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Tag Archives: obeying God

Bloom Where You’re Planted

We’re continuing to look at Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  He’s now getting into some guiding principles as he talks about relationships in chapter 7.

Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.  This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
1 Corinthians 7:17

The context of this verse is that you shouldn’t end your marriage just because you got saved.  If your partner wants to remain together, even though they might not be a Christian, then allow the Holy Spirit to work through your relationship.

This is a guideline that Paul teaches in all of his churches.  It literally says that whatever portion God has assigned to you when He calls you; remain in it.

The Lord doesn’t work like a steam roller.  He doesn’t come into your life and tear everything down.

Cults do that.  When you join a cult, many times they’ll tell you to leave your family and cut all ties with your friends.  That’s not how the Lord works.

Normally, the Holy Spirit will work on you from the inside out.  He wants the people who know you best to see the change as it’s happening.  Then it will be a witness to them of the power of God.

Paul uses an example of circumcision to make his point.

Was a man already circumcised when he was called?  He should not become uncircumcised.  Was a man uncircumcised when he was called?  He should not be circumcised.  Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.  Keeping God’s commands is what counts.
1 Corinthians 7:18-19

The fact is that God can use anyone.  You don’t have to change who you are in order to serve Him faithfully.  The bottom line is that you hear and obey God’s voice.

He speaks to His people and we obey.  It’s a step by step process.  If there’s something in our lives that needs changing, then the Lord will provide the power to bring that about.

Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.  Were you a slave when you were called?  Don’t let it trouble you — although if you can gain your freedom, do so.  For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.
1 Corinthians 7:20-22

Paul talks about some situations that we find ourselves in that aren’t ideal.  Unfortunately, they’re not easy to get out of.  In this case, it’s slavery.  In those days it wasn’t all like the American version.  For some, slavery was a voluntary way to repay a debt.  For others, it was a penalty for a crime committed.

For us, it might be a massive amount of debt or multiple jobs in order to pay your bills.  Paul explains that in these types of situations, don’t worry about it.  Let God work through it.

But there is hope during those times.  We’re told the if we have the power to become free, then use it.  We don’t have to remain downtrodden.  Through prayer and obedience to the voice of God, our situation can and will improve.

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.
1 Corinthians 7:23-24

However, it’s important that we don’t knowingly place ourselves in these types of situations.  We want to be able to give our best for the Lord.

Question: How has God used your unique position in the past?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on April 3, 2019 in Encouragement, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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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

 
 

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A Pattern of Trust

BlurDid you know that there’s a pattern to how we should trust God? Sometimes we could get it partly right and miss out on God’s best for us. I want to look at miracle that Jesus performed to illustrate this truth. It’s a miracle that’s very often misunderstood.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
John 2:1-4

There’s a truth here that we miss sometimes because we don’t understand John’s perspective. The Gospel of John was written so that believers could learn how to live and minister as Jesus did. We do a disservice to the Gospel by assuming that John was written to the unsaved – it wasn’t.

In this passage, Jesus literally said, “What is it with me and you? This isn’t my time.” Please understand – Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful to His mother. Because Joseph had passed away before this, Jesus was the head of his family as the oldest son. It was proper for Him to speak to Mary as her authority.

What did He mean that it wasn’t His time yet? If you check the time-line of Jesus’ life, you’ll find that He had just been baptized by John the Baptist. But He hadn’t gone into the wilderness to be tested yet. This is the last stop before the wilderness.

Then if it wasn’t His time yet; why did He perform the miracle? And what exactly was the miracle? His words are very important for us to understand what’s happening.

In actuality, Mary had as much to do with this as Jesus. It’s all about hearing from God and obeying. In this story, Mary is the one who heard from God. She felt in her heart that this need can be supplied by God.

Jesus basically said to her, “It’s not my hour. This is on you – you’re the one who heard from God. It’s your faith that’s going to do this.” In other words, Jesus was telling her, “You do what God tells you to do.”

What did the Father speak to Mary?

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
John 2:5

God the Father impresses Mary to deal with the servants directly. She tells them to do whatever Jesus instructs them. But remember, it’s not time yet for Jesus to act as the Messiah of Israel. That means that He had to operate from a different relationship.

In this event, we see one of the only places in the Gospels where Jesus operates as God in the flesh. In this case He is acting as God, not man. When He speaks to the servants, it’s the voice of God speaking to them.

It’s important for us to know this so we can learn how to respond to God’s voice. Remember I said there was a pattern to trusting God. The start is when God gives the vision. We find out what He can do through us.

But then, we have to follow the step by step instructions that God gives us. Hearing the vision – God wants to supply your need – is the easy part. It’s following through on the instructions to see the manifestation that’s the hard part.

That’s why I want to take a couple of posts to look at this event in the life of Jesus. I believe it will help us in our faith-walk.

Question: What are the things in your life that you’re trusting God for right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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5 Warning Signs of Legalism (Repost)

WarningThis is the fifth of six reposts of my most read articles. It was from 2012.

Many Christians are bound by legalism. Are you one of them? The trouble is that legalism can be very deceptive. You can be caught up in it and never know it – unless you see the warning signs. I hope this will be both a challenge and a blessing to you.

