Sunday, September 30, 2012

Restoring What Was Lost

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. (Joel 2:25-26)

When I started my full-time job a month ago, my heart sank because I knew that I would have to give up the thing I love doing most -- being a full-time mom.  My daughter was sick one day recently so I had the opportunity to stay home from work and take care of her.  Although I never want my children to be sick I must admit that I relished the chance to don a pair of jeans, have a lengthy quiet time, and just enjoy the day.  But as usual my day didn't turn out the way I planned. 

With a perfectly mapped out day ahead of me, I decided to turn on my computer to check email while the coffee was brewing.  I should have had my quiet time first and just stayed out of my office altogether!  But I knew that I had past due bills to pay and was determined to make paying them one of my priorities on my day off. 

Because I had been having trouble connecting to the Internet for a few days I called my Internet Service Provider and spent about an hour on the phone running tests and diagnostics only to be told that I probably had spyware on my computer.  After running a full virus scan then a malware check, the system detected and removed two malicious programs that were running in the background.  Then my system CRASHED!  I tried every way I knew how to restart my computer and finally as a last resort restored it to factory defaults, which meant that the programs I had installed plus all my data from the past three years, including pictures, manuscripts, and business and personal financial data were lost.  LOST!  Thankfully I had subscribed to an online backup service and run a complete backup of my machine just a month prior, copying some of the more recent critical files to a thumb drive.  Because of my online backup, all was not lost in the end, though I suffered the inconvenience of having to spend countless hours restoring my computer to an operational state and downloading the files and software I had lost.

In some ways life is a lot like a malfunctioning computer.  There is a malicious enemy at work who sneaks into our lives wreaking havoc and throwing everything into chaos, causing seemingly irreparable damage from which we think we may never recover.  He introduces temptation and sin into the life of the believer with the stealth of the Trojan virus that lurked in the heart of my computer.  The Bible tells us to "be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). 

Fortunately for us, Jesus is in the business of restoring broken lives and repairing the damage done by sin.  Even those of us who are surrendered to the Lord are susceptible to the enemy's temptation to sin,  but when we know and live according to God's Word, we are better able to recognize and prevent those temptations from taking root and wiping out completely the good work that God has begun in us. 

Restoration is not a quick process.  Just as it will take days for me to get my computer back in the shape it was before the crash and restore all the data that was lost, it will take time for God to "restore the years the locusts have eaten" because of our sin.  But He does promise to restore that which is lost.  That is why Jesus came in the first place -- "to seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).




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

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Finish Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.              (Hebrews 12:1-3)
 
For the past three months I have been working on a project that has consumed a lot of time and energy and deprived me of much-needed sleep.  While the project itself is not complete, my initial contribution is finally finished despite the detour created by an unforeseen job loss three months ago.  Since then I have prayed my way through this project one day at a time, persevering in the task before me with the knowledge that the circumstances which slowed me down were beyond my control.

Sometimes life throws us a challenge that can derail us on our journey--if we allow it to.  Whether or not we recognize or care to admit it, those challenges often come as attacks of the enemy, who knows that our accomplishment of a particular goal or task is God's plan for us and will further His kingdom on earth.  The enemy will stop at nothing to hinder our progress because he doesn't want the kingdom of God to receive a blessing or the Lord to receive glory as a result of our obedience to His will.

As I worked through this project, despite the added stress of taking on a new full-time job and dealing with the fallout of a financial reversal, I never quit, though many times I felt I could not take another step.  I know that God will honor the effort that has been poured into this project and that many people will be blessed, edified, and encouraged because I trusted in Him and relied on His strength to do what I, in my own strength, could not have done.

If you know that God has given you an assignment and you find yourself opposed by people, hindered by unforeseen circumstances, or bombarded with constant distractions, hang in there and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  "Inch-by-inch, it's a cinch!"  With God's help, you can  finish well.


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, September 13, 2012

New Lacrosse Mom Spotted!

Before attending a special benefit lacrosse game last spring, I didn't even know what lacrosse was.  But my daughter, who has never participated in organized sports and barely survived dance lessons, has decided to try a sport this year.  She didn't go for the kinder, gentler sport of softball, like I did in high school.  Oh, no!  Joy is going to be running the field at break-neck speed (hope she doesn't break hers!) while slinging and (hopefully) catching balls in a little net on the end of a stick.  Now this I gotta see!

Joy had her first skills practice today right after I got home from work.  In fact, not only did I not have time to come in and change clothes or grab a quick cup of coffee, the practice ran long and we didn't get home to eat dinner until nearly 7:30.  But the weather was perfect for relaxing and conversing with a lovely British woman whose daughter is also new to the sport.  Joy found a sport and I made a new friend.  Jolly good, I say!

I never wanted to be one of those ultra-busy working moms who spends every waking hour of her free time shuttling kids to sports practice, but I joined the team today and to tell you the truth, I am looking forward to the joys of victory! (The agony of defeat? Not so much.)  Life is too short to sit on sidelines and let an opportunity like this pass us by. 

Go, Joy! I am proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on a new challenge and making new friends.  I promise not to be an obnoxious lacrosse mom...well, maybe.







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, September 11, 2012

One Word: Favor

The other night as I struggled to find peace with a particularly bothersome situation, I found it difficult to sleep.  Anxiety welled up within me, forcing me out of the comfy bed my weary body desperately longed for.  Exhausted but too restless to sleep, I wandered into my office, flipped on the lamp, and began to pray.

