Sunday, October 29, 2017

It Was Very Personal

“It Was Very Personal”
By Zach Wood
1 Peter 2:24 NLT
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  By his wounds you are healed.

There’s nothing like the feeling of someone doing something personally for you.  Whatever the situation was, we have all had people in our lives that took the time to do something specific for us, whether it was a favor asked of us or something that was done as a surprise.  When someone does something specifically for us, we feel very important and special. 

Maybe a friend or family member drove hundreds of miles to be with you for a special day or event?  Perhaps someone you hadn’t seen for many years came to visit you in the hospital because they heard you had surgery or were sick?  Or someone took the time to help you when you had car problems?  There are endless scenarios we could bring up where someone did something for someone else and it wasn’t expected. 

Whether someone does something for you, coming to make a visit or making something specifically for you, there is no describing how that makes you feel.  It’s a feeling of appreciation and can make us very emotional just being overwhelmed by the love and care of that person.  These are wonderful moments each of us have appreciated and never forget. 

We all love when things are done on our behalf.  We don’t necessarily feel special when we received a mass mailing in our mailbox or when we receive a mass e-mail list.  If someone takes the time to send us a message, or make a phone call or send us a text personally, we feel so much more important.

Let’s consider what Jesus Christ did for each one of us.  I really like how the New Living Translation expresses this passage.  Jesus “personally” carried our sins to the cross.  By His wounds we are healed.  Do we even understand what He did for us?  It was the most special act of love anyone could ever do for us.  He died for you and for me.  We were on His mind.  He knew we needed Him and He was willing to give up everything so that we could have Him.

He did the most personal thing anyone could and will ever do.  As great as it is to have people we care about and love do unexpected things for us personally, nothing could ever be greater than the personal sacrifice that Jesus made for us. 

Nothing in all the world could be more personal than what God did for us on the Cross.  Amazing!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Daily Recharge/Refuel

“Daily Recharge/Refuel”
By Zach Wood
Luke 6:12 NIV
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Here is one passage among so many we find in the New Testament where Jesus goes away to plug in to recharge his batteries, so to speak.  He always makes it a point to recharge with His Father, daily.

The past few weeks, I have been thinking about how we spend so much time and attention recharging our electronic devices so that we stay recharged and informed.  We live in a world now where using mobile devices is constant for many of us.  Whether it’s our smartphones, tablets, smart watches or apple watches, we want to make sure they are fully charged for us to stay connected. 

I have always been a geek for these devices and enjoy using them, probably too much sometimes.  If my smartphone gets low on battery, I want to make sure I’m close to a way to recharge it, whether the wall charger or car charger.  If it’s the tablet, I want to make sure I get it charged to use it on full strength. 

How about our vehicles?  We have to keep fuel in them to keep them going, don’t we?  Do you think we would go very far if we just let our tanks run on empty for days?  It wouldn’t happen!  We would run out of gas!  We would have to refuel in order to keep the vehicle going.  Same thing with our devices.  If the battery dies, we have to charge it to keep using it.  None of us would even think of letting our batteries or fuel tanks go uncharged or go empty.  That would be absurd!

I cannot help but think of how we so often focus so much attention on making sure we keep our vehicles fueled and our devices charged, but then we go so long without filling up our spiritual charge with God.  Jesus went away so much to recharge and refuel with His Father because He knew He needed to reconnect.  How sad so often we don’t even think twice about a day or a week or even a month or more and barely crack open our Bible or even pray much.  We are all so guilty of this. 

Friends, we MUST recharge and refuel daily with God in order to keep our lives going.  How in the world do we expect our walk of faith to grow if we don’t stay recharged and refueled?  It won’t happen!  I’m so guilty of not taking the time I need to fully recharge and refuel with my Father.  I could always take time to pray more and seek Him more.  I need Him more and so do all of you. 

We all need a daily recharge and refuel time with God.  We simply cannot expect to let our spiritual tanks run dry and grow in our faith.  We must connect with Him more.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How Often We Forget

“How Often We Forget”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 119:89-94 NLT
Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven.  Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.  Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.  If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery.  I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life.  I am yours; rescue me!  For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.

We often forget how powerful things are in life.  When we mess with wiring in the wrong way, we often forget how powerful electricity is.  When we are caught in or watching a thunderstorm, we often forget how powerful a bolt of lightning and crash of thunder can be.  When we are standing in the ocean and are suddenly taken underwater by a wave that crested behind us, we forget how powerful a surge of water can be. 

We so often tend to forget the power of some things in life until it is too late.  There are powerful things that can hurt us and if we forget to handle those things in a certain way, it could be disastrous.  We just need to realize the power of things and how they can affect us.

