Wednesday, December 26, 2018
“Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It Shine”
By Zach wood
Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
We all know that song we learned back in Sunday School, “This Little Light Of Mine”. I remember learning that song and singing it time and time again as I grew up. It was fun to sing about letting that light shine for others to see. As fun as that is to sing and still is, it is often difficult to actually let that light shine around people who don’t believe in God.
As this year winds down to a close and the new year approaches, I consider how I might be better about letting God’s Light shine through me no matter where I go. How can I better shine His Light and be a witness for Him? How can you and I make it a point to share the Light of the World with those who are lost?
One of the verses of this song says, “Won’t let Satan blow it out”. The enemy is pretty good at trying to blow our flame out. He wants nothing more than to kill the joyous Spirit within us and discourage us from sharing any further. We must be prepared for what he tries to do in getting our flame to blow out. We need to keep the faith and stay strong against opposition.
As the year ends and the new year comes upon us, think of ways where you can better shine God’s Light. Think of little ways and big ways where you can better His Light. We definitely want to be a witness and shine His Light for others to see. If we work on shining throughout our day, people will take notice and it will provide opportunities where people will ask why we are different. What a great opportunity we have to share just a little of God’s Light and what He has done for us!
What is important to remember is to keep that peppy, upbeat attitude that we have when singing this song. We need that attitude when life gets us down. When life gets us down, it is easy for Satan to dampen that feeling of excitement and to lose some of the flame.
Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world for God. Jesus counts on us to spread the message of the Father by continuing to shine the Light.
The little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
Sunday, December 16, 2018
By Zach Wood
Luke 10:38-42 NLT
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to
they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her
home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the
Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.
But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came
to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just
sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear
Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned
about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Jerusalem
I was reading this story to my wife and kids recently and we were discussing how Martha missed the incredible moment that Mary took advantage of. After reading this, it has been on my mind about how we often miss so many moments in life because we are so wrapped up into what we think is important.
Please note that in this story, Martha is not wrong in choosing to do something for Jesus. She is not wrong in preparing a meal for Him. She is not wrong in wanting to put as much time and effort into this preparation. We all put lots of time into preparing things for other people. We prepare to do a lot of things, whatever it may be. The whole point here is that Mary chose what was more important. Mary chose to take advantage of a moment that would not last long. Jesus would soon be on His way somewhere else, but Mary took Him all in.
Sometimes in life we do this exact thing. God gives us moments in life where He wants us to just stop what we are doing and take it all in. Kind of the “sunrise” moment I wrote about recently. God gives us moments to take notice of things apart from our busyness of life. We often get upset in life and ask God to do things with us and through us and then wonder why He isn’t showing us certain things. I believe we often miss these moments because we are so wrapped up in our own things. We are not wrong in trying to be productive and do great things for others. However, God sometimes wants us to just “stop” and take in a moment with Him.
I tend to miss a lot of moments for one reason or another. Whether it is a moment with my wife, my kids, a friend who needs to talk or family member that needs something. I always seem to have an excuse to keep me from something that is a little more important. I often have to ask myself, “Is this really more important right now?”
So, the next time you are busy with something that is important and needs to get done, make sure you are not passing up another moment nearby that God wants you to take in from your current busyness.
Monday, November 26, 2018
“If Only We Had The Faith”
By Zach Wood
Acts 20:22-24 NLT
And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to
I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city
after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the
work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News
about the wonderful grace of God. Jerusalem
The Apostle Paul was one of the most bold and courageous men we could ever read about in the New Testament. He went from persecuting Christians to becoming one and then went on to do things for the Kingdom that makes most of our jaws drop in awe. Paul was a bold man and he was on fire for the Lord!
Read through this passage a few times and let the words sink in. Think about what Paul is saying here. He did not know what awaited him, except that troubles and jail were in his future and he accepted that. The passion he had was so strong that it didn’t matter what was going to happen to him along the way.
Paul also said that his life meant nothing unless he could use it to spread the Kingdom message. Nothing else meant more to him than this mission.
