Monday, February 27, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you should hold fast to your faith in God

Hold Fast to Your Faith in God
A devotional by Kerry Sue Teravskis 

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).” – Hebrews 10:23 (KJV)

Holding onto ropes while water skiing is crucial. So is it while repelling. Having slipped and slid while repelling, I was very thankful for that rope. Having drunk half a lake while attempting to conquer water skiing to any level of aptitude is another story. I’ve tried and tried, but lake water is not my favorite beverage.

Holding onto the rails of a roller coaster seat is mighty fine. I like speed—but ups and downs are another matter. How about, holding onto a shoulder when stepping down a curb? Since my feet injury so many moons ago, I welcome that assurance of strength and someone to catch me if I were to fall.

Holding onto faith. How does one do this? In this doubting world, I’ll admit it is a challenge of huge proportions. While the rest of the world stumbles, holding onto a firm foundation is out of the ordinary. While others are dropping like flies all around, the one still standing is, well, standing.

What gives? How can one be confident in faith?

According to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus Christ is the Author of our faith. He is the Creator and Writer of faith. He made it and gives it to us as an ongoing act of love. Because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus gives us the tools to please His Father (God) who, thanks to Jesus, is our Father too!

Faith is believing when one cannot see—even when one can see and is scared half to death. Faith is trusting because the situation or circumstance is out of our control. We are powerless. We are limited. We are stuck. Faith is believing God will be by our side. He will lead us when we do not see the road up ahead. Faith is holding on when all else is saying let go.

The world tells us to make our own decisions, be strong, follow your heart and do it your way. It sounds so good on those billboards and in those commercials. And even sung in elevator songs. But, does it pay off in the end? Is there peace now? Do we have the assurance of life with God by just doing it?

Holding onto Jesus is a choice we make. Holding on without letting go is a decision we make daily and it is not an easy one. It is difficult. Challenging. Trying. Tough. And it goes upstream against all the fish swimming the other way.

By holding on to faith, we are showing God we believe in Him. We are proving our faith to Him. We are choosing to believe and not doubt. Doubting is real, and it is tempting—especially when all around us is crumbling. Especially when—in my case—you are suffering from broken feet for almost three years.

How does one conquer doubt? Good question.

Call out to the Author of the faith. Much like addressing the author of a book to correct an error, one goes to the source. Let us call out to God and hold on while expecting Jesus to hold us. He is our Refuge, our Rock, our firm foundation. He is our everything. By holding onto Him, we in turn find we are being held fast by Him. And that, my friends, is a very good place to be!

Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Father, thank You for faith as it is the assurance of what we believe. And believing in You is what I want most. I believe You are good. I believe You are holy. I believe You are for me. I believe You have me in Your everlasting arms because You are faithful. Thank You for giving me Jesus so I can hold on and be held. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “You Are For Me” (song) by Kari Jobe. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

As a wife and Marmee to three adult children and one brand new daughter-in-love, Kerry Sue’s life is very full. She met her husband in college and served in the mission field with him for a few years before settling down back in the United States of America to raise their family.

Kerry Sue’s family was a homeschooling family for 20 years and they enjoyed it immensely. For the last 23 years they have lived on a small farm in Northern California where they have raised many farm animals, along with growing and preserving their food. Kerry Sue’s family farm has been a great source of enjoyment and a place to host many family gatherings. She maintains an open-door policy for dear friends—old and new.

Following and serving Jesus Christ is an integral part of Kerry Sue’s life as well as her family’s.

Whether it’s singing in our church choir, teaching children or leading and lecturing at a women’s Bible study, Kerry Sue loves to demonstrate her love for Jesus by giving to Him in service. She’s been a blogger for more than eight years, a Bible study writer for two years, and a devotional writer for about one year.

Kerry Sue writes about finding God’s Sovereignty in our pain and suffering.

Connect with Kerry:

Friday, February 24, 2023

PureFlix Show Review: A Thousand Tomorrows

My Review of Episode 2 from Karen Kingsbury’s series,
A Thousand Tomorrows:

Today, I have another Pure Flix show 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, but the difference is in the fact that the content on Pure Flix points you 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 Episode 2 of A Thousand Tomorrows. This show is based on a book from #1 New York Times best-selling author Karen Kingsbury. They say, “Only God knows how many tomorrows we have left. In the dangerous and competitive rodeo world, how will Cody and Ali make the most of their time together?”

This was the focus for Episode 2: As Ali’s health declines, her determination to keep competing catches Cody’s eye. What will her stubbornness to pursue her dreams cost?

Now for my review: 

Episode 2 of A Thousand Tomorrows

“I don’t want to be normal. I want to be different. I chose this.” –Ali Daniels

I’d say this quote is the driving force for Ali’s story. She’s bold, brave, determined and dying. Ali is also the one woman who Cody wants that everyone is saying he cannot have. 

Cody is the hero of this story. From the start, you will see why he is angry at his dad to the point where he refuses to follow in his footsteps by playing high school football. Instead, he grows up to be a bull rider who uses his anger as the driving force that helps him win every time.

Carl Joseph is Cody’s younger brother who has a disability. He is the reason why Cody’s dad walked out on his family and Cody has never forgiven his dad for making that decision. Cody is close to his brother and very protective of him.

Ali, the heroine of this story, is privately battling an life-threatening illness. Her health starts to decline in this episode and her parents try to intervene. But she’s bent on riding horses in the rodeo and making it to the major competition in a few months. Ali caught the eye of Cody but she’s not like the girls he usually dates. Ali is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and wants to do relationships God’s way, so she invites him to Cowboy Church.

