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Tag Archives: God’s will

Grace for a Purpose

Paul continues to talk about the attitudes of a true minister in his second letter to the Corinthian church.  It’s something we can apply to our lives right now.

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:1

We talk a lot about the grace of God. As believers, we’re always praying for grace. Many seem to be always running around seeking God’s grace. Why is that? How we answer that question is very important.

Why do you want the grace of God in your life? Is it another way of saying, “I want God’s blessing on my life.”?

I’ve heard grace defined in many different ways. God’s unmerited favor. The enabling power and presence of God. All we need for life and godliness. They’re all good descriptions, but they leave out a key ingredient – purpose.

There’s always a reason attached to the grace of God. Listen to how the Apostle Paul explains it in his letter to the Roman church.

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:5

In this short verse, I see three elements of grace. They speak not only about what God wants to bless us with, but how He wants us to use what He freely gives us. We need to take these to heart as we seek to manifest God’s grace.

Through Him and for His Name’s Sake – He doesn’t give us His grace so that we can spend it on our pleasures. It’s about His agenda on the earth. What does the Lord want to accomplish through me? That’s where His grace comes to the forefront.

I need to pick up this attitude. I receive His grace so that His name will be magnified in my life.

We Received Grace and Apostleship – Grace and calling go hand in hand. Seeking God’s grace without finding your calling in Christ is worthless. It’s through His grace that you fulfill your purpose.

It’s the Lord’s grace that brings you into your destiny – what you were created for. Without that knowledge, you’re simply living from problem to problem. Instead of always seeking grace to get over the next obstacle, find the direction that the Holy Spirit is leading you to.

To Call People from among All the Gentiles – Paul was aware that God’s grace had pinpoint accuracy. He was called to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. That’s why God poured His grace on Paul’s ministry.

It’s the same for us. As we grow in Christ, we need to fine-tune our calling. Who am I called to reach? What are my gifts and abilities? As you begin to answer these questions, you find that perfect position of grace that you’re called to walk in.

Be careful to always heed Paul’s warning not to receive God’s grace in vain.  That means that I don’t receive the grace of God for no purpose. Grace is always attached to destiny. Our walk today must be with an eternal focus. That’s what the Lord’s grace is all about.

Question: How have you seen the grace of God active in your life and ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2020 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Ministry Without Power

As we continue to go through Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we can see that the apostle relies on the power of God for his ministry.  He also knew that the church could see this reliance.

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 4:2

Compared to the early church, we live in a generation that barely sees the power of God at work. As a result, we need to use other methods to promote God’s kingdom. Do you know what these powerless methods look like?

I believe that if God’s people would spend time with the Holy Spirit, and then obey what they hear, we would see society changed. Instead, we rely on human plans to try and do God’s work. It’s sad, but I think that we’ve simply gotten used to ministry without power.

In another of his letters, Paul described what was NOT true ministry.

For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.
1 Thessalonians 2:3

The first word he uses is error, which means wandering. This word literally means to stray because you’ve left the right way and are now simply roaming around.

It’s very easy to leave the right path if I never seek God’s will to begin with. Ministries with this problem are always trying something new because they saw it work somewhere else. They wander from new program to new program, hoping for something that works.

The goal should be to seek the Lord’s will for my life, then walk in it. That will keep me from wandering around, hoping to someday stumble upon God’s plan for me.

The next issue is that of impure motives. The reason behind the ministry is as important as the ministry itself. There are some ministries that seem like their only goal is to exalt themselves.

We live in a society where many of the advertising and political campaigns are based upon negativity. It’s not about what I’m doing right, but what you’re doing wrong. Unfortunately, we’ve carried this kind of thinking into the church.

I believe that I should be able to do what God has called me to do without having to put down any other ministry. The fact is that making someone else look bad, doesn’t make me look any better.

The final issue Paul talked about was trickery. It’s believed that this Greek word means to set up a decoy or bait in hunting. It’s unfortunate that there are ministries that view believers as prey.

To make things worse, the decoy or bait they use is the Scripture. Please understand me; I’m not saying that all televangelists are bad. Most of them are trying to do God’s will. But there are some who, I believe, only study the Bible in order to find a Scripture verse that will convince you to take money out of your wallet and put it into theirs.

I truly believe that if I’m doing God’s will, then God will provide my needs. Yes, He will use people to give into my ministry. But I won’t need to make them feel guilty or use any other form of trickery or deceit.

We need to be looking at the fruit of the ministries that we want to support. We should only give into those works that are proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ.

