Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How to have faith in God and trust Him

Trusting God's Process
A devotional by Monique M. Anderson

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." 
–Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Before this season, no one could question my trust in God.

I would undeniably tell you, “I trust God.”

I could provide you with a list of past ways He came through for me. I could give you all the many names He has that prove His character: Jehovah Jireh (provider), Jehovah Nissi (banner), Jehovah Gibbor (mighty), Jehovah Rapha (healer), etc.

I thought there was no area of my life where I did not completely give God my all and fully surrender. I never thought I doubted Him nor feared whether or not He would come through. On the contrary, I was confident and sure of who my God was and what He could do in every situation in my life.

That is until it came to helping my teen through her growing pains. Of course, as parents, we want to protect our children from experiencing any pain or difficulty. It is our instinct to protect them. However, God has been showing me that His process for her healing will have trouble and some pain. This reality has been hard for me to process and give God full reign over her.

In this season of her healing, I realized I had not fully surrendered her to Him. I was not trusting her in His hands. I was not trusting the process she would have to go through for His will to be done. For the first time, I realized I had a gray area with God.

Anytime it looked like things were getting worse, I would question Him. I would question His tactics and reasoning. I knew He was there, but why does it look like this? One day, while I was journaling my feelings to God, He led me to Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV), “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

I have heard this scripture numerous times and referenced it often. However, this time it was different. The Holy Spirit led me to study it a bit deeper and not just look at the surface of the words. I decided to look up the word “trust” and was shocked at its meaning. The word trust in this scripture means to “lie helpless facedown” (according to the Enduring Word Commentary) or “to throw one down upon his face; lie extended on the ground” (according to the Blue Letter Bible). Bible Hub gives a depiction of being “a helpless infant”.

These definitions provided me with a visual of what trusting God looks like. It made me ask myself questions like these: Am I fully trusting God? Have I lied on my face helplessly in front of Him? Have I been as helpless as an infant? I considered an infant and how they cannot do anything independently. Someone has to do everything for them, even hold up their head. They must depend on someone to feed them, change them, and bathe them. Therefore, they are entirely in the care of someone else.

This is an example of how God needs us to trust Him. He needs us to remain entirely in His care. We need to allow Him to take care of all the needs we cannot take care of ourselves. We need to lay helpless in front of Him. We need to relinquish whatever control we think we have and let Him feed us, change us, and wash us clean. I realized this season with my stepdaughter is not just for her but also for me. Not only is God working on changing her heart, but mine as well.

Going deeper, I looked up the word “understanding” and found it means not to lean on your intellect and insight. We can't depend on what we think we know. Our intelligence, although given to us by God, cannot compare to His. Whatever we think we understand about a situation, our level of intelligence can never grasp what God is truly doing. We cannot lean on what we think we know or understand, or see. We could never comprehend what God does in the midst of our circumstance that we don't see. This is when we lay flat on our faces and let God be God.

In addition, we must acknowledge Him in all our ways by inviting Him into every area of our lives. Invite Him into every decision, even the most mundane things. Even in something we don't think requires God's approval and guidance, from the things we want to purchase online to where we want to go on our next vacation. Inviting Him into every space of our lives allows Him to direct our paths.

Once God revealed that I wasn't trusting Him with everything, I realized I had some work to do. First, I had to repent for my unbelief, fear, and rebellion. Also, I had to trust the process for my stepdaughter's healing. I had to rely on the bad days as well as the good. I had to trust Him when she would stumble or fall. I have to trust Him when things look like there is no improvement. I have to allow the pain and the struggle because endurance and character are built through the pain and struggle. She must go through God's process, and I must trust that.

I trust she will come out on the other side, beaming God's glory. I have to believe that she will come out looking just like Jesus Christ.

This is not easy. This is something that I have to work on daily. First, I wake up praising God for His new grace and mercies that are new every morning. Then I die to my own flesh and understanding, lay helpless at His feet, and give her to Him daily. It is work, but I am strengthened when I lay my burdens at my Heavenly Father's feet.

Whatever your struggle to hand over to God entirely, I encourage you to be as helpless as an infant with your Heavenly Father. Let Him hold up your head through whatever trial you face this season. Bring Him into every thought and every decision. Then and only then will He be able to direct your path.

Let's Pray:
Father God, I lay at your feet. I lay helpless, face down, knowing nothing. I let go of my own understanding and intellect to receive Your wisdom. Father, please hold my head up during this trying time. I need Your embrace and comfort, and strength. Father, I trust you now. I truly trust you now. Forgive me for only giving you parts of me. I relinquish all to you now. Do whatever you need to do. Whatever you want, Lord, I present to you. I thank you in advance for who I will become after this storm passes. I am grateful that I will look more like you, and I will be able to testify of your goodness. In Jesus's name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“God Will Work It Out" by Maverick City. 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, May 29, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: God is still with you in the heavy seasons of life

God is There in the Heavy Seasons
A devotional by Heidy De La Cruz

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
–Psalms 147:3 (NIV)

The time in between August 2020 and March 2021 was a heavy grieving season for me. My grandfather died in August 2020, I suffered a miscarriage in November 2020, and my mother-in-law died in March 2021. Fortunately, if you can say that, this wasn’t my first season of grief. I learned the hardship of grief early in life. When I was only 23, my biological mother passed away suddenly.

