Monday, December 30, 2013

A Life Well Lived -- A Tribute to Barbara Heather Olford

Heather Olford and me at the recording of her
radio interview at WCRV in August 2013.
It seems fitting that my last blog post of 2013 be dedicated to the memory of a woman who has had a profound impact on my life, Mrs. Heather Olford.  I have had the privilege of working with Mrs. Olford and Olford Ministries International since March of 2007, serving for the past several months as her personal assistant, which afforded me the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with her.

Although I have known Mrs. Olford for the past six and a half years, it wasn't until she wrote her recently published book, Together with God, that I really gained an insight into her heart and developed a deep love and friendship with this woman of God.  From the opening pages of the book I was captivated by the story of her life, her passionate love for her Lord and her husband, the late Dr. Stephen Olford, and their ministry together.  My only regret is that I didn't have the chance to meet Dr. Olford as well.

Mrs. Olford was a woman dedicated to a life of love, single-hearted devotion, and service to the Lord in whose presence she now stands.  Up until the day of her passing at eighty-nine years of age, she worked tirelessly and faithfully serving her Lord by supporting and corresponding with missionaries around the world and overseeing the Stephen Olford Ministry Legacy, a ministry dedicated to training pastors and preachers across the globe in the expository preaching of God's Word.  She did so with a sense of humor, a grace that could only come from God, and a deep, deep commitment to furthering His Gospel around the world.

Although Mrs. Olford was occupied with many ministry endeavors, she was first and foremost a mother and grandmother to her family and a friend and counselor to me and to others who sought her guidance and godly wisdom in dealing with our own issues.  Many days she spontaneously prayed with me about my own concerns as a mother, decisions facing our family, and for God's provision during a season of my husband's unemployment.  She was always busy, but she always made time for the important things and people in her life.

To her sons, David and Jonathan, and their wives and children -- may God bless and comfort you in the days ahead.  To all her family and friends -- I wish you God's peace as you cherish the memory of this amazing woman of God.  And to our dear heavenly Father -- thank You so much for the privilege and honor of knowing, loving, and serving your precious servant, Heather.  Hers was a life well lived, a testimony of Your grace and faithfulness, and a model by which we should all strive to live our lives.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enjoy your well-deserved rest and the sweet, sweet presence of your Lord.

Barbara Heather Olford
(March 2, 1924 - December 21, 2013)





Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Friday, December 13, 2013

What I Want for Christmas

What I want for Christmas cannot be bought or made,
Or wrapped in pretty paper and beneath a green tree laid.
It isn't something I can get from the department store,
But rather quite a special gift known only to the Lord.
It's something I have prayed for, for such a long, long time,
A joy that cannot be contained, I hope will soon be mine.
The cry of every longing heart that longs so to be still,
As on the Lord I wait for Him to bring about His will
To see my lost ones walk with Him and know Him as their Friend,
A faithful, holy God whose love and mercy have no end.
The greatest joy that I could have this blessed Christmas morn
Is knowing that in all their hearts the Christ child is reborn.



Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

This time of year it is natural for many of us to remember the ghosts of Christmas past, those memories that may haunt us or are simply hauntingly beautiful.  Whether it is the subtle yearning for one who is no longer close to us, or home-movie memories of happy childhood Christmases when our wonder-filled eyes were bigger than our wish lists, these melancholy ghosts often appear when we least expect them.  A song on the radio or visit to a special place can trigger a flood of emotions that blindside us and have us singing the Christmas blues.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I like to linger in those moments and talk to the ghosts of Christmas past.  Any heartbreak I might feel is temporary and triggers an avalanche of gratitude to the God who healed the brokenness and revealed Himself to me in a way I would never have known without the pain. In those times when Christmas becomes a chaotic mess, those home-movie memories remind me of the richness and importance of family time and fellowship with friends.  It's the people, and especially Christ, who make Christmas meaningful, not the gifts we receive.

If you find yourself a little sad this time of year, don't beat yourself up for feeling blue.  Don't throw yourself a pity party either!  But do look to Jesus, the Indescribable Gift, and ask Him to become your everything. Jesus is all you need and His grace is sufficient for you.  There is not a broken relationship His passionate love for you cannot overshadow, or a hurt He cannot heal.  He is the Joy-Giver, waiting eagerly for you to unwrap the greatest Gift of all -- His love for you.  Let this be the year that you give Him your heartaches and regret and experience once more the true Wonder of Christmas.



Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cruising to Christmas

I don't know about your life but lately mine has been just a little too crazy!  Most of November was a flurry of activity, very little of it productive because of unexpected detours along the way.

As I turn my calendar page from November to December, my thoughts are now focused on Christmas and all the preparations and activity that are a part of the holidays.  Even though I made a lengthy to do list this morning, I am inclined to set it all aside for a day or two and simply catch my breath.  I am determined to enjoy Christmas this year, with or without decorations, in spite of an insanely busy schedule, and with my sights on the manger instead of the mania.

How about you?  What can you do this year to make your Christmas a little more meaningful and a lot less maniacal?  Instead of attending every holiday function on my calendar, I will omit one or two to free up an evening for relaxing with my family and a good Christmas movie!  I will battle the compulsion to use every Christmas decoration in storage and simply put up the tree and set out a few treasured Christmas pieces in the main living areas of my home.  Instead of my usual Christmas newsletter, which I typically email to the world, I will hand-write a few Christmas cards (real ones) and mail them to family members.  Since I do so much of my communicating on Facebook there is really no need to repeat the news that most of my friends already know.

This year I am cruising to Christmas and keeping things as simple as I possibly can.  In the end, what matters is the Spirit of Christmas, the love of Christ which we should share every day of the year with those we meet on our journey.  If we learn to live and learn to give as Christ intended, then we can spread Christmas joy and cheer throughout the year!



Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Week Before Christmas

(NOTE:  This is a repost of a blog from Christmas 2010.  I ran across a newspaper clipping containing the poem while filing tonight so I could decorate for Christmas.  Thought I'd share it while I had the clipping in hand, even though we're still a few weeks away.)


'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the streets
People's bellies were bulging from too many sweets.
The haggard expressions on all those tired faces
Were sure signs that they'd shopped at too many places.
With pocketbooks empty and stress levels high
They comforted themselves with some coffee and pie.
Now yearning for a simple, more joyful occasion
They wondered what happened to the Christmas celebration.
The gifts 'neath the tree wrapped in paper so fine
Left them wondering why they had spent their last dime
On things that would soon be discarded and tossed,
Instead of investing in the lives of the lost.
The message of Christmas was somehow deleted
While parties and gift giving were often repeated.
The true meaning of Christmas got lost in the shuffle
As everyone got caught up in the hustle and bustle.
Christmas morning arrived and the gifts were unwrapped
As we uttered a sigh, "Another Christmas has passed."
Did we take time to ponder the true meaning this season,
Or did we once again forget that Christ is the Reason
We celebrate with gift-giving and time spent with all those we love
And that He came here for us, leaving heaven above?
With a few days remaining before the big day
Let us take time to ponder and give Jesus the praise.
Let us unwrap the gift that He brought that first Christmas
And give him our hearts.  Merry Christmas, dear Jesus!

Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.  www.deedeewike.com

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Relishing the Stillness

I try to spend some time with the Lord at the beginning of every day.  Those few moments spent reading his Word and praying for others and myself are critical and life-sustaining.  Without God's intimate involvement in the details of my life I would surely be lost!

This morning I enjoyed an extended quiet time. Because of transportation issues and rainy weather I opted to stay home and watch our worship service live on the Internet after reading my devotionals.  After the worship service I spent some time in prayer.  During that prayer time I realized that the desire of my heart is not that God would give my husband a job or a car to replace his Camry which died at a very inopportune time.  Rather my desire is to be so filled with God's Spirit and so captivated by his love that none of these earthly matters can overshadow the joy of my relationship with God.

Is is possible to live above one's circumstances and actually achieve that level of intimacy with God?  If I spent a little more time relishing the stillness and less time asking for God to meet the needs of others and my own family, would he still answer those prayers?  Yes, I believe he would.

God has a heart's desire, too -- that we would be still and know that he is God.  He wants us to cast our cares on him because he cares for us.  Just for one day, could we cease to pray repetitiously for ourselves and simply tell God that we love him?

It is time to turn our eyes upon Jesus, to give him our undivided hearts and undistracted devotion.  It is time to give thanks for his goodness and his answers to our spoken and unspoken prayers.  It is time to enjoy him rather than let our challenging circumstances steal away our joy.

I pray that your cares and concerns will melt away as you relish the stillness and savor being in the presence of your God.  He wants so much to be with you and to show you just how much he loves you.  Pray for him to open your eyes to his glory and unlock your heart so his love and his Spirit can fill you afresh this day.


Copyright © 2013 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, November 16, 2013

Asking the Hard Questions

Sometimes life throws one punch after another and we find ourselves winded from the relentless assault of circumstances beyond our control.  When that happens our tendency is to ask hard questions or even doubt God.

This week has been unkind to our family.  We spent over $1,400 to repair two older model cars, one of which died anyway.  And my husband received confirmation that his position is being eliminated less than two weeks before Christmas because of a merger.  Despite the stress and disappointment of our circumstances, we realize that we have so much more to be thankful for than to regret.  We have our faith, our family and friends, our health, and the assurance that God will supply all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  We know that he is faithful to his Word and we will face our challenges standing on his promises.  He has been faithful before and we have no doubt that he will see us through this setback.

Sometimes I am tempted to ask, "Why?" but I will never ask, "Where are you, Lord?" because I already know the answer to that question.  He is right here with me.  He is with my precious husband who now faces the loss of a second job in less than eighteen months.  He is with my twenty-year-old, who is struggling to make ends meet on a part-time salary and looking for a better job so he can find relief from the stress of adulthood.  He is with my fourteen-year-old, who has made her own sacrifices and lives daily in the midst of our stress, no doubt wondering how we'll get through it all.

It is not important to ask why bad things happen. They just do.  But it is important for all of us to remember, especially during those times when life is simply overwhelming, that God is loving, he is kind, he is faithful, and he is in control.  And besides, he has promised to work all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

In 1 Peter 4:12-13, we read these words:  "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (NIV).

When life overwhelms us perhaps the question we need to ask is, "How can you use this for your glory, Lord?"  If we seek to understand his purposes for our pain, and his glory rather than our gain, then we will be able to weather life's storms in such a way that others will see him in us.  Isn't that how it should be?



Copyright © 2013 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, November 3, 2013

The Patience of God

Thanks to an early birthday gift from my husband, I spent the weekend at a women's conference hosted by my church, which featured Bible study teacher and author, Priscilla Shirer.  It was a conference I had wanted to attend but didn't feel I could afford, so I was truly thankful my husband recognized my need to get away from the chaos and drama of my life and be spiritually refreshed.

On Friday night, Priscilla's anointed message centered on the patience of God and how much power his patience not only requires, but also reveals.  One thing I struggle with daily is patience with people who frustrate me.  I jotted down a few noteworthy statements, which really caused me to think about my lack of patience and seek God for more of his.

"God's power is seen not only in what he does, but in what he doesn't."

 "His patience is demonstrated not only in his release of power but also in his restraint." 

When I am in the heat of conflict with someone I often lack restraint, particularly when it comes to verbally communicating my position on the issue causing the conflict.  With every reiteration of my position, particularly if the other person doesn't get it the first time around, I grow increasingly impatient and angry.  In an effort to get my point across I often bludgeon my poor opponent with an unwarranted verbal assault, effectively destroying any chance God might have of softening his hard heart or breaking through with the kind of revelation that might turn his life around.

Teaching from a passage in 1 Timothy 16, Priscilla said that perhaps no one better understood the patience of God than the apostle Paul.  The reasons Paul could testify to God's patience were that (1) "God saved me" (v. 15), (2) "God changed me" by showing his great mercy (v. 13); and (3) "God is using me" (v. 12).  God could use Paul, the "chief of sinners," because he changed Paul from the inside out.  How often do we feel that God could never use us because we too often lose our cool and overstep boundaries?

Using the example of popcorn, Priscilla taught us that corn doesn't "pop" because of the heat exerted on the outside but because of the heat exerted on the inside, causing a tiny water drop within the kernel to turn into steam and through heat and pressure, result in the external change we know as popcorn.  The same is true when the Holy Spirit changes us on the inside -- the rotten fruit of our anger and bitterness are transformed into the sweet fruit of God's love and compassion.  All too often, we resist the Holy Spirit's work in us and, as a result, cheat ourselves and others of God's blessing.

Life is difficult and our circumstances may cause us to respond in very unhealthy and ungodly ways.  Priscilla said that "the enemy does not want us to value where God has put us."  But what if we could?  What if we could see our present season as God's opportunity to change us and use us for his glory?  We needn't feel that we have been cheated of God's blessings in the hard seasons of life, but rather encouraged that God has chosen us, even in our difficulties, to be his vessels of amazing grace.




Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Better Thing

Today I'll choose the better thing,
The rest to do another time.
To linger in Your Presence, Lord,
Is a joy that's most sublime.
With praise songs softly playing,
My glad heart will worship You.
There is  no place I'd rather be
Or thing I'd rather do.
The clothes that need a washing,
The floors that need a sweep,
The emails still unanswered
Are all things that will keep.
To sit and talk with You, Lord,
And meditate on Your Word
Refreshes me like nothing else
And prepares me for the work
Of being parent, spouse, and friend,
And office worker, too,
Affording me the privilege
Of lifting those to You
Who may not know You as I do,
Or know how much You care--
Who may not know that they themselves
Can come to You in prayer.
Oh, help us all to come aside
From all that holds us fast,
That Your embrace we may enjoy
Before this day has passed.
Each moment spent with You, dear Lord,
Prepares us for the 'morrow
When all will fade on earth below
And heaven will hold no sorrow.
Lord, strengthen us with grace each day
Our trials to withstand
Until we pass through heaven's gates
Into our Promised Land!


