Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trust In His Sufficiency

"Trust In His Sufficiency"
By Zach Wood
James 1:2-8

This is a wonderful time of the year for celebrating with family, friends and loved ones.  There’s just something about this time of year that lifts many people’s spirits and puts them in a joyful mood. 

Christmastime is a memorable time of year.  However, I cannot help but think of people who also really struggle during this time of year.  I’m not at all trying to put a damper on all the wonderful celebrations that go on this time of year, but I just want to point out today that this time of year is very difficult for people. 

Many people this time of year struggle for various reasons.  Some struggle from losing a loved one around this time of year and miss them terribly.  Others may have negative family memories that have happened in the past. 

Perhaps some trials and tribulations have affected you recently and it’s taking everything in you to keep up your Christmas spirit this year.  You know you need to hold onto God and His promises, but you are still struggling.  Perhaps you may not be dealing with this personally, but someone else in your family could be or someone that you know well is dealing with this.

One thing we all need to realize is that we come to a point in our lives where there are some serious trials and it takes all that we are and every ounce of strength just to get up in the morning to live another day of life.  The reality of life is sometimes very hard to swallow.  This world is a harsh place, but we serve an Almighty God who truly understands the pain we go through. 
The testing of your faith produces perseverance.  We mature when we grow through the trials and our faith is strengthened. We all experience these trials in life.  There’s no escaping them or even when they happen.  When I think of trials in life, I cannot help but think of the Apostle Paul when he talks about the thorn in his side in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

Sometimes God says no to taking away the pain and promises to be our sufficiency.  He wants us to completely trust in Him, even though we have no clue what He’s doing, because He wants to use the pain we’re going through to produce something new and strong within us.

If you are struggling this time of year, take comfort in knowing that you have a wonderful and loving Heavenly Father who loves you and is holding you tight.  Trust in His sufficiency even if you don't feel that He is near. He is and He will guide you and lead you. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why Do We Worship? (Our Approach To The Throne)

"Why Do We Worship? (Our Approach To The Throne)"
By Zach Wood
Romans 12:1-2

One reason is because God is Worthy to be Worshiped and Adored.  Another reason is because of what God did for us in sending Christ to die for us. 
Are we going to continue to be consumed by the duties of our daily lives, or will we realize that our ways are nothing compared to what God wants to do with us and through us? 

God wants to transform us through worship.  When we truly worship, we experience a complete transformation of our hearts and minds into more of what God wants us to be…..just like Jesus Christ. 

Our approach to the Throne of God should consist of our hearts being willing to lay down a sacrifice of who we are completely and allowing God’s transforming power to surge through us to reveal more of who He is. God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher and mightier than ours.  We worship Him because His thoughts and ways are so much higher and better than we could ever imagine.  His majesty is in such splendor that we could never experience the absolute fullness even if we tried to through our whole lives. 
With all these things God has done for us, how can we not realize the opportunity He provides for us to come before His Throne?  No more heavy veil to lift to go into the Holy of Holies and no more only being able to give the High Priest your prayer matter. We should desire to worship because of the beautiful relationship God provides for us to have with Him.  We were created in His image to be a true worshipper. 
Isn’t it wonderful that God has chosen us to be His servants, created in his image, to praise him and live our lives as a continual sacrifice for Him?  If we agree that it’s wonderful, then why aren’t we living it?  Where is our daily remembrance and motivation to follow Him?  Is Sunday morning worship going to fill us for the week?

We worship Him because of the Mighty and Loving God He is.  When we make the decision that we want to approach His Throne with our hearts totally and properly focused only on Him, then we have the access to opening the floodgates.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who Are Your "Go To" People?

"Who Are Your 'Go To' People?"
By Zach Wood
Psalm 1:1-3, Proverbs 15:22

The first verse in Psalm 1 hits the nail on the head.  Where do we go we need advice?  Every one of us has times when we must seek out counsel from others as to what is good to do and what God would have us do.  Hopefully, we do not just go to anyone to seek advice.  This can be the very beginning of a painful and sorrowful road. 

We are blessed if we choose to seek out the right people whom we seek out counsel.  You wouldn’t walk down the road with a huge problem on your mind and just stop any person walking toward you and ask them advice.  You would think that’s probably absurd.  However, many of us choose people that will not give us good advice and counsel. 

My experience has been that I have just a handful of people that I know I can rely on and go to for Godly advice and direction.  These people I know will pray for me and give me some very helpful direction. 

If we make our choices to gain advice and counsel from unwise and ungodly people, we will have a treacherous path ahead of us.
Sometimes, we do not even go to people for advice face to face, we’ll go online to read advice from others or we’ll watch TV of a popular talk show to glean wisdom.  We have to be very careful here.  We absolutely cannot look for the easy way out of our situations and problems.  We need trusted sources of advice and wisdom. 

