RSS

Tag Archives: problems

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

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Courage Under Fire

How bold are you when you see trouble coming in your future?  Are you willing to stand your ground and face it head-on?  Or, like so many, do you simply ignore it and hope that it goes away?

As we look at the life of Christ in the Gospel of Mark, we see His time with the disciples at the Last Supper.  Keep in mind that because this is the first of the gospels to be written, the Holy Spirit only inspired Mark to give the “bare bones” of what happened at this meal.

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.  While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me — one who is eating with me.”
They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?”
Mark 14:17-19

Mark shows us the disciples’ reaction to the revelation that one of their own would betray Christ.  The word, betray, in this verse means to surrender over.  Somebody was going to turn the Lord in to the authorities.

The effect was that they were distressed by this knowledge.  It hurt them.  In one sense, most of them felt that they would never do such a thing.  On the other hand, Jesus had never been wrong in any of His predictions.  The reality of the situation was overwhelming.

The men with Jesus must have felt a great grief come over them.  But in spite of this emotional upheaval, it’s not the disciples that I want to concentrate on.  It’s the attitude of Christ that we need to examine.

“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him.  But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Mark 14:20-21

The Lord reveals that it is indeed one of His twelve closest friends who will do this deed.  It would be someone who is in fellowship, eating at the same table.  In that culture, sharing a meal was one of the most intimate things that friends did.

Jesus makes it clear that this would not turn out well for the betrayer.  There will come a time when he will wish he had never been born.  His guilt will eventually destroy his life.

But it’s the statement Christ makes about Himself that really gets my attention.  He said that He would go just as it was written about Him.

That word, go, in the Greek, means to lead oneself.  He was stating that He was more than willing to walk the road that was laid out for Him in the Scripture.

Jesus knew what was ahead.  The cross was not taking Him by surprise.  He saw it and was progressing toward it with boldness and conviction.  That had always been the goal of Christ’s ministry on earth and nothing would prevent Him from accomplishing it.

We need to walk in that same conviction when it comes to following the will of God for our lives.  Too often we let the problems, challenges, and distraction of life sidetrack us from the straight and narrow path.

We must realize that the spiritual struggle can only be won with the Lord’s strength operating through us.  Time spent in His presence will assure us the victory.  So we won’t need to fret over the challenges we see coming down the road toward us.  Stand strong in the Lord!

Question: How has time in the Lord’s presence helped you to overcome the obstacles of life?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Will We Ever Learn?

Every once in a while someone will ask me, “Why do I keep facing the same problem over and over?”  We know that the problems we face are trials or tests.  When we get the same test again and again, it’s a signal for us to take a spiritual inventory.

The disciples of Christ had a similar experience.  A remote place, no resources, and a hungry crowd of people.

During those days another large crowd gathered.  Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied.
Mark 8:1-5

History repeats itself.  This is the same scenario that we saw in Mark chapter 6, verses 35-44.  Jesus had been teaching the crowd.  It was getting late.  They were all hungry.

There is one noticeable difference.  In chapter 6, the disciples had to search the crowd to know how much bread they had.  At this time they came to Jesus already knowing the answer.

My first thought is to rebuke the disciples for not learning the lesson when Jesus fed the five thousand.  But then my next thought is, how long it takes me to learn the lessons God is trying to get across to me.  It seems like, at least in my case, I don’t learn them the first time around.

Jesus had to show them, once again, the supernatural provision of God.

He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.  When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so.  They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.  The people ate and were satisfied.  Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  About four thousand men were present.  And having sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
Mark 8:6-10

The trials that we face are testing us.  They come along to see if we’ve learned the lessons God is showing us.  He’s teaching us to trust Him.  When we manifest that faith, we pass the test.

James explains the procedure to us.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3

That means if we face the same test over and over, then we’re not learning the lesson correctly.  It’s time to pray for wisdom to see what we’re missing.

