Friday, March 29, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: What happens after God works a miracle?

Remembering Our Relationship with the Miracle Worker
A devotional by Tessa Huckstep

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God.”—Luke 17:15 (KJV)

Take a moment and try to recall the last miracle God performed in your life. You spent days, months and maybe years praying for this miracle. You woke up early to search the Scriptures for answers, you were in a constant state of prayer as you sought God’s will. Finally, He performed the very miracle you asked for.

I can distinctly remember more than one big miracle that God has performed in my life. After months of praying and searching for God’s will, I finally have my answer and God has done the impossible. I thank Him repeatedly in the moment. But then I get caught up in the miracle and forget about the relationship I formed with the Miracle Worker.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is deepened through our troubles. God wants us to come to Him with our troubles. However, God does not want us to view our miracle as the ultimate goal. Miracles are simply meant to strengthen our faith and our relationship with Christ. All throughout Christ’s ministry on Earth, faith is often mentioned along with a miracle. For example, Mark 5:34 (KJV) states, “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” Jesus directly connected the woman’s faith to the miracle He performed.

It seems natural to call out to God and draw close to Him when we need answers and our life is falling apart. When we are lonely and nothing is going the way we planned, running to God is our first thought. But when we are given our miracle, exactly what we prayed for and more, we seem to forget the purpose of our miracle and the Miracle Worker who gave it to us. The relationship we form with Jesus Christ during the season of waiting is priceless. We trusted Him with all of our hearts and expected big things to happen. Why should trust and expectations change once we receive our miracle? Shouldn’t our faith grow stronger and our relationship with Christ grow deeper because of our miracle?

Remember how you felt in the waiting and the searching. Our complete dependence on God should not be any different now than it was then. Let the miracles God works in your life strengthen your faith, not distract you from your relationship with Christ. Miracles are wonderful, but they are never our ultimate goal. Our ultimate desire should be to deepen our relationship with Christ and glorify Him.

The verse I chose for this devotional (Luke 17:15) is about a leper who was healed by Jesus Christ and came back to thank and glorify Him. The leper was grateful for his healing, but the miracle of his good health did not hinder his relationship with Christ. In contrast, the leper’s healing led him to a deeper relationship with his Healer because the leper came back to glorify Him. Allow the miracles in your life to lead you to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Return to the Miracle Worker and worship Him with all of your heart.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord, thank You for Your miracles! Please help us to remember that the miracles in our lives are meant to strengthen our faith and deepen our relationship with You. Help us to remember to thank and glorify You in all seasons of life. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Way Maker” by Sinach. Listen 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!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: What it means to offer a “sacrifice of praise”

The Transformative Power of Sacrificial Praise
A devotional by Dr. Gladys Childs

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”—Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)

Have you ever thought about what it means to offer a “sacrifice of praise” to God? It may sound old-fashioned, but it's still one of the most relevant and meaningful things we can do in our modern lives. So, what is sacrificial praise all about?

First, a “sacrifice” is something you give up, often something valuable. In ancient times, it was usually a physical offering like an animal or grain. But here we're talking about a sacrifice of praise. This means our offering isn't tangible; it's our words, our acknowledgment of God's greatness and goodness, even when it's hard…especially when it's hard.

Offering praise as a sacrifice means acknowledging and glorifying God not just when we feel blessed and life is all sunshine and rainbows but also in the middle of our struggles, doubts, and pain. It's about trusting God and thanking Him for His presence in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. This kind of praise is precious to God because it comes from a place of faith and trust, not from our abundance or comfort.

It's easy to praise God when things go our way. However, when life throws us a curveball, our praise becomes a sacrifice. It's a declaration that our faith in God isn't based on our current situation but on who He is and His unchanging love for us. This sacrifice of praise isn't a one-time thing; it's a continuous choice to lift our voices in acknowledgment of His name and sovereignty over our lives.

So, when we talk about offering a sacrifice of praise, we're talking about a lifestyle of worship. This heart posture chooses to glorify God in every moment of our lives. It's powerful because it transforms our perspective, helps us see the beauty in our trials, and draws us closer to God's heart. And there's nothing more engaging and transformative than a life lived in continuous worship, constantly acknowledging the goodness of our God.

Digging deeper, the notion of a “sacrifice of praise” carries a profound personal dimension. It invites us into a dynamic and responsive relationship with God. This kind of sacrifice isn't about loss but transformation and connection. It's a spiritual practice that turns ordinary moments into sacred encounters.

Consider every word of gratitude, every conscious acknowledgment of God's goodness, and every song sung in worship, even amid hardship, as a thread weaving a tapestry of faith and trust. This tapestry becomes a backdrop of our lives, a visual and spiritual representation of our journey with God. It's unique to each of us because it comprises our individual experiences, struggles, joys, and moments of surrender.

Practically, a sacrifice of praise could look like choosing to speak words of thankfulness when you're tempted to complain, singing a worship song when feeling down, or simply saying, “God, I trust you” when facing uncertainty. These actions might seem small or insignificant in the moment, but they are influential acts of worship that honor God and shape our hearts.

What makes this sacrifice unique is its transformative power—not just in our relationship with God, but in how we view our circumstances and engage with the world around us. It shifts our focus from what we lack to the abundance of God's presence and provision. This shift doesn't deny the reality of our pain or struggle. Instead, it frames it within the larger story of God's faithfulness and love.

Therefore, offering a sacrifice of praise to God is not just a biblical command; it's an invitation to experience the depth of God's love and to participate in the ongoing story of redemption He is writing in our lives. It's about finding joy and peace in the assurance that no matter what we face, we are never alone, and our lives are held in the hands of a loving God.

As we draw to a close, let's embrace the richness of what it means to offer a sacrifice of praise to God. This journey isn't about ignoring the realities of life's hardships but about seeing them through the lens of faith and trust in God's unwavering presence and love. When we lift our voices in praise, even when our hearts are heavy, we step into a realm of faith, transcending our circumstances. Sacrificial praise transforms our lives, knitting us closer to the heart of God and revealing the depth of His love and faithfulness in every season. 

Let us walk boldly in this calling, making our lives a continuous offering of praise, a testament to the God whose love never fails and whose goodness shines brightest even in our darkest moments.

Let’s Pray: Lord, we offer You our praise, trusting You through our trials and joys. Strengthen us to see every moment as an opportunity to draw closer to You, making our lives a testament to Your enduring love and faithfulness. In Jesus's Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “The Sacrifice Of Praise” by William Murphy. Listen here.

Author Bio:

Dr. Gladys Childs is an author, speaker, religion professor, pastor's wife, and mom helping others be F.R.E.E. to Thrive© for the abundant life God has for them. She serves as Chaplain at Texas Wesleyan University and the Women’s Director at LifePoint Fellowship. She brings 25 years of experience and knowledge to her ministry.

