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Category Archives: Encouragement

Paul’s Praise

Paul’s Praise

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Paul has been looking forward, prophetically, to the salvation and restoration of Israel. At the end of chapter 11, he bursts out in praise to God, quoting Isaiah and Job.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Romans 11:33

He loosely bases his praise from Isaiah 40:13-14. Paul starts by expressing his awe at the wealth of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Of course, God is omniscient – He knows all things. But because He exists outside of time, the Lord knows all things past, present, and future.

The word, judgment, speaks of God’s decision making ability. It’s far beyond anything that we could imagine. And, His ways are beyond our ability to figure out.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

Romans 11:34

We will never fully understand how the Lord thinks. His goals and ways are so complex that they’re unsearchable to us.

The fact is that the Lord doesn’t need our advice. But, that doesn’t stop me from trying to convince Him that I know what I’m talking about. Then, He kindly lets me know who’s in charge of the universe. Eventually, I have to admit that his way is the best.

Now Paul gives us a quote from the book of Job.

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”

Romans 11:35

God doesn’t owe anyone anything, no matter what we give to Him, or give up for Him. He created it all, so it all belongs to Him already.

This truth should keep us all from becoming greedy. Nothing is actually mine, even my own life. Everything belongs to the Lord and I’m just a caretaker of what He’s allowed me to have.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:36

Paul concludes this section by exclaiming that everything in all creation is from Him, through Him, and for Him. And that’s a comforting thought. Because of this, I have nothing to fear or be anxious about. It’s all in His very capable hands.

But, remember this. Even though God’s wisdom, knowledge, ways, and decisions are far beyond our limited understanding; we still have access to them. We can walk in the glory of God.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

It’s all accessible in the realm of the spirit. As I pray in the spirit, my spirit and the Holy Spirit interact together to endow me with all that I need for life and godliness.

That’s the power of a walk in the spirit. It’s a life led and directed by the Holy Spirit. That should be the goal of every believer.

Please don’t get me wrong. I haven’t arrived there yet. Even as I write this, I pray to God for a greater intimacy with Him. I want to see the church, and myself, walking in the power they had in the book of Acts.

Hopefully, you want to come along with me on this journey. To that end, I’m going to be adding to this website. My goal is that very soon I’ll be starting a podcast that will deal with how God is waking the church in these Last Days.

Pray for me and this ministry to complete what God has for us.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit been leading you forward lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Revival

 

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Over-Victors

Over-Victors

I’m continuing my study through the book of Romans. We’ve been looking at Paul’s questions at the end of chapter 8.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 8:35-36

This is a great question. Every believer needs to remember both the question, and Paul’s answer. It will help us to face the toughest times in our faith journey.

He asks if there’s anything or anyone who could place a separation between us and Christ. The word trouble, in this verse, is a Greek word that means pressure. That’s something we all have to deal with.

We may not like it when we find ourselves under pressure. But, it’s one of those things that we’re told to rejoice over throughout Scripture (John 16:33; Romans 5:3).

The word hardship, on the other hand, means to be in a narrow confining space. There are times we feel like we’re in a rut with no way out. Even in those times, God’s love is reigning over us. Paul actually says that he enjoys those times because when he’s weak, God shows His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).

The apostle goes on to list other things we may face such as persecution, hunger, poor clothes, danger or fighting. In all of these things, none of them will put space between us and God’s love. We are the only ones who, by our own foolishness, can distance ourselves from the Lord.

Paul goes on to quote Psalm 44. It basically is asking God, “Why have you forsaken us? Our enemies are trampling us.” So, Paul is asking if that’s what serving God is all about. I like his answer.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

The short answer is NO!!!! We’re not meant to be a bunch of doormats for the enemy and the world to walk over. He literally says that we are over-victors.

It goes beyond just a victory. Not just a 6 to 5 win. It’s more like a 1500 to 5 blowout. If it were boxing, it would not be just winning by points but a first round knockout. There’s no need for a recount.

