Friday, March 31, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How to face the giants in your life and win

Facing the Giant
A devotional by Patricia Russell

“The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” –1 Samuel 17:37 (NKJV)

Have you ever asked someone to do something for you or with you and their response sounded something like these statements listed below?

“I don’t think I’m good enough.”

“Why would you choose me?”

“I don’t know enough to participate.”

“I don’t think I’m qualified.”

“I’m sure so and so would do a better job. Why not ask them?”

These are just a few reasons that are often actually excuses people may give. At some point and time, I’m sure you and I may have given a similar response to an “ask” from someone. We may see the invitation to be a part of something that in our eyes looks too big. We have come up with all sorts of reasons why it’s not possible.

In 1 Samuel 17 we read about the great army of Israel standing before the Philistine giant, Goliath. God presented an opportunity to stand in faith and represent him, but their faith was challenged. They shrunk back and came up with reasons why it can’t be done because of what they saw in the natural: They heard his booming voice. They saw his stature that towered over their heads. They saw his heavy armor. They heard about his undefeatable reputation. They were scared by his taunting words.

I don’t know about you, but based on what I saw and heard, Goliath would really scare me too.

David visited the camp where his brothers were part of the Israeli army. His earthly dad sent him on a mission to bring food for them. However, we can see how David’s Heavenly Father (God) allowed him to be there on a greater mission. David saw and heard the same things his brothers heard but responded differently. David realized that all the experiences he had in the past had prepared him for this moment. David was anointed to be king, and the reigning king was there leading the army, so he simply offered his assistance. He basically said, “If ya’ll are afraid, I’ll fight this giant!” What I love about David’s response was that he didn’t state he would fight in his own strength. According to 1 Samuel 17:37 (NKJV) he said: The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

What is the name of the giant facing you today?

What is that mountain that looks insurmountable?

I understand the fear of not knowing how the bill is going to be paid. I too have experienced the uncertainty of where the next paycheck is coming from. I’m right there right now. And yet I believe the Lord who provided in the past will provide for my present. I believe He will deliver me, because has proven himself in the past.

Let’s Pray: 
Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing us to read the Biblical record of what you did for David and the army of Israel. Thank you for allowing us to read about David’s confidence in You. Increase my faith to trust You the way David did so I can boldly step forward and face these situations that face me today. I trust you will give me what I need when the situation looks bleak. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Never Lost” by CeCe Winans. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Patricia is a worship leader, songwriter, speaker and compiler of her 2020 best-seller anthology Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body and Spirit, as well as Lord, I Trust You: Words of Encouragement, to encourage readers and share life lessons during her cancer journey.

Patricia writes, speaks, and teaches on the power of God’s Word to heal and empower you to become all that you are purposed for. She has travelled internationally and shared her gifts with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through word and song. Patricia has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers including Anne Graham Lotz and Rev. E.V. Hill.

Her greatest joy is being married to her husband, Wayne, for 33 years. Together, they serve the community through their local congregation in various capacities. They have two adult children, Raquel and Benjamin. As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, Patricia coaches others to develop resilience and live life to their fullest.

Patricia has released two gospel music recordings: “Draw Me Nearer” and “Lord, I Trust You”. In March 2022, she launched her podcast “Becoming Resilient” which can be downloaded wherever you get your podcasts and watched on YouTube.

When not reading or studying, Patricia loves to eat Thai food and spend time with “Lucy”—her daughter’s Yorkie-poo who has taken up room in her heart.

Connect with Patricia:

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Trusting and obeying God without worrying

Don't Worry About The How
A devotional by Monique M. Anderson

“This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals.”
 –2 Kings 3:16-17 (NLT)

Am I the only one who reads the Bible and starts talking back to it like you would to the television while watching a suspenseful thriller?

Once I was reading the story in 2 Kings chapter 3. The kings of Judah, Israel, and Edom had joined forces to fight against the Moabites. They traveled through the desert for seven days to forge their attack on the Moabite people. 

Along their journey, they realized they had no water for themselves or their animals. The one king who truly knew God, King Jehoshaphat of Judah, asked for a prophet of the Lord to help them. Prophet Elisha was called upon and only helped because of his respect for King Jehoshaphat. The other two kings were not faithful to God.

Elisha went to the Lord on their behalf, and the Lord said, “This dry valley will be filled with water! You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water” (2 Kings 3:16-17).

This is the part of scripture where I interrogated the Bible. I asked God, “But how, Lord? How will you provide a dry desert with pools of water without evidence of its arrival?”

How often have you asked God for help and wondered how He would help you? Perhaps your questions for God sounded something like: How are you going to do this? How are you going to save my child? How are you going to heal me? How are you going to provide?

You may ask these questions especially when you see no evidence in sight.

God may have confirmed to you that He will do it. He may even have assured that you will have victory in your situations as he did for Elisha in 2 Kings 3:18 (NLT), which reads, “But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab!”

However, the instructions he gives provide no answer as to how God will do what He said He will do. Has God ever given you instructions for a problem that made no sense to you? Does the confusion still make you question Him? Even in the steps He gives us, we still can't see how things will work out. The “how” is not our business, the work is. We need to dig the ditch and prepare for our victory, just like it says in 2 Kings 3:16 NKJV: “And he said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’”

By obeying God's strange request, the Israelites did not only quenched their thirst, but they sent their enemies into confusion and defeat. When the Moabites arrived at the Israelite's camp, the Israelites attacked, chased them back into their land and destroyed them.