Gladys is frequently called authentic, witty, and candid as she shares her journey through life’s ups and downs. Her passion is meeting people at the intersection of faith and life’s difficulties. No stranger to heartache herself, she grew up in a non-church-going family with an alcoholic mother and is a trauma survivor.

Gladys holds a Ph.D. in Foundations of Education, a Master’s in Religious Education, a Master of Divinity, and a B.A. with a double major in Counseling and Psychology. Also, she is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.

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Monday, March 25, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Running in a race taught me to depend on God

Depending on God’s Strength
A devotional by Peg Arnold

“But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired. They walk and don’t lag behind.”
—Isaiah 40:31 (MSG)

The day of the Diva Half Marathon had arrived. I was both nervous and excited. I had never participated in a competition like this before and was ready to take on the challenge. My daughter, an experienced runner, also participated in the race. We were both eager to tackle the course set in Virginia's beautiful wine country. The route began on a dirt road that led down a hill surrounded by towering trees and then transitioned onto pavement.

The gun went off and everyone started running. I quickly realized I would not be able to keep up the pace of the crowd. After five minutes, I urged my daughter to go ahead without me. Unfortunately, not long after she left, I stepped into a hole and twisted my knee. The pain radiated through my leg every time I tried to put weight on it. I had not even reached the three-mile mark yet, and I was already worried that I wouldn't be able to finish the race. I stopped at the first aid station to see if wrapping my knee would help, but it only provided minimal relief.

Despite this challenge, I was determined to complete the race, no matter how slow I had to go or how much pain I had to endure. I knew that this would be an actual test of my strength and focus. As the other runners began to pass me, I began praying and reciting scripture to keep me going. I repeated the verse from Isaiah, which promised that those who depend on the Lord will renew their strength…walk and not be weary, run, and not faint. I also reminded myself that I could do everything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

These words gave me the courage and endurance to keep going, even when the pain was overwhelming. As the miles stretched on, I walked by some of the runners who had passed me. I shared my favorite scripture verses with them, and their positive responses motivated me. I was amazed at how my words encouraged them as well.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the end was in sight. The trail was lined with people cheering us on. I felt a surge of energy as I crossed the finish line. I was given a pink boa, a medal, and some chocolate. My daughter gave me a big hug. However, as I tried to walk away, my knee gave out completely and I could barely reach the car.

When I returned home, I needed crutches to walk, so I made an appointment with my doctor. After getting an MRI, I found out that I had torn my meniscus and would need to undergo treatment. In the years to follow, I would realize the actual damage to my body.

Looking back on that accomplishment and the obstacles I encountered, I gained more than a completion medal and a debilitating injury. I learned the importance of using memorized scripture to connect me with the strength of our Savior (Jesus Christ). There are times when each of us encounters unexpected difficulties. Having scripture in our hearts and minds is more than receiving a sticker or recognition. The real reward is in the power and hope we draw from these words and the hope they give us in times of trouble.

Do you have a verse or two that you recite to help you persevere in unexpected life challenges?

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, Thank You for being our source of strength in our moments of weakness. Your power empowers us to overcome any obstacles we face. They may look like mountains to us, but nothing is too difficult for You! Help us to remember these Biblical truths and keep us moving forward. In Jesus’s Name, we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Believe for It” by CeCe Winans. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Peg Arnold, Speaker/Author/Teacher is a Drama Queen for Jesus. 

Her vibrant, interactive, and soul-stirring messages encourage all to embrace their God-given value. As a mom, wife, nana, mentor, with a master’s in counseling, she connects on a personal basis by sharing her joys and challenges of many life experiences through her dramas, messages, and witness. Whether talking with a friend over coffee or addressing hundreds of people at a conference, her passion for equipping women is contagious.

She has published devotions on YouVersion and in the Upper Room. In addition, she has contributed to two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, three anthologies, numerous articles, and blogs. Her devotional, Devotions for the Distracted Heart, received a 2022 OASIS award.

Peg desires everyone to know that their story is important and has a purpose. She grew up in Michigan and raised her family in Maryland. Later in life, Peg and her husband relocated close to their family in Colorado.

Connect with Peg:
Website: Get some freebies when you visit!
Devotions for the Distracted Heart blog:
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Friday, March 22, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: How our words can hurt or heal people

We  Can Partner with God to Administer Healing to a Hurting World
A devotional by Essie Faye Taylor

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”—Proverbs 12:18 (ESV)

Our society has a saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This is one of the deepest lies ever told. Words hurt. Many times words hurt more deeply than any physical abrasion. As a 41 year old woman, I still vividly remember words spoken to me as a 5 year old. Those words, both positive and negative, still impact me today. They’ve impacted my self-perception, self-talk, and self-esteem for years. I know I’m not alone. This is why it’s so important for us to speak to ourselves and others with kind and loving words.

Let us be careful with our words. We can choose whether to bless or curse others with our words. Scripture declares, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV). Words become thoughts. Thoughts become actions and actions become habits. Habits reap a destiny. We have the power to alter our destiny and that of others with our words. Proverbs 12:18 emphasizes the lasting impact of the words we speak.

We can harm ourselves and others with our words. Rash words or words spoken without much thought and in haste have the power to fatally harm others. Sword thrusts cut deep with evident harmful consequences. When a sword is thrust and makes contact with flesh it rips the skin and pierces internal organs. Damage is immediate and undeniable. In some cases the damage is beyond repairable. And so it is with hurtful words. Their impact may persist for months and even years. Harmful words can even be passed from generation to generation, if not corrected.

We can heal ourselves and others with words. The writer clearly states that wise words bring healing. A word of encouragement or a kind compliment is like a balm to the hurting. Because we are created in the likeness of the Almighty God, who spoke and created the universe, we create with words. We can create healing and safe spaces with our words spoken in wisdom. We can create the change that we want to see in this world. 

Call to Action:

1. Acknowledge that the words you speak are living and have a lasting impact–good or bad.

2. Own your power to speak all things positive to yourself and others.

3. Commit to become a vessel of life and healing to yourself and others.

4. Remember, healing belongs to God’s children and we work together with God to administer healing to ourselves and others (Mark 7:27).

Remember: We can create our world with affirmations and declarations of peace, safety, and provision. God has empowered us to do so. 

Let’s Pray:
Heavenly Father, You are the Lord our God who heals us. You are the Healer. Yet, you have called us into partnership in order to heal the world. Help us to acknowledge the power of our words. Help us to guard our tongues and to pursue peace. Help us not to use rash and hurtful words, but instead to use wise words with intention to administer healing to this hurting world. Lord, lead us into spaces of health and healing and walk alongside us as we heal by the stripes of Jesus Christ. Give us grace as we heal spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically. We thank You for it. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Words” by Hawk Nelson. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Essie Faye Taylor is a woman of faith. She’s a bilingual author, educator, speaker, psalmist, and interpreter. 

