Friday, July 29, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Believe

Believe It Before You See It
A devotional by Monique M. Anderson

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

There is an old saying, “You've got to see it to believe it.”

These rules, unfortunately, do not apply in the Christian faith. Having faith means believing it before you see it. That is the true definition of faith. According to Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV), “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

According to the KJV Dictionary, one of the definitions of the word substance is "something existing by itself; that which really is or exists." Another definition says, "something real, not imaginary; something solid, not empty."

The definition of the word evidence, also according to the KJV Dictionary, is "that which makes plain and enables the mind to see the truth."

Therefore, when we have faith in something, we tell ourselves what we don't see exists. Consequently, it's about believing God's words no matter how the situation looks. Sometimes that faith is tested with time.

Abram was 75 years old when he first received the promises of God that he would be a father to nations, but it wasn't until he was 100 years old that Isaac was born. So that is 25 years they had to wait for God's Word to manifest.

I am sure in those 25 years, things did not look promising, and it was hard to keep the faith. Finally, Sarah and Abraham grew impatient and took matters into their own hands. Sarah advised Abraham to sleep with their handmaiden Hagar so she could have his baby, and Sarah would take care of him as her own. It is safe to say they failed the faith test. However, God still blessed them with a baby of their own.

Joseph had to look beyond his troubling circumstances and wait on what the Lord showed him. In Genesis 37, Joseph had two dreams that illustrated he would one day reign over his family, and they would bow down to him.

Besides the 13 years it took for this prophecy to be fulfilled, Joseph also had to go through betrayal from his brothers, being lied to by Potiphar's wife, thrown in prison and forgotten.

I'm sure Joseph questioned what he saw in his dreams when he was sold into slavery, thrown in a pit, put in prison, and abandoned. Nothing Joseph went through looked like the promise God showed him.

However, during every trial was God's favor. During difficult seasons, these small doses of favor keep us holding on to our faith. It's seeing small rays of sunshine when you're in the middle of a storm.

What we see will try to deter us from what we believe. That is the enemy's only tactic. He cannot take away the promises of God, but he can take our minds off the promises of God. This is why we must constantly remind ourselves of the God we serve.

We serve a God who “is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19 NKJV), we know that “The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word” (Lamentations 2:17 NIV), and “He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV).

God is not capable of turning back on His promises. What He said will come to pass. So speak these scriptures back to God and ask Him to put you “in remembrance” (Isaiah 43:26 NKJV). Speak God's truth over your situation when things look grim or your deliverance feels like it's taking too long. This is what keeps you flat-footed and rooted in faith. It's holding on to the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Let’s Pray: Father God, we thank You for Your faithfulness. We thank You that what is done in Heaven will surely be done on earth. Holy Spirit, help us keep our eyes on what we do not yet see but believe in our hearts. Keep us rooted in our faith and not in our circumstances. Father, we will keep our eyes on You throughout the difficulties and long-suffering. We patiently wait for Your promises to be fulfilled in our lives. We trust You and love you. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Believe For It (Live)” by CeCe Winans. Listen to it here.

Author 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. Her first Bible plan debuted in December 2021. She will continue to provide content for the app as long as God allows her to.

Also 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.”

Connect with Monique:

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: How to cast down negative thoughts

Focusing on the Good
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”–Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Have you ever stopped and considered just how influential your thinking is?

Yesterday, I made a detour to the Illinois River with my mom and brothers. We stopped at an inclined boating slope and my brothers attempted to skip rocks over the smooth water. Even the smallest rocks, when thrown correctly, would make two or three sets of ripples that completely changed the surface of the river.

I was considering my devotional this morning and the influence that those tiny rocks had on a great, flowing river came to my mind. One rock had the power to change the surface of the water. I could not help but compare these rocks to the many thoughts that pass through our minds daily. Our minds are influenced continuously by our thoughts, creating ripples that impact every area of our lives.

Negative and positive thoughts come to our mind daily. Positive thoughts bring goodness to our minds. The opposite is true for negative thoughts. For me, negative thoughts tend to enter my mind and create lasting ripples. One negative thought invites another, and another. Eventually, negative thoughts are the only thoughts I have. I begin to see everything in a negative light. At this point, I begin to feel stuck. When you sit in negativity for an extended period of time, it feels as if there is no way out. However, we know this is not true. Negative thoughts—the thoughts of this world—do not have the power to hold us. We are children of the living God. We no longer have to sit in the chains of regret, fear, or negativity.

But how exactly do we fight negative and harmful thoughts? Romans 12:2 states that the Christian should be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. I would like to point out that the beginning of the verse says not to be ‘conformed’ to the world. ‘Conform’ is an inactive word. Conforming is sitting back and letting the negative thoughts take root in your mind. But we are called to actively take part in fighting against these thoughts. We are called to actively renew our mind.

