Saturday, February 18, 2017
“I Know, I Know, I Know”
By Zach Wood
James 1:22-25 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
“I know, I know, I know” The phrase that so many parents hear all too often from their children. After being a parent for almost 11 years now, I have heard this phrase so many times. And, as you can imagine, it becomes quite frustrating at times when my kids don’t listen or act like they aren’t listening. My wife and I will tell them something over and over and over again, but still yet to see them go off and do what we just told them not to do.
My parents dealt with me on this more times that I can ever imagine! I’m sure they are reading this and probably getting a good chuckle or rolling their eyes just thinking back to those times. What kid does not deal with this?
There is not a parent in this world that has not experienced this with their kid or kids. However, I can’t come down too hard on them, because I flip that situation around and I see myself acting this very same way toward God. I have His Word available to me each and every day to read and learn and…..to OBEY. But…do I? Many times I don’t. I tell God, “I know, I know, I know” and I go on my merry little way like it’s no big deal. I tell God I’ll try harder next time. I tell Him I’ll listen more next time. I tell Him I’ll be better about things later. I put them off and I fail to work on them….NOW.
God is not happy when we choose to obey Him in our own time frame. He commands obedience now, not later. Could you imagine if we treated our jobs this way? What if we said to our bosses and supervisors “I know, I know, I know”, but kept on doing the wrong things? Do you think we’d have a job much longer? No! Why would they keep an employee who doesn’t listen?
It’s so easy for us to hear what God tells us to do and to listen to it, but it’s a whole different ballgame to actually put action to what we’ve heard. We must do the other part and actually make a change and live it out. James is very direct about how we need to live our lives by intently listening to God and obeying Him. And, just like a child to a parent, if the child doesn’t listen, there are consequences. We have consequences when we don’t listen to God. Sometimes, they can be drastic. Other times, we can get off with a warning when we come close to a problem and stop it before it happens and learn from that.
I hope and pray that each one of us heeds God’s commands and that we don’t just fool ourselves thinking we’ve done something grand when we’ve just merely listened and done nothing more. That’s like listening to a sermon every week and telling the minister “Good message” and doing nothing about that message we’ve heard. What will we do about it?
So, we need to change our “I know, I know, I know” to “I will, I will, I will”. That comes through being willing to surrender and submit.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
By Zach Wood
Romans 12:9-10 NLT
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
While I was at work today, a convicting thought came to mind. I thought about the different people we come into contact with each day. First, there are those we get along with really well and enjoy being around and talking to. Second, there are those we may know and have some casual conversation or small talk when we pass by them. Third, there are those people whom we don’t really get along with for one reason or another and try to avoid.
The more I thought about this, I was convicted mostly by the idea of those whom I try to avoid perhaps because I don’t get along with them or things just feel awkward anytime I try to talk to them. We have all done it. We see someone we’d rather not talk to and we think quickly how we can “look” distracted to avoid talking to them. Or perhaps we try to find another way to walk so that we don’t have to pass by them. We all have to admit there are those people in our lives that we just don’t want to communicate or come into contact with.
As much as it pains me to think about talking to some people that I just cannot get along with, Christ has commanded that I do my best to show love to everyone. He does not give me the permission to avoid others just because they are tough to love. And…you know what? I’m tough for some people to love as well! Ever think about that? When you find yourself thinking about how hard it is to love some people, remember that others probably find it hard to love you as well.
This passage is vital to our daily walk with Christ. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really show genuine to them. No matter how difficult it might be, hold tightly to doing what is right and what is good. Put others before yourself. Yes, it’s hard, but Christ never called us to what is easy. Loving others is hard. Just think about what Christ went through and He never stopped loving.
I hope and pray that we all will be convicted of this no matter where we are or who we’re around. God has called us to be real and genuine with everyone. As hard as that may be sometimes, we need to strive to do our best to love others the best we can. Don’t try to avoid people. Instead, do the best you can to show love to them in any way possible. That’s what Christ would do.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
By Zach Wood
James 4:7 NIV
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
This time of year, many people have made resolutions of things they want to change in their lives. They may list many different things they would like to change or be better at in life. So many people make these decisions and try to follow through on them.
As the New Year approached, there was really one though on my mind and heart. I was thinking about how I can get closer to God and what I need to flee in my life in order to accomplish this. I’m not a person who makes long lists for resolutions. I’m not into making a huge list of things I want to change. What I do like to do is think of one or two things that I really want to see change in my life and pray about God helping me to do this.