You don’t think about the passing of your mother. Although it’s possible, you tend to think of her as immortal—someone who will always be there for you. That wasn’t the case for me. Everyone around me still had their mothers, so no one could understand my pain. They didn’t know the void in my chest that never leaves, the constant heaviness that hurt even to breathe. They didn’t understand that a part of me died and I would never be the same.

Since I had already endured the pain of losing a loved one, I thought I knew how this season of grief would be. However, I thought wrong. Each season is different because your relationship with each person is different. Losing a baby is another type of grief, but I’ll leave that story for another day. One difference in this season from the first was my relationship with God was stronger. I want to share three things that helped me in my most recent season of grief.

Point #1: Talking about my memories with my grandfather

My grandfather lived with us since I was 16 years old. We lived in a humble two-bedroom house. I slept in the living room while he slept in my room. My grandfather was involved in many milestones of my life. For example, I took my driver’s test with his car. He helped me purchase my first car. He was present for my high school graduation. When I was younger, I was told that he would go to a children’s boutique in the Dominican Republic to purchase a dress for me as a birthday gift. He did that for the first five years of my life. My mom would then get professional pictures taken of me in the dresses. To this day, I still have the pictures. Sharing all these stories and memories with whoever would listen was helpful for me.

Point #2: Going on a trip to the beach

My husband’s birthday is August 13. Hoping to celebrate, I planned a trip for us to Ana Maria Island. My grandfather passed on August 10—just three days before the trip. I was so conflicted if we should continue with our plans. I wanted to celebrate my husband’s birthday, but I didn’t want to seem insensitive to the situation. Since we couldn’t receive a full refund, we went for three instead of going for four days. I am so glad we went. It’s hard to continue your day-to-day routine when your heart is so heavy, and this trip helped us get out of routine. It gave me time away from everyone to process my feelings and distract my mind for a few days. Also, I feel the closest to God at the beach, which was therapeutic for me.

Point #3: Staying rooted in God’s Word (The Holy Bible)

As I mentioned above, you can’t do business as usual when your heart is heavy. So, your schedule and routine are all messed up. However, in this season of grief, I was intentional about continuing to read the Bible. I continued my daily Bible study plan and enjoyed reading the Bible at the beach. Listening to worship music while going through the miscarriage was comforting. During my mother-in-law’s passing, I signed up for an online Bible Study. Although I couldn’t log on to the calls, I continued to do the study. This helped me stay mentally and emotionally stable.

These three things listed above helped me during my heavy season of grief.

I know that everyone processes grief differently, and grief doesn’t look the same for everyone, but I hope my experience can help one person. If you haven’t experienced grief, I hope you save this message and use it as a resource to help you during that difficult time.

I want to leave you with a Bible verse that came up multiple times during this season and reminded me that God was with me. Psalms 147:3 (NIV) says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

God can heal your broken heart if you let Him. May His love fill the void in your heart.

Let’s Pray: Lord, I pray for anyone who may be going through a season of grief that they feel your presence. I pray they draw closer to you and feel your embrace. Please provide the comfort and strength you provided to me during my heavy grieving season to them. Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessings, in your name, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “He Will Carry Me” by Mark Schultz. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Heidy De La Cruz is daughter of Christ, a wife, and a mother. 

She writes poetry and encouraging spiritual blog posts.

Heidy shares her faith and life in hopes of encouraging women. She hosts the podcast, "The American Dream in The Eye of Immigrants" where immigrants share their stories about moving to the United States of America.

Heidy holds a master's degree in Healthcare Administration and bachelor's degree in Psychology. She works as a Medical Coding Specialist.

In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, watching movies, and spending time with her husband and two kids.

Connect with Heidy:


Friday, May 26, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Safety

A Promise of Safety
A devotional by Essie Faye Taylor

“The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust: He himself will rescue you from the bird trap, from the destructive plague. He will cover you with his feathers; you will take refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord—my refuge, the Most High—your dwelling place, no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. For he will give his angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.” —Psalm 91:1-11 (CSB)

March 2020 was a time that paralyzed me with fear. 

It was a year filled with such uncertainty, tragedy and hopelessness. Thousands of people worldwide were diagnosed with COVID-19 with no solution in sight. The scariest thing for me was that the disease was airborne and there was no cure. Daily reports came in of people all over the world dying of this unknown disease. The world was in a frenzy. Schools, businesses and public places were closed indefinitely. The entire world was quarantined, to wait for the end, it seemed. My world, like that of many others during this experience, was rocked. I was shaken to the core. During this time—just like in other times of difficulty—my faith sustained me.

