Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Following God's will and trusting His timing

Aligning God’s Will with His Timing
A devotional by Monique M. Anderson

Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.”
–John 7:6 (NKJV)

In John 7:6, Jesus Christ’s brothers urge him to prove he is the Messiah by revealing himself in Judea at the Feast of Tabernacles. They wanted him to show up in a grand way to make himself known to the public. However, Jesus knew the Jews sought to kill Him and did not want to walk into Judea.

According to the Blue Letter Bible, time in Greek is “Kairos”. It means due measure. It represents a suitable or seasonable time, the right time, and a limited period of time. Kairos refers to waiting for the right opportunity or moment to reveal itself. Kairos is not a form of time that is counted or calculated. It is knowing when the circumstances are most suitable to take action.

Afterward, in John 7:10, Christ’s brothers leave him to attend the feast. Shortly after, Jesus also makes his way to the feast in secret. He did not make the grand entrance His brothers wanted him to. However, once He arrived, He went into the temple to teach.

I wondered why Jesus initially turned down the invitation to participate in the feast, then decided to attend in secret, only to make himself known in the temple by teaching, knowing that this would gather a crowd.

I soon realized that God’s will was not for Jesus to make a grand entrance. The opportune time (kairos) was not to be bold and grand in his arrival but to be bold and grand in his teaching. Christ’s teachings were a part of God’s will. He was not to be known for His controversy but as the son of God, Rabbi, and Savior.

In John 7:30 (NKJV), the Bible says, “Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.”

I noticed that the author used the word “hour” instead of “time” in this verse. Hour is “ora” in Greek, and according to the Blue Letter Bible, it means a certain definite time or season fixed by natural law and returning with the revolving year. Other definitions are “the daytime (bounded by the rising and setting of the sun)” hour, in this text, refers to the Chronos time, which is a specific amount of time or time of day.

Although the kairos (opportunity) was there, the Jews could not lay a hand on Jesus because it was not yet chronos (time). Some things may be God’s will but not yet His time.

Do you find yourself looking to pursue God’s will, but nothing seems to be working out? You’ve tried to set up the meeting, make the phone call, or send the email, but something constantly blocks it. It may be the right opportunity, not the right time or the right time but the wrong opportunity.

God’s will is in complete alignment with His timing. If the two don’t seem to be coming together, you may need to step back and ask, "What must I do first?"

Jesus still had work to do on earth before His death. The Jews could not capture Him then because He still had to forgive an adulterer woman, give a blind man sight, and raise the dead. What do you have left to do for God’s will and time align in your life?

Your arrival when starting to pursue God’s will may not be grand. You may not get noticed the moment you enter the door if God intends that for you. However, when you enter in secret and stand in your rightful place doing the work you came to do, people will notice your impact. That will be the right opportunity to fulfill God’s will as your Heavenly Father who knows best.

Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Father, I pray that you align me perfectly with your will and timing. Please give me the wisdom to know the right time and appropriate opportunity to fulfill your will for my life. Keep me in step with you, Lord. Holy Spirit, I patiently wait for your guidance and prompting. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “In His Time” by Maranatha! Music. 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, August 28, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: When you want to know the heart of God

The Heart of God
A devotional by Kerry Sue Teravskis

“For He does not afflict willingly and from His heart or grieve the children of men.”
—Lamentations 3:33 (AMP)

Having been in a long season of suffering (8+ years total and counting), whenever I see the word affliction in Scripture, I apply the brakes. I ask myself questions like, “What is the circumstance surrounding this verse and what are the promises I can hold onto? And how does it point me to Jesus?”

About ten years ago I prayed Philippians 3:10 because I wanted to know Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in his death.

I was focused more on knowing Christ. Now I am starting to realize God was sanctifying me in all three areas, not just in the knowing. Knowing sounds romantic, feels good and “easy”. Understanding His power is for the super-spiritual (this was my thought process at the time), and I was wanting to work up to this level. Suffering? Well, that was for the uber-spiritual like Corrie ten Boom, Jim Elliot, Hudson Taylor, Billy Graham, Amy Carmichael.

God’s ways are not my ways and that is good because God’s plans and actions are far above anything I could possibly ask or imagine. My hard-working efforts and pursuit of my dreams stop at the ceiling. But God’s ways of providing and blessing His children are limitless.

Why do I settle when He has so much more? I truly wanted to know Christ in a very real and intimate way. Deeper than I had ever gone before. I wanted to know everything about Him that I could possibly acquire. Everything.

I think God understood that prayer.

Jeremiah beautifully explains his thought process in Lamentations 3. He declares and mourns his lot in life. Yes, things were bad. Awful, in fact. But he turns a corner in verse 21, saying, “Yet this I recall to mind and therefore I have hope.”

Jeremiah continues to spell out God’s character, His compassion, His faithfulness, His goodness. He speaks of God’s heart and wants to follow His will. It’s all there. We have a front seat in Jeremiah’s prayer closet, and it is overwhelmingly intimate. One can feel the anguish, the release, the worship, and the honesty of a child with his Abba Daddy.

Want to know the heart of God? Read the third chapter of Lamentations. Want to recall to mind the goodness of God because it’s been awhile since you’ve actually remembered God is good? Life happens and life can get messy, upside down and painful. When we recall to mind God, our God, something breaks: We do. Our stubborn hearts begin to crack, and we allow God to come in. We allow Him to have His way.

