Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In Frigid Desolation

This won't be one of my more inspiring or uplifting blogs, but it is one which I feel compelled to write.

Much of the nation has been plagued by colder-than-normal temperatures this winter, including the Mid-South, where most of the people I know live.  As cranky as cold weather makes me, I find myself especially grateful for the simple things like blankets, space heaters, and hot coffee to take the unpleasant edge off the uncomfortably cool temperatures.  Normally prone to complain that "I just can't get warm," I am reminded of a homeless woman I know, who has for over five years lived on the streets of suburban Memphis, seeking shelter in cheap hotels, broken down cars, and benches wherever she can find one.

*Connie is convinced that there is no help for her.  She is a believer who happens to be disabled, unemployed (perhaps even unemployable), and homeless.  An orphan without loving relatives who could provide the support she needs, her personality can often be abrasive and bitter, although I have known her to be pleasant on many occasions.  What she lacks in education she more than makes up for in street wisdom and common sense.  I know this from having spent several hours with her in the middle of the night when I took her to an emergency room for treatment of a ruptured cyst on the back of her head.  Yet, she is convinced that no shelter will take her and complains that the ones that would, cost money to get into.  Although she possesses a survivor mentality that has served her well during her time on the streets, Connie is suffering.  Pride has kept her from seeking the help she truly needs from agencies that could provide not only shelter and food but also direction toward getting treatment for her physical and mental issues.  She feels abandoned and hopeless.

As I sit in my half-empty suburban home, thankful for shelter from the bitter cold, I pray for her and search for ways to help people like Connie.  I wonder how many of us go about our days without giving much thought to those who live in frigid desolation with very little hope.  And like you, I find myself asking, "What can I possibly do to help?  I have no bed to offer.  I work and cannot open my home to someone then leave them unsupervised while I am away.  I don't want to take in someone who in reality needs a whole lot more help than I can offer."  Therefore I do nothing.  I pray, but is that enough?  I give to shelters and charities that supply the services I feel I can't, but is that enough?

Honestly, I have had many conversations with God about the plight of the homeless and in particular, our friend Connie.  Why, in a nation as blessed as ours, are so many people living on the streets?  Why aren't there enough shelters to take in the homeless?  The Bible says that the poor will always live among us, but is that any excuse for not doing more than we do to ease their suffering?

I don't know why I wrote this. Perhaps it was to ease my own guilty conscience or maybe, just maybe, God wants to raise awareness that the homeless ones like Connie are created in His image just as we are.  What can we do to help ease their suffering?  Those of us with children would never want to see our kids living homeless on the streets.  Is God any different?  What can we do to help His children who are homeless and without refuge?

If you have a chance to help someone today, whether or not they are homeless, make the most of that opportunity.  As you minister to them, invite them to seek refuge in the Savior whose glorious riches supply all your needs.


*Name changed to protect her identity.

Copyright © 2014 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, January 23, 2014

Forsaking Frustration...Putting on Peace

What is standing between you and peace?  Is there some circumstance or person that frustrates and brings out the worst in you?  I think most of us would answer "yes" to that question!

What would happen if we decided to forsake our frustration and put on the peace that God promises to those whose minds are focused on Him?  Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."  Yet we allow those irritating circumstances and people to distract us from what truly matters, our relationship with God and the abundant life He promises to His children.  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).  If God promises us the joy of His presence (Psalm 16:11) then why on earth would we let some temporary adversity or annoyance steal that joy?  Could it be that we don't trust our God to handle these momentary afflictions in our lives?

Lord, many of us face situations over which we have no control, the proverbial "thorn in the flesh" which steals our joy every time we succumb to frustration.  Help us to understand that frustration is not your choice for us; it is the enemy's.  When our frustrations threaten to overwhelm us, help us to find peace in this blessed assurance -- "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16:11).  May we glory in Your presence and bask in Your peace today.


Copyright © 2014 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 8, 2014

Forsaken

Forsaken.  It is a word with which we are all too familiar, a word often used to describe how we feel because of the way others have treated us -- perhaps even how God has treated us.  We feel abandoned, rejected, deserted, or betrayed by those in whom we have invested our hearts, souls, and minds.  As a result of having been forsaken we often lose our ability to trust others -- even God.

Satan will do anything in his power to make us believe the lie that because someone else has forsaken us, we are somehow not worthy of God's love and that God himself has turned his back on us. The enemy wants us to believe that no one, not even God himself, understands what it feels like to be forsaken as we have been. Sweet friend, nothing could be further from the truth!

Christ, as he hung on the cross for our sins, asked our heavenly Father, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:47).  In that brief moment of agony when the Father turned his face away, it was not because he hated his only Son but the sin for which Christ willingly died so that we could live eternally in his presence. Our eternity with God begins the day we receive Christ as Savior and is made glorious as we surrender daily to his Lordship in our lives.  "And nothing" -- not our sins, hangups, or hurts -- "can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).

When we feel forsaken it is good to remember these assurances from God's Word:

"Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me" (Psalm 27:10).

"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).

"No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5)

Consider this:  If the word forsake means "to renounce or turn away from entirely"*, then why can't we forsake the lies of the enemy and the destructive thoughts we harbor toward ourselves and simply trust the promises of the God who has promised never to forsake us?


("Forsake." Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed January 8, 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forsake.)




Copyright © 2014 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, January 2, 2014

How to Be a Nobody

 "If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2, The Message).

While reading my devotionals this morning the familiar verse above caught me off-guard with a convicting truth:  I am nothing if I don't have love.  It doesn't matter how many devotional books I write, how eloquently I present the truths of God's Word, or how strong my faith may seem -- without his love growing in me and shining through me I am nobody!

We all want to be somebody and to have a significant positive impact on those around us, particularly the lost ones who need our Savior.  But our words are hollow if his love is not evident in our lives.  Last night over a game of cards, when looking for a heart to play from my hand, I jokingly said, "I've been told that I don't have a heart." Sadly, sometimes my behavior would seem to confirm that statement.  

As I look ahead to a new year and contemplate the changes I would like to see, at the top of the list are being less angry and loving others as Christ would.

Lord, increase my capacity to love others by filling me afresh with your Holy Spirit and your grace.  May my actions and attitudes reflect your character and the truths of your Word so that others may see you in me and desire to walk in your ways.








Copyright © 2014 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 1, 2014

Holy New Year

New Year's resolutions are easily made and broken.  We resolve to eat less, spend less, be less angry, exercise more, and generally strive to be better people than we were the year before.  We do these things hoping that we will be healthier, happier, and more prosperous than we were last year.  But life doesn't work that way.  God never intended for us to be able to make things better.  That's His job.  Left to our own devices, we will ultimately fail to realize the fulfillment of our resolutions.

Many people will use one of the following words as a theme for the new year -- hope, love, happiness, health, peace, or prosperity. But perhaps the word we should be hitching our  wagon to is "holy," because when we strive to be holy as God is holy and surrender our lives to his will, everything else will fall into place.

As we strive to live holy lives we will place more trust in God and his Word.  We will be conscious of the fact that our bodies are temples of his Holy Spirit and therefore be more apt to supply them with good nutrition, sleep, and exercise. We will realize that certain behaviors do not honor God and therefore will do our best --by his grace and in the power of his Holy Spirit--to honor and cherish instead of criticize and berate those we love, clean up our language, monitor our entertainment, refrain from overindulging our appetites and lust for more, and seek ways to serve others rather than be served.

Certainly, I wish all of you a Happy New Year, but I also pray that we each may embrace it as Holy New Year, taking each day as it comes and giving thanks in all things knowing that God is working all things together for our good!



Copyright © 2014 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!