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Tag Archives: asking God

Do You Know What You’re Asking?

So often we go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him for things.  Many times, in our asking, we don’t really think about what it will take for God to answer us.  There are even some times when we don’t want God to answer it in His way.

The people of Jerusalem are a good example of this.  They were very excited when Jesus entered their city in triumph the week before His crucifixion.

When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
Mark 11:7-10

This is a perfect example of people coming to God in prayer with their own thoughts on how they should be answered.  How often do we come before God in this way?

It all sounds very holy and good.  Hosanna!  It’s a cry for help to God.  It literally means “Save us now!!!”

What they wanted to be saved from and God’s desire were worlds apart.

They wanted to be freed from the oppression of the Roman Empire.  God wanted to set them free from the power of sin.  They wanted God to change their environment while God wanted to change them.

Then there’s the word blessed.  That’s a real churchy word.  It means to be worthy of praise.  In our society, we use the word Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!

In other words, they were saying, “Yaaaaay!  He’s coming in the name of the Lord!”  That should have been a clue to them.  Coming in the name of the Lord means that He’s not going to do what I want, but what God wants.

The next line shows us that they were expecting God to fulfill what they wanted to be done.  “Yaaaay!  The kingdom of David is coming!”  In their minds, it meant, “Down with Rome and up with Israel.”

They were not looking for the Messiah to change them the way God wanted to.  They were expecting Him to make their lives easier.  It’s sort of the same things that we like to pray.

“Lord, give me a better life without actually changing me.”

Of course, we would never use those exact words, but it’s what we mean sometimes.  Fortunately, the Lord knows what we need better than we do.

That last phrase they were chanting is the most telling.  Hosanna – save us now – in the highest.  What would it take for God to bring this about?  What were they really asking for?  They had no idea what would be needed for this to be accomplished.

In order for this salvation to take place, Christ had to go to the cross and shed His blood.  Then it had to be offered before God the Father.

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
Hebrews 9:24

I’m so glad that God doesn’t always give us what we ask for, but what we need.  That’s a great reason why we not only pray in our native language, but also in our heavenly language.  In that way, the deepest needs of our lives can be met.

Question: What are the greatest needs of your life that God has provided for you?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Understanding Brings More Questions

Have you ever noticed that the more you understand Scripture and your spiritual walk, the more questions you seem to have?  That’s normal.  Even the disciples of Christ experienced it.

In my last post, three of the disciples went with Jesus up a mountain and saw Him transfigured into His heavenly glory.  Then the Lord explained to them about His coming death and resurrection.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.
Mark 9:9-10

Of course, looking back to this time, the phrase “rising from the dead” seems pretty simple to understand.  That’s especially true since Jesus had already started preparing all of His disciples on this subject.

I think the problem is that none of them wanted to believe that the way to our salvation was for Jesus to physically die.  They were in denial about the literal meaning of what the Lord was saying.

But as they were discussing this, more questions were arising.

And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
Mark 9:11

I think that’s funny.  They couldn’t accept the literal teaching that Jesus had to die.  And yet, they couldn’t grasp that Elijah’s appearing was symbolically fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist.  It’s amazing the way our minds work.

We always think along the lines that are most comfortable for us.  That’s why if we don’t like what a passage of Scripture is saying, we ask for peoples’ opinions about it.  Then, we go with the explanation that disturbs us the least.

Jesus answers their questions – both the spoken and unspoken ones.

Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things.  Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected?  But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
Mark 9:12-13

The Lord takes the time to explain about His ministry and the ministry of John the Baptist.  Why is this important to us?

I think that too many times we’re under the impression that you can never question God.  We’re told not to ask Him about what’s going on in our lives.  They say that it shows a lack of faith.

On the contrary, I see in the life of Christ a willingness to answer the tough questions.  We serve a big God.  He’s not intimidated by anything we may ask.

Of course, attitude is everything.  I’m talking about asking with a humble heart.  I’ve received answers to these types of prayers.

