Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wake-Up Call


“Wake-Up Call”
By Zach Wood
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

We’ve all had experiences that have either scared us or gotten our attention to the point where we make a change.  We’ve had friends and family scare us to be funny and we have done the same to others as well.  We’ve had moments where certain things scare us in one way or another.  Alarm clocks can scare us awake sometimes, right?  We don’t like them.  I don’t like mine!  Why is that little box making that annoying sound??  I want to sleep!! 

We all get scared by different things.  We also have experiences where our attention quickly focuses back onto someone or something.  As humans, we easily become distracted and taken off-course from where we should be focused.  It happens every day.  I often tell people I have a bad memory.  Some things I remember and other things I have to be reminded constantly of because I forget.  I hate that!  I need to be reminded as well as many of you.  We all need reminded of things and need our attention redirected often.

We all need so-called “wake-up calls”.  We don’t like them at first, but we find that they are just what we need to refocus on whatever task we need to focus on.  God has to do this often in our lives.  He works hard to give us “wake-up call” moments so that we will get back into gear and on to the path where He wants us.  His Word is full of wisdom, advice and commands to help get us back on the path where we need to be. 

His Word should inspire us and teach us what is Truth and make us realize what we are doing wrong in our lives so that we can come back to following Him.  His Word points out the bad in our lives so that we will repent and turn back to Him.  His Word is alive and active and penetrates deeply into our very souls.  His Word is powerful and it needs to often “set us straight” again. 

I know we often don’t like the “wake-up calls” we get, but we know we need them and we come to appreciate the ways God uses to bring our attention back to focusing on Him.  His Word is to be a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path. 

We all need to heed His “wake-up calls”! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Continued Challenge To Love


“The Continued Challenge To Love”
By Zach Wood
2 John 1:6 NLT
Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

If you were to ask me if I love my family, I would quickly give you an answer of “Of course! Why wouldn’t I?”  I strive hard every day to be the husband and father that I know I need to be for my family.  It is quite the challenge each day, but I am trying hard and asking God to give me the strength and wisdom I need to be not only a good husband and father, but a Godly one most of all. 

While I strive hard to be loving in my home, I also need to remember that I am commanded to love those outside my home as well.  I am called to love other people in my family, my co-workers and others I come in contact with on a daily basis.  I may not be close to every single person I meet, but God has given me the charge to do my best to love everyone I meet. 

Loving can be downright hard to do at times.  I find that there are really easy people to love and then there are really difficult people to love.  Then, I remember a quote I read recently from TobyMac that says, “Love difficult people.  You are one of them.”  Ouch!  Just a huge dose of reality there!  When I think it’s challenging to love others, others find it challenging to love me as well.  Tough pill to swallow!

We all have a continued challenge to love others.  Every day of my life, I am trying to learn more of what it means to not only love God, but how He wants me to love people around me.  In doing that, I am loving God when I love others. It is often hard to love others!  We all struggle with it.  When we consider it tough to love difficult people, just remember how challenging it was when Christ poured out love to others even when people spit in His face and when they crucified Him.  He prayed for them!  Wow!

What is our problem with loving other people?  God has commanded us to set aside petty differences and do our best to appreciate one another.  Even dealing with differences that are hard to live with, we still need to make an effort to show love in any ways we can.  We should not only love because He tells us to, but we should desire to love because He loved us and His unconditional love drove Him to the Cross to demonstrate that love.  Now that is a dose of deep love! 

We have a continued challenge to love each day.  What will we do with that challenge? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Challenge Of Being Financially Content


“The Challenge Of Being Financially Content”
By Zach Wood
Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

How many of you are satisfied with what you make in your job?  Do you have a job that you really enjoy?  If you had the choice between having a job you really enjoy or having a job that pays a lot of money, which would you pick?  Don’t answer right away.  Think on that for a little while.  Let the question sink in. 

There are many people who have jobs and they make a lot of money, but they are miserable.  There are also people who have a job they really enjoy and are satisfied because they are content with how much they make.  Which one are you?  Maybe you have a job you enjoy and you make good money.  Kudos to you!  However, we need to remember that with more money in a job comes more responsibility.  Perhaps you make a lot because you’ve been there a long time and you’ve raises with years of experience. 

Whatever the case, I think we would all like to have a job that we enjoy, plus make good money.  I don’t know which situation you find yourself in, but I want to ask you a challenging question, “When will it be enough?”  Will you be content with what God has given you with a current job?  Now, this doesn’t mean you’re wrong for going to a job that offers you more money.  There are always many things to consider when choosing a job.