Essie is the author of the “Finding the Love You Deserve” series for women and teens. She is deeply committed to motivating minorities, women, and youth to heal themselves, love and accept themselves, and pursue God while chasing their dreams and carving out their life’s path. 

Essie is a Chicago native where she lives with her husband Donald Taylor II.

Connect with Essie:
Amazon Author Page:
Listen to Essie’s music at
Instagram: on Instagram
Read Essie’s YouVersion Devotion Plan here:

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: How to Find Rest in the Presence of Christ

Find Rest in the Presence of Jesus Christ
A devotional by Sarah Cole

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

Do you ever wake up desperate to step off life's merry-go-round and just be?

I certainly do. I’ve noticed that when I buy the lie that my accomplishments define me, the pressure to “be somebody” keeps me on a constant treadmill, and I lose touch with my God-given identity.

Busyness isn't just a modern epidemic. It dates back to the time when the Bible was originally written. In the Bible verse above, we see a stark contrast between Mary and Martha's approaches to Jesus Christ’s visit to their home. Martha wanted to be the perfect hostess. But her anxious and distracted mind drove her to exhaustion and frustration. Meanwhile, Mary took the time to sit at the feet of Jesus and rest in His presence.

I'll be the first to admit that, like Martha, I've allowed my “to-do list” to be in the driver's seat. If I'm not always accomplishing something, I get restless and bored, like an addict seeking a fix. But when I'm distracted, I miss out on the blessings of an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Does this ring a bell?

The truth is that no amount of success compares to the peace and fulfillment we find in Christ’s presence. The job description He gives us is less about keeping up with life's demands and more about developing a godly character so we change the world around us. And when we realize that Jesus settled our worth at the cross, we can finally stop striving to achieve it. By dying for our sins, Jesus showed us how valuable we are to Him (John 3:16-17).

At the end of our lives, people will remember us not for our resumes but by how we've lived for Christ. Saint Augustine said, "You (God) have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You." When we embrace our identity as dearly loved children of God, we can stop trying to prove ourselves because Jesus proved we're enough by saving us. The older I get, the more I want people to remember me as a woman who spent time with Jesus because the more time I spend with Him, the more I develop His compassion for people around me.

Sweet friend, if you yearn to escape the rat race, why not take out your calendar, set up a recurring appointment with Jesus, and then notice what happens to your stress level. You can't avoid life's distractions altogether, but you can keep them from pulling you away from His presence where you'll find true rest.

Let's Pray: Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me for me, not for my accomplishments. Thank You for what You accomplished by dying for my sins. When life's distractions threaten to steal my devotion to You, draw me into Your presence where your love breathes life into my soul. Help me to be still, know that You are God, and find rest in You. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)” by Kari Jobe. 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. Since then, she has written for her college newspaper and two community newspapers where she wrote restaurant reviews and articles for their ‘best of’ spread.

Her experience as an administrator in the marketing field gave her the opportunity to write ads for a local business journal.

After a 20-year detour and a three-year season of adversity, God reignited her passion to write. Two divine appointments later, the short story she wrote about her father appeared in the St. Paul Almanac, and a short story about her cocker spaniel Gigi was published in Guideposts’ Mysterious Ways. She believes her adversity was worth the lessons God taught her.

Sarah's devotionals have been published in David C. Cook’s The Quiet Hour and Devotions, The Secret Place by Judson Press, and Pray a Word a Day by Guideposts. Her short story will be featured in an upcoming book, Too Amazing For Coincidence, also to be published by Guideposts. To this day, Sarah smiles, pinches herself and gives God all the glory.

When she's not writing, she's enjoying her hobbies that include dog sitting, watching cooking shows and taking day trips.

Connect with Sarah:

Monday, March 18, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Why God wants us to practice forgiveness

Forgiveness: A Gift from God
A devotional by Joy Beless

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
—Luke 23:34 (NIV)

On a rainy day in Dublin, I knew where I wanted to be. I said goodbye to my husband and we separately made our way through the winding streets to see the last stop on our “must-see” lists before leaving Ireland. We later met up to share our experiences over dinner.

It’s hard to explain the “pull” of the Holy Spirit but it was unmistakable: I needed to have space to reflect on my time in Ireland and listen to God’s quiet whisper.

I yearned to sit in a quiet chapel and soak in the ancient story of Saint Patrick at his namesake cathedral. As I approached, I joined the other tourists who for whatever reasons, also made their way through the magnificent stone doors into a dimly lit gothic style cathedral. It was beautiful and intriguing but not quiet. I made my way to the end of the building to the Lady Chapel where few people were sitting and they, like me, yearned for a quiet worshipful experience. As I sat there, still and breathing in the damp air, the word “forgiveness” surfaced in my soul.

Forgiveness is a major theme in St. Patrick’s story and, if we are truthful, in all our stories. Saint Patrick lived in Britain and as a teen was taken captive to work as a slave in Ireland, turning to God through prayer for his strength. After six years he escaped and returned to his family. While home, he dreamt the Irish people were begging him to return. After becoming a priest, he returned to the island of his slavery and preached the gospel for another forty years until his death.

If we unwrap our culture’s version of St. Patrick’s Day—celebrating by wearing green color apparel, focusing on four-leaf clovers, shamrocks and fables—we discover a remarkable story of the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see how it gives us strength to untwist the complicated stories of our lives and empowers us to forgive others.

Throughout the New Testament, forgiveness is an important theme. So much so, Jesus Christ spoke of it in The Lord’s Prayer, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12 NIV). The Apostle Paul also emphasized forgiveness in his letters to the early church. He wrote in Ephesians 4:32 NIV: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Paul was keenly aware of the power of forgiveness after he received forgiveness for the relentless persecution he led against the early church before he met Jesus. He was also thankful, by God’s grace, to forgive those who persecuted him as a Christian.

As I sat in the small room hidden at the end of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I had no agenda other than to be present with God and to listen to Him. An undeniable quiet voice spoke, “Love others. And to love others is to forgive.” I continued to sit quietly and pondered who and what is tucked away like a rock in my soul, waiting for forgiveness. Shortly, thereafter, I stepped back through the thick stone doorway out into the cool rain of the afternoon, knowing to love Jesus Christ is to follow Him in forgiving others.

