What’s Your Motivation?

It’s a word we use often, a phrase I myself have uttered countless times. It’s occupied songs and prayers for generations, but do we truly understand what it means to “confess Jesus as Lord” (Romans 10:9)? More importantly, do we live that out? Today, Alexis uses one of my loves–storyworld–to show us how to live under Christ’s Lordship.

What’s Your Motivation?

 by Alexis A. Goring

 When actors are working on a movie, they always ask the director, “What’s my character’s motivation?” or “What does my character want in this scene?”

Allow me to clarify and explain: The actor is not asking for their motivation as an actor, they’re asking for the motivation of the character that they are portraying. The actor needs to know their fictional character’s motivation in order to properly act it out. Their motivation determines how the character would act.

Therefore, when an actor knows this information, it determines how the actor will portray the character.

Actress Jenn Gotzon said, “Motivation is why a character does something. Why a character makes choices, why a character feels certain ways about other people.”
As a Christian fiction writer, I’ve learned the importance of determining the emotional, physical, and spiritual goal/motivation/conflict (GMC) of my fictional characters before starting the story because for me as a writer, knowing these details helps me to not only deeply understand my characters but it determines how I write the story.

When I know my character’s motivation in their fictional life then I know why they have certain goals and I know what kind of conflict is needed to make their journey interesting and worthwhile. Knowing my characters’ GMC makes the story. It helps me to guide their every step because I know what they are moving toward, and as the creator of the story, I know the best route for them to take in order to reach their destination in “the end.”

Recently, I was thinking about this and I realized there is a parallel to real life in all of this because God is our Creator, this world is His creation, and He is the Director of this movie called Life. Famous or not, we ALL have a part to play in this movie and nobody can portray our character better than we can because God created us to be unique.

As our Divine Director, God already knows our deepest desires and He is well aware of our motivation. But unlike most movies, we are not bound to a script. It’s up to us to determine our motivation.

Are we just here to have a crazy fun time and do all these bad things that are against God’s desires for us to live a righteous life? Or is our motivation to “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” as God advised in Micah 6:8?

So the choice is yours. You’re a star in this movie called Life. What’s your motivation?

***

Let’s talk about this!

I loved Alexis’s film and story analogy, and it reiterated what I’d been studying in my morning Bible reading time. Lord, kurios in the Greek, means master and indicates “a person exercising absolute ownership rights” and “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

Ownership rights. The power of deciding–how my life will go, how I’ll spend my time, what I’ll pursue and relinquish. I say I’ve made Christ my Lord, but as I consider Alexis’s devotion in light of what this truly means, I must wrestle with this–have I truly given Christ lordship over my life and my agenda?

Have you? What area are you withholding? Ask God to give you the courage, faith, and strength to surrender that area to Him. Because honestly, He’ll manage it must better than you (or I) will or can. Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Living by Grace, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

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Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ. 

Visit her on  Facebook, her website, or her blog. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Goodreads

I also encourage you to check out her latest release, A Second Chance:

Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life.


Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.

Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

He’s Already Made You Great

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Photo by ClkerFreeVectorImages taken from Pixabay.com

Do you ever feel generic? Unnoticed? Unappreciated? Maybe even undervalued? Behind every made-up face and carefully chosen outfit, behind every rehearsed speech and immaculate house, hides an insecure woman who, at some level, strives for what she believes she isn’t because she hasn’t learned to rest in who she is. Or should I say, whose she is.

Today fellow ACFW member Alexis Goring shares her thoughts on mankind’s constant yet Alexis A. Goring, Autumn 2012misguided strive for significance. As you read her thoughts, prayerfully ask God to show you what’s getting in the way of your resting fully in who He is and who you are in Him.

But first, a dash of hilarity–a fun parody to get you laughing about my next novel, Intertwined. Because if you’re going to make a book trailer, you might as well have fun doing it, right? Regardless if you tell the synopsis of the story…

Made in His Image

by Alexis A. Goring

Tests on Facebook are popular. One of the most popular is where you submit a profile picture and wait a few seconds for results to show you which celebrity you most resemble.

Tests like this feed on our innate desire for greatness. We want to “reach for the stars,” take selfies with our favorite celebrities, shake the hands of popular politicians and become best friends forever. Why? I believe it’s because we want to reach a level of greatness we believe can only be accomplished by connecting with people who’ve already achieved it.

But don’t you know that you already are connected to the ultimate form of greatness in the universe? Oh yes, dear one, God is great and you are made in His image! Genesis 1:26-27 tells us just how special you are to our Creator God. The passage reads:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (NIV).