Copyright © 2013 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, October 27, 2013

Is It Even Worth It?

Of all the questions we ask ourselves perhaps one of the most compelling is, "Is it even worth it? Does what I do make a difference?  Does anybody really care?"

I don't know what you do to make a living or what thing it is that gives you purpose, but I do know that it is human nature to second-guess ourselves and at times, second-guess God's purpose and plan for our lives.   Second-guessing God's calling is something I do more often than I care to admit, particularly when book sales are slow and my calendar is empty.  But then I am reminded that my life is about so much more than writing and marketing -- it is about walking out my faith before family, friends, and strangers.  It is about being the hands and feet of Christ to those around me.  If God chooses to use me in the ordinary circumstances of life rather through the extraordinary, who am I to argue?  All that really matters is his glory and the souls of those he brings across my path.

God is so gracious to encourage me through my readers when I need it most. Through their encouragement he lets me know that when I do seek his will and write about the lessons he is teaching me, he uses what I have suffered to encourage others in their difficulties (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).  Even in my suffering God proves himself faithful to his Word.  Somehow that makes any suffering I endure all the more worthwhile.

Sometimes I am criticized for being a little too transparent when I write about the things I grow through.  (No,  that is not a typo because I do, in fact, grow through the experiences of life, especially the hard ones.)  If we aren't transparent at times, how can others know that not only can they survive a particularly difficult trial, but thrive as a result of it because God has promised to meet them at their deepest point of need?

What you do, sweet friend, matters so much more than you know. Whether you write, parent, work in an office, or labor on an assembly line, your work matters!  The life you live matters!  It matters to those around you who are struggling to find the hope that you have, those whose dark paths long to be illumined by the light of Christ that beams brightly through you.

When you are frustrated and ready to throw in the towel ask God to renew your sense of purpose and help you see, from his perspective, that what you do really does matter.  Beloved, no matter how feeble your efforts or how often you stumble, what you do matters most of all to God.  Call on him to help, inspire, and motivate you to carry on for the glory of his name!



Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Not the Only One

Hard pressed on every side, not crushed,
Perplexed, but not despairing --
A broken, contrite heart I bring,
O Lord, for Your repairing.
A sacrifice of praise to You
My heavy heart I offer
With glistening tears and trembling hands
To lay upon Your altar.
Oh, Lord, I'm not the only one
So overwhelmed by life,
Who finds each day less filled with joy
Than bitterness and strife.
Your children struggle day-by-day
To find their hope in You,
To overcome the trials of life
By walking in Your truths.
I'm not the only one, dear Lord,
Who feels a little lost,
Who needs to sense Your presence near
To help me bear my cross.
O Word of God, speak now to me
Your truths to give me courage,
To fight with faith and run the race
And others to encourage.
Lord, bless all those who seek Your grace
As on their paths they trod.
Supply Your peace, reminding us
You are Almighty God,
Who cares for us and wipes each tear,
Who knows each pain we feel.
Help us to live in such a way
That You, God, are revealed.
Lord, let the hurt and pain we feel
Be stepping stones of grace
To help the lost ones find their way,
Your salvation to embrace.


Copyright © 2013 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, October 23, 2013

When the Numb Wears Off

Going to the dentist isn't my favorite thing to do.  In the past few years I have had a couple of root canals, some crown work, and a couple of cavities filled.  I've also had my bank account drained as a result!

Fortunately my dentist and endodontist are careful to make sure I am adequately medicated so that I don't experience any major discomfort during a procedure.  The problem with the medication is that it often results in a crooked smile and a mouth that cannot even sip water until hours after the procedure!  Even though the medication makes the dental work relatively painless, there is often residual pain and discomfort from the procedure when the numb wears off. 
 
So it is with life. We may medicate our hurts and stresses in life with drugs, food, sex, alcohol, or some form of entertainment in order to avoid facing our problems or dealing with the reality that life in a fallen world is painful.  But when the substances we use and abuse wear off, the pain will still be there.  Why?  Because nothing in this life -- no drug, no distraction -- can heal the hurt or fix the underlying cause of our pain.
 
So, what is our hope?  Jesus, plain and simple.  He created us and this world in which we live.  He is not responsible for the bad things that happen as a result of man's sin nature but his death on the cross is our salvation and provides assurance of a gloriously painless eternity in heaven, if we choose to receive him as Savior and surrender to him as Lord.
 
Bad things will always happen to good people.  But with Jesus as our Rock and our ever-present help in time of need, we can get through the storm and find healing from the pain.  I know this to be true because I made the choice long ago to put down the bottle and pick up my Bible and live my life God's way instead of my own.  I still have pain some days, but I possess an even greater peace because of the One who walks through every storm with me.  You can know that same peace, too.


Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Go...Fight...WIN!

On this beautiful fall afternoon in the middle of football season it only seems appropriate to write about perseverance and victory.  After all, isn't that what the Christian life is all about?

Sometimes it seems that life is one big skirmish.  We fight and scrape our way through each day's challenges, bobbing and weaving through our days like a quarterback through a defensive line.  (Disclaimer:  I really know very little about football, so if my analogies are a little off-base then feel free to throw a penalty flag!)  Eventually though, if we do not grow weary and give up, we will eventually find ourselves doing a victory dance in the end zone!

I feel like I've been running the ball all day, making puny advances and gaining very little yardage.  But my eye is on the goal and I am determined to make it across the goal line no matter how many times I get sacked by the distractions and disruptions that oppose me.

How about you?  There is a "great cloud of witnesses" cheering you on from a heavenly grandstand, witnesses who played this game before you.  Will you carry the ball that has been passed to you, persevering until you reach the goal?  Hear them cheer you on:  "Go...Fight...Win!"




Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Work It Out!

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.   If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord" (Romans 12:17-19 NIV).

Relationships.  They're what God created us for.  He created us to be in relationship with Him and with one another.  If that is the case, then why do we have such trouble getting along?

Often selfishness is the culprit in our most challenging relationships. But sometimes other factors come into play: financial difficulties, mental illness or emotional instability, stress, or the demands of work and play.  Somehow we get so caught up in the stresses of everyday life that we lose sight of the truly important things, especially when it comes to family and friends.

If you are struggling with a difficult relationship, try to look at your situation objectively. 
  • Step away from the conflict and allow God to quiet you, then ask Him to show you the cause of the conflict and give you the wisdom to handle it the way He would.

  • Without enabling destructive behavior or habits, do everything you can to live at peace with that button-pushing sandpaper person who seems bent on making your life miserable.

  • If there a problem that you cannot control, such as unrelenting anger, addiction, or abuse, then realize your limitations and seek help for yourself or for that individual with whom it seems impossible to make peace.  Contact a counselor or trusted friend who can advise you or at least lend you a listening ear and pray for you.

