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Category Archives: God’s Provision

Christ in Our Place

Christ in Our Place

We are now in the Gospel of Luke, looking at the trial, arrest, and death of Jesus Christ. There’s so much that took place here. As believers, we need to understand what the Lord went through for us.

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him.

Luke 22:63-65 NIV

Whether you know it or not, this is a very important verse to us. It’s the point at which the Lord begins to pay for all the riches of His grace.

There are three things that happen here. They are spiritual battles that Jesus came through victoriously on our behalf. The first is the one that most preachers talk about.

He was wounded for our healing. This verse says that they began beating Him. That word means to strike hard enough to leave a mark. It could cause bleeding or bruising.

In any case, the Lord took that pain for us. Isaiah prophesied that this was for our healing.

…by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5b NIV

So many people don’t want to believe that Christ paid for our physical healing. However, this Hebrew word speak of a physical cure. The fact is that throughout Scripture, we are told that we serve a God who heals our bodies.

It’s at this point in His struggle, that Jesus paid the price for our healing. Now it’s up to us to trust Him as our Healer. But, there was more going on in this verse from Luke.

He was mocked to take away our shame. Many times, our past is a place of shame and disgrace. The Lord took that all upon Himself so that we no longer need to bear it. Isaiah explains this.

I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

Isaiah 50:6b-7 NIV

Don’t allow the devil to shame you by bringing up your past. It’s all buried under the blood of Christ. We’ve been delivered from the shame and disgrace of our past because of Jesus’ victory.

As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Romans 10:11 NIV

There’s so much more that Jesus Christ accomplished for us. As we look at the verse in Luke, there’s one more thing I want to explain.

He was blasphemed so that we would know the power of His name. Every power in heaven and on earth bows before the name of Jesus Christ. The amazing thing is, that we have been given the authority to use that name.

Again, the prophet Isaiah looked forward to the day when this would happen.

“And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed. Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I.”

Isaiah 52:5b-6 NIV

Those of us who are in Christ have been called by that name that is above every other name. Essentially, we’ve been given power of attorney to walk in that name.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17 NIV

This means so much more than simply tacking on “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers. It means that we are to walk and minister just as Jesus did. We are now taking His place on earth through the power of His Holy Spirit. This is a great responsibility.

There’s so much that Jesus accomplished for us. We may never know all the battles that were won from the Lord’s arrest to His crucifixion. But what I do know is that He paid for everything I’ll ever need.

Question: How well have you applied the Lord’s grace to your life?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2023 in Faith, God's Provision, Healing, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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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

 

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Ministry Needs and Faith

Ministry Needs and Faith

As we continue to go through the Gospel of Luke, we’re coming to the culmination of the earthly ministry of Christ. He’s approaching Jerusalem, knowing that the cross awaits Him there. As the Lord is about to enter the city, Luke records an interesting event that takes place.

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.'”

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

Luke 19:28-34 NIV

We need to understand what’s happening here. It has a lot to do with attitudes and faithfulness in the kingdom of God.

The first thing I see is that something is needed to fulfill the ministry of Christ. It was foretold in the Old Testament that Jesus would enter Jerusalem on the back of a colt. It was time for this to be accomplished. In every ministry, there are needs that must be met in order for God’s will to be done.

Next, I see a supernatural revelation as to how this need was going to be filled. Notice that Jesus didn’t say to His disciples, “Guys, I’m going to need to ride in on a colt. You have to go out and find me one quickly.”

That tells me that to accomplish my calling, it will always require faith. After all, there were other ways this could have been done. Jesus could have purchased a colt in Jericho, the last town He visited. Then He would have had it ready to go upon His arrival.

But that’s not how the Father wanted this to happen. He desired the disciples to act in faith toward the instructions of Jesus.

Finally, it comes down to attitudes. The disciples know what the ministry needs and how God intends to provide it. The problem is that it all depends upon another party – those who own the colt. All they heard was, “The Lord needs your colt to accomplish God’s will.”

Think about it. How many times have we been in a meeting listening to a missionary share their excitement over the people-group that God has called them to reach.

“The Lord needs your money to accomplish His will.”

I know what you’re thinking. The disciples told the owners that the colt would be sent back when the Lord was through with it.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Luke 6:38

Why do we get the attitude sometimes, “Oh, no! Another special offering.” We need to understand that God looks at these gifts as loans to His kingdom. He always repays with blessings we couldn’t ever get on our own. But it all comes down to attitude.

