Sunday, February 18, 2018

Continuous Longing

“Continuous Longing”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 42:1 NLT
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.

The past few weeks, our pastor has been preaching on the book of Ecclesiastes.  It has been such a blessing to hear these sermons and to learn more about how Solomon longed for so many things, had and experienced all he wanted, but was still dry and longed for satisfaction and fulfillment more than ever.  As I have continued to think about this, this passage came to mind one morning as I drove to work.  I was overcome with emotion and immediately told God that I was so sorry for longing after things of this world continuously and always being left dry. 

I thought about how I so often chase after fulfillment in the world, when what I should be doing is chasing after God alone and allowing Him to be my only source of fulfillment and satisfaction.  I find myself becoming so desperate and certain the next things will bring fulfillment and a quench of my thirst for satisfaction.  However, I continue to feel dry and left dry.  God nudges me as if to say, “Zach, why do you keep chasing after the things of this world when you know I am the only One Who can quench your thirst for more?” 

As I continued to think about this verse through the day and the rest of the week, I just had a desire to long for God and to think more about how I try to chase after fulfillment in this world instead of Him.  Why do I keep chasing and chasing and chasing?  All I do is wear myself out and become more and more and more dry from the world.  I keep thinking about Solomon and all his experiences and how we came to realize nothing he experienced in the world gave him satisfaction or fulfillment.  We have a lot to learn from him!

My question for all of us this week and on is why do we keep chasing after the world when we know that God is the only One Who truly satisfies?  Why do we not long for Him more and more and more each day?  As we continue to chase after Him, He fulfills us and satisfies us.  However, something extraordinary happens when He does this!  We continue to long and yearn for even more and more.  We can never get enough of Him and we just continue to long for more!  That’s an amazing journey!  I want that!  Don’t you?

Do you want a continuous longing for things of this world and continue to be left dry and unfulfilled?  Or, do you want to long for a wonderful and amazing God who leaves us not only truly fulfilled and satisfied, but also leaves us with a desire for even more of Him?  I want that!!!!!  Do you? I hope so!

As the deer longs for streams of water, my prayer is that we will also long continuously for the Living Water!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Be Excellent At Good-Be Innocent Of Evil

“Be Excellent At Good-Be Innocent Of Evil”
By Zach Wood
Romans 16:19 NIV
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

Through many years of my experience in church services, youth group, church camps and youth conferences, I’ve enjoyed the song “Romans 16:19”.  I’m sure many, if not most, of you know this song.  “Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil.  And the God of peace will soon crush Satan.  God will crush him  underneath your feet.

What a great song this is and I’ve had so much fun singing it at the various services I’ve attended.  Not only is it a great song to do motions to, but it’s got a fantastic message.  The Apostle Paul is very clear in this passage to encourage us to be wise and excellent at what is good.  We need to focus on those things which please God and bring Him glory.  He also says to be innocent of evil.  Stay away from it.  Don’t go near it!  Don’t play with it!  Don’t mess around near it!  Don’t “poke the bear”! 

We often find ourselves in situations where we end up doing just the opposite.  We become weak at doing good and we become more guilty of evil.  We all fall victim to this.  Satan knows the buttons to push!  It is so very important that we stay focused on growing in God’s Word so that when the times of testing and trial come, we can be strong and stay excellent at doing what is good and steer clear and be excellent of evil.  We don’t need to be curious of what the evil is and go anywhere near it.  As my dad used to tell me when I was growing up and I’d mess around with thoughts of doing bad things or get tempted to do them, he’d say “Just leave it alone”.  Good advice dad! 

There are times in life when we just need to leave things alone and that includes evil.  Don’t go near the edge of the cliff.  Stay as far away from it as possible.  Be excellent at the good things and smart about the traps of evil.  The only way we can grow in this way is to stay strong in His guiding Word of wisdom and to grow in our faith. 

When we do these things, we can definitely relate with these words, “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan.  God will crush him underneath your feet.”  God will work in our lives do exactly as He has told us He will do.  God is on our side and will defend us.  We need to do our part and stay strong so that we can be wise in His Word to avoid the evil traps. 

Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil.