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“No Pain, No Gain” (Repost)

JogThis is the fourth of six reposts of my most read articles. This was originally from a series in 2012. The series was about the uses of Scripture as listed in II Timothy 3:16.

To view the original series, click here.

This post is about training in righteousness.

This word training means to mentor or to train up like a child from infancy to adulthood. The Bible is written for all. It doesn’t matter where you are in your spiritual walk.

If you’re a baby Christian who was just saved, it can be your milk bottle. If you’re mature in the Lord, it has the meat of the deep truths of God. It can satisfy any hunger.

But what exactly does it train us in? Paul is very specific – training in righteousness.

In Scripture, you’ll find that righteousness is the whole package of what Christ paid for on the cross. Throughout the Word righteousness is associated with: Rewards, victory in battle, prosperity, salvation, honor, life, and healing. Scripture truly is the owner’s manual for our walk with the Lord.

When Paul speaks about training in righteousness he’s talking about the whole plan of God for your life. The job of Scripture is to take you from wherever the Lord found you when you were saved to the heights of His perfect plan for your life.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

The word discipline in this verse is the same Greek word as training in Second Timothy. The writer of Hebrews tells us that there is pain associated with this kind of training. Why is that?

The answer is simple. This training is what causes us to grow from infancy to maturity. Growth means change, and change hurts. Think about it – when I was an infant I could throw my toys all over the floor and my parents would joyfully pick everything up.

Then, there came a day when I was told, “It’s time to pick up your toys and put them away.” There must have been a look of pain and distress on my face when I had to clean my room.

Then, there came a day when I couldn’t just do as I pleased all day long. My parents came to me and informed me that I would be starting school next week. Suddenly there was a place I had to be every day, to read, learn, and take tests whether I wanted to or not. It was painful to me.

As a matter of fact, almost every new responsibility throughout our lives causes some degree of discomfort. That’s what this Scripture is talking about. As we are brought to maturity there are going to be painful changes. Things we used to do, that we’re no longer able to do. Thing we’ve never done that we’re now responsible for. We must let the Scripture do its work, so that we can be mature and complete – not lacking anything that the Lord has provided for us.

Question: What did you find most painful, so far, in the maturing process?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Change is the Constant

TrailGoing through changes in our life is never easy. I wish it were. If you want to lay hold of your destiny, then you need to accept change.

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
Genesis 35:16-18

Sometimes going through change is like we’re dying to ourselves. Psychologists say that when change takes place there’s a grieving process that we must walk out.

The fact is that we can’t stop change from happening. The only thing we have control over is our attitude. It’s how we deal with change that makes all the difference.

In this Scripture, Jacob and his family were “on the road” when his wife Rachel died in childbirth. If anyone could have had a reason for bitterness, he did. But he didn’t wallow in self-pity. She named the child Ben-Oni, which means, the son of my trouble. The hurt of that day would have followed the child for his entire life.

Instead, Jacob immediately changed the boy’s name to Benjamin, the son of my right hand. He released the pain into God’s hand. I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But if there’s a great change you’re grieving over – give it to God.

Only the Lord can bring you through. As you spend time in His presence you’re allowing Him to turn your Ben-Oni into a Benjamin.

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.
Genesis 35:19-21

There are many changes that are hard to deal with. That’s why it’s so important to work on our attitudes during those times.

When God speaks to our hearts as we’re quiet before Him, He may require us to make a great change in our lives. Sometimes the change is so big, that it may seem that our old way of life has died and we’ve been reborn to a new way of living. It’s like our life is going through a huge makeover.

It’s essential that we learn to bury the “old man” and then move on. Unless we leave the past behind, we can never enter His future.

One of the ways Jacob moved on was in the setting up of a pillar – a memorial – to remind him of what happened. You could set up a “memorial stone” as well, by commenting in your journal or placing a sticky note in your Bible. It could be a kind of tombstone for your old way of living.

God wants to bring you from glory to glory but you’ll have to leave your old self behind. Change is really the only constant in life. Either you’re going through it right now or you will in the near future.