There is much to be said about the subject of forgiveness. It does not necessarily mean “forgetfulness” or to pretend the words or action never happened. Rather, it is a journey God desires to walk with us, understanding the complexity and difficulty of releasing the person and the hurtful act or words into His hands. Forgiveness is freeing ourselves from the power of the unjust act. This creates space in our heart to receive the intimate redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

Is there a name, a relationship or experience that is rising in your soul as you read this? Perhaps emotions of grief, anger or anxiety? Talk with God about it. Ask Him to show you the first step and identify someone who is safe you can trust to walk this journey of healing with.

St. Patrick knew the power and necessity of practicing forgiveness every day. Jesus Christ demonstrated to us how to forgive people, and I desire to live a lifestyle of forgiveness.

Let’s Pray:
Thank You, Jesus, for teaching and demonstrating for us the importance of living out the forgiveness we receive from You and extend to others—especially when it is undeserved and difficult to give. Thank you for the life of St. Patrick who, through forgiveness, brought Christianity to a nation. Help me to forgive. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Forgiveness” by Matthew West. Listen here.

Author Bio:

Joy Beless is a worshipper of God and lover of people. 

A practicing Spiritual Director, she is a speaker for retreats and conferences and facilitates guided solitude retreats at the family ranch in North Texas.

A seasoned worship leader and songwriter, she frequently weaves worship, God’s Word and spiritual practices together. She is a chapel provider for a shelter for the houseless and a certified Grief and Trauma Healing Facilitator. Serving at global retreats for Kingdom-minded women delights her soul.

She has written for Global Trellis and Missio Nexus. She connects God’s Word with the reality of our daily in all the ups and downs.

Joy is married to Roger. They live in Coppell (Texas). Joy is called "JoJo" by her nine adorable grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors and encourages flowers to grow in the Texas heat.

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Friday, March 15, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Consider this while you're waiting on God

In the Waiting
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
—Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)

Are you in a season of waiting?

I can relate.

Right now, I feel like I’m in a season of waiting. I'm waiting on God to show me the next step and to provide the answers I seek. Waiting is hard, and I’ll be honest, I don’t always like it.

Maybe you’re waiting to hear the results of a test. Or maybe you’ve been praying the same prayers and are beginning to wonder if the cry of your heart has even been heard. Dear friend, I don’t know where you are right now, what you are waiting for. But I promise you this: God sees you and hears the cry of your heart.

As painful as it can be sometimes, even waiting serves a purpose. When we wait, we are given opportunities to trust God in ways we might not otherwise. Waiting stretches us. It grows our faith. Certainly, it tests our patience!

Life can be such a mystery. There are hard times but there are also beautiful things to look forward to. It can be so tempting to want to rush through the hard times. But it’s the times of waiting, the hard times, that build character. Waiting is hard, but don’t miss the beauty that can be found there.

When I find myself growing impatient while waiting, I’m challenged to consider if my impatience is a result of a lack of trust in God. Sure, it’s easier to trust God when He gives us the answers we want when we want. But do I trust God if His answer is “No”? Do I trust God if His answer is “Wait”? Do I trust God even if I don’t have all the answers?

Personally, impatience for me usually stems from a fear that I’ll miss out on something, that I need [fill-in-the-blank] to make me happy. However, I’ve learned that only God can truly satisfy me. Don’t let the enemy tell you lies and lead you to believe you’re missing out because you’re not yet where you wish you were. God has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He will make sure you are where you’re supposed to be at the right time and not a moment before.

Trust Him.

God is working even in the waiting.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Father God, I often find myself growing impatient and wanting to rush through the waiting seasons. Please help me to trust You. Nothing is wasted. Please help me believe in my heart that You are working in the waiting, even when I can’t see it. I believe that every season has its purpose. Thank you, Lord, for being patient with me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller. 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 follow God’s calling to pursue writing seriously. Hannah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). In addition to fiction, she also writes devotionals and has been published on other websites. Her prayer is that her readers leave deeply encouraged and more in love with Jesus.

When not writing, Hannah also enjoys being involved with local theater companies, with a primary focus on Biblical theater. She wants to show the love of Jesus through the creative arts.

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.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Life lessons about Jesus learned from a lint brush

How a Lint Brush Reminded Me of Jesus 
A devotional by Angela Anderson

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”—2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)

One morning as I was getting ready for church, my 11-year-old son walked into my bedroom with lint all over his black pants. He explained that he was sitting on the rug in the living room while he was reading a book. I told him that he had to clean up before leaving and I asked him to look in the other room for the lint brush.

Moments later he returned with the lint brush in his hand and started brush to the front of his pant legs repeatedly. I reminded him to brush in the direction of the arrow which was located on the handle of the brush. With every stroke of the brush, you could notice a remarkable difference as his black pants were becoming lint-free. As he continued to brush, he became more fascinated by the lint that seemed to disappear into the head of the brush. After some time, both pant legs were clean and appeared to be brand new.

My son was so intrigued by the lint brush that he decided to start brushing the velour blanket on my bed. He wasn’t paying close attention to the direction of the arrow on the handle as he started brushing in the opposite direction. After a while, all of the lint came off the brush and was transferred onto the blanket. Although the lint brush was completely clean, now the blanket was all dirty!

This situation caused me to think about the days of the Israelites in the Old Testament of The Holy Bible. In order to atone for their sins, they were required to bring a lamb that was free of blemishes to the altar as a sacrifice. This meant that all of their wrongdoing was transferred to this animal, and the bloodshed was symbolic of reparation for all of their offenses. This process brought hope to the sinner because it was a way to reconcile with their Creator (God).

This method of atonement came to an abrupt end when Jesus Christ died on the cross (John 3:16-17). He became the Holy Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. All of our dirt, our guilt and our shame was placed on Jesus. He was sinless but He became sin, so that He could die in our place. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and atonement for our sins. His blood that was shed gives us a new life in Him. And now He reconciles us with God by covering us in His robe of righteousness and presenting us faultless before God’s throne. We can be thankful for our union with God because of what Jesus did for us!

Let’s Pray: Dear God, I am so thankful for the blood that Jesus shed for me. Because of His death, my life can be free from guilt or shame. May I never forget the sacrifice Jesus made for me. I am so grateful that when you look at me, you see Jesus standing in my place. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. Thank you for offering forgiveness for all of humankind’s sins. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Jesus Messiah” by Chris Tomlin. Listen 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. She is currently working on another devotional book.

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

This is Angela’s fourth year as a guest blog writer for Alexis A. Goring’s “Devotionals for the Heart” blog series. In 2021, Angela was a winner of a devotional writing contest where the entry is featured in a book published by Proverbs 31 Ministries titled, Hope When Your Heart is Heavy. The following year, another one of Angela’s devotionals was published in Living Unbroken, which is also a publication produced by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Angela is also a life coach for mothers. 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. She helps them see their value, understand their importance, and reclaim their identity.