Life is filled with swift transitions. My experiences with COVID-19 was certainly one of those times. When the Coronavirus hit the scene, change was swift and startling. I was afraid and I questioned God. Where was God in all of this? Why had God allowed us to experience this sudden outbreak of disease? Why so many fatalities? What was God’s message in all of this? I had so many questions, yet no answers. In this state of fear, grief, and sadness, I fell to my knees and searched the scriptures for answers. I held to one truth: God is always present with us. Even in the storms of life that threaten to take us under, God is in control.

God promises safety, even in the face of grave danger. In Psalm 91 we are assured of God’s protection for those who trust in Him. Those who dwell in the secret place of God are those who live in His presence. Some would define the secret place as a place of prayer, a place of communion with God. In essence, the secret place is close relationship with God. Living under His shadow denotes following His ways. A shadow follows you because it is in close proximity with you. Your shadow is always with you, although it is only seen when you’re under the sun. These promises are for those in right relationship with God and those who follow His precepts, principles, beliefs and walk by faith with Him. The Bible says when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

God’s security is proactive. He will rescue us from things that intend to destroy us. He knows all and has the insight and foresight to rescue us from danger seen and unseen. He will deliver us from traps set by the enemy and diseases. He will be a protective shield against harmful actions, thoughts, and intentions. As we trust in His protection and provision, we can rest and let go of our fears.

God’s security is preventative. He will cover us with His wings. We can find refuge under them.

God covers us when danger is near. He gives His angels charge over us to keep us safe from evil. His angels have the responsibility to protect us from impending harm. God is in Heaven but closely watching over us here on Earth. He covers us and keeps us safe. He has also given us bodyguards (His angels) to keep us safe against diseases and all forms of harm. There is no need to fear the terrors of night, arrows that fly by day, fierce diseases that plague humankind because God is with us until the end of time (Matthew 28:20). We are safe in His care. Although we see danger on every side, it will not come near our tent because we trust in God’s promise for safety.

God’s faithfulness shields us from evil. He is on our side. We don’t need to fear, only trust Him.

Call to Action:
1. Confess your fears and give them to God. Receive His safety by faith. 
2. Let go of your fears, day by day. Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. It brings torment. Release your fears and embrace faith in God’s promise of safety.
3. Practice walking in faith in God's Word by using affirmations from His Word.
4. Practice renewing your mind and thinking right. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV). Fear that paralyzes us is not from God. He wants us to release the fear and embrace faith. We are to daily walk by faith as we follow Jesus Christ and rest in God’s safety. 
5. Remember: Our safety is secure in our relationship with God as we follow His precepts and principles in our daily living. He is faithful to shield us from harm.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your promise of safety. You have made provision for our safety daily. We are safe with You and You have promised to be with us always. You have also given Your angels the responsibility to keep us safe from dangers seen and unseen. Thank You for assuring me that I am safe. Help me to let go of my insecurities and fears. Show me how to receive Your promise of safety and walk by faith. Remove all doubt and increase my faith. Help me to rest in Your presence and in the knowledge that You are completely in control of every aspect of my life. Thank You, Father, for hearing my prayers and answering me. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection #1: “Psalm 91 (Live)” by Renew Collective. Listen to it here.

Song of Reflection #2:
“Tabernacle” by Karen Clark Sheard. 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, May 24, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When I learned how pain can be a blessing

The Blessing of Pain
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” –Luke 8:48 (KJV) 

“Isn’t it amazing that God gives us pain so that we know something is wrong?”

My sister’s words really made me stop and think. Our grandmother had just been rushed to the hospital because she was having severe pains in her abdomen. Her pain was an indication that something was internally wrong—something was not as it should be.

We often think of pain as a nuisance. We say that we could do more and be more if we had less pain in life—physical and emotional. Pain is something we seek to avoid and brush to the side. Often, our philosophy in life is “experience as much pleasure as possible and as little pain as possible”.

But what if we chose to see pain as a blessing? What if instead of running from pain and avoiding pain, we chose to take our pain to the Healer, Jesus Christ? He is the only one who can make us whole. What if we chose to see pain as an indication that something inside of us is not as it should be?

The verse I chose for this devotional is from the story of the woman with an issue of blood. You can read the whole story in Luke 8:40-48. For twelve years, this woman suffered in pain. She spent all the money she had searching for a cure or someone to help her. Nothing she did helped, but the pain she experienced continuously told her that something was wrong. Instead of pushing the pain aside or choosing to surrender to the pain in defeat, she understood that the pain was telling her that she was not whole. There was something wrong inside of her and she went to Jesus for the healing she needed.

We all experience pain in our lives. Pain proves that we live in a fallen world where heartache and burdens are inevitable. Pain is an indicator that there is something wrong and that we are not yet whole. Pain is something we will experience until we reach Heaven, but thankfully we know that we can always go to Jesus Christ with our pain. Jesus is still the Great Healer and He still gives the peace that passes all understanding.

