Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Tablet

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a geek at heart.  Having spent the last fourteen months working as a real estate software support specialist, I have acquired a greater appreciation of technology and been exposed to new gadgets and gizmos which make doing business a little more convenient and a whole lot more fun!  Recently I upgraded my smartphone to one that not only keeps me connected with family, friends, and clients, but which also allows me to have my quiet time anywhere I go, without having to lug around my Bible and the assortment of devotional books I use each day.  It hasn't taken long for me to decide that a tablet is a must-have for this author/speaker wannabe.

I am not sure why owning a tablet has become such an obsession for me.  Perhaps it is because I have seen how much I can do with a smartphone and want to take my productivity to the next level with a tablet.  Or maybe I think that having something as portable and handy as a tablet will make it easier and more convenient to read and study in preparation for writing and speaking engagements.  Whatever the reason, for me this has become the year of the tablet.

While some of us may be preoccupied with our new iPhones, iPads, and Android tablets, God is interested in a different kind of tablet.  In 2 Corinthians 3:3, Paul writes, "You show that you are a letter from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."  In Ezekiel 36:26, the Lord says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

As we all enjoy our new tablets, iPads, and smartphones, let us pray that God will write His letter of love on the tablets of our hearts.  Let us resolve not to become so enamored with our new tech toys that our hearts grow stony and cold toward the people in our lives who matter most.  Make it a practice to "unplug" every once in awhile and spend time with those you love -- you won't need an app for that!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holiday S'mores Recipe

HOLIDAY S’MORES (recipe from Land O Lakes) – shared by my friend, Carol.
· 12 chocolate (5x2 1/2-inch) graham crackers

· 3/4 cup butter

· 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

· 3 cups miniature marshmallows

· 1 cup M&Ms in whatever holiday colors you wish

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil, extending foil over edges. Spray foil with no-stick cooking spray. Place graham crackers onto foil so sides touch. Melt butter and brown sugar in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and mixture just comes to a boil (4 to 6 minutes). Pour evenly over crackers. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until bubbly. Remove pan from oven; sprinkle with marshmallows. Continue baking until marshmallows begin to soften (2 to 3 minutes). Sprinkle with M&Ms. Cool completely. Lift out of pan using foil ends. Cut into bars using a knife that has been sprayed with Pam.

Bake, eat, and have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Prayer

For all the blessings that at Christmas we share,
For those we love and those who care
We thank Thee, Lord, and ask that we
May ever live so joyfully.
For those whose hearts are broken by loss,
Whose burdens are heavy, who carry a cross
That they never asked for or would choose to bear,
Lord, give us Your love and compassion to share
That they, like we, may come to know
That You are with them wherever they go.
At Christmas You came down from heaven as a babe.
Forsaking Your throne of glory You gave
Us the greatest gift that God could give
By choosing among humankind to live,
In a world full of sorrow and pain and loss
As a man, yet as God, never counting the cost.
Subjected to suffering, temptation, and such
You taught us forgiveness and loved us so much
That You willingly laid down Your life on the tree,
Our sins taking on so that we could be free
To love as You loved, Your mercy extending
To those who with heartbreak and need never-ending
Search for hope as the wisemen once searched for the star.
Oh, Lord, help them to see what a wonder You are!
In their darkness and sorrow give them eyes to see
God's Gift of love in Your nativity,
A love ever-constant and faithful and true
With power divine to make all things new.
Lord, may Your great love within us shine as a beacon bright
Of the Love that came down that first Christmas night.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Before My Soul Should Perish

My heart, once warm, has turned so cold,
Feelings now forever gone --
Golden memories quickly fading
Like the setting of the winter sun.
The song my soul once sang
No longer resonates its tune.
The passion of true love is lost --
You left me far too soon.
Life goes on and so have I
Who loved you so once so dear.
If e'er you should my love return
You'll find me waiting here.
Released are you to go your way,
Another's love to cherish.
I hope one day that you'll return
Before my soul should perish.

Dee Dee Wike

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Scenic Route

It has been said that life is a journey,
A great adventure without a doubt,
And though we oft prefer a straight road
God takes us on the scenic route.
It never fails, the more we plan
The greater the obstacles, it seems.
Too easily we lose all hope
And give up on our dreams.
Yet God, behind the scenes, is doing
Things we cannot fathom.
To learn to trust and wait on Him
Must be our first reaction.
Rather than let discouragement
Cause fear, frustration, doubt --
We need to trust that God has planned
For us a scenic route
With glorious wonders we would miss
By following our own plan,
And greater blessings reserved for us
Who trust and take His hand.
When next you feel the plans you made
Have turned and headed south,
Give God the wheel, sit back, relax
And enjoy the scenic route.

Dee Dee Wike

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Prayer

As shadows flee and sun awakes
My heart doth sing a song of praise
For all You are and all You've done
For those like me, who love Your Son.
For cleansing us from all our sin
And giving us new life within,
For meeting all our daily needs,
Our anxious hearts filled with Your peace.
For friends and family far and near,
To both Your heart and ours so dear,
Lord, bless us all in every way.
Be with us this Thanksgiving Day.
Lord, give us grateful hearts that we
May share with others our love for Thee.

Dee Dee Wike -- 11/23/11

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sharing the Hope this Holiday Season

The holidays are here.  For many of us that means calendars filled to capacity with semester-end school activities, holiday parties, and shopping to buy gifts for those special to us.  We will be presented with numerous opportunities to give to others, but what is it that we need most to share this holiday season?

Personally, there is nothing I need this year that can be wrapped and placed under a tree.  Since I am not in a position to give a lot in the way of material items, the best gift I can come up with to share with others is hope.  Hope for the homeless and heartbroken, encouragement for the lonely and downtrodden -- HOPE.

As you go about your activities this holiday season, ask God to give you opportunities to share the gift of hope with others, whether it be by donating your time or money to meet the needs of others less fortunate than yourself or simply inviting a lonely friend to spend time with your family during the holidays.  "Let the Word of God dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16) and "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have" (1 Peter 3:15).

Christmas is all about hope -- the hope that entered the world as a child, died on the cross as our Savior, and rose to reign as King.  Will you share that hope with others this Christmas?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

No Place Like Home

Sometimes we want to run away
To live a life of ease
Where worries magically disappear
And strife gives way to peace.
The stress we live with everyday
Becomes too much to bear
When we forget all things to take
To God in daily prayer.
Although God loves and cares for us
He never promised ease
But we can stand upon the Word
Of Him who is our Peace.
If solitude and peace you seek
And freedom from all care
Remember, He who is your Peace
Has promised to be there --
Always with you, never failing
Those who are His own.
Run to Jesus knowing that
He is your "home sweet home."

