Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Why God loves to hear you sing to Him!


Sing Your Song
A devotional by Mirachelle Canada

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” – Psalm 100:1-2 (ESV)

Sing! Sing a song to God.

The call for people to sing in public induces anxiety in most people because of the world’s standards. Some claim tone deafness, some claim fear of being shy or not wanting to stand out. I have a family member who won’t sing at all because when she was young someone told her that she didn’t have a voice worth the sound of song. Such a lie broke my heart for her. Someone had stolen her authentic praise and worship voice from her.

I love to sing, but I wasn’t always good at it. I’ve been singing since I was a child because my mother loves to sing. For me it took a lot of practice and finally pushing beyond criticism to believe in my own voice. The voice God had given me. It’s not going to resound from a Broadway stage or win America’s Got Talent. No. It does something bigger and better than that. The sound of it brings glory and honor to God.

Each of us has a unique voice that is God-given and meant to praise and exalt him. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it is commanded to be offered up to him. No, you don’t have to sing aloud in church. Yes, God knows the song of your heart, but he also doesn’t want anything to hinder your outward expression of song. Your song is a love song back to him. It is powerful and can transform the atmosphere around you.

The Psalms of David in the Bible show us the need and freedom to praise and worship God with song in every season of our lives. During the good, the bad, and even the ugliest moments. Why? Because God delights in your praise and worship. Your song opens the heavens and chases away the darkness. Songs create miracles. Songs change lives.

In Exodus 15:1-2 ESV, after God delivered Moses and the people of Israel from Egypt, they sang a song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Has God been victorious in your life? Have you experience his goodness, faithfulness, and blessings? Just for the air you breathe, there should be a resounding yes! Take that breath and make a joyful noise to your God today. Cast away any fear and go for it! Your song is worthy. Your song is beautiful. Your song is a delight to the Father, who loves you beyond measure.

God promises that your sound will not return void. He will receive your praise, and all of Heaven will rejoice with you. It’s what we were made for—to sing and shout unto the Lord. And if you can’t think of anything to sing, just open the bible to Psalm and pick one. Then let go and sing and dance like David! God is waiting to hear your song.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for my unique singing voice that You created in me to praise and worship You. Bless my song as I open my mouth and offer You my sounds of thanksgiving. Give me the courage to sing for You despite my circumstances. Help me to praise You in every season. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “
The Goodness of God” Live with Jenn Johnson (Bethel Music). Listen to it here.

~*~
Author Bio:

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


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Movie Review and Giveaway for "An Unlikely Angel" on Pure Flix

My Review of An Unlikely Angel movie:

Today, I have another movie review for you and a giveaway contest at the end of this post! In case you didn’t know, Pure Flix is like the faith-based version of Netflix. It works the same way the difference is in the content that points you back to Jesus Christ and shows you how much The Creator of the Universe loves you!

Pure Flix is a one-stop shop for faith and family-friendly movies and shows where you can confidently stream in your home with the entire family. With new premium and exclusive original entertainment choices every week, Pure Flix streaming service has the largest variety of high-quality, curated, positive, encouraging, wholesome movies, series and kids' content in one service. Pure Flix is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment, alongside AFFIRM Films.

Pure Flix VIP Ambassador program asked me to review the movie An Unlikely Angel. I watched this heartwarming movie twice in the month of August 2022 before it was made available for viewing on Pure Flix this August 26. I loved everything about this movie! I’m eager to share my review with you. First, I’d like to describe the storyline in the words of talking points from Momentum then I’ll share my thoughts (review).

This film is for parents who are trying to do it all and need to know they aren’t alone on the journey. “An Unlikely Angel” is a movie about second chances and prioritizing what’s truly important in life. The movie “An Unlikely Angel” helps bring us back to basics in an overcomplicated world. It’s okay to not control every aspect of your life.

Here’s the synopsis of the movie: Janie is a workaholic who is falling apart at the thought of becoming a first-time mom. She whispers a small prayer for help and it's answered in a very un- likely way when an angel intervenes and fast forwards her life. Will her second chance change how she approaches life? Janie is lucky enough to be given a second chance, but will she change before it's too late?

Now for my review: 

There’s nothing about this movie that I did not enjoy! Sometimes when I start watching a movie, I change the channel after the first five or ten minutes because the plot is too slow or feels corny. But that’s not the case with An Unlikely Angel. The story hooks you from the first scene and keeps it moving at a pace so fast that if you blink more than once, you’ll miss something!

The producers of this movie did an amazing job at paying close attention to all of the details. As storytellers, they covered all of their bases! They chose the right actors for each part of this story!

The actors for An Unlikely Angel include: Jillian Murray stars in this movie as Janie (the successful business woman who is struggling with becoming a mother). Robert Amaya stars as Gabe (the angel). Aaron Mees stars as David (Janie’s husband). Sam J. Jones stars as Buck (Janie’s dad). Brittany Goodwin stars as Kelly (David’s female friend) and Delyla de Castro stars as Samantha (Janie’s daughter). And they all really did “star” in this movie because as actors, they each brought their bright light to the movie. The main characters and supporting actors were so brilliantly played, I think they all deserve an Academy Award!

This movie is sweet and heartwarming. But it also tackles real-life issues that most people—especially ambitious women who are struggling with the thought of starting a family—can relate to and learn from. This movie is equally a teaching tool as it is entertainment. The viewers of this film will learn life lessons that will help them in the long run in their journey well after the movie is over.

Themes of this movie included:

· Children grow up too fast

· Fear over becoming a first-time parent

· Letting go of the need to control everything

· Balancing priorities and determining what’s more important in life

· Second chances

· Trust in God’s plan

· The impact and power of prayer

· Back to basics and simplify what we’ve overcomplicated

· Going back in order to move forward

An Unlikely Angel
is a movie that will introduce you to Pure Flix, prompt you to join and watch it again and again! And once you’re a member of Pure Flix, you’ll find more content to view that will encourage your heart. So don’t delay, join today!

