Sunday, September 24, 2017

Real Love

“Real Love”
By Zach Wood
1 John 4:10-12 NLT
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

We sure are bombarded every single day with sources claiming to show us “real love”.  From TV, movies, social media, books, magazines, etc. Everywhere we look we see some sort of message conveying what love should look like or how it should be.  Or, more than that, how it should feel.

We get a better picture when we consider the love that comes from family, friends and other loved ones.  People who are close to us often try hard to show us genuine love.  Not always, but they try. 

No matter how hard other people try to show us love, there is no greater display of “real love” than what God did for us on the Cross through Jesus Christ.  There is absolutely nothing greater, nothing.  You can search the world and the universe and find no greater display of affection and love than God Himself.  I’ve never personally known a greater love than Him.

I’ve trusted other sources of love in the past and been burned by many.  I turn one way and I think that will show me love then….burn.  I turn another way thinking I had finally found some sort of display of true love and then again….burn. 

We have all turned to many sources expecting something real with love.  We have all been burned.  Some of us have really been burned very badly.  Sometimes, we get burned so bad that we really don’t believe that true love actually exists anymore. 

Friends, God loved us so much that He showed us a form of love that had never been shown before and never will again.  God’s display of real love goes beyond anything we can ever imagine.  God’s display of love through Jesus Christ is the most real and genuine form of love we can ever possibly experience.

He not only gives His love, but then He also asks us to also show others as He has shown us.  It is a love that is truly hard to show others at times, but He asks us to do it unconditionally because He Himself has shown us that love unconditionally as well.  God’s love is true and genuine and full of life!  It is a love that He has shown to us and then commands us to pour out to others, as hard as that may be at times. 

God is truly real, authentic and genuine love to the core.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Not A Solo Battle

“Not A Solo Battle
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

Most of us want to feel confident in doing things by ourselves and on our own.  It’s a great feeling when we can conquer things in life by ourselves.  When we learn to do things on our own and be independent in making decisions without first having to consult someone else before hand, it can make us feel pretty good.  This is where we can gain advances in our jobs and in certain situations where people come to trust us more to make good decisions. 

Now, while it’s great to accomplish things on our own, we bleed this mentality right into our lives in Christ.  We read His Word and build up our faith for a while and then, for some reason, we get the idea that we can do this battle on our own.  We get a little full of ourselves and think, “I got this!”  Only then we usually find ourselves falling flat on our face in various ways because we stopped consulting God before going gung-ho on our plans.

While it is absolutely wonderful that we can accomplish some things on our own, we must also remember that God gives us the abilities to do these things and He brings us into situations where He waits to see if we will still consult Him or take on the challenges all alone.  From personal experience, and I’m sure from yours as well, we come to find out often the hard way that we should have consulted God instead of plugging away all by ourselves. 

It’s like we’re telling God, “I got this, Lord.  I mean, I know You are God and my Savior and all, but really I can do this on my own.”  Why in the world do we think we can handle life’s challenges all alone sometimes?  We are in a spiritual battle every day and we simply cannot fight the battles alone.  We will suffer and we will eventually lose.  We think we can do it on our own, but we simply cannot.  

When we get full of ourselves and think we don’t need God, the enemy has a sly and nasty way of coming at us full force and landing us right on our face or back.  He beats us down and laughs at us. If we would have just put the armor of God on and let Him fight for us and with us, things would have turned out differently.

In what ways in my life am I battling alone?  In what ways in your life are you battling all by yourself?  Consider this during the week and days that follow.  This is a battle you definitely want and need God with you through.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Spotlight On Him

“Spotlight On Him”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 115:1 NIV
Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

For so many of us, we have enjoyed time after time the instances where the spotlight went to us for various reasons.  Perhaps you won first place in a sporting event in school and you got to stand on the #1 podium.  Maybe you won the grand prize for a drawing you entered.  Whatever the case may be, there was most likely a time and place where you won first and the spotlight was on you for period of time.  Who doesn’t like those times, really?  I think we would all admit we sometimes like the attention put on us for one reason or another.  We want to feel important for whatever reason. 

As I think through all of the years the various times I’ve had the spotlight turned on me, I can remember the hype and excitement that ran through me.  It didn’t last too terribly long, but I know that I have told about those times at gatherings and parties.  I’m sure you have as well.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these moments for a time, but sometimes we sure can get carried away and continue to bring the spotlight back on ourselves too much.  After a while, people get really tired of others who always want the spotlight.

This passage rings true in my life and I’m sure it does for you as well.  Too often we want the credit and the spotlight in our lives and we fail to give credit to the One who really gave us the ability to even do what we did to get in the spotlight.  I have admired, through the years, the people on TV who get interviewed and then turn the spotlight completely upon Jesus Christ.  They have no problem giving Him all the credit for their abilities.  Wow!  What a great testimony!

I am ashamed to think of all the times that I have taken credit and the spotlight when I should have solely given God all the glory.  It’s so tempting at times to consider the great things we have done and forget Who gave us the ability to do those things. 

Not to us, but to God alone.  We don’t deserve the glory, but He does.  His love and faithfulness should shine through all we do.  In the times when we are put in the spotlight for whatever reason(s), He is waiting to see if we will turn the attention all to Him and not take the credit ourselves.  It’s in these times that people will really see Who we are living for.  It is ourselves and our own efforts or will we direct others to the amazing God who gave us life? 

“Lord, I’m sorry for so often taking the credit and spotlight when You should be the One who ALWAYS gets all the glory.  Forgive me, Lord.  May You always get the praise and glory, not me.”