Get your money or resources involved in kingdom work as the Lord leads you. You won’t regret it.

Question: How have you been blessed by giving something to the Lord’s work?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2022 in Faith, God's Provision, Ministry, Missions

 

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Are You Prepared for the Lord’s Return?

Are You Prepared for the Lord’s Return?

In my last post, I started talking about the parable where a nobleman gave some money to his servants. This is found in Luke 19:11-27.

The nobleman was going on a journey, and he wanted the servants to invest the money for him while he was gone. He gave them each 1 mina, about $2,500, for this investment. Then, he checked their progress when he returned.

Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’”

Luke 19:15b-19 NIV

Everything seemed to be going well. There was increase. Both of the servants ended up with a nice profit. One had a 1000% return, the other made 500%. I wish I could find that kind of investment!

They had used the money they were entrusted with wisely. Their Lord commended them. Now they could expect the reward that they earned.

Finally, the last servant showed up.

“Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’”

Luke 19:20-21 NIV

This servant took what was given to him and instead of using it and putting it to work, he just wraps it up and hides it. The worst part of this whole scenario is that he knows his master is expecting him to increase it.

He has no excuse. The servant even said, “I know you expected me to work with it and to make more because that’s the kind of person you are.”

Listen to the attitude. It’s heard throughout the church today. It’s the cry of those who have bought into the lie of the enemy concerning their lives.

This servant has the audacity to accuse the master of harvesting where he hasn’t planted. It was the master’s money he was entrusted with. The master was planting his own money into the lives of his servants.

I’ve seen this exact attitude in the church. “What has God ever done for me? I’m going to take care of myself first. If I have any leftover time, then I’ll worry about serving Him.”

The Lord gave them the very life in their body. They belong to Him. He has sown so much into their lives, yet they act like they’ve been given nothing and now have to make their way on their own.

There are Christians whose attitude suggests to me that they’re actually annoyed by the presence of God in their lives. They see the Lord who died for them as a hard man to work for.

We need to realize that saint and sinner alike will all give an account before the Lord someday. The Scripture is clear on that. What are you going to answer on that day when you go before the Lord and He says, “Here’s what I’ve given you. I shed My blood for you. I took the crown of thorns on My brow for you. I took the stripes on My back for you. This is what I invested in you. What did you do with it?”

Don’t expect to receive a reward when your response is, “I tried to ignore You the best I could.” That’s not going to earn you any points.

In the end, this wicked, lazy servant lost his money. I believe this corresponds to those who are saved, yet ignore the plan of God for their lives. Paul had something to say about the Lord inspecting our work someday. It sounds a lot like what Jesus said.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 3:10-11

We’ve been given the best foundation. But we’re expected to build our ministry upon it. We must allow growth to come into our life. We must add the Word of God. Then comes obedience to the Word. This must happen if we want to see the increase that God’s looking for.

Growth means change. Do you want to see the changes that God wants? There must be growth if we’re going to reach out to the people God has given to us. If we are walking in a growing relationship with Christ, then we’re building on the foundation that’s been laid in our life.

Question: What have you added to the foundation of your life so far?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Interrupting the Lord?

Interrupting the Lord?

We all know that it’s impolite to interrupt someone when they’re speaking. Have you ever thought about this in relation to Christ and His work in you? He speaks to us in various ways. Are we guilty of interrupting what He’s doing in us?

I want to look at an incident in the life of Jesus that illustrates this. We’re going through the Gospel of Luke, and we’re now in chapter 12. You may want to read Luke 12:13-34, before continuing.

At this point in the Lord’s ministry, He’s publicly teaching some important principles, when all of a sudden, a loud voice interrupts Him.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Luke 12:13 NIV

Can you imagine that? Jesus is walking down the street giving words of instruction and perhaps ministering to the sick, when somebody yells out, “Tell my brother to give me my share of the inheritance.”

It makes you wonder what type of individual would be so self-absorbed, that they would make a public statement like that. Well, that kind of presumption was enough to set Jesus off in a new direction of teaching.

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Luke 12:14-15 NIV

When Jesus got done, that person probably felt as though he should have kept his mouth shut. Jesus used this interruption to teach the crowd about the foolishness of greed.

The Lord told them a parable about a rich man with no common sense. This man got a big harvest, built bigger barns, and stored it all up. He felt like he had everything he could ever need.

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Luke 12:20-21 NIV

Jesus explained that the man ended up dying before he could spend all of his wealth. That foolish man lost the eternal to gain the temporary.

