RSS

Category Archives: Prayer

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 Holy Spirit and Fire

The Holy Spirit and Fire

We’re continuing in our study through Luke’s Gospel. The Lord is teaching about the future ministry of His disciples and the church. At that point, the disciples probably didn’t understand most of what Christ was saying. But, looking back, we can take it to heart.

I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!”

Luke 12:49-50 NIV

The Lord begins to talk about the results of His ministry on the earth. There’s a fire He wants to start, but He has to undergo His immersion first. Jesus is talking about His death, burial, and resurrection.

The fire is to be an important part of what He starts at His resurrection. He mentioned it at another place in His ministry.

Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

Mark 9:49-50 NIV

In this section, the Lord is not talking about us being the salt of the earth. He’s speaking about the salt of fire being placed within us. I believe that He’s talking about the Holy Spirit, who we receive when we become a Christian.

Throughout the Bible, God is referred to as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Elsewhere, we’re told not to put out the Holy Spirit’s fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19). It’s through this purifying work of the Holy Spirit that we’re made clean before God.

There is a consequence of this, however. Not everybody wants to be changed by the Spirit of God. There are those who will refuse to accept this free gift of salvation.

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Luke 12:51-53 NIV

Peace is a big subject when you talk about Christ. At Christmas time we sing about “Peace on Earth.” That’s what Christ is talking about here, but that won’t come about until His return. At that time the Lord will reign over the earth and there will be peace.

Until then, the earth will be in turmoil. Part of that will be the tension between darkness and light. The kingdom of God vs the enemy’s rule on earth. Many times this war will erupt right inside our homes. This happens when some family members are Christians and some are not.

We experience this on many occasions. We need to be going to the Lord to receive grace to win over our families. Sometimes that’s the hardest place to minister. I’ve heard so many stories where a family member comes to Christ through a friend, even though they had rejected that same witness from their family.

But there’s another peace that’s available to us, as believers. That’s God’s peace. It’s the peace that should be active in His people. Jesus said that He was going to give it to us (John 14:27).

I believe this is the peace that Jesus was referring to in the verse in Mark, above. If we let God salt us with His purifying fire, then we’ll be clean from all the things that cause conflict. By submitting to the Holy Spirit’s work, the church can be a place that shows forth the peace of God. This should be an example to the world around us.

Of course, we want our loved ones to enter into this peace. We need to be praying for them. And praying for the grace to reach them.

But, if we find that they refuse to listen to our testimony, there’s another prayer that we must use. We should be praying that God would send someone to them that they will listen to. We can’t be so stubborn to think that we’re the only person God will use to reach them. Pray for a Christian friend to bring the Word they need to hear.

Question: Who are you praying for to receive the Gospel of Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Hearing and Speaking

Hearing and Speaking

As we go through Luke, chapter 12, we come to one of the greatest parts. Jesus is talking to His disciples about their identification with Him. It’s a blessing because the Holy Spirit is involved.

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Luke 12:11-12 NIV

The Holy Spirit should be allowed to take an active role in all that we do. Being aware of His presence is a major part of a powerful ministry.

There are times the Lord wants us to speak on His behalf. Jesus gives us three different venues where this can take place. We need to be prepared for any and all of these.

The synagogue was the meeting place for those who professed to serve God. That should be the most receptive group to hear a Word from God. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out that way.

The Lord also mentions rulers – the highest position in any situation. But, there are also authorities. These people are simply over a group of others.

Jesus makes it clear that there will be times when we have to speak up in these places. It’s especially during these times that our reliance on the Holy Spirit is free and clear.

I think that the key in all of this is the phrase, do not worry. This is a Greek word that means to take no thought. It comes with the implication that you don’t allow your thoughts to run wild in all directions.

I know from experience that this is easy to say. In practice, it’s a lot harder to walk out. Disciplining our mind is not an easy task.

However, that’s one of the results of time spent cultivating our relationship with the Holy Spirit. We’re able to increase our ability to place our mind at rest and hear His voice. That’s the preparation needed to be a true witness before others.

But wait a minute! Some might ask, “Shouldn’t I memorize certain Scriptures and prepare a ‘Witness Testimony’?”

Memorizing Scripture is always good. It gives the Holy Spirit something to work with in your thoughts. But, a prepared speech rarely ever touches the hearts of those listening. What truly transforms people is a Word from the Holy Spirit.

As Jesus says, our desire is usually to defend ourselves or our actions. We want just the right words to say that will get us out of trouble. We want to say something that we think the listener wants to hear and will agree with us about.

That’s not the Lord’s goal in most situations. His agenda is truth expressed in love. That’s what the Holy Spirit will bring through us if we allow Him to.

The Lord says this in a very interesting way. He tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us right at that moment. Think about that.

Teaching usually requires time to get a point across. It means that we learn to think about something in a new way. It’s about changing our thought patterns to a new conclusion.

The fact that the Holy Spirit can do this in a short amount of time is truly a miracle. This means that two things are required of us.

First, we must have a willingness to trust Him and wait for His teaching BEFORE we start talking and giving our own opinions. Then, we must also be willing to speak out whatever the Lord gives us, no matter how contrary it runs to our own thoughts.