Our goal should be to know the Lord more intimately.  The more we know Him and His desires for us, the better prepared we’ll be for the upcoming tests.  Instead of being frustrated by the repeated testing, let it drive you into the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Let our great Teacher mentor you for the challenges ahead.

Question: What was a lesson that took you a few times to get right?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2018 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Joyfully Thankful

In my last post, I finished my series on the book of Galatians.  Since we’re now approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, I feel like posting some things that would prepare our hearts.

At one point, the Apostle Paul prayed for the Colossian believers to have a knowledge of God’s will with spiritual wisdom and understanding.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:10-12

That’s a long sentence, but it has a great message for us.  We’re told that we should live a life worthy of the Lord.  Our lives should reflect His character since we’re called to live as His ambassadors.  But how is that to be accomplished?

It also says that we should please Him in every way.  This is the only place in Scripture that particular word is used.  It means to have the desire to please someone – to want to make them happy.

I realize that sometimes we make big mistakes and fall short of this goal.  It’s good to know that if the desire’s there, then the Lord is pleased with us.

However, it can’t just end with the desire to please Him.  This desire is not just an internal part of me; it has to be manifested in how I live.

According to Paul, it’s shown forth as I bear fruit, growing, and allowing His power to work in me.  And right along with this, I need to be joyfully giving thanks to the Lord.

Please understand that there are two ways we view life when faced with challenges that we can’t change.  The first is to tolerate them with grumbling and complaining.  The other is to come at them with the knowledge that God has full dominion over everything and everybody.

Looking at life’s problems in this last way allows us to rejoice that God’s power will work in us.  Then it will be evident to the world around us that God is still on the throne.

I love that phrase, “…joyfully giving thanks to the Father…”  Thanking God with joy is what we need in in the challenging situations that we face all the time.

But this kind of response will only happen as we spend time with Him.  Being in His presence allows us to be strengthened by His Spirit.  It gives us the knowledge and faith that Christ is in control.

The word translated giving thanks is a part of speech that indicates Paul is not just talking about Thanksgiving Day.  It’s all about a lifestyle of giving thanks to God continually.

Keep your thankfulness to God going throughout the year.  It will change your whole outlook on life.

Question: What are you thankful for this season?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2017 in Encouragement, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What’s in Your Heart?

heart CrossI’m posting about the tests that we face as believers. We were looking at Abraham as our example. The Old Testament actually says that God tested Abraham.

These are tests that are designed by God show how far we’ve progressed in our faith. All of God’s people have to experience these from time to time. How does this testing process work?

We were looking at the account given in Hebrews 11.

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
Hebrews 11:17-18

In any testing, it all starts with God’s Word to us. This verse literally says that the direction was; it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.

God promised Abraham uncountable seed in his future. When Isaac was born, God made it clear that the promise would be fulfilled through Isaac. That’s what this kind of testing is all about.

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
Deuteronomy 8:2

This verse says that God wanted to know by seeing what was in your heart. In other words, the test was to get what was in your heart to manifest in your actions. In that way we’ll see our heart the way God sees it.

The big question that the test wants answered is; will you obey? We are tested concerning God’s will.

The enemy, on the other hand, will tempt us to test God. Remember Jesus being tested in the wilderness. The enemy tried to get Him to turn stones into bread in order to test God. Jesus responded with God’s Word – “It is written…”

Unfortunately, Israel didn’t get this truth as they were going through their testing.

They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
Psalm 78:18

It’s interesting that in most cases – Abraham, Israel, and the Lord Jesus – much of the testing took place in the wilderness. How do we handle our wilderness experiences?

We may not go through a physical desert, but we go through problem times that challenge our faith. That’s the kind of testing that brings out what’s in our hearts. What you’ve been putting in will begin to manifest in your walk.

I’m going to get into this a little deeper in my next post.

Question: What did you learn about your heart during your last spiritual test?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Tired?

ClimberI don’t know about you, but sometimes I just get tired. Tired of the battles, the problems of life, and everything that society throws at me. It’s times like that when I need to seek the encouragement of the Word of God.

