RSS

Tag Archives: work

Walking in Faith, Hope & Love

In my last post we finished looking at the book of James, the first epistle given by the Holy Spirit to the church. During that time, a man named Saul of Tarsus was persecuting the believers.

After an encounter with Christ Himself, Saul became a Christian and his life was totally changed. He was eventually called to preach and became a missionary to the gentiles. The next revelation of God’s Word to the church was through this man, who changed his name to Paul.

On one of his journeys, Paul went to the city of Thessalonica and many were saved. (These events can be read in more detail in Acts 16-18.) Because of intense persecution, Paul had to leave quickly. This immediate exit caused him to be concerned about the health of the newly formed church.

Paul eventually traveled to Corinth, where he stayed for over a year. During that time, he sent Timothy to check-up on the church at Thessalonica. Timothy brought back a good report that the young believers were standing in the truth.

The letter of First Thessalonians was written to encourage this church, after Paul listened to Timothy’s report.

Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3

Paul opens the letter by remembering their faith, hope, and love. These are the three things that the Bible says will be with us eternally. Too often we think about them only in spiritual terms.

We sometimes get the idea that they’re just good feelings that Christians should enjoy. Some believers act like they’re wonderful gifts that should be tucked quietly away in our hearts.

NO WAY!!! According to Paul, faith, hope, and love are the sparks that ignite our ministry before God. There are three different things that happen in us as a result of their influence upon us.

First, faith produces our work. That word literally means your assignment. It’s the task that God has given you. As you go before God in faith, He gives you grace for the calling He’s placed upon your life. As I trust God more and more, I learn to follow His ways. Eventually I start to understand why He wanted me in His kingdom. Faith causes me to stand in my assignment.

Then comes love – it prompts us to labor. That word labor, means to use up your strength in performing a task. Without the love of God, we’ll never pour ourselves into the calling He’s placed upon us. We’re called to work with all of our strength. Without love, that will never happen.

Finally, hope inspires endurance. It’s easy to start out strong, but it’s how we finish that matters the most. Hope is the biblical word for expectation. If I do my part, then I can expect God to show up and do His part.

That’s what keeps me going even when I don’t feel like it. I know what God says in His Word. Because I place my expectation on Him, I can continue to live for the Lord. Hope gives you the endurance to persevere to the end.

Let faith, hope, and love give you more than just a warm feeling. Let them spur you on to accomplishing your destiny in the Lord’s Kingdom.

Question: How have you seen faith, hope and love at work in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

God the Chess Player

ChessI’m posting a series about resting in the Lord. Of course you can’t talk about rest without mentioning the Sabbath.

For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”
Hebrews 4:4

At this point the writer of Hebrews begins talking about the Sabbath – the seventh day. There’s a lot of controversy in the body of Christ over the concept of the seventh day. I believe that if you just read the Scripture with open eyes it will go a long way to clear things up. It’s obvious that in this verse the writer is referring to the creation account in Genesis.

Once everything was in place, God rested from His work. That’s how God rests. God entered His rest knowing that the world had been established such that everything would turn out as He had planned. This is why the principle of God’s rest is so elusive to us.

This is just the opposite of how we view it sometimes. By observation, we get the wrong impression. We think that each time someone or the enemy makes a move; God has to find a way to answer it. That is absolutely NOT the way it is.

Think about a master chess player. When they play chess, they plan 20 or more moves ahead. Then there comes a point in a match when one will declare, “Checkmate in 5 moves.” That means that the board is set in such a way that no matter what the opponent does, the victory is a sure thing.

This is what God did at Creation. As He formed the world, God knew every choice every person could ever possibly decide. He also knew how to bring about the end He desired no matter what choice anyone made. It will all turn out as planned.

He established the world so that He knows all the right moves to make to bring about His victory at the right time. By saying that God rested on the seventh day, we mean that at that point God announced, “Checkmate in 7000 years.” (Or however long it will take!)

God has been resting ever since that day. God was still resting when the children of Israel went into Egypt. That was also the case when they crossed the Red Sea. He was resting when Israel went into Babylonian captivity, and when they returned. God was resting when Jesus Christ walked the earth, died, was buried, and rose from the dead. He was resting on the day of Pentecost. God is resting right now. How can this be?

The Scripture above literally says that God rested off of His work. I believe that this means that His rest is separate from His actions. This brings up the question, can you rest and work at the same time? That and other questions will be answered as we continue to look at this concept of rest. At this point we only need to understand that when everything was prepared and in place, God rested.

God is at rest, not fretting or fussing over the future. If that’s the case, then why should I worry about how things are going to turn out? I can place my confidence securely in the Lord, knowing that He’s already worked out my problem.

