Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On the Road with Lola

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"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" -- Isaiah 30:21
A couple of years ago I drove my kids to Florida for a week of fun during Spring Break.  Despite carefully planning my travel route and printing off maps, I still made a wrong turn somewhere in Alabama and ended up in Atlanta, which required us to backtrack two hours just to get to our hotel in Georgia.  After struggling to find our way back to my brother's home in Orlando after four long days at Disneyworld, I learned my lesson -- never travel to Orlando (or anywhere else, for that matter) without a GPS!  My brother had offered me the use of his GPS while we were there, but I was too proud to accept the help of an electronic device when I had my maps printed up and ready to go.  Little did I know how handy it would have been as we exited the theme parks a different way each night.

This week I had the pleasure of returning to Orlando for my niece's wedding, but I took along my new best friend, Lola.  Lola is the name I have given to a GPS app (AT&T Navigator) which I downloaded to my cellphone just before our departure.  Without a doubt, Lola is THE best traveling buddy ever!  I never consulted a map, although I printed several.  I just punched in the first day's destination and put myself in Lola's hands.  Despite making a couple of wrong turns because I wasn't listening for Lola's voice, Lola faithfully got us back on track and we made it to our intended destination safely and without the stress of being lost!

God has given us His own version of a GPS -- the Bible.  If we fail to read it and follow its instructions, we will find that our journey in life will be nothing more than just a series of wrong turns and accidents waiting to happen.  On the other hand, if we follow God's commands, we will experience the grand adventure of walking in His will with the assurance that even if we take a wrong turn or make a mistake, He will gently "re-route" us until we find ourselves once more moving in the right direction. God will never steer us wrong and He will always be right beside us as we travel to our final destination.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ripple Effect

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." -- Matthew 7:11-12

Many years ago I bought a motivational tape series, "See You at the Top," by noted speaker and author Zig Ziglar.  Although it has been over twenty five years since I listened to those tapes, I still clearly remember his question, "Who's kicking your cat?"  The story he told and the question he asked had a point:  the actions of others have a trickle down effect on us and on those with whom we subsequently come in contact.  Said another way, our interactions with and attitudes toward others have a ripple effect which can be positive or negative depending on our behavior.

Ripple effects can be negative, even disastrous as evidenced by the recent earthquake in Japan.  Not only did the earthquake devastate the infrastructure of Japan but it also produced a tsunami that destroyed everything in its path.  Everything that happened in Japan has already begun to have a ripple effect on the rest of the world, particularly in the area of economics.

But there can also be positive ripple effects.  As we continue monitoring the situation in Japan, perhaps we will find ourselves praying and giving to those in need, giving thanks to God for our great blessings, and being a little more sensitive to those around us.  As we pray, give, and express our thanks to God, good things will happen, people will be helped, and some may even come to know and love God himself.

Look around you today.  As you interact with people, do so in such away that your love and concern will spread out like the circles on a pond.  Your one small act of kindness, even though seemingly inconsequential to you, can have a huge impact in someone else's life.  Perpetuate God's goodness by being a blessing to someone else today!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beyond Relief and Recovery

"Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more." -- Psalm 71:19-21

As reports of continuing devastation in Japan circulate around the globe, many of us are riveted to our televisions and interceding in behalf of the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami.  The imminent threat of nuclear disaster only adds insult to injury for a people so overwhelmed that they cannot imagine anything worse than what they have already suffered.  Yet we know that death from disease, starvation, and exposure to the elements often follows a disaster of this magnitude.  We are helpless to do anything more than pray and give our financial resources to help fund relief and recovery efforts.

How can we find the hope and faith to pray the nation of Japan through seemingly insurmountable circumstances?  How can we give enough to make a difference in the lives of those affected by a disaster of such apocalyptic proportions?  We start by remembering that our God is greater than any natural catastrophe and we pray beyond relief and recovery for the restoration of Japan.  Only God can restore a seemingly irreparable society, broken lives, and shattered souls.  He has been in the restoration business for as long as history has been recorded.  Our prayer must be that he will once again show himself as the restorer of a nation and that the people of Japan will call on the name of the only One who can truly save them.

