Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Lord, Teach Us The Brevity Of Life

“Lord, Teach Us The Brevity Of Life”
Psalm 90:12 NLT
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.

I think we would all completely agree that we want to grow in wisdom each and every day.  I think it would be safe to say that we also agree that we should realize more that our time here on earth is not guaranteed from day to day.  However, the way we live our lives often shows that we just expect each day to come like it always does. 

As this new year begins, I think about this passage and how I need for God to make me realize the precious moments of life and to understand that each day is a gift and that I’m not promised tomorrow.  I need to make the most of each day and not waste the moments God gives me. 

Lord, teach me to realize the importance of the moments with my spouse.

Lord, teach me to realize the importance of the times I have with my kids.

Lord, teach me to realize the importance of the opportunities I have with my co-workers.

Lord, teach me to realize the importance of the moments with my friends.

Lord, teach me to realize the importance of unexpected moments of witnessing to people I don’t know.

Lord, teach me to realize that life is not about me and I need to focus on blessing others.

Lord, teach me to realize that each day is a gift from you and I need to do my best to make the most of the time I have.

As this new year continues, I encourage all of us to make the most of the opportunities each day that God gives us.  It is easy to get busy with our schedules and forget about the fact that we are not promised tomorrow.  God has given us today and He wants us to grow in wisdom as we learn to take advantage of the moments He gives us to bless others. 

I know that I definitely need to realize the brevity of life!  I get so focused on my own agenda often and forget that I need to stop and make the most of the moments God gives me with other people. 

Lord, teach us the brevity of life.

Monday, December 30, 2019

As Real As it Gets

“As Real As It Gets”
1 John 4:9-10 NLT
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

When we find certain deals advertised, we often wonder what the “catch” is and if the advertiser is really offering something real and legit.  These days, we’re often very skeptical about any advertisement that offers a deal that seems too good to be true.  The offer at first may seem very appealing, but the more we think about it and research, we often come to find out it’s a scam.

I have been disappointed to hear of so many scams in our world today.  We want good deals, but they are so hard to come by when so many places are trying to rip us off.  We want to find a good deal that doesn’t have any strings attached.  We want a real deal.  We want people at places of business to be honest with us as they try to sell good bargains. 

We are all victims of some kind of scam or bogus deal that someone has offered to us at one time or another.  We get frustrated when people aren’t honest about what they are offering us.  We want something real.  When we are offered something, we want to know the offer is legit. 

With all this skepticism circulating around trying to get good deals and being promised something of value, I am very thankful and grateful that God offers us a love that isn’t a gimmick.  I am thankful that God’s gift of love and salvation is not filled with “catches”.  He has given His life for me and loves me unconditionally.  I am glad I don’t have to worry about any small print that I have missed and might be surprised by later in our relationship stating certain contingencies.  He has and always will be genuine and very real. 

I have been burned so many times in life by people who say they want to offer me something real, but in reality turns out to be another gimmick. God is always real and genuine and will never let me down or disappoint me.  I may not always understand His ways and I often tend to get frustrated at some things that He allows to happen.  However, I know that He truly loves me and always wants the best for my life in Him.

God is the real deal.  He always has been and always will be.  When all other things and people fail you, He won’t.  When others try to scam you, God won’t.  He isn’t out to try to push you into anything.  He’s genuine and sincere.  His Word is full of the promises He has made to so many people and also to you and I. 

God’s love is as real as it gets.  This is real love and nothing will ever compare!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Are We Thrilled?

“Are We Thrilled?”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 92:4 NLT
You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!  I sing for joy because of what you have done.

We spend a lot of time in our lives finding ways to be thrilled, don’t we?  There are so many ways and circumstances where we find ourselves being thrilled in one way or another.  Movies can give us thrills.  Going on certain trips can give us great thrills.  Seeing a great sunrise or sunset can give us great thrills.  Or how about going to an amusement park?  You sure get great thrills from those!  I grew up loving those trips.  The faster and crazier the ride was, the more I loved it! 

We live our lives looking for ways to be thrilled.  May of us are thrill-seekers!  How many of you are storm chasers or just really like seeing storms come into your area?  I have always been a storm adrenaline junkie!  There’s just a rush that comes over me when the sky turns dark and the wind blows.  When everyone else is taking cover, I want to be out in the action!