Once God has quenched your thirst and given you victory, does the how matter? You know that it couldn't have been anyone but God. You want to know how He does it, supernaturally, with all power and authority. Therefore, don't concern yourself with the “how” of the matter. Just be obedient.

Remember who God is and give Him the glory.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for taking care of all things. Thank You for not just meeting my needs but exceeding them as well. I am thankful in knowing that because it is in Your hands, I don’t have to worry about how it will get done. I trust that You will provide and give me the victory. I trust You Lord, and praise You for the provision. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Victory” by Yolanda Adams. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

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

Monique always felt like God was chasing after her but was never ready to surrender. Finally, she reached a point in her life when things started going left, and she no longer felt in control. At this point, she was ready to hand over the reins to God. After forming her relationship with God, she always felt compelled to share the revelation’s that His Word gave her. She felt The Holy Spirit prompting her to write but was afraid of what people might think. So, her writing started in her journal. The journal turned into a book and the book into a blog.

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

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

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

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

Connect with Monique:

Monday, March 27, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Love for you is perfect and casts out all fear

Perfect Love
A devotional by Kerry Sue Teravskis

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”–1 John 4:18 (NLT)

Fear and anxiety have become quite commonplace in our society these days. Why is that? Maybe it is because most people are more prone to talk about their fears and anxieties because they are more acceptable in this modern era?

The bigger question then is, “How come fear is acceptable?" "Why is my ‘lot in life’, excusable and even expected in this day and age?” And more importantly, “Why is this is happening in the church?”

The answer is not easy, nor is there a quick fix. Life is hard, things happen, the struggle is real. Just looking around in our communities will give us a glimpse into the hurts people face. And it is not getting easier.

While I was listening to a podcast recently, the verse above was quoted and the word "all" struck me. All fear is expelled by perfect love. I circled the word “all” in my Bible because all means all. Not halfway, nor just some, but all.

Perfect love expels all fear. Perfect love is defined for us in 1 John 4:10 (NLT), which says, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

God defines love and demonstrates this love to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Bible) will give you a good glimpse into love working in real life. Jesus cannot and will not change His love for you. His love is perfect because He is perfect. Jesus does not need to change, or grow and mature. He is perfection defined. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). We can depend on His perfect love.

All fear is gone. If all fear is gone, then why do we hold on to it? Why are we allowing ourselves to be pulled back into a struggle that has already been chased away and expelled? Why do we nurse our hurts, anxieties or fears? Real fears do exist as well as anxieties, and there may be times when professional help is needed. Please seek help from a mental health professional if you need it. But, before you do, look to Jesus. Ponder His definition of love and what He does for us. Jesus sets us free. He stamps His love on our fears, our anxious thoughts and all of our lives. It’s when we hold on to them we run into trouble.

Cast all of your cares and fears on Jesus. When you do this, you will shine the Light of Jesus into the darkness that surrounds you so that the darkness ceases to exist. Why? Because God’s perfect love moved in and expelled darkness, shame, fear, doubt, anxiety.

It takes true grit to walk in love, light and follow Jesus. We need to take one step at a time. It takes belief and trust that what God says He will do, He will do. The victory has been won, so let’s walk in victory.

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank You for Your perfect love. I accept it. Help me to live my life knowing it is here to cast out all fear and anxiety. Show me areas where I have allowed myself to fear and to be anxious. I repent. Please forgive me. Please pour out Your love on these areas of my life. I trust You to help me take one step at a time in casting out all fear. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Will Fear No More” by The Afters. 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, March 24, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: God can give you a peace that stays with you

A Promise of Peace
A devotional by Essie Faye Taylor

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

Just a few months ago, I was in a mental space where I felt overwhelmed by the cares of life and I was on the verge of losing hope.

I was inundated by the day-to-day chores of simple living. I was caring for my husband and home while balancing ministry, my teaching career, and my entrepreneurial pursuits. I was burnt out, tapped out, and just plain exhausted. I needed a break badly. I needed a reset. I needed to reassess, re-prioritize, and delegate more. I needed to surrender some things to God in prayer. I needed to increase my self-care and resume personal counseling. I needed to reach out for help from God and from those in my faith community.

It’s important to realize when you feel overwhelmed. It’s important to note that your worry has reached an unhealthy level. It’s important to acknowledge that you need help and to reach out for it. In the text cited above, Paul clearly says, “Reach out to God for help via prayer.”

When you lack rest, reach out to God for it.

Paul wrote to the church of Philippi and encouraged them to remember the source of peace. He reminds readers of the essential importance of resting in God by faith. As believers, we have a source of peace that unbelievers don’t utilize. We can rest in our Savior’s arms, knowing that He has a plan for us that is greater than we could ever imagine or hope.

Paul warns believers not to worry about anything. Instead, he says that we can use prayer as a constant source of refuge and a sort of “dumping ground”. We can dump all of our cares (worries) on the Lord in prayer. In 1 Peter 5:7 (KJV), the apostle Peter advises believers to cast “all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” He’s telling us to cast our cares on Jesus Christ.

Prayer is a divine encounter with the Creator of the Universe. It is an exchange between creature and Creator. Among other things, we exchange our worries for peace. We exchange hopelessness for hope. We exchange overwhelm for rest and a plan to reset. In the above text, Paul shares an outline for prayer: supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests before God. He says, “ask for what you want and give thanks–be grateful.” Gratefulness has a way of surrounding you with peace. Then the peace of God, which many times is unfathomable, will keep your heart and mind through Christ. God promises peace through the avenue of prayer.