As we read Lamentations 3:33, we learn God does not willingly afflict His children. It’s that word willingly that catches the heart. But, because He is a good Father, He knows there are times when affliction and suffering will be the best teacher. We learn that God is Sovereign. Lamentations 3:37 (NIV) accurately describes the Sovereignty of God: “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?”

Everything filters through God’s hand. Let me say that again: Everything filters through God’s hand. Everything like pain, sorrow, suffering, trials, tribulations, scorn and mockery from others, bad things and good things. Since God is Sovereign it means He is always in charge of everything and everyone— including me and including you. He is aware of everything that happens here on this Earth and throughout the universe. You cannot pull the wool over His eyes.

The enemy wants us to believe certain things don’t matter or because God has so many other children and an universe to care for, He’s too busy to help us. Nothing could be further from the Truth. We matter to God! We are created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). We are made to enjoy and glorify Him forever. We are here to lift Him up and worship Him. We are to praise Him with our breath (Psalm 150).

God is good and we can trust His heart. He is a loving Heavenly Father with our good and His glory in mind all the time. Will you trust Him?

Let’s Pray: Oh Father God, You indeed are magnificent. You are powerful, amazing, and love us endlessly. Your heart is limitless and Your faithfulness is forever. You are good and what You do is good (Psalm 119:68). Please forgive my doubts, my secrets, and my fears. I believe and I trust You. I renew my commitment to You to follow and not lead. To be still and to know You are God. Thank You, God, for everything. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Good Good Father ft. Pat Barrett” by Chris Tomlin. 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, August 25, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we need to learn how to forgive others

A Promise of Forgiveness
A devotional by Essie Faye Taylor

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” –Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)

Many people advise married couples not to go to bed angry with one another. I understand the concept, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

Every bit of that disagreeable disposition could be seen as I rolled out of bed, cranky and sour-faced. I was angry with my husband, yet again. We had a disagreement the previous night. It wasn’t exactly his words that angered me, but it was his tone that had rubbed me the wrong way. I was angry. I hadn’t yet figured out how to move past my anger or even where it was coming from.

Not many people talk about the essentiality of forgiveness in our relationships. Marriage in particular requires a forgiving heart and cultivating the art of forgiveness. We have this promise from God: If we forgive others, He will forgive us. We all have experienced anger. We’ve all found ourselves in a place of hurt due to someone’s actions or words. We’ve felt the reality of the injustice we’ve experienced. We didn’t deserve to be hurt or mistreated, yet we were. Our feelings are real and valid. The situation is unfair and sometimes unwarranted. Yet, we must forgive. To forgive is to grant pardon or a remission of an offense. It is to cancel a debt or to cease to feel resentment against someone.

Forgiveness is not easy, yet God requires it of believers. Forgiveness can be challenging, yet it is possible. To forgive in a world that promotes revenge requires a paradigm shift. We must begin to think like our Heavenly Father (God). He has forgiven us for offending Him and He continues to do so because of His great love for us. He forgave us for living a life without Him, although He created us and provides for us daily. He granted us salvation upon request (John 3:16) and gave us access to Him by faith in the name of His Son who is our Savior (Jesus Christ). He has gone farther and has given us a new beginning by tossing our sins into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered. What an incredible demonstration of His love!

In our text above, the disciple Matthew writes about God’s command to forgive.

I’m sure Matthew was speaking from experience as he was forgiven much. Before deciding to follow Jesus, Matthew was a tax collector who was known to cheat others out of their funds. Yet, Jesus chose him as a disciple when he was hated and rejected by others. He was forgiven and accepted, as are we when we are born into the family of God. As believers in God who follow Jesus Christ, we are required to forgive others because God forgave us. We are called to extend grace to others as God has extended grace toward us. If we forgive others, we will be forgiven by God. If we do not forgive others, we will not be forgiven by God. I don’t know about you, but to me, those consequences are pretty hefty. Choosing to forgive others is a no-brainer because I desperately need God’s forgiveness in my life. I’m imperfect and flawed. Many times I just don’t get things right and I value the promise of God’s forgiveness daily.

In letters to the church of Ephesus and Colossae, the Apostle Paul admonishes followers of Christ to forgive. He says, “And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 KJV). Paul encourages us with these words: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13 KJV). Forgiveness causes us to be tenderhearted and kind. We must remember that we make mistakes and at one time we needed forgiveness. Admitting that we will need forgiveness in the future also helps. Empathy and compassion helps along this journey to forgive. When you are hurt or angry, it is difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but practicing empathy can soften our hearts so that we can forgive.

God teaches several lessons regarding forgiveness. Forgiving others frees you from the burden of anger and resentment. It releases the debtor and the one to whom the debt is owed. Forgiveness doesn’t have to be earned; it is freely given. Learning to forgive is a skill that must be practiced. All have fallen short of God’s requirements. Therefore, we all need to be forgiven at one time or another.

God grants forgiveness as a promise. He says, if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). No matter the sin–great or small–God is willing and ready to forgive, if we confess it.

Call to Action:

1. Check yourself. When you harbor unforgiveness, search yourself to discover what is at the root of your feelings and actions.

2. Practice empathy. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things his or her way.

3. Practice forgiveness daily in your relationships. Learn to forgive quickly, even when it’s not the easiest. Free others of their debt and free yourself of anger, resentment, bitterness and hurt. Remember, the Bible says if we forgive others, God will forgive us.

4. Be conscious of your mortality. Realize that as humans, we make mistakes. This means that you and I will inevitably make a mistake and we will need to be forgiven.