To renew our mind, we must vigorously find the positive and the good to refute the negative. The best weapon a Christian can use is the Bible. Scripture memorization is a favorite strategy of mine to overcome anxiety, fear, or loneliness. Just memorizing a simple passage of Scripture and reciting it to yourself can change and reroute your focus to God.

One practice I especially find helpful is looking for something to be grateful for. It is factually impossible to be negative and grateful at the same time. Finding something to be grateful for will be difficult at first. When negative thoughts are bombarding you, the last thing you will want to be is grateful. Try finding something small—like being grateful for the sunshine. Once you find one positive thing to be grateful for, it will be easier to find something else. Remember the ripples? One positive thought will lead to another.

God does not promise that negative thoughts of bitterness, fear, and loneliness will never enter the life of His children. However, God does promise that He will always be with us in every struggle, and He will give us the tools we need to overcome our struggles. God is with you, dear reader, and you can overcome all adversity.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for being with us in every struggle and making available to us Your Word to overcome negativity and harmful thoughts. Please give us the strength to renew our minds. Help us to focus on You and turn our full attention to You alone. Guide us to experience gratitude and thankfulness in our daily lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “For the Good” by Riley Clemmons. Listen to it here.

Author 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. In the future, she plans to teach in the public school, 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!

Connect with Tessa:

Monday, July 25, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Word

God’s Word
A devotional by Glynis Becker

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” –Psalm 19:7-8 (ESV)

I credit my mother for my love of books.

Even before I could remember, she would sit me on her lap with a stack of books and we read together for hours. She always had a book sitting next to her chair. Reading was her favorite hobby. When I grew up and we started reading some of the same books, she and I would have great conversations about the books we loved. What a joy it is to share a love of reading!

My mother also taught me a love for God’s Word (The Holy Bible). She and my dad both made it a priority to read and study the Bible, memorize verses, and discuss them. They ensured my sister and I grew up knowing the importance of reading scripture not just to read it, but to believe and live it.

My own journey with the Bible has fluctuated over the years. During some seasons of my life, I have been in the Word consistently, but when I’m out of the habit, it’s hard to get back into it. I also have had times when reading the Bible felt like an obligation to check off my to-do list in order to be a “good” Christian. In January of this year, I started a two-year chronological reading plan. Right now I’m in the book of Psalms where I was reminded again how David and the other writers talk over and over about their love for God’s words.

Of course, their version of the scriptures was very different than ours. They only had parts of the Old Testament, because they were living and writing the scriptures we have today! It amazes me to think that as God was instilling in them a love for His Word, their response to that love became His own words that we can now meditate on to uplift, encourage, rebuke, discipline, teach, and inspire us today.

Here are just a few verses from the Psalms that tell us about God and His Word. All the following scriptures are from the English Standard Version.

Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

My Reflection: I believe this shows us a beautiful cycle of growth and maturity in faith because as we meditate, pray, and study God’s words, we will no longer find ourselves following the crowds of sinners and scoffers. And the less we do that, the more we will want to pray and study, which will mature us even more.

Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

My Reflection:
We should never forget that the voice we hear when we read God’s Word and when we pray is also the voice that created the earth from nothing. We should continue to be awestruck that God wants to speak to us in a personal way!

Psalm 119:10-11 says
, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

My Reflection: We should strive to continually seek God and learn His words so that we will keep from temptation and sin.

If you are in a season of deep Bible study and meditation, then keep it up! But if you haven’t read the Bible in a while, take a moment and pray for the desire to know God in a deeper way through His Word. He won’t disappoint!

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, give me a desire to seek You always. Speak to me through Your Word and help me love Your words more and more each day. I pray this in Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“Thy Word” by Amy Grant. Listen to it here.

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.


Friday, July 22, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Ask God

Do We Ask?
A devotional by Wendy Wilson Spooner

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 
—2 Kings 2:9 (ESV)

When Elisha knew Elijah was soon to be taken from him, he wouldn’t leave him and when his master asked him what he wanted before he left, Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit to be upon him. As a result, Elisha went on to perform double the number of miracles Elijah had.

I have pondered what each of us can ask of the Lord, ourselves. I have considered the fact that I have never asked for a double portion of God’s spirit to be upon me—I’ve never used those exact words in my prayers. But the story of Elijah and Elisha shows us we can.

Matthew 7:7-8 (ESV) tells us, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

When I look back on the history of my prayers, I’ve never had a prayer go unanswered. Even if the Lord’s timing was much wiser and different than mine, the prayer was still answered. Sometimes it was just a feeling of peace that everything would be okay, which to me, was as valuable as being given a “double portion” of God’s Holy Spirit.

According to Matthew 10:29, there is nothing we cannot ask of the Lord. Just as our Father in Heaven notes the fall of a single sparrow, He cares about each one of us! God pays attention to our smallest needs and worries.

