RSS

Category Archives: Encouragement

Last Days Preparation

Last Days Preparation

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re looking at the teaching of Jesus concerning the events in the last days. It will become more important for us to be spiritually prepared as His day approaches.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Luke 21:25-28 NIV

Jesus makes it very clear. In the last days before His return the world will be in anguish and perplexity. People will faint from terror; apprehensive at what they think is coming. If that’s you, then STOP IT! You’re not of the world.

The fact is that there will be different signs in the natural world. Pre-pandemic we went through a sequence of “Blood Moons” that had many believers in panic mode.

What is a blood moon? Most people – even preachers – don’t know what it is. Simply put, a blood moon is a lunar eclipse. Then why call it a blood moon? For effect – it sounds more exciting and ominous that way; and it sells more books.

Please forgive me if I sound a little critical about this. I really do love my brothers and sisters in the Lord who major on current events and try to fit them into end-time Scriptures.

Like I said in a previous post; I’ve studied the Second Coming since the 70’s. That means that I’ve seen a lot of these predictions over the years. All of them had a bunch of Scripture backing them up. It’s a very dangerous thing to try and take the predictions of the Bible and definitively link them to current events.

I remember one prominent preacher who said, based upon Scripture and current events, that the Communist flag would be raised in Washington, DC on July 4, 1976. Then there was the comet Kohoutek and the lining up of the planets. Both of which launched a number of predictions and books proclaiming that Christ would return at that time.

Of course, 40 years after the return of Israel to their homeland in 1948 we read the book 88 Reasons why Jesus is Returning in 1988. Soon to be followed by 89 reasons…

Many of you may remember the posters that were everywhere proclaiming that the rapture would occur in 1990. Then, there was Harold Camping’s prediction that it would happen in 1994. After that, there was Y2K and Saddam Hussein supposedly rebuilding Babylon.

Then Harold Camping was back claiming the rapture would occur in 2011. After that, even Hollywood picked up on the Mayan and Hebrew calendars ending in 2012. Then, we heard about all the blood moons that took place through September of 2015.

Now that we’ve gone through a world-wide pandemic, things seem to be ramping up. Instead of local problems, things are happening on a global stage. Remember, Jesus Christ told us that all these things had to happen before His return.

What bothers me about all this is that there are people in the body of Christ running scared. They’re spending their money buying survival supplies; fearful and confused about the future. That’s not what we should be doing.

As a believer, you will not survive because you prepared, materially, for the apocalypse. You’ll survive because God promised, “I will supply all of your need according to My riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

If you keep focused on Jesus, you won’t need to fear what’s coming on the earth. The Holy Spirit will impart the grace you need, when and where it’s needed.

Spend time in His presence. That’s the prep-work that you need for the coming uncertainty. We need to be strong in the Lord.

Question: How have you been affected by predictions of future events?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Last Days – “Don’t”

The Last Days – “Don’t”

As we go through Luke’s Gospel, I’m taking a few posts to look at what our attitude should be like in the last days. Specifically, we’re dealing with the principles given to us by Jesus in Luke chapter 21.

First, I want to talk about three things that the Lord told us NOT to do.

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”

Luke 21:8 NIV

His first command to us is, don’t follow them. We are to ignore those who claim, “I am he.” We should already know that one. Jesus said that at His coming every eye would see Him. It will not be a private return.

In spite of this warning, many have come claiming to be another incarnation of Christ. Over and over again, I hear about people going to hear someone who claims to be a new messiah.

The second statement that the Lord made was a little more subtle. He said not to follow those who come in His name claiming, “The time is near.”

Please understand, I believe that the coming of the Lord is near. The difference is that this is only a small part of my message. Christ is talking about those whose whole focus is on the soon coming of the Lord and the signs surrounding it.

Remember what I told you in my last post. In Scripture, the Second Coming is never the main focus – it’s always the reason for living correctly. You have to be very careful when you see a whole ministry based upon “the time is near.”

