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Bad Examples

We’re continuing our look at the example of Israel.  The way they served God in the wilderness should be a sign to us of how NOT to do it.

There are three specific characteristics that Paul wants us to beware of.

We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did — and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.  We should not test the Lord, as some of them did — and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did — and were killed by the destroying angel.
1 Corinthians 10:8-10

The first thing that you need to know is that we’re now under God’s grace.  I’m very glad that I was born on this side of the cross of Christ.  We don’t have to worry about plagues and destroying angels anymore.

On the other hand, just because God won’t immediately judge us, doesn’t change how strongly the Lord feels about these sins.  Participating in these activities is displeasing to God.  Our goal should be to live a life that’s well-pleasing before Him.

The first thing listed is sexual immorality.  I guess nothing changes.  That’s probably the biggest area in which Christians refuse to change.

This covers all sexual activity outside of a marriage relationship between a man and a woman.  Even pornography is included in this.

This is a huge stronghold in the lives of many believers, yet not many people talk about it.  Maybe they’re afraid that they may lose church members or followers.  But I can’t just gloss over it, because some of your future rewards depend upon the purity of your walk before God.

The next issue he talks about is testing the Lord.  This problem was recorded in the book of Numbers, chapter 21.   It was all about the people being impatient with the Lord.

When we pray, we want the answer right now.  With Israel, it got to the point where they accused God of sending them into the desert to die.  They also told Him that they hated the manna that God was providing for them.

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming impatient as you wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled.  It will develop ungratefulness for the things that the Lord is already doing in your life.  Rest assured that the Lord will fulfill His plan in you.

Finally, there’s a temptation for us to grumble about where we are in life.  This word means to speak a complaint in almost inaudible tones.

That’s something that used to really bother me as a pastor.  Someone would approach me and say something like, “Brother Joe is mad at you and has now left the church.  You need to talk to him.  He’s telling everybody mean things about you.”

The funny thing is that when I called Joe, he tells me, “Oh Pastor Nick, I’m not mad at you.  Who would say that about me?  I love your ministry.  I haven’t been in church because I have to take care of some family issues.”

Grumbling is when you voice your complaints to people who aren’t a part of either the problem or the solution.  You’re just looking for someone to tell you that you’re right and the other person is wrong.

Unfortunately, grumbling will open the door to the attack of the enemy.  Don’t give any ground to the devil.

The example of Israel is a negative one.  But they show us certain activities that the Lord hates.  He won’t kill you with a lightning bolt from heaven.  But your ministry will be hindered until you repent.

Question: Why is the walk of purity better, even though it’s a tougher road?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on May 8, 2019 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Patiently Complaining?

In my last post we saw what James taught about the Second Coming of the Lord. It will require us to be patient. At this point it’s taken about 2000 years for the fulfillment.

But there is still more to learn about patience.

Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
James 5:9

James tells us to wait patiently without grumbling. Now, that word grumbling was a colloquial term that meant to sigh, to murmur or to say something inaudibly.

It’s just like when someone gets you mad and you speak under your breath.

“I don’t know about that person … I don’t want to do it his way … who does he think he is.”

Many of us act that way, but the Word says that we shouldn’t get caught up in that type of attitude. We shouldn’t be grumbling and complaining about one another.

Why not? “Because the Judge is at the door.” We enjoy the ability we have of always judging everybody else and then walking away.   We’ve always got something to say about somebody.

I know that in my own life it’s so much easier to give myself the benefit of the doubt. But when someone else does something I don’t like – they have no excuse. It may be human nature to see things in that way, but it’s not Christ-like.

Be careful, because the Lord sees everything, and He’s the One who’ll make the final, righteous judgment on the case.

Jesus, especially in these Last Days, wants us to walk in unity of spirit. And so He wants us to be careful not to be found grumbling and judging each other because we know that the real Judge is at the door. We’ve got to be found doing the work that He’s called us to do and not mistreating one another.

