Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Eve of the New Job

'Twas the eve of the new job and all through my mind
Came the question that nagged me, "How will I find time
To do all I now do plus work forty hours,
Run errands, keep house, and feed yours, mine, and ours?"
Already I'm tired from the thoughts I've been thinking
From prayers that I've said and from too little sleeping
But God this door opened so through it I'll go
With assurance He's with me and a heart full of joy
Tomorrow is coming and soon I will say
"Can't wait til next Friday, when I will get paid!"
God's strength I depend on day in and day out
Wherever I go, with thanksgiving I'll shout
Praises only a God so amazing deserves
As I do all I can, my employer to serve




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

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Climbing Out, Looking Up, Pressing On

Ten weeks ago Steve lost his full-time job and medical benefits.  Today, I interviewed for and was offered a temporary full-time position as a Service Communications Specialist with a company ten minutes from our home.  This wasn't the full-time job with benefits we had hoped for, but it is a positive move in the right direction.  The work should last through the end of the year and could become a permanent position if the company approves it. 

God has been so faithful during this season of "underemployment."  I can't actually call it a season of unemployment because both Steve and I have been blessed to have part-time work.  Granted, the income has been only a fraction of what he was making in his full-time position, but God has provided in so many unexpected ways that we stand in awe daily.  My new job will help us better meet our monthly expenses, but we will still have a shortfall and a lot of ground to regain.  As we continue to trust in our loving Provider day-by-day, we are confident that he will carry us through and supply all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus!

This job will help us begin the long climb out of the financial pit in which we have lived the past two months.  As we continue to look up to the One who has carried us this far and press on to find full-time employment for Steve, please continue to pray for us.  We haven't arrived yet, be we are on our way! 

Thank you for your faithfulness to pray and support us with your gifts.  May God bless you a hundredfold for your kindness and encouragement.

Praising God and thanking you!

Steve and Dee Dee



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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Unfading Beauty


Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
(1 Peter 3:3-4)


This is my left hand.  It isn't a pretty or well-manicured hand, but when paired with its mate (which took this picture) it can type with amazing speed and cook a mean pot roast.  It can weed a flowerbed, prune a hedge, and help a neighbor haul in groceries from her car.  It is a hand bears the scars of fifty years of living and serving others.  

I have always admired well-manicured hands and healthy fingernails, neither which I possess.  My daughter is the lucky recipient of those.  Although she was cursed to inherit my short, pudgy fingers, her luxuriously long nails always look nice, whether they are painted or not.  I guess the fingernail gene must have skipped my generation.  

I could invest in some artificial nails or at least have a salon manicure once in awhile, but it would be a waste of my time and money.  Like dye on my hair, the color never stays on my nails long enough for me to justify the expense, and I am not willing to sacrifice keyboarding speed for the sake of beauty.  Manicures are great for other people but not for me.  I'm too high-maintenance as it is!

It stands to reason that if God wanted me to have beautiful nails or straight hair or a rich husband, he would have given them to me.  Fortunately, God sees me as beautiful even when I don't and has given me a heart that is content to see how truly wealthy I am because of the many ways he has blessed me.  I may be gray-haired, over fifty, and drive my mother-in-law's hand-me-down Buick, but in my mind I am forty and drive a sporty new luxury car! 

No matter what we look like on the outside, what's important to God is that we cultivate beauty on the inside.  The amount of time and money we spend in salons or health spas to keep our exterior in tip-top shape doesn't matter much if we don't spend time with God cultivating pure hearts and gentle spirits.  True beauty and radiance don't come in a bottle but rather from a heart deeply in love with the One who created beautiful things. 


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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

As Hard As I Try

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)


As hard as I try, I often fail to accomplish everything I set out to do in a day's time.  You see, sometimes God allows life's little curve balls to test me and redirect me to something a little grander than I might have planned. 

Sometimes the distractions we face are meant to strengthen our faith muscles or produce in us the patience and determination we need to achieve our goals even though the odds seem stacked against us.  And sometimes, those detours are for our protection from unseen dangers we might not otherwise avoid.

First thing this morning, I was confronted with a failing battery in my son's car and a husband whose shoulder injury had him driving to work with an ice pack so he could work in spite of the pain he felt.  Knowing I would have to adjust my morning to take my son to work and have a new battery installed so he wouldn't be stranded on the road, I simply gave thanks that I could and that there was money in the bank to cover the cost of the battery.  Before my son needed to leave for work, my husband came back through the door saying that his shift had been cut from the schedule.  Relieved that my husband would be able to rest his shoulder and attend to the battery issue, I resumed what I was doing. 

I have learned to be flexible, to thank God for his divine appointments, and to realize that as hard as I try to control my time and money, they will never be my own.  It all belongs to him.  As long as I keep that in mind and give God the freedom to do as he wishes with that which belongs to him, including me, then he will work everything out for my good.

