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Weakness – Qualified for a Miracle

I’m posting from the first letter to the Corinthians.  We’ve been seeing that the message of the cross – Christ crucified – is a message of God’s power and wisdom for the church.  It’s something that needs to be a greater part of our spiritual walk.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

Is God ever foolish or weak?  Absolutely not!  But it does appear that way sometimes.  When Christ went to the cross, it did appear to be a weak and foolish move on His part.  Of course, that was only until the resurrection, when the full wisdom and power of God was revealed.

It’s the same with us.  Sometimes we feel like we have nothing to offer to God.  We don’t have the strength, resources, or wisdom to do the work we’ve been called to do.  But that’s okay, our limitations don’t affect God’s calling on us.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Paul is bringing this message to normal people, just like you and me.  We have our weaknesses and struggles.  But that puts us in a good place.  We’re now candidates for a move of God’s power in us.

If you’re feeling unqualified to serve the Lord, then I have a message for you…

“God wants you strong in spirit.”

“It’s time to hear a Word from heaven.”

Right now, the church needs an influx of spiritual warriors – and this is where it starts.  God is calling believers who feel like they don’t measure up.  Maybe you look at your past and think that you have too much baggage.

Why would God ever want someone like that in ministry?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The word trouble in this passage is actually the Greek word for pressure.  Pressure qualifies us for ministry.  When we can endure pressure, we can help others who are undergoing the same things.

Whatever you’re going through, God can and will bring restoration.  Then, He’ll use the experiences that you’ve had, both good and bad, to help others.

That’s the wisdom and power of God.  Jesus Christ went through the cross, the burial, and the resurrection.  Sometimes you may feel like your life is over.  All your plans are dead and buried.  All that means is that you’re in a position to see the resurrection power of God manifest in your life.

Then, you can use what you’ve gone through to bring others into that place of power.  You just have to walk by faith, trusting that God will complete His plan in you.  Remember that it’s not about what you have to offer to God, but what He’s already done for you.

Question: What are some challenges that God has already given you the victory over?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on December 14, 2018 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God

 

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The Spirit-Fruit: Gentleness

In today’s post, I’ll be talking about the fruit of gentleness as found in Galatians 5:23.   Many people associate gentleness with weakness.  In actuality, just the opposite is true.  According to Scripture, it’s impossible to be gentle if you’re weak.  You must be walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t think anyone would accuse Jesus of being weak.  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  Yet this is what it says about Him as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey…

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”
Matthew 21:4-5

The question is; was that the best the Lord could come up with to ride into Jerusalem?  If it was…if all He could come up with was a donkey, then He was pretty weak.  The fact is that Jesus had the power to break through the heavens, coming down from the clouds on a white stallion.

Even though the Lord has great power, He chose not to use it on that occasion.  This is the true spirit of gentleness.  Look at how it operated in the Apostle Paul’s life.

There were some people in the Corinthian church who were opposing Paul’s authority.  He gave them an interesting choice in his letter to them.

What do you prefer?  Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:21

There would be no reason for Paul to threaten them with the “whip” of apostolic authority if he didn’t have any.  The truth is that the apostle had the authority needed to put them in their place.  Yet, his desire was to not have to use it.

So if we were to define gentleness according to its use in Scripture, I’d say that it’s placing my power, under God’s control.

This is the hardest thing to do sometimes.  That’s especially true when I know that I’m in the right.  I want to bring the full weight of my scriptural authority down on their heads.  Unfortunately, that’s usually not the best idea.  I need to be led by the Holy Spirit in my responses to people.

This is why I must spend time in the spirit.  I need to be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in all the situations I’m going through.  This is true for all church leaders.

Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:25-26

That’s because the goal is not to prove that I’m right or that you’re wrong.  The ultimate objective is a life that is turned around for God’s glory.  Many times, by our arrogance, we win the battle, yet lose the war for the hearts of people.

We may have proved our case, but they were never set free from the devil’s bondage.  True gentleness allows for the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.  So we need to listen and obey His voice, even when our tendency is to defend ourselves.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

This teaching is found throughout the Scriptures.  Gentleness brings restoration.  When you cultivate the spirit of gentleness, you’re participating in drawing someone back to Christ.  Spend time with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to produce this fruit in you.

