Social Distance, Stay Home, Be Still

By Christi Grace

I have had a lot of time on my hands since this whole Corona Virus quarantine thing started. I’m sure most of us are so tired of hearing about social-distancing, stay-at-home, and all the other newly coined phrases that have been conceived in the last six weeks.

But, in this time of forced solitude, God has shown me some amazing things. He’s taught me a lot, and it’s been the most incredible blessing amid what the world has considered confusing and turbulent times.

A perfect time to “be still” and listen to God. Have you taken the opportunity to delight in the stillness? If so, what has God revealed to you? Maybe it’s something simple; maybe it’s clarity on something you now see in a much deeper way. I have certainly learned things I never would have learned had this pandemic never happened.

I’ve learned to be grateful for the simplest of things, like sitting on the front porch and listening to all the miraculous sounds of God’s creation, eating (and even cooking) a home-cooked meal, and being okay with things not always in perfect order in my home and life. That, alone, is miraculous.

My prayer is that you have found gratefulness in this crazy time—that you have heard the voice of your God in the stillness… that you have been moved to go deeper and get closer to Jesus in a way you never have.

We truly serve a good God, and if we persevere in faith, hope, and love until the end, we will find He sends the brightest morning after the darkest of nights.

Thank You, Lord, for all You have taught me through these difficult days. Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Give us Your peace as only You can give and be with us in the uncertain days ahead. We know you’ve got this! In Jesus name, amen.

 

My Hair-Raising and Heartwarming Adventures As A Pet Sitter

Christi Grace head shot

Author Christi Grace

Christi Grace has published numerous articles for various lifestyle magazines in the last seventeen years. Most of her articles are about animals. An avid lover of God’s furry creation, she left the stressful corporate world and started a pet-sitting and boarding business. She calls her job spending every day with animals the “best job ever.” Her newly released My Hair-Raising and Heartwarming Adventures as a Pet Sitter, A Life of Fun, Fur, and Faith, is a collection of true stories from her experience caring for God’s furry and feathered creation. Christi shares her life at home in Georgia with three dogs, four horses and one devoted husband. Connect on Instagram @thefurrysideoffaith.

 

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By Donna Schlachter

Several years ago, hubby and I visited a museum that offered a virtual Covered Wagon ride. We sat inside a wagon bed and looked ahead of us where the driver and oxen or horses would normally reside.

Then a short film played about the wagon going down over the river bank and across a fat-flowing river. The wagon bed we sat in rocked and rolled according to the view on the video, and about the only thing missing was we didn’t get dunked.

That was a lot of fun, and the experience gave me a whole new insight into the struggles and hardships faced by westward emigrants. Sometimes the stories we read tend to gloss over the deprivations we now take for granted: a hole in the ground for a privy; food cooked over a fire; little privacy; dust, dirt, smoke, and sweat everywhere; lack of medical care; close quarters for months on end.

But if you can’t go to a museum to experience the realities of life on the trail, you can get the next-best thing: read a book. Allow your imagination to run wild—or not, if you prefer a touch more civilization—as you travel alongside the half million or so folks of all ages, classes, and colors who headed westward.

My new release, Kate (“Prairie Rose Collection”), is based on a real-life stagecoach robbery in Deadwood, South Dakota Territory. The hero is one of the bandits, forced into a life of thievery to save his brother’s life. The heroine is running from the brothel where she was raised to avoid being made into a saloon girl following her mother’s death. Leave a comment to enter drawing for a print (US only) or digital copy of Kate.

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts

Donna Schlachter: aka Leeann Betts

Kate cover image

Kate by Donna Schlachter

Donna Schlachter lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense under her alter ego, Leeann Betts. She’s been published more than thirty times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes, ghostwrites, edits, and judges writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com; www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor ; www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter.

 

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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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