Here's the website link to where you can watch An Unlikely Angel:
https://www.pureflix.com/movie/an-unlikely-angel

See the movie trailer:
https://youtu.be/I_D2MxnmuPc

Watch the Momentum Influencers Interview conducted by Jean Thomason featuring Robert Amaya, who played an angel named Gabe in the movie here:
https://youtu.be/5f3d4w0hqWo

Before you go, enter this contest for your chance to WIN a FREE 3-month Pure Flix subscription!

Please note:
This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. The giveaway starts today and ends on September 4, 2022. 
If you're participating in the giveaway for An Unlikely Angel, please note that we cannot accept winners that have won a Pure Flix subscription in the last six months.

Here is the Giveaway Contest link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f8dcb68c402/?

Disclosure: Many thanks to Pure Flix for providing a sample of the product for this review. Opinions are 100% my own.

#AnUnlikelyAngelMIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

Monday, August 29, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you shouldn't give up on your dreams


Keep Dreaming
A devotional by Shirley A. Denson

“Now Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more.” 
–Genesis 37:5 (AMP)

Joseph was a dreamer from a young age.

He was 17 years old when he had the first dream about him being in rulership over his brothers. The brothers didn’t receive it well, and hated Joseph him for his dream. He then had a second dream, that pretty much confirmed the first dream, and he told them again. Of course, they didn’t like the second version either, and hated him the more because of it. Joseph, like so many of us, get excited about our dreams and plans, and share them prematurely—or to the wrong people. His brothers were literal haters, and because of that hatred they decided to get rid of him.

As a result, Joseph had to go by way of the pit, Potiphar, prison, and Pharaoh before he reached his place of rulership at the palace. However, every pitstop/detour on Joseph’s journey played a part in positioning him for dream fulfillment. Although Joseph was 17 when he had the dream, and 30 when the dream was fulfilled, it still came to fruition. Although 13 years had transpired between the dream and fulfillment, Habakkuk 2:3 (AMP) reminds us that, “For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time. It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, because it will certainly come; it will not delay.”

I know that this verse may sound contradicting, but there’s a notable difference between tarrying/delay and processing. You, like Joseph, may have concluded that since what God shown you hasn’t come to pass yet that there’s a delay. However, what’s actually happening isn’t delay, but it’s the processing.

Processing is often times viewed as a dirty word in the church. There is nothing more despised that having to endure the process of a thing. Understandably, it’s because the timeframe is undisclosed, and we live in a microwavable generation where everything has to be quick, fast, and in a hurry. Although Joseph had the dreams at 17, the appointed time was when he was 30. Joseph’s dreams didn’t tarry, but they did process. After they finished processing, 13 years later, then was it the appointed time for them to be fulfilled. In the in-between time, Joseph had to endure some hardships on the way to fulfillment, but he never stopped dreaming, nor believing what God had showed him in his initial dreams.

Joseph didn’t let what he had been through deter his dreams. Though he had been put in a pit, prevaricated on in Potiphar’s house, placed in prison, and petitioned by Pharaoh before he was provided the palace, he kept dreaming! Don’t let what you’ve been through, or are going through, steal/silence your dreams.

When those closest to you no longer want to be around you because of your dream…keep dreaming! When you’re talked about and lied on…keep dreaming! When people/circumstances try to restrain you, or box you in…keep dreaming! What you are carrying is posturing you to fulfill the need of a Pharaoh, that will ultimately provide you the palace. You’re not too old, or too young to dream, so don’t let anything hinder you. And by all means, keep dreaming! After you dream, wake up, and then execute! God still fulfills dreams! If it hasn’t happened yet, there’s still time!

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for being omniscient. You knew my end from the beginning, and You knew the path that my life would take. Help me to remember, and pursue, the dream(s) You’ve placed on the inside of me. Give me the patience to endure the processing time it takes for the dream(s) to be fulfilled, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

~*~
Author 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.

Visit her website to stay in the loop about her new book releases, current projects, and to read her blog posts.

~*~
Connect with Shirley:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SayWhatEnterprises
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saywhatenterprises/

Friday, August 26, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: True Love


God’s Steadfast Love for You
A devotional by Kerry Teravskis

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.” 
–Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Steadfast. Resolute. Firm. Faithful. Loyal.

Do we even know what this word means anymore? I mean, really? In our consumer-driven society, we do not stick around when the tough times come. Or when we lose interest, we move on. We are a fickle people. We change relationships, jobs, homes, churches about as often as we change shoes.

Maybe I am being a bit harsh. But, the amount of change I see and hear about has me scratching my head. People tell me they stopped praying because it didn’t work. They stopped coming to church because it was at the wrong time—you know, they have young children. Or, they are so busy that they just don’t have time to read the Bible. They are busy, can’t you see?

It does sound harsh, I get it. But in comparison to the steadfast love of God, our lip service is pathetic. The reason these verses, along with an old simple chorus that accompanies it, have been playing in my head nonstop for the last four days is this stark reality–God’s love remains.

In love Jesus Christ left the throne, humbled Himself as a babe, endured ridicule, betrayal, mockery, beatings, the Cross. He became sin who knew no sin. And because of that His Father, His beloved Abba, had to turn His face away when Jesus was on the Cross. It was because of God’s steadfast love that Jesus came in obedience to His Father’s will (John 3:16).

Think of this:
Jesus knew loneliness, abandonment, suffering, pain, hunger, anguish, mockery – all these were done by the hands of man but also within the Sovereign will of the Father.