I want to challenge all of us to consider these words in Hebrews.  We are told to keep our lives free from the love of money.  God has promised to always provide for us and never leave us in need.  Somehow, He always provides for us.  We need to change our perspective many times and be thankful for what He has given us instead of so often wanting more.

In the past few years, I have had some work experiences that have taught me to be content with what I make and the relationships I have at my work place.  I hear a lot of people complain about what they make and I always think to myself, “When will it ever be enough?”  The truth is that if we aren’t content with what God gives us now, then no matter how much wage we chase after, it will never be enough.  That’s a tough truth, but I firmly believe it from what I have learned from my own experiences.  I would much rather have a job that I truly enjoy and people I like working with over having a higher paying job. 

God tells us to keep our lives free from the love of money.  Are we doing that?  Are we focused on money more or are we content with what God has promised to provide?  It’s a challenging and tough question we all must answer.

Are we financially content with what He has provided?

Saturday, June 15, 2019

His Faithful Love Endures Forever!


“His Faithful Love Endures Forever!”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 107:1 NLT
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His faithful love endures forever.

This past week was a crazy busy week and I did not get a chance to send out a devotional like I usually do.  While last week and this week was filled with many good things that went on, it was exhausting and I found myself tired every day just longing to get some rest.  I know that all of us experience days and weeks like this in our lives often. 

While the weekend and week was very busy, I read this passage the other day and it filled me with refreshment to know that God is always with me and will sustain me.  Sometimes just the simple promises of God are a great reminder of His faithfulness in the midst of our crazy lives. 

We have so many things to be thankful for with God in our lives.  No matter what chaos enters our lives in any given day, week or month, we always have reasons for being thankful to God.  Sometimes, in my life, I can easily find reasons to complain and find dissatisfaction with life, but then God reminds me that He has given me so much and I have every reason to be thankful instead of feeling dissatisfied. 

The NLT states this passage in different way by saying, “His faithful love endures forever.”  Not just His love, but His faithful love!!!!  He is completely faithful, in our good day and our bad days.  We have so much to give thanks to God for what He has and continues to do in our lives! 

We definitely need to remember this passage on the days when we feel in despair.  We need this when we feel hopeless.  We need this when we feel like things are out of control.  We need this when we feel like everything around us is falling apart.  It’s important to remember this passage, and so many others, when we have bad days, weeks or months. 

It’s also important to be reminded of this when we are having good days as well.  Just to be reminded of the absolute great and loving faithfulness of God!  It is bigger than any feeling we can have.  He is so faithful and His love will endure forever!  When you are having a crazy day, week or month and you’re struggling just to catch your breath and rest, remember that He is always with you and wants to give you rest and refreshment from your crazy life. 

Give thanks to Him because His FAITHFUL LOVE endures forever!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Call Of Humility


“The Call Of Humility”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Humility is the word that has been coming to my mind the past few weeks.  Whether it is a preaching opportunity that I’m preparing for, a devotional article that I’m working on or reading a story dealing with humility, God has been reminding me the importance of staying humble.  I am thankful for the opportunities God has given me in various ways to minister for Him and He continually reminds me, in different ways, to stay humble. 

Even though He reminds me often, it is still challenging to stay humble.  It is so easy to become full of pride and think a lot of myself at times.  It is often tempting to become conceited and think boastfully, but God reminds me who I am and what He has done for me.  I’ve constantly been reminded, through various devotionals, of the importance to remain humble.  I am so thankful He is reminding me how important it is practice humility. 

I hope that we can all be reminded daily of how humble we should be.  Jesus became a servant and He taught the Disciple’s true humility by washing their feet.  He wants to teach us the same.  We need to think of others and how we can better serve others and not think about what we want so much of the time. 

We are all very guilty of being prideful and conceited.  Some lessons of humility are easier than others.  Sometimes we have to swallow a very large pill of humility or, as I’ve heard the saying, “eating a piece of humble pie”.  God will definitely find ways to teach us to stay humble. 

One of the reasons I am so thankful for God’s lessons of humility is that they remind me that He gives me the abilities to do what I love to do for Him.  I couldn’t write the devotionals I do if He didn’t give me the ability.  I couldn’t preach sermons if He didn’t give me that ability.  I always want to fee honored and humble for the opportunities He gives me and not take them for granted.  I want to constantly learn humility. 