Meanwhile, Ali’s Mom wants more for Ali than just the rodeo circuit. She tries to convince her daughter to take a break to enjoy a normal life in all the good and healthy ways. One of Cody’s best friends (Trey) is pursuing Ali and this causes a rift in their friendship. Also in this episode, Cody’s father, Mike, keeps trying to get in touch with him but Cody resists.

This is a well-crafted storyline. After watching it, I wanted to continue on to the next episode to see what happens next! The actors do a great job of staying in character and making their roles believable. The rodeo circuit scenes are true to real-life. It made me wonder if the actors used stunt doubles for those scenes. I sympathized with Ali’s sickness. I disagreed with Cody’s anger but could understand why it so hard for him to forgive his dad. I was on Ali’s Mom’s side because I want Ali to be healthy and happy and not be so focused on her dream that it causes her death. I definitely will watch the rest of the episodes in this series on PureFlix soon!

Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite authors. It’s an honor to watch this series on PureFlix about her book of the same title (A Thousand Tomorrows). I’d recommend this series to anyone who needs to be taught the blessing of faith, family and forgiveness.

Themes of this movie included:

· Sacrifice

· Supporting your spouse

· Making hard decisions

· Making each day count and living each day to the fullest

· Death, grief, loss

· Chronic illness and being a caregiver

· There is freedom in faith

A Thousand Tomorrows is a faith-based series based on the book of the same title by Karen Kingsbury that will introduce you to Pure Flix, prompt you to join and watch it. 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!

Watch the movie trailer for A Thousand Tomorrows:

Before you go, enter this contest for your chance to WIN a FREE 3-month Pure Flix subscription! Note: This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. The giveaway starts today and ends on Feb. 28. If you're participating in the giveaway for A Thousand Tomorrows, 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:

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

Devotionals for the Heart: Hope in a God who cannot and will not fail

A Promise of Hope
A devotional written by Essie Faye Taylor

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”—Lamentations 3:21-25 (KJV)

I dropped to my knees and sobbed.

I cried for what seemed like half an hour. I cried for my loss of love. I cried for the life I thought that I would have. I cried for the marriage I could not save, no matter how hard I tried.

I was in the living room of the small apartment that my ex-husband and I were renting. Like the apartment, I was empty, my life was shattered, and my heart was broken. After several years of emotional abuse, my ex packed his things and left. I cried as a result of the loss, but simultaneously I felt relief. Though I was hurting, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

No more pain.

How had I endured three years of extreme pain, disappointment, hurt, and maltreatment within a marriage, while operating in ministry leadership? How had I held onto my faith in such a turbulent time? It was because of the Lord’s mercies that I was not consumed by the experience.

In the text, Jeremiah who was known as the “weeping prophet”, declares a message of hope.

He was called the “weeping prophet” because his heart was tender as he delivered a message of hope and warning. This text is often quoted in circles of believers because of the encouraging and hopeful words. To hope means to trust or to have expectations of something. To extend mercy is to not give someone what he/she deserves. God gives us a new start each day, not because of who we are or what we’ve done or not done, but because of who He is. Jeremiah attributes his stability in the face of challenges to God’s Hand in his life. And so it is in our lives. Because God’s Hand is moving in our lives, we have hope that a brighter day is ahead.

Because God gifts mercies to us and He is compassionate toward us, He doesn’t allow evil to overtake us. God shields and protects us, even in the midst of the storms of life. Therefore, we are not utterly destroyed. John 10:28 (KJV) confirms that we are in the hands of the Lord and no one can take us out of His hands. In God’s hands, we are safe. In God’s hands, we are well because He has plans to prosper us and give us hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

Call to Action:
  1. See the hand of God in your life—in the good, bad, and ugly situations. Yes, I am hurting, but God is with me. Yes, I have lost love from mankind, yet I have experienced the beauty of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. 
  2. Heal day by day through the practice of gratefulness. A grateful heart births peace and contentment despite the difficulty. 
  3. Embrace hope daily—hope in God because He doesn’t fail. 
  4. Renew your mind (think “right”). Storms are a part of the human experience. Our belief in Christ does not make us exempt from struggle or trouble. Our faith does sustain and strengthen us. It gives us hope.
Remember, our hope in God transcends our worldly experiences–our hope is eternal.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, You are God. The earth is Yours and everything within it. You are the Creator of the Universe. You have me in Your Hand. No one can remove me from Your care. I can trust You with my life, my possessions, and my times. Help us to trust in You and to know that You are in control of every situation that we experience. You know all about it and You care. Increase my faith in You and my hope for today and for my future. Thank you Father, for hearing and answering me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“He Has His Hands On You” (song) by Marvin Sapp. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Essie Taylor is an author, educator, minister, youth advocate, recording artist, podcaster, and improviser. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Rockford College.

She is a veteran educator of Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language, and Spanish Language Acquisition with National Board Teacher Certification. She is an advocate of lifelong learning, language learning, and multiculturalism.

Essie is the CEO of KenMar Press, an author agency, and The Essie Faye Collection. Essie is the author of Finding the Love You Deserve: 30 Lessons in Self-Love & Acceptance, and Finding The Love Your Deserve: A 60-Day Healing Journal For Women of Faith.

She is deeply committed to motivating minorities, women, and youth to pursue God while chasing their dreams and carving out their life’s path. She loves God, people, and helping others.

Essie has been a Christian for nearly all of her 39 years. She was born again at 15 years old. She has been a bilingual worship leader and interpreter for 10+ years. By the grace of God, Essie helped to establish bilingual ministries at five churches in her young life. She is a survivor of domestic violence (verbal and emotional abuse) and marital abandonment in a prior marriage.

Essie is a Chicago native. She lives in Chicago with her husband Donald Taylor II.