5. Remember, our God is faithful to forgive us.
Let us be faithful to forgive others.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, I thank You for your gift of forgiveness. Thank You for forgiving my sins and embracing me with great love. Thank You for loving me despite my flaws and shortcomings. Thank You for your love that covers a multitude of faults. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me deeply. Help me to practice empathy and have compassion so that I can forgive the hard things. Lord, heal my heart, my mind, and my memory from the words and actions that hurt me so deeply. Give us the strength to forgive as you command. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering me. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Forgiveness” by Matthew West. 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, August 23, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning to take a step of faith and trust God

Step of Faith
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” –Matthew 6:34 (KJV)

Worry and fear can be nearly paralyzing when considering an unknown future.

There are so many “What ifs?” in this life. Such as, "What if I fail the exam? What if the test comes back positive? What if life never gets better than this? What if God never shows up?" 

These questions make us feel suffocated in our hearts, minds, and souls. If we allow these fears, worries, and doubts to continuously enter our thoughts, we are destined to start believing our future is bleak and hopeless. We begin to believe we are justified in our worries and things will always turn out badly.

But such a negative focus could not be further from the truth. Maybe the test will come back positive. Maybe we will experience the worst possible scenario in our situation. God never promised our lives would not be filled with problems and sorrow. However, God did say that He would never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). Additionally, Jesus promised that the victory is already His because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).

We will face trials, heartache, and failure. No one can claim the remainder of their life will work out perfectly and without problems. Your future does hold difficult seasons, but you were never meant to walk in those seasons alone. Our Heavenly Father walks beside each of His children in the darkest of valleys and the highest of mountaintops.

Lay your future in the hands of the Creator. He knows all things in the past, present, and future. God knows every worry that consumes our thoughts and He is calling us to release them to Him. Today, will you release your fear, your worry, and your doubts? Remember: There is no dark valley along your life journey that God’s Light cannot break through. There is no worry that the peace of God cannot still. The peace of God passes all of our human understanding (Philippians 4:7). His peace is so strong that it can ease our worry even though the situation that is bringing our worry remains.

I know that God is the One who directs my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6) and leads me toward a future that I am uncertain of (Jeremiah 29:11). I also know that God is calling me to release the worry that is weighing me down. He continues to whisper just one simple request, “Trust Me.”

Trust is a choice. It is a step of faith. Will you choose to trust the Lord Jesus Christ and simply take one more step of faith today and every day of your life on Earth?

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank You for offering Your peace and presence to us. Please help us to release our worry and fear to You. Grant us the faith to entrust our future to you and simply take another step of faith. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Trust Me” by Crystal Lewis. 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, August 21, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Why you should let God fight your battles

When You Let God Fight Your Battles
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
—Romans 8:37 (NIV)

The negative words echoed in the dark corridors of my mind: “You can’t start your own business! You don’t have the experience.”

Just as I was able to silence the noise, more words came rushing in like a flood: “Why would you want to do that anyway? There are other things out there that are much more meaningful.”

I made the terrible mistake of announcing my goals to my family and friends—the people who I thought would be the most supportive. I told them that I wanted to start a non-profit organization in order to assist those in prison with their transition to society. I beamed with pride as I explained how I felt God calling me to do this and that it had been a passion of mine for years. I presented the findings of my research that detailed the benefits of such a ministry. The positive impact on the lives of those in prison would be exponential, causing a ripple effect to their families and to the surrounding community. I was determined to make a difference in this world, but right then, I felt like the world was against me.

When God gives you a dream or a vision, sometimes it’s not for you to share with everyone who has a listening ear. There are people around you who are not always for you. I learned this simple lesson the hard way. I was crushed with disappointment by the ones who tried to convince me not to proceed with this new venture. I felt overwhelmed with doubt, and I started to question my skills and abilities. I wondered whether this huge task was suitable for me.

The enemy uses negative thoughts and limiting beliefs to paralyze us. His objective is to stop us from pursuing our purpose. But we serve a God who has overcome the enemy, and we too are overcomers because we belong to the Most High God! When God says yes, it doesn’t matter who says no.

I had to remind myself of God’s promises and the power that was available to me in His Word (The Holy Bible). I had to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I had to recognize that I was not fighting against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). I had to use the weapons of prayer and praise to defeat the enemy who saw my potential and tried so hard to shut it down before it even started.

We must look ourselves in the mirror daily and affirm God’s truth into our lives. Here are a few Bible verses that can help us in our endeavor to speak truth:

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 118:6 NIV)

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV)

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NKJV)

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NIV)

Once we know God’s truth, there will be no reason for us to believe the enemy’s lies. We can stand firm on the His promises and allow His light to dispel the darkest of any negative thoughts or beliefs. This is how we fight our battles, and with God, we win!

Let’s Pray:
Dear God, Thank you for Your truth that reminds us who we are in You. We are grateful that You have given us the victory over the enemy. May we be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can hear Your voice and obey Your Word. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Battles” by The Afters. 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, August 18, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning how to praise God through it all

Learning How to Praise the Lord
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Paul’s admonition in the verse above is easier said than done. Rejoice always? Pray without ceasing? Give thanks in all circumstances? Ha. Surely not!

The Bible doesn’t say that we should rejoice in only “pleasurable”, “some,” or even “most” circumstances. It says we are to rejoice in “all circumstances.”

That’s a pretty tough pill to swallow. Especially when life is traumatic, amid a cancer diagnosis, or when the future is unclear.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s easy for you to say because you’re not going through what I’m going through right now.”


Maybe not.

