Posted in Life Lessons, Music

Independence

I’m sitting here at two o’clock in the afternoon listening to the fireworks going off, as they have for several days. It is July 2, 2017. So I know there will be more days of the daytime noises and the night skies lit up until midnight.

We do like our fireworks, don’t we? Our way of celebrating the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776.

 

As a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, I understand independence as a freedom from the weight of sin that held me in bondage.  I understand that my dependence on God allows me that freedom. The same God our founding fathers also depended on, in ways I’ll never understand or know the depth of.

We have no guarantee that our independence here will remain forever. But we celebrate what we have, why we have it and have hope for the very best for those who will follow us.  And, as believers who walk in The Way, we can be assured the freedom God has given us is eternal. Both are ways of independence well worth rejoicing.

This is an oldy, but….well, that’s just me. Please be safe, and have a great holiday….Happy Independence Day!!

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Choosing – with peace

In the process of trying to find a new direction, for my life, my writing, maybe even how to live out my faith, I’ve backed away from some things. Faith By Choice was one of them. But, you know what? Here I am again, rambling about faith and choices and the God that loves us more than we can ever imagine.

I’ve spent a lot of the last month attending online training webinars on writing and marketing and things I sat and just shook my head at. Is that really me?

One webinar last week got me really excited. It was practical. It had veins of spirituality running through it. It required choices to move forward. It said nothing about praying about the choices, but I believed it was put in front of me for a reason. I ultimately made choices and began a new direction.

And then the Lord reminded me that I had made all those choices according to what I felt was right for me, what I believed was the best course of action, jumping right ahead without waiting on confirmation from Him.

I was reminded of some of the guidelines I learned to use in making choices. Did my choice line up with the Word? Was it lining up with His character? Was there peace in moving in the direction I wanted to go?

Okay. So, there was some of that in some of my choices. But I know that only because I looked after the fact, hoping that I wasn’t totally off track. Which is a testimony to God’s grace and mercy. He keeps me grounded enough to not get crazy wild, but still, the process is equally as important as making the choice and there was a flavor of “I’ll do this to keep Him happy and I still get what I want” in the decisions I had made.

I knew, but wouldn’t acknowledge, that there was no peace. I sat for four days staring at my new websites. Two of them. One business, one personal. Playing around with the design, killing time. Trying to determine what to write, how to “work” the plan.

No peace. None.

So I offered my apologies and got away from the computer, and the television, and the radio and waited on God. I prayed for every person on my prayer list, I prayed for the nation and for whatever came to mind to pray.  I sat and waited for that still small voice to offer me a breadcrumb. Nothing. So I went back to the computer and sat and stared. I was frustrated. I was ready to quit. That old nature was moving dangerously close to a rebellious tantrum.

I turned on the television and a preacher I like came on. So I listened. Oooohhh. The lesson was on making sure we were lined up with God. So after it was finished I turned it off and picked up the Bible and was led to start reading Provers. Wisdom.

So I read, and prayed, and stayed away from the websites and this morning I just wanted quiet. I sat by the open window and listened to the birds and had my morning conversation with my Father. And then I read some more in Proverbs. It was not like I’d never read it before, but it was blowing me away. Not because I felt any wiser, but because it was clearly defining, in just the first two chapters, how wretched the world can become without wisdom, and how pursuing wisdom is our way to security.  Funny thing, I wasn’t even concerned about my writing or my websites or my attempts to continue my working from home.

I turned on the television and went to my Roku menu, looking for one specific teaching pastor I always gained insight from. I found him and started to listen to a sermon from the first of the year. I didn’t know what he was about to share.

It was about finding God’s will for your life. Finding God’s direction, and the ways to do so.

I had to laugh. God was definitely telling me something, even if the venue wasn’t that still small voice. For the next hour, I listened to familiar scriptures, and the importance of seeking God, and the fact that the “way” of the journey is more important than the destination.