In the same way, we so often forget the importance of the great powerful of Almighty God.  We so often tend to take for granted how amazing He is.  The power of God is greater and more impacting than anything on earth we could ever imagine. 

I don’t know how many of you watch the Weather Channel, but it’s one of my favorite channels to watch.  The shows of severe weather and the crazy stories of weather caught on camera around the world is so intriguing to me!  I just can’t get enough of it!  I really enjoy those shows because of the powerful impact weather can have on things around us.  However, no matter how powerful a storm seems to be, there is no greater power that could ever be displayed than God’s power. 

Nothing in the world compares to His mighty power and all that He can do.  By God’s very power, He gives us life and He asks us to obey His commands. However, how often we forget how wonderful and powerful He is and we live our lives the way we want to.  We must not take for granted His amazing power and faithfulness to us.  He is greater than any power this world can ever behold.  Let us never forget!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Will You Still Praise Him?

“Will You Still Praise Him?”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 62:5-8 NIV
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the 2006 movie of “Facing The Giants”?  In the movie, a football coach of a Christian school is faced with many challenges, one of which is he and his wife cannot have children.  They are considerably hurt and frustrated over this, but they choose to trust in God no matter what He brings to their lives.  In one scene, the husband says, “If you don’t want me to have children, so be it.  I will still trust in You”.  Then, toward the end of the movie, the wife goes for one more pregnancy test at the clinic and says, “I will still trust in You”. 

In both situations, the husband and wife both put their trust completely in God even if things don’t come out the way they hope and pray for them to.  I’ve been thinking about that scene lately and just how things happen in life.  When things go good and prayers are answered in ways that please us, we’re happy.  However, when God doesn’t move in certain ways or keeps us from certain things that end up confusing us, the question is will we still trust in Him? 

God is our refuge and our strength no matter what is happening in our lives, good or bad.  He often does things we don’t understand and we must learn to totally trust Him even when life just doesn’t make any sense.  And, often times, it won’t. 

The times that I have found to be most frustrating is when it feels like nothing at all is moving forward and it seems God is not leading or opening any doors of opportunity.  Even thought we know we should trust Him, it’s often very hard to do and we get angry with Him.  It’s in these times that we must hold firm to the faith we have and believe with all our hearts that He is still working even if we cannot feel it.  He is always working and He will lead and guide.

What’s most important is for us to keep our minds and hearts open at all times to His leading.  He knows exactly what He’s doing and we just have to be still and trust.  I want to encourage each of you who are experiencing frustrating right now to hold on and trust always.  He is always on the move and working and most likely in ways you don’t see and don’t understand. 

Trust and continue to praise Him. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Putting It All On The Line

“Putting It All On The Line”
By Zach Wood
1 John 3:16 NLT
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

This morning on the way to work, I was listening to the local Christian station about the concerns of people who lost their lives in the Las Vegas shooting.  One thing they said today really struck me.  They mentioned not only how horrific it was what had happened, but then they talked about how incredible it was the people in law enforcement that ran to try to help protect others in the line of fire. 

I thought about that and all the people who, day after day, put their life on the line for other people.  It’s their job to protect people every single day.  Police, fire fighters, those serving in the armed forces, etc.  There are people whose careers are dedicated to helping others in times of great despair.  Sometimes these people actually have to decide about putting their life on the line for others.  Sometimes these people make decisions to save those who serve under them and risk their lives to save others.  I can’t imagine being in that position.  I am so appreciative and thankful we have people who protect us like that.

After thinking about all of this, I feel ashamed for how selfish I become so often in life and only thinking of myself and what’s best for me and not what I can do for others.  What if I was in a situation that meant my life might be in the line of fire to save someone else?  Would I do it?  Would I risk losing my life for someone else? 

As I consider this, I cannot help but think of the absolute ultimate sacrifice that was made over two thousand years ago on the Cross.  Jesus Christ put His life on the line for us.  He gave it all and did all He could to save ours.  He held nothing back and gave it all.  Man that makes me feel so ashamed of my selfishness.  I become so focused on myself and I forget what was done to give me life. 

I’m not only thankful for what Christ did for me, but I am also thankful as I think about all the people who are daily putting their life on the line so that I can enjoy my freedom.  It’s really something I should be thankful and grateful to God for each day. 

Jesus Christ showed us ultimate love by putting it all on the line for us.  He also calls us to be willing to lay down our lives for others as well.  Are we willing to?  Are we ready to?  He calls us to always be ready, willing and able.  Are we?