Connect with Essie:

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Obedience

Within the Ark
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”–Hebrews 11:7 (KJV) 

If winter did not have so few hours of sunlight, I would not dislike it as much as I do. I can handle the cold. I can handle the frost. I can even handle the snow. But I internally cringe every time I have to set my clock back and the sun sets in the late afternoon. 

As I was reading through Genesis earlier this year, the story of Noah stood out to me as I realized there was only one window in the entire ark (Genesis 6:16). There was only one way for sunlight to enter.

What was Noah feeling the moment that God shut the door to the ark (Genesis 7:16)? It was dark. It probably did not smell too pleasant because of the animals. Were the people outside taunting him, even after God shut the door? Could he hear them jeering about how crazy he was for building an ark?

Noah was in a difficult situation. I am certain he did not feel like spending weeks in an ark that had only one window and was filled with all kinds of insects, reptiles, and mammals. So, why did he do it? God told him it was the only way to live and Noah believed Him! But furthermore, Noah did not just believe what God told him, Noah acted upon what God told him. That is how the New Testament writer of Hebrews knew that Noah had faith—obedience is the action of faith.

We often view the truths and lessons in God’s Word (The Holy Bible) as suggestions. Sometimes we even consider the Ten Commandments to be “outdated” and that most of the commandments were meant for past generations instead of for every generation. But every command that God gives in the Bible is given so that we might obey them. How can we say that we have faith and that Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives, but we do not believe that every command in the Bible should be followed and we do not live in obedience to His Word?

According to James 2:26 (KJV), “faith without works is dead”, which means that our faith must be evident in our lives. What better way could we live out our faith than by obeying God’s commands even though they lead us to dark and unpleasant places? God leads us to these places to strengthen our faith and to strengthen our relationship with Him. But the best part is that He never leads us to dark places and just leaves us there. God will stay with us—even if it is too dark to see Him—and He will bring us through the dark places.

How could you live out your faith today? What act of obedience is God calling you to?

God is looking to form a deeper relationship with you by bringing you through your dark moments. He is waiting for you to obey, to be willing to step into the ark and allow Him to shut the door. Remember, the ark was a vessel of salvation, not a prison.

Obedience, though it may not feel pleasant, just may be the vessel that will protect you from a storm that is coming in your life.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word and the examples of the great men and women of faith in the Bible. Please grant us the courage to believe Your Word and be willing to do whatever you ask of us. You are the Lord of our lives, and we surrender our will to You. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” by CityAlight. Listen to it here.

Author Bio: 

Tessa Huckstep grew up in rural Illinois. She was born to Christian parents and has known Jesus Christ personally since the age of five.

Currently, Tessa is attending community college and majoring in elementary education. In the future, she plans to teach in the public school system, hoping to bring the love of God with her.

Tessa enjoys being active in her local church. She serves as a co-teacher for the two-to-five year old class where there is never a dull moment.

It is Tessa’s passion to be a girl after God’s own heart and through her studying of God’s Word, Tessa longs to draw closer to her Savior. Through her writing, she longs to take others with her on this journey of faith.

Tessa loves all things Regency, needlework, and dainty teacups of every size.

When she isn’t writing or studying for exams, she can be found in the kitchen with more flour in her hair and on the floor than in the bowl, though the mess is always half the fun!

Connect with Tessa:

Monday, February 20, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Reasons why you should follow God's plan

Following God’s Plan
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“‘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)

Mealtimes can be very frustrating in my household.

On this particular day, my youngest son who is five years old, sat down at the table with the expectation of earning the right to dessert as soon as he finished his dinner.

Typically, he enjoys food and appreciates different flavors and textures. He is adventurous and is eager to try new foods. In anticipation of getting the freshly baked cookies that were resting on the counter, he started off eating all of his vegetables and then he began to work his way to the beans on his plate. He really likes beans, but on this particular day, his love for dessert superseded his love for his food. He pushed his plate aside and announced that he was done with his food and he was ready for dessert.

Both my husband and I exchanged strange glances and my oldest son also looked confused since he too knew the rules. We all explained to my youngest son that in order for him to get the dessert that he desired so much, he must first finish his dinner, which meant eating the remainder of the beans that were now getting cold on the side of his plate.

Well, he adamantly refused and he got up from the table to point to the cookies that were enticing him from the kitchen counter. I reiterated that the cookies could be his if he sat back down at the table and finished his meal.

My youngest son did not like that idea at all. He began to cry and then buried his head in the couch in the living room. I could not understand this reaction, especially since he knew the rules and followed them on every occasion up until this point. He picked up his head just in time to see his older brother enjoying the sought-after cookies on the counter because his older brother finished his dinner.

About another 20 minutes went by. While the rest of the family continued on with the evening, I watched my youngest son from the corner of my eye. He wiped away his tears, slipped back into his seat, and began to spoon the cold beans into his mouth without hesitation. Within a few moments, he finished his dinner, and he brought his plate over to me with a smile of accomplishment.

I was a little shocked because he finished his food without any further convincing and he finished all of it, even though the beans were cold and had been sitting for almost 30 minutes. I smiled back at him and invited him to have the long-awaited-for cookie. He gladly accepted the offer and finally sank his teeth into his dessert.

Sometimes in life, your desire for what God has in store for you has to be greater than your displeasure of the struggle it will take  to get there. God is waiting to bless us with something that is beyond what we could ever imagine, but we are so resistant because we do not want to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced in any way. We must let go of our fears, worries, anxieties, and doubts and allow God to move in our lives. He has a plan for each of us, if only we would not delay and follow His lead.

Let’s Pray:
Loving Father (God), You care so much about us that You would do anything just to save us, including sending Your Son (Jesus Christ) to die for us. Thank you for leading us through this journey called life and setting us up to receive Your blessings along the way. May we be patient as You work out Your plans for our lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

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

Author Bio:

Angela Anderson was born in Brooklyn (New York) and raised in New Jersey. 

