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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why Work for God?

WorkThere are many believers who never enter into their calling.  Are you one of them?  Don’t miss the point of why God wants us to work for Him and with Him.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, commending them on their work for the Lord.  He mentions three aspects that speak volumes to us as God’s people.  We need to take these things to heart if we’re going to be productive in the Kingdom of God.

Our work is produced by faith.  The word for work means what we do for God.  It’s the task to which we’ve been assigned.

We’ve all been called to do something different in the Body of Christ.  Your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and skillsets all combine to bring about the plan God has for your life.

The key is that you must seek God to find out what you’re called to do.  That’s where faith comes into the picture.  How well do you trust God for your future?  Are you willing to give up your agenda for His?

Then, by faith, we must let the Holy Spirit train and prepare us for the work.  Too many believers want to rush ahead and get “on the job training.”  Usually they become tripped up when they run ahead of the Lord.  You need to trust God to bring about the plan He has for your life.

Our labor is prompted by love.  This word labor, in the Greek, literally means your toil that results in weariness.  It speaks of using your strength to accomplish something.

We’re willing to do this for our bosses, because they pay us cash for our strength.  The Kingdom of God has a different economy.  What we do for the Lord is based upon our love for Him, or at least it should be.

Your love for God is expressed in how much time, money and energy you’re willing to expend in His work.  There’s no way around it – there’s something that you need to do for the Lord.

Our trouble is that we want to reap without sowing.  We wait until we want to eat a salad, then go out and plant the garden.  At that point, we blame God that our “salad bowl” is empty.

If you cultivate a love for the Savior, your work for Him will be a lot easier.

Our endurance is inspired by hope.  The word endurance speaks of our ability to persevere through the completion of the work.

This is the hard part.  Once we’ve started the task, we need to keep going.  Hardships, opposition, and even the daily grind of repetition saps our will to continue.

Our attitudes often surprise me.  We’re willing to drag ourselves to our job, even though we’re sick – and our boss will pay us to stay home – just to impress our employers.  Why aren’t we so inspired to impress the King of kings?  This is the secret to walking in the abundant life.

As I focus on the hope, the expectation, held out in the Gospel, I’m able to endure through the hard times.  Then I can see the power of God released in my life.

Question: What do you find to be the hardest part of enduring in your work for God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Ministry

 

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Thanksgiving Bread – The Spirit and the Word #thanksgiving

BreadUnder the Old Testament law, many different types of offerings were to be presented to God.  Some were called Fellowship Offerings because they were given simply out of love for God.  An offering of thanksgiving was one of these Fellowship Offerings.

If he offers it as an expression of thankfulness, then along with this thank offering he is to offer cakes of bread made without yeast and mixed with oil, wafers made without yeast and spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour well-kneaded and mixed with oil.  Along with his fellowship offering of thanksgiving he is to present an offering with cakes of bread made with yeast.
Leviticus 7:12-13

There are four different kinds of bread that were associated with this offering.  The common elements in all of them are flour and oil.  I believe that they correspond to the word and the spirit.  This is central to thanksgiving since everything I receive from God is through the Word and by His Spirit.

The first bread is cakes of bread without yeast and mixed with oil.  The term “unleavened” comes from a root which means to greedily devour because it is sweet.  It was made with flour mixed with oil.  To make these today, we would use shortening or butter.  They would be more like shortbread or butter cookies.

Sometimes the word is sweet to me.  I devour it greedily.  It satisfies my inner longing and refreshes my spirit.  I’m thankful for the Word of God that lifts me up.

The next bread is the wafer – literally, a matzah.  This matzah cracker was to be anointed with oil.  The matzah is very dry and pierced at regular intervals throughout the cracker.

Sometimes the Word pierces me, like a sword.  It’s in times like this that God is doing surgery on me.  The Bible teaches that faithful are the wounds of a friend.  I need it because this is the place of the anointing.  I’m thankful for the Word of God that corrects me.

Another bread is made with fine flour and cooked in oil.  Fine flour is like our bakery flour.  When we cook something in oil, we call it deep fried – like fried dough or donuts.

This one is brought about in the heat of the spirit.  It takes the fire of the Holy Spirit, heating up the Word to produce change in my life.  A prophet said to God that Your Word is like a fire in my bones.  This fire pushes you to action.  Christ has said that He wants you either cold or hot.  Lukewarm just won’t cut it.  I’m thankful for the Word of God that fires me up to action for the Lord.