Call to Action:

#1: Cast your worries on God and leave them there. Have confidence that God is great enough to handle your affairs and that He will do right by you. He has your best interest at heart.

#2: Daily practice the presence of God through studying His Word (The Holy Bible) and praying to Him. Casting your cares on Christ daily minimizes worry and builds faith.

#3: Check in with yourself. How are you? Take inventory of your life. Ask yourself, do I need help from God and/or my faith community?

#4: Be honest about your mental health and self-care. It is God’s will that you’re in good health and you prosper as your soul prospers. Balance spiritual and natural things.

#5: Get counseling, if needed. Find an accountability partner or a prayer partner to walk alongside you. No man is an island. We need each other. Everyone needs someone.

#6: Remember, our peace comes from God. He is our peace. Our faith doesn’t guarantee that we will not have trouble. However, it does guarantee our peace in the midst of life’s storms when we rest in Him.

Let's Pray:
Heavenly Father, I thank you for giving me the peace that passes all understanding. I have peace when my world is falling apart. I experience peace when destruction is on every side. I experience peace in the face of a negative doctor’s report or health challenges. I experience peace because I know that you are in control of every situation and I can trust you with my life, my times, and my future. Help me to rest in You, knowing that you are working everything for my benefit. Something good is coming out of this. Thank you Father for the blessed assurance that your plan for me is perfect. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection #1: “Take It to the Lord in Prayer” by Aeolians of Oakwood University. Listen to it here.

Song of Reflection #2: “I’ll Give You Peace” by Sandi Patty. 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, March 22, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When God's plans are better than our plans

Staying On Shore
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” –Jonah 1:3 (KJV)

I used to think that the worst possible scenario for big life decisions was that God would never answer my questions and I would be left uncertain.

I was wrong. The worst possible scenario for big life decisions is that God says “no” to what you really want and “yes” to something that you say “absolutely not” to. So far, I feel like God says “yes” to everything I don’t want and “no” to everything I do want. Sounds like a typical parent, right?

A couple of weeks ago, I felt a passion to do and accomplish something like I had never felt before. This certain thing was a good and honorable thing that would consume many hours of my life and I was willing to jump in full-heartedly. However, it was only two days in when I started to hear God’s voice. His voice wasn’t audible to my ears, but I knew in my heart that He was telling me “no”.

I argued with God for more than a week. I listed all the good things that could come of my new venture. I thought about all the people I could help and reach for His glory. I would remind God that I was doing this for Him. But the more I negotiated and continued to make my own plans (similar to Jonah), the less peace I had. Isn’t it amazing that God takes away our peace when we are straying from His will?

I didn’t get on the ship. I would like to say that the reason I didn’t get on the ship was because I am spiritually mature than Jonah. However, I have to honestly say that my heart was weary of trying to hide from God. I had no peace and I knew I would be absolutely miserable if I went any further. So, I threw away my plans and stayed on the shore, watching my ship of grand ideas drift out to sea. I cried a few tears and turned around, drudging toward Nineveh and the things that I knew were God’s will for my life. Is this the path I would have chosen for my life? No, but there are great things that are about to happen in Nineveh—things that will reveal God’s glory more than I ever could with my own ambition.

Often, I wonder what would have happened if I had gotten on the ship and went ahead with my own plans. First, I would have been miserable without the peace of God. But I also wonder how long it would have been before the storm came and I was thrown overboard—my plans and dreams along with me.

God’s will for your life will be accomplished. Sometimes, we decide to try our own plans for a while, but we are only prolonging our journey to true peace and contentment. Don’t get on the ship of stubbornness and self-fulfillment. Stay on the shore and in the peace of God.

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for guiding us through life and loving us too much to let us wander wherever we would like. Grant us the courage to stay on the shore and leave our own plans behind. We want to follow wholeheartedly after You—no matter the cost. Help us to die to self, pick up our cross, and follow You. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Will Follow (Lyric Video)” by Chris Tomlin. 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, March 20, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you should stay close to God all the time

Stay Close to God
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” –Psalm 27:5 (NIV)

It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze. I decided to take a walk at the neighboring park which had a lake and plenty of seating area. I also took my journal and a pen with me, just in case I found a nice spot to sit down and write.

The park was full of people, but it wasn’t too crowded. It was as if everyone realized it was too nice outside to stay indoors. I walked around the lake two times, and I passed by the same people who were walking in the opposite direction. We greeted each other with a smile as we continued to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air.

I saw a picnic table under a gazebo directly next to the lake. I walked off the path, away from the other people who were walking around the lake, and I sat down at the table. I made myself comfortable as I opened my journal and prepared my pen to write down some thoughts.

In less than a minute, I saw a lady walking toward me. She was looking directly at me, and she sped up as she approached my table. She had been walking behind me when I circled the lake, and she noticed that I was sitting by myself. As she drew closer to me, she said hello and she smiled, but she did not sit down. Instead, she told me about a man who was seated on a bench just directly over her shoulder almost behind a tree. She asked me if I noticed him, and I could not remember seeing anyone over there.

She asked me not to look in that direction as she was speaking to me. She explained that the man was talking to himself, and his words were forceful and somewhat violent. She said that he was very animated, and it was rather intimidating. Then she said she followed me to the table because I was isolated and away from the crowd. I was seated alone and that made me vulnerable. She was concerned for my safety. I thanked her as I promptly gathered my belongings and made my way back home.