She started writing at an early age and realized in elementary school that it was both a strength and a passion. 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 she is currently working on another devotional book that will be introduced in 2023.

This is Angela's third year as a devotional writer for Alexis A. Goring’s “God is Love” blog. In 2021, Angela was a winner of a devotional writing contest where the entry is featured in a book published by Proverbs 31 Ministries. The book is titled, Hope When Your Heart is Heavy. The following year, another one of Angela’s devotionals was published in another publication from Proverbs 31 Ministries, called Living Unbroken.

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

Angela is a Mom Life Coach. She empowers mothers who want to identify their God-given purpose and live it fully while taking care of their family. Angela develops mothers into mompreneurs by providing them with the necessary tools to be successful and fulfilled in life. These tools equip them to see their value, understand their importance, and reclaim their identity.

Angela has been married to the love of her life, Duane Anderson for 18 years. Together they have two sons: Thomas (age 10) and Ryan (age 5). Angela’s favorite pastime is journaling.

She treasures spending quality time with her family.

Connect with Angela:
Facebook (personal):
Facebook (Author page):
Angela offers free consultations for mothers who want to pursue their dream while taking care of their family. Schedule here:

Friday, February 17, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you should let God lead you through life

When You Let God Lead
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.”—Psalm 77:19 (ESV)

Have you ever wondered what God is doing in your life? No? Me neither.

Just kidding. In all seriousness, I think it’s safe to assume that at some point in your life, you’ve wondered why God didn’t open that door, why God gave someone else that blessing, or why He took away what He did.

Believe me. I’ve been there. Sometimes, God reveals to us the end result, and we feel Him calling us in a certain direction. But other times, we have no clue what He’s doing. In either case, usually, the path is unclear even if the destination isn’t.

As humans, we dream, we have plans, and we have certain expectations. But when God takes us in a different direction than we wanted and leads us down another road, we start to panic. We start to believe that things aren’t going as they “should’ve”, and we start to feel like we are losing control.

Friend, we were never meant to have control over our lives. I believe God wants us to dream, but ultimately, He’s the One Who knows the way we should go. He doesn’t make mistakes. God isn’t going to mislead us anywhere.

Do we know that? Head knowledge, sure. But do we deep down in our hearts know that and accept it? This doesn’t mean that the path is going to be easy and straight. In fact, it’s not. Jesus says in Matthew 7:14 (ESV), “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Now, that might sound discouraging, but hold on. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20b (ESV), “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus has promised that no matter what we go through, He is there! He is walking with us and will never leave us.

But what about the times when we are grieving? What about when things are so difficult that we can’t feel Jesus with us? You know what I’m talking about. Maybe you are there right now.

What about the times when you feel so alone and heartbroken, with an unexplainable hurt that it makes your chest ache?

When you are suffering and surrounded by darkness, remember these words in Psalm 77:19: “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.”

Seas can be tumultuous. They can be deadly. When I think of great waters, I think of the expansive ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see with no end in sight. I think of waves in a storm, crashing violently against the shore.

God’s way for us is not strolling on the shore, with sand between our toes, while we collect seashells.

God’s way is “through the sea.”

His path is “through the great waters.”

We can take comfort in the fact that God won’t take us where He Himself will not go. He has gone before us, He will go with us, and He will be there after us. Just because we can’t see Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there. And just because we can’t feel Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there walking on the water beside us.

It could be that His footprints are unseen.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Father God, I know You love me and will never leave me. Help me to believe that not just with my head but with my heart. When I go through times of deep sorrow, help me to remember that You are there with me. You have a good plan for me that will be fulfilled in your timing. I trust that You are there even when I can’t see You. Thank You for going before me and for calling me to follow You. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong UNITED - Live in Israel. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Hannah Benson is a Jesus-follower who’s passionate about sharing the love of Christ with others. 

From the time she could hold a pen, she was writing. But it wasn’t until she was sixteen that she began to seriously follow God’s calling to write a novel. Hannah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has at least four novels in the works. For the past five years, she has been involved with her local Biblical theater company. She wants to show others the love of Jesus through the creative arts.

When she’s not acting or working on her upcoming novel, you can find Hannah laughing with her siblings, cuddling her little fluffy dog, or reading books (usually historical fiction or fantasy stories). You can read more of Hannah’s writings on her blog or on her Instagram where she strives to write content that leaves others feeling encouraged.

Connect with Hannah:

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When Jesus Christ went on a rescue mission

The World's Greatest Rescue Mission
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
–Galatians 1:3-5 (NIV)

At the end of the film Top Gun: Maverick, the futures of fighter pilots Maverick and Rooster are no longer in question.

Outgunned and out of hope, their lives flash before them when out of nowhere, their friend, Hangman, fires a missile that destroys the enemy's F-35 jet. Emerging from the thick black smoke, Hangman announces, “This is your savior speaking.” Maverick and Rooster smile and breathe a sigh of relief.

Most of us won't be in a dogfight anytime soon, but we have an enemy called sin that we can't outmaneuver. The Bible says our condition is terminal, the penalty is death (Romans 6:23), and we need a Savior to rescue us (John 3:16-17).

When Jesus Christ was born two thousand years ago, He put in motion a plan to rescue us from the power of sin and death. Because He was the Son of God, He could have chosen to save Himself by remaining in Heaven. But due to His perfect love, He gave His life to save us instead (John 3:16).

When it came time for Roman guards to crucify Jesus, the rulers mocked him after charging him with blasphemy for claiming He was the Messiah and would rise again. Except for John, all His disciples abandoned Him in fear and disbelief. Read the full story in the Bible (Mark 14). Yet, three days later, Jesus rose as He promised, and since then, the world has never been the same.

