Dianne Barker here, doing my favorite thing—spreading encouragement.

I’ve chosen my verse for 2017. “…Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10b). Read More →

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

Dianne Barker here with a few thoughts about the presence of God with us. Long ago the prophet Isaiah wrote, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). What difference does his presence make in an ordinary life? Read More →

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube
Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where it’s finally cooling down. I’m looking forward to our “winter” that is never a winter wonderland, but still wonderful.

Years ago I created an Advent family activity I called, “Box of Blessings.” It helped our family’s thoughts focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Here are the directions to create it.

Wrap a large box with Christmas paper, wrapping the lid separate. Gather 24 visual aids, wrap each one individually, write out tags for each with an object lesson, Scripture and discussion question. (On each tag, write a number indicating the order it should be opened). Place the gifts in the box.

On December 1, open the large gift-wrapped box containing 24 small wrapped gifts, and read the enclosed tag: “Today we are beginning a Christmas project. We will open a different present for the next 24 days to help remind us of God’s most precious gift His Son Jesus.”

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing for your own “Box of Blessings.” If you’d like to receive a full list of the 24 visual aids along with the object lesson, Scripture, and discussion question, reply to this email or email KathyCollardMiller@gmail.com and write “Box of Blessings” in the subject line. I’d love to send it to you.

Gift: Several pieces of any kind of food. READ: Does food always stay the same even after a long time? No, it changes when it gets old, doesn’t it? But Jesus never changes; He is always the same. (Hebrews 13:8) Why do you think it is important that Jesus never changes?

Gift: A heartshaped object. READ: Hearts remind us of love. We love others, but did you know that God loves us even more? (I Corinthians 13:47) How many things about love can we find in these verses? Read More →

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

Author, Dianne Barker

Dianne Barker here with encouragement for your journey. Discouragement is a persistent enemy. That’s why I love offering others a sip of nourishment as they travel Perseverance Road.

For most of us, hearing from God isn’t the problem. Our problem is continuing to believe God.

We clearly heard his voice and gladly followed him. And then…the straight path grew narrow and tangled. Exhaustion turned our feet to lead and doubt set up camp.

Lord, is this the road you chose? Did I miss a signpost?

Read More →

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube

Author, Dianne Barker

Dianne Barker here with a few words of encouragement. Are you tired of jumping hurdles and pushing past obstacles that seem to impede every step? Here’s an idea. Launch out into the deep and let down your nets!

The Lord told Simon Peter after a disappointing fishing trip, “…Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch” (see Luke 5:1-11).

A crowd had gathered around Jesus by the Lake of Gennesaret to hear his teaching. He got into Peter’s boat and asked him to take it out a little further from the shore. Then he sat down to teach the people.

When he’d finished he told Peter to take the boat out to the deep water and do some more fishing. Peter and his friends were already washing their nets—done for the day.

“Master,” he said, “we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” He didn’t argue. He simply stated a fact. His diligent labor had produced nothing.

Go fishing again? The plan seemed absurd…the situation hopeless. With nothing to go on except the word of the Lord, Peter made a decision that, to onlookers, might have seemed irrational.

“Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” He’d try again. Attempt something that appeared unfeasible and impractical. Just because Jesus said do it. He and his buddies caught so many fish that their nets began to brake!

“So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”

That’s the amazing outcome of obedience.

Are you frustrated, worn out, and downright discouraged because you’ve fished and caught nothing? You’ve trudged through years, devoted to the call of God on your life. Looking back you see little to show for your investment.

Someone whispers, “You’ve done your best, but your work has been unfruitful. Why keep wasting your energy? It’s time to quit.”

I’m familiar with that one-way conversation. It sounds so rational…so convincing. But the one speaking is our enemy—a confirmed liar! Do not give him the time of day!

This place of despair is just the right place for something amazing to happen. Jesus said, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets” (King James Version). Before pushing away from shore…

  • Pray about your dreams—those far-fetched plans of your youth, as yet unfulfilled. Ask the Lord what to pursue to bring him honor. Let his peace guide you.
  • List “starter” steps. And then move forward, one step at a time.
  • Focus on the future, not the past, relying fully on the word of the Lord.

Many years ago the Lord gave me a promise—his plans for my writing and speaking ministry. He didn’t say when this would happen, but the dream kept my faith strong. Life brought so much reality that it seemed my boatload of dreams might sink.

Struggling to keep believing the promise, I looked toward heaven one day and said simply, “What’s next?”

Someone whispered…a plan…specific steps toward the promise he had given long ago! I wrote them down and launched out into the deep–with nothing to go on except the word of the Lord. My boat overflows.

How will you invest the rest of your life? You’ll never know the amazing outcome of obedience until you launch out into the deep and let down your nets.

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. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutubeFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssyoutube