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The Peaceful Church

This will be my final post from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian church.  He leaves them with some parting admonishments.

And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
2 Thessalonians 3:13

This is especially important.  We must not get discouraged from doing the right things.  That’s because living right never ends.

We sometimes get discouraged because we find ourselves doing the same thing day after day.  That’s because it’s hard to see the cumulative effects of our lives.

It’s like watching a tree grow.  We think it looks the same every day.  Then someone visits who has not been there in years.  They exclaim, “Wow! That tree sure has grown tall.”

If we’re willing to continue doing what we know to do, then God will bring the harvest.  But we need to press in despite the weariness.

If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

On the other hand, there will be those who, over time, start to ignore the exhortations of Scripture.  We can’t allow our association with them to cause their attitudes to rub off on us.

Remember, they’re not our enemies.  They’re brothers and sisters in Christ.  We live an ordered life and hope it challenges them.  And, if we’re in a relationship with them where they will listen to our advice, we can point them back to the truth.

It’s all about restoration.  It’s not us trying to prove that we’re more spiritual or superior in holiness.  We want God’s best for them.  We want them to experience all of the blessings that Christ purchased for them.

That’s the spirit with which Paul closes his letter.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you.
I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters.  This is how I write.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

This should be our overarching attitude.  It’s the desire for peace among believers.  We know that the world will never experience it apart from Christ.  But for the church, that should be the distinguishing mark of the Holy Spirit in us.

Notice that Paul didn’t say, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with those who obey this letter.”  On the contrary; his goal is to see God’s grace at work in all who profess Christ.

That should be the attitude of all believers.

Question: How have you encouraged others to live by the Word of God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on November 23, 2018 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Stuck in the Routine

TrailHave you ever been discouraged by the routines of life? Everyday seems to be the same. Go to work, come home, eat, sleep, etc. Some people find it hard to keep going when nothing new seems to be happening.

As believers, we need to realize how God works. Many times He moves behind the scenes in unexpected ways. Look at the life of Christ for an example.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Mark 3:13-15

There were many times that Jesus needed to be alone. He had to make the allowance to spend quality time with the Father. Throughout His ministry we see how the Lord would find a quiet place to pray.

That’s how Jesus was able to do all that He did. He said that He saw it first in the Father’s presence. Then He went out and did what He knew that the Father was already accomplishing.

Choosing His twelve disciples was no different. When it came time to call the Twelve to a higher walk with Him, Jesus went up on a mountainside. He had to get away from the city with all of its distractions.

He did this in order to distance Himself from the crowds. His desire was that there be no politics or favoritism, only the Father’s will.

I’m sure, to the casual observer and maybe even to the disciples, it looked like any other ordinary day. Jesus went up on the side of a mountain to pray. They were used to seeing this in His ministry. Little did they know that this prayer time was going to be life-changing.

All they could see was that they were walking with the Lord – day after day and week after week. I’m sure that even the ministry of Jesus got into a daily rhythm. The crowds, the miracles, teaching, eating and sleeping. To the disciples, this might have started out being a day just like any other.

Then the disciples received the call to climb the mountain that day. They probably didn’t even realize that with each step they were heading to new heights in the Lord. They were now rising above their old lives. This calling was bringing them to a new level.

Don’t ever get stuck in the hopelessness of the daily grind. The Lord has greater plans for you than simply spinning your wheels. Whether you know it or not, the Holy Spirit is at work in the background; preparing you for what’s to come.

In our walk with Christ we should be open and ready to climb each new mountain of faith. We must be found waiting on the Lord to hear a higher call to a new level in Him. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when or where it will arrive. It usually happens when we least expect it.

That’s why we should never fall into the trap of complacency. God is always at work to do something new in us. Keep the fire of your spirit burning and ready for each new calling.

Always start each new day in the Lord’s presence. Approach His throne with eagerness and expectancy. In that way you will be ready to walk up that mountain to see a new work of grace performed in your life when the time is right.

Open your heart to the Lord today. Come before Him with an earnest desire to hear His Word to you today. After all, today might be the day that you see His hand at work in a new way.

Question: What were the events surrounding the last great work the Lord did in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Encouragement, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Igniting the Fire

Fire DangerIn my last post I started talking about the followers of Christ in Luke 24. They were discouraged and double-minded concerning Jesus’ death. After encountering the risen Lord everything changed.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32

They said that their hearts burned within them. In order to understand what happened we need to go back to that point. According to the men, it was when Jesus talked with them on the road. Let’s look at what He said to them.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27

As they were walking along the road Jesus explained the Scripture to them. What would you give to have an experience like that? It turns out that you can.

The word explained that’s used in this verse is very special. It’s the word that’s normally translated as interpretation; as in the spiritual gift of interpretation. This explanation that Jesus gave them was no boring lecture. It was an anointed Word straight from the Spirit of God.

That’s what will ignite the fire, not only in those early saints, but in us as well.

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
Jeremiah 23:29

God declares to us that His Word is like a fire. That’s the Word that Jesus proclaimed to these men on the road to Emmaus. As He spoke to them, the Lord lit a fire in their hearts.

We can have this same experience today. As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we must have a listening ear. When we hear a Word from the Holy Spirit it will ignite a fire in our heart.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue…
Psalms 39:3

God’s Word to us starts the fire burning. But as we meditate on it, the flames increase until it is all consuming.

I’ve heard people pray for God to “send the fire.” It’s not a matter of Him sending it, but of us receiving it. We need to hear a Word from God to get it kindled in our heart. Then meditate on that Word in order to heat it up.

Question: What has the Lord spoken to you lately by His Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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