Sunday, March 31, 2013

To Whom Shall We Go?

"Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).
 
 
Every now and then I find myself missing an old friend with whom I had much in common, especially the joy of long conversations over steaming cups of coffee.  When life was hard we could somehow manage to help each other find hope by encouraging one another through the tough times.  On days when my heart is heavy over circumstances that I cannot change, I miss that friend and the freedom to just be myself with one who cares for me.
 
Have you ever had a friend like that, one you could text or call to say, "Pray for me.  I really need your prayers?"  Although time and circumstances have changed our friendship and I no longer feel free to call, there is one friend I know I can always count on, especially on days when I really need someone who loves me for me and understands exactly what I am feeling.  That friend is Jesus. 
 
Our Sunday school teacher was teaching out of the sixth chapter of John on Easter morning when he camped out on the verse above.  After performing many miracles, Jesus was talking to some of His disciples, telling them that He was the Bread of Life and saying to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53).  Some of His disciples, who could not accept His hard teachings, turned away from Him and went their own way.  When He asked the Twelve, “You do not want to leave too, do you?" (v. 67), Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life" (v.68).
 
Why is it so difficult to turn to Jesus when we know that He truly does have the answers we are looking for?  Why do we yearn for the wisdom of men, or at least their consolation, when they cannot fully understand us because they do not know us as He does?  While it is true that God created us to be in relationships with one another and ordained friendships, He desires above all else that our affections are undivided and our hearts are fully yielded to Him.
 
As much as I have wanted to pick up the phone and call my friend, I know that ultimately he cannot solve my dilemma.  Only Jesus can.  And nothing -- not time, circumstances, family, or distance -- will ever separate me from the love of Christ.  Why would I want to go to anyone else besides the One who is called Faithful and True?
 
 




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

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Easter Morning Anthem

Risen Savior, Hallelujah!
I adore You, Lord of love.
I was worthless, just a sinner --
You redeemed me with Your blood.
Like the flowers with fragrant blossom,
Singing birds whose chorus raise,
All creation join their voices
Offering up a song of praise.
I adore You, Breath of Heaven,
You who gave Your life for me.
All my days I'll love and serve You
Throughout all eternity!

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

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Friday, March 29, 2013

What Was He Thinking?

Good Friday is a time of reflection for many who have placed their faith in Christ, the Son of God who died a horrific death on an old rugged cross to save us from our sins.  This blameless and only Son, who gave up heaven to endure life as a man in a fallen world, willingly laid down His life for you and me.  What was He thinking?

Jesus could have thought many things.  Why should I be the one to die for sins I did not commit?  What makes them think they deserve to live in heaven when they have lived as hellions on earth?  How could they willingly choose over and over to disobey the Father and choose their ways over His?  Why would I choose to save someone whose affections are for the things of this world instead of the Creator of it?

Instead, Jesus thought about the joy before Him that would come the day these for whom He lay down His life would stand before Him in glory.  He thought about how much we would have to suffer in our earthly lives, knowing our pain because He suffered as a man while on earth.  He probably wondered, as many of us do, how long it would take for His children to realize that a life apart from the Father is no life at all?

Jesus wasn't thinking of Himself and all He stood to lose, but rather us and all we stand to gain by turning away from our sin and back to Him.

On this Good Friday, would you take a few minutes to think about Christ's amazing love for you and understand that you were worth His sacrifice?  Would you receive Him as Savior and invite Him to be Lord of your life?



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

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Power of the Cross

There was
One Child
One Love
One God
Who came
To live as a man in a world that walked in
Darkness because it refused to see the One
Who was called the Light of the World, the Way
The Truth, and the Life -- the Lamb of God who
Would take
 on His body
 our sins and
 was beaten 
and killed for
crimes he did
not commit --
simply because
He loves us all.
Jesus loves you.
Do you know Him?


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

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Running Around in Circles*

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4).

On a recent walk around the neighborhood, I came across this cute little dog named Abbey. I found her running around in circles in a yard on a busy street. When it became obvious that she didn’t belong to the homeowner who lived there, I decided to call the number on her ID tag. Unfortunately, her owner was not at home so I scooped Abbey up in my arms and carried her home with me so she would be safe until her owner came home from work.