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joy.
Colossians 1:11

The Apostle Paul understood how to live victoriously in spite of all the stuff that was happening around him. He knew where to go to receive strength in his time of need.

One of the things that the Holy Spirit desires to do in us is to build us up in our inner man. He wants to give us the power we need to stand our ground for Christ.

This life is very draining on people. I don’t believe that there’s any such thing as an easy life. Of course, as the saying goes, the grass is always greener in someone else’s yard. We look at other people and think that they have it so easy.

The reality is that we’re all different. We all see life from a different perspective. The things that you find difficult to deal with, I don’t have any problem with. And some of the things that trip me up, you don’t struggle with at all.

The simple fact is that everyone needs an abundance of endurance, patience, and joy. Those are the qualities we seem to lose so easily. Yet that’s exactly what the Lord wants to bring into our lives.

Apart from the Holy Spirit we would give up too soon. I want to see the finish line and cross it with strength. I don’t want to barely finish then collapse in exhaustion.

Finishing strong requires me to rely on His strength for my life. I must come to the realization that without Him I can do nothing.

It’s a humbling experience to tell the Lord that you need Him. But that’s why Scripture teaches that if you humble yourself before Him, He will exalt you.

That’s why we need to run to God’s Word. The verse above is especially encouraging. I’m so glad that the apostle didn’t say, “Being strengthened with some power according to my best efforts.”

When I draw on the power of the Spirit, I have access to all power – all the power I need overcome in every area of my life. This power isn’t based upon what I can do. It’s all because of the Lord’s unlimited resources. He’s the One I look to for help.

Draw on the power of the Holy Spirit today. Spend quality time in His presence and watch what the Lord can do in a life that is yielded before Him. Make use of His promises. Let Him grant to you His endurance, patience, and joy.

Question: How have you seen the difference between living in your power vs. the Holy Spirit’s?

©Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Don’t Give Up

WomanHave you ever felt like giving up? Everyone goes through times like this. We feel like giving up on our jobs, ministries, or marriages. You’re not alone. Even the prophet, Elijah, went through a point in his life when he felt like this.

It took place when the Queen of Israel, Jezebel, was threatening his life.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”
I Kings 19:3-4

Elijah is probably one of the most powerful Old Testament figures. Through him, God performed incredible miracles to turn Israel around. Yet at this point in his life he was ready to throw in the towel. He actually prayed for God to take his life.

What could cause such an uncompromising individual to leave the race? The answer lies in the first line. Elijah was afraid.

The evil queen, Jezebel, had ordered his arrest and execution. Fear had gripped his heart in spite of the presence of God in his life.

How many times do we lose sight of our calling when faced with the overwhelming problems of life? We need to take the same path that Elijah took – but not the same attitude. We need to run to a place of solitude with God and pour out our heart in prayer.

Just like Elijah, we need to admit our faults and failings. Only the Lord is able to meet the needs of our inner man.

We must use this time to seek the Lord’s help for the challenges we face. This may include confessing your failures and trials. God stands ready to enfold you in His arms. By doing this, we allow His strength to work in us the restoration that is needed.

Then he [Elijah] lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
I Kings 19:5-8

While he was on the very edge of despair, Elijah received sustenance from the Lord. As he was running away from the stress in his life, God provided him with supernatural food. God knew that the journey before him was too much for his flesh to handle. So, He provided what Elijah needed.

I’ll let you in on a secret. If you’re following God’s plan for your life, then your journey is more than you can take. You’ll need this supernatural food to sustain you.

That’s why your time with the Lord is so important. Spending time with the Holy Spirit is one of the most powerful, life-changing events you could ever plan for. Don’t neglect your spiritual food.

Take the time to find nourishment for your soul in the Lord’s presence. Cast your burdens upon Him and allow His strength to revive your spirit.

Question: How has the Lord strengthened you in His presence recently?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Encouragement, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,