If there is a flaw in your character which needs an overhaul, give God permission to work on you! Sometimes the best change we can pray for is a change in our own behavior.  When we begin to pray less for God to change the other person and ask Him instead to change us, quite often peace finds its way back into our broken relationships.

Life is too short to be at odds with someone you love.  Take your troubled relationship to the Lord and together with Him, work it out!


Copyright © 2013 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Having Faith When You Haven't a Clue

"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet" (Proverbs 31:21 NIV).
One thing in life is certain -- life is full of uncertainty.  Will somebody say, "Amen"?

We all face circumstances in life that leave us scratching our heads and wondering what on earth to do.  At times, uncertainty can paralyze us with fear, causing us to lose sleep, become agitated, and forget what it means to be truly joyful.  Like an ominous cloud in an approaching thunderstorm, uncertainty can fill us with fear of what may come and cause us to question how well prepared we are to face yet another storm.

Even as we continue waiting to hear whether my husband will lose his job due to corporate restructuring, I find myself filled with a peace that can only come from God.  It has been less than a year since we struggled with the sudden loss of his previous job and the financial reversal that resulted from it.  Yet I know that whatever may happen with Steve's current job God will continue to provide for us as He has promised in Scripture to do (Philippians 4:19).  I have no fear for my household because the blood of Christ has redeemed us and as His children we can confidently stand on the promises laid out in His Word.

God uses the uncertainties in our lives to prove Himself faithful not only to us, but also to the onlookers who are watching to see how we will weather the storm.  Even though our journey may produce unexpected twists and turns, God will never leave us to find our way alone.  With His Word to guide us and His promises to assure us, we can be certain that He will work all things together for our good.  And when He does, not only will our faith be strengthened but those who have prayed us through will find encouragement for their own lives.

If you are facing uncertainty as I am, know that God is with you, God is for you, and God has everything worked out down to the last detail.  Stand on His promises, hold Him to His Word, and thank Him for all the blessings He has so graciously showered on you.  He's already got it covered!


Copyright © 2013 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, October 12, 2013

I May Never...

I may never write a book that makes the NY Times Bestsellers list because I will never write a book full of lust, witchcraft, profanity, or wanton violence.  But I will have the thrill of knowing that someone might experience the joy of a closer walk with God and discover that there is freedom, not bondage, in God's amazing love. 

I may never solve the social ills of poverty, homelessness, and abandonment.  No one person can do all that.  But I will do my part by financially supporting organizations that minister to the downtrodden and reaching out to the lonely and hurting when God provides the opportunity and means to do so.  I will give to my local church, support other ministries and relief organizations, and use God's blessings in my life to bless others.

I may never break the bondage of consumer debt that I now carry because of foolish decisions I made decades ago.  But, having repented of foolish and destructive spending habits, I will continue to pay back every penny I owe until the last debtor is paid or Jesus returns, whichever comes first.  I will educate my children about the proper use of money, the failure of "things" to satisfy the longings that only Jesus can, and His faithfulness to supply all our needs according to the promises of His Word.  I will lead by example and be transparent when it comes to sharing the consequences of what can happen when we are unwise stewards of God's gifts.

I may never be called the "world's greatest mom" by my children or give them everything that their friends have been given.  But I will teach my children about God's love and His ways by upholding and modeling a biblical lifestyle even though it is not a popular way of living.  They will know the mistakes I made and the consequences I suffered as a result.  And while I hope they will follow my example I know they almost certainly will not.  They will have to learn life's lessons the hard way as I did in order to embrace for themselves the love and grace of God and the forgiveness of sin purchased for them on the Cross.  While they find their way and stretch their wings I will pray without ceasing and trust God to work all things -- even their gravest mistakes -- together for their good.  I will trust Him to accomplish the good purpose He has for their lives, even in their seasons of rebellion.  And I will never cease to believe that one day, no matter how far they may wander from the will of God, they will return and serve Him with great passion and purpose.

I may never have a ministry that has the kind of global impact that others have.  But if one person comes to Jesus as a result of anything good they see in me, then my life will have made a difference and my goal of glorifying Him will be complete. 

I will certainly never claim to be perfect or better than anyone else because I am just a sinner saved by grace.  But until Christ comes I will try to live as one redeemed by the amazing grace of the One who died for me, to the glory of His holy and precious name.


Copyright © 2013 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, October 4, 2013

Trading in My Shell

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP).

Have you ever wondered why turtles are so timid?  Every time I walk around the lake I see turtles of all sizes sunning themselves or swimming.  Without fail, every time a human approaches (or least every time I have approached), these creatures plop back into the safety of their aquatic habitat.  It's as though they forget they have a shell to protect them from larger or more curious creatures.  Or maybe they just don't like people.  I know a few folks who make me want to crawl into my shell, too!

The baby turtle to the left was courageous enough to climb a cement slope to sun himself but immediately dove into the lake as I walked on the path a few yards away.  I wasn't even walking toward him -- only past -- but his survival instinct kicked in and before I knew it he disappeared!  Seems such a shame when I know how hard he must have worked to reach the summit only to let fear steal his victory!

Can you think of some things that create such fear in us that we run and hide?  How about that debt collector whose call you ignore when his number pops up on the caller ID, or the person across the room who has reserved a few choice words for you and is waiting for the opportunity to give you a piece of her mind?  There are so many things in life -- joblessness, illness, plain old stress -- that make us cower in fear even though God tells us, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).

God has supplied us with amazing armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) to protect us from the dangers that surround us.  He has equipped us with the power of His Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in all areas of our life.  And he gives us his amazing grace.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul writes:  "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'

Since I have learned that God's grace is sufficient and his armor is more than adequate to protect me from the enemy, I am trading in my shell.  God has also shown me that as long as I surrender my plans and problems to him, I have nothing at all to fear for he is trustworthy and faithful to his promises.  There is no need to run away from the enemy as long as I remember to run to God!



Copyright © 2013 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, October 3, 2013

Where My Books Are Sold

All three of my books are available locally at:

The Crosswalk (inside Central Church)
2005 Winchester Blvd.
Collierville, TN  38017

 
Now This Is Living! is also available at:
Cornerstone Bookstore (inside Collierville FBC)
830 New Byhalia Rd.
Collierville, TN  38017

You can also purchase all three books online at www.amazon.com (paperback & Kindle), www.bn.com, and a host of other online booksellers worldwide. 

Signed copies may be ordered from my website at www.deedeewike.com.

The Envelope


On my walk around the lake at my favorite park I observed a young Asian woman sitting on a bench nearby.  In her hand she held a tattered envelope with writing on it, which she was studying intently.  Could it have been a note from a loved one who is far away or perhaps even deceased, or merely a bit of English she was translating?  Intrigued by the possibilities and the amount of attention she was giving that piece of paper, I walked away pondering the tattered envelope.

