RSS

Tag Archives: spiritual seed

God’s Armor – The Breastplate of Righteousness

I’m now in a series where I’m going through the Armor of God in detail.  We’ve already seen how the Belt of Truth protects your store of spiritual seed.  Today we’ll move on to the breastplate.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
Ephesians 6:14

The first thing we need to recognize is the placement of this piece of armor.  It should be obvious that this breastplate protects your heart.  That’s an important point.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:23

Scripture tells us that the most important thing to guard is your heart.  It’s where your life springs from.  Why is that?  And if life flows from the heart, where does that life come from?

If we read the few verses preceding this one, we’ll get the answer.

My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.
Proverbs 4:20-22

It’s clear that everything I need for life and godliness springs from my heart.  That even includes healing for my body.  But that’s all based upon the assumption that I’m placing God’s Word in my heart.

We need to get the seeds from the storehouse (our mind) and plant them into our hearts.  Jesus taught the same thing to His disciples.  We find it in the parable of the sower.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
Luke 8:15

Without question, your heart is the good soil of your life.  Whatever you plant in it will grow and bear fruit.  The real question is; are you planting wheat or milkweed?

When we come to Christ, our life is a mess.  The Lord comes in and the Holy Spirit begins the process of cleaning us up.

The good soil of my heart is cleared of weeds.  Through repentance, I turn the soil over regularly.  Soon I have a heart of rich, nutrient-filled ground.  It’s ready for planting.

The problem is that you can only plant what’s readily available.  That’s why in my last post I talked about the importance of filtering what we place in our minds.  Too often we allow the enemy to plant his seeds in our soil.

Then we get into the cycle of planting, letting the weeds grow, pulling them up, and then starting again.  Instead, we should be getting God’s Word planted in our hearts.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:4

Most people don’t understand what this verse is really saying.  It’s NOT saying that if you delight in the Lord, He’ll give you whatever you want.  It DOES say that if you delight in Him, He’ll put His desires into your heart.

As we place God’s Word in our hearts, His desires spring up.  Then, we’ll bear the fruit of that Word.

That’s why we need to protect our good ground.  This is where the Breastplate of righteousness comes in.  In my next post, I’ll talk about how to use the breastplate to protect your ground.
Question: What have you planted in your heart that you desire to see bear fruit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

God’s Armor – Using the Belt of Truth

In my last post, I showed that the Belt of Truth was the piece of armor that protects our minds.  When we memorize Scripture, that seed is stored in our mind.  We want it protected so that it can be planted to produce a good crop for the Lord.

How do I use this piece of armor?  Paul talked about our spiritual weaponry in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

In this battle to protect the seed, I need to make my thoughts obedient to Christ.  That’s the goal.  I don’t want weeds affecting my harvest.

Jesus warned His disciples about the same things.

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them.  “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Matthew 16:6

We need to watch what we let into our minds – the things that we dwell on and rehearse.  We can’t just swallow everything.  There’s a lot of religious talk out there that sounds good.  The real question is; does it line up with God’s Word?

The fact is, the more of God’s Word that we desire, the more the enemy will try to water it down.  Guarding this is the most important thing you can do if you want a fruitful life.

Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care.  Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.  Grace be with you.
1 Timothy 6:20-21

Paul warned his spiritual son, Timothy, that he needed to guard the Word that had been deposited in him.  Paul literally tells him to avoid those who have crossed the line with their empty words and conflicting theories of how they think God should do things.

The Greek people had a word that they used for this kind of person.  It meant someone who just babbled on and on.  The idiom they used literally translates as a seed-picker.

Are you letting the “seed-pickers” into your life?  You need to be buckling the Belt of Truth around the loins of your mind.  Let God’s Word be a filter to stop the wrong things from getting in.

When we hear something that could affect how we serve God; it should cause a question to rise up.  Is this truth, or is it someone’s opinion?  I don’t want to be found trying to please God based on an opinion.

Please understand that I’m not talking about stray thoughts.  We all have them and there’s not much we can do about them.  But those are thoughts that are not stored yet.  I’m talking about the ones that we continue to dwell on.  They need to be passed through the filter of the Word.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32

I’ve heard people quote this verse many times…usually out of context.  Jesus was speaking to believers here.  He explains to them that if they dwell, live in, His Word, they are truly His disciples.

As Christ’s followers, it’s only as we remain in His Word that we will know the truth.  And it’s that truth that will set us free.

The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, the more freedom we can walk in.  We will also have a great supply of spiritual seed to plant for the increase of God’s kingdom.

Question: How do you guard what’s stored in your mind?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God’s Armor – The Belt of Truth

Our Supply in GodNow that I’ve talked about the spiritual battle that we face, we need to know how to prepare.  To do this, the Lord has given us access to His personal set of armor.  It will take me a number of posts to cover them in detail.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
Ephesians 6:14a

The first piece of armor that we’re given is the Belt of Truth.  We’re told that it needs to be buckled around our waist.  Literally, the belt is buckled around our loins.

In Scripture, our loins speak about our seed.  Not to be too graphic, but that’s where our reproductive organs reside.  Our seed needs to be protected.