Now consider this: Jesus knew love, laughter, kindness, companionship, mercy, grace, obedience, goodness, worship, prayer, a shared meal, an inside joke, the feel of a child’s hand in His, the touch of the sick. He saw faith in action, humility displayed, sacrifice given.

Oh how great is the Father’s love for us! Overwhelmed would be the best word to describe my heart. I’m overwhelmed at the price Christ paid, the ransom for humankind that was paid in full by Him, the crucifixion suffered for me and you when Jesus was fully innocent! The Lamb of God who was without sin. Jesus took my place, our place, on that cross. We deserve God’s wrath and punishment and not a place at God’s table. Instead because of Jesus, we receive mercy, grace, steadfast love, a room in His mansion (John 14:2) and a place to sit on His lap.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ever ceases!

Let’s Pray: O Lord, I am indeed overwhelmed with Your love. It is faithful, complete, good, resolute in its capacity for me. You are amazing and I stand in awe of You. I now bow in worship of You. I now am at Your feet in humility of You, my Lord. Lead me. Guide me. Bless me. Protect me. Help me follow Your Son all the way to Heaven! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Jesus Paid It All” (song) by Kim Walker-Smith. Listen to it here.

~*~
Author Bio:

As a wife and Marmee to three adult children and one brand new daughter-in-love, my life is very full. 


My husband and I met in college and served in the mission field for a few years before settling down back in the States to raise our family.

We were a homeschooling family for 20 years and enjoyed it immensely. For the last 22 years we have lived on a small farm in Northern California where we have raised many farm animals, along with growing and preserving our own food as well. Our farm has been a great source of enjoyment and a place to host many family gatherings, and we have an open door for dear friends, old and new.

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

I’ve been a blogger for seven years, a Bible study writer for a year and have spent this last year writing devotionals about finding God’s Sovereignty in our pain and suffering.

~*~
Connect with Kerry:
Blog: https://www.sovereignblog.com/home
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerry.teravskis/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sovereignblog/
https://www.instagram.com/ksteravskis/

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: God wants to gently guide you through life


The Gentle Guidance of God
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

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

Finding the will of God can be a daunting task for most Christians.

In fact, finding the will of God can seem like an impossible task. Most of us have been led to believe that the will of God is illusive. We believe we have to read the entire Bible from beginning to end at least six times before we are ‘spiritual’ enough to know God’s will. We think that we have to be ‘super’ Christians to understand something like God’s will.

Or worse, some people experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when it comes to the will of God. I am a Christian who is guilty of ‘fear of missing out’ on the will of God. What if God was speaking to me and I was not listening? What if I was supposed to hear a special sermon or inspirational message that would tell me exactly what I was supposed to do with my life and I missed it? What if I have completely missed God’s will and ruined my entire life?

STOP! That spiral of FOMO will never lead you closer to the heart of God, and therefore, has no place in your life. The first word from the acronym FOMO is ‘fear’. The Bible has a lot to say about fear, but simply put, ‘faith is greater than fear’. Faith is being able to step out in spite of your fear because you know that God will take care of you, no matter what.

One truth I always come back to concerning the will of God is this quote by C.S. Lewis: “For you will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”

God’s ultimate plan will come to pass. The book of Revelation is filled with God’s ultimate will and purpose. There is nothing you can do to stop God’s ultimate will. You can run from God. You can reject His plans for you. But in the end, God uses all things for His glory. It is not a question of ‘if’ you find God’s will for your life, but rather ‘how’ you fulfill that plan.

Many of us are searching for an emotional, dramatic, ‘Damascus Road’ (Acts 9:3-8) kind of calling. We are looking for God to directly give us permission to fulfill His will. But what if the will of God does not come in one dramatic experience? What if the will of God came in gentle whispers from the Holy Spirit? What if God is guiding us through His will right now, but we are too busy looking for extraordinary signs to notice?

What if we were never meant to ‘find’ God’s will for our lives, but rather, we are simply meant to live our lives one day at a time, trusting that God will guide us wherever He desires? That is what it means to live by faith. Faith does not rely on clearly written out plans. Faith is taking one step at a time, not knowing the destination but trusting the gentle hand of God to lead you.

Even when we think we have ‘figured out’ the will of God, life throws us a curveball and we realize we had it wrong all along. It may seem to us that there is no defined purpose in our lives, but we have to remember that we are only seeing things from our limited human perspective. God sees and knows all things.

Take that risky step into the darkness. Without risk, faith is not faith at all. We must be willing to submit and be gently guided by God toward our ultimate purpose. God loves you. He has thoughts of peace toward you. He is fighting for you. Take a risk and put all your plans into His hands.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for Your gentle guidance. Please strengthen our faith that we may fulfill Your will for our daily lives. Help us to submit to the Holy Spirit and lay our plans and agendas before you. Lead us to fulfill Your ultimate purpose for our lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Know the Plans (Audrey’s Song)” by Damaris Carbaugh. 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:
Blog: https://beautifulbeloved937002841.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/101227159

Monday, August 22, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: God is our Eternal Rock and True Foundation


Rocks, Stones, Pebbles and the God who never changes!

A devotional by Glynis Becker

“No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” –1 Samuel 2:2 (NLT)

Have you ever dug in the dirt to create a garden or to build a structure?

Where I live the soil is full of rocks. Whenever you want to dig in the ground, you are guaranteed to find rocks of all sizes—from gravel-sized pebbles to enormous boulders.

The fascinating thing to me is that often I dig out the soil, remove the rocks to plant the flowers or bushes, then place other rocks back around whatever it was I had planted either for decoration, for drainage, or to distinguish the garden from the lawn. The rocks that are a nuisance in one spot might be necessary somewhere else. The only difference is the purpose of the rock.

