God in Simple, Daily Living

Gratitude Day 391

Mon., Jan. 20, 2019

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2: Let me add this, dear brothers: You already know how to please God in your daily living, for you know the commands we gave you from the Lord Jesus himself. Now we beg you—yes, we demand of you in the name of the Lord Jesus—that you live more and more closely to that ideal.

Most often, I begin my day like this. While still in bed, I say a short prayer to God, asking for guidance and wisdom throughout the day. “Help me focus on the most important things for me to seek today,” I ask over and over and over.

Focus lasts, on a good day, about, oh, 30 minutes. I make coffee, begin to think through what priorities I have for the day. Before I know it, I’m soon sidetracked by things that simply pull me away from focusing on what’s most important.

I see something on my phone and get lead down a rabbit trail.

Something on the internet pulls me into a hole of wasted time.

One call or e-mail changes up the entire day.

All of those great intentions before I rolled out of bed in the morning seem and feel like a distant request.

Yes, there are days that I get back on track. Refocus. Remember what’s most important. I still get good things done and even cross a few things off a to-do list. But it’s oh, so easy to lose focus of finding the most important things that I should seek in a day.

Most days, I prioritize time in the morning to spend moments with God. I have a consistent routine that I follow. Yes, this helps with focus. But it’s unrealistic to think that a few sentences of prayer in the morning will bath my entire God with good choices and me seeking guidance from God.

The last few days, I’ve been trying a new thing: finding God through pictures. I’ve always admired photographers and would love to be one of those people who cranks out beautiful pictures that people ohh and ahh about. But I’m not.

Nonetheless, I CAN use a camera … even my phone camera … to see God in a slightly different perspective. In the very simplest of things in life. So sometime throughout the day, I’ve been picking up my phone and taking just one or two pictures that remind me to slow down and seek God. Right then. Right now. In the middle of the day. Or the end of the day. Or somewhere in-between.

The pictures are ordinary. Simple. Natural. Nothing extra-ordinary. They challenge me to find God in the simplest of things in my very ordinary, vanilla days.

I could keep these photos to myself and let it be. But … I’m challenging myself to take it one small step further. Lately, every day, I’ve posted these photos on my social media accounts; on Facebook and Instagram. I write just a few sentences of what I found in the simple moments that the photo was taken. What inspiration I’ve discovered in my day. Where I hear and feel God speaking to me.

I’m calling it my daily photography devotion.

I’ll be honest. Sometimes, I struggle with social media. Yes, I have Facebook and Instagram accounts. Historically, I’ve posted some but certainly not every day. Well, I post these blogs on Facebook every time I write one. But really, this is what I share the most on social media: my blog posts.

I’m hoping these photos will be just another little way to connect with folks. To challenge myself and others to find God in our simple, ordinary, vanilla lives. To celebrate and be grateful for where we can see God. To orient ourselves sometime during the day to seeking God, God’s wisdom and guidance in what I do throughout the day.

So, I would love to have you follow me along with these photos. If you are on Facebook, please friend and follow me at Dianne Deaton Vielhuber. PLEASE make sure you follow my PERSONAL account! If you see my name next to a logo with an animal in the center, this account is for my work! (You can follow this if you’re into bulls and cows and such. But you won’t find my daily photos here!)

I also have a Facebook page for Simple Words of Faith … and I’ll begin sharing the photos there as well.

On Instagram, find me at diannedeatonvielhuber.

I’d love to hear feedback on the photos and sayings as well. If you find the photos or thoughts inspiring, PLEASE encourage others to follow these as well.

I know not everyone is on social media. IT’S OK!! We don’t all have to be. I anticipate some of those photos showing up in my blog posts as well from time to time.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to encourage others to find faith in the simplest of ways in our daily lives. Faith doesn’t have to be complicated, difficult or feel out of reach. I believe faith should be part of our daily triumphs and challenges. In reach. The little ways that we find gratitude and inspiration.

Thanks for following along in this journey as I share simple ways that I find faith in my life. I pray that it inspires you to do the same!

