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Weakness – Qualified for a Miracle

I’m posting from the first letter to the Corinthians.  We’ve been seeing that the message of the cross – Christ crucified – is a message of God’s power and wisdom for the church.  It’s something that needs to be a greater part of our spiritual walk.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

Is God ever foolish or weak?  Absolutely not!  But it does appear that way sometimes.  When Christ went to the cross, it did appear to be a weak and foolish move on His part.  Of course, that was only until the resurrection, when the full wisdom and power of God was revealed.

It’s the same with us.  Sometimes we feel like we have nothing to offer to God.  We don’t have the strength, resources, or wisdom to do the work we’ve been called to do.  But that’s okay, our limitations don’t affect God’s calling on us.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Paul is bringing this message to normal people, just like you and me.  We have our weaknesses and struggles.  But that puts us in a good place.  We’re now candidates for a move of God’s power in us.

If you’re feeling unqualified to serve the Lord, then I have a message for you…

“God wants you strong in spirit.”

“It’s time to hear a Word from heaven.”

Right now, the church needs an influx of spiritual warriors – and this is where it starts.  God is calling believers who feel like they don’t measure up.  Maybe you look at your past and think that you have too much baggage.

Why would God ever want someone like that in ministry?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The word trouble in this passage is actually the Greek word for pressure.  Pressure qualifies us for ministry.  When we can endure pressure, we can help others who are undergoing the same things.

Whatever you’re going through, God can and will bring restoration.  Then, He’ll use the experiences that you’ve had, both good and bad, to help others.

That’s the wisdom and power of God.  Jesus Christ went through the cross, the burial, and the resurrection.  Sometimes you may feel like your life is over.  All your plans are dead and buried.  All that means is that you’re in a position to see the resurrection power of God manifest in your life.

Then, you can use what you’ve gone through to bring others into that place of power.  You just have to walk by faith, trusting that God will complete His plan in you.  Remember that it’s not about what you have to offer to God, but what He’s already done for you.

Question: What are some challenges that God has already given you the victory over?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on December 14, 2018 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Knowing Christ through the Spirit

SpotlightI’ve been posting about having an intimate knowledge of Christ. We must allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in us. That’s where the supernatural wisdom and revelation comes from.

The problem arises when we’d rather have the foolish thinking of the world. Sometimes we buy into the promises of happiness that bombard us from all sides.

The book of Hebrews contains a quote from the prophet Jeremiah. He was looking forward to the blessings of the New Covenant.

No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Hebrews 8:11

One of the greatest blessings that we’ve been given is the ability to be taught directly by the Holy Spirit. God, Himself, can speak to you.

Even though it’s our foundation of faith, reading the Bible is not enough to give us this knowledge. Hearing my teaching or that of other godly men and women isn’t enough.

If we want to know Christ on a personal level, then we need to make ourselves available to the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Only then can I recognize who He truly is and what He wants to accomplish in and through me.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:7-9

This passage sums up everything that I’ve been saying. Paul talks about the wisdom of this world and the resulting desire for the things that our flesh thinks will make it happy. He says that they’re all rubbish compared to knowing Christ.

Why? Because knowing Him intimately will change me. It will revolutionize my life. I will never be the same.

How will it happen? Paul continues…

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

That’s where true change takes place. When you tap into the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you recognize Him as He is in you. This is where we receive the power for victory.

The question is; do we want to share in the fellowship of His sufferings? That means that we choose His wisdom, even when the flesh wants something else. It’s emotionally painful to choose the Spirit over the flesh, but that’s the path to power and victory.

Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you. Let Him change you by His wisdom and revelation. Then watch as He works His power in you.

Question: How does your flesh react to God’s wisdom?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are You Walking in Faith or Foolishness? #faithorfoolishness

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIn my last post I talked about how we needlessly put God to the test.  It was something Christ refused to do during His earthly walk.

When I began this series, I shared how I personally went through one of the worst points in my life.  During this time we were one of the families who lost their homes in the recent mortgage crisis.

But I can state, without reservation, that at my worst financial point, I was still better off than most of the world’s population.  I had a roof over my head and a full belly.  How dare I even entertain the idea that God failed to provide for my needs.  If I’m truly walking in faith, then I acknowledge that I serve a faithful God, who I never need to put to the test.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Matthew 4:8-9

The devil continued his assault using the promises of God.  This time he used a promise specifically aimed at Christ, the Messiah.  He was making a deal with Jesus in which the Lord could obtain the Messiah’s blessing without having to endure the pain of the cross.  As far as the Lord was concerned, this was the last straw.

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan!  For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Matthew 4:10

Jesus saw right through the devil’s smokescreen, and rejected the offer without even giving it a second thought.  How dumb can we be?  So often we fall when the enemy tempts us to do foolish, unscriptural, and even ungodly things…all for spiritual reasons, of course.  We sometimes make crazy decisions all under the guise of “God wants me blessed, happy, and wealthy”

I’ve heard things like, “God told me that this is the woman He created for me.”  My question is what about the woman you’re married to right now?  What about “God hates divorce”?