Are you currently experiencing some kind of pain in your life? Consider this pain a blessing. God uses our pain to remind us that this world is not our home. We were made for Heaven and for eternal fellowship with God our Father. Allow the pain to remind you to take your burdens to God. It is only when we lay our pain at the feet of our Jesus, our Savior, and spend time in fellowship with Him that we can experience the wholeness we were made for.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord, thank You for the blessing of pain in our lives. Please grant us the courage to acknowledge our pain and bring our pain to You. Help us to seek wholeness in You alone. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Blessings” by Laura Story. 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, May 22, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Don't miss God when He's right in front of you

Disguised But Right in Front of You
A devotional by Kerry Sue Teravskis

But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”—Mark 14:61-62 (NIV)

My sister had dressed up for an event at church, completely disguising herself.

She became a pregnant blonde, and she was anything but that. She decided to leave it on when she picked up her new husband from the airport. Having known each other a long time before marriage, they easily would recognize one another.

Julie arrived in the airport, ready to meet her man. She was eager to see him and she was a sight. The travelers streamed off the plane and into the airport, not taking too much notice of her. She spied her husband, Jeff, first and waited for his reaction. To him, she was just a face in the crowd. Jeff remembered his wife as a brunette, a young bride and definitely not pregnant. She waited. As he nearly walked past her without recognizing his own wife, their eyes locked.

There was something familiar in those eyes to Jeff. The hair and her shape didn’t fit, but those eyes did. He burst out laughing as he realized what she had done, and she joined in the fun. Others laughed too as they saw this happy couple recognize each other, even though one was disguised.

When Jesus Christ was on earth, He made a point of telling others not to tell others about His identity. His time had not yet come. But most could not help themselves. He had done miracles, fed thousands, and healed many people. Naturally, the word got out. But many still chose not to believe or to see Him even though He was right in their midst.

We are told to walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), but while Jesus was on Earth, He was in plain sight. He did not disguise Himself. He was out in the open doing the work His Father sent Him to do (John 6:38). Many chose not to see.

They were looking for an impressive king, their Messiah who they expected would announce His advent with much pomp and circumstance. But Jesus came to Earth as a tiny baby born to humble and poor parents in a little town called Bethlehem. And then it was thirty years before He began His public ministry.

Jesus spent time with a rag tag group of followers, hung out with ‘sinners’ and answered only to His Father. He was in their midst, but for those who had eyes to see, there was understanding and belief.

Have you been looking for Jesus in your life and cannot find Him? Are you asking for His guidance but don’t see it? Could it be your vision is clouded or you are not looking into His eyes?

Jesus is right here with us and promises never to leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). But there may be times when we are so busy looking for the “wow” that we miss the humble. Just like the Pharisees were looking for an impressive King.

In my day-to-day I want immediate answers and quick responses from God. I am selfish and want what I want when I want it. But Jesus is asking me to trust Him, to look right in front of me because He is there—whether I see Him or not is up to me. His Presence could be bold and obvious, or it could come as a gentle whisper. He could walk on water (Mark 6:45-51) right beside me, or He could be holding the yoke open (Matthew 11:28-30) for me to step back into it. He could be serving me at the banquet table (Psalm 23:5) or He could be holding me in His lap (Hebrews 4:16).

The point is:
He is here. Now. In the present.

Am I seeing Him? Are you?

There may be times our vision is clouded by the cares of this world or the bells and whistles our enemy tries (and often succeeds) to distract us with. Let us keep our sights set on Jesus so our vision can be clear to see Him clearly and take comfort in knowing He truly is right here with us.

Let’s Pray:
Father God, thank You for being there for me, for others and being completely present. Please forgive me for looking in the wrong places and into the wrong eyes. You are whom I am honestly looking for and honestly seeking to lead me in this life. I am here, acknowledging You right beside me and it is good. In Your name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Know You’re There” by Casting Crowns. 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, May 19, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: God wants to carry you through tough times

He Will Carry Us
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”—Isaiah 46:4 (ESV)

Have you ever been afraid?

Maybe you’re afraid you won’t make a deadline at school or work, or maybe your fear runs deeper than that. Maybe you fear losing a loved one. Or maybe, you look at the state of our world and feel yourself start to tremble when you watch the news.

Or maybe it’s all the above.

We all have fears.

In stress, busyness, confusion, it can be difficult not to be afraid or worry. The enemy tempts us to be afraid, and then, he tries to keep us there.

Fear is crippling. If you have lived for any amount of time, then you know this. At some point, we have all wrestled with fear.

I believe that the enemy uses fear to try to hold us back from living our lives with full potential. Maybe we are afraid of the future, and we are terrified of stepping through a new door God has opened simply because we don’t know what’s on the other side.

Or maybe we are afraid of losing someone close to us.

I can’t claim to know the future. But I promise you this, that whatever you walk through in the days ahead, God will go with you. If God has opened a door, don’t be afraid to walk through it. He will go with you, and He won’t leave you alone.

