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Unread 03-21-2016, 08:55 PM   #676
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Getting Closer to Him

“Getting Closer to Him”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 24:3-4 NIV
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

We spend a lot of time in our lives trying to get close to certain people, places and things. We’ll drive quite a distance to get to a place we’ve never been to before to explore new sights of nature. Sometimes we’ll stand in long lines to meet someone who is a popular public figure. We’ll spend a good amount of money to purchase tickets to have a great view at a concert of a popular singing group.

We could go on and on about ways we figure out to get closer to things and places and people we want to see. We may take hours or days to achieve these goals. It’s amazing how we’ll strive to do these things and how much time and money we’ll invest.

We “seek” a lot in our lives, do we not? We spend a lot of time investing in so much. When I consider how much we spend our lives investing in other things, I have to wonder how often we truly spend time investing in seeking God and investing in our relationship with Him? If we spent half the time we spend in doing other things and put that attention and energy more into searching the heart of God, I think we’d really be amazed at how much we’d grow in our faith.

We all say we want to get closer to Him. But how much do you really want to get closer? What’s “close” to you? Is it just knowing about Him? Is it just attending church on Sunday and hearing a good message and going about your daily life? This Psalm is pretty clear that if we truly want to be closer to God and invest our daily lives into knowing Him, then we need to strive to have clean hands and a pure heart.

You maybe be shaking your head and saying, “I know, I know, I know!” However, if we “know” we should be doing this, then why aren’t we?? Why are we not striving to know Him more and more? Do we really and honestly want to be in His presence and stand in His Holy place? Do we want to rid of the dirty hands and stained hearts and allow Him to cleanse us?

Do you sincerely want to grow closer to Him? If so, take some action and do something about it. We need to be more serious about getting closer to Him.

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Unread 03-30-2016, 09:03 PM   #677
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No Better Replenishment

“No Better Replenishment”
By Zach Wood
John 4:13-14 NIV
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

I am absolutely amazed and baffled by all the things that continue to promise fulfillment and refreshment in this world today. It seems no matter where I look, I’m seeing things that promise replenishment only end up delivering a greater thirst to search for something more.

I see food advertised promising to make the stomach happy, but is terrible in nutrition. I see beverages promised to quench thirst, but when I choose to drink them, I’m still left thirsty. I see ads for electronics that sound like a great deal and would make me happy, but then I see something even better a day later and want that instead.

No matter where I look for replenishment, I never seem to find anything that completely leaves me satisfied and feeling wonderful. Often I find myself chasing after all that the world promises will make me feel great and make me happy. If I just have this thing or buy that food or get that product, I will finally have it all and feel better.

No matter what I have chased after, I never feel replenished unless I am chasing after God and His replenishment. You’d think after all these years, I’d finally stop chasing after worldly desires, but I’m human and I just keep falling for the false promises that all these other things will somehow suffice.

This is a powerful encounter Jesus has with a woman at the well. She keeps wondering and seeking to find true satisfaction. Jesus finally offers her real replenishment, but she doesn’t quite “get it”. Before we nod in agreement and point our fingers at her, we need to realize that each one of us is in her shoes everyday. We all chase after something other than God to find replenishment and we ALWAYS come back dry and wanting something else.

No one will ever satisfy or replenish us like Jesus Christ, the true source of fulfillment in life. We can search and search and search and we will never find anything else more satisfying than Him. When will we learn?
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Unread 04-06-2016, 09:02 PM   #678
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Properly Equipped

“Properly Equipped”
By Zach Wood
Ephesians 6:11 NLT
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

How many of you are sports lovers? I can just hear the guys yelling with a macho, “Oh yea! You got that right!” Whether you are a child, teen or adult, when you play a sport, you prepare yourselves. Not only do you put in the practice so that you and your team can win, but you also prepare by putting on proper padding that the sport calls for to ensure safety.

