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.

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.


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.


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.


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!