It is my encouragement to you, that when you need solid advice and wise direction, to find Godly sources that you feel and believe will help you in your relationship with the Creator.

Friday, November 16, 2012

We're Good At Holding On And Letting Go

"We're Good At Holding On And Letting Go"
By Zach Wood
Matthew 5:43-48

We are pretty good at holding onto things, aren’t we?  One thing many of us are good at holding onto are grudges.  We hold onto grudges and bitterness very well.

Our problem here is that we are good at holding onto the bitterness we have toward people that wrong us or do things to upset us.  Do we really think it’s healthy to hold onto the grudges and bitterness?  Of course not!  But when we are wronged and hurt by others, it is human to be angry and to have a feeling of “I’ll show them” or “I’ll make sure they realize I’m hurt”.  When we do this, we essentially let go of the things God wants us to do.

When I think of how we react many times with these human emotions, I cannot help but think of Jesus when He preached about love for our enemies as He gave the sermon on the mount.

How many of us really actually enjoy loving our enemies?  I’ll be the first to tell you, I don't like to!  I have had more than enough of my fair share of holding grudges and bitterness toward other people.  And, you know what, it has done me no good.  I come to find out that it does more harm to me than the other person because it just eats and chews away at my heart.

My heart grows moldy and I am not a fun person to be around when this happens.  And this is what happens when all of us react this way to these negative things that have happened. 

All of us like to be good at things in life, but holding grudges and bitterness toward others should absolutely not be one of them.

I encourage you to consider what things you are holding onto that you need to let go and give to God to experience freedom.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Engage In Power Through Praying Together

"Engage In Power Through Praying Together"
By Zach Wood
Joshua 24:14-15

I’m sure you’ve probably heard this phrase, “The house that prays together stays together”.  When we are spending quality time together and doing things with each other and not checking our cell phones or e-mail every 5 minutes, our minds and hearts can then break away and be entirely focused on our family.  We should always be striving to engage quality time with our families.  Family time is something we often neglect and get too busy to take care of.   

Commitment is the key to being engaged in family time, whatever that time may mean.  Whether it is going out for an evening together, taking a vacation together or just having a night where you shut off the tv, computers, cell phones and just do something together.  This seems to be unheard of now.  We have become so dependent on TV, computers and cell phones to “keep us in the loop” that we have really neglected spending quality time with our families.

As a family, it is so vital to spend time together encouraging one another with God’s Word and encouragement. 

Do you pray together as a family?  Is prayer a vital part of keeping your family together?  Do you pray for one another?

I kept this week's writing short and to the point to encourage you to spend time with your family.  Maybe you've neglected the time and family bonding you need.  I encourage you to pray for your family and spend time praying together. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We Need To Regain Appreciation

"We Need To Regain Appreciation"
By Zach Wood
Psalm 9:1-2

There’s not one of us who has never given appreciation to someone else.  However, sometimes in our lives we get to a point where we get so distracted and lose our focus and goals and we forget to appreciate those who mean so much to us. 

We get caught up in our own agendas and we sort of put our appreciation for others on the back burner.  It’s not that we don’t know how, but we have forgotten to do it as often or even at all anymore. 

This is just like riding a bike, going roller skating or going for a log run.  When you haven’t done these things for a while, it takes time to get back into it and you’ve done it before so you can do it again.  Just takes some practice again.  So is true with showing appreciation.  If we’ve lost that momentum to appreciate others with intention, we can once again start doing it and get back into the habit. 

The same is true with our appreciation for what Christ did for us.  We can learn to regain appreciation of Him.  It’s not that we didn’t before, but we may have lost focus and need to gain that back again. 

Maybe you need to take some time away and just think about all that He has done for you and just shout out praises to Him for a while without anyone else around.  How often have you found yourself just completely taking time to do nothing but expressing your thanks and appreciation to God for all He’s done for you?  He absolutely loves it when we worship Him and express our gratitude for all He’s done and continues to do. 

I invite you to take some time maybe in the next few days or even the next few weeks and just focus on doing nothing but praising God and giving Him thanks.  Put aside your requests and petitions for a few moments in your time with Him and just give Him adoration and praise.  Your requests and petitions are important to give to Him, but sometimes we just need to focus on giving Him praise.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

God Has Called Us To Be The Church Outside Of Church

"God Has Called Us To Be The Church Outside Of Church"
By Zach Wood
Colossians 4:2-6

Because of the Good News God has given to us, we are told to share that good news with those who are lost.  Jesus gives us a mission to fulfill.  The Great Commission sends us out to share the good news and teach people about Christ’s Love.   

The Apostle Paul talks about how we, as the church, need to live our lives so carefully each day so that others will see the Good News not only through our speech, but also through our actions and the way we live.  It's one thing to talk about sharing God's Love.  It's another thing to actually do it and get out there to make it real for people. 

