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God’s Plan – Starting Strong

God’s Plan – Starting Strong

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just looked at the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Now, Luke talks about his childhood years in Luke 2:21-40.

It’s obvious that both Mary and Joseph were devout Jews. They did everything according to the Law of Moses. This law is found in Leviticus 12.

According to this law, Jesus had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Then, Mary had to wait 33 days for her purification. At that point, she needed to go to the temple to offer the sacrifice for her purification.

This tells us a lot about the family of Jesus. All this moving around the country had taken a toll on their finances. They went to Jerusalem for their purification…

…and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Luke 2:24

Actually, according to the law, this is the sacrifice if you were too poor to afford a lamb. Mary and Joseph were struggling to get by. Yet, they maintained the spiritual connections the best that they could, in order to raise Jesus correctly.

After all, they could have made the excuse, “We can’t afford to go to Jerusalem yet.” But they went anyway, and God had a great blessing waiting for them there.

There happened to be an elderly man in Jerusalem named Simeon. God had impressed him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. As soon as he saw the baby, he knew that the time had come.

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:28-32

This prophet of God had some amazing words to say over this child. First, Simeon reveals that Jesus is the salvation of God.

Then, he speaks of the Lord’s ministry. Christ will be a light to the world. This light will be revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Israel.

As parents, I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking while Simeon was speaking out these words. But, he didn’t end there. He had a special prophecy that he spoke over Mary.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Luke 2:34-35

He makes it known that the ministry of Jesus will not be a “bed of roses.” The Lord will definitely make a lot of powerful enemies. He will reveal things that those in authority will want to remain hidden. Mary needed to be ready for the outcome of God’s plan – Messiah going to the cross.

After Simeon finished his assignment, another person came to these parents. She was an elderly prayer warrior named Anna. She also recognized the child by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. She spoke more words of encouragement to all who were listening.

Joseph and Mary did everything that was needed to be done in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled in their child. And, God rewarded their efforts. They saw the confirmation of all that God spoke to them.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:39-40

After they had gone through with their spiritual duties, they left for home. But, they didn’t go to Bethlehem, where the Child was born. Instead, they went back to Nazareth, where they had grown up and were connected with friends and family.

In this environment, Christ grew, and it was obvious that God had a great calling upon Him.

Question: What are the things you need to do to fulfill God’s plan in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Divine Interruptions

Divine Interruptions

In my last post, we saw the angel appearing to some shepherds who were up all night watching their sheep. (Luke 2:8-12) They were given the sign of Christ. They were to look for a baby, wrapped like a corpse, laying in a feeding trough.

This is an important picture for us. We should be just like those shepherds. It’s the middle of the night. Everyone else is asleep. But they have a job to do. They are to stay awake and watch.

Look at what Paul says about our Last-Days attitudes.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

1 Thessalonians 5:6

Jesus Christ is coming soon. This is not the time to be spiritually sleeping. That means falling victim to the distractions of the world.

There’s a large percentage of the church that’s fast asleep right now. They have no clue how close to the end we are. It’s time to wake up and live out loud for Christ.

It’s easy to sleep in the dark. But, there’s a call going out through the earth for those who are listening. God is calling His people to a new level of action in His Spirit.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Luke 2:13-15

All of heaven was mobilized during this time. That was true even though from a natural view, there was not much taking place. From the outside it merely looked like a poor, traveling, family, was camping out for the night.

However, what you see with your eyes is not all that’s taking place. There was an event of major importance taking place in the spirit. How would the shepherds respond? Would they view it as just another normal birth?

Absolutely not! They understood the importance of what they were told. We’re told to watch and be spiritually alert and self-controlled. Do we understand the importance of what we’re being told?

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Luke 2:16-19

I like the fact that they didn’t stand around discussing it for hours. They immediately, with speed and urgency, went off to find the child. How urgent do we consider God’s commands to us?

Once they obeyed, they had a message to bring to anyone who would listen to them. It’s time for us to accomplish great things for the Lord. On the flip side, we’ll see and experience the miraculous from His hand. That’s the time in history we’re living in.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:19-20

The good news is that everyone involved received something from the Lord. Mary got encouragement and a confirmation that God was at work in them. The shepherds received a calling to spread the word about the coming of the Messiah.

The fact is that God will use anyone who’s available. The shepherds happened to be the only ones awake at the time. We need to make ourselves available to God in order for Him to use us.

We can’t crowd our schedules so full that there’s no room for a “midnight call”. We need to be ready for a divine interruption. Then, we’ll see the glory of God at work in our lives.

