Vickie's Blog

Thoughts Along Life's Journey

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Rights Of Citizenship

This past week my thoughts have often lingered upon some very dear friends; a pastor and his wife. A shock to all who knew him, this pastor died last week from a massive heart attack. Naturally, tears have come to his family, church family, other relatives, and friends, but what has stayed with me this week, is the fact that peace has come, too.

The world gives a type of peace. We know that because Jesus once said to His disciples that He would give them peace, but not like the world’s peace. The world’s peace is based on circumstance. The peace of Jesus is based on relationship with Him. When we choose Jesus and all He has to offer, then we become citizens of heaven.

When we are citizen of a particular country, we are granted certain rights and privileges. It’s the same when we become citizens of heaven. Heavenly citizenship grants us the right to access God’s own peace — He will put that peace right into our hearts. When we are citizens of heaven, we have access to God’s own wisdom to guide us through all our days on earth. When we are citizens of heaven, all our needs are provided — all the comfort needed, the strength, courage, joy, and peace that never depends on circumstances.

It’s a wonderful thing that God’s peace never depends on anything but Himself. Circumstances are changing and passing. God never changes and He never leaves us. It stands to reason, then, that His peace is unchanging and steadfast, too.

Too often, I see that many Christians forget they are citizens of heaven. Therefore, they flounder around in their own strength when God’s perfect strength is available for the asking. They waste precious hours and even days trying to come up with a plan to get them out of their troubles, when God’s guidance is ready to lead them. All they have to do is seek for it and they will find it.

Whatever you’re going through this week and in the days and months and years to come; please don’t live merely like a citizen of the world. Think higher! Look up! As the Apostle Paul encouraged us in Philippians 1:27, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” Check your behavior in all your situations, and ask yourselves if you’re living like a citizen of the world, or are you living like a citizen of heaven, which is your spiritual birthright.

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Hidden Beneath The Couch Cushions

The other day I had a sweet flashback to my childhood. It happened when I found a quarter that had fallen to the floor near the couch. As I bent to pick it up, my mind suddenly traveled back in time to when my sister and I were little girls.

As children we were given our chores to do. At the end of each week we were rewarded with our weekly allowance. I remember when I used to get 50 cents a week. Then it rose to 75 cents. I was so excited when it rose to a whole dollar!

To supplement our income, my sister and I discovered that sometimes, when our father sat on the couch, coins would fall out of his pockets and slip down between the couch cushions. Oh, what happiness, when upon our couch cushion explorations, we would find an assortment of quarters, nickels, and dimes. We were rich!

Now, it didn’t happen every time we searched. There were many days when we lifted the cushions to find the space empty of the treasures we had hoped to find. Did that stop us from looking another time? Absolutely not! We always believed that, with our diligent searching, the day would come when we would strike it rich once again.

When we grew up, something was revealed that touched me sweetly. We were told by our mother, that there were many times when our father would deliberately hide the coins for us to find. He got as excited as we did when we found the waiting treasure.

Once again, as I reflect upon something that took place in my physical world, I am also reminded that our Heavenly Father behaves in the same way. He inserts blessings into our lives all the time. Sometimes, He gives blessings to us outright; but at other times, He hides the coins beneath the couch cushions, taking pleasure with us when we find them.

Jesus told us in Luke 11:9, “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Please don’t ever stop looking diligently for what you need in God! If you do give up in the asking and seeking and knocking, it may be that you’re sitting on your quarters of blessings and don’t even know it. The coins of blessings are there. Have fun searching!

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Words Are Not Soon Forgotten

I was driving along the highway the other day when a billboard grabbed my attention. It read, “A tongue is light but many can’t hold it.” While I laughed at the play on words, I also began to think of the truth of that statement.