Maybe today you're in a dogfight of your own. You're out of options, Satan has you in his crosshairs, and all you can do is pray for a miracle. Whether you're battling cancer, divorce, or unemployment, hope is on the horizon. Because while it seems impossible to you, it's not to God. For His power is unlimited (Isaiah 40:25-26), His perspective on your situation is perfect (Psalm 147:5), and He is always right on time (Habakkuk 2:3).

So the next time Satan tells you it's too late, don't give up. When you least expect it, God will appear out of nowhere to destroy him.

Let's Pray:
Dear Savior (Jesus Christ), thank You for forgiving me and rescuing me from the power of sin and death. Your grace and mercy amaze me. When my circumstances leave me feeling powerless, instead of fighting in my limited strength, I will pray and wait for you to rescue me. You are always with me, and for that, I'm eternally grateful. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Rescue Story” by Zach Williams. 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 Gigi (her Cocker Spaniel) was published in Guideposts (magazine) Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Since 2022, Sarah’s devotionals have been 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, February 13, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you should let God order your steps

Let God Order Your Steps
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
–Psalm 37:23-24 (ESV)

As I read this Bible verse (above), I find myself interpreting it this way: If we delight in God’s way, He is going to make sure our steps are established and firm. Even if we take that step of faith and run into a snag or crisis along the way, we will not be cast headlong. What that means is that you will not fall flat on your face and injure yourself while trying to please Him!

When we delight in God’s way, even if we don’t always feel like His way is good, we know that God knows best. Therefore, in spite of our feelings, we push through and lay hold of what He has for us. We delight to know Him, and we long to be involved in what He is doing on the earth.

In the past, I have found myself bogged down in my own plans and routine, not willing to release them in order to allow God to do something new. Have you ever felt that way?

Is God free to do what He wants in our lives? I’ve heard all my life, “God is a gentleman. He won’t force you into anything.” He wants us to respond out of our love for Him and a desire to share in the burdens of His heart. Our refusal won’t change His plan, He will simply find someone else who is willing to partner with Him in attending to those burdens.

When we stay in a safe place, it is easier to feel secure, and we love that feeling of security. God is a loving Father, and He will bless us whether we dip our toes in the water of His goodness, or dive head first in and allow ourselves to be submerged in His exciting will for our lives.

When we step out in faith, it is scary at first. As we walk along, allowing Him to light each step of the way, one day in the future we will look back and say, “Wow God, I see it now! You were ordering my steps all along. You did establish my way. You were preparing me for this journey long ago, even when my path was dark and life didn’t make sense.”

The more we trust, the more we see God’s hand at work.

As a mom of three, this is close to my heart. Psalm 37:25-26 (ESV) goes on to say, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.”

What this says to me is that if my husband and I seek to follow God’s plan for our lives, He will take care of our children. We don’t need to fear how our choices might affect them if they are choices led by Him. Hallelujah! That means that we are not stepping over our children to get to God, but rather, walking fully in His will for us. This is going to make us even better parents because our children will see us trusting God no matter what happens in life, and following Jesus Christ. As a result, our children will learn that it is the very best way to live. They will be encouraged to pursue God’s will for their lives.

Let’s lend our lives generously by giving them back to the Lord!

Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord, thank You that You have designed me for a special purpose. 
I realize that each and every one of us needs to grow into the purpose and plan You have for our lives. Please help me to recognize that plan and purpose, to allow You to prepare me for it, and be willing to step out in faith, even if that means leaving some of my own plans and routine behind. I pray that You will show Yourself faithful, as You promise to do, and that You will be glorified in my life as I look back and say, “God knew all along.” May I use my story to encourage others who also wrestle with lending their lives back to You. May we remember our lives are indeed Yours. 

In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Order My Steps” by GMWA Women of Worship. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

The only child of a single parent, Aubrey Taylor filled her younger years by creating characters and writing stories. This ended around age sixteen when music, friends and part-time jobs began to fill her time. After that came college, work, marriage, and children. 

It wasn’t until the world was beginning to come out of the COVID pandemic that God led her back to her love for writing, coupled with a passion she’d always had for history. It was time to start a new adventure! Her current long-term project is Gott Mit Uns, a German-perspective 20th century historical fiction series.

Aubrey lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. She’s busy keeping the home, caring for her family, doing research for and writing her books.

Aubrey enjoys music and is involved with the worship ministry at her church as well as a German choral group. She also plays gigs occasionally with friends as a singer and acoustic guitarist. After all that, she finds time to sketch, craft, and hike.

She is a lover of Jesus Christ, The Holy Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats.

Aubrey has a special heart for those who struggle with severe anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Connect with Aubrey:

Friday, February 10, 2023

Movie Review: "Heaven Sent"

My Review of the Heaven Sent 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 Heaven Sent. The main idea for this movie, in words from the producers, is: Elise, a grandmother hurt by her past, and Patrick, a widowed pastor, have closed the door on love. But with faith and a little help from technology, will their live-streamed romance find a way?

I watched this heartwarming movie after it was made available for viewing on Pure Flix. Heaven Sent captivated me from the first scene and kept me engaged throughout the movie.

Now for my review: 

When I saw that Karen Abercrombie was starring as the leading lady in this movie, I knew it was going to be good! I became a fan of Karen ever since her debut as Miss Clara in the movie War Room. I soon found that her performance as Elise in Heaven Sent did not disappoint!

She mastered not only her lines but her facial expressions. There wasn’t a moment in this movie when Abercrombie was out of character. The same could be said about the supporting actors. However, Abercrombie’s performance stood out the most as she is clearly becoming a legend.