At times, I have felt like a sparrow, small, seemingly powerless and unnoticed. But I believe that is exactly why that Bible verse was placed in the book of Matthew—for us. So we would know that we can call upon the all-powerful God of the Universe, our Creator, because He sees us, He hears us, and He knows how to help us! All we have to do is ask.

Let’s Pray:
Father in Heaven, let us always remember Your love for us no matter our circumstance. Help us to ask and turn to You first in all things. Thank You for always being there for us. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “He’s Always There” by CeCe Winans. Listen to it here.

Author 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—even if they really struggled. 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 April 3, 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 November 5, 2021. The storyline 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.

Connect with Wendy:

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Hope for when your faith is on life support

Hope For When Your Faith is on Life Support
A devotional by Sarah Cole 

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” –Mark 11:22-24 (NIV)

Skyrocketing gas prices, empty shelves in stores, a border in chaos. These are just a few examples of what the media tells us is occurring in the United States each day.

We're certainly a nation desperate for good news.

Like many Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, I live from paycheck to paycheck, and the pain at the pump—and everywhere else—makes me wonder if there's hope on the horizon. Maybe you've had your doubts, too.

Sometimes, the cares of this world consume us, and when the Good News (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) takes a backseat to bad news, we often allow fear to hijack our faith. This results in spiritual amnesia, because we forget about God’s sovereignty, His promises, and His power. 

In times like these, we need reminders of who God is and what He’s done. In other words, we need a faith reset. In Romans 10:17 (NKJV), Paul writes that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” This verse tells us that when life throws us one curveball after another, God's promises are the anchor that keeps our faith strong. Strong faith is worth the time and effort it takes to build it.

For the past several months I've been working out with my personal trainer, and thanks to my partnership with Carrie, I’m stronger than ever. But it took a lot of patience, discipline, and hard work to get there. Faith, like a muscle, won’t grow without resistance, so unless adversity tests our belief system, we will remain spiritual infants, at the mercy of one crisis after another.

I am grateful that God is never taken by surprise, and that He—not the government, or the economy—is my “ever-present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1 in the Berean Study Bible). He is an immovable anchor during the storm, and He is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 ESV). If God can raise Jesus from the grave, supply manna to the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4), and part the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21), He will do the miraculous in your life, too—even when the bottom falls out and your faith is on life support.

Friend, whatever bad news is keeping you up at night, Jesus knows all about it, He is in control, and He cares deeply for you. I encourage you to take a deep breath, lay your burdens at his feet, and consider taking these steps:

Step #1: Take an inventory of all the ways God provided for you this year, especially when you least expected it. I think you will see His fingerprints all over your life.

Step #2: Make a faith declaration. Tell yourself in your own words that whatever crisis is threatening to take you under, God keeps His promises, and He will take care of you, regardless of what you hear on the news.

Step #3: Find promises in the Bible that address your challenges and start committing them to memory. Develop a library of truth in your mind, so the next time fear rears its ugly head, your faith will be in the driver’s seat.

Someone once said that fear appears instantly in the dark, but faith, like a photo, takes time to develop. As you step out in faith today, remember that Jesus walks with you, He sees the twists and turns ahead, and He will take you safely to your next destination.

That’s good news you can count on.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for taking such wonderful care of me in every season, both lean and plentiful. When the news goes from bad to worse, help me remember the good news that You are in control, and You will equip me to handle whatever comes my way. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“In Times Like These” by the Cadet Sisters. Listen here.

Author 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.

Connect with Sarah:

Monday, July 18, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Jesus Christ seeks to save the lost in this world

The Lost Blueberry
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost?” –Matthew 18:12 (AMP)

One day last month, I picked up my 4-year-old son early from pre-school.

We had an appointment later that afternoon, but we went home first. I wanted to make sure he had a snack prior to leaving home so that he would be satisfied for the remainder of the afternoon. I sat him down at the table with a few crackers, a cup of water, and a small container of fresh blueberries. The blueberries were in season and sweet, so I was sure that he would enjoy them.

I left the room for a few minutes to get ready for the appointment. When I returned, I found my son under the table. I asked him what he was doing and then he started to cry. I thought he hurt himself under there so I got down on my hands and knees to see if I could help. He then explained that he dropped a blueberry, and he could not find it. I was baffled.

There on his placemat was the bowl of blueberries that was still nearly full. It was almost time to leave for the appointment and I was looking at the clock, thinking about the time that was wasted searching for a tiny blueberry that rolled away. I pleaded with him to stop worrying about the blueberry under the table and to simply eat the ones that were in the bowl. My son insisted upon searching everywhere for that blueberry until he found it. It did not matter to him that there was a bowl of blueberries on the table waiting for him to enjoy. He was more concerned with the blueberry that was lost somewhere under the table.