What if we all made it our prayer this year to work on complete and full submission to God each and every day? What does that look like? What does it mean for each of us to fully surrender our lives each day? James tells us to submit our lives entirely to God and by doing that we resist the devil and he flees from us.
I really want to make it a point in my every day walk this year to strive better in making God my priority. I want to grow closer to Him so that I can resist what Satan throws at me each day, throughout the day. It is downright hard some days to keep my focus on Jesus because I have so many selfish thoughts and other thoughts that keep me from thinking of Him. I have to be very intentional many times through my day to focus on Christ and not let my mind wander.
So what does it look like for you to completely submit as you continue in this New Year? What does it look like in your life to be completely devoted to Him? Let this be a main question that dictates how you life your every day life. What decisions are you making that glorify Him or are you turning from Him in what you decide? What words are you saying and what ways are you living that either glorify Him or turn away from Him?
I want to resist the devil every day. I want to turn away from him when he throws impure thoughts at me and tempts me to be unfaithful in so many ways. I want to be strong in the Lord and stand up to the enemy and resist his flaming arrows. I want to be in complete and full submission to Him. But you know what? It’s going to take a lot of work and daily commitment. It’s going to be hard and will require much effort.
I hope that we each will make this our prayer to be in complete and full submission to Him every moment of every day.
Monday, January 2, 2017
“Help Me To Listen, Lord’
By Zach Wood
John 10:27-28 NIV
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
There are many challenges to being a parent. One of the greatest is talking to my kids and giving them instructions to follow, whether that is asking them to clean up something in their room or another room in the apartment, or asking them to go get something or take care of something quick. So often I find myself saying to them, “What is so hard about the concept of cleaning up?” My hands go up in the air in front of them and I repeatedly say that they need to listen to instructions and follow.
If you are a parent reading this, you are probably shaking your head in agreement and thinking through how your kids act as well. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this feeling at all. When our kids don’t do what we ask them to do, it is frustrating and we often find ourselves thinking about how we were when we were their age. Sometimes we do forget how much we struggled with doing what our parents asked us to do.
Our kids so often “hear” our voice, but they choose to do what they want to do instead. Or, they actually “listen”, but still don’t feel like carrying out what we ask them to do. Often I’ve literally asked them “Why aren’t you listening to me and doing what I ask you to do?” Sometimes I get a few responses or I get a shrug of the shoulders. That leaves me speechless often not knowing what to say next.
As much I find myself getting frustrated at times when they don’t listen, I cannot help to think how God feels when I don’t listen to Him. How does God feel when He instructs me to do something or not do something and I simply avoid following His voice and instruction. If I really cared enough and truly wanted to follow Him and obey, I would listen to His voice and be obedient, but often I do not.
John tells us that if we listen to His voice and focus on Him, then we truly know His voice and allow Him to penetrate our hearts instead of the voices of the world. It’s often so easy to let voices of the world dictate what we do instead of letting God’s voice dictate what we do. We follow the ways and voices of the world way too often. I know I do all too often.
I’m not into making a bunch of New Year’s resolutions, but one thing I really want to do be better at this year is paying attention more to His voice and knowing Him more. I hope and pray that is your prayer this year as well. Let us all make an effort to listen to Him more and let Him guide us more in all things. It’s a simple concept, but very hard often times to follow through on.
God bless you all and Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
“Dedicated To Prayer”
By Zach Wood
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward
. Three times a day he got down on his
knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Jerusalem
The past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about Daniel. What impresses me the most about him is that he was completely faithful in keeping his prayer life even though he was among the minority. For years and years, he prayed to God three times a day, no matter who was trying to stop him or ridicule him. He was absolutely faithful in prayer.
In my life lately, I’m ashamed to admit that my prayer life isn’t anywhere near what it needs to be. Don’t get me wrong, I do pray, but I know I don’t pray enough. I don’t dedicate myself enough to prayer in everything. I have my devotion time in the morning each day, but I don’t consume myself throughout the day in prayer as I should.
Prayer is such a wonderful privilege to come before God and share our concerns and communicate with a loving Father Who wants to commune with us. Prayer is so powerful if we will intentionally tap into it often, throughout our days.