Most impressive is the fact that not only was Abercrombie the lead actor, but she was also the executive producer who co-wrote this entire movie!

J. Leon Pridgen II played the leading man, a widowed pastor named Patrick. He did a great job showing how his character grew from heartbreak to hope as he entered a relationship with Elise.

This movie was filled with honesty, humor, faith, family themes, fun and sweet surprises. There wasn’t anything to not like about it. I related to and empathized with the characters. I thought the storyline was seamless and the plot was well-thought. The actors delivered a stellar performance.

If you want to watch a movie that will make you laugh, smile and believe in true love again then Heaven Sent is it.

Themes of this movie included:

· Letting go of our children/grandchildren

· Family over fame

· Finding love after loss

· Miscommunication

· Grace during misunderstandings

Heaven Sent 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!

Watch Heaven Sent movie trailer:

Jean Thomason from Momentum Influencer Network interviewed Abercrombie. Watch their conversation here:

Before you go, enter this contest for your chance to WIN a FREE 3-month Pure Flix subscription! Note: This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. The giveaway starts today (Feb. 10) and will end on Feb. 14, 2023. 

If you're participating in the giveaway for Heaven Sent, 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:

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

#HeavenSentMIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

Devotionals for the Heart: The kind of love that only God can give to you

No Greater Love
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” 
–John 15:12-13 (ESV)

February. The month filled with hearts, flowers, and boxes of candy is upon us.

In our very modern world, we tend to believe that if we look a certain way, or say a particular phrase, or buy the most expensive gift for someone we care about that they will reciprocate and will love us back.

We call it “romantic”. We watch the sweet movies about a man and a woman who fall in love, and we shed a few happy tears when they finally kiss at the end.

Or maybe it’s the tender love stories we learned to enjoy when we were young. Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott started it for me. You can read the blurb on the cover of the book and are assured that the main characters will face hardships throughout the story, but true love will eventually rule the day.

Love is multi-faceted. We love our relatives differently than we love our best friends. We love our spouses and children in another way. We seldom talk about loving our neighbors, but we’re always ready to defend our favorite ice cream. “But I love Chocolate Chip,” we say. “It’s my favorite!”

Maybe we’ve trivialized the meaning of the word “love” so much that we don’t recognize real love when we see it. It could be that some of us entered a “love” relationship with a cute guy, or a hunk of an athlete, or the wealthy aristocrat who can whisk us away where our dreams of romance await. But that’s not always love.

Our Heavenly Father has a completely radical view of love. God’s version of love is His Son, Jesus Christ, on a cross, dying for the sins of the world (John 3:16). His sacrificial love is equal to our redemption. His love shelters us, cleanses us, and renews and motivates us.

Ultimately, God’s love makes it possible for us to find our true home in His heart. Walking in the forgiveness of our sins, we are given the opportunity to live the abundant life that Jesus promised in John 10:10.

God’s love is a different experience from the generic kind of love that the world has contrived.

God’s love is so pure and complete that His desire is for our hearts to be cleansed, and not for our gorgeous or good looks to be our only selling point. He wants us freed from the burden of our sin which often yanks us by a chain into sometimes disastrous choices. His plan for us is to learn how to truly love each other. And His example is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus agreed to embrace humility all the way to the cross. He carried the shame and embarrassment which we so richly deserve. He stepped into a chaotic world that was swirling in the depths of wicked ways, and in love, He laid down on a cross to let sinful men pound heavy nails into His sinless flesh.

That’s what love did.

And that’s not all God’s love did. Through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, God granted us another freedom—access to God Himself. We can call out to the Lord to save us, to help us, to love and care for us, and then we have the privilege of asking for strength to share His wonderful love with those around us. He hears all our prayers.

It all comes down to this: Do we love other people enough to tell them about the Lord? Do we allow His love to bubble up inside of us and spill out into our everyday interactions? Do we bless others with the joy He gives? And most importantly, do we really believe that God loves us? If so, then we will share the unfathomable love of our risen Savior with the people we meet.

It’s a true love story that’s worth sharing.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord God, the Creator of pure love, please open our eyes for opportunities to share Your good news of hope, of life, and of love to the people around us. Please give us overflowing hearts of gratitude for the miracle of Your love for us. Please bless us all with Your perfect Valentine, Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You, dear Father. It is in the wonderful name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “No Greater Love” by Rachael Lampa. 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:

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When the "joy of the Lord" is your strength

God’s Joy is My Strength
A devotional by Dr. Jessica B. Turner

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”—Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

Have you ever been guilty of using a scripture without pausing to truly think about what it means? I know I have. You hear other believers sharing their favorite verses and before you know it you have your own collection of favorites to pull from!

As a believer who is still new to studying the Bible, I am grateful for those who share scriptures that have gotten them through tough times.

However, I have been guilty of storing God’s Word in my heart without giving it much thought. I wasn’t stopping to explore the context of the verses or how it applied to my life. While there is nothing wrong with holding onto scriptures that empower you without going deeper, I want to encourage you to go a step further and ask God to reveal why that scripture speaks to you. That’s exactly what I did, and it completely opened my eyes to what I was missing!

For months, Nehemiah 8:10 had become an anthem of mine. I would find myself walking around my house audibly saying, “The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength!” But one day, I asked myself, “What does that even mean?”

God immediately impressed the following words on my heart: “When you do as I have called you to do, your obedience brings Me joy. It is knowing that you are a source of joy to Me that you find strength to keep going.”

Here are some examples of how I now apply this revelation to my every day life:
When I drag myself out of bed one more time in the middle of the night to comfort my baby boy, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father. When I wash the dishes and fold the laundry – for the millionth time – with a grateful heart, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father. When I take a minute out of my busy day to encourage a friend, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father. When I choose to make reading the Bible as a family a priority, I bring joy to my Heavenly Father.