As I completed the half-mile loop and once more passed by the bench, I  noticed her still sitting there studying the writing on that piece of torn paper and I wondered, Do we cherish and study God's Word so intently?  God's Word is his love letter to us, written to reveal his character and instruct us in the way we should live.  It tells of mankind's history and foretells our future.  The Bible tells the story of God's redeeming love and points the way to our Savior.

You may be a keeper of love letters and cherished cards from friends.  But have you read and hidden God's Word in your heart?  If not, I challenge you to spend five minutes a day reading and studying God's Word. In it you will discover for yourself his amazing love, learn his ways, and fall in love with the One whose story it tells.


Copyright © 2013 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, September 29, 2013

One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest

Half of my nest is now empty.  My firstborn flew out of the cuckoo's nest that has been his home for nearly twenty years and is now sharing an apartment with a couple of friends.  They have come and gone the past few days, picking up some of my used furnishings and groceries to make their new home a little more comfortable.  The pains of transitioning into adulthood are weighing heavy on them right now yet they are excited about this new chapter in their lives.  I couldn't be more proud of them for taking this huge and scary step!

Please pray for all of us as we make this adjustment.  Pray that the money side of things will smooth out quickly so they can enjoy their transition into independent living.  As an adult who has been around the block a few times, I still struggle with the ins and outs of daily living.  They will too.  But I am confident that with prayer and encouragement they will find their way and be so glad they took this leap of faith.

Pray especially that they will see God in ways they never have before, and that God will use this season of their lives to draw them closer to Him.  I have learned, especially this past week, that God is never closer than when we are in His refining fire.

Lord, may you turn all our stresses into the greatest blessings we have ever known as we experience your faithfulness to meet all our needs according to your glorious riches in Christ Jesus.  Thank you for being our more-than-sufficient Provider and ever-present help in time of need.


Copyright © 2013 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, September 25, 2013

If You Trust God, Why Are You Still So Sad?

My friends and family know that I am under a great deal of stress these days because I am constantly asking for prayer.  Uncertainty about the future of my husband's job, concerns about family and friends who are going through a rough time, and today's diagnosis of extra dental work (I'm having a tooth crowned and a cavity filled in the near future) have left me distracted and discouraged.  Yet I know that God is in control of all these things, that He will keep His promises to provide for us, and that He is working all things together for our good.  Still, more than once I have asked myself the question, If you trust God, why are you still so sad?  I know I shouldn't be.  There are people whose problems are far worse than mine.  But I am human and sometimes I hurt, too.

Perhaps my sadness can be attributed to the fact that I'm just overdue for a good cry.  Or my hormones are out-of-whack.  But more than likely I am a little frustrated that being a Christian doesn't exempt us from the drama so characteristic of families with teenagers.  Unlike the Cleaver family who had it all together in the era of high-heeled, pearl-wearing housewives, we are a modern family with complicated problems just like everyone else.  We are imperfect parents whose teenagers are struggling to find their way in a world that is hostile and ugly.

My tears are not a symbol of mistrust.  But they are the badge of a battle-weary saint who wants to see a little more of heaven here on earth.  I'm so tired of the constant fight between good and evil, and of watching my kids struggle to embrace the truths I know -- that God is good, His grace is sufficient, and a personal relationship with Jesus is their only hope for true and lasting fulfillment -- while the world is sending them a completely different message. 

The Bible says that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and that those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).  Despite my sadness this week, I have experienced the joy of knowing God is ever-present to help and to hold me in the middle of my storm.  His presence has been so real to me.  I know that I am not walking through this dark valley alone.  God is with me.  My praying friends are with me, too.  Thank you for praying me through.

Lord, You know all about tears because even You, Jesus, wept when You saw how heartbroken Your friends were over the loss of their loved one.  That is how compassionate You are!  Comfort those who are heavy-hearted, and bless the friends who weep and pray for those who mourn.  It is in times of sorrow and stress that we realize how much we need not only You, but the friends You have sent into our lives.  Help us to be mindful of the needs of others and to offer Your encouragement to those who need it most.



Copyright © 2013 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 24, 2013

Sometimes It IS About Me

One of the most influential books of modern times, Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life, begins with four very compelling words -- "It's not about you."  But in my experience I have learned that even though life is not supposed to be about us, sometimes we have to make it about us in order to survive.


Until I finally embraced the reality that Jesus is more than capable of carrying my burdens and taking care of the things that concern me, I made some really stupid mistakes. Some days I still do.  For instance, beginning in college I spent a lot of time socializing with friends who were engaged in behaviors or had emotional issues I thought I could somehow "save" them from, especially since I was a Christian.  Instead I was drawn into a life of sin, compromising nearly every value I held to as a believer.  Being Jesus to them didn't give me license to play God and do what only He can do -- heal, restore, and deliver.  As a result of my own foolishness, I began a downward spiral that lasted well into my twenties and resulted in the deterioration of my relationship with God and my self-esteem.

By the mercies of the God I professed to believe and worshipped every Sunday, I was spared the full consequences of my sin.  It took a shameful wake up call for me to realize how self-destructive my life had become and to call out to Him for forgiveness and deliverance.  But He was faithful, not only to forgive me but also to teach me that there is no disgrace in setting boundaries in my relationships and that sometimes it is okay to be more concerned about myself than someone else whose baggage isn't mine to carry in the first place.  True, as believers we are called to think more highly of others than ourselves and to carry one another's burdens.  But I have learned that it's okay -- necessary, even -- to let God be God and remember that I am not.  I cannot fix everything that is wrong with the people I care about.  Heck!  I can't even fix myself most days!  Only God can.

This is a lesson I have tried desperately to teach my teenagers who must now deal with the drama of their own generation.  I am concerned about the amount of emotional baggage so many of these young people bring into their friendships.  While I want my kids to "be Jesus" to those around them, I feel compelled to remind them of the dangers of treading too closely with kids who are dabbling in drugs or acting out because of emotional insecurity caused by problems at home.  My kids have enough burdens to carry; they certainly don't need to take on anyone else's problems.

Some of us are living with turmoil that could be dealt with more effectively if we would actually set boundaries within our family relationships and carry out the discipline we threaten to impose on our children rather than allow them to manipulate us with guilt and lies.  We don't want our kids, especially our older teens, to suffer the consequences of rebellion and disrespect so we often back peddle in order to maintain peace in these challenging relationships.  After all, they are fighting social demons we never fought at their age.  Yet, sparing them the consequences by swooping in to save the day isn't always the best way to teach them responsibility for their choices in life.  I must confess there have been times when I have given in to emotion and failed as a parent to stand my ground on a given issue.  Yet, such a lack of solid parental leadership sends confusing signals to our children and ultimately backfires on us parents, leaving our households in chaos and our hearts hardened against our own children. 
Our kids need to know that their wrong choices carry consequences not just for themselves but for others as well.  As parents, we also need to be mindful of that as we choose to discipline our kids for their disobedience.  Any inconsistency on our part can undermine the very foundation of godly principles we have tried to teach them.  To let chaos rule in our homes or in our relationships with others is not beneficial to those we love or to our emotional and spiritual well-being.  To be victimized by anger, often at ourselves because we failed to handle a particular situation without first praying it through, is never good. 
Our interactions with others should never be driven by impulse, manifested by harsh reactions to difficult situations and exasperating personalities.  Rather our relationships should be prayer-driven and Spirit-directed with responses that are seasoned with love, patience, and in some cases, humility and apology.  After all, even the best of us make mistakes from time to time.

