Monday, April 30, 2012

Fetching Toilet Paper

Today's Scripture:  Proverbs 31:4-31

Last week as I made yet another run to the other bathroom for a couple of rolls of toilet paper so my husband would have something to work with (how's that for putting it delicately?), it occurred to me that I am the only one in my family who knows where the spare rolls of toilet paper are stored and how to put a new roll on the spool next to the toilet, or so it seems.  What is up with that? 

My job description as the alpha female says nothing about fetching toilet paper, cleaning up dog puke, or making sure that all the doors are securely locked at bedtime, yet somehow those duties, too, have defaulted to me.  Even now as I look around my house and ponder all that I will do today -- laundry, dishes, vacuuming, paying bills -- before it is time to shift into carpool driver mode, I can't help but smile and give thanks that while my husband wears the pants and earns the money that pays the bills, I am blessed to have a God-given, God-honored job with such incredible responsibility.  I mean really, who knew that fetching toilet paper could bring a woman such fulfillment?

All sarcasm aside, I truly am thankful to be a stay-at-home mom even though the pay stinks.  This time last year I was employed as a well-paid tech support person in a nice office with great co-workers but there was one drawback:  my kids went through the summer largely unsupervised and I missed some golden opportunities just to spend time with them while they were out of school.  That is not the case this year.  Although I'd like to say I am a "work-at-home" mom, the reality is my consulting income is not what I'd like for it to be.  But God continues to meet our needs somehow, and I am looking forward to spending time with my kids and doing the things that really matter to me and to them.

If I had a dollar for every roll of toilet paper I have fetched in my twenty-five years of marriage, I could have left that cushy job a long time ago.  In God's economy, though, the intrinsic rewards of being home to watch my children grow up will pay dividends that no IRA or stock options can!



Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Friday, April 27, 2012

In the Quiet

In the quiet my soul longs
To hear a whisper from your heart
Whisper gently, Lord I'm listening
As another day I start
In the sameness of this new day
Lord, I long to be made new
Strip away the ugly sinful parts
Make me more and more like you
Holy Spirit, come and dwell inside
My wretched heart of stone
Til the day our Lord returns to earth
To lead us safely home


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Can I Really Trust God?


Since surrendering my life to God many years ago, he has allowed me to experience some difficulties that I would never wish on anyone.  As hard as my challenges have been, I have witnessed others going through even worse trials of their own.  Often I have wondered, Where is God in all of this? Can I really trust him to handle my problems?

I would like to say that I am a recovering control freak, but in all honesty I still struggle with the addiction and am far from healed.  There is something terribly frightening in relinquishing control of my life to someone I cannot see or touch. As my eyes see the red ink on my balance sheet I know my heart should be trusting in the one who promises to supply all my needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus, whose blood was shed for me.  Trusting God is an issue we all face to some degree or other.  Fortunately for me, it gets easier with each passing day because God continues to demonstrate his faithfulness and fulfill his promises. 

Finances aside, many Christians are living below the spiritual poverty line, resting in the assurance of their salvation with little hope of ever living the abundant life that God promises those who abide in him.  Abundance is not quantified by the amount of money we have in the bank or the number of bedrooms or cars we possess, but rather by the quality of our relationship with Christ.  As we mature in our walk with him and allow him access to more and more areas of our lives, we begin to understand that the less control we try to wield over our lives, the more we can enjoy the peace he bestows as we rest in his presence and trust in his provision.  It is only when we fully surrender everything, trusting God to keep his promises, that we ever experience the thrill of abundant living.

In the ninth chapter of Mark we read the story of a boy whose father approached Jesus to ask healing for his demon-possessed son.  After a brief discourse with Jesus, the man said to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (v. 22b) Jesus replied, “If you can?  Everything is possible for him who believes” (v. 23).  “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief’” (v.24)!  Jesus, of course, rebuked the spirit and healed the boy, telling the disciples that “this kind can come out only by prayer” (v29).

