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Tag Archives: will of God

Asking in God’s Will

As we continue to look at the Gospel of Mark, opposition to the ministry of Jesus is growing.  There are many who are trying to take His life.  But in spite of this, the Lord continues His mission.

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid.  Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him.  “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law.  They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him.  Three days later he will rise.”
Mark 10:32-34

The disciples still didn’t understand that the Lord was talking literally at this point.  But they did know that “rising” was a good thing.  They probably thought it meant that He was going to rise, as the King, to the throne of Israel.

This gave a few of them the incentive to move forward.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him.  “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
Mark 10:35-37

That’s an interesting thing to ask.  Even the way they asked it was specifically the way they were taught.

Jesus told them that He would do whatever they asked in prayer (John 14:13-14).  So now they were asking.

But that brings up an important point.  Some people think that just because they can quote a Bible verse in their prayer, it automatically qualifies them to receive whatever they ask God for.  But is that what the Word teaches?

Look at the Lord’s answer to them.

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said.  “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant.  These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
Mark 10:38-40

The first problem was that they really didn’t understand what they were asking.  Of course, that’s why we need to pray in the spirit.  There are many areas that we don’t understand the scope of our need.

But even more than that, they had yet to understand God’s will for their lives.  Before I can pray effectively, I need to know God’s plan intimately.

The more time I spend in the Lord’s presence, the more I understand His will for my life.  Then, as I pray with this understanding, I see a greater amount of answered prayer.  John, himself, understood this later on in his ministry.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14

John learned the lesson.  Prayer according to His will is answered positively.  Let the understanding of God’s will be your goal in His presence.

Question: What part of God’s plan have you understood recently?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Good Advice?

“Stick to what you’re working at.  Concentrate on what you’re doing.  Don’t get side-tracked.”

That sounds like good advice.  And it is…most of the time.  However, we have to come to the realization that good advice doesn’t always line up with the will of God for you.  And, God’s will doesn’t always sound like good advice.

That’s what happened from time to time in the ministry of Jesus.  I’m talking about an incident that took place when He got off a boat near the Sea of Galilee one day.  You can find it in Mark 5:21-43.  You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.  Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there.  Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying.  Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”  So Jesus went with him.
Mark 5:21-24

At this point in His ministry, the Lord was gathering crowds wherever He went.  Today was no exception.  But these were not simply people who were following Him.  They were expecting something from Him.  They wanted Jesus to heal them or set them free from demonic oppression.

I don’t know how I would have been able to handle it.  Crowds of people suddenly running up to me, screaming for my immediate attention.  Yet Christ was able to keep His composure through all of it.

All at once, the sea of people parted.  Someone who was well-known and respected by the community was coming forward.  The elder in charge of their local synagogue was in desperate need of a healing for his daughter.

Jesus agrees to go with him and they start heading in that direction.  Then, as they’re proceeding, an interruption takes place.  People are pressing in all around Him, yet the Lord stops and looks around.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him.  He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
Mark 5:30

“Wait a minute, Jesus.  Let’s do one thing at a time.  There’s someplace else we need to be.”

That might have been my thought when this happened.  But then, I would have been out of the will of God.  There was a bigger purpose than I could see.

The reason that Jesus could go through situations like this, unflustered, was because of His intimacy with the Father.  Time spent in God’s presence allowed Him to have a great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

That might be one of the reasons why we get ourselves into trouble when unexpected things pop up.  We react with the best of our understanding.  Many times it’s our limited knowledge that fouls things up.

The Lord could hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, even in a stressful situation.  He could know which requests to accept, and which to ignore.  This was true even when from the outside it looked like the wrong plan of action.

We know, from the end of this passage, that Jesus was proven right by His decisions.  He remained in God’s will through the whole encounter.  We need to cultivate this same intimacy with the Holy Spirit.  I believe it will help us to see God’s plan unfold on a daily basis.

I will probably be talking about this passage over the next few posts.  There are some good lessons that we can glean from it.

Question: How do you cultivate personal intimacy with God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Idolatry – Worship on my Terms

MirrorIn my last post I started talking about how we relate to God. It needs to be on His terms and not ours. In the book of Genesis, Cain learned that lesson the hard way and ended up angry and depressed.

That happens when we try to approach the Lord on our terms.

“After all, God should respond the way I want Him to no matter what the situation is.”

When this doesn’t work, we get upset. It’s just like what we read in the Psalms.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5-6a

The Sons of Korah ask a very insightful question in this Psalm. It literally asks why is there a war raging inside me? The answer was simple.

“Your hope is not in God.”

Cain wanted a relationship based upon his desires and not God’s. It’s what we do many times. In ministry and in life, we cut corners, show up late, and pursue our priorities over God’s. We portray the unspoken attitude that “this should be good enough for God.”

We think that we should be accepted by God simply because we performed some task for Him. Unfortunately, that will never happen. We want to work for God’s approval. Then we can boast about how good we are, and how much more we do than others. It’s all about us.

In fact, it should be all about the Lord and His work in us. That’s the crux of the conflict between Cain and Abel. As a result, Abel became an innocent victim of Cain’s desire to approach God on his own terms.