God created the world and it is full of stones and rocks. They are visual and plentiful and maybe that’s why they show up so often in scripture. Many times, especially in the Psalms, God is referred to as a rock of safety or refuge (Psalm 46:1). He is the rock of our salvation (Psalm 95:1). It’s easy to imagine that when an army is being pursued, a group of large stones make a useful place of safety, a place to regroup and rest. And if the stones are on a mountain or a high place, they are a vantage point to watch for danger.

Stones were used to build memorials and altars, places of remembrance and worship. The Lord had Joshua and the people pick up stones from the middle of the Jordan River where they had crossed into the Promised Land, then they used those stones to build a memorial (Joshua 4:9). The stones would serve as a reminder of the safety He provided as they took possession of the land.

The Lord gave Moses the Ten Commandments, carved into stone by God’s own hand (Exodus 31:18). Because of a rock’s hardness and nature, once a rock has been altered, it will never be the same as it was before. One of those commandments was not to create idols of stone or wood or metal to worship. The Israelites—and believers today—are to worship only the Creator, never the creation or anything we’ve made.

Rocks are foundations, steady and unchanging, the perfect place to build a house. Jesus reminded all of us that when we build our houses on unstable ground, there is a chance they will not stand the storm (Matthew 7:26-27). He wants us to build our dwelling places—our lives—on Him and the truth only He can give.

The most well-known of all the stones in the Bible might be the one that was rolled away from Jesus’s tomb (Luke 24:2). The stone was large, heavy, and a perfect symbol of all the obstacles that were between us and God before His death and resurrection. Through that act, Jesus became the cornerstone and foundation of the spiritual temple God is building on the earth—the Church, which includes each of us as living stones. 
We are to share in the building of His kingdom here, until He returns. And then, when the new heavens and new earth are created, the Holy City will shine in brilliance with gold and gemstones (Revelation 21:11). Just imagine how beautiful those rocks will be!

So next time you kick a rock out of your path, pick a pebble out of your shoe or drive down a gravel road, remember God’s faithfulness and salvation. God loves you and He doesn’t want you to forget it!

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, be my Rock today. Remind me that You are a sure foundation in a world that shifts and changes. Give me opportunities to share Your love and truth with those around me, to help them know the safety and peace that only You can give. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Upon This Rock” by Allison Durham Speer. 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, August 19, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: When you want to represent God well


Wearing God’s Name
A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
–Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Sometimes I think of how funny it is that we turn scripture into clich├ęs. Do we really mean the things that we say or are we just stating it because it is relevant and it sounds biblical and holy?

When talking about purity, it is easy to say that we should follow specific guidelines and rules of thumb when it comes to checking to see if our dress is appropriate. But are the guidelines and rules a true and accurate reflection of what our hearts believe? We are continuously told and advised to have a pure heart and mind, and that our clothes should represent what hearts feel. But how do we check our hearts to ensure that what we say is really a reflection of what we say believe?

Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts…”. A person should not be convinced to dress a certain way (or not to dress a certain way) and they do it (or do not do it) merely because they received it from someone other than the Lord. If this happens, then it simply becomes a set of rules that are being followed. These are rules that “man” has put into place.

Consider this quote by Rick Holland: “Your clothes are a loud, maybe the loudest, announcement of your of theology. When you wear something, you’re telling people what you believe about God, what you believe about purity, what you believe about holiness, what you believe about men, what you believe about pride, what you believe about clothing and what you what you believe about nakedness. You’re also telling the world what you think about your husband. If you’re not married, you’re basically saying, “I’m advertising for a husband externally.” If you are married, you are saying, “I don’t love my husband or care about the sanctity and purity of our marriage.”

One of my favorite motivational lines is: “What we do in moderation, others will do in excess.” It is a subtle reminder of how we must set the example of what modesty looks like. We must remember that to some, we are the only Bible they will ever see. Therefore, we must make sure that we are being a presentable and accurate ambassador for Jesus Christ at all times. Just as how we are responsible for others through our teaching of the Gospel to them, we are also could be responsible for them when they misunderstand the gospel because of our inconsistencies.

Think of how many times you have done what you knew was wrong or simply was not what you were supposed to do. How many times did you do it only because you saw someone else do it first? You may have thought, “Well, if they can do it and not get caught, surely I can get away with it too.” Or “She did it, so it must be okay.”

Let’s use a mirror for this next part of my message. Think of the questions and answers between yourself (it’s just you and the mirror that shows you who you are). The mirror represents what the world says it is okay to do, and you looking into the mirror, represent the Holy Spirit. 

Here’s an example of a conversation between you and the mirror…

The Mirror:
I can still bring glory to God regardless of what I wear.

You: You may be able to, but your words and your actions don’t match up, which cause more of a problem to others than it does to you.

The Mirror:
If my body is the temple, I want it to be it a fashionable temple. I don’t want people to think that because a person is a Christian that they have to look homely.

You: It doesn’t. As a matter of fact God wants us to look our best. He wants us to look our best through Him so we can continue to bring Him glory. Since God is holy and the clothes you want to wear represent what is not holy, we really want to make sure that we use our bodies and our clothes to be a reflection of the holiness of God.

The Mirror:
Of all of the things that God has to deal with, he is not thinking about the clothes that I am wearing.

You: In the same way an earthly father will “tense up” when he sees his teenage daughter wearing something inappropriate, our Heavenly Father does not like to see His daughters degrade themselves with clothing that does not bring the type of honorable attention. Remember, God loves me and my appearance regardless of what it is. The world will only accept me conditionally. 

Conclusion

It is important to remember that the Gospel teaches us to “come as you are” to accept Jesus Christ into your life. But that doesn’t mean that after we get to know God for ourselves, we should continue to dress inappropriately or as we please in a way that will lead people astray.