Friend, do not be afraid. When everything around us looks dark and hopeless, there is still a glimmer of light. And you know what? I find that it is easier to truly see the light when everything else around us is dark. If there were no darkness, then I believe we would have no reason to long for the light.

This year has been a particularly hard one for my family, and just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, we received medical news that no one ever wants to hear.

It’s been hard, and we are afraid. I’m not going to deny that. But despite everything, God is with us. I feel it. He is wrapping His arms around us and holding us. He has reminded us of His promises and whispered softly that He will carry us. We’re going to come out on the other side, whatever that means. And in the meantime, He won’t leave us to walk alone.

Yet God has promised that He will never leave or forsake us. He has made us, He will bear our burdens with us, He will carry us, and save us.

Isn’t this such a beautiful picture?

What are you fearing today? I promise, friend, that God will not leave you to walk alone. During the times of our lives when we walk through something frightening, God will go with us. If we will let Him, He wants to carry us.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Father God,
Please forgive me for not trusting You when I am afraid. I know that I never walk alone and that You are with me no matter what. Please help me to live a life in peace and not in fear. I don’t want to live in fear anymore. Thank you for carrying me! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Will Carry You” by Ellie Holcomb. 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, May 17, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Jesus Christ can calm all the storms of life

A Perfect Storm
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”—Mark 4:37-41 (NIV)

Have you ever nearly drowned in a sea of difficulty that left you speechless?

That happened after I spent a week troubleshooting with Google. When a computer technician told me my Gmail account was unrecoverable, I had to find all my contacts from scratch, and I will never know what urgent emails I lost. To make matters worse, a friend refused to talk to me for no reason. I suffered a disabling injury, and a hopeful business relationship dissolved in a perfect storm that left my security underwater.

The dictionary by Merriam-Webster defines the term “a perfect storm” as “a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors”.

Despite our efforts to avoid them, the fiercest storms strike without warning. They leave us vulnerable and discouraged and force us out of our comfort zones. When they capsize our relationships, health, or finances then like the disciples, we wonder where Jesus went and why He didn't do something to prevent these storms in the first place.

As fishermen, the disciples of Jesus Christ knew the devastating impact a powerful storm could have on their livelihoods. Fighting the wind and the waves that day while Jesus was asleep made them wonder why He abandoned them when they needed Him most. But to their amazement, Jesus awoke, commanded the storm to cease, and they realized He had been in control all along.

If a tsunami has left a wake of destruction and you're left holding on for dear life, remember this:
Jesus isn't asleep, and your storm is no surprise to Him. While your struggle is real, nothing happens without a divine purpose (Romans 8:28). While your present difficulty is far from good, He can use it to increase your dependence on Him (2 Corinthians 1:8-9), build your character, strengthen your faith (1 Peter 1:6-7 and Romans 5:3-5), and give Him glory (Psalm 50:15).

Here are seven ways to stand firm in your faith when the storms of life are taking you under:

1. Be honest with Jesus. He already knows how you feel, but you'll feel better trusting Him with your concerns and leaving them there.

2. Remember His faithfulness in the past as you trace His hand through the trials you've overcome.

3. Lean on others for support. Burdens are easier to weather when you share them with caring friends.

4. Dwell on His Word, not the waves. The Bible has hundreds of promises tailored to your concerns that will build your faith and give you peace.

5. Trust His timing. Jesus sees beyond what you're going through to the benefits of letting you weather it. 

6. Pray for perspective. You are not alone. Think of others you can encourage who are also struggling. This may help you feel better in the process.

7. Ask Him for wisdom.
Jesus promises to guide and lead you through difficulty when you ask in faith (James 1:5).

Let's Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for controlling the storms I face. When the waves threaten to engulf me, help me trust You to carry me safely to shore. Help me to remember when You command the storm to cease, I will be stronger, wiser, and grateful for the lessons I've learned. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Let the Waters Rise” by Mikeschair. 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, May 15, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When Jesus Christ Made the Blind Man See

When Jesus Christ Made the Blind Man See

A devotional by Angela Anderson

Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”–John 9:39 (NLT)

In the Bible, there is a story in the book of John, chapter 9, about a man who was blind from birth. When Jesus and His disciples saw the man, the disciples asked Jesus if the man was blind because of his own sin or the sins of his parents. Jesus explained to the disciples that the man’s blindness had nothing to do with sin, but there was a greater purpose involved in the moment.

As the story progresses, Jesus spit in the dirt to form mud. Jesus then put the mud on the blind man’s eyes and instructed him to wash in the pool of Siloam. When the blind man did what Jesus commanded him to do, the blind man returned to Jesus with the ability to see.

The people who knew the man and his parents were confused. They could not understand why this person who was once blind could now see. The Pharisees and the lawmakers were also confounded. They started an investigation to somehow make sense of how this blind man received sight. They did not want to accept the fact that a miracle was just performed. They chose not to give the glory to God, instead they ended up dismissing the man from the synagogue.

Who was blind in this story? The logical answer would be the man who had been blind since birth, but when you look at the story in greater detail, it is apparent that he was not the only one who was blind. True, he was physically blind, but what about the others who were spiritually blind?