Question: What are the marks of a ministry operating with integrity?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Anointing – Right Place, Right Time

In my last post, I started talking about the Old Testament custom of anointing with oil.  Specifically, I was looking at David’s anointing as the King of Israel in I Samuel, chapter 16.  When Samuel approached David’s family, they thought that they were merely being called to a public sacrifice.

In reality, they were called to an anointing of power for kingship.  At some point, Jesse must have said to David, “It’s not important that you be there.”

That was probably fine with David.  As a teenager, he didn’t want to attend a boring church service anyway.  He’d rather watch the sheep.

Please understand this point.  The whole reason for the meeting was so David could receive the anointing as king.  Yet, both he and his father thought it wasn’t important for David to attend.

This should be a sobering thought.  Your invitation to the anointing of power will come wrapped in an envelope that looks like junk mail.  You didn’t know that God had planned to give you an anointing to heal the sick this Sunday at church.

All you knew was that an invitation somewhere else was more important to you.  After all, “I’ve attended faithfully for a while.  I deserve to miss a week.”

The calling to the anointing will seem very unimportant in comparison to what we want to do.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:6-7

As a pastor, I want to find the ones in my church who are called to lead ministries.  But I have to be careful.  The first to arrive is not always the one God wants.  Maybe God’s choice is still in bed.

Don’t miss receiving the manifestation of God’s anointing upon your life.  Be faithful to show up where you’re supposed to be.  Don’t let the excuses and distractions of the world disqualify you for service in the Kingdom of God.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not condemning you for missing church.  There are many legitimate reasons we can’t make it.  God is big enough to work in us during those times.

I’m talking about not meeting with God’s people in order to please the desires of our flesh.  That’s where you run the risk of missing God’s anointing in your life.

If you remember, when I talked about the Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace; that was the key.  Our preparation for battle is tied to our connection to the body of Christ.  If I have no connection to God’s people, then I’m not prepared for the work that I’m called to accomplish.

Don’t miss out on the good things that God has prepared for you.  Show up where God is calling you to be.

Question: What’s the difference between missing public worship for the right and wrong reasons?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Armor – The Shoes of Readiness

As I continue with my series on the Armor of God, today we’ll look at the shoes.

…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:15

It’s obvious that this piece of armor protects our feet.  The question is; what are our spiritual feet?

Simply put, we walk with our feet.  This includes three aspects.  Direction…we point our feet where we want to go.  Speed…this could be determined by a number of factors.  Endurance…as a hiker I know that I can only walk as long as my feet are able.

So to answer my question I need to understand what it is that determines my direction, speed, and endurance in my spiritual walk.  In life, it’s my will that brings all of these things into focus.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
Psalms 18:32-33

God perfects the way before me, but I still have to set my will to walk it out.  My will determines my direction, speed, and endurance.  This is important for us to know.

Knowing this, we’re told that something needs to be fitted on our spiritual feet.  The word, fitted, in the verse from Ephesians literally means an under binding.

That’s because my will is where I come in contact with the world.  It’s just like in the natural; my shoes protect my feet as they contact the earth.  When I live for Christ, my will comes in direct opposition to that of the world.

It’s in this place of contact that your endurance can get worn down.  If you don’t wear shoes, or don’t wear the right shoes, the earth determines how you walk.  With the right shoes, you determine your walk.

Like I’ve said, I’m a hiker.  I have a good set of hiking boots.  I’ve gone out for day hikes with friends who only had a pair of flimsy sneakers.  I laughed as they slowly picked their way so as not to step in mud or on a sharp rock.  But I was able to move straight forward because my feet were properly protected.

As I look at the armor, I notice that there’s a specific order to put it on.  It starts with the mind (The belt), then moves to the heart (The breastplate), and now we prepare our will.

That answers a question that many ask.  How do I know God’s will for my life?  Once you protect your mind and your heart, you’re ready to hear God’s will.  There’s a divine order to it.

Having said all of this, I think the keyword is readiness, the preparedness to do God’s will.  We must realize, even before we know God’s will for us, that it’s going to be the opposite of what the world desires.  Unless we’re prepared to protect it, our day to day life will wear it down.

Any believer can start doing God’s will.  Only those who can endure to the end can finish what they started.  We need the preparation that can only come from the Gospel of Peace.

We sometimes get the idea that everything’s okay.  “When something comes up, I’ll do the right thing.”  NO!  You won’t unless you’ve prepared yourself for that evil day.

The fact is that if you don’t prepare beforehand, you won’t choose God’s will when you’re under extreme pressure.  The Lord has provided a way for us to walk in victory, but we have to put the armor on.

At one point in Paul’s ministry, he knew God’s will for him was to go to Jerusalem.  All along the way, prophecies came forth warning that he would be arrested.  The church people pleaded with him not to go.

Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Acts 21:13

We need that same preparation.  No matter what comes our way, we’re ready to follow through and complete God’s will for our lives.

Question: What’s the next step in God’s plan for your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – Avoiding Battles Through Obedience

I’m taking a couple of posts to glean some principles from the Old Testament.  Even though their fight was in the natural, some of the things they learned can be applied to us.

One of the things I’ve always wondered about is why God seems to make it so hard to obey Him.  God told Israel that He was giving them the Promised Land.  But, in order to claim it, they had to fight giants and other mighty warriors.

Actually, it turns out that there’s more to the story.  It’s a lesson that we should take to heart in our generation.

After the flood of Noah’s day, God’s blessing and anointing were passed on through his son, Shem.  32 years after the flood, Shem had a grandson named Shelah.

When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
Genesis 11:14

The name, Shelah means the spear of attack.  Interesting name…his parents must have seen great things in his future.  Actually, we know that Shelah had a deep relationship with the Lord. God spoke to him just like He called out to many in this family line.

Long before Abraham was called, Shelah was given the same orders as Abraham.  He was told to leave his home to follow God’s leading.  The difference is that he never left everything to follow God’s voice.

How do I know this?  Instead of leaving his home, he named his son, Eber – which means the land across the river.  He must have reasoned, “I can’t go, but I’ll have my son obey God’s call.”  It turns out that Eber didn’t leave home either.

Actually, the word, Hebrew, comes from the name Eber.  It means, from the family of Eber.

Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
Genesis 10:25

Eber had a son around the same time that God destroyed the Tower of Babel.  The Lord divided the nations and people dispersed throughout the world.  So Eber named his son Peleg, which means, divided.

Why is all of this important?  It’s so we can understand the reason for immediate obedience to God.

The enemy knew about God’s call upon the family of Shelah.  I’m sure they talked and even argued about it on more than one occasion.

The devil knew the beautiful land that God wanted to give to this family.  That’s where the Messiah was to be born.  And with Him, the enemy’s ultimate defeat.

So the devil strategically placed his most fearsome, brutal warriors in that part of the world.  He reasoned that “if you want your people to have this land, then you’re going to have to fight me for it.”

The fact is that God called His people to inhabit that land long before the nations were divided.  When God called Shelah, there were no giants in the land.  They could have walked in and taken possession with no resistance.

This is why obedience to God’s voice is so important.  Once we know God’s will, we need to walk it out.  We must take the “high ground” before the enemy can get assembled.

When the devil knows what you want to do for God, his goal is to stop you.  The longer you take to obey God, the more resistance can be prepared against you.

Please understand, the enemy can’t stop you from fulfilling your calling.  But, he can make it more difficult than it would have been if you’d obeyed immediately.

Don’t play into the enemy’s hand.  Find your calling in Christ and then quickly begin walking in it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Question: What’s the next step God is calling you to do?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2019 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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God’s Gifts – Married or Single

I’m now talking about First Corinthians, chapter 7.  That’s the section that talks about romantic relationships.  Paul now begins to speak to single people who were formerly married.

I wish that all men were as I am.  But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.  Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.  But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corinthians 7:7-9

I like the fact that Paul knows when he’s putting his own views into the teaching.  The word, wish, means a personal preference.  He was unmarried and preferred to stay that way.

You may be asking, why did I say that he’s talking about formerly married people?  The word he uses for unmarried usually means that they were married at one time, but now are single.  That’s in contrast to later in the chapter when he uses the word, virgin – someone who was never married.

Also, we know from Scripture that Paul was a Pharisee who came from a family of Pharisees.  His observance of tradition had been a source of pride before coming to Christ.  Jewish tradition was that a man needed to be married in his early twenties at the latest.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul was married at one time.  Traditionally, Pharisees needed to be married and it was a requirement for those who wanted to be a part of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish ruling body.

But what happened to Paul’s wife?  The Scripture doesn’t clearly tell us, so there’s some speculation.  In the above verse, he puts the two words together – unmarried males and female widows.  Also, there was no widely used Greek word for male widowers.

Because of this, the most likely possibility was that he was a widower.  The other is that his wife left him when he became a Christian.  In any case, at this point, he’s unmarried with no desire to become married.

In talking about people who’ve been in a marriage relationship, but are now single, he gives some important truth.  This is the foundation for a fulfilled life.  He talks about our giftings from God.

He makes it clear that the call to be single is a gift from God.  In the same way, the call to be married is also a gift from God.  The important thing is that we desire to walk in the center of the Lord’s will for us.