Usually these “end-time ministries” like to play on the sensationalism of possible outcomes. Any new astronomical event, international crisis, or natural disaster gives them new ways to bend Scripture to look like the end is upon us.

This type of ministry seems to sell a lot of books. But most of them are only exciting reading for a year or two. Then, it becomes obvious they were on the wrong track with their predictions.

“When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

Luke 21:9-11 NIV

The next thing Jesus tells us is don’t be frightened. You’re going to hear various bad reports. The world may be full of problems, but one thing remains true through the ages; Christ is still on the throne.

No matter what’s happening around us, Christians should never fear the future. The Holy Spirit is always with us. He leads and guides us. More than that, we know that He gives us the grace to stand strong in spite of the current situations.

Many people are predicting catastrophe for the United States. We don’t know what the future holds for our country. But I know the answer – Jesus Christ is Lord.

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”

Luke 21:12-14 NIV

The Lord’s final general statement is; do not worry…how you will defend yourselves.

“What if it becomes illegal to be a Christian?”

It’s happened before and God brought His people through victoriously. In the Book of Acts Paul was headed to Jerusalem. Churches were telling him not to go because of prophecies that spoke of his arrest. He said he was not only willing to be arrested, but to die for Christ.

The key is that if you’re called to go through persecution or martyrdom, then you’ll receive the grace to stand firm. So – don’t worry about it now – the Lord will give you what you need when you need it.

Question: What is the result of following these commands the Lord gave us?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 30, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Return of Christ

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

True Treasure

True Treasure

We’re studying through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is nearing the time for His sacrifice on the cross. As He sits for a while at the Temple of Jerusalem, it brings up some questions we need to answer in today’s church.

What’s your attitude toward offerings at church? Do you consider it a necessary evil? Do you look forward to the chance of investing in God’s kingdom? It turns out that the Lord takes an interest in how we give.

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.

Luke 21:1-2 NIV

There are some things about Jesus that you need to know, especially in regard to your giving. As the pastor of a church, I know that where people choose to sit tells a lot about them. Jesus chose to sit right in line with the offering boxes so that He could watch people as they gave.

It’s interesting that the literal Greek of this verse says that the Lord watched knowingly, how the people put their money in the box. Whether you know it or not, how you give is as important to God as what you give.

That’s because true giving is an act of the heart. Jesus explained the underlying principle.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:21 NIV

This statement brings it all into focus. At offering time, do you feel like you’re giving your treasure to God? Or do you feel like you’re giving money to the One that you treasure? In other words, is Christ your treasure, or is money your treasure?

As Jesus watched the rich give money, they weren’t affected by it. They gave out of their overflow. What they put in the treasury wouldn’t change their standard of living.

The widow, on the other hand, gave everything. Money that could have been used for food or other necessities was now gone. That made an impression on Jesus, and He called it to the disciples’ attention.

“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Luke 21:3-4 NIV

The Lord’s commentary is important for us to hear. There’s a “break-even point” in our finances where our expenses equal our income. He explained that the rich gave from above that point. The widow gave all that she had, even though she had less than breaking even.

But there’s more Jesus said that we miss because of the translation. In the original, the Lord said that the widow put in all that she had, her whole life.

She wasn’t just giving her money to God. She was placing her very life in His hands. That’s the attitude that’s needed in our giving.

It’s not just my money that belongs to God. It’s everything that I have, even my very life. All that I am – my time, goals, dreams, possessions – I must place it all in His hands.

Offerings are not simply a tradition of the church that we have to do each week. It’s not something I do to get God off my back for another week. It’s an opportunity to once again confirm to myself and the Lord that all of my life is His.

This widow may have thought that her giving had gone unnoticed. But the truth is that God saw it, and it moved His heart. I know without a doubt that God met her need and sustained her because of her faith. That’s the true attitude of giving.

Question: What goes through your mind as you give your offerings?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2022 in Encouragement, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thanksgiving 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Psalm 100:4 NIV

Here in the United States, we’re preparing for our Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a day that’s supposed to be set aside to thank God for His abundant blessings on us.

