Archive | December, 2014

Don’t miss your divine appointment

22 Dec

I think it was the Experiencing God study that first brought this idea into my mind … That God reveals Himself to us in at least four ways: Through Prayer, through His word (the Bible), through the Holy Spirit, and through the Body of Christ. I had never thought about it before, but Henry Blackaby hit the nail on the head with that thought!! As I have lived my life since then, I’ve become keenly aware of how God does this in each of those avenues of life. And all four of those avenues have become so important to me!!

Prayer is far more than we make of it. Years ago I read a book titled “Mighty, Prevailing Prayer” by Wesley Deuwel. That work really stretched me to realize prayer is far more than something I do around my quiet time or at meals. Prayer has really become this ongoing conversation I have with God. Sometimes when I drive, I have a spoken conversation with Him (and I am sure people who see me driving think I am a loon). And that is okay … I would never give up my times talking to God. But prayer is MORE than talking. There are definite times in this conversation where I have to be still and allow HIM to get a word in edgewise … When I fail to do that, my prayer is ineffective because it is a monologue of my thoughts. It is so important for prayer to be a true, two-way conversation. Some will say I am crazy for writing that. Let them say it!!

It would be so hard to write what I really believe about reading the Bible. About God’s word. It really is living, breathing, and sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). One of the things I love about it is the fact that every time I read it, the possibility exists that God will reveal something completely new and different to me. That brings in the work of the Holy Spirit, helping me to see what God is saying to me in my current circumstance (whatever that may be). God’s word is full of strong examples of His character and His consistency as He deals with US, the pinnacle of His creation!!

That is not the only work the Holy Spirit does in this revelation … The Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin. The Holy Spirit directs me into places where God wants me to go. I wish I could say I follow Him without exception or mistake, but I do not. And the Holy Spirit helps me learn from my mistakes. He also intercedes for me at the throne of God in times when I don’t even know what to say … Or what to pray. WOW!!

The Body of Christ also plays a role in the revelation of God to His people. My brothers and sisters in Christ encourage me, urge me, give me feedback, affirm me and affirm the work of God around me. I see His hand in so many things my brothers and sisters say and do. The Body of Christ, when we are clicking on all cylinders, are a wonderful revelation of God to each other and to the world!!

All four of these work together. All four of these are so important. All four of these will lead us to those divine appointments God has for us everyday. Please see the value of all of these!! Please don’t miss your next appointment!!!!!

Places of Honor

15 Dec

As I look back and the events of the past three weeks begin to sink in more, I was reminded of something I always saw in my mom but never really placed it until today. Mom was a “behind the scenes” person. She liked to work and accomplish things without a lot of fanfare or recognition. It was just the way she was. I think it is a “middle child trait.” In a lot of ways, Mom was the glue that held things together, and yet she did not seek praise or any sort of honor for this. She just did it because it needed to be done.

Jesus was talking about that very kind of approach in Luke 14 when He reminded us not to seek places of honor at a banquet!! Not to seek honor, glory, or fame for ourselves. Just do the things we are called to do, and when the time is right, the Host will honor us in the proper way. The way He will honor us is so much better than what we claim on earth for ourselves!!! Jesus makes clear that humility is SO IMPORTANT for those of us in the Kingdom of God. Our earthly nature tends to lead us to seek fame and glory for ourselves …

What if we did everything we will do today for the glory of God INSTEAD of for ourselves??? Would that make a difference? I think so. I saw a real difference in my Mom.

In Memory of One Special Mom (and in honor of all the others)

11 Dec

Much like Leroy Jethro Gibbs, I do not believe in coincidences. The following post was the daily email from Mikey’s Funnies (you can subscribe to the madness at http://www.mikeysfunnies.com)

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned, and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground, and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find any more free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you’re hauling big ticket items this year, I’d like a car with fingerprint-resistant windows and a radio that plays only big-people music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don’t fight, and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Don’t eat in the living room” and “Take your hands off your brother,” because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can be heard only by the dog.

And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pack, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet, making the in-law’s house seem just like mine.

If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don’t mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It would clear my conscience immensely.

It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn’t look so cute sneaking downstairs in his pajamas to eat contraband ice cream at midnight.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always, Mom

P.S. One more thing: You can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young.

The Other Side

8 Dec

We did something yesterday that we never expected to do. Sure, we know the only certain things for we Americans are death and taxes, and we know the number of our days is already known to God, but seldom are we ready so see someone we love cross over to the other side. And, as morbid as it sounds, I never thought we would see Mom cross over before my dad. Dad has been sick for some time. Elaine and I are sitting at the kitchen table right now at 6:50am, and for us this is all too surreal.

Everyone deals with death. Every family has their own dynamic in dealing with such things, and the Wikes are no exception. As is often true, Mom was the glue that held so much together. We children now have a job to do. As a pastor, I have walked many times through such situations with other families. I know the right things to say. I know the right passages of scripture to use. But I had never been in these shoes before. This situation will forever change my perspective on this ministry.

But this is not about me. This is about Mom. I have tried to be the glue … The middle child in me comes out, just like in mom. But soon I will be able to stop juggling all of the balls and just grieve. That that is natural and okay. And to Latha Janet Hooper Wike, whom I will always love, I take great confidence in knowing that I WILL see you on the other side. Until then, I will miss you terribly, Mom. I love you!!