As I left the park, I was reminded of how similar this instance was to our daily lives as believers in Jesus Christ. During this journey called life, it would behoove us to stay on the path that leads us to Christ. This includes spending quality time with God, praying throughout the day, reading the Word of God (The Holy Bible), and surrounding ourselves with other believers. When we veer off the path away from others and find ourselves alone and vulnerable, we must remember that the enemy is waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack us. He waits patiently like a lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Once we let our guard down, that is when we are the most susceptible to the devil’s schemes.

Whatever the cost, be vigilant and aware. Seek the attention of other caring believers who will look out for you, and by any means necessary, stay close to God.

Let’s Pray: Loving Lord, thank You for never leaving us or forsaking us. If we ever wander from your side, Lord, draw us back to you, and keep us safe in Your loving care. Thank you for Your protection. In Jesus’ s name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” (song) by Mahalia Jackson. 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, March 17, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you should always put God first in your life


First Things First
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”—Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

We all desire good things in this life. A dream job, a spouse, for blessings to abound, a scholarship, or to get into a specific college. I bet you can think of any number of things to fill in the blank here. Those are not necessarily bad things. In fact, they can be great! But the danger comes when we place anything, including something good, above God.

I know that I can worry about a lot of things. Apprehension about the future or things not going according to my plan are big ones for me. God knew that we as human beings would be tempted to worry. That is probably why Jesus addresses worry in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:25-26 (ESV). He said, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

In other words, if God takes care of the birds of the air, how much more will God take care of us?

We don’t need to worry about tomorrow, about if we’ll get the scholarship, if things will follow our carefully formulated plan of XYZ, and so on, because all that already matters to God. He knows the desires of our hearts, and He knows what’s best for us.

If we seek God and His kingdom first, then “all these things will be added to you.” Now, that doesn’t mean that by seeking God first we’ll get our dream job or that things will work out the way we want. But I do believe that it means if we seek the kingdom of God first, then all fulfillment and happiness we thought [fill in the blank] would bring us will pale in comparison to the true joy we find in seeking God. Nothing will ever satisfy us like God can.

Nothing else could ever bring us true joy.

If we seek God and His kingdom first, then suddenly, everything else including our rigid plans don’t matter as much. We know God will provide, and we can rest knowing that He knows our heart’s desires. He will take care of us in a way that no one or nothing else can.

When we seek God first, He will fulfill us in a way that no one else or nothing else is able to.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Father God, I’m sorry for placing other things before You in my life. I’m sorry for allowing myself to get distracted and not seeking You first. Please give me a hunger for You, more than anything else. No matter how hard it is, help me to keep You first in my life. I believe that You alone will satisfy me. Thank You for Your love and mercies that are new every morning! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “First Things First” by Consumed By Fire. 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, March 15, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: A remedy from God for worry, anxiety and fear

God’s Prescription for Fear
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”–Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

In the classic folktale Chicken Little, the cowardly hen suffers a concussion after an acorn falls on her head. Convinced the sky is falling, she rushes from the woods to warn the king and creates mass hysteria among her feathered friends.

Chicken Little’s fear may be extreme, but aren't humans just as prone to expect the worst before gathering all the facts? When faced with crisis or uncertainty, we often turn to worst-case scenarios instead of God.

Fear is a liar. It is “False Evidence Appearing Real”.

At its core is a lack of control over a real or perceived threat. Like a spark to a forest fire, one anxious thought builds momentum, and before we know it, we're in a full-blown panic attack. But the good news is that when we surrender our concerns to God and meditate on His promises, fear doesn't stand a chance (Philippians 4:8).

In his letter to the Philippian church, the Apostle Paul provides a prescription for fear: the power of prayer. He tells them that by surrendering their concerns to God and thanking Him for what He's done and is about to do, they would experience peace. Thousands of years later, the same holds true for us.

Friend, God didn't design you to live in a perpetual state of anxiety. That's why He tells us 365 times in His Word not to fear. So, instead of letting stress keep you up at night or dilemmas eat away at your peace, take a dose of God's Word, and your heart will be calm (John 14:27).

The next time fear rears its ugly head, consider taking one or more of the following prescriptions and see how you feel. 

Turn your worries into prayers. When you transfer ownership of your cares to God, you can be confident He will take care of you (1 Peter 5:7). Keeping a written record of your prayers and God's answers builds your faith.

Capture your thoughts. Instead of letting your thoughts run wild, go on a fact-finding mission and measure them against God's word (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Practice gratitude. Even when things look grim, be grateful for God's faithfulness, sovereignty, and promise to care for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Learn the art of optimism. Someone once told me, “Things have a way of working out.” Expect a hopeful future, and your anxiety will dim (Romans 15:13).

Recall God’s faithfulness. Make a list of the times God answered your prayers, provided unexpectedly and healed and delivered you (Lamentations 3:22-24). Reminding yourself of God's goodness helps you expect the best.

Friend, fear doesn't have to run the show. When you know Jesus Christ, no matter what happens on this side of Heaven, you have eternity to look forward to (John 14:2-4). And that hope is the best prescription of all.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, when my heart grows weary and my circumstances overwhelm me, I need not fear because You promise to take care of me. Thank you for delivering me from the fears that hold me captive. I trust in Your unfailing love now and forever. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: "Fear Not" by Aaron Shust. 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, March 13, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we should go where God leads us

Going Where God Leads
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

“Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?” —Numbers 11:12 (ESV)

This verse (Numbers 11:12) evokes the image of someone carrying someone else: A mother cuddling her nursing child. A husband embracing his wife. God carrying His people. An individual, someone they would provide for and protect no matter what the cost.