Try your best to represent your Heavenly Father well, not just in the clothes you wear but how you treat people, the choices you make and the people who you interact with on a daily basis. We’re not perfect but we have a God who is perfect. Let’s let Him lead us to check our hearts and be a reflection of Him to the world.

Let’s Pray: Lord, thank You for Your guidance and love. You give us the Holy Spirit to help us stay closer to You. We pray we are receiving everything You have given us as we continue on this journey to holiness through and with You. Thank You for your unwavering love. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection #1: “Your Love Divine” by Richard Smallwood & Vision. Listen to it here.

Song of Reflection #2: “Wear Your Name” by Gylchris Sprauve. Listen to it here.

~*~
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, August 17, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning how to embrace life's obstacles


Embracing Life's Unexpected Obstacles
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 
–Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) 

Life's obstacles are notorious for bad timing. 

For months God had blessed me with good health until I got out of bed one morning, and my spine was so out of alignment it resembled the straw with all the loops I loved as a kid.

Excruciating pain made it impossible to stand for more than a few minutes, and the timing couldn't have been worse. The next day I planned to take part in an obstacle course to raise money for charity, and the last thing I needed was back pain slowing me down. 

As I sat on the sidelines watching my friends race without me, I realized my injury was the pause I needed from the frantic pace my life had taken. I was moving so fast that even my trainer told me to slow down. As I lay in bed praying one night, God said in a still, small voice, “If you don't slow down, Sarah, I will do it for you.”

When we least expect it, an unwelcome obstacle such as illness or job loss disturbs the places in our lives we would never admit should be off limits. But what if an obstacle is precisely the course correction we desperately need? 

I wish I could tell you that God will hand you a two-week notice before the next setback takes your breath away. But life is more an obstacle course than a fairy tale, and the way we navigate it reveals where our security lies. Before my back went out, I felt entitled to as few limitations as possible. Once my defenses were down, God finally had my attention.

Sometimes, when we have the world at our fingertips, our pride fools us into thinking we're unstoppable and can manage just fine on our own. But God hates pride (James 4:6), and He will do whatever it takes to remind us He's in control and we need Him desperately.

Whatever obstacle you're facing today, I encourage you to embrace it by asking yourself the following questions:

1. What is this situation revealing to me about myself? 

2. What weaknesses or strengths is this uncovering?

3. What can I learn about God, and how can I grow in my faith?

4. Is there a purpose in this that God is revealing to me?

5. What is the silver lining I may have missed?

Friend, God loves you too much to let you settle for a comfortable life. Obstacles build the character necessary to help you reach your full potential (James 1:2-4) and teach you valuable lessons you would never learn otherwise.

So, the next time you find an obstacle in your path, remember it's not there by accident (Lamentations 3:37-38), and God will use it for your benefit and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Let's Pray:

Father God, You love us too much always to let us have our way. Your goodness and faithfulness are reasons to praise You forever. When we feel entitled to a comfortable life, help us remember that Jesus Christ’s obedience led to The Cross. May we also remember that His suffering and death bought our eternal salvation. Thank You, God! In Jesus's Name, I pray. Amen. 

Song of Reflection: “Great is Your Mercy” by Donnie McClurkin. Listen to it 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:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smittyc65
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@SarahCo45835279
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.cole.52

Monday, August 15, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Plan


God Has A Plan

A devotional by Angela Anderson

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” 
–Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

It was “Back to School” season.

My husband and I ventured out to the store to buy some new clothes for our growing boys. We decided to go in the middle of the afternoon so that we did not have to deal with the crowds and the long lines at the register. Because we live in Florida, “Back to School” season is also the middle of hurricane season. This means heavy rain almost every afternoon.

Fortunately, sometimes the rain does not last too long. It just downpours and then moves along to another area. On this particular afternoon, the sun was shining, and the beautiful blue skies were filled with big, puffy, white clouds. But I brought my umbrella inside the store just in case.

As we were completing our purchase at the register, my husband tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the window. I looked in dismay at the torrential rain showers that were pouring down with a fury. It had come without warning. We still had to go to the store next door, so the plan was to stay under the awning and make our way down the sidewalk.

The exit doors opened and all you could hear was the sound of the rain beating on the pavement. We stuck to the plan and made a left toward the other store, while staying close to the building and underneath the awning. On the way there, we noticed that the awning suddenly stopped. There was about 20 feet of uncovered sidewalk with puddles of rainwater everywhere.

I had my umbrella, but the wind started blowing, so I knew from experience that an open umbrella would be to no avail at this point. My husband looked at me and held my hand to prepare to run to the next store. I was not ready. I didn’t want to be soaked and risk slipping and falling in the puddles. I convinced him that we should just stay in our safe spot, under the awning, until the rain slowed down or stopped.

We were waiting for only a minute or two when the wind abruptly changed direction. Our safe spot was no longer safe. The rain we were trying to avoid was now blowing straight at us. I felt every pellet of rain against my arms, legs and face. We had no other recourse but to run to the other store, now even more soaked than if we had just run there from the beginning without stopping!

In this journey called life, there will be adversity ahead of us. In some cases, God wants us to head directly into the adversity because the experience will be to our benefit. He also knows that it will be detrimental to our well-being if we stay where we currently are instead of moving forward with His guidance. But too often we procrastinate, and we remain stagnant because of fear, doubt, or lack of trust. We would rather stay where it seems comfortable and safe, not realizing that we are delaying the journey to our destination. Sometimes we must be forced out of our safe place in order to move forward.