We were a little bit late to our appointment that afternoon, but I could not be upset with my son. Rather, I was grateful for the lesson he taught me in this simple act: He rescued what appeared to be an insignificant blueberry that fell and was lost. Meanwhile, that blueberry meant the world to my son, so much that he left the whole bowl of other blueberries just to find the one that was lost.

How reminiscent of our Heavenly Father who would do anything to seek and save those who are lost! It is not His will that any of us would perish, be lost, or even be in danger. Instead, God is always fighting for us, constantly pursuing us, and relentlessly loving us and longing for us. He never gives up on any of us.

Just like the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12, the shepherd with 100 sheep, willingly leaves the 99 sheep who are safe, in search of the one sheep that strayed away. God’s love for us is so deep that He gave His Son for the salvation of all. But even if it was just you, Jesus would have died just for you.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we can never thank You enough for Your love toward us. You are such a personal God who seeks to develop a deeper relationship with each of us. Thank You for Your constant pursuit of us and for Your ultimate goal to save us. We worship You for Your goodness and Your mercy. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury. Listen to it here.

Author 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. She is the co-founder of Anchor Moms, a ministry to cure loneliness in Motherhood. Currently, this ministry meets via a group on Facebook.

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.

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

Friday, July 15, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: New Life

New Life Prevails!
A backup devotional by Kathleen Rouser

Growing up in a devout, religious family and going to church every Sunday, I believed the way to Heaven was through good works. Yet I realized at an early age that I couldn’t keep all the laws, so I gave up trying.

As a rebellious teenager I rationalized my bad behavior. Surely God would understand since He made humans, that I wasn’t perfect. In college, I questioned whether Jesus Christ was really God’s Son and whether there were other paths to Heaven.

In the summer of ’81, at the age of twenty, I met my future husband. Not long before that, after years of agnosticism, he told God if He existed, to leave him alone. He decided to ignore God and live the way he wanted. Revelation 3:16 (NLT) says, “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

Jack had gotten off the proverbial fence. God could deal with him. We both had chosen to live in our own selfish way and after a short time together, we found ourselves in a mess with a baby on the way. My boyfriend offered to pay for an abortion, but I had been taught that was wrong, so it wasn’t my go-to solution. Still, I considered it for a short time.

As I struggled with my decision, I returned to college that September. I had a literature class that happened to be in a biological science building! Every time I attended class; I passed a large display of pre-born babies—preserved in jars—at different stages of development. This display case in the center of the hallway piqued my curiosity. Isn’t that like God, to place me in that building so I could see the exact stage of my baby’s growth, how he was knitting Matthew together in my womb?

I still marvel when I think of God’s goodness to me then. Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV) states, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Once I made the decision to keep our baby, Jack proposed to me, and we married in December. We soon learned what opposite personalities we had. We needed Someone bigger than ourselves to help us keep our commitment to one another. God gently drew us to Himself. We began listening to Bible teaching on the radio, which happened to include end-time prophecies.

Such teaching struck a fear of God into me. Though one time I had walked down a church aisle as a teen and thought I’d committed myself to the Lord, I had also walked away from Him and lived a sinful life since then.

Near Easter time that year, I listened to a different Bible teacher on the radio who said if a person believed that Jesus was God’s Son, that He had died to take away all their sins, that He’d been resurrected by God after death, and if they were trusting in Jesus for forgiveness then their sins were taken away and they received salvation. He then read from John 10:28 (ESV) which says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

I had a “lightbulb moment” in my mind and a burden rolled off my heart. I finally understood. I had done nothing to deserve salvation from my sin. It wasn’t my good behavior that saved me or kept me saved. Christ had completed the work and He would never let me go!

Here I was, a new life in Jesus Christ and a little over a month later, I gave birth to Matthew, whose name means “gift from God”. This beautiful chubby infant was a great blessing to both Jack and me. God used this “unplanned” child in my womb to make us consider where our lives were headed and to bring us to new life in Himself. Forty years later, Jack and I are still together, by God’s grace! We seek to serve Jesus every day.

Friend, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). There is no sin too great for Him to forgive, no path you can veer onto that Jesus, the Good Shepherd can’t bring you back from to His straight and narrow one. Will you trust that His sacrifice is enough to take away your sins once for all? Or that if you’ve gotten off the path, He longs to bring you back?

Let’s Pray: Jesus, thank You for dying in my place so that I could be forgiven, have hope and new life in You. Forgive me for the times I have doubted you and gone my own way. Thank You for leaving the 99 sheep to come and rescue the one who went astray and was lost (in this case, me, a sinner). Help me to live wholly for you from this day forward. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “You Never Let Go” by AJ Michalka ft. James Denton. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Kathleen Rouser is the award-winning author of Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and 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.

The mother of three, who is a former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.

She’s represented by Linda S. Glaz of the Hartline Literary Agency.

