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Self-Judgment

As we go through First Corinthians we’re continuing our look at the Lord’s Supper.  We’ve seen that it’s meant to be a powerful part of our worship.  It’s a time where we can attach our faith to what Christ has done for us on the cross.

In my last post, I talked about the need to examine ourselves before taking the Communion elements.  We need to check up on our faith.  Are we really trusting the Lord for our life?

This is a very important part of the Communion experience.

For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 11:29-30

We need to understand what Paul is saying here.  Unfortunately, the word, judgment, has some strong implications in our modern “Christianese” vocabulary.  We sometimes get the idea that God is going to curse us with problems if we do something wrong in how we receive Communion.

That’s not what’s being said.  The word judgment simply means a judicial decision.  Your attitude at the Lord’s Table determines the decision you receive.

If you understand who you are in Christ, and see yourself as receiving His provision, then you get the decision in your favor.  You will receive healing, resources, strength, or whatever it is that you’re trusting God for.

If, on the other hand, you don’t understand the payment that Christ made for you, there’s another decision.  If you don’t see Christ as Healer, then you miss out on His healing.  How we approach the Communion table determines the decisions we receive.

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.  When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32

This is another passage where we need to understand the “judging” words being used.  The first sentence tells us that we need to take a step back and look at our lives objectively.  Where’s my faith at? How far am I really trusting God?

I have to be willing to do that and take the appropriate measures to fix any problems.  If I do this, then I won’t get that negative decision.  I’ll begin placing myself in a position to receive from the Lord.

If not, then it will be the Lord’s decision to train me up as a child.  This requires His discipline.  This could include hearing teachings from those over me.  It could also be situations that God allows into my life to get my attention.  Please understand that these situations are only temporary challenges that are designed to focus my attention on Christ and His ability.

So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34 If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.  And when I come I will give further directions.
1 Corinthians 11:33-34

This closing statement from Paul is to further reinforce the fact that this meal is more than just about the food.  It’s about coming together in unity of faith, to receive our life from Christ.

Question: What’s your level of faith in who Christ is in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Jehovah Jireh – The Mountain (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

Originally, this was the final post of a series about how Abraham positioned himself to receive God’s supernatural provision.  To go to the original series, click here.

At this point, we find Abraham with the knife raised, about to sacrifice his only son.

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.  “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Genesis 22:11-12

Abraham was able to come through this time of testing victoriously.  But there was something that always puzzled me.  God said, “Now I know that you fear God.”  I thought God knew everything, so why would He say that?

The Hebrew word for know is Yada, which means to know by seeing.  What God said was that now Abraham’s faith could be seen.  His fear of God was now obvious to everyone.

That’s the reason for trials and testing.  We may have faith quietly tucked away in our hearts.  Without works, it’s not yet a living faith.  It must be proved genuine.

It’s the trying of our faith that causes it to be seen by those around us.  That’s why Scripture tells us over and over again that without trials we’ll never become mature in Christ.

It was when his faith was tested, and proved genuine, that Abraham’s eyes were opened to the provision of God that was before him.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide.  [Jehovah Jireh]  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:13-14

Jehovah Jireh – the God Who provides.  There are many who think this name is a promise of unbridled wealth.  They think that it’s all about their physical comfort.  What they fail to see is that Jehovah Jireh is a place of supernatural provision in Christ.

As I said in the first post of this series, it’s a spiritual mountain that must be climbed.  To get to that place in God, it will require the same thing from us that it did of Abraham.

It will take a life of immediate obedience to God, perseverance, speaking our faith, and a decision to give up everything for the cause of Christ.  That’s the real mountain that Abraham had to climb.  The physical mountain was easy in comparison.

As with all things in Christ, God has already provided everything we need for life and godliness.  The problem is that we need to position ourselves to receive the provision of God.

That’s the point.  Why do we want God’s blessing?  To accomplish His will or ours?

If you want Christ to be exalted in you, then you’re in a position to receive.