When we praise God through our tough times, it sends a very positive message to those who need to hear the good news and many become inquisitive.  And through those inquisitive times, people are more open to us being able to be the church outside of the church walls.  We can minister to people and share God's Love in ways we've never been able to before.   

Now, more than ever, people need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.  It’s great to have our fellowship within the walls of our church, but God has called us to do so much more.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Lord Should Be Our Ultimate Want

"The Lord Should Be Our Ultimate Want"
By Zach Wood
Philippians 4:11-13
God is our Shepherd and we should not want other things more than wanting Him.  Many of us bang on the cell doors of the “want” prison that we have created for ourselves.  The reason we can’t get out is we want to hold onto the things of this world.  God stands outside and tell us, “If you want what I have for you, then you must let go of everything the world offers you.”

We must ultimately desire what He offers us.  We have to desire to go after what He is giving.  Is your desire for Him and Him alone?  Or are you following after a temporary idol, offering you promises that will only last a short time instead of eternity?

Remember that the world doesn’t look in your heart to see what you have inside.  The world only wants to see how fancy you could make your outer appearance be or how much you can collect to make yourself feel good.  The world says the more you have and the more you want, the better life will be.  The more you have does not show who you really are.  Your heart determines and shows what is truly important.

I want to be very clear in sharing with you that God is not against us wanting things in life.  We all like to have certain things and save our money up for things we'd like to buy.  Nothing at all wrong with that.  Our wants become hazardous in our walk with Christ when we are constantly focusing on things we want and not appreciating and realizing the needs Christ has filled and the things He has done for us. 

It all comes down to what we truly desire.  Do we want the Lord to really be our ultimate want?  Do we trust in Him to supply our needs?  Are we fully satisfied to the point where we can live without what we do not need?  Can we trust in the Lord to provide what we need when we need it?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our Constant Wants Can Lead To Constant Discontentment

"Our Constant Wants Can Lead to Constant Discontentment"
By Zach Wood
Psalm 23:1

As I begin this week's devotional, I'd like to share a few different translations of this Scripture.

(New International Version)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

(New Living Translation)
The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.

(The Message)
God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.
We tend to face many phases of discontentment in lives.  If something fails or doesn’t hold up to the standard we set in our mind, we look elsewhere for the next promise of happiness or satisfaction.  Some look for a new “high” when the buzz wears off, some seek out the nearest bank to rob when money troubles leave them desperate, and some resort to other means of false hope and desperation. 

Has God not promised to supply every need we have in life?  It’s important and vital to realize God fills our needs.  I think so many times in life we fail to realize our needs are always met, but not always our wants.  It’s because our hearts are being lured by what the world wants us to have.  The promise of happiness from some of the wants turns out to last about 1 night, 1 day, 1 week or 1 month. 

The ultimate entanglement that the prison of “want” leaves us in is constant discontentment.  Satan will make sure we are never fully satisfied.  We just want more and more.  It feels like a need, but Satan has disguised it well in our mind and heart.  

Placing too much importance on things we want has a huge effect on how we view our eternal needs.  When we reach a point where we see our lives being filled with constant wants, we should take a step back and see that our soul desire and ultimate want should be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

It all comes down to what we truly desire.  Do we want the Lord to really be our ultimate want?  Do we trust in Him to supply our needs?  Are we fully satisfied to the point where we can live without what we do not need?  Can we trust in the Lord to provide what we need when we need it?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Is Your Story?

"What Is Your Story?"
By Zach Wood
2 Corinthians 5:17

I would encourage each of you to consider what your story is.  How did you come to know Christ?  Do you have an experience that could be shared with someone else that would speak volumes into their life of how Christ can change a life?  Think for a while about how you came to know Christ and how you became a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.  What has happened in that time?

Everyone has a story.  Some people think because they don’t have a dramatic story of events from how horrible their life was before Christ to now knowing Christ, that their story isn’t important.  Everyone’s story is important.

You have a life you once lived that was once lived in sin against God.  You had your own ways of doing things.  You had your own idea of what life should be like.  You didn’t know any better because you didn’t realize all that God had in store for you.  But now you live for Christ and you look back and see a life that was once all yours, but is now led by Christ alone.

There comes a time when we must make our faith our own.  We must come to terms with who we believe Christ is.  We cannot live by our parent’s faith.  We cannot live by our grandparent’s faith.  We cannot live by our friend’s faith.  These people have had great influences in our lives, yes.  But there comes a time when we must make the decision for ourselves why we have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. 

What is your story?  How has Christ changed your life?  He asked Peter and the other disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  Jesus didn’t want to hear answers of what other people thought.  Jesus wanted to know from their own heart and mind who they thought Jesus was.  This is vital for us to come to terms with.  Who do we think Christ is?  Who do we say He is?  Don’t just give an answer because of what someone else has told you about Christ.  What do you believe?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Who Do You Say That I Am?

