Tag Archive | devotions


My guest writer today is Barbara Harvey Carter, an Author, Registered Nurse, Speaker, Workshop Facilitator and AODA Counselor. She enjoys Christian counseling, speaking and participating at Christian and community events. She has a passion for women’s issues and a burden for victims of domestic abuse because “it hurts and destroys individuals and families!”

You can follow Barbara on:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/barbara.harveycarter?ref=ts&fref=ts and

on her blog at www.speakerteacherstoryteller.com.




Luke 14: 10 (NIV)

“But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.”


I attended a professional conference in Little Rock, Arkansas during the eighties. My high school friend was well known as an ‘alto’ gospel singer in the area. We hooked up, spent the day together, and were late arriving for the closing banquet at the hotel. I gave our tickets to the host at the door, expecting to be seated somewhere in the rear. The host recognized my friend and escorted us to a table at the front of the room. I remember feeling very special to be seated one table from the dais. Former President Bill Clinton was governor at the time and was the keynote speaker. The incident brought to mind Luke 14:10 – we didn’t ask for a front row seat or attempt to find one near the dais – I was pointing to one in the rear. But because of our humility, God allowed us to ‘move up’ to better seats.

Another time, I was attending a Black History Program in Milwaukee Wisconsin, arrived late, and surreptitiously slid into a seat at the back of the auditorium. I was spotted by the host who asked me to come take a seat on the front row. I really wanted to stay at the back since I was late and the program had already started but God honored my humility. He allowed me to be ‘asked’ to come to the front row and honored in view of all the other guests.

I’m not bragging about being elevated to seats of honor or trying to say that I’m so humble. The morale of my stories is when you feel you are not getting the respect and honor you think you deserve, don’t fret; trust that God will elevate you in due time. Continue to walk humbly before the Lord, trusting Him; taking the lowest place when you are invited to a function, then God will honor you in front of all the other guests.



Thanks for the devotion, Barbara. Great reminder. As a writer, it’s so easy to think it’s my job to promote myself. And in some ways it is, but letting God be in control takes away a lot of the stress!



Are You Putting God In A Cage?

This is not the first time I’ve used this devotion, but I love it! It’s a good reminder for me–and maybe for you?  So I use it from time to time. I hope you enjoy it as well.


James 4: 8 (NLT)

“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.”

Friends told me this story of a rescued dog long ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. The dog’s owners decided to use cage training to housebreak their young puppy. Cage training consists of having the puppy spend time in his cage until he figures out where to go potty and where not to.

Unfortunately, the owners missed the point. They brought their young puppy home and, as expected, the puppy soon had an accident. His owners punished him by putting him in the cage. With each accident, they would punish him by keeping him the cage for longer periods. Naturally, the dog would have another accident in the cage and so the cycle went.

Eventually, the dog was in the cage for several days at a time without food or water. The owners didn’t understand why the dog had turned mean.

Dogs are great pets when they are loved and nurtured. The more time we spend with them the stronger the bond becomes. The key to any relationship is the time, attention and effort given. That holds true for relationships with animals, people, and God.

The more time and effort we put into a relationship the more we receive.

What about our relationship with God?

Do we treat Him in a way that we wouldn’t treat a dog? Do we take God out of the cage on Sundays for a few hours and then stick Him back in until the next Sunday? We may even have good intentions but…life can get so busy.

I know that happens to me more often than I care to admit. I have good intentions to spend time with God but then life happens. Before I know it, I begin to lose my patience, my joy, and my peace. That’s when I know it’s time to draw near to God and He’s always there waiting.

Don’t cheat yourself out of a loving relationship with God because you think you don’t have time. There is no right or wrong way to spend time with God. Here are a few of my favorite ways to spend time with God:

While you do your chores, listen to praise music.

Pray whenever the mood hits.

Start writing a list of what you are grateful to God for–big and little things.

Rent a Biblical movie.

Put index cards and a pen by your Bible. Write out verses that are meaningful.

Sing your favorite hymn–even if your husband doesn‘t like your singing.

Reflect on God’s goodness as you notice His beautiful handiwork.

As you fall asleep, end your day with a pray of praise and thanksgiving.

Be creative, be flexible, and enjoy your time with God. The more time you spend with him, the more peace and joy you will experience. As you reap the benefits of spending time with God, you will soon find yourself craving more time with Him. He’s here right this moment–waiting for you.

What’s one of the ways you enjoy spending time with God?



OK, so I’d hoped for a few more votes to get us going in our Bible study but…that didn’t happen. I almost decided not to give this Bible study group a try, but I just feel this is something God wants me to do. And if it only helps one person, then I’m OK with that. So we had one vote for BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS and one for TOPICS.

