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God the Chess Player

ChessI’m posting a series about resting in the Lord. Of course you can’t talk about rest without mentioning the Sabbath.

For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”
Hebrews 4:4

At this point the writer of Hebrews begins talking about the Sabbath – the seventh day. There’s a lot of controversy in the body of Christ over the concept of the seventh day. I believe that if you just read the Scripture with open eyes it will go a long way to clear things up. It’s obvious that in this verse the writer is referring to the creation account in Genesis.

Once everything was in place, God rested from His work. That’s how God rests. God entered His rest knowing that the world had been established such that everything would turn out as He had planned. This is why the principle of God’s rest is so elusive to us.

This is just the opposite of how we view it sometimes. By observation, we get the wrong impression. We think that each time someone or the enemy makes a move; God has to find a way to answer it. That is absolutely NOT the way it is.

Think about a master chess player. When they play chess, they plan 20 or more moves ahead. Then there comes a point in a match when one will declare, “Checkmate in 5 moves.” That means that the board is set in such a way that no matter what the opponent does, the victory is a sure thing.

This is what God did at Creation. As He formed the world, God knew every choice every person could ever possibly decide. He also knew how to bring about the end He desired no matter what choice anyone made. It will all turn out as planned.

He established the world so that He knows all the right moves to make to bring about His victory at the right time. By saying that God rested on the seventh day, we mean that at that point God announced, “Checkmate in 7000 years.” (Or however long it will take!)

God has been resting ever since that day. God was still resting when the children of Israel went into Egypt. That was also the case when they crossed the Red Sea. He was resting when Israel went into Babylonian captivity, and when they returned. God was resting when Jesus Christ walked the earth, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. He was resting on the day of Pentecost. God is resting right now. How can this be?

The Scripture above literally says that God rested off of His work. I believe that this means that His rest is separate from His actions. This brings up the question, can you rest and work at the same time? That and other questions will be answered as we continue to look at this concept of rest. At this point we only need to understand that when everything was prepared and in place, God rested.

God is at rest, not fretting or fussing over the future. If that’s the case, then why should I worry about how things are going to turn out? I can place my confidence securely in the Lord, knowing that He’s already worked out my problem.

Question: Why do believers worry so much about the future?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our Excellent God

BeamI believe that the word excellent is overused in our society.  In my last post I talked about what excellence is.  It doesn’t just mean good, or even great.  It means that what’s described is far ahead of all the others.  It’s not a word that should be used lightly.

It’s a descriptive word that should probably be reserved for God, and the things associated with Him.  We serve a God of excellence.  I just want to take a post and show the excellent God that we serve.

The very names that God uses about Himself point to the fact of His excellency.  Here are some examples from the Old Testament:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

In this verse God is called the Most High.  This is a term of comparison.  There are many things in the universe that could be considered “high.”  But of all the high things and people that exist, God is the Most High.  This fits perfectly into the definition of excellence.

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
Psalm 148:13

Exalted and above are also words of comparison.  They relate the Lord to His surroundings.  They show that He alone is in a position of supreme excellence.  There is no other god that can even compare to our God.

My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
Song of Songs 5:10

In the Song of Songs, written by Solomon, an allegory of the marriage between Christ and His church is put forward.  Christ is referred to here as outstanding among ten thousand.  This is an obvious comparison showing the excellence of Christ.

In the beginning God…
Genesis 1:1

Before everything, there was God.  All of creation sprang from His Word.  He’s at the head of all He created.  That’s a perfect description of excellence.

When we use the word excellent, we should be careful to understand it.  We mustn’t water it down to simply describe something that pleases us.  We should always be aware that we serve a God who is the very definition of excellence.

Christ truly is the Excellent One.

Question: How would you describe the Excellency of our Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

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You are Better than a Tree

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.  Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath.  Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.
Isaiah 44:22-23

On Christmas Day – at least in my part of the world – I woke up to snow in the air.  It was a beautiful sight to see a new blanket of white on the frozen ground.  I was then blessed to spend the morning opening presents with my wife and children.  God is so good!

