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Category Archives: God’s Provision

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Today is the eve of the Thanksgiving Holiday.  So I’ve been reading and meditating on giving thanks to God.  Then I came across a verse that really struck me.

When you sacrifice a thank offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf.  It must be eaten that same day; leave none of it till morning. I am the Lord.
Leviticus 22:29-30

In the Old Testament, the thanksgiving offering was to be eaten in one day.  There was to be nothing leftover.  I thought that was funny.  That’s because, in our generation, Thanksgiving is known for having the most leftovers.

This spoke to me of how we should thank God.

We thank God for His daily provision.  Think about the Israelites in the desert.  God provided manna for them.  He told them to only gather enough for the day.

Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”  However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.  So Moses was angry with them.
Exodus 16:19-20

It’s amazing how much things stay the same.  God tells us to trust Him.  “Give us this day our daily bread.”  We want all of our provision – today.  God wants to provide step by step – so we must look to Him in faith.

Our walk with God is step by step.  We want to know the whole plan.  I need to thank God for what I know and trust Him for what I don’t know yet.  That’s a lesson of faith.

We may know where He’s bringing us to, but not the exact path.

When it comes to our blessings from God, we like to keep the leftovers.  Think about all of the things we’ve prayed for.  Then think about all the answers to those prayers.  My first thought is, “They belong to me!”

No – they belong to God.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10

We want to keep everything God gives us for ourselves.  But that’s pretty selfish.

God’s grace to us is for others as well.  We want to keep it all for ourselves.  God wants to bless us AND make us a blessing.  We want to store it all up for our own usage.

That’s the difference between a river and a swamp.  The Israelites learned it when their extra manna got smelly and full of maggots.

Finally, our thankfulness prompts others to thank God.  God desires our thankfulness to overflow into the lives of others.  It’s like a river of blessing flowing into those around us.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15

This is God’s will for us.  To overflow by the spirit.  We may still have leftovers this year.  But as we thank God remember not to hang on to the blessings that He wants you to move along.

Question: What are some blessings you can pass on to others?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

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Money and Humility

Fake MoneyThey say that the grass is always greener in the next yard. But is that the truth? What should our attitude be towards wealth?

If we want to do our best work for the Lord, then we need to deal with the issue of money. In our society you can’t function real well without it. So, we need to understand the Scriptural view. James had something to say about it.

The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.
James 1:9-10

The first thing that we understand from this verse is that James is not saying that we all need to be poor. He doesn’t contrast poor vs. rich, which references how much money you have. Instead, he’s dealing with humble vs. rich, which tells me that he’s talking about our attitudes.

I believe that God wants to provide abundantly for His children. But what I’ve learned is that He works with us individually. What I mean is this; abundant provision in the United States will look differently than abundance in Indonesia. Yet, in both places, the Lord blesses His people in order for them to be a blessing to others.

The problem is not about how much money you have, it’s your attitude towards it that makes the difference. I’ve seen people who have no real money – everything they own is on credit. Yet they act arrogantly as if they own the world and are better than everyone else.

I’ve also seen people who don’t have a lot, but they’re constantly blessing others. As a result, God is always continuing to provide for them.

We need to learn the lesson of attitudes. It’s never about how much money you have. There needs to be a walk of humility.

But what is humility? Some think that it means you have to see yourself as a nobody. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

At one point Paul told Titus to show true humility toward all men (Titus 3:2). The fact is that true humility is always directed at others and never at us. It’s how I need to view those around me.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3

Humility never puts itself down. Instead, it lifts others up. Okay, but what does that have to do with money?

If you think that your money makes you great and important, then you need an attitude adjustment. Money is a tool that we use to provide for our needs and to bless others. Having it doesn’t make you any better than you were without it.

James makes it clear in his next statement.

For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
James 1:11

One way or another we’re going to learn that the external is not what life’s all about. Either you develop the spiritual strengths that bring a mature walk or you find out that the material things you’re relying on are never enough.

If you put your hope in a big bank account, then it will fail you. Your willingness to trust God and bless others is what will see you through the challenges of life.

Question: How have you experienced that trusting God is better than a big bank account?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Faith, God's Provision, Spiritual Walk

 

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What You Really Lack

Question MarkI’ve been looking at the path to maturity in the book of James. I want to talk in a little more detail about the result.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:4

This is obviously something that James believes that we can attain to. But in understanding the words that he uses, it goes against what many people preach.

I believe that God’s Word is truth. That means that no matter what people say, I have to trust that God’s way is correct.

What do I mean by all this? Simply that the word James uses for complete is a compound word. It means having your whole allotment. It speaks about everything that God has for us.

God wants us to be mature, receiving everything that Jesus paid for on the cross. But James doesn’t leave it at that. He goes on to repeat himself by coming at it from the opposite direction.

