Categories
Encouragement

Combat Contagion of Fear

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.

 

 

Categories
Encouragement

Living in Joy Is a Choice

Dianne Barker, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *
Dianne Barker

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!

I Don't Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! by Dianne Barker
I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! by Dianne Barker

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.

 

Categories
Devotional

What to do When You Don’t Know What to do

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.

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Enjoy Your Holiday…Diligence Deserves a Reward

 

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.

 

 

Categories
In The News Marketing

The #CANCrown Awards Are Open!

CAN Crown Awards
Excellence in Christian Marketing and Media for Books, Book Series, or Brand

Christian Authors Network Crown Awards

#CANCrown on social media

The CAN Crown Awards Celebrate Excellence in Christian Media and Marketing by Authors.

Purpose of CAN Crown Awards: To recognize, educate, and encourage excellence in marketing and promotion skills of all Christian authors.

Why? One crucial career area for Christian authors is marketing. (I know, stop rolling your eyes. Marketing can be fun!) The problem is that an author now has to wear so many hats. So many hats that the marketing hat may cause the whole stack to tumble if you don’t know how to make and follow through with a marketing plan.

Yes, there’s a second problem. Marketing has been an elusive beast that’s been difficult to master. We’re building a bridge over that chasm of author OR marketer to help you become author entrepreneur. Being a professional author means you are a business owner. A business owner that needs marketing to reach readers, retailers, and librarians.

What if we had some excellent examples?

What if those examples could shine a light for other authors fumbling in the dark? 

What if shining campaigns earned an award and even more promotion as part of that award?

Over the last few decades, the publishing industry has morphed into something completely unrecognizable. Authors have to be a Jack/Jill-of-all-trades from writing to design to marketing. Many authors self-publish while many are hybrids who do both traditional and indie arenas. The major need for any Christian author, regardless of publishing platform, is to learn and execute excellent marketing plans. The book of your heart can’t get into the hands of readers, retailers, or librarians without a great marketing plan. Though there’s some conference training, there hasn’t been a lot of examples of marketing campaigns that work. Campaigns may well be excellent, or not.

Who could know? There hasn’t been a recognition of those campaigns. Until now.

Introducing the inaugural #CANCrown Awards. The Christian Authors Network exists to help professional authors market their books. CAN is in the unique position in the industry to bring recognition to excellent marketing campaigns.

The benefit: Recognition nationally. Awards you can display on your website, book, book series, newsletter, social media, etc. Winning campaigns get more promotion via the CAN network of influence. Winners will be promoted in front of a large audience of publishing and film industry professionals during the Crown Awards during the ICVM/CAN Conference.

What does that mean? Winning means that for the small entry fee, you’ll get a lot more promotion of your book, book series, or brand. You’ll be able to display your award forever. CAN will promote your winning entry through our channels and expand your reach. But, we’ll also be sure to recognize all finalists. Entering the #CANCrown Awards magnifies your marketing efforts. Feedback from judges will help all entrants gain insight into more effective marketing, may help tweak an ongoing plan, and encourages excellence in all we do as Christian authors.

Read the #CANCrown Award entry rules, then enter by Oct. 18, 2019 (contest closes at 11:59pm Pacific)

Learn more:

We’re honored to be featured on The Write Conversation Blog with an article about the awards.

https://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2019/08/a-contest-to-help-tame-elusive-beast-of.html

We’re honored to be featured on Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Blog about the awards.

The CAN Crown Awards—A Crowning Achievement for Market-Minded Inspirational Authors

With deep gratitude to our #CANCrown Awards Committee: Edie Melson, Karen Whiting, Dianne Barker, Linda Kozar. I had the distinct honor of working with these wonderful, wise, and thoughtful women in designing this opportunity for you, Christian authors, to help you get your books, book series, and brands into the hands of readers, retailers, and librarians. —Angela Breidenbach

 

 

Author and genealogist, Angela Breidenbach
CAN President, Author and Genealogist, Angela Breidenbach

 Angela Breidenbach is the president of the Christian Authors Network, a bestselling author of 18 books, speaker, genealogist, and a techie enthusiast. 

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Love and the Laid-down Life

 

“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, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *
Dianne Barker
I Don't Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! by Dianne Barker
I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! by Dianne Barker

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.

 

 

Categories
Author Interviews

A Chat with Author Dianne Barker

Marti Pieper
Marti Pieper

Warm April greetings from Marti Pieper in lovely Mount Dora, Florida, where we anticipate sunny celebrations of our Savior’s birth. I have a special guest for you to meet today. Dianne Barker and I became virtual friends through our love of writing and our mutual membership in CAN. I have long appreciated her gracious spirit and talent for putting just the right words together.

Welcome, Dianne! Please tell us about your book.