I believe that this is a major part of what the Lord is doing in His church right now. God’s current agenda is to train up a people who are willing to take the time to listen to His voice. Then, once they hear from Him, they immediately go out and do what He has spoken.

That’s the foundation for the coming move of God!

Question: How do you cultivate your time with the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 6, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, Prayer, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Identification Principles

Identification Principles

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching the disciples as well as the crowds following Him. Since the Jewish leaders are now trying to discredit Him, the Lord explains some important concerns that they need to deal with.

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.”

Luke 12:8-9 NIV

The first thing the Lord talks about is agreement. The word, acknowledge, is a Greek word that means to speak the same as. In other words, you agree with Christ, both His claims and His teaching. If we do this, then the Lord acknowledges us before His angels. Why is that so important?

It makes a difference because in many instances God uses His angels to answer our prayers. If we’re not in agreement with Christ, we don’t have that blessing. I imagine it as if we pray for something, and the angels look to Christ for His acknowledgment. But, if we’re not in agreement with Him and His plans for us, the Lord just shrugs His shoulders, and the angels ignore the request.

Acknowledging Jesus is more than just saying, “I’m a Christian. I love Jesus.” It means that I’m getting to know Him personally. I want His will to be accomplished in my life.

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Luke 12:10 NIV

Now the Lord deals with an even deeper issue. It’s something that the religious leaders of Israel need to consider carefully. Of course, it’s also something that a lot of Christians get worked up about, hoping that they haven’t committed the unpardonable sin.

First, Jesus deals with Himself. By calling Himself the Son of Man, the Lord is speaking of His earthly ministry. The fact is, not many people in Israel knew what to expect in the Messiah’s coming. Some of their misgivings were based upon a lack of knowledge. That can be forgiven.

However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is another matter. That word, blasphemy, means that you’re speaking evil about someone. You are actively trying to injure someone’s good name.

This brings with it some assumptions. It assumes that you know that you’re talking about a real person. Then, you also know that this person is good, you just want them to look bad in the eyes of others.

In this case, the Pharisees and other leaders knew that the hand of God was at work in Jesus’ ministry. They knew it was the power of the Holy Spirit healing and delivering from demonic forces. Yet, in an effort to discredit the Lord, they said it was the power of the devil. By doing this they were placing themselves on very dangerous ground.

What about us? I’ve been asked many times how to know if someone committed the unpardonable sin.

The answer is simple. Since it’s the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and draws us to Christ – a sin against the Spirit is a dangerous thing.

But, as I said, it’s the Holy Spirit who draws us to Christ. So, I ask, would it be upsetting and troubling to you if you found out you had committed this sin? If the answer is “Yes” then you haven’t committed it.

Anyone who had committed this unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit would have absolutely no remorse about it. They wouldn’t care at all. That’s because the Spirit would no longer be working on their heart.

So, as long as you have a desire to repent, you can be forgiven for your sin. The real question is, are you identifying yourself with Christ? Do you want His will to be accomplished in your life? That should be the top priority of your soul.

Question: How intimate are you with the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Gathered or Scattered

Gathered or Scattered

I’m continuing through Luke’s Gospel. We’re at the point where the Pharisees are starting to get intimidated by Jesus’ ministry.

In my last post, we saw the Lord cast a demon out of a young man’s life. As a result, he could now hear and speak. The crowd watching was touched by this miracle.

The religious leaders, on the other hand, used self-promotion to try and look like they had authority over Jesus. They accused Him of being demon possessed. They said that He cast out demons by the power of Satan.

I showed how Jesus revealed the foolishness of their argument. But, these leaders had placed themselves in a very dangerous spiritual position. They assigned what was clearly an act of God, to the satanic kingdom.

Now Jesus warns them of the possible consequences.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.”

Luke 11:20 NIV

It was clear to the crowd and the Pharisees that the hand of God drove out this demon. If that’s the case, then the only conclusion is that the kingdom of God has showed up. Remember, the kingdom of God is the manifestation of God’s authority. This is over and above the authority of the religious leaders.

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.”

Luke 11:21-22 NIV

What most people don’t realize is that this is a warning to the Pharisees. They felt like they were “strong men”. They were guarding their house – the religious power base of Israel. They had convinced themselves that they were fully in control.

Now Jesus comes on the scene. He proves to be someone with real authority. He obviously walks in the authority and power of God Himself. They are starting to feel threatened. Their hypocrisy was being exposed publicly.

The Lord is warning them that if they continue down this path, they’ll lose everything. Actually, we know from history and the record of Scripture, this is exactly what happened.

We know that Jesus not only did this with the Pharisees, but with the kingdom of Satan as well.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:15 NIV

It’s always unfortunate when people try to fight against God’s will. It’s always a losing battle. That’s why we need to seek to know His will through time spent with the Holy Spirit. In that way we won’t find ourselves fighting against God.

Jesus said it clearly…

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”

Luke 11:23 NIV

Here’s another verse we usually misunderstand. The first part is pretty straight forward. If you’re not on the same path as He is, then your against His plan for you.

The second part is more important. The word, gather, does not mean that we are collecting something. It’s talking about a gathering together of people.