"Who Do You Say That I Am?"
By Zach Wood
Matthew 16:13-17

Jesus asks a direct question to the disciples.  He doesn’t ask them who their friends think Jesus is or about who their mom and dad thinks he is.  Then Peter comes out with a bold statement saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”    

Who do you say that Jesus is?  Don’t think about what your mom and dad taught you.  Don’t think about what your grandparents taught you.  You see, there comes a point in our lives when we must make the decision for ourselves of who Jesus is to us.  Is He just someone we’ve followed all our lives because we have been told that’s the life we should live?

When we meet someone who is really cool and maybe even famous, that encounter stays with us for the rest of our lives.  We can tell and retell the scenario over and over again because it’s important to us and we are proud of that moment.  We don’t just stand there and say, “Well, I’ll let so and so tell you about this person”.  No!  If we’ve met this neat or famous person, we live to tell about it.  We don’t let someone else tell it for us. 

When we are asked by others who Jesus is or what He’s done for us, we should be excited to share the good news of what He’s done in our lives.  If we have a personal story, we want to tell it ourselves.

This is exactly what Christ longs for us to do with others.  He loves for us to share with others.  He doesn’t want us to be ashamed in any way that He is our Savior and Lord.  He wants us to tell our story of His redemption in our lives.  We should be proud and unashamed to share His work in us.    

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Godly Obsession: The Chase After The Creator

"Godly Obsession: The Chase After The Creator"
By Zach Wood
Psalm 63:1

What do we chase after in life?  Are we willing to change our obsession from what the world offers to what God offers?  If you truly seek and desire to serve the Lord and develop a hunger for Him like you’ve never experienced before, I guarantee you will feel the unending obsession build up in your heart for the chase. 

If you’re obsessed with the Creator, you won’t be able to go through the day without thinking about Him.  You won’t be able to eat without Him in your mind and heart.  You’ll want to use your hands to serve Him every chance you get.  You’ll bubble over when you notice someone in need who doesn’t know Jesus and you’ll burn with a passion and desire to share Him.  You won’t be able to get Him out of your mind.  You won’t be able to stop talking about Him. You’ll do anything you can to get to a Bible Study or church service to learn more about Him.  You will become consumed with wanting to know more and more and more about Him.  You’ll never have enough.  You’ll find yourself stopping at nothing to gain more knowledge of Him and growing closer to Him.  If you get arrested for proclamation, you’ll continue to worship Him.  If you find yourself having to give your life for your beliefs, you’ll know you’ll go home to Him.

As long as we are obsessed with material things here on earth, God will not fully have the attention of our hearts.  If you truly seek after Him, you will find His peace and comfort.  It’s an overwhelming feeling that cannot be described.  God wants us to chase after Him.  We shouldn’t be satisfied after church service.  Why?  Because we should desire even more of Him.  We need to be at a point where we can’t get enough.  The more we chase after Him, the more our hunger builds and our obsession becomes to be more like Him. 
Do you want to come to the point where all you can think about each day is how much you truly desire to grow in Christ?  If you haven’t developed that desire, you still can.  How?  Just put away the obsessions with material things in your daily life and focus on the Creator.  Once you really focus on Him and ask Him to give you that desire to grow, He will place the desire in your heart.  You can become obsessed with knowing Him. 

We should have a Godly obsession that drives us to chase after our Creator.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God Calls Us To Complete Obedience And Faithfulness

"God Calls Us To Complete Obedience And Faithfulness"
By Zach Wood
Genesis 22:1-18

What an incredible story of complete obedience to God!  I’m sure in Abraham’s heart, he was just crushed over the request God made for him to bring Isaac to the altar and sacrifice him.  Being given instructions to take your child’s life would seem horrific!  But, God was testing Abraham and he was faithful.  He was faithful even though the instructions seemed crazy. 

We all have these obstacles we come up to in life and we cry out to God, “How in the world can I get around this?  What are you going to do?  I am scared and these instructions you are giving me seem crazy.  They don’t make any sense.  Why can’t you be more clear?”  It’s not always an obstacle, but sometimes it’s a huge task in front of us that scares us.  Or perhaps it’s an opportunity that lies before us that is so huge and we’ve never done anything like this before.  We’re excited, nervous and scared all at the same time. 

One of the hardest parts of trusting God in confusing situations is surrendering to Him.  Laying our confusion and frustration before Him at the Cross and letting Him be in complete control. 
We are to trust completely in the Lord and lean not on our own strength and understanding.  Our own understanding will hinder us because it is so limited and God is so far beyond what our little minds can fathom.