Don’t we all have days when we feel like all we do is run in circles? Life is just so busy! What do you do when the pace is frantic and you need a break?

Those of us who have dogs probably agree on one thing: there are just some days we would rather be a dog, carefree and curled up in the lap of our master. While we will probably never have a carefree day this side of heaven, we can climb up in the lap of our Abba Father who loves us so completely. The God who made us, carries and sustains us, rescues us when we are in danger, and loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend.

You can’t switch places with your dog, but you can climb up in the lap of your Master, figuratively speaking. Praise is the vehicle that ushers you into His presence. Bible reading and prayer are the spiritual disciplines that transform your relationship with Him into one of intimate friendship and divine companionship. If you will walk beside your Master every day, running around in circles might well become a thing of your past.
 
*from Now This Is Living! Devotions to Encourage a Closer Walk with God, coming Spring 2013

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

 

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Facing the Truth When We've Been Deceived

Have you ever known people who couldn't quite face the reality of their circumstances or admit their wrongdoing when it was so obvious to everyone but them?  Perhaps they were so skilled at telling little white lies or perverting the truth that even they were deceived.

I think at one time or another, we have all told a fib or two even if our motives were pure.  But deception is never God's way.  In fact, He attributes lying to Satan, the father of lies.  Yet I know people who have fallen prey to the enemy's deception to such an extent that they have lost touch with reality and have no concept of just how much God values them.

Perhaps the lies we are most prone to tell are the ones we tell ourselves and our loved ones in order to justify our own sin.  We lie to protect the ones who could be hurt by our actions, and we lie to ourselves because we don't want to face the truth about our own failures and shortcomings.

There is no freedom in living a lie.  If we know that God requires holiness of us yet we willfully sin and lie to cover up our transgressions, we become enslaved to the very sin we attempt to cover up.  A sinful act is not okay just because "everybody else is doing it."  That is the enemy's lie.  But no matter how bad or ugly the truth about us may be, it is better to face the truth and repent of the deception than to live a lie of any size.

Many of us lie out of fear that someone will find us out, or more importantly that we will discover that we are a disappointment to God or our parents or a significant other.  "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NIV).  "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9, NIV). 

If you have been dishonest with yourself and others, living a lie rather than walking in the truth of what  God says about you, realize that He loves you as you are rather than as you portray yourself to be.  If there is some area of sin you are hiding from others or yourself, know that God sees and He loves you anyway.  Confess that sin and rest in the amazing grace He offers those who are truly repentant. 

If we could ever just grasp "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:18, NIV), then perhaps our hearts would be changed and we would with all our being embrace the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!


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

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Now This Is Living!

The Christian life, for the truly surrendered believer, is one of great adventure.  Like an arduous mountain climb it is fraught with perils and obstacles that are often unanticipated and unavoidable.  Yet the reward and glorious view that await those willing to prepare adequately and persevere are unparalleled and worth every pain it takes along the way in order to reach the pinnacle.

Successfully navigating the challenges that are part of everyday life for the surrendered Christian requires spiritual discipline and training, just like a mountain climb requires a great deal of physical and mental conditioning.  To attempt to climb a mountain without the proper equipment or training would be suicide.  Yet many Christians go through life relying on their own limited resources rather than the power and promises of God that are spelled out so clearly in His Word.  They make decisions based on human reasoning and what seems right to them rather than seeking the wisdom and will of God for their lives.  No wonder they never reach the mountaintop!

Life is hard.  Jesus tells us that in this world we will have trouble.  But He also declares that because He has overcome the world we can rest in His peace (John 16:33).  We cannot know His peace, however, unless we know Him.  And we come to know Him by spending time daily reading His Word and communicating with Him in prayer.

If you are weary of the struggles you face, perhaps you need to spend less time worrying, planning, and trying to control what happens to you and instead surrender each day to the Lord.  By spending the first part of each day reading and meditating on His Word and committing your day and your ways to Him, you are building the spiritual muscles and acquiring the wisdom you will need to successfully navigate the challenges that you will face. 

When you let God have control of your life, seeking His will and provision for all you do, then no matter how difficult life may be you will be able to say with conviction, “Now this is living!”