Question: Why do believers worry so much about the future?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Calling – What and How

BeamI’m posting on the subject of our callings. In the last two posts I talked about how the Lord calls us by name.

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.”
Acts 13:2

The next calling is a calling of work. We’re called to do something. Christ has prepared a work for each of us to do in His kingdom.

This is the calling that seems to be the most important to believers today. Much emphasis is placed upon people to find what God wants them to do. The problem is that many never seek God to find out how He wants them to fulfill their work. Instead they try to copy another person or ministry.

“I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.”
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “My servants will eat, but you will go hungry; my servants will drink, but you will go thirsty; my servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame. My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.”
Isaiah 65:12-14

When we try to fulfill the what of our ministry in our own way, we ignore the call of God to do it His way. When that occurs, we don’t have any supernatural provision for what we’re doing. Everything God has for you is tied to your calling.

If you don’t respond to His call, both the what and the how, you lose out on the grace that has been provided for you. This is a cause of great frustration in ministry; because you think you’re doing God’s will when, in reality, you’re only halfway there.

There are many believers in ministries today who are spiritually hungry and thirsty. They’re being put to shame and crying out of anguish of heart. This isn’t God’s portion for us. He wants ministry to be a joy. This will only happen as we follow God’s call. This means not only what He wants me to do, but also how He wants me to do it.

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Revelation 2:20

Another mistake that can totally disqualify you is to seek your own will altogether. The above Scripture says that she called herself a prophetess. It doesn’t matter what you want to call yourself. The important thing is to find out what God calls you. Only then can you enter the abundance of God’s supernatural provision. Taking His road for your life is the only path that will lead you to the level of excellence that God has reserved for you.

Please realize, the how is as important as the what in serving God. That’s why preparation for ministry is so important. It’s not enough just to go to Bible School to train. The “School of the Holy Spirit” – spending quality time in the presence of the Lord – is essential to the fulfilling of the total plan of excellence God has for your life.

Question: What is the work God is calling you to do?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Let Thanksgiving do its Work

GrapesI’m taking a couple of posts to talk about Thanksgiving from Psalm 118. In my last post I talked about how Christ has opened the gates of righteousness. Through thanksgiving, we enter those gates into the throne room of God.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Today is a great day to praise the Lord. God made this day – that we can enter His righteousness. This word rejoice literally means to jump, dance, and spin around under the influence of a violent emotion. God deserves the best of our praise.

In the original Hebrew this verse reads and in this rejoicing we will brighten up and be made glad. So, in reality, you don’t have to feel good to start with. Being thankful changes your emotions. David understood this truth.

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. 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 42:4-5

This is a lesson we all need to learn. As I thank and praise the Lord, I begin to feel good emotionally. Then, when our emotions change, our whole outlook on life changes for the better.

O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Psalm 118:25-26

When we thank God for His work in us we’re actually admitting that we needed His salvation. Without Him we can do nothing. He is our strength and our success.

When I’m thankful – meditating on the good things of God – that joy gives me strength to move forward. So it’s my thankfulness that makes me strong. That’s why it’s such an important part in the life of a believer.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
Psalm 118:26

We’re supremely blessed in that Name above all names that Christ has given to us. In the name of Jesus we have all that we need for life and godliness. We have hope, healing, victory, peace, and salvation. That’s where the place of blessing is – in His name.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

My prayer for you is that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this year. But more than that, I pray that you can live a life of thankfulness before God.

Question: What are you specifically thankful for that God has done in you this year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Encouragement, Prayer

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Work for God?

WorkThere are many believers who never enter into their calling.  Are you one of them?  Don’t miss the point of why God wants us to work for Him and with Him.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, commending them on their work for the Lord.  He mentions three aspects that speak volumes to us as God’s people.  We need to take these things to heart if we’re going to be productive in the Kingdom of God.

Our work is produced by faith.  The word for work means what we do for God.  It’s the task to which we’ve been assigned.

We’ve all been called to do something different in the Body of Christ.  Your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and skillsets all combine to bring about the plan God has for your life.

The key is that you must seek God to find out what you’re called to do.  That’s where faith comes into the picture.  How well do you trust God for your future?  Are you willing to give up your agenda for His?

Then, by faith, we must let the Holy Spirit train and prepare us for the work.  Too many believers want to rush ahead and get “on the job training.”  Usually they become tripped up when they run ahead of the Lord.  You need to trust God to bring about the plan He has for your life.

Our labor is prompted by love.  This word labor, in the Greek, literally means your toil that results in weariness.  It speaks of using your strength to accomplish something.

We’re willing to do this for our bosses, because they pay us cash for our strength.  The Kingdom of God has a different economy.  What we do for the Lord is based upon our love for Him, or at least it should be.

