Sunday, December 24, 2017

Lead Them Wisely

“Lead Them Wisely”
By Zach Wood
Proverbs 22:6 NLT
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

There’s a scene toward the end of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) appears to have fallen off a cliff and plunge to his death below.  His father, Henry Jones (Sean Connery) goes to the end of the cliff and yells for his son.  After a few moments, he thinks Indiana Jones is dead and he pauses and says to his friend that is with them, “I’ve lost him, and I never taught him anything.  I just wasn’t ready.  5 minutes would have been enough.”

Lately I’ve been thinking about that scene and the words spoken there.  How often so much of us parents feel like we haven’t taught our children what we need to teach them.  We spend so many years doing things with them and the time goes by so fast.  I’m often wondering if I’m actually helping and teaching my kids Godly values and what it means to follow Him.  I’ve spent so many moments of being a father praying that I’m teaching my kids things that will help them become lovers of their Heavenly Father and the desire to follow Him. 

There are many moments I question whether or not I have been a good influence on them and given them precious teachable moments from how I live my life, through mistakes and right things done.  I have to admit I feel emotional even writing about this.  My girls are 11 and 9 and the years go by so very fast.  I never believed that when parents told me that before I was a parent.  But now, I realize the years just fly by.  I want to take advantage of every teaching opportunity God gives me to be an example for them to follow.  And, hopefully they will carry that walk of faith in making their own decision to follow Christ.

I want to direct my children in the right path.  I want them to develop a love for God that is greater than anything in their life.  I want them to have a relationship with Christ that fills them with joy and guides them.  All I can do is pray for them and that God will give my wife and I the direction we need to be the best examples of Christ we can be.  I don’t want to feel like Henry Jones in that I didn’t teach my girls anything because I didn’t take the time to do it.  I don’t want to feel like I’m not ready, but to be ready at any given moment to teach them and help lead them.  So often I do feel like this, but I am reminded that God is using me in many ways to teach them.

If you are reading this and you are a parent, I pray that you would take advantage of every opportunity to teach your child or children about God’s love for them.  Do your best and then trust in God to lead them for many years to come.  I’m learning to trust that He will use me to help guide them and that they will make wise decisions as they continue to live through future years.    

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nothing Without Him

“Nothing Without Him”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 16:1-2 NIV
Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.  I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

Imagine if we did not have electricity or batteries in our modern day living today.  I can also imagine how crazy it would be if we tried turning our devices on with no battery power or having them plugged in.  They simply wouldn’t work.  What if we reached for a flashlight and there were no batteries inside?  We could buy all the different brands of bulbs we wanted to or even buy the most stylish looking flashlight.  However, without batteries, we are wasting our time and going nowhere.  We must have batteries.

What if we tried turning on our TV’s without them being plugged in?  We can get the best, state-of-the-art, all-in-one technology remote on the market, but if the TV isn’t plugged into the source, we have no way of watching it.

How about if we wanted to go on a long trip a vehicle?  What if we bought the most expensive and most popular vehicle on the market, but had no fuel to go anywhere?  That would be pointless!  Who in the world would be able to drive a vehicle without any fuel (or drive a vehicle without any power for electric vehicles)?  We wouldn’t imagine being able to go anywhere without the fuel or charge.  It’s simply not going to happen no matter what we try to do if we aren’t going to fuel or charge it up.

While we all would completely nod our heads in 100% agreement on all these scenarios, we unfortunately live this way in our lives with Christ so often.  Jesus mentions back in John 15 that apart from being connected to Him/The Vine, we cannot do anything.  We read also in this Psalm that apart from God, there is no good thing. 

God wants us to take refuge in Him and rely on Him for everything.  If we are not plugged into Him, then no matter what we go after in life, there will be no fulfillment.  Nothing we do on earth apart from Him will have any lasting value.  I don’t know what it will take for us to get this into our heads and understand.  I’m as guilty as anyone.  I fight the feeling every single day with wanting and chasing after the things of this world a little bit at a time, only to discover, I’m trying to power up my own life and not connect to Him.  God is so patient with me! 

Let us take this powerful lesson from this passage in Psalm that apart from God, there is no life worth living.  To have a fulfilled life to the MAX, we gotta be totally plugged in and powered through God!  Period.

Are you plugged in?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Enemy's Sole Purpose

“The Enemy’s Sole Purpose”
By Zach Wood
John 10:10 NLT
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Everything in life has a purpose in some way or another.  All products you buy in a store have a purpose.  Some products have multi-purposes and can do many things.  When you pay to have a service rendered, whether it’s a repair or some special service you’ve subscribed to, it has a purpose.  Eating places have a purpose.  Gas stations have a purpose.  The list could go on and on. 

Every single thing we see each and every day has a purpose.  Sometimes, the purpose is good.  Other times, the purpose can be bad.  Some things have multiple bad purposes to them.  But in general, they are just bad.  So, some things are good and some things are bad.  We have to be wise to know what to watch out for, right?  We all have had bad experiences and we try to tell others when we have those so they don’t have the same experience. 

Experiences are just a part of life and we learn what to avoid and what is good for us.  If something has a bad purpose and we know it, we shouldn’t even go near it, whatever it may be.  If the purpose is to harm us or lead us astray in some way, better to just stay away completely.  However, the enemy knows just how to sugar-coat things and disguise things to make them look good initially, but in the end, they hurt us.  Sometimes, we get hurt really bad.

In this passage, Jesus is very clear that Satan’s purpose is solely to take our joy away.  His purpose is nothing good, ever.  His purpose is to do anything he can to lead us astray and turn us away from God as much as possible.  No matter how good Satan makes something look at first, there is absolutely no purpose he has except to hurt us and draw us away from God.  Period!  His purpose is never positive.  He wants to steal, kill and destroy in any way he can. 

Jesus has a purpose and it is to give us the most wonderful life that we could ever possibly imagine.  100% opposite anything Satan can offer us.  Jesus came to give us the fullest and most rewarding life we could have.  We can know that Jesus has a purpose to love us and nurture us and that He will never lead us astray.  His purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life.  When we follow Him, the joy never ends and He continues to show us the purpose He has for our lives. 

Every time we are tempted to give in to Satan and his ways, we must remember that the purpose is always to hurt us, lead us astray and to steal every bit of joy that God wants for us.  We must be strong in God and turn away from the lures of Satan.  At first, the lures always seem initially good and rewarding in some way, but they all have the same purpose.  To kill, steal and destroy.  Let us follow the ways of Jesus and His sole purpose to give us true life!