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Tag Archives: pursuing God

Why Do You Seek God?

That’s an interesting question to ask.  Some may even say that the answer should be obvious.  But is it?  I think it’s important to know if you’re seeking God for the reasons He wants to be sought.

Jesus had a way of getting to these core issues when dealing with people.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mark 10:17

From the outward appearance, this man was seeking Christ for a changed life.  It’s like we pray sometimes.  “Lord, I’ll do whatever it takes to please you.  Just help me out of this situation I’m facing.”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.  “No one is good — except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”
Mark 10:18-19

Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter.  He asks the man why he’s asking this question.  Does he really know the One he’s seeking help from?

When we seek the Lord, are we seeking Him as Lord?  Or are we just asking Him to give us something or to do something for us?  That makes a difference.

Jesus starts by giving him the primary answer – do what the Scripture tells you to do.  That’s the entrance into the kingdom.  Of course, they were under the Old Covenant so it meant following the Law of Moses.

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him.  “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:20-21

Based on the words of Christ, this young man was saved and on his way to Heaven.  He was fulfilling the requirements of the Law.  The problem was that he was still spiritually unfulfilled.  He was longing for a deeper walk.  That’s why he came to Jesus.

There’s something important to understand.  Before Jesus gives him the instructions, we’re told the Lord discerned or looked into him.  Having done that, we’re also told that Jesus loved him.  He knew about the genuine longing in this young man’s heart.

Basically, the Lord tells him that if he wants to progress to the next level, spiritually, he needs to remove all his earthly possessions and start new as a disciple of Christ.

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mark 10:22-23

The word picture in this verse is that of a cloud coming over the conversation when Jesus spoke.  The young man was grieved because he had a large estate.  So that’s what this is about; an estate.

The young man had inherited an estate from his family.  Jesus was calling him to give up his earthly inheritance for a heavenly one.  After all, that was his original question.

He was probably well known and respected because of his family’s wealth.  Jesus was calling him to give it all up and to start fresh in the kingdom of God.

When we seek the Lord, are we looking for His counsel and direction or do we simply want Him to give us something?  Attitude makes all the difference.

I’ll continue this thought in my next post.

Question: What should our attitude be in approaching the Lord?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Humility is not Dirt

Dry1In my last post I said that God desires His people to pursue Him with humility. To be a people who hold His Word in high honor.

I think sometimes we get so focused on who we are in Christ that we forget about who we were without Him. Don’t get me wrong. It’s imperative that we understand our “in Christ realities.” But who I am in Christ has nothing to do with my accomplishments and everything to do with what the Lord has done.

God wants to be pursued humbly. The problem is that many believers don’t understand the Scriptural concept of humility. We don’t like the sound of that word.

At one point children were running around the feet of Jesus. He reached down and picked one up.

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3-4

We need to learn from the humility of children. When they’re with an adult who shows them love and attention, children are transformed. That adult becomes their world.

They want to be like that adult. They want to act and talk like them. Children just want to hang around that kind of adult. They look up to them and have the attitude that “he or she is it!”

That’s what true humility is all about. It has nothing to do with considering yourself as dirt. Being humble never causes you to put yourself down. It’s a whole different side of the coin.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Humility never puts itself down, but rather sees others as better. That makes a world of difference. Humility looks beyond its own interests.

When you’re truly walking in humility, you are no longer the center of your own world. Now the needs and desires of other people become important to you. You want to find a way to uplift others.

In our walk with God, that translates to seeing God’s desires for us as greater than our own wants. I want to please Him first, before I please myself. I seek the Lord for who He is rather than what I can get from Him.

Instead of looking to Christ and saying, “I want this from You.” we need to be saying, “Lord, I want to be like you.” “Lord, I just want to hang around in Your presence. I want to pick up Your habits and attitudes.”

That’s what true humility is all about. It has nothing to do with putting myself down or trying to get others to believe that I’m a nobody.

A humble pursuit of God means that I take my eyes off myself and focus on Him.

Question: What needs to change in order to pursue God in humility?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Are We Pursuing God – Really?

JogLast week I mentioned our pursuit of God. Many believers are convinced that they’re pursuing God. But is that what’s really happening?

I want to take a few posts to talk about the pursuit of God. Over and over again in the Scripture we see God saying to His people, “Seek Me, follow Me and come near Me.” One of the most important jobs of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into the Lord’s presence.

The fact is that God wants to be pursued – He wants to be sought after – and He wants to be found. The question I have is; are we pursuing God the way He wants to be pursued?

The Nation of Israel learned this lesson the hard way.

Here are two verses that don’t sound like they go together.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.”
Isaiah 58:1-2

The first verse talks about showing the people their rebellion. In what way are they rebelling?

