Monday, April 29, 2019
“Half-Lived: Don’t Leave Him Out”
By Zach Wood
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
I have had this Scripture memorized for as long as I can remember. I am sure I learned it in Sunday School when I was just a little guy. I have used this Scripture in previous devotionals, in sermons and in Bible studies. It is one of the most popular Scriptures quoted today. Recently, I saw this verse in a new way and it really hit home with me.
I thought about how so often we cut this passage off after “everything”. We live out “I can do everything”, and then leave out “through Him who gives me strength.” We live so much of our lives with the confidence that we can do most things all by ourselves and leave God on the back shelf telling Him that we will consult Him if things get a difficult. We often think we can live life all by ourselves and in our own strength.
We quote this passage so much and verbally proclaim that we can do always do all things through Christ, but then the actual ways we live out our lives shows the complete opposite. We do our own thing and mentally convince ourselves to believe that we can do this life all on our own.
I am so guilty of only living half of this verse. I often live as though to leave God out of my life. This is sadly true for so many of us. We say that we can do all things through Him, but we only live half of the verse. Jesus gives us a life to live that is unlike the life of our past. He gives us true life.
Is this verse half-lived in your life? Are you trying to do everything all on your own? Are you living solo? We all know that we cannot live our lives without the strength of Christ. We know we need Him. We know He is the only One Who can get us through life. However, each of our days is so often lived without us consulting Him and allowing Him to lead.
We go to great lengths every day to make sure we have all we need to succeed through the day from the morning till the night. Why not make certain that we go to great lengths to ensure that we are letting God lead our lives each day?
My prayer is that we not only work to memorize great verses like these, but that we also remember to live them completely out, not leaving God out of what we do. We can do all things, but we can only do them successfully through Christ Who gives us true lasting strength.
I can do everything…..through Christ…..Who gives me strength.
Sunday, April 21, 2019
“Understanding What Really Matters”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 1:9-11 NLT
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
I had many mentors throughout the years of my young life take the time to instill great advice and wisdom in me. Whether it was my family, teachers at school, or youth sponsors at church, many took the time to teach me new and important things in life. Their wisdom helped me to understand what really mattered in life. When I would get off-course, they would lovingly nudge me to re-focus where I needed to be.
We all have had people, whom we love and appreciate, take the time to steer us in the right direction. We all need people who will care enough to help us understand what really matters. We need proper instructions so that we don’t go off-course. Understanding what really matters is vital to living a life of purpose. We don’t want to forget what matters and live the wrong way. However, so many of us end up going a direction we shouldn’t. Fortunately, we have loving friends and families who will see what’s happening and speak into our lives when we need it most.
We have so many different situations in life where we need to understand what is important. What should really matter to us? This is a question we truly need to be faced with every single day. We need to understand what really matters.
Paul wanted to make sure that people understood what really mattered. It was to love each other as Christ loved the church. Wow! What would be more important than that? Nothing! Loving one another is what is most important. Jesus Christ gave His life for us so that we could understand what mattered most. As we are celebrating Easter this weekend, we celebrate the greatest love to ever walk this earth. Jesus wanted us to grasp what really matters…Love. He gave us the greatest demonstration and lesson of love. What could be greater?
I need to understand what matters most. Every day, I need to be reminded that the way I love my family and others matters more than anything. They need to see God’s love through me. Jesus giving His life for us and being resurrected is the greatest story of love. Do we really understand what matters most?
May the love of Christ be all that truly matters in our lives as we seek to share His love with the world.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
“Beware Of Over Self-Confidence”
By Zach Wood
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
We have all had moments in our lives where things are going just fine and we think there is nothing that can ruin the moment. We might sail on for days, weeks or even months without anything pulling us down. Then, all of a sudden, “wham!” We’re not too sure what happened or what exactly hit us, but all we know is that life came crashing down, so to speak.
There is not one of us that has not experienced this in life. Life seems to be plugging away and then some tragedy or temptation takes us down and we feel like we’re down for the count. We ask ourselves, “what just happened???” We often times cannot figure out what went wrong or why all of a sudden things just spiraled south. And, most of us don’t usually react the best way to these sudden changes. We feel a wide-range of emotions. We wonder what we did wrong and how this all happened. Sometimes life simply takes us by surprise.
It’s in these times that we do some deep thinking and examine our life choices. Many people in these situations question God and His goodness. I know in all my years of vocational ministry and volunteer ministry, this is one of the toughest situations to deal with. This goes both for seeing people experience this and myself having dealt with it. We get very frustrated and wonder why God allowed bad things to happen to us.
There are many times we need to realize in life that we do make bad choices. We make decisions to follow temptations and we fall hard. We don’t mean to, but we do and then life comes crashing down. We must remember that we cannot do life on our own, period. We need God 24/7/365. Not a moment goes by each day that we don’t need Him. We tend to get a little cocky in life, if you will, and we think we are doing pretty good. We feel pretty good and can’t imagine anything spoiling our mood. Before we know it, but something goes wrong and things seem to spiral out of control in one way or another.
As I study this verse, I think of all the times when I get to feeling pretty good in my life and how I wish things could just stay good and not go sour at any time. As much as any one of us would like that, life just doesn’t work that way. This is not to say we should live life expecting bad things to happen, but that we just need to be prepared at all times. We need to strong in the Lord and be prepared, so when things do start spiraling down, we can remain confident, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. God definitely wants us to have self-confidence in our lives, but not so much that we forget that He is in control and depend on our own strength. Beware of over self-confidence because we always need Him!
Thursday, April 11, 2019
By Zach Wood
James 1:5-8 NLT
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
We all have different stores and food places that we frequently visit. For me, there are certain stores and certain food places where I know that I will always get a good deal. I want to go to certain stores where I know I will get good quality products and great service. I also like to go to certain food places where I know I will enjoy the food and the service that is provided. I am loyal to these places when we choose to go out to eat and go to buy certain products.
You all have certain places, just like me, that you like to go frequently. The places have given you a type of service that keeps you coming back. Even if you get a bad experience here for there for whatever reason, you’ve had enough good experiences to know that you will still get good service if you go back. We have all had bad experiences at places. Sometimes, we choose not to go back, but other times, we know it was just a bad day or what not, so we still choose to go back because we have had good food, good products and good service in the past.
We all have developed undivided loyalty in one way or another with these different places. Even with the occasional bad experience, these places have gained our trust enough to keep us coming in. Loyalty is a big word. When people develop loyalty not only with places, but also with people, that is a big thing as well. We want loyal people in our lives so that we know we can trust them.
How about our loyalty to God? We all have great experiences with God, but we also have times in our lives where we get frustrated with the so-called “service” we think God is giving us. We get frustrated when life gets tough a lot of times. We wonder what He’s doing. We tend to forget He has wisdom beyond our understanding. He knows what He’s doing. We need to remain loyal to God, through the good times and bad times. God wants undivided loyalty in our lives.
When we seek after God for wisdom, do we seek with undivided loyalty, no matter what the journey brings? Do we continually seek Him when the going gets tough and when we aren’t getting answers? Is our loyalty unwavering? These are tough questions, but ones we must ask as we consider our loyalty to Him.