Thursday, July 30, 2015

Holding Pattern

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12, NIV)
Those who travel by air know that there is always a chance their flight will be delayed by weather, even if the forecast for the arrival or departure flight indicates fair weather.  Occasionally the traveler might even find himself in a holding pattern, circling the skies while the pilot awaits approval for a final approach and landing. On a plane crowded with people in a hurry to get to their destinations, patience wears thin.

Many of us live life in a holding pattern.  It seems we spend more time waiting in lines than moving through them. Vacation never comes soon enough or lasts as long as we would like.  We don't make progress toward our financial goals because of unexpected repairs or other expenses.  We long for just one day when everything goes the way we wish it would.

Every day God gives us opportunities to be patient, to model his grace and peace to those around us. God is patient and loving, and he expects no less of his children.  Yet so often we behave badly, demanding things be done our way and in our timeframe. When we learn to "go with the flow" and look for God's purpose in our holding patterns rather than be frustrated by them, we will be more in tune with his will and more effective in reaching others who may not know him.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wading In

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  
(Hebrews 13:7-8, NIV)

God gave us moms for a make sure we don't do stupid things in life.  On more than one occasion I have sought my own mom's advice and been cautioned by her to "wade in slowly."  By that, she means that as I face new opportunities and challenging situations I need to be cautious about interjecting my idea of how things should go and not be surprised if I meet some resistance along the way.

Even though change is a part of life, not everyone welcomes change. Experiencing or bringing about positive change is like wading into a pool of refreshing cool water on a hot summer day.  Even though the water may be uncomfortably chilly at first, if we wade in slowly our bodies will eventually adjust to the water and we will be able to enjoy the swim.

It takes courage to embrace change, no matter how large or small the change may be. And it takes the heart of a lion to stand by our convictions in hopes that others will see the benefits of doing things a new and different way.  Even though change may be difficult, we can face it with confidence knowing that the Lord, who is "the same yesterday, today, and forever," will be with us.

What are you waiting for?  Don't be afraid to take the plunge and make a change. Take it from one who knows...come on in -- the water's fine!

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Prayer for Troubled Times

Let there be no fear in life, only faith.
Let there be no dread in life, only grace.
May our hatred be eclipsed by love
And our downcast eyes be fixed above
As we gaze upon Your glorious face,
'Til in heaven with You we take our place.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Treasure

How do people make it through when they don't know you, Lord?
How can they have any hope if they don't know your Word?
Each word that has been written, every promise, every truth,
Is given to sustain us, Lord, and strengthen us in you.
You've promised to provide for us, to keep us in your care,
To give us grace when there is need, our burdens help us bear.
Your wisdom you impart to us to do the things we should.
When things don't seem to go our way you turn them into good.
Lord, help us take the higher road and follow where you lead.
For those of us whose faith is weak, Lord, help us to believe.
Oh thank you, Lord, for faithfulness and grace beyond all measure.
Your holy Word, inspired and true, will always be my treasure.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Thousand Words

This snapshot of my family, taken just before my daughter's Sweet 16th birthday dinner, may be the most precious photo I will ever possess.  As I look into the faces of these treasures God has given me I realize that a thousand words are insufficient to describe the relationships we share, the challenges we have faced, and the thankfulness I feel for each one of them.  God has given me better than I deserved, and in the years of living with these three through good times and bad, has revealed himself to me in ways I could never have imagined.

We have been challenged in our marriage, at times on the brink of failure.  We have been battered by years of parenting teenagers who have had to navigate the obstacle course of a generation characterized by a sense of entitlement and rebellion against the values we have tried to instill in them.  We have been yanked from the familiarity of the placed we called home and dropped in a land halfway across the country to start all over.  We have cried buckets of tears and nearly laughed ourselves to death.  What an incredible, amazing journey it has been!

This picture represents so much more to me than family, the way God intended it to be -- happy, loving, and unified.  It represents the fulfillment of God's promises to comfort, guide, encourage, heal, and provide for us when our challenges were overwhelming -- always remaining true to his Word and loving in all his ways.  It reminds me of friends who encouraged us along the way, especially as we walked the parental tightrope between despair over bad choices and determination to hold tight to our convictions as Christians.  They were right -- things did get better!

If your life's snapshot is not a happy one, take heart -- God is still in the process of positioning you for your Kodak moment.  Trust that he knows what he is doing, he is true to the promises of his Word, and that at the right moment all the broken pieces will be put together in a glorious picture of his love and faithfulness to you.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Let Freedom Ring

On this Independence Day many Americans are pondering freedom and the things that have made our country the envy of nations around the world.  Others are lamenting the changes that continue to erode our freedom, which was bought by the blood of generations of willing men and women who have laid down their lives to secure it.  America has changed into something we barely recognize, a land that has lost its way and is in danger of losing God's blessing.  What in the world has happened to us, and who is to blame for what we have become?

We are quick to blame corrupt politicians, Supreme Court rulings, corporate greed, and moral decline for America's problems. We have lost hope that we will ever be able to change all "they" have done to destroy the America we once knew.  But we fail to see that at the root of it all is sin-- sin living in each of us.  America will never change if we, as individuals, don't recognize our own sin and cry out to the only One who can save us from it.

Jesus called himself "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (John 14:6). He said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). The problem is, we have stopped following his teachings and have instead embraced the lies of the ones who are determined to destroy the America our founding fathers established.

The apostle Paul wrote, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). If America is ever to see true greatness again then we,  as individuals, need to recognize and repent of our own sins.  True freedom will only come as our hearts are changed and we begin holding to the teachings on which this country was founded.

Like many of my countrymen I will celebrate America's 4th of July by proudly flying my flag, joining family and friends for a festive meal, and watching fireworks while listening to patriotic music.  I will give thanks for those who continue to fight so hard for our freedom and pray for those bent on destroying it.  But most importantly I will rejoice in having discovered true freedom through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ -- freedom that was bought by his precious blood, a freedom that no Supreme Court ruling or religious extremist can take from me.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.