Throughout the Old Testament, we find many others, including Daniel, who dedicated themselves to the power of prayer and continued their efforts often to go to Him. So many prayer warriors we can read about and learn from as we read His Word. I must admit that I let myself slack in making prayer a priority in my life and in my family. I want to be closer to Him in prayer and bringing things before Him and bringing concerns of others to Him.
What about you? Are you lacking in your prayer life? Of course, we all can always pray more for sure, but many of us, if we’re honest, don’t put a high priority on our prayer lives. We sure need to be more like Daniel who prayed, even in the face of adversity. He didn’t stop praying even though he was going to be thrown into the Lion’s Den. He stayed faithful even when he found out the new law was passed. He stayed faithful in prayer. He was dedicated to prayer.
Are we dedicated to prayer? If we’re not, then what are we doing about it? I want to be more dedicated and be more of a prayer warrior. I hope you do as well.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
“Running From Obedience”
By Zach Wood
Jonah 1:1-3 NLT
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Imagine you are watching the World Series. There are 2 outs and the score is tied. This is so intense and everyone is on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens at this crucial moment. The batter swings and there’s 1 strike. The batter swings again and now 2 strikes. The batter swings for the third time and cracks the ball way out into the outfield. But, what if the batter then starts running toward third plate? Could you imagine how the players and fans would react? They’d all be yelling “You’re running the wrong way!” Not only would the runner look foolish, but this choice would not win the game.
Now imagine a basketball player getting the ball inbounds and he starts going down the wrong side of the court. He goes up for lay-up and he scores…..for the other team! The player would also look foolish. Why? Because the player didn’t do what he or she was told to do! The player ran the wrong way.
Now, if we were watching these games on TV, we would drop our jaws and open our eyes wide and shout, “What were you thinking??” Who would be that foolish? Who would jeopardize a game like that and be so careless and do the wrong thing intentionally?
These things would be foolish of course, but before we point our fingers in judgment, don’t we do the same thing? I have read the Jonah story many times and I think to myself why he would flee like that? And then I look at my own life and I see so often how many times I have disobeyed God and fled from His commands. He has asked me to do so many things in life and I have disobeyed Him a lot and done my own thing. I ran my own way and I paid the price. Jonah ran and he sure paid the price for what he did. The Lord let him run and let him suffer the consequences.
Aren’t we so like Jonah? What are we running away from? Are we running away from a conflict we need to address? Are we running away from a marriage that we should stay and work out? Are we running away from a relationship with a friend that we need to sort out? Are we running away from a choice at work that we need to be strong about making?
What are you running away from right now that you need to face? What is God calling to do that you are intentionally going the opposite way? Obedience is always the most successful way.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
“Thankful For His Perfect Faithfulness’
By Zach Wood
Isaiah 25:1 NIV
Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how faithful God is to me and my family. I’ve been thinking about how faithful He has been in my personal life and how He has been faithful with my wife and kids. No matter what seems to be going well, frustrating us or giving us some stress, He always seems to be faithful. Some how and in some way, He always comes through to teach me and to teach my family about continuing to trust Him.
Every morning I wake up, I know I have a decision to make. I can either worry and try to handle life that day on my own or I can trust in God’s faithfulness to carry me through, even if I have no idea what He is up to. I know that I should trust in His faithfulness every single day, but honestly there are so many days that I start out that way briefly, but then concerns and worries flood my mind and heart and I worry all day.
Consider these powerful words from Isaiah. He makes a powerful statement. He declares that God is faithful. He says that he will exalt God and praise Him, because in perfect faithfulness wonderful things have been done for him. What an amazing statement from Isaiah! More like a loud praise!
What if we all, when we get up and start our day, begin by saying these words that Isaiah spoke directly to God? And what if we not only said them, but truly meant them with all our heart? What if we continued to repeat them, write them down and place them where we’d see them often? We need reminded of this. We need reminded that God is perfect in faithfulness……ALWAYS!
God has been so faithful to remind me every day that He has things under control and that I need to stop doing things in my own understanding and the way I think they should be done. He reminds me that I need to let go and let Him lead. He will continue to do wonderful things if I just let him lead and stop running ahead of Him.
How about you? Are you finding yourself believing these words of Isaiah and praising God’s name from morning till night? Are you letting Him lead with His perfect faithfulness? I know we all need to be so much better in truly letting God lead as He is always faithful.
As we take time to focus on our thankfulness this week, let’s do more and continue to be thankful every day of our lives for His continued perfect faithfulness!