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

Luke 12:22-23 NIV

The Lord’s message to those gathered around Him was that our life does not consist of what can be accumulated. You’re not to worry about what you’re going to wear or what you’re going to eat. God will provide for you.

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Luke 12:31 NIV

Worry about serving God. Worry about doing the Father’s will. In that way you’re laying up treasure in Heaven.

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

Luke 12:34 NIV

This got me thinking. The Lord is attempting to do a particular work in my life. He communicates His plan to me through a series of events. He speaks to my heart, allows circumstances to come my way, and teaches me through the lives and words of others.

How often do I “interrupt” His plan with a totally unrelated request? I get my eyes off His plan and onto my desires. When it comes to the Lord, I need to think before I ask.

We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit at work in us. Make sure that your requests are in line with His plan. Don’t be discourteous and interrupt the Lord.

Question: Have you ever found yourself guilty of interrupting God’s work in you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Asking, Seeking & Knocking…For Others

Asking, Seeking & Knocking…For Others

I’ve been posting from the Gospel of Luke about how we go to God for the needs of others. Let’s continue looking at the parable in Luke, chapter 11. It’s about a man who had a friend visit him in the dead of night. He’s looking for help from a neighbor to feed this guest.

“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Luke 11:8-10

Listen carefully to the reasoning as to why the man was given bread. It was NOT because of friendship or need. It was because of boldness. It was because the friend was willing to go to the neighbor’s house in the dead of night and pound on his door.

Other people who lived around that area started to wake up when they heard the commotion. They looked out their windows to see how this man would respond. It was only when it became a matter of his reputation in the community, that this man responded by supplying bread.

Our God is not going to be pressured because you’re begging Him for provision. You can’t gain His sympathy by magnifying the need. These things don’t affect God.

What He’s looking for is someone who’s willing to publicly declare the Word of God before men. He’s looking for boldness.

The important part is found in verses 9 and 10. This is the section that tells us that if we ask, it will be given, if we seek, we will find, and if we knock, the door will be opened. Our normal thoughts are that this is all about me getting what I want from God.

In this context, Christ is speaking about going before God on behalf of the needs of others. It’s about meeting the needs of those around us. People we meet everyday – at our jobs, in our schools, and in the stores.

They all have problems they’re facing each day. Most of them have no access to God except through us. We must throw out this idea that the blessings of God are only for me and a chosen few. It’s God’s desire to bless the world through His people.

You don’t have to convince me that God wants to bless believers; that’s beyond question. What I want, is to open our eyes to the world around us that’s in need. They need a Savior, a Healer and a Provider. All of these things are found in Christ.

It’s up to us to take this message to the world. Not just by saying, “God loves you.” But by actually bringing the power of Christ into the lives of the hurting people around us.

It takes boldness to say, “I serve a God who heals. Would you like me to pray for you?” You get people’s attention when you tell them that you’re going to bring their need before God in your prayer times. In those cases, you’re speaking your faith for the world to hear. Then, when God answers, it’s the Lord who receives the glory.

Take the time to go before the throne room of God with the needs of others. Trust God to perform miracles on behalf of those you pray for. If you hear a Word from God for them, then act on it.

We must be God’s hands extended to the world. I believe that answered prayer goes a long way to bringing people to faith in Christ as their Savior and Lord.

Question: What are the specific needs you know about the people around you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2022 in Faith, God's Provision, Ministry, Prayer

 

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Supply for Others

Supply for Others

In my last post I started talking about a parable of Jesus found in Luke, chapter 11. In the Lord’s teaching, a man is looking for bread from his neighbor at midnight.

This parable is about going to God on behalf of the needs of others. Let’s compare this neighbor to what we know about God.

“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’”
Luke 11:7 NIV

The first thing this neighbor says is, “Don’t bother me.” The word bother comes from a root word that means to cut. We know from the Scripture, that Jesus Christ was cut and bruised for me.

He bore my sicknesses and diseases. He took upon Himself everything that would hurt or harm me. This neighbor may not want to help, but the God I serve is ready, willing, and able to meet the needs of those I’m praying for.

The next thing he said was, “The door is shut and locked.” How does this compare to what Christ has done for us?

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Revelation 3:8 NIV

The Lord is the One who opens the door before us. I know that I can go forward boldly because of His work in my life. If I seek God’s path, then I’m assured that the door stands open before me.

