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Are You Walking with God?

BeamOne of the most important concepts for any believer to grasp is walking with God. The fact is that God wants relationship. Do we respond to the Lord on that level?

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

We see this all through the Bible – in both the Old and New Testaments. God wants to walk and converse with His people.

We see it in the life of Adam; the first man. God would meet with him and they would walk together in the garden. Even after all these years, God is still looking for someone who’s willing to walk with Him.

I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
Leviticus 26:12

This is the cry of God’s heart. It’s one of the greatest privileges that we have as Christians. To be able to relate to the Creator of the universe.

And yet, only a small percentage of people avail themselves to this great offer. It’s probably because in our human nature we want things our way. Oh, yes, I want the blessing of God on my life. But I want them on my terms.

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
Amos 3:3

This is the big problem of walking with God. It happens over and over in our Christian experience. Walking together requires agreement.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m walking with other believers or the Lord Jesus. The two of us have to be in agreement. The thing about God is; He’s not going to change His attitude about anything. I’m the one who’ll have to change in order for us to agree.

That’s why it’s all about relationship. It’s a growing process. There has to be a level of trust that’s only built up over time.

I don’t learn to trust God by hearing one sermon and making a decision. It only comes through quality time spent with Him in His presence. It’s developed as we do life together – the Lord and me.

There’s a lot we need to understand about relationships. They’re always a learning experience. Relationships grow and mature over time. When it comes to relating with God, there are aspects to it that only He can teach us.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Psalms 86:11

The more we allow Him to show us, the closer our walk with Him becomes. But for this to take place we have to give Him our undivided attention. Time spent in the Spirit is never wasted. It reaps eternal dividends.

I want to talk about this important concept for a couple of posts.

Question: What are some things that you’ve learned in your walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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How to Enter the Place of Blessing

MountainI’ve been posting about how we struggle against God’s will sometimes. Surrendering to the Lord is really the only option. That’s the place of blessing.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.
Genesis 32:30-31

Peniel – it’s a place of blessing, yet a place of struggling. Peniel means, “face of God.”

We use that term lightly. We say, “I’m going to seek the face of God.” What we mean is that we’re going to pray. It should be obvious by now that the struggle comes not by prayer alone, but when we find ourselves before God’s face.

Suddenly our life comes into sharp contrast with the life of Christ. We see how far we’ve fallen short of God’s standard. We hear the Spirit of God calling us to change. We must count the cost. Is God’s destiny for my life worth the effort it will take to lay hold of it?

No one has yet been disappointed by his or her destiny in God. You won’t be the first. Commit to the change. Set your face to the vision God has given you.

The verse says that after that day, Jacob always walked with a limp. His life had an evidence of the change he underwent. The changes you go through in your walk with Christ should be just as plain.

Sometimes our decision to do God’s will is the greatest struggle of our lives. Usually it’s because of the good things that we have to lay down in order to follow God’s plan. More often than not, we have to overcome ourselves.

The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it this way…

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:11

In talking about entering God’s rest, he tells us that it will require some effort – a struggle. This is because our flesh fights against entering that place of reliance upon the Holy Spirit. In the natural, we want to take the credit for the blessings we enjoy.

In reality, we must do what it takes to put down the old man, and pick up God’s will and plan for our lives. That’s usually where the biggest struggle comes into play. But if we’ll overcome ourselves, then we find that we’re in the place of rest and blessing in the Holy Spirit.

Really seek God’s face today. Seek His life-changing power. Be prepared to give your all in exchange for His blessing.

Question: What’s your biggest struggle right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Power of God, Prayer

 

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Know When to Give Up

SunriseIn my last post I talked about the times we find ourselves wrestling against God’s plan for us. We’re looking at Jacob as an example of this.

Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Genesis 32:26

No, God wasn’t getting tired. No, God wasn’t going to turn into a pumpkin when the sun came up. Why then did He impose a time limit? Purely and simply out of His love for Jacob. God knew that having fought all night, Jacob was getting to the end of his strength.

The Bible teaches elsewhere that God will not allow our struggles to go beyond our ability to endure. This is how God worked with Jacob. He made Jacob fight to the end of His strength. Up to this point, Jacob always found the easy way out of his troubles.

The scheme, the bribe, the fixed fight, whatever it took to win without breaking a sweat – that’s who Jacob was. God, however, knew he was better than that. He was created to father a nation. Through this experience God taught Jacob that he was able to overcome by his inner strength and determination alone, without all the scheming.