Angela is also the host of “The Angela Anderson Show”, a virtual talk show that launched in April 2023 on YouTube and Facebook. The show is designed for mothers who want to pursue their dream while managing family life. The audio version of the show is also available as a podcast on Spotify.

Angela has been married to the love of her life, Duane Anderson, for 19 years. Together they have two sons: Thomas (age 11) and Ryan (age 6). Angela’s favorite pastime is journaling, and she also enjoys spending quality time with her family.

Connect with Angela:

To connect with Angela, you can follow her on Instagram (angelanderson1104), Clubhouse (@angelize), and send a friend request to her on Facebook.

Subscribe to Angela’s YouTube channel @The Angela Anderson Show and follow the show on Spotify. Angela offers free consultations for mothers who want to pursue their dream while taking care of their family. Schedule here:

You can also like and follow her Facebook page for her devotional book, Just When I Thought I Knew God.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Showing why we need Jesus Christ in our life

A Bruised Reed
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”
—Isaiah 42:3 (NIV)

Some people don’t want God. They think they don’t need God. Even if they might identify themselves as Christians, their behavior shows pride and stubbornness. They are self-made.

Occasionally within the walls of the church, the subject comes up about God needing to break our stubborn will, our pride, our obstinacy. It can be quite frightening to think we are all that way; that we are all raising our fist in God’s face, or that we are all untamed horses, needing to be broken in.

The other day I was tempted to pray this for someone in my life who needs to allow Jesus Christ to have His way: “Lord, please break this person.” Then I felt God speak to my heart: “This person is already broken. They are wounded and that is what is keeping them from trusting Me.”

This is entirely different from being stubborn and self-reliant. The person does not need to be broken again. The person needs to be healed. I suppose it is true that some wounds need to be broken again for healing to take place, but this is not God’s heart when He says of Jesus, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Something like a reed is delicate and needs to be handled gently. A person in that condition needs to learn to trust.

I have been such a reed. My heart was damaged and trust seemed impossible. I berated myself, believed I was in sin, and sat under a weight of guilt and shame, feeling that I could not possibly measure up to the standard. Yet I also could not detect what was wrong. It was only then that I realized I needed healing, not brokenness.

We all have a measure of stubbornness and pride. But beloved, if you feel distant from God, do not automatically assume that some undefined sin is keeping you away from your Heavenly Father. A father who loves his child is going to help that child see where sin might exist in their life. But if there is no sin, we need to ask deeper questions. A good place to start may be, “Lord, what is it that stands between us?” For me it became an issue of, “Lord, what happened in my past that makes it so difficult for me to trust in You today?”

Perhaps you are already too keenly aware of your brokenness. Don’t shy away from healing; ask God to help you find ways to overcome. Our Father longs to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds (Psalm 147:3). Seek restoration, not as a stubborn sinner who has gone against a loving God, but as a hurting child who longs to rest, fully confident, in the arms of their Father.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, I ask You to search my heart and show me if it is pride and stubbornness that is keeping us apart, or if there is something deeper. Let me know if I have a deep wound that has caused me to be unable to trust You. If that is the case, I pray today that You would begin to heal me. Show me ways in which I can seek healing. Help me open up to You, and begin to trust again. In Your Name Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Stay Broken” by Duawne Starling. Listen 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!

Along with writing devotionals, Aubrey is the author of the German-perspective 20th Century Fiction series, Gott Mit Uns. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing or taking care of her home and family, she enjoys singing and dancing with friends from a German choir and a Bavarian folk dancing group. She is also a lover of Jesus Christ, The Holy Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats!

Connect with Aubrey:
Amazon Author Page:

Friday, March 8, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Witnessing the majesty of God's creation

Summit of Faith: Finding God’s Faithfulness in the Waiting
A devotional by Dr. LaVonda McCullough

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
—Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

There’s immense power in waiting when our faith rests in God.

Today unfolded like any other day, yet with a spark of hope for a day of rest during our vacation. The Zugspitze, the country of Germany’s highest peak, had eluded us despite multiple visits to the area. Clouds and rain had consistently obscured our view, making the journey seem futile. But today, a glimmer of hope emerged as I approached the counter to inquire about Zugspitze's visibility. To my astonishment, today was perfect for the trip. With directions in hand, anticipation surged within me as I prepared for the visit.

Micah (my husband) and I couldn't contain our excitement. After years of waiting, the moment had finally arrived to ascend to the summit and witness the majesty of God’s creation. I knew that view would remind me of Psalm 27:4 (NIV), which says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

Boarding the Sky Lift just in time, we ascended to 2,962 meters—the culmination of our patience and trust. As I gazed out from the Sky Lift, memories flooded my mind of previous failed attempts. But today, a resounding message echoed within me: Don’t give up! Keep trusting God. Life’s hurdles, from job loss to health struggles, had tested us over the past six years. Yet, these challenges had a purpose—they prepared us for the blessings ahead. In the breathtaking vistas atop Zugspitze, I felt God’s presence. Tears welled in my eyes as His faithfulness enveloped me, lifting the weight of past grievances and fears.

On the ninth day of April 2019, as I stood at Germany’s highest peak, I found release and reconciliation. God’s miraculous interventions flooded my thoughts—healing, restoration, and provision beyond measure. Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? God desires to lift the heaviness of your heart. You can lay your burdens at his feet.

What are you waiting for today? Trust in God, for His timing is perfect, and His promises never fail. May this day be a testament to the power of faith and patience, reminding us that even in the waiting, God is working wonders beyond our comprehension.

Let’s Pray: Gracious Lord, thank You for your faithfulness to answer our prayers and the desires of our heart. As we stand before You today, we are filled with gratitude for Your faithfulness and provision in our lives. We thank You for the journey You have led us on, even during trials and waiting. We surrender our hearts to You completely. Lift the heaviness within us and fill us with Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Just as You granted me the opportunity to ascend to the highest peak, You also promise to lead Your children to the mountaintops of Your presence. Help us to trust in Your plan, knowing that You are always working for our good. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Wait on the Lord” by Donnie McClurkin and Karen Clark Sheard. Listen here.

Author Bio:

Dr. LaVonda McCullough is a Christian Life Coach, author, speaker and pastor who specializes in women empowerment with Christian-based approach.

Since 2012, LaVonda has coached countless women into compete freedom, teaching them to enhance their spiritual practice. Through one-on-one Coaching, Bible Study, Prayer Walks and retreats (Joyful Journey RefresHER retreat) she teaches women how to reach the divine power within and discover their purpose.

With the foundation of her personal practice the discipline of a Daily Quiet Time, she works closely with those she coaches to develop their own intimate relationship with God. Always using a spirit-led approach, she focusing on the whole person: mind, body, and soul. LaVonda values providing a safe, loving and nurturing environment that allows those she works with to tap into the divine and commune with God themselves.