“Lord, why am I going through this?  Is there something in me that needs to change?”

“What do I need to do to grow in your grace?  How can I be more like You, Jesus?”

I’ve found that God usually answers these prayers.  But you have to be willing to accept whatever He tells you…even if it’s uncomfortable.

It blesses me to know that the Lord wants a conversational relationship with His children.

Question: What have you learned from asking God questions?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Fights and Quarrels

Are there people in your life that you just don’t get along with? Whenever you’re with them, an argument breaks out? Did you ever stop to think that it might not be totally their fault? At least that’s what James tells us in his book.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
James 4:1

James actually says that wars and fights start within us. They’re caused by our own desires that are not lined up with the will of God. When our flesh wants something, that’s when the trouble starts.

I would say that most of our trouble with others is caused by something that we desire. As I pastored over the years, I’ve counselled many people who were in conflict with others. They always thought they were in the right. And they’re reasoning always sounded the same.

“I expect to be treated like…”

“I deserve…”

“I expect them to…”

“Why don’t they just…”

In your quarrels with others, you can fill in the blanks for your particular situation. All of those statements revolve around unmet expectations. Expectation is simply another word for desire. It’s your unmet desires that start the problems.

Quarrels and fights are all about us not getting what we want. James goes on talking about it.

You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.
James 4:2

Our trouble is that we put our expectations in people. No matter how good that person is, they’ll let you down at some point. That’s because we’re all human. Any expectation – desire – you place on someone else, will eventually hurt you.

That’s why the only real expectations we should have must be towards God. He’s the only one who won’t let you down.

But wait a minute; it doesn’t end there. I’ve heard many people complain that God doesn’t give them what they want.

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

The problem might have something to do with your motives. It’s all about your pleasure. What if your pleasure is not God’s will for you in this situation?

Throughout the book of James, so far, he’s been talking about hearing from God. We spend time in the Lord’s presence to hear a Word from Him. A Word that cleans us. A Word that gives us the wisdom of Heaven.

Do you even know if what you’re asking for is God’s will for you? If it is God’s will, do you know that this is the right timing for it? That’s what spending time with the Holy Spirit is all about. He changes us in His presence so that we desire what He desires. He also gives us His peace so that we accept His timetable.

That’s the basis of a stress free, and quarrel free, life.

Question: What are some blessings that you’ve received from the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Your Heart Determines Your Vision

heart CrossI’m posting about walking in God’s vision for your life. Specifically, I’m looking at insights from Nehemiah. As Israel was returning from captivity, he heard a report that Jerusalem was badly in need of restoration.

As a response, Nehemiah spent time in the Lord’s presence seeking His plan. We saw in my previous posts that this is where spiritual vision is born.

The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
Nehemiah 2:4-5

This is the question that needs to be answered. What is it that you want? Do you even know what you want – really?

So often we find ourselves asking God for things that we’re incapable of handling correctly. There are churches seeking God to save hundreds of people. The problem is, that if 30 people were saved, they’re not ready to handle discipling, teaching and counseling them all.

Nehemiah knew that he had to seek God to find out what it was that he really wanted. He had the favor of the king. That was the equivalent of a blank check from a billionaire. That was a big responsibility.

We need to realize that our vision is what we truly want. That’s why seeking the Lord for it is so important.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Many people quote this verse and apply it incorrectly. First of all, the word delight means to be pliable, soft, yielding to God. If your ministry to the Lord is delight-driven, then you’re open to following wherever He leads.

If that’s what’s on the inside of you, then God will give you heart desires. Please understand this. He will NOT give you what your heart desires. He will put desires into your heart that line up with His plan for you.

That’s what will propel you forward in your walk with Christ. As you spend time with Him, you will begin to delight in His ways. Then, over time, you will start to desire what He desires. You’ll be seeing the world through the Lord’s eyes.

That’s what it takes to walk in God’s vision for your life. It’s an impartation of His heart into yours.

Question: How have your desires changed by spending time with the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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