Have you ever asked, “Why this waste?”

While Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman brought an alabaster box containing expensive perfume and poured it on his head.

“Why this waste?” said the disciples, indignant. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

The woman’s deed was to prepare him for burial, Jesus said. “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (see Matthew 26:6-13).

In baffling times when I could see no purpose, I’ve asked, “Why this waste?” Someone I loved was disabled by a devastating disease. A friend’s young child died tragically.

What good could come from such waste?

Scripture gave answers.

  • We may comfort others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
  • Others see our faith. “Then the Lord said: ‘I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you” (Exodus 34:10).
  • We share in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).
  • We learn obedience, as Jesus did. “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8 KJV).

God never wastes an experience. Knowing he’s weaving everything together with purpose satisfies me.

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She serves as secretary of Christian Authors Network and is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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This week our CAN authors are sharing heart warming stories of fulfilling the Great Commission and speaking around the country on matters close to their heart!

Grace Fox just completed an 11-day trip through Nepal. This was a pilgrimage of sorts for her and her eldest daughter who was born with hydrocephalus in Nepal 33 years ago. Her daughter’s lifelong dream has been to visit her birthplace, and this trip fulfilled that dream. Read the beginning of this story—how Grace’s husband returned to North America with their three-day old daughter while Grace was left behind in Kathmandu not knowing whether or not she would see her baby alive again. https://www.christianity.com/11622440/

Also on this trip Grace and her husband, Gene, visited the village where they lived for two years in the 80s. Gene was a civil engineer then, and he helped build a hydro project that brought electricity to this region. They discovered that these Hindu friends now watch TV programs that present the Gospel. Without electricity, this wouldn’t be possible. Another highlight was distributing Nepalese Bibles to the villagers. God is on the move.

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Western romance at its best – An Unexpected Redemption is available  for pre-order, Book 2 in Davalynn Spencer’s Front Range Brides series. See her website for details: http://davalynnspencer.com/books/an-unexpected-redemption/

 

Davalynn will be speaking April 11 at the Canon City, Colorado, public library on the writing process as related to her 2017 release of The Canon City Chronicles.

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Dianne Barker will be speaking for “The 4Gs” women’s group in Gray, Tennessee, on April 10. The theme is “Remembering Billy Graham.” Dianne’s first book was Billy Graham in Big Orange Country about the 1970 Knoxville, Tennessee crusade. Follow her blog atwww.diannebarker.com.

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Cindi McMenamin, author of 17 books from Harvest House Publishers, will be the keynote speaker for the Women’s Retreat for Green Valley Baptist Church of Henderson, NV April 13-15, 2018 in St. George, UT. She will be speaking on her newest release, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You.

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What does walking by faith mean?

Romans 1:17 caused me some consternation. “The just shall live by faith.”

Sounds simple enough. But when I was a young believer seeking to know Christ better, this idea seemed vague and confusing. I needed a how-to. You know…five simple steps.

I heard this explanation: we’re saved by faith, trusting Christ alone; and we walk by faith, trusting Christ alone.

Being an emotionally expressive person, I let feelings trip me time after time. When anger, worry, or discouragement robbed my joy or a bad decision knocked me off track, I’d come to the Lord confessing my failure and expecting him to forgive and cleanse me and restore my joy.

Going on with my day, I didn’t feel forgiven…or joyful. I’m not clean enough! I’ll never be clean enough!

Living by feeling plunged me into despair. How will I ever be able to please the Lord?

Reading Hebrews in The Amplified Bible, I came across this explanation of faith: “leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness” (4:2).

As that truth soaked in, I recognized my error: I didn’t believe the promise of 1 John 1:9. “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”

If I confess, he will forgive and cleanse. My feeling doesn’t change fact. I can go my way rejoicing that God has done what he promised, whether I feel it or not.

Walking by faith is simply moment by moment leaning my entire personality on Christ in absolute trust and confidence in his power, wisdom, and goodness.

I think I’m getting the hang of it!

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books. This post is adapted from Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ. She serves as secretary of Christian Authors Network and is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

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I was an aggressive young journalist chasing the big story.

A young woman had come from Nazareth to Bethlehem with the man she’d pledged to marry. Obviously pregnant, she hadn’t let rumors about her unusual circumstances keep her from making the journey to register for tax purposes.

I always did extensive research before an interview, and I’d tracked every tip about these two individuals, Mary and Joseph, unexpectedly cast in the most significant drama in human history.

A relative, Elizabeth, confirmed Mary had visited her following a strange occurrence. An angel had appeared to Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, announcing she would become pregnant by the Holy Ghost, and the child would be the Son of God.