No matter what the circumstances look like in the natural, my advancement does not rely upon the hand of man, but on the power of God.

The neighbor also declared, “My children are with me in bed.” Of course, this is how many Christians would like to picture their relationship with God. We want to be cozy in our room – “us four and no more.”

This is not a picture of the God we serve. Christ has clearly commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone who would listen. God wants us to be a blessing to those around us. We are to be salt and light in this dark generation.

The neighbor’s last statement was probably the most important of all, when looking at the comparison with Christ. The man said, “I have no power to rise and give you anything.”

Jesus Christ proved that He was the One with power enough to do all of God’s will.

“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:17-18 NIV

All power in Heaven and earth was committed to Christ. He had the power, not only to lay down His life, but to then rise from the dead three days later. He has proven Himself victorious over sin and the grave.
Unlike this neighbor, Christ has everything I need to be an abundant blessing to those around me if I will go to Him for supply. But I have to be willing to be a conduit of God’s blessing.

Too many believers are praying for “just enough” for their own needs. That’s a very selfish prayer. I want to see the prosperity of God manifest in my life.

I don’t pray this so I can hoard up the blessings of God for myself. I want to be able to minister to the needs of those around me.

Make it your goal to receive and pass on the blessings of the Lord.

Question: What are the needs of others that you are currently seeking God for?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Bread of Life

The Bread of Life

At one point in their time with the Lord, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. So, Jesus gave them a foundation, a framework, around which to build their prayers. We call this the Lord’s Prayer.

For the past couple of posts, I’ve been going through this prayer. It should help us to understand how we should approach God in our times with Him.

“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Luke 11:3 NIV

It’s clear that God is concerned about our everyday needs. He actually knows what we need before we ever ask Him. What we must see, is that asking is a form of humility before the Lord.

Too often, especially in the United States where we feel entitled to these necessities, we look to our bank account or the government. What we need to realize is that no matter how these things come to us, they ultimately come from the hand of God, our Provider.

This should inspire gratefulness in us as His children. We serve a good God who loves and cares for His children.

However, this prayer of Jesus is not only applicable in the physical, but also in the spiritual. If earthly bread is necessary for life, how much more is the Word of God needed to nourish our inner man? God is looking for a people who will feed daily upon His spiritual bread – the Word of God.

You should notice that this prayer is not in the form of a question. Christ is not asking the Father for bread. Bread, in this context, is something that’s already supplied and on hand.

It’s a grocery item that’s already in the cupboard. When my children get up in the morning, they don’t ask my permission to eat.

“I’m going to eat breakfast now.”

That’s the adult attitude. You’re up. You’re going to work. You need a good breakfast before you leave the house. When you’re ready to eat you go to the pantry, the place of supply, and get what you need for the day.

It’s the same in the spiritual. God’s Word to us is always available. He expects us to seek Him daily for a Word from Him.

When Jesus taught this prayer, He also taught the truths that it encompassed. Different Gospel writers recorded the various teachings. Matthew and Luke gave us what the Lord taught concerning the bread.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:9-11

This is the attitude that the Father has toward a child who asks for bread. Further on, in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, we’ll see this same teaching, but Luke uses the Holy Spirit as the gift.

There’s no question in the mind of Christ. If you ask God for a daily Word, you’ll receive.

This is the desire of God’s heart. He wants His people derive their nourishment from His hand. We have the ability to go to the presence of God each day for the Word we need to live victoriously. That’s what Jesus did.

Questions: Did you go to God for your spiritual breakfast today? What did you receive from Him?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Jesus’ Ministry Team

Jesus’ Ministry Team

As you think of Jesus traveling throughout Israel, preaching and teaching, how do you picture it? Judging by how some preachers describe it, your mental picture is far from the truth. As we begin chapter 8 of Luke’s Gospel, we get a glimpse into the daily operations of the Lord’s ministry.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him…

Luke 8:1

This is a very simple statement, but by itself there’s no hint of the complexities involved. If we really think about it, there’s more to it than simply walking around Israel.

The first thing we have to understand is that this type of traveling was no different for them than it is for us. Here we have at least 13 people traveling together.

Where do they get their food and water? Where do they spend the night? What about washing their clothing, personal hygiene, and those types of things?

We usually don’t think of these things, reading the Scriptures in the comfort of our homes. I do a lot of overnight hiking, spending days at a time in the woods, so this hits home to me. It causes me to ask; what did it take for them to maintain a ministry like this?