Connect with Kathy:
Facebook Author page:

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Don't Limit What God Can Do in Your Life

When You Limit What God Wants to Do
A devotional by Jessica B. Turner

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.
–Matthew 13:57-58 (NLT)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are begging God to move, to perform a miracle, but you just don’t see Him doing it? Have you ever stopped to question if it’s your lack of faith contributing to His silence?

It’s a hard question because I think we would all like to assume that if we are believers in Jesus Christ then we automatically have what we need to see Him move in our lives. Yet, that isn’t the case and Matthew 13:58 reminds us of that.

We can agree that Jesus Christ exists. Those who grew up knowing Jesus before He began His ministry believed in His existence. However, it was their lack of belief in what He could do that restricted Christ’s ability to perform miracles in that place.

They had a preconceived idea of who Jesus Christ was, whether they were aware of that or not, and that idea is what ultimately caused Him to walk away without doing the work that He wanted to do in their lives.

Sometimes I think we fall into this same trap. We have a picture of who God is from our childhood Bible studies with our parents or in church. Maybe the image of our Heavenly Father is one that was formed by someone who didn’t believe in God or perhaps someone who had good intentions. Whatever the case, that picture causes us to minimize who God is. We see Him as this one-dimensional being instead of the all-knowing, all-powerful, loving Father He is to us.

We may believe that God exists, and we may even believe that He is capable of doing amazing things. But maybe we don’t believe that God can or will do them for us. Here’s the sad part: Whether we realize it or not, that lack of belief on our part directly affects what God is able to do in and through our lives.

This can be a hard place to find yourself, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been there. I was doing all the things that I thought need to take place to set the stage for a miracle to unfold. I so badly wanted to trust God, only to realize that there is a part of me that still doesn’t believe that He is going to come through.

So, what is one to do when they find themselves in this space? A space where you so desperately want to believe but you just can’t seem to muster up the faith to do so?

Ready for the answer? Here it is: You ask God to help you overcome your unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

You lay down all of your fears, all of the “what ifs”, at God’s feet and you tell Him that you are struggling with trusting Him. You are struggling to believe that anything good can come out of what you are facing despite knowing that anything is possible through Him (Luke 1:37). And then you watch Him move, despite your doubts, because you handed them over to Him!

Isn’t God good? He never expects us to be perfect in our faith walk with Him. He simply wants us to come to Him, especially when we begin to question who He is and what He is capable of doing in our lives.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for being such a loving Father that I can come to You with anything, even my wavering faith. Remind me that my doubt doesn’t have to define me but instead, it can be used as a tool to strengthen my relationship with You. Help me to believe that anything is possible through You. Help me to believe that You can and will bring about good from all circumstances no matter how painful they may be. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “What Faith Can Do" by Kutless. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Jessica B. 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.

Connect with Jessica:

Monday, July 11, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: When you need time away and alone with God

Get Away with God
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. –Mark 6:31 (NLT)

With an audible sigh I plopped myself into the seat of the plane and buckled my seatbelt.

In the flurry of the past week spent preparing for a 10-day vacation, I felt like I hadn’t had a moment to breathe. Running errands, packing suitcases, making arrangements for the pet sitter, planning for projects to be covered at work, making lists and checking them twice—the last week had disappeared into a vapor of busyness. If I was honest with myself, the last few months hadn’t been much different. White space in my calendar had been diminishing as rapidly as my ability to say no. My commitments continued to climb, carrying my stress levels and anxiety along with it. There was no denying this time away was desperately needed.

Our lives are often so full that we even have difficulty finding time, or choosing to make time, to spend with Jesus. We have so many obligations and people clamoring for our attention, it can be hard to feel there is room to dedicate a portion of our day to God. But these are the times when we need that daily connection to our Savior more than ever. When we take even a few sacred moments to spend in His presence in the midst of our busy day, He will meet us there. He can pour peace into our minds and download deep truths into our hearts that can help us manage the madness of an overcommitted calendar, a harried heart, or a troubled spirit.

In the Bible, Jesus made a regular example of getting away from the hustle and bustle of His daily grind and we should too. Unplugging from our routines, from social media, from overwhelmed schedules and overworked minds and bodies, shouldn’t just be reserved for special vacations or holidays. They should be a part of our regular rhythms, “rhythms of grace” that The Holy Bible tells us should be “unforced”. Let’s read about it in Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG): “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

God invites us to rest that is real and restorative. Rest that helps us recover a life where we can exist freely and lightly, unburdened by the demands of the world. He draws us to a place where we can abide in His presence and abound in His provision for our bodies, minds and souls.