God wants to do that with us as well. He’ll allow us to get to the end of our strength so that we’ll cry out to Him. Don’t drop out of your fight too quickly. Make the determination to lay hold of the prize God has called you to obtain.

The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
Genesis 32:27-29

You would think that because he wrestled with God, Jacob would get in trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth. God doesn’t care if you struggle with Him as long as you learn the lesson He’s trying to teach you.

Up to this point in his life, Jacob had been trying to buy, fight, and steal his way to the blessing of God. Now he was to learn that the only way to obtain it is by freely receiving it from the Lord’s own hand.

He spent his life fighting God and man. Now God tells him that he has overcome. Overcome what? He has finally overcome himself. He now has the control to take his life and lay it at the feet of the Lord.

How do we know this? God gives him a new name – Israel – that means, “conquered by God.”

Perhaps you’ve been struggling in your walk with the Lord. Maybe there is an area in your life you’ve been refusing to turn over to God.

It’s time for you to give up and receive the blessing God’s been waiting to give you. Today, allow yourself to be overcome by God.

Questions: Are there areas, right now, where you’re struggling against God? What will it take for you to give up?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Power of God, Prayer

 

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America Needs Forgiveness #prayforrevival

TreeI’m posting about the link between revival and forgiveness.  In my last post we looked at II Chronicles 7:14, which said that God’s people have the responsibility to pray and seek the face of God.  Then God would hear, forgive, and send healing and revival to our land.

Yes, revival really is up to us.  The Bible says, “If my people, called by My Name will do what’s necessary.”  Then we would see the healing of God on our land.  This is an important concept for us to learn.

The land and God’s people are linked.  This has always been true.  When Israel was going into captivity, God told them pray for Babylon to prosper.  If things go well for the nation that we live in, then they’ll go well for us.

It’s a very selfish thing for us to only seek God’s blessing for ourselves.  We need to care about the people around us.  We are the only ones who can intercede for our nation.  That’s where revival starts.

We need to understand the principles of how forgiveness relates to revival. Daniel understood the concept.

“Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name.  We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, hear and act!  For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Daniel 9:18-19

This kind of repentance takes humility. Daniel was righteous. He wouldn’t eat the king’s meat and he kept himself pure. Of all Israelites, Daniel had the least to repent of. Yet he is crying out for forgiveness. We have to understand that he wasn’t asking for people to be forgiven, but for the nation.

Nations need forgiveness. I’m not talking about the people, but the nation itself. Throughout the Bible we see that God treats nations like people.

Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
Romans 14:22b

Nations are judged by what they allow or don’t allow.  Just because a nation says something is legal, doesn’t make it right.  So if my nation is allowing things to be done that are evil, then God’s people need to intercede for forgiveness.  This is where true revival is birthed.  It comes to pass when we take responsibility for our nation.

It’s up to God’s people to pray for forgiveness for their nation.  This is where the battle for the USA will take place.  It’s in the place of prayer.  We need to be interceding for our nation.  Then we’ll see the hand of God moving on the hearts and lives of those around us.

Question: What do we need to repent of for our nation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Prayer, Revival

 

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Are You Setting Yourself Up for Offense? #wordofGod

RockyI’m posting about the different “heart soils” in Luke 8.  Today I’ll deal with the rocky soil.  This is about rocks with only a thin layer of dirt to cover them.  The seed germinates and springs up quickly.  But just as quick, the sun comes out, scorches the plant, and it withers and dies.

Jesus explained the spiritual application this way.

“Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
Luke 8:13

This verse literally says is that these people receive the Word in the middle of joy.  It sounds like camp meeting to me.  There’s excitement in the air.  The whole atmosphere of the meeting is charged with a heavenly joy.  It’s easy to believe in a place like that.

We’re not talking about people who don’t believe what they hear.  They believe it’s for them.  The problem is that what has sprung up so quickly, also withers just as quick.  What is it that withers?

For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25

What withers is the glory of man.  This type of person hears the Word and believes that it’s “all about me.”  That’s why there’s all the joy and excitement.  They think that the Word is for my blessing, health, and prosperity.  Forget about what God’s ultimate purpose is.  It’s me that’s important.

The Lord says that in this rocky heart there is some faith exhibited for a while, but it doesn’t last long.  Eventually trials and testings will come.  When this happens, Jesus literally says that they will become offended.  Why does Christ use this word?

When I go through a time of testing, I realize that it’s not all about me.  I get offended that I’m not the center of all the attention.  I don’t want the spotlight on Christ and what He’s trying to accomplish in me.  I want the priority to be my comfort and happiness.  The result is that I get offended and walk away from the Lord and His plan for my life.