We’ve been given victory over all of the things listed previously…AND MORE!!! Not life or death. Not even the principalities of the enemy’s kingdom.

He also includes many of the things we worry about on a daily basis. The present things that are happening to me right now. But also, the future events that I don’t even know about yet. The Lord has them all taken care of already.

There may be high things, like walls or barriers, that I don’t think I can get through. Or, there might be deep mysteries beyond my limited understanding. The bottom line is that there is no thing, creature, or organization that can keep God’s love and grace from reaching me.

That’s the joy of being an over-victor. It’s all manifest by our intimate times spent with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What are some areas of victory that you’ve experienced lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Paul’s Questions

Paul’s Questions

In my last post, I talked about our response to God’s ongoing work in our lives. His desire is to show His glory through us.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32

This verse literally tells us that God was not greedy about His own Son. He didn’t hold back His very best, but gave all for us. That’s why the Lord can call us to live on that same level.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

2 Corinthians 9:6

The words, spare in Romans, and sparingly in the next verse are the same word in Greek. Why do you think this is? It’s because greed goes against the very nature of God.

Along with Christ, God will grace us with all things. What kind of things? Everything that He’s promised.

You’ve probably noticed by now that Paul has been asking a series of leading questions in this section of Romans. It’s important that we understand the significance of each one.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:33

This one literally asks; who will demand a debt-payment from God’s chosen ones? The first thing we need to realize is that this verse is not talking about everyone. It only refers to those who are chosen.

I know that there are many believers who are under the notion that every verse in the Bible is talking about them. That’s simply not the case. This verse is about the chosen.

The Bible is clear that many are called, but few are chosen. We’re all called, but few respond obediently to their callings. This verse is about the obedient. Jesus talked about this group.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Luke 18:7-8

This verse says that God’s chosen ones cry out to Him day and night. I believe that this can only be done by the spirit? Paul asks; who will demand payment from these people? That depends upon who is owed anything.

It’s God that we’ve sinned against. The God who justifies us is the only one who can legally demand payment. Praise God! In that case, I’m not afraid of the debt. It’s already been paid by Christ Jesus. It gets even better.

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Romans 8:34

There is only one person in all the universe who is legally able to pass sentence on us. The Anointed One, Jesus Christ, who died. The same Anointed One who rose again. The same Anointed One who’s making intercession for us at this very moment.

The definition of intercession is meeting with for consultation toward a goal. The Lord is conferring over us to perfect us.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Hebrews 7:25

His goal is to completely save us. As it turns out, He’s the only one who can pass sentence. I’m not afraid of that either.

Question: What’s your attitude toward the future, based on these verses?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Patience Required

Patience Required

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re looking at the expectation and longing that’s in the world right now. Anyone who’s sensitive to the spirit can see that it’s on the increase.

The world system is in great longing for something to happen. They may not understand what they’re looking for. But, Paul says that it’s for God’s people to become the revealed son’s and daughters of God.

It’s for the church of Jesus Christ to wake up and stand to its feet. This is God’s agenda in the church of our generation.

The Apostle Paul was also writing about our spiritual longing for the return of Christ. We all receive this expectation when we’re saved.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23

I talked about this verse in my last post. When our lives display the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we’re giving that firstfruits offering to the Lord.

Our desire should be for the world to see Jesus Christ through our lives. When the Holy Spirit enables us to do this, we’re testifying that there’s something more than what we can see in the physical world.

We’re looking forward to when we’ll be clothed in our new resurrected bodies. Our sin nature will finally be dealt with once and for all. That will take place at the return of Christ.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:24-25

We were saved in this expectation. Paul makes the obvious statement that you don’t wait expectantly for what you already have.

The bottom line is that we are required to be patient. Unfortunately, patience is not usually one of our strengths. We want what we want ASAP.

However, all through the New Testament, we’re told that patience should be a part of our mindset.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.

