Thursday, September 17, 2015

What Fills You Up?

“What Fills You Up?”
By Zach Wood
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do you like to be filled up?  We all do.  When we eat, we like to have our fill of great food.  When we go to the gas station, we fill our tanks.  When we put water into a bottle, we put ice in and fill it to the top water.  If we go shopping somewhere and take advantage of a fill-a-bag deal for one low price, we sure put as much stuff in as we can.

When we have opportunities to fill up, we take advantage of it!  We want to be filled in many different ways.  It’s not always about tangible things, however.  We also like to be filled with encouragement.  We like to be filled with love from other people.  We like to be filled with compliments. 

No matter what we like to be filled with, there is absolutely nothing that should be more fulfilling than what God fills us up with.  He fills us with joy and peace and hope.  This is a joy, peace and hope that the world cannot give us. Paul was emphatic about encouraging people to be filled with God’s presence and hope.  He knew there was nothing more important than what God fills our lives with. 

What are we filled up with these days?  Are we longing, as Paul did, to be filled with God’s ultimate joy, hope and peace?  Are we constantly after only what God can give us or are we chasing everything else in the world trying to find that fulfillment?  If we’re honest, most of us would admit that we often chase and want to be filled with what the world offers because it’s immediate and enjoyable……for a time. 

I am reminded everyday that God is my only source of true fulfillment.  It’s amazing all the ways He reminds us of how much I need Him.  We truly do need Him.  Are we being filled by Him?  What fills us up?  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stop Pretending & Start Loving

“Stop Pretending & Start Loving”
By Zach Wood
Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)
Don’t just pretend to love others.  Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

One of the most favorite things kids love to do is pretend.  My girls are always bringing back memories when they play pretend with each other and with their friends.  It’s been so long ago, but I remember playing pretend and just having fun with our imaginations as we kept ourselves busy for hours.  It was so much fun to just pretend and imagine ourselves anywhere and role playing whatever character we wanted.

I smile when I see my kids playing pretend.  They have so much fun using their imaginations and being creative.  It’s often something to laugh at when they do this as well.  Kids really enjoy pretending to be someone they are not, just for the fun of it.  They get goofy and make us smile.

It is fun to play pretend, but too often, we continue to play pretend in the relationships we have throughout our life.  We play pretend in so many ways toward other people.  We stop being genuine and we pretend to love them.  We act like we do just so that we can get through our time with them.  Instead of being genuine toward people that we should be reaching with love, we pretend.  The sad thing is that people can see right through that.

Doesn’t it bother you when you can tell someone else isn’t really being genuine with you in how they treat you?  It just feels awkward.  It doesn’t feel natural.  Not all relationships we have with others are always going to feel natural.  That’s just not how reality of life is.  However, we can do our best to be genuine in love toward others, whether they are easy to get along with or not.  God sent Jesus to show us what true and genuine love is.  His love is no pretend love.

We truly need to hold tightly to what is good and genuine.  We need to love others, no matter whether they are easy or hard to love.  Others want to see us being genuine in our love, not pretending.  When they see us loving them in a genuine way, then the doors of opportunity to share with them open up.

It’s time we really stop pretending and start loving as Christ loves us.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Are We Eagerly Awaiting?

“Are We Eagerly Awaiting?”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.

We sure eagerly await a lot of things in life, don’t we?  We eagerly await the arrival of a newborn baby.  We eagerly await a promotion that we work hard to attain.  We eagerly await that house that we will close on soon.  We eagerly await the vacation we’ve been saving for.  We eagerly await the day that we say our vows in marriage.

We eagerly await a lot of things.  We get excited and worked up about a lot.  We get excited and worked up about celebrations that happen throughout our years of life.  We really like to celebrate, don’t we?  Of course we do!  God brings moments to our lives that we should enjoy and savor.  There’s nothing like making memories that bring warm feelings to our hearts each time we remember them.  We await and long for many things and we should.  We should be able to enjoy life.

As much as we enjoy things in life, we should never place more importance on the things more than what is awaiting us as we seek to go home to be with Jesus Christ one day.  The problem is that we do hold onto so much here in this life.  Again, we should enjoy and savor the great moments we have here that God blesses us to have.  But, we must never hold onto anything so hard that we wish to be here more than our eternal home with Christ.

This is not our home.  Every single day, from the time we get up to the time we go to bed, we should be eagerly awaiting the moment we get to see Jesus face to face.  However, so much of the time, I find myself honestly holding on and eagerly awaiting things in this life too much.  I find myself focused on what the world offers and longing for worldly things way too much.

No matter what good things happen for us in this life on earth, there is absolutely NOTHING we could possibly eagerly await more than being in the presence of our Lord and Savior.  When we are with Him, there will be nothing greater.  So, while we await that day and moment, are you sharing that eagerness with others?