Friends, in the days when you feel you can’t find a minute to catch your breath or don't even have time to eat, ask God to give you the grace to find a few moments to slip away alone in His presence. God will speak volumes to a heart that is open to his truth—even over the hustle and bustle of your busiest days. And at the end of it you may find the promise of Acts 3:19 (TPT) fulfilled, “times of refreshing will stream from the Lord’s presence”.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for always setting the example for how we can live the abundant life that You've promised us. Help us to remember that busyness isn't always productive, particularly when it squeezes out time spent with You. Having and doing more rarely leads to accomplishment, fulfillment, or even contentment unless it’s having more of or doing more for You. When our lives begin to tumble out of control let us heed Your gentle invitation to get away with You to a quiet place to reset, restore and replenish. You created us with a natural need and desire for relationship with You. Let us never neglect the nourishment that comes from time spent in Your presence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Make Room” by Jonathan McReynolds. Listen to this song here.

Author Bio:

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

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

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

Connect with Cyndi on Instagram:

Friday, July 8, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Reasons why you need to let God drive

God’s Driving Lessons
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
—Psalm 27:14 (ESV)

The other day, our oldest granddaughter came over to spend the night and have a much-anticipated visit. One of the highlights of our time together is always to go to a fun, trendy, downtown bookstore.

We came up with a plan that included our fifteen-year-old who has a brand-new learner’s permit. She is allowed to drive with a licensed driver in the passenger seat, and I am one of those, so we decided we would make the two-mile trip with her behind the wheel.

The drive from our house to downtown started uneventfully, but when we reached the congested city center, we were faced with a massive roadblock. Construction crews with their heavy equipment were everywhere, digging up whole lanes of streets amid a myriad of vehicles of all shapes and sizes.

We were behind a semi-trailer and were poking along as we tried to reach our destination. The problem wasn’t the truck in front of us, but the line of vehicles behind us. The truck driver attempted a left turn off the narrow lane we were on. Barrels barricaded the deep holes where workers were employed to restructure the street. His path narrowed even more.

As many know, most drivers of big rigs often have a hard time navigating a very sharp turn, and this one was particularly tricky. Half of both streets were under construction. Our fellow driver made it about halfway through the turn when he stopped and started to back up in order to have a straight shot through the intersection. That’s when the line of traffic behind us grew larger. It’s also when the lady behind us (who couldn’t see the problem because of all the huge equipment) decided to lay on her horn.

My granddaughter was tense already, but when the noise behind us blasted in her ear, she asked, “What do I do?”

“Just wait right here. None of us can go anywhere right now,” I said.

About that time, one of the workers jumped out of the huge hole in the street and started moving the barricades just enough to let the big truck pull through the intersection. The traffic light turned red again, and so we waited a little longer and then we also turned left. From there we were able to slowly make our way to our destination.

Sometimes life takes a different turn for us, but there’s a lesson in our story if we’ll look closely.

That truck driver had a definite plan in mind. From high in his cab, he saw all the roadblocks, along with all the cars and the workers, but he knew he could get through the very tight squeeze. He was slow and methodical, and he carefully maneuvered his vehicle through a tough spot to reach his goal.

Our responsibility, waiting patiently behind him, was to let him do his job, and to not become worried or upset because it was taking longer than we wanted. We experienced peace in our car, unlike the one behind us who was anxious to be on her way.

It’s like that in our relationship with God. From His seat on high, He sees the road ahead of us with all the speed bumps, twists, and hardships along the way. Our Heavenly Father knows that we often need to slow down and wait for His timing, His plan, and His work to clear the path for us. God is in charge, and if we will wait patiently for Him, we’ll see our next step on the road He has chosen for us.

We can’t be pestered by those around us who may have different opinions about the route He planned. Instead, we cling to His peace as we navigate unfamiliar paths. Ultimately, we will continue to follow Him for all our days, always waiting patiently for His lead and His timetable. And we will rest in His peace, even in the middle of a seemingly impassable crossroad in our life.

Let’s Pray: Dear Holy God, we thank You and praise You for leading us through this obstacle course of life. You are always with us, guiding us and helping us to see Your plan. We ask for patience, Lord. We want to walk in joyful expectation as we see Your kingdom come and Your will be done. Thank You, Heavenly Father. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Know the Plans (Audrey’s Song)” by Damaris Carbaugh. Listen here.

Author 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.

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Nothing can separate you from God's Love

Nothing Can Separate You from God
A devotional by Patricia Russell

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

She held tight to her hand as they left the apartment building into an unfamiliar sea of faces.

The different languages soared through the honking horns and the busy crowd of people shopping, selling and swarming the streets. She held on tight because this was unfamiliar territory, and she did not want to be separated from her mother for any cause or reason. She held on for dear life.

Just as this little girl held tightly to her mother’s hand to stay connected, there is a sense of urgency today for us to hold on to the hand of Jesus Christ by holding the Word of God (The Holy Bible) close to our hearts.

It was not enough for this child to know her mother was beside her; she needed to feel her hand clasped in hers. That gave her a deeper assurance that she was close, connected and would not be far from her source of strength and comfort that provided protection.