Both votes win! How’s that for a compromise? We’re going to do TOPICS and the first topic is…BAD NEWS-GOOD NEWS. But it will be a much shorter study than I’d orginially planned, probably between 4-6 sessions. Hopefully, we’ll cover the topic well enough for us to learn something from it. So, let’s get started.

I got the suggestion of Sisters in the Word for the name of our group, but I didn’t want to leave out the men so I chose Believers in the Word. I think it’s a good name. It can mean believers (that’s us) studying the Word but it can also mean that we believe in the Word–which we do. So I like it!


Today’s session focuses on the BAD NEWS. I know–that’s not all that fun but reality is reality.

Many Christians feel that once they become Christians, they deserve a life with no problems. After all God loves us so why would he let anything bad happen to us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  In John 16:33 Jesus says, “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.”

It can’t be more clear than that. Jesus said to expect troubles. So for those Christians who believe being a Christian means living a trouble-free life or at least a tragedy-free life, think again. It’s simply not true.

Bad things can happen for lots of reasons: our own actions; someone else’s actions (after all, they have free will too); or circumstances beyond our control, such as a tsunami. I think it’s a lot easier for us to accept difficult situations when we know our own actions contributed to it. Here’s a few examples and not from my life.

I have cancer, but I chose to smoke.

I had a heart attack but I’m the one who didn’t live a healthy lifestyle.

My marriage is over but I’m the one didn’t spend enough time with my spouse.

It’s much more difficult to accept a situation when we didn’t have a part in it or at least we can’t see our part, or worse yet when we are trying to be obedient to God and things still fall apart. But not to worry, we’re all in good company.

MARY & JOSEPH–if anyone should have had an easy time, it should have been Mary and Joseph. But they didn’t!

PAUL-Paul wrote more than half the New Testament and yet he spent a lot of time in prison as he wrote it!

THE ORIGINAL DISCIPLES-they were the first to believe and know that Jesus was the Son of God, but almost all of them died for their beliefs.


None of these people were unloved by God. In fact, they were great women and men of God. And Jesus was the Son of God. But it didn’t keep them from really difficult situations–even death.

Here’s a few Bible Verses to think about:

Phillipians 2:5

Let this same attitude be in you that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 1:3, NIV

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life throughour knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

And my favorite…

 Romans 8:28

  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


What a wonderful promise that is!

QUESTIONS: Please answer one or more than one and leave the answer in the comments section. If you don’t see your answer right away, it means I have to approve it first, so be patient. Feel free to respond to others’ comments in a kind, loving way.

1. Share a difficult situation that you are going or did go through. Did you feel abandoned my God during that time? Angry at God? Unloved by God?

2. What did you learn from the situation?

3. Pick one of the Bible verses from today and tell what it means to you as as you go through a difficult situation.







Only One Sane Choice!

Joshua 1: 9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.


As I was drifting off to sleep, God nudged me awake with the idea of this devotion. So up from the bed to my computer I went.

It’s been a rough fifteen months for myself and my husband. It actually started on Christmas day 2011 and we’ve had crisis after crisis since then. The details aren’t important—well, actually they’re very important to me but not to you.

The reality is we’re still going through the crises and we don’t know what the future holds. Things are getting better and God is working in our lives, but we still don’t know and won’t know the outcome of all our “issues” for quite some time. In spite of that, we haven’t stopped smiling, stopped enjoying life, or stopped trusting God.

But guess what?

You don’t know what the future holds either.  You may think you do. You may have all sorts of activities, goals, plans and strategies in place for the next year or even five years. The truth is none of us know what will happen in the next minute, hour, day, week……well, you get the idea.

When faced with that truth, there really is only one sane choice.


Trusting God is the only reasonable choice in an unreasonable world.

God will bring a supernatural peace and joy that confuses the world. We don’t have to understand everything. We don’t have to know the future. All we really need to know is that God loves us and will be with us wherever we go.

Trusting God really is the only sane choice!


John 16:33

“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.

LIFE IS TOUGH! And then it gets even tougher. Sometimes it seems as if our problems and troubles will never end. And the truth is they might not! Or they might not end the way we want them to.

Disappointments, worries, and problems come. Illnesses happen. Tragedies strike. That’s the reality of the fallen world we live in.

Those are the battles we fight every day in the natural world.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, and sometimes it becomes a wait and see what happens. But there’s another battle going on as well. This battle is much more important than whatever you are experiencing in the natural world.


The unseen battle is about stealing your faith, hope, trust,  power,  peace, joy, and all the other wonderful gifts God gives us as His heir. Paul says it this way in Ephesians 6:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


Paul knew what many of us forget in this modern world. Even though we can’t see the supernatural world, it’s out there and there’s an unseen battle going on. And that’s the battle that counts!

You may not be able to do much about the battle in the physical world. Sometimes, you can and you certainly should do all you can, but there are times, it is what it is and you can’t change it.


