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Monthly Archives: September 2015

You’re Not Home Yet

Jet Plane to NowhereIn my last post I talked about some of our attitudes toward our faith in God. There was a word that we looked at that stood out to me. I want to take it a step further today. The Apostle Peter mentioned it as well.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2

Peter wrote to the churches that he was in relationship with. His desire was that they experience God’s grace and peace in abundance. This is something that every believer should seek after.

The question is; how do we receive this? In this verse Peter shows us the foundation. It’s how we view our walk with God. The first thing he mentions is that we are strangers in this world. The word strangers literally means aliens alongside, resident foreigners. In my last post we looked at a verse from Hebrews that said almost the same thing.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:13

These saints confessed that they were aliens in this world. We need to pick up this same mindset. I do not belong to this world. I live by a different set of rules. I live on a different level.

You may not know this about me, but I’m a Sci-Fi geek. I love TV shows and movies with a Science Fiction theme. One of the major types of shows revolves around aliens.

There are two kinds. The first involves aliens that try to take over by force. That’s not what I’m talking about. The second is the group of aliens that infiltrate society and look just like the humans around them. They hold down a job, go to school, and act like all the humans they come in contact with.

But there’s more to their story. They have a different agenda. They have a goal that’s bigger than society around them. Their goals were set by a government that’s not of our world. Why am I talking about all this Science Fiction stuff?

The answer is simple. As Christians we’re supposed to be living it. We belong to a government – a kingdom – that’s not a part of this world. We have an agenda that’s so much bigger than just getting the highest paying job that we can. It’s more than getting degrees and fame.

We’re to be preparing society for the biggest takeover that could ever be imagined. Jesus Christ is returning to establish His kingdom. It’s up to us to get everything ready for that day.

Our priorities should be different than the rest of the world. Who’s in power, the economy, the weather; all these things interest me and I need to understand them, but they don’t determine what I do. It’s the Holy Spirit that I ultimately answer to.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Scripture makes it clear that our loyalties are above. We are to live as aliens and strangers to this world system. Only then will we see the grace and peace of God working abundantly in our lives.

Question: In what ways have you experienced an “alien lifestyle”?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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How Persuaded are You?

Bible 2We sometimes tend to treat the things of God very lightly. We say things like, “Of course I’m trusting God.” But are we really? How far would we let our faith take us? That’s the real test of our belief.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews talked about some Old Testament saints who stood their ground in the spirit.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:13

This Scripture says that they saw the promises of God from a distance. Obviously Christ had not arrived on the scene yet. They had to wait for the fulfillment. They went to their graves fully trusting God for the outcome He promised.

There’s actually more to it than that. The word saw in the above verse literally means to become persuaded. These believers become persuaded about God’s power.

How persuaded are you? They were convinced in God’s ability to accomplish what He said He would do. What’s the confession that people hear from your mouth?

It should be: “God can heal.” “God can restore broken homes.” “God can provide for needs.” “God can change people’s lives.”

Not only were these Old Testament people persuaded by God’s abilities, the verse says that they welcomed His promises. That word welcomed means that they embraced those promises even at a distance.

Are you embracing the Lord’s Word for yourself? It’s not enough just to agree that God is able to do something. You need to make it personal.

“God can heal me.” “God can restore my home.” “God can provide for my needs.” “God can change my life.”

We all have to come to the point where we understand that we serve a very personal God. Christ didn’t just go to the cross for the sins of the world. He went to save ME from MY SIN. I need to see Him as the One who is presently working in my life.

That will lead me to the next thing that these bygone saints were known for. They admitted, literally confessed, that they were aliens and strangers on earth. That word, in Greek, means to speak the same as. I need to speak the same Word that the Lord speaks.

I’m an alien here on earth. I’m a part of the heavenly kingdom. I have access to more than our society does. It changes the way I talk.

“God is my Savior.” “God is my Healer.” “God is my Provider.” “God is my Restorer.”

This is where our strength comes from. It’s not from how good I am, but how good my God is.

