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Tag Archives: seeking 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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Preparation is Everything

When you think about the ministry of Jesus, what’s the picture you get in your mind?  Do you think that He simply wandered around Israel with no objectives, preaching as He walked along?  As we continue to study the Gospel of Mark, we’ll start to see the logistics involved in the Lord’s ministry.

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.  Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
Mark 6:6b-7

Jesus’ work in Israel is starting to grow.  Larger crowds are coming to hear Him speak.  At the same time, the number of disciples is increasing.  At this point, the Lord probably has about 20 people in His group all traveling with Him.

We sometimes get the idea that life was somehow easier in the ancient world.  In actuality, they had some of the same challenges that we have in our modern society.

It’s always easier when one or two people are traveling together.  Food and lodging aren’t too tough to find along the way.

But now Jesus is moving around with a group of twenty.  Think about it.  That’s not something that could just be done without any prior preparation.

After all, there were no restaurant chains along the highway.  There were no big name hotels with 800 numbers to book in advance.  They had no arenas that could schedule a huge event with advanced ticket sales.

Jesus needed some of His disciples to do the advance work in the cities He was heading to.  They needed to let the towns know that the lord was on His way there.  Then they had to report back as to where they would sleep, get food, and what would be the best place to preach when they arrive.

Later on in His ministry, as the team grew to over a hundred, Christ had 72 workers who did this job.  (Luke 10:1)  Jesus never had the attitude of, “We’ll just figure it out when we get there.”  It’s sad that many churches and ministries have no vision other than to hold meetings, and then just see what happens.

The Lord never took that approach.  He even instructed the disciples as to how they were to accomplish their objectives.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.  Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.  And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
Mark 6:8-11

Contrary to what some teach, this is not Jesus laying the groundwork for a poverty mentality among His ministers.  This was the vetting process for the towns Jesus was about to pass through on His intended course of travel.

By taking nothing with them, they were testing whether or not a town was ready for the full ministry of the Messiah.  If they were not willing to supply the needs of two lone travelers representing Christ, then they weren’t worthy of the tremendous blessing that would be given to their town when Jesus arrived.

That’s why it’s important to pray, seek God’s direction, and make plans for how your ministry will progress.  It doesn’t just happen by accident.  You have to put some legs on the dreams and visions God has placed in your heart.

Question: What’s the next step you have to do to prepare for what God has in your future?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2018 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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Start By Seeking the Lord

FinishThe beginning of the year is a good time to seek direction from the Lord. Because of that, I’m setting aside this week for personal fasting and prayer. Fasting should be a normal part of your Christian experience.

Scripture tells about some people who were working in a church in Antioch. They were involved in teaching and helping out for years. They also understood the truth about fasting and prayer. I’m going to be talking about it for a few posts.

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
Acts 13:1

Because he’s listed first, we see that Barnabas was the one in charge of this ministry. Last on the list was a guy named Saul. He had his 5 minutes of fame while he was persecuting the church. Now he’s pretty much forgotten.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2-3

In the middle of their meeting they heard from God. That made all the difference. According to Scripture, they were performing public service to God and fasting.

Throughout the day a few different people heard the same thing from God. Separate Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them.

We have to come to grips with the fact that fasting prepares you to hear from God. The truth is that God always desires to bring you from glory to glory. He wants to cause growth in your life and ministry.

The more you hear from the Lord, the more specific your calling becomes. The path you’re walking becomes more and more narrow.

During His time on earth, Jesus talked about asking, seeking and knocking. He said that if you knock, the door will be opened for you. What door was He talking about? He went on to say…

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14

I don’t believe that He’s talking about salvation here. This verse is about asking the Father for direction and wisdom.

There’s an easy way that leads to loss and ruin. Many people – Christians included – are running after the temporary. But there is another way that’s easier to miss. You have to seek and ask just to find the gate.

Then you have to knock, keep on knocking, and push through. Very few even find it. That’s because they don’t want to seek and ask. But Barnabas and Saul were seeking. They were prepared to hear.

This is the gate of fasting and prayer. I invite you to come on in and see what the Lord has for you this year.

Question: How important to your Christian walk is fasting and prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Fasting, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Entering the New Year with Vision

2016As we start this New Year of 2016, I wish God’s best for you. As the people of God, we know that we have His blessing and favor upon us. But we need to continue walking in His vision for our lives.

I want to take a few posts to talk about our spiritual vision. It’s important to spend quality time in the Lord’s presence to understand where He’s taking us and what He wants us to accomplish.

The Jewish leader, Nehemiah, knew some things about vision as he helped the children of Israel to return to their homeland after the Babylonian captivity.