When I come up against an obstacle that looks scary and impossible to conquer, I plead with God to do something to take it away.  It often seems impossible to get around.  That’s when God reminds me that there are some things that I cannot and will not be able to do with my strength, but must just believe and have the faith that He will provide.

No matter what the obstacle, God always calls us to trust Him and be obedient and faithful.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We Need To Be Consistent With Our Encouragement

"We Need To Be Consistent With Our Encouragement"
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 4:29, 5:1-2

Consistency is a trait we lack in this world.  As Christians, we need to be consistent in our commitment to the Lord and to others.  I find that it’s quite easy to start a good habit with intentions of keeping the habit.  However, habits often die off quickly.

We all struggle with consistency because it requires so much commitment.  People who practice consistency well are very good at keeping commitments they have made.  No one enjoys being around someone who is not consistent with their commitments.  Keeping our commitments make us dedicated people. 

Our commitment of time in helping others is a great source of encouragement.  It’s a great witnessing tool as well.  When others see us being consistent with our time commitments, it invites more trust from them.

The greatest source of encouragement is our words toward others.  This is an area some of us struggle with more than others.  Some people have a hard time keeping their tongue under control and unwholesome words can go out in an instant.  Not just foul language, but also negative talk about others. 
When we show we care and keep our commitments, we are being imitators of God and witnesses for the Kingdom.  God loves us and keeps His commitments and promises to us, so we should do likewise and be imitators of what He does.

When we are encouraging with our words instead of gossiping or using foul language, we glorify God and strengthen our witnessing opportunities.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Suffering From The "I'm Too Busy" Syndrome

"Suffering From The 'I'm Too Busy' Syndrome"
By Zach Wood
Colossians 4:2-6, Psalm 46:10

Busy-ness can seriously distract us from what is truly important in life.  There are none of us immune to this problem in life.  We all tend to say “I’m Too Busy” so often.  We say this phrase often and many times to people who ask us to commit to something else that fills up our calendar. 

Being too busy can hinder so much of the happiness and productiveness we try to attain in life.  We want to be so productive that many times we get involved in way too many things and end up sacrificing more time and energy that should be reserved for family and other important matters. 

We must be careful not to let ourselves get so involved with activities around us that we lose sight of what is truly important.  We must make sure we are not so busy that we become distracted and forget about the needs around us: the needs of our spouses, the needs of our kids, the needs of our friends and the needs of those who have very little. 

When we are distracted, we lose sight of what is important and that will drain us and make us weary.  We must be careful because this can hinder the witnessing opportunities we have with people who do not know Christ.  We must be careful and watch for those opportunities and not pass them by. 
If we do not devote ourselves to prayer and keep our priorities in order, we lose focus and become distracted from what is really important.  We become distracted from those who need our help.  We become distracted from teaching opportunities with those who can learn from our example.  We become distracted from teaching our children the values of life.  We become distracted from opportunities we have to share Christ’s love with people who are trapped in a dark world.

Distractions are a huge struggle in my life.  I have a hard time sitting down for long periods of time to do anything.  I always think of “something else” I need to do and I get up and start on it.  My problem is that sometimes I just need to focus my time on my kids and my wife and forget about the other tasks I need to do.  I find myself missing out on things with them when I busy myself with needs around the house all the time.   

We have the hardest time just being still and coming before God to just take Him in and enjoy the quietness.  It doesn’t happen very often, but we all need that.  What if we just took that time to sit down and be still?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We Gotta Enter The Other Zone...The Risk Zone!

"We Gotta Enter The Other Zone...The Risk Zone!"
By Zach Wood
Matthew 14:22-33

It’s hard enough thinking about leaving our comfort zone, let alone going that distance and taking a huge step into the risk of the unknown.  Leaving your comfort zone and entering the risk zone go hand in hand.  I don’t know how you can agree to leave your comfort zone and not enter the risk zone.  Anytime you leave the comfort of the known, you enter the unknown risk zone. 

None of us knows the future and that can scare us.  Really scare us!  When we are headed down an unknown path and have no idea what’s coming, I think that’s when God has us where He wants us….completely relying upon Him.  When we’re in our comfort zone, we know what to expect and we can usually sense when things are coming.  We have an idea of what’s next most times.  But, get us out of our comfort zone and into the risk zone, our palms get sweaty, beads of sweat trickle down our foreheads and we start to get a little panicky. 

I really don’t see how we can totally be pumped about the Great Commission and not be willing to get out of our comfort zone into the risk zone. 

The passage for this devotional is the story where Jesus walks on the water and comes to the boat where His disciples see Him walking on the water.  Jesus walks on the water, calls out to Peter to get out and into the risk zone.  Peter gets out and steps in a totally unknown world.  People don’t normally just walk on the water.  Peter took a huge risk.  Yes, he started sinking once he looked around saw the crashing waves and had taken his eyes off Jesus, but he still at least got out of the boat!