Unfortunately, there are many who don’t look to God in thankfulness. Even worse, there are believers who don’t consistently thank the Lord for His goodness to them.

We look around at everything going on in the world today. Sometimes we may get the idea that things are out of control. But, for the Christian, we should be seeing the hand of God at work through it all.

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

Psalm 118:24 NIV

Only those who experience God’s grace can truly fathom it. That is why no one should be able outdo our celebration.

In the world, many people look at Thanksgiving as simply a great day to watch football. I look at the fans that flock to the stadiums. It’s a shame that football teams receive more praise than the Creator of heaven and earth.

God made this day so that we could experience His blessings. The verse above literally says, let us spin around under the influence of a violent emotion. God deserves the greatest praise.

The second half reads, and in this rejoicing, we will brighten up and be made glad. So, you don’t have to feel good to start thanking God. Thankfulness changes your emotions.

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 NIV

David learned this lesson. Giving thanks changes how we feel about things. And, when our emotions change, our whole outlook changes.

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 NIV

Take some time this holiday season to give thanks to the Lord. Let it transport you out of the stress and anxiety that preparing these holidays may bring. Find the peace and joy that only comes through giving thanks to God.

Have a blest Thanksgiving!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 23, 2022 in Daily Thoughts, Encouragement, Faith, Prayer

 

Tags: , , , ,

A Son Coming Home

A Son Coming Home

In my last post I talked about Zacchaeus from Luke chapter 19. In looking at this encounter, I talked about the Biblical principle of Sonship. Jesus had just called him down from the tree and told him that He was coming to Zacchaeus’ home.

Zacchaeus had no idea what was about to happen.

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’”
Luke 19:6-7 NIV

These two verses show us, in a tangible way, the difference between using the power of the law and the power of the Spirit. The law is always trying to block your way. It says that you must get yourself ready before you can abide with Christ. The religious people thought that there was no way that Christ should enter Zacchaeus’ home.

I’m writing this so that you’ll know for a certainty that it doesn’t matter how you start out. Your problems, failings and lack of commitment are all things of the past. You can start fresh by abiding with Christ today.

The time to run to the Lord is before you try to fix yourself up. It’s only as you remain in His presence that you receive the power for changing your life.

Look at what happened to Zacchaeus.

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:8-10 NIV

Salvation had come to Zacchaeus’ house. We usually misunderstand what salvation is all about. If you can grasp its total impact in Scripture, salvation actually includes all of God’s life changing and restoring power. It was this power that was manifest in Zacchaeus’ life that day. His love of money dissipated in the light of the Spirit’s love.

But, more importantly, Jesus said that he, too, is a son. He may have gone his own way for a while, but Zacchaeus was loved by the Father. The Lord was clear that He came seeking Zacchaeus.

It’s an interesting perspective because Zacchaeus thought that he was seeking Christ. It’s just like our spiritual worship.

Scripturally, the word, worship, means to bend forward as if to kiss. If we will bend forward to kiss the Lord, then He will bend forward to kiss us.

The greatest ministry of Christ was that He came to seek and save that which was ruined. Right now the body of Christ in America is full of ruined sons and daughters. It’s time to seek the Lord.

What we’ll find is that in our seeking of Him it’s actually the Lord who’s seeking us. It’s time for us as believers not get saved, but to BE SAVED. We need to rise up to our rightful place and position of Sonship.

This can only happen as we see the importance of our relationship with the Father. This means that we understand how to relate as sons and daughters to our heavenly Father.

Question: How does Sonship change your view of who you are as a believer?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Revival, Sonship, Worship

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Call for Mercy

A Call for Mercy

Among Christians, we’ve come up with our own “church talk”. There are certain words that we use in the church that have become watered down. We use them a lot without really understanding their Biblical significance.

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’ll talk about one of these words – mercy.

