became an adult, I realized just how accurate this phrase really is.

God never ceases to amaze me with not only His wonderful blessings, but also how He chooses to grant these blessings. Even though there may be countless ways that He chooses to bless His people, the outcome remains the same – He reveals His glory in the blessing and He meets the needs of His people.

In my own life, I recall the birth of my two sons. My pregnancy with my oldest son was almost perfect. I never experienced morning sickness or nausea, and my doctor’s visits were seamless. When it was time for the delivery, I was in labor for about 22 hours. To make matters worse, my baby’s heart rate dropped to an alarmingly low rate for an extended period. My second son was the exact opposite. I was nauseous and extremely lethargic for almost the entire pregnancy. My doctor’s visits were filled with unpredictable news of various complications. When it was time for the delivery, the birth was quick and painless, lasting only about 22 minutes. Although the pregnancy was different each time, the outcome was the same. God blessed me with two beautiful and healthy baby boys!

The Bible is filled with circumstances where God chose to move in different ways while meeting the needs of people. Naaman the leper was told to wash seven times in the Jordan River before receiving his healing (2 Kings 5). Meanwhile, there was a leper who was healed with just a touch (Matthew 8:3). Blind Bartimaeus received his sight immediately (Mark 10:46-52), while the man who was born blind was told to wash off the mud and saliva applied to his eyes before he could receive his sight (John 9:1-12). No matter what method God chose to use, they were all blessed with God’s healing.

I am reminded of the hungry Israelites who were fed with bread from Heaven (Exodus 16:4), and then Elijah who was also famished, but his bread was delivered by ravens (1 Kings 17:6). Regardless of the circumstances, God ensured that their hunger was satisfied.

Whether it’s bringing a baby into the world, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, or feeding those who are hungry; we cannot predict how our sovereign God will choose to move. His ways are far too great. One thing we know for sure is that He will “do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV) because that is the amazing God that we serve.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, Thank you for your many blessings in our lives. Although we may not know how You will choose to move, we do know that You are a faithful God, and You will always come through to meet our every need. We praise You for Your goodness. We love You for Your kindness. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 17, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Love for Humankind and Our Savior

The Holy Gift of Love
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:14 (ESV)

During this time of year, Christmas carols are heard all around us.

Our hearts are often softened when hearing “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” or “Joy to the World”. But this year I’m hearing, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.” Glory be to God on high. The song, written in 1862 by James Chadwick, is titled, “Angels We Have Heard on High.” It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of some shepherds.

On a quiet Judean hillside in the darkness of night, a sudden light pierced the sky. Four hundred years of silence were swept away by an angel’s appearance before the frightened men. The message was a simple one. “Fear Not,” the shepherds were told in Luke 2:10 (ESV).

Of course, they needed reassurance. Blinding light surrounded them. A heavenly choir sang. These were simple, lowly men who smelled like the sheep they tended. They were men of the outdoors, fighting for the health and growth of their flocks. Bright lights and an angelic chorus had never happened before.

“Fear Not.”

In a heartbeat, the shepherds left their flocks and raced into Bethlehem to see The Lamb of God (Jesus). Their excitement was palpable. Their journey led them to a barn, an animal pen, and to two dusty, weary travelers, and to a Baby (Jesus). It had to be hard to understand that the infant they encountered was the One of whom the angels sang in verse 11, but the message the shepherds had received was irrefutable. Luke 2:11 (ESV) tells us their announcement to the shepherds, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

The angel went on to describe the newborn King. Exactly as the angel had declared, there was the baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger. The Son of God. The Son of Man. A helpless infant in a feeding trough.

Jesus left His throne in Heaven to become like us, born just as we are. Weak and vulnerable. Dependent on a mother’s milk to sustain Him. Needing to be washed. Needing to sleep. Needing to be fed. Needing loving arms around Him to keep His tiny body warm. Cold. In an animal pen. Our Lord Jesus came with His love in order to share our human experience.

From the foundation of the world, God had planned this moment in history. God knew we needed a Savior, a perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that we could come freely to Him as His beloved sons and daughters.

He’d known it all along, since way before the beginning, even before Genesis. God knew that humankind would sin and ruin this perfect world He’d created, yet He still spoke the world into existence. His voice created light, dry land, water, animals, and food. Crowning creation, God reached down to fashion a man out of the very clay on which He stood, knowing that what He created meant that His only Son would be sacrificed for the sins of mankind.

And on that night in an obscure village, Jesus was born, part of the same clay as us. Fully God and fully man. His birth changed everything. Even our calendars reflect Christ's momentous birth: B.C. became A.D. ("Anno Domini"), which is Latin for the year of our Lord. History is hinged on the day when a virgin gave birth to the Son of God, but Jesus came for more than that. He came to save us from ourselves, to teach us how to live life abundantly, and to bring us into His family.

So, in joyful preparation for the season of God’s Love in a manger, we sing, “Gloria!” We lift our hearts to Heaven in humble gratitude, and we worship Christ our Messiah, the Savior of the world, and the Lord of our lives.

“Fear Not!” Emmanuel has come and He is with us. “Gloria!”

Let’s Pray: Dear Holy Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to become one of us, and then to become our Savior. Thank You for setting us free from sin. Please help us to be filled with wonder as we contemplate Your divine love and care for us. We pray in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Note from Alexis:

Karen’s devotional reminds me of this song, “Here With Us” by Joy Williams. Listen to it here.

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, December 15, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: The Light

Light of the World
A devotional by Christa MacDonald

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 
–John 8:12 (NIV)

When you're shopping around your book, movie, or even a technical gadget, the experts tell you to be prepared to give an "elevator pitch." That means being able to explain your main idea in the time that it takes for the average elevator ride.