Yet as Moses led the people through the wilderness, He became increasingly aware that this was not a task he was able to manage. The people of Israel numbered in the millions, with their problems and quarrels, feuds and illnesses. In context, this is what he is asking of the Lord.

A few verses later, Moses declares, “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” (Numbers 11:14-15).

Moses loved God’s people, and I think deep down he was happy to do it, but the weight of trying to carry these millions on his own was suffocating that passion. Perhaps he even felt as though God had set him up to fail. Is there something that you care deeply about, but the task seems overwhelming? Do you see a need that is so great that you don’t even know where to begin?

Some days, I feel that the more I learn, the less I understand. The more I see, the more I want to help, and the more I wonder where to begin. Perhaps it is fair to say that I have begun, but that it has led to more questions than answers!

This is when I throw everything down before the Lord and get on my knees. I cry out to Him because, like Moses, I too have people that I carry in my bosom. It is wrong to compare the significance of my calling with that of Moses. The fact is, we are simply to do our best with whatever God has given us. Like Moses, we also weren’t meant to do it alone.

Luke 10:2 (ESV) reminds us that “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

It is His harvest, and there is a dearth of laborers. As I am wrestling to determine the next steps, it is right to ask God for more helpers. A loving God would not set us up to fail. Moses himself declares, “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29 ESV)

My prayer this year is that He would use my passion to stir up more people within His body, whether it be to join me in what I’m setting out to do, or to seek His heart and pour themselves into whatever He shows them. He has a purpose and plan for each of us.

Let’s Pray:
Dear God, Lord of the Harvest, we thank You today for how active You are in the world. You are at work in every place and every circumstance, more than able to meet every need. I ask You to send laborers into those places where more laborers are needed. If I have not yet been called to a specific ministry, I ask that You would place something into my heart that I could be a part of. I know that where You guide, you will provide. If you have already called me to something, I pray that I would continue to be faithful in it until You steer me in another direction. Thank You for your work in the world. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Will Go” by Steve Green. 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, March 10, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Listening to God speak and sharing the Gospel

God’s Burning Bushes
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” –Exodus 3:1-2 (ESV)

The other day some of my friends and I gathered to pray and study the Bible.

We discussed the difficulty we often have with telling other people about Jesus Christ, especially those who do not know Christ. One of the ladies recalled the story of Moses and the burning bush, and how God caught the attention of Moses through a shrub. We all laughed when my friend said that there were lots of bushes in her front yard, and maybe God could use one of those to speak to our loved ones.

Her comment started me thinking. To my knowledge, God hasn’t been talking to anyone recently through a bush, so how does He plan to tell others about Jesus Christ in today’s world? It’s pretty evident that His plan is to use us—His children—His flawed, often mindless children. We have been given the task of sharing the gospel of Jesus with a world that has wandered far from the Lord.

Within our hearts, the Lord has placed the glorious news of salvation in Jesus, and we can’t keep it hidden from those around us who are lost and dying. For many of us, the task to share the gospel is daunting. We’re nervous about what people might think of us if we speak openly about God’s gift of salvation. We worry about how we’ll look, but that’s not how God sees it. This is not about us at all. It’s about telling others of the hope we have in this life, and in the next one—eternity in Heaven.

When Moses turns aside to see the bush that burned but wasn’t burned up, God spoke to a very ordinary shepherd. He told Moses to take off his sandals because the ground he was standing on was holy (Exodus 3:5). Then God commissions Moses. The man who had previously fled Egypt in fear of his life is commanded to go back and lead Israel out of their slavery into the land that God had promised them.

What God told Moses to do is exactly what He wants us to do. We who have met the Lord are to humble ourselves first, and then we can be used by God in naturally occurring ways to share the freedom we know through Jesus.

Our neighbors, friends, family, and even perfect strangers will be blessed by the life-giving news of our true God Who loves them and Who invites them to come into His family. He’s the One Who will forgive them and accept them as His own. Why are we waiting to share such amazing news of grace and mercy?

Maybe we don’t know how, or we’re afraid, or we’re too busy. We can always come up with our numerous excuses, but the Apostle Paul explains a simple way to share the gospel. He says it’s like the planting process. Sow the seed. Water. Let God bring the harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6). The seeds are the good words we use to help people recognize how much God loves them. When we tell someone we will pray for them and then do it, God is honored and people are drawn to Him. It may be a long time before they remember that prayer again, but they will remember, and we might even be blessed to hear their story one day.

Sow a few seeds of kindness and hope, or water a few drops of joy and gladness, and before long we will put our past fears and doubts behind us. We can walk in joyful expectation with the Lord, our Savior and our Friend, as we tell others about Him.

One of the most comforting parts of the burning bush story is that the bush burned, but it wasn’t consumed. As I grow older, I tend to pace myself more. But God has plans for us that aren’t all-consuming. He gives strength—His strength, and He gives us His Word to speak. Because He is our Lord, we really can do all things through Christ, and He will strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).

Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord, the God of Moses and of all creation, will You set us on fire for You? Please light the kindling and let us burn brightly with our love for Jesus, Your Son. It is in His great name that we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Am Not Ashamed” by Heritage Singers. 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, March 8, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Sustenance

God is My Sustenance
A devotional by Dr. Jessica B. Turner

“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”—Psalms 63:1 (NIV)

Have you ever found yourself so thirsty that it’s the only thing you can think about?