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Luke 18:35-39 NIV

The first thing I see in this passage is that this man believed something about Jesus. His faith was so strong that a crowd of people couldn’t turn him from his course.

We need to know the whole story. The account of this in Mark, chapter 10, tells us that he was the son of Timaeus. There’s a reason why we’re told this. The Hebrew word, timaeus, means to be spiritually unclean or defiled. He had carried the stigma of this his entire life.

The crowd looked at him and saw the son of a defiled, worthless father. They couldn’t see any reason that Jesus would bother with someone like him. Unfortunately, there are times when we look at others, or even ourselves, in this same way.

What made the difference was that this man knew the truth about the Lord. It’s manifest in the words that he shouted.

“Jesus, Son of David.” That was the title he used in calling the Lord. This is a Messianic title. It means that the blind man was trusting Christ as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. He was coming to Jesus because of who the Lord was, and not just because he wanted a healing.

This blind man had been praying and meditating on the words of Christ. How do I know this? Even the disciples of the Lord only knew He was Messiah because of a revelation from God (Matthew 16:15-17). So, in spite of his blindness, this man was spiritually sensitive.

“Have mercy on me!” This is the key to the whole passage. He wanted to be healed, yet he asked for mercy. Our generation has no concept of what this word means in the Bible.

Mercy is the favor God shows to His obedient sons and daughters. It’s the privilege of sonship. For a more detailed teaching on mercy, click here.

What this shows me is that this man did not choose to identify with his earthly, unclean, father. Instead, he found his place as a son of Abraham. Thus, he had the right to call upon the Messiah as his Lord and Healer. The Lord responded to his cry.

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Luke 18:40-43 NIV

This is very applicable to us in our generation. How do we approach God? Do we come to Him based upon our need?

We should come to Christ on the basis of who He is. Jesus Christ is Lord, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer, etc. We should also see ourselves correctly – as a child of God – holy and righteous in His sight. This makes all the difference.

Question: How does your view of Jesus and yourself affect your ability to receive from God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 19, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Healing, Sonship

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thankful People

Thankful People

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. Now, we see Jesus traveling throughout Israel. He’s preaching the Word and doing God’s will. As the Lord is walking along, some men with leprosy approach Him.

You may want to read Luke 17:11-19 before going on with this post. This section of Scripture gives us some insights into what it means to be thankful. It should cause you to stop and think; how thankful am I for all that God has done?

In this portion of Scripture, a group of lepers went to Jesus for healing. In these verses, we see everything needed for obtaining the blessing of God. There’s faith, obedience, and expectancy. Jesus’ response to them is simple.

He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. There was no special religious display. The Lord didn’t touch them or even pray over them. He simply gave them a task to complete. As they obeyed His command, they found they were healed along the way.

One former leper had a great response.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
Luke 17:15

The first thing he does is to come back to Jesus, yelling praises on the top of his lungs. The literal Greek uses the words mega-phone. This was not a quiet thankfulness of the heart. He must have attracted a lot of attention, but he didn’t care. He wanted to praise God for what happened to him. That’s the first thing we see…

Thankful people live loud for the Lord. We must learn to have a lifestyle of praise. It’s time that God’s people come “out of the closet” with their thankfulness.

That’s because this is a normal response to the hand of God at work. It doesn’t mean that you have to yell all the time. But I am saying that God’s work should be abundantly evident in your life. But there was more…

He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:16

Next thing we see is this man throwing himself at Jesus’ feet. This is the position of worship.

Thankful people live a life of worship. Because we’re thankful – we worship. Worship acknowledges God for who He is. We’re simply grateful because He allows us to come before Him anytime we want, clothed in His righteousness.

But that verse also said that he thanked Jesus.

…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

Are we to thank God for everything? The actual Greek says over everything. I need to thank God over everything I receive. (I don’t receive sickness, etc.)

Thankful people thank God over everything. We know the source of life and blessing. Of all people, we should be the ones who are constantly thanking God for the good things we see in our lives.