The disciples were spiritually blind when they tried to assign blame for a human being’s problem instead of seeing the opportunity for God to reveal His power. Jesus opened the eyes of the disciples by performing a miracle that day. The people and the Pharisees were spiritually blind when they questioned the man’s identity and whether he was even born blind. They closed their eyes to God’s divine power and intervention, and rejected the evidence that was right in front of them.

Even now, God is trying to get our attention, but all of us suffer with some degree of visual impairment. Spiritual blindness is sinful when we refuse to see Jesus. We only see what we expect to see or what we want to see, instead of looking for evidence of what God is doing in our lives.

We must ask the question, how can I be a part of God’s vision for my life? And then look beyond our predicament and focus on the possibilities.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, Open our eyes so that we may see you working in our lives. Help us to believe that you are waiting to do exceedingly and abundantly above anything we could ever ask or think. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Please Don’t Pass Me By” sung by Fred Hammond. 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, May 12, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning how to trust God and walk by faith

How to Trust God and Walk by Faith
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 
–Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

Because of some lower back issues, I’ve been going to physical therapy.

After several sessions, I’m much stronger and the pain is greatly decreased. During every appointment, my physical therapist (PT) continually works to increase mobility and to strengthen the weakness in my spine. He’s thoughtful and focused on his plan to help me get well.

One day my PT placed a long, stretchy exercise band around my waist. Facing him, I was told to walk backward as he held the other end of the band. Surprised by his request, I looked up in amazement, but he reassured me that he would watch where we were going. Gulping, I clutched the band around me with white knuckles and began to watch his face. We began to talk as we walked, and after a few steps, I let go of the bands that encircled me.

At first my steps were hesitant, but soon I was walking freely. Of course, walking backward isn’t something we like to do. We want to know where we’re going. We desperately want to avoid all obstacles. We are constantly vigilant for anything that might cause us pain.

Essentially, unfortunately, we walk in fear, not trust.

During that session, my strong sense of self-preservation was released as soon as I let go and let my PT guide me. This brother-in-Christ was taking good care of me, and as we walked, we began to compare it to our walk with the Lord.

God’s desire is for us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). I didn’t need to see anything except my PT. My fingers gripping the band did not help me a bit, but as I focused on God’s care for me (portrayed in the humble form of a fellow believer) it gave me a glimpse of what faith and trust look like.

I don’t have to see what’s coming at me because God already knows all about it. I don’t have to see where my next step will take me because God already sees the best path for me.

We all know that trusting God isn’t easy. Fear and doubt want to creep into our minds. We’re much like the Apostle Peter when Jesus Christ walked on the water in the terrible storm. In faith, Peter stepped out of the boat. Everything was fine until he started looking around at the sea raging around him instead of the Lord’s face. Sinking, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30) Jesus did. And He will save the rest of us who are His frail, fearful children, too.

Life can sometimes be a complete mess. As we open our eyes each new day, we have no idea what’s coming our way. It might be a flood, a fire, a tornado, a bumpy relationship, a sudden job loss, or even the death of someone we love. We’re left reeling from the impact of these unexpected storms.

But we look up like Peter did, into the face of our Lord. God saw it before it happened, and He alone knows what’s best for us. Nothing happens behind His back or without His knowledge or permission. Our trust in Him gives us confidence to go on with life. He faithfully guides us over, under, and through every situation. We can let go and watch Him work His perfect plan for each life.

Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, You who reign Supreme on Earth and in Heaven, please open our eyes to see Your gracious care for us. Please increase our faith and allow us to trust in Your perfect plans. Thank You, Lord. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Walk by Faith” (2020 version) by Jeremy Camp. Listen to it here. *Note: This song is from the movie “I Still Believe” based on the true story of Jeremy Camp’s first wife. Watch the movie trailer here. Buy the book about this story too. The title is I Still Believe: A Memoir and it’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the purchase link on

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, May 10, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning what the Bible says about love

How to Fully Love Others
A devotional by Dr. Jessica B. Turner

“A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 
–Matthew 22:39 (NLT)

If you go to church, study the Bible, read Christian books or listen to faith-based podcasts, then you have most likely heard the commands Jesus Christ gave in the Scripture above.

If you are anything like me, you have likely heard it so many times that you don’t give it much thought anymore. We know we are called to love our neighbors. That is one of the first things you learn as a Christian. We may even understand that Jesus was talking about our literal neighbors as well as those across the ocean.

Plain and simple: We are called to love.

That should be easy enough, right? Yet it’s not. I struggle to love the way Jesus calls us to, especially when my “neighbor” is someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do.

But what about when it’s also difficult to love people who are like us? I believe the answer is in the latter part of Christ’s command. We tend to hear the part telling us to “love your neighbor” but we somehow gloss over “as yourself.”

This should prompt us to ask the question, “How do I love myself?”