For finding God in the simplest of ways, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Forgive me for all the days I plan to take you along … and leave you in the dust. Forgive me for getting distracted and pulled away for focusing on You. Thank you for placing it upon my heart the opportunity to find you in pictures … in the simple areas of my life. I pray this is another great way for me to connect with You. Amen.

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SLOW DOWN …

Gratitude Day 390

Mon., Jan. 20, 2019

Psalm 107:1: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

It should not be a hard transition … but it has been.

This new decade, 2020, has started slowly for me. Shortly after the beginning of the year, Hubby Rick and I went on vacation. It was a gift to be away for over a week and spend time with family.

But I’ll be honest. Transitioning back to real life since getting back as been, well, not as easy as I thought it would be.

The first few days were jam-packed full. We’ve had a distraction in our lives and my heart has needed time to process this. And the words just have not come as easily as I would like. Words for this very blog. Words to describe how I feel. Words about what and where I should focus this next stage of my life.

Sometimes, I just have not been very efficient with my time. Normally, I’m planning and mapping out and thinking and doing. But quite honestly, I just have not felt like doing this.

It’s so unlike me.

Maybe, just maybe, what I need to do is give myself a bit of grace.

A bit of space.

Permission to explore and be OK with this.

In my Bible, I often keep little things that have struck a chord with me. This is where the following prayer has been kept for years. I don’t know who wrote it … I didn’t. But I wish that my heart, and your heart, can hear these words today:

Slow us down, Lord.

Ease the pounding of our hearts.

By the quiet of our minds.

Steady our hurried pace

With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give us amidst the confusion of our day

The Calm of the Everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of our nerves and muscles

With eh soothing music of the singing streams.

Teach us the art of taking minute vacations

Of slowing down to look at a flower …

  To chat with a friend … or pat a dog

  … to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind us each day of the fable of the hare and the tortoise,

That we may know that the race is not always to the swift;

That there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Allow us to look upward into the branches of the towering oak

And know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.

Slow us down, dear God,

And inspire us to send our roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values,

That we may grow toward the starts of our greater destiny.

Amen.

If you need to hear these words today, I pray you find peace in them.

For permission to slow down, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – thanks for the words of this prayer and the person who wrote them. May I embody them today. Amen.

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A Prayer for 2020

Wed., Jan. 1, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11: I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.

Happy 2020!

As we begin a new year, it’s a time to pause. Reflect. Ponder. Think.

And the best way to begin a New Year?

Simple. Prayer.

John Wesley began a movement over 200 years ago. Eventually, it became known as the Methodist movement, which are the roots of the United Methodist Church. Wesley believed in the covenant of prayer: the connection between God and a person. The opportunity to humans to connect with God in a deep and personal way.

Exactly what I believe as well.

He used a prayer at the end of the year to inspire him for the upcoming year. Today, I encourage us to pray this prayer at the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to begin things in a spiritually connected way. Please, let’s pray Wesley’s Covenant Prayer together:

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt,

Rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,

Exalted for thee or brought low by thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things

To thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, I glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Thou art min and I am thine. So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Maybe not a bad prayer to use at the beginning of EVERY day in 2020?

For the opportunity to covenant with God today, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Listening In Prayer

Gratitude Day 374

Wed., Dec. 11, 2019

Psalm 83:1: God, don’t be silent! Don’t be quiet or sit still, God,

I wish that I had come up with this quote. But I didn’t.

Yet, it speaks to me.

It reminds me that when I pray, listening is JUST AS IMPORTANT as speaking.

Maybe even more important at times.

So often, we love to hear ourselves speak. We talk louder than others so our voice drowns out every other voice. We don’t let people complete their thoughts without interrupting with our own two cents. We think we know the “right” answer before someone else has concluded their thoughts.

But we aren’t always right.

Sometimes, we just need to sit. Be still. Listen.

There’s a reason why God designed us with two ears and one mouth.

If only we’d remember this.