Through it all, God promises to be with us. He wants us to move because He has a plan, He knows the end from the beginning, and He knows what’s best for us. Our delay from lack of trust in God can be detrimental. We are more susceptible to issues and misfortune because of our decision to do things our own way instead of His way. When we truly trust in God, we will move forward without any hesitation, allowing us to experience the joy of being in His will.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank You for caring so much about us so much that You will do whatever it takes to guide us through life. Help us to believe that Your plan is what is best for us. May we trust in You even though the path ahead seems uncertain. Help us to hold on to You as You lead the way. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Know the Plans (Audrey’s Song)” by Damaris Carbaugh. 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: https://m.facebook.com/angela.thomasanderson
Facebook fan page for her devotional book, Just When I Thought I Knew God:
https://www.facebook.com/jwitikg/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelanderson1104/

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Mini-devotional by The Afters about WHO defines you!

"Your past is not what defines you. Your struggles are not what define you. Your mistakes, they don't define you. The shame that you sometimes feel? That's not what defines you! You are a child of God! You are LOVED by GOD. You are wanted by God. You belong to Him."

Watch the full 1-minute devotional by The Afters, here:

The Afters - 1 Minute Devotional from WGTS 91.9 Media on Vimeo.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Why it is important to share our heart with God


Sharing Every Moment with God
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”—Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

Becoming a grandparent has been one of the most delightful experiences of my life. To share in the wonder and awe of little eyes as they investigate the world around them, or to talk about the latest interesting facts, or to share in the hurts in prayer, all bring great joy.

But as much as I love my grandkids, I’m not very good at showing it. At supper one night, our youngest showed me something on a little necklace she was wearing. I missed her shining eyes and excited smile in my hurry to greet all the rest of the family.

Finally, I took a seat, and my daughter-in-law gently prodded her little girl to try to show Grama what she wore. With my reading glasses on, I could see the small pink square. It was a tiny book, and our littlest one had received it to commemorate the first chapter book she’d read all by herself. What a moment!

As we talked, I was overwhelmed with guilt. Our precious little girl had eagerly waited all that day to share her good news with her grama, and I didn’t even take the time to embrace her milestone. All I could think was bad grama as I apologized to her, but with a sweet smile, she assured me that it was okay, and then she proceeded to tell me the plot of her first big read.

God never does that to us. He knows all our joys and our sorrows. His desire is for us to bring all the moments, both good and bad, to share with Him. He instructs us to seek Him wholeheartedly (Jeremiah 29:13) and He doesn’t say to only bring our needs to Him. We can bring our happy moments to share, too.

If we take Him at His word, we approach Him with shining eyes as we tell Him about the wonders of jellyfish. God made every one of them, of course, but what a privilege it is to share the joy of discovery with Him!

We can stand at the rim of a vast crater and look across the crystal blue water to see the bowl of the lake with a mirror image of the landscape around it. We stand in awe at the work of His hands, and we worship Him.

On other days, we stand at the kitchen sink while washing dishes and pray for the neighbor across the street who is sick and hurting. He encourages us to give Him all our cares (1 Peter 5:7) and then gently reminds us that He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). He hears every prayer, and He strengthens and stills our hearts.

Our news today is filled with videos of fires, floods, and tornadoes, along with images of catastrophic accidents in a world gone mad. All of them prompt us to find comfort in the Lord’s peace in the storm. He collects every tear in His bottle (Psalm 56:8) and He is with us as we mourn.

And there are the myriads of blessings, too: engagements, marriages, graduations, and all the wonderful firsts of life, including a first chapter book! God gives us each of these mountaintop experiences so we can catch a glimpse of His glory. Our hearts swell with the exquisite beauty of these special treasure moments.

So, we keep seeking God with humble hearts, no matter what our circumstances may be. Our heavenly Father is an ever-present fountain of hope, shelter, and deep, abiding joy. Whatever is on my mind is also on His mind because He knows all my thoughts (Psalm 139:2). And as we pray to the One who created us, He helps us to see how He magnifies our delights, while at the same time He shares our burdens. He is Immanuel, God with us! (Matthew 1:23)

Let’s Pray:
Dear Holy God, we thank You for knowing us inside and out. Thank You for hearing every one of our desperate cries for help, and for our exuberant praises of joy, too. Please help us to stay close to You. Help us to make room for You in every prayer of our hearts, and to trust You as we try to humbly obey Your Word, The Holy Bible. We ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “The Maker” by Chris August. Listen to it 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: klmarstaller@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Reasons why you don't need to live in fear


God is Good All the Time

A devotional by Jessica B. Turner

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” –James 1:17 (NIV)

Have you ever been given a gift to then live in fear that it’s going to be taken away?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been that person that struggles to enjoy the good things in life because I’m too focused on when things are going to go wrong. So much so that this is a recurring topic discussed with my Christian counselor.

My counselor would always advise that I focus on the present, constantly practicing gratitude. She would also recommend that I hold on to Who God is.

While expressing gratitude came easy because it was something I had come to practice over the years, I never truly felt like I had a good grasp on the character traits of God. 

Yes, I could easily list a handful of these divine traits. But when it came to being able to trace them back to scripture, I struggled...until I read James 1:17 (NIV) with fresh eyes: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

This scripture so beautifully illustrates the characteristics of the Father: Loving. Faithful. Powerful. Sovereign. Immutable.

Prior to this verse, the author is explaining that God does not and cannot be tempted, nor tempt us. Temptation sprouts from our own evil desires. After this point is made clear, the author brings our attention to who God is: a gift giver.

We also see this in Matthew 7:11 (NLT): “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

While reading this scripture the other day, the first thing it evoked was gratitude. Gratitude for the many blessings that are poured out upon me on a daily basis. Since the recent birth of our son, Daniel, he naturally stands out as the most recent “gift” from above.

However, it’s the second part of this scripture that I need to hang onto. With the current unknowns in Daniel’s health, I find myself doubting if God is a good gift giver. What if we are merely waiting for Him to take His gift back? 