Question: What is God calling you to do that you need His supernatural provision for?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2018 in Faith, God's Provision, Spiritual Walk

 

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Wilderness Provisions

Water JugsHow far can you trust God? Are you willing to place your complete confidence in Him? Or is there a point where you’ll “cut your losses” and try to get by on your own?

These are questions we all need to deal with as believers. The Lord has promised to be our everything. All we need for life and godliness is wrapped up in Him. But we have to be willing to surrender totally to His will.

The prophet Elijah had to learn this lesson.

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
I Kings 17:2-6

I’ve heard it said, and have found it to be true, that where God calls, He also equips. We sometimes seem to be under the impression that there are places that God can’t get to. We can also think that there are situations that are beyond His control.

After all, how can God provide if you’re out in the wilderness, far away from any human assistance? The above event in Elijah’s life makes it abundantly clear that God can and does provide even in the desert places.

You’re never beyond God’s reach. If you’re doing His will, then He promises that He’ll watch over you, caring and providing for your needs.

I recently had an encounter with God’s goodness in this way. A couple of weeks ago I went out to hike and pray on the Appalachian Trail in New York. My intent was to be out for over a week.

The hike was one of the worse struggles I’ve ever had in the woods. This was due to the drought that the Northeast is currently experiencing. Most of the places where you would expect to find water – springs and brooks – had dried up.

I found myself having to conserve water and was close to dehydration. But the fact is that even in the wilderness God had my back.

I was approaching a particularly tough climb, one the hikers call Agony Grind. I was badly in need of water. As I crossed a road and re-entered the woods at the foot of this steep section, I was totally amazed. A local “angel” had placed about 25 gallon jugs on the trail for hikers to enjoy (the above photo).

I took this as a blessing from God. He knew what I needed, and when I needed it the most. This proves to me once more that I can trust the Lord completely with my future.

Strive to be in the center of God’s will for your life, as Elijah was. That’s the place of abundance in Christ. Remember not to put the cart before the horse. Seek first to be in His will, then the rest will follow.

Spend time in His presence and meditate on what you know of God’s plan for your life. Seek to enter closer and closer to the heart of what God desires for you. This could mean the difference between an empty life and a life of abundance.

Question: What is an example of God’s faithfulness that you’ve experienced?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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6 Signs of Missing God’s Rest

WomanIn my last post, I started talking about resting in the Lord. That’s God’s provision for His people. He desires us to enter into that place of peace.

But what happens if we ignore this invitation? Let’s look at the symptoms of a life lived outside of God’s rest. The Lord explained it to Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land.

Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!” – because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.
Deuteronomy 28:65-67

This passage plainly tells us the symptoms of a life lived outside of God’s resting place. These symptoms include:

An anxious mind. The words he uses here are literally a trembling and fearful heart. The future should never cause anxiety in the hearts of God’s people. Do you have fear in your heart about the future? Are you constantly worried about what you see coming at you? Then you need to enter God’s rest.

Weary eyes. These are eyes that fail to see what God has for you. The Word of God is clear about the many things that were purchased for us on the cross. We need to constantly remind ourselves of these things. Weary eyes means that you have no vision for your life based upon the Word. You seem to be longing for something more. Do you have a lack of vision?

A despairing soul. This literally means a soul that’s in mourning. Mourning takes place as a result of experiencing loss. When something or someone dear to us is taken away, we enter a state of mourning. Do you always feel as if you lost something along the way? God’s answer is to enter His rest.

Constant suspense. This actually means that you are always doubting. Is God’s purpose hidden from you? Do you doubt that He can bring about His desire for you?

Dread day and night. This is talking about constant fear over the future, with no assurance in sight. Do you fear that your life will have no impact or meaning?

Depression. That’s the final step in this process. You can’t wait for evening to go to bed. Then, sleep eludes you and you can’t wait for morning. Do you battle with depression? Does it rob you of your will to go on?

If you have these symptoms at work in you, then you need to understand and enter God’s rest. The Word is clear. God has so much He wants to shower upon you.

That’s why I felt the need to start this series. Many believers, either through a lack of understanding or disobedience, fail to see God’s blessing in their lives. They miss out on resting in the Lord.

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
Hebrews 4:1

In my next post I’ll show the results of a life resting in Christ.

