Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eager to Get Started


Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab along with all whom God had gifted with the ability to work skillfully with their hands.  The men were eager to get started and engage in the work. -- Exodus 36:2, The Message
 
What is it that you do well?  Is there some skill you possess, some knowledge that you have acquired, that when shared with others provides a benefit or blessing that might not come from any other source?   Perhaps you are an organized individual able to provide exceptional administrative support for your boss or a caring and compassionate nurse who sees beyond the patient's physical needs and is able to set his anxious heart at ease.  Maybe you are gifted at preparing food for needy families or teaching children not only reading and arithmetic but also the life lessons that they might not otherwise learn. 

God has gifted each of us in a unique way so that we might serve others and add value to the lives of those around us.  Often, however, we get so caught up in our problems and the everyday struggles of life that we lose our passion for the purpose He placed in our lives. 

When God laid out His instructions for construction of the tabernacle He told Moses to summon Bezalel, who was filled "with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts" (Exodus 35:31-33, NIV).  Together with Oholiab, Bezalel was "eager to get started and engage in the work" (Exodus 36:2, The Message).

Has God laid a particular ministry or area of service on your heart?  Has He given you a unique gift and the passion to do something special with it?  If so, what are you waiting for?  Like Bezalel and Oholiab, we should be eager to get started and to engage in the work God has called us to do in the workplace, our homes, our churches, and our communities.  When we fulfill the calling God places on our lives, we become the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that so desperately needs 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!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Faith Can Do

"What Faith Can Do"* by Kutless is a song that has been playing over and over in my mind all day, a song which has carried me through many challenging seasons of my life.  Perhaps my favorite line in the entire song is "It doesn't matter what you've heard.  Impossible is not a word; it's just a reason for someone not to try."  If you are like me, you can probably think of times in your own life when you felt like giving up because something seemed impossible.  Perhaps that something was a dream or a difficult task that consumed all your physical and emotional resources.

While I was outside with my dog this afternoon I heard a rustling sound in a nearby tree.  Thinking it was two or three squirrels chasing one another around the trunk of an oak tree across the street, I looked there but did not see them.  Listening intently, my attention was drawn to a large oak in my own yard, where a squirrel was busily adding leafy twigs to its nest high in the branches overhead.  As I watched it work tirelessly, I noticed that the squirrel had to leap from the branch through the air, nesting material securely in its mouth, in order to reach the top of its nest, a seemingly impossible task for a creature so much smaller than the nest itself.



I watched the squirrel for several minutes and marveled at the leaps he took to construct a sturdy home for the family that will soon inhabit his nest.  Watching him caused me to ponder the courage and faith I will need to face my own challenges in the days and weeks ahead.

Jesus told his disciples (that includes us) that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed we can move mountains.  Watching this little creature move leaves to make a home inspired me to keep believing that with God anything is possible!


(*Click on the link above to watch Kutless perform "That's What Faith Can Do.")




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, January 26, 2013

My Exceeding Joy

O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God. -- Psalm 43:3-4, NASB
 
The other day I was reading some verses from a book of promises for mothers that I received at church one Mother's Day.  When I read the above verses from Psalm 43, I was struck by the phrase, "to God my exceeding joy," and I realized how accurately that describes my heart for God.

In all the craziness of life -- the trials I continue to face day in and day out -- I could so easily be overwhelmed were it not for "God my exceeding joy."  I live for the newness of each morning when I can meet with Him to pray over the details of my life and the challenges I know will come, and can hear from His Word the truths He will use to guide my footsteps that day.  I hang on every word I read, looking for a morsel of encouragement, the promise of provision, and the reassurance that God loves me just as I am.  God never fails to give me just what I need -- grace, hope, encouragement, and joy in spite of the pain and heartache.

I have learned that happiness is fleeting and quite often dictated by my circumstances, but my joy never is.  The joy of the Lord is my strength and whatever I face I face with joy because God is with me and He is my exceeding joy.


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, January 23, 2013

Don't Cry for Me

As time goes by and days turn into weeks, then into years
As laughter fades, the sun retreats, and cheeks are wet with tears
God holds me close and shelters me from all the strife and stress
When I am at my very worst, my God is at His best
Don't cry for me when sorrows come and heartache floods my soul
With God beside to carry me, in Him I can be whole
The trials, tribulations, and heartaches that I bear
Are just more opportunities for God to show He cares
Much more for me than I without my trials would ever know
Because no matter where life leads, with me He'll always go
If you are facing your own trials and are tempted to despair
Just breathe His name and know that He has heard your every prayer
Find reasons to give thanks to Him though trials hard may come
For one day soon the clouds will break and you will see the Son
Who longs to be your all-in-all, to make you more like Him
Look for His glory in every trial and soon despair will dim
Look up to heaven, dry your tears, and sing a song of praise
The One who comforts you when you weep will hold you all your days


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, January 19, 2013

No Time for Tears (Confessions of a Weary Warrior)

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. -- James 1:2-3, NLT
 
By the time my work week ended, I was at the end of myself.  Sleep-deprived and weary from work, trips to the hospital to visit an ailing relative, and the relentless cough that lingered after a recent bout of the flu, I resolved to come straight home from the office on Friday afternoon and take a much-needed nap.  When my son greeted me with the announcement that he might have broken his wrist the night before, suddenly I found myself rushing him to the orthopedic clinic and wondering how we were going to come up with the hundreds of dollars it would cost to have him treated for his injury since we had no medical insurance.  When the bill was twice what I expected to pay I did what came naturally -- I cried and I prayed.