I read this passage the other day in the NLT and I hadn’t considered before the words, “You thrill me, Lord.”  Think about that phrase for a few moments and let those words sink in.  Does the Lord actually thrill us?  With all that He has done for us and continues to do, are we really thrilled?  Do we awake each morning just feeling thrilled about all that He will do in the day?  Do we wake each day with joy in our heart just waiting to see what He will do in our lives?

This time of year, we seem to be thrilled with all the festivities of the Christmas season.  We are thrilled with snow, with the lights, with the hustle and bustle of shopping.  We get thrilled with all the baking and parties.  We get into a lot of thrill feelings and it is all very fun.  However, are we so full of the thrills of what surrounds us that we totally miss the greatest thrill of being filled with God?  We can get so full of everything going on around us that we forget to be thrilled by the very One who made us and created everything for us to enjoy. 

Do we live for more of the thrills of the world or for all that amazing things God does for us? 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

More Than Thankful

“More Than Thankful”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 4:11-13 NLT
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

It is that time of year where people will be traveling to gather together with family and friends to share in the festivities of eating lots of food and watching football.  Many people will sit around the table and take some time sharing who and what they are thankful for.  It is a great opportunity to take some extra time off work and be around people you might not spend too much time around on a regular basis.

This time of year, we see commercials on TV, hear songs on the radio and see ads in various places about being thankful.  This is absolutely great to be reminded to be thankful.  However, these past couple of weeks, I could not help but think a little deeper and really ponder what it means to be thankful. 

As I have thought more about this, I have to wonder if expressing thanks is enough.  For many of us, we do share that we are thankful for things and people that we care about and love, but when hard times come, we seem to not express our thanks as much as we endure various trials.  It is easier to be thankful when most things are going well for us.  It is much harder to express a thankful attitude when life is not going so well.  Simply saying we’re thankful is easy. 

I really think we need to be more than thankful.  It is deeper than just taking time to say that we are thankful for different things and people.  It is more about being content, grateful and learning to find joy in what God provides when things are both good and bad.  This has been on my heart the past couple of weeks and I just kept thinking of the phrase “more than thankful”.  It was like God was laying on my heart the need for more than just saying “thanks”.  Again, being thankful is great, but it goes deeper than that.  Are we thankful, grateful and content every day?

Let these words from Paul sink down deep inside of you.  Through the years of his life, Paul learned how to be content.  Through his various experiences, he truly learned what it means to be content.  He wasn’t just thankful when he received nice things from others or when people were cordial to him.  Paul learned to not let his emotions dictate whether he was thankful at certain times. He learned how to be content and express his thankfulness because God always provided what he needed.

Are we going to be like Paul and be consistent in our thankfulness, gratefulness and contentment no matter what life throws at us?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

BEWARE Of The Enemy's Power

“BEWARE Of the Enemy’s Power”
By Zach Wood
Romans 6:11-13 NLT
So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.  Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.

We have a lot of examples of power every day in our lives.  We have power lighting our homes and allowing us to run appliances.  We have power in our vehicles that allow us to get from one place to another.  At our jobs, we have power allowing us to get work done in many various forms.  When we go to stores, power allows us to shop and purchase different items we need.

We are surrounded every day by so much power, and often, we don’t think twice about it.  It’s something we’ve become accustomed to having.  When we don’t have it, everything seems to “stop”.  We rely on power every day to do the things we need to do.  It is very important for power companies to do everything they can to continue give our homes, places of work and businesses the power we need. 

We definitely rely on power almost every moment of every day in some way or another.  If we really stopped to think about it and all the factors that go into powering our day, it would probably surprise us.  We are always surrounded by great amounts of power in one way or another. 

The one form of power that we don’t think about as much or consider as much as we should is the power of sin.  When I read this translation, the words “power of sin” catch my attention.  I start thinking about how we often we forget how powerful sin can become in our lives.  Do we realize how powerful sin becomes in our day to day lives?  Do we realize how easy it is for Satan to get a foothold in our day to day routine? 