How could that happen? A baby without a human father? Son of God? Could a skeptical journalist believe such preposterous claims?

In Bethlehem, humanity flooded the streets—droves pouring in from surrounding provinces to pay taxes. I overheard anxious conversations about a young woman who appeared ready to give birth. An innkeeper said the husband had asked about a room.

“No vacancy!” he said. He’d directed the weary travelers to a stable nearby but still seemed frustrated that he couldn’t provide a comfortable room.

Weaving through the commotion, I located the place and paused to consider how this incredible story might impact my career. I sensed an award-winner.

Without being offensive, I’d ask tough questions, starting with Joseph.

What were you thinking, making this journey with Mary so close to giving birth?

There’s a rumor that you did not father this child. Any comment?

Why should anyone believe that outrageous story about how Mary became pregnant?

I’ve heard the baby is the Son of God. What do you say?

Reviewing my notes I started to speak then seemed frozen in time.

Something about that historic night—dark yet bathed in brilliance. Something about that young mother—pained yet radiant with joy. Something about that adoring husband—humble yet exploding with pride. Something about that modest manger—rugged yet strangely reverent. Something about that holy child—helpless yet having authority.

An infant king lay wrapped in swaddling clothes. Enveloped in awe, I slipped away without disturbing the royal family.

Centuries later in my reality, I’d bow before that King, claiming him as Savior and Lord.

“…Give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(See Luke 1:26-45; Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25, John 1:14 NIV.)

(First published December 17, 2015 Christian Devotions. Revised and reprinted by permission www.christiandevotions.us.)

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned. She began writing at 18 when she landed her dream job, writing for her local newspaper, and wrote her first book at 24. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

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By Dianne Barker

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (Psalm 127:1NIV).

Got it. Unless the Lord does it, our best efforts will fail.

Synonyms for “vain” are ineffective, hopeless, unsuccessful, unproductive, futile, useless, worthless.

Why would anyone pursue such a life? Who gets up in the morning desiring your day’s work be ineffective, unsuccessful, unproductive, futile, useless, worthless?

We’re off and running, determined to achieve something significant. But if we’re trusting in our own wisdom and strength, our best efforts will be futile.

God created us for a purpose. The greatest disappointment in life is coming to the end of it, never having achieved the purpose for which we were created.

How do we discover God’s purpose?

I accepted Christ at seven and during teen years sensed a desire in my heart to write. At eighteen I landed my dream job writing for the local newspaper while attending college. Within a few weeks, I had my own weekly column. Being young, bold, and confident I had answers to life’s big questions, I often injected my Christian faith.

After finishing college, trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

There was no passion for anything else.

I joined the newspaper’s fulltime staff. Besides writing my column and news stories, I covered many religious events and evangelistic crusades. The Lord brought a host of celebrities across my path: Corrie ten Boom, Vance Havner, Bob Hope, Joan Crawford, Debbie Reynolds, Johnny Cash, Jerry Clower, and others. I shook hands with President Richard Nixon.

The newspaper sent me to Minneapolis to attend the School of Christian Writing, sponsored by Decision Magazine, founded by Billy Graham. I met Dr. Sherwood Wirt, founding editor, who became a friend and mentor.

A year later while covering Dr. Graham’s ten-day crusade in Knoxville, Tennessee, I reconnected with Dr. Wirt. Through his influence I was chosen to write a book about the crusade, Billy Graham in Big Orange Country—my first book at twenty-four.

Clebe McClary, a Vietnam hero from South Carolina, saw the book and asked me to write his story, Living Proof. Through Clebe I met Harold Morris and wrote his story, Twice Pardoned, first book for Focus on the Family Publishing and a 1986 national Christian bestseller.

That book (still available on Amazon, 1.5 million copies in print) surpassed my dreams.

God built the house! I simply followed Jesus, sensitive to impressions of my heart and opportunities he presented. He kept me close, whispering encouragement, whenever the path wound through disappointment and difficulty.

Have you grown weary pursuing dreams, only to slam into a stone wall? Pick yourself up and dare to dream again!

  • Pray, diligently seeking guidance from the Lord, and study his Word.
  • Be sensitive to desires of your heart.
  • Consider your natural talents and learn your spiritual gifts; often natural talents and spiritual gifts are related.
  • Ask godly friends for counsel. They may recognize abilities you haven’t seen and suggest opportunities you haven’t considered.
  • Use what you have and serve where you are. Don’t wait for something amazing to come along. Be faithful where God has placed you.

Your purpose on this earth at this moment in time is to serve and glorify him. Stay as close to Jesus as you can get. He still calls disciples with a simple invitation. “Follow me.”

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

 

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