How are you spending this forced stay-cation?

I’ve been baking, cleaning, and catching up on those “will-do-sometime” projects.

Thumbing through a stack of magazines that I didn’t have time to read when they arrived over the past few months, I’m ready to discard a bunch and free up space. I appreciate having time to organize. Friends tell me they’re cleaning and organizing, too.

In our normal, busy life, we handle the urgent and leave everything else until a day when our to-do list isn’t so jam-packed. That day has come.

Meetings have been cancelled. Stadiums are empty. Churches are live-streaming services. Gyms have closed. Restaurants are providing only drive-through/takeout service. Life as we are accustomed to living it has come to an abrupt stop.

We’re working from home—with huge gratitude for a comfortable place to wait out this weird attack called coronavirus. We never saw this coming. Multitudes are infected. Thousands are dying. These are desperate times. Fear nips at our heels.

Being cautious is wise. But we needn’t live in panic mode, afraid of what tomorrow might bring. We’ve never had the privilege of knowing the future. That’s why we put our trust in God. We still don’t know the future but we know the One who does.

As we remind ourselves to follow procedures to protect ourselves and our families during the pandemic, we can fight panic and fear by choosing to remember awesome facts that will not change.

  • God knows me by name (Isaiah 43:1).
  • He says I am precious in his sight (Isaiah 43:4).
  • He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
  • He delights in me (Psalm 18:19).
  • He has imprinted me on his heart (Psalm 136:23, see Amplified version).
  • He has engraved me on the palms of his hands (Isaiah 49:16).
  • He cares for sparrows and considers me of greater worth than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31).

Friends, be safe from both contagions—coronavirus and fear. Make the following your daily prayer and confidence.

“Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee” (Jeremiah 32:17).

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalm16:8-9).

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 Word Weavers International. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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I was just eighteen when I landed my dream job writing for our local newspaper during college. After graduation I joined the full-time staff, covering news stories and writing special features and a weekly column where I shared my Christian convictions. This brought invitations to speak for church and civic events.

What wisdom did a twenty-something have to share? My favorite presentation, “Living in Joy,” I packed with quotes and Scriptures about happiness and how to find it. Being young and eager to tackle life’s big questions, I didn’t have much spiritual depth—but I offered a solid solution to every problem. Jesus.

Many years have passed and I still offer only one solution to every problem. Jesus. But I’ve learned much more about following Him through sunshine and shadows.

I discovered joy isn’t the destination. It’s the journey. It’s part of the luscious fruit produced by the Holy Spirit when we’re fully surrendered to Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Joy doesn’t depend on perfect circumstances. It depends on our trust in a perfect God who designs our circumstances and allows everything for a purpose. I don’t have to see His purpose to believe He has a purpose.

In baffling places where I see no purpose, this verse satisfies me. “For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36 Amplified).

If nothing else, He’s developing patience and endurance. I can live in joy, confident He is in control and working on purpose.

These choices are key to a joy-filled journey:

  • Living in a state of continual forgiveness
  • Forgetting the past
  • Casting every care on the Lord
  • Choosing joy

Whatever challenge you’re facing today, don’t let it rob your joy. Choose joy!

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 and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

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What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

In such a place, waiting for direction, I encouraged myself by reviewing the hard circumstances where God placed Moses. From the moment he appeared to him in a flaming bush, his life was never easy.

Go to Pharaoh? Lead the Israelites out of Egypt? Who, me?

After all his objections, Moses consented and set off on mission. Here’s the part of the Exodus story I love. God said to him:

  • I will be with you.
  • I will tell you what to say.
  • I will tell you what to do.

Moses didn’t have to worry about what to say to Pharaoh. God told him, “When Pharaoh says… you say…” In every confrontation that’s how he operated. He just spoke the words given him.

Our God never leads us to go on mission in our own wisdom and strength. In my waiting place, feeling inadequate and unsure of what to do or how I could do it, he whispered, “You don’t have to do it. I will.”

Encouraged by Moses’ experience, I went forward, trusting God to be with me, to tell me what to say, and to tell me what to do, expecting him to do what he had purposed. And he did.

Is he calling you for a special mission? Are you feeling inadequate and unsure about what to do?

Remember the mighty acts of God throughout history—he isn’t known for sponsoring failures—and go forward in total reliance on him.

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion… I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only” (Psalm 71:1, 16).

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 secretary of Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

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I think it’s a bit humorous that Labor Day is a vacation day. We celebrate labor by ceasing work.

Today is the 125th anniversary of this national holiday paying tribute to the America worker’s contribution to our country.

The value of a strong work ethic was highlighted centuries ago in the Book of Proverbs, which contrasts the diligent, hardworking man with the lazy, slothful man.

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (10:4).

“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor” (12:24).

“The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions” (12:27).

“The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” (13:4).

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (21:5).

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (22:29 KJV).

The slothful man, also called a sluggard (disgusting word), receives no esteem.

“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (15:19).

“The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work” (21:25).

“The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth” (26:15).

The verse preceding this changed my life. “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed” (26:14).

I considered myself a night person and habitually hit the snooze button when that annoying alarm sounded. That changed after I had children. Getting up was not optional. I had to tend to their needs and send hubby off to work. Staying up was optional. After the kids started school, I found my comfy bed especially inviting on dark winter mornings and felt no guilt taking a nap first thing. After all, I’d stayed up past midnight doing housework after everyone else went to bed. I read this:

“As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed.”

The words hassled me when I’d crawl under the comforter for my early-morning nap. Sleep wouldn’t come. I felt something—Someone—urging me to get up and spend time with the Lord. Making a daily choice to give Bible study and prayer priority ignited the power of Christ and changed me into a “morning person.”

Morning is my favorite time. I refresh myself by spending time in Jesus’ presence and continue my day feeling energized, pursuing diligence in my labor.

Enjoy your day. Diligence deserves a reward!

(Scriptures from NIV unless noted.)

I Don't Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore!

I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore!

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 secretary of Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Poignant words from the heart of Jesus, who would soon lay down his life for his friends.

The words hold deep meaning for families who’ve lost loved ones in battle. They hold deep meaning for all of us who live in America, land of the free, home of the brave.

We’re grateful for those who spilled blood on foreign soil, sacrificing their lives—the cost of freedom.

Most of us will never find ourselves in treacherous war zones dodging enemy fire and literally laying down our lives. But we have opportunities each day to lay down our life for people we love.

Today offers a chance to give ourselves sacrificially—even when we don’t feel like it or don’t want to be inconvenienced.

This kind of laying-down-my-life is a hard thing because it’s totally opposed to the flesh. The flesh hates sacrificial giving—the selfish self must be denied. The flesh asks, “What do I get?” One committed to following Jesus in the laid-down life asks, “What can I give?”

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brother” (1 John 3:16).

Supernatural love. Superior love. Sacrificial love. Laying-down-my-life love. Christ-followers cannot give less.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]’” (Matthew 16:24 Amplified).

(Scriptures from NIV unless noted.)

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 secretary and blog coordinator for Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

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