Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don't Let It Fade

“Don’t Let It Fade”
By Zach Wood
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
We tend to get used to a lot of things in life, do we not?  When something new comes along, we get really excited and am all pumped up about it, but then after a while the excitement seems to fade away.  Newness has a strong tendency to wear off after a period of time and things feel “normal” so to speak. 

When we moved to Eagle Lake, we were so ecstatic to be living so close to Mankato because we had lived at least 30 minutes away from any shopping places for so many years.  However, after a period of time last year, that excitement wore off.  It’s still very nice and convenient to have so many shopping choices so close, but the initial hype of it wore off. 

When we recently vacationed in Duluth, I was really excited about all the scenery and beauty of Lake Superior and the North Shore.  However, I got to thinking about all the people who live up there and are probably somewhat used to all that scenery and possibly doesn’t affect them like it did me.  Initial excitement tends to fade away. 

This same excitement tends to filter into our relationship and excitement for living for God.  There are certainly times we get really excited, but then the routine of daily life gets in the way and brings that excitement down for whatever reason.  We have excitement about something new we discover for a while, and then it fades away.  I don’t think there’s a single human being in this world who hasn’t experienced this “fade”. 

As we read in 1 John, we remember how very great is the love our Father God has for us.  He has lavished love upon us, greater than any love we could ever imagine.  We are His children!  Isn’t that great??  What could be better than being called Children of God?  However, the way we live our lives sometimes doesn’t show much excitement.  We seem to get used to the life we have in Christ and the excitement fades away.  This should not be and we need to learn how to revive our daily excitement and amazement for all God has done for us. 

I hope we can all be encouraged today and the days after to not let our excitement for living for Christ fade.  Let it be rich, exciting and reviving each new day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

See The Beauty

“See The Beauty”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 57:10-11
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”

As my family vacationed in Duluth this past weekend, we had the opportunity to travel the North Shore.  As we traveled, we couldn’t help but to keep stopping, taking pictures and taking in the amazing beauty all around Lake Superior.  As I stood there, gazing over the waters and the shores, I just kept thinking about God’s beauty and how awesome He is!  I’ve always been one to enjoy and be mesmerized by landscapes and scenery.  It’s one thing I enjoy most about traveling. 

After enjoying this trip and all the beauty surrounding Lake Superior, I had to think about how often in my daily life that I forget to take in the beauty of all that God puts around me.  I don’t have to take a long trip just to stop and take in the awesome beauty of what God has created.  I should be able to do that wherever I am.  You don’t have to travel to the mountains or to the ocean or to a big lake to see God’s beauty.  His beauty is all around us each and every day.  The problem is we are just too busy and caught up in our own lives to actually stop and see it. 

God’s love, faithfulness and beauty are all over the earth.  It’s amazing to think about all that He has created around us.  However, it’s sad to think we miss so much being so consumed with everything in our daily lives. 

I want to encourage all of us to take the time to stop and see the beauty each and every day that God has put around us.  We need to take time to see and take in that beauty and be thankful to Him for His creation.  I think it’s easy for us to take in the beauty when we’re on a trip for vacation because we’re seeing new places we’ve never been to.  We need to remember to take in the beauty each and every day.  His beauty, love and faithfulness are all around us.  Are we taking time to notice?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God Is Limitless!

“God Is Limitless!”
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”

Anytime I come across this passage, whether it be for a personal devotional reading, preparing for a sermon or teaching in a small group study, I am always reminded how often I limit God.  I certainly teach and encourage others that God can work in amazing and mysterious ways, but often I fail to believe that myself.  Sometimes, it’s much easier encouraging others than actually living it out myself.  I’m reminded that I need to also believe that God can and will do things in life that are beyond our comprehension.

Don’t we so often limit what God can do?  We often say, “Oh, that will never happen”.  God is never bound by limitations.  He is so far beyond us and far greater than anything we could ever think of.  Look at the words, “immeasurably more”.  Our God is an awesome God who is capable of so much more than we could ever possibly understand.  He works in mysterious ways that we most often never see and didn’t think would happen. 

I’m encouraged by Paul’s words to the church in Ephesus about how God works in amazing ways and beyond our understanding.  I hope you are encouraged by his words as well.  Not only can God do amazing things beyond our imagination, but He also works amazing ways within us.  He does great things all around us as well as working through our lives and changing us in ways we never thought possible. 

I have to admit that I’m ashamed sometimes at how I limit what God can do in my life.  I often doubt and see things only from a certain perspective and forget that God is above my thoughts and ideas.  I have to constantly remember that God is not bound by limitations that we sometimes want to put on Him.  He is beyond us and is greater than we could ever imagine.  I hope we are all thankful to serve a Heavenly Father Who is so great, awesome and beyond our understanding!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We Can Press On!

“We Can Press On!”
By Zach Wood
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

This past week, I had the privilege of serving at our church camp for 4th grade week of camp.  I led the music and one of the songs was “Trading My Sorrows”.  Each time we sang this song, when we came to the part where Paul talks about struggles and pain to the church in Corinth, those words just really stuck out to me. 

In life, it’s no surprise that we tend to get knocked down a lot from different things that happen to us and around us.  We are affected by a lot of negative things, whether they happen to people around us and stir us up emotionally or if we are directly affected and we get hurt both physically and emotionally.  I am encouraged by Paul as he describes how we get discouraged and broken down, but that we are not completely hopeless or destroyed.  We have strength in the Lord to get up and keep on going.

Maybe you are reading this devotional and this is hitting home with you.  Perhaps you are tired and frustrated from your daily life and all the struggles going on around you and you don’t feel you have the strength to carry on.  We all get very discouraged throughout our lives.  What’s important is to remember we are never, ever alone.  Many others have gone through frustrations and have worked through them.

It would be wise for us to hold onto these important words from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth that when we are shaken up and beaten down by the world, we are not destroyed.  Christ will pick us up if we reach out to Him and allow Him to get us back up on our feet to continue our walk in the faith.  It’s often hard to get back up and have the confidence and stamina to continue, but with Christ, we can do it.