But there’s one more aspect of thankfulness that we need to look at. It comes from Jesus’ reaction to the healed man.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:17-18

This question gives us insight into the heart of God. We all want to be loved and appreciated. Where do you think that comes from? I’ll tell you – we were created in the image of God.

Thankful people are sought out by God. Thank offerings were not required by the Law of Moses. God wanted the hearts of the people to prompt them to be thankful. When we’re thankful, it opens the door for a richer walk with the Lord. We need to take the time to be truly thankful before God.

Questions: What are you thankful to God for? Are you willing to let people know about it?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 21, 2022 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Running God

The Running God

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been blogging about the parable of the Prodigal Son. We saw how he left home to get away from the rules. Now he realizes the mistake he’s made, and he wants to return home.

He even has a speech prepared.

“‘I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.”

Luke 15:18-20a NIV

This is the attitude of humility. We need to approach God wanting to do whatever it takes to live a life pleasing to Him. This prodigal didn’t really understand the heart of his father.

It’s much like us. We don’t fully understand the heart of God. We can’t even come close to grasping the love He has for each one of us.

Have you ever felt like God was mad at you because of some sin? Maybe you’ve been keeping away from the Lord or His people because you’re ashamed of something you’ve done. That’s not the way to go.

In this parable, the son distanced himself from his father. But then, when he hit rock bottom, he decided it was better to go home, no matter what the consequences were.

So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Luke 15:20b

Most people agree that Jesus was telling this parable about His Heavenly Father. To review, the young man in question, took an early inheritance and blew it all on wild living. He ended up in poverty and became a servant who was feeding hogs.

Finally, he came to his senses and thought about what life was like in his father’s house. Even the servants were eating better than he was at that moment.

The young man decided to humble himself and return home. He had spent his inheritance and was now willing to simply be a one of his father’s hired servants.

He then made the long journey home. What would he find there? What would be the response of the father he had so humiliated by his leaving?

How would we write the story? A father standing, arms folded, with a stern “I told you so” written across his face. Would he listen in silence to the young man’s plea, only to say, “We’ll see how you act over the next few months.” Maybe there would be outright rejection.

We always seem to project these natural, human, responses onto our loving Father God. I’m so glad that He doesn’t treat us the way we treat each other. I’m even more thankful that He doesn’t treat me the way I deserve to be treated.

This young man started into his prepared speech.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.

Luke 15:21-23 NIV

Because of the work Christ has done, all I need to do is start heading in His direction. It’s at that point that He runs to be with me. There’s no condemnation, no probation, and no judging. He only brings acceptance and forgiveness with Him.

Maybe you’ve done some things that you think are hard to forgive. Maybe you’ve been a long time away from God. It doesn’t matter. Return to the Lord and He’ll run to you. You can be restored in an instant because of the love of the Father.

Trust Him. He’s the God who runs.

Question: How have you experienced the love and acceptance of God the Father?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 29, 2022 in Encouragement, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Why, God?

Why, God?

As we go through the Gospel of Luke, today we start chapter 13. Jesus is ministering to a crowd when He’s asked a question. It’s the type of question still asked today when tragedy strikes.

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Luke 13:1-3 NIV

This is one of those timeless questions. When some kind of catastrophe strikes, we want to know why. Why were all these people killed or injured? Were they bad people? Was God sending His judgment upon them?

I’m glad that Jesus dealt with this the way He did. He makes it clear that they didn’t die because they were bad people. It just happened because Pilate, the governor, was evil.

That’s something that we have a hard time dealing with. There are evil people in power, right now, all over the earth. They cause wars, oppress people groups, and terrorize the innocent. The question many people ask is; why didn’t God stop them?

Here’s the problem in a nutshell. On one hand, God loves all people with an unfathomable Love that we could never understand. On the other side, He created humanity with the ability of self-choice.

When someone in power chooses to start a war that kills thousands of innocent people, that was their choice. For God to stop them from making that choice, would be taking away that choice. In his perfection, God can’t do that.