What about us? Do we have this faith? Come on, be honest! I will tell you that I often do not have this faith, but I wish I did. I think about it and am ashamed so often that I back down at the smallest obstacles that come to me. I get timid to share my faith with non-believers. I have no problem sharing my experiences with those who are in the faith, but I am not good at it with non-believers. So many fears stop me and I become timid.
I fear that so many of us have fallen prey to the convenience of life that we live each day. We have so many things at our fingertips and the conveniences just go on and on. We don’t have to wait for much these days and so much is catered to us. We like convenience! Let’s admit it! The moment something arises that brings us out of that convenience and comfort, we tend to back down.
I’m wondering what it will take to bring us to a point where we are as bold as Paul? We all have different personalities and respond to situations in different ways. However, God does not excuse us from fulfilling His mission because certain things become uncomfortable and inconvenient.
I cannot help but read words of Paul and ask myself, “If only I had the faith!”
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
“We All Need A
By Zach Wood
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Last Monday morning, as I was driving my oldest daughter to school, there was a beautiful sunrise that took my breath away. As I drive her to school each morning, I always wonder if we will see a great sunrise or not. Some mornings are really neat, but this one was really spectacular. What was especially cool about this sunrise was that both my daughter and I needed it to brighten up our morning..
Did the sunrise take all of our worries and concerns away? No. Did the sunrise make everything perfect that day for her or for me? No. What it did do was create a moment of peace in the midst of a somewhat chaotic morning. For a few moments I felt an overwhelming sense of awe coming over me. It was like all frustrations and concerns left me for a few moments so that I could just enjoy seeing part of God’s wonderful design. I was just in awe of God and His beauty!
Sometimes, we just need a sunrise moment. With all the chaotic moments in our lives so often, we need something to take our focus away from the chaos so that we can focus on God’s beauty to be reminded that He is always with us. The world easily throws us into chaos, but God wants to remind us each day of His beauty and that He is in control.
Do you need a sunrise today? Do you need a sunrise moment in your marriage? Do you need a sunrise moment in the relationship you have with your teenager? Do you need a sunrise as you face your difficult job? Do you need a sunrise as you face losing your job unexpectedly? Do you need a sunrise moment as you deal with a friend or family member who has a life-threatening disease?
We all need sunrise moments to feel a sigh wash over us and just feel at peace from God’s promises that He is with us. How is He trying to remind you that He is in control? He gives each of us sunrise moments to soak in and enjoy seeing His beauty. The last thing God wants is for our hearts to be troubled. It is so easy to get overwhelmed quickly with life. He so much wants to give us sunrise moments so that we can be overwhelmed by Him and not the world.
Look for these sunrise moments through your day. Take them in and enjoy them. Let God’s peace surge through you and refresh you.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
“Lay Them Down”
By Zach Wood
1 Peter 5:7 NIV- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
NLT- Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
I read this passage this morning on my YouVersion Bible app and it really hit home with me. When I looked up both translations that I often like reading, both of them really spoke to me. God wants me to cast all of my anxiety on Him. Another way to look at it is giving all of my worries and cares to Him. Laying them all down before Him and letting them go. Why? So that I can fully focus on Him and not let them consume me.
I have a hunch that many of you reading this are experiencing the same issues in your life. Are you feeling anxious a lot lately? Are you overcome with worry? Are you overwhelmed with concerns that are going on in your life?
God definitely does not want us to live a life consumed with anxiety, worries and concerns. When we are consumed with these, we cannot focus on Him. So often we let our lives become dominated with these burdens. I have always had a bad habit of letting worry consume me. I don’t try to, but it just happens so often. I am trying more and more each day to give these things to God and let Him fill me with peace.
I need to remember every single day to lay them down before Him and ask Him to fill me with His presence and let Him consume me instead. I think we all need to be intentional about leaving these things at His feet each day so that we can live lives full of Him.
I do not want my daily life full of anxiety and worries and concerns and I must be intentional about giving these to God each day. We must all be intentional. Perhaps you need to write these down so that they are all on paper and then pray about them. Be intentional to mention to God each day the specific things that are making you worry and be anxious, asking Him to give you peace and to take away the consuming feeling of focusing on them.
