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Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Walk of Sonship

 

FallenI want to take a few posts to talk about the concept of sonship. I want to begin this study by reminding you of the Scripture we looked at regarding the power of the Spirit. We talked about this verse when we dealt with how praying in the spirit brought about a change in the way you live. Indeed, both miracles and the walk of righteousness come from spending time in the spirit.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

At that point I was only looking at the concept of righteousness. Now I want to move on to the next verse which brings us deeper into this truth.

…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 8:14

The Word of God is clear. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons. Understand this – if you’re saved, then the Holy Spirit is leading you. As a matter of fact, the Spirit of God is leading even if you’re not following. He’s gently waiting for you to catch up with Him. Why is this?

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

Now, reading this, I find it interesting that Paul tells us that we’re of the seed of Abraham, and not Moses. Abraham followed God in a walk of faith that worked righteousness in him. He allowed himself to be led by God. So Abraham operated as a son of God. This is because “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:15-17

This is an incredible truth. Sonship is how we explain the relationship of “ever increasing glory”. Because the Holy Spirit is working in us, leading us from glory to glory, we are seen to be sons of God.

Please understand that even though we are adopted as sons of God, Jesus Christ is THE only begotten Son of the Father. We are not equal in position or authority to Him. He is the Head of the Church. That needs to be made clear.

However, even in our position as adopted children, Sonship is a position of power. This is because the Holy Spirit Himself testifies that we are sons. He does this as He bestows the power of God upon us. As the Spirit does His work in us, we have the likeness of Christ ever-increasing in us.

Question: How is the relationship of Sonship different than that of a slave?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Power of God, Sonship

 

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Let Thanksgiving do its Work

GrapesI’m taking a couple of posts to talk about Thanksgiving from Psalm 118. In my last post I talked about how Christ has opened the gates of righteousness. Through thanksgiving, we enter those gates into the throne room of God.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Today is a great day to praise the Lord. God made this day – that we can enter His righteousness. This word rejoice literally means to jump, dance, and spin around under the influence of a violent emotion. God deserves the best of our praise.

In the original Hebrew this verse reads and in this rejoicing we will brighten up and be made glad. So, in reality, you don’t have to feel good to start with. Being thankful changes your emotions. David understood this truth.

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:4-5

This is a lesson we all need to learn. As I thank and praise the Lord, I begin to feel good emotionally. Then, when our emotions change, our whole outlook on life changes for the better.

O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Psalm 118:25-26

When we thank God for His work in us we’re actually admitting that we needed His salvation. Without Him we can do nothing. He is our strength and our success.

When I’m thankful – meditating on the good things of God – that joy gives me strength to move forward. So it’s my thankfulness that makes me strong. That’s why it’s such an important part in the life of a believer.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Psalm 118:26

We’re supremely blessed in that Name above all names that Christ has given to us. In the name of Jesus we have all that we need for life and godliness. We have hope, healing, victory, peace, and salvation. That’s where the place of blessing is – in His name.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

My prayer for you is that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this year. But more than that, I pray that you can live a life of thankfulness before God.

Question: What are you specifically thankful for that God has done in you this year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Encouragement, Prayer

 

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What’s Become of Thanksgiving?

ThanksgivingIt’s interesting to see what’s happening in society. Stores have had huge displays for Halloween. At this point they have taken them down and have gone right into Christmas displays.

According to my daughter, Thanksgiving has become a “middle child” holiday – mostly ignored. That’s probably because both Halloween and Christmas can be merchandised for a huge profit. There’s no getting around the fact that Thanksgiving is about thankfulness to God.

To the believer, this day should be one of the most meaningful of the year.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4

I’ve read and sung this verse hundreds of times. It’s through giving thanks that we enter the gates. But what gates are being talked about here? More importantly, do I want to go in?

Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
Psalm 118:19-20

It’s obvious from this verse that they’re gates of righteousness. In this Psalm the writer is asking God to open wide the gate that only He can open. That’s why I’m thanking Him.

Righteousness is the package of all He has for me. Because of His righteousness I can live on a higher level than I ever thought possible. I’m made righteous in Christ so I can enter the Gate.