The next verse sounds like just the opposite. Day after day they seek out the Lord. They are eager to know His ways. They are asking for God to come near them.

This verse should actually cause us to stop and think. It sounds like much of the church in our generation. We are seeking, asking, studying, and desiring the presence of God to show up.

And yet, the Lord calls it rebellion. What was the problem? Actually, it was a very subtle one. The beginning of the next verse gives us the answer.

“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”
Isaiah 58:3a

They’re error was that they weren’t really pursuing God. They were trying to use fasting, prayer, going to church, and studying the Bible as a way to get God’s attention. In actuality, they were trying to get God to pursue them.

I believe that many of us in the church today are falling into the same trap. We’re trying to get God to come after us.

This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Isaiah 66:1-2

In effect, God is saying, “What could you possibly offer that I would pursue you?” This verse literally says that the one God looks intently atthe one who gets His attention – is the one who humbles himself before God.

I want to take a couple of posts to look at this aspect of pursuing God.

Question: How do we show either pride or humility in our pursuit of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Cain – Repentance Breaks the Curse

CrossesI’m posting about Cain’s experience. He murdered his own brother because he thought that it would allow him to worship God on his own terms. It didn’t work.

He found himself away from his calling, and hidden from God’s presence. He even feared that he would be killed for his actions. But God did something surprising.

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Genesis 4:15

God gave Cain the world’s first tattoo. It read, “Kill him and answer to Me – signed – GOD.”

Why would God do such a thing? Throughout His Word the Lord has said that murder is punishable by death. The answer is in His mercy.

Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”
Genesis 4:25

This is a very strange statement for Eve to make. At this point she already had over 100 children. Why did she see the need to specifically replace Abel? The name Seth means to place in as a substitute.

Here’s where we see God’s mercy.

Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.
Genesis 4:26

What this verse tells us is that something happened when Seth was old enough to have children. The Bible literally says that calling on the name of the Lord was opened up. (The word men is not in the original Hebrew)

Why did God not allow Cain to be killed? The Lord wanted Cain to see the day when a new prophet would rise up. Seth could now offer the sin-offering for Cain’s forgiveness. I’d like to think that Cain took God’s offer of a second chance. I believe that we’ll see him in Heaven.

Remember – Cain’s curse was that he would be a restless wanderer.

Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Genesis 4:17

Do you hear that? Cain built a city. He’s not a wanderer anymore. It sounds like the curse was broken over his life. I believe it’s because he took God’s offer of forgiveness.

What can we learn from all of this – the way of Cain? I can’t worship God on my own terms. It’s an epidemic of our generation of believers.

Many people say that they’re pursuing God. The truth is that I can only pursue God the way God wants to be pursued. Anything else and I’m just a spiritual wanderer.

We must worship God the way He wants to be worshipped – in spirit and in truth. Anything else misses the mark.

Question: What curses has God broken from over your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Mercy and Sacrifice

surgeryIn my last post we saw Jesus rebuke the Pharisees for not understanding God’s mercy. The Lord said that God desired mercy and not sacrifice. I want to look at this truth. It’s through the power of God’s mercy that Jesus ministered the way He did.

So I ask you, do you want a higher walk before the Lord? Do you want to live above the promises? Do you want to walk as Jesus walked? If so, then you must learn what God meant when He said, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.”

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.”
Hosea 6:1-2

At this point in history, Israel was broken. But God was looking forward to the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. They could be healed of their grievous wounds.

Please understand that they had the same problem with God that we have sometimes. It’s all a matter of perspective. From their perspective God was wounding them, cutting them and hurting them. From God’s perspective, He was performing open heart surgery.

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Hosea 6:3

Hosea calls the people to acknowledge God. The literal Hebrew means to know by seeing and experiencing. The phrase press on means to pursue. We pursue God in order to know and experience Him. The object should not be to know about Him, but to know God in person as He truly is.

“What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you.”
Hosea 6:4-5

Here God is showing Israel how they respond to Him. He tells them that their love like the dew or a mist. It’s here for a short time and dissipates in the morning sunlight. Think about the church of today. Sunday mornings we sing and cry out about our undying love for the Lord. We tell Him that we can’t live without Him.

Right after the service, however, that love burns off like the dew. It’s because of this that God said He has to perform the surgery. So the Lord carved His people by the prophets, stabbed them by His Word.

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6

Here is the heart of the matter. This is the desire of God for His people. He desires us to obtain mercy by obeying Him out of a heart of love for Him. Mercy is all about pursuing God simply to be with Him.

Many in our present generation miss this. They pursue God, but it’s for healing, for prosperity, for a better job, or a new car. Many pursue God for the things that He can give us, not because we simply want to know Him more intimately. The walk of mercy is a walk that seeks to know God for who He is in that secret place.

Questions: How is your pursuit of God characterized? Why do you pursue God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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