Dee Dee Wike -- 11/20/11

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Will You Live?

Living, moving, being in Him
Because He lives in you,
Searching for ways to be used by God,
Seeking His will to do.
Fleeting days quickly passing,
Little time does leave us
Looking for ways to tell the world
About our Savior, Jesus.
How will you spend this day, my friend,
Serving yourself or others?
Resolve to be His hands and feet
In the lives of your sisters and brothers.
Live as a vessel of His light and love
As you go about yur daily affairs,
Knowing that others will see God in you
As His love, grace, and mercy you share.

Dee Dee Wike, 11/18/11

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Be

The clock ticks relentlessly as I sit here with You.
It knows all the things I desire and must do.
With rhythm so steady it beckons me away
From the peace of Your presence to face a new day.
How I long for the luxury of more time spent with Thee
Where instead of feeling rushed I can simply "just be"
Alone in Your presence, wrapped up in Your love,
My mind not on earthly things but focused above.
Lord, open my eyes and please help me to see
That as long as You're with me I can simply "just be."

Dee Dee Wike -- 11/17/11

Monday, November 14, 2011

Morning Prayer from a Desperate Heart

Oh Lord, I don't know where to start.
I come to You with an aching heart
That desperately wants to know You more,
To know just what You have in store.
My mind is cluttered and over-filled.
Oh, how my soul longs to be thrilled
With thoughts and words from You alone!
Displace the clutter, re-take the throne
Of my aching, wretched, callous heart.
Forgive my sin and in me start
A new work in this heart of stone.
Oh, make it clean to be Your home,
A place where love and peace are found,
And mercy, grace, and trust abound.
Lord, make me new and help me be
A servant who lives for Your glory.
I yield myself to You today.
Lord, in my life please have Your way.

by Dee Dee Wike, 11/14/11

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why Oscar is So Grouchy

The other day I was thinking about Oscar the Grouch.  For as long as I can remember the cranky Sesame Street character has fussed and bothered about every little thing, just like some people I know and live with, including myself.  As I considered the source of his grouchiness, I wondered if perhaps the reason might be that Oscar is living in a trash can filled with stinky, messy garbage.  That would make me more than a little cranky.  In fact, some days I walk in my house and quickly become irritated because of the messes that are simply part of our day-to-day existence.

Our lives are not unlike Oscar's trash can.  We live in a culture characterized by foul language, filthy entertainment, and sinful habits that leave us irritated much of the time.  Perhaps that is because the very sin we live with is contrary to God's laws and will for our lives, and knowing that creates conflict within us that makes us cranky and downright difficult to be around.

Perhaps if Oscar got out of his trash can, cleaned up his act, and took a stroll in the sunshine he'd actually be a pleasant fellow for a change.  So might we if we confessed our sin, turned away from the negative influences that leave us dirty and marred, and actually stepped into the light of God's love.

The struggle against sin will always leave us with feelings of conflict.  Paul wrote of this very conflict in Romans 7:14-20:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

If you are feeling a little grouchy today, check your living conditions.  Confess your sin, ask the Lord to clean you up, and walk in the light of His love.  Before long you will find a spring in your step, a song on your lips, and joy in your heart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Best Gift

Thanks to the commercialization of Christmas and the ever-growing competition by merchants and advertisers to whet our appetites for the latest technology gadgets, coolest fashions, and hottest toys, our children make their wish lists weeks before the holidays and pad them with more expensive gifts than we can possibly afford.  The season of giving has become a season of getting for many, and the joy and wonder of Christmas are replaced with stress and worry about how we are going to pay for it all.   

Christmas was once a time when thoughts of peace on earth and goodwill to men were ideals that were considered precious, ones which we strived to embrace all year long.  But more often than not we make Christmas—and all of life—about ourselves and our wants, not what we can offer to others to foster a more peaceful and meaningful existence. 

On the first Christmas, God sent His only Son to live among us.  He himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), yet because many of us have not received the gift of salvation that Christ offers, we do not know what it means to have peace with others or ourselves.  Christ was God’s greatest gift to mankind, but many have not unwrapped the gift of salvation and therefore cannot possibly know the true joy and peace that come from an intimate relationship with the One whose birth we celebrate this time of year. 

The best gift of all is not the car in the garage, the new computer in the family room, or the diamond engagement ring symbolizing the love and commitment between a man and woman, but rather the Babe in the manger whose birth the very angels in heaven celebrated on that first Christmas night.   As we consider the gifts we will give others this year, why not give God the very best gift of all – our surrendered hearts and lives?  Guaranteed to bring a smile to His face, it is the one gift God will never return for a refund.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Girl Can Dream

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. -- Joel 2:28, NIV
No one will ever give me the title of "Biggest Loser" -- I love food too much for that and simply don't have time to exercise -- but I am without a doubt in the running for "Biggest Dreamer."  My dream life has always been very active, resulting in chronic sleep deprivation as my mind works overtime to process what is on my mind and in my heart.

Last night I had wonderful dreams!  Dreams so good that I woke up thirty minutes before the alarm was set to go off even though I'd only had about four hours sleep.  In my dream I re-enrolled as a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant (third time's a charm, right?).  I said to my director, "Maybe this will open the door for me to meet some of favorite people."  Immediately Beth Moore walked through the door!  Oh, how we laughed when I hugged her and told her what I had just said to my director!  Beth Moore is at the top of the list of people I want to meet because of her passion for God's Word.  Next, after half-heartedly throwing my name into the drawing for a new Honda Odyssey, I learned that I had won the minivan!  (I have been praying for an affordable used car for our family, but I like the notion of winning a new one much more!)  All three things occurred in my dream within a thirty minute period.

Joseph, an ordinary boy whose father loved him more than his brothers, was a dreamer, too.  When he shared his dreams with his family his dreams nearly got him killed!  After being cast into a well by his brothers, who were consumed by jealousy, and imprisoned for a long time because of a woman consumed with lust, God exalted Joseph to a place of leadership and put him in the position to do good to many, including his own brothers who had forsaken him and left him for dead.

