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Tag Archives: follow Christ

Giving – It’s Not What You Think

presentsUsually people associate the term giving with money. That’s not what I’m going to talk about. As a matter of fact, money is one of those things that we’re the most willing to give.

There are things that are easier to give than others. After watching mankind for centuries, Satan came to a conclusion about us.

Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life.
Job 2:4

According to his testimony, we’ll give anything before we will give our lives. But that’s just what we’re called to do. Jesus made it clear to His disciples that this was the case.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

The truth is that a person will sell everything in order to save their life. It’s clear that there’s no greater prize than a person’s life. That’s why the greatest gift you can give to God is yourself.

It’s also the toughest thing we can do. We’d all like to remain in control of our lives. But the Lord tells us that the only way to preserve your life is to turn it over to Him.

“It’s my life. I’ll live it the way I want.”

That’s the cry of this generation. Unfortunately this attitude has crept over into the church. When we accepted Christ as our Savior, everything changed.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
John 6:37

In our act of surrender to Christ, the Father is giving us to Him. Jesus will never refuse anyone who comes to Him.

That’s a comforting thought. No matter what my condition is when I come to Him, the Lord will begin His work in me just the way that I am.

In the salvation process, God gives me as a gift to Himself. All the while He knows the deepest part of my soul. He knows all about my personality, my likes and my dislikes. The Lord knows what makes me different from everyone else.

That means that my life is like a gift-card for God to use as He wills. Every card is different. Some are for restaurants, others are for clothing stores.

In the same way, Jesus knows what we’re best suited for in His kingdom. Only He can use us to the best of our abilities. He can do more through us than we could ever imagine.

But before that can happen I have to willingly position myself in His hands. I want to talk about this for a couple of posts. We need to understand what it means to surrender our lives to His will.

Question: What does taking up His cross mean to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Posted by on July 22, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Discipleship – The Cost and the Glory #discipleship

Jet Plane to NowhereI’ve been posting about discipleship.  How far are you willing to go to follow Christ?  The Lord doesn’t make it sound very convenient.

In my last post we saw that Christ said it involved picking up your cross and following Him.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26

Most people get tripped up by this verse because they don’t understand the usage of the word hate in the Scripture.  This word has no emotional attachment to it.  It’s just like the word agape, used to convey the idea of love.  Hate is a choice rather than an emotion.

This word hate means a choice to not participate with.  There are times when being a disciple of Christ means that you choose not to participate in every family event.  Maybe it’s a baby shower or a graduation party that’s held on a Sunday morning.

Christ is saying that if you choose to participate with your family over the Lord, then it shows that you’re not a disciple.  You might be a believer who loves God.  But you have yet to choose the high road of discipleship.

Following Christ can be very inconvenient at times.  However, if you want the same results as Christ, you must live as He does.

Jesus also makes the point that we must count the cost of discipleship.

“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:33

If you find your Christian walk to be easy, then you’re not yet a disciple.  The closer you follow to Christ, the harder your choices will become.  But there is a bright side.  The longer you serve the Lord, the easier it will be to make those choices.

It’s all about cultivating an attitude – I am nothing else but a disciple.  It may sound like a tough road, but in the end it’s worth it.

“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

The way of discipleship leads to a fulfilled life.  There’s a manifestation of the power of God working through you.  When you live at this level it becomes obvious to all those around you.  Your life shows the fruit of the spirit.

It’s apparent that you couldn’t produce the blessings that you’re walking in.  God is at work in you.  That’s the ultimate goal.  Living as a disciple shows God’s glory.

It’s that glory that will draw others to Christ.  This is what the Christian walk is all about.

Question: How much is the glory of God worth to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Power of God, Revival

 

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Are You a Disciple of Christ, Really? #discipleofChrist

ClassWe use the term disciple very casually these days.  Many are of the opinion that just being a Christian automatically makes you a disciple.  It that the truth?  Let’s see how it worked for the first disciples who came to Christ.

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.  When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” 

They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
John 1:35-39

There are some things that this passage can teach us about what it means to be a disciple.  We see two men who were following John the Baptist.  Then they were pointed to the Messiah.  That’s when their lives were changed.

A disciple follows Christ.  There’s no way around that.  The word follow implies that they took the same road as Christ. Many teach that a disciple is a student.  I’ve attended enough classes to know that not all students aspire to be like their teachers.  A student wants to learn what’s being taught.  A disciple wants to become what the teacher is.

A disciple comes near to Christ.  Jesus asked these men, “What are you seeking?”  Their response, in the original Greek, was amazing.  They replied, “Where is your dwelling place?”  Being a disciple is all about what you’re seeking.  Many say that they’re pursuing God.  But in reality they’re only after the things God can give them.  A disciple simply wants to be near Christ.

A disciple wants to experience Christ.  These men went to the Lord’s house and spent time with Him.  Hearing about Him isn’t enough.  What are you seeking?  Facts and figures about what God has done?  Or do you want to meet with Him and experience His home?

A disciple lives in Christ.  This is what truly defines a disciple.  Do you want to live in Him?  Jesus made this point very clear.  When most Christians are asked about it, they usually reply, “Of course I’m a disciple.”  The real issue is; what are you seeking?  Anything other than His dwelling place and you’re not a disciple.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:31-32 NKJV

Abide in Him.  Let His word abide in you.

Question: What steps are you taking to be a disciple of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Encouragement, Revival

 

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How Far Can You Trust God?

CliffWe’ve been looking at Abraham’s example of what it takes to be in position to receive God’s blessing.  The big question remains.  How far are we willing to walk with God down this road of faith that He chooses for us?

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.  He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
Genesis 22:9-10

In this remote setting it would have been very easy for Abraham to have chosen differently.  He could have taken Isaac with him, and left the area.  Yet, he made the choice to follow God’s instructions no matter how painful they were to him.

It’s easy for us to look back and say, “Of course he trusted God.”  We have the completed Bible to refer to.  We have a knowledge of how the story ended.  We know now that God never asks for human sacrifice.

There’s no way that we could ever fathom what it was like to be Abraham at that moment.  All he knew was that he was about to take the life of the most precious person in the world to him.

When I see how far Abraham trusted God, it begs the question, how far am I willing to let my faith take me?  How much am I willing to give up based solely upon God’s Word?

I think that this generation of believers are more like the rich young man who came to Jesus.  The Lord told him to give up everything and come and follow Him.

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Matthew 19:22

In our society, this call is commonplace.  Athletes are told to “leave it all out on the field.”  In entertainment competitions they are told to hold nothing back.

Why do we get the idea that Christ is asking too much of us by saying that we must lay our lives down to follow Him?  It’s only when I come to the place of total surrender at the feet of the Lord that I’m in the position to receive the strength and blessing that comes from His hand.  Jesus held nothing back for our sakes, and now we must follow in His footsteps.

This may not sound like your typical “Six Steps to Prosperity” message.  It wasn’t meant to.  I’m not looking for the wealth it takes to fulfill my every whim.  I want to see the provision I need to fulfill God’s destiny in me.  I want to see and experience revival in God’s people.

It’s time for us to lay everything down before the Lord.  If you can’t do this, then pray for the strength it takes to get to this point.  Then watch what God will do on your behalf.

Question: What things would be the hardest for you to give up if the Lord asked you to?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision, Revival

 

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