Question: What was a recent time that you saw God’s gentleness operating through you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2017 in Leadership, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Strength for the Battle

GlovesMy last post talked about the spiritual battle that we’re in. We need to be prepared for it. We are going to face hardships whether we’re ready or not.

It’s unfortunate that many Christians wait until they’re in the middle of a spiritual firefight to learn how to be victorious. You can’t wait for a fight and download the Karate program. It doesn’t work like that.

How do we prepare for the challenges ahead? The same way a soldier does. Boot camp consists of two aspects – knowledge and work.

For us, it’s knowledge of the Scripture and God’s voice. Then we have to work at implementing what we know to do.

You may be thinking, “That’s not an easy thing to do.” You’re right. In most cases it turns out to be beyond our ability. But that’s why understanding the spiritual battle is so important.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I’m glad that we’re not told to psych ourselves up and power our way through the challenges. I don’t want to have to rely on my willpower. I’ve got an advantage that the world doesn’t have.

I’m told to be strong in the Lord. Sometimes this goes against our nature. We want the ability to brag about our accomplishments. We want to say that our intelligence or strength was what it took to overcome the obstacles before us.

That’s why so often we make our plans then ask God to bless them. Wouldn’t we be much better off if we asked the Lord for His plan right at the start?

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:11

The fact is that it’s not about my glory, but His. If I were able to lay hold of my own destiny, why would I need Christ? The work before me is too much for me by myself.

When we finally learn to admit this truth, life gets so much more enjoyable. Not that I can sit back and let God do all the work, but I know He’s there to cover my weaknesses. I don’t have to worry about whether I can handle the problem or not.

If I’ll draw on His strength and listen to the Holy Spirit, then there’s nothing that can stop me. We need to rest in God’s ability and not our own.

Question: What are you going through right now that’s too big for you to handle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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My Righteousness Doesn’t Work #powerofGod

TreeI have been posting about the relationship between righteousness and the power of God manifest in us.  It should be clear that our own self-righteousness is not enough.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Romans 3:21

This verse makes it clear that it cannot be by my works.  It’s apart, separate from the law.  This means that I have to access the power of God in order to live righteously.  Anything else is trying to put the cart before the horse.  If my goal is to live righteously in order to walk in the power of God, then I have chosen a path of weakness and frustration.

And yet, so many people are trying to walk this very way.  The Bible is clear on the outcome.  So let me ask, what if I try to obtain righteousness through obedience to the law?  What if I try my hardest to live up to what I’m told is right?

I can read my Bible daily, go to church on time every week, pray every day, and tithe.  On top of that, I can make sure that I don’t lie, cheat, steal, walk in anger, gossip, or envy.  What’s wrong with trying to live up to a godly standard with my own strength?

In the Gospel of John chapter 9 we’re told of a healing that took place in Jesus’ ministry.  There was a man who was born blind.  He came to the Lord for healing.  Jesus did something very interesting.  He spit on ground, made mud, and put it in the eyes of this blind man.

He then said for the man to go and wash in a nearby pool.  The blind man obeyed the Lord and was healed.  The trouble was that this occurred on the Sabbath – the Jewish holy day when no work was supposed to be done.

According to how the Pharisees interpreted the law of Moses, healing was a form of work that could not be done on the Sabbath.  Because of this, Jesus almost started a riot because of this healing.  For some reason, the Pharisees decided to make an example of this case.

They began an investigation into every aspect of it.  They talked to the man who was blind and now can see.  Because of their exposure to the truth involved in this healing, after talking to this man they are divided.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?”  So they were divided.
John 9:16

What was so divisive about this event?  It all centered on their understanding (or lack of understanding) of the power of God.  They had to ask themselves; where does the power to heal come from?

If the power to heal is from God, then Jesus is a man of God.  On the other side, some were saying that there are rules to how you can heal.  If you break these rules, then you’re a sinner no matter what happens.

This is where we seem to be in the body of Christ today.  Divided over how the miraculous takes place.  Is it my righteousness that sets the stage, or is there something else at work?

In my next post I will share how this investigation turned out.

Question: Why is operating in the gifts of the Spirit so controversial?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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