The last bread of the thanksgiving offering is made with yeast.  Yeast usually speaks of our imperfections.  It amazes me that God will entrust His divine Word to imperfect humans.  The Lord gives me a word to share with others.  If I were God…it would never happen.

But He knows best.  He gives us a word to share, even in our humanity.  This is something that my imperfect life can give to others.  I’m thankful that Christ lets us represent Him by His Spirit.

Thank God.

Question: What are you thankful to God for at this moment?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Encouragement, God's Provision, Word of God

 

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God’s Approval #theanointing

SpotlightI’ve been talking about walking in the anointing of God.  In my last post I discussed being well pleasing to the Lord.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10

This verse tells us that we should live the way a child of the light should live.  The fruit of the light is the evidence that we’re walking in the light.

This passage literally says that as children of the light, we need to test and approve what is well pleasing to the Lord.  The more we walk in His light – the more we learn about pleasing Him.

It’s by pleasing the Lord that we secure the anointing.  That’s a key concept that many miss out on.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1Thessalonians 2:4

I’ve asked this before.  Where is your heart set?  Who are you trying to please?  Your anointing (God’s approval of your ministry) is resting on that answer.  It’s not about how much you want it; instead, it’s wrapped up in the direction your heart is taking you.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

What we have to realize is that in our own power we can never be well pleasing to God.  It only comes from time spent in His presence.  Only God’s power can secure our anointing.

We have to position ourselves to receive His power that works through us.  We have to be driven to walk in the anointing.

This means that we have set our heart on it.  It’s all about getting close enough in the spirit, to find out what’s well pleasing to Him.  It’s the only way to get ourselves in the position to receive.

In the final analysis it can only be accomplished by His power at work in us.

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
2 Corinthians 5:9

Be driven to please God.

Question: What is God calling you to do that will require His power to accomplish?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Anointing

 

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Where is Your Heart Pointing? #theanointing

Snow HeartIn my last post I used Christ as our example for preparing ourselves for the anointing.  I talked about being driven in the spirit.  How far are we willing to go to see God work through us?

…and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:22

Think about the Father’s testimony of the Son.  We’re all sons and daughters of God.  We’ve been adopted into His family.  Beyond that, we’re all loved.

I believe that the key term here is well pleased.  We have to come to this understanding.  We don’t just want God to be pleased, but well pleased.

Sometimes we learn more by negative examples.  Israel had a problem in this area.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.  Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.
1 Corinthians 10:5-6

They did not make it their goal to be pleasing to God.  If we’re going to go beyond their failure, then we must set our hearts on securing the anointing.  Whatever you set your heart on is what you are driven to do.

Have you set your heart on things?  Some people are driven to make money.  What’s the driving force of your life?  Some want position or fame.  Have you set your heart on power with God?

What you’ve set your heart upon determines what you’re driven to do.  Your heart is the driving force in your life.

Paul was driven.

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Paul literally says that I will give my body a black eye, if I have to, in order to obtain the prize.  The prize is the anointing of power.

Peter understood the power of being driven.

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever!  Amen.
2 Peter 3:17-18

All around us are those who are driven for self.  It looks very tempting.  Their rewards are instantaneous.

The blessings of a heart after God are long-term.

Drive yourself to grow in grace.  Increase your knowledge of the Lord.  That’s the road to the anointing of power.  Drive yourself down that path.

Question: How do you seek to be well pleasing to God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Anointing

 

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Are You Positioned for the Anointing? #anointing

OilWhen all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.  And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22

In the past, I have posted about the anointing of God upon our lives.  We receive God’s anointing when we are chosen by God for a specific task.  We’re then anointed to complete it.

What we see from Scripture is that the Spirit follows the anointing.  At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in power.  That was His anointing for ministry.

At the same time there was a voice from heaven (The Father) confirming this calling.  My question is; how did He get to this point?  The answer will help me in my walk with God.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52

Wisdom is the application of what you’ve learned.  Stature speaks of physical growth.  The word favor is the grace of God.  These are very important points for us to learn.

Have you ever thought about it in these terms before?  Jesus had to grow in grace.  But the key word is grew.  That Greek word literally means to drive forward as if by beating.