LaVonda has a deep understanding of healing through intimate relationship with God due to her personal experiences with shame, trauma, loss, and depression.

She is passionate about helping people find freedom and joy in their journey through the cultivation of spiritual practice.

Originally from North Carolina, LaVonda has traveled throughout Europe and Africa speaking about healing through the power of prayer. She has lived in Germany since 2012, where shares her life with her husband of 33 years.

LaVonda and her husband have three children.

Connect with LaVonda:

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Thankful Thursdays: When God answers prayers we don't think to pray

It’s Thursday and I’m thankful for how God answered a prayer I didn’t think to pray.

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of serving on Jennie Allen’s book launch team for her new book that was released in February 2024. The title is, Untangle Your Emotions: Naming What You Feel and Knowing What to Do About It. For the purposes of her book launch, Jennie and her people decided to mainly communicate with all of their launch team members via text messages sent to our cell phones. After Jennie’s book launch was over, I stopped reading the texts. She was still sending a few texts every few days with bonus material and notes for the people who served on her launch team. It wasn’t often but whenever I saw one, I’d just ignore it for no good reason.

However, on February 22, I felt nudged by God to read the text that I received from Jennie’s team and I’m so glad I did because I found out that Jennie was giving each of her launch team members a FREE ticket to attend the IF:Gathering 2024 event online! Now here is why this gift was so significant and such a blessing to me: A few weeks prior to receiving this free ticket, I saw on social media that the IF:Gathering was happening again this February 2024. And I thought to myself, “I enjoyed my time attending the IF:Gathering online for the first time a few years ago. I’d love to go again but I cannot afford it. Oh well.” As quickly as the thought came, I dismissed it and carried on about my day. I didn't even think to ask God about it and pray for Him to make a way for me to be able to attend. Then less than two weeks later, what does God do? He blesses me with a FREE ticket so I can attend ALL of the IF:Gathering 2024 events online and also access the vault of previous gatherings broadcasted in the past ten years! This 2024 is the 10th year of the IF:Gathering hosted by Jennie Allen. God gave her this idea and she ran with it!

I attended the IF:Gathering 2024 event from the comfort of my own home and was so encouraged by everything from the musicians to the messages shared by speakers who love Jesus Christ and are dedicating their life to Him. The arena where this event was held in Texas was filled to the brim. It was beautiful to see so many people chasing after Jesus and being about His business of sharing His Word with the world. We all need Jesus. Only He can save us (John 3:16). And this event was a beautiful reminder of just how much God loves humankind. 

Through this, I learned that God not only answers prayers we don’t think to pray; He also hears our heart and wants to give us the desires that are according to His will. God knew that I needed to attend this evangelistic event to feed my soul and strengthen my spirit as a follower of Jesus Christ. So without me praying or asking Him about it, He made a way! God is so good.

He did this for me and He can do this for you too! Don’t be afraid to tell God what’s on your heart. Don’t be afraid to ask Him what you want. God may not always give you everything you want but He will always give you everything you need. I’m so grateful that God is faithful!

What are you thankful for this Thursday?


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

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: When God interrupts your life as you know it

When God Interrupts Our Plans

A devotional by Leslie Bake

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
—Acts 8:30-31 (NIV)

How many of us appreciate interruptions?

It depends on the day, our patience level, what we’re trying to get done or put off. Some of us create a structured schedule with every hour planned while others don’t mind more flexibility and spontaneity. If you’re like me, you prefer a balance of structure and freedom.

Sometimes the interruptions take the form of detours and delays, like road closures, and it’s difficult to stay calm while our GPS re-routes to what feels like the “long way” to arrive at our destination.

God wants us to be ready and available for His “interruptions” from what we might consider our productive and important work. We need to obey as the Holy Spirit redirects our plans. It’s part of the surrendering process. The key is in recognizing the interruptions and responding not in frustration, but in humble submission. But anger or fear can get the best of us if we are consumed with our own agendas. Don’t mistake an interruption from a distraction. Distractions are not from the Lord and tempt us away from where we know our focus needs to be.

Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, is interrupted from her simple peasant life when the angel of the Lord appeared to announce her forthcoming pregnancy (Luke 1:26-56). Interruptions can be upsetting and bewildering when we think we are already doing what we believe the Lord has called us to do. We’re on schedule. Everything is going as planned until the Lord interrupts us and changes our whole life like He did for Saul on his way to Damascus. Read about it in Acts 9.

Let’s delve a little deeper into Scripture, focusing on Acts 8:26-40. During the first century A.D., persecution against followers of Jesus Christ scattered the apostles and other believers away from Jerusalem. This interruption of their every day life was the beginning of the Christ-followers beginning to witness to people about Jesus “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In one case, Philip developed a successful preaching ministry to great crowds in Samaria, but the Holy Spirit interrupted this gig and told him to go to Ethiopia. It’s not exactly a hop skip and a jump away. Ethiopia is located several miles south of Samaria and probably the last place Philip expected to go, but he obeyed God and traveled to this destination on what may have been a hot, uncomfortable desert road.

During his journey to Ethiopia, Philip encountered an Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot. The Holy Spirit prompted Philip to approach the eunuch, who was reading the Bible book of Isaiah. The eunuch was frustrated because he didn’t understand what he was reading. Let’s read what happens next in Acts 8:30-31…

“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

It was the perfect setup for Philip to share the gospel. When we share the gospel, we should start where the other person’s concerns are focused. Then we can show how God’s Word applies to those concerns. What lesson can we learn from all of this? Follow God’s lead, even if seems inconvenient and feels like a delay or a demotion. At first we may not understand why, and maybe we never will, but we must trust that God’s plan will have the greatest kingdom impact.

As a Bible Study Fellowship small group leader, I must monitor 45 minutes of time together on Tuesday mornings for our discussion. The children’s program is active during this time so that moms can enjoy adult fellowship, but most littles are anxious to re-unite with moms, so moms are encouraged to leave immediately to pick up their kids. This particular year, my kids are in a public school, so I myself don’t need to rush off. This was a blessing one Tuesday morning when a new, elderly group member was assigned to me. Instead of leaving with everyone else right at 11 o’clock as I normally do, the Holy Spirit told me to stay with my new member and help her make the appropriate adjustments on her phone so that I could contact her. Half an hour later, she was set up on my group contact app and appreciative.