The bottom line is this:  if our horizontal relationships with others -- spouses, parents, children, friends -- are going to be healthy, then our vertical relationship with the Lord must become our highest priority.  Only as we spend time with Him daily in prayer and seek to know more about His character by reading His Word, will we begin to develop a heart like His and learn to love as He loves.


Copyright © 2013 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 17, 2013

Best-Supporting Actor

"And the award for Best-Supporting Actor in a drama role goes to...."

Is there anyone reading this who doesn't feel like their name should be at the end of that sentence?  Drama has become the buzz word of today's generation, the nightmare of every parent, and the cultural norm on social media.  Personally I don't know of anyone who isn't affected by drama, or conflict and tragedy, in some form or fashion.  Even Christians and churches cannot escape it.

Interestingly, though, drama is not a word even found in Scripture.  Having read through the Bible more than once without recalling ever seeing the word, I did an online search of a handful of popular translations and could find no evidence of its inclusion in God's Word.  Yet the Bible has much to say about conflict, trials, and tribulations and the way Christians should handle them.  Nowhere does the Bible instruct us to get caught up in drama of any kind.  We just sort of write that into our own script.

So how do we handle life's twists and turns without getting sucked into the drama?  The only way I know how is to keep "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV).  Don't you just love it that Jesus is the author of our faith and not the author of all the drama that we deal with every day?  Yet He dealt with more drama than perhaps we ever will and endured His cross "for the joy that was set before Him." 

You are the joy Jesus suffered for on the Cross.  So is that troubled teen of yours and that elderly parent who cannot face the limitations that age and illness have put on him.  Jesus may not remove the drama from your life, but He will carry you through every season of your life, giving you the grace and strength to persevere and mature in your faith.  Try seeing the drama -- the people and circumstances that make life less than pleasant -- through the eyes of Jesus.  He endured for you.  Can you do the same for them?


Copyright © 2013 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 12, 2013

While There Is Still Time

As I look back over the events of the past couple of weeks I am astounded by the amount of violence, murder, and senseless tragedy that has occurred in our little corner of the world, as well as the threat of war halfway across the globe.

It is obvious that Satan knows his time is short because he has unleashed all hell against humanity. A five-year-old gun toting kindergartner and the senseless murder of pre-teen girl in a small rural community are heartbreaking enough. Add to that all the grown-up violence, tragedies, the brutal murder of civilians via chemical weapons, and the threat of U.S. military action in retaliation, and it becomes apparent that the world is spinning out of control.  Relief workers and missionaries who want to help the hungry, sick, and impoverished around the world face persecution and death in the very countries they go to serve. 

 Is any place safe? Only one place that I know of -- the shelter of God's loving embrace. May we not live in fear of the turmoil around us but rather seek refuge in the shadow of His wings.  May our sensitivity be heightened in a time when we have become so desensitized to the plight of our fellow man.  Rather than seclude ourselves in the comfort of our suburban lifestyle let us have the courage to face and slay the giants that are destroying the lives of those around us -- poverty, illness, family crisis, hunger -- and serve alongside God to make this world a better place as we not only meet physical needs but also share the Good News so that others may find their salvation in Christ.

Many are the tyrants and enemies that seek to steal, kill, and destroy any good in this world.   But how great is our God who has already overcome through the precious blood of the Lamb!  We must do the work of the One who has sent us -- while there is still time.

Originally published in The Collierville Herald, September 12, 2013.

Copyright © 2013 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, September 11, 2013

Living with Les Miserables

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:14-17).

It is no secret to my friends that "Les Miserables" has topped my list of favorite movies.  Not only is the music hauntingly beautiful and stirring, but the storyline of the movie is itself inspiring and deeply moving.  In "Les Miserables" Jean Valjean, a despised criminal desperate for freedom, is transformed by the mercy of a priest and the redeeming power of God's love. Given a chance to make something of his life, he becomes an advocate for the poor and downtrodden, investing his wealth and compassion to bring healing, love, and hope to the hopeless and in particular, to Fantine and her beloved daughter, Cosette.  Because of the love demonstrated to him, Valjean in turn demonstrates that love by caring for others less fortunate than himself.

The translation of Les Miserables is literally "the miserable ones."  We live in a world filled with miserable, dejected, and desperate people who struggle to make it day to day.  Just this week I have had the opportunity to minister to a woman who has lived on the streets for the past five years.  She called in the middle of the night to ask for a ride to the emergency room of a local hospital.   Not sure of what I would find when I picked her up, I prayed during the entire drive across town.  Carrying a small canvas bag containing her only worldly possessions, she possessed a survivor instinct that I found impressive and humbling.  Despite her obvious physical needs she was mentally astute and spoke only words of encouragement to the nurse who attended her, and me.  I know, however, that she isn't always that upbeat.  She has suffered through many bitterly cold winter nights and scorching summer days, occasionally finding refuge in a cheap hotel room or broken down car when she could afford one.  She doesn't meet the criteria for most of the shelters in our area and is unwilling to leave the comfort of her familiar surroundings to seek shelter elsewhere, therefore she continues to make the street her home.

This woman is not the only homeless person I have encountered.  There is a growing number of young people who have been turned out of their homes by parents who have grown weary of dealing with rebellion, lack of motivation, and disrespect. Some of these parents have chosen this course of action as a last resort in order to maintain peace in the home, protect other children living there, and because all other efforts to get through to their adult children have somehow failed.  Sadly, though, some parents lack the grace, wisdom, and support they themselves need to offer their kids the love, patience, and coping skills necessary to live in a society which continues to change and challenge us all.  As a result, these kids often turn to peers who are as messed up as they are and very few have their needs met or find the hope they so desperately need.

Many of us are so caught up in the problems and activities of our own lives that we fail to see the "miserable ones" among us.  What if we actually gave of our time and possessions to help those who are truly in need?  Jean Valjean had a significant impact on the lives of Fantine, Cossette, and Marius.  How many lives might God transform because we choose to extend His hand of mercy and demonstrate His love and grace to "the miserable ones" rather than leave them in the gutter of despair?


Copyright © 2013 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 7, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

I love to look out the window, especially the one in my office.  I find it helpful to gaze into the distance sometimes when I am thinking about what I want to write.  Lately, however, the view from my office hasn't been very inspiring because of years of grime that has accumulated on my window panes.  On a beautiful late summer day I decided I'd had enough and the time had come to tackle the beast!

