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Understanding – The Key to Unlocking Faith

In my last post, the Pharisees angered Jesus by asking Him for a sign.  They wanted the Lord to prove Himself as if what He had been doing so far was not enough.  He decided to leave the area, so He got into a boat with His disciples.

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.  “Be careful,” Jesus warned them.  “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
Mark 8:14-16

The Pharisees wanted to be in control.  Herod wanted to see a miracle to be entertained.  Neither wanted to follow Christ as the Messiah.  Jesus was warning His disciples not to pick up these attitudes.

It’s clear that the disciples didn’t know what the Lord was talking about.  They discussed it.  In the course of their debate, it was decided that He was upset that they only had one loaf of bread between them.

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread?  Do you still not see or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?  And don’t you remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Mark 8:17-21

The word used to describe their discussion is dialogue.  Even today we like having dialogues about what it means to be a Christian.  It’s time to stop dialoguing and get back to what the Bible teaches.

Usually, a dialogue will lead us to the lowest common denominator.  More often than not, it’s a compromise with the flesh.  Some of the disciples were probably hungry, so they focused on not having enough bread for their satisfaction.

Jesus clearly rebukes them for discussing His words.  Instead, He tells them three things that they needed.  The important words are: See, remember, and understand.

The word, see, means to ponder or to think about.  Had they really thought about what Jesus said, they would have realized that the Pharisees and Herod had nothing to do with how much bread was in the boat.

The next thing is remembering.  They needed to remember what Christ had already done right in front of their eyes.  One loaf of bread was more than enough to feed them all.  There’s no lack when you’re walking with Jesus.

But the key is understanding.  That word literally means to put together.  You need to see what the Lord is saying right now and put that together with what you remember that He’s already accomplished in your life.  When we do this, we’re opening the door of faith.

Anybody can say, “Yes, I’m trusting Jesus.”  I’m sure the disciples would have said the same thing sitting in the boat talking about not having enough bread.

We need to take what we know from Scripture and apply it to our lives.  Then, remember what God has already done in and through us.  Now, putting it all together, we can move forward with the assurance that Christ has already supplied all we need for life and godliness.

Question: What are some things that Christ has already completed in you?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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Remember the Sacred Mountain

MountainThe apostles Peter, James and John had a special relationship with Jesus. Because of this, they saw and heard things that the other disciples missed out on.

One time in particular they went up on a mountainside with the Lord. They witnesses some amazing events that day. They saw Christ take on the glory He had in Heaven.

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17:2-3

That must have been an unforgettable experience for them. They had a new revelation of who Jesus was. This was a mountaintop that would forever change their lives.

Many years later, after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, Peter still recalls that day. He recounts what happened in one of his letters to the church.

For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
2 Peter 1:17-18

Here Peter is remembering back to the time when he and the two other apostles received a special revelation up on a mountaintop. Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes. He became robed in the majesty that was His before the foundations of the world. Peter calls that place the sacred mountain.

The fact is, we all have these places of special significance in our spiritual walk. These times with the Lord shouldn’t be lost in the past. They need to be remembered and brought with us into our destiny.

Where are your sacred mountains? Where are those special places where God’s Word to you changed your life?

Of course, because I like to hike, some of my most significant times with God actually occurred on mountains. I remember powerful times with the Lord on Mt. Major in New Hampshire, Stratton Mt. in Vermont, and Easter Mt. in Connecticut.

The problem I have is that my memory is so short. It’s easy for me to forget these deep encounters with God. Unless I record them, I will eventually lose the impact of my meetings with Him. I need to take the time to record these life-changing moments in my journal.

That’s why it’s so important for you to make note of these awesome events in some kind of journal. You can use paper and pen or one of your electronic devices. It doesn’t matter, as long as you keep a record of your important meetings with the Lord.

We must find a way to remember these special times. Make sure you keep a journal and record your encounters with the Lord. Years later you’ll be grateful that you did.

Question: What was one of your most memorable moments in the Lord’s presence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Getting Things in Order

SpotlightIn the last couple of posts I’ve been talking about how those of us in ministry run the risk of getting too busy. By that I mean we start to neglect our intimate times with the Lord. Specifically, what Christ said in the following verse.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Revelation 2:4-5

What do you do if you find yourself in this condition? How do you get your spiritual life back on track?