Interruptions are not setbacks, failures or delays, but a re-direction of our time and energy. Think of them as a nudge from God to forsake our agendas and joyfully surrender to His. Giving up our own expectations and control does not come easy. Neither does self-denial, yet life presents no higher calling than giving up our agendas for the Lord’s.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, help me recognize when You are re-directing my plans and expectations for teaching me something new and furthering your Kingdom. Help me surrender my agenda to You and remain sensitive to your promptings of where to go and what to do. Forgive me for those times when I have deliberately ignored you out of fear or frustration. You were sovereign then and You are sovereign now. Thank you that no amount of my sin ever blocks your plans for my life and for those around me. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song for Reflection: “I Know the Plans (Audrey’s Song)” by Damaris. Listen here.

Author Bio:

Leslie Bake grew up Lutheran in Des Moines, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with an undergraduate degree in English, and with a new understanding of what a relationship with the Lord could look like.

She spent a few years reporting and editing in small town journalism and then began a master’s degree at Iowa State University in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Then marriage. Then a divorce, which deepened her relationship with God and transformed her life.

She taught ELL for three years at Kansas State University, then returned to writing and earned a master’s degree in creative non-fiction in Pittsburgh. Her memoir will eventually be published, and it details the process of how the Lord created beauty from the ashes of divorce. 

Pittsburgh is also where she met and married her second husband. They are now the parents of two wonderful children, one in fourth grade and one in kindergarten, and they make their home in West Des Moines.

She now maintains a monthly blog and is working toward expanding her writing ministry. Her heart’s deepest desire is to help others connect with God through writing.

Connect with Leslie:
Email: Leslie.bake@

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The story behind a NEW book by Becky Beresford that releases today!

Join me in wishing my author friend, Becky Beresford, a "Happy BOOK Birthday" because her debut nonfiction book (She Believed HE Could, So She Did) releases into the world today (March 5, 2024) and it's going to be amazing! In fact it already is. 

But don't take my word for it, read all about her story in the post below.

The story behind the book by Becky Beresford: 

I never thought I would be a serious writer, let alone write a book like the one God has asked me to write.

After working in ministry with women for five years, I got married and quickly became pregnant with our oldest son. I was used to meeting face-to-face with women and discipling them over a cup of coffee or in a small group setting. But motherhood (especially mothering a little one with special needs) soon proved to be a new season where I couldn’t pour into women like I once had. With the passion still in my heart, I asked God to either remove my desire for ministry or to somehow make a way for ministry and motherhood to coexist. He responded with a third option, something I had never considered before. The Lord expanded my idea of ministry and showed me that discipleship could also take shape in the form of writing, and now He was asking me to write for Him!

With shaky hands I sent my first blog post out into the world in 2015, not knowing if anyone would see it or if they would want to read what I wrote. Little did I know the plans Jesus had for the words He was inspiring. People began to respond and relate to the messages God was laying on my heart to communicate. And so, I decided to pursue the idea of writing an actual book. 

After three years of trying to publish a separate book that is not She Believed HE Could, So She Did, I felt worn down to the bone. Not only was I receiving rejection after rejection from publishers, my life was full of overwhelming circumstances, all of which left me feeling like a failure. With special needs parenting, financial strain, health issues, loss, and a marriage on the brink of divorce, I came to the end of my own strength and sufficiency. I tried hard to believe I could handle whatever life threw my way—that if I could just keep my head afloat a little longer, then everything would be okay. Instead of relying on God as my source and security, I kept taking matters into my own hands. Jesus had to show me I didn’t have to be the savior of my story. It was never my job to have, but His.

During this hard time I had a sign on my writing desk from my husband with the popular saying “She Believed She Could, So She Did”. But the more I stared at the statement, the more unsettling it became. Did I really think I could hold everything together and be enough for everyone always, including myself? I was weary from trying to do it all, a state many of us find ourselves in today.

But God never intended for His Daughters to live with the burden of carrying the world’s concerns or trying to make everything happen. Instead, He wants to bring us back to the message of the gospel where we come to Jesus in our weakness and allow His love, truth, and strength to empower us to face trials. We don’t need to believe solely in ourselves when there’s a God who is able to do immeasurably more than anything we could imagine or think. We can take a deep breath and lean into the care and capacity of Christ.

This is why I wrote She Believed HE Could, So She Did. It goes against the grain of culture’s popular self-empowerment mindset, but also challenges similar sayings within the church. We need to go back to the Bible and see what God truly says. I pray the message found within this book’s pages will inspire women to stop striving according to society’s standards and in turn, surrender everything to the God who can. 

True freedom is possible when we ground our whole selves in the Good News.

Author Bio:

Becky Beresford lives in North Carolina and is happily outnumbered by her husband and three wonderful boys. She is an author, speaker and coach with a Master's Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary. 

Becky loves encouraging God’s Daughters to embrace Christ-centered empowerment through the truth found in the gospel. Her work has been featured in large online communities including Crosswalk, (in)courage, iBelieve, HuffPost, DaySpring, and she recently became a writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ First 5 writing team. 

Becky’s book with Moody Publishers, She Believed HE Could, So She Did, releases in March.

Buy Becky's book:

Monday, March 4, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: God has a job for all Christians to do on Earth

Our Job as Christians
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
—John 15:12 (NIV)

When I was a kid, I had one job: Watch over my little sister.

Back in the 80s, I was your classic latchkey kid, and we did all those 80s things you might hear about—drink from the hose, play outside all day long, things I don’t think my kids have ever done, sadly. My little sister was three and a half years younger than me, but in my head she was completely my responsibility. The fact that she had rebellious streak and loved to play jokes on her super-serious, rule-following big sister didn’t help, but I wasn’t deterred. Even today, the weight of that responsibility rests on my shoulders like a mantle. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve always felt like her little mama, and it makes no difference at all how old we get. I feel that way still.

We all have responsibilities. Maybe we’re parents, maybe we’re employed somewhere, maybe we’re the boss—whatever it is, our jobs are usually pretty clear. Yet sometimes we forget we have a job as Christians, too. This is our most important job, but I’ve found it’s not talked about quite as often as the rest of our responsibilities. Consequently, many of us are fuzzy on it, or maybe we get confused and think other things are our “main” job. Our job as Christians is to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ to the end of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20).

Now, obviously this job, this command, this work, is for people who are already Christians. Becoming a Christian in the first place is a change that happens in our hearts and minds. We must believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior and repent of our sins. We must try our hardest to point our lives toward Christ, even if we get it wrong sometimes. But once we become Christians—followers of Christ, members of God’s family—we’re supposed to be disciples. And Jesus was very clear what he expected from his disciples.

When he resurrected from the dead, he spent forty days walking among his disciples before his ascension to heaven, teaching them how to live and what they needed to know. He urged them to feed his lambs and tend his sheep (John 21:15-19). He promised them the Holy Spirit would come as their advocate and friend (1 John 2:1).

And he told them their job: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).