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

That word confident is the same word persuaded from the verse above. How persuaded are you, not only that God can do the work, but that He will complete it in you? It’s not about us. It’s all about what He has accomplished for us. Let the Word of God fully persuade you to put your whole trust in the Lord.

Question: What are you trusting God to accomplish in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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Overcoming Abraham’s Past

WeedsDo hurts from the past hinder you from serving God wholeheartedly? Do you think the pain will stop you from achieving God’s best? Your past can only defeat you if you let it. Abraham’s father found that out.

I’m taking a couple of posts to show how Abraham’s past was actually working against his faith. He had to overcome family history to serve God the way he did.

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.
Genesis 11:31

Here’s another ancestor of Abraham who heard the call to leave Ur and go to Canaan. Terah, Abraham’s father, did more than just talk about it. He actually packed up his family and left for the Promised Land. His plan was short-lived though.

What was it that short circuited Terah’s try at serving God? What was the significance of Haran. Haran was both the name of a person and a place that was named after him.

It turns out that Haran was Terah’s youngest son. Haran died at a young age, leaving his son Lot in the care of his grandfather.

When Terah decided to go to Canaan, he made a stop at Haran, his departed son’s old homestead. This was the place of his greatest pain. Because of this, Terah just couldn’t get past it – literally. He let the hurts of the past stop him from pursuing God’s best.

Don’t let this happen in your life. Christ can heal and restore. Draw on His strength to overcome your pain. Yes, you’ll remember it, but it will not control your destiny. Let God’s best be your compass.

Was it easy for Abraham to follow God’s call? NO! He came from a family that had ignored or put it off for generations. He had to go against everything he was brought up with.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
Genesis 12:1-2

In spite of everything his family did to put off the call of God, Abraham succeeded. Generations of procrastination was ended on that day.

Abraham had to rely on the strength of God. He stepped out into new territory. We need to trust God in that same way. Serving God will almost always go against our natural inclinations. We need to look ahead through the eyes of faith.

This is how destinies are forged. We hear a Word from God and walk in it. There may be temptations that we need to hold off or refuse. We may hesitate because of past hurts.

Just don’t let the enemy stop your progress. Determine to see the Lord’s perfect will accomplished in you. Never let go of the dream God has given you.

Question: What dreams are you striving for by the Spirit of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Abraham’s Heritage of Unbelief

Dry2How do you compare to Abraham? We read about men like Abraham, Noah, and Moses and think they were somehow different from us. Kind of like a higher breed of human – much more godly than we could ever be.

We look at our lives, where we came from, the baggage we carry with us, and we think that we can never be like them.

“If only we were more like them, then we could accomplish great things for God.”

That kind of thinking only serves to make you ineffective as a child of God.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
Genesis 12:1-2

Many people think that God called Abraham out of the blue – without any warning. They think that the calling of God isn’t based upon any past history. This is simply not the case.

Actually, we’re more like the faithful men and women of the Bible than we think. I want to take a couple of posts to show what Abraham’s family history was like. He had to go against his upbringing in order to follow God. Like us, it would have been easier for him to just ignore God and go on business as usual.

Do we have a double standard when it comes to our children? We want the best for them. What about where faith is concerned? Abraham’s family had to wrestle with this.

When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
Genesis 11:14

Shelah was an ancestor of Abraham – 7 generations before he was born. He was given a name which meant the spear of attack. Interesting name…his parents must have seen great things in his future. Actually, we know that Shelah had a deep relationship with the Lord. God spoke to him just like He called out to many in this family line.

Long before Abraham was called, Shelah was given the same orders as Abraham. He was told to leave his home to follow God’s leading. The difference is that he never left everything to follow God’s voice.

How do I know this? Instead of leaving his home, he named his son Eber – which means the land across the river. He must have reasoned, “I can’t go, but I’ll have my son obey God’s call.” It turns out that Eber didn’t leave home either.