How often do we try to solve our own problems without ever consulting God?  Do we fail to pray because we don’t honestly believe we can trust him to come through for us or we are afraid his answer will be “no”?  What if instead of trying to control every aspect of our lives in our own strength, we actually relied on God’s strength and provision and dared to ask him to work all things together for our good?

If you find yourself doubting God’s ability to come through for you or meet your needs, take a good look at your relationship with him and ask yourself if there are any areas of your life that you have not yet surrendered to him.  If you are like me, odds are there are some things you need to set right with him and relinquish to his control.

The bottom line is this:  God loves you so much that he has already done his best for you by sending his only Son to die on the cross for your sins.  If God loves you that much, surely you can trust him with everything else!


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Parent Trap

Although the movie, “The Parent Trap,” is full of humor, antics, and a happy ending there are many parents who truly feel trapped by the daunting task of raising children in a society that is spiraling out of control.  There have been days when I have thought to myself, I certainly wouldn’t have signed up for parenthood if I had known it would be this difficult!  Then I remember that God signed me up for this great adventure and he knew just how much grace, faith, and humor it would take to maintain my sanity while I searched for my own happy ending.


As the parent of teenagers, my faith has been stretched like never before.  Trying to teach our children truth, fleshing it out before them, and praying that they would catch on and follow God’s principles for living have bordered on futility some days. We have done all we know to do and come up short more times that we care to admit.  Although not perfect parents, we have been the best parents we could be.  Because of that, even though some have criticized our parenting methods we rest in the assurance that “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

During the past few years as our children have become adolescents determined to assert their independence, many friends have encouraged us by saying, “This won’t last forever.  It will get better.”  Despite our ups and downs, it appears they were right and the worst is behind us for now.  At times I have to remind myself that I, too, went through a lengthy season of rebellion and it has taken me years to reach a place of intimate fellowship with Jesus.  As much as I want to accelerate my children’s spiritual growth and help them avoid the pain of making costly mistakes, I realize that some of the greatest lessons they will ever learn will result from the poor choices they make on their journey back to God.  

As difficult as parenting may be, there are things we can do to avoid becoming trapped by the weight of our responsibilities.  First of all, we must give the highest priority to our relationship with the Lord and stand firmly on the promises of his Word during this challenging season of life.  God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5), to impart wisdom when we pray for it in faith (James 1:5), and to meet all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), despite the mood swings and personality changes that come with the influx of hormones as our children become young men and women.  As parents, we lean heavily on God’s promise in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  Sometimes our children are old when they return to God’s ways, but I firmly believe that no matter how far they stray, if they have been taught the truths of scripture and seen us model a Spirit-filled life before them, they will eventually enjoy an intimate relationship with God.

We also need to recognize that our marriages must be nurtured no matter what parenting crisis we may face.  Our children’s needs change as they grow older and they require a whole lot more of our attention and supervision, not less, as they move through their pre-teen and teen years.  Many kids begin rebelling against parental authority and the divine direction of God’s Word.  When the arrest of a teenager or an unplanned pregnancy occurs and creates a “new normal” for the entire family, we need to make sure we don’t neglect the needs of our spouses or other children who may be living at home. Satan is a master at destroying marriages and will often use our children’s rebellion to accomplish his evil intent.  When it seems the whole family is coming apart at the seams, we need to love and cling tightly to our spouses as never before.  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend (or spouse) can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).  If you know a single parent who is struggling, reach out to him or her.  No one should have to navigate the choppy waters alone!

We must realize that as twenty-first century parents we are engaged in spiritual warfare against the enemy who seeks to kill and destroy our children and our marriages.   Our only hope for winning the battle and walking in joy is to wage war on our knees, stand firmly on God’s promises, and continue to nurture the loving relationships that provide joy and strength for the journey.  We must seek the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit and realize that Jesus loves our children—and us—perfectly, despite our flaws and mistakes.  Let us all pray to be more like our heavenly Father and ask him to fill us with his love for our children and his all-sufficient grace to run the race and finish it well.

Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.  www.deedeewike.com


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will You Be the One?