You try to press on with what you are doing but your mind keeps wandering back to the fact that you need water, and you need it now! Suddenly, all your energy has shifted towards meeting this basic need. And when you get to take that first sip, it gives life to you!

Now, I want you to think back to a time when you felt this same way about God and His presence. Did you address it with the same dedication, stopping everything else to seek His face? Are you struggling to even recall such an incident? If I am completely honest with myself, my answers aren’t what I would like them to be either.

The reality is I’m lucky if I even realize that it’s God that I’m lacking while going through my day. Instead, if I’m not careful, I will turn to things of this world to meet a need that was never meant to be filled by anything other than God’s presence. It’s why so many other things often leave me feeling even more unfulfilled than before.

We live in a world that promises happiness in all the wrong places. We turn to social media to seek approval from others, and to validate that we are loved. We rely on the latest trends to help us feel attractive. We follow all the advice of the “experts” in attempt to be good enough. Yet, we always end up where we started: lacking.

Until we open our eyes to what David is sharing in Psalms 63:1, we will never be satisfied. We must recognize that God is what our souls are longing for, and only God can quench such a thirst. But what if we don’t yearn for His presence as David did? I believe most people don’t, especially in the beginning.

As a new believer (or someone who isn’t quite sure what they believe), it can be scary to spend alone time with God. Some of us are still carrying shame associated with our past while others may be at a loss for words, not knowing what to say or do in His presence. Instead of doing everything in our power to seek God, we subconsciously avoid Him because we don’t see ourselves as worthy.

Let me tell you something! You are enough as you are, and God cannot wait to spend time with you! He was so intentional when He created you and me. Relationship with us was so important to Him that He made us with a space in our hearts that only He can fill, and until we realize that, we will wander through this life feeling incomplete.

Today, I want to encourage you to pursue God’s presence. Ask Him to ignite a fire within you that only He can satiate. Trust me, He will be delighted to answer such a request!

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for creating me in such a way that my soul longs for You. Reveal to me when I am turning to worldly things to satisfy this yearning. Expose the things that have become idols without my knowing. Bring me back to You as my one and only source of fulfillment. Help me to seek Your face as David did and fill me with Your spirit so I can go out and do the work of Your kingdom here on Earth. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s Name, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Thirst for You” by CeCe Winans. 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:

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

The story behind "Overcoming Father Wounds" (book) by Kia Stephens

Dear Reader of my "God is Love" blog,

Today, I'm featuring my author friend Kia Stephens on the release date (March 7, 2023) of her first published book, (Overcoming Father Wounds: Exchanging Your Pain for God's Perfect Love). It is traditionally published and available for purchase in bookstores and online.

Join me in wishing Kia a "Happy BOOK birthday" today!

Read on to discover why she wrote this book. 

Enter the giveaway contest at the end of this post for your chance to WIN a copy of Kia's book!

Happy reading!


Why Does God Allows Women to Have Father Wounds
A guest post by Kia Stephens

There was a season in my adult life where I felt betrayed by God. I could not understand why He created men and women with a desire to be fathered only to allow father wounds. It just didn’t make sense. How could a loving God allow it?

Prior to this time in my life I had not been angry with God. In fact, I tried (unsuccessfully) to follow all the rules. I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I didn’t curse, lie, cheat, drink, or steal. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do. Subconsciously, I began to view Christianity as a contractual relationship where my performance was payment for answered prayers. However, when my prayers went unanswered I became disillusioned with God.

He became a cruel manipulator, sitting high and crafting painful experiences at will. God knew I would struggle, spending years in a perpetual cyclone of low self-esteem, anger, lust, depression, shame, and guilt. Why didn’t He just step in to alter my life? He could have. God in His infinite power could supply every newborn baby girl with a loving father in an instant, but He doesn’t.


Does He not care?

Is He not concerned about the pain of millions of women (and men) all over the world? 

I was not the first person to ask these questions. It was a repackaged version of, “Why does God allow suffering?” Sickness? Death? Murder? Rape? Abuse? How can these horrible realities continue to persist in the presence of the Almighty God? Frustrated and questioning, I stepped into the ring and boxed with God for years.

I swung punches and He countered with gentleness. I blamed Him and He loved me unconditionally. The final bell sounded and I went to my corner, defeated by a compassionate God.

What I Learned:

● Christianity is not rule-worship and God can’t be pimped.

I am not a perfect Christian (That does not exist). I am flawed, broken, and in desperate need of a Savior. My relationship with Jesus Christ is a passionate expression of my gratitude for Him embracing a sinner like me. It is not a list of rules I follow with the expectation that Christ will do what I say in return. 

The Bible says in Galatians 2:20 (NIV): “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

● Everyone has trouble (even fathered women).

In this life no one gets a pain pass. Even if a girl grows up with the love and affirmation of her father she will still have challenges to overcome. No one lives a life void of difficulties.

The Bible says in 
John 16:33 (NIV): "... In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." 

The Bible says in 
Matthew 5:45 (NIV): “...for He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

● Christ himself suffered for my sake (first).

If Christ bore rejection, shame, betrayal, loneliness, and pain beyond comprehension. How can I expect not to have my own share of suffering?

The Bible says in 
1 Peter 2:21 (NIV): "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."

● Suffering does not change the nature of God. Period.

God loves me infinitely. I cannot predicate His love for me on what He does or does not do.