James 5:7

This is probably the hardest part in our walk with the Lord. As someone who’s tried to plant a garden numerous times, I know how hard it is in the natural.

It’s very frustrating waiting for the land to yield the increase. You plant the seed, and then nothing happens for days, and sometimes weeks, depending on the plant.

I plant the seed. What makes it frustrating, is that once I do, it’s out of my hands. I can’t get the plants to grow. Paul understood the spiritual significance of this. Look at how he described his ministry to the Corinthian church.

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 have to do our part. Then, only God can do His part. I can plant the Word and pray in the spirit (watering), but God is the only one who can bring growth. When we see the start – the firstfruits – we know that the rest is on the way.

Question: What growth have you observed in your life since coming to Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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No Glass Ceiling in Christ

No Glass Ceiling in Christ

In my last post I began talking about the concept of our sonship in Christ. But, before I get very far into it, I have to make clear how this applies to women in the church.

Many people accuse the Apostles of being male chauvinists. They say that in their writings the apostles speak mostly to men and assign women to a lower position. I believe that this is an inaccurate assessment based upon a mere surface reading of the Bible.

I’m not going into a detailed discussion of women in the ministry. However, a careful reading of who Paul greeted in his letters, and how they were titled, shows that Paul ordained women as both pastors and apostles.

In truth, there’s no Scriptural “glass ceiling” that would keep a woman from attaining to any position or calling. It’s all based upon the will of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:15-16

What I really want to talk about is the use of the words son and sonship in Scripture. Unlike what many teach, it was not the Apostles trying to make the church a Patriarchy. In reality it was just the opposite.

In the cultures of the day, which included Roman, Greek, and Middle Eastern peoples, the place of women were at the bottom of the social ladder. At best, they were a piece of art to be seen and appreciated. At worst, they were treated as property, slaves, or a family pet.

In Peter and Paul’s letters this concept was totally done away with. They elevate women to a new level of equality unheard of in their day.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7

Peter used a word in this passage that is translated heirs with you. It’s literally the word co-heirs. This means that the wife is someone with an equal share and claim on the inheritance. This was unheard of in those ancient cultures.

Women rarely, if ever, shared in their family inheritance. But in the family of God, all this has changed. Now women are considered of equal importance in the spiritual inheritance of the Lord.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:26-29

In Christ there is no longer the differences and limitations placed upon us by society. These have all been done away with at the cross. Paul says that there is neither…male nor female. YOU ARE ALL SONS.

Why would the Apostle make such an absurd sounding statement? He did it to emphasize the truth that in the Kingdom of God women have all the rights and privileges of a firstborn son. God sees a woman on the same spiritual level as a man.

If you’re a woman of God, then never feel inferior or of less importance than a man. You can go as high in ministry as the Holy Spirit will bring you.

Question: How has the ministry of women positively affected your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Testimony of God’s Work

A Testimony of God’s Work

As we continue through the book of Romans, I’ve been talking about the spiritual walk. As we pray in the spirit, we’re affecting the natural. We looked at a few verses that tell us that it’s through the spirit that we overcome the flesh.

There are those who spend their entire lifetime trying to master the fruit of the spirit by their own strength and will power. I’ve found that those who are able to do this are easy to spot. The older they get, the deeper the frown etched on their faces.

They’re quick to tell you how hard it is to stay committed to the Lord. Doing this work on your own is very detrimental to your joy and I don’t recommend it for long periods of time.

Another observation actually had me upset at God for a long time until I understood what was really going on in the spiritual realm. The problem is that sometimes we have an experience in God and try to explain it based upon our observances instead of searching the Word. I’m thinking specifically about my grandparents, who were the first in our family to receive Christ.

Back when they first immigrated to America from Italy, they were rough, unlearned people. At that point, an evangelist came from Chicago to Boston to bring the Gospel to the Italian community. That’s when my grandparents heard the Good News and submitted their hearts to Christ. The church I grew up in was the Italian Pentecostal Church that grew from that evangelist’s work.