Be quiet. Be still. Listen for God.

Not bad things to do during Advent.

For encouragement to be quiet more than to speak, I am grateful.

Holy God – so often, we quit praying because we don’t think you’ve answered our prayer. But honestly? Too often, we don’t get the answer we think we want. We bring all of our intentions upon you and get disappointed when the answer is something other than what we want. Challenge us to listen more and let go of our desires.  Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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It’s Wednesday Prayer Day!

Gratitude Day 369

Wed., Nov. 27, 2019

Jeremiah 29:12: When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.

I’m trying to turn Wednesdays into “Prayer Day” here at Simple Words of Faith. Why? Because I think prayer is this important.

But here’s the deal about prayer. While we may think that what WE say in prayer is most important, let me share a secret.

It’s not.

No, actually, our listening to what God may say BACK to us is really more important than what we say to God.

I know. It’s goes against so much of what our culture focuses on these days. Culture tells us to make sure OUR voice is heard. Culture tells us do what feels good. Culture tells us to make sure your priorities are always at the forefront.

When we look closely to what Jesus said, he had a different opinion. He encouraged people to be a servant first to those around us; not promote our own agenda. Or desires. Or preferences.

In fact, Jesus encourages us to decrease so he can increase within us.

How’s that for being counter-cultural?

So, let’s relate this back to prayer. Often, our prayers are a laundry list of what WE want. We share every request that we can think of. We will God to intervene and answer our prayers just the way WE want them answered.

But this isn’t really how this works. No, rather than just focusing on what we say and want, God yearns for us to have a heart that is open to hearing what God says back to us.

God wants a relationship with us. Not a mandate from one to the other. Relationships work best when both parties are willing to simply listen to the other. Not just hear themselves speak … but truly listen to the other person.

I know. This feels impossible when we can’t even see God. But I know God will speak to us … if we slow down ourselves long enough to listen.

For Wednesday Prayer Request day, let’s focus on LISTENING for God today. Rather than taking first dips of spilling our guts to God, can we pause and simply listen for and to God? Just this one simple request is all I’m focusing on today.

Stop.

Listen.

Yearn for God to speak to you.

May this be enough.

May this be just what you need for today.

We have one mouth and two ears. There’s a reason why. We are to listen twice as much as we speak.

For encouragement to listen to God, I am thankful.

Dear God – forgive me for all those hundreds and thousands of time that I should have listened to You and didn’t. Create within me a deep desire to simply listen for what You long for me to hear. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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When God Shows Up

Gratitude Day 361

Wed., Nov. 13, 2019

Psalm 46:10: That’s enough! Now know that I am God! I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!

It is AMAZING how God shows up.

If we only stop and see it.

When Hubby Rick and I went to worship on Sunday, I was distracted. I wasn’t focused. In fact, I almost suggested that we stay home and watch a worship service on the internet.

It was one of the rare Sundays when I did not have a commitment of participating in worship. We could choose to worship wherever we wanted. Basically, our choice came down to going to a late service and in a location where I could run an errand afterwards.

We arrived just as worship was beginning. I knew this was a more traditional service, which, quite honestly, is not our first choice. But our butts were in the pew and we were there to worship.

Early on in the worship service, I was drawn in by the beautiful piano music. It was a baby grand piano. When Hubby Rick mentions how beautiful the piano sounds, I know it is true.

Then, it was time for the adult choir to sing. I knew it would be a more traditional selection. The music started quiet. Soft, in fact.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I’ve heard these words a thousand times. I have said them to others countless times. But this time? They were being said directly to me. For me. For my benefit.

Be still and know that I am God.

Yep, that’s you, Dianne. Just be still. Slow. Down. Pause. Listen. Know I am with you.

Today is Wednesday. It has become a day that I often write about prayer. Need I remind you, and me, that prayer happens in many different ways. Yes, it is most often the words we say to God; whether privately or with others.

Prayer can also be a verse of scripture.

It can also be words in a song.