Once words are out there, they can’t be taken back again. Oh, apologies can be made and forgiveness given, but the words are still there. Sometimes, hurtful words can last a lifetime. In the New Testament, James has a lot to say about our tongues. In 3:3-10 he makes the following points: A small bit in the bridle can control a horse, a small rudder can guide a ship, a small spark can start a fire — and a small tongue, like a fire out of control, can cause great destruction. James goes on to tell us that with our tongues we speak out praises to God and, with the same tongue we speak out hurt to our neighbors. He says that if we claim to be religious but can’t control our tongue, something is amiss!

Divorces are often had because of tongue damage, friendships break-up because of tongue damage, hearts are broken because of tongue damage, minds are dulled because of tongue damage, self-esteem is shot down because of tongue damage. Such a little thing can bring such great harm.

James also instructs us in 1:19, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” My mother used to say when I was a child, “If you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Wise words for children; wise words for adults, too.

A valuable prayer for ourselves can be, “Father, I give you my tongue; please give me your wisdom in its use.”

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Dirty Dishes — Again!

A sink full of dirty dishes is a part of all our lives. Today, it seemed that every time I went into the kitchen, another dirty dish was hiding in the sink! I washed the breakfast dishes, but in a very little while, a few cups had made their way back to the sink! Then came the lunch plates. I washed the lunch dishes. By midday, several cups, a glass and a bowl, and a frying pan was waiting for me in the sink!

I could easily loathe that sink! But wait, the sink is the place where dirty dishes are made clean again. The sink makes it possible for clean dishes to be put to good use once more. I must not despise the kitchen sink, because without it my dirty dishes would clutter every surface possible!

You and I are like dirty dishes. We come to Jesus and He washes us and makes us clean but in no time at all, we get dirty again. So we come and ask Him to forgive us and to clean us up again. He does, but what happens? Oh, no! We go and get ourselves dirty, yet again! It happens over and over! Getting dirty can be so disheartening that we begin to despise the act of getting clean! We make excuses as to why we don’t go quickly to Jesus for His cleansing.

That’s as foolish as despising the sink! In the Old Testament, David understood the need and the beauty of going to God for cleansing. He wrote in Psalm 51:2, “Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.” To be made clean; to be purified of all sin, is nothing to run away from, but something to be practiced everyday. Just think, our perfect and holy God is willing and always waiting for us to come and be washed again, and again, and again. He never tires of our coming. In fact, the Bible tells us that He understands our weaknesses. He is always hoping that we will come to be washed in His forgiveness and love.

When that happens, like the dirty dish ready to be used at the next meal, you and I are made ready to be used as we walk along the paths of our lives. We can’t get away from dirty dishes, and until Jesus takes us all to heaven, we can’t get away from the dirt of this world sticking to us. Thank you Father, for your holy sink that washes away all my sin.

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When Your World Caves In

Have you ever been in that place when, whatever can go wrong, does. Events can happen in our lives that leave us swimming in sorrow. We are fighting against the current. We don’t know where to turn to go back into our worlds where peace once reigned.

I was reminded of these thoughts this week as my mother and I enjoyed a few days in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Every morning and evening we sat on the porch of our cabin watching the sun rise and set again. Our view was spectacular, stretching out across a range of mountain tops as far as we could see. The beauty was breathtaking.

Often as I gazed upon these magnificent mountains, I thought how mighty they are; how strong they stand, how immovable they appear. It was easy to think, if we humans had the strength of a mountain, how strong we would be, too. But no, that thought was incorrect. It’s not the strength of a mountain or anything else that our eyes can see. It’s the strength of the One who made the mountains.

Isaiah 54:10 tells us, “For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken, says the Lord, who has mercy upon you.” Isn’t that a lovely reminder of the One who gives us the strength we need, when we need it. In this same passage, God goes on to declare, “Oh storm battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you.” What a promise from our God who does not lie! When we are broken, He is able and desiring to rebuild us.

