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Walking in Faith, Hope & Love

In my last post we finished looking at the book of James, the first epistle given by the Holy Spirit to the church. During that time, a man named Saul of Tarsus was persecuting the believers.

After an encounter with Christ Himself, Saul became a Christian and his life was totally changed. He was eventually called to preach and became a missionary to the gentiles. The next revelation of God’s Word to the church was through this man, who changed his name to Paul.

On one of his journeys, Paul went to the city of Thessalonica and many were saved. (These events can be read in more detail in Acts 16-18.) Because of intense persecution, Paul had to leave quickly. This immediate exit caused him to be concerned about the health of the newly formed church.

Paul eventually traveled to Corinth, where he stayed for over a year. During that time, he sent Timothy to check-up on the church at Thessalonica. Timothy brought back a good report that the young believers were standing in the truth.

The letter of First Thessalonians was written to encourage this church, after Paul listened to Timothy’s report.

Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3

Paul opens the letter by remembering their faith, hope, and love. These are the three things that the Bible says will be with us eternally. Too often we think about them only in spiritual terms.

We sometimes get the idea that they’re just good feelings that Christians should enjoy. Some believers act like they’re wonderful gifts that should be tucked quietly away in our hearts.

NO WAY!!! According to Paul, faith, hope, and love are the sparks that ignite our ministry before God. There are three different things that happen in us as a result of their influence upon us.

First, faith produces our work. That word literally means your assignment. It’s the task that God has given you. As you go before God in faith, He gives you grace for the calling He’s placed upon your life. As I trust God more and more, I learn to follow His ways. Eventually I start to understand why He wanted me in His kingdom. Faith causes me to stand in my assignment.

Then comes love – it prompts us to labor. That word labor, means to use up your strength in performing a task. Without the love of God, we’ll never pour ourselves into the calling He’s placed upon us. We’re called to work with all of our strength. Without love, that will never happen.

Finally, hope inspires endurance. It’s easy to start out strong, but it’s how we finish that matters the most. Hope is the biblical word for expectation. If I do my part, then I can expect God to show up and do His part.

That’s what keeps me going even when I don’t feel like it. I know what God says in His Word. Because I place my expectation on Him, I can continue to live for the Lord. Hope gives you the endurance to persevere to the end.

Let faith, hope, and love give you more than just a warm feeling. Let them spur you on to accomplishing your destiny in the Lord’s Kingdom.

Question: How have you seen faith, hope and love at work in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Why Work for God?

WorkThere are many believers who never enter into their calling.  Are you one of them?  Don’t miss the point of why God wants us to work for Him and with Him.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, commending them on their work for the Lord.  He mentions three aspects that speak volumes to us as God’s people.  We need to take these things to heart if we’re going to be productive in the Kingdom of God.

Our work is produced by faith.  The word for work means what we do for God.  It’s the task to which we’ve been assigned.

We’ve all been called to do something different in the Body of Christ.  Your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and skillsets all combine to bring about the plan God has for your life.

The key is that you must seek God to find out what you’re called to do.  That’s where faith comes into the picture.  How well do you trust God for your future?  Are you willing to give up your agenda for His?

Then, by faith, we must let the Holy Spirit train and prepare us for the work.  Too many believers want to rush ahead and get “on the job training.”  Usually they become tripped up when they run ahead of the Lord.  You need to trust God to bring about the plan He has for your life.

Our labor is prompted by love.  This word labor, in the Greek, literally means your toil that results in weariness.  It speaks of using your strength to accomplish something.

We’re willing to do this for our bosses, because they pay us cash for our strength.  The Kingdom of God has a different economy.  What we do for the Lord is based upon our love for Him, or at least it should be.

Your love for God is expressed in how much time, money and energy you’re willing to expend in His work.  There’s no way around it – there’s something that you need to do for the Lord.

Our trouble is that we want to reap without sowing.  We wait until we want to eat a salad, then go out and plant the garden.  At that point, we blame God that our “salad bowl” is empty.