However you feel like you need to give them up to Him, do it. Fill your mind with Scripture and positive Christian music through the day. Read a book that inspires you and encourages you to put positive thoughts in your mind.
Check out the song “Cast My Cares” by the group Finding Favour on YouTube. Listen to the words and let the message of this song fill you with hope.
Lay all your anxiety, worries and concerns down. Lay them all down before Him.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
“Associating With Sinners: Lost Sheep”
By Zach Wood
Luke 15:1-2 NLT
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
One of the things I most admire about Jesus was His ability to associate with the people who would be considered lowest on the totem pole. Jesus was never into a popularity contest. He did not spend time with people who only looked a certain way, smelled a certain way or dressed a certain way.
Much of His mission was to associate with people who were close to hitting rock bottom or were already there. I guess you could say he attracted people who were living in sin.
The religious leaders did not like and could not believe that Jesus would do such a thing as to associate with the lowliest people. Here was perfect Jesus associating with others that most would not associate with. That is just how Jesus was. He reached to people and places where most of us would never go. He does not have barriers. He does not have a checklist of things that keep Him away from others. His love was real, genuine and reached out to those who needed Him most.
I have to wonder about us today. How many of us have a “checklist” of those we only associate with? Who do we only allow ourselves to associate with? We all have favorites and we choose to pay attention to those we choose to be around. We do not like being around people who make us feel uneasy and uncomfortable. And, we certainly do not like being around people who are completely different from us. We often disagree and find it challenging to find common ground.
Jesus did not let barriers like this stop Him from reaching out. He reached out to people we would avoid. He touched people we stay far away from. He had compassion on people that we would probably judge. He reached out and He loved. He associated with sinners and He loved lost sheep.
The next few verses talk about how Jesus goes after lost sheep because they matter. He would leave the 99 to find the 1 because that 1 totally matters.
I find it absolutely amazing that people who were lost and in sin were attracted to Jesus. They were amazed that He took time to reach out to them.
Do we associate with sinners? Jesus associates with us, and we are sinners. He calls us to associate with others without barriers. That is challenging and tough, but that is our mission.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
“He IS Peace”
By Zach Wood
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be trouble or afraid.
After reading this passage the other day for my morning devotional time, I thought about all the worries, concerns and things I have been anxious about lately in my life. As I pondered this passage, I prayed to God for peace.
Perhaps I’m not alone with this feeling? Do some of you need peace in your life right now because of all the worries, concerns and anxious thoughts? I think it is safe to say that most of us have lives full of challenges, whatever they may be. We seem to find ourselves consumed every day with so many concerns, worries and anxious thoughts.
I have to admit that I have always been one to worry and be anxious about things that haven’t even happened. I struggle often with the “What if?” questions. I really wish I was a person who didn’t worry and become anxious, but we all have bad habits that we wish didn’t consume us.
This passage was a great reminder to me that I need His peace more than ever. I not only need His peace, but I need to learn to let go of trying to control life with my worry and anxious thoughts and just rest in Him. I wrestle often with worries and concerns about being a Godly husband, father and servant as well as health and financial concerns.
I am so thankful that I read this passage because I really needed it! I’m wondering if many of you are also feeling chaos in life because you are weighted down by the worries and concerns of life? The more we worry and become anxious, the more we become stressed out. We all know that feeling and it is not fun.
I would like to share a prayer with you as I end. I hope it brings comfort to you and some ideas of how you can continue to pray and lift worries and concerns to Him.
God, I need Your peace right now to calm my fears, worries, concerns and anxious thoughts. You not only give peace, but You are peace. Only You can give me the peace I need to get through the challenges I am experiencing in life. God, please fill me with a peace that the world cannot give me. Let me be totally consumed with Your peace that can calm my soul. I don’t want to worry, be afraid, be concerned or be overwhelmed with anxiety. Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, please give me a peace of mind and heart so that I can learn to better submit to You and surrender everything so that I am not holding on to these things. Help me to rest in Your peace.