What is your dream today?  Perhaps your dream is to make a lot of money, have a lot of influence, or be younger physically that you are chronologically.  Or maybe you dream of making a difference in the lives of the people around you by doing the things that God dreams of -- walking in obedience to His Word, knowing and doing His will, and serving others by shouldering their burdens and encouraging them as they face the challenges of living in a fallen world.  If your dream is not something that is consistent with God's will for you, then pray that He will place His dream in your heart and fulfill it according to His purpose.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Behind the Mask (from Good to the Last Drop)

Halloween has taken on a different dimension for our family in recent years. My son is too old for trick-or-treating, and our finances preclude us from buying anything elaborate for our nine-year-old. This year she is wearing a hand-me-down dance costume—nothing scary, no mask.

For some people, wearing a mask is a daily affair. There is something scary about letting others see our flaws and weaknesses, our vulnerability to hurt and shame, and our lack of confidence. We hide our ugliness beneath the masks of success, materialism, and beauty, all the while crumbling inside because our hearts are diseased with sin and our souls long for perfect love and fulfillment. We don’t feel free to simply be ourselves, so we masquerade as someone we are not.

As children of God, we are free to take off our masks because Jesus, the one who sees us at our worst yet loves us unconditionally, does not condemn us for anything we have thought or done. 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. What the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:1, 3-4, (NIV)

When we accept what Jesus did on the cross for us, dying in our place for our sins so that we might finally break free from a life of sin and shame, we have no reason to hide behind the masks we wear. Satan, the father of lies, would have us believe that if we take off our masks and let others truly see us for who we are, we run the risk of alienating certain people and rendering ourselves useless as God’s servants.

There is nothing about our past that God cannot use for his glory if we are willing to take off our masks, walk in the freedom he purchased for us on Calvary, and surrender ourselves to his will and purpose for our lives. The very sin and struggles that he delivered us from can actually become a source of encouragement to those who are themselves trying to break free.

Father, give us, your children, the courage to lay down our masks, to allow your grace and forgiveness to penetrate our wounded hearts and souls, and to be the chosen instruments of your love to all around us who don’t know you. Give us the courage to be the men and women you created us to be; to rest in the peace and assurance that your blood washes us whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18) and to walk about in freedom as we look for your truth and wisdom (Psalm 119:45). Because you took our sin and shame and nailed it to the cross when you became the living sacrifice for us, we are free to take off our masks and walk in perfect liberty. Thank you, Jesus, for making that possible and for loving us just the way we are.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When is "Enough," Enough?

In a few weeks I will be the mother of an adult child, a boy who wants to be a man but isn't really prepared for the harsh reality of living as an adult in the twenty-first century.  We have poured all our love into him, taught him the truths of scripture, sat up many late nights letting him pour his heart out about one thing or another, but how can we know when enough is enough?

The road of a parent is not easy.  We are faced with the rebellion of youth, battle the demons of disrespect and disobedience, and at times feel like we are laid in the dust with tread marks upon our backs.  As hard as we try to parent our children with love and grace, doing the best we can and never compromising the truth no matter how many fiery darts the enemy hurls at our families, there is no guaranty that we will come out of the fire without being burned.  We find ourselves battle-scarred and weary, but we pray that all we've done and all the prayers we have prayed are enough for Truth to win out in the end.

The time comes to let go of that which we cannot control and to pray that God will be faithful to complete in our children, and in us, the good work which He began (Philippians 1:6) the day they were born.  We must pray and hope that our prayers and example will ring loudly enough in the ears of our children that they will learn for themselves how wide and deep and high is the love of God (Ephesians 3:18) and eventually surrender their hearts to His lordship.

Knowing that God loves our children more than we could ever possibly love them, and that he hears the fervent prayer of parents who have done their best, we trust in the One who said, "My grace is sufficient (enough) for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

If there is an area of your life that is out-of-control, some challenge you cannot seem to overcome, surrender it to God; pray for His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2); and know that He is working all things together for your good because He loves you and has called You according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  Even when it's hard -- especially when it's hard -- give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) knowing that God Himself is your Peace (Ephesians 2:14). 

If your out-of-control challenge involves a loved one who is struggling to find his way, recall the day that God pulled you from the slimy pit of your own sin and set your feet upon the Rock (Psalm 40:2) and know that He loves your beloved enough to do the same when it is time.  "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you (and your loved one), not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Word of Comfort

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why.  No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.  For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die. -- Isaiah 57:1-2, NLT
Hardly a day goes by that we don't hear of the tragic untimely death of someone too young or too good to die.  We are never prepared when death comes suddenly.  Even when we witness the devastating effects of cancer or Alzheimer's, we are ill-prepared for the moment when those we love lose their earthly battle against their illness and find complete healing in the arms of their Savior.

I have often considered those who have died young to have been spared from the evils of our modern-day world, but I never knew my thinking was supported in Scripture.  It comforts me to know that the verses above were written under God's inspiration.  I pray you are comforted, too.

My prayer for those who are mourning the loss of a loved one is that they will find comfort in God's promises and in the assurance that "when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands" (2 Corinthians 5:1, NLT).  If your loved one knows Christ as Savior, then you can be assured that when the moment of death comes, he or she will immediately be in the presence of the Savior, for to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord (v. 8).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When All Else Fails...Order Pizza!

One of my greatest challenges as a woman is putting a hot meal on the table.  As cooks go I am competent but certainly no culinary genius.  Given the time to plan a meal and shop for ingredients, though, I can dish up a balanced, nutritious meal that not only smells enticing but is also delicious.  But even careful planning and preparation can go awry if the power goes out in the middle of baking a casserole or a loaf of homemade bread, or I get distracted and forget to turn off the oven leaving the family with a dinner that is overcooked and inedible.  Thank God for the local pizzeria!  When all else fails and dinner doesn't turn out the way we planned, we can at least order and enjoy a pizza!

Life doesn't always turn out the way we plan either, does it?  On days when life throws us a curve ball, what is the first thing we do?  Typically we complain or feel sorry for ourselves.  But the Bible tells us that we are to give God thanks in everything for that is his will concerning us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  The Message translation says it this way:   "Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."