Make the choice now to rely on God’s grace in times of change. Be willing and ready to accept His leading, whatever form it may take. Only then will change do its work and make you a better, stronger person.

Question: What are the changes God is leading you through right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer, Worship

 

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Healing 101 – Sickness and the Curse #ChristtheHealer

VirusHealing is a “Hot Topic” in the body of Christ today.  Many are seeking to be healed of a variety of sicknesses and diseases. There are healing revivals, healing seminars, and healing schools around the country, yet only a fraction are being healed.

There are many conflicting messages being taught:

“God wants everybody healed.”

“It’s God’s will to keep some people sick.”

“You can’t know if it’s God’s will to heal you or not.”

“If you’re not healed, it’s because you lack the faith.”

What’s the truth?

The Scripture is clear in its teaching on healing.  Hopefully, this new series will provide you with simple, clear, and easy to understand principles from the Word of God.

Before we can truly grasp God’s purpose in healing, we must first have a basic understanding of sickness.  Sad to say, but most Christians are ignorant of the true nature of sickness.  I’ll start by giving you a God’s eye view of sickness and disease.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…
Romans 5:12

To understand sickness, we must go back to the beginning when sin entered the world through Adam.

What is sin?  The words we translate as sin in both the Old and New Testaments mean to miss the mark.  Sin misses the mark of God’s glory.  According to the above verse, death is the penalty for missing the mark (sinning).

Adam missed the mark of God’s perfect will for him.  It was through Adam that the tendency to sin, and the resulting death penalty was transferred to the human race.  Here’s the curse was pronounced against us in the Garden of Eden…

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16

The word pains, in this verse, literally means intense labor.  The curse against the woman was that her reproduction process would be labor intensive.

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Genesis 3:17-19

The words painful toil in this verse is the same Hebrew word pains found in verse 16.  Adam would produce food through labor intensive work.  The curse, therefore, was that for man and woman, the very things that they were created to do, would only be accomplished through painful toil.

There’s one thing that’s obviously absent from the curse.  In spite of anything taught to the contrary, Scripture is clear – sickness was NOT a part of the curse!!!  God was not the author of sickness.

In my next post, I’ll show where sickness actually comes from.

Question: What are your views on divine healing?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Healing

 

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Is Your Tongue Your Problem?

DogI’ve been talking about Abraham’s example to us in receiving God’s blessing and provision.  In my last post I said that we needed to speak what we believe from our heart.  This is important because it’s usually our speaking that gets us in the most trouble.

Listen to the exchange that took place as Abraham was taking Isaac up the mountain.  All Abraham knew at this point was that God was asking him to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice.

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  And the two of them went on together.
Genesis 22:7-8

I can only imagine how much pain this question caused Abraham.  I believe that there was a long pause while Abraham thought about how he could answer the boy.  It amazes me how simply the answer was formed.

In spite of his confusion, and without anger or bitterness toward God, he spoke the truth in faith and love.  This is a lesson we need to take to heart.

So many times we speak without thinking.  We especially run into trouble when we talk from the hurt and anguish we’re experiencing.  We say many things that we wish we could take back.

That’s why one of the secrets to positioning ourselves to receive God’s blessing is to watch what we say when we’re hurting.  James understood this truth.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
James 3:5-6

James is looking at this from a negative perspective.  Controlled by the spirit, the tongue can set your life on course for God’s blessing.  Controlling the tongue is one of the hardest things we’re called to do, yet it’s one of the most important.  What we say can set the emotional foundation for our eventual success or failure.

How we speak, especially in times of confusion and pain, will have a lasting effect on both us and those around us.  Is what you’re saying building up or tearing down God’s work?

We must choose to keep a watch over our tongues.  If needed, we can go to the Lord in repentance for things that may have been said in hurt or anger.  We can ask for His strength to take control of this unruly member of our body.

If we will spend time in the Lord’s presence and meditate upon His Word, then there will be a greater chance that truth and love will come out during stressful times.

Question: When have your words either helped or hurt the situation you were in?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision

 

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