Question: What does it take to be spiritually awake and available to God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2021 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Baby Jesus – The Sign

Baby Jesus – The Sign

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, we saw how God orchestrated everything so that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem. They were in the right place, at the right time, so that the Messiah would be born just as the Word of God had prophesied.

But, as we’ll see, there was more to this birth that the Lord wanted to show us.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7

As I read this, it strikes me that this is such a simple statement. We’ve probably heard this many times over the years. It’s the normal quote in every Christmas message.

First, let’s dispel a few myths. The problem wasn’t that all the hotels were booked up in Bethlehem. At that point in history, there were no hotels or inns as we would define them.

They were more like AirBnB’s. There were normal people who had guest rooms available for travelers who needed a temporary place to stay. When Mary and Joseph arrived, the only thing left was a place with the livestock.

Once the child was born, they needed to keep Him warm. The only thing they had was strips of cloth – rags – that they had to delicately tie around the baby. They were doing the best they could with what they had.

But, what no one at that time realized, this was the day everything changed. Christ was born. God made flesh.

And still today, many people miss the significance of the events that occurred that day. Sometimes the smallest detail can make a world of difference.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12

At night in Bethlehem, everyone was asleep in their beds. Well, not everyone. There was a group of people who couldn’t sleep. They had a job to accomplish. They were shepherds watching over a flock of sheep.

Suddenly the unexpected occurred. They had a supernatural encounter. An angel showed up with an important message for them. The Christ was born.

But more than that – there was a sign. That means there was a special thing they were to look for to prove they were in the right place. A baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.

This sign to the shepherds was more than just proof for them. It was a sign of things to come. This baby was placed in a manger – not a crib or cradle. A manger is a fancy way of saying a feeding trough for livestock. It’s a place for animal food, not babies.

Yet this was the “Bread of Heaven” who came down to give us life. So for Christ, this was an appropriate resting place for Him. The Bread of Life lying in a feeding trough.

The strips of cloth were another sign. It wasn’t the normal kind of baby clothes of that day. Strips of cloth were used to clothe the dead, not the living. This baby was dressed as a corpse, an infant “mummy”. Again – it was a sign of things to come.

Here was the Lamb of God. He has come to take our place on the cross. Even as a baby, His calling was revealed. Death, burial, resurrection and ascension – all for our sake.

Especially in this season, amid all the activities and excitement you may find around you, don’t lose sight of the signs. This child we celebrate is no longer a baby. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Life and Light. This season is all about Him.

Question: How do you keep the truth of Christ at the center of Christmas?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2021 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Hopeless Situations

Hopeless Situations

How do you view God’s will in your life. As for me, there are times when I look at what God has spoken to me and it seems miles away from where I am. I wonder how God will ever bring to pass what He said He would. Actually, this is normal for those who follow God’s plan for their lives.

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. It’s very appropriate, because we’re now entering the holiday season where peoples’ thoughts naturally look to the birth of Christ.

Today’s post will look at Luke 2:1-5. You may want to read this section before continuing with this post.

In chapter one, we saw the angelic announcement of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ birth. We saw Mary going to Elizabeth’s house for a few months to prepare. Then, we saw the arrival of John. Now we fast-forward to the birth of Christ.

Luke begins chapter two with a history lesson. Caesar Augustus was the emperor of the Roman Empire. As emperors do, he wants to bring in some more revenue for his campaigns. So, he decides to tax the empire.

That means everyone needs to go to their home towns because that’s where the family lists are kept. And, of course, with taxes you don’t want to miss anyone.

We also meet a man named Joseph for the first time. He’s living in a town called Nazareth in the region of Galilee. It turns out, he’s also the man that Mary is engaged to. It seems that he’s come to terms with her pregnancy, and they’re moving forward with their plans to start a family together.

Why is all of this important? I’m glad you asked!

Everyone is waiting for the Messiah to be born. There are many Old Testament Scriptures that point to this great event. The verses even tell us where the Christ child will be born.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah 5:2

This is another important Scripture. I’ve heard people try to discredit the Biblical account by pointing out that there was more than one Bethlehem in Israel. But, the Word of God makes it clear that we’re talking about the Bethlehem that’s located in Judea, the tribal land of Judah.

Here’s the problem. Joseph and Mary are living in Nazareth. It’s the tribal land of Zebulun. That’s approximately 120 miles from where God said Messiah would be born.

If Joseph and Mary were normal Israelites, then they probably had no clue as to the location of the prophecy. In the natural, things look almost impossible for the Messiah to be born where God predicted.

But, God can move in ways that we can’t even imagine. That’s why we can trust Him to accomplish in us exactly what He say’s He will do.

