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Category Archives: Return of Christ

Staying Strong in the Last Days

Staying Strong in the Last Days

I’m continuing through the Gospel of Luke. For the past few posts, we’ve been going through Jesus’ Last Days teaching. I’ve talked about the things that cause the world to worry and fret about the future. God’s people are not to act like this.

The promises of God don’t go null and void simply because we’re living near the end of the age. We’re still under our covenant with Christ – a better covenant. That’s why we can look to what’s ahead with hope and anticipation.

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Luke 21:29-33 NIV

This should be an exciting time for the Church of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom is near! That thought should push us forward to greater effectiveness as we work for the Lord.

Jesus does give us a warning, however. That’s the key reason He told this to the disciples. I think that we’ve somehow lost sight of His Word to us.

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.”

Luke 21:34-35 NIV

The Lord tells us that there are three things that we should be especially careful about in the last days. The first of these is dissipation. The Greek word literally means tossing-head. It was the common term for a hangover.

We associate this term with drinking, but Jesus wasn’t limiting it to the use of alcohol. Whenever we leave our calling to chase after the world, there’s a wasted period of time while we get back on track again. This is the period of our spiritual “hangover”.

Too many Christians are living most of their lives in dissipation. They’re either giving in to the desire for the things of the world or they’re trying to regain what they’ve lost. Don’t waste most of your life in dissipation.

Then there’s drunkenness. I don’t believe that Jesus is only talking about alcohol here. It could be anything that intoxicates God’s people. We end up chasing things when we should be pursuing the Lord.

The third is the anxieties of life. This is when you’re worried about things you can’t control. When we spend most of our time worrying about finances, health, and relationships, we lose our desire to serve God faithfully.

Put them in God’s hands. If you trust the Lord and follow His plan for your life, then the rest will fall into place. Jesus said that if you seek His kingdom and His righteousness first, then your needs would be taken care of.

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:36 NIV

This is the bottom line of how to live in the last days. We must be a people who watch and pray. We must spend quality time in the presence of the Lord. This includes praying in the Spirit and listening to hear God’s voice.

In this way, the Holy Spirit will give you insight on how to live. We’re told that living like this will allow us to escape. Escape what? The anguish, perplexity, fainting from terror, and the apprehension that’s coming upon the world.

Isn’t that our ultimate goal; to stand boldly before the Son of Man at His return? If we heed His exhortation to us, then we’ll be unashamed by our life on earth. We’ll finish the race strong, knowing there’s a reward waiting for us. Not in fear, but the faith that Christ is with us.

Question: What do find most exciting about living in the last days?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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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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Jerusalem’s Fall

Jerusalem’s Fall

We’ve been in the Gospel of Luke, looking at Jesus teaching His disciples about the end-times. Having warned them of what they were about to face, the Lord now answers their original question that started it all (Luke 21:7).

He tells them the signs that signal the approach of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Because we live on this side of the historical event, it’s easier to look back and interpret the Lord’s words.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.”

Luke 21:20-21 NIV

Jesus is referring to a prophecy from the book of Daniel. He makes mention of the desolation of Jerusalem. Daniel calls it the detestable thing that causes the city to be laid waste.

I know a lot of Bible teachers who say that this is a future event, and they have a variety of teachings and beliefs on this subject. I ask you to please read the Scripture without preconceived ideas about what’s being said. Put yourself in the place of the disciples who are hearing this for the first time.

The reaction of the disciples must have been one of surprise. This is because every God-fearing Jew knew that the reference Jesus gave them from the book of Daniel had ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED.

Around 170 BC there was a Syrian ruler named Antiochus IV. He was so full of himself that he gave himself the title “Epiphanes,” which means “the manifest god”. As many emperors did, he forced those around him to worship him.

Antiochus Epiphanes led his army to successfully conquer Israel. On December 15, 168 BC, he set up the image of Zeus on an altar in the Temple of Jerusalem. Ten days later, he dedicated it by sacrificing a pig in the Temple.

Heathen altars were then erected throughout Israel, their celebrations being compulsory. Any Jew would receive the death penalty if found in possession of the Torah. Observing the Sabbath and circumcision were forbidden. Because of their faithfulness to the Law of God, many Jews were killed in those days.