While we are praying, we must also act by giving any way we can.  We cannot allow ourselves to think that our gifts -- whether monetary contributions or acts of service -- are too small to be of benefit when the problems faced by Japan are so overwhelming.  The collective gifts of thousands can make a difference.  Even individually, we can make a difference by praying on behalf of the Japanese people.

As you lay your head on your pillow tonight, let your prayers be for the people of Japan.  Ask God to show you what you can do, and to give you the faith to persevere in prayer for those who lack the spirit or will to pray for themselves.  God is good even in disaster, and he can bring good out of the most horrific circumstances we can imagine, if we will but believe, pray, and give.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Helping Japan One Book at a Time

In light of the recent devastation suffered by Japan in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, Dee Dee Wike Ministries is temporarily suspending its Ministry of the Month emphasis previously announced for 2011. Instead of donating 10% of all book sales to the ministries listed below, I will donate $5 from each book sold to Japanese relief efforts.

Your purchase of Good to the Last Drop at http://www.deedeewike.com/Writings.html will help provide relief and recovery assistance, food, water, and other items so badly needed at this time.

Please partner with us to pray for and support the people of Japan.

Thank you for being the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus!

Dee Dee

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Falling to Pieces, Finding Our Peace

(from Lessons from the La-Z-Boy

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal." -- Isaiah 26:3-4

For some, life doesn't seem to let up. While there are those whose lives are relatively peaceful with manageable trials of short duration, there are others who seem to live in the valley of despair with little hope of finding the peace that continually eludes them. All of us are in one place or the other. What is it that differentiates the ones who have found peace from those who cannot seem to attain it, no matter what they do? Therein lies the answer -- peace does not come from within us or as a result of anything we do. It comes from realizing that God is our only source of peace.

It is difficult to keep our eyes on God and our mind steadfastly focused on him. We live in a world with so many distractions -- so many problems -- that it takes deliberate effort and discipline to train our minds to focus on him rather than on our problems.  How do we learn to focus on God rather than our circumstances? It all comes down to daily reading, knowing, and applying his Word and spending time with him in prayer. I am surer of this than anything else in life.

As long as we live on this earth we will have problems, heartaches, and disappointments. Until we learn that we cannot face those challenges alone, in our own power, we are destined to lose our battles and walk in defeat, rather than in the victory that is ours in Christ. The Bible tells us that "the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him‖ (Isaiah 30:18)! The key here is that we must wait for God. We must look for him, and we must wait for him. He alone is able to provide the peace we seek. No man or woman can. No amount of money or achievement can. No amount of human reasoning can. Only God can provide peace in our troubled times.

Our greatest ally in this daily fight to achieve peace and joy is the Word of God. Make this the year that you seek a deeper knowledge and closer walk with God through his Word. I promise you that if you will spend even a few minutes daily laying your needs before him and looking to his Word rather than this world for the answers to your problems, you will encounter God in ways you never dreamed possible. God loves you and cares deeply about you, enough that he sent his only Son to die on the cross for your sins so that you would have unlimited access to his throne of grace and a relationship with him for all eternity. God is personal and he promises peace to those who will seek him and put their trust in him.

Does finding God mean that your problems will go away? Probably not. But he will walk with you through your valley and comfort you with his presence (Psalm 23:4). His goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life (v. 6). Rather than focus on your problems, pick up your Bible and begin focusing on God. He is there, his Word is true, his promises are real, and he is faithful to those who choose to believe in him.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Production Update -- Lessons from the La-Z-Boy


Although my second book is not scheduled to begin production until May, I am even more excited about it than I was Good to the Last Drop!  So excited, in fact, that I had a handful of copies printed of the raw manuscript for the purpose of soliciting reader endorsements, which will be printed in the book when it comes out.

I am looking for five men or women (or couples) who have read my first book, Good to the Last Drop, and would be willing to write an endorsement of this new book by May 1.  If you are interested, please email your name and contact information to deedeewike@bellsouth.net

This offer is limited to the first five readers who respond. 

Please continue to pray for this project as the book goes into production, that it will encourage those who read it and that God will use it for His glory.