The Lord moved upon the heart of Caesar.

And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Luke 2:3-4

It turns out that God is a perfect strategist. He can work through people and events to bring about His will no matter what the situation looks like. We can always fully trust the Lord to accomplish His plan in us.

120 miles might not sound like much to us, but for a pregnant woman on foot, it’s a huge distance. It had to be something of great importance to make them take this hard journey. Everything worked together for the completion of God’s will.

Question: How well do you trust God when the situation looks impossible?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2021 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Today is for Giving

I hope this finds you having a great day as we enter this holiday season.

As you probably know, today is the Tuesday for Giving. We’re reminded to help out different organizations that are making a difference.

My hope is that these posts are bringing blessing and growth into your life. If that’s the case, then I ask you to prayerfully consider making a donation to Quartermaster Ministries.

There are so many things that the Lord has placed upon our hearts. Most of these require finances to accomplish.

Things like starting a podcast and hosting teaching events calls for equipment and down payments. Along with that, I’ve been invited to minister in Nigeria, Brazil, and the Philippines. This costs money so that I’m not a burden to the local believers.

My trust is in God to provide the resources that we need.

I invite you to be a part of what God is doing through us.

Click here to see more details about our ministry.

Click here to go to our donation page.

Thank you! And may God richly bless the work you’re doing for Him!

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2021 in Daily Thoughts

 

Last Days Ministry

Last Days Ministry

In my last post we saw the prophecy that Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, had about Christ. Now he begins talking about his son’s ministry. What John the baptist was called to accomplish.

There’s a reason why this is so important for us to hear. John was called to prepare the way for Christ to appear in Israel.

In the same way, we’re called to prepare the way for Christ to appear a second time. In our case, He’s not going to come in a weak fleshly body. He’s going to descend from the sky as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him…”

Luke 1:76

Like it or not, we have a very prophetic ministry in our generation. We’re very close to the return of Christ. With each new day we see the signs of the Last Days being fulfilled in the earth.

The problem is that so many believers are ignorant of the Lord’s coming. They act as if everything is going to continue on like this forever. We need to develop an End-Times mindset.

…to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…”

Luke 1:77

We need this ministry. We should be making known the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins. Instead, we seem to be majoring on political agendas and the accumulation of the latest technology.

We have the message that the lost world desperately needs to hear. Instead, God’s people seem to be so self-absorbed, that this message is drowned out by everything else we’re involved in. We need a new awakening.

“…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79

Our generation must be a light in the darkness. There has never been a darker time in the modern world. Unless you’re living with your head in the sand, this is an undeniable truth.

We need to understand what being the light entails. It’s obvious that light gets the attention in the dark. There’s no getting around that. We’re not called to just blend into the background.

This is because a light stands in direct opposition to the darkness. There cannot be any two kingdoms that are more opposite than us and the world.

We’re not a part of this society. We live here, work here, and have to interact with those around us. We need to be loving, productive, and contributing to the welfare of our community. But, the fact is we don’t BELONG here.

Darkness speaks of a place – but we are seated with Christ in heavenly places; that’s the kingdom of light. This is not our time and place.

We need to be what we’re called to be. It’s not our destiny to blend in and become part of the whole. It’s our calling to show there’s a different way to live.

John the Baptist is an example to us of how to minister to the world while living in the Kingdom of God. It’s time for us to live up to this calling. The world is desperate to hear the message that’s been entrusted to us. We need to stop chasing their dreams and live for Christ with an urgency that reflects the times we live in.

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

Luke 1:80

This generation of the church must grow up so that we can function as we must at this time in history. Be equipped with the spiritual weaponry. Be listening and hearing a Word from God. Then continue to walk in that word. Finally, if we do these things we will be the light that will draw people to Christ. We are the John the Baptist Generation.

Questions: How much light is the church producing right now? How can that light be increased?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Messiah is Coming!

Messiah is Coming!

Continuing through the Gospel of Luke, today’s post will talk about Luke 1:61-75. You may want to read this passage before going forward in this article.

We’ve seen the angel, Gabriel, bringing a message to Zechariah and Mary. Zechariah was to be the father of John the Baptist, while Mary was to give birth to Jesus Christ. After nine months of waiting, Elizabeth was about to give birth to John.

When the child arrived, everyone wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father. But, both Elizabeth and Zechariah were adamant that his name was John. They were determined to walk in obedience to God’s Word to them.

You may remember that Zechariah was told by the angel that he would not be able to talk until the child was born. On the day that the baby was named, he was able to talk again. He immediately started praising God and began to prophesy.