As the disciples heard Jesus speak about Daniel’s prophecy, they must have also thought about the reign of Antiochus. Now they’re hearing from the Lord that it will be fulfilled again. This was a new concept for them to grasp – the fact that a prophetic Scripture could have two fulfillments.

“For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Luke 21:22-24 NIV

This sounds all too familiar to the disciples. Throughout history, the Jews had been conquered again and again. Now one of the worst chapters in their history was going to repeat itself. All they could do was listen and be prepared.

I think the Lord is obviously talking about the times that the disciples were living in. He says that the Jews would be dispersed among the nations. However, there would be a time-limit on how long the Gentiles would be in control of the Holy Land.

We’ve seen this in our generation. Israel has once again returned to their homeland. And, by God’s power, they have once again become a sovereign nation. God is always confirming that His Word is true.

This should encourage us. I believe that this is how the Holy Spirit operates. If we’re listening, the Spirit will always prepare us for what’s ahead in our future. We need to continue developing our spiritual sensitivity to hear His voice.

Question: Why does the Holy Spirit want to reveal the future to us?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2022 in Israel, Return of Christ, Word of God

 

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The Last Days – “Don’t”

The Last Days – “Don’t”

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

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

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

Luke 21:8 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 21:9-11 NIV

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

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

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

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

Luke 21:12-14 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

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

 

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Ready for the Last Days

Ready for the Last Days

We are continuing our study of Luke’s Gospel. As Jesus prepares to go to the cross, He begins to tell His disciples about His return.

The Second Coming of Christ seems to be an exciting topic among believers. Pre-COVID, the rise of ISIS and the talk of Blood Moons had many people fearful about what was coming. Now, it seems we’re even closer to the Lord’s return.

We need to get back to the teachings of Christ if we’re going to navigate these times that we live in. It’s all about our attitudes.

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
Luke 21:5-7 NIV

Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. As they were looking around, impressed by the great structures, a question arose over the last days.

What a lot of believers don’t realize is that at this point in Jesus’ ministry, the disciples already had a good amount of teaching on the last days; they just didn’t know when it would occur. Jesus answered their questions with a pretty detailed talk.

I’ve been studying the Second Coming of the Lord since the early 1970’s. I believe that we’re living in the last days. The real question is; what should our attitudes be like? I’m going to take a few posts to talk about this section of Scripture.

We have to be careful when studying the Second Coming. Many people get off track because when it comes to the last days, they forget one simple rule about Scripture. KEEP IT IN CONTEXT!

In this chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus deals with general and specific concepts. Verses 20-24 are the dividing point.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city…They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Luke 21:20-24 NIV

This passage talks about Jerusalem being surrounded resulting in the Jews being dispersed among the nations. Then, after many generations, they’ll be returned to their homeland. It’s obvious from the pages of history that this prophecy is fulfilled.

Before that prophecy are some general principles. After it are some statements that are specifically for our generation, living after the fulfillment. So, we need to be careful that we make the correct applications of these verses.

There’s one more thing I want to talk about in this introductory post. Many people miss it. In Scripture, most of the time the Second Coming is not the main subject, even though it’s talked about. It’s only the jumping off point for the principle being taught. It’s more about how we should live. “Jesus is coming soon, therefore…”

In my next post I’ll start talking about how Jesus said we should live as we see His return approaching.

Question: What are your thoughts on the soon coming of the Lord?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2022 in Israel, Return of Christ

 

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Children of the Resurrection

Children of the Resurrection

Continuing through the Gospel of Luke, we see a lot of opposition from the religious leaders. This is especially true from the Sadducees who don’t believe in the resurrection, angels, demons, or miraculous powers. You may want to read Luke 20:27-40 before continuing with this post.

They want to discredit Jesus publicly. So, they come at Him with a question that had stumped the Pharisees (who believe in the resurrection) for many years.

The question is about a woman who had seven husbands in accordance with the Law of Moses. They asked Jesus; at the resurrection, who would receive her as their wife, since she was married to all seven?

The Sadducees felt this proved that the resurrection was illogical. Therefore, it shouldn’t be believed.

Of course, these men had lost the battle before they ever approached Jesus. That’s because Christ is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). There’s no way that these leaders could show the Resurrection that there’s no resurrection.

In looking at the answer the Lord gave them, I see some important truths we need to grasp.

Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage…”

Luke 20:34-35 NIV

The first thing I see is the great transition. The age we live in now, is temporary. Our Resurrection Day is the start of a brand new age. We change from being mortal to immortal (1 Corinthians 15:42).

The way Jesus describes this is absolutely great. The phrase, considered worthy, is, deemed entirely deserving, in the Greek. Because of what Christ did on the cross, you and I can now be considered entirely deserving of immortality.

However, there’s even more to be thankful for in this verse. The phrase, taking part, literally means to hit the mark.

We know that the word, sin, means to miss the mark, in both the Old and New Testaments. But now, because of Jesus, we can actually hit the mark of being worthy of the resurrection. This is something far beyond what any human being is capable of on their own.

…and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

Luke 20:36 NIV

We put on immortality because we are now children of the resurrection. But there’s even more to it.

The phrase, they are like the angels, literally means, they have the same power as the angels. Please understand that we DO NOT become angels. (Don’t get your theology from It’s a Wonderful Life)

I think about the power of angels in the Scriptures. They have the ability to appear and disappear at will. One angel could defeat an entire army. We will be clothed in this same power one day.

But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Luke 20:37-40 NIV

As believers, we should never fear death. We know that when our body ceases to function, we simply change our residence.

Yes, we go through a grieving process when a loved one passes. But that should be because we know we will miss them for a while. We don’t grieve because we will never see them again. We know there will be a grand reunion one day.

Keep that truth before your eyes. Allow the hope of the resurrection to propel you forward for the Lord.

Question: How does the hope of the resurrection inspire you?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2022 in Power of God, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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The House of Prayer

The House of Prayer

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we’re approaching the time where Christ submits to the cross. He has now entered and wept over Jerusalem.

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”

Luke 19:45-46 NIV

I believe this is a very important passage of Scripture. But so many times I’ve heard this used for unimportant issues.

The emphasis of this verse is not about whether the church should host a flea market or Christmas Bazaar. It’s not about book tables or bookstores.

I don’t think these are why the Holy Spirit placed this incident in the Bible. It’s deeper than these surface issues. I’m talking about the spiritual life of the believer.

Think about who we are in Christ. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives. We have now become His house.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

I am a temple to the Holy Spirit. Think about it like the ancient Greek temples. My temple says Holy Spirit on the front.

What would you expect if you came to that temple? What if you entered it and saw a Star Trek Convention going on inside? You may question the priest about it.

“It’s only for this week.”

What if for the next few weeks, you visited this temple and saw a beauty pageant, a chili cook-off, and a real estate seminar.

You’d ask; is this a temple to the Holy Spirit or is it something else? With that thought in mind, reconsider what happened when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the temple. I like John’s description.

To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

John 2:16-17 NIV

Notice the righteous anger that Christ displayed. What was it that aroused such an attitude? The disciples realized that Jesus was consumed by a zeal for the house of God.

When Christ told His disciples about the Holy Spirit, He said that He was sending “another counselor just like Me.” (John 14:26 – My paraphrase!) The difference is that the Holy Spirit lives in us. He lives permanently in His temple, our body. And, He has the same attitude as Christ.

Do we really get the point? We’re living in the Last Days. The Holy Spirit is starting to cleanse His temple. We need to submit to His program.

Remember – the Holy Spirit will not hurt His temple. But He will start to ruin that which would try and steal our affection. In my experience, I’d rather willingly give up something, than have the Lord remove it from my life.

What do we do?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7-8 NIV

If you really want what the Holy Spirit desires, then sow to please the Spirit. He doesn’t say to summon up all your will power and live right. No! Simply submit to His plan and sow the Word and prayer. Spend time with the Spirit.

Question: What do you need to do to sow to please the Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Last Days Positioning

Last Days Positioning

In my last post, I began talking about the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem just before His crucifixion. This was found in Luke 19:36-41. At that time the Lord wept over the city of Jerusalem. I said that there were four reasons for His open display of grief.

The first was that looks can be deceiving. Even though a crowd was cheering, the hearts of the people had not changed.

…and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

Luke 19:42 NIV

The next thing that grieves the Lord is us not knowing what brings peace. Peace is the shalom of God. It’s the resting place in Him of undisturbed safety.