Growing up, I heard all the stories of how God moved in those days. I heard about the power, the healings, and the miracles. I learned all about the righteous lives that these “old folks” lived. Their conversion became legendary.

“If we would only live like they did…”

This is why I was upset at God. I was told that when they were saved, they were really saved. Their lives were changed instantly. There was suddenly no more profanity, stealing, or fits of rage. They began walking in love, joy, peace and the rest of the gifts.

I knew my grandparents well enough to know that what was said about their lifestyle was true. They lived close to God. They loved like Jesus did. They evangelized everyone they met.

That’s what upset me. I felt that I had been short changed in my salvation experience. I wanted to know why I was still wrestling with my sin. Why did their lives change so radically, and mine seemed to be a never ending process?

What I was taught about this did little to help me. I was told that God just works differently in different people. Some people He cleans up in an instant and in others the Lord takes His time. I just resigned myself to the belief that I was one of those that would take a long time to see the changes occur in my life. All this, because we based our theology on observation rather than the Word of God.

Here’s what actually happened to my grandparents, based on what we’ve just learned from the Scripture. When they heard the Good News of the Savior, they submitted to His Lordship in faith. They were saved and immediately baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of their prayer language.

Then they began to attend meetings on almost every day of the week. Some of these were services and some were prayer meetings. Here’s the key. No matter what kind of meeting it was, they always spent hours praying in the spirit.

I know from watching her, that my grandmother prayed hours a day. By observation, people saw that when someone was saved and baptized in the Spirit, their life changed. It seemed to be instantaneous.

But looking back, I can see through the filter of the Scriptures, what really changed their lives was that they spent hours a week praying in the Holy Spirit. There was not one particular work of holiness – it was the ongoing process of putting to death the misdeeds of the body through prayer in the spirit.

Then, over the course of time, the prayer meetings stopped being attended by the next generation. Instead of using the power of the Spirit, they learned to serve God using will power alone. Holiness became a thing of the past, “the stuff of legends”.

We just looked back and said, “Those old Italians knew how to serve God.” What they learned was that power was only accessed in that secret place of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. This is how we must receive the power as well. To the extent that we worship God in His language, at His level, we will experience His power.

At one point the Lord impressed us to start having a prayer meeting only for prayer in the spirit. We met for one hour a week to pray in our heavenly language. During that time I observed that people who spent even moderate amounts of time praying in the spirit started to change at an incredible rate.

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…
Romans 8:6

The good news is that you don’t have to know how it works for it to affect you. But, you do have to walk in it for the effects to be realized. Don’t just use the gift of the heavenly language as a once in a while plaything. It’s the access key to the release of the power of God in your life. You should use this gift daily. If you choose to do this, your life will never be the same.

Question: How have you seen the effects of praying in the spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Two Gifts

The Two Gifts

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. Paul has been explaining to us, the reign of death that has taken the earth because of Adam’s sin.

Now he wants us to understand what Christ has done to overcome this.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

Romans 5:15-16

This is an amazing passage of Scripture. However, if we’re going to fully understand it, we need to know a little Greek.

The reason for this, is that there are two different Greek words for gift used in this section. They are charisma and dorema. While they both mean a gift or a present, they have slightly different uses.

The word, dorema, is a gift that I give you with no strings attached. It’s given free and clear. Charisma, on the other hand, is a gift that the giver retains the right to tell you how you’ll use it.

For example, if I give you a fifty dollar bill for your birthday, that’s a dorema. You can do whatever you want with it. If I give you a fifty dollar gift card to Starbucks, that a charisma, because you can only use it where I want you to use it.

Usually in Scripture, when someone gives an offering, it’s dorema because we’re giving with no strings attached. But, when talking about the gifts of God, it’s usually charisma because God is very clear how He wants us to operate in these giftings.