He beautifully proclaimed what was about to take place in Israel. He foretold the ministries of both John the Baptist and Jesus. In today’s post we’ll look at what he said about Christ. It will give us incite into what they were expecting.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.”

Luke 1:68

The first thing he talks about is the fact that God is showing up. It has been many years since the Old Testament was closed. There’s been no prophetic ministry since Ezra and Nehemiah’s time. Now God is doing a new thing in Israel.

This verse literally says that God has come and is now doing redemption. He has started the process of paying the price to loose His people from their slavery to sin and death.

He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)…”

Luke 1:69-70

The culmination of Old Testament prophecy was about to come to pass. The picture of a horn was a symbol of strength to these ancient people. So, this talks of the power of God’s salvation.

This word, salvation, is a huge word. It not only means to be saved from sin, but from everything that would hurt us. This includes sickness, poverty, depression, confusion, and a whole host of other things that hinder God’s will for us.

…salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us — to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham:”

Luke 1:71-73

This salvation not only includes the things that come against us. It also protects us from people and spiritual forces of evil that would try to stop us from carrying out God’s plan.

At this point in Israel’s history it may have looked like God’s covenant had failed. The nation had been conquered by the Roman Empire. There was no supernatural ministry. It was a dark time in their lives.

But now, a light was about to break through into their darkness. God was raising up the answer to centuries of prayer and intercession. The Messiah was on His way!

…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Luke 1:74-75

This is probably the most important part of the prophecy. It reveals the purpose of all that God is doing. There’s a reason He’s redeeming, saving, and protecting us. The Lord’s desire is to have a people who can now serve Him without any fear.

We can now walk in holiness and righteousness. We don’t have to fear death. We don’t have to fear God’s wrath. We can look forward to the glory that will be revealed in us.

I can’t imagine what those who heard this message were thinking. Maybe they heard things like this before. Hopefully, faith was being raised up in their hearts. They were given the hope they needed to await the ministry of the Messiah.

Question: How does this apply to us as we await the return of the Messiah?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Return of Christ, The Gospel

 

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Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Tomorrow, in the United States, we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. This was originally established to give thanks to God, for His blessing on our nation. So, I want to take a post to get our minds into that frame of reference.

I was reading in the Old Testament about thanksgiving. It was interesting to see that, in the Law of Moses, God instituted a sacrifice of thanksgiving. It’s found in Leviticus 7:11-15, but I’ll only quote one verse here.

The meat of his fellowship offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the day it is offered; he must leave none of it till morning.

Leviticus 7:15

In the Old Testament there are different classifications of sacrifices. One of these is known as the fellowship offerings. They were the freewill offerings. They weren’t required. They were only offered if the worshiper wanted to.

Of these fellowship offerings, this is the “Todah” sacrifice. It’s an offering of thanksgiving by raising the hands.

In this offering, an animal was killed and the blood was drained and sprinkled upon the altar. Then, only the fat around the organs was burned on the altar.

The rest was cooked and eaten by the priest and worshiper. The priest and his family would get the breast and the right leg. The worshipers would get the rest. Along with this, the offering included four kinds of bread that they ate along with the sacrifice.

I found this to be very interesting. In the Old Testament, the Thanksgiving offering was a meal. They celebrated Thanksgiving just like us.

Did you know that a meal can be worship?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Think about it. At one point Peter was rebuked for refusing to eat with Gentiles. In the New Testament we’re also instructed not to eat with hypocrites. That’s because a meal involves fellowship.

Do you see the Thanksgiving meal as worship? Make a point to mention it this year.

“This meal is an act of our worship to God.”

Why is this important? It turns out that in the Old Testament, the root of the word, fellowship, is the word, shalom. In that case, Thanksgiving is the celebration of God’s gift of shalom.

Even though shalom is usually translated as peace, there’s a lot more to it. It’s one of those huge words in Scripture. Shalom actually speaks of fullness of life, wholeness, prosperity, safety, and peace with God.

Isn’t that what Jesus came to accomplish in us?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

The reason Jesus came was so that we could enter the covenant. The result of this is shalom – fullness of life.

The thanksgiving meal should celebrate what God has done for you. If you remember, you may want to pray with your hands raised this year.

Celebrate the good things God has done, and is doing in your life.

Question: What are you thankful for right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Fellowship, Worship

 

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Our Glorious God

Our Glorious God

In my last post, I started talking about the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth. This occurred when they both became pregnant after hearing a message from God. Elizabeth was carrying John the Baptist, while Mary was pregnant with Jesus.

We saw that when they met together, God showed up. He overshadowed their time together. Elizabeth was given a revelation of who Mary would give birth to – the Messiah. Now Mary is overcome by the presence of the Lord and she begins to prophesy.