A few months ago, my mom was diagnosed with the very beginning stages of ovarian cancer. It came out of nowhere. What followed was the most frightening time of our lives. We were terrified. Were we going to lose our mom? It was the most uncertain time of our lives, a time where we had to surrender everything to God.

Yet in the midst of it all, God drew us closer to His heart. A few months after the initial diagnosis and her second surgery, my mom was preparing to go hear her results. I remember sitting at the dinner table with my family a few days before her appointment. “We need to thank God in all circumstances,” I said, “and that includes cancer.”

During the most frightening time of our lives, God grew our faith and stretched our trust in Him in ways I’d never seen before. Despite the fear and pain of the last few months, how could we not see God? How could we not see His hand in everything?

Even my little brother grew in his faith walk with God in a way I’d never seen before. With tears in his eyes, I remember him telling Mom, “I believe you’re going to be a walking miracle.”

The day our mom went to the doctor to receive her results, he said that he wanted to make a cake with the name of the hospital on it. Had it ever been done before? He didn’t know, but he wanted to make a cake to celebrate even though, at the time, he had no way of knowing what her results would be. The rest of us agreed, saying, “Yes, let’s make a cake!” We said we would put the words, “Give thanks in all circumstances” on the cake as well, because no matter what Mom’s results were, we wanted to praise the LORD.

We had already made the decision to praise God regardless of the outcome. But when her results came back clear, and we received the joyous news that she was cancer-free, don’t you think praising God is exactly what we did?

Even though our story had a happy ending, I know it’s not the same for everybody. But living through one of the darkest, scariest times of my life, I can tell you that choosing to worship God no matter what, well, it’s worth it.

I believe that it is in the darkest times that hope shines the brightest. In a similar way, we notice a candle gleaming in a dark room, but would we even notice it if it were outside where the sun is shining?

Friend, pain will either draw us closer to God or push us further away. It depends on how we choose to respond. No matter what we’re going through today, let’s choose to praise the LORD!

Let’s Pray:
Dear Father God, thank you for giving me reason to rejoice even when all is dark! Please help me to praise you no matter what happens. You are good and kind and hold my future in Your hand. Thank you for hope! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Praise the Lord” by Micah Tyler. 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, August 16, 2023

Book Spotlight on "The Hem of His Garment" and a post by the author

Will Pain Make You Bitter or Better?
A guest post by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Pain. It’s inevitable. We live in a pain-averse society, and we prefer living a pain-free life. But the truth is, we all experience pain of some kind. Jesus warned us we would have trouble, pain, and suffering. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Pain is certain in this life, but the challenge is how will we respond to it? Will we allow it to make us bitter or better?

We’re all familiar with physical pain—the sprained ankle, broken arm, sunburn, or toothache. But no discussion about pain would be complete if we didn’t also acknowledge other forms of pain: emotional pain, relationship pain, financial pain, spiritual pain, secondary pain caused by the words or actions of others that make us feel worse when enduring the other types of pain, as well as grief and loss.

My husband and I are no strangers to pain. Between the two of us, we’ve had cancer several times. We’ve gone through financial hardship. I endured clinical depression and anxiety earlier in our marriage. We’ve both been bruised by relationship pain, and wondering why relationships were severed with no opportunity to seek forgiveness or reconciliation for something we didn’t even do. And now, living a life of chronic physical pain, just like Jacob wrestled with God and Job asked God questions, I have also wrestled and asked God some hard questions in my suffering. Questions like: God, I’m serving you—why didn’t you prevent this from happening? Or God, do you care that I hurt? Or God, I know you can heal—why aren’t you? I’ve learned that God is big enough to handle my questions…and my pain…and teach me lessons through it.

I never have a pain-free day anymore, although pain is usually less in the morning and ramps up frequently to intolerable levels by evening. There have been many long nights and tear-stained pillows where I’ve cried out to God and asked Him to take my pain away. There have been times when I’ve wanted to ask God “Why?” and yet, in my spirit I sensed Him saying, “Why not you?” God didn’t inflict the pain, but he’s using it. He didn’t cause the trials, but he’s using them. So, the question is, do we want to be used by God, or do we want to be comfortable? I knew God could take it away if he wanted to, but I sensed Him saying, “I’m entrusting this to you. Steward it well.”

God isn’t just the God of heavenly thrones, churches, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and revivals. He’s also the God of chemotherapy chairs, overdrawn bank accounts, prodigal children, empty chairs at holiday dinners, bathroom floors, broken hearts, and tear-stained pillows. He’s a God who stoops and bends his ear to listen to our heartfelt cries. He’s the God who promises to go before, walk alongside, and come behind when no one else will.

My entire purpose for being on social media is to encourage others and point them to the hope we have in Jesus. But I’m also honest, authentic, and vulnerable about life’s challenges. Social media becomes so sanitized with perfectly posed pictures, that comparison and jealousy over others’ staged lives makes us feel worse about our own. So, I vulnerably share the real-life pain, and people resonate with real. My publisher came to me, having noticed that people respond to the authentic trials of life, and asked me if I would consider writing a book on pain.

In all honesty, my first thought was, “No!” Because I’m an experiential writer, and I have to go through what I write about. I had to walk through the valley of depression to write the books Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the Hope Prevails Bible Study. I had to walk through anxiety to write Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises. I had to learn to transform my mind and take every thought captive in order to write Today is Going to be a Good Day: 90 Promises from God to Start Your Day Off Right. And I knew that writing a book on pain would entail me experiencing more pain. And unlike those earlier books where I wrote from the other side of depression and anxiety, because every day is filled with pain for me, I would have to write this book in the crucible of pain. But it only took God a few seconds working in my heart for me to decide I want to be obedient more than I want to be comfortable. So, I agreed to write The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms.

