Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sometimes You Just Need a Ferry!

Feeling battered by emotions after a disheartening conversation I decided to take advantage of a full tank of gas and the beautiful weather to take a long overdue drive. Every now and then it helps to remove myself from a stressful situation to get alone with God and pray.

Usually a short drive to the river will suffice to lift my spirits. But since pesky gnats made it impossible for me to be still long enough to pray my situation through, I hopped on the Colonial Parkway and drove west to Jamestown, where I took a short cruise across the river aboard the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry -- something I'd been wanting to do for awhile -- just as the sun was beginning to set. To be gliding across the water at with the wind in the hair and my face toward the sun did wonders for my mood.

Rather than hop back on the ferry for the return trip I kept driving, through farmland and towns I'd heard of but not yet seen. With the radio off and a fragrant breeze coming through the windows I drove and prayed, taking comfort in the fact that Jesus totally understood my heartache because he'd also been wounded by those he loved.

I have known people -- and I am sometimes one of them -- who have stayed engaged in conflict, fighting a battle they can not win by their own efforts, hoping and praying that God will hurry up and change the other person. But I have also learned the wisdom of removing myself from the futility of such relationships and going to a quiet place where I can surrender those relationships -- and myself -- to the only One who can change hearts, realizing that it is sometimes my heart that needs to be changed.

If you find yourself in a battle of wills with someone else, give yourself permission to step away, get alone with God, and pray it through. "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8). Take joy in your salvation and comfort in the knowledge that God sees your tears and understands your heartache.  Even more than you do, he loves that one whose words have wounded you, that one for whom you have prayed so many years. Remind yourself of all you know of God and find strength in his Word.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23, ESV)

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Accountability Partners

The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.(Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT)
Have you ever embarked on a journey to conquer a bad habit or make an attempt to better yourself in some way? Perhaps you made a New Year's resolution to exercise three times a week or stick to a budget. Did you find it easier to accomplish your goal by yourself or did you perhaps ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable in order to ensure your success?

My husband and I are accountable to one another when it comes to managing the resources God has entrusted to us. My daughter and I are accountable for keeping each other "feeling veggie good" as we strive to adhere to and educate others about our new experience with the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Who is your accountability partner in life?

Scripture tells us that "two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!..And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him---a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12, ESV).

Even if you don't have a friend you can count on to help you with a particular challenge or keep you plodding in the right direction, know that God will keep you accountable for living according to the truth he has revealed to you. Not in a scary "looking over your shoulder" sort of way, but as a loving Father who has given you His Word as a guidebook because He desires the very best for you, His child.

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hidden Behind the Cross

Have you ever wanted to do something important?  To make a significant impact so badly that you poured all your energy into it only to make less of a mark than you had hoped?  Perhaps you had a dream that you thought God placed in your heart, but it didn't come to fruition the way you thought it would.

It's easy to get so caught up in the vision of what our future could hold that we lose sight of God's purpose for us in the here and now. It is a problem I struggle with daily.

Every now and then we need to lay aside our expectations and pray for God to have his way in us -- to forgive us for being more passionate about what we do than we are about Him.  We need to let go of everything that occupies our thoughts, and set our minds on him.

Father, forgive me for making everything about me and for the compulsion to share with others every little thing you are teaching me.  Sometimes my lessons are just for me.  Help me to live as though I don't exist.  Make me so invisible that when others look at me they see only You.  Hide me behind the Cross.

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Return to Eden

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”  (Genesis 2, 8-9, 15-17, NIV)
Recently my daughter Joy invited me to join her on a journey that is causing us to rethink the choices we make. As an animal lover with the desire to maximize her health and help the environment, she introduced me to the vegetarian lifestyle. Together we are learning about whole foods and plant-based diets, writing a blog, and sharing our journey with others in the hope that we will make a positive impact on those we know, as well as those we don't know yet. While we desire to improve our health and the well-being of animals who often are slaughtered for our meat or used to test many of the products we use, our primary motivation for becoming vegetarians is our love for God and the desire to be better stewards of all the blessings He has imparted to us.

God has given us a beautiful world to inhabit, endowing most of us with the ability to work and the means to acquire what we need to live each day (Deuteronomy 8:18).  He is the supreme Creator and the God who provides. He has given us much, requiring that we be faithful with all He entrusts to us (Luke 16:10-11).  Yet we become careless, selfish, and wasteful.

What if we gave serious thought to all the blessings we enjoy, realizing that they are His gifts to us for the purpose of blessing others?  What if we stopped viewing our possessions as ours and began treating them as if they are His, which in truth they are?  Could you envision a world where we are compassionate to animals rather than abusive, and where we harvest earth's bounty without genetically modifying it into something God never intended it to be?

Our lust for more only results in a diminished quality of life. We are over-scheduled, overworked, and overweight because of convenience foods we eat on the run. With a little thought, planning, and education we can take control of what we put into our bodies, improving our health and slowing down destructive environmental change.

We need to simplify our lives, get back to the basics of nutrition, and become more compassionate to all God's creatures.  Isn't it time that we return to Eden?

Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.