It was also the start of a new trend that has carried on through the ages. Mankind wanted a god who was there when, and only when, they needed him. They didn’t want him to mess with their lives the rest of the time. They wanted a god who would help bring rain when their crops were dying. Make a sacrifice for rain and that’s it – a rain-god.

Oh, yes, and when I want a child, I may need a fertility god. On and on it went throughout the generations. What Cain did was the start of idolatry – worship on my terms.

There was a king of Israel who learned this the hard way. Saul was told what God’s will was, but he decided to do things his way instead.

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:23

Why is arrogance like idolatry? It’s because by our arrogance we reject the known Word of God. We know what God has said, yet we do it our way and continue to expect His blessing on our lives. We say, “That should be good enough.”

This is one of the big problems of the modern American church. It seems so obvious to me when I compare our experience to that of the Book of Acts. The early church lived to do God’s will – all else was secondary.

Now our prayer is, “God use me, when my schedule is open. Maybe next Thursday at 3:00, if nothing else comes up.”

We need to make the will of God the highest priority in our lives. Then we can fit everything else in once we submit our whole schedule to the Lord.

Question: How often do you seek God’s leading when filling your schedule?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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The Time Economy

Time ChainI’ve been posting about our time as a commodity. How important is it that I give time to the Lord? It all comes down to God’s will.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:9-10

This verse talks about the mystery of His will. It’s unfortunate that the working of God’s will is a mystery to most Christians.

“We may never understand the way God moves.”

Whatever you call it – God’s will, His good pleasure, or His purpose; He made this mystery known to us. We, of all people should understand the working of the Lord’s will.

According to this verse, God’s will is put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment. The literal Greek of this verse says that God’s will is brought about in the economy of filling the time.

Economy – here’s another financial term the Bible associates with time. Did you know that filling time is a part of God’s economy? In my last post I said that we spend time, run out of time, save time, and lose time – just like money. We have to understand that there’s an economy of time in the Kingdom of God.

Time is something tangible. It can be traded and exchanged for stuff. That’s basically what you’re doing on your job. In effect, you’re trading your time for your employer’s money. It’s a commodity exchange.

In God’s Kingdom time purchases the fulfillment of vision and prophecy.

So right now we have evil days coming at us one after another. What do we do to bring about God’s will for revival?

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:4-5

Did God create time? Yes! But I believe we’ll understand this concept better if we talk about money first. I don’t care where the money’s been before I got it. It’s mine now, and a part of God’s kingdom.

It all starts with how I receive it. I must receive it with thanksgiving. God is the One who ultimately supplies my need. But it doesn’t stop there. There must be a consecration. It must turn from evil money to good.

Literally, the word consecrate means to be purified, made holy. This is done by two things – the Word of God and prayer. The Word of God talked about here is more than the Bible. It means that I pray, hear His word to me concerning my money, and I obey Him.

We need to apply this process to our time. We thank God for every day that He gives to us. Then we consecrate those days by turning them over to the Lord for His use. I seek His will for my daily schedule.

This is how God’s will is brought about on the earth. It’s as God’s people invest their time in Kingdom work. Time is the commodity that will purchase revival in our generation. Don’t withhold yours from the Lord. Let Christ be Lord over your schedule.

Question: How can I turn my time over to Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Prayer, Revival, The Church

 

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Let it Burn – By Guest Blogger Heath Midkiff

FireLast Thursday morning, I found myself sitting in a chapel at Word of Life Inn, Schroon Lake, NY.  I was at a regional student convention, helping as a judge for various student competitions going on.  We had a morning devotional and it was Pastor Dave Sangster speaking on the topic of “Let It Burn.”

Pastor Dave was phenomenal and the message was impactful.  It made me start to think.  I wanted to apply the changes to my life and I hope it has the same effect on you.  I will be paraphrasing his devotional and adding some of my own thoughts.  I hope you enjoy!

Reading in 1 Kings 19, we see Elijah being told by God to go and anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. Elisha was an ordinary man and Elijah found him out plowing his fields with oxen.

Understand, that before Elijah called Elisha to follow him and succeed him as prophet, these oxen and the lands he was plowing were all Elisha owned and how he supported himself.

Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. ‘Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,’ he said, ‘and then I will come with you.’… So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:19-21

In this passage we see what Elisha did that solidified his commitment to working in the ministry.  He took all he had, and all he had ever known – working his fields with his oxen and equipment – and destroyed it all. He killed his oxen, and burned his equipment to cook the meat on.

Some people might call this a bit extreme; Elisha couldn’t turn back now even if he wanted to.  This is the point I want to make and why this blog is titled “Let It Burn”.  God wants the same level of commitment that Elisha showed to be evident in us.

When we feel the call on our lives from God, and we find what our ministry is, he wants to burn up whatever our plan was for our life.  It doesn’t matter how far we have moved up or how much we have achieved.

Another godly example is the author of this blog, Pastor Nick Zaccardi. He was in a great position with a great company making a good amount of money.  However, when God called him out of it and placed him in a ministry in a different state, he left without hesitation and “let burn” the taste of success he already had achieved.

Be encouraged today to spend time with God, and find out what plans He has in store for you.  And when those plans are revealed, be prepared to give up everything you know now to walk in His perfect will.

Question: How much are you willing to “let burn” for God’s calling upon your life?

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Encouragement, Guest Bloggers

 

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