No matter what our profession or calling in life, we all have those days when passion and purpose take a vacation and leave us wishing we could go too.   Whether you are a writer experiencing writer's block or you have simply "hit the wall" in your career or vocation, your discouragement can give way to despair if you do not recognize the signs and take measures to rediscover your purpose and re-ignite the passion that has been snuffed out by the weariness and stress brought on by the challenges you face each day.

It only takes one person, one act of kindness, one timely word of encouragement to motivate me to continue writing and looking for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others on those days when I would rather withdraw into the comfort and solitude of being a homemaker.  It only takes one person seeing the hopelessness in the eyes of a single parent, extending a helping hand, and offering a prayer to give that parent the courage and strength to make it through another day.  It only takes one person to shine a light so someone can find their way out of the darkness.

When we turn away from what we sense God calling us to do because it is too hard or we fear failing and disappointing him, then we run the risk of never knowing the joy of making a difference in someone else's life.  We miss out on seeing the amazing things God can do through us even though we may see ourselves as nothing but a broken, useless vessel.  How can we know that God is truly God if we don't persevere and give him opportunity to be strong where we are weak and to come through when we can't? 

If you know someone who is struggling with discouragement today or has a need that is in your power to meet, why not be the one to encourage them? 

Al Denson penned the lyrics to a beautiful song, Be the One, which are pasted below.  It is my prayer that you will gain a renewed sense of purpose as you look for ways to make a difference in the lives of those around you.  (Click here to download a copy of the song from amazon.com).

In a world full of broken dreams
Where the truth is hard to find
For every promise that is kept
There are many left behind
Though it seems that nobody cares
It still matters what you do
‘Cause there’s a difference you can make
But the choice is up to you

chorus:
Will you be the one
To answer to His call
Will you stand
When those around you fall
Will you be the one
To take His light
Into a darkened world
Tell me will you be the one

Oh sometimes it’s hard to know
Who is right and what is wrong
And where are you supposed to stand
When the battle lines are drawn
There’s a voice that is calling out
For someone who’s not afraid
To be a beacon in the night
To a world that’s lost it’s way

There are still some battles
That I must fight from day to day
Yet the Lord provides the power
For me to stand and say

chorus:
I will be the one
To answer to His call
I will stand
When those around me fall
I will be the one
To take His light
Into a darkened world
I will be the one





Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'd Rather Be...

It happens every time I come home from a weekend away (which doesn't happen often enough) or when one of the kids is home sick from school (which happens every now and then).  I get distracted, lose my focus, and find myself wanting to do anything but what I am supposed to be doing.  Today -- actually, everyday -- I'd rather be doing anything but marketing my books or working to build my speaking ministry although I want God to use me to make a difference in the lives of others.

I have heard it said often, and uttered the words myself, that writing is the easy part of having a book published.  With two devotional books under my belt and a recently published magazine article I can say with all honesty that I would rather write than try to promote what I have written.  Selling has never been something I enjoyed although I have had some limited success selling cosmetics and marketing myself for different jobs I have held.  But when it comes to marketing my books and promoting myself as an author I am waaayyy out of my comfort zone.  In many ways, God has done a much better job of marketing my books than I have, but he still expects me to do my part.  Until I do, book sales will remain flat and the impact I have in the lives of others will be minimal. 

Recently, I listened to a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley, an anointed and articulate pastor and Bible teacher.  In his message, Discipline Determines Destiny, Dr. Stanley said, "It is discipline, not just desire, which determines your destiny and mine."  He talked about self-discipline in several areas of life, such as parenting, eating, exercise, financial management, and our spiritual routines, but his words convicted me most in the area of my writing and speaking ministry.  Realizing that it will take more than desire alone to sell books or make an impact on the lives of those who are hurting and discouraged, I am determined, by God's grace, to become more disciplined in terms of the time and effort I put forth to market the books God gave me to write and to take advantage of every opportunity to encourage others with the truths of his Word.  It isn't enough to desire to make an impact. In order to be an effective servant, I must first pray about the work God has called me to do then get up and do it!

