Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No Better Replenishment

“No Better Replenishment”
By Zach Wood
John 4:13-14 NIV
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I am absolutely amazed and baffled by all the things that continue to promise fulfillment and refreshment in this world today.  It seems no matter where I look, I’m seeing things that promise replenishment only end up delivering a greater thirst to search for something more. 

I see food advertised promising to make the stomach happy, but is terrible in nutrition.  I see beverages promised to quench thirst, but when I choose to drink them, I’m still left thirsty.  I see ads for electronics that sound like a great deal and would make me happy, but then I see something even better a day later and want that instead. 

No matter where I look for replenishment, I never seem to find anything that completely leaves me satisfied and feeling wonderful.  Often I find myself chasing after all that the world promises will make me feel great and make me happy.  If I just have this thing or buy that food or get that product, I will finally have it all and feel better. 

No matter what I have chased after, I never feel replenished unless I am chasing after God and His replenishment.  You’d think after all these years, I’d finally stop chasing after worldly desires, but I’m human and I just keep falling for the false promises that all these other things will somehow suffice. 

This is a powerful encounter Jesus has with a woman at the well.  She keeps wondering and seeking to find true satisfaction.  Jesus finally offers her real replenishment, but she doesn’t quite “get it”.  Before we nod in agreement and point our fingers at her, we need to realize that each one of us is in her shoes everyday.  We all chase after something other than God to find replenishment and we ALWAYS come back dry and wanting something else.

No one will ever satisfy or replenish us like Jesus Christ, the true source of fulfillment in life.  We can search and search and search and we will never find anything else more satisfying than Him.  When will we learn?  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Getting Closer to Him

“Getting Closer to Him”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 24:3-4 NIV
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in his holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

We spend a lot of time in our lives trying to get close to certain people, places and things.  We’ll drive quite a distance to get to a place we’ve never been to before to explore new sights of nature.  Sometimes we’ll stand in long lines to meet someone who is a popular public figure.  We’ll spend a good amount of money to purchase tickets to have a great view at a concert of a popular singing group.

We could go on and on about ways we figure out to get closer to things and places and people we want to see.  We may take hours or days to achieve these goals.  It’s amazing how we’ll strive to do these things and how much time and money we’ll invest. 

We “seek” a lot in our lives, do we not?  We spend a lot of time investing in so much.  When I consider how much we spend our lives investing in other things, I have to wonder how often we truly spend time investing in seeking God and investing in our relationship with Him?  If we spent half the time we spend in doing other things and put that attention and energy more into searching the heart of God, I think we’d really be amazed at how much we’d grow in our faith.

We all say we want to get closer to Him.  But how much do you really want to get closer?  What’s “close” to you?  Is it just knowing about Him?  Is it just attending church on Sunday and hearing a good message and going about your daily life?  This Psalm is pretty clear that if we truly want to be closer to God and invest our daily lives into knowing Him, then we need to strive to have clean hands and a pure heart. 

You maybe be shaking your head and saying, “I know, I know, I know!”  However, if we “know” we should be doing this, then why aren’t we??  Why are we not striving to know Him more and more?  Do we really and honestly want to be in His presence and stand in His Holy place?  Do we want to rid of the dirty hands and stained hearts and allow Him to cleanse us? 

Do you sincerely want to grow closer to Him?  If so, take some action and do something about it.  We need to be more serious about getting closer to Him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nothing Better or Greater

“Nothing Better or Greater”
By Zach Wood
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We tend to be amazed and excited at many things in life.  There are some things, that when we see them, we just sit there or stand there in complete silence, perhaps with our mouths wide open and just stare.  We are completely amazed at some of the things we see in life. 

Some things totally astound us and we cannot wrap our minds around the concept.  Some things we witness make us want to pinch ourselves and say, “Did that really just happen?”  We find ourselves pretty awestruck and amazed at so many things that happen to us and around us.  Sometimes we find ourselves at such a loss for words and can only think, “Wow, how can that really be possible?”

We have to admit we are moved by so many different things that happen around us and to us.  We become filled with such emotion and are speechless at so much that happens in our lives.  We so often find ourselves not having any words to really describe how we feel at those moments. 

As amazed and overcome with emotion as we get about things in our lives, it troubles me and breaks my heart how we so often become less and less amazed and far less overwhelmed by what God has done for us.  Many of us have attended church for so many years or our lives, yet we have very little amazement when we hear over and over again the wonderful messages about the Savior’s life of love. 

Why do we get so much more amazed and awestruck about things in the world and less and less overwhelmed by what God has done for us?  Why does it become so commonplace when we talk about what He has done for us?  The truth is there is absolutely nothing greater or better than what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross.  Nothing in the world could ever compare to that greatness.  However, what do we really feel in our hearts?  Are we absolutely still amazed and overcome with emotion over what He did?

God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us!  Wow!  That’s a really, really big deal!  Is He greater and better than everything and anyone else in our lives?  He should be, but is He?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spiritual Spoilage Control

“Spiritual Spoilage Control”
By Zach Wood
John 15:5 NIV
I am the vine, you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

In the past month, we had two instances where our fridge stopped working at home.  Both times, we could tell it wasn’t as cold as it should be.  I can usually tell something isn’t right when the milk isn’t ice cold.  I don’t know about all of you, but I like my milk ICE COLD!  If it’s anything less, it tastes gross to me. 

So when these two instances happened, we went through a routine of figuring out what to do with the food and beverages to keep them cold.  Of course it was an inconvenience to get things figured out, but we didn’t want all our stuff to go bad.  We did our best to try to figure out how to keep things cold.  Thankfully, the apartment below ours is vacant, so our landlord let us keep stuff in that fridge. 

Apart from the cold temperature needed in the fridge, our food would completely spoil and go bad.  It has to remain at a certain temperature to keep the food chilled or it all goes bad.

I cannot help but think of our lives in Christ when we dealt with these instances.  We did everything we could to keep our food from spoiling.  In our spiritual lives, if we don’t keep our lives in tune with God and stay in His Word daily, our growth wanes and our fire for Him spoils.  We would do everything we can to keep our food and beverages from going bad in our fridge if something went wrong, but for some reason, we seem to ignore and neglect the care that our spiritual lives need. 

Jesus Christ is the True Vine.  We are the branches.  If we don’t take more seriously our growth and health spiritually, our hearts will begin to spoil.  So often we just don’t seem to care and do fill our lives with everything else but God.  And then we wonder why we aren’t growing and why our lives look like junk.  If we’re not filling our lives with God, we’re filling our lives with the world and its junk instead. 

When will we take Jesus’ words from this passage and really apply them to our lives?  He meant what He said when He told us that apart from Him we can do NOTHING.