When your day or dinner doesn't turn out the way you like, order a pizza and praise the Lord anyway!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

At the End of the Broken Road

A young man walked a broken road
In search of something more.
In hopes of finding happiness
He turned his back on home.
Rejecting love from those who cared
He sought it other places.
Forsaking family and his God
He looked to other faces.
The truth he knew from early on
He traded in for lies,
Believing everyone was wrong
And he alone was right.
He walked in darkness day by day,
Contentment still a stranger,
Not realizing that every choice
He made put him in danger
Of forfeiting God’s very best –
His blessings, love and favor.
But still he chose to go his way
Turning his back on the Savior.
The faith he’d found as a little child
No longer he embraced.
Outside God’s loving will he stepped
And many troubles faced.
Still searching for himself and “truth”
He struggled everyday
When all he needed was to embrace
The Life, the Truth, the Way.
For many years he struggled on
To find his way in life.
He failed and faltered time and again
But never got it right.
When finally rock bottom he hit
With nowhere to look but the sky,
He finally saw the face of Christ –
The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The young man, badly broken
And sorry for all he’d done,
Asked forgiveness for his sins and pride
And gave his heart to the Son.
As love and grace washed over him
He finally could say –
“My life is full, in truth I walk
Because I found my Way.”
Are you like him, the prodigal
Of whom this story’s told?
If so, you too can find your Way
At the end of the broken road.

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Window Seat

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. -- Psalm 8:3-5

Many people go through life totally oblivious to what is going on around them.  Their shortsightedness may be physical or spiritual, or perhaps even emotional because of the sorrow and worry that pervade their lives.  They see trouble rather than triumph, obstacles rather than opportunity, and the whole of their existence consists of looking inward rather than watching the world from the window seat.

Although it has been years since I have flown, it has always been a thrill to occupy a window seat where I can view the world from a different perspective.  My favorite tables in restaurants, particularly coffee shops, are by the window where I can watch people come and go.  This morning as I lingered in the window seat of a local coffee shop while waiting for my car to be serviced, I gloried in the beauty of a cloudless fall day while I watched the patrons come in and out in a steady stream, all totally oblivious to the spectator seated in the corner by the window.

If we take the time and make the effort to be a little more observant of the world around us, we might find a million reasons to give thanks to the God who gave us eyes to see.  We need to turn our eyes away from computers and cell phones and ask God to give us eyes to see the world and those who occupy it as he does, with a heart for humanity and a desire to make a difference in the lives of those on the journey with us.

One of my favorite quotes from wise Rafiki of the "Lion King" movies is "look beyond what you can see."  Take time to marvel not at the beautiful tree before you, but at the wonderful insects that live on the tree.   Look not only at the faces of your fellow man, but look a little deeper into the hearts of those around you.  Perhaps we need to pray that God will not only broaden our horizons but give us a different perspective as we actively watch for opportunities to serve him and make him known.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Try Trusting

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

When I signed the publishing contract for A Pleasing Aroma, I promised God, my family, and myself that I would not incur any debt related to the book.  Keeping that promise has required that I step way out of my comfort zone, relying strictly on God's provision rather than on my own resourcefulness.  Getting through production and kicking off sales have proved to be more challenging than I ever imagined, but God has been faithful.

Although I am passionate about the message He has given me to share, I have learned that whatever God accomplishes through my writings will be done in His way and according to His timetable.  Although I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the pressure to schedule events to market and sell my books, God has shown me time and time again that He has other priorities for me in this season of life and that all my efforts are nothing compared to His provision and blessing.

Each of us has a calling, a dream, or a passion that God has placed in our hearts.  Are we willing, though, to surrender that calling to His Lordship and trust Him to fulfill our purpose as He sees fit?  If we will try less to make things happen and trust God to accomplish what we can not apart from Him, we will find joy in the journey and discover a level of intimacy with Him that we have never known before.

The next time you feel frustrated with the progress you are making, instead of trying harder just try trusting!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Heart's Desire

My heart is aching for more of You, Lord
To know Your purpose for me
To walk in Your will, a difference to make
In the lives of the people I see
In a world that's bombarded with so much pain
So great is the need of mankind
For a Savior, a Healer, Provider and Friend
Lord, give us a little more time
Your Word of compassion for those in despair
Your friendship for those so alone
The promise and hope of Your Word we must share
Before You take us all home
The time is short--we have much work to do
To reach those around us so lost
Before You return we must show them Your love
And compassion, no matter the cost
Lord, show us how we can minister best
To the people around us today
So they will see Jesus and know for themselves
That He is the Life, Truth, and Way
Lord, fill us today with Your love and Your peace
That others may see You and say,
"Lord Jesus, I give You myself once for all --
Come live in my heart today."

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Meet Sam (or Samantha, if he's actually a female spider).  Sam is one BIG spider and has been spinning a web nightly between the street light and the speed limit sign on the curb between our house and the next door neighbor's.  Sam comes out at dark and in less than two hours constructs a web at least two feet in diameter.  By 6am the web will be completely gone and Sam will start building a new web when night falls again.

The picture of Joy and Sam below will give you a little perspective on how large Sam really is.  With legs extended, Sam is easily the size of a half dollar, with his abdomen about the size of a dime.  

Tonight I watched Sam go after the moths that found their way into his web.  The instant he sensed their presence, he snatched them up, wrapped them in silk, and reattached them to his web for a late dinner.  The poor moths were no match for this skilled hunter.

Watching Sam this week has left me in awe once more over God's creative genius and the wonders of his creation.  Truly we are not the only ones fearfully and wonderfully made.  Sam is a pretty cool arachnid and certainly no itsy bitsy spider. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

By Faith

By faith I rise to greet the day
Before the sleeping sun
Awakes to shine on this old earth.
I meet the Holy One
To seek His will and read His Word.
I come to Him in prayer
By faith, believing as I seek
That He will meet me there.
In quiet stillness of the morn
His praises I do sing
For carrying me when seas are tossed,
Covered by His blessing.
By faith believing He will give
Me everything I need,
Though poor and broken I may feel,
By faith my heart can sing.
By faith I live for Him each day
Consumed by love divine,
With joy to know where'er life leads
In Him I can abide.
No matter what the day may bring
His peace my heart shall fill
Because by faith, believing God,
I seek to do His will.
To live for glory not my own,
To love the world He made
By faith before night's shadows flee
I rise to greet the day.

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Never Give Up

What is the one thing you have prayed for, wondering why God has tarried so long in answering your prayer?  Perhaps you gave up hope a long time ago because an answer to your prayer would require a miracle and you weren't quite sure God was up to the task.  Perhaps you prayed for a job that would end a long season of unemployment and financial stress, or for the return of a prodigal child to his spiritual roots and upbringing.  Or maybe your prayer was to be healed from a serious physical or emotional hurt or illness.  

