Today’s post comes from a longtime friend, mentor, and author. Please welcome, Dianne Barker.
Have you ever felt as if you’ve been cast in an old James Bond movie, caught in a midnight car chase speeding toward infinite blackness?
You’re wondering…who wrote this plot and how did I get in it?
Only in the Movies
Joseph, one of my favorite Bible friends, found himself in a circumstance he didn’t see coming. His life wasn’t moving at breakneck speed—but by camel crawl. I wonder what he was thinking as the Ishmaelite caravan carried him away from home and family to a bleak unknown. Let’s review his story in Genesis 37-50.
July 20, 2017 at 10:00 am | Uncategorized
I tried to brace myself for the fall.
Oh, I remember the day well. An amusement park ride named Freefall. The wait in line gave us ample opportunity to watch and ponder the decision to follow through with the adventure.
A fear of heights gave way to assurance from college friends. I could do this. They would be with me.
Strapping in with other thrill-seekers and launching to soaring heights, the entire park visible from the top. I tried to brace myself for the fall, gripping the sidebar until my knuckles turned white.
As the sound of an electronic release bellowed behind us, the bottom fell out, dropping us with terrifying speed and force that took my breath.
Elated the ride came to an end, I unbuckled and resolved to keep my feet on the ground for the rest of the day.
Life’s Freefall Ride
When the bottom drops out of your world, are you prepared for the fall? You didn’t have a warning to strap in, brace yourself, and tightly grip something—anything. You didn’t even volunteer for the ride.
July 13, 2017 at 10:14 am | Uncategorized
In school, I sometimes struggled in math. I mastered basic arithmetic. And as an abstract thinker, I soared in Geometry. Yet theorems of Algebra threw me for a loop. I wondered if any of it applied in a practical way to life.
So for this article, let’s stick with the basics.
What’s the only way two of anything becomes one? We take one away. Right?
Two take away one equals one (2-1=1). In mathematics, it works with apples or dogs or numbers.
But Scripture sheds a bright light on the concept in marriage. “The two will become one. So they are no longer two, but one” Mark 10:8 NLV.
God’s teaching on marriage shows the answer always equals one. Unified for one purpose paints a picture of the bride of Christ, the church. Jesus taught His followers to be one as He and the Father are one. But how does this happen in marriage?
Marriage Math: 2 Become 1
July 6, 2017 at 10:03 am | Uncategorized
There’s power in story. Our story matters. It not only gives us a voice, but brings significance to our life meaning. Sharing it with others releases us from the world’s attempt to mute our voice.
Unmuting Our Voice
You see, telling our story sucker punches the devil smack dab in the gut. And that’s my favorite part. He works to stifle our voice…to keep us from narrating our storyline. Yet, God’s not only the author, but He’s also the narrator, the editor, and the publisher.
Does it mean each chapter glitters and sparkles? No. But God uses every life experience including the hurt, heartache, and moments of joy for His purpose and His glory.
Often, we try to edit and rewrite our narrative and submit it to God for approval. Or, hide our version of the manuscript in a safe place hoping life turns out to match our revisions.
June 29, 2017 at 10:54 am | Uncategorized
This is for you.
The teen girl who feels invisible. A mom surrounded by loneliness. The woman who wonders if anyone cares. The man struggling with meaning.
Those touched by hopelessness. Souls caught in the pit of despair. The lost who don’t believe they can be found.
To everyone who questions God’s existence or love.
Or, if you wonder. Is God there? Does He know? Does He see?
Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf in disguise possessed big eyes. “The better to see you with,” he said. But his eyes don’t compare to the Lord’s eyes which are vast, keen, and aware.
The God Who Sees
June 22, 2017 at 10:06 am | Uncategorized
“Aunt Karen, can we go to the buffet at Golden Corral today?”
My nephew, Parker, enjoys a buffet. So his restaurant choice for lunch after church often includes this style of dining.
Pick and Choose Buffet
We’re talking about a mouth-watering spread. The choices include meats, vegetables, side-dishes, breads, and desserts. And the food themes offer a taco bar, pasta bar, and every item you ever imagined on the salad bar.