What would be the elevator pitch for Christianity?

The immediate answer is John 3:16, of course. It's the heart of the Gospel, after all. But to get the idea of what it's like to be a Christian, not just to become one, I think John 8:12 does a pretty good job. Boiled down to its essence, Christianity is being brought out of the darkness and into the light. It's beautiful imagery, moving from darkness into the light. In practice, though, what does it mean?

It is now December, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the world seems darker as winter approaches. The days are getting shorter and colder. Even the shadows grow longer due to the altered angle of the sun. Gardens and lawns get browner every day, and trees have been reduced to stick figures. It's why our northerly ancestors came up with so many traditions about the winter solstice. They were in darkness, and they craved the light. We need (as they needed) the light that doesn't change with the seasons, the light of eternal life that Jesus Christ offers through repentance and faith in Him as Savior and Lord.

Earlier in this story (John 8:1-11), Jesus was at the temple at dawn, when the people brought to him a woman to be stoned for adultery. Jesus tells the crowd, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." None do, and they leave until only Jesus and the woman are left. Jesus says, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus replied. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Can you imagine how she must have felt? Not only has she escaped a death sentence, but God has declared that she is no longer condemned. He sets her free, telling her to leave the life that brought her to that place.

Forgiveness frees! I would wear that on a T-shirt. Redemption stories are my favorite, both to read and to write. That moment of liberation when the person gives up their sin and throws themselves upon the mercy of Jesus is pure beauty. So is the moment when someone gives up the bitterness of an old wound and forgives the one who gave it to them. Forgiveness even frees the forgiver! The divine forgiveness of sins frees completely.

There are times when we don't feel the light, times when we don't feel free at all. Even in the life of a faithful Christian, some struggles leave us fumbling in the dark. But the difference is that it only looks dark. The light of Christ's grace and mercy is always with us, even when we feel surrounded by darkness, struggling to hold onto our faith.

Believer, whatever it is that has a hold on you, weighing you down, let the light shine on it. Open your heart to God in prayer and let those burdens go. You don't have to be strong enough in that moment to let it go, but at least let the light in. Give the burden a name, confess it has a hold on you, and Jesus will lead you by hand deeper into His light.

Let's Pray: Father God, help us to keep our feet on the straight and narrow path that leads to Heaven. Help our eyes to stay fixed on Jesus. Enable our hearts and minds to focus on Your plan for our lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen. 

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:

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Book Spotlight on Celtic Winter by Wendy Wilson Spooner

The sequel to Once Upon an Irish Summer is here! And today, you’re in for a treat because the author of this new novel called Celtic Winter, is here to share the story behind her new book!

Let’s welcome my author friend Wendy Wilson Spooner to the blog. Enjoy your time together!

The Story Behind the story Celtic Winter by Wendy Wilson Spooner:

Founded on a 200-year-old collection of letters

A faded and worn letter collection survives today, written by Eliza and Allen’s parents, to Allen, after he went to America. My mom, my daughters and I transcribed many of the faded, damaged letters ourselves.

Microfilm copies can be found at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah as well as the genealogical library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The correspondence is both inspiring and heart-breaking, filled with the family’s trust in God as they suffered, while Allen journeyed thousands of miles away through antebellum America, seeking for a way to make a success of himself so he could bring his family to him before it was too late. The small snippets of Eliza’s life in the letters are very precious to me because there aren’t many records to be found for her.

As starvation and typhus fever raged throughout Ireland, Eliza’s story still inspires me today. She worked her fingers to the bone as a dressmaker and cared for her family continuously.

I wrote Once Upon an Irish Summer and Celtic Winter through the eyes of Allen Hamilton’s fictional descendant—a young, gifted artist struggling through debilitating grief—to show that what we learn from the past and who we come from, can entirely change us.

No Doubts

Writing this story in dual timeline was no easy task. But I would do it all again because the outcome has inspired countless people to delve into the lives of their own ancestors.

I believe that those who came before us want nothing more than for each generation to become a little better. And that’s what Once Upon an Irish Summer and Celtic Winter are all about—to learn about the people we come from, to honor them, then to stand on their shoulders to become a better generation.

Author Bio:

Wendy Wilson Spooner, Lic. G., LCoT, is a Genetic Genealogist by day, a writer by night, and an artist in between. 

Her love of what we can learn from history compels her to write the true stories she unearths during her research because she has found that truth is indeed, much more exciting and inspiring than fiction.

Wendy is a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogist, The Association of Professional Genealogists, Romance Writers of America, and The American Night Writer’s Association. As an award-winning author of professional articles and poems, she’s turned to novel writing to share what she knows with a greater audience.

When not writing or researching, Wendy paints, hikes, binges on Bollywood movies, and spends time with her greatest loves—her family.

Blurb for Celtic Winter:

BASED ON A TRUE STORY. Two young ladies, two centuries apart, struggle to save the people they love in this gripping sequel to Once Upon an Irish Summer

In 1817, Eliza Hamilton loses her favorite brother to the lure of antebellum America and is left behind in declining Northern Ireland to keep her family alive while religious warfare, oppressive English laws, typhus fever, and starvation, overtake her homeland. She has no time for love, even when her suitor Aiden McNair declares his adoration and wishes to wed.

Two hundred years later, descendant Beth Wilson travels to Indiana to help her injured grandmother. When she arrives, she finds across the street, the mother of the young man she loves-on her deathbed. While Beth cares for her beloved grandmother, juggles school and her budding art career, she and Preston determine to locate the only person who could save his mother's life.

Beth's love of history and what she learns about her ancestor, Eliza, along the way could give her the hope and strength she needs to persevere through it all.

Buy Wendy’s book on Amazon

Connect with Wendy:

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

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