God cares about the things that break our hearts.  He still works miracles and answers prayers. We might have to look back across the years to see his answers to prayer, but once we see and remember his hand of grace in our lives, we can once again be filled with hope that he will answer in the future as he has answered in times past.  Even if your answer doesn't come immediately or in the way you expect, you can rest assured that God has heard your prayer and is working things out in ways you cannot see -- in ways that will benefit you in the long run.

God has answered many of my prayers, some of which I have prayed for years.  That gives me hope that he will one day answer the prayers I continue to offer him daily and, in his time, fulfill his purposes in my life.  He will do the same for you if you will believe his promises, persevere in prayer, and surrender yourself to his will.

Jesus said, "So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (Luke 8:9-10, HCSB).  If Jesus said it, I believe it.  So can you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pruned to Perfection

I finally figured out why I love gardening so much.   Click here to read more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What to Do When You're Worn Out!

Feeling tired and stressed?  Click here to read "What To Do When You're Worn Out!"

Please bookmark my new inspirational blog, Two Cents Sermons, in your browser or sign up to receive new posts by email by clicking here and entering your email address in the section, "Receive Two Cents Sermons by Email" at the top right side of the page.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Blog Announcement

I have just started a new inspirational blog, Two Cents Sermons, at  I hope you'll take a minute to stop by and tell your friends about it, too!

My kids started their school year this week and things are busy around our household.  If you have school age kids, you know exactly what I mean.  That's why it's more important than ever to find a few quiet moments in the morning before the chaos of the morning routine ensues and get alone with God to pray and read His Word.  A few moments spent in God's presence will set the tone for the rest of your busy day.

And that is my two cents worth for today!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Amazing Mercy

But LORD, be merciful to us, for we have waited for you.  Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. (Isaiah 33:2, NLT)
As I wrapped up my quiet time this morning, I came across the above verse from the book of Isaiah.  As I read this brief prayer I realized just how merciful God has been and how faithful he has been to meet me each morning, listen to my prayers, and work in my life to accomplish his purposes. 

Sometimes it seems as though we get shortchanged in the mercy department.  However, I believe if we are truly living for God and look for his blessings in even the most unpleasant circumstances, we can see his hand of mercy in our lives, no matter what we may be going through.  Seeing God's mercy in our lives sometimes requires that we not look so hard at ourselves, but turn our attention to others whose difficulties far outweigh our own.  When we stop feeling sorry about ourselves long enough to extend God's mercy to those around us who so desperately need it, somehow God's mercy to us becomes a little easier to see.  Jesus himself said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7, NIV).

If you need God's mercy and strength today, then take a few minutes to wait on him in prayer and seek an encounter with him in the pages of Scripture.  Ask him to reveal himself to you and to be your very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).  Extend his mercy to others and thank him for his mercy to you.

Ode to Summer (an original poem)

Fragrant you dawned with promises of pleasure,
Warm sunny days, moments of leisure.
Cool gentle breezes gave way to the heat.
Skin tanned from yard work, from my head to my feet --
Where did you go, Summer?  Why in such haste?
So busy you kept us. No time did we waste.
No lazy days left now. School soon will begin
And each day will find us too busy again.
Oh, Summer, how quickly you leave us once more!
Before long sweet Autumn will knock at our door.
Then Winter will beckon the Spring to appear
And shortly thereafter, you'll be right back here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Down Time

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits -- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.  (Psalm 103:2-5, NIV)
I am enjoying a little down time while the family is out at the movies.  How I have relished these few hours of solitude with the dog, the breeze from my box fan, and my computer!  That's not to say I don't enjoy being with my family and friends, but sometimes silence truly is golden and frittering a little time away can be a soothing balm to a weary soul like me.

Not all down time is enjoyable, however.  Sometimes we feel "down" because of stressful circumstances, unpleasant relational conflicts, or fatigue.  Before long we become filled with self-pity and perhaps self-loathing.  Even on the brightest days everything seems dreary and it becomes difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how blessed we may actually be.

So, how can we turn around our "down" days and recapture our joy?  First of all, we have to acknowledge that our feelings are real rather than berate ourselves for experiencing human emotions that are as old as time.  Then when need to begin thanking God for the blessings he has bestowed on us and recalling the promises he has given us in his Word.  For those of us who are visual, perhaps we need to pull out a pad and pen, draw a line down the center of a blank sheet of paper, and see if we can't counteract each complaint with a blessing.  For instance, if we complain about our teenager's rebellion, we need to turn around and give thanks that such behavior is often a normal part of adolescence, a brief season of life, and praise God for his mercy to us when we have failed to live according to his standards of holiness. 

Although depression and self-pity have been around for thousands of years, there is hope for us!  But we have to believe that God is able to meet us where we are, lift us out of the slimy pit, and set our feet upon a rock where we can stand firm (Psalm 40:2).  Will you believe in God and take hold of his hand?  He is reaching out to you today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Different Delight

No, the LORD's delight is in those who fear him, those who put their trust in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11, NLT)
When you think about the things that delight you--those things that bring you pleasure--what comes to mind?  A favorite food, a sunset at the beach, or the latest technological gadget?  Perhaps it is the peace of knowing that there is enough money to pay the bills or the joy of seeing your children walk with the Lord.  Delight can manifest itself a thousand different ways if we live each day with thankful hearts and acknowledge God as the source of all blessings.  But a heart that has grown cold toward God will never be delighted by the things of this world.

What if your life is overshadowed by problems that steal your joy and taking delight in anything becomes an elusive fantasy?  When our trust and affections are misplaced and our focus is on our problems instead of on God, it doesn't take long for our joy to erode and completely disappear.  How can we recapture our delight in God and the joy that he promises us as believers?

Maybe we need to camp out on the truth that God has a different definition of delight than we do.  Psalm 147:11 (NIV) tells us that God "delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love."  No matter how unpleasant our circumstances might be or how much we struggle with hopelessness and sin, if we put our hope in God's unfailing love he still delights in us!  I don't know about you, but knowing that God delights in me regardless of how I may feel at the moment gives me hope and restores my joy.

If you are struggling to find joy today, rekindle your relationship with God by placing your hope in his unfailing love.  Take your eyes off your circumstances and turn to the promises of his Word, knowing that he delights in those who fear him.  As you delight yourself in the Lord, trusting in and focusing on him, he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4) and keep you in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Symphony of Praise

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5, NIV)

The sound of thunder greeted me when I awoke from my Sunday afternoon nap.  Walking outside I looked to the sky for signs of rain, praying that God would send showers to nourish and sustain my flowers and lawn.  How many times have we been teased by thunder only to have the rain pass us by?  As much as I love thunder's percussion, a thundershower is just a bunch of noise without the rain.  It takes the breeze of God's woodwinds and His string section, the rain, to make the symphony complete and to refresh that which is parched and wilted.