If you struggle to answer that question honestly, you are not alone. I was in your shoes not too long ago. However, I’ve learned during my walk with God that it is extremely hard to love the way He calls us to when we don’t even love ourselves.

When I first gave my life to Jesus, I was broken. I had decades of buried trauma that I never fully acknowledged or attended to. Even as an adult, I saw myself as the little girl who was never good enough for my peers. This belief led to me feeling inadequate as a wife and a mother. No matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t seem to love myself the way I longed to. That is until I invited Jesus into healing my past wounds.

For once, I began to see myself the way Jesus saw me. Not through the lens of this world but as a daughter of the King of Kings! It was then that I realized the reason I always struggled with loving others freely was because I didn’t love myself the way God loves me. As soon as I opened my heart to His love, I was able to share it with others.

Today, I hope you see that you, too, are loved more than you will ever be able to comprehend! Such an understanding should encourage you to love in such a way that others experience a little piece of Heaven when they are with you.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me the way You do! Open my eyes to how You see me. Soften my heart so I may receive the fullness of Your love for me. When my self-image becomes hazy and the world begins to dictate my worth, help me to hear Your words of love and encouragement over all the noise. Fill me with Your love. Allow it to overflow so my love for others may reflect You. I love You and I trust You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris. 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, May 8, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When you cannot see past your pain

What Do We Do With Our Pain?
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
—Psalm 27:13 (ESV)

Perhaps you’ve read the Bible story about Job. He was a godly man who was taken through horrible, seemingly inexplicable suffering. Yet in the end, he not only received much more than he’d had before, he also had a much closer walk with the Lord. He spent the rest of his days confessing that a deeper intimacy with God was worth all that he’d endured.

I think of my own story. From the time I was 12 years old, bouts of chemical imbalance led to severe anxiety attacks, depression, and a form of PTSD. I also experienced my parents’ divorce at age 8 and the sudden, unexpected death of my mother when I was 26 years old.

There is a phrase that does not appear in the Bible, yet the principle bears out: “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% what you choose to do about it.”

I can look back and identify how that principle has held true in my own life. I see it in the lives of my children, and as an author, I see it as I develop my characters’ stories. Some allow the crises of their lives to harden their hearts against God until they begin to see everything that happens to them as a sign that God doesn’t love them, or that He is not good, or that He does not exist. In extreme cases, they become completely different people, hurting others and destroying their own lives.

I find myself contrasting these characters with the ones who know that something is wrong, desire to change, but do not yet know how. They continue to hope in God’s promises and at the right time, God begins to make a way for them. They find themselves willing to climb the highest mountain or cross the farthest sea. They are willing to accept the difficult, painful process because they believe in the promise of Psalm 27:13 (ESV).

I have been reflecting on the example left to me by my mother. In spite of all the difficulties of her life, she left a beautiful legacy of choosing to be the latter of the two contrasted individuals. I know that when she looked at herself, she saw someone whose faith was spotty and shaky at best. A woman who had had three husbands and lost six children through abortion and miscarriages. But God saw something different. I can say with the utmost confidence that what I remember about her looks far more like what He saw than what she did. I saw then, and I still see now, someone who never gave up believing in the goodness of God.

My mother’s life purpose was always God’s will, even when things went wrong, and even when she knew she’d failed. At those times, she’d fall down at the feet of her Savior (Jesus Christ), open her arms wide to Him, confess her sin and acknowledge His Lordship over her life.

I want to be like that, and if possible, I want to do even better than she did. I want to live a life of believing Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV), in which God promises us, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I know that sometimes, His plans for good are not always going to look good from my perspective. Perhaps that is why my mother loved B.M. Franklin’s poem "The Weaver" so much. The second stanza reads:

Oft times He weaveth sorrow

And I in foolish pride,

Forget He sees the upper,

And I the underside. 

Sometimes, past fears trigger us and we find it difficult to trust that what God is doing is truly for the best. We remember past times when He did not do what we wanted, and it is easy to take that to mean He is not good. May we humbly seek to align our will with His, and ask that He open our eyes to see how everything He does is for our good.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Jesus, I thank You that as a master weaver, you see the finished product of my life’s tapestry long before the loom is even prepared. May I be willing to accept sorrow and difficulty, and trust that I will see Your goodness in it. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “The Master's Hand” by Annie Herring. 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, May 5, 2023

My Review of Sun Moon (movie)

Today, I have another Pure Flix 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 but 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 Sun Moon. The main idea for this movie, in words from the producers, is: Kelsey is running from failure, heartbreak and humiliation. In an attempt to understand God’s purpose for her life, she goes to Taiwan to teach English. Will her leap of faith pay off?

I watched this marvelous movie before it was made available for viewing on Pure Flix. It made me laugh out loud, cry for a moment, sigh several times, smile at one point in almost every scene, and seriously crave some bubble tea at the end!

