Thursday, January 19, 2017
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.
While I was at work today, a convicting thought came to mind. I thought about the different people we come into contact with each day. First, there are those we get along with really well and enjoy being around and talking to. Second, there are those we may know and have some casual conversation or small talk when we pass by them. Third, there are those people whom we don’t really get along with for one reason or another and try to avoid.
The more I thought about this, I was convicted mostly by the idea of those whom I try to avoid perhaps because I don’t get along with them or things just feel awkward anytime I try to talk to them. We have all done it. We see someone we’d rather not talk to and we think quickly how we can “look” distracted to avoid talking to them. Or perhaps we try to find another way to walk so that we don’t have to pass by them. We all have to admit there are those people in our lives that we just don’t want to communicate or come into contact with.
As much as it pains me to think about talking to some people that I just cannot get along with, Christ has commanded that I do my best to show love to everyone. He does not give me the permission to avoid others just because they are tough to love. And…you know what? I’m tough for some people to love as well! Ever think about that? When you find yourself thinking about how hard it is to love some people, remember that others probably find it hard to love you as well.
This passage is vital to our daily walk with Christ. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really show genuine to them. No matter how difficult it might be, hold tightly to doing what is right and what is good. Put others before yourself. Yes, it’s hard, but Christ never called us to what is easy. Loving others is hard. Just think about what Christ went through and He never stopped loving.
I hope and pray that we all will be convicted of this no matter where we are or who we’re around. God has called us to be real and genuine with everyone. As hard as that may be sometimes, we need to strive to do our best to love others the best we can. Don’t try to avoid people. Instead, do the best you can to show love to them in any way possible. That’s what Christ would do.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
By Zach Wood
James 4:7 NIV
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
This time of year, many people have made resolutions of things they want to change in their lives. They may list many different things they would like to change or be better at in life. So many people make these decisions and try to follow through on them.
As the New Year approached, there was really one though on my mind and heart. I was thinking about how I can get closer to God and what I need to flee in my life in order to accomplish this. I’m not a person who makes long lists for resolutions. I’m not into making a huge list of things I want to change. What I do like to do is think of one or two things that I really want to see change in my life and pray about God helping me to do this.
What if we all made it our prayer this year to work on complete and full submission to God each and every day? What does that look like? What does it mean for each of us to fully surrender our lives each day? James tells us to submit our lives entirely to God and by doing that we resist the devil and he flees from us.
I really want to make it a point in my every day walk this year to strive better in making God my priority. I want to grow closer to Him so that I can resist what Satan throws at me each day, throughout the day. It is downright hard some days to keep my focus on Jesus because I have so many selfish thoughts and other thoughts that keep me from thinking of Him. I have to be very intentional many times through my day to focus on Christ and not let my mind wander.
So what does it look like for you to completely submit as you continue in this New Year? What does it look like in your life to be completely devoted to Him? Let this be a main question that dictates how you life your every day life. What decisions are you making that glorify Him or are you turning from Him in what you decide? What words are you saying and what ways are you living that either glorify Him or turn away from Him?
I want to resist the devil every day. I want to turn away from him when he throws impure thoughts at me and tempts me to be unfaithful in so many ways. I want to be strong in the Lord and stand up to the enemy and resist his flaming arrows. I want to be in complete and full submission to Him. But you know what? It’s going to take a lot of work and daily commitment. It’s going to be hard and will require much effort.
I hope that we each will make this our prayer to be in complete and full submission to Him every moment of every day.
Monday, January 2, 2017
“Help Me To Listen, Lord’
By Zach Wood
John 10:27-28 NIV
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
There are many challenges to being a parent. One of the greatest is talking to my kids and giving them instructions to follow, whether that is asking them to clean up something in their room or another room in the apartment, or asking them to go get something or take care of something quick. So often I find myself saying to them, “What is so hard about the concept of cleaning up?” My hands go up in the air in front of them and I repeatedly say that they need to listen to instructions and follow.
If you are a parent reading this, you are probably shaking your head in agreement and thinking through how your kids act as well. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this feeling at all. When our kids don’t do what we ask them to do, it is frustrating and we often find ourselves thinking about how we were when we were their age. Sometimes we do forget how much we struggled with doing what our parents asked us to do.
Our kids so often “hear” our voice, but they choose to do what they want to do instead. Or, they actually “listen”, but still don’t feel like carrying out what we ask them to do. Often I’ve literally asked them “Why aren’t you listening to me and doing what I ask you to do?” Sometimes I get a few responses or I get a shrug of the shoulders. That leaves me speechless often not knowing what to say next.
As much I find myself getting frustrated at times when they don’t listen, I cannot help to think how God feels when I don’t listen to Him. How does God feel when He instructs me to do something or not do something and I simply avoid following His voice and instruction. If I really cared enough and truly wanted to follow Him and obey, I would listen to His voice and be obedient, but often I do not.
John tells us that if we listen to His voice and focus on Him, then we truly know His voice and allow Him to penetrate our hearts instead of the voices of the world. It’s often so easy to let voices of the world dictate what we do instead of letting God’s voice dictate what we do. We follow the ways and voices of the world way too often. I know I do all too often.
I’m not into making a bunch of New Year’s resolutions, but one thing I really want to do be better at this year is paying attention more to His voice and knowing Him more. I hope and pray that is your prayer this year as well. Let us all make an effort to listen to Him more and let Him guide us more in all things. It’s a simple concept, but very hard often times to follow through on.
God bless you all and Happy New Year!