Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Remembering 2015

It is the morning before New Year's Eve and all is quiet as I ponder the year that is soon to end.  I am thankful for the many blessings God has bestowed on us -- good jobs, a quiet town in which to live, and a church where we can serve and feel at home. But no blessing is greater to me than restored relationships and the closeness I share with my immediate family.

I know of many people who have lost dear friends and family members this year, some tragically and unexpectedly, others after long illnesses.  I pray for their comfort and try to imagine how different life is for them without their loved ones.  I think of my own family and count myself blessed to still have my mom and siblings, though I know that the day will come when I too will suffer the loss of loved ones close to me. Rather than take them for granted I need to do a better job of keeping in touch and nurturing my relationships with loved ones while they are still with me.

There are some things I need to do differently next year.  My doctor says I need to lose weight and lower my cholesterol level.  While I don't plan to take up running or join Weight Watchers, I will endeavor to achieve better health by eating better and exercising more.  I will also spend less time watching TV, though in our quiet neck of the woods there is little else to do.  Instead, I will devote more time to writing, housekeeping, and serving others, perhaps as a volunteer.

With the dawn of a new year upon us the clock is ticking, and more than ever I feel a sense of urgency to make a difference in the lives of those who need the encouragement and salvation of the Lord.  There is much work to be done in this out-of-control world before He returns.

I have said that my one word for 2016 will be "worship" -- not merely the singing of God's praises but the commitment to live each day fully surrendered to His will and to honor Him in thought, word, and deed.  To worship Him I must change my focus, redirect my energy, and develop new habits, knowing that it will take the power of His Holy Spirit to effect positive change.

Making New Year's resolutions never works because it becomes all about us.  In our own efforts we often fail.  But what if in the coming new year we strive to live out the truth we profess to believe, relying on the grace and power of God to direct our lives and accomplish through us those things that are consistent with His Word?  What if we actually treat our bodies as His holy temple and remember that the time until He returns is short?  Perhaps then we will have a fighting chance to actually live healthier and more fruitful lives and make a real difference in our world.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Position Yourself

Be still before the Lord  and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land (Psalm 37:7-9 NIV).
Have you ever found yourself frustrated by circumstances over which you have no control but which you have a great desire to see changed?  I believe it is a struggle we all face from time to time.  The frustration we feel does nothing to improve the situation.  On the contrary, our frustration often leads to feelings of guilt as we realize that we have allowed ourselves to become so consumed with anger that we lose our joy.

When we are faced with a situation we find unacceptable or a conflict we are powerless to resolve, we are often tempted to complain loudly or remove ourselves from it rather than allow God to work through it to accomplish His purposes.  As tempting as it may be to pout and walk away from circumstances that irritate us, God sometimes calls us to position ourselves and pray for those involved as He works all things together for good.  It's so hard to do, isn't it?

We need to look at the bigger picture.  The thing that frustrates us is often small compared with the many blessings we enjoy.  Are we willing to risk losing an even greater blessing because we aren't willing to endure a little irritation along the way?  What if instead we decide to pray, be patient, and position ourselves so God can accomplish His will in and through us?

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