Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Are Your Words?

“How Are Your Words?”
By Zach Wood
Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

From the time I get up in the morning to the time I go to bed, I’m sharing words with various people throughout my day.  Whether I’m chatting with my beautiful wife, my precious kids, people at work or friends and family, I’m using words to communicate with them.  Whether I’m doing by talking in person, on the phone, texting or e-mailing, I’m using words to share something.

No matter how I’m communicating, one thing I always want to keep in mind and close to my heart is how I am using my words.  Am I doing my best to encourage other people when I talk?  Whether that’s with family, friends or people at my job, I want to say encouraging things.  As hard as I do try, I find myself often becoming frustrating at different people for various reasons and not sharing words of kindness or encouragement. 

We all have good days and bad days of using words.  Sometimes we are encouraging others and then other times, we are tearing people down with what we say.  We know there are many Scriptures throughout God’s Word that encourage us to speak with love and kindness toward others. It’s such a simple concept, yet is probably the hardest thing to sometimes do. 

We use so many words each day in our conversations.  I want to ask you if you are really thinking about what you say each day in every conversation you have with others?  Are you doing your best to be kind even when the person you are trying to communicate with is upsetting you?  Can you still share kind words even when they are not shared with you by another person?

All we can control is what we say to others.  Our words to others can be so powerful in a good way or very powerful in a destructive way.  What way are you choosing each day in each conversation?  Are you finding yourself constantly getting irritated and using negative words with your spouse, kids, friends, co-workers and family?  If so, then maybe you need to take a step back, think through your words and change how you talk.

Words are powerful.  God wants us to use our words in a powerful way to bring Him praise by encouraging and lifting others up.  This reminds me of a phrase that I’ve heard so often, yet is so hard to put into practice, “If you can’t say anything good, then don’t say anything at all”. 

How are your words?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

His Faithful Love

“His Faithful Love”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 107:1 (NLT)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His faithful love endures forever.”

Being the parent of two children has taught me so much through the years.  As much as I strive to be a Godly father and role model to them, I find there are so many days that I’m selfish or lose my temper with them.  I have a good days spending time with them, then days when I feel irritated about every little thing they do.  Each day I ask God to give me strength to be the best parent I can be for them to show His love.

One thing that truly amazes me is, even though I get angry and frustrated with them, they never stop wanting to hug me, give me kisses and cuddle with me.  There’s never a day that one of them doesn’t want me to hold and hug them.  I think of all the times that I’ve lost patience with them for one reason or another, and yet they still know that I love them and want to be with them.  Daddy may have a bad day and get cranky, but they know I still love them.

It just amazes me that these girls know, without a doubt, that I love them.  They want me to hold them and cuddle with them.  I cherish those times.  They know, even in the times that I get upset with them, that I still love them.  They’ve learned to know that I will love them regardless of what they do.  I’m glad they feel this way.  Again, it amazes me.  I am thankful for that affection they still show me regardless of how I sometimes am toward them.

Every one of these moments, I think about how amazing God’s love for me is even though I disobey Him each day in some way.  There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t do something that He may not be happy with me about.  But, you know what?  He still loves me and I know that.   I know that His faithful love will endure forever. 

Each day, to know my Father loves me and that His faithful love will never fail me is so reassuring.  His promise to love me brings me to praise Him endlessly. I know His faithful love will endure forever.  Just as my kids know that their daddy will love them regardless of how they act sometimes, our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us regardless of how we act sometimes.  His faithful love will endure forever!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Let's Cheer On!

“Let’s Cheer On!”
By Zach Wood
Hebrews 10:24 (NLT)
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a TV show that my kids and I have really gotten into called “American Ninja Warrior”.  I shared how impressed I was with the show and the stories of people’s lives that are shown before they go through the obstacles.  Then, I also shared how they go through the obstacles and have a good time and usually have a smile on their face still even when they fall. 

The more I have watched the show since then and thought more, something else really occurred to me and I want to share with you this week.  Something very important on this show also is the fact that these people not only have a crowd cheering them on, but they usually have family and/or friends walking along as they complete the obstacles.  With family and friends and the audience, I really appreciate all the encouragement that comes with hearing their cheers.

Could you imagine an intense sporting event with a cheering crowd? I couldn’t.  What would it be like without hearing a crowd of familiar voices cheering you on and hearing your name spoken over and over again with the statement that you can do it and keep it up?  There’s a completely different feeling when we have beloved friends and family cheering us on, no matter what event we’re taking part in.  We need encouragement from others. 

But let’s flip that and remember that others need encouragement from us as well.  I can tell you that in my life, I would absolutely not be walking with God if it were not for some very, very special people throughout the years who took time to invest in my life.  I will cherish these Godly people for the rest of my life.  I’m thankful for them. 

So, what ways can we work on inspiring and spurring others on?  Often times we tend to focus on what others can do for us, but we also need to focus on giving that encouragement back.  We are called to encourage each other in the Kingdom.  Why are we not doing more of that?  We see it on TV shows and at sporting events, but why do we lack this so much in the Kingdom? 

We need to encourage one another and do if often.  Christ is cheering us on everyday, so we need to do the same for others.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Imitate With Our Best Effort

“Imitate With Our Best Effort”
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children.  Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

We do a lot of imitating in life, don’t we? When we’re kids, we imitate those who are older as we learn new skills and learn to do new tasks.  As we grow older, we continue to learn as we get new jobs and study and watch others do various things we’d like to aspire to do. 

We spend a lot of time in our life imitating what other people do so that we can be better in our jobs.  We can sure learn to do things on our own, but we need some sort of detailed instructions from others at times when learning on our own isn’t enough.  It’s important to learn from other people.  We can always learn a new way to do something we’ve done the same way for so long.

Sometimes we like to try to imitate people to make others laugh.  You and I have seen probably many comedy routines where people do their best to sound like a popular actor and we can be really amazed at how well they sound just like the person.  How did they do that? They practiced and practiced.  They tried over and over and over again to imitate that person.

Just like we need to learn from others in how to do certain tasks in life, most importantly, we need to learn and imitate what Christ did.  There is no greater example to imitate.  Often times, we make excuses that it’s just so hard to follow Christ and do exactly what He did and treat others as He treated people.  When it gets hard to imitate Him and we want to give up, just remember all He went through to give Himself as a sacrifice for us. 

How hard do you and I work daily to imitate Christ as we communicate and work with others?  How much effort do we really put into being just like Christ?  This is not a new concept to any of us, but a great reminder that we should put in our best effort daily to be just like Jesus.  After all, He put in His best effort to give us life.