Sunday, March 18, 2018
“The Ultimate Desire”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 27:4 NIV
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
For the past couple of months, our pastor has been going through various passages in Ecclesiastes and it has been opening my eyes to the fact that so many things I chase after in life are completely meaningless in themselves. In the past many years of my life, I have found myself chasing one thing after another, hoping to find true meaning. Solomon chased after so much and finally concluded that apart from God, any other longing or chasing is absolutely meaningless.
As I have continued to think about this over and over again, I am realizing how desperately more I really need God to lead me and to rescue me from my attempts to so often follow my own desires. I truly want my desire to be nothing but seeking God every day and doing the best I can to surrender and submit to His ways and His plan for my life.
I guess I sort of feel like Solomon in that I have chased after so many different things in life and just always come up dry. I think this or that will satisfy, but as David says, he wants to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. And, as Solomon found out, everything else apart from chasing God, is utterly meaningless.
Through the various personal journeys I have been on in the past years, I’m discovering more and more that God is teaching me to draw near and close to Him. He allows me to realize the ways I go on my own leave me out of breath and gasping for Him. Only He can truly satisfy me. I’ve found myself in the valleys and on the mountaintops at times. But I can truly say that I learn the most when I’m in the valleys and that’s where I find myself longing more and more for Him. My ultimate desire for Him grows and I just want more!
What is your ultimate desire? What do you find yourself chasing after so much? We all have to admit that we chase after a lot other than God in our lives. We find ourselves chasing after marketing promises of different things that promise to satisfy, but then only leave us so very thirsty for more.
I want to share with you all that my ultimate desire is to do nothing but chase after Him and gaze up on Him. I know only He will satisfy and provide ultimate fulfillment. Like David and Solomon, they both came to realize that nothing else is meaningful except being fulfilled by God and Him alone. I want God to create within me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Everything in life, apart from God, is absolutely meaningless.
Thursday, March 8, 2018
“Don’t Buy Into The Lie”
By Zach Wood
Genesis 3:4-6 NLT
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.
We have all bought into gimmicks in our lives, haven’t we? Whether it’s an infomercial that we stumbled onto as we clicked through channels, an advertisement that came through our e-mail or a very persuasive sales person who knew how to get you to agree, we have all bought into something like this at one time or another. We became persuaded when we thought we never would. Somehow, something that doesn’t look good at first slowly starts to grab our attention and desire if we focus on it long enough.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we have all bought into lies in our lives at one time or another. Perhaps some of us have found ourselves buying into one lie after another, not realizing that we were being tricked. There are certain people who really know how to win us over with their sly persuasion. They know the words to say to get us to sign on the dotted line.
Consider the scenario that started the first gimmick. We might read this story again after having read it who knows how many times in Sunday School and wonder why Eve allowed herself to get worked over mentally and emotionally by Satan. We might look at her with a raised eyebrow and think, “How could you Eve? What were you thinking?”
However, before we even consider picking up that stone to cast her way, we need to think about our lives and how so very often we also buy into the lies of the enemy. Every single one of us is guilty of this scenario. Probably multiple times throughout our lives. Unfortunate as it is, it happens all too often. We get tricked and the enemy knows how to win us over and sugar coat things to entice us. Before we know it, WHAM! He’s got us! Ouch, that hurt! We feel the pain later as we realize we bought into yet another lie.
I want to encourage all of us to think through situations in the future as we come to decisions where we choose whether to buy into a lie or walk away. It isn’t easy to walk away when we’re enticed. We must learn to listen to the Spirit and His leading when these times come. Take a few extra moments and really consider the outcome. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom.
Don’t buy into the enemy’s lies.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
“Worry About Nothing, Pray About Everything”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 4:6 NLT
Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Confession time! I have a little trouble with the first part of this passage. Okay, okay, I struggle a lot with it! If this passage actually was written to describe me, it would probably read, “Pray about a few things, but worry about everything”. Yeah, you heard it right! I often find myself not praying as much as I should and I tend to worry about almost everything. Doesn’t everyone know that if I don’t worry about something all of the time, then life just isn’t going to be right???
That’s crazy talk, isn’t it? But how many of us are actually living this day to day, but we don’t want to admit it? Paul tells us to pray about everything, but not to worry about anything. And, I’m so guilty of messing this passage all up. I do tell God what I need, but then I go right back to worrying about everything again. Ahhhhhhhh! Make it stop!!!
It’s hard to not worry. We spend so many days of our lives worrying about things that probably won’t even happen or probably aren’t even true. Sometimes we worry ourselves sick. It’s a good idea when we start to worry, to pray and ask God to bring us peace. Just having that communication with God and asking Him to give you peace during your time of worrying can really help you to feel better.
I want to encourage all of us to come to God every day, give Him our needs, thank Him for all He has done and stop worrying about so much. Yes, so much easier said than done, I know! Sometimes, we might literally stop praying about anything and worry about everything. I think we’d all have to admit that often times we do fall prey to even this. There are honestly times when I stop to think if I’ve even prayed through the day at all when I’m worrying about so much. I’m ashamed of that, but God helps to remind me that I need Him and I need to stop and take the time to pray and connect with Him.
Not only are we to pray about everything, but we need to take time to thank Him for all He has done and all He continues to do. It’s so important! I challenge and encourage all of you to make it a point to connect with God to begin your day and ask Him to help you not worry, but to pray about everything. Maybe just little prayers throughout your day. A few words here and a few words there as you go through your day. Or perhaps you might have more time to bring a few sentences or paragraph prayer to Him. Whatever it might be, bring it before God and ask Him to give you peace and guide you.
Worry about nothing, pray about everything. Good challenge from Paul!