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Jehovah Jireh – The Mountain (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

Originally, this was the final post of a series about how Abraham positioned himself to receive God’s supernatural provision.  To go to the original series, click here.

At this point, we find Abraham with the knife raised, about to sacrifice his only son.

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.  “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Genesis 22:11-12

Abraham was able to come through this time of testing victoriously.  But there was something that always puzzled me.  God said, “Now I know that you fear God.”  I thought God knew everything, so why would He say that?

The Hebrew word for know is Yada, which means to know by seeing.  What God said was that now Abraham’s faith could be seen.  His fear of God was now obvious to everyone.

That’s the reason for trials and testing.  We may have faith quietly tucked away in our hearts.  Without works, it’s not yet a living faith.  It must be proved genuine.

It’s the trying of our faith that causes it to be seen by those around us.  That’s why Scripture tells us over and over again that without trials we’ll never become mature in Christ.

It was when his faith was tested, and proved genuine, that Abraham’s eyes were opened to the provision of God that was before him.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide.  [Jehovah Jireh]  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:13-14

Jehovah Jireh – the God Who provides.  There are many who think this name is a promise of unbridled wealth.  They think that it’s all about their physical comfort.  What they fail to see is that Jehovah Jireh is a place of supernatural provision in Christ.

As I said in the first post of this series, it’s a spiritual mountain that must be climbed.  To get to that place in God, it will require the same thing from us that it did of Abraham.

It will take a life of immediate obedience to God, perseverance, speaking our faith, and a decision to give up everything for the cause of Christ.  That’s the real mountain that Abraham had to climb.  The physical mountain was easy in comparison.

As with all things in Christ, God has already provided everything we need for life and godliness.  The problem is that we need to position ourselves to receive the provision of God.

That’s the point.  Why do we want God’s blessing?  To accomplish His will or ours?

If you want Christ to be exalted in you, then you’re in a position to receive.

Question: What is God calling you to do that you need His supernatural provision for?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on August 29, 2018 in Faith, God's Provision, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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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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The Abundant Life #abundantlife #wordofGod

ThanksgivingOver the past few posts we’ve looked at the parable of the seed planted in different soils.  The message Christ was focusing on should be clear.  In order to prepare my heart for a great harvest, I must come to the realization that the Word of God must be the single crop in my heart.

This is what Scripture means by being single-hearted.  When you have a single crop of the Word planted in your life, you’ve set yourself up for a plentiful harvest.

We have a spiritual epidemic across our nation.  There’s an abundance of the Word of God, with very little fruit being produced.  It’s time to weed out these distractions from the good, rich soil of our hearts.  What we need is the mindset of a farmer when it comes to the Word of God.

“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew 13:23

It’s clear from this verse that in order to see the harvest, I must understand the Word – see that it applies to my life.  I have to go beyond the person who lives too close to the road.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Luke 8:15

This literally says that I must hold it down fast; keep it secure in my heart.  It has to take root deeply in my life.  I must go beyond those who have rocky soil.

Mark’s Gospel adds that we have to accept the Word. (Mark 4:20)  This means to associate with, delight in.  If you delight in a crop, you’re going to keep it free of weeds.  You don’t want anything choking it out.

The bottom line is that you must persevere.  In actuality it’s never easy to keep a farm or a garden.  It always requires tending.

I must come to the point where I acknowledge that the Word of God is everything to me.  It’s the same principle as in the physical world.

In the past I’ve had a garden.  The fresh tomatoes, peppers, and squash were a welcome sight throughout the summer and fall.  I could proudly say, “This eggplant came from my garden.”  Here’s the difference – I wasn’t a farmer.  I enjoyed the fresh vegetables grown in my garden, but I didn’t need them to survive.

A true farmer, on the other hand, lives by what he grows.  His livelihood is tied to the crops that he produces.  His new car is a result of the crops he harvested.  The renovations to his home are a result of the harvest.  Everything he has is tied up in his ability to produce a bountiful crop.

We must pick up this same mindset in regards to the Word of God.  We live by the Word.  Everything we need for life and godliness is all tied up in the Word. How I relate to the Word determines my destiny.

Hopefully, you can see by Christ’s teaching that it’s not just a matter of getting the seed into the ground.  You can be planting huge amounts of seed and never see a single piece of fruit if you’re not following the basic principles of spiritual farming.

It’s all about getting the right seed into the right ground, then persevering to make sure that the seed can grow and produce fruit unhindered.

Question: How do you cultivate a “farmer’s mindset”?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Is there ever too much Scripture?

BiblesIn my last post I talked about the tendency of our generation to replace time with the Lord by studying Scripture.  I think that part of our problem is that we’ve become spoiled by an abundance of the availability of Scripture.

Bibles are everywhere.  I personally have about 20 Bibles.  That doesn’t even take into consideration all of the Bibles I have access to online.

Please understand what I’m saying.  This proliferation of Scripture is a great thing.  The availability and accessibility of the Bible to all people is a wonderful blessing.

You would think that with so much Scripture around, there would be more salvations, healings, and miracles.  Instead, what we see is a greater rise of worldliness – even among God’s people.

The problem is not that we need more Scripture.  We need more of the Word of God.  The more I hear from God, the more power I have to live for God.

The early church exemplified this.  Think about it.  How did they live?  When persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem, the believers fled in all directions.

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
Acts 8:4

Here’s the foundation for their power.  The Bible says that when they scattered, they preached the Word.  How do you see this in your mind’s eye?  What did they do, specifically?

Do you picture them walking into town, calling a meeting, and then saying, “Turn with me in your Bibles to John 3:16.”?  That’s how we do it; but did they preach that way?

If you know your history, then you understand that nothing could be further from the truth.  When this verse was written about them they had no Bibles.  They couldn’t preach Scripture.

“Wait a minute, Pastor Nick, they had the Old Testament.  They could use that to preach.”

First of all, most Christians of that day only knew a smattering of Old Testament Scripture.  Secondly, they would have no access to an Old Testament “Bible”.

The Scripture was written on scrolls with painstaking detail.  In order to afford a copy of the Scriptures you would need to be the equivalent of a multi-millionaire.  Then if you did purchase it, you would need a storage space the size of a small living room to house it.  Let’s face it, the normal Christian, on the run, had no access to a Bible.

Yet, we’re told that they “preached the Word” wherever they went.  What is the Word that they preached?  The answer is simple – they preached what they received in their intimate times with the Lord.  As they did, an amazing thing happened.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

Question: Is a lack of “signs” because God is no longer confirming, or because the church no longer preaching the Word?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Rainy Days

Psalm 65:9-12
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.  The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.  You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.  You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.  The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.

Most people don’t like dark, rainy days.  Too many of them in a row tends to bring on depression.  In the same way we don’t like trouble and testing.  We even call days of trial “dark days.”

No one is exempt from testing, however.  We must all face our own particular trials.  But remember, as we face resistance, we gain strength.

If I want to have a beautiful lawn or garden, then it must be watered.  Rain is a part of the cycle of life.  We may not like it, but we need it to survive.  There are many drought ravaged parts of the world that would do anything for a rainy weather pattern.

It is the same with our inner life.  The only way to strengthen our faith is through difficulties.  There is no other course.  Testing is the spiritual rain that waters the seed we have planted in our hearts.

The end result of all this is abundance – abundant faith, abundant strength, and abundant victory.  Nobody likes problems, but if we face them without complaining and with the realization that they will strengthen us, it will help keep our focus on the Lord and our joy intact.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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