Could you imagine NFL players showing up to each game with no padding or helmets? How about a MLB catcher showing up behind home plate with no face guard? How about NHL players showing up without any masks or padding on their bodies?

It would be plain dumb for any player to show up without proper protection for these games. Why? Because that lack of proper equipment could result in some serious injury. Sure, injuries can happen no matter how padded or equipped you are. However, the injuries can be quite lessened when players are protected properly. My family watches a lot of football and I can’t begin to imagine how much more serious injuries would be without all that padding and the helmets they wear.

If we’re playing a sporting game, we want to be prepared and properly equipped so that we can play the game well. We put so much attention on preparing for different events so that we can win, honestly how sad that we put very little effort often into being prepared for what our spiritual enemy throws at us. We should put just as much attention, if not more, into our daily lives to ensure that we are ready for battle against Satan’s strategies. He is NOT dumb! He is quite intelligent and he constantly develops strategies to knock us out of the game.

Paul is very clear as he talks about how we need to suit up with the full armor of God so that we can be strong against the enemy when he attacks. If we are not prepared and not properly protected, he will take us down hard. Why would we even consider not putting the time and effort into studying God’s Word and applying what we read into our daily lives so that we can be strong against Satan?

Are you properly equipped? Do you want to stand strong with God at your side when the enemy attacks? If so, then digging into God’s Word daily needs to be at the top of the daily priority list. We all need to be properly equipped.
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Unread 04-14-2016, 09:02 PM   #679
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Our Amazing God Of Amazing Abilities

“Our Amazing God Of Amazing Abilities”
By Zach Wood
Isaiah 40:28 NLT
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

Isn’t it crazy how busy life seems to get these days? It seems we are all running around like chickens with our heads cut off with work, school, sports events, church activities, etc. The list could go on and on and on. We absolutely wear ourselves out these days because we feel it’s best to always be busy.

Most of us work a hard day’s work at our jobs and find ourselves exhausted at the end of the day. Sometimes we have energy in our day to do some extra things, but many times, we just want to kick our feet up and relax for the evening. However, many of us then find ourselves going from day to day with activities in the evening and through the weekends.

With this all being said, we are busy people and we lead busy lives. When do we rest? When do we just “chill”? Many times we find it hard to do that. With all the busyness we find ourselves in these days, I am so glad that we serve an Almighty God that never grows tired or weary. Could you imagine serving a God who takes a day off or goes on vacation? Could you imagine trying to talk to God and only hearing a voicemail greeting and having to leave a message for Him to get back to you?

As much as you and I both get tired from exhausting work and other activity days, it’s such a comfort to know that no matter how we are feeling or what we are dealing with, God never sleeps and He is always there to hear us when we need Him. How is the possible? How can He be everywhere and available to each one of us at all times? Isn’t that crazy? It really is! No one can possibly comprehend His depths of understanding.

Our amazing God is everlasting. He never grows tired or weak or weary. He is never too tired or busy to spend time talking to you. He won’t turn you away. He won’t put you on “hold” until He is ready to speak to you. He won’t turn on the “auto responder” when you try to reach Him. He won’t say as many of us parents do “Just a second!” No, He will always be available, no matter when or where we are.

Let this devotional and passage be a great reminder that we serve an Almighty God Who is always there for us. He’s never too busy to spend time with us. What an amazing God we serve!
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Unread 04-21-2016, 07:43 PM   #680
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The Greatest Inheritance

“The Great Inheritance”
By Zach Wood
1 Peter 1:3-4 NLT
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

How often do we stop and seriously consider what our life in Christ really brings us? Maybe we go to church every Sunday, hear a good sermon, attend a Bible study and meet up with some church friends through the week to have a fun time. While this is good, we so often get into a “churchy” routine and we forget how truly amazing our life in Christ is.

We can get so caught up in the things we have in this life on earth that we forget the great importance of what we have in Christ. Do we live in great expectation of all that He can do through us and with us? Do we wake each morning with a wonderful feeling of “Okay Lord, what will be new today?” Many of us wake each morning with nothing but feelings of anxiety, stress, worry and guilt. Our minds are loaded each day with anything anticipation of what God can do.