If I want my heart prepared for an abundant harvest, I must assume that the Word of God spotlights Jesus Christ.  I must desire to know His heart.  There are many who read the Bible and pursue God only for what they can get from Him.  The big question on their minds is, “What’s in it for me?”

Instead, we should be focusing on God’s eternal purpose – to draw all humanity into His kingdom.  The blessings of God are great, but they’re not an end in and of themselves.

God has promised us prosperity, but it’s to finance the spread of the Gospel.  God has promised us health and healing, but it’s so that we can minister the Good News of His love to the best of our ability.

All the promises of God should be viewed through the filter of God’s will and plans.  That’s what’s missing in the shallow faith of rocky soil.  We need to keep our hearts clear of the rocks of self-centeredness.

Question: How is God working through you to bring about His purpose?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Jehovah Jireh is a Place

MountainThere are a lot of people who write about how you can have the blessing of God on your finances.  I’ve been feeling lately that the Lord wants me to write about this truth for a couple of weeks in my posts.  I’m hoping that it will be a benefit to you.

There’s a name of God that gets a lot of attention.  Jehovah Jireh – which is Hebrew for the God Who provides.  This is one of the names of God that has inspired so many songs and sermons.

It was on the mountain of sacrifice that Abraham used this term for God.  This was the first and only time it was used in Scripture.

It happened just after God stopped Abraham from offering Isaac as a sacrifice.

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

There are many people who view this name as a promise of provision.  What they fail to see is that Jehovah Jireh is not a promise but a place.  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.

Some time later God tested Abraham.  He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Genesis 22:1-2

Of all the things that come with the spiritual walk, testing has got to rank among my least favorites.  Yes, I understand from the Scripture that unless my faith is tried and tested it’s worthless.  But that still doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the process.

When we think about Abraham, we usually refer to him as the “father of those who walk by faith.”  A lot has been written about the faith of Abraham.  I’ve heard many people say that they aspire to have that same level of faith.

What’s sometimes forgotten, however, is that along with great faith comes great testing.  Abraham was no exception.  Because his faith in God had risen to such a high degree, he endured trials that I can’t even imagine going through.

Just as he is our example of faith, Abraham can give us insight into how to stay strong under testing.  For the next few posts we will take a close look at this aspect of his walk with God.

As we take this journey with Abraham, I hope that you’ll find that place of abundant provision in Christ.

Question: Have you noticed that with each new step of faith, you enter another phase of testing?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision

 

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Are you a Transient Christian?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my last post I talked about the differences between the power of the law and the power of the Holy Spirit.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

There’s another big difference between the law and the Spirit.  When you walk by the Spirit, you are totally dependant upon the Spirit.  The law, on the other hand, allows you to be self-sufficient.  All through Scripture we see this truth.  If we are to minister for Him, then we must work in His strength.  There is no other way to operate in the Spirit of God

The law gives you the appearance of self-sufficiency.  That is, until the batteries die.  That’s why it’s so hard to reach people in legalistic churches.  They know what they’ve done to keep the law – to live right.  They know the effort they’ve put forward.

“I’m okay because I’ve served God faithfully for forty long years.”

That brings us to the final difference that I want to cover.  It’s actually the same as the last one, but from a little different perspective.  To understand this we could look at the whole of the Gospel of John, chapter 15.  Instead, I’ll only look at a few verses that emphasize the point I’m trying to make.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

REMAIN IN CHRIST!  That’s the crux of the whole matter.  In order to be entrusted with the power of God, we must remain in the Spirit of Christ.  This is what trips most of us up.  We don’t want to remain.

The law is a little more lenient, it allows you to be transient.  What’s transient?  Now there’s a word you don’t hear very often, but it describes the situation exactly.  Let me explain it to you.

My parents used to have a summer home in the state of Maine.  It was in a trailer park in the woods.  We used to have a lot of fun going up there each year.

My parents spent most of the summer and fall there.  They knew all of their neighbors and had a wonderful time living there.  While my family and I visited, we heard about another section of the park, with a different sort of people.  That was the “transient section.”

The transient section of the park was reserved for those who would come for only a week and then leave to go somewhere else.  They didn’t remain there permanently, as my parents did.  Instead, they wanted to come and go as they saw fit.  This seems to be a problem of epidemic proportions in the body of Christ today.

We don’t want to remain in the Spirit.  We want the freedom do what we want and have the blessing of God on our lives.

According to Christ, it is as we remain in Him that we enter the place of power.

Question: Why does remaining in Christ sound so difficult to this generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Power of God

 

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