But Parker’s food-pick is one among ten to fourteen family members who voice an opinion. We occasionally go to Pizza Hut’s buffet (not my personal favorite and limited choices). Yet, our family’s never gone to Golden Corral’s buffet for lunch on a Sunday. So, poor Parker, I hope his parents take him there on occasion.
Perhaps you enjoy a good buffet. Picking and choosing all the foods you love, leaving behind items you’d rather live without and your taste buds thank you for it.
Choices seem endless without judgement of what you pick or don’t. The unspoken motto; Come, enjoy, choose what you want, be merry and leave full.
Still, the world encourages the same slogan. After all, they try to convince us life’s one big buffet menu. Choose whatever you want, leave behind items you’d rather live without, your real friends will thank you for it.
Culture promotes the exact advertisement when it comes to God’s Holy Scripture. And sadly, some believers, church-folk, own stock in this marketing campaign. Listen, take to heart the parts you love—in agreement with—and ignore everything else.
4 Reasons the Bible’s Not a Buffet
June 15, 2017 at 9:46 am | Uncategorized
I’ll let you in on a secret about me. There’s no creative brushstrokes in my DNA—none. Even my stick figures look pitiful.
You won’t find the blood of an artist running through my veins. I’m not artistic by any stretch of the imagination.
But the art of coloring gives un-artsy people a way to add individual flare to a beautifully drawn picture.
My daughter, Megan, and I are fond of coloring. A fondness starting when we were both little girls. We colored together through her childhood, teen, and college days, and still do today.
Who says coloring is only for kids? This article makes me want to color right now.
Still, Megan and I consider ourselves coloring connoisseurs. We colored for recreation and mental therapy long before the rest of the world caught on to coloring books for all ages.
Proudly signing our name to completed pictures is a tradition. “By Mom” remained my standard signature until Megan married. Now I sign my actual name.
To later admire our handiwork as we flip through books during a new coloring session, we date each finished masterpiece with month/day/year. They bear who and when information.
God’s Coloring Book
June 8, 2017 at 9:38 am | Uncategorized
From mountain peaks to beach waves.
Last week I shared 3 lessons from the mountains while attending a writers conference. But within forty-eight hours of arriving home, I emptied suitcases, repacked fun-in-the-sun clothes, and headed for a different landscape—the beach.
Not only is God’s beauty visible in the mountains, but it’s also breathtaking in the seashore.
So, this week my family calls Garden City beach in South Carolina our home. It’s a familiar area in the same ocean-front condominiums where we’ve stayed before.
Yet, a newness greeted me. You see, the Lord promises new adventures on the journey.
As I type these words, the sights, sounds, and aromas of the beach surround me. And while I get away to relax, the Lord reminds me of His faithful truths surrounding me on every side.
#1-Life’s Ebb and Flow
June 1, 2017 at 9:28 am | Uncategorized
I’m a girl from the mountains.
Did you know that about me? I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. My hometown sits in a valley and borders several nearby states. So, it’s just a hop and a skip away from my current home in Tennessee.
In 2015, I shared a post about lessons learned—from God himself—in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
But this week I mastered fresh lessons. I attended a writers conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I reconnected with writers, formed new friendships, and networked with industry professionals.
Although this made my third trip to the event, the Lord spoke to my heart. God’s Word, worship songs, knowledge gleaned from others, and the Lord’s beautiful creation reached the depths of my soul.
I often sit in life’s classroom. I won’t say there’s passing and failing grades. And the Lord never grades on the curve. But I know the good Lord speaks in mighty ways to those willing to attend class.
May 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Uncategorized
Does a certain love song make your heart skip a beat?
I recall my favorite love songs through the years. Each carries memorable melodies with sweet lyrics denoting loyalty of heart.
Staying true to real love.
My daughter showed me one love song to put at the top of my playlist. And, at the time, she was only a little girl.
As I rocked my infant son in the living room, my husband filmed our daughter, Megan. Nearly four-years-old, a few of her joys in life included kid’s classes at church, watching children’s videos, and playing with dolls.
Enjoyments came to life for the video camera: songs, quoting a Bible verse, or random question-answer prompted by mom and dad. “Where did we go today?” And, “Tell everybody how old you are?” Memories and moments captured on film.
But Megan sparkled with merriment when singing.
May 18, 2017 at 9:58 am | Uncategorized