Can you remember a time when you held on tight to an object for support, or a hand for comfort and reassurance? You held on because you knew that object or person would keep you safe. Friends, that is exactly what God wants us to not only feel but know as we read His Word and hold on to it for our security. He wants us to examine it and know that when He says He is with us, He means it. He will not leave you nor me, no matter how strong the storms of life blow in our life.

I remember being emotionally torn because of a situation in our family and I remember holding my husband’s hand. The two of us gave each other a squeeze in such a way that we both understood its language. We both understood the unspoken words, that we were going to hold on to each other. We were going to support each other. We were not going to let go even though it was painful and even though it felt dark at that moment. We reminded each other, that just as the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:38-39, nothing would separate us from the love of God, nothing was going to separate us from each other.

What word are you holding on to today? What scripture keeps you grounded despite what is happening in the world or in your present moment? Write it out, read it, and post it where you can see it. Do whatever you have to do to keep God’s Word close. The Lord thought it was important when he told Joshua to meditate on His word day and night (Joshua 1:8) so he would have good success. Joshua needed to be so convinced of God’s Word and presence, knowing that he would be challenged to question what he said he believed at some point and time.

Paul, the writer of Romans (a book in The Bible), states in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”

God is for us. God is with us. God is not like man who change, who becomes weary, who become discouraged. God will not change. God cannot change. Know for sure today that nothing can separate us from the love of God, because God cannot change.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, You are our Father, and You will not change. Your Word remains the same and we stand on that truth and encourage our hearts today with this fact. Bring this back to our memory when we are tempted to be discouraged and when we are tempted to think otherwise. Thank you, Father, for your faithfulness again and again, in Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Patricia is an encourager. She passionately uses her gifting as an author, speaker, pastor, recording artist, worship leader and coach.

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.

Connect with Patricia:

Monday, July 4, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Loving God

How Knowing Yourself is a Way of Loving Yourself, and God
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

Have you ever gone so far in one direction you started to lose the path entirely?

After a perhaps predictably self-absorbed period in my teenage and young adult years, I found myself coming boldly before the Lord. Tired of all the self-centeredness of my youth, it was wildly liberating to focus on God, to focus on other people and their needs before my own. I found a joy and a peace I’d never before experienced.

Many of the scriptures talk about dying to the self, or decreasing so that God can increase in me (Ephesians 4:22-24, John 3:30, Galatians 2:20-21, 1 Corinthians 15:31).

This is a good thing, but sometimes we can do this to the extreme—push the self so far down that we barely know ourselves anymore. In one sense you could argue this is the perfect opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move through us and guide and direct our steps so we are serving the Lord perfectly and completely. But I don’t think losing ourselves entirely is God’s intention. Yes, it is very, very good to put God and others first before ourselves. But I’ve realized over the years that when we strive to lose ourself entirely, problems can set in. We forget who we are, and we actually open ourselves up to temptations in that forgetting.

I’ve always been a person who loves self-discovery quizzes. When I was a teen I’d read those tests in magazines titled something along the lines of, “Answer These Questions and We’ll Tell You Which Dog Breed You Are.” Later at work I’d take things like the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator and, more recently, the DISC assessment. It felt good to have some things explained to myself, to understand. I probably appreciated the label, too, to be able to say definitively, “This is who I am,” as if that were the answer to all my problems. (It wasn’t.)

But over the years I started to put these things aside. My kids’ and husband’s needs became far more important than mine. Eventually I found myself being so easygoing about almost everything that if somebody asked me what I wanted for dinner, I genuinely couldn’t tell them. In all the focus on others, I forgot some of my own likes and wants and even opinions.

Learning more about the Enneagram personality types has been interesting lately because it’s allowed me to stop and focus on things about myself again, things I hadn’t thought about in a while, such as what motivates me, why do I do some of the things I do, what shaped some of the values I hold dear, and so on.

In the particular book I’m reading, The Road Back to You, a Christianity-based Enneagram book by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, the authors make an excellent point about how knowing yourself is so important in our journey as Christians because when we know ourselves well, we better understand what tempts us, what our weaknesses are. This can help us in our own sanctification process—our process of becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Knowing about ourselves can be a very good thing. It allows us to love ourselves and have deeper intimacy with ourselves, to understand some of the areas of our heart that perhaps we’ve long ignored. And when we can know and love ourselves fully, it’s also an act of love for God, because God loves us.

See, when we love what God loves, this is an act of kinship and solidarity. Denying ourself doesn’t mean disliking ourself. And I would argue that we have a tougher time denying ourself for the Lord when we don’t really know ourselves.

I have always been a bit of a loner with low self-esteem, as much as I adore people, and for many years I found it difficult to make friends. Eventually as I started to genuinely like myself and enjoy and appreciate who I am, I started enjoying my own company, and soon friendships with other people began to follow.