This is found in Luke 1:46-56. You may want to read this passage before continuing with this post.

She begins with a revelation of who she is, and the magnitude of what God is doing in her.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.”

Luke 1:46-49

It’s important to see her attitude here. She understands that it’s all about God, and has nothing to do with how good she is. She sees God as her Lord and Savior. Her blessing is from Him alone.

We need to learn this lesson. There’s nothing we can do to work for, or earn the Lord’s blessing. It’s all a part of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. All we can do is accept the blessing of His salvation.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.”

Luke 1:50-51

God alone is merciful and mighty. It’s important for us to understand what that means. We get a skewed understanding of mercy sometimes.

In our modern generation we use the word, mercy, incorrectly. We think it means to give someone a second chance after they’ve wronged us. We sweep their sin under the carpet. That’s not the Biblical idea.

Notice that God extends mercy to those who fear Him. That’s because God’s mercy is His reward to those who are obedient to His covenant. It’s the added benefit you get for being part of the family.

To fear God means that you humble yourself before Him. These verses reinforce the fact that pride hinders our relationship with the Lord. It’s all about our attitudes.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

Luke 1:52-53

Ruling, humble, hungry, and rich are all attitudes. They’re choices we have to make. Am I in charge of my life (ruler) or is God in charge (humble)? Do I see my need for the Lord’s help (hungry) or do I think I can make it without His help (rich)? How we answer these questions determine the amount of grace we receive.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Luke 1:54-55

I especially love this last part. This blessing is forever on the descendants of Abraham. That includes me.

Remember, from the book of Romans, that as Gentile believers we’ve been grafted into the family of Abraham. Genetically, I have no part of this heritage, yet because of Christ I can claim the full rights of a son of Abraham. And, you can too if you’ve bowed your knee to Jesus Christ.

This whole exchange was just the first few minutes of Mary and Elizabeth getting together. I can only imagine what the next few months were like. The mutual encouragement must have been incredible. This is what life in the family of God should be like for all of us.

Question: How is your knowledge of God increased by your meeting with other believers?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Meeting Together

Meeting Together

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. I think it’s interesting that it comes as we’re entering into the holiday season. I didn’t plan it that way, but it worked out great.

Today’s post will deal with Luke 1:39-45. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this article.

Soon after the angel met with her, Mary journeyed to Elizabeth and Zechariah’s house. They were her relatives.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:41

Mary probably felt the need to get away from her village and the questions that would certainly come up about her pregnancy. Elizabeth and Zechariah provided her with a safe place.

When Mary arrived at their home, it’s obvious that God showed up as well.

In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Luke 1:42-43

In the spirit, she recognized the mother of Messiah, even though she had no way of knowing it in the natural. But, it was in this moment that she asked a question. “WHY?” We miss this sometimes.

In our fellowship, the “why” is important. That’s a question we rarely ask. Why do we meet together?

We have a few stock answers: Because Jesus told us to. Because that’s what the early church did.

These are true, but not the right answers. There’s an epidemic of believers who stay away from church these days. The pandemic has become an excuse for many to forsake in-person meetings.

I think that in many cases we get the wrong idea of what church meetings are for. “Because we learn the Bible. Because we need ministry. Because we like each other. Because we agree with everything. Because the church meets my needs.” All of these reasons set you up to stay home.

Look at what happened when Mary arrived at the house. This is how Elizabeth described it.

As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

Luke 1:44

Why did she say this?

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:41

Think about the excuses we use. Could the Holy Spirit fill Elizabeth without Mary being present? Yes.

Could John have leapt for joy in the womb without Mary? Yes.

Would those things have happened without their meeting? No.

That’s what we have to learn. God does unique things in our fellowship. There’s a special move of God that He reserves only for those times that we are together. That’s probably because there’s a greater focus on what God is doing when we meet in-person.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Luke 1:45

Mary was blessed because she believed. This verse literally says that there will be a performance of what was told her. We have to see that the private and the public work together.

Mary was told something by the angel in private. Now she gets public encouragement. That’s because we’re encouraged in our fellowship.

Zechariah was told something in private. He shared it with his wife. Now she’s in her sixth month of seeing the “performance.” Elizabeth is in the perfect position to encourage Mary to continue trusting God.

We have to learn that the private can never replace the public. Just like the public can never replace the private.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

God has a work for us to do. We may hear His call to us in private, but we need the public to spur us on. It gives us the boldness we need, to do what God has called us to.

Don’t let the times we live in rob you of the blessings that can only come from our in-person fellowship.

Question: How often do you meet in-person with other believers?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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