RSS

Tag Archives: God’s presence

Knowing and Doing

I’ve been posting about how James exhorts us to keep watch over our speaking. Today we will deal with how submitted we are to God. It’s a passage of Scripture that, I think, is usually misunderstood.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4:13-14

In order to understand this passage, you need to see the assumptions that James is making. He’s speaking to believers who have no care about God’s will for their life. How do I know this?

First of all, they say “we will” go there, we will buy and sell, and we will make money. They’re saying all of this without ever knowing what’s really going to happen. They didn’t go on this trip because they felt the Lord impressing them to go. It was all about their desire.

This is clear from the next verses.

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.
James 4:15-17

When James says that you boast and brag, it literally means that you rejoice in your self-confidence. That’s the key to what he’s speaking of; SELF confidence. When we’re confident in what we can achieve, we usually forget about God and His desire for our lives.

One of the problems in translating is that there’s not much punctuation in the original Greek. There’s sometimes more than one way to read a verse depending on which word you emphasize. I believe that, in the context of what James is saying here, a better way of reading the first line is, “Instead, you ought to speak if it’s the Lord’s will, and live, and do this or that.”

It’s all about spending time with the Lord, knowing His will, and then speaking about what He’s told us to do. If you’re going to do something, do it because you feel led of the Holy Spirit.

I think that makes more sense in light of the last sentence in the above passage. I don’t believe that James is just adding some random thought about doing good. It’s all a part of the same exhortation.

You need to know that you’re in the center of God’s will. Of course, that’s why many choose not to seek God’s will. They’re afraid that it won’t agree with what they want to do.

Once you’ve spent the time and effort to know God’s plan for your life, you can’t simply ignore it. The Holy Spirit would continue to remind you and draw to complete your calling. Some people feel that it’s better just to do what they want and never ask God.

Many people make doing their own thing sound holy. They say, “I’m going to do this, God willing.” What they mean is, “This is what I want to do and I hope God doesn’t stop me from doing it.” At least that’s what I meant when I used to say that.

The key is that we need to know what God wants us to do before we start doing it. If God wants it accomplished, then it’s blessed without me even asking for a blessing. If it’s not God’s will, it won’t be blessed no matter how hard I pray for it.

Spend quality time in God’s presence. In that way you’ll know that what you’re doing is of God. You can then walk in the assurance that everything you put your hand to will be blessed.

Question: What has the Lord called you to accomplish for Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Worship Calms the Storm

ReflectionIn my last post I talked about being transported before God’s throne as we worship Him. That’s a wonderful place to be. That’s why we should all be worshippers. Look at where the Spirit brings us to.

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
Revelation 4:6

In the book of Revelation and throughout the Bible, the symbolism of the sea speaks of nations. These are the saints of all nationalities worshipping Christ before His throne. But this sea is as calm as glass.

That’s because the place of worship is a place of peace. James talked about the negative reality of this truth.

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6

Doubt and unbelief puts us in a troubled sea of confusion. That’s not God’s will for us. The Lord wants to calm our sea. How does that happen?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

The word prayer in this verse literally means to draw near. When anxiety, worry, and confusion try to stir up our “ocean”; there’s only one remedy. We must take the time to draw near to God. The next verse tells us that the results are supernatural.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

This peace is ABOVE your understanding. When we come near to God in worship the things that should be causing anxiety melt away in God’s presence. I’m reminded of a chorus we used to sing many years ago.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full on His wonderful face,
And the things on earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

That’s the place of worship. But we have to set aside the time for this. That’s usually our problem. We have plenty of time to wallow in confusion and doubt. But the very thing that will calm the storm just doesn’t fit into our schedule.

We need to get our priorities straight. I find that I’m much more productive when I’m operating in the peace of God. I think you will too.

Draw near to God with the things you’re anxious about. Let the place of worship bring peace to your storm.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit brought peace into your life in the past?

Click here to see how you can help me plant a church in Indonesia.

©Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2016 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Worship – The Spiritual Transporter

ThroneThe ability to worship Christ is one of the greatest gifts that we’ve been given. In the past I’ve talked about true worship. It takes place when we enter God’s presence. It doesn’t matter where we are on earth; it’s our position in the spirit that counts.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect…
Hebrews 12:22-23

When we begin to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth, it’s like we’re being transported before His throne. As we enter into worship, we find that we’re a part of two groups.

First, we’re a part of the church of Jesus Christ on the earth.

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
Colossians 2:5

We find that it’s through worship that the body of Christ is brought into unity. That’s why Scripture calls it the unity of the spirit. When we pray in the spirit, we’re united with the Holy Spirit. Of course, if we’re united with God’s Spirit, then we are also united with each other.

But there’s another group that I find myself with when I worship. According to the above verse, I’m with the spirits of righteous men made perfect. I believe that it’s talking about those who have passed on and are now in the Lord’s presence.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

We are worshipping with the saints on earth and in heaven.

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
Revelation 4:4

When I come before God’s throne to worship Him, I’m together with believers from both the Old and New Testaments. It’s a mind-blowing thought – that I can enter the universal chorus of worship that surrounds the Lord’s throne.

Some people are just waiting for the day that they can be a part of this heavenly worship. Little do they know that they can enter it right now, wherever they are.

Take advantage of this great gift. Enter the Lord’s presence in spirit and truth. Allow yourself to be caught up in the unity that only comes from being with Him.

Question: How often do you set aside to worship Christ in the spirit?

Click here to find out about helping to support my missions trip.

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Prayer in the Spirit, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fellowship – In Step with the Spirit

Jet Plane to NowhereIn my last post I started to look at our fellowship and unity. We saw that to operate in these we must fix upon each other. We also saw that the revelation of God is the glue that holds us together.

We originally looked at a verse in Amos, chapter 3. Further down in that chapter we’re told how God operates.

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7

This goes right along with the truth that revelation keeps us together. God’s desire is to always let His people know what’s coming on the earth. He wants us to be prepared to minister.

This is something many believers don’t understand and are not looking for. God wants to reveal His plans to us. But is that really the case? Look at these Scriptures…

The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Psalms 25:14

This literally says that the Lord has a secret consultation with those who fear Him. So it’s not just for prophets, but for anyone who fears the Lord.

…for the Lord detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.
Proverbs 3:32

This is the portion of the righteous, to be in the Lord’s confidence. He wants to share with us exactly what He’s going to do. But is that a New Testament truth?

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

This verse is not talking about things prepared for us after we die, but things that will take place during our lives. Jesus Christ, Himself, spoke of this aspect of the Holy Spirit.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
John 16:13

This is how the Lord wants to deal with His church. He desires to keep us together and in unity by showing us what’s coming on the horizon.

But if this is our portion, then why do we seem to be groping around in the dark. Many times we’re either in one ditch or the other. Too far in front, or lagging way behind what the Spirit is doing. It often seems like the body of Christ is like a crowd of people simply walking down the street with no purpose or direction.

This ability to see what God’s doing only comes through time spent in quietness before Him. He will not speak to us if we’re not listening.

The only way to keep the unity of the spirit is to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. But keeping in step with Him requires us to fix upon the Spirit of God. It requires time in His presence.

If we want God to confide in us, we need to be found in that intimate place with Him. Then, as we keep in step with what Christ is doing, we’ll keep in step with each other.

Question: How often do you spend quiet time with the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Revival – Getting There

SpeedRevival. Some Christians are praying for it. Many are hoping for it. But do we really understand what it will take to bring it about?

Throughout this blog I’ve shared what I believe the next great awakening of the church will look like. It will be about God’s people listening for, hearing and obeying God’s voice. Unfortunately, the “how” and the “when” are a mystery.

Getting from here to there is what the church should be majoring on right now.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
Psalms 127:1

As an engineering student, I had to take a lot of math courses. I learned very quickly from Geometry, that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Well, that may work on paper, but in life it’s never that easy.

