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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When one of my publishers asked me to add a Thanksgiving book to my holiday board book series, it took a while for me to decide what to write. The story of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower would be too long to squeeze into twenty-four lines!

I considered what Thanksgiving means to young children and the answer was obvious. Young children celebrate Thanksgiving with family, and it’s a time to thank God for our blessings. The text became a simple prayer, thanking God for food, family, mountains, birds, bumblebees, and more.

Thanksgiving is a day to thank God for his provisions throughout the year. It’s a time to reflect on the past, present, and future with grateful hearts. Having a designated day to express our thanks to God is something to celebrate. But of course, we can remember to say thank you anytime we talk to God.

When we thank God for something specific, it allows us to give God credit for his activity in our everyday lives. Healing a grandchild’s illness, restoring a friend’s marriage, getting an opportunity we were hoping for—the list is endless. I’ve even thanked God for a good parking spot on a rainy afternoon! Being grateful not only honors God but also helps us focus on our blessings rather than our problems.

If God surprises you today with an unexpected blessing, or if you simply make it through another day, spend a moment with him and just say thank you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34 ICB).

Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children. She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences throughout the U.S. She is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music.

 

 

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“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

This morning I awoke to the sweet sound of birdsong. The feathered creatures seemed to be singing their praise for a new day, for sunshine just breaking through the darkness, for an ample food supply.

I wonder…am I as grateful for these and a multitude of other blessings?

The cheery chorus reminded me these little ones diligently pursue their sole responsibility—being the best winged-creatures they can be. They do not appear to worry about anything.

They don’t fret about position, problems, or power. They show no anxiety over relationships, no remorse over past failures, and no fear over what lies ahead.

We can learn much from these happy singers, just trusting God for every need.

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

Our Lord cares for even these delicate creations. Yet he considers me of more value than many sparrows.

That certainly builds my self-esteem!

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.

 

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Gracious God,

thank you for the smell of pencil shavings,

the elegance of a good fountain pen,

and the click-clack of ancient typewriter keys…

for the intoxication of creative juices,

the sweetness of a well-turned phrase…

for the creak of the office chair,

and the surprise of a catch in the throat

and the salty track of a tear on the cheek…

for the hum of a computer,

for the thrum of a printer,

for the agony of the blank page,

the ecstasy of the last line,

the terror of hitting “send”

and the fragrance of fresh ink on crisp new pages.

Thank you, Lord, for these gifts and graces,

and for the many others I am too dull to sense,

in Jesus’ name, amen.

The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, by Bob Hostetler

The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, by Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler is the author of fifty books, including The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, and Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (coauthored with Josh McDowell). He has won two Gold Medallion Awards, four Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation Award. He is the founding pastor of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife Robin have two grown children, Aubrey and Aaron, and five grandchildren. You can find out more on his website: http://www.bobhostetler.com.

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert where it’ll soon be cooler weather!

“Mommy, I’m ready to go over to Irene’s!” I cried out. I had my pajamas and toothbrush! It was going to be my first overnighter at my best friend, Irene’s house, across the street. I could hardly contain my excitement. I felt like such a big girl to be able to spend the night at someone’s house. A big step for a first-grader!

My mother accompanied me across the street and Irene and I had a great time that evening. We didn’t go to sleep until late. The next morning, we woke up, played with our dolls for awhile. Then I packed up my stuff in my little duffel bag.

Irene’s mom peeked into Irene’s room and said, “Kathy, you’re not going without eating breakfast, are you?”

I’d forgotten about breakfast, but it just didn’t seem right to both spend the night and have breakfast. Wasn’t that too much to ask? Did I deserve that much joy? I just couldn’t receive the second part of the gift, so I answered, “Thank you, Mrs. Luna, but I have to go home.”

Mrs. Luna nodded, frowning, and walked me across the street. Read More →

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