Knowing that a good night's rest and a leisurely quiet time would make all the difference in my Saturday, I resolved to not let the disappointments and stress of the week steal my joy and rob me of the energy needed to run errands and take care of my family.  As I began to pray, I wrote these words of confession in my journal:

Despair is pounding at the door.  Were it not for my absolute certainty that You are in control and are allowing these difficulties in my life, I don't think I would have the courage to face another day and tough it out.  I don't like what is happening or how things have turned out so far this year, but I cannot control what happens -- only how I respond to the adversity.

I choose to praise You, Lord, for allowing me to share in the fellowship of your suffering through all these trials.  I choose to look for You in the middle of my circumstances and the lessons You would have me learn and share with others.  I choose to find something to thank You for, even when things are hard or I don't understand what is happening.  I choose to thank You that despite the financial setback caused by unplanned expenses, with Your provision and our continued perseverance we will eventually get caught up and pay off our bills.  I choose to look for blessings today and victory rather than defeat.  I am more than a conqueror because of Your grace and the resurrection power of Christ at work in my behalf.
Satan may be on the attack, but I know that You have my back.  No weapon that's fashioned against me will stand.  Not one.  Your Word assures me of that.  The enemy may be alive and well, but Your Word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Lord, I choose to praise You.  You inhabit the praises of Your people and where You are, Satan cannot possibly be.  The heavenly hosts I cannot see are waging war against my enemies. I need only to stand still, know that You are God, and rejoice in the victory that has already been won.  Hallelujah, Lord!
 
Perhaps you, too, are going through a tough time.  If you will dare to claim God's promises, trust Him to work all things together for your good, and believe that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18), then you too can know the peace that surpasses all understanding.  God is not being mean to you by allowing you to suffer; rather, He loves you and longs for you to draw close to Him, close enough that He can shoulder your burden with you. 
 

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!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Is There Any Good News?

There was a time when I wouldn't turn on the television because the news was too depressing.  An ailing economy, domestic violence, international terrorism, record unemployment rates, and evil of every variety under the sun are just a few things that give us much to ponder, pray over, and cry about these days.  Even social media is becoming a place of gloom and doom, it seems.  All the news services tweet headlines that make one want to hide on a desert island.  Facebook friends share not only humor but heartache.  None of us can escape the reality of living in a fallen world, no matter how hard we try.

As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow there will be trouble somewhere in the world, perhaps even in our own little corner of it.  Many of us will face trouble in our own homes or workplaces.  We may suffer financial reversal, experience marital disintegration, or even mourn the death of loved ones.  Not only will tears fill our eyes but heartache will fill our very souls.

So, what's the good news?

The good news is that we are not alone.  God is with us.  He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  He has promised to provide for all our needs (Philippians 4:19), and to give to those who delight in Him the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).  He has assured us that He has a good plan for our lives, a plan to prosper and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  God promises to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) and to forgive us when we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9).  And best of all, God has promised that Jesus is coming back to take those of us who believe to the place where there is no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).

Here is the really good news...by acknowledging and confessing your sins, believing in your heart that Jesus died on the cross to redeem you from them, and receiving His gift of salvation, you can be assured not only of your place in heaven with Him but also of His presence with you on earth.  You will never have to face any bad news without Jesus as long as you invite Jesus into your heart and ask Him to walk beside you each 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!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How's Your Year Going So Far?

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NKJV)

Like most people I know, I have finally finished taking down the Christmas decorations and stored them in the attic until next Christmas.  I have made my New Year's resolutions -- a very short list compared with the one from last year -- in hopes that I will be a better person by year's end.

The challenges of last year have melted into memory, but the new year has already found me challenged in ways I'd rather not be.  Although the promise of a more prosperous year awaits us as my husband begins his new job this week, I remain challenged in the area of relationships, especially within my own family.  Guess some things never change!

My year has had a rocky start, but I am mindful that as long as I stand on the Rock of my salvation, Jesus, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I will come through this year a little stronger, hopefully, and closer to the Lord than if my challenges didn't exist.  Sure, I wish life could be easy for just one day.  But God never promised it would be -- only that He would be right beside me every arduous step of the way.

My prayer for all of us is that we won't be overcome by our challenges, but instead we will allow them to draw us closer to the One who has already overcome them.


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

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Spiritual Amnesia

How I wish I had amnesia
How I wish I could forget
All the hurtful words that others
In the past to me have said
All the grudges that I carry
Are a burden far too great
Though I know that love should fill my heart
Sometimes all I feel is hate
'Tis a sad but true confession
That I share with you, my friend
One I struggle with each day I live
One I know should quickly end
"Love is patient" so the Bible says
Unforgiveness is a sin
But the angry voice inside my mind
Rears its ugly head again
Makes me wonder, though, how oft I've said
To others words of pain
Or been critical of things so small
With nothing to be gained
Lord, forgive me for the way I've sinned
By thought and words and deeds
Please retrain my thoughts and curb my tongue
That I might sow good seeds
Of faith and hope, encouragement
And love to those I know
More grace, not less, to live each day
More blessings to bestow
Lord, make me more like you each day
The One who can forgive
As far as east is from the west
That I in peace may live.



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!