We may claim that we want to be sold out for Christ and really live in the unknown risk zone, but are we just going to state that we want to do it or will we actually do it?
We gotta enter the risk zone if we're gonna get out of the boat.

Monday, August 13, 2012

We Gotta Leave The Zone...The Comfort Zone!

"We Gotta Leave The Zone...The Comfort Zone!"
By Zach Wood
Matthew 28:16-20

We would all agree that we desire to minister to the lost.  We want to have an affect on people’s lives in a positive way and share with them the love of Christ.  None of us would say we don’t have a desire to do that.  But the way we live our lives in these comfort zones, I can’t help but think the world sees that and wonders why we say one thing and do another. 

We have great thoughts, ideas and intentions of saving the lost.  But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we have the hardest time actually getting out to minister to the lost because it takes us out of our comfort zones.  We must leave our comfort zones if we are to be a part of changing lives for Christ.

This is one of the most powerful passages of Scripture we see in the New Testament.  After Jesus’ resurrection, He tells His disciples they have a responsibility and a mission.  Jesus is not leaving them with an easy task.  They are called to win the lost.  We are called to win the lost!

I am often scared to get out of my comfort zone.  I want God to do amazing things through me and to me, but I am often so not willing to go the distance for Him to do so.  

Most of us probably enjoy going to some kind of sporting event or some type of show where we are entertained.  We enjoy being spectators, do we not?  We enjoy watching a game or watching an entertaining show.  It’s fun to just sit back and relax to watch a show.  With a game, it’s fun to root on your team and give support.  Now, what if someone from the game or from the show came out and grabbed you from your seat and said, “Let’s go, you’re on!”.  Whoa!  Would we be a little scared?  Of course.  Being pulled from the safety of being the spectator to actually being involved in the action!  Completely different scenario! 

Even though that may bring a laugh to some of us, it really portrays the truth with how we live our lives.  We tend to want to be spectators and not be involved in the action of what Christ calls us to do in the world around us.  We see things happen and pass us by and we just move on with life.  Somehow, I think we expect others to take care of the dirty business because either we are busy or we just don’t have the desire to step out of the comfort zone.

If we are going to win the lost, we gotta leave our comfort zones.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

God Gave More Than A Good Enough Effort

"God Gave More Than A Good Enough Effort"
By Zach Wood
Philippians 2:1-11

What if God had a “good enough” attitude?  Almost all of us use what if statements.  We say “What if?” a lot, do we not?  What if this happens?  What if that happens?  What if, what if, what if?  We find ourselves sometimes buried underneath these statements.   
Could you imagine how it would be if God would have used this phrase in His effort to come to this earth to save us?  What if God would have looked down on us and said to Jesus, “Go to earth, meet some people, but don’t spend too much time trying to get them to understand who I am.  If they listen, ok.  If they don’t, don’t worry about it and don’t put too much effort into trying to reach them.  It’s good enough if you just show them some of My Love.  Don’t do anymore than you have to for them.”

If that would have been what happened with Jesus coming to this earth, I cannot imagine what life would be like right now.  We would have no hope.

The wonderful news here is that God did not have a “good enough” attitude.  He had so much more of a love for us that far surpasses that!  Sending Jesus Christ to this earth to build relationships with people was not all He did.  He went to the Cross of Calvary and proved His love for us!  He hung on that Cross and died an agonizing death to show His love.  There is absolutely no love greater than that! 
How in the world can we read this powerful passage about Christ’s humility and continue to live with a “good enough” attitude?  It breaks my heart to know that I have fallen to live a mediocre life at times with my attitude.  Just doing things good enough to just live.  Just doing enough to get through my day just to do the things I want to do.  Spending a little time with my wife and kids so that I can write on my punchcard that I’ve done my time for the day with them.

I am so thankul God gave more than a "good enough" effort.  He gave His all!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Good Enough Attitude Affects Your Relationships

"A Good Enough Attitude Affects Your Relationships"
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Your relationships with others can and will be greatly affected when you exhibit a mediocre life.  Your ways of doing things will not be such a great example and the ways you show others how to do things may not be taken with sincerity or be meaningful. 

It is quite easy, when we fall into the mediocre way of life, to let the things we say to others become less and less meaningful.  Before we know it, we have stopped giving encouragement to others.  We have stopped going that “extra mile” to help others out.  We just become melancholy.  When we are not trying our best anymore, people see that and wonder.

I struggle with the “good enough” attitude at my job.  I strugge with it during my family time.  I even struggle with it doing church work.  All areas of my life suffer when I have the "good enough" attitude.  I find myself thinking “This is good enough" when I could be doing much better. 

If we possess a “good enough” attitude, then what is coming out of our mouths all day long while we work or when we go to church or when we are with our families?  Probably not the most encouraging and uplifting words.  If we are allowing words to come out that are not lifting others up and giving them positive thoughts to think about, we need to reconsider our attitude.