Life is full of storms, many which come against us with little or no warning.  Some come because of our choices.  All have the potential to destroy us unless we rise above them and see them from a more heavenly perspective.  The dissonance of sin, chaos, regret, and unending stress can deafen us to God's voice and harden our hearts against His love if we are playing from a different score that the one He wrote for us, the Word of God.

The Bible speaks often of storms.  Jesus calmed the storm that raged against his disciples when they were at sea.  God used a mighty flood to destroy the earth, saving each species of animal and a few faithful followers, giving man a second chance to live life on God's terms and enjoy the blessing of being rightly related to his Creator.  Then there are the storms with which we are all too familiar -- cancer, financial lack, dysfunctional relationships, and job stress.  Although we may not hear a symphony in the stress of everyday life, nevertheless each challenge we face is a note in a beautiful symphony that God is composing in the hearts of His followers. 

Lord, give us ears to hear the music of Your heart!  Help us to hear the symphony you are composing in the storms of life.  Teach us Your truths, show us Your faithfulness morning by morning, and let our songs of thankfulness in all things become a symphony of praise to You!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In It Together (from A Pleasing Aroma, coming soon from Tate Publishing)

For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:10–12)
Lately, life has seemed like more of a rat race than a reason to rejoice. In the midst of all the activity, I have somehow become focused on everything that is wrong rather than on the one who can make all things right. I have forgotten that as difficult and unpleasant as circumstances may be at times, God has ordained every one of my days and has tailored every test and trial to refine me into a vessel of honor, "useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (2 Timothy 2:21).

When you read Psalm 66:10–12, what do you see? How often do we blame others for our adversities when Scripture plainly tells us that it is God who has tested us? He is refining us like silver, a process that requires fire and intense heat in order to craft a quality vessel. Do you sometimes feel like your life is a prison and your back is breaking under the heavy burden you carry? We are told God has "brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs." Do you feel like the human race has run you over? These verses tell us that God "let men ride over our heads." We may feel there is no end to the fire and water through which we go every day, but we don't go through them alone. In Isaiah 43:2–3, God declares:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
God is with us in everything we do and every challenge we face. The beauty of these promises from God's Word is not only the blessed assurance that God himself is with us but that when all is said and done he will bring us to a "place of abundance."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nothing Held Back

"For the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him." -- 2 Chronicles 30:9b, NASB)

Fear of commitment or of having to give up that which we love is perhaps the greatest hindrance to having a personal relationship with the Lord.  We believe in God, but cannot quite bring ourselves to wholly commit ourselves to him because we are afraid we will have to give up certain things we love doing, people we enjoy associating with, or control of our lives.  Yet often those are the very things which stand between us and the truly abundant life Jesus speaks of in John 10:10.  He says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I have been a Christian nearly all my life, receiving Jesus as my Savior at a very early age.  As a teenager, I rededicated my life to him and was very active in my church youth group, faithfully serving Him and studying his Word.  When I left the sheltered environment of home to attend college, however, I was pulled away by experiences I had not known before and began a seven-year downward spiral into a very sinful existence, which left me stained and scarred and could have ended very badly for me had I not embraced the truth that God is indeed gracious and compassionate and will not turn his face away from those who return to him.  It was at that low point of my life, recognizing my sin for what it was and realizing that my only hope was the redeeming love of Christ, that I fully surrendered my life to him with nothing held back.

Those who walk in full surrender to Jesus have learned, as I have, that the joy and reward of being obedient to God's Word far outweigh the sacrifice of those things we once considered priceless possessions.  Where once we considered freedom to be the ability to do what we wanted to do, we have learned that true freedom comes in knowing that God is pleased by our obedience and rewards those who seek him wholeheartedly.  Only when we turn loose of those things which are contrary to his Word and walk in full surrender to him, will we know true joy and lasting peace.

God held nothing back, even the life of his only Son, when he set out to claim us as his own.  If God was willing to sacrifice everything for us, why should we not sacrifice everything for him?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Curse of a Creative Mind (A Blog about Absolutely Nothing)

It's midnight...a time when normal working people should be in bed resting from the day just past and resting up for the day ahead.  But where am I?  Sitting at this stupid keyboard wishing I could squeeze  just another hour or two out of an already long day.

Having a creative mind is not really a curse, but it does frustrate me at times that I don't have the luxury of sitting down at my computer and really pouring myself into a really worthwhile project.  Real writers read a lot and research more than I do, but some days I feel like I must write or bust!  That's where a blog comes in handy.  In a sense I can release the creative juices simmering in my mental slow cooker so my mind can relax enough to allow me to get to sleep.  Never mind that I'll be dreaming all night long.  That truly is the curse of this creative mind!

The day will dawn early on a busy week.  Fortunately, I'm on vacation so perhaps there will be a little more time for creative thinking than I would normally have in any given day.  Who knows?  And who even really cares?  Now that I've vented, it's time to get some zzzzz's.  Nighty night!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just Because

Some days lend themselves to wistful thinking and rest from the busyness of life. With my kids off shopping and my husband at work for a few hours, I was able to enjoy a few moments of solitude to reflect on life and daydream a little while enjoying the view outside my kitchen window.  With the sunflowers I planted in the spring blooming and waving cheerily in the warm summer breeze, my thoughts bounced from cherished friends and days gone by to blessings for which I am very thankful.  Since I couldn't decide what I wanted to do, I decided to muse a little and write this blog just because I could.

My neighbor kindly cut my grass just because he was out on his riding lawnmower and saw my grass needed cutting, too. When is the last time you or I engaged in an act of random kindness toward someone else, just because? It is the little things we do for others that provide the lift our wistful souls sometimes need. Whether it is picking up a few groceries for an elderly neighbor or simply picking up the phone to check on a loved one, a little kindness goes a long way, both for the giver and the recipient. The great joy in life is not in “looking out for number one,” but in considering others more important than ourselves and extending the love and grace of Christ to them.

Because life has been so busy lately, I made the conscious decision to relish the peace and quiet of an empty house instead of clean it as I should.  We all need to stop and smell the roses once in awhile, just because we can. If we get so caught up in “doing” all the time we will cease to be the human “beings” God created us to be. How can we possibly hear His voice or enjoy His presence if we don’t stop for awhile just to be still?

