Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Simple Things

“Simple Things”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 95:3-7 (NLT)
For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too. Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!”

Kids never cease to amaze us, do they?  It seems they are always looking for ways to be creative, goofy and get us to laugh at the silly things they do.  One of the greatest things kids do often is getting the parent’s attention to look at something they’ve found.  When they discover something, there is sheer excitement and it doesn’t stay bottled up.

Children are always so excited to show parents new discoveries.  However, it’s not always a new discovery, but could just be a simple noticing of God’s wonderful creation.  My girls often find things outside and with other friends and they get so excited about it.  They quickly want to show mommy and daddy.  It’s in these times that God wants to teach us, as adults, to stop and take time to notice the simple, wonderful things of God’s creation. 

Kids are great at getting us adults to stop and take life in.  We tend to get so caught up and busy with daily life that we forget to take notice of the many simple blessings God gives us to enjoy in His creation.  In this Psalm passage, I am reminded that God wants to get my attention so that I don’t miss moments of just stopping to admire His creation all around me.  He wants to speak to us.  He wants to show us things that are all around us that we so often forget to notice. 

God wants to remind us of His Majesty in any way He can.  He wants us to never forget how amazing, powerful and beautiful He is.  Wherever we go and whatever we are doing, we can always be reminded of God’s wonderful creation and how beautiful He has made things.  Do we take the time to stop and take this in?  Do we take the time to admire and praise Him for all He has given to us to enjoy?  He is a great and mighty God and He deserves our praise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Our Spiritual Vision

“Our Spiritual Vision”
By Zach Wood
Matthew 5:8 (NLT)
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”

How many of us, if we had blurry vision, would just let our sight be as it is and not go see an eye doctor to determine if we need glasses?  We certainly would not pass on that.  We would want to see and fix the problem.  What if we were driving through rain and our wipers were messed up or broken?  Would we not stop to fix that problem or buy new wipers?  Of course we would.

What if we had a windshield covered in frost and ice in the winter and needed to go somewhere?  We would be absurd to drive the vehicle and think we are still safe and can see where we are going.  We would defrost and scrape so that we can see through to the road. 

If we have anything hindering our physical sight ability, we would do something about it and correct as soon as possible.  We would want to make sure we remove anything that obstructs our ability to see and carry on.  It makes sense and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Often times we take care of our physical sight, but care a little less regarding our spiritual sight.  We put our eyes where they shouldn’t be and when we take notice of things that pass by our eyes, we have the tendency to wander and become distracted.  These distractions take our eyes off God and we are tempted to focus on things that are not pure.

We are all guilty of this and we must remember that God blesses those who strive to keep their hearts pure and away from evil things.  Throughout our days, we are faced with temptations.  Some of these times can be temptations to say things we don’t mean to say, but other times they are temptations to look at things we shouldn’t view. 

Do we really want to see God and truly follow Him?  Do we desire to keep our eyes on pure things?  Jesus has this amazing teaching in the Beatitudes about how we need to strive to keep our hearts pure.  When we strive for this, God blesses us.  When we strive to be pure in heart and turn away from vile things, our spiritual sight and journey become strengthened.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rich With Godly Contentment

“Rich With Godly Contentment”
By Zach Wood
1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NLT)
 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.  After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.”

We live in a world where the market saturates us with the “have more” mentality.  It seems everywhere we turn, there is some ad or gimmick to try to sell us another product that will make us happy.  If we don’t try this, we won’t be content.  If we don’t have this in our home, we don’t have enough.  I must say that these marketing ads are powerful to tempt us.  Many of us, if not most, have given in to such marketing ploys to get us to acquire more. 

Whether we’re listening to sales pitch or we’re engrossed into an infomercial, we’re often tempted to get things that we really don’t need.  We often buy into the lie that if we just had more, we’d be content.  If we just had that next thing, life would be merry and we’d be just peachy.  Unfortunately, no matter how much more we try to get, we simply will not be happy. 

Paul’s letter to Timothy is very encouraging in that if we have Godliness and contentment, we will be happy and joyful.  It’s a mindset we must battle with each day.  Do we realize that God gives us what we need each day?  Are we content with what we already have?  Or, are we always wanting more?  We came into this world without anything and we will leave everything behind when we leave. 

No matter how much we’ve been taught this principle of life, we still often long for things that don’t matter one bit.  The excitement of the next great thing is almost always short-lived.  Then, we just want the next thing.  All the while, God is trying to tell us that if we just focus on Him, then we will have all we need.  Paul’s words here specifically address the love of money, but we can replace “money” with any material possession that is taking our contentment away. 

Are we happy and content with what God has given to us or are we always wanting more?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Because Of His Great Love

“Because Of His Great Love”
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

Take a few moments, if you will, and think about some of the greatest things someone else or other people have done for you.  Consider different milestones in life where family and friends have celebrated with you.  The more time you take to think about this, I’m sure more and more memories will flood your mind in remembrance.  It’s nothing but pleasant when we look back and remember the wonderful things others have done for us. 

We sure hold on to these memories of what others have done for us, don’t we?  These are memories that make us smile and make us thankful that people take the time to show they care and love us.  It is a wonderful feeling when people do things for us, whatever the occasion might be.  It makes us feel important and that our lives are worth celebrating. 

Out of all the wonderful things that have ever been done for you by friends and family, there is nothing more wonderful and exciting than what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary.  Isn’t it wonderful that we have been made alive in Christ?  We didn’t do this.  Christ went to the cross for us.  He gave His life so that we could have life through Him.  We did nothing.  He did everything.  Does that put it into perspective?  It should for all of us.

Look at the first part of this passage.  Because of what God did for us because he loved us, we now have the opportunity for eternal life through Christ.  We didn’t deserve what God gave us through Christ.  However, because He loved us so much, He wanted to see us connect through a relationship in Christ.  That is real love that we’ll never fully comprehend.

What God did for us through Christ gave us the chance to be made alive even though we didn’t deserve it.  That is truly the greatest act of love and importance anyone could have ever shown us.