Sometimes it just seems like everything is right with the world.  “The hills are alive with the sound of music.”  We look around, and all of nature seems to be singing God’s praise.  Actually, this is a product of our attitude.  It happens when we start the day meditating on what God has done for us.

At least for believers, that should be an easy thing this time of year.  We are reminded of all the Lord has done for us.  Taking on our humanity and living among us was truly a special gift.  Then, bearing our sins to the cross and rising for our salvation was something we couldn’t have even imagined that God would be willing to accomplish for us.

What an incredible thing!  To have your sins forgiven.  To know that the blood of Christ washes you clean.  To be able to approach His holy presence without fear of condemnation.  It’s no wonder that Isaiah felt like all creation was bursting into song before him.

The privilege is ours now to run into His majestic presence.  Don’t start the day without spending time with Him.  Commit the day ahead to His care.  Let Him establish and maintain you.  Bring praise and worship before Him.  Don’t you dare let the forests and mountains outdo you in the praise of His glorious name!

Question: Is there something you would like to praise God for right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Encouragement, Worship

 

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Understanding is a Scary Subject

LightningThis is my third post talking about why the evolution-creation debate is so emotional.  I have been dealing with the subject of understanding.  I believe this is at the very heart of the issue.  What is it about understanding that scares so many learned people?

The apostle Paul gives us some insight.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
Romans 1:18-19

I guess the real question is, how has God made it plain?  Atheists say that they can look at creation and not even think about a God.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Romans 1:20

There’s that key phrase again – being understood.  This is what society fears the most.  If you apply understanding to what you see around you, it will lead you to God.  There’s no way around it, understanding will bring you face to face with God.

The Lord made it impossible to use understanding to arrive at the conclusion that we are here by the evolutionary process.  Applying understanding to the world around us will never lead to a belief in random chance.  How does that theory come about?

It starts with the foundation of atheism – I don’t want there to be a God.  Therefore, I have to come up with some other way for us to be here.  I must now find an explanation for how we could have gotten here if there were no God.  Of course, all the facts won’t fit into my theory, but at least I can explain how there can be life without God – even if it means I put my understanding on hold.

That’s why evolution will always be a theory.  It can never be proven, because there are too many things that it can’t explain when taken all together.  All it can do is provide a bit of consolation for those who don’t want to believe in God.

This is where the frightening world of understanding comes in.  Understanding will cost you something.  It brings responsibility with it.  Once I understand that there is a God that I must answer to, the rest of my life is affected by this knowledge.  That’s why the quest for understanding is one which is not undertaken by many.

It’s my prayer that you are one of the few who seek to understand the truth.

Question: How does your understanding of God affect your lifestyle?

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Creation

 

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The Three Main Functions of the Mind

DonkeyIn my last post I started talking about the subject of Creation vs. Evolution.  I believe there’s a very important issue involved that no one seems to talk about.

We started by looking at a passage from the book of Hebrews.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

Actually, it all boils down to one key phrase – we understand.  What does it mean to understand?

The Bible talks about three basic concepts that deal with how the mind functions.

The first is knowledge.  Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and it’s the easiest to acquire.  We go to school or read books and get knowledge.

The next is wisdom, and that’s a little bit tougher to get.  Wisdom is the application of knowledge to solve problems.  The only way to get wisdom is through experience, or time spent in God’s presence.

The third and most important function is understanding.   Understanding involves direction.  It looks for the eventual outcome of a line of thinking.  It tries to put together all the facts, and asks, “Where does the path I’m on take me?”  This process exercises the mind to its greatest potential.  It’s hard work, and sometimes brings unexpected results.

Because of this, most people will not seek understanding.  Yet seeking is the only way to obtain it.  You must choose to understand.

Understanding, then, is exercising the mind to see the entire picture of life.  It looks at how everything fits together.  This is what our society desperately needs.

Unfortunately, most school systems teach us NOT to understand.  Everything is about the present.  Does it feel good right now?  Instead of understanding, they seek explanations – as long as these explanations fit into their world views.

There is an unfortunate outcome to this kind of living.

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Psalm 32:9

Our modern society displays the truth of this verse.  The less understanding you possess, the more you need to be controlled.