Jesus set the examples of service and sacrifice for us by living as a man and dying to save us from our sins…just because of His great love for us.  Think about that as you go about your day and extend a little grace to someone else, just because you can.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Backstage Pass

Life has been really busy lately, so my posts to this blog have been hit or miss. Please click on the link below to read my latest devotional, "Backstage Pass." If you are wondering what God is up to these days, please take a minute to read this word of encouragement.

Backstage Pass

Blessings galore!

Dee Dee Wike

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Experiment

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:1, 13)

Have you ever looked at someone else with envy and wondered why they should be so blessed when they go about their lives with not even so much as a thought about God? Everything they do is met with favor. They have money, not debt. They succeed at everything with relative ease when those of us who follow Christ sometimes struggle to get even the tiniest thing right. With hardly a care in the world, they go about their lives seemingly happy and at ease. But are they really joyful and fulfilled?

Lately I have thought about conducting an experiment to prove to a prodigal believer just how pointless life without God really is. I have considered (not seriously, mind you) what would happen if for just one week I took God out of the equation and lived my life on my terms instead of His. How differently would I approach the use of money and conduct my affairs if I excluded God from my decisions? Certainly I would be free to do things my own way without concern about the consequences of my choices. I could willfully sin and enjoy it. There would be no need to consider the needs of others above myself because taking care of number one would be my only priority. Without God to help, happiness and success would be completely up to me.

Sadly, there are many Christians living the very existence I have just described. Their salvation is no more than fire insurance to keep them out of hell after they die. Although by the world’s standards they have everything one could possibly need or desire, they lack the freedom and fulfillment of a life lived wholly for God. Their hope is built on external things that will eventually perish, not on the everlasting faithfulness of a sovereign God who will be there long after everything has turned to dust.

As a young adult fresh out of college, I lived as a prodigal believer. My goals were to have money, be successful in my career, be well-liked by those who knew me, and to find a partner who could fulfill every emotional need I had. Seven years of living outside the will and influence of the God who had saved me as a teenager, taught me that a life without God is no life at all. Success, prosperity, and love were empty because I was missing the single most important ingredient – the fulfillment of living for and being used by God to make a real difference in the lives of others.

Perhaps if we experimented a little less with living without God and really poured our hearts and souls into living for Him, the prodigal Christians around us would repent and become true worshippers living “God-saturated” lives.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

And the Winner Is....

Thanks to those of you who weighed in with your votes and opinions on the title of my second book! After much prayerful deliberation and discussion with my editor and considering the readers' choices submitted, I have chosen A Pleasing Aroma: Inspiring Devotions for Joyful Living as the title for book two. Please continue praying for God's anointing and provision for this project and my ministry!

Blessings galore!

Dee Dee

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What’s In a Name?

Click on What’s In a Name? to read my latest devotional at While you're there, check out some of the other great devotional blogs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Morning Prayer

Quiet house, quiet heart.
This is where the blessings start.
Noise of day not yet begun,
Sitting in the presence of the Son,
Ears to hear what He would say.
"Lord, to You, I give my day.
Guide me, lead me gently on
In Your will, til day is done."

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lazy, Hazy Summer? You've Got to be Kidding Me!

Whatever happened to the "lazy, hazy" part of summer?  Hazy we certainly have in these parts, but there is no part of my summer that has been lazy!  On the contrary, I am busier than ever and I'm not particularly crazy about it.  Between yard work, supervising busy (and accident-prone) kids, writing when I can find the time, and getting ready for the release of my second book, I've given up on getting it all done.  But if there is one thing I am determined to accomplish, it is weeding and mulch all of my azalea beds.  The way I figure it, I probably won't finish before the end of July but I WILL finish!

If you come to my house, you are sure to find dust bunnies and clutter inside.  But bit by bit, I plan to turn the yard and garden into a thing of beauty.  Already I have invested about 30 hours just in weeding, mulching, and planting.  I figure I have at least 70 hours more to go.   I have posted a few before and after photos below and will share more as the summer progresses.

If you run into the Mulch Fairy, please let him know that I could use a truckload of brown mulch.  If you drive by my house and see me hard at work in the azalea beds, be sure to toot your horn.  Better yet, run to Sonic and bring me a large sweet tea with lemon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jeepers! It's June!

Where on earth did last month go,
The stormy month of May?
I hardly blinked an eye before
It somehow slipped away!

The end of school arrived so fast
I hardly saw it coming.
Jeepers!  It's June, the spring has passed
And summer's already humming!

With blushing brides and fireflies
Barbecue, fish frys, and S'mores
The lazy, hazy days are here
The season we adore!

Fireworks and sunsets warm
Sipping lemonade
Cooling off in the swimming pool
At the end of a long, hot day.

These are the blessings that bring us joy
From June to summer's end
Time spent with our families
And with our closest friends.

Fully live each day that comes
And thank the Lord above
For every blessing He has giv'n
To you, the child He loves! 

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Out of the Rubble

"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." (Isaiah 58:12, NIV)
The spring of 2011 has been unkind to many across our land.  Devastating tornadoes have left thousands homeless, hundreds dead, and most of us touched in some way or other.  Those of us who do not live in the cities ravaged by these monster storms have only the stories and images that come to us through news agencies or by way of reports from family and friends of the victims.  We cannot fathom the depth of need and despair, but because "we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10, NKJV), we are called to offer hope and assistance to those who have lost so much.

We may be overwhelmed by the images we have seen and feel that our small efforts cannot possibly make a difference, but we are wrong to think that way.  If we will ask God how we can help and do what he leads us to do, then collectively we can make a significant impact on the lives of the victims and their devastated communities.  We are the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.  It is we, his people, who must do the work of rebuilding what has been lost and restoring hope to those whose faith has been so badly shaken.  Although God himself is the Repairer of Broken Walls and the Restorer of Streets with Dwellings, he needs crews of committed believers who will come alongside him, pray for those in need, and help rebuild these communities and the faith of those who live there.

Pray, give, and serve where you can, that others may see that God does care, that hope is real, and that God truly can and will work all things together for the good of those who love him.  Pray that out of the rubble, revival will come and many will receive Christ as Savior.

Friday, May 27, 2011

All Creatures Great and Small

"And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." -- Genesis 1:20-21

Earlier this week as I was preparing to leave for work, I noticed a small insect on the window of my car.  At first, I thought it was a spider (not an insect) but on closer inspection realized that it was a praying mantis not more than 1/2 inch long.  Despite his (or her) miniature size, the mantis was a perfectly formed though smaller version of the adult praying mantises that frequented our yard last summer.  Sadly I had only my camera phone handy to snap a few photos, so no one but Joy and me will ever know how truly cute a bug he was!