Procrastination can keep you from God’s best. The fact is that this incident happened before the Tower of Babel. That means that it was before the giants moved into the Promised Land. God’s people could have had it free and clear with no wars or struggles – if they had obeyed God immediately.

We need to learn this lesson. The quicker we obey God, the easier it is to see the outcome He’s planned for us. If there’s something you were meaning to do for God, but were putting it off – now is the time. Don’t wait any longer. Obey God’s call; you’ll be glad you did.

Question: How have you experienced the blessing that come from obeying God quickly?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Word of God

 

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Let it Burn

forestI’ve been posting about how the Word of God can ignite a fire in our hearts. The question I want to answer today is; why would I want this?

As I look out across the body of Christ in our generation, I see a very interesting phenomenon. The strength of God’s people seems to be higher than it’s been for a long time.

People attend churches where the times of worship are deeply moving. The preaching of the Word is anointed. This is especially true with the accessibility of great men and women of God over the internet. From what I hear, prayer is an important part in the lives of many believers.

What bothers me is that in spite of this spiritual strength, the church as a whole is having almost no impact on society. Yes, I know there are individual local churches that are bringing increase into God’s kingdom – but a great many are not. If anything, it looks like God’s people want what the world is offering them.

This places us firmly in the category of being double-minded. Let the Scripture be our judge.

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
James 1:6-8

This is where we find ourselves. We have a seemingly deep spiritual walk, yet we lack the power of God. It’s because with our focus on both Christ and the world, we end up double-minded.

Our cry to God should be the same as the man who came to Christ on behalf of his son who needed deliverance.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24

I recently watched a special about forest fires. I learned that not all forest fires are bad. Sometimes there are small fires that burn up all the little leaves and twigs on the forest floor.

That’s a good thing, because if it doesn’t happen regularly this debris can pile up and start a huge fire later on. That kind of raging fire can destroy the whole forest.

What floored me was that the documentary called these little ones, “cleansing fires.” Then they made a statement – “We need cleansing fire!” It wasn’t a preacher who said that, but I found myself saying “amen” to a TV documentary.

Over time, as we live in the world, doubts and distractions build up in our lives without us ever knowing it. Over time, if left unchecked, they could destroy our walk with God. We need the cleansing fires of the Holy Spirit to burn away this accumulation of junk on a regular basis. This clears the way for the power of God to manifest in my life.

We must spend time in the Holy Spirit. We must hear His Word to us. Then as we meditate on that Word, we fan it into flame allowing it to consume all the deadwood of doubt that’s been piling up in our heart.

Question: What do you consider regular time with the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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Igniting the Fire

Fire DangerIn my last post I started talking about the followers of Christ in Luke 24. They were discouraged and double-minded concerning Jesus’ death. After encountering the risen Lord everything changed.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

They said that their hearts burned within them. In order to understand what happened we need to go back to that point. According to the men, it was when Jesus talked with them on the road. Let’s look at what He said to them.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27

As they were walking along the road Jesus explained the Scripture to them. What would you give to have an experience like that? It turns out that you can.

The word explained that’s used in this verse is very special. It’s the word that’s normally translated as interpretation; as in the spiritual gift of interpretation. This explanation that Jesus gave them was no boring lecture. It was an anointed Word straight from the Spirit of God.

That’s what will ignite the fire, not only in those early saints, but in us as well.

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
Jeremiah 23:29

God declares to us that His Word is like a fire. That’s the Word that Jesus proclaimed to these men on the road to Emmaus. As He spoke to them, the Lord lit a fire in their hearts.

We can have this same experience today. As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we must have a listening ear. When we hear a Word from the Holy Spirit it will ignite a fire in our heart.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue…
Psalms 39:3

God’s Word to us starts the fire burning. But as we meditate on it, the flames increase until it is all consuming.

I’ve heard people pray for God to “send the fire.” It’s not a matter of Him sending it, but of us receiving it. We need to hear a Word from God to get it kindled in our heart. Then meditate on that Word in order to heat it up.

Question: What has the Lord spoken to you lately by His Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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