Friday, August 28, 2015

Living Joyfully in Dreadful Days

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 NIV)

As I was having dinner with friends one night the conversation turned to politics and the moral and spiritual decline of our country.  A friend sat at the table with such sorrow in her expression, commanding the conversation and the attention of those at the table with her.  Her concerns about the persecution of the modern church, social depravity, and political corruption had taken their toll, replacing her joy with sadness and depression.

Listening to her lament the existing state of affairs in America I wondered, have we Christians become so caught up in our lives that we have become complacent, uninformed, and passive regarding the things happening in our world?  Perhaps.  I'll be the first to admit that I don't follow current events and legislatiion as closely as I should.

The stark reality is that we live in a world that has lost its moral compass and is spiraling toward a destructive end. We have an enemy who is the father of lies and fear, who will stop at nothing to distract Christians and strip away every shred of joy we possess.  We become so captivated and alarmed by news of terrorism, failing financial markets, and end-time prophecies that we lose sight of the God who is still in control of our lives and has promised us an eternal happily-ever-after.

As Christians we need to be involved in the fight for all that we know to be right, but we also need to be aware that Satan can and will use every weapon in his arsenal to defeat us and steal our joy so that no one will ever see the light of Christ in us and have the hope of salvation.  I don't want to lose my joy -- ever.  I will not live in fear because God's perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).  Instead, I am determined to live out the remainder of my days, proclaiming his Word of truth, encouraging others on the journey and sharing the hope of salvation.  We each need to reflect God's love and shine his light in our dark world so that others may see, believe, and receive the love and salvation of his Son.

After all, "The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord  in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord ; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"  (Psalm 27:1, 13-14 NIV).

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

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Truth About Hunger and Thirst

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

When does food taste better to you?  When you have already eaten your fill or when it has been hours since your last meal and you feel famished?  The obvious answer is that food tastes better and we are more thankful for it when we are truly hungry. The same is true of thirst.  Cold water quenches our thirst best on a hot day when we are parched and our mouths are dry.

So it is with our relationship with God.  When life is hard and we are in the midst of the fiery trials that cause us discomfort we are somehow thirsty and hungry for more of him.  We more earnestly desire and long for the comfort of his presence when we are walking through the valley than when we are sitting on the breezy mountaintop high above it.

The challenge, for us, is to acknowledge God's presence and remember him in our seasons of plenty rather than simply cry out to him in our seasons of want (Ecclesiastes 7:14).  Hunger and thirst need to be the constant state of our hearts, no matter what season of life we are in.

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

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Zestful Life

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." ( 2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)
Those who know their way around a kitchen or have enjoyed a slice of lemon meringue pie know that zest is a key ingredient used for flavoring certain foods.  But unlike salt or sugar that can be easily dispensed from a shaker, zest is prepared by cutting and scraping the peel of a citrus fruit such as a lemon or orange. As painful as the cutting and scraping might be for the fruit, without zest certain recipes would lack the flavor that makes them unique and enjoyable.

For most of us it is often the ups and downs of life -- the pruning by our heavenly Father described in the gospel of John --  that draw us closer to God and produce in us the joyful zest to live with purpose and passion all our days. May our lives be a fragrant aroma to those around us as we whet their appetite to taste and see that the Lord is good.

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