Thanks for showing God in worship. Like I ever doubted that You would be there? I just needed to show up and hear You speak to me. Pray with me. Pray over me.

Thanks, God. You never cease to amaze me. You ALWAYS show up.

For God’s prayer through music, I am grateful. 

Lord God – Forgive me for the times when I don’t want to show up. Or want something to happen that will be convenient for me. Thanks for ALWAYS showing up, God. And speaking to me creatively and directly. Help me to listen to and for Your voice.  Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Wednesday Prayer Day

Gratitude Day 352

Wed., Nov. 6, 2019

1 Kings 8:28:  Lord my God, listen to your servant’s prayer and request, and hear the cry and prayer that your servant prays to you today.

It’s Wednesday. This means its prayer day at Simple Words of Faith.

For Hubby Rick and I, we have a person that we know who we have limited contact with right now. Recently, our best means of contact is by sending e-mail messages.

We are trying to encourage this person. We hope our messages bring a bright spot into this person’s life. The person is dealing with some challenges in their live. We pray that we can be an encouragement.

One way we have tried to do this is by including a prayer in our e-mails. We include the person’s name and ask God to watch over this person. We acknowledge that we don’t know all the details of the situation … but God does. It has become a way for us to close our e-mails and turn the situation over to God.

Often, people will say, “I’m praying for you.” Honestly, sometimes I think we do. Other times, I think we say this as a simple platitude. Please, please, please do not tell someone that you are going to pray for them … unless you really intend to do so. If you do not intend to pray for them, just don’t go there.

If you would like a prayer of encouragement at the beginning of your day, please sign up for my free morning prayer text. Those who enroll receive a free prayer text at 7 AM central time. It’s less than 300 characters, so it’s quick and short. I send them out as a way to encourage people to choose to bath their day in prayer. If you would like to receive a morning prayer text, simply text simplewordsoffaith to 33222.

What is something that YOU would like prayers for today? Please let me know. I would love to surround it with prayer.

For community through shared prayer, I am grateful. 

Holy God – may we see prayer as our first resort in turning a situation over to you; and not our last resort. Remind us to only tell people that we are praying for them if we intend to do so. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Pray Without Ceasing

Gratitude Day 344

Wed., Oct. 23, 2019

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17:  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 

Paul wrote to a church, “Pray without ceasing.”

Anyone else find it difficult?

Seriously. How can we pray while trying to concentrate on a work project? Or while having an important conversation?

While sleeping?

Yet, Paul challenges and encourages us to constantly. Without ceasing.

It takes a bigger person than me to fulfill this suggestion; this praying non-stop.

But with a little adjustment, we can pray more constantly than we currently are.

Every time we switch something, it’s an opportunity to give a quick word of “Thanks.” Or as we go through the day, recognize all the many, many different ways we have a want and often needs fulfilled.

Read this quote:

Praying with eyes wide open is the only way to pray without ceasing.

Maybe this feels a bit like we’re breaking the books. You know, the one that says we need to have our eyes closed. I’m not sure it matters to God whether our eyes or open. Or closed.

God just wants to hear from us. Any time. Any place. With as simple of words as we have.

Sometimes, we make praying so complicated. Let’s vow it keep it simple. Easy. Let’s focus more on what we’re praying for rather than whether or now we have the right position.

And when we keep our eyes open while praying, we “see” more  opportunities to see God in situations that need to be bathed in prayer.  

Praying with eyes wide open is the only way to pray without ceasing.

It’s Wednesday. Let’s make Wednesday “Prayer Day” on Simple Words of Faith. I’d love for you to share a prayer request with me. Make a comment or send me a message or a text. Let me know what’s troubling your heart and soul today. I just want to:

Praying with my eyes wide open so I can pray without ceasing.

It’s Wednesday. Let’s make it prayer day. Let’s discover how easy it is to pray with our eyes wide open.

For the opportunity to pray without ceasing, I am grateful. 

Forgive us Holy Lord, when we turn prayer into something complicated and difficult. Help us to keep our eyes open to see what You see. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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