I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone…
Psalm 118:21-22

This is an incredible truth. The writer literally says I thank you because you paid attention to me and you have become my salvation. The word for salvation here is Yeshua – which is Jesus in the Greek.

He was rejected for me. Yet He has become the chief stone of the pinnacle – the capstone.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

In Him we are the righteousness of God. That means that Christ is the gate of righteousness through which we enter God’s presence.

Think about how we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We show forth the death of Christ in the bread and the cup. His work on the cross allows us to enter into a righteousness beyond our comprehension.

The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
Psalm 118:23

It is absolutely incredible in our eyes. Only those who have experienced the life changing power of Jesus Christ can truly fathom it. That’s why no one should be able out do our celebration. It’s a shame that football teams and entertainers receive more praise than our God.

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving celebration this week, don’t miss the most important part. Make sure that your thanks and appreciation to God is central to what you’re doing.

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

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in Encouragement, Prayer, Worship

 

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The God Who Runs

Heart CellHave you ever felt like God was mad at you?  Maybe you’ve been keeping away from the Lord or His people because you’re ashamed of something you’ve done.  That’s not the way to go.

There’s a parable Jesus told about a son who, because of his choices, distanced himself from his father.  When he hit rock bottom, he decided it was better to go home, no matter what the consequences were.

So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Luke 15:20

Most people agree that Jesus was telling this parable about His Heavenly Father.  The young man in question who took an early inheritance and blew it all on wild living.  He ended up in poverty, and became a servant who was feeding hogs.

Finally he came to his senses and thought about what life was like in his father’s house.  Even the servants were eating better than he was at that moment.

The young man decided to humble himself and return home.  He had spent his inheritance and was now willing to simply be a one of his father’s hired servants.

He then made the long journey home.  What would he find there?  What would be the response of the father he had so humiliated by his leaving?

How would we write the story?  A father standing, arms folded, with a stern “I told you so” written across his face.  Would he listen in silence to the young man’s plea, only to say, “We’ll see how you act over the next few months.”  Maybe there would be outright rejection.

We always seem to project these natural, human, responses onto our loving Father God.  I’m so glad that He doesn’t treat us the way we treat each other.  I’m even more thankful that He doesn’t treat me the way I deserve to be treated.

Because of the work Christ has done, all I need to do is start heading in His direction.  It’s at that point the He runs to be with me.  There’s no condemnation, no probation, and no judging.  He only brings acceptance and forgiveness with Him.

Maybe you’ve done some things that you think are hard to forgive.  Maybe you’ve been a long time away from God.  It doesn’t matter.  Return to the Lord and He’ll run to you.  You can be restored in an instant because of the love of the Father.

Trust Him.  He’s the God who runs.

Question: How have you experienced the love and acceptance of God the Father?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Encouragement, Prayer, Revival, The Gospel

 

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I Give Up!

Dead EndIt’s so easy to give up when times are tough.  That’s the difference between surface Christians and overcomers.  Which kind are you?  Only you can make the choice to keep going forward.  This is what it takes to make it to your destiny in God.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Realize that God has a good plan for your life.  Whether we know it or not, God has us walking a good path.  He wants the best for us.  He knows what will fulfill us better than we do.  But we must continue to the end if we’re going to enter our destiny.

Know that everything worth having requires effort to obtain.  Sometimes the road we’re on seems rough and steep.  That shouldn’t stop us, however.  Struggles are a part of life.  If it were easy, everyone would be walking in the blessings of God.  It takes an attitude of perseverance to make it over the hills of life.

Keep your eyes on the finish line.  Don’t let your present hardship become the focus of your attention.  Keep your vision upon Christ and His plan for your life.  That’s what can sustain you during the difficulties that you encounter.  If you can see the goal, then you know that it’s not over yet.  God will have the final word in your life.

Keep moving forward, no matter what happens.  I love to go out hiking.  But it doesn’t always turn out well.  There have been times that I’ve been injured on a hike.  It would have been very easy for me to let weariness and despair take over.  I felt very much like laying down on the ground and giving up.  I had to keep telling myself, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other – you’ll eventually come to the end.”

Understand that moving slowly is better than standing still.  This is probably the best advice I could give you.  No matter how slow you think you’re going, don’t give up.  You will make it!  Never look at your life in terms of a sprint to the finish.  You need to see yourself as being in it for the long haul.  The victorious finish of your race depends on it.