I’m glad to say that the Bible has the answers for these questions. But, many people ignore it, because it goes against what they want to believe about the Lord.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Luke 8:1-3

Many people like to get the idea of a poor Jesus. They like to think that He was barely getting by, living off the land and any scraps that He could scavenge. That picture is so far from the truth.

Jesus had a very organized and efficient ministry team. He had the apostles to minister along side Him. But, and this is important to realize, He had a very organized fundraising team. This is how the Lord was able to travel so extensively throughout Israel.

It was no different for them than it is for us. They needed to buy food and drink. Many times they would have to pay for lodging. Their clothes would need washing and so forth.

Why is the thought of a financially independent Jesus so hard for people to imagine? One reason, is that because many churches don’t want to give their pastors the salary they need to support their families.

I’ve even heard some board members say that they need to keep the pastor poor so that they’ll stay humble. That kind of thinking is totally selfish and foolish.

In John 6:5, just before He fed the 5000, Jesus asked His disciple where they could buy bread for the crowd. The assumption was that they had the money, they only needed someplace that could supply it. How many ministries do you know that could buy food for 5000 people at a moments notice?

Jesus had a very organized and effective ministry team. He wasn’t poor. But there’s another side to this. The Lord wasn’t overly extravagant either.

They walked wherever they went (or took a boat). Jesus didn’t have a team of golden chariots to carry Him and His disciples from place to place. We need to see the whole picture.

When you talk about godly prosperity, you need to see it from a biblical perspective. God does want His people to prosper. But that means having enough to abundantly fulfill your calling. And, having extra to give away as a blessing to others.

That was how the Lord operated. It should be an example to us in our modern generation. We need the blessing of God – finances included – to bring in the harvest of souls in these last days before the Lord’s return.

Question: How do you give control of your finances to God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Poor and Hungry?

Poor and Hungry?

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’re now coming to the section known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching righteousness principles to His disciples while a crowd of people were around them, listening.

As we go through Luke 6:20-26, we’ll find that Jesus is contrasting some things. Because of that, I’m going to deal with the differences the Lord brings out rather than going through verse by verse. I believe that in this way, it will be more understandable to us.

But first, there are two words that are repeated throughout these verses that we need to look at. The first is the word, blessed. I always pronounce this word as, blest. It means to be supremely fortunate and well-off.

The other word is, woe. If you’ve ever spent any time around Jewish people, then you’ve heard this word. It’s the exclamation, “Oy!” It’s an exclamation of grief and frustration.

Now to the sermon.

Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”

Luke 6:20, 24

One of the things we have to remember, is that Jesus is specifically teaching this to His disciples. These are principles for the future leaders of the church.

We have to realize that Christ is not talking about material things in this passage. Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to strive to live in poverty. God wants to bless us with material things so that we can pass on these blessings to others (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

I believe that the Lord is dealing with attitudes in these verses. We need to come the realization that in ourselves, no matter how great our possessions, we are totally destitute in relation to the kingdom of God.

It’s only when I can see this truth that I’m ready to receive God’s provision. Without Him, I’m not able to accomplish anything He wants me to do. At that point I now have all the resources of the kingdom of God at my disposal.

But, if I have a “rich” mentality, I’m headed for trouble. When I think that I’ve got everything I need and God doesn’t have to help me, I’m in a bad place. God let’s me go off on my own and I soon learn the error of this type of thinking.

The word, comfort, in that verse is a word that means to call alongside. It’s very close to what we mean by coaching in our society. This is the attitude that I already have all the coaching I need. So, I don’t need to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

To this, Jesus simply says, “Oy!”

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied…Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.”

Luke 6:21a, 25a

Again, these are attitudes that need to be cultivated. The word, hunger, means to crave after something. Matthew tells us that we are to crave righteousness – God’s way of doing things (Matthew 5:6). If we crave righteousness, Jesus tells us that we will be able to gorge ourselves when the Holy Spirit answers our prayer.

Then there are those who Jesus refers to as well fed, literally full or satisfied. These people feel that they’re okay. They’re no worse than anybody else. No need to seek a deeper walk with God.

What they’re going to learn is that they’ll come to a point where they realize something is missing. Even though they feel their walk with God is okay, there’s a hole in their life they just can’t seem to fill.

Our goal should never be to get satisfied in our service to the Lord. We should be always craving more of His Spirit. This is how we keep spiritually strong.

Question: What is your satisfaction level in your walk with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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