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Category Archives: Encouragement

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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The Christmas Birth

The Christmas Birth

Today is Christmas, so I decided to post some thoughts about the day.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:18

This verse tells us that this is how, or literally, this is the manner in which it happened.  There’s a pattern that the Lord uses in bringing about His will.  It’s important that we see it.

First, there was an unexpected pregnancy.  This is interesting.  The pregnancy wasn’t expected.  Yet the Messiah was foretold hundreds of years before.

Just like today. God promises things, and then we forget it…or write it off.  Israel was captured and conquered many times.  Would the fulfillment ever take place?

And yet, in the fullness of time…Mary was found to be with child.

There is a supernatural announcement.  Angels appeared to both Mary and Joseph on separate occasions.

God usually doesn’t do things in the dark.  He always announces His plans.  That’s why we need to be a people who not only pray – but listen.

When the birth was imminent, it was announced to shepherds and wise men.

Then it came to pass.  What God promises, will happen.  Even though we don’t always know the how or why.

Finally, when Christ was born, there was a reception of joy.  “Joy to the world…”  He who is born must be received and with that receiving comes great joy.

God wants to do the same in us right now.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…

Galatians 4:19

God’s work in us is a birthing process.  There’s a promise.  But then – an unexpected pregnancy.

I wonder sometimes; with all the prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament, did they think He would just appear out of thin air?

There are many great and precious promises God has for us.  We think the same thing sometimes…that they’ll just happen.  No, there’s a process.

It involves birth pangs.  There’s breathing, pushing, work, and sweat.  They come in waves, right up until the time they’re birthed in or through us.

When you think about Christ being born in a manger…think about the same process for His will being born in us.  Wait patiently for the fullness of time – then the rejoicing.

Have a very blessed Christmas as you celebrate what Christ has done!

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2020 in Encouragement, Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Signs of Christ

The Signs of Christ

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  At this time of year our thoughts turn to the Child born in a stable in Bethlehem.

This is the day everything changed.  Christ was born.  God made flesh.

And yet, 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.  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 sakes.

On this great day, 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.

Have a Blessed and Wondrous Christmas Eve!

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2020 in Encouragement, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Gifts and Wages

Gifts and Wages

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans.  Paul is using Abraham as an example of the faith that brings righteousness.

Paul explains…

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.

Romans 4:4-5

This is something that we need to come to grips with as believers.  We need to understand the difference between wages and gifts.

As Paul says, wages are obligations.  I do some sort of work and the person I do it for is obligated to pay me.  It’s a very simple concept.

However, the blessings of God, righteousness included, are not wages.  They’re gifts of God’s grace.

Wages are earned.  Before I even start, I know exactly how many hours I need to work to make $1000.  Then, if they don’t pay me, I can take legal action and demand my wages.

This is something that was very hard for me to learn.  I remember an incident that happened very early in my marriage.  I’ll try to shorten the story.

After we had been married a few years, the Lord called my wife and I to move from Boston, the area we grew up in, to Baltimore.  There was a ministry there that the Lord was using to train us.

While living down there, we experienced some financial hardships.  At one point, both our cars had broken down and we had no money to fix them.  We had to borrow a car that was not ours, just to get to work each day.

One Sunday, during that time, someone got up at church to give a praise report.  He explained how he had just learned about tithing a few weeks ago.  He then started to tithe 10% each week.

Since then, a few weeks, he had been amazingly blessed.  Someone gave him a car (he already had two).  Someone else decided to give him a huge sum of money.  He exclaimed, “See what tithing does.  Now I’m Faith Man!!”

You have to understand my thought process listening to him.  My parents had taught me to tithe when I was a teenager.  I had been tithing faithfully for my entire life since then.

When you look at the blessings of God as wages, life can get very frustrating.  I got mad at God.  “What gives?  He’s only been tithing a few weeks.  Where’s my blessing?”

I’ve since learned the mature view of God’s New Covenant grace.  The blessings of God are based upon a combination of faith, obedience, and the lessons God is currently teaching me.

Once we understand that the Lord purchased these gifts on the cross, it’s easier to receive them.  I don’t get mad and frustrated looking at what others are doing and receiving.  I can actually rejoice when other people are blessed, even if I need the same thing they just received.

David understood it.

David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

Romans 4:6-8

Righteousness is simply one of the many gifts that God has for His children.  I can’t work for it or earn it.  So, don’t frustrate yourself trying to be good enough.  Let the Holy Spirit do His work in you.

Question: How have you been frustrated trying to earn God’s gifts?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Encouragement, Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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