God gives us the weapons we need for that battle, but it’s up to us to use them. If we don’t we’ll lose the war. So, what are the weapons for fighting the unseen battle?

Ephesians 6: 13-20

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


As you can see, God has not left you defenseless in the UNSEEN BATTLES, but instead has given you many weapons. They are all important, of course, but it all starts with that shield of faith which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Wow! Did you read that line? Maybe you should read it again:  that shield of faith which YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Did you notice the word I put the emphasis on that time?

YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! YOU are the one that much activate your faith. YOU are the one that must use your faith.

So, how do you do that? Good question and we’ll  discuss it some more in the next devotion.

SHARING TIME:  What are ways you activate your shield of faith?


I’m thrilled to have Staci Stallings as my guest writer today. She is an amazing person. I haven’t met her in person yet but she is a generous, kind, and helpful to me and to other authors. She definitely “loves her neighbors” as Jesus commanded.

She is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you. She is offering her book To Protect & Serve  FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY!  August 15 & 16.

                        To Protect & Serve

 “I’m taken away to another world, a world I want to be a part of and never leave. Staci’s characters are real with real everyday problems. I love that.

Oh, and the firemen in this story, they’re smokin’ hot! Especially the hero!”

–Debra, Amazon Reviewer

When control freak Lisa Matheson falls for handsome but shy firefighter, Jeff Taylor, it’s possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can’t control of Jeff or the death wish he seems to have…


God’s Creation by Staci Stallings

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
(NIV Bible)

I’m having issues with my knee.  It started with other issues, but when we got a Wii Balance Board and I found the joy of skateboarding…  Well, that coupled with turning 40 in September just finished off what was already a problem.

Because I was having trouble getting around after skateboarding WAAAY too much, I resorted to getting a knee brace.  Now I graduated from college.  I even went back and started on a Master’s Degree.  However, when I opened the knee brace, I quickly realized the deplorable state of my technical understanding.  The knee brace is black.  It’s made of stretchy fabric and SIX straps.  The top three are supposed to go at the top of your knee.  The bottom three… well, at the bottom.

I won’t describe the scene because your imagination can’t be any worse than it was.  The only intelligible thing was the little circle in the middle.  Circle to kneecap.  Got it.  The rest?  Forget it!

As I struggled and struggled with this contraption that was supposed to help, the thought struck me.  To support a knee, man had come up with this marvel.  Whoever came up with it had several real challenges going in.  First it has to bend; therefore, it has to be in two distinctive parts but still be in one piece.  Then there has to be a piece in the front that allows the knee to actually bend.  It has to fit to the leg as it contracts and relaxes.  It has to fit when the leg is bent and when the leg is straight.

This was no small task.

But then think just beyond that about the knee itself.  This joint that most of us don’t even think about until something goes wrong has to bend and straighten, with skin that stretches and straightens with no problem.  The knee when straight must hold up a whole person.  It must bend and hold to lower the person into a chair.  It even allows a person to walk or run–with no thought by the person of how it’s doing that at all.

It does all of that with no straps or anything!

And people say there is no God.

Good grief.  Apparently they’ve never had to use an knee brace.

Oh, and just so we’re clear.  I’m forever and immensely grateful for all those human brains that thought up how to make a brace for a knee, but that is probably just more evidence of my point.

SHARING TIME:  What’s an amazing “invention” that you use?



Want More Fruit?

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


Most of us have read this verse before. These are the characteristics we strive for as Christians, but come on…some of them are really difficult. How are we supposed to be loving when people are mean to us? How are we supposed to stay in peace when you lost your job and the mortgage is due? And really, who even wants self-control when that chocolate cake is calling your name?

And yet…we are Christians and the Bible does say that these are the outward signs that the Spirit is within us. And since we know that the Spirit is within us because the Bible tells us that.

Acts 2: 38

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

That means those fruits are in us, but why can’t we see them?

Because as with all plants, we start with a seed. Then, it’s up to us to nurture that seed allowing it to blossom and to mature. Some of us give up before we see that seed sprout by announcing to anyone who will listen that we don’t have that characteristic. How many times have you heard someone say:

“I can’t help it. I have no self-control.” Or “I’m just a worrier—that’s who I am.” Statements like this don’t nurture the seed. It’s time to begin to nurture the seeds God planted within each of  us. How do we do that?

First, believe you can be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Second, look for opportunities to use the fruit of the Spirit. And thirdly and most importantly, pray, but…

Be careful what you pray for. If you’re praying for more patience, you might just find yourself in all sorts of situations that require patience. That means God’s giving you the opportunities to develop that patience muscle.

Sometimes you’ll be successful and sometimes not.

Don’t be discouraged when you aren’t successful. Instead, understand that your awareness and that seed is beginning to sprout and before long it will blossom into fruit.