When we are not self-disciplined in areas of our lives, then God in his love imposes divine discipline in order to correct us and conform us to the image of his Son.  He holds us accountable for what we do with what he gives us.  Whether it is being a good steward of the financial blessings he bestows, speaking a word of encouragement to a weary store clerk when the opportunity presents itself, or sharing the life-changing Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, there will come a day when we all will stand before him eager to hear him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Lord." 



Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life is a Wild Ride


The past few years have been a roller coaster ride with sharp turns, dizzying corkscrews, and many ups and downs.  Although I am a fan of roller coasters, some days life's wild ride gets the best of me.  While I tolerate fairly well the ups and downs of a roller coaster, it is the spinning rides that leave me feeling queasy, incapacitated, and out of control.  And face it, some days life just spins out of control.



What do you do when life's wild ride is just a little too much for you to handle?  Do you hang on for dear life or avoid the roller coaster altogether?  As much as I like for life to be predictable and easy, God's Word tells us that we can expect just the opposite.  He never promises a smooth ride, but he promises to be with us everywhere we go.

If we are to grow in our walk of faith, we must learn to leave our comfort zone as Peter did and trust God in every circumstance of life.  In Matthew 14:22-33, we read:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Being a man or woman of faith requires infinitely more courage than hopping onto a roller coaster.  Thrill rides, though scary, are generally safe and usually end quickly with the relative assurance that we will arrive at the destination intact, if a little windblown.  But the trials of a Christian's life require much prayer and perseverance.  The challenges we face have the potential to knock us off our feet if we fail to stand firmly on the promises of God's Word, fully clad in his armor.  But if we hold onto God and persevere through our times of testing, we become more mature in our faith.  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-5).

Personally, if I had to choose between the kiddie coaster of a shallow relationship with Christ or the ultimate thrill ride of a vibrant, fully surrendered walk with God, I'd pick the ultimate thrill ride every time.




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Monday, April 9, 2012

Drawing Words

After months of researching and waiting for it, my husband gave me an Android tablet for our twenty-fifth anniversary.  As much as I would have loved going on a cruise, I am finding this a very useful gadget.  Just last night I discovered a new and more accurate way of entering text -- Swyping!  Think of it as drawing words.  You literally "Swype" your fingers across the keys in the order you would normally type and the word magically appears!


As I thought about this new way of "drawing" words onto the page, I couldn't help but think that as Christians, our words should draw others to Christ.  What we say and the way we say things should reflect a heart that is attuned to God and the truths of his Word.  Our words should be well-seasoned and tasteful to those who hunger after righteousness.  Here are a few scriptures to consider:

Proverbs 15:26
The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.

Proverbs 16:21
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.

Proverbs 16:24
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 17:27
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.

Ecclesiastes 5:2
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

Ecclesiastes 10:12
Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.

1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. --  Psalm 19:14




Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Sunday, April 8, 2012

More than Ever

I spent most of my Easter Sunday with family and stayed away from the computer for several hours.  Quite honestly, that was a refreshing change of pace.   I even treated myself to a much needed and long overdue drive in the country with no kids, no husband, and no radio. It was just Jesus and me with a cup of Starbucks and a cool breeze blowing through the open windows on a gloriously quiet two-hour drive.  I didn't think, pray, or sing for the first hour and a half of the drive.  I just let my mind empty itself of every burden I have carried for my family, friends, and myself and I simply listened.  Then I worshipped, singing prayers of rededication and praise to God and returning home refreshed and renewed.

After dinner I logged onto the computer to see what my Facebook friends had been up to all day and came to the conclusion that more than ever we desperately need God.  There is so much hurt and so much need among us that I felt compelled to post the following prayer:

In the name of Jesus....God deliver the one who is addicted, the one who sits by the hospital bed of a loved one who is desperately ill, the prodigal who doesn't even know he is lost, the lonely one who so longs to be loved, the financially destitute one who can't feed her children or pay his bills, the emotionally afflicted one whose hurt is unbearable, the one whose body has been ravaged by cancer and chemo, the wife whose husband has been unfaithful, the child who has been neglected or abused....oh God, the list is long!  You know every name and every need. Most of all, Lord, help that lost one find their Savior on this Resurrection Day. Use those of us who know you to make a difference in the lives of the least of these...for your glory. Oh, Jesus! Bind back Satan and bring peace, healing, provision, and salvation to us!  We need you now, more than ever!