Jesus was driven to grow in grace and wisdom.  Of course He did have an advantage over us.  He was perfect and He had a photographic memory.  The Lord only had to hear the Scripture once and He remembered it.

The key is that when He heard Scripture He was driven to enter into the grace of it.  This should be the same for us.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:14-15

Paul tells Timothy, a young pastor, to be diligent and give himself totally the callings that were placed upon his life.  Paul explains to Timothy the reason for this.  It literally says, so that your driving forward may be a light to all.

We must drive ourselves to secure the anointing.  To walk in our callings will take drive and determination.  It will not just happen by accident.  It’s a spiritual battle.  But, through the power of God, we will be victorious.

Question: What does it mean to drive yourself forward in grace?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Anointing

 

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8 Keys to Receiving Answers from God (Part 2) #answeredprayer

PhoneThis is the second of two posts about how to receive answered prayers.  The Scriptures say that we can ask anything from God.  But few people know the requirements to these passages.

In my last post I talked about the first 4 requirements.

5. Your asking must be in the name of Jesus.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 14:13-14

Too often we think of this in terms of a spiritual formula.  We pray whatever we want, then say “In Jesus’ name” at the end.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  We’re representatives of Christ.  This means that we’re asking on behalf of Christ.  We are praying what He would be praying in the same situation.

6. You must remain in Christ.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
John 15:7

This one is all about relationship.  Many want to know how to get all their prayers answered while living for themselves.  That will never happen.  The closer my relationship with Christ is, the more I pray according to His will.  Then I see the answers because they’re in His will.

7. You must be bearing spiritual fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 15:16

Spiritual fruit are a sign of maturity.  The more of the Word of God we plant in our life, the greater the harvest.  It’s the same in the natural.  I don’t know any children who get everything they ask for.  Maturity breeds answered prayer.

8. Your asking must be with a clear conscience.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
1 John 3:21-22

Too often we know what God is calling us to do, but we ignore it.  When our conscience is not clear before God, we are open to the enemy’s accusations.  It’s hard to trust God when we are under the cloud of a guilty conscience.  That’s why a repentant life is so important.

When we operate in the calling of God it’s His good pleasure to supply what is needed to complete our destiny.  That’s the true secret to seeing our prayers answered.

Question: What’s the relationship between the will of God and answered prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Prayer

 

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8 Keys to Receiving Answers from God #answeredprayer

SONY DSCIt’s hard to believe that the stores are gearing up for Christmas already.  We’re getting close to the time of year where many people are asking for things.  As believers, we understand that it’s not about things, but Christ.

Still, there are things that I’ve asked God for.  One question that many people ask is; how do you receive answers to prayers?  Many look to God like a big Santa Claus in the sky.  We pray for things, and then get upset if we don’t get what we prayed for.

I believe that God wants to give good things to His children.  Over and over in the Bible it says to ask anything and it will be given to you.  Actually, if you read the Scripture, there are 8 requirements to asking anything and receiving what you asked for from God.

1. Your asking requires faith.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24

This is the one we all seem to know about.  You need to trust that God is able to perform what you’re asking.  This is not an “I hope so” kind of faith.  It’s knowing that God is big enough to take care of your need.

2. Your asking requires the right motives.

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

This is an important point.  Why am I asking God for this?  Many times it’s because I want the pleasure it will bring.  Life is not all about me.  I live for God.  It’s about pleasing Him, and fulfilling His call on my life.  Is that my motivation?  To get answers to prayer, I need to check my attitudes and desires.

3. Your asking requires lining up with God’s will.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:14-15

This one is only met with maturity.  I need to be seeking God’s will.  This will only come by time in the Lord’s presence.  I have to lay my will on the altar and seek His ways.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to work in me is how I have the assurance that I’m asking according to His will.

4. Your asking requires agreement.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 18:19

This is an important part.  I’m not talking about getting someone to agree to pray with you.

“You pray with me for a new house and I’ll pray with you for a new car.”

It doesn’t work like that.  It means coming together in unity with others who know the Word of God.  Then, based upon the Word, they agree with you on the above three points.  They see by your witness that you have the faith to trust God for it, your motives are correct, and it’s God’s will for your life.

In my next post I’ll give the final four keys to answered prayer.

Question: Do you have some testimonies of answered prayers?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Prayer

 

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