Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Look Up, Look Around

“Look Up, Look Around”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.  They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.  Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.”

I remember times as a child that I would go outside and lay down somewhere in the yard or just stand in the yard and look up and just gaze at the beautiful night sky.  There’s something so peaceful about looking up into the sky and seeing all the stars and knowing God created all of them.  It’s peaceful and amazing.

When I read this passage, I’m always reminded of the amazing craftsmanship of our Almighty God.  His creation is so beautiful and we are often so negligent of this.  Every one of us gets caught up in the busyness of daily life and we forget how truly beautiful God’s creation is.  His creation is all around us everyday and especially in the night sky, gazing up at the stars that burn bright.

We all need reminders every single day of the many activities we take part in.  We’re always adding things to our calendars and special dates so that we do not forget.  The problem is that we get so focused on not forgetting these dates and the things we have planned to do, and we forget to praise God and take in His beauty all around us. 

This is a challenge for all of us.  I easily get caught up in all the busyness of everyday life and work that I forget to acknowledge the beauty that God has put all around me.  We all become forgetful.  We don’t doubt God’s beauty and craftsmanship, we just get caught up in our routines and put to the side all the beauty He is trying to show us. 

Let us take the time each day to look around and look up at His beauty. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Just Leave It Alone

“Just Leave It Alone”
By Zach Wood
Proverbs 4:14-15 (NLT)
“Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers.  Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way.  Turn away and keep moving.”

I remember often as a child being told or hearing other parents tell kids around me, “Don’t even think about it!”  Now as a parent and being around other people’s kids, I say and also hear other parents saying the same thing at times.  Kids get pretty curious about things.  I don’t think there’s a child alive today that hasn’t found his or her way into some kind of trouble, whether just out of curiosity or actually purposely doing something wrong.

We often talk about kids doing these things, but as adults, we often do the same things.  We often think about evil things we could do because we are mad at someone or we are just so curious that we don’t care what the outcome is.  We can get pretty risky sometimes and not in good ways.  We often become very curious, just like kids, and we go exploring where we shouldn’t be.  Our minds often wander away and we allow Satan to lure us where we shouldn’t be going.

It is quite easy for all of us to put on the mask trying to show others that we are good men and women and that we follow God and are committed.  However, we often, in our minds and hearts, devise schemes to get back at people for doing us wrong.  We don’t like to admit that, but we do.  We know that God wants something better for us, but the human part of us just doesn’t want to let go and let Him be in control. 

When we are tempted to let our emotions and curiosity take over and lead us down the wrong path, we need to make the choice to steer completely clear and not even flirt with the wrong path.  Often times we just want to get a little bit closer and see how close we can get without getting burned.  The best thing to do is just leave it alone completely.  Following His way is the best way, every time.  It’s not always what we feel like doing, but His way is always best for us. 

I think my dad really said it best when I was a child and I often deviated from what was the right thing to do and the advice still comes back to me as an adult.  He often said, “Just leave it alone”.  Very good advice, not only for children, but for us as adults.  Don’t even think about it and just leave it alone.  Go the other way and keep moving forward with the path God wants for us.  The path of wrongdoing will always burn us in some way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Blessing Of His Redemption

“The Blessing Of His Redemption”
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 1:7-8
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

We have been blessed by so many things in our lives, haven’t we?  We have been blessed with family.  We have been blessed with great friends.  We have been blessed to have a roof over our heads and to have food on the table.  Most of us have vehicles to get us where we need to go each day.  Most of us are able to walk, see, taste, hear and talk.  We have been so blessed to have these abilities as we go through each day of life.

As we consider all that we have been given and blessed with, let us never forget the greatest blessing we could ever ask for.  Out of all the blessings we receive through our life, the blessing of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work in us is truly the greatest blessing we could ever truly hope for.  It is so easy for us to go through our day and our routine without giving much thought to the blessings we are able to enjoy. 

There is one word in the passage that sticks out more than the others to me and possibly to many of you as well.  That word is “redemption”.  Without God’s redeeming act of love toward us through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, we would not have the blessing we are able to enjoy today.  God’s redeeming love is greater than anything else in our lives.  If it wasn’t for His redemption through the blood of Christ on the cross, we would have no hope. 

Let us never forget or take for granted the amazing, awesome redemption that Jesus Christ gave to us by giving His life completely.  Without that act of love, we would have absolutely no hope.  Let us always be thankful for this completely undeserving gift that God has given to us.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Convinced Of God's Love

“Convinced Of God’s Love”
By Zach Wood
Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It certainly takes a lot of convincing these days to actually believe things people tell us.  It is hard for us many times to take what people say for face value.  There are so many crazy things people try to convince us of and we spend time trying to decide whether these things are legitimate or not.  People certainly try very hard in this day and age to get us to believe anything.  Whether it be on the radio, TV, internet or other various media sources, people are trying to convince us of one thing or another.

We often find ourselves being convinced by something and then finding out it is all a hoax.  We feel dumb that we fell for whatever false info we bought into and believed.  The more we get pressured to believe something, the more we tend to become leery that it is actually something legitimate.  Often we just feel it is someone trying to get us convinced through their marketing scheme.

We also struggle in life with the convincing that our enemy puts in our path to make us feel we are failures and we are no good to God because of what we have done in life.  The enemy is very good and deceiving in convincing us that no matter what we do, our failures will define us.  He constantly tries to convince us that we have done something so bad that God does not love us anymore or will not continue to extend forgiveness.  He is good at making us feel worthless and unlovable. 

Let us all take a valuable lesson and encouragement here from the Apostle Paul.  He became convinced that nothing in all the world could ever take us away from the love that God has for us.  No matter what our enemy tries to convince us of regarding our past failures and things we continue to struggle with, God’s message to us is that He sincerely loves us and sent Jesus Christ to die for us.  That love is stronger than anything the enemy throws our way.  We need to hold on to the promise that God’s love cuts through anything the enemy tries to convince us of.

Are you convinced?