What’s the quickest way to get from Boston to New York? That all depends. Are you driving a car or flying in a plane? There are highways, rivers, cities, and other obstacles to think about.

In driving, the shortest route is not always the quickest. It’s the just like our spiritual walk. The difference is that only God sees the whole map. We have to trust Him to set the route for us.

In looking at the verse above, we don’t always think like that. Many times God gives us the blueprint, and we rush off and try to build the house without Him.

When God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle in the wilderness, He didn’t stop there. The Lord told Moses who would do the work, where to get the supplies, how to move it, and how to use it.

Faith is all about letting God have His total way in our lives. In Hebrews, chapter 11, the Faith Chapter, it says this about Abraham leaving his home at God’s request.

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

When we look to the Lord for our future, He doesn’t only want to be involved in the planning. What He wants to do in our life is too big for us to accomplish. God wants to be in on the building of it as well.

So, in talking about revival, it’s great to know where He wants us to get to. But it won’t come to pass without God’s working and power in our lives. That’s why we need to spend the time necessary to seek Him.

Spending time in the Holy Spirit doesn’t just reveal God’s plan to us. It opens the door for God to do a supernatural work in us and through us. That’s what a spiritual awakening is all about.

Question: How much time do you spend listening in God’s presence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Cycle of Blessing

StormSo many of the spiritual principles we know have a mirror image in the natural. If we can understand how these natural processes work, then we will have a better grasp of the spiritual truth. One of these is the cycle of the Word in our lives.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:9-11

We probably all know about the water cycle from our high school science lectures. Rain and snow fall from the sky and soak into the ground giving life to vegetation. Moisture is then evaporated back into the air to form clouds and the whole thing starts all over again.

That’s like the functioning of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He takes the Word of the Lord from God’s own lips and rains it into our hearts. That’s where it must be planted in order to see God’s results on a daily basis. I must remain in God’s Word while allowing it to remain in me.

Now that the Word of God is in the good soil of our hearts, the Holy Spirit waters the spiritual seed we’ve planted causing it to spring up. Then, as we respond in prayer, the Spirit of Christ within us turns around and intercedes to God on our behalf.

The key for us is all about positioning. We must be at the right place, and in the right time to be able to receive the rain of the Spirit. What is that right place and time? It’s whenever we place ourselves before Him in an attitude open and ready to hear from God and to respond.

This requires intimate time in the Lord’s presence. Taking the time to be alone with God gives us a perfect opportunity to participate in this cycle of blessing.

In the stillness of our quiet time we can learn to be open to His call. We are in position to feel the move of the Spirit in our hearts. Be listening for His voice to you today as you spend time in His presence waiting for His rain.

Question: How has God’s cycle of blessing worked in you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Encouragement, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Entering the New Year with Vision

2016As we start this New Year of 2016, I wish God’s best for you. As the people of God, we know that we have His blessing and favor upon us. But we need to continue walking in His vision for our lives.

I want to take a few posts to talk about our spiritual vision. It’s important to spend quality time in the Lord’s presence to understand where He’s taking us and what He wants us to accomplish.

The Jewish leader, Nehemiah, knew some things about vision as he helped the children of Israel to return to their homeland after the Babylonian captivity.

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:2-4

Nehemiah saw what was presently happening in Jerusalem. He knew that what was happening was not God’s best. The broken down wall and burned out buildings needed to be restored.

What was his response to this news? He spent time with the Lord. That’s where vision is born.

It’s especially easy to receive God’s imparted vision when you’re dissatisfied with what is. That’s because vision is the burden that comes when you see what is in contrast to what could be.

Vision always demands change. So Nehemiah mourned, fasted, and prayed. He did this so that God could work the necessary changes in him first of all.

That’s why not everyone wants the Lord’s vision for their lives. Vision calls for change and that change must work on me first.

I cannot accept this work of the Holy Spirit until I want to see a change. If I’m content with my present circumstances, then I won’t seek God with fervency. That’s what it will take to be a child of God with vision.

Question: What do you see that needs to change in your life personally and in the church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,