The Bible says in 
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV): “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

● God has the power to fill every void in a woman with father wounds.

The reality is, there are many things I will never do with my earthly dad. But I have the opportunity to spend a lifetime and eternity being loved by my Heavenly Father.

The Bible says in Psalm 27:10 (NIV): “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

● Suffering has a purpose.

My “why me” mentality has turned into a “why not me” outlook. If I had not experienced growing up without my father I would not be writing the very blog post you are reading today. There is purpose in my pain, and yours too.

I don’t know what your fatherless experience has been but I do know none of your tears will be wasted! God will take the broken pieces of your life and make them a beautiful portrait for others to view. You were not fathered for a purpose that only God knows. I encourage you to take your boxing gloves off, step out of the ring and allow God to be the Father you long for.

The Bible says in Romans 8:28 (NIV):
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those (fatherless daughters) who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Author Bio:

Kia Stephens is the founder of Entrusted Women, which she created to equip Christian women communicators of color. 

A contributing writer for, Beloved Women, Proverbs 31 Ministries, and Crosswalk, she is a recurring speaker at She Speaks, the Beloved Women's Conference, and the Entrusted Women's Conference. 

Kia's writing has been featured on (in)courage and Ann Voskamp's blog. She has also been a featured guest on the Proverbs 31 Ministries Podcast, Chrystal's Chronicles with Chrystal Evans Hurst, Better Together with Barb Roose, and The Dream of You Podcast with Jo Saxton.

Here's what people are saying about Kia’s book:

"There's something remarkable about the way a person's pain can be transformed into purpose. In Overcoming Father Wounds, Kia Stephens speaks from the faded scars of her own story and is a compassionate guide to all who carry father wounds of their own. Kia's book is both personal testimony and practical treatise; her words offer hope and healing. Words that help us discover the power of a heavenly Father's love." Jo Saxton, leadership coach and author of Ready to Rise

"Kia has given us a powerful, gospel-soaked healing balm for everyone who knows the pain of father wounds. In Overcoming Father Wounds, she helps us identify them, heal from them, and shift our mindset to hope and health. This is a must-read!" Alli Worthington, author, speaker, and founder of The Coach School

"This book is going to help so many women--coming from complicated relationships with fathers to deeply painful ones. Even Daddy's girls like me didn't escape unintentional wounding. You'll be highlighting this one and buying a copy for a friend." Lisa Whittle, bestselling author of The Hard Good, Bible teacher, and podcast host

"Kia Stephens's voice is one that is needed now. She writes with compassion, wisdom, and vulnerability, leading women into the tender places of their own hearts. With deep insight, Kia takes the reader's hand and walks her into the truth--you can face the wounds you received, in the light of a loving Father who is better than you dared to hope. Healing is available. Read this book and Kia will show you the way." Stasi Eldredge, New York Times bestselling author of Captivating

Words from Kia and her publicist:

The world is full of women who have been hurt, neglected, rejected, or abandoned by their father. They may feel like every aspect of their life is affected by that broken trust. Even their relationship with God can feel tenuous, but there is hope.

In this vulnerable book, Overcoming Father Wounds: Exchanging Your Pain for God’s Perfect Love, author and speaker Kia Stephens shares her own story of father wounds, along with eye-opening examples from wounded women in Scripture who were transformed by the love of God.

With great compassion, she helps readers identify their father wounds and offers practical tools to help them overcome insecurity, low self- esteem, perfectionism, and trouble connecting with God as their loving heavenly father.

“The good news is, for every woman who’s ever contemplated what it would be like to have a different father, whether real or imagined, there is an exchange that is possible...the type of swap I’m referring to is an uneven exchange of father wounds for the extravagant love of God the father,” says Stephens.

Women who read this book will:

-Identify ways they have been impacted by their father daughter relationship

–Identify lies they believed because of the hurt and rejection from their father

-Identify scriptures to refute the lies they have believed
-Gain practical tools for forgiving their father

-Identify helpful ways to develop a relationship with God as their spiritual father.

Buy Kia’s book on: Amazon or BAM! 

Connect with Kia:
Facebook Author page:

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

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Monday, March 6, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How to support someone who has depression

How to Be an Ally for Someone with Depression
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

Depression is a vicious beast. It steals sunshine on days we desperately crave it and sets the mind on trajectories that seem to have no finish line.

I know this all too well, as I have a number of loved ones who struggle with depression, including my teenage daughter.

One thing that hurts my heart is the way we Christians can, even innocently and unintentionally, minimize the feelings and the daily struggle of those who battle depression. I know I’ve done this myself, even as I strive to be an ally and supportive sister in Christ. The truth is I don’t understand their plight because I don’t have depression myself. And while I can relate, having been through depressive periods in my life and valleys that had me on my knees crying out to the Lord, it’s really not the same.

For some of my loved ones, depression looks like an almost constant fight. Some days are good, but some are not. And on the bad days, it feels like there will never be a bright tomorrow in this earthly world. Meanwhile, those without the disorder seem almost radiant in comparison, as if they have no cares in the world and an almost oppressively positive outlook.

Then there are the offhandedly judgy comments or suggestions my depressed loved ones have to experience…“What do you have to be depressed about? Just smile.” “You know, if you just prayed more or had more faith….” “You don’t really need medicine.” “Perhaps if you went for a walk, or joined this gym….” “Have you considered volunteering? Staying busy keeps your mind off yourself.”