By His life, Jesus showed that He lived above the promises.  He lived as a Son empowered by the Holy Spirit.

We’ve lost the whole concept of sonship.  I desire to post about it in depth someday.  But for now we need to see how very differently Jesus lived than we do.  He didn’t feel the need to spend His life rehearsing the promises.  Neither did the Lord try, in His power, to fulfill the requirements so that He could obtain the blessings.

Jesus lived His life in the power of the Holy Spirit.  That’s my goal, and the goal of these posts.  That the church of the living God would wake up to our impoverished condition, and rise up to the potential that the Lord placed before us when He said that we would do the same works that He was doing (John 14:12).

Question: How have you experienced people doing foolish things for “spiritual” reasons?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Faith, Power of God, The Church

 

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Christ’s Example – Trusting the Promises or God? #promisesofGod

Bible1In my last post I showed that Christ refused to be tempted to claim a promise.  This is the opposite of what many believers do today.  We’re trusting God to provide things we don’t even need just because we found a convenient Scripture to “stand on.”

Paul talked about this in his letter to Timothy.  Paul warned Timothy about people…

…who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:5b-6

I believe that there’s something inherently wrong with a message that continually focuses on my happiness, my comfort, and my pleasure.  It’s true that God loves us and wants the best for us.  I also believe that there is a scriptural prosperity that God wants for His people.

But I also believe that many have taken this too far.  As a result, God’s people are spending too much time, prayer, energy and “faith” running after the things of the world that they think will satisfy them.  At the same time, they ignore the work of the Kingdom of God.  As a result, they never lay hold of what will ultimately fulfill the desires of their souls.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.  For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Matthew 4:5-6

Again, the enemy tried to use a promise to tempt the Lord.  He wanted Jesus to prove that God was protecting Him, by throwing Himself off the roof of the temple.  Satan uses this same strategy on us as well.  Of course, the results are usually different when we’re involved.

How do you respond when you’re tempted to test God?  Do you trust Him or not?  There’s no need to put God to the test.  He’s already proven Himself in Christ.  We need to follow the example of Jesus, who once again did not take the bait that the devil put before Him.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:7

This usually turns out very differently when the devil runs this scenario before us.  We love to do foolish things, then “trust” God to get us out of the mess.  We spend our money on movie tickets, CD’s, video games, and new cars.  Then, when we can’t pay the bills, we “trust God” for the money.

How foolish!  Don’t you realize that the money you spent on your toys was the money God provided for your bills?  But we just sit back in bitterness and say, “I tested God and He failed me.”

As the people of God, we need to get our lifestyles back in line with the Word of God.

Questions: How do our faith and our actions work together?  How do they oppose each other sometimes?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in Faith, Power of God

 

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It’s Easy to Turn Faith into Superstition

CloverDo you serve God superstitiously?  How do you know whether or not you do?  You may be surprised at the answers.

We’re told in Scripture that we’re to serve God by our faith.  We’re told that it’s impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).  As a matter of fact, anything not coming from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

But, just as important as faith is, it’s just as important to know where this faith comes from.  The Bible is clear on this issue, even if we are a little fuzzy sometimes.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

This verse literally says that faith springs out of hearing, but hearing through the Word of Christ.  There are a few key concepts that are important in this verse.  The first is that, of all the different kinds of faith that we can have; only the faith that has its birth in the Word of God is valuable.

The next is one you may not want to hear.  But, this faith comes by hearing the Word and not reading the Word.  That’s because it’s the Greek word rhema that’s translated word in this verse.  The Greek word rhema always refers to the revealed Word of God to us.

This isn’t talking about reading the Bible and drumming up faith in ourselves.  It’s about listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  It might take place while we’re reading the Scripture, praying, or listening to a sermon.

Jesus got upset at the Pharisees for this same type of superstition.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:39-40

Here’s what takes place sometimes.  It may be that there’s a believer in need of healing – for example.  As they’re reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit uses it to grab their attention.  The Lord takes the Word that they’re reading and makes it rhema to them.

In a moment of divine faith and obedience, they declare that Word with their voice.  Immediately they’re healed.

What does he do next?  He starts teaching that if you confess this verse, you will be healed.  That is superstition.

It’s not reciting the verse that healed this person.  Christ our Healer was the one who made them whole.

This is how easy it can be, to turn faith into superstition.  Instead of bringing people to a deeper relationship with Christ, it’s easier to recite Scripture over and over.

Please understand – I didn’t say to stop memorizing and confessing the Scripture.  What I am saying is to seek to hear from Christ.  He’s the One our life flows from and not our “works of righteousness.”

Question: Why is it so much easier for us to recite the Bible than to seek to hear from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Faith, Word of God

 

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