More than ever we need to pray for one another and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people around us.  They need what we have -- peace, joy, and hope.  God may not have a "share" button we can push so others can know him, but he has us!  If we will walk the walk instead of talking the talk and love others as Christ as loved us, then we will be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting, dying, desperate world.  God has given us the power of his Holy Spirit and the resources to help others in need.  Why aren't we doing more?


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Place In Your Heart

I heard God say, when I was still,
“There’s a place in your heart I alone can fill.”
And with His voice, so tender and calm,
He said, “Only you can fill the hole in My palm.”
He holds us in His hands, it’s true.
That’s why He died for me and you.
A wretched, wounded death died He
Upon that barren, lonely tree.
With outstretched arms He showed His love
So we could dwell with Him above
In Heaven where there is no fear,
No pain or sorrow, sickness, tears—
But only joy divine for endless days
As we bestow our endless praise
On Him, who holds us in His palm,
Who in this wretched world brings calm
And peace and joy. Our only part
Is to let Him fill the hole in our heart.

-- Dee Dee Wike, 3/29/03

Holy Week and Easter Traditions

As I posted the salutation, "Have a blessed Maundy Thursday," on a friend's Facebook page it dawned on me that many people don't know the significance of Maundy Thursday or even what Holy Week is.  As a member of the Episcopal church from childhood through early adulthood, I grew up observing the traditions of Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter. Although the churches most of us attend these days generally recognize and celebrate Easter as perhaps the most significant event of Christianity, we cannot truly comprehend the significance of Easter without an understanding of Lent and the events that took place during Holy Week, the last week of Christ's life.


In more liturgical Christian denominations, such as the Catholic, Episcopal, and Lutheran churches, the spiritual journey toward Easter begins with the observance of Lent, a season of penitence, fasting, and spiritual discipline which begins forty days prior to Easter, excluding Sundays.  Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent.  In some churches, an Ash Wednesday service is held during which "the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers."  These ashes typically come from the palms used to celebrate the previous Palm Sunday. 
(http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatisashwednes.htm; Photo Credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday).

During the season of Lent, individuals often give up things they enjoy such as favorite foods and beverages or forms of entertainment such as watching TV or surfing the web, often with the intent of diverting the money or time spent on these pleasures to those in need or to spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study. 

As the season of Lent concludes, the celebration of Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, the day commemorating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion.  Many churches observe this Sunday by singing special hymns and having their congregations wave palm branches during the worship service to signify the greeting of the crowds as Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.


Maundy Thursday is the observance of "a variety of events that are clustered on this last day before Jesus was arrested that are commemorated in various ways in services of worship. These include the last meal together, which was probably a Passover meal, the institution of Eucharist or Communion, the betrayal by Judas (because of the exchange with Jesus at the meal), and Jesus praying in Gethsemane while the disciples fell asleep. Most liturgies, however, focus on the meal and communion as a way to commemorate this day."  (Copyright © 2012 CRI/Voice, Institute, Dennis Bratcher)

Good Friday (Holy Friday) is the day the church commemorates "Jesus’ arrest (since by Jewish customs of counting days from sundown to sundown it was already Friday), his trial, crucifixion and suffering, death, and burial."  Services can vary but are generally "aimed at allowing worshippers to experience some sense of the pain, humiliation, and ending in the journey to the cross."  Church traditions include a reading of the Seven Last Words of Christ, the Stations of the Cross, or Tenebrae service.  (Copyright © 2012 CRI/Voice, Institute, Dennis Bratcher)