Readers are saying it’s my best book yet. But I would suggest to you that that is because I was completely and totally dependent on the Holy Spirit giving me insights to share. Throughout the book, the common thread is the story of the woman with the issue of blood, and to a lesser degree but still prominent is the story of Job. This was intentional because both of them experienced every single kind of pain I talk about in the book. They teach us how to hold onto our faith when we know God can heal but for whatever reason hasn’t yet. And they teach us about the gifts and benefits inherent in our suffering.

Perhaps in our longing for healing of our pain, God is beckoning us to exercise our faith, to come to him and touch the hem of his garment. Perhaps he has something more waiting for us than we could ever ask or imagine. But it’s our choice whether to let pain make us bitter or better; whether we will run away from God in our pain, or lean into Him for strength.

In her weakened, frail condition, the woman with the issue of blood pushed through the crowd determined to touch Jesus’s hem. She could get no lower, nor any further from making eye contact with the Great Physician. The defining moment in this woman’s life occurred when, lacking in her own strength, she reached out for Jesus’s hem in faith, and his strength went out from him, into her, healing her of the pain that plagued her for over a decade. Perhaps instead of viewing our dependence on God in a negative light, we can see it as the avenue he uses to draw us to himself.

If you are experiencing pain today, let me encourage you that God sees you. He cares about you. He weeps with you. And he not only doesn’t waste our pain, but he uses it. Will you trust Him with your pain and continue to reach out in faith to touch the hem of his garment?

Author Bio:

Dr. Michelle Bengtson is a hope concierge! 

Whether as a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, host of the award-winning podcast Your Hope Filled Perspective, or the author of several award-winning books including Hope Prevails and Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, her passion is to share hope and encouragement with others. Her newest release is The Hem of His Garment: Reaching Out to God When Pain Overwhelms.

 She loves all things teal, spending time with friends and family, taking long walks, or sitting by quiet shores, and it’s a bonus when any of those are accompanied by sea salt caramel chocolate! You can find her and her hope-filled resources at

Blurb for The Hem of His Garment (book): 

Hope for When the Pain Won't Quit

Everyone experiences pain at times. It can manifest physically, emotionally, relationally, or spiritually. It can follow tragic accidents, great loss, sudden betrayal, or unexpected and unwanted change. Often it is temporary. But what do you do when it isn't? When the pain just won't go away, when healing does not come, when the grief and hurt settle in?

Drawing on her own experience of chronic pain and her years as a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson provides a countercultural perspective on pain. 

Offering hope without any false promises or empty platitudes, Dr. Bengtson unwraps the complex emotional aspects of dealing with pain. She gives you permission to question God, helps you identify the lies you've believed about your pain, and reorients your perception based on the truth of God's Word. Each chapter ends with a recommended playlist, reflection questions, and a prayer.

Your pain may not change, but your experience of it can.

Buy The Hem of His Garment (book) on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Connect with Dr. Michelle:



Twitter: (@DrMBengtson)





Podcast: or


If you are a resident in the USA then you may enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the link to Rafflecopter:

Devotionals for the Heart: Why we need to slow down and learn to rest

Finding Rest in God

A devotional by Sarah Cole

“Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.”—John 4:4-6 (NIV)

Do you ever feel like a dead cell phone battery? Are you driven by endless tasks that scream for your attention?

Lately, that's been my struggle. God has urged me to slow down for weeks, but I've been distracted and restless. Like a stubborn two-year-old, I continue to push myself by saying yes to commitments instead of to Him. Being busy with what is good has kept me from God's best: rest.

Does this sound familiar? In today’s world, finding time to rest seems impossible, but knowing it was a priority for Jesus Christ might change your mind. Jesus walked 35 miles in the blistering sun before arriving in Samaria, a direct route from Jerusalem to Galilee. By the time He arrived at the well, He was likely parched and hungry, and His feet most likely ached, so Jesus stopped to rest. On any given day during His ministry, thousands needed Him, yet Jesus stopped what He was doing and retreated to a quiet place to connect with His Father in prayer (Luke 5:16).

If the omnipotent Creator of the Universe needed rest, why don’t we take time to rest too? Society has given rest a bad name, but God designed us and He knows what we need. Therefore, when God tells us to slow down, and we refuse, He'll do it for us.

Recently I took my cell phone to the big box store because its battery wouldn't charge. An employee told me that debris in the charging port prevented it from receiving power. I didn't need a new phone; I needed a Q-tip to clean it. When the demands of life exhaust us, Jesus invites us to recharge our batteries by removing unnecessary commitments from our schedules so we receive the rest our souls need (Hebrews 4:16).

It's more than just our lives that can get cluttered. If we're not careful, sin accumulates in our hearts and keeps us from receiving the fullness of what Jesus died to give us. He didn't design us to live as if everything is up to us. Instead, He wants to carry our burdens so we don't burn out. When we humble ourselves by confessing our sins, we experience His forgiveness and freedom (1 John 1:9; Matthew 11:28).

St. Augustine said our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God. While the world tells us to chase productivity, Jesus invites us to embrace His pace for our lives that never depletes us. So, the next time your phone battery is low, and you need strength to keep going, go to Jesus. He's anxiously waiting to connect with you!