The big question is, how do I know whether I’m called to be married or to remain single?  To answer that, you need to check your heart.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

I believe that God gives us an internal compass that points to His will – peace.  If it’s your desire to serve God wholeheartedly, then the peace of God will direct you.

If you feel perfectly satisfied to remain single, and have no desire to be married again, then run with that.  Don’t let anyone pressure you to “test the field.”  In all likelihood, you’re called to the gift of a single life.

If, on the other hand, you don’t feel complete without a mate, and you desire to once again be in a marriage relationship, then go in that direction.  Seek God for His wisdom in finding the right one for you.  Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for desiring a mate.

The fact is that God loves us and wants the best for us if we simply pursue His will for our lives.

Question: How has the Lord confirmed His calling upon your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Final Exam

As we continue to go through our study of First Corinthians, Paul is explaining to the church about the importance of God’s calling.  The Lord’s work is different in each of us.  He deals with us all as individuals.

Our rewards are based upon what we’ve done.  My work isn’t compared to yours.  It’s judged against what God’s plan for my life required.

God desires to continually bring about changes in us to get us to where we need to be.  As I submit to these changes, I fulfill more of my calling.

But what happens if I don’t allow God to continue with His plan to renew my life?  Paul gives us some insight into the question.  In the letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is addressing a group of mostly baby Christians.  According to the Apostle, they’re not babies because they lack experience, but because they chose not to grow up.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15

When we were initially saved we were placed onto the foundation of Christ.  It’s afterward that the building program begins.  We have the choice to build for ourselves – wood, hay, and straw.

Think about it in the natural.  All over the world wood, hay, and straw are normal building materials.  They’re used because they’re readily available and easy to build with.

It’s a lot more difficult to build with gold, silver or costly stones.  They speak of what’s built by the spirit.  If we submit to the will of God for our lives, then we’ll see a beautiful structure arise.  Not only that, but it will be beyond our expectations for what we could have ever accomplished on our own.

The good news is that we’re told how it will all turn out.  We’re not in the dark.  We know what we’ll be judged on.  The test is fire.

You can build some elaborate and beautiful houses with wood, hay, and straw.  I’ve seen some grandiose mansions around the country.  Here’s the problem, they’re not going to be judged on how high they were built or how ornate they are.  They’re going to be doused with gasoline and lit up.

Think about what’s important to you right now.  The test is not how high you climbed up the corporate ladder.  It’s not how much money you accumulated.  It’s not even about how many good deeds you did or how many friends you have on Facebook.

The judgment will be based upon how close you stuck to the plan of God for your life.  Did you allow the Holy Spirit to work His changes in you?  The final exam is how close your life came to God’s will for you.

That’s what will matter the most to you in the end.

Question: How high on your priority list is knowing and accomplishing God’s will for your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2019 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Thanksgiving and God’s Will

Here in the USA, tomorrow is a holiday devoted to Thanksgiving – at least that was the original intent.  I’ve been meditating on Thanksgiving lately.

I think about the age we’re living in.  I look around at all that’s happening in the society I’m a part of.

Many people seem to have the attitude, “What do I have to be thankful for?”

The truth is that we’ve rewritten history.  If you believe what they teach in most public schools, it started solely from the Pilgrims’ thankfulness to Native Americans for helping them.

That was definitely a big part of the original celebration.  The problem is that we’ve all but erased God from the picture.

The pilgrims arrived at the new world in the winter.  That first year almost half of them died.  Every family lost someone.  Yet, in spite of their hardships, they gave thanks to God for His blessings.

I think about the times we’re living in right now.  The world around us is so uncertain.  People are worried about finances, healthcare, government, crime, terrorists, the weather, and a host of other fears that seem to be hanging over our heads.

Society is on the edge of their seat.  How can we be thankful in a time like this?

But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

As believers, we have the answer in Scripture.  The principle is that He gives us the victory…

That is a comforting thought.  He won the victory and then gives it to us.  How does that work?

It’s all about thankfulness.

…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

The Bible makes it very clear that giving thanks is God’s will.  It doesn’t matter what you’re going through.  You could be facing good or bad situations.  There might even be a cloud of uncertainty looming before you.  It’s always God’s will for us to be thankful.

Notice that He doesn’t say for all things.  He simply wants us to be thankful in all things.  What’s happening around us shouldn’t affect our thankful attitude towards our God.

Remember we’re not moved by the visible.  We must keep our eyes on the eternal.  The ups and downs of society around us are temporary conditions.  Everything is subject to change.

In any situation I find myself in, I can give thanks to God.  When I’m thankful, I know that I’m in the center of the will of God for me.

Be thankful and have a blest Thanksgiving!

Question: What are you thankful for right now?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2018 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Have You Set Yourself Up as a God?