Question: How has resting in Christ helped you to overcome these problems?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, 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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The Time to Speak your Faith

Cross SunsetI’ve been posting about Jehovah Jireh – God my Provider.  Specifically, I’ve been talking about how to enter that place of provision in Him.  I’m using Abraham as our example as he was taking his son Isaac to the mount of sacrifice.

After days of walking through the wilderness, the Lord showed him the mountain he was to ascend.  Abraham, Isaac, and his servants made camp at the base of the mountain.  As he stands looking up at it he realizes that this is the place where he will offer up Isaac to the Lord.

What happens next goes beyond my comprehension.

He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.  We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.  As the two of them went on together…
Genesis 22:5-6

Abraham tells his servants to wait by the goods.  Then he says, “WE will worship and then WE will come back to you.”  I believe that this is one of the most incredible statements of faith in the entire Bible.

The only thing that he had to go on was the original promise of God.  The Lord said that it was through Isaac that Abraham’s descendants would become as numerous as the stars in the sky.  As a matter of fact, the writer of the book of Hebrews tells us (In the 11th chapter) that Abraham believed that if he actually came to the point of killing his son, God would raise him from the dead.

What Abraham believed and what he spoke where in perfect agreement.  He had the boldness to declare what was in his heart.  We need to learn this lesson.  If we are to be victorious under trials and see God’s provision for our needs, then we must learn to speak our faith, just as Abraham did.

Please understand that I’m not talking about denying our circumstances, as some do.  I’m not talking about positive thinking, mind control, or wishful thinking.  It’s not about speaking what you want to happen, or what some preacher has told you, but what God has already spoken.

We must speak what the Word of God says is true.  This is a lot harder.  It requires me to spend time reading the Bible and listening to the Holy Spirit.  Only then can I declare what I’ve heard from the Lord.

As I spend time in His presence, I begin to understand what I’m called to do in His kingdom.  This is important because my provision is intimately attached to my calling.

Abraham knew God’s will for his life and the life of his son.  That’s why he could say, “We’re both coming back.”

Boldly speak what you’ve heard from God, and leave the provision in God’s hands.

Question: What has God called you to do?  Are you trusting Him to provide for it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision

 

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Going the Distance

JogI have been posting about Abraham and his experience on the mount of sacrifice.  He is an example to us of how to position ourselves to receive God’s provision in our lives.

In my last post I talked about how he was quick to obey the voice of God.  But sometimes, even when we respond right away, things don’t happen when we think they should.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
Genesis 22:4

We saw that God had told Abraham to leave home with his son.  He also told Abraham that He would show him the place where he was to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham obeyed immediately, but that was not the end of it.

It’s now three days later and they’re still traveling through the wilderness.  This had to be the hardest walk Abraham ever took.  Yet he continued on, even knowing that he would lose his son in the end.

I’m sure he kept telling himself to just turn around and go home.

“You must have heard wrong.”

In spite of this constant internal pressure he continued to move forward.  He did this not even knowing where his final destination would be.

This is the second key to being victorious in the face of trials and unlocking the blessing of God.  We must cultivate perseverance.  Sometimes it all comes down to the choice to put one foot in front of the other no matter how hard that is.  We must continue to serve God day after day, even when everything around us looks just the opposite of what we think it should be.

It’s in times like this that we must place our confidence in the Lord.  Drawing strength from Him is the only way to move forward when the going gets tough.  Christ has promised us that He would never abandon us.

The good news is that situations can change.  Just because things don’t look good now doesn’t mean that God is not in control.  He is still on the throne.

The truth is that it’s not always easy to follow God’s leading.  But the end result is always worth the effort.  Don’t let the temporary problems rob you of the blessings that the Lord has for you.

Maybe you’re going through something right now that you don’t understand.  You might not know how the Lord could possibly get you through it.

Take the time to draw upon the Lord’s power for you.  Spend time before Him in humility, acknowledging that without Him you can do nothing.  Place your future in His hands and commit yourself to seeing His plan fulfilled in your life.

Question: How has God proven Himself faithful to you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision

 

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