Your love for God is expressed in how much time, money and energy you’re willing to expend in His work.  There’s no way around it – there’s something that you need to do for the Lord.

Our trouble is that we want to reap without sowing.  We wait until we want to eat a salad, then go out and plant the garden.  At that point, we blame God that our “salad bowl” is empty.

If you cultivate a love for the Savior, your work for Him will be a lot easier.

Our endurance is inspired by hope.  The word endurance speaks of our ability to persevere through the completion of the work.

This is the hard part.  Once we’ve started the task, we need to keep going.  Hardships, opposition, and even the daily grind of repetition saps our will to continue.

Our attitudes often surprise me.  We’re willing to drag ourselves to our job, even though we’re sick – and our boss will pay us to stay home – just to impress our employers.  Why aren’t we so inspired to impress the King of kings?  This is the secret to walking in the abundant life.

As I focus on the hope, the expectation, held out in the Gospel, I’m able to endure through the hard times.  Then I can see the power of God released in my life.

Question: What do you find to be the hardest part of enduring in your work for God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Ministry

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Excellence and Rewards

CrownIn my last post I talked about how we are called to live a life of excellence.  Did you know that your eternal rewards are based upon how well you live up to this?

The Bible does speak over and over again about the different levels of rewards based upon the work we perform throughout our lives.

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.   From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Luke 12:48

The fact is that we are responsible for what we’ve received.  A young Christian is not responsible for the truths that have not yet been made real to him.  Someone who’s been walking with the Lord for years, and ignoring His call, will receive less in the kingdom.

It’s clear from Scripture that we’re going to be responsible for the grace that we’ve been given.  With a greater anointing and calling comes greater responsibility.

I’ve found that many believers, ministers especially, want the miracles and the big churches without the character it takes to walk uprightly before God in that kind of work.  The Lord wants us to grow from the inside out.  An increase in power, without a corresponding increase in character, will destroy our spiritual walk.

As a matter of fact, it’s probably too late for you now.  You’ve read too much.  If you’ve been reading my blogs regularly, then God is going to require excellence from you and your ministry.  Now that you know He’s a God of excellence, and that He requires excellence in His followers, you must begin to walk in it.  Read on!

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

The Lord talked to His disciples about the narrow road.  We like to interpret this verse as if it’s merely talking about the road of salvation.  Salvation is indeed the first step toward excellence.  When we chose Christ, we chose a better path than that of the world.

I believe, however, that this Scripture has a broader meaning in application to the body of Christ.  Very few find the walk of excellence to which we have been called.  “The few;” that sounds like the definition of excellence to me – “that which goes beyond the expected or the normal.”

The Lord expects us to find the narrow gate of excellence.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Question: Have you made the decision to live a life of excellence before God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Spirit of Excellence

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why is the Love-Walk so Tough?

Snow HeartBefore the New Year, I was talking about the faith-love connection in my posts.  I want to continue along those lines.  Do you know why it’s so hard to walk in love sometimes?  The answer will become clear as we move forward.

If you remember, I was using the illustration of faith as the fuel and love as the generator for the power of God.  These are the two things that must be in place for us to see the blessing of God in our lives.  I want to go a little further with this concept.

One of the ways we run into problems is using the right fuel in the right device.  For instance, a candle produces light and heat.  But, I wouldn’t try to cook a steak with a candle.

Love is the key to using the power of God.  So we need to understand how it works.  This kind of love (Agape in Greek) that the Bible speaks about is not an emotion.  You have probably already heard many teachings on the subject.  It is taught that love is a decision.

That’s good as far as it goes, but love is much more than that.  To truly use the power of God, love must be a decision TO ACT.  Remember, love is the spiritual pressure, but what is also needed is a saved mind that acts in faith.  Without action there is no love and there is no power.  If I have truly decided to love you, then I will pray for you, encourage you, and bless you.

This is probably the biggest hindrance to power production in our lives.  We like holding on to the fuel to show everyone, “Look how much I have.”  We don’t want to actually use the generator.  We only want to impress people by our abundance of fuel.  What we really need is to learn the truth that faith by itself is not power.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Thessalonians 1:3

This verse gets right to the heart of the matter.  Work in this verse is the power that produces change.  This work is produced by faith operating through love.

But this verse also says that there is a labor associated with love.  This word labor in Greek means that which reduces strength.  To put it simply, the lamp burns oil to produce light.  The engine burns gasoline to move the car.  In the same way, love burns faith to produce spiritual power.

Why is it so hard to love others?  The reason is that love requires a constant supply of faith to fuel it.  Unless we’re willing to work at it, it’s easier to just ignore it.

Question: Do you notice the labor involved in loving someone?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Faith, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,