Obviously I was long overdue for a good cry because not long after the tears started flowing, the weather service issued a flash flood warning because of the deluge. (Not really, but they could have.)  As I cried out to God, I pleaded for a word from him...just one word to help me through a dark and desperate hour.

God's one word for me was FAVOR.  I found myself praying for favor:
  • on my new job
  • with my co-workers
  • with the book project I am working on
  • for my husband, in the form of a job
  • with our creditors
  • for our daughter to get a scholarship for the youth retreat this weekend
  • for a good night's sleep with no dreams (they often disrupt my sleep)
I looked up the word "favor" in my concordance and was led to the following verses.  As I wrote these verses in my journal, substituting my name and personal pronoun in parentheses, they suddenly became very powerful.

"Satisfy us (me) in the morning with your unfailing love, that we (I) may sing for joy and be glad all our (my) days.  Make us (me) glad for as many days as you have afflicted us (me), for as many years as we (I) have seen trouble.  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their (my) children.  May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us (me); establish the work of our (my) hands for us (me) -- yes, establish the work of our (my) hands." (Psalm 90:14-17).
"But Noah (Dee Dee) found favor in the eyes of the Lord.  (Genesis 6:8)

May it be so, Lord, for all those who call upon your Name, stand upon your promises, and walk in your ways.  Amen!





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!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

If My Children Don't Learn Anything Else....

If my children don't learn anything else in life, I hope they will somehow realize....
 
... just how much God loves them and how much I do, too.
 
...that being a loving and concerned parent is just as hard, if not harder, than being the child of one.
 
...how blessed they are to have parents who love them enough to have the hard conversations and discipline them when necessary, even though sometimes they wish we lived on another planet!
 
...that it's okay to say no to drugs, sex, alcohol, and indecent entertainment choices because all those things really do have a negative influence on their character.
 
...that character counts and they are "guilty by association" when they hang out with people who have little regard for character or respect for authority.
 
...that money doesn't grow on trees and that it is indeed very important to save for the proverbial rainy day.
 
...that "please" and "thank you" are still important words to say.
 
...that the universe does not revolve around them, even though they are special.
 
...that they need to love their friends without getting sucked into all the drama or taking on the other person's baggage.
 
...that boundaries are good things and that they should learn to set a few themselves.
 
...that bad friends are going to drag them down and that they cannot save the kids who are determined to self-destruct.  Only God can do that.
 
...that parents don't make the rules; God does.
 
...that life works better for those who apply The Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you") and treat others with kindness and respect.
 
...that takers eventually lose everything and givers are rich beyond measure.  "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
 
...that "no" is answer and that there is usually a reason behind every "no" we give them as parents.
 
...that parents were once kids, too, and we know far more than they give us credit for.
 
...that friends come and go, human love and emotions are fickle, but God's love is constant and He promises He will never leave or forsake His own.
 
...that loss is a part of life and sometimes God has something better than the person, thing, or job they may have lost.  "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose."
 
...that there is always someone worse off than they are and that in the eternal scheme of things, every challenge they will face in this earthly life is temporary.
 
...that God's ways always have been and always will be greater than their ways.  Life with God can be a great and awesome adventure.
 
...that they can make a difference in someone's life and change their world for the better if they are willing to think about someone besides themselves and dare to dream a little.
 
...that with God all things are possible.
 
...that God can be trusted to keep His promises every time, even when others break theirs.
 
...that no one knows them better or loves them more than God does.
 
...that nothing in this life will satisfy them like a personal relationship with Jesus.  He is more than enough. 


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, September 7, 2012

What's Your Story?

For the past few months I have been working on the autobiography of an individual whom I greatly admire.  Although I have in recent years given thought to writing my own story, it really isn't my story I want to share with others.  There really isn't anything particularly interesting or compelling about my life.  But there is a lot I could write about God, who has become my life.  It is his story, and his alone, that is worth telling.

We all have stories we could share with others.  What is yours?  If you were to categorize your life story as a particular genre, what would it be?  Mystery?  Romance?  Tragedy?  Comedy?  I think a truly balanced and well-lived life would have all the elements of a blockbuster -- adventure, danger, intrigue, romance, tragedy, and laughter.

When you read the Bible, God's story, you are reading the most popular and compelling book of all time.  When you live according to it, then your story takes on all the elements of a bestseller that can't help but impact others.

Though it has been said, "you can't judge a book by its cover," the story you tell by the way you live your life speaks volumes about you and the God who lives in you.  Even if you never write your own story for others to read, live your life in such a way that they will be drawn to the God inside 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!

Monday, September 3, 2012

You Don't Say!

 


 Last week I started a new full-time job as a Service Communications Specialist.  Kind of sounds like a chatty position, don't you think?   Just two days into the job my supervisor had already asked if I would be willing to work one Saturday per month and requested that we all work at some point over the Labor Day weekend.  Not what I had planned, but okay.

My daughter, on the other hand, had the chance to go to Pickwick Lake with a friend and her family.  Here I am at the end of my long work day listening to her play-by-play recap of her long weekend.  I'll have to say that after a weekend without her, her non-stop communication was music to my ears.

 

If nothing else, I got to live vicariously through her stories and for a few minutes, at least, relax and contemplate the serenity of the lake and feel the wind and sun on my face as she described every little detail! 

These are the moments I live for. 




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!