Everything that I once saw as an inconvenience is my very source of strength, if I recognize it. It brings joy to the Lord and it is that very joy that drives me to take one more step.

I don’t know what you are facing or what you are needing strength for today. What I do know is that when you approach your situation with a heavenly perspective, it changes everything!

Faced with a disheartening diagnosis? Your decision to trust in God will be your source of strength.

Stretched financially? Your decision to continue to tithe while making cuts elsewhere will be your source of strength.

Tempted to turn back to sin when things get hard? Your decision to run to God instead will be your source of strength.

I pray this realization encourages you as much as it did for me! Now I look for ways to bring joy to the Lord, knowing it’s the very thing that will keep me going.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice so that You could have a relationship with me. Help me to delight in doing what pleases You knowing it brings You great joy! Let that joy overflow into my life so I may continue to walk in Your will without growing weary. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Joy of the Lord (feat. Katie Torwalt, Dante Bowe & Naomi Raine)” by Maverick City Music | TRIBL. Listen to it here

Author Bio:

Dr. 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 in 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, February 6, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When you don't know how to help someone

When You Don’t Know How to Help
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

Sometimes when tragedy hits someone you care about, you struggle with how to love them well in the midst of it—especially when there is little you can do. Have you been there before?

A week before Christmas, my amazing and precious niece Kendall, who just turned nine, complained about a bellyache as she fell asleep. Her parents (my husband’s younger brother, Beav, and his wife, Brandy) felt a sizeable hard lump on Kendall’s stomach, just below her sternum, that hurt when they pushed on it.

When they took her to the doctor the next morning, scans discovered their worst fear: it was a massive tumor coming off her kidney.

Beav said it felt like a cold shock ripping through his body.

“In that moment, my entire life changed,” he shared.

As days passed, a biopsy revealed it was a neuroblastoma, an aggressive, fast-growing cancerous tumor on her kidney that was so large it was pushing her spine over. Kendall went through one round of chemo and then the next (with a little break to celebrate Christmas and her birthday in-between). Currently she’s on pause, waiting to begin round three, and a stem cell collection was done yesterday.

The best news is the cancer has not spread beyond the kidney, even though it is what’s called MYCN positive and is a more aggressive mutation of the disease. She’s responding extraordinarily well to treatment so far, getting outstanding care at one of the best pediatric oncology centers in the nation (Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston), and prognosis is positive.

But it’s also incredibly hard—for her, for her parents, and for everyone else in her world. Kendall is the middle child, with an older sister who is eleven and a younger sister who turns two this May, so the diagnosis has caused major upheaval and lengthy hospital stays, with local relatives and friends doing lots of heavy lifting when it comes to childcare and transportation. And the whole situation is terrifying with what feel like hundreds of unknowns…What could happen? What will long-term effects look like?

Family, friends, and acquaintances have been showering the family with well-wishes and other expressions of support. Last week, my husband and I attended an event in honor of Kendall at Jack Brown’s, Columbia, to support a charity called Happy Wheels, which brings brand new books and toys to approximately 400 children weekly at all three children's hospitals in South Carolina. Each child gets to pick out one toy or book of their choice every week for the duration of their admission. They get to keep the gifts and take them home.

All of this is good, touching—thoughtful gestures of love and support to, in some small way, support the care provided to Kendall and kids like her and let them know they are not alone and not forgotten.

But … what else can we do? For me, that’s perhaps the hardest part of all of this—knowing my sweet niece, the fierce firecracker who’s had my heart since her birth, is going through this and there is absolutely nothing I can do to make it better or take it away from her.

For those of us in the family who are Christians, surrounding her with prayer is the only thing we really can do. And so we pray… that God equip her medical team with the skills and knowledge to treat her well, that God enable the medicine to shrink and eventually dissolve her tumor, that she and her parents feel peace, joy, and comfort even on the hardest of days, that she experience a full and complete healing that not only draws her closer to God but also somehow glorifies His mighty name.

We also look for ways to pitch in and help when necessary, whatever that looks like.

That is what we as Christians are called to do. Jesus tells us in John 13:35 (NIV), “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

He says we are to care for each other intimately and lovingly, as if we are caring for the Lord himself, whether that person is sick, in need of clothing, or in prison (Matthew 25:36-40).

Other Scriptures echo this, such as Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

My church is praying for Kendall, as are the churches of a host of friends and family members, including Kendall’s own church. Together as one voice, we lift her up to the Lord, the “great physician” (Luke 5:31), who has the power to do all things.

If you are struggling with illness, or if you have a loved one who is, know you are not alone. This broken world is far from perfect, but one day we will all be together in a place no disease can touch. That place is Heaven. Until then, let’s love one another, care for each other, and pray with all our hearts to the One who made the stars.

Let’s Pray: Lord, please be with Kendall and with all people who are struggling with illness. Help them feel Your love every step of the way. And help us to love them well in Your holy name. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist, author, blogger, editor, writing coach, and devotional writer with thousands of articles to her name. 

Since 2010, she has served as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won 123 journalism awards during her tenure. She is the author of Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Develop a Heart for Hunger Ministry (2019) and More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and the editor of a number of other books from her newspaper’s Advocate Press, which she helped found in 2017.

She has won more than 100 writing awards and is a seasoned speaker and frequent contributor to,, and, among many others. She has a weekly faith blog at and is part of the team at Wholly Loved Ministries, with her work included in many of their devotionals and Bible studies.