Dianne Barker, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *
Dianne Barker

I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! throws a rope to the desperate drowning in disorganization. It offers practical strategies to organize space, time, and family chaos; wrestle thieves (slothfulness and procrastination); de-clutter; manage finances; begin personal renovation—purging interior garbage (inferiority, low esteem); submitting fully to Christ, gateway to balance and abundant living.

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Asking Why Puts Us in Good Company

 

Reading these words in Psalm 116:7 (KJV), “the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee,” reminded me of conversations with two of my strongest Christian friends. On the same day, both spoke of being mad at God.

One said a relative felt angry because of what she considered the undeserved suffering that came into the life of her young child. “Why didn’t God do something?”

The other friend spoke of a huge disappointment she had experienced. “Why didn’t God stop this?”

Both friends felt God had not dealt bountifully with them. He hadn’t done what they asked and expected. He seemed absent and left them struggling with an unanswered why.

Asking why puts us in good company.

Moses “returned to the Lord and said, O Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people?  Why is it You have sent me?” (Exodus 5:22 NKJV).

Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!” (Joshua 7:7 NKJV).

The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon saying “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor! Gideon said to Him, O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites” (Judges 6:12-13 NKJV).

On the cross, about the ninth hour Jesus “cried out with a loud voice, saying…My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 NKJV).

Asking why is a normal response to hurt and heartbreak. It’s not a problem as long as we’re content without an explanation and willing to leave the matter in God’s almighty hands.

Along life’s journey we experience disappointment, loneliness, physical decline, stressed relationships, grief. Is God still good? The Bible repeatedly says he is. In the NIV, Psalm 116:7 reads, “the Lord has been good to you.”

How do we respond in hard places? We choose to believe in the dark what we found easy to believe in the light.

“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5 KJV).

Even when we don’t understand, we can rely on fact. God always deals bountifully with his children.

Dianne Barker, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *
Dianne Barker
Cabbages and Kings by Dianne Barker
Cabbages and Kings by Dianne Barker

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 and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

The Power of Discouragement

 

The enemy I battle most is Discouragement. I know better than to give that rascal a toehold in my life. But it slips in subtly, whispering hopelessness, just like long ago. Remember how the Israelites responded to Moses when he came to lead them out of bondage in Egypt.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country…‘Therefore, say to the Israelites:

I am the Lord and

I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

I will free you from being slaves to them, and

I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

I will take you as my own people, and

I will be your God….

I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

I will give it to you as a possession.

I am the Lord.’

“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (Exodus 6:1, 6-9 NIV).

Despite those I wills, discouragement ruled.

But the Lord didn’t change his plan. After a series of plagues, his people left Egypt for the land he’d promised, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Moses sent scouts to explore the land, and it was everything they could have dreamed. But only Joshua and Caleb believed they could move forward and inhabit the land. The other ten gave a negative report about giants in the land, discouraging the hearts of the people and filling them with fear. Instead of taking possession of their inheritance, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, until all of the men twenty years of age and older had died because they didn’t wholly follow the Lord (Numbers 32:11).

What a sad story illustrating the power of discouragement.

All the more reason to guard our mind and heart against this mighty weapon wielded by the enemy of our souls.

Remember the Lord’s promise to Joshua when he assumed leadership, “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

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 and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

 

Categories
Devotional Encouragement

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

 

“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving…” (Psalm 116:17).

From this verse I get the impression we offer thanksgiving with difficulty or under hardship—because we should do it, not necessarily because we want to do it.

Early in my walk with the Lord, my expression of thanks depended on my circumstances. When favorable, my heart overflowed with gratitude and praise. I found it easy to rejoice and thank the Lord.

I offered thanksgiving as a reward for his being good to me and withheld it if I thought he hadn’t treated me fairly. Then I read “in every thing give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

In everything? That’s expecting a lot. So I gave thanks as a formality, with great effort, begrudgingly.

Reading those beautiful hymns of praise, the Psalms, I saw how others handled this.

Those writers offered thanks and praise to God in spite of circumstances, with gratitude for his marvelous works in the past and confidence in his promises for the future. They praised him for his very nature—he is good, gracious, righteous, merciful, slow to anger, rich in compassion and forgiveness.

If that weren’t enough, they praised him simply because he deserved it. The Lord God is worthy of honor and exaltation.

Regardless of my circumstances, he is still good, gracious, righteous, merciful, slow to anger, rich in compassion and forgiveness–and so worthy of honor and exaltation.

Giving thanks is a decision. And sometimes it’s a sacrifice. Even so…

“My heart, is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise” (Psalm 57:7).

(Adapted from Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ)

Dianne Barker, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *
Dianne Barker
Cabbages and Kings by Dianne Barker
Cabbages and Kings by Dianne Barker

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 and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.