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Tag Archives: faith in God

Has Your Faith Been Approved?

ApproveStarting with this post, I’m going to do things a little differently. I usually talk about issues dealing with revival, church leadership, God’s power or the return of Christ. But up until now I haven’t really followed any plan.

Lately I’ve been feeling that I need to write in a more systematic way. Over the past couple of years the Holy Spirit has been teaching me a lot by having me read through the New Testament in the order that it was given to the church.

In that way you can see how some of these themes were expanded upon as the Spirit revealed more and more to His people. I want to take that same approach to the teachings in this blog.

Of course, if the Lord gives me a message to share that will benefit you; I can always follow His leading at any time. I can post it when I receive it and then pick right back up where I left off.

I believe that the book of James was the first Scripture to be recorded for the church. So that’s where I’ll begin.

It was written by a pastor to give his congregation the foundation they needed in serving Christ. James was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. His words are as applicable today as they were when he first wrote them.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time identifying with James when he equates trials with joy. And he’s not the only one. The Apostle Peter says the same thing in his letters. It’s not that I don’t want to grow, but I would prefer not going through trials – they just don’t feel good to me.

On the other hand, I realize that they’re a part of life. There’s never going to be a time when we’re not faced with something challenging. Nobody is exempt from this. The world is full of problems, and people who cause them. I’ve even been known to bring them upon myself from time to time.

The real issue is what I do with the trial once I’m in it. They can’t be avoided, so I might as well make the best of it. James is explaining to us the attitude best suited to overcome our trials. He doesn’t say to be joyful because you’re being tested. He says to count it pure joy because of what you know.

It’s our knowledge of what the trial produces the gives us joy during the hard times. What is it that I know? If you read this section in the original Greek, you find that James says that it’s the “approved part of our faith” that produces perseverance – the ability to come through a challenge victoriously.

Everyone says that they have faith. The question asked by this verse is – Is that faith approved? Has it been tested and found to be genuine? It’s easy to say that I trust God, yet give up in the hard times. It’s the genuine, approved faith that carries us through.

It’s like the song that says, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” Well, I know that the Lord won’t allow the test to kill me. But as it tries my faith, it will strengthen me to trust God in a greater way.

So the joy is not that I’m being tried, but that I’m growing stronger. My faith is being proved, and I’ll be able to stand in it. I may never look forward to tests and hardships, but at least I know that they provide a vital part of my growth in Christ.

Question: What have you gone through that has increased your faith?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Faith Installments

ProfitThe phrase “nobody likes a quitter” is true throughout our society. I enjoy watching some reality TV shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race. I have yet to see someone quit that was praised for what they did.

It’s the same in the Kingdom of God. Quitting and living by faith are never compatible. The Scripture is clear on that point.

For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Hebrews 10:37-39

That phrase I will not be pleased with him literally means I will not think well or approve of him. We must all be striving for a life that’s approved by God. I want to please Him in all that I do.

You cannot live the abundant life and shrink back. It says that those who hold back themselves will suffer ruin or loss. Whenever you quit, something is lost. That’s no way to live. Moving backwards only leads to failure.

Even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, trusting the Lord is moving forward. It’s bringing you to the place where you can receive what God has promised you.

When this translation says that we believe and are saved, the Greek word is not the normal word for salvation. This word is actually a phrase that means we are making an acquisition or purchasing our souls.

When we trust God in spite of the circumstances we’re taking a step forward. We’re actually making installments into our soul. You can look at it this way; each step of faith is an upgrade for our soul.

We’re not where we need to be yet. But we’re making progress, step by step. That’s what the verse means by quoting that the righteous one will live by faith. That’s a quote from the prophet Habakkuk in the following context.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
Habakkuk 2:3

This verse literally says that God’s revelation waits for its appointment. The good thing about it – the Lord’s promise is never late for its appointment!

The problem is on our end. Will we be at the appointed place, standing in faith, when the promise arrives?

So many times God’s people give up before the fulfillment takes place. We miss out on God’s best because we don’t continue in our faith.

Don’t be a quitter. Don’t give up a couple of steps before the promise arrives. Hold your ground in the spirit. We are not those who shrink back. We are those who obtain the promises by faith.

Question: What was the hardest thing that you’ve had to trust God for?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2016 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Pattern of Faith and Obedience

ProfitI’m posting about the miracle of Jesus turning the water into wine. In my last article we saw that Jesus had not stepped into His role as Messiah yet. In this one instance He’s acting as God in the flesh.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
John 2:7-8

In this passage, Jesus is speaking as God – not man. The servants are hearing the Word of God. What will they do with what they hear?

Step one is easy. It takes no faith at all to fill the jars with water. That in itself must have taken a lot of time. Each jar held about 20 to 30 gallons. Drawing water from a well was time consuming.

It’s the same thing in our lives. The first part of faith is the easy stuff. We hear the Word of God to us. We accept it, meditate on it, and declare it.

Then comes step two, when you have to trust in the Word of God. The hard part for the servants was when Jesus told then to take this “water” to the master of the banquet for him to taste. They would have looked like fools if nothing had happened.

That’s why it’s important for us to continue to do what we know to do. We walk by faith in the Word of God. Even when it doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary is happening. It’s the obedience of faith that brings about the miracle.

Hearing God’s Word is not enough. We need to move ahead and walk in it. That’s the sign that we truly believe it. That’s when the world sees that Jesus is Lord.

Through this miracle, the disciples got a glimpse into who Jesus really was. He wasn’t just a good teacher with a message for Israel. He was God taking on flesh to reveal Himself to lost humanity.

That’s why the Gospel says…

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
John 2:11

The word first in this passage literally means the first in priority. It doesn’t mean the first in order – like 1, 2, 3. (Actually, the first miracle recorded by John was when Jesus saw Nathaniel under the tree before they met.)

What this verse is saying is that the miracle of turning the water into wine was the most important miracle of Jesus. It was through this that He revealed to the disciples that He was God. It proved to them that they could trust His Word.

When the Lord spoke to them, they knew that whatever He said would come to pass just as He said it would. We need to operate on that level of faith.

That’s how the words of Jesus are introduced to us in the Gospel of John. That’s why it’s so important for us to understand that John was writing to the church. It’s for God’s people to learn to walk the same way Jesus did.

The church needs to learn this lesson. If we want to see miracles to a greater degree it will require more than just church attendance. Listening to God’s Word is not enough. Hearing and obeying must become the pattern of our walk with God.

We need to be praying for the grace to hear and obey. Pray for the power of the Lord to be evidenced in us. The power to walk His road, hear His voice, and then to follow through on His instructions.

Question: What were the last instructions that you heard from the Lord that you need to obey?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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