Elevating works over position. Do you worry about what you can do to please God? The correct answer is – nothing!! It’s the blood of Christ that makes me acceptable to God. Nothing I do can make Him love me any more or any less. While works can affect my rewards and blessings, they’ll never change God’s love and acceptance of me if I’m in Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 Seeing yourself more of a slave than a son. Yes, we do serve God and are expected to obey Him in all things. But the way we obey is as mature sons and daughters. As spiritual children we learn servanthood. It’s the training ground for our growth in Christ. The purpose of servanthood is so that we can walk in maturity. The Lord desires sons and daughters to represent Him to the world. (Galatians 4:1-7)

Relying more on your confession than God’s grace. I believe in the confession of Scripture. Rehearsing and memorizing it is an important part of the believer’s life. Just as important is the reason we do it. The purpose of confessing God’s Word is to increase our faith in Him. But ultimately, it’s not my confession, but the power of God that will bring about the changes that I need. (II Peter 1:3)

Giving more time to studying Scripture than to intimacy with Christ. Scripture study is very important – it’s one of my passions. I couldn’t live without it. But, spending quality time with the Lord is even more so. Jesus rebuked the Scribes and the Pharisees for diligently studying the Scriptures, yet not going to the Messiah that they pointed to. It’s not enough just to know about Christ. I need to have an intimate, personal knowledge of Him that only comes from time spent in His presence. (John 5:39-40)

Being more confident in your comparison with others than abiding in Christ. Comparison is a deadly trap. The problem is that I can always find someone less committed than me. It gives me a false sense of security because I’m no worse than anyone else. On the other hand, I can spend my days feeling worthless, because I look at others who are farther along than me in the faith. I can’t base my self-evaluation on someone else’s life. My goal is not to be better than you, but to be like Christ. (II Corinthians 10:12)

Questions: Have you battled with legalism? How have you overcome it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Encouragement, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Inconvenient Truth about Obedience

MeditationIn my last post I talked about the connection between faith and obedience. It’s one of the toughest choices we need to make as believers.

This goes beyond what we usually think about obedience.

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

Contrary to popular belief, obedience is by faith, not fear. It’s easier to obey if I trust the one I’m submitted to. This is especially true in my relationship with God.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.
1 Peter 1:14-15

According to Peter, this obedience comes as a result of calling. If that’s the case, then we need to look at the calling of God. Let’s review the verse we first read in my last post.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

It all starts by being called to go out of where we’re currently living. Then we’re called to move into a place that God expects us to inherit. The callings to go out and to move in are the two sides of God’s work in our lives. Both require our obedience.

It’s as if God is saying to us, “Let’s get you to the inheritance.” We then have to trust God enough to want the destiny that He’s prepared for us.

Bible talks a lot about obedience. Children and parents, employees and bosses, governments, church leaders, etc. This is how God gets you to the place He sees for you.

However, the biggest problem with God’s way of calling is that Abraham did not know where he was going. The verse literally says that he did not stand upon where he was going to.

Jesus understood this in His time on earth.

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered
Hebrews 5:8

This verse is talking about Christ but it’s the same for us. The word suffer is talking about a feeling. The truth is that we only learn obedience by what we feel. Unfortunately, it’s usually a painful experience.

If I’m hungry and someone says, “Come to dinner,” that’s not obedience for me to come and eat. Obedience is when I’m watching TV and my parents tell me to put out the trash.

We need to understand that obedience is a learning process. It teaches me that to enjoy the best life, will require some discomfort now, for a greater return later. The inheritance is the fun part. It’s the calling that’s usually inconvenient.

Question: How does faith help us to obey God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Faith, Revival

 

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The Faith – Obedience Connection

ClimberSometimes we may get the idea that faith is just a matter of getting our thoughts right.

“As long as I trust God on the inside, everything will be okay.”

That’s a good place to start, but will it be enough to carry you through to your destiny? Actually faith is more than just the internal. It’s a continual process of revelation and response. We can learn a lot from Abraham’s example.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8

This verse tells us how Abraham applied the principles of faith to his life. If we boil down all the extra words, we’re told that by faith Abraham obeyed. He heard the Word that God spoke to him and chose to obey it by faith.

Up to this point in our Christian walk no obedience necessary. If you never hear from the Holy Spirit, then you’re not responsible to respond. Of course, neither do you see any miracles that come with your obedience.

It’s at this level that we start to mature in Christ. We want to do more than just fill a pew. We’ve accepted Christ as our Savior. Now we want to experience growth.

It’s unfortunate that so many believers want to stay at the infant stage of their spiritual life. They come out on Sunday morning, read the Bible, sing, clap, and pray. They continue to drink in, yet they feel no need for obedience.

To understand this, we need to know what it is that we’re to obey. The above verse makes it clear. We are to obey God’s calling. This is the normal process of growth in the life of a believer.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

This is probably one of the clearest Scriptures on growth in the Bible. We’re told to offer ourselves to the Lord on His altar. Then comes the renewing of our mind. Finally, I can approve (obey) God’s will.

Sometimes our problem is that we put the cart before the horse. We want to know what God’s will for our life is before we decide to obey Him. That’s not faith. I need to trust Him with my life first, then He’ll make his will know to me.

That’s why I need to know Him. It’s hard to trust someone, if you don’t really know them.

In my next post, I’ll explain why this call to trust God in obedience is one of the hardest things we’re asked to do.

Question: Why does it seem so hard to obey God’s calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Faith, Word of God

 

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