Sunday, October 23, 2016

God Is Not a Has Been

As I was working on a presentation earlier this week and reflecting on my journey with the Lord, I thought about the books I had written a few years ago and how long ago it seemed that I had passed through that season of life.  With speaking activity and book sales low the thought occurred to me that I could well call myself a "has been."  Been there, done that.

Then another thought occurred to me.  God is NOT a "has been."  In fact, He remains -- yesterday, today, and forever -- the Great "I AM."  Our lives may be ever-changing but He is constant, faithful, and true.  The world is in chaos but He has everything under control.  We didn't see THAT coming, but nothing takes Him by surprise.

We spend our lifetimes aspiring to be and do something special and significant.  All we really need is to find our significance in Him and live each day in the loving shelter of His embrace.  Yes, we need to be our best for our families, our employers, and our friends, but we also need to surrender control and leave the results to Him.

I am now in a different season of life, giving my time and attention to other interests and letting go of my past achievements.  After all, what is past is past.  There is a great joy in waking up each day, surrending my plans to His, and simply asking God to use me to make a difference.  Perhaps for the first time in my life I am not living to impress anyone but Him.  His approval is all I will ever need.

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Blessing of Infirmity

I have been sick for nearly a week, sicker perhaps than I have been in a couple of years.  The sinus infection and bronchitis that have seized my body have been relentless.  Although I tried my best to treat my symptoms with the right over-the-counter meds, the illness won out, resulting in two and a half missed days of work and a trip to the urgent care.

Being sick is never fun for us, especially if we are active and busy with jobs, families, and special interests.  But sometimes infirmity can be a blessing, if we view being sidelined as an opportunity to reconnect with God.

In my illness this week I have prayed for others who are sick, caught up on some reading, and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather from the comfort of my recliner. With windows open (perhaps not a wise move considering seasonal allergies) I have drunk in deep draughts of fresh air, watching as my cat perched on the windowsill in wonder at the birds that frequented my feeder each day.

Still, it is not second nature for me to sit idle -- at least, not this idle -- and I look forward to the healing that has already begun to take place in me.

There are many who don't consider their infirmities to be a blessing because of the chronic nature of their illness. But God has said that his grace is sufficient for us and his power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  What if we would believe that he is working all things together -- even our illnesses -- for our good, and using us, in our weakness, to uphold one another in prayer?
And the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick.  The Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man has great power to prevail (James 5:15-16, Berean Study Bible).

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Finding Joy When We Feel Stuck

Have you ever been in a season of life when you just feel stuck?  The rent goes up but your paycheck doesn't. The progress you've made paying down debt or saving for a rainy day is suddenly reversed because of repairs to the clunker you drive in order to avoid a car note. You may have a job you love but you wonder if that is all there is or if there is something more you should be doing with your life. Everything in you wants to hop in the car and drive until your problems are far behind you and you can breathe. Trouble is, you eventually have to go back home and face them all over again.

So how do we find joy when we feel stuck? How do we find the strength to stay in our circumstances when all we want to do is run away from them?

Sometimes we do whatever feels good at the moment -- drink or medicate ourselves to numb the pain, engage in a little retail therapy, or book a vacation we may desperately need but cannot afford. I've done all those things and can tell you that they do not work. The buzz eventually wears off and leaves you with a hangover. The bill comes for that new outfit or that dream vacation, resulting in regret and futility as you pay for that quick fix over many months, or even years.

So, what's the good news? How DO we cope with the "stuck" seasons of life and maintain our joy in the midst of them?

First of all, you acknowledge your hurt and have a good cry. Life is hard and sometimes you need to boo hoo a little to relieve the pressure. That's ok. God totally understands, but he doesn't want you to linger in self-pity. Pour out your heart to him and let him dry your tears. He craves honesty from you. You don't have to be brave. He wants you to come to him. Being a rock is not your job. It is his. Let him be your refuge and strong tower.

Second, start counting your blessings. Thank him that your troubles are not as bad as someone else's. You don't have to think hard to know there are others in far worse shape than you are. Thank him for your salvation and his sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9). He's got this! That, in itself, is the biggest blessing of all.

Thank him for his provision for your daily needs and stop stressing over the future. He promises that he will supply all your needs according to his riches (Philippians 4:19) and that he will take care of you one day at a time (Matthew 6:25-34).

Still feel like you can't breathe after all this? Then walk outside and look around you at all the beauty he has created. Thank him for eyes to see and ears to hear all that surrounds you. Take a walk and thank him for legs that can move you as you exercise to relieve the tension you feel.

Problems are a part of life. God never said it would be easy. Rather, he said we are to "count it all joy" (James 1:2-18).

This life is not all there is. You may feel stuck today but you will not be forever. And you are never stuck alone. The God who loves you is right beside you.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace" (Helen Howarth Lemmel).

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hello, Old Friend

It's been awhile since I've blogged on this site. So much has happened the past few months that I have hardly had time to process it all and to derive any profound spiritual truth that you don't already know. The seasons of life that have been the hardest for me have yielded the devotionals I have posted on this blog the past several years. Right now I am happy to report that I am in a season of life that is peaceful for the most part. I have my challenges, certainly, but things are pretty much on an even keel.