If we’re not a part of the crowd that’s gathered around Jesus, then we’re going to find ourselves scattered everywhere in life. We’ll have no purpose or destiny. It’s like what happened at the tower of Babel when the people were scattered across the earth.

Do your best to find God’s plan for your life. Don’t find yourself scattered, heading against God’s will. Spend time listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Question: What’s the next step in God’s plan for you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Prayer and Sonship

Prayer and Sonship

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been talking about chapter 11. In this chapter, Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer. He started with what we know as The Lord’s Prayer.

He then began to teach them about prayer for the needs of others. We need to be bold in our acknowledgment of God’s power. We should be allowing the Lord to work through us to meet the needs of others.

That was a big part of the context of our “asking, seeking and knocking” in prayer. I talked about that in my last post. Today, I want to take this verse a little further in its application.

“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 11:9-10 NIV

I’ve heard many people preach on this verse. For the most part we take it out of context and miss what it’s really saying. Indeed, we’re told that we have the power to receive answered prayers, to find that which is hidden, and to open doors that seem impenetrable.

But the first thing we should ask is; what is this authority based upon? If we would just read the next few verses, we’d see that Jesus gives us the guidelines for this type of power.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13 NIV

It’s obvious that Jesus is talking about the authority of Sonship in this passage. He tells us that we’re asking for the Holy Spirit. It’s the Holy Spirit that then confers upon us the Spirit of Sonship. Once that’s in place, and I’m walking as a mature son (this includes women as well), then I’m free to ask, seek, and knock as led by the Spirit of God.

In many cases our trouble is that we don’t ask for the Spirit. We want to do it our way. We want what our earthly desires are prompting us to seek for. Then we end up begging God for a snake or a scorpion. It’s no wonder why we don’t get most of what we pray for.

The simple fact is that true authority resides in the correct use of mature sonship. There was another time in Jesus’ ministry when He was talking about being a disciple. He said that if you were truly His disciple, then the truth would set you free.

The religious community – those who continued to rely upon the power of the law – were outraged.

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:33-36 NIV

I’m sure that the Pharisees and the teachers of the law had no clue what the Lord was talking about when He said this. To us, however, it should be rich in meaning. The words of Christ tell me that Sonship is a position of freedom.

We’ve been set free because of the authority of Christ. We’re no longer under the bondage of sin, the world or the devil. What we need is the maturity to walk in it.

That should give us a new freedom in our prayer life. When we realize that we want the same goals as the Lord, it’s a lot easier to stand in faith.

As mature believers, we should be spending quality time with the Holy Spirit. That will bring us the wisdom and knowledge we need to ask, seek, and knock for the desire of God’s heart.

Question: What does it mean to be free in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 8, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Prayer, Sonship

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Spiritually Selfish

Spiritually Selfish

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. For the last few posts, I’ve been talking about the Lord’s Prayer.

At one point, I talked about our daily bread, and I related it to receiving God’s Word on a daily basis. As we continue in this chapter, Christ now gives a parable concerning bread. I want to continue that discussion.

We’re going to do that by looking at a parable which few ever teach about. We need to see how the bread of the Word applies to our daily lives.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

Luke 11:5-6 NIV

This parable brings to light an incredible truth. Listen carefully to what the man is asking for. He’s seeking bread. But the important fact is the reason he wants it.

Is he hungry? Does he have no money to buy bread? Absolutely not! These are not the reasons he needs bread so desperately.

According to the man, a friend of his was on a journey and has come near to him. He opened his home to the friend, but has no bread to place before the friend.

According to Scripture, every human is on a journey. We’re all traveling from total spiritual darkness to maturity in Christ. We’re all at different places along this path.

What this man was saying is, “My friend’s path brought him into my sphere of influence. I need to help him become what God wants him to be.”

The man was not seeking the bread of the Word for himself. He was seeking a Word that would meet the need of someone else. This is something the church needs to hear. It seems that much of the time we’re self-absorbed.

Many times we find that we’re seeking things for ourselves. We seem to think it’s all about my healing, my prosperity, and my blessing. What we really need to do is to follow the example of Christ. Most of what He sought the Father for was bread that He could give to others.

Notice the humility. My friend has come to me and I have nothing of my own that could meet his needs. This is an admittance of our total dependency on God.

I’m trusting God to meet someone else’s need. But I want Him to send the supply through me. This requires us to admit our inability apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

I believe this is what James was talking about in his book.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 NIV

James gives us this exhortation in the context of healing. We need to admit the areas for which we need prayer. But then, we also need to be in prayer for one another.

In the context of the above parable, James is saying that we should be constantly seeking bread for others. Praying for other people is a way of asking God the Father to supply us with the Word needed to bring healing into someone else’s life.

If all I ever pray about is my own needs, then I’m being very spiritually selfish. God wants us to be more than just a Christian organization. He wants us to be an organism – the body of Christ. In that way every part can be a help to all the other parts.

When you spend time in the presence of the Lord, remember to think of others. Listen for a Word that could be a help to them as well as yourself.

Question: How have you helped others along their road to maturity in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 1, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Ministry, Prayer, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,