Let's Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, when life's demands weigh heavily on my heart, I'm grateful my soul can rest in You. When I take the time to experience Your presence and power, I know that whatever comes my way, Your plans for me will succeed. In Jesus's Name, I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “I Will Rest in You” by Jaci Velasquez. 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, August 14, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Be Strong

Be Strong and Let Your Heart Take Courage
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

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

Waiting is something that many people have a strong distaste for, especially in a world where there are things like fast food restaurants, instant coffee, and smartphones which help you find virtually any information you need within seconds.

Even in our Christian faith walk with God, the word wait triggers a deep feeling of frustration. Yet we know that it is often through waiting that God draws us closer, prepares us for what He’s about to do, and solidifies our confidence in Him and in the calling He’s given us.

I have been in a period of waiting, and wondering whether I am even allowed to speak about what I believe God is doing. One day, as I wrestled in prayer over whether or not I should speak to my husband about some of the things the Lord has placed on my heart, the second part of this verse rang out to me in a way it never has before: be strong, and let your heart take courage.

How can my husband know what I am hearing from the Lord if I am not bold enough to speak up about it?

After wrestling in prayer, I went out to the patio where my husband was sitting, sat down, and then prayed again before I finally opened my mouth. In this particular moment, the words came out choppy and sounded forced. Being strong and courageous doesn’t necessarily mean the words are going to come out perfectly! The point is, they did come out, and each time since it has gotten a little easier.

Perhaps hoping for the fulfillment of a promise hurts. God understands. The Holy Bible says, “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV). According to The Outline of Biblical Usage and the Blue Letter Bible, one of the definitions of courage is “strength in the face of pain or grief.” I can be strong and pray even though right now waiting is painful.

The same source (Blue Letter Bible) also gives the following definitions of courage: “make bold, take hold of, prevail upon, to strengthen oneself, or to hold strongly with”. All those definitions tell me that God wants me to grab hold of Him in prayer, and ask Him to move on my behalf. Furthermore, it is not so much asking God to do what I want Him to do. I am asking God to bring to pass something that He has already planned to fulfill.

Today, I would encourage you to not let prolonged waiting, or discouragement that comes from others, cause you to stop praying. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV), “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that You are always faithful. If You have placed something on my heart that just won’t let me go, give me faith to believe that You will fulfill it. Do not let me be discouraged when other people seem to doubt what You have clearly shown me. Forgive me if there is unbelief in my own heart, and embolden me to hold these things in believing prayer. As it says in Your Word, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24 NKJV). In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Wait on the Lord” by Donnie McClurkin. 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, August 11, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: God's way of taking care of wheat and weeds

Growing Amongst the Wheat and Weeds
A devotional by Anthea Kotlan

I still remember seeing a commercial for a garden weasel.

This tool would easily uproot those pesky young weeds, break them up and mix them with dead leaves to create a beneficial mulch. Regarding weeds in the Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ (God’s Son) had a different approach.

Let’s read what Matthew 13:30 (ESV) says about this matter: Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God as He shares a parable about a man who plants good seed for a wheat harvest. Then after he is asleep, an evil man comes to sow weeds in this field. The man's workers offer to root out the weeds, but the man warns that the wheat roots may be damaged in ripping out the weeds. Jesus knows how important it is to allow a thriving wheat crop to develop a good root system. Therefore, Jesus says, “Let them both grow together until the harvest….”. Then Jesus said he will allow the reapers to separate the wheat and weeds and send them to where they belong.

Where will the weeds go? To be bundled and burned up in destruction.

Where will the wheat go? To be gathered into the man’s barn in eternity with God.

Jesus warned His disciples that we will grow up in the church, the Kingdom of God, alongside brothers and sisters who may not be believers. They will appear to be exactly like us, but in the end, they will be sent to destruction.

Now here are some questions for you to answer:
Should I figure out who the wheat and weeds might be? Should I be surprised if I find weeds in the Kingdom of God? Can I tell the wheat from the weeds? The correct answer to all of these questions is, “No.”

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus gives His followers examples of wheat and weeds—two people who looked alike until the harvest. Let’s read a few examples from God’s Word (The Holy Bible) about this topic: 

Pharisee and Tax Collector 

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus shares a story about a pharisee who brags about how he is so glad he is not a tax collector. He lists all he has done for God, yet he does not repent for his sins. Meanwhile, the tax collector beats his breast, bows his head, and begs for mercy and forgiveness. Both men appear to be weeds because they are both sinners. However, at the altar, the weed or unrepentant man is revealed. The other man repents and reveals himself as wheat.

Wheat and Weeds at the Cross

The most powerful illustration of wheat and weeds may be at the moment of the crucifixion. Hanging on either side of Jesus were two thieves. These men had both been found guilty of various crimes, and they had been sentenced to death. They appeared to be weeds. One thief even taunted Jesus and revealed his hard and unbelieving heart. But the other believer spoke kindly to Jesus and requested mercy. Let’s read this conversation that took place at the Cross of Calvary:

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 
(Luke 23:42 ESV)

Jesus responded with love and the promise of eternity.

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43 ESV)

Let’s Pray:
Dear Jesus, You are the ultimate gardener and granter of mercy. Thank you for caring for the wheat and weeds in your kingdom. I am not called to be a reaper or a weed remover. I am called to grow in grace amongst the weeds and be grateful for the gift of salvation. In Your Matchless and Mighty Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection #1:
“Kingdom Come” by Rebecca St. James and for King & Country. Listen to it here.

Song of Reflection #2:
“Remember Me” by Wintley Phipps. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Anthea Kotlan is a recovering perfectionist with a passion for coffee and tea. 

For almost a decade, she have served in the Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast as a women’s ministry leader. Recently, she became part of a team serving women at the Provincial level (the Women’s Leadership Network part of ACNA’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative).

Anthea writes and blogs about soul tending and discipleship, focusing on the psalms on her blog/website.

She is a mom to two amazing adult daughters, a wife of a bi-vocational Anglican priest, and Gran to two grandbabies with another on the way. Recently, Anthea worked with her husband to help plant All Saints, Conroe, which is a brand-new Anglican church plant in Conroe, Texas.

Connect with Anthea:

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning how to hear and discern God's Voice

Understanding the Voice of God
A devotional by Cherie Mendez

The Lord will give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, but your Teacher will no longer hide Himself—with your own eyes you will see Him. And whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”
—Isaiah 30:20-21 (BSB)

Like the children of Israel, we all have a tendency to complain when problems arise. God will allow us to go through seasons of adversity in order to get our attention.

Hearing the voice of God is a learned skill and over time it can get easier or harder depending on our obedience or disobedience.

I’ll never forget when I first met my husband, Jimmy. We went out on a few dates, but after praying about it, I was unsure if he was “the one.” After our third date, I felt it would only be right for me to break up because I didn’t think it was fair to keep stringing him along.

This was a huge struggle—I had a history of bad experiences with men and a lot of baggage to deal with before I could commit to a serious relationship. It was a very hard decision because deep down inside, I was afraid I would never get married.

So, the day came when I ended our dating relationship. He didn’t take it well but we agreed to part ways. To make things easier we started going to different churches.

A year went by and I kept seeking God on whether or not He was calling me to get married. I started to question if I had made a mistake by breaking up with Jim. To make matters worse, I received a phone call from a friend of mine who said she had just gone on a day trip with Jim. My heart sank! I started to wonder if I missed the boat. Later, I learned that friend who went on the day trip with Jim only went as “friends” and she was actually dating another guy. Phew!

So, at that point I wasn’t sure what to do. I prayed about it and God opened the door for me to see Jim again in a group setting with other friends. Slowly we started to reconnect and by that time I felt God’s peace about our relationship. We dated for a few months and one night he got down on his knee and proposed. We then moved forward and got pre-marital counseling by our pastor and his wife. One of the most beautiful things our pastor’s wife said was that she saw “God’s signature on our marriage.” Three months later we tied the knot.

Now, thirty-one years later, I am still happily married to the man God chose for me. God knew exactly what He was doing. Maybe I needed that year after breaking up for God to heal all the issues in my heart before I could walk down the aisle. God was writing our true love story all along, I just couldn’t see it at that time.

So how does one properly hear God and discern when He is speaking? Let me share what I have learned from over the years. 
I have found three of the most common ways God speaks to us:

Common Way #1: His Word. Psalm 119:105 (KJV) says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” In order to “hear” from God we need to develop an understanding of His character. We need to know how God honors obedience and punishes disobedience.

Common Way #2: Our Circumstances.
Sometimes, God will allow the “bread of adversity and the water of affliction” Isaiah 30:20 (BSB) to get our attention and guide us.

Common Way #3: The Still Small Voice. The Holy Spirit speaks very soft but also very clear. When He speaks we will either have a peace about something or not.

God’s grace towards us never changes. He is always faithful to guide us back on the way of truth. Whether you are in a season of adversity or enjoying a time of prosperity, know that God is always speaking. All He asks is that we listen.

Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, I pray that You will help us to be still and quiet before You. Help us to not let the noise of the world distract us from hearing Your voice. I pray that You will give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear Your guidance. Thank You for Your never-ending patience with us. Help us to see beyond our circumstances and keep our eyes on You. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Speak” by Bethany Music. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Cherie Mendez is a New York-based actress and model. Network appearances include Blue Bloods and Bull (CBS), Power (STARZ), and Hunters (Amazon).

She got her start in modeling at the age of 18 when she was offered a contract to work with an agency in Paris. Over time, she worked for clients such as Mary Kay Cosmetics, Clarins Skincare, Garnier, LancĂ´me, and Wella.

In recent years, Cherie has been sharing about her faith in God on Instagram where she has an audience of over 30k followers. She is compelled by love to encourage women to understand their identity in Jesus Christ.

It is her goal to bring to light what God’s Word says about our self-worth. She does this by sharing encouraging stories on how she overcame the many struggles that models and actresses typically face.

Some of the topics Cherie loves to write about are:

· Coping with rejection

· Finding your purpose and using your talent for God’s glory

· How God always looks at the heart and the meaning of inner beauty

· Understanding that we are all a work in progress and God is not done with us yet

Cherie and her husband Jimmy live in Upstate New York. They are thankful to have been married for 30 years.

Connect with Cherie:

Monday, August 7, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: How a dog inspired a life lesson about love

Hands of Love
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

Ronny was a small, black dog, his eyes crusted over with sleep and his nose a mess from doing whatever dogs like to do in the dirt. I could tell he was a puppy by his size, but he wasn’t terribly young, just young enough to be filled with excitement about life—and wary of strange people.

I was there to work on his owner’s house for a week, along with a team of other mission volunteers, providing him with a new roof and some other fixes, and his owner was training him to be an outdoor dog. We called him Ronny, even though we didn’t know his name, and he spent his days under a shade tree hanging out in an old utility trailer, tied up on a leash and watching us with extremely cautious eyes.

But he was so adorable, and I couldn’t help myself. On roofing breaks, I’d find myself walking in the back to check on Ronny. I watched from a distance at first, and he’d always scurry out, curious, then run like mad back to his hiding place.