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

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Free Time

I am SO excited about having next week off that I can't decide what I want to do.  But that doesn't really matter because Uncle Sam has essentially made that decision for me!  While other people will be enjoying the beach or crowded theme parks on their spring break I will be preparing at least three or four tax returns, weeding flower beds, raking leaves, and working on a number of other projects that have fallen by the wayside since I returned to the work force last summer.

No matter what I do, I will enjoy having my free time back for a week.  A friend recently asked me, "What is free time?"  I answered, "Free time is the time I spend doing what I don't get paid for."  Isn't that the truth? 

There is a lot to be said for leisure trips and lazy days, but my idea of a perfectly fulfilling day is one that starts with a longer quiet time, affords me time for a second cup of coffee, and is spent serving my family and enjoying the blessings of home.  Although I like my job, love my co-workers, and really love my paycheck, I'd trade it all in for the blessing and privilege of being a homemaker, gardener, cook, and wash woman, if I could afford to.  For now, though, I'm content to be where God has placed me for this season of life, always looking for the chance to make a difference in my small corner of the world.  Whether or not my time is my own, I am free to enjoy God's blessings and to make a difference wherever He leads me.


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

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand

When I heard the news report of the man who had been swallowed by a sinkhole in Florida, my first thought was of the biblical account of a similar fate which befell Dathan and Abiram, two wicked men who dared to oppose Moses and rebel against God himself (Numbers 16).  I wondered if this man so unexpectedly taken had known the Lord, even as I  prayed for the comfort of his family and friends who are today trying to make sense of something they may never fully understand.

We live in a world where things can taken a sudden and often disatrous turn, resulting in an unexpected loss of life, including our own.  Even if physical danger is not imminent sometimes we might feel that we are standing on shaky ground.  For those who believe in Christ just the opposite is true.

Jesus is our sure foundation, the Solid Rock on which we stand in good times and bad.  He is sovereign and in loving control of all that happens in our lives.  When we live in full surrender to his will we can know that His presence will be with us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

If you feel overwhelmed by life and feel it is only a matter of time, figuratively speaking, before you are swallowed up by the sands of adversity, check to see where your feet are planted.  If you are standing on Christ the Solid Rock, then you are safe.  All other ground is sinking sand.

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

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Watered with Our Tears

A life surrendered to God is not an easy life, but it is one which bears much fruit.  The lessons one learns on the road to spiritual maturity are often painful but the reward for faithfulness and perseverance are great.  The impact of how we weather our own storms is far-reaching and the lives that are touched because we let God have His way in us are more numerous than we will ever know this side of heaven.

Think of a time when you really struggled with something, or a hurt you just knew you'd never get over.  Did you ever feel closer to God than when you were agonizing over what it was He was trying to teach you in that season of life?  If you had it to do all over again, would you, knowing that God would again be faithful and somehow make you just a little more like Him?

Seeds of faith are often sown in rocky soil and watered with our tears.  But it is the tears of an earnest heart, a soul that hungers to know and live God's truth no matter how difficult the journey may be, that produce the kind of fruit that causes others to take notice of our God.

God promises that those who sow in tears will reap in joy (Psalm 126:5) and that weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning! (Psalm 30:5).  If you are overwhelmed to the point of tears, have yourself a good cry and know with certainty that Jesus weeps with you.  He knows that you have a garden to water and in time, the light of His love will bring fruit that will nourish many!


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

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Knowing When to Quit

As I approached the end of a very long day and a stressful week my body began telling me that it was time to quit and go to bed.  With a busy weekend ahead of me I knew that rest is what my body needed in order to make the most of my time and opportunities, yet my mind wanted to stay engaged in the work I was doing when I should have been in bed.

I think that sometimes we are wise to quit.  Not give up, necessarily, but quit.  Our bodies and minds grow weary from the business of simply living every day.  When we fail to recharge them, they begin to fail us.  We become too tired to think clearly or function efficiently or carry on a civil conversation with our loved ones.

Even though we need to give up on occasion and simply rest, one thing that we need to keep in mind is that as Christians we should "not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).  How can we do good if we don't take adequate time to rest?  Doing good takes more than just energy, though.  It takes discovering God's will and purpose for our lives by spending time with Him in prayer and reading His Word.  It takes waiting upon the Lord for guidance and direction.

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31, NKJV).


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

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