He says that as a mature believer you lack nothing. That literally means that there is not even one thing missing.

As I said in the first post of this series, the Book of James was the first Scripture that the Holy Spirit gave to the church. I find this amazing. The very first thing that the Spirit reveals to His church is that He wants us mature…AND…that there’s no lack in the walk of maturity.

Why is it that so many Christians seem to be missing out on God’s best? I think that it’s because we don’t know what we’re really lacking. We’re under the impression that we need things, or money. But that’s not the lack – according to Scripture.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

Immediately after telling us that we should lack nothing, James tells us what to pray for. If there’s an area of need in our lives, then the deficiency is in our wisdom. At the point where we lack wisdom, there will be a material need.

This is clear from what Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Proverbs 3:13-16

You can sum up this passage by saying that if you possess Godly wisdom, then you don’t need anything else. Finances, a home, a good job, friends, and much more will be available to you if you can walk in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The reason should be obvious. Wisdom is the ability to make the right choices based upon the knowledge you’ve received.

We live in an age where we have all the knowledge we need, right at our fingertips. We can search out any answer we require on Google. The problem is that knowledge by itself doesn’t guarantee our success. You need to know what to do with it. That’s why God promises us His wisdom.

I’m so glad that there’s no qualification on the Lord’s promise of wisdom. Anytime, anywhere, I can ask Him and receive the wisdom I need.

If you lack anything, then it’s time for a new strategy. Instead of praying for “stuff”, ask God for the wisdom you need. Then be listening for His voice to guide you in the right paths.

Question: How has God’s wisdom helped you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in God's Provision, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Indonesian Testimony – Part 4

img_2010This will be the last in a series of posts about my recent trip to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. As you could see from the last three, it was a very eventful project.

After our time in the area of Sibolga, we flew back to the Medan airport to wait for our flight home. Little did we know that the best was yet to come.

As we reflected about our time on Sumatra, we hadn’t made any earth-shaking discoveries. We learned about the culture. We were made to understand the spiritual climate and the needs of the people.

Apart from the learning curve of the mission field, everything went as expected. We met with missionaries, pastors and church planters who were doing the work of the ministry. We saw the depth of lostness in the regions we visited. We heard about the needs, desires, and vision of the work being done there.

All of this gave us a clear picture of the role we could play in helping them in their mission. We now knew about the teams that would need to be sent to aid in their evangelism. We understood the need they had for finances and other resources. This is normal for a vision trip to a mission field.

Then it happened. Something so far from our experience, that it totally took us by surprise.

A pastor from a church in the Medan area gave us an envelope. We opened it. He explained that after our visit, his church took a vote. They decided to give us a seed offering of 1,000,000 rupiahs toward the church planting work being done in the Boston area.

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:1-4

This verse could have been written about the church in Medan. We viewed them as a mission field – in need of our support. Yet they understood a spiritual truth that many churches in the USA need to learn.

They feel called of God to win the lost and plant churches in the unreached areas of their country. In order to accomplish that, they’ll need God’s power, provision, and ability. They understood the concept that if they plant good seed in good soil – even though that soil might be on the other side of the world – it will bring in a harvest for them.

WOW! To say that we were blown away by their gift would be an understatement. In spite of their need, they gave a sacrificial gift to us because they have a view of the global mission of the Gospel. I have absolutely no doubt that their faith will be rewarded.

I now have no reservations in working with these wonderful men and women of God. The Lord is definitely going to accomplish great things through the Sumatra-Boston partnership. I’m glad and grateful that I can be a part of it from the very foundation.

Please pray for the work and the workers in that part of the world.

Question: In what areas have you planted spiritual seed outside your normal circles?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Faith, God's Provision, Missions, The Church

 

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Unseen Food

BreadThere are a lot of believers who don’t fully give themselves to the ministry. Many times it’s because they want their fulfillment from the world – immediate gratification. They feel that God’s rewards are too far off in the future.

But if you read the testimony of Scripture, you’ll find that this just isn’t true. God’s Word promises great rewards – here and now – for those who are faithful to their calling. I want to take a couple of posts to talk about this.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, we’re told about an incident in the life of Jesus when He met with a woman at the well. They have a long talk and she realizes who He is. Immediately she goes back to her village and returns with a crowd.

Jesus begins to minister to these people. The Disciples, who had gone off in search of lunch, come back with the food. Upon seeing the crowd around Jesus, they had no idea what had just happened.

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
John 4:31-32

Jesus makes a statement that totally confuses the disciples. He wants them to see that life is more than food. There are things unseen that are much more important.

What does this tell us about Jesus?

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
1 Corinthians 3:1-2

The word translated as solid food in this verse is the same word that Jesus used when He said he had food the Disciples didn’t know about. That tells me that Jesus operated in a mature walk. He’s our example for how to minister to the fullest extent.

The Lord then tries to explain what’s going on.

Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
John 4:33-34

There are two distinct things that Christ is talking about here. The first is to do the will of the Lord. That implies that you know the Father’s will. It involves spending time in His presence hearing what He wants you to accomplish.

The second part is just as important. That’s to complete the work that you’ve been assigned. It’s not enough just to hear from God. There must be a desire to do all that He speaks to you. That’s the spiritual food that Jesus is talking about.

This is important for us to understand. I’ll talk about it in more detail in my next post.

Question: What is the work God is calling you to accomplish?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in God's Provision, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Wilderness Provisions

Water JugsHow far can you trust God? Are you willing to place your complete confidence in Him? Or is there a point where you’ll “cut your losses” and try to get by on your own?

These are questions we all need to deal with as believers. The Lord has promised to be our everything. All we need for life and godliness is wrapped up in Him. But we have to be willing to surrender totally to His will.

The prophet Elijah had to learn this lesson.

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
I Kings 17:2-6

I’ve heard it said, and have found it to be true, that where God calls, He also equips. We sometimes seem to be under the impression that there are places that God can’t get to. We can also think that there are situations that are beyond His control.

After all, how can God provide if you’re out in the wilderness, far away from any human assistance? The above event in Elijah’s life makes it abundantly clear that God can and does provide even in the desert places.

You’re never beyond God’s reach. If you’re doing His will, then He promises that He’ll watch over you, caring and providing for your needs.

I recently had an encounter with God’s goodness in this way. A couple of weeks ago I went out to hike and pray on the Appalachian Trail in New York. My intent was to be out for over a week.

The hike was one of the worse struggles I’ve ever had in the woods. This was due to the drought that the Northeast is currently experiencing. Most of the places where you would expect to find water – springs and brooks – had dried up.

I found myself having to conserve water and was close to dehydration. But the fact is that even in the wilderness God had my back.

I was approaching a particularly tough climb, one the hikers call Agony Grind. I was badly in need of water. As I crossed a road and re-entered the woods at the foot of this steep section, I was totally amazed. A local “angel” had placed about 25 gallon jugs on the trail for hikers to enjoy (the above photo).

I took this as a blessing from God. He knew what I needed, and when I needed it the most. This proves to me once more that I can trust the Lord completely with my future.

Strive to be in the center of God’s will for your life, as Elijah was. That’s the place of abundance in Christ. Remember not to put the cart before the horse. Seek first to be in His will, then the rest will follow.

Spend time in His presence and meditate on what you know of God’s plan for your life. Seek to enter closer and closer to the heart of what God desires for you. This could mean the difference between an empty life and a life of abundance.

Question: What is an example of God’s faithfulness that you’ve experienced?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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Thanksgiving and God’s Plan for You

ThanksgivingMany people are preparing their homes for Thanksgiving. I think that the average American has lost sight of the true meaning. It’s become “Turkey Day” or a day for watching great football games. But many have erased God from the picture.

The world we live in is so uncertain. Finances, healthcare, government, crime, terrorists…society is on the edge of their seat. How can we be thankful in a time like this? The fact is, if we want to live victoriously, then it’s all about thankfulness. Here are some things to think about as we head into this holiday.

…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

First of all, giving thanks is God’s will. It doesn’t matter what you’re going through – good times or bad. Notice that He doesn’t say for all things, but in all things. We shouldn’t be moved by the visible. We must keep our eyes on the eternal.

The ups and downs of society and the weather are all temporary. In any situation I find myself in, I can give thanks and I’m in the will of God for me.

…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

This is a poor translation. The verse literally says always giving thanks OVER everything.

Giving thanks raises you over the situation. In the name of Christ we’re above our circumstances.

We see the problems and they look so big. Like the Israelites who spied out the Promised Land. They saw the giants. But Joshua and Caleb were looking through eyes of thankfulness because God was giving them the land.

It doesn’t matter how big the mountain is thankfulness puts you over it.

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

Giving thanks results in the peace of God. The literal Greek of this verse says that when you offer up thanksgiving in a worrisome situation then the peace of God will hold you above all understanding.

Then it will guard you; like having sentries all around you. It’s the peace OF GOD that will hold you above the circumstance.

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.
Psalms 50:23

Giving thanks prepares you for victory. You need to be prepared to receive God’s blessing. That’s the rule in the kingdom of God.

Somewhere along the way we’ve missed it. We’ve let the selfishness of society mold our thinking.

“When somebody does something nice, you thank them.”

Thankfulness after the fact is based upon doubt. The kingdom of God is based on faith. When do you thank God for your food – after you receive it? No – we see the food, thank God, and receive it.

By faith we see the answer to our need, thank God, and THEN receive it. This holiday, be thankful – future tense.

Question: What are the future blessings that you’re thanking God for right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Faith, God's Provision, Power of God

 

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