One morning I approached him slowly, slipping my work gloves off and gently holding my hands out for him to inspect. He took a look at my hands and hightailed it for the shadows. I’m not sure what he thought I was going to do with my hands, but he was scared, and I didn’t push it. A few hours later, I checked on him again. And again, Ronny ventured out to look at my hands, then retreated. But this time I spoke sweetly to him, and I tiptoed closer, and he nervously approached me once more. At first, Ronny started to pull back, but I reached out and petted him. He liked it, but then he skittered away, and I went back to my work. We repeated the same little dance twice more that day.

The next day, I expected the same.

“Hey, sweet boy,” I called over to him, slipping off my work gloves and approaching softly.

But this time when I held my hands out to him, Ronny knew what was coming. And this time he didn’t dart back or even flinch. This time he let me pet him right away.

By the end of the week, he was licking my legs and cuddling with me. We were pals, Ronny and I, and I miss him!

As our trip progressed, it got me thinking about hands and how we use them. We can use them to hurt, to push down and oppress. We can use them to point fingers, judgmental and accusatory.

Or we can use them to shake someone’s hand and give them a hug—or, as in Ronny’s case, scratch them behind the ears. We can use them to show love.

We can also use them to help in other ways, cooking a meal for someone, or holding a hammer like I did all that week, nailing shingles to a rotted-out roof so someone else has better shelter.

We can use our hands to reflect Jesus Christ, or we can choose not to.

As a follower of Christ, I want every aspect of my life to reflect Jesus. That means my thoughts, my words, and my hands and feet. That’s one of the things people who do mission work say a lot: that we want to be “the hands and feet of Christ.” But that’s not just about mission work. There are so many ways we can be the hands and feet of Christ.

Think about your own hands today. If you have use of them, how are you able to use them? Are you able to write a letter or hold out your palm in fellowship to a brother or sister, even one who doesn’t seem a lot like you on the surface?

If your hands don’t work, what else can you do? Can you use your heart, your mind, your prayers, anything else at your disposal?

Ronny very quickly understood the difference between hands that want to hurt and hands that want to help. We understand the same.

May we always do what we can to help and love others in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior—our way, our truth, and our life.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13 NIV).

“Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 30:9-10 NIV).

Let’s Pray: Lord, help me model and reflect You in the world, whether that is through kindness or physical labor. Help me to shine Your light in the darkness now and forever. Amen.

Song of Reflection:
“If We Are The Body” by Casting Crowns. 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, August 4, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Living a life full of faith in God and love for others

The Audacity of Faith
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”–Luke 6:27-28 ESV

Living a life of faith is often challenging because faithful living requires leaps of faith.

The Bible is full of stories that demonstrate the audacity of faith. David challenged Goliath without wearing any protective gear of warfare. Joshua overthrew Jericho with strategic silence rather than the bedlam of combat. Gideon asked for a sign from God that would make a piece of wool be dry while sitting on ground saturated with morning dew.

The choices of the faith-filled life frequently demand delayed gratification and maybe the pain of being ostracized or persecuted. Jeremiah, a Hebrew prophet, was ostracized and tortured for being a truth teller. Ezekiel was marginalized because of his prolific, prophetic, one man plays.

Jesus Christ was the sinless Messiah, yet, He submitted himself to be baptized by His cousin, John the Baptizer. The Beatitudes, listed in Matthew 5, also seem counterintuitive. Yet, these are the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus states them more precisely in Luke 6:27-28. Love your enemies. Do good to them who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you.

As the world and our communities become more divided, we already know that arguing and forcefulness has not worked very well. I am choosing to try the "Jesus Method” (as I call it, referring to The Beatitudes) in my interactions going forward.

A few days ago, I was in a store with two of my grandchildren. I saw a man in one of the aisles with a little boy the size and age of my granddaughter. I noticed that he was wearing two guns. He did not appear to be a pleasant man or pleased to see me. Rather than cower, I greeted him by asking how he and Misters Smith and Wesson were. He got the reference to his guns, stopped and responded by saying, “His Glocks were not looking for trouble but were prepared if trouble found him.” He asked me where I learned about guns. I told him that I had been in the military for several decades. As we parted, he said, “Thank you for your service, brother!” The ice and tension were broken.

Personally, professionally and politically, I am going to pray more about the issues and people with whom I am not aligned. I am going to do good for and be nice to people who may not initially treat me with kindness. I will pray with people who cross my path and radiate a need.

A little while ago, my wife and I stayed in a hotel in Salt Lake City. We had dinner in the dining room one evening. The next morning as we walked to breakfast, a gentleman who sat near us in the dining room was walking down the corridor. He stopped us and we chatted for a few minutes. There was immediate rapport. After small talk, he plunged into his story of grief. His wife of 53 years had recently died. He was at a conference with friends but he was having a hard time. In the middle of a busy corridor, we prayed together. His countenance lifted after the prayer. We took some pictures together and exchanged addresses. We became friends because of a counterintuitive experience.

Please consider joining me in my quest to employ the Jesus Method of moving through life. If only three of you, who are reading this, join me and three join you and the multiplication continues, before long, tens of thousands of us will be changing the world.

Let’s Pray: Thank you Lord for the counterintuitive faith experiences that I have had recently. Please bless those who read this devotional message and try to do what I did while trying to do what You did. May they feel affirmed, empowered and inspired, even if they are misunderstood, at first. May this day begin a wave of love, good deeds and mindful prayers that will spread around the globe. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless. 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,