God desires for us to be dead to the power of sin.  We have temptations throughout each day to do things that are not of God and so often we fall for them.  Sometimes, we are taken completely by surprise by the sin that crouches at our door because Satan has deceived us well.

I want to encourage all of us every day to consider the power Satan has so often in our lives and to combat that with the Word of God.  We need to strive to live for Him and Him alone.  The power of God is greater than any power in the universe!  No power is greater than His!  We need to plug in to that power and steer clear of Satan’s power.  Satan’s power is easier to follow and often satisfies the fleshly desire, but God’s power gives us true life and satisfies fully and in a pure way. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Getting Rid Of Conditional Praise

“Getting Rid Of Conditional Praise”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 34:1-3 TLB
I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.  I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart.  Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name.

Back in 2006, the movie “Facing The Giants” came out and was a very inspirational football story.  One of the scenes shows the coach, Grant Taylor, talking to the team and explaining that they will start praying and praising God at the end of each game, whether they win or lose.  This sets a great attitude for the team as they focus on God being their source of strength no matter the outcome of the game. 

As I read this passage in the Living Bible translation, the words “praise the Lord no matter what happens” stood out to me and reminded me of the scene from the movie.  I thought about how it is so easy to praise God when things are going well and the outcomes of different situations of every day life are good.  However, when things turn out bad or don’t go the way we had hoped, it’s often harder to continue to lift up praise.

I admit that I am very bad about this conditional praise many times in my life.  It is so easy for me to praise Him when life is going well.  However, when bad days come, I’m not praising Him so much.  Rather, I’m complaining and grumbling.  I’m trying to be better about this, but it’s a weak area for me. 

In order for me to be a better witness to my wife, kids and others in my life, I need to improve the way I react to situations when bad things happen.  I need to have an attitude of thanks when life is good and when life is not so good.  I need to have constant praise in my life each day, no matter what is going on.

How about you?  Are you praising the Lord no matter what happens in your life each day?  Are you focused more on the aggravations of what is not going well or are you finding ways to praise God no matter what is happening? It is hard to do!!!  Not an easy task at all. 

We need to have an attitude of praise always.  Whether we feel we are winning in life or losing, He is God and is always faithful.  His goodness does not change in our bad days.  Does this mean we can’t be discouraged?  No, we are human and we have bad days.  We just need to work through that discouragement and realize that things will pass and we need to keep our attitude in check and continue to give God praise. 

We should never be conditional with our praise.  God deserves our praise, no matter what.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lord, Please Show Me

“Lord, Please Show Me”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 25:4-5 NLT
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you.

Each morning I get up during the week, I have my alone time with God, asking Him to direct my day and give me wisdom.  However, so often the actual way I live my day tends to look different.  I often try to flow with my own understanding by doing things my way.  I try to figure things out by myself and I don’t ask for help as often as I should.

Think about all the times in our lives when we ask others for guidance and wisdom.  We ask teachers, moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, mentors and others for advice.  This is how we learn.  Others teach us and then we continue to learn by doing things through our own experience of successes and mistakes. 

If we are really sincere about learning something, we will do our best and try hard to soak in as much wisdom as possible from whoever is teaching us.  We will devote time and attention to making sure we get things right.  We do mess up, but then we learn from those mistakes and figure out how to continue to do things better with less mistakes. 

The important phrase here is “Please show me”.  We say this to people after we have tried on our own and then realize that we need someone to help us.  How often do you use this phrase and allow someone else to show you how to do something?  No matter what age we are, we need people to help us learn and grow in certain areas.  We need to be humbled and realize we need help with some things and can’t do them on our own.

Is this our prayer in our lives with God?  Do we come to Him each day and ask, “Lord, please show me”?  Do we humbly come to Him and ask Him to guide us and give us His wisdom for the day?  There are so many situations and experiences we don’t know how to handle.  God is waiting for us to say, “Lord, please show me”.  He longs for us to ask Him and to see His wisdom. 

Only God knows the path we need to take each day.  He will guide us in the truth and point to where we need to go.  Are we willing to let go of our own understanding and ways and let Him lead?  I know that I need to let Him lead a lot more in my life.  How about you?