We frequently hear people complain, “There are so many new and complicated laws now.”  What does that tell you?  I believe that we’re training a generation how not to understand.

The ability to seek understanding is the basis for a clear direction in life.  It’s got to be the starting point.  Without direction, there’s no reason for self-control.

This is why the creation-evolution debate is so emotional.  It involves issues that affect the very core of who we are and how we view our existence.

Question: Do you see a lack of direction and self-control in our society?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Creation, Faith

 

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Evolution vs. Creation…Is it Really that Important?

OrbitTalk about a controversial subject.  Why should we even bother discussing it?  The debate over Creationism only gets people mad, and makes them think that Christians are backward thinking hicks.  Is our view on this issue important to our walk with God?  I want to take a few posts to weigh in on the subject.  I think you’ll be surprised by some of the truths involved.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

A little while ago I did a series of posts on the subject of True Faith.  I came to the conclusion that faith is a walk of discovery and response.  That is, discovering God’s truth and how we respond to it.

What do we discover in this verse?  Actually, we see the foundation of our walk with God.  So often we discount the importance of this truth.  We get wishy-washy because it’s so controversial in our society.  In our desire to sound modern and relevant, we end up denying the very core of who we are as believers.

The hot topic in question is intelligent design vs. evolution.  We seem to think it’s only a peripheral debate.

If that’s the case, then why does the enemy think it’s so important to attack?  Why is it such a main area of discussion when atheists try to show how “foolish” Christianity is?

The reason is crystal clear.  Faith understands that there’s a Creator.  That concept is foundational to our walk with the Lord.  If there’s no Creator, then there’s no purpose to life.  We would also have no responsibility for our actions.  There would be no such thing as sin and no need for forgiveness.  In that case, there would be no final judgment.  Following that logic, there would be no need for a Savior, the cross, or the resurrection.

Everything we believe rests upon the truth that there is a Creator-God, and that we were created by Him and for Him.  That’s why the subject is so important to those who oppose Christianity.  The Creation account is the bedrock upon which everything else we believe is built.

If my faith in God as Creator is shaky, then anything else I believe will be subject to doubt.  I must get the foundation solid in order to stand secure in my faith.

This is such an important subject.  Let me suggest that you subscribe for these posts to come to you via e-mail so that you don’t miss any.

Question: How important do you feel it is to believe in Creation?

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Creation, Faith

 

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Do You Know the God of Music?

Did you realize that God was the author of music?  Do you know just how powerful music can be?  It’s either a force for good or evil.  For a few posts I want to deal with this subject.  We need to see how music fits into our worship of God.

Where did music come from?  When were melodies first heard?  Actually it was before man was created.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone —
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?”
Job 38:4-7

Music didn’t evolve.  It came from God.  It amazes me that God wanted to listen to music as He laid the foundation for the earth.

As much as we like to take credit for things, this was something that was around before we ever existed.  If we have music within us, it’s because God put it there.

Music is powerful.  It has the ability to grab your attention and hold on to you.  Think of what the world would be like without music.

The truth is that God loves music.  In fact, He surrounds Himself with music.  I don’t know if there can be praise without music.  I believe that Heaven is full of harmony.

On the other hand, the enemy knows just how powerful this medium can be.  He has ensnared whole generations through music.  My generation (the baby boomers) was caught up in the music of rebellion.  The next phase was the music of violence.

Now I notice something happening in music that’s startling.  The enemy’s kingdom has refocused it back to worship again – worship of self.  Music is now the road to power.  Just think about the draw of shows like American Idol, The Voice, and the X-Factor.

There’s something about the sung word that goes deep into your soul.  It draws things out of us that we never knew were there.  It can lay hold of our emotions and lead us wherever it’s heading.

Music is a spiritual force.  It’s a tool that can totally change our lives.  That’s why the music we listen to is so important.  It’s not just about whether it makes us happy or not.  What is it planting in my inner man?  That’s the big question behind the music.

Music was given to us by God for a purpose.  As believers we need to understand how it works.  Then we will see the fruit of it in our daily lives.

Question: Do you view music as a gift from God?  Do you treat it with respect as a spiritual force?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Music, The Church, Worship

 

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