I wish I had a "before" picture of my window so you could see why I was embarrassed to even open my curtains in the presence of guests.  A poorly hung storm window had allowed moisture in, resulting in a hazy glaze on the glass.  A lover of natural light and the view of trees, squirrels, and birds in my yard, I suffered with the haze and kept the curtains open except when visitors were around. 

After praying for God's help (yes, I even pray about washing windows!) I single-handedly began the task of removing the old warped aluminum storm window one rusty screw at a time.  It didn't want to budge and clung onto the window frame for dear life, reminding me of how unyielding I often am particularly when I think I am right about something.  Because I couldn't pull the window down easily, I had to work from inside my office, in a space behind my desk which was too narrow for even a skinny adult to maneuver, in order to free up the bottom of the storm window by pushing against it and forcing it away from the window sill. 

Elated at my success in removing the storm window I armed myself with glass cleaner and paper towels and began the task of cleaning each side of the windows until nearly all traces of dirt and grime were gone!  Determined to try, but not certain if I could hoist the storm window back up onto the window sill and secure it to the house, I called my husband to put him on notice that I might need his help.  However, with a little perseverance and a lot of prayer I managed to accomplish the job without him.  When he came home from work and shot me a "thumbs up," I was happy to see him clearly through the window!

Sometimes the accumulation of problems or hurts through the years clouds our vision so that we cannot clearly see God's plan or realize the depth of His love for us.  We may hang on for dear life to grudges or painful memories and miss the healing that is ours for the taking.  What is it that clouds your vision today?  Even as I prayed for God to help me remove the stubborn old storm window so that my windows could be made clean, I pray that He will strip away anything in my life which hinders my vision of Him and of His plans for me.  Will you do the same?




Copyright © 2013 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 28, 2013

Doing Our Part and Letting God Do His

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.'  Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me" (John 6:44-45, NIV).
Have you ever felt like your best effort just wasn't good enough?  Maybe you went out of your way to help someone in need but instead of receiving gratitude you got an earful of grumbling because the recipient somehow expected more.  Or perhaps you put a lot of effort into a project only to see lackluster results.  Kind of makes you want to quit, doesn't it?

I think one of the toughest things we face in life is the failure to convince our lost friends and loved ones that receiving Christ's salvation for their sins and surrendering their lives to His will are the only way they will find true and lasting peace and fulfillment.  There are some pretty tough nuts to crack when it comes to the people we most want to see saved!  But maybe instead of trying to browbeat them to the Cross, we need to simply love them as Christ would and live a life consistent with His Word, a task much easier said than done.  That's our part, yet some of us fail miserably to consistently model the love and grace of our Savior. 

As results-oriented people we may feel we have somehow fallen short of the evangelistic mark if someone doesn't accept our invitation to attend church or receive Christ as Savior.  There are many people who are quite persuasive and are much more effective than some of us at leading people to the Lord.  What do they have that we don't?

When I feel like my evangelism doesn't measure up because that person I want most to come to Christ just won't, I take comfort in the verses above.  I am reminded that although many people sowed seeds of truth into my life through the years, it wasn't until I wandered far from the faith during a season of rebellion that I finally heard the Father's voice and was ultimately drawn into an intimate and abiding relationship with Christ.  Now it is up to me to live that surrendered life with the kind of love and grace that God can use to draw others to Him.  I am trying my best to do my part and leaving the results up to God.
 

Copyright © 2013 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 27, 2013

Did You Catch That?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV)
How often do we read a familiar verse of scripture and overlook the really neat verse right next to it?  As I was preparing to shut down my computer for the night I reached for my bible and it fell open to Jeremiah 29.  The familiar verses above were highlighted in my bible, but the middle verse stood out as never before.  "Then you will call upon me [the God and Creator of the universe] and come and pray to me [the One who is before and above all things], and I [Almighty God, the great I AM, the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End] will listen to you" (v. 12, emphasis added).  Did you catch that?

Who are we that God would listen to us?  What entitles us to an audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords?  Maybe you are feeling a little inferior these days, not quite up to par with other believers or co-workers or friends.  Perhaps you feel God short-changed you somehow and doesn't consider you worthy of so much as a glance from His loving, compassionate eyes.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Jesus died for you!  He didn't do anything wrong to deserve such an agonizing death; we did!  Yet His Word tells us that when we call upon Him and come and pray to Him, He will listen to us!  To us!

As you greet the first light of morning, or lay your head on the pillow after a long and tiring day, think about the amazing wonder of God's love for you!  "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1).  Did you catch that, beloved child of God?


Copyright © 2013 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 21, 2013

Restaurant Review -- Bella's Pizzeria

My family and I recently had the opportunity to try out a new pizza restaurant in Collierville.  Bella's Pizzeria, located at 833 W. Poplar across the street from Walgreens, bills itself as a "New York style eatery," offering specialty pizzas, stuffed (double crust) pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches, pastas, and salads.

Staffed with friendly and attentive servers, the atmosphere was pleasant and the food was delicious!  In lieu of tempting appetizers, we ordered salads while waiting for our main course. My husband ordered a small Caesar salad and raved more than once about the dressing.  My daughter and I shared a large house salad with ranch dressing.  Both salads were fresh and flavorful, loaded with colorful vegetables and accompanied with dressing on the side. 

For our main course we ordered a BBQ Chicken Pizza, which featured marinated BBQ chicken, onions (the chef gladly substituted red onions for white at my husband's request), mozzarella cheese, and Memphis-style BBQ sauce.  Served on a thin crust that was cooked to perfection, the pizza was well balanced -- not too saucy, delightfully cheesy, with savory chicken that had a delicious flavor.  Unlike other BBQ chicken pizzas we have had in the past, the sauce on Bella's pizza was not so sweet or spicy that it overpowered the chicken.  We were more than happy with our pizza selection.

In addition to serving whole pizzas, Bella also serves a selection of pizzas by the slice.  They also offer delivery in Germantown and Collierville as well as carry-out service (phone 861-2544).

I plan to visit again soon, at lunchtime with friends.  Next time I will try the Greek salad and a sampling of their pasta dishes.






Copyright © 2013 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 18, 2013

Missing the Simple Life

Life was simpler when my kids were small and it was enough to just be their mom.  Lazy days spent watching "Barney" and "Sesame Street" or gazing in wonder at odd insects and rainbows have given way to the grownup problems of living in a world spinning wildly out of control. 

Working through the maze of peer conflicts and the pressure our kids face from school, work, and social media has brought many of us to our knees in a puddle of our own tears.  Things weren't this difficult when we were growing up -- at least, they didn't seem to be.  Nowadays we feel ineffective -- at least I do -- in helping them find the hope for which they are so desperately searching. 

When I was an older teen it was a natural thing -- a privilege and rite of passage -- to graduate from high school and go on to college or find a job that could actually sustain a life of independence.  Now many of us are dealing with young adults who are struggling to find themselves, let alone a sense of direction or a job that pays well enough to pay the rent and put food on the table.  There is an underlying fear or sense of dread that is crippling our youth and robbing them of the glorious future God desires for them. 