The answer to this problem is clear from the Lord’s own words. The first step is to remember. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Think back to what your walk with the Lord used to be like. Allow a hunger to be birthed in you for the way it was. This will make the next step that much easier.

Step two is really the key to the whole process. Restoration always involves repentance. At this point, you may complain, “But I didn’t backslide – I still love the Lord, and I’m still doing the work of the ministry.” That’s probably very true. However, to God, the most important thing is your relationship with Him.

In any relationship, it’s not the fact that you love the other person that brings you closer. It’s the time spent communicating. If you haven’t deepened your walk with the Lord, through time in the Word and in prayer, then there needs to be repentance. I’m sure you already know that true repentance includes a 180-degree turn around to the right path. It’s time to renew your walk with Christ.

You also need to realize that if you ignore His call, you’re missing out on God’s best for your life. The words of the Lord in Revelation 2:3 above make it clear that if this condition is left unchecked long enough, then the church will suffer for it. Jesus said that He would remove the lampstand from its place.

It doesn’t sound fair that just because a church leader is out of relationship with the Lord, that the whole church can be dragged down with him or her. Unfortunately, that’s the way of spiritual things. Jesus said that if the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch. The church will never progress beyond the depth of the leadership’s walk with the Lord.

At this point I have to pause, and give a special exhortation to pastors and teachers. Too often we fall into the rut of self-deception. Sermon and Bible Study preparation time is NOT the same as a personal time in God’s Word. Interceding for your congregation is not intimate, personal prayer time with the Lord.

In my experience I’ve found that many leaders substitute the work of the ministry for the walk of relationship. The key to renewing your first love is to cultivate your relationship with God in personal time with God’s Word and in prayer. Above all else, we should be deepening our relationship with our Lord.

Question: How have you struggled in setting aside time for intimacy with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Faith – Past, Present, Future

Jet Plane to NowhereI’m posting about receiving God’s power through prayer in the Spirit. I’ve found that there’s always a problem created by accessing this power. Once the Lord begins to work in us, we find that the power of God changes EVERYTHING it touches.

The problem is that we know this and resist sometimes because we don’t want to change. It takes the power of God for us to do and become what God wants for us. How do we receive this power?

It has a lot to do with attitude. We started by looking in Hebrews chapter 11.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Hebrews 11:11

That’s an interesting statement about Abraham. He considered Him faithful who made the promise. We receive when we consider God faithful.

The word consider is important for us to understand. This is a belief that does not rest upon feeling, sentiment, or emotion. Instead, it’s based upon careful and deliberate consideration of everything you’ve experienced so far. It involves weighing and comparing all of the facts.

Think about how God dealt with Abraham. He became 100 times richer during a time of famine. With only 300 men, he defeated a great army. The question was; can this God make good on His promise? The answer was a resounding YES!!!!

Remember what David said when he faced Goliath. God had helped him overcome a lion, then a bear, now this giant would be no different.

The disciples got a rebuke from Christ for not understanding this principle. At one point Jesus was upset as they got on a boat. The disciples discussed why the Lord might have had this attitude. They came to the conclusion that it was because they had forgotten to bring bread.

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Mark 8:17-21

We don’t want to be like them. We must look back at what God has already accomplished in us. Then, use that to bolster our faith for what lies ahead.

There may be a problem looming on the horizon. It might even be bigger than anything we’ve ever faced before. That’s not a problem for the God we serve.

The big issue is – will we remember. Remember how God saved you. Remember what He’s done for you in the past. Look at all the riches of His grace that have already been poured out upon you.

Then take that into consideration. Base your faith on the Word of the Lord who has never failed His people. Look to Christ with the knowledge that He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

That’s the attitude that prepares you to receive God’s power. Now you’ll see God’s intervention on your behalf. But you must also remember, once God’s power is active in your life – everything is subject to change. It’s based upon His destiny for your life. He’s working out all things for your good. The Lord wants to give you a hope and a future.