Holy Saturday is the seventh day of Holy Week, commemorating the day Jesus rested in the tomb.   "Some traditions suspend services and Scripture readings during the day on Saturday, to be resumed at the Easter Vigil after sundown Saturday. It is traditionally a day of quiet meditation as Christians contemplate the darkness of a world without a future and without hope apart from God and his grace." (Copyright © 2012 CRI/Voice, Institute, Dennis Bratcher)

Easter Sunday is a day of celebration for Christians the world over.  The word Easter conjures up images of baskets filled with brightly colored eggs and candy, chocolate bunnies, and crowded churches filled with families attired in their Sunday best. It is a day celebrated with sunrise worship services, Easter egg hunts, and feasting on a traditional ham or dining in overcrowded restaurants. But Easter is about so much more than these things. It is the culmination of a season of penitence, reflection, and remembrance of the life of Christ, who died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected from the dead on the day we know as Easter. 

One of my favorite traditions growing up in the Episcopal church was the Flowering of the Cross on Easter morning.  Prior to the celebration service, we would bring our mite (offering) boxes and flowers from our yards to decorate the hollowed out cross which stood in the front of our sanctuary.  The mite boxes contained money we might have spent on candy or whatever we chose to give up for Lent, and the funds were designated for mission work or to help the needy.  Fresh flowers were inserted in the elastic band framing the cross, creating a beautiful and fragrant symbol of the Resurrection.  The picture below, used with the permission of Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, CO, depict a traditional Flowering of the Cross.





Whatever your traditions are for celebrating Easter, I pray that God will bless you richly with a fresh appreciation of Christ's death on the cross for your sins and the hope of His Resurrection.

Christ has risen. The Lord is risen indeed!


Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.  www.deedeewike.com





Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Exposing the Enemy

Last week was the week from hell, literally.  Now that I look back on it I realize that much of the anger I felt, the sleeplessness I experienced, and the distractions that kept me from ministry were an attack by the enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy anything and anybody who proclaims the Good News of salvation and hope through Jesus Christ.

I have long felt that much of the rebellion we see in our children is nothing less than the enemy's attempt to keep the next generation of believers from ever reaching the point of salvation or reaching their peers for Christ.  Satan is masterful and cunning and will even go so far as to use our children to hinder our own service and ministries.  In recent days I have seen an escalation of Satan's attacks on the health of several members of my church family and I know that it is because we are proclaiming Christ and exposing the enemy for the true devil he is.   Lest you doubt it, Satan is alive and well and working on planet earth to do all in his power (and make no mistake, he is powerful) to see that no one comes to a saving knowledge of Christ and that those of us who do, live as defeated, ineffective Christians.

To those who would say that old people get sick and die, young people get cancer because of environmental or genetic causes, or that bad things happen simply because we live in a fallen world, I would say you are correct.  But I also know that Satan uses such things as illness, financial strain, rebellion, and addiction to stop us dead in our tracks or divert us from God's purpose for our lives.  We see evidence of his activity in the book of Job, when God allows Satan to take everything from his servant Job but his very life.  Satan destroyed Job's children, his livestock, his wealth, and his health.  Job's friends blamed his sin for all Job's trouble.  Job questioned God, even as we would.  But in the end, God asserted his omnipotence and once Job acknowledged his sovereignty, God renewed his blessings and restored prosperity to Job, blessing the latter part of Job's life more than the first (Job 42:12).

In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus said, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."   No attack of the enemy is unnoticed by the God who has already defeated him.  If you feel the weight of oppression in your circumstances and sense that there is something bigger at work than ordinary illness or adversity, you may well be under the attack of our enemy.  But faint not!   Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for the protection of his own from the enemy (John 17:9, 15).  Jesus tells us, "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy" (Luke 10:19).   

As a believer, you are a child of the Lamb, subject to persecution and attack simply because of whose you are.  "They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings -- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers" (Revelation 17:14).  No matter how closely you may walk with the Savior, know that Satan will do all in his power to steal, kill, and destroy any evidence of Christ in you.  But as a saved child of God you can rest in this blessed assurance from Christ himself:  "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).  Not even Satan!

 
Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.  www.deedeewike.com