What can we as parents do to help our young people overcome their fears and find the hope that will eventually lead them to pursue God's will for their lives? How do we deal with the disrespect and lack of motivation that are fed by this unseen fear?  Do we force them out of the nest in order to give them a hard reality check, or do we continue to pray and love them unconditionally even though we know that with a little hard work they could find a better and more satisfying way of living?  It is difficult to stop parenting and protecting our kids, opting instead to let them live and learn by their mistakes.  Yet, for many of us, that is the only way God could get our attention.  Why would we expect it to be any different for our kids?  No matter how hard we try to protect them and prevent difficulties in their lives by offering advice and godly counsel, they must make their own mistakes.  Do we trust God enough to let Him have His way in the lives of our kids?

Perhaps as important, how do we keep ourselves from being completely overwhelmed by all this?  It is far too easy to become sucked into the drama, lose heart, and become distracted by all that is going on in the lives of our young people.  I often find myself sidelined by what is happening in the lives of my kids and their peer group and lose my focus on the things God has called me to do.  And that is all part of Satan's plan.  He knows that if our kids are in turmoil we will be, too.  If we are in turmoil, we become ineffective witnesses and servants of God at a time when the world and our children most need Him.

Next time you are feeling the slightest bit overwhelmed by all that life is dishing out -- whether it is a parenting issue, financial matter, or some other problem -- go back to square one and seek the heart of the One who never meant for things to become so complicated.  If it is necessary to adjust what you are doing to survive the moment, then adjust.  But don't let Satan condemn you for it.  Cry out to Jesus for the peace He promises to those whose eyes are steadfastly fixed on Him.  Know that He is fully aware of all you face and remember that He is in the battle with you.  In fact, the battle belongs to Him so lay your burdens at His feet, raise your hands and your heart to Him, and offer Him a sacrifice of praise. 




Copyright © 2013 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, August 10, 2013

Not Mine to Keep but His to Give

Each moment that I hold onto
In hopes of making mine
Are meaningless kept to myself
If someone needs my time
Each penny that I'm blessed to have
Provision for each day
Is worthless if it is not spent
To better someone's way
The things I own, the car I drive
To take me place to place
Are idols if not often used
To show someone God's grace
It's hard not to be selfish
With God's blessings from above
But burdens they can soon become
If not used to share His love
Lord, give me an open heart and hands
To share the things You give
My time, possessions, and Your love
That I might truly live
Not mine to keep but His to give
His mercy, grace, and love
When freely shared may save a soul
To live with God above
Lord, may I learn to love and give
With freedom, joy, and grace
Until that day when finally
I see you face to face.

Copyright © 2013 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, August 3, 2013

Embrace the Blahs

Melancholy is such a beautiful word, almost melodic the way it rolls off the tongue.  Yet those who tend to be melancholy would probably like to strike the word from their vocabulary.  I have always been a little prone to the sadness or pensive thinking of a melancholic personality but have learned, especially as I have aged, that it is okay to embrace the blahs every now and then.

With my husband working two jobs and my teenagers involved in friendships and activities that often take them away from home, I find myself feeling like an empty nester at times.  I feel a little lost, not quite sure what to do with myself when no one else is around.  But when I realize that as a beloved child of God I am never truly alone, the silence and inactivity don't seem so unbearable. 

Sometimes I even manage to succeed in filling up those empty hours and drown out the silence with purposeful activity.  At the moment, though, I feel a little weary in my soul and unmotivated to do much of anything.  Perhaps I am just too tired to care about putting on a load of laundry, scrubbing the toilets, or even writing a blog.  I have learned that at times like this the best thing I can do for myself is listen to my body and simply rest.

The sanctified solitude of a quiet house on an uneventful evening has become peaceful to me.  I find it a blessing to embrace the blahs and unwrap the gift of God's presence as the rest of the world turns.  Even if I am prone to beat myself up for not making the most of these quiet moments God never will.  He welcomes every opportunity to spend time with His beloved ones!  Let Him turn your lonely hours into sacred hours as you draw near to Him.


Copyright © 2013 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 1, 2013

Faith to Finish Well

This summer our church has been studying the heroes of the faith – ordinary men and women God used to accomplish extraordinary things.  The men and women listed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were not perfect but, like us, were flawed individuals who made sinful choices that could easily have disqualified them from His service.

God desires that we live holy and perfect lives (Matthew 5:48; 1 Thessalonians 4:7), yet He knows it is humanly impossible. That is why we need God and the grace He promises to those who believe.  It is only by His grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8) and that He can work through us to reach our generation with the message of hope and salvation.

Living a life of faith is no easy task.  The trappings and temptations of this world, together with our natural human tendency to live for ourselves instead of others, makes it nearly impossible to nurture and reflect the God-nature that we are to exhibit as His children. Yet, we know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  Many of us believe that choosing God’s ways over our own will result in lives that are dull, boring, and restricted.  But nothing could be farther from the truth (Galatians 5:1)!   Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV).  A surrendered life is one of abundance and adventure!

In a recent message, Pastor Ky Faciane said, “Hard times are the testing ground of our faith.”  As any athlete can attest, strength and endurance come only when we exercise and train our minds and bodies.  The same is true of faith.  Our faith grows when our spiritual muscles are put to the test by the challenges we face each day.  If we are to finish well, no matter how poorly we start in life or how far off-course we run the race, it will take faith to sustain us and carry us to the finish line.

How can we develop the kind of faith that finishes well?  It isn’t enough to “be religious” by going to church, praying, and reading the Bible.  In order to develop a finishing faith, we need to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, the One who saves us by the very faith we need to run the race before us.  As we surrender our lives and enjoy intimate fellowship with Jesus, He will increase our faith, teach us His ways, and give us the strength to persevere and finish well, even when the going gets tough.

Published 8/1/2013 in The Collierville Herald


Copyright © 2013 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, July 31, 2013

Easier Said than Done

One of the occupational hazards a devotional writer faces is living out the advice offered to her readers.  It is something I struggle with often.

While facing a difficult decision recently, I requested prayer for wisdom and a word from God that would bring peace and clarity to my troubled heart.  I searched scripture for insight then turned to one of my own devotionals to see what if there was any direction I could glean there.  Amazingly, there was!  The scripture on which the devotional was based help clarify and give me peace about the decision.  Still, making that decision was easier said than done.

Often we are quick to give advice, whether or not solicited.  But how often do we follow our own advice, even when we know that it is the will of God to do so?  For me, whether or not I am obedient is often dictated by the way I feel about someone else or what kind of mood I find myself in. 

If we learn to walk in obedience to what God's Word says about a situation -- not how we feel or whether someone else deserves the grace God calls us to extend -- then we will have peace and the assurance that God will work it all out for good.  The right thing is seldom the easy thing, but we will never find peace while we are in conflict with God's will.


Copyright © 2013 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!