We’re told throughout the Bible that we need to be bearing fruit.  That’s not going to happen without a good supply of seed.

First, I want to deal with some misconceptions concerning our seed.  Some think that a few bad seeds mixed in don’t matter.  That’s not true.  Weeds grow and spread without any help at all.

Another wrong thought is that anything that we plant will grow.  That’s not true either.  Galatians 6:7-9 explains that you reap what you sow IF you don’t give up.  It also matters where you sow your seed.  They need to be planted in good soil.

With that understanding, we can talk about the seed that we want to see grow in our lives.  How do we protect our precious, spiritual seed?

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13

Peter understood this concept.  In this verse, the phrase, prepare your minds for action literally reads, gird the loins of your mind.  Spiritually speaking, your loins, the storehouse of your seed, is your mind.

The reason for this is because your mind should be where you’re placing the truth.  Every time you memorize Scripture, you’re placing good seeds in your storehouse.

The real question then becomes; how well do you protect your seed?  It’s really easy to complain when nothing seems to be growing.  We need to keep our seed from being nullified.

Jesus communicated this in His prayer to the Father.  He wanted the disciples, and us, to bear much fruit.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

We’re talking about the truth of God’s Word, not man’s word.  The only way to protect your seed is to walk in the truth of God.

When we walk in doubt, fear, presumption, hearsay, or our own habits, we nullify God’s Word in us.  We need to operate in the truth – “Thus sayeth the Lord.”  Our goal should be, “I’m doing this because God said…”

We get into trouble because many times we plant a lot of unprotected seed.  We need to learn the lesson from airport security.  “Has your suitcase been away from your control?”

Please understand that this is not just a prayer you make in the morning.  You can’t just confess the Belt of Truth when you get up, and then feed the spiritual pigeons the rest of the day.

We have to protect our seed if we want to see it grow.  That means allowing the truth of God’s Word to saturate all that we do.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how to actually use the Belt of Truth in our daily lives.

Question: How much of God’s Word have you stored in your mind?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God’s Seed in You (Repost)

Our Supply in GodI’m taking a couple of weeks to be involved in some ministry events.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

In many of my posts, I talk about the relationship between the Word of God and the Scripture.  The Bible is the written Word of God.  But we also need to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit.  This is where the power of God intersects with our lives.

I want to write about how the Word of God relates to us.  The Bible teaches that we must correctly handle the Word of Truth.  In order to do that I must be studying the Scripture – the written record of God’s Word – so that I can handle the Word I receive from God today.

In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Acts 19:20

The Bible uses many terms in relation to the Word of God.  It uses language such as spread, increased, grew, reached and multiplied.  In the above verse, we’re told how.  The verse says in this way.  If you read through this nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts you’ll get a taste for the effects of the Word.

We see the gifts of tongues and prophecy being manifested.  There was boldness in preaching.  Handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were taken to the sick and they were healed.  Demonic spirits were confronted and expelled.  There was widespread repentance such that a group of new believers burned the equivalent of $5,000,000 worth of satanic sorcery books.

That’s the way the Word of God is described as growing.  Literally, the above verse says that the Word became a force to be reckoned with.  The Word of God is alive and it grows.  That’s the aspect that I discussed in a series of posts.  For that original series, click here.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

We’ve been saved by the living Word of God.  That Word is a seed that’s growing inside of us.  It will never decay or diminish.  It’s there forever.

Somewhere along the line, somebody spoke God’s Word to you.  It doesn’t matter whether they used the Bible or not – you heard a Word from God that changed your life.

It might have been a Bible verse, a word of prophecy, or a statement of divine truth.  Either way, it grew inside of you, and eventually, you received Jesus Christ and were saved.

That’s how the Word of God starts its work in you.  The fact that you’ve established Christ as your Lord and Savior is proof that the Word has taken residence in you.  Now what we do with that seed is up to us.

Question: What was the Word of God that brought salvation into your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 4, 2019 in Faith, The Gospel, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sowers and Reapers (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

At one time I did a series of posts about Jesus’ view of His ministry.  To see the original series, click here.

It occurred after Jesus had talked with the woman at the well.  The Lord told His disciples that He had food they didn’t know about. He was talking about finishing the Father’s will.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
John 4:35-36

In the natural, you can tell when the harvest is coming. You can tell how ripe the wheat is just by looking at it.

In the same way, there should be a spiritual sensitivity to when hearts are ready. It should be just as obvious to us that someone is ready to hear and receive the message of Christ.

One question that needs to be asked when we read this verse is; who is the reaper that’s receiving his wages? The answer should be obvious – it’s Christ!

The Apostle Paul talked about some of the same things.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:5-8

Usually, we think of this reward for our labor as future. But we need to remember what Jesus said. The reaper IS RECEIVING His wages. I HAVE food you don’t know about. The sower and the reaper can be happy together.

It sounds to me like there’s a reward in this life for fulfilling the Lord’s will. That’s something we need to think about.

Who was the sower that Jesus referenced? I believe that He was talking about the woman. Listen to what the townspeople said about her.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

What was her reward? I don’t really know. It might have been children or a stable family of her own. We have to wait to find out about her in Heaven.

Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
John 4:37-38

Which is harder – sowing or reaping? I think that it might be the sowing. Especially if we don’t see the fruit of the seed we plant into someone. Sometimes a soul that we spoke the Gospel to is brought into the Kingdom by someone else.

There’s no need to get jealous about it. It’s the Kingdom of God that’s increasing. Everything in our lives is all directly related to the principle of sowing and reaping.

The bottom line is that the Samaritans ultimately believed because they heard Jesus speak. It’s our job to bring people to a personal encounter with Christ. That’s where we receive great rewards.

Question: What are some Gospel seeds you have planted?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Faith, Ministry, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Waiting for the Harvest

As we continue to look at Mark’s Gospel, we come to another parable of Christ.  This one is about a sower and his seed.  The earlier parable about a sower zeroed in on the different types of soil.  This one talks specifically about how the seed works.

This illustration explains our relationship to the Word of God.  Specifically, how it works as seed in our lives.  While I’m responsible to accept God’s Word into my life, there’s another aspect that I have no control over.

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like.  A man scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
Mark 4:26-29

One of the most important concepts for us to understand is that the Kingdom of God is all about the Word being planted.  This is a part of all that we do as believers.

As a pastor, my greatest assignment is to receive the Word in order to plant it again in the lives of those who hear me.  Along with that, every Christian needs to be planting the Word into the lives of those around them.

With this comes the realization that nothing I do will bring about the growth of that seed, once it’s been planted.  From then on it’s out of my control.  Once you plant the Word into the lives of your friends and family, it’s time to wait – and that can be the hardest part.

Sometimes we want to force them to produce fruit.  We try to convince and coerce.  That’s usually when we start to push them further away.  We need to learn to plant, then step back and let God provide the increase.

The Word, by its very nature, begins to grow below the surface.  It cannot be stopped, but neither can it be hurried along.  It goes at the pace God has set for it.  One thing is certain; it will produce the harvest that God intended it to bring forth.  This thought was echoed by the apostle Paul.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7

We all have our part to play in the Kingdom of God.  Some of us plant the seed and some water it.  None of us can make it grow; that’s God’s department.  The only help we can give it, once it’s planted, is in the watering process.

In the natural, no farmer would think to dig up the seed, just to check if it started growing yet.  But there are many who are guilty of this – spiritually speaking.  How many spiritual crops have we missed because we didn’t simply leave the seed alone?

Once the Word is planted, it’s time to step back and leave it in the Lord’s hands.  Let Him do what only He can do.  Then we’ll see the harvest come by the power of God.

Question: When have you caused bigger problems by trying to force the Word of God to grow in someone?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Think like a Farmer

Over the past few posts, we’ve looked at the parable of the seed planted in different soils.  The message Christ was focusing on should be clear.  In order to prepare my heart for a great harvest, I must come to the realization that the Word of God must be the single crop in my heart.

This is what Scripture means by being single-hearted.  When you have a single crop of the Word planted in your life, you’ve set yourself up for a plentiful harvest.

We have a spiritual epidemic across our nation.  There’s an abundance of the Word of God, with very little fruit being produced.  It’s time to weed out these distractions from the good, rich soil of our hearts.  What we need is the mindset of a farmer when it comes to the Word of God.

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Mark 4:20

It’s clear from this verse that in order to see the harvest, I must hear the Word with understanding – seeing that it applies to my life.  I have to go beyond the person who lives too close to the road.

Luke records this in a little more detail.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Luke 8:15

This literally says that I must hold it down fast; keep it secure in my heart.  It has to take root deeply in my life.  I must go beyond those who have rocky soil.

According to Mark’s Gospel, we have to accept the Word.  This means to associate with, delight in.  If you delight in a crop, you’re going to keep it free of weeds.  You don’t want anything choking it out.

The bottom line is that you must persevere.  In actuality, it’s never easy to keep a farm or a garden.  It always requires tending.

I must come to the point where I acknowledge that the Word of God is everything to me.  It’s the same principle as in the physical world.

In the past, I’ve had a garden.  The fresh tomatoes, peppers, and squash were a welcome sight throughout the summer and fall.  I could proudly say, “This eggplant came from my garden.”  Here’s the difference – I wasn’t a farmer.  I enjoyed the fresh vegetables grown in my garden, but I didn’t need them in order to survive.

A true farmer, on the other hand, lives by what he grows.  His livelihood is tied to the crops that he produces.  His new car is a result of the crops he harvested.  The renovations to his home are a result of the harvest.  Everything he has is tied up in his ability to produce a bountiful crop.

We must pick up this same mindset in regards to the Word of God.  We live by the Word.  Everything we need for life and godliness is all tied up in the Word. How I relate to the Word determines my destiny.

Hopefully, you can see by Christ’s teaching that it’s not just a matter of getting the seed into the ground.  You can be planting huge amounts of seed and never see a single piece of fruit if you’re not following the basic principles of spiritual farming.

It’s all about getting the right seed into the right ground, then persevering to make sure that the seed can grow and produce fruit unhindered.

Question: How do you cultivate a “farmer’s mindset”?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 26, 2018 in Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,