No matter what some of us may have inherited in life, there is no greater inheritance than what Christ has waiting for us in heaven. All that waits for us can never spoil, fade, change or decay. This inheritance is completely priceless. Nothing in the world could ever compare to the life we have in Him and the life that is to come when we go to be Home.

As much as I enjoy the time I have with my family each day and time with friends and other family throughout the year, there are some days when I think about how wonderful it would be to just be Home with God. I am thankful for His great mercy and the salvation I have through Him. I desire God to do great things each day and to show me new things about life and great discoveries.

I want to live in great expectation everyday for what He can do and appreciate all that He has done. Are you and I thankful for the great inheritance and life we have in Christ?
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Unread 05-02-2016, 08:44 PM   #681
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Living To Harvest A Spirit-Filled Life

“Living To Harvest A Spirit-Filled Life”
By Zach Wood
Galatians 6:8 NLT
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Have you ever taken a bite out of a piece of food that appeared to look good on the outside, but then it tasted rotten once you sunk your teeth in? Yuck!!! The only thing you can think of is spitting all of that gross stuff from your mouth and getting some water to rinse your mouth of the horrible taste. Not one of us likes taking a bite of anything only to discover something rotten on the inside.

How many of us would ever choose to pick up something rotten and eat it? We wouldn’t because we now only know it looks and probably tastes gross, but we could also very likely become sick. It would be dumb to eat it and expect to enjoy it and have our bodies nourished from it. We would throw it away and get rid of it.

I cannot help but think of how often we do this in our lives with our walk in God. How often do we take a “bite” from the things of this world thinking we will reap some benefits by chasing after our desires of the flesh? We chase for so long thinking that the next “bite” will finally satisfy. We only find ourselves, unfortunately, continuing to bite the same spoiled or rotten things and wonder why we aren’t growing in our relationship with God.

If we get up in the morning and go through our day and only seek to satisfy our selfish desires, then we will only reap decay and death. There is no life found in chasing after what we think will make us feel good. If all we wish to do is go after what we think is good or what makes us feel good, we will find no growth in our faith. However, if we wake in the morning and do all we can to seek Him and turn away from worldly desires, we will be amazed at the life we find in the Spirit.

So, my question for all of us is this, “Why do we keep repeatedly chasing after the same desires day after day when they do nothing but leave us dry and longing for only what the Spirit can give us?” My hope and prayer is that each of us will live each day with no other desire than to harvest everlasting life by chasing after fulfillment from the Spirit of God. There is no better refreshment.
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Unread 05-10-2016, 08:34 PM   #682
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Take Time To Just Praise Him

“Take Time To Just Praise Him”
By Zach Wood
Psalm 103:1-2 NLT
Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

This past Sunday, the pastor at church read this passage and brought something to mind that really challenged me. How often do we come to God each day filling our time alone with Him with many, many requests? Don’t get me wrong here, God does ask us and longs for us to bring Him the concerns of our heart and the many things that weigh us down. However, as I was listening to the sermon and thinking about these verses, I couldn’t help but think of how often I bring my needs and wants before God, but rarely just take the time to be in His presence and just praise Him.

I’d like to ask that you think back over the past week, month or year and consider how much you’ve just taken time to do nothing but come before God to praise Him and thank Him for Who He is and what He has done? I know for myself, I am so guilty of turning my quiet time with God into endless requests and very little time of just giving praise to Him.

Does God invite us to bring our requests before Him? Absolutely! Again, He is always there for us, no matter what is on our mind and heart. But just think about how amazing it would be if we took a morning that we usually lay out tons of requests and, instead, just focused on giving Him praise and thanking Him for all the good things He has done and continues to do.

Take time to praise Him when you get up. Take time to praise Him on your way to work. Take time to praise Him as you drive the kids to school. Take time to praise Him as you take your kids from one activity to another. There are so many times that we can stop and take in His beauty around us and praise Him.