Our relationships with others will be strengthened when we have more than a good enough attitude.  People are listening to us when we talk.  Are they hearing positive things or negative things?  To be an effective witness in our relationships, we need to be positive and be a Godly role model.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Good Enough Attitude Results In A Mediocre Effort

"A Good Enough Attitude Results In A Mediocre Effort"
By Zach Wood
Colossians 3:1-3
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

 I keep asking myself this question.  How in the world can I expect incredible things to happen in my life if I am only willing to have a “good enough” attitude?  It’s like I’m expecting God to do something more amazing to me and with me while only giving a half-hearted effort.  If I am not able to put my whole heart into everything I do and do it to the best of my ability, then I cannot expect great results.  That’s when I need to do a self-evaluation of my attitude and heart. 

As Christians, our lives are now with Christ.  We are no longer our own, but bought by the blood of Christ!  We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.  Anytime our mind is focused on the things of this world, we take our eyes off of Christ, mediocrity can settle in and that results in problems.  We end up giving a mediocre effort when we are not focused on what God desires.  If we focus on Christ, our "good enough" attitude turns into a "give it our all" attitude!  

We are called to praise God in every situation we encounter.  No matter what we encounter, God challenges us to give Him thanks and to be a witness.  However, we are human and we often fall into a slump where we don’t feel like trying.

There are many reasons we can fall into the slump of having an attitude that gives mediocre results:

Uncertainty of life
Things weighing you down at home/work/school/church
Not having any goals in life set

These and other things can result in our mood shifting to not caring about much and just doing enough to get the job done at work, at home, at church, at school and then going off to do your own thing.  It’s normal sometimes to feel like you don’t care about anything.  We all fall into that mode at times.  However, if we stay in that “good enough” mentality, it will affect our lives dramatically.

I encourage all of us to remember that we must set our minds and hearts on things above, not on the material, earthly things that will not last.  We need to go from "good enough" to "giving our all".  Why?  Because God gave so much more and didn't have a "good enough" attitude.

He gave us His all, so why can't we give our all?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Devotional Info

Dear Devotional Readers,

I wanted to take a few moments and write to you all to let you know that I have been thinking about the inconsistency of my writings for the past couple of years.  It is no surprise to you all that I have not been sending out my "weekly" devotionals for a while now.  This has been heavy on my heart and I have decided that I am going to take a break for a while in writing these devotionals.  I am not ending my writing, but just taking a break. 

I hope to resume my writings by the summer.  I have not been putting piority on my writings and I believe I just need time to collect more thoughts and pray for God's direction for this writing ministry. 

I appreciate your understanding and I will keep you posted on when I shall resume the devotionals.

God Bless,
Zach Wood

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good Or Bad Fruit?

"Good Or Bad Fruit?"
By Zach Wood
Luke 6:43-45
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.  People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

When you go into a grocery store and head to the produce section to get some fruit, how many of you would be grossed out if you saw apples that had brown spots all over them?  How about if the grapes were all smashed and squishy?  What if you went to get some strawberries and you saw mold all over them in the container?  I doubt many of you would make the purchase and take any home to your family to consume.  That would be disgusting.  When you buy fruit, you want to purchase what looks good and ripe.  We would not consider buying fruit that looks gross because we want value in the fruit we buy and consume.

Just as others would be turned off to a gross produce section of fruit in a grocery store, they are also turned off when they look at our lives and see bad fruit.  This is a terrific parable from Christ.  Do you desire people to see good or bad fruit in your life?  Well...duh....of course you want people to see good fruit.  However, many of us live our lives in a way that shows bad or moldy fruit.  The problem is we tend to let so much from the world enter our minds and hearts and we allow our tree(bodies) to become saturated with mold and then our fruit looks gross.  How can we expect others to want to know Christ if our fruit looks bad?  Whatever we are storing up in our hearts and entertaining in our minds will come out in our words and actions.  If that is good fruit, then we will be productive and show Christ's love.  If it is bad fruit, what we do will not be desired by others.

There is probably not one of us who would say we desire to have bad things come from our lives.  We desire and strive for what is good and will glorify God.  It is that daily battle with sin that we all struggle with.  We just have to decide if we are going to be strong in Christ and let Him lead us and guide us so that we show the good fruit and not the bad.  In order to grow, we must be in His Word daily and grow from His teachings.  There is no way around that.  We simply cannot expect to show good fruit in our lives if we are not daily growing in His commands.  There is no way we can expect to show the good fruit of His love if we are not taking the time to grow through His Word.  It is not gonna happen.