Question: How has God worked His power in your life in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Prayer in the Spirit

 

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America at the Crossroads

FlagcrossToday is Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember the sacrifices that so many men and women have made so that we can live in freedom. It’s sad to see how far we’ve fallen from the original plan of the founding fathers.

How did this happen? First of all, we have to understand that God treats nations differently than He deals with individuals.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.
Psalm 33:12

God will bless a nation that follows His ways.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
Proverbs 14:34

To the extent that America followed God’s ways – we were blessed and exalted. We saw the abundance of God, and then thanked Him for it. Our people had wisdom to create wealth, inventions, and many other great achievements.

But there came a time when we started to leave the path.

Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?
Psalm 94:10

The truth is that God disciplines nations. Of course, this requires understanding God’s ways. The world is the Lord’s, and all of the land that exists is His. Nations, themselves, cannot be saved or unsaved. As such, nations are under law, not grace.

We know from Scripture that the power of sin is the law (I Cor. 15:56). That means that the enemy’s kingdom is powered by the law.

This principle was the basis of the law given to Moses.

…for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
Leviticus 18:27-28

In effect, the law gives the devil permission to attack a nation that defiles God’s land. It’s not God cursing a nation. It’s a nation cursing itself by inviting the enemies’ attack.

How is the land polluted? A few things listed in the Bible are: Bloodshed (Numbers 35:33-34); Corruption (Ezra 9:11); Sexual Sin (Leviticus 18:25); Prostitution (Jeremiah 3:2); and Idolatry (Jeremiah 16:18). The devil has permission to attack polluted lands.

It grieves me to admit that America is a defiled land. I’m sorry for sounding so down about the USA. The truth is that there’s nowhere else on earth that I’d rather live. I love this nation. But without a proper diagnosis, there can be no healing.

There is a remedy for the problems we face in our culture.

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

I have heard this verse emphasized in America since the sixties. But rather than humble themselves, pray, seek, & turn – God’s people have either protested the moral landslide or joined right in with them.

It’s time for us to take God’s holy prescription for this nation. It’s time for the church to remember where we came from, and fervently seek revival.

Question: What would a national revival of the church look like?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Prayer, Revival

 

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Reaffirming the Covenant

Joshua 8:30, 34-35
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel…
Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law – the blessings and the curses – just as it is written in the Book of the Law.  There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

Moses left instructions for the Children of Israel to complete after he died.  Joshua was to take them to Mt. Ebal.  As they came into that area they were to climb the sides of two mountains that faced each other.

The words of the entire law of Moses were then to be read aloud to them.  In this way they were to hear the law again and reaffirm their commitment to God and to His law.

It is always important to review what God has called us to.  From time to time we must come to a point in our lives where we can remember what was spoken to us.  Then, with faith rekindled, we reaffirm our commitment to see it through.  Sometimes all that is called for is a quiet, out of the way place to review where we have been and where we are going.

Is there some unfinished business between you and the Lord?  Go to Him today.  Let Him know, once more, that you are standing firm and will see your calling accomplished.  If you have been ignoring it, now would be a good time to pick it back up again.  Take some quality time today to talk with God.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Sacred Mountain

2 Peter 1:17-18
For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

Peter is remembering back to a time when he and two other apostles received a special revelation up on a mountaintop.  Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes, taking on the glory that was His from eternity past.  He became robed in the majesty that was His before the foundations of the world were established.  Peter calls that place the “sacred mountain.”

Where are your sacred mountains?  Where are those special places where God’s Word to you changed your life?  With me, I remember kneeling next to a bed at a Christian summer camp.  There was also a time where God spoke to me about entering full-time ministry.  There have been many such times that I can look back on.

The problem I have is that my memory is so short.  It is easy for me to forget these deep encounters with God.  Unless I record them, I will eventually lose the impact of my meetings with Him.  I need to take the time to record these life-changing moments in my journal.

In yesterday’s post I talked about the need to record things.  It is especially true when we have life changing encounters with God.  These are times that must be kept for our future.  To remind us of what we heard.  So that when the trials and challenges come, we will remember why we are taking this road.  It keeps us on track, spiritually speaking.

It is important that we find a way to remember these special times.  Make sure you keep a journal and record your encounters with the Lord.  Years later you will be grateful that you did.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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