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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Privilege of Suffering

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV)

Most of us understand what suffering is.  We live in a fallen world where the evil hearts of men cause undue suffering for innocent people.  We lose loved ones.  Our resources dry up long before our needs are satisfied.  Our health declines.  We suffer.

But have we considered that sometimes it is a privilege to suffer?  Sometimes God allows suffering in order to refine us, to draw us closer to him, and to serve as a testimony of his grace to those who desperately need it.

When I look back on the most painful seasons of my life it is there that I see God's hand most clearly.  The broken relationships I have suffered have caused me to truly understand just how faithful he is.  The financial hardships I have suffered along the way have been opportunities for him to provide in miraculous ways.  Change -- as difficult as it often is -- has become an adventure and the chance to discover God's will and ways are higher than mine.

If your present season is one of hardship or suffering, I pray God will reveal himself to you in a profound way.  I pray that you will have faith to praise him even though your circumstances are difficult.  I pray that he will make a way for you, calm the rough seas of adversity, and use your experience to help someone else through theirs (2 Corinthians 1:4).

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Stewardship: It's Not JUST About Money!

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4:14-16, NIV).

Many of us grew up in church, where we were taught to be good stewards and to tithe our financial resources.  But stewardship is not just about money.

According to Merriam-Webster, stewardship is defined as "the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care."  That would include not only such tangible things as our homes and automobiles, but also our time, talents, and our own health.  The desire to become better stewards in every aspect of our lives is one of many reasons my daughter Joy and I decided to become vegans and launch a website to encourage and educate others who might consider adopting a healthier and more humane way of living.

As Christians, we give financially because we care for others and desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need.  As vegans who love our family and friends, the earth, and the animals who occupy it with us, Joy and I are committed to sharing the knowledge we are learning on this journey so that others can reap the health benefits and understand that there are things we can all do to be better stewards of the earth God has created for us to enjoy.

God calls us each to make a difference by the way we live, and I believe he gives us each passions, gifts, and abilities so that we can. What is your passion, and what are you doing with it?  If you don't know your purpose or calling, ask God to show you.  The clock is ticking for all of us, but if we live each day with passion, purpose, and grace we can have a significant impact on those who may not know Christ.

May God bless you as you become a better steward of ALL that he has given you!

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

Monday, June 6, 2016

For the Sake of One

Several months ago Steve and I were asked to teach a College and Career Sunday school class in our church. We were cautioned by some not to expect great things or anticipate stellar attendance, yet were pleasantly surprised when our small class nearly reached capacity a few weeks ago. Then no one showed up for two weeks in a row despite efforts to reach out to and engage these young adults.  We were faced with a decision:  Do we continue to invest time preparing lessons for this class, knowing that we may not have students to teach, or do we abandon the class, at least for the summer, and hope that there will be a need somewhere down the road?

Sometimes we are called to serve in a particular ministry or area of need, yet to us it seems we are not making any real difference.  My most recent royalty check is evidence of that--trust me, I won't quit my day job! But are we willing to lay aside egos and outcomes for the sake of even one?

In Zechariah 4:10, the prophet writes, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." In other words, when God calls you to do something, obey and leave the outcome to Him. Trust that He is using you in ways you may not see to accomplish more than you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Yesterday as I sat in an empty classroom praying for direction I was reminded of my Lord's great sacrifice for me, and I relished knowing that if I had been the only sinner in need of a Savior, Christ would still have died on the cross to forgive my sins. If He could do that for the sake of one, then so can we.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sometimes You Just Need a Ferry!

Feeling battered by emotions after a disheartening conversation I decided to take advantage of a full tank of gas and the beautiful weather to take a long overdue drive. Every now and then it helps to remove myself from a stressful situation to get alone with God and pray.

Usually a short drive to the river will suffice to lift my spirits. But since pesky gnats made it impossible for me to be still long enough to pray my situation through, I hopped on the Colonial Parkway and drove west to Jamestown, where I took a short cruise across the river aboard the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry -- something I'd been wanting to do for awhile -- just as the sun was beginning to set. To be gliding across the water at with the wind in the hair and my face toward the sun did wonders for my mood.

Rather than hop back on the ferry for the return trip I kept driving, through farmland and towns I'd heard of but not yet seen. With the radio off and a fragrant breeze coming through the windows I drove and prayed, taking comfort in the fact that Jesus totally understood my heartache because he'd also been wounded by those he loved.

I have known people -- and I am sometimes one of them -- who have stayed engaged in conflict, fighting a battle they can not win by their own efforts, hoping and praying that God will hurry up and change the other person. But I have also learned the wisdom of removing myself from the futility of such relationships and going to a quiet place where I can surrender those relationships -- and myself -- to the only One who can change hearts, realizing that it is sometimes my heart that needs to be changed.

If you find yourself in a battle of wills with someone else, give yourself permission to step away, get alone with God, and pray it through. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8). Take joy in your salvation and comfort in the knowledge that God sees your tears and understands your heartache.  Even more than you do, he loves that one whose words have wounded you, that one for whom you have prayed so many years. Remind yourself of all you know of God and find strength in his Word.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23, ESV)

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