Maybe you’re going through a seemingly impossible situation right now.  Give it over to God in prayer, if you haven’t already done so.  It could be that you’ve taken the responsibility for the problem back to yourself.  Let go of it and allow God give you the strength you need to see it through.

Questions: Have you ever felt like giving up?  How have you found the strength to continue on?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Encouragement, Power of God, Prayer

 

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Permanently Temporary

TentI’ve been posting about the obedience that springs from our faith. In my last post I talked about one of the attitudes of obedience to God. Today I want to talk about the second. We’re looking at what Hebrews, chapter 11, says about Abraham.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Hebrews 11:9

The literal Greek of this text says that he lived permanently in tents. As an avid hiker and camper, I think that’s an interesting statement. In other words, he was living permanently in a temporary home.

But it wasn’t only Abraham. He was with others who were called as well.

The next attitude of obedience says that even though I’m trusting God to move me forward, I’m willing to stay here forever waiting for the Lord’s call. How could Abraham be so content to stay in his tents?

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

This is the secret to Abraham’s obedience. This verse literally says that he could obey because he accepted from the source, a city built by God.

This should be the same for us. We obey because we’ve accepted God’s destiny for our lives. We know who it is that promised.

I can only find the strength to obey God if I’ve accepted His destiny even if I don’t know all the details. That’s the tough part of this attitude. I have to accept His plan before I know where it will take me.

We walk by faith, not sight. Think about how incredible the place is that He is taking us to.

This city has foundations. We know from the Scripture that Christ is our foundation. We’ve started to build our little spiritual house. The thing is, God wants to take us to the city level. We have such a small vision some times.

This is a city whose architect and builder is God. Every time you obeyed a calling, God was building. Every pain and inconvenience – God was building.

But it gets even better than that. The word Builder in the above verse literally means public worker. The Lord does all the public works of the city.

Think about that for a minute. What if He did all the public works in your city? There would be gold streets, gem encrusted fire hydrants, and who knows what else.

Waiting on God’s destiny for your life is worth all the inconvenience of obedience.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

This is what the fight of faith is all about. It’s the fight to obey your calling. You must push through to wait upon God and listen for His voice calling you forward. It may seem hard to take in the short term. But in the end you’ll find that it was well worth the struggle.

Question: Why are we so reluctant to wait in the place of prayer to hear God’s voice?

©Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Faith, Ministry, Prayer

 

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The Road to Advancement

ProfitI’ve been posting about Abraham as our example of the obedience that’s born in our faith. It’s not always pleasant, but God has a great destination prepared for us.

I said in my last post that God usually calls us to leave something before calling us into a new and better place. Unfortunately, laying hold of that better place is based upon our obedience. That’s why Jesus made the following statement.

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:14

There are many who don’t want to go out in order to go into a new place. We are sometimes so satisfied with the good – we don’t want the excellent.

If we want the inheritance that God has destined us for on earth, then there are two attitudes we need to learn. These are the attitudes that energize our obedience to Christ. In today’s post, I want to talk about the first of these.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Hebrews 11:9

The original Greek of this verse is very interesting. It says that by faith Abraham lived near the promised land as if it were another’s property. This is an important lesson to learn, especially those in leadership positions. We understand obedience from serving in another’s ministry.

At one point in my Christian walk I was under a great man of God named Pastor Anthony Spero. He’s the one who trained me in the ministry. There were things he asked me to do that I liked, and other things – not so much.

What I didn’t realize at that time, was that as I submitted under his ministry, God was doing a work in me. All that time I worked under him, not knowing that the place God was bringing me to was a pastorate of my own.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”
Luke 16:10-12

You can’t advance in the Kingdom of God without obedience. We get the idea that because this isn’t mine, who cares if I do a good job or not. This is especially true at work or church. I didn’t know it, but when I was putting out the trash as a teenager, God was preparing me to be a husband and father.

We need to pick up the attitude of Abraham. The ability to see my submission to authority as preparation for the authority God wants to entrust me with. My future advancement is based on my present obedience.

Question: What are the areas of obedience that God is currently using in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Faith, Leadership, Ministry

 

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