There’s one more aspect of patience that James deals with.

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:10-11

Especially in these last days, we need to be patient in the face of suffering. Please understand, that word suffering literally means suffering evil. It about the patience we need to be salt in our current evil society.

I have to understand that unsaved people are going to do evil. It’s all a part of their human nature passed down through their DNA. It’s not my place to judge them or tell them what they’re doing is wrong.

I must be praying for them. While God is at work, I need to be patient with them. Then, as I live openly for Christ, I expect the Holy Spirit to convict them and open their heart to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t take any character to gripe and complain about everything that people are doing wrong in our society. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit wait patiently for an opportunity to be a true witness for Christ.

The fact is that people don’t get saved because you tell them how bad and sinful they are. They seek salvation when they see how good and loving the Savior is. The key is that the only place they’re going to see Christ’s goodness is in us.

Question: When have you had to be patient in the face of evil?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Legalism, Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Water in the Wilderness

Exodus 15:22-25
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur.  For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)  So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood.  He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them.

When walking through the desert, water is a great necessity.  The effects of dehydration can be severe.  In the above verse, Israel found themselves having to trust God for their most basic needs.

Sometimes in life we go through wilderness experiences.  In the natural we can plan ahead to have the necessary food and water.  But in our life-journey we occasionally run into unexpected droughts.  These are the times we must trust God to feed our souls.

Grumbling and complaining about the situation that we find ourselves in is not the way out.  The solution is to walk in faith.  We know God will not fail us – He will see us through.  Why then would we want to wallow in self pity, when in reality, that only makes matters worse?

You must seek the Lord, especially if you are going through a hard time right now.  Spend some time in His presence, and obtain spiritual refreshment.  Let Him strengthen your inner man.  Renew yourself before His throne.  In that way you will always have an abundant supply, no matter how bad the situation.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Running with Horses

Jeremiah 12:5
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?  If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”

God calls us to do greater things with Him than we could have ever done without Him.  We can go above and beyond our abilities, because of His strength working in us.  In this section of Scripture, Jeremiah is complaining about why the wicked prosper.  It was upsetting him to the point that it was affecting his work for God.

Sometimes we get distracted by the lack of commitment that we see in others.  What God tells him applies to us as well.  God’s reply to Jeremiah is that if you are turned aside that easily – just by looking at what others are doing (or not doing) – then you will really be thrown off when you see how high I’ve actually called you to go.

It’s like the person who says that their dream is to walk the Appalachian Trail, yet all the while they complain about the number of stairs leading to their front door.  Take some time to refocus your sights on the high calling God has for you.  And remember, if you let the small stuff get you down, you will never move on to the great things.

Take the time to refocus your thoughts in the presence of the Lord.  Let His plan for you fill your vision.  In this way you will not be distracted from completing the assignment God has for you.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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A Table in the Desert

Psalm 78:19
They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?

Once again we find that Israel is complaining.  They seemed to have spent most of their time angry and grumbling at God.  Usually they didn’t even give God the opportunity to prove Himself before they went off on their own tirade.

In this instance they didn’t think that He was capable of feeding them all in the wilderness.  They were complaining over what they saw as a short supply of food.  God, however, once again proved that He was more than able to abundantly supply their needs.

Hopefully you have enough food as you read this.  The truth is that our life is more than just being well fed physically. There is a deeper hunger that natural food, no matter how plentiful, cannot ever satisfy.

The issue I want to deal with today is not food for our body, but food for the soul.  As with your body, God is equally able to feed your spiritual man.  As we come into His presence each new day we can have a rich feast awaiting our soul.  God has already provided everything we need for life and godliness.  It is up to us to believe God and pull up to the table.

Spend some quality time with the Lord today.  Let Him satisfy your inner hunger.  Go your way rejoicing in the goodness and bounty of the Holy Spirit working in you.  Find out for yourself that God can truly spread a table in the wilderness.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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