Thursday, November 27, 2014

Stuffed!

Thanksgiving Day is one of the days I most look forward to each year.  The smell of turkey roasting in the oven and a slice of pecan or pumpkin pie with a steaming hot cup of coffee delight me no end.  And while I won't be gathered around the dinner table with extended family today I look forward to eating my fill of traditional favorites at a nearby restaurant and enjoying a movie with my husband and kids.

Too many times I have left the Thanksgiving table stuffed from too much food.  But this year it is the overflow of blessings and peace of God that have left me full in the best way possible.  When I think of where we were a year ago and the incredible journey that God has taken us on this year, I am even more thankful.  Despite our loss of loved ones and the stresses of moving and adjusting to life in another state, blessings have flowed into our lives in so many ways that listing them would be impossible.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving I pray you will find yourself stuffed -- not with turkey, dressing and pecan pie, but with thankfulness for the overflow of God's blessings, love, and grace in your life, despite any adversity or loss you may have suffered this year.  His love and blessings for those who seek Him will never run dry.  If you desire more of God don't be bashful -- boldly ask and He will make sure that you are more than satisfied!



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!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Greatest Fear

At a women's ministry event I recently attended we were asked the question, "What is your greatest fear?" We know the acronyms -- False Evidence Appearing Real or Future Events Already Ruined -- but have we really considered what fear looks like in our own lives?

At the end of our meeting some of us shared the discussions that had taken place at our tables.  As I began to share it dawned on me that my greatest fear is losing control and actually trusting God with the details of my life.  And I dare say I am not alone.  Let me give you a couple of practical examples that many of us can relate to.

Money is tight. Bills are due and there is only so much in the bank to cover them.  Yet God calls us to bring him the first fruits of our income and tithe to his work in our local churches. "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it" (Malachi 3:10, NIV).  Do we trust enough in God's provision to be obedient in our giving and receive his blessing, regardless of the method he chooses to bless us? Or do we hold tightly onto every last cent only to find that what we possess is inadequate anyway? Often it isn't the monetary lack that gets me; it is the sense of regret that I didn't obey and trust God to hold up his end of the deal. When I choose instead to obey and give, regardless of whether or not I feel I can afford to, I find that it is indeed truly more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

For those of us with teenage and young adult children we struggle with the fear that they will get involved with a negative peer group and choose a lifestyle of sin that will hinder their relationship with God and result in potentially devastating consequences for their lives.  We not only pray for them but we push them to choose faith in God, sometimes instead turning them away from God and alienating them in the process.  We fear releasing them into God's loving and capable hands because perhaps deep down we feel it is our responsibility to make sure they are saved and walking with the Lord. Yes, we must certainly train them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), but we must  lead them with a pure heart, a listening ear, a quiet and gentle voice, in the full measure of God's grace.  God loves them even more than we do.  Surely he can be trusted to do whatever is in the best interest of our children, even if he has to use adversity and unpleasant consequences to get their attention.

For me fear all boils down to where I place my trust.  When I exercise the faith to trust God with all that concerns me -- my finances, my children, or my need for wisdom to handle sticky situations -- and stop "playing God" by trying to control every aspect of my life, I find peace and joy despite the circumstances.

My greatest fear used to be the fear of losing control.  But as I have aged and grown in my relationship with God he has shown me that he is trustworthy and true to his Word, and more than capable of handing anything that comes my way.  The secret in conquering that fear is to let go of everything I've been holding onto and instead hold onto him.




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!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fighting the Frenzy

It comes this time every year...the frantic holiday countdown.  The calendars and clocks on our walls, phones, and computers serve as constant reminders that time passes quickly, deadlines approach much sooner than we are prepared to meet them, and Christmas is just around the corner.

Each year many of us resolve to ease ourselves into the holiday season rather than be crushed by the rush to get everything done by midnight Christmas Eve.  We look for ways to cut back, do less, and savor the season but invariably get caught up in the madness of it all.  So what is the secret to fighting the frenzy?  There is no cookie-cutter formula for accomplishing everything and maintaining sanity and grace while navigating holiday traffic, seasonal celebrations, and balancing the holiday budget. The secret in finding peace at Christmas is really the same as it is for finding peace all year long.  The secret lies in an abiding relationship with Jesus, which is cultivated daily by sitting in his presence, talking with him in prayer, and getting to know him more fully by reading his Word.

Being organized, having a shopping list, and making a budget are all helpful; however, if we fail to commit them to the Lord, pray for his provision, and wisely allocate our time and resources, we soon get sucked into the holiday vortex where things quickly spin out of control.  When we focus too much on the holiday and neglect to remember the Reason for the Season, then everything becomes a blur and we lose enjoyment of what Christmas was meant to be.

Jesus bids us come to him as little children (Matthew 19:14).  Isn't that what Christmas is all about...coming to Christ?  How many children do you see running around all stressed out because they feel they have to attend one more holiday function, buy one more gift, or one-up the neighbors' holiday decorations?  Perhaps if, like children, we search for the Wonder of Christmas instead of trying so hard to make Christmas wonderful, we may actually find peace on earth or, at least, in our little corner of it.


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!

Monday, November 3, 2014

To Know and Be Known

Social media has completely altered the way we communicate with others. There are things I love about Facebook and the other sites I utilize, and things I find completely annoying.  I think it is reasonable to say that the popularity of social media is largely driven by the innate human desire to know and be known.

I have been accused on occasion of posting self-absorbed updates.  Ouch. Perhaps I have posted too many pictures of the bridge, the beach, or my family, and spoken too honestly about the struggles I have endured, but honestly I don't know how else to write about the things that truly matter in life except to share how they matter to me, even if they are trivial or personal in nature.

Even in the mundane things of life I believe God teaches us lessons or reveals himself in ways that are meant to be shared with others--folks like us, who need encouragement to press on in their journey to know God and be known by him.  Yet, how can we share those lessons if we aren't willing to talk about how we learned them experientially?  That alone requires a certain amount of transparency and vulnerability.  Although I undoubtedly have crossed the line on occasion by telling more than perhaps I should, I never cease to be amazed by how God can take something I am hesitant to share, which could impugn my character, and actually encourage someone who shares a similar struggle. 

Don't judge me.  I have learned the hard way not to write about other people, at least no longer in any specific way.  On occasion God will use a particular relationship to teach me a greater reliance on him, how to press into him when I am hurting, or what it means to love and be loved in the power of the Spirit and with the grace of God.  If the lesson is profound and I feel so led, I write about it in hopes that someone else can benefit from what he is teaching me.

If you are among those I have offended, bored to tears, or simply annoyed, I am sorry.  Please know that my intention was never to draw attention to you or to myself, but to point others to the One who is all about relationship, restoration, and redemption.

Lest I share too much and be judged as one who is self-absorbed, know that there is only One I love with all my heart, and it isn't me.  It is Jesus, who lives in me.  If you truly know me, you know that I love him passionately because he saw the wretch I was...and some days am...and loved me anyway, enough to lay down his life to redeem me from my sins.  How will others know the One who is strong in me if I am unwilling to show how weak I truly am?  I am not perfect and my message will be offensive to some, but at the end of the day it won't be the "some" I live to please.  It will be the One who lives in me.




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!