Brodie holds a Master of Arts in English, and she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in communications/print journalism from Florida International University. Born and raised in Miami, Brodie now lives in Lexington, South Carolina, just outside Columbia. She has also lived in Ohio and in the mountains of western North Carolina. She and her husband, Matt Brodie, have a blended family of four teenage children and stepchildren.

Brodie has written several novels and is actively seeking publication through her agent Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the 2018 Genesis contest for Contemporary Fiction from American Christian Fiction Writers, and her novel Tangled Roots won a third place Foundation Award in Contemporary Romance at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2019. She is finishing the third in the series, Hidden Seeds, now.

Connect with Jessica:
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Friday, February 3, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Life Lessons Learned from Escape Rooms

Life Lessons Learned from Escape Rooms 
A devotional by Chaplain Anderson

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 
–1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

Some of my friends went out for a night of fun. They went to an escape room.

The fun of this experience for them was finding clues, cracking codes, solving complex problems and completing puzzles. The challenge to escape was intensified by a time clock that set the rules: Escape in 60 minutes or less and you won.

There have been times in my life when I have felt boxed in by challenges or temptations. Some of them seemed to last forever and my endurance failed. Some abated in due season. Early in my adult life, I heard a preacher say, “God has the key to every seemingly interminable temptation or unrelenting circumstance. Stop looking at the problem and look for the way of escape.”

He was referring to 1 Corinthians 10:13. The New Living Translation of this Bible verse says: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

When you are burdened, tempted, or facing some of the inevitable trials of life, strengthen yourself with three thoughts:

Thought #1: Whatever you are experiencing may be new to you, but someone has experienced this and overcome it. In fact, Jesus, our High Priest, was tempted in every area of life—like we are, have been or will be—and He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). You can get through this like those overcomers who blazed the trail for you.

Thought #2: God is faithful! He will not abandon you in your times of deepest allurement. When the waves of oppression or opposition threaten to overwhelm you, call out to Emmanuel and remember God is with us!

Remember the Bible story found in Daniel 3:1-30 where three disciples of Jesus Christ had their faith in God and allegiance to Him tested. They refused to bow down to the gold statue of King Nebuchadnezzar, even under the threat of being thrown into a furnace! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego believed that God would be with them, even under fiery duress and God showed up for them, right in the middle of the flames so they were not set ablaze. These three friends lived to tell the story of how their God saved their life! They rightly perceived that they would not be able to escape via the same portal through which they were thrown into the flames. But they chose to only bow down to God, not man. And God rewarded their faith-filled loyalty!

However, though unsinged and smokefree, they were not the same men who went into the flame. Likewise, when you are delivered from your prevailing circumstances, you too will be different. Surviving the fires of life transform us. Faith experiences refine our characters. You will be different because you survived in the midst of the flames. You will be more confident about yourself and your God who secured and delivered you.

Thought #3: The third thought is that you, by faith, can find the exit to any situation. You may have gone to the wrong place and stayed too long, but, God has prepared—even before your arrival—a way of escape. But they key is that you must access it. Looking at the door is not sufficient. Move to the portal and step into your deliverance by faith!

When the places of comfort and validation become threatening, we must act in faith rather than fear. Those who are weak-willed will give in and never find the divine portal of transformation. When God delivers the ones who leave, He leaves them different, triumphant and exalted.

So, take this text with you today: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

This is the key to your escape room from temptation, opposition and oppression.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, may the readers of this message find encouragement and fortitude for the day and for their future. If and when they feel locked into strife, enticement or conflict, please help them to shift focus from the trial to the way of escape that you have promised and provided. Deliver them from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: "Another In The Fire" by Hillsong UNITED. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Paul 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,

Thankful Thursdays: A God who cares

It’s Thursday and I’m thankful that the God of the Universe who is the Maker of Heaven and Earth takes time to step into our lives and feel our pain.

Earlier this week I was really going through something that made me feel like God was distant and did not care about my pain. There have been things I have experienced over the years that had me questioning if God cared about me. Of course, I know that is not Biblically accurate because the Bible says over and over again how much God loves all of His creation, especially humankind.

Last night, everything was caving in around me and I went silent. It was in the silence that I heard God speak through song lyrics. God does this for me often and I always know He’s speaking to me in these times because He always places a song on my heart that I have not heard in a while and the selection of lyrics He loops in my head always speak directly to whatever situation is weighing on me. And those lyrics lift me up out of my pit of despair. They feel like a hug from God.

So as I stood by the kitchen sink, silently washing dishes, the lyrics to the song “Who Am I” sung by Casting Crowns entered my mind. This specific selection played on loop in my head: “Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth/Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?”

It was in that moment I realized that God feels the depths of our pain. He’s not afraid of our pain. He goes there with us and He can handle all the ways we feel and He can take all of our honesty about how we feel. God is big enough to not be offended by your pain or your questioning His presence in your life.

Your pain is personal to God. In fact, God cares so much about everything you go through that He’s willing to sit in the silence with you. He’s willing to hear your cries and go deep with you. But He won’t leave you to sink to the bottom of the ocean floor and drown; He will lift you up above the surface of the troubled water that’s trying to take you under. He’ll encourage you to look up to Him and remember that He has a plan for your life and it is good (Jeremiah 29:11).

God knows we more mortals are not perfect. He knows that we experience pain. He knows that pain is part of the human experience because of sin that exists in this world, and the ongoing battle between good and evil. God knows it all and He will never leave you to fight alone. The Bible says that God will fight our battles if we only be still (Exodus 14:14).

And sometimes, He will remind you of His Presence in your life in a love language that is close to your heart and for me, that’s music.

I thank God for His steadfast love that is with us in the highs and lows of life (Psalm 139:8). I am so thankful that He is willing to go deep into our pain and help us heal. I am so glad that no situation is too much for God to handle.

He is so faithful to us.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?


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