The thing is, most people who battle depression have tried and continue to try all these. Their faith is strong, but the chemicals in their brain are on overdrive, resulting in a serious medical illness that negatively affects how they feel, think, and act. Sometimes, getting out of bed is a struggle.

I’m convinced that depression, as well as other physical and mental illness, are things the evil one uses to get a foothold and sabotage us in a persistent effort to wage war for souls. We all know there is a spiritual war going on, and some of us see it—I know I do. My eyes have been opened, and it’s waging all around us. Cancer, depression, all sorts of things are chinks in our armor as we join forces with other followers of Jesus Christ to stand strong for the Lord, for good, against evil.

But they are also chinks that God can use for His glory, for as Romans 8:28 promises, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).

God has a purpose and a job, sometimes many jobs, for each of us in God’s mighty and heavenly army, even those of us still alive on earth. But that purpose is not always obvious, and sometimes—especially when depression blinds us to even the possibility that we might have such a purpose—we lose sight. The battle is hard. The dark is oppressive.

But we are children of the light, even if we don’t always feel that way because of the mood disorders or physical ailments we fight.

I’ve found there are things that can help people experiencing depression. Just like people battling diabetes are helped with insulin, or cancer with chemotherapy and radiation, people with depression often are helped by medication and therapy. A nutritious diet and daily exercise, even just light walking, also can be a tremendous help. It might not improve things significantly, but it can keep things from getting much, much worse.

But solidarity helps, too. Knowing they have the support, sympathy, and empathy of other people can be huge. Knowing they have value in spite of their illness feels good and encourages them to press on.

It also helps to understand other people who have made a difference in God’s kingdom battled depression, too—people like Moses, King David, the prophet Elijah, the prophet Jeremiah, and many others. I wrote an article as few years ago for that dives into what the Bible says about depression, and it helps me to know other people God has used also experienced depression, anxiety, and other things:

If you struggle with depression, whether because it’s an extraordinarily difficult period in your life right now or because you have a long-term mood disorder, please know I’m praying for you. And if I can pray for you specifically, please reach out.

If you love someone with depression, keep praying for them and loving them. Their battle can be invisible, but it is fully real and incredibly difficult.

Remember: When one of us in the body of Christ hurts, we all hurt. Let’s come together in love and support, whatever that looks like. Together, may we heed the words the apostle Paul wrote to his young mentee, Timothy, as we strive to bring heaven on earth for eternity:

“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12 NLT).

Let’s Pray: Lord, help me to be a supportive ally to my Christian brothers and sisters struggling with depression. Help me to wage war against evil with them and not be yet another stumbling block they must endure. Use me for Your ultimate glory, Lord. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Better” by Jessica Reedy. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

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

She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at She has a weekly YouTube devotional and podcast. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How to remember special moments with God

Revisiting Your Altars
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

"The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord." –Genesis 12:7-8 (NIV)

Of all the people who lived during his era, Abram was selected by God to be the ancestor through whom the Messiah would come. Abram was on a mission to complete a family migration from the area near Iran to the area that now encompasses Israel and Palestine. While on the journey Abram experienced an epiphany. He literally conversed with God.

When the conversation ended, Abram built an altar, a place of worship, a spiritual landmark. As he safely journeyed further, he built altars and worshipped God at the places where he lodged. Travelers behind Abram would know by these altars that special moments had occurred in these places.

Abram’s spiritual journey is mapped by his altars. The milestone events in his life were memorialized by the altars that he built. Among his progeny, this ritual persisted. Centuries later when the descendants of Abram crossed the Jordan River, emancipated from centuries of slavery, they collected stones and they also built an altar (Joshua 4:6-7).

What are the spiritual markers in your life that remind you of interventions and epiphanies in your past? Each one can stand alone as a devotional exercise. They can create a praise perspective and usher you into a hope-filled and optimistic attitude for your current challenges. Each altar says that God was with you. His presence in your past can assure you of His care for you now.

If you have never marked the milestones of your spiritual journey, perhaps it is a good idea for you now. The altars in Abram’s era were often simply, stacked stones. Contemporary altars can be tangible, spatial, art, or prose. Begin by making a timeline of your life.

Mark the moments of the big or meaningful moments. Riding your bike successfully. Skating confidently. First crush on someone special. Baptism? Driving. Graduation. As you review your milestones, do you remember interacting with God or feeling some kind of transcendence?

When my grandson first rode his bicycle without training wheels, he had a spiritual moment. He stopped his bike and asked me what I heard as he rode. I said, “I don’t hear anything.” He said, “I do. Because I don’t hear the training wheels, I hear the birds singing and the cars going by on the other street, and I hear myself singing.”

Then he rode off singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know…”

It was a surreal and spiritual moment for me too. At the most ecstatic moment of his young life, he spontaneously sang to praises God. He and I fondly remember that day. He has had other milestone moments and marks them similarly. I do also. What about you?

I encourage you to spend some time thinking on the latest spiritual moment in your life and build an altar. Not an idol, but an altar. Don’t worship the altar, worship the God who created and facilitated your special moment.

As we approach the season of reflection upon the resurrection, Easter, focusing on how the real and living Savior (Jesus Christ) is present in our lives is a good idea and exercise.

Let’s Pray:

Dear God, thank You for today and the ability to remember and reflect upon how You have guided us in the past. May we find strength and confidence to live this day with courage and boldness because we are assured that as You have been with us in the past, You will guide us safely through today and tomorrow. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Goodness of God” by CeCe Winans. 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,