If you cultivate a love for the Savior, your work for Him will be a lot easier.

Our endurance is inspired by hope.  The word endurance speaks of our ability to persevere through the completion of the work.

This is the hard part.  Once we’ve started the task, we need to keep going.  Hardships, opposition, and even the daily grind of repetition saps our will to continue.

Our attitudes often surprise me.  We’re willing to drag ourselves to our job, even though we’re sick – and our boss will pay us to stay home – just to impress our employers.  Why aren’t we so inspired to impress the King of kings?  This is the secret to walking in the abundant life.

As I focus on the hope, the expectation, held out in the Gospel, I’m able to endure through the hard times.  Then I can see the power of God released in my life.

Question: What do you find to be the hardest part of enduring in your work for God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Ministry

 

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Why is the Love-Walk so Tough?

Snow HeartBefore the New Year, I was talking about the faith-love connection in my posts.  I want to continue along those lines.  Do you know why it’s so hard to walk in love sometimes?  The answer will become clear as we move forward.

If you remember, I was using the illustration of faith as the fuel and love as the generator for the power of God.  These are the two things that must be in place for us to see the blessing of God in our lives.  I want to go a little further with this concept.

One of the ways we run into problems is using the right fuel in the right device.  For instance, a candle produces light and heat.  But, I wouldn’t try to cook a steak with a candle.

Love is the key to using the power of God.  So we need to understand how it works.  This kind of love (Agape in Greek) that the Bible speaks about is not an emotion.  You have probably already heard many teachings on the subject.  It is taught that love is a decision.

That’s good as far as it goes, but love is much more than that.  To truly use the power of God, love must be a decision TO ACT.  Remember, love is the spiritual pressure, but what is also needed is a saved mind that acts in faith.  Without action there is no love and there is no power.  If I have truly decided to love you, then I will pray for you, encourage you, and bless you.

This is probably the biggest hindrance to power production in our lives.  We like holding on to the fuel to show everyone, “Look how much I have.”  We don’t want to actually use the generator.  We only want to impress people by our abundance of fuel.  What we really need is to learn the truth that faith by itself is not power.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 1:3

This verse gets right to the heart of the matter.  Work in this verse is the power that produces change.  This work is produced by faith operating through love.

But this verse also says that there is a labor associated with love.  This word labor in Greek means that which reduces strength.  To put it simply, the lamp burns oil to produce light.  The engine burns gasoline to move the car.  In the same way, love burns faith to produce spiritual power.

Why is it so hard to love others?  The reason is that love requires a constant supply of faith to fuel it.  Unless we’re willing to work at it, it’s easier to just ignore it.

Question: Do you notice the labor involved in loving someone?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Faith, Power of God

 

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Faith Hope Love

1Thessalonians 1:2-3
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith, hope, and love – they are the three things that the Bible says will be with us eternally.  Too often we think about them in spiritual terms.  We get the idea that these are just good feelings that Christians should enjoy.  Like they are wonderful gifts that should be tucked quietly away in our hearts.

NO WAY!!!  Faith, hope, and love are the sparks that ignite our ministry before God.  There are three different things that happen as a result of their influence on us.

First, faith produces our work.  That word literally means your assignment.  It is the task that God has given you.  As you go before God in faith, He gives you grace for the calling He has placed upon your life.  Faith causes you to stand in your assignment.

Then comes love – it prompts us to labor.  That word means to use up your strength in performing a task.  Without the love of God, we will never pour ourselves into the calling He has placed upon us.  We are called to work with all of our strength.  Without love, that will never happen.

Finally, hope inspires endurance.  It’s easy to start out strong, but it’s how we finish that matters the most.  Hope is the biblical word for expectation.  If I do my part, then I can expect God to show up and do His part.  That’s what keeps me going even when I don’t feel like it.  Hope gives you the endurance to persevere to the end.

Let faith, hope, and love give you more than just a warm feeling.  Let them spur you on to accomplishing your destiny in the Lord’s Kingdom.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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