May we always be mindful of what He has done for us, wherever we are at and whatever we are doing. Our God deserves and longs to hear the praises of His children. He cared enough to send the very best to us, Jesus Christ. Shouldn’t we take time out of our way, not only to bring our concerns and needs before Him, but also to just praise Him because of Who He is?
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Unread 05-18-2016, 07:38 PM   #683
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Sometimes We Forget

“Sometimes We Forget”
By Zach Wood
1 Timothy 1:15-16 NIV
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.

If you’re anything like, you forget things often. It doesn’t seem to matter what age you are, you forget things all through life. It is easy to be forgetful. We tend to forget the simplest things in life and then we do a smack on the forehead when we come to recall what we’ve forgotten and we say, “I cannot believe I forgot that!” You wouldn’t be a human being if you didn’t forget things.

Sometimes we forget important dates. Sometimes we forget promises that we’ve made to others. Sometimes we forget to pickup the kids after an activity if we’ve had a crazy day at work. Sometimes we forget we’ve left stuff in the yard and rain comes to soak it down.

We often forget, sadly, how destined we are to death if Jesus Christ hadn’t come to give His life for us. We get so wrapped up in life that we often forget we cannot do anything without Him. We tend to think so much of ourselves by all the things we can do on our own and in our own strength and we forget how destitute we really are when we take life on our own. If we really think about it, as Paul describes here, we are the worst sinners. Paul didn’t think highly of himself. Even though he became one of the greatest influences in the NT and in the church, He was easily reminded that he was the worst of sinners.

Sometimes, we certainly need a reality check to remember and realize how far off from God we really are and how desperately we need Him. Jesus came to save us because we are filthy. We have turned away from Him and gone our own way so many times. But we often tend to just go through life thinking we are pretty awesome. We get pretty full of ourselves and think we’re doing pretty good. God looks at the prideful heart and sees a sinner who desperately still needs Him. He sees through our beaming attitude of arrogance and knows that we really need Him more than ever.

God is certainly patient with us. He wants us to completely rely on Him and most of all to never forget how very much we need Him. Paul considered himself the worst of sinners. How do we see ourselves? Do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought? Or do we see ourselves as filthy rags that need His cleansing? We are nothing without Him. That’s blunt, I know, but it’s the truth. Jesus saves us from our life of disgust and we need to be reminded of the wonderful cleansing He has given us.

Sometimes we forget.
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Unread 05-31-2016, 08:47 PM   #684
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No One More Amazing

“No One More Amazing”
By Zach Wood
Hebrews 1:3-4 NLT
The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.

I enjoy watching amazing things that people do. Whether it’s on TV, a Netflix series or in a documentary, I really enjoy watching people do bizarre and amazing things. I like when someone does something and my jaw drops and my eyes become as wide as saucers and I just say, “How did they do that??”

We have all been amazed by different people and different things in life that we see people do. We get a thrill from watching people do some amazing stunts and perform tricks that totally blow our minds. I enjoy watching magicians perform. I know they have a very simple trick to what they do, but it really amazes me when I see them do what they do.

What amazes you? What makes your jaw drop? What makes you say, “Wow! Did that really just happen?”

As much as I like to be amazed by things and people, I often wonder how much more I should be completely amazed by the things God has done and still does. I wonder how much I focus so much on the amazement of things in this world and how little I sometimes focus my attention toward an amazing God. That breaks my heart. I often find myself more amazed at what people do than what God can do and still does.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who was sinless and radiated God’s own glory, came to be an exact replica of God. He was God in the flesh. After all these years of being a Christian, it still baffles me how God can be 3 in 1, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s just amazing! I cannot wrap my mind around it! Jesus radiates His Father’s glory perfectly. Everything is sustained by His command. Wow! Does that amaze you?