If you are like me and you sometimes feel frustrated that things just aren't getting done, take a few minutes at the end of your day to think about all that happened.  Whose life did you touch because of a schedule change or an unanticipated interruption?  What harm might you have escaped because God's plans required a change in yours?  While we need to make plans, set goals, and go after our dreams, we also need to know that the harder we try to control our time, resources, and circumstances, the less God will be able to accomplish in and through us for his glory.

My best days are the ones I surrender to God from the outset.  When I remember that my purpose is to live a life that honors and glorifies him, then it doesn't matter if my plans are trumped by his.  His ways are higher than my ways and he will never leave me nor forsake me.





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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What If...?

Four years ago, I started this blog which led to the writing of two books and many articles on faith living.  Somewhere in those four years I homeschooled kids, nearly lost my sanity raising my teenage son, and thought that somehow God might make a ministry out of the mayhem of this very average suburban mother's life.  My husband and I changed jobs, most recently not by choice, and found ourselves challenged by a declining economy and eroding social and moral values.  There were a lot of "what ifs" along the way, some of which have never been answered.

There is one "what if?" that has never been a question in my mind -- What if God didn't exist?

If I didn't know for sure that God is real and that he truly does exist, I would have caved under the stress of living in a world so full of uncertainty.   I would have settled for mediocrity instead of pursuing the dream of making a difference in the life of at least one person everyday.  Instead of running to God for comfort, I'd probably have run to Jack Daniel or the vineyards of Beringer and Sutter Home.  I would have given in to my kids' arguments that "everyone does it" or "their parents let them do it" when as a parent I knew that my only choice was to fight for what is good and right.  I would have decided that excellence isn't all it's cracked up to be and merely settled for the status quo.

But God does exist!  He is as real as the keyboard on which I am typing these words and the gifts that we have received in our season of unemployment.  His Word is real and his promises are true!  He reigns and is in control of even the most chaotic twists and turns we face in our day-to-day existence. 

As I consider the very real possibility that I may soon re-enter the workforce in a full-time capacity, I find myself faced with another whole group of "what if?" questions.  What if God never intended for me to have a "ministry" or write another book?  What if someone actually does hire me and I no longer have time to write because I am so busy trying to balance a full-time job with family obligations?  Would having the money to cover our living expenses and pay off our creditors be such a bad thing, even if it means that writing takes a backseat for awhile?  Probably not.  Somehow I think I will still manage to find time for my passion of encouraging others with the truths of God's Word.

What if God is opening the door to something even better than I could have imagined, a place of greater prosperity and a greater potential to make a difference in the lives of others?  What if I could simply be excited, say "Ok, God, let's do it -- whatever it is," and move on to the next season of life?

No matter what I do or where life takes me, I know that God will be with me every step of the way.  With him there is no need to ask, "What if?" because I know that I am in his hands and that he is working everything together for our good.

If you don't have that assurance for yourself, let me encourage you to pick up his Word and begin reading it.  As you begin to learn more about him and walk in obedience to his commands, you will begin to understand how truly caring and wonderful God is.  Maybe you struggle with believing God is good because of hardships you have faced.  Often he uses the hardships in life to draw us into an intimate relationship with him, if we will let him.

What if you let God into your daily life, to walk beside and guide you as a Father and the very best Friend you could ever have?  He is faithful and you will never be sorry for surrendering your heart and life to him.  What if....?






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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Power of Praise

When my husband lost his job and medical benefits I was unable to have my son's drug prescription filled due to the out-of-pocket expense.  After six weeks without his medication, I was more than eager to take the pharmacy benefits card issued by our state in behalf of my son to the pharmacy to have his prescription filled.  When the pharmacy clerk told me that his insurance would likely not cover the $200 cost of his medication and offered to check on it, I left her the card and went home praying once more for God's provision for this specific need.  Tears stung my eyes as I left the store, but before a tear could trickle down my cheek I immediately began to thank God for all the ways he had provided for our needs in the two months since my husband lost his job.  I knew in my heart that he could certainly work things out in my son's favor and called my son to ask him to pray.

A little more than two hours later I walked back into the pharmacy to see if the prescription was covered by the state prescription plan and to find out what my co-pay might be.  To my utter delight the clerk advised me that the medication was indeed covered and that there would be no cost to me!  Greatly relieved and taking advantage of an open door, I was able to share with her that this was an answer to prayer and tell her of the many ways God has provided for us over the past several weeks.  I was able to give a reason for the hope that I have (1 Peter 3:15).

When I left the pharmacy earlier that afternoon, I could have chosen to despair over the possibility that insurance might not cover the cost of my son's medication.  But instead I chose to praise God for his past blessings, his promise to provide, and his faithfulness day-by-day. 

Praise is a powerful resource we sometimes forget we have at our disposal.  God inhabits the praises of his people and is faithful to the promises of his Word.  The next time you are worried about something, try praising God instead. 

"Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back in praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, 'Blessed be the Name of the Lord.'"
(lyrics by Matt and Beth Redman)






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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where Is Grace?