Now for my review: 

Sun Moon
is a beautiful story about how God can turn your heartache into hope and make your life a blessing to others along the way. This movie is filled with faith, hope, love, second chances, sweet school children and characters who have a heart for helping each other. The storyline is filled with highs, lows, twists and turns that will keep the viewing audience engaged. It may even make you want to sip some bubble tea (you'll have to watch the movie to find out why). I loved everything about this wonderful movie and it encouraged me in my real-life journey of learning how to step out on faith and follow God's lead where He may send me. Let me highlight a few main points about Sun Moon

MacKenzie Mauzy, the actress who played Kelsey, did a delightful job of portraying this character from heartbreak to hope. She stayed in character throughout the movie’s highs, lows, twists and turns. I’m also impressed how in one scene, she climbed over a very tall gate after-hours so she could return to her apartment. I was hoping she wouldn’t get hurt. The movie watcher may identify with Kelsey’s story—especially those who have experienced being left at the altar in real life. But the story doesn’t end with the pain of jilted bride, it only begins there! This is a wonderful reminder about how God can use our pain to catapult us into our purpose.

Kelsey finds her purpose in Taiwan and her life is forever changed in a very good way! Who knew that answering a call to be a missionary would be just what she needed? Just like in real-life, God knew! Oftentimes, we can forget that God has us right where He wants us to be and we cannot mess up His plan for our lives because the Bible says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

I also like that the storyline showed that despite Kelsey leaving her church and abandoning her faith in God for a while, God never left her alone to do life on her own. He continued to be with her every step of the way even when she tried to run away from Him and push Him away. This is a beautiful portrayal of God’s love that endures forever not just in faith-based fiction stories or in Christian movies, but in the real world.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that Sun Moon should win an award! It was delightfully done in a way that will educate, inspire and encourage viewers to seek God's plan for their life and follow it fearlessly. This movie will touch your heart and help you hope again just when you thought all hope was lost.

Themes of this movie included:

· Keeping up appearances/your image

· Learning new cultures

· Loving all of God’s people, being afraid of losing loved ones/sick relatives

· Being angry at God for how events unfolded

· Moving forward after loss or unplanned events, healing

· Friendship

· Learning to trust in His timing

· Struggling with disappointment and loss of faith

· God uses everything, even the hurt and pain

· Finding confidence

· How to walk through difficult and challenging times

· There is a season for everything

· Grieving loss

· God will push us out of comfort zone (all the way to Taiwan)

· The difference we make in the lives of other people

· “God did not burn you” your boyfriend did

· Choosing to not blame God in difficult situations

· Overcoming adversity

Sun Moon 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 Sun Moon movie trailer:

Jean Thomason from Momentum Influencer Network interviewed Sydney Tooley, writer and director for Sun Moon. 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 and ends on May 12, 2023. If you're participating in the giveaway for Sun Moon, 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.

#SunMoonMIN #MomentumInfluencerNetwork 


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

Devotionals for the Heart: The Plan

Succession Planning
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” –Acts 1:26 (NKJV)

Succession planning is an imperative in corporate as well as church leadership. It really is an imperative in family planning and life mapping too.

God, through Moses, prepared Joshua to pick up the reins of leadership when Moses transitioned. Elijah prepared Elisha.

After Jesus Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas overcome with guilt, intentionally and permanently absented himself from the other apostles. In Acts 1:15-26, the disciples, 120 of them, then led by Peter, deliberated about filling the vacancy among the apostles. There were two criteria for the candidates who would be considered. These men had to be long- term followers of Christ. They had to be witnesses of all that Jesus had done. From His baptism by John the Baptist, to Christ’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension, the replacement for Judas had to be one who had witnessed all of it. They prayerfully submitted their votes for Justus and Matthias. Matthias was chosen to be the new 12th Apostle. This group of 120 disciples, 11 of them Apostles, knew each other so well that they could pick two men out, one of whom would make his new role the personal fulfillment of God’s expected end for him.

This prompted me to think about my social network. Most of us are believers and have strong testimonies and spiritual experiences. But, if I could not testify, who would I want to stand in my place and share his or her experiences with God through Jesus Christ? If you were transported back to that moment in time and were a participant, who in your network would you vote for?

If the answer to that question is hard, and you can’t find two names among your many friends, that may be a divine signal that you need more godly people in your network. If your friends were similarly transported back to that moment in time, do you think that any of them would nominate you? If not, maybe that is a sign that it is time for some focused spiritual growth.

The plan of the living God marches on the feet of determined, delivered saints who are growing in grace and in their witness of and to the love of God. Are you marching among them? If a leader in your fellowship of faith fell to death, failure or crisis, would you be willing to step up like Justus and Matthias were?

Who do you follow? Are you ready to pick up their mantle? Who will follow you? Are you preparing them for success? What legacy of faith and imprint of ministry are you leaving, day by day? Let’s pray and ask God to focus us and facilitate our growth as we help others in their preparation to serve.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for the life that You have given us. Help us to make our time on Earth matter and our influence count in the lives of others. If we are seniors, help us prepare the younger ones by our example. If we are young, help us to find meaningful mentors who will prepare us for our time to shine. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

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,