The Holy Spirit stuff is just about accepting he’s in our soul, with us every moment. Feeding the lambs and tending the sheep ties into what Jesus said about the greatest commandments—love God with all our hearts and our minds and our souls and, second, love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40). We’re supposed to take care of each other, not be selfish.

But the directive about going and making disciples? Evangelizing? That can be really hard for some of us. A lot of people think it means getting up on a stage or standing on a street corner shouting about Jesus all day.

Yet bringing people to Christ, making disciples, often has nothing to do with words at all. For some, it’s about writing. For others it’s about serving with your church in the name of Jesus. Maybe for you it’s about living your life out loud, letting people know that you believe in Jesus, you go to church, and follow his ways. Or maybe it’s about relationships, inviting other people to study the Bible with you, pray, or join you for worship.

How we make disciples—how we evangelize, bring others into the fold—can look very different depending on who we are and what our gifts are. But however we do it, the point doesn’t change: We have to take care of other people and help them become followers of Jesus also.

Some of us get so passionate about debating theology, calling out sin, or making big grandstands about morals and values that we forget about our main job. Disciple-making takes a back seat—but it shouldn’t. Leading others to Christ must be our first priority.

It doesn’t mean these other things can’t be important to us. Turning from sin is a huge priority in my life. I’m constantly on a quest to be like Jesus. It’s called sanctification, the process of becoming more holy, and I’m probably going to spend the rest of my life doing it and never getting close, but I’m trying. But sin is not the main thing. The main thing isn’t speaking out about issues, or pointing fingers, or any of those other things we can easily get caught up in.

The main thing is growing God’s kingdom. It’s bringing other people into the flock of sheep along with us and helping them know the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Sometimes we live our lives like we’re immortal, like the day of our death or the day of Christ’s return is so far off. We let other things get in the way. We lose our sense of urgency. But the time is now, my friends. Do what you can to bring others to Christ, to help other people believe, to help them know they belong. Our job is not to point fingers or to serve as a barrier. It’s to beckon people close.

Today, I hope you’ll join me and praying about how you personally can begin to make this a priority in your life if it is not already, to make us all get better and better at attracting people to Jesus. We don’t have to worry about having the right words to say, or even using words at all. We just have to understand that this is our job, and our priority, and surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit, who will use us to do this in way he knows is best.

It’s not about us. It’s about Him. Let us not stop until everyone knows Him.

It’s a powerful act of love.

Let’s Pray: Lord, help me remember that if I do nothing in my life beyond commit myself to You and bring someone else to you, too, then I serve You well. Help me do all I can to surrender to you in all aspects of my life. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection #1: “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris. Listen here.

Song of Reflection #2: "For Such a Time As This" by Wayne Watson. Listen here.

Author Bio:

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

Since 2010, she has served as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won 123 journalism awards during her tenure. Her latest book is Preparing Our Hearts: An Advent Devotional to Draw Closer to God at Christmas.

She has won more than 100 writing awards. Jessica is a seasoned speaker and frequent contributor to,, and, among many others. She has a weekly faith blog at and is part of the team at Wholly Loved Ministries, with her work included in many of their devotionals and Bible studies. Jessica also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

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

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

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Friday, March 1, 2024

Devotionals for the Heart: Discipline

The Warfare of the Soul

A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Beloved, I urge you, as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”—1 Peter 2:11 (ESV)

As I awakened one day and moved into my devotional headspace, God whispered a warning into my soul. God was listening to my prayers about a new professional opportunity. 

In preparation for the next steps in the journey of my life, God invited me to fast, not from food, but from other distractions. This fast would allow my spiritual senses to be honed. The second part of the invitation was to physically exercise. Whatever might come next would meet me with new challenges. The fortification of the soul begins with the disciplines of spirituality.

Jesus Christ demonstrated this principle for us when after His baptism, He fasted and conquered the temptations presented to Him by Satan. After Jesus successfully battled and overcame the warfare for His soul, He went from the height of temptation to the mount of blessings. There, at the peak of victory, He shared the ethos of how to live lives of divine fulfillment. The victory of purpose is found in rightly regimenting our innate passions.

Seeking, above all else, to be in a right relationship with God, our family and neighbors, is the portal through which we enter the experience of signs, wonders, miracles, and spiritual fulfillments that will exceed and defy our imaginations (Matthew 6:33).

During the pandemic, I started to feel run down and achy. I was sneezing, coughing and my nose was running. I took the home test for COVID-19. The lines were bright pink. Even though I had faithfully masked and frequently washed my hands and clothing, my body was infected. I was sick. The symptoms of the illness were indicators that my body was fighting the infection. The body loses when it can no longer repel an illness.

Similarly, if we do not manage the passions in our lives, our souls will be infected. Impediments will occur to our spirituality, our godly purpose, our immediate impact in our sphere of influence and our destinies. Just as our bodies combat infections internally, the warfare in the soul is fought on the battleground of our passions.

Passions are not sins. We were created to appreciate and utilize our senses, intuitions and inclinations. They are vehicles of pleasure, warning and security. Sin occurs when the passions that are subject to our control begin to control us, such as when we overindulge in our passion for food. Eating to live is a radically different experience and state of life than living to eat.

We are losing the battle when we give control of our choices and resources to the wasteful diffusions of our creative energy. Worrying, fantasizing, plotting and striving for the affirmations of our social networks can become intoxicating and dangerous.

Gain the victory and the spiritual high ground by living above the level of passion. Plunge into service for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Postpone and regiment your passions so that your soul is strengthened in preparation for the next exaltation that God has for you.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, Fortify us for the battles of the day, every day. Help us to have the victory in Jesus Christ. In the matchless and mighty Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Victory Belongs To Jesus (LIVE)” by Todd Dulaney. Listen here.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson is the Director Emeritus of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries for the North American Division. In this role, he was the friend, advocate and gatekeeper for the profession of chaplaincy among Adventist pastors. 

His new mission is to specialize in personal and personnel development coaching.

He journeys with and guides clients, personal and corporate, as they define their goals and grow into their full potential.

His pastoral career began in the Allegheny East Conference where he was ordained.

Subsequently, he served in the Potomac Conference at the Sligo and Seabrook churches. His professional dream was to be a chaplain in the United States Navy. He got to live that dream and achieved the rank of Commander before retiring from Naval service in 2015 with 26 years of service.

Chaplain Anderson has earned four graduate degrees: He earned his Master of Divinity Degree was earned at the seminary at Andrews University. He earned a Master’s of Education from the University of Maryland and a Master’s in Sacred Theology from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.

Chaplain Anderson and his wife Debra have been married for 41 years. They have two healthy, saved and well-adjusted adult children who picked good spouses and delivered four grandchildren.

Adventures through traveling, reading, praying, preaching, teaching and writing are the avenues of ministry and self-care that define his now and his destiny.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,