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.

 

 

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

Imagine that you’re an orphan in a children’s home, desperately wanting to be adopted. One miraculous day a family arrives, they point to you, and say, “We want that child.” You cry with gratitude as the papers are signed and notarized. You climb into the car with your new family. It’s finally happened. You belong!

When you arrive at your new home, you’re astonished at how large it is. They show you a bedroom and it’s beautiful. “A room to myself?” you ask. They confirm it’s true.

That night as you lay in bed surrounded by warmth, you can’t believe what’s happened. But suddenly, you feel a sense of horror creep into your soul. “I don’t deserve all this. I shouldn’t be here so comfortable. I’m just adopted. I’m not like the ‘real’ children.”

With a sense of sadness, you climb out of bed, walk out of the house into the backyard. Wandering around, you find the doghouse and crawl in to lie beside the family dog. Shivering from the cold, you finally fall asleep, tears dropping onto the dirt floor. Read More →

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Author, Janet Perez Eckles

Author, Janet Perez Eckles

Hola from Janet Perez Eckles…Igniting Your Passion to Overcome

No landscape. No fancy doors. Not even a nice front. None of these are priorities for homes in La Paz, Bolivia. The wall you see in this picture is to guard the home. Every house has a protective barrier against thieves. Read More →

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This Christmas, I had the joy of speaking at many women’s teas and Christmas events. My message was on “Christmas Light” and it is based on our family’s Christmas Advent Wreath and Dinner and Dialogue traditionpam speak christmas ncc 2015. We use Isaiah 9:6 as the center of our celebration and conversation because it is the center of the hope and light we all enjoy because of Christ’s birth.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

This Christmas, which name of Christ are you leaning on? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father or Prince of Peace?

Those same four names can lead us to creative ways to bless back those who have been a blessing to us during the past year. In doing so, we reflect the light of God’s love.

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light (Psalms 36:9)

advent wreath candlesFor those who have blessed you, not just personally, but professionally, let’s look at 4 simple ways you can boomerang back some of the blessings that have been extended to you:

Wonderful Counselor: Give those who supported you a little support too. Send them a book (video, conference scholarship, a meeting with a mentor or counselor, a day away at a conference grounds for solace) that equips them for an upcoming important event in their life (marriage, birth of a child, care for a parent), or comforts or lends wisdom for a struggle he or she might be working through (that they may have shared with you).  This can be a fun way to express your creativity too. For example, we often give our book, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti,waffle spaghetti with ws book  and wrap it in a pasta bowl with spaghetti noodles, waffle iron with waffle mix and the utensils needed to cook these up. On occasion I have a friend in ministry close enough to send a fun gift to– like our Red Hot Monogamy book wrapped in a set of sheets, or in a basket of fun “hot items” like Red Hot candy, hot tamales, a gift card to a Mexican food café, or a collections of hot sauce bottles.

Mighty God: Offer to pray them through a difficult situation or circumstance. Send Bible verses, prayers,  or a Bible gift item with a verse they can hang their heart on to have hope. My friend, Lisa Copen, of Gutsy Goodness, has an invisible illness that keeps her in daily pain, yet she runs Rest Ministries to help others in pain and she also creates beautiful messages of hope on necklaces. During a difficult season in my life, God led me to Neh. 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Today, I wear that phrase to encourage me on a necklace Lisa made for me.

Everlasting Father: Good dads make life just a little bit easier. Perhaps your gift can help lighten the load or ease the work of someone who has eased your load. Options can include gift cards, but you can also add your logo (or theirs) to tools that people need for work as a small reminder that you care: usb drive, coffee mugs, water glasses, sticky note holders, coasters, desk accessories are all items we have receivedbrave book courage mug and given.  (Often your local Christian bookstore is a great place to find unique gift items with some deeper scriptural meaning– and it is a terrific way to thank your bookstore with your business!) For example, to go along with my book Becoming a Brave New Woman, I was able to purchase a coffee mug with a verse on courage on it to give to some brave women who had helped me be brave.

Prince of Peace: One of the best gifts you can give a leader is to enrich their own walk with God. You might give them a beautiful book mark, a new Bible, or a new devotional. The year A Couple’s Journey with God book was released, some of our friends got a copy of that devotional with some travel items like luggage tags, flight ticket holder and passport cover. Our book Devotions for Men on the Go and Devotions for Women on the Gocouple journey luggage tag have been given with items to keep those friends “on the go”: coffee gift card, coffee thermos or dark chocolate espresso bean candy; gas fuel card; or cute key chain or fitness item.

To gain creativity, think of your life, and a walk a mile in your own shoes and ask, “What would make my life easier, stronger or better?” Make a list of those items, then put on your friend’s tennies or heels and  walk through their life asking that same question. Chances are the circle of their life and the circle of yours will over lap and there may be items in your world or the books and resources of other author friends you know that could bless those around your ministry.

 

pam bill merry christmas sign 2013Pam Farrel, with her husband Bill, are the authors of 40+ books. including their newest 7 Simple Skills for Every Man and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman. They are the co-directors of Love-Wise.

 

 

 

 

 

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BobHostetlerBob Hostetler here, offering another prayer for writers:

Holy Spirit, cultivate and proliferate your fruit in my writing.

Let love permeate my words.

Help me experience joy in the writing, and let my readers experience joy in reading.

Use my writing to spread shalom.

Give me patience in the writing.

Let goodness characterize what I write, and gentleness how I write it.

Make and keep me faithful to you, to the publisher, and to the reader from beginning to end, and let God-given self control guide my every thought, impulse, and decision as I write, revise, edit, and review, in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

TRLPLBob’s latest book is The Red Letter Prayer Life, available now via Bob’s website or at fine Christian retailers everywhere.

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