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6-7, NIV)

A dear friend once advised me never to pray for patience or the Lord would surely allow mine to be tested.  I wonder why she never advised me not to pray for grace?
  • Where is grace when the words spoken to you wound so deeply that you want to strike back like a great white shark on a feeding frenzy?
  • Where is grace when the one who could be a part of the solution to a problem is full of platitudes and empty gestures?
  • Where is the grace when you feel so sorry for yourself that you can seemingly justify every complaint that your mouth utters because you didn't ask for your problems in the first place?
 I think in order to understand where grace is, we have to first understand what grace is.  Grace has been defined by a catchy little acronym, "God's Riches at Christ's Expense," or by the common phrase, "God's unmerited favor."  According to Strong's Concordance, the word for grace is charis, which means favor.  The Greek word used for riches, transliterated ploutos, means "riches, wealth, abundance, materially or spiritually."  It stands to reason, then, that the riches of God's grace can be defined as the abundance of God's favor, even when it is undeserved.

The "expense" Christ paid so that we could experience God's grace, or unmerited favor, was his own death on the cross for our sins.  You see, none of us is good (Romans 3:12, Psalm 53:1).  There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation; we must receive it by faith.  The same is true of God's grace.  We can't earn it, and we cannot in our human power walk in the fullness of it.  We must rely on the Holy Spirit who indwelt us at salvation to supply us with the power to walk in the riches of God's grace. 

So, where do we find grace to help in time of need?  Where is grace when we want to respond with a quick retort when instead we should probably hold our tongue?  In a world full of problem people and challenging situations, we need grace more than ever.  We need to live and give grace as never before.

To find grace, or to see a life exemplified by grace, we need to study God's Word and look deeply into the life of Christ, who gave His life in order for us to receive the riches of God's grace.  We need to know what Scripture says about grace, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the attitude of Jesus, who sacrificed everything and became a servant of all. 

To live a life filled with grace requires that we humble ourselves and empty ourselves of pride, entitlement, and self-pity, then ask the Holy Spirit to supernaturally do in and through us what we cannot do in our own power -- walk in the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

You won't find grace in a pill, a formula, or in the person you see in the mirror every morning.  You can only find grace in the One who died so you could receive the riches of God's grace. 




  
Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com
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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pay Attention

During my devotional time the following sentences written by Marvin Williams in the August 10, 2012 reading from Our Daily Bread really grabbed and convicted my heart:  "His loving attention changed Zacchaeus' life.  He repented and offered restitution for those he had defrauded.  Salvation had come to his house."  Mr. Williams' statement about the love of Jesus prompted me to ask myself, Do the words I speak and the interest I show in others change their lives for the better and point them to Jesus, or do they do just the opposite?

One of the things I sorely lack is a gentle spirit, particularly when it comes to my family.  I have a difficult time accepting them in spite of their faults or overlooking the things they neglect to do, especially if I am tired or feel like I am shouldering the majority of responsibility on a day-to-day basis.  I find it difficult to draw the line between tolerance and perfection, and lean very hard on those who do not share my philosophy about housekeeping and clutter.  Once I start down the path of expressing my concerns or point of view I tend to pass the point of no return, eventually alienating everyone in my path. 

I don't often ask the question, "What would Jesus do?" because I know I won't like the answer.  I know he wouldn't act the way I sometimes do.  "Uptight" probably was not a word in his vocabulary.

Why is it so hard simply to hold my tongue and pray rather than lash out at those I love?  Why can't I let go of the little things that annoy me and simply be thankful for the wonderful family I have, even if they don't always pick up after themselves or act the way I think they should? 

Sometimes our words and attitudes can be the very thing that gets between those we love and the God who loves them even more.  Let us resolve to pay attention to what we say and how we act toward those closest to us.  Let not familiarity breed contempt, but rather let our times of testing be God's opportunity to show how big he really is!  It doesn't matter if my house looks like Martha Stewart lives here, but it does matter that the hearts of those I love most become Christ's home for all eternity.





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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Call Me Mary

What is it with life lately?  Am I the only one who feels like the merry-go-round keeps spinning faster and faster? 

I am getting a taste of what it feels like to work full-time and manage a household this week as I temp for a local business.  My hat's off to the working mothers out there who manage to do all that plus run carpool, shuffle kids to athletic activities, serve in their churches, and make their homes look like something out of the pages of Southern Living magazine!  Can I have an "Amen, Martha"?

Just call me Mary.  As in Mary, the woman who sat at Jesus' feet hanging on every word He said. The sister about whom Martha complained because she wasn't doing enough to help in the kitchen.   "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her" (Luke 10:41-42).

Sometimes we can't control the things that occur in our lives or the time we spend trying to cope with them.  But, we can come aside for awhile and sit at the feet of Jesus, who so greatly desires our fellowship.  If you feel like your life is coming apart at the seams, drop everything and run into his open arms!  Pour out your heart and let him comfort you as no one else can.  He understands every emotion you feel and longs to help you shoulder every burden that weighs heavy on you.  If you choose Jesus, nothing in this life will ever be able to separate you from his love and the joy of knowing that he is for you.


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

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Thank you for visiting my blog! You are encouraged to post a comment and share this blog with a friend. By sharing, you are helping to encourage others with the truth of God's Word!