I hope this will be a reminder for all of us that when God gives us opportunities, we will always be thankful for what He has done and continues to do.  Never take a boastful attitude and consider yourself better than others.  We all constantly need God to remind us how to stay humble.  Imitating Christ’s humility is so important in our daily lives.  I hope that we will all consider more how we can be humble to others around us. 

God calls us to true humility. 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

One Thing You Can Count On!


“One Thing You Can Count On!”
By Zach Wood
Hebrews 13:8 NIV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

As I drive to and from work each day, one thing I take notice of is the gas prices.  I like to keep an eye on them often.  As we drive around from town to town and going various places, I often do the same.  I like to keep an eye on where gas may be the cheapest and it’s just interesting to see the fluctuation of prices.

As I was driving home today from work, I chuckled and thought to myself, “Wow, these gas prices just fluctuate constantly!”  And they do, often.  I thought about how so many things around us each day change from one moment to the next.  It seems we cannot find anything these days that stays the same.  Things are constantly changing and it’s very hard to keep up with. 

I don’t mind sometimes when things change, but I do like consistency in many things.  It’s nice to know when some things will remain the same and kind of creates a comfort zone, so to speak.  As I continued thinking through these thoughts, I thought about how crazy things are in the world with a continuous cycle of change.  It really does seem things are constantly changing and it just doesn’t provide a feeling of security.  Technology is one of the biggest things that change.  What’s new one day is old and obsolete in no time!  Crazy!

I am so very thankful to know that God never changes.  No matter what is going on each day of my life, I can count on the fact that God’s love will always remain within me.  He will never love me less and I don’t have to do anything to make Him love me more.  His faithfulness is always present.  I never have to be concerned that He will abandon me.  He is always there.  When I’m having a bad day at work or at home, He’s always there to comfort me. 

There is such a comforting feeling to knowing that God remains the same no matter what is going on around me.  I don’t have to worry about His love and faithfulness fading away.  With all the changes that happen around me daily, it’s a peaceful feeling knowing that I can rest in His presence. 

I hope you can be comforted today knowing that God loves you no matter what.  With all that changes around you, His love won’t abandon you and He will remain faithful in the coming days.  Rest assured you can count on God’s love to pour out on you every day of your life. 

One thing you and I can always count on is the great love and faithfulness of God!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Trust In The Midst Of Confusion


“Trust In The Midst Of Confusion”
By Zach Wood
John 14:1 NLT
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.

Ever had someone tell you that you were going to do something together or go somewhere and, at first, it totally confused you?  But then the person said, “I know you don’t understand, but just trust me.”  You probably followed, wondering what in the world was going to happen.  You were a little hesitant and perhaps your heart was pumping fast, but you still followed close behind and waited to see what would happen.

There are many situations in which we become frustrated because we don’t “get” something and it takes a while for us to finally figure out what is happening or the leader/teacher doesn’t explain fully for a certain period of time.  Why?  Perhaps the person wants us to completely trust in their leading and not trust in our own understanding.

It is definitely hard to follow when we don’t get what is going on in life.  There are a lot of times we don’t get what’s happening and it causes frustration.  At first, we may have a really bad reaction and get angry at the person who is holding information back from us.  They have reason for it and won’t let us in on all the info until later.  Often we’re like, “Hey, don’t leave me hanging!”  It’s not fun when we don’t know all the details.  We feel troubled and unaware. 

If you’re anything like me, things can “throw you” when you first feel troubled and unsure of what’s going on.  I often don’t like when things suddenly change.  It depends on the situation, but often I don’t adjust well.  I have to stop and think and ask God for strength to adapt to the newness, whatever that might be.  I don’t like to be troubled by things unaware.  It can be very confusing at times when life throws me curve balls. 

Jesus tells His men not be troubled.  He wants them to trust in Him.  He doesn’t want them to fret because He’s got everything under control.  It is hard to trust in the midst of confusion, but He tells us to fully rely on Him and trust. 

I have learned in the past years that it’s vital to trust even when things seem to not make any sense.  He is always working in ways we cannot see and we just have to trust Him.

If you are struggling in life right now and in the midst of confusion, hang in there!  Trust in Him!  Don’t give up!  Don’t throw in the towel.  Trust in Him and He will not let you down.  Hang tight just a little longer.  Don’t be troubled.  Let Him lead and see what awesome opportunities He has for your future.  Trust Him in the midst of your confusion.