In my last post, I talked about lawless mankind setting himself up as a god in the church.  This is to happen in the Last Days, which I believe we are currently in.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
II Thessalonians 2:4

I mentioned that some believe this verse is talking about the Temple in Jerusalem.

Let me ask you a question.  What if you heard on the radio that the Jew’s just finished a secret reconstruction of the temple?  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they took over the whole Temple mount and expelled all of the Moslems who are now in control.

My question is this – would that be God’s Temple?  The answer is simple.  No, that would be the Jew’s Temple.  They could begin offering up sacrifices, but it would mean nothing to God.

No fire would fall from heaven to consume the sacrifice.  As far as God is concerned, it would be just another building.  It wouldn’t be God’s Temple.

What Paul is talking about here is that lawless man, who sets himself up against God, will even get into the Church.  I’m going to say something now that’s going to get some people mad at me.

Think about it, man setting himself up against God.  There are Churches across the country today who decide what to do as a Church by having a vote.

Did they pray about it to see what God wants them to do?  Do they say, “Let’s have fasting and prayer for wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit?”

No!!  What do they do?  “Let’s vote on it, and then we’ll submit it to the finance committee, and then the finance committee will vote on it.”

“Do you think we should have an evangelistic outreach in our neighborhood?”

“Well, I don’t know.  This church building could sure use another coat of paint on it.  Maybe we should do that first and then in a couple of years we’ll see about reaching our community.”

“Why don’t we pray about this?”

“No way!  I put my money into this building, and I’m going to decide what will happen to it.”

Sad to say, this is how many churches around the country are operating.  This is not what I read in Scripture as a Christ-centered church.  God wants a praying church where our goal is to hear God’s will.

It’s a church where the leadership has the freedom to seek God.  Then, as godly men and women (who are actually doing the work of the ministry) bind their hearts together seeking God, they’ll see the Spirit of the Lord leading and directing their steps.

That’s the way it should be, but there are churches over which man has become the head.  Mankind has set himself above God in God’s Holy Temple.  That’s a scary thought.

I don’t want to find myself in the position of telling God that I can run His Church better than He can.  I believe this is what Paul was talking about in the last days.  People are going to be running their church, the way they want to, giving no thought to what God says.

They have set themselves up in God’s Temple, effectively proclaiming themselves to be God.  I believe that many church people in the USA have placed themselves in a very dangerous position.

Question: How have you experienced man running the church in place of the Holy Spirit?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Ministry, Prayer, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Prayer Under Pressure

How do you pray when you’re facing a severe trial?  Is it any different than when everything seems to be going your way?  If you’re like most people, those two prayers are vastly different.

In my last post, I talked about the fact that Jesus only took His three closest disciples with Him into the garden of prayer.  It was only hours before His trial, and He wanted them to watch how He prayed.  The Lord wanted them to see a prayer under deep emotional distress.

We know that Jesus felt the same pressure that we do while being tested.  The difference is that He knew how to walk in victory over these trials.  It was His goal to train His disciples to walk the same way.

He started by explaining what He was going through.

He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them.  “Stay here and keep watch.”
Mark 14:33-34

Jesus was deeply distressed because he was about to face something that he never experienced before.  He has existed since eternity past, but the Lord had never been touched by sin or death.  Now it was all going to come upon Him.

He told His disciples that His soul felt like it was totally surrounded by grief because of what He was about to face.  He knew that His humanity had to be dealt with.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.  “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:35-36

This passage causes many people to question whether or not Jesus wanted to go to the cross.  It sounds like, just before the end, the Lord was trying to get out of it.  That’s not what’s happening here.

We know from Jesus’ conversations with His disciples that He was focused on what He needed to do on the cross.

Remember what Jesus said when James and John asked to sit on His right and left hand in the kingdom.

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.  “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
Matthew 20:22a

There was no question in the Lord’s mind that He was going to drink the cup of death for us.  And there are many more places in the Gospels where He confirmed this thought.  Then why did He pray for the Father to remove this cup?

Simply put; this prayer was a teaching time for the disciples.  There were many times that Jesus prayed for the benefit of those who were listening.  This happened when He raised Lazarus from the dead.

So they took away the stone.  Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
John 11:41-42

What Jesus prayed in that garden was for the disciples’ benefit.  He wanted them to know how to pray when they felt overwhelmed.

Sometimes the pressure on us is so great that we lose sight of where God is bringing us to.  In those times it is very appropriate to ask God to bring an end to our trial.  But, we must always remember to finish the prayer by confirming our desire for God’s will to be done and not ours.

Question: When was a time that you had to pray while under great pressure?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2018 in Encouragement, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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