Wednesday, May 24, 2017
“Let Us Consider & Encourage”
By Zach Wood
Hebrews 10:24 NIV
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
A few weeks ago at church, this verse was read and it really got me thinking. Sadly, I couldn’t help but to think about how terrible we’ve become today with encouraging one another. We live in a culture and society where the focus is always on me, me, me. Everything focuses on how we need to improve ourselves and better who we are. We’ve sadly become trained to think of ourselves more than we think of others so often. I’m super guilty with this and I often cringe when I think of how focused on myself I’ve become.
Throughout Scripture, we find so many references to how God wants us to reach out and help encourage others. We know we should, but we get so wrapped up and busy with our own lives that we often just neglect the calling God has given us each and every day to invest in other’s lives. And really, it doesn’t always have to be in really big ways. Big ways are good to help out for sure! However, God also wants us to help others in small ways. Simple compliments. Noticing things about others that most people don’t. Words of encouragement in so many little ways can make a huge difference.
“Let us consider”. Think about those words. How often do we really stop and consider how we can encourage other people? Do we really consider how we can help others become closer to God? Are we focused on being the light of Christ to others all through our day? Are we making it a point to spread the Good News?
“Let us consider”. Think about these words in a different light now. How about we consider all the opportunities we are passing up by being absorbed in our own lives. Ouch! That makes me cringe. How often are we so wrapped up in our destinations and all that we have to do that we completely neglect opportunities right in front of us? All too often!
We should even take this a step further. How about we not only consider, but we actually……DO! So often we say we’ll thinking about that or think about this with very little intention of actually doing it. Let us consider how we may encourage others around us.
Let us make it a point and put forth more effort to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds as God has commanded us to.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
“What About You?”
By Zach Wood
Matthew 16:13-16 NIV
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Recently our pastor at church brought this passage up in his sermon and it just got me thinking a lot. It got me thinking about how I view God. What are my feelings about Him? What do I think of Him? Who is He to me? What value is He in my life? Who do I say He is?
When we are young, we learn from our parent’s faith a lot and kind of live faith through them. We rely on them for a lot of things and trust that they will help us make good decisions. However, there comes a time when we have to start thinking for ourselves and make decisions that we feel are best for our walk with Christ. There comes a time when we have to decide how we are going to look at God and figure some things out on our own. It’s not easy to do, but God wants us to do this.
Jesus asked this question first about what others thought about Him. Then He turns the question to them about who they think He is. He doesn’t want them to think only about what others say He is, but He wants them to think for themselves.
It is important that each of us considers who Jesus is. Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t just go with someone’s answer because it sounds cool. Think about who God is to you. Who is He personally to you? What does He mean to you? Don’t spend your live living your faith through other people. You must have your own faith and belief in who He says He is. Have your own quiet time with Him. Pray to Him. Seek Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself more and more to you.
“What About You?” That’s a very important question. Think about it every day. Who is Jesus to you? Who do you say He is? Do you believe He is who He says He is? Talk to Him. Be honest with Him. And, when you’re presented with a situation where someone asks you about the faith you have, you can answer confidently that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.
I remember making this confession of faith before a crowd of people when I gave my life to Christ and was baptized. I confessed before a crowd that I wanted to make Him Lord of my life. Every day, I need to continue to ask myself what He means to me. Who do I say He is today? Who do you say He is today?
Sunday, April 2, 2017
“God Be Greater, Stronger & Louder”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 18:30-32 NIV
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
One of my favorite Christian bands is We Are Messengers and they have a song called “Magnify”. I have come to really enjoy this song and appreciate the lyrics. I want to share part of those lyrics with you.
“God be greater than the worries in my life, be stronger than the weakness in my mind, be louder let Your glory come alive, be magnified.”
I have thought about these words in this song the past couple of weeks and they’ve made a huge impact on how I feel each day. I want to share this devotion as a prayer through each of these lines I’ve shared with you.
God, be greater than the worries in my life:
Father, I ask that You and You alone with greater than all the worries I have in my life. God, You know me better than anyone in the world and You know how I’m so consumed with the worries of life and I need to not be. I worry about things going on, things not yet to be and if I will continue to be the servant, husband and father You have created me to be. God, be greater than any worry in my life and help me to not worry, but let Your way be perfect and reflected in my life. I pray that Your flawless Word would be evident in the way I live my daily life. Help others to see that You alone are my strength and Whom I take refuge in.
God, be stronger than the weakness in my mind:
Lord, my mind is so weak so often. I allow negative thoughts to invade my mind and sin creeps in to take over. God, help me to be stronger in my mind and allow Your Word to take control and push those negative thoughts out. Lord, I am weak, but You are strong. I pray that Your mighty power would invade my mind and take over crushing the weakness in my mind to remind me that I am strong through You.
God, be louder let your glory come alive, be magnified:
God, I want Your voice to be louder than any other voices trying to get my attention. There are so many things trying get my attention in the world every day around me. It’s hard to know what to listen to and what to avoid. Father, I need Your voice louder than all of those so that I can follow and obey and magnify Your Name. So many days Lord I try to follow all other voices and do my own thing. God, forgive me when I ignore Your voice and become distracted from what You want me to do.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
“Let’s Do This Together”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 34:1-3 NLT
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
One of the greatest things a parent can do for their child is to say, “Let’s do this together”. As a dad, I find myself wanting to take care of things for my kids all too often when what I really need to do is show them and then offer for us to both do it together. That way, they learn better and I don’t take care of it every time.
It is great when we can do other things together with someone as well. There are many times when we want to do things in our own and at times it is great when we can do things solo. However, there are also times when it’s so much better to work together as a team with someone else or a group of people.
When we work with someone or a group of people, it’s so important that we strive to work hard to accomplish a common goal. If we work with co-workers, we know that we need to collaborate and strive to help each other to a better job individually and as a whole group. It’s important that helping each other is a priority so that everyone is encouraged.
It is obvious that we are all different and work in many different ways to do our jobs. Even with this challenge, it’s important that we strive to do what we can to ensure that we work together as a team with others whatever the situation may be. Whether it be at a job, with siblings in a certain situation, or volunteering somewhere.
No matter what we are doing, it’s important that we work together to achieve a common goal. We absolutely must apply to the Kingdom work as we work together in the church to achieve a common goal and that is encouraging each other to grow closer to the Lord and to win people to the Lord.
The last line of this passage is vital. We absolutely need to strive to work together in the church to exalt His name. Our desire and passion should be ultimately to bring glory to His name and not promote our own agenda. When I read this passage the other day, it just really hit me that we need to do a better job in the church today to strive to encourage one another as we seek to exalt His name.
God calls us to seek Him and to tell of His greatness. We need to do this together as the family of God. However, we cannot be stuck in our own selfish ways and desire to promote our own plan or agenda. We must work together and serve together to exalt Him. Instead of “Let me do this”, we need to say, “Let’s do this together!”
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.