Let me put it into perspective. Most people would have wanted God to stop Hitler from starting WWII. However, most people involved in adultery would not want God stopping them, even though it could destroy their family. Most people would not want God to stop them from getting drunk on the weekend.

If God took away free choice from Hitler, then He would have to take it away from everybody. We don’t want that. We only want God to intervene on what we think are important matters. There are other wrongs that we want the Lord to keep His hands off.

The fact is that God has given humanity free choice. We have to live with that, even if some of the choices we make cause deep suffering. Our response should be to reach out to Christ for the cure to this dilemma.

There was another question that was on their hearts.

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Luke 13:4-5 NIV

Another problem we have is the matter of natural disasters. Many people call them “acts of God”. Let me tell you straight up, God has nothing to do with tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, or even COVID.

Yes, I know there are Christians who say that God sent these disasters to a certain region because He was judging them. That’s totally unscriptural. We’re now living in a time of grace. Judgment is being reserved for the end.

We have to realize that we’re in a spiritual war right now. Satan, the enemy, is becoming more and more desperate as he sees the end approaching. In his hatred of humanity, he’s shooting out volleys of his “flaming arrows” (Ephesians 6:16).

During ancient warfare, the archers weren’t aiming at any particular person. They would simply send up a cloud of arrows knowing that most of them would hit somebody. That’s what the enemy is doing now with these natural disasters.

That’s why it’s so important to keep our faith up and healthy in these last days. Remember, faith is a shield against the effects of these attacks. Our faith will allow us to continue to stand in Christ in spite of a direct hit from one of these arrows.

Question: How do you keep your faith strong during these days?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Discerning This Time

Discerning This Time

Continuing through Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus speaking to His disciples with the crowds listening. Now He directly addresses the people following.

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

Luke 12:54-56 NIV

It’s interesting to see Jesus talking about the weather. In a society where most of the activity took place outdoors, everyone could predict the weather. Most people could look at the sky, feel the direction of the wind, and could guess pretty accurately what was coming.

We like to know the weather as well. There are whole cable channels dedicated to forecasting the weather.

In this verse, the Lord rebukes the people because they can tell the weather by looking at the signs. On the other hand, they could see everything happening around them in Israel, and not discern that Messiah had come.

They should have been looking to Him as the leader of a new movement. They should have been changing their lifestyles to conform to His Word.

Instead, they treated Christ as if He were a religious entertainer. He was someone they were excited to see come to their town. But when He left, it was back to business as usual.

But that begs the question, are we able to discern the times we’re living in? Do we know what’s coming and how we should prepare ourselves?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV

This is one of many verses that gives us the “weather report” for the last days. I don’t think you need a seminary degree to understand what it’s saying. I also think that you would have to have your head buried in the sand to not see it as a description of the society we live in, at least in the USA.

Over the last few posts, I’ve been going through Luke, chapter 12. Jesus has been teaching about what it means to have a last day’s mindset. We need to be preparing our hearts and minds for the days ahead.

I don’t know everything that’s ahead of us, but I do know this…Jesus said we need to be spiritually awake and alert. We must have our spiritual lamps burning. We should be building our faith in God’s Word. Along with that, we must be fulfilling our calling in Christ.

That being said, I look around me in the body of Christ. In many areas I see business as usual. I see believers on social media with the same attitudes as the world. I see Christians afraid of the same things the world is afraid of.

I just want to yell out, “Hey people, read God’s weather report! The storm is coming. We need to be building on the rock. It’s time to stop building on the sand.”

A few days ago, in my post, The Last Days Mindset 3, I talked about the need to beware of dissipation, spiritual drunkenness, and anxieties. That’s the trap the world is falling into. We have no business falling victim to the loss these things bring.

We need to be watching and prepared for the Lord’s return. If needed, wake up, turn around, and get back on track with the Lord. Spend time in the Holy Spirit, strengthening your life for the days ahead.

Question: How prepared are you for the living in the Last Days?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,