Do I still need God?  Yes, absolutely every day. I can't imagine waking up and starting each day without knowing that he will be with me every step of the way.  In this present season of joy I am storing up treasures in heaven against that day when adversity will strike again and I will desperately cry out to him for mercy. I still spend time in his Word daily and talk with him as I walk each morning. It is the best part of my day!

Some have asked when I plan to publish my next devotional book but I'm not sure there will be another one. Every time I write a devotional it seems a repeat of something I have said before. Sure, God can still use the devotional thoughts I share, even when I repeat myself, but my next book -- if there even is a next book -- will be something different altogether. If you are seeking a devotional on a special topic, click the search window on this blog and you may find something of benefit.

God is moving me in a different direction these days. My heart, now more than ever, is inclined to serve him, but as an advocate for animals and more compassionate and environmentally-conscious living. A lot of Christians wonder how veganism can be compatible with my Christian faith, especially since the Bible is full of passages concerning the provision of animals for food and clothing. I'll not address that here, but I invite you to visit my vegan blog for more on my vegan journey and the work Joy and I are doing to improve the quality of life for animals and to promote a plant-strong lifestyle that will benefit our health and help our environment.

I will continue posting here as God leads and inspires, so I hope you will check back from time to time to set what is new.  Until then, know that each and every day God loves you and I am praying for you.

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Coincidence or Providence?

"The God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd. . . even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight.” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NASB)
Have you ever had a passion to do something but you weren't quite sure how to go about it? Perhaps you sought advice from a friend or did research on the internet to find information and opportunities to get involved. Or maybe you prayed for God to show you an open door and guide your steps as you embarked on a new journey.

Recently I found myself in the freezer section of Kroger talking to a stranger about my life as a new vegan, all because I decided to wear a particular t-shirt that day. The t-shirt started a conversation, which led to the opportunity to meet a group of fellow vegans and animal advocates and participate in a peaceful protest which I would not have known about otherwise. A happy coincidence?  Not at all, but rather God's answer to my prayers for his guidance and an open door.

In response to that peaceful protest and its impact on me I wrote a letter to a pig named Ziggy. As silly as that seemed at the time, my decision to tell of my experience in that way was no mere coincidence. The letter generated a lot of interest and gave us -- Ziggy and me -- the opportunity to share some very important information that can do a world of good for animals and humans alike. The letter was God-inspired and opened the way for more opportunities to do what God has laid on my heart -- working to promote plant-based nutrition and end animal abuse and slaughter.

These "coincidences" are answers to my prayers, and opportunities that I believe have been divinely appointed.  As I continue to study God's Word and talk with him each day, giving him permission to have his way in my life, I never cease to be amazed at the wonderful ways he orchestrates events and opportunities to do what he has called and equipped me to do.  To God be the glory!

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Remind Me, Lord

Remind me, Lord, of how it is you came to love me so.
When heartaches come, remind me, Lord, that they will also go.
I need not fear when you are near; remind me, Lord, that I
Can do all things through your great strength -- your strength alone, not mine.
When things are hard, remind me, Lord, you never promised me
A life of ease. Instead Your Word says,in effect, "There will be days like these."
My joy seems often to take wing and fly to lands afar,
Then I'm reminded quietly that joy is where You are.
Remind me how I see myself is often different than
The way you see me, as Your child, through eyes of God, not man.
When I am prone to criticize myself for feeling blue
Please lift my chin and whisper that these lies are not from you.
Remind me, Lord, that there is so much more to life than me.
Help me to change my point of view 'til You are all I see.
Remind me of the blessings, Lord, that at my feet are laid --
Oh may I bring into Your courts my sacrifice of praise!
Remind me, Lord, of how it is you came to love me so.
Repair my broken places, Lord, and fill me with your joy!

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

This Side of Heaven

There are things we may never know this side of heaven, such as the impact of our words, thoughts and deeds on others.  We may never know the lives we touched simply by following our purpose. We may never see the success of someone else who watched us fail.  We may never know.

We may write books for the masses and sell only a few.  We may stand for a cause and wonder if our choice to stand will even matter.

We may pray for those who are lost, broken, or discouraged and wonder if they will ever find their way or see the light at the end of the tunnel. Will the hungry ever be filled and the poor ever be made rich?  We may never know.

Is not knowing a reason to quit? A prayer unanswered, a reason to stop praying?

What is the passion that drives you?  Is it enough to continue living for that cause, knowing that you may never see results this side of heaven? Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I grow weary and am tempted to quit reaching out because the effort seems futile.

At the end of the day the only thing that matters is being true to ourselves and to the calling God has placed on our lives, because when we reach heaven's gate we will know. We will see the lives that were changed and we will know that our passion mattered to the One who instilled it in us. We will know because He will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord."

Press on, beloved soldier. Your battle is not in vain. Your scars are not invisible. Your failures are not your defeat. He who has called you is faithful. He sees your heart. He will reward you for your effort.

Live each day for God alone and you will know that what you did for Him mattered -- this side of heaven.

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.