Are you so troubled today that you see no way out of your pain and predicament? Are the events in your life towering above you, mightier than a mountain? Remember, it’s not the mountain of problem that is stronger than you; it’s the One who controls all the events in our lives. It is our powerful God who promises in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

Today, if you are being crushed by a mountain of affliction, don’t stare at the trouble; look to the One who is stronger than what troubles you.


Living Through Rejection

No one likes to entertain the thought that someone they love doesn’t want them. When suspicions of rejection turns into reality, the pain goes deep. Wounds of dejection shatter our hopes, leaving scars that refuse to give our minds rest from the memory of having been pushed away. Such grief and hurt drops over us like an iron curtain; we want to crawl out from under it, but it’s too heavy, and we begin to suffocate beneath the weight of having been discarded.

Have you ever felt this pain? You are not alone. Probably everyone has a story to tell of having loved and lost. David, in the Old Testament, certainly knew the vast pain of rejection. He describes his feelings so poignantly in Psalm 27. David is alone here, away from family and friends, literally running for his life. He has been publicly rejected. Let’s read his words:

“The one thing I ask of the Lord — the thing I seek most — is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple. He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Listen to my pleading, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ My heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’ Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me. O God of my salvation! Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.”

Here we see a glimpse into David’s fears. He is so hurt by human rejection around him, that he wonders if God, too, will turn him away. He pleads for this not to be so. Then, as he pleads, we see his heart being reminded that our Heavenly Father always has ears open to our cries. David is reminded that God Himself says, “Come and talk with me.” David’s heart responds with, “Lord, I am coming!”

How beautiful to be reminded, that in the midst of our deepest pain, God is calling out to you and me. He pleads for us to pour out our hearts. While friends can understand to a point, only God can understand in perfection because only He sees the pain in its fulness; pain that has grabbed hold and will not let go. David answers the call of God — “Lord, I am coming!”

May we, too, in the midst of the most piercing pain, when tears choke us, and hearts feel heavy beneath the load of rejection or any other seething pain — may we, too, remember to call out — “Lord, I am coming!” Only in the sweetness of God’s own love and understanding can we be fully released back into perfect peace and joy once again.

God said to His people in Isaiah 41:9-10, “I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

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When Rose Petals Fall

This week a friend came to visit me and brought a small bouquet of roses that she had cut from her garden. There were yellow ones and pink ones, too. I love roses! Their fragrance is one of the most pleasing of all aromas to me.

I put the roses into a vase. Throughout the evening I would bend toward the delicate flowers to breathe in its delicious scent. How pleasing they were to me.

In the morning, while I dressed, I could hardly wait to go into the living room to draw in another breath of the rose’s perfume. However, as I entered the room, I stopped in some dismay. My beautiful and sweet roses had dropped nearly all its petals to the floor. Slowly I walked forward, feeling a tinge of disappointment that my roses had not lasted longer; but then, a smile came quickly to my lips. There was the sweetest fragrance of the rose’s perfume wafting in the air! I bent down to make certain, drawing in deep breaths. Yes! The petals had fallen but the aroma was as pleasant as it had ever been.

That’s when I thought of the frailties of our human bodies. In our youth, like the fresh cut rose, we stand tall, full of life and vitality. Then, with the passing of years, or perhaps illness strikes, or sheer exhaustion takes hold due to heavy loads that we bear. Perhaps we begin to feel, like the aged rose, that our petals of strength and liveliness have all but fallen completely to the ground.

Please take heart if that is you today. Though the years and toils of life may cause our bodies to wilt and tire, read what God’s Word assures us of in II Corinthians 4:16, “We need never give up. Though our bodies grow weary, our spirits are being renewed every day.” Pay attention to those last two words — every day! No matter the passing of time or illness, or the stresses of this life that may bend our backs. No matter that our petals of youth will fall. As long as God Himself breathes into us His own blessings, then we remain a sweet fragrance, forever, as we are reminded in II Corinthians 2:15-16 “Our lives are a fragrance presented to Christ by God…to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume.”


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