God made man in His image. Let’s delve into what this truth means: God created the entire universe. All that lives, breathes and moves was created by Him and for Him. God is the Author of Creation. He literally spoke the world into existence. He created everything here on Earth with the power of His Words. But when God created our first father Adam, He bent down in the soil and molded man, creating Adam in His image.

Do you know how special it is that God took time after speaking this world into existence, to use His Hands to mold man from the dust of the ground? Scripture says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7).

Do you know what else this means? We don’t need to continue searching for ways to connect with “great” people in this world. We can stop idolizing our favorite celebrities and “wishing upon a star” we’re lucky enough to meet and make them our best friend forever. God does encourage community, and we need friends. But when our desire to connect with greatness overrides our desire to connect with our Creator who is the Greatest, we have a problem.

God wants our loyalty and devotion, daily. He’s out of this world (literally) but He’s also right here, with us.

God sent His one and only Son into this world to show us the way to Him (John 3:16). So if we really want to connect with someone, it should be God’s Son (Jesus Christ) who is our Mediator, the only bridge between Earth and Heaven (John 14:6).

Even the most personable celebrities may not want to connect with their fans. But our Creator God not only wants to connect with His creation, He wants to forgive us our sins and offer us the gift of eternal life!

So next time you’re tempted to take a “celebrity look-a-like” tests, pause and remember that you already resemble someone great—you are made in the image of the Almighty God!

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Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art of storytelling and is especially delighted to have released her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013. When Alexis isn’t working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).

Hope in My HeartHope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

Buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

 Connect with Alexis online on Facebook, her blog, “God is Love”, and Twitter– @pennedbyalex

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. Some of us might be quite aware of our insecurities, but for others, our ever-need for significance might only rear its head when we’re offended. (Our reactions to difficult people, criticism, and hurtful experiences often reveal what’s hiding in our hearts.) For all of us, the answer is the same: rest in who we are in Christ and center our thoughts in His truth and promises.

When do you find you’re most insecure or easily offended? Chances are, those point to a hidden need for significance or validation in that area, which in turn reveals a hidden lie we’ve allowed ourselves to believe, like, “I’m not smart enough, good enough, talented or capable enough”. Ask God to show you the underlying cause of your pain, then ask Him to replace that with truth. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He sees you.

Share your thoughts and experiences with us, as well as how you’ve managed to ground your identity in Christ, here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook. Because we can all learn from and encourage each other!

Get Your Battle Gear on!

ID-10075977Have you ever felt like life is hurling flaming arrows at you? Like every step forward provokes yet one obstacle after another? Could be God’s training you, could be He’s redirecting you, or it could be you have an enemy lurking in the shadows, watching you, planning your demise. But before you become discouraged or afraid, take comfort in this: Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. Today a sweet Christian lady and fellow ACFW member, Alexis Goring, shares some powerful marching orders, challenging us to live not as victims but victors. As you read her devotion, pause to connect with your power source.

The Christian Life

 by Alexis A. Goring

“It’s not the devil’s plan to convert us but to simply divert us.” – Pastor Peter Bath.

Pastor Bath is one wise preacher because in that simple quote, he uncovered a key strategy of the enemy—the devil sends diversions that rob us of our joy, peace and patience. If we’re not careful, the devil’s ploys can also rob us of our salvation which is why the Holy Bible tells us to put on the “full armor of God” every day (Ephesians 6:11-17) for the battles we are facing are not with “flesh and blood” but with against principalities, powers and “spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Did you think that the person who cut you off on the freeway was your enemy or the person who offended you was your true problem? No, they were merely distractions because the real problem is not with the person who cut you off on the freeway or the person you don’t like because they offended you. There is a deeper level to life happening every day and Christians are on the frontlines.

“The Christian life is not a playground,” Pastor Steven Furtick, said. “it’s a battleground.”ID-100225188

Pastor Furtick is another man of God who is wise and on-point with his sermons. His creative team at Elevation Church based in North Carolina, created a video message, “I Will Fight” that is very inspirational and true to what I’m telling you today. If you need encouragement in your journey, watch the video here:


Here’s an excerpt:

“The devil is a liar and my God always causes me to triumph through Jesus Christ my Lord. I will fight. I’m unashamed to represent a kingdom that is unshakable. No one will be able to stand against God’s plan for me all the days of my life. With my God, I will advance against every troop, with His help, I will scale every wall. Though my enemies surround me, my God surrounds my enemies. Though they may come at me one way, they will flee seven ways because no weapon formed against me will prosper and every evil thing that rises against me, I will condemn. I will fight! My heart is steadfast, my purpose is immovable. I am always abounding in the work of the Lord and my potential is unlimited because the limitless God lives within me. I will fight!”