It’s a legitimate fear but this scripture reminds us that God does not change. It is not in His nature to give a gift to His child to then turn around and take it back. He loves us and doesn’t want to harm us. We must choose to hold onto that truth in the face of uncertainty.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to the many gifts You give to me each and every day. Help me to not take them for granted. Show me the power of gratitude especially when I recognize that You are the source of all my blessings. Reveal to me Your faithfulness. Help me to hold onto it when my faith is shaken. Establish in me a firm foundation of who You are so I can find peace amid any and all circumstances. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen. 

Song of Reflection: “I’ll Trust You” by Donnie McClurkin. 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:
Website: www.jessicabturner.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicabturner/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessicabturner/

Monday, August 8, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: God loves you and He wants your whole heart


Give Him Your Heart
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.” 
–Proverbs 23:26 (NLT)

As I perused social media my eyes landed on a friend’s post of a dead snake in her living room.

Posts of snakes always seem to stop me in my tracks, mainly because they are one of those things that I just don't “do”. Her caption detailed a familiar story for those who have felines that roam the outdoors. Cats tend to bring dead animals as offerings to their owners, gifts to show their owners how much these faithful furry friends love them.

My own cats are indoor cats. In Florida the outdoors presents a host of predators including coyotes, alligators and owls. So, I prefer to keep my babies in the safe confines of my house or the screened in porch. However, that does not deter them from their desire to present me with gifts. I will often wake up in the morning to a host of toys next to my bed that they have dropped there during the night. I'm always sure to praise them and thank them for their special surprises. But what I wish they would know is that I love them unconditionally. My adoration for them is not dependent on whether they bring me gifts or whether they are behaving well or being naughty. I love them simply because they are mine and all I want is their love and affection in return.

I've noticed we can be a bit like these kitties when it comes to our relationship with God. Some of us try to earn God's love through a myriad of methods, offerings of sorts, hoping if He is pleased by what we bring we will be worthy of His love. Some of us try to follow the rules bringing an “offering” of obedience. We serve at church as a gift given to the “least of these”. We witness to others, take mission trips, attend church, read the Bible, spend time in prayer, commit to daily “quiet time” and more. While these are admirable disciplines and activities to participate in, engaging in them is not a prerequisite for acceptance and love from God.

More than anything, God wants our whole hearts. However, our flesh tendency is to bring Him offerings of “works”. We know His character, but we expect Him to act outside of it on a daily basis. We repeat verses that assure us we don't have to work or earn his love, yet our actions demonstrate we might not fully believe them. We know that all God is after is our hearts, but we seek to give him more because we fear, deep down inside, that our hearts won't be enough.

But rest assured friends, our heart is enough! It’s all God requires of His children.

Those other “offerings” we bring Him should only be performed as an expression of thanks and adoration to the One Who gave it all hoping, in return, “all to Him we would freely give”. God promises us that when we hand over our heart to Him, He will exchange it for something far better. He promises us in Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT): “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”

As is often the case with Jesus Christ, we get the better end of this deal by far! Jesus gave it all just for a chance, a possibility, that we would surrender our heart to Him. Let’s stop bringing sorry substitutes and simply place our hearts on the altar before Him, believing it will rise as a fragrant offering that He enthusiastically accepts. Let’s leave behind the idea that God’s love has to be earned and believe love is lavished on us simply because God loves us…God is love.

Let’s offer God our whole heart and watch Him transform our heart into a heart that resembles His.

Let’s Pray:
Loving Father, thank You for reminding us we don’t have to bring You gifts and offerings to receive Your love, grace and acceptance. We place our whole heart in Your loving hands, fully expecting to receive a new heart that is tender and responsive to You and the stirrings of the Spirit within. Forgive us for times we attempt to earn Your love in any way. We long to hear You tell us one day that we have lived our lives like King David of the Bible—as someone after Your own Heart. May we take delight in following You, lingering in Your lavish love, living free from the feeling we need to bring You anything but our heart to be accepted in Your presence. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I'll Give Him My Heart” (with What Can I Give Him?) (feat. Matthew Wooten) and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Listen to it here.

~*~
Author Bio:

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


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

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

~*~
Connect with Cyndi on Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/souledoutcyndi/

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Watch "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters" movie on PureFlix


My Review of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (movie)
Review written by Alexis A. Goring

Pure Flix VIP Ambassador program asked me to review the movie Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. I watched this heartwarming movie on August 5. First, I’d like to describe the storyline in the words of talking points from Momentum then I’ll share my thoughts (review).

According to Momentum, this movie is based on the New York Times Bestselling book written by Dr. Meg Meeker. Here’s the summary for this movie: When a wealthy businessman learns his daughter is engaged to a missionary, he embarks on a quest to keep her closer to home. But when his efforts go awry, he must learn to give up control and trust God with her future. Steve loves all three of his daughters – but does he really know who they are? Discover the heartfelt journey of a dad who is desperately trying to hold onto his little girls but learns he must give up control and trust God with their future.

Now for my review:

This movie was inspired by Dr. Meg Meeker’s best-selling book, “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.” The movie features real-life married couples Bart Johnson & Robin Lively and Maria Canals-Barrera & David Barrera. I thought that was a nice touch that made the movie all the more personal and engaging! In the movie, Steve has three daughters: Abby (adult), Zoe (teen) and Bridget (young tween). But this movie is centered more on Abby who wants to marry a missionary. She announces her engagement to Oz (the missionary) as a surprise when she visits home and says they plan to move to Kenya after they marry. This clashes with Steve’s plans for Abby to join the family business in Corporate America and have her own office as Junior Executive. From that point forward, the audience is taken on a wild ride of family conflict, drama, faith in action, life lessons and plot twists you won’t soon forget.