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:2-4

Nehemiah saw what was presently happening in Jerusalem. He knew that what was happening was not God’s best. The broken down wall and burned out buildings needed to be restored.

What was his response to this news? He spent time with the Lord. That’s where vision is born.

It’s especially easy to receive God’s imparted vision when you’re dissatisfied with what is. That’s because vision is the burden that comes when you see what is in contrast to what could be.

Vision always demands change. So Nehemiah mourned, fasted, and prayed. He did this so that God could work the necessary changes in him first of all.

That’s why not everyone wants the Lord’s vision for their lives. Vision calls for change and that change must work on me first.

I cannot accept this work of the Holy Spirit until I want to see a change. If I’m content with my present circumstances, then I won’t seek God with fervency. That’s what it will take to be a child of God with vision.

Question: What do you see that needs to change in your life personally and in the church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Look at Me when I’m Speaking to You

BeamI live in the Boston area. Maybe you’ve heard what our weather’s been like lately. Last week we had two feet of snow and now they’re calling for another foot this week.

Needless to say, I’m ready for spring. I love to go out into the woods to hike and pray. It’s a great way to meet with the Lord.

Did you know that this was a large part of Jesus’ ministry?

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:42-44

Very frequently Jesus went off alone into the wilderness. Usually He would go to pray and to meditate on the Word while seeking the Father’s will for the days ahead. Many times He wouldn’t even tell anyone where He was going. This caused the people and especially His disciples to become annoyed on more than one occasion.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude with the Lord. When you’re alone in God’s presence, you can see the way ahead more clearly. This is because there are less distractions around you.

I’ve been driving in the car with friends and talked with them the whole way to where we were going. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that those conversations aren’t very deep. I can talk and keep my eyes on the road if I don’t have to think very hard.

Intimate conversation, on the other hand, is very different. If what I’m saying is important, then I want you to make eye contact with me. I want to know that you’re giving me your full attention.

It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. We can pray and praise the Lord no matter what we’re doing throughout the day. That’s fine and it keeps our minds focused on Him.

But there comes a time when we need to enter a more intimate time with Christ – worship. This requires an undistracted heart. I’ve found that the outdoors provides just such an experience. It allows me to “make eye contact” with the Lord.

From the example of Christ, we see that walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method many Christians use.

“I’ll try going forward; if the door closes I’ll try another direction.”

When you spend quality time with the Lord seeking His will for your life, you don’t have to waste your time on all these dead end paths that lead nowhere. Jesus knew where He was going before He was surrounded by the crowd. Then they couldn’t sway Him from His path by their persuasive arguments. It’s that level of guidance you should be seeking from God.

If you’ve never tried it, spend some time with the Holy Spirit in the outdoors. Of course, you may have to wait until the weather breaks. Unless you’re like me and can’t wait. (I have a good pair of snowshoes!)

Find a nice solitary place that you can come undistracted into the Lord’s presence. You won’t be disappointed.

Question: Where do you go to seek God with no distractions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Prayer, Times in the Wilderness, Worship

 

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The End-Time Generation #secondcoming

JesusAs I was meditating on the life of John the Baptist in Scripture, it occurred to me that his calling was a lot like ours.  He was positioned to minister before the coming of Christ.  In the same way, we find ourselves very close to the return of the Lord.

How should we be living, knowing the age that God has placed us in?  The calling of John the Baptist should speak to us about it.

“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous– to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Luke 1:17

I’ve come to the realization that he was a man ahead of his time.  Scripture tells us that he spent a great amount of time in the wilderness seeking God.  When God said go, John became a man on a mission.

As I studied his life and message I came to a startling conclusion.  John saw forward not only to the first appearing of Christ, but to the second coming as well.

Do you believe that Jesus is coming soon?  If so, then we are the “John the Baptist Generation.”  I want to look at John for a few posts to get some insight into who we are and who we must become to fulfill our calling.

The above verse was told to Zechariah by the angel Gabriel.  This message foretold who John was to be.  His calling was to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.  He was to provide a people thoroughly equipped for Christ’s coming.

Our generation must be equipped.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21

This verse literally says that we must be fully equipped to do any good work.  If we want to do the work of God, then we must be equipped for it.

It’s important to realize that equipping relies upon purpose.  How you’re equipped depends upon what your purpose is.  So in the discussion about preparing us for the return of the Lord, we’re also talking about purpose.

What is your purpose?  Why are you doing what you’re doing?  John had a clear purpose; to prepare God’s people.

We have no choice in the matter.  We’ve been born in the last-days before the coming of Christ.  The question is; will we live up to that calling?

Question: Do you believe that Christ is coming soon?  In what way does that affect how you live?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Ministry, Return of Christ

 

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