So, this passage is saying that the gift God gives (charisma) is not like what happened because of Adams sin. Now through Christ we can receive God’s grace. It also literally says that the gift (dorema) that overflows to many people is in the grace.

The way the original Greek puts it in the second half is that the one sin gave us the gift (dorema) of judgment. But now, after many sins have been done on the earth, Christ came, and through His obedience, brings us the gift (charisma) of spiritual life.

This is a wonderful truth. Death and judgment was given to the entire world through Adam. But now, as a result of the cross, we can receive everlasting life through the Lord Jesus Christ.

This opens the door to a whole new way for us to live.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17

This is Good News! When I come to Christ I receive God’s grace and the gift (dorema) of righteousness with no strings attached. This gives me a new outlook on life.

Formerly death reigned over everything because of sin. Now, because I’m in Christ, I can reign in life. I don’t have to walk in fear of anything that’s happening around me. I can walk in the authority of Christ as I submit to Him.

Too many believers walk around with bad attitudes. You would think that serving God was the hardest thing they could ever imagine. Their faces usually reflect fear and frustration. That’s not how the Lord wants us to live.

We have to realize that Christ places us over all the situations in our lives. We may not know exactly how things will turn out, but we know that it will be for our best and for God’s glory. What more could we ask for?

Question: How have you experienced the grace of God at work in you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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Death is King

Death is King

In my last post, we saw how sin and death entered the world through Adam’s failure. We’re now going to continue along this line so that we can understand all the implications of this.

…for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

Romans 5:13-14

This is a very interesting passage of Scripture and we need to fully explore it. We’re told that even before the law, sin was in the world. However, until a law is given, sin is not put on anyone’s account.

Think about Adam’s case. He only had one law. There was only one thing he could do that would bring sin into his account. The outcome was that he chose to do that very thing.

Actually these verses should be a revelation to many Christians. This verse literally reads that death was king from Adam to Moses. That was true even for those who didn’t break a law, like Adam.

Wait a minute, what about Satan? I thought he’s the one who ruled the world. The truth is that Scripture explains to us that the devil is only king over his angels and anyone who submits to them.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Ephesians 2:1-2

We tend to give Satan a lot more credit and power than he actually has. Contrary to what most people think, he’s not the ruler of hell. Never get the idea that he’s going to be happily torturing people throughout eternity. He’s merely a fellow prisoner.

Right now, death is the ruler in charge of the earth. That is, until the return of Christ.

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26

Knowing that death is king over the earth gives us insight into how the spiritual battle is fought. Here’s a key verse for us.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:56

This verse gives us the whole picture. Death is king. But the sting of death – the enforcer – is sin.

We’re also told that this enforcer, sin, has a power source. The power that gives sin its ability is the law.

The fact is that the devil can only attack in accordance with the law. That’s where he draws his power from.

That’s why we need to live a repentant lifestyle. We need to be sure that there’s no sin clinging to our consciences.

That’s the devil’s strength. He can capitalize on any guilt or condemnation that you submit to. If you believe that there’s still residual sin or that you’re somehow unworthy of God’s grace, then he can interfere in your life.

Don’t play into the hands of death, sin, the law, and the devil. Keep your intimacy with the Lord pure by a habit of quick repentance. Then spend time with the Holy Spirit learning His voice.

Question: How has the devil tried to trip you up using death, sin, and the law?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Love at the Right Time

God’s Love at the Right Time

We’re going through the book of Romans together.  Here in chapter 5, Paul is still getting us acquainted with his teaching on the Christian walk.

We’ve seen the progression of how God wants to bring us into the manifestation of His love.  The Lord wants this love to empower us in our work for Him.

Now Paul is getting to the heart of the matter.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

This Scripture is clear.  God did His greatest work while we were still without strength.

But that brings us to an important point.  God brought this about at just the right time.  That literally means Christ died at the appointed time.

This is something that we frequently get hung up on.  I have a problem differentiating between God’s appointed time vs. when I think God should have answered.  I assume God is late or ignoring my problem.  Of course, that’s foolish thinking.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2

I’ve learned that God is always on time.  In my limited understanding, I think that there’s no way out.  God, however, shows up at the right time and the right place to show Himself strong in my life.

The fact is that Jesus Christ gave His life for us.  He’s not going to ignore us now.  He wants the best for us.

According to the first passage above, He died for the irreverent.  That means those with no spiritual aptitude.

It’s hard enough, difficult enough, to die for someone we consider good.  I’m glad to say that this isn’t how God demonstrates His love.

That word, demonstrates, is a Greek word that means to introduce.  This is how God introduces His love.  While we were still actively missing the mark, Christ died for us.

In writing this letter to the Romans, Paul was addressing a people to whom this was very true.  When Christ died, the people of Rome were totally clueless to what was happening in Jerusalem.

Their salvation was being purchased at a great cost.  Yet, it would be years before they would hear the Good News.  It’s good to know that I didn’t need to see this work being done in order to receive the benefits of it.

As a Pharisee living in Jerusalem, Paul may have met Jesus or heard Him speak.  Paul might have even been one of those at the foot of the cross, ridiculing the Lord.  But at Paul’s worse, Jesus was dying for this Pharisee’s salvation.

How could we ever think that God would abandon us now?  Put your trust and hope in the love of God.  Never let the cares and problems of life overwhelm your knowledge of His great love, concern, and care for you.

Question: How have you experienced God’s loving concern for you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, The Gospel

 

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The Path of Faith

The Path of Faith

We’re continuing our look at Paul’s letter to the Roman church.  At this point he’s talking about the walk of faith.  Let’s review the verses we discussed in my last post.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:1-2

It’s important that we see how these all fit together.  Historically, we tend to separate things out when we teach in the church.

Usually, we only preach about one thing at a time.  We’ll give a sermon on faith, or grace, or justification.  This gives the impression that the Bible contains a series of theological “bubbles”.

The truth of the matter is that everything in our Christian walk is all interconnected.  It all works together to bring growth and change into our lives.

That’s why it blesses me to see a verse like this that shows the flow of anointing through the Holy Spirit.  It shows us the progression starting with faith.  It then flows to justification and righteousness, to grace, to hope, and finally to glory.

I can’t over-stress how important it is to understand this progression.  However, that’s not all there is.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4

Paul now brings us to another progressive work in our lives.  He tells us that we can literally boast about our sufferings.  By the way, that word, suffering, means pressure.  It’s about the problems that crowd us on a daily basis.

If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, these pressures cause us to develop perseverance.  Perseverance means to be able to stay in a situation until it’s completed.

Fortunately, it doesn’t simply end with us persevering away.  There’s another goal.  As we endure the pressure, we develop what this translation calls character.

This word, character, is an important concept for us to understand.  The Greek word used speaks of a proving process.

The best way to describe it is to bring you back to the days of the Gold Rush.  The miners would find what they thought was gold.  So they would bring it to town to the assayer’s office.  It was the assayer’s job to tell the miner if it was fool’s gold or the real thing, and how much it was worth.

The word that’s translated, character, actually means to prove genuine or assay.  So it’s through perseverance that our faith is proved to be genuine and valuable.

Too often we want the proof before we persevere.  We want to know for sure that our faith is going to pay off.  However, that’s not how things work in the spirit.

Finally, once you see that your faith is genuine and can take you through the tough times, it produces hope.  If you remember, hope is that expectancy that God’s plan will prevail in your life.

As I said before, it’s important for us to see how all of these concepts work and flow together.  They’re not a bunch of separate teachings that all work independently.  The Holy Spirit uses all of these to bring about His destiny for your life.

Submit to His plan.  Allow this work to be accomplished in you.

Question: How have you seen the pressures of life result in a good outcome?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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