Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Know When To Quit

“Know When To Quit”
By Zach Wood
Proverbs 23:4-5 (NLT)
“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”

I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I’ve read devotions, heard sermons or read articles that discussed the importance of not being hung up on money.  We know God’s Word teaches us not to get hung up on being so concerned about wealth. 

We have countless reality shows on TV where people compete for a big grand prize, which is always a large sum of money.  Some of these shows have contestants that will do absolutely crazy things just to win money.  Many of them don’t care who they hurt or what they have to do in order to win.  It can get pretty crazy watching some of these people do whatever it takes to win.

Now, before we come down on those people we see on TV, we better not point the finger too much at them before we look at our own lives and see how much the same we really are.  Just because we have Christ in our lives does not exempt us from becoming money hungry many times as well.  We “know” we are to ask Him to provide, but often, we get just as hung up on the green stuff as people in the world do. 

Please don’t get me wrong and think that working hard to make ends meet is wrong.  I’m not saying that people who have to work extra, extra hard to keep food on the table and bills paid are wrong in what they are doing.  Sometimes, families just have to do what they gotta do.  However, what I do want to warn and encourage against is always wanting more and more and more.  Thinking that if we just make a little more, then we’ll be set.

It’s important to provide for our families, but it’s also important for us to know when we need to quit and not do anymore for day or on the weekend because we need time with those we love.  Working hard is good, but there comes a time when we have to put work aside and focus on those we love and spend quality time with them.  Money needs will always be there and sometimes we just have to stop and focus on those who are important to us.

Let this Proverb be an encouragement to us all that God will provide for us.  Yes, He wants us to work hard and provide for our families, but He wants desires for us to be part of that family as well and be present as much as we can to make family memories.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Obstacles Of Life

“Obstacles Of Life”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 3:12 (NIV)
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Over the past couple of months, one of my favorite TV shows has become “American Ninja Warrior”.  My kids have been watching this with me and we really like it!  The contestants have such determination as they enter the obstacle courses.  If you’re not familiar with the show or have only caught glimpses of it, contestants from all over compete on very difficult obstacles that really test their strength and endurance as well as mental work.

The more I keep watching this show, the more I notice how people respond to how they do on the courses and how they react when they “fail”.  There are actually more people who fall off the course than complete it.  However, it’s amazing to watch people and their passion going through and doing their best.  And, the other thing that most amazes me is their attitude when they are interviewed after falling.  Most of them always have a smile on their face and talk about how they enjoyed it and will get it next time.

It truly inspires me every time I watch this how because of the determination and attitude of the contestants.  I’m inspired how passionate they are for what they are doing.  And, it’s usually not for themselves.  Before they begin the courses, they always show a “back story” that tells how they came to be on the show and something about their friends and family and circumstances that brought them to the show.  There is just something so inspiring about each of the contestants and makes it more than just a show.

When I see their determination, I can’t help but think of Paul.  This is an amazing passage as Paul talks about pressing on and winning the prize in Christ.  He kept his eye on the path and didn’t let things discourage him from continuing to follow Christ. Paul had a lot of obstacles for sure, but He did not let that pull him down.  He trusted in Christ.  From his past, he learned hard things and learned to put his trust in God and continue through life’s obstacles. 

No matter what the past is for us, we can be assured that God is with us through all we experience.  And, our attitude as we continue through the obstacles of life will determine a lot.  Are we pressing on no matter what?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Praise Him For Faithfulness

“Praise Him For Faithfulness”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 33:1-4 (NIV)
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”

I always love reading the promises throughout the Bible that God gives to us of His faithfulness.  We have so much to praise Him for, don’t we?  His Word is packed full of encouragement and promises to us that He will take care of us.  Because of His faithfulness to us, we should praise Him everyday and all through the day. 

Often it is hard to praise Him and give thanks because of the many trials and sorrows we experience.  We often find it difficult to praise Him when we are consumed with so many worries and other things bothering us.  It’s in these times we especially need to focus on praising Him and remember that no matter what, He is and always will be faithful.

One book that I especially like reading through in the OT is Psalms.  When I read through the chapters, I am always encouraged and inspired.  I never tire from reading this fantastic book.  It’s full of inspiration and words to help when things seem down.  And, even when things don’t seem down, it’s still inspiring to read. 

No matter what happens to us in life, no matter what we experience and no matter what people say or do, nothing will ever change the fact that God is faithful in all He does and He will always be there for us.  That is truly worth praising Him for! 

He is surely faithful in all He does and His love endures forever!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Get Excited To Share

“Get Excited To Share”
By Zach Wood
1 Chronicles 16:8 (NLT)
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.  Let the whole world know what he has done.”

We tend to get really excited about a lot of things that happen to us in life.  When we receive a present from someone for Christmas, our birthday or for another special occasion, we get really excited.  When we receive a raise or job promotion at work, that makes us feel good and we celebrate.  When we play different sporting games with friends and family, we can get quite competitive and worked up over what we play. 

We could list many more things in life that we get excited and worked up over.  It’s great that we get so excited about different things in life.  However, I cannot help but think of all the times in life when I’ve gotten excited about something going on, but then my excitement for sharing my faith with others hasn’t shown the same enthusiasm.  When I realize this, it’s a hard pill to swallow.  I am convicted that my love for God and excitement to do His Work isn’t as exciting as the next event I’m going to.

It is easy to get worked up and excited about different things happening in our lives and that is okay.  The problem comes when our excitement for sharing God’s love with others is less exciting that some event we’re pumped up about.  When this happens, we seriously need to check our priorities.  Where is our heart?  How about the song, “Go Tell It On The Mountain”?  The words of that song describe this very well.  Are we excited and worked up about our opportunities to share His love with others?

This is not meant to give any kind of guilt trip for when you or I get excited about something going on in our lives.  God definitely wants us to enjoy the different things that happen to us.  But I also believe He really desires for the most joy and most excitement in life to come from knowing Him.  Letting the world around us know why we have joy.  We need to be giving thanks in all we do and proclaiming His greatness.

I pray that we would become more and more excited about sharing His love and proclaiming His greatness each day.  Then, the world will notice and see Him through us more and more.