Paul talks about spending time in the peace of God’s presence.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 NIV

The peace of God will guard and protect you. It’s all you’ll ever need. Time spent with the Lord is never wasted time. It positions us for the resources we need to fulfill our calling.

We also understand that in the presence of God is safety. The enemy can’t get to me when I’m under the Lord’s protection. I don’t have to fear what the world fears.

The Lord also knows when we allow the attacks of the enemy to get in. That brings Him grief. Jesus saw in the spirit how the enemy would come to Israel.

They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Luke 19:44 NIV

The word, time, in this verse means a set appointment. The Lord is grieved by us not knowing the times. Do we truly know the times we’re living in?

If you’re at the end of the race and you act like there’s still plenty of time, then there’s something wrong with your thinking. The closer to the end of the race, the more you push yourself.

In looking at the world around me, I believe we’re very close to the Lord’s return. And yet, much of the church acts like things are going to go on like this forever. There’s no intensity, no fervor.

We need to be found standing firm in the Lord in these last days. This is not the time to simply coast along. I need to be positioned correctly at the appointed time in order to receive the prize to which God has called me.

But right along with this, the timing is for a purpose. There’s another word in the above verse I want to look at. The verse literally says, “…you did not recognize the time of visitation.”

The Lord is grieved by us not knowing the times of visitation. Do we even understand what “times of visitation” means? The Greek word for visitation means overseeing.

There are times when we need to oversee the work that’s being done for the Lord. Then, there are seasons when God steps in to directly oversee things. We usually call these times, “revivals.”

Of course, we have a choice. We can be like the people watching the parade pass by. Or, we can be like the disciples actively participating in the procession. The difference is how we position ourselves.

Positioning always comes before the visitation. The Apostle Peter explains.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:11-12 NIV

Before the visitation we must live as strangers and aliens. After the visitation, the observers glorify God because of what they’ve seen in us.

This is why Jesus wept. He knew that a majority of Israel was missing it. We’re rapidly heading toward the greatest visitation of all. It very well may be the last visitation before the coming of the Lord.

Are we in position? Do you want to be a participant or an observer? Now is the time of decision.

Question: How are you positioning yourself in these last days?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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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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Our Performance Review

Our Performance Review

Continuing through Luke’s Gospel, we now come to a well-known parable. It deals with how well we work in God’s kingdom. You may want to read Luke 19:11-27 before reading this post.

We need to remember that we’ll be judged someday. We are already found to be “not guilty” in Christ. So, there’s no fear of the future for us.

However, the judgment of believers will be more of a performance evaluation. So, we better prepare now. That’s what this parable is about.

He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘

Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

Luke 19:12-13 NIV

The nobleman makes it clear that he wants his money invested while he’s gone. He leaves it up to the servants’ discretion as to how it will be used. But he’s going to be looking for a return.

If you know anything about the money systems mentioned in Scripture, then you realize that this was a lot of money. In New Testament times a mina was roughly equivalent to three months of wages.

If it were today’s economy, it would be as if the servants received about $2,500 each. So, all in all, the nobleman gave out a fair amount of money for this investment.

The problem the servants were faced with is that there were some strings attached to this money. The man gave it to the servants with a purpose in mind.

He said, “Put this money to work until I come back.” It’s still my money – but I want you to turn a profit with it. He made it clear that he was giving them oversight concerning this money so that it would be invested for him while he was away.

I believe that the Lord is talking here about the resources that God has given us. He’s entrusted certain things to the Church. And depending on our position in the Body of Christ, we’re entrusted with more or less.

Obviously, the Bible says that those who teach are going to be held more responsible than those who don’t (James 3:1). All of us are given responsibilities, and we’re going to be judged according to the handling of those responsibilities.

That’s why it’s so important for me to seek out my gifts and callings in the Lord. As He reveals them to me, I become responsible to carry them out. Ignorance is not an excuse.

There are many believers who refuse to seek God concerning their calling so that they will not have to work for God. They’re too busy seeking their own pleasures. This is the same as hiding the mina in the ground.

God has a work for each of us to do. Whether we ask Him about it or not, we’ll be judged on how well we complete it.

Knowing that these servants were given this responsibility, we should be very interested to see the outcome. It will help us to prepare for the day when we’ll be called to give account for our actions. This is what I’ll be posting about in my next article.

Question: What are the gifts and talents that you’ve been given by God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2022 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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