Similarly, I began growing extraordinarily close to God when I began to love myself and truly appreciate myself. I discovered important to love myself, care for myself, and honor myself along with God and others. Yes, I think it’s important to rank God first, others second, and self last when it comes to priorities. But we’re on that list too—we are important to the Lord.

In the words of the psalmist, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14 NIV). It’s good to remember this.

How about you? Do you find yourself focusing on yourself too much, or the reverse, hardly at all? Have you discovered a correlation between this and your relationship with God like I have? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, please help me remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You, Creator and Master of all the universe. Help me to love and appreciate myself knowing that You love and appreciate me. In my own process of sanctification, help me not forget who I am along the way because I am important to You, and what is important to You should also be important to me. I love You, Lord, and thank You for the gift of my soul. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

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

She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at

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

Friday, July 1, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Don't Give Up, LOOK UP to God! He'll help you.

Don’t Give Up
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

And David said unto Achish, “But what have I done? and what hast thou found in thy servant so long as I have been with thee unto this day, that I may not go fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” –1 Samuel 29:8 (KJV)

David, the courageous warrior who defeated Goliath and several other threats to his country, was fired several times.

When King Saul grew jealous and tried several times to kill him, David was fired. He lost his job and physical security. Now impoverished, David fled to the wilderness and ultimately became a mercenary. He fought with the Philistines against enemies other than Israel.

After a few years of marauding success, David and his mercenaries failed a security screening within the army of the Philistines. He was fired again. “But what have I done?” he said.

Every time I read this story, I am catapulted backward in my life story to the times when I too was fired, twice. If it has never happened to you, count your blessings. Losing a job—especially when it happens unexpectedly—makes you wonder about your calling, your value in the marketplace and your personal worth.

This Bible story about King David gives six points of instruction about how to make your transitions setups for future triumphs. When we outgrow our current positions, get fired or get promoted, David left an example of how to spiritually and graciously move on. 

After being fired for outgrowing his former position, David did six things:

#1: He grieved his losses.
#2: He encouraged himself in the Lord.
#3: He responded immediately and appropriately to crisis circumstances that enveloped him.
#4: He maintained his integrity and the caliber of his leadership.
#5: He recognized that God’s hand was preserving and preparing him for a higher calling.
#6: He prayerfully walked into God’s next assignment for him.

Losses of all kinds demand grief. Grief is simply the lamentation of insecurity brought about due to changes, controlled or unexpected. Insecurity can even exist when we have confidence in the providential assurance of divine anointing and appointment.

David encouraged himself in the fact that he was anointed by God. He met every disappointment and danger knowing that God had shared a vision of his destiny. The lion and the bear were preparations for his Goliath experience. Goliath was preparation for his military leadership. The care for the men who followed him into battle and their families was proof of what character he would display in his role as King.

What vision has God given you? What experiences have you survived that demonstrate how time and circumstances have been preparatory for your destiny? Encourage yourself in the Lord! Sing some songs of comfort. Rehearse a testimony of deliverance in your life. Reflect upon a moment of inspiration or divine intervention and remember how God is always with you.

The New King James Version of the Bible translates Ecclesiastes 9:10 with these words: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”

When David returned home, three days after being fired, his home had been ransacked and burned. His family and the families of his men had been kidnapped. David consulted God. He needed a reaffirmation from God of his destiny and direction.

Don’t be hasty in your next steps. Consult God. Once affirmed, go heartily, with diligence in pursuit of Divinity’s next step for you. Leaps of faith always entail risk but trusting God’s guidance has dividends that are often unseen until reviewed in retrospect.

Soon after his victorious return to Ziklag David is informed about the death of Saul and several of his sons. He realized that the hand of God had kept him from being involved in a military attack against Saul and Israel. It was then that David realized that his setback was God’s way of protecting him and preparing him to come back to Judah, not as shepherd or soldier, but as King.

David did not gloat over the death of Saul. In fact, he grieved it as a personal and national tragedy. He prayed about his next step. Where should he go? How should he engage his anointing to be king?

Here is a final instruction for us:
Seek and listen to the voice of God. Act accordingly.

Whenever God sets us up, we should enter our new roles with humble confidence. Let the “men of Israel”, those whom God will choose, declare, celebrate, and inaugurate you. Be humble but confident in the role to which God will deliver you. When He does open your new job to you, prayerfully seek to grow in wisdom, stature and favor with God and man.

Let’s Pray:
Dear God of providence and destiny, if anyone reading this is in transition after being promoted, retired or released from their meaningful employment, please help them to feel your presence. Do for them what you did for David and reaffirm your plan for their lives. Set them on a path to fulfillment. Guide them and guard them along the way. Deliver them from evil and into your purpose for their existence. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“Just the Beginning” by Kurt Carr with the Kurt Carr Singers. Listen to it here.

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,