It is my prayer and desire that we all live better lives for Christ and strive harder to show good fruit in our lives.  We need to keep our tree full of good fruit.  If bad fruit grows, we need to take care of it and get rid of what is causing that bad fruit to grow.  God will prune us so that we can grow the good fruit.  It might be painful, but well worth getting rid of in order for the good fruit to grow so others can see Him through us. 

Are you bearing good fruit or bad fruit?

Sunday, February 12, 2012


By Zach Wood
Romans 8:6-8
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

When I was a kid, I remember getting remote-controlled toys that were quite fun to play with.  I would spend hours controlling a car to do cool and funny things.  It was neat how that provided so much entertainment in my young years as a boy.  Something about being in control of that little car and making it do things I wanted it to do was just fun.  I had complete control.  Whatever button I pushed or how I steered the little wheel on the remote, the car did what I wanted it to do.  As you can imagine, I had fun bumping the thing into walls and sending it off little ramps I put up.  It was fun to see the tricks I could do with the car I controlled.

In our lives, we have a choice who we are controlled by.  Are we going to allow ourselves to be controlled by the sinful nature and allow Satan to use the remote to crash our lives and bump into things that will hurt us?  Or, are we going to allow the Spirit to control us and steer us in the directions we need to go?  The enemy wants nothing more than to kick us around and steer us in every direction that will hurt us and bring misery into our lives.  When Satan has the remote control, there will never be happiness and joy long-term, only temporary pleasures.  We may speed our way through some things and think they are fun at the time, but they will eventually result in pain and heartache. 

When we allow the Spirit to control our lives, we focus our mind on eternal things.  We experience peace like never before.  We are controlled by the Spirit and are led into a life that is rewarding.  Now, this is not to say we will not experience any grief, sorrow or pain.  There is no life that we can live void of these things.  That is just life.  No way to avoid grief, sorrow and pain.  However, when we are controlled by the Spirit, we can experience comfort, peace and joy only by the power of God. 

Who controls you?  Is it the sinful nature or is it the Holy Spirit?  Do you feel like the Apostle Paul who in chapter 7 of Romans explains the constant struggle of sin?  Each day, we must all make the choice whether we are going to be controlled and led by the sinful nature or by the Holy Spirit.  If we choose to be led and controlled by the Holy Spirit, we must be strong in prayer and ask Him to lead us.  Remember, a mind that is hostile to God and chooses the sinful nature cannot in any way please God.  If we choose to be led by the sinful nature, nothing good will ever come out of that lifestyle.  Only the life led by the Spirit in accordance to God's word will result in happiness and eternal rewards.

I encourage you today to examine your heart and decide each day who will control you?  The enemy or the Spirit?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Changed Lives

"Changed Lives"
By Zach Wood
Acts 9:3-6
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice says to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"  "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.  "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.  "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

If there was anyone that was radically changed from one extreme to the other, it was the Apostle Paul.  One of the most profound and powerful writers of the New Testament went from a life of killing Christians to becoming a bold man fired up for the Kingdom!  When I read the story of Paul's conversion, it is truly amazing.  Saul had one thing in mind and it was to stop Christians and do it by killing them.  People were terrified of him because of what he was doing and what all he kept planning to do.  However, God stopped him in his tracks on the way to Damascus and got a hold of him.  Saul had an encounter with the Living God that would change his life forever.

When I read this story, I think to myself, "God, why in the world would you choose someone who was killing Your people?"  The answer is clear to me.  God is in the business of changing lives.  The Apostle Paul is an amazing example of what God can do through someone to change their life.  I am amazed at the way God uses people to do extraordinary things, like He did through Paul.  I look at my own life and I am so amazed that He still uses me.  God wants to use you to change other’s lives.  You just have to be willing and He will do extraordinary things through you.

One thing I have always struggled with is looking at people who seem very evil and mean and think, "They will never change.  There is no hope for them."  Instead, I should lift them up in prayer and ask God to do a work in them to change their lives.  And, if I really want to take a risk, I could pray and ask that He in some way use me to minister to them.  Is that not what God wants to do through us?  He desires to use us to change other's lives.  We communicate the love of God and He does the rest.  He speaks to their heart and convicts them when the time is right.

I confess that I have looked at people before and think that they do not deserve God's change in their lives.  I sometimes think they have done so many horrible things that they do not deserve God's Love and His forgiveness.  When I think that way, I have gone way too far.  I have to remember that I never deserved what God did for me and I have to realize that God saved me from the sinful life I once lived.  He changed my life. 

I encourage you to read through Saul's conversion in Acts 9 and carefully study what happend to him and how people around him reacted.  The Disciples were a little scared to be around him.  He had a changed life, but it took time for people to really believe he had changed from the life he once lived.  Once people saw his changed life, he impacted so many people.

The next time you are tempted to judge someone and feel they do not deserve The Cross and His forgiveness, just remember the Grace, Mercy, Love and Forgivenss that was extended to you.  God is in the business of changing lives.