Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What Offer Do We Crave?


“What Offer Do We Crave?”
By Zach Wood
1 John 2:15-17 NLT
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

As I was reading this passage recently from the New Living Translation, the word “offers” stuck out to me.  It really hit me how there are so many different ways the world tries to offer us great things.  We see and are bombarded by different offers everywhere we go each day.  Some offers are pretty good, while others can get us into serious trouble if we accept them. 

My wife and I really like to shop for great offers.  We enjoy getting coupons through the mail or by e-mail with good discount offers at stores and places to eat.  We also like walking into stores and going right for the sale and clearance areas.  We are bargain shoppers!

It’s always great to find good deals and offers, but the more I think about all of this, I am reminded that these moments are short-lived.  They are enjoyed for a while, but they don’t last forever.  I’m often reminded of the offers I am bombarded with promising to make my life so much better!  I’m ashamed to admit that I often buy into the different offers from the world.  I get sucked into deals that end up not satisfying me.  I get frustrated when I think I find a good offer, but it turns out to be a rip off. 

We all have experiences like this.  So often, we buy into what the world offers for satisfaction and happiness.  It shouldn’t surprise us why God warns us so much about not loving the world.  He tells us to avoid getting sucked into the promises of what this world offers.  Why do we crave the things of this world so much, but crave God so little?  And then we are surprised when we come up feeling dry from the junk the world offers. 

Please understand, God is not telling us that we cannot enjoy things here in this world.  There are many things to enjoy for sure!  However, when we find ourselves longing for and craving the things of this world more than Him, then it becomes a problem.  Only what God offers to us will satisfy us eternally and not leave us dry. 

Are we craving what the world offers or what God offers?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Lip Service is NOT Enough


“Lip Service Is NOT Enough”
By Zach Wood
1 John 3:18 NLT
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other, let us show the truth by our actions.

We are so good at trying to persuade people with words, aren’t we?  Depending on the situation, we will use words in so many clever ways to convince people so that we can get what we want.  We easily and often use words to persuade others to do something for us or give something to us.

So many people use words in sly ways to get something from others.  People in different job positions can use words in order to trick people into buying something.  The last thing I want when I go somewhere to look for something to buy is to have a sales person pressure me with words to buy something.  Words can be so strong and persuasive.

As Christians, we use words to try to show people that we love God.  It is great that we use words to express to others our love for God, but words simply are not enough.  Words are good up to a point, but then our actions must speak louder.

In all my years of secular work world and vocational paid ministry, I have seen such a great need to show non believers the very love of God through actions.  We not only need to share God’s truth through words, but through our actions of love for others. 

Friends, we absolutely cannot just say that we love others.  We must prove that love by the way we act toward them and how we treat them.  Our actions will always speak so much louder than the words we use. 

Lip service is simply not enough in today’s world.  People want to see so-called Christians living out the faith they proclaim.  The world needs to see genuine love through our actions to back the words we share.  God proved His love by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.  His actions spoke louder than words.  Our actions also need to speak louder than words. 

We can never expect the world to believe what we say if we are not going to back those words up with genuine love.  Make sure your lip service is followed by love in action.  God depends on us to not only share words of love, but to put feet on those words so they become actions of love. 

When it comes to our words versus actions, actions will always speak louder. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Wholehearted Commitment


“Wholehearted Commitment”
By Zach Wood
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NLT
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

It seems we live in a culture where commitment is very hard to come by.  People so often become as fickle as the weather.  It seems everywhere we turn, people are giving us promises or guarantees, only to turn around and break our hearts moments later.  It saddens me how little commitment people have these days toward things.  People don’t want to commit to many things because of the hard effort involved when things get tough.  People seem to want the convenience of walking away from any commitments when times get tough.

Now, before we start nodding our head in complete agreement about all of those people, here is the harsh reality.  Christians are often the worst at keeping commitments.  We talk a good talk, but so often we fail at matching that talk with a life of commitment.  This is a tough pill to swallow, but it is a reality.  And, I will admit that I have been terrible at keeping commitments in my life.  Not all of them, but many. There are so many times I fail at keeping my commitments to friends and family.  I say that I will do something and then I turn around and break that commitment because life gets tough and I use excuses. 

We not only break commitments to others, but we also break our commitments to God as well.  Why are we so flippant when it comes to committing to things in life?  What we often do is plead with God to do more in our lives, but then we don’t even give ourselves wholeheartedly to Him.  It is like we expect Him to move mountains in our lives, but then we don’t want to hold up our commitments to Him because life gets tough.

I want to live my life better.  I want to live with wholehearted commitment to Him.  I don’t want my devotion to Him to be fickle.  I desire to serve Him and give my best.  I really want to live for and serve God, but I get so distracted by my selfish desires and I fail miserably. 

Instead of looking at others around me in this world and shaking my head in disappointment because of the lack of commitment, I need to look at my own life and see where I am failing and how much I need to improve my commitment.

Do we have wholehearted commitment to God?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Make The Time To Be Still


“Make The Time To Be Still”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 46:10 NIV
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This past weekend, my wife and I had a weekend date while the girls were away.  My wife worked for a couple hours Saturday night and I was home alone for 2 hours.  When she left, I sat on the couch and read, with no TV or music on.  It was completely quiet.  And, I have to be honest, it was really weird.  I sat there reading in complete silence and it just bothered me.  Why?  Because I am not used to having much quiet time to myself. 

I am so used to being on the go and doing things all day long, whether at work or at home with my family.  I am not good with being still.  I just don’t sit down long.  And, if I do, I’m usually wiggling my feet or bouncing my knee (which drives my wife nuts!)  I don’t know why, but I just have the hardest time sitting still and being quiet.  I guess I don’t feel productive when I’m not moving or doing anything. 

This passage is probably one of the hardest passages in all of Scripture.  It is hard for many people.  We have become accustomed to always being on the go and not slowing down.  It is hard for so many of us to make time to just be still.  Well, God has a problem with that.  We need time to slow down and just be still before Him.  We need that quiet, that stillness.  As uncomfortable as it might be, we desperately need it.  We truly need that stillness in our lives, often.  And, we actually need it daily.  I know, many of you are probably thinking, “Yeah, right!  I don’t have time to slow down!”

Plain and simple, we need to quiet our day somehow and take time to just be still and be in the presence of God.  During that two hours I was home by myself reading a book, I kept thinking about how quiet it was and how uncomfortable that felt.  I just am not used to it and I know that I need more of that.  I just needed the time and quiet to clear my mind and focus on what God wanted to communicate to me while reading. 

I realize that we are all very busy people.  We seem to pride ourselves with being busy because busy equals productivity, right?  Well…..to some degree, but not always.  I want to encourage all of us to really consider how much stillness we are putting into our day to spend with God.  We absolutely must make the time to be still.  Wherever you have to go and just have some moments along and in quiet, do it!  Make it a habit everyday if you can. 

Make the time to be still!