Not only did He represent His Father’s glory, but He cleansed us from our sins. He died for those sins. These are all things I should be totally amazed by every day in my life, but so often my actions reveal that I am not really that amazed. I find myself waiting for the next thing I can see with my eyes on this earth and not in anticipation for what God will do.

There is absolutely no one more amazing, incredible and majestic than our Creator God.
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Unread 06-13-2016, 08:38 PM   #685
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He Could Have, But Didn't

“He Could Have, But Didn’t”
By Zach Wood
Philippians 2:5-7 NIV
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

I want you all to ponder something for a few moments. Imagine if you were promoted in your job to the highest position possible and given authority over everyone you used to work with. How would that change the way you feel about everyone who works beneath you? How would that change the way you feel about yourself? There would be a feeling of celebration for sure! We would all probably be filled with many emotions at the thought of being in charge of all the employees.

With this new position of authority, there also may be some temptations to take advantage of the people who work under you. Would you treat them as you would want to be treated or do you think you’d be tempted to boss them around and make them do everything you want? Don’t answer that too fast. Even if you couldn’t imagine yourself like that, strange things can happen if we were ever given the highest position in a company and the complete authority to tell people to do what we want and how we want it done.

I hope that if we were all given this situation, that we would choose to do our best to make employees feel respected and appreciated, but never to take the advantage of bossing them around in a mean way. Many people in high positions do just this because it gives them a feeling of power and boosts their ego big time!

Think about Jesus for a few moments in this way. We know He never would have done that to people, but He had all authority from God. He could have really taken advantage of the authority His Father gave Him and treated people terrible. Imagine how that would have changed how we look at the Bible?? He did NOT use this authority and power in His position of Son of God to treat people wrong. He did just the opposite! He became a servant. Why? So that people would see just how the character of God really is and what love truly looks like in serving others.

I find it amazing that Jesus could have abused His authority, but that’s not what He was sent to do. He was sent to love and serve and die for us. He could have chosen to treat us as slaves and boss us around, but instead He loved us. He loved us enough He went to the Cross to prove it.

He was the epitome of love and servanthood.
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Unread 06-30-2016, 07:57 PM   #686
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Let Me Tell You!

“Let Me Tell You!”
By Zach Wood
Romans 1:16 NLT
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

We all enjoy telling others when great things happen to us, don’t we? We not only get excited about telling people about something cool that we’ve done or that happened to us, but also we get excited about things we have seen and places we have been to.

Most of us could go on for hours and hours telling others about different things we like and dislike. We often find ourselves getting excited and telling other people about so many things that are fascinating to us in this world.

We get excited about sports. We get excited about going on vacation. We get excited about the newest movie that has come out. We get excited about so many things and we cannot wait to get out to work, church or school and tell our friends and family about what we’ve experienced, seen or heard.

Friends, I cannot help but think that it saddens God’s heart that we get excited about so much in our lives, but then when it comes to the opportunities where we can share about our faith and we clam up. When we get so excited to tell others things we often say, “Let me tell you!” and then we go into a long explanation. However, when we have the opportunities to share Christ, how long do those conversations last? Do we take the time to tell or do we clam up and lose our excitement to continue the conversation?

Are we really excited to talk about our faith in Christ? Is it really exciting to us? Are we itching to tell others of the wonderful salvation we have experienced in God? The Apostle Paul was definitely not ashamed of the Good News. He says that it is the power of God at work! Is the Good News the power of God at work through us with others? Are we excited to tell others, more than anything, about how awesome God is?

I must admit that I get into many conversations with others, most often in my workplace, and I find myself seldom bringing God into the discussions. I’m not purposely looking for ways to beat people over the head with the Bible, but I also so often am not intentionally looking for ways to open up and share my faith. I want to be different for sure and show Christ’s love, but sometimes that needs to come through my conversations. I need to be more bold and open to sharing. Not only sharing, but being excited about what I’m sharing.

Let us be more like Paul, who wasn’t ashamed of the Good News and said often to people “Let Me Tell You!”
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