As an animal lover, I am especially fond of baby animals.  I can remember one spring evening observing a brood of killdeer chicks running along the curb on our church parking lot.  Having seen plenty of adults on the grounds, I marvelled at how cute these tiny replicas were!  It is a sight I shall never forget.  Born to run, these little birds had no trouble keeping up with their parents.

There are few things in life that demonstrate God's creative genius than his creatures, both great and small.  Whether it is a tiny insect or a solitary great blue heron standing in the shallow water of a lake or pond, these glimpses of God's glory in the animal kingdom are reminders of his presence and the great care he has for his created ones, including us.

If you have trouble seeing God's glory because of the chaos and challenges you face, get out, take a walk, and look for God's hidden treasures.  Before long you will be so captivated by the brilliance and breathtaking beauty of the world he has created that your heart will be encouraged and uplifted by the realization that you are his most prized creation!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don't Look Now, But We're Still Here!

"As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.  Night is coming, when no one can work." -- John 9:4

As we knew would be the case, today came and went despite Harold Camping's prediction that Judgment Day would occur on May 21, 2011.  How could he possibly be privy to God's timing of the Rapture when Jesus himself clearly tells us "no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:36)?  Puh-leeze!

My daughter didn't want the Rapture to occur today.  She has a friend who is still lost and has not yet received Jesus as her Savior.  Many of us are in the same boat, praying for the salvation of those we love.  There's a lot of work to be done before Christ returns!

As much as I would love to be in heaven at this moment, I know that God still has work for me to do on this earth.  So do you.  What are we waiting for?  One of these days -- only God knows when -- Jesus is coming back.  Even though we might be ready, will the lost ones be?  It is up to us to "do the work" of showing and telling the world about Jesus while there is still time.  Let us not waste another day, for tomorrow could well be our last.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Remembering Tinkerbell

It has been a week since I planted Tinkerbell in the garden beneath the azalea.  I know it must seem strange to those who aren't animal lovers, or at least rodent lovers, but that little furball has left a huge hole in my heart.  Who would have thought that a furry little rodent could steal the heart of one who has always been a dog lover? 

Every time I walk into my office I miss her.  The corner where she lived is dark now because there is no longer a reason to leave on the light.  There is no longer the sound of scampering and chirping of a beloved pet who was glad to see me or at least hopeful for some morsel of food.  Cleaning out her cage each evening became a ritual of sorts.  Joy would take her out of her cage and either hand her to me to hold or lift her to my face for little nose kisses.  I miss the tickle of Tinkerbell's whiskers and the way she reached out her nose to touch mine.

How well I remember the day we brought her home from the pet store on Labor Day, 2007!  We had returned a guinea pig we bought just a couple of days before because the other cavy was sick with an absessed tooth.  On the way home she pooped in her box and I called her "Stinkerbell," even before coming up with the name Tinkerbell.  When we introduced her to our poodle, Madison was quick to put Tinkerbell in her place, snapping at her front paw.  Although they started off on rocky footing, before long Madison began to tolerate her and eventually play with her.  The day I loaded Tinkerbell up in the carrier to take her to the vet, Madison protested loudly.  I think even Madison misses her now.

Of course, Joy was a little young to get into the guinea pig pet care routine at first.  But before long I had her cleaning out the cage like a pro.  I would get tickled when the kids would set up obstacle courses for her in the den floor.  Joy's friends enjoyed playing with her.  She had quite a little personality!

Will there be another Tinkerbell?  Not a chance, although I am entertaining the thought of buying a pair of guinea pigs at some point.  They are really are delightful little creatures!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ode to Tinkerbell

On Labor Day four years ago,
We bought a guinea pig
Who lived with us for just a day
Because she became sick.
We took her back from whence she came,
And traded her for you.
And ever since you've blessed our hearts
And we have sure loved you.
Sweet Tinkerbell, you showed me how
To love all kinds of pets.
And even though you weren't a dog,
You really were the best!
I loved the way you'd scamper 'round
Your cage and talk to me.
The smell of carrots in the morn'
Would make you chirp with glee.
Your gentle nibbles on my finger
And kisses nose-to-nose
Are two things I will ne'er forget,
Two things I'll miss the most.
No longer are you suffering,
And though our hearts are sad,
The memory of your time with us
Will always make us glad.
God bless you, little Tinkerbell,
And may you quietly rest
Just knowing that we loved you well,
And that you loved us best.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Hormonal Guinea Pig

A few days ago my daughter said to me, "Mom, I think something's wrong with Tinkerbell." 

"Why?" I asked.

"She's not eating all her food," was Joy's reply.

Now I don't know about anyone else (particularly you ladies), but when I am feeling out of sorts, NOT eating is the last thing on my mind!  Nonetheless, for a guinea pig, being out of sorts can be a sign of serious illness like an upper respiratory infection or bloat, both of which can be fatal if not treated. 

We kept a watchful eye on Tinkerbell over the weekend, observing that she was becoming more lethargic and eventually stopped eating or drinking anything.  The amazing pooping piggie quit leaving little messes in her cage, which was a sure indication that something was wrong.  Saturday night, after a whole day of lying still with her eyes wide open ("pupils fixed and dilated" is the medical term they use on TV), I was certain she was a goner.  I covered her up with a hand towel, exposing only her head so she could breathe but not wanting her to be cold as she slipped away in the night.  Saying my last goodbye, I went to bed and cried myself to sleep -- all over a rodent!  I was relieved to find her still alive on Sunday morning.  She even perked up a little Sunday night as if to say, "You can't get rid of me that easily!"

First thing Monday morning I left her with a vet who specializes in exotic animals.  (Who knew a rodent could be considered exotic?)  When he called to break the news to me, the tone of his voice caught me off-guard.  Expecting to hear a serious and sympathetic voice on the other end of the phone as he delivered a grim prognosis, I was tickled when he giddily announced, "Tinkerbell has cystic ovaries, which is common in guinea pigs her age.  We'll treat her with hormones and she'll be good as new in a few days."   Dr. McGee, are you saying my guinea pig is menopausal?  Leave it to the guinea pig to upstage me yet again!

Oh, did I mention?  Tinkerbell had her very first ultrasound. Doesn't that beat all!   No babies do I see, but I'm naming the cysts Peter Pan and Wendy.