Then I came to the computer and pulled up both of my websites. “Okay, Lord, you know I just want to be pleasing to you, so whatever you say, I’m in.”

And, here I am. This site that was retired, now active again. The other sites, still active as well. The choices I made were not bad ones, but I had left something very important out. In making my decisions, I made them on who and what I thought I was according to worldly definitions.  Sometimes we label ourselves according to those definitions, and we might not be far off in our estimations, but they are weak, without substance without God as our foundation.

And as I sit here and ramble on about decisions and the journey to them and away from them, there is peace. A reminder from my Lord that Faith is by Choice, not always easy, but without regret.

Blessings – Vicki

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Life Lessons

No complaining . . .

That’s what I told myself as I looked out the window at another cloudy, damp day. Specifically because this area is in near drought condition and it finally rained off and on all day yesterday, rained a little today, might rain some more over the next four days.

Not going to complain about a lot of things. Mostly because it is counter productive, and because it just  means I’m making comparisons and that is something not particularly pleasing to my Lord.

In fact, instead of complaining, I’ll rejoice. Listened earlier to a study on the power of the tongue and decided way too much complaining goes on, even when I don’t always recognize it as such, so now it’s time to do as we are instructed.

“Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things.”– Philippians 4:8

Learned a lesson the other day about giving up. Or I should say I learned another lesson about giving up. You know, you think you’ve finally got it, and wham something happens and you realize that there’s still more residue of that filthy rag deep down inside to be submitted to God for cleansing.

Giving up on unrealistic dreams held onto for years and are accomplishing nothing but creating hindrances. Ouch.

Giving up on a direction that is not bad, but in painful, honest moments you know deep down that it is not the best direction to focus on.

To give up some of the things you have created when called upon to do so.  Because the joy in the creation should be enough. Holding on for the wrong reasons speaks of pride, and greed, and even fear; things that become stumbling stones.

So, for today, and prayerfully for every day, I choose to give up complaining, and instead choose pure thoughts and praise.

 

A few ramblings from the rocking chair. Blessings. – Vicki

 

 

Posted in Life Lessons

It’s going to be okay. . .

I’m a day later than my projected blog schedule, but yesterday got away from me. Here in northwest Missouri we were bombarded by high winds and then later multiple tornado reports, so my weather fascination kicked in and that was my late afternoon and evening.

God and I talked through the whole thing. Well, I did most of the talking, I knew several people in the forecast danger area, occasionally slowing down just long enough to get the sense of peace that enabled me to continue on with my amateur weather forecasting. I did step out into the hallway a couple of times to give the expected weather report (I guess I have a reputation) and some went downstairs “just in case.”

South of my home was hit hardest. But, praise the Lord, no serious injuries. Yes, serious damage to homes and businesses, and minor injuries, but the storm finally passed.

They do, you know. Storms come and they can be violent and then they pass. And, like today, the skies are clear and the air is fresh and clean. But there is always something left behind to remember, to have to get through.

From his experience of losing his home to a tornado several years ago, a veteran newscaster offered encouragement to any who might be going through what he had gone through. Gave them insight on what to expect. Not only in dealing with the damage, but how they would feel during the process. I paraphrase what he ended with, “What you can do now is pray for them. And if you can, go find someone and put your arms around them and just tell them, it’s going to be okay. Not today, or even tomorrow, but it will be okay.”

I don’t know if this newscaster is a believer.  I do know that what he said last night a lot of people probably needed to hear.

For believers, isn’t that what God tells us? That storms come, and havoc results, but He is there to put His love around us and show us that it is going to be okay. And He teaches us the importance of community, of supporting one another.

So whatever you’re going through, allow God to be the one who holds you up, who guides you through the storms. Offer support to and accept support from the people God puts in your life. Then, maybe some day, when something happens to someone else, you can draw on your experience and say to them, “it’s going to be okay. And let me tell you why. . .”

Blessings from the rocking chair.