Themes of this movie included:
  • Seeing your children through different phases of life and viewing them through the eyes of others
  • The difficulty of letting go as your children grow and allowing them to live their own lives (trusting them to fly the coop)
  • Competition between dad and future son-in-law
  • Who is in control? Us or God? 
  • Parenting is about being present and available and encouraging them to pursue their own dreams
  • Forgiveness
  • Acknowledging mistakes were made in order to change and grow
  • Seeing past your own expectations and allowing people to discover their own gifts and own path in life

I loved everything about this movie except the way they portrayed Kenya and talked about Africa. As a person of color who is part of the African Diaspora, I find it offensive when people in real-life or in fiction/media/movies, talk about Africa with words that paint a picture of it as a dangerous, dark and wild place filled with lions and poor people who live in mud huts.

Sadly, these were the kind of references made several times by the characters in this movie (mainly Steve who played the father of the bride). At one point, Steve said his daughter (Abby) would be “Living in a mud hut” if she moves to Kenya. And at another point, he told his colleagues that “She’ll be playing with lions and hyenas.” 

These type of comments are not taken personal by mainstream America and obviously by the people who made this movie. But for people who have roots in the continent of Africa, such portrayal of their ancestors’ homeland is not only hurtful but untrue. This is 2022, most countries in Africa are civilized and have rich cities, nice restaurants, five-star hotels, expensive houses and luxurious resorts. Sure, there may be parts of Africa and other countries outside of Africa that are still tribal. But with the way Africa was talked about in this movie, you’d think the entire continent was stuck in primitive days. 

For me, the way that Africa was talked about took away from the beauty of this movie. However, I think that overall it was a wonderful movie and the acting was superb. It’s just hard to get over the negative light they shone on Kenya (Africa) and sadly it also hurts because these are views that people have about Africa in real-life not just in fiction or movies. It’s hurtful and hard move past as a person who has roots in Africa.

Here's the website link to where you can watch Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters:
https://www.pureflix.com/movie/strong-fathers-strong-daughters

See the movie trailer:
https://youtu.be/M7piWfjoypc

Watch the Momentum Influencers Interview conducted by Jean Thomason featuring Dr. Meg Meeker, author of the book that inspired this movie here:
https://youtu.be/GNZvXTrk95M

Before you go, enter this contest for your chance to WIN one 3-month PureFlix subscription!

Please note: This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. The giveaway starts today and ends on August 14, 2022.

Here is the Giveaway Contest link:

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Friday, August 5, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we should ask God for what we want


What Do You Want?
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” 
–Psalm 27:4 (ESV)

One of the salient questions of life is, “What do you want?”

The fulfillment of that question elicits dialogue and occasionally, negotiations. The question implies explicit trust in the relationship between the one asking and the one being asked.

For birthdays, Christmas and rites of passage, the question is always asked, “What do you want?” The answer considers expectations and future realities. The answer is also an assessment of the ability and willingness of the benefactor.

When my children were young the answer was usually a doll, roller skates, video games and/or a bicycle. When they began to drive, they envisioned and tested my ability to provide them with cars that would enhance and not detract from their self-image. When they got married, they had very concrete expectations about their wedding and reception.

When her parents balked at getting her a dog, one of my granddaughters asked my wife and I to provide her with a dog that she could visit, at our house. We asked, “What kind of dog do you want?” She is still thinking about it. Maybe she has forgotten.

Psalm 27 is a song of David that expresses confidence in the power, presence and compassionate interference of Divinity on behalf of the shepherd who became king. The audacity of the psalmist, in this verse, is based upon former assurances of God’s covering when he had slain a lion, a bear and a giant. In this verse, he pronounces his sole desire to dwell in the house of the Lord. This phrase is a familiar refrain from Psalm 23.

The house of the Lord, here mentioned, is not a place in space as much as it is an attitude of worship. It is a state of being, a construction of the soul rather than an external monument. Psalm 22:3 declares that God inhabits, occupies, abides in and relishes the worshipful praises of His people, who are Israel. This declaration includes the genetic descendants of Israel as well as those who are engrafted by Christian faith.

So, the answer to the salient question, “What do you want?” is to be gifted with a perpetual attitude of gratitude. An attitude of gratitude will always elevate the person praising God from danger to deliverance, from insufficiency to more than enough. An attitude of gratitude always delivers us from evil and out of temptation, to the table of grace and beneficence.

The psalmist, knowing this spiritual hack, shares the key code to the attitude of gratitude, the house of the Lord. It is in the next phrase in Psalm 27:4: “…to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

Romans 1:20 suggests that the character of God is made evident and visible in the things that He created. Nature is a photograph of the presence of God and it inspires praise and worship, which constructs His temple.

So, the sole desire of the psalmist was to worship God by focusing on nature, divine interventions and epiphanies of God’s presence. Out of that awareness and devotion to destiny flowed all of the blessings that David experienced. Long life, opulence, security and legacy encompass all of the things that we average humans might want.

As you think about your answer to that salient question, “What do you want?”, consider basing your ask on appreciative reflections upon what God has already done for you. Then, cast your sanctified vision upon the Lord, believing that He who made the rose, the eagle, the lion and the wonders of the world, believes in you and can engineer your dreams. See it! Believe it! Sing it! Do your part to live faithfully in pursuit of it.

A friend and mentor once told me, “The hand of God never points where His hand has not already made a way.” Celebrate the hand of God as it becomes apparent in giving you the desires of your heart.

Let’s Pray: Greetings, dear God. Please bless the reader of this page today. Hear and receive their praise reports. Direct their attention to something beautiful or awesome in nature. Then, dear God, usher them into your wondrous presence as You fulfill your plan for their lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Psalm 27” by Donnie McClurkin. 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, psanderson75@gmail.com.