Now that’s an attitude we all need to have as Christians. Don’t let the enemy discourage or divert you. It’s his plan to divert your focus from God and emphasize the troubles and despair of this world. But there is hope because God is more powerful than the enemy and clearly the Bible tells us in the Book of Revelation that at the end of human history, God wins! Stay on the winning side—keep your faith in God alive and strong. Don’t be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the battles you face in this life. Remember, you can be victorious in this life through Jesus Christ! The Bible says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

So take heart, dear ones as your remember these simple truths: God loves you (John 3:16). God is for you (Romans 8:31). God will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) and you can have the victory in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, (1 Corinthians 15:57)!

I think we’ve reached the point in this devotional where if we were in church service, the pastor would say, “And let the church say Amen.”

Be blessed!

@ByGoring, pic 2

Alexis A. Goring is a college graduate with a degree in print journalism from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland. Writing is her passion. She hopes that her stories will touch hearts, bring smiles to faces, and inspire minds to seek God whose love for humanity is unfailing.

 

Social media links:

Official website, http://www.alexisagoring.com/

Official Author page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring

Twitter handle, @pennedbyalex

 

 

Media image (1)Hope in My Heart is a collection of short, heartwarming stories with characters in need of hope.

In “Love Unexpected,” a car crash brings commitment-wary Sebastian and career woman Chandra together. Neither is looking for romance, but those around them see the potential, and Sebastian and Chandra discover that sometimes love shows up unexpectedly.

Christmastime is the setting for the middle story, “The Best Gift.” Christina desires to lose ten pounds so she can fit into her dress for her sister’s wedding. Jordan wishes her mom would stop trying to marry her off. And Joshua hopes to be reunited with his ex-girlfriend but eventually learns that the best gift this Christmas will be the restoration of his relationship with God.

In “Peace and Love,” three characters living in a metropolitan area are desperately searching. Elle, a starving artist, aspires to become a paid professional. Eric, a divorce attorney, wants to resolve his issues concerning his parents’ divorce. Kristine anticipates finding her birth mom before she marries Derek. All characters pray their searches will conclude this holiday season and fill their hearts with peace and love.

 

Purchase links:

Amazon.com, http://amzn.to/1it3pxT

BarnesandNoble.com, http://bit.ly/1mGHW95

Books-A-Million.com, http://bit.ly/1kLQviX

Christianbook.com, http://bit.ly/1heBcjV

Crossbooks.com, http://bit.ly/1it47eJ

Lifeway.com, http://lfwy.co/1kLQStR

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! When talking about spiritual warfare, the idea that we do indeed have a spiritual enemy–Satan and his demons–we can often err one of two ways: We can become obsessed with the idea, attributing every minor frustration to Satanic activity, cowering in fear, or we can underestimate the unseen world and continue in ignorance. Or, we can proceed with a healthy awareness, continually connected with our power source, staying strong and alert in the battle. Where are you on this spectrum? What are you doing today to stay strong in your faith? Share your ideas here or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Normally, I’d add a list of places of where I’ve been this past week, but… I’m a bit tired and behind. So… Join me on Facebook? 🙂

I did have a wonderful signing last weekend and felt such an outpouring of love from my sisters in Christ. A good chunk of my Northland Baptist church family came, reminding me that though we’ve moved, we’re still part of that sweet family. 🙂 I 2015-01-31 12.54.11-2also got to connect with Gale Perkins, the courageous, strong Christian woman my main female character in When Dawn Breaks is based on. It was fun to share her story with book buyers, plus, Destinee, the teenage girl she adopted came, and both of them did some signing as well.

This Saturday I’m sharing the story of how God turned Steve and my failing marriage into a growing, intimate, laughter filled romance that has lasted 20 years (and counting!). If you’re in the Omaha Metro, I’d love for you to join me. Email me at jenniferaslattery@gmail.com for details.

Following this, I’ll be signing books at the Bookworm, an independent bookseller in Omaha. I’d love to see some friendly faces! If you can’t make it but would like to purchase a personalized, autographed copy, call the store, and I’m sure they’ll work something out. 🙂

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