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Category Archives: Spiritual Walk

Who Owns Your Time?

Who Owns Your Time?

We’ve been continuing through the book of Ephesians. In my last post, I talked about clearing our schedules for a move of God. Did you know that this is how God operates through His people? It’s only when they turn over their time to Him that the Lord will move in a manifestation of His power.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Ephesians 1:9-10 NIV

We’re told in this passage, about the mystery of God’s will. Actually, Paul uses three different words to get this point across. He mentions God’s will, His good pleasure, and His purpose in Christ. These are the things that He wants to accomplish on the earth through His people.

If you remember, a few posts ago I talked about these things. In verse 5, Paul writes that we were adopted as sons according to His pleasure and will. This mystery has been given to us from the time of our salvation. We just need to learn to access it.

The question is, are we willing to position ourselves to let the Holy Spirit use us in this way? I’ve been saying that this requires our time. There’s no other commodity that will purchase God’s will.

How do I know this? The above passage is very interesting to read in the Greek. It says that this will, good pleasure, and purpose of God is put into effect in the economy of the filling of time.

Economy – that’s a financial term, like when we talk about the economy of the United States. Here we’re talking about the economy of the Kingdom of God. A large part of that economy is time.

In essence this verse tells us that God’s will is accomplished on earth as we deposit time into the bank of Heaven. God doesn’t need our money or our resources. What He really needs in order to do His work is our time.

Actually, who’s time is it? We like to think of it as all belonging to us. With that attitude, we schedule everything we want to do, then place the Lord’s work in any leftover spots.

I know there are things that we need to do. Scripture says that if we don’t work, we don’t eat. The Lord doesn’t want us to neglect our families either. There’s a place for all of these important matters in our schedules.

But are we really operating in the plan of God if there’s no time for the move of His Spirit? In our generation, we’ve learned to add so many good things to our schedules, that we’ve left no room for the best.

I’m truly convinced that if we want to see a move of God in our nation, it’s going to require us to make a sacrifice. Not of money, but of time. Peter puts it this way…

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do…

1 Peter 4:3a NIV

The church needs revival – we may even want revival. But are we willing to do what it takes to initiate revival? If I said that revival would cost a million dollars, I’m sure that someone would come up with it.

If, on the other hand, I said revival will cost 2 weeks of your time, very few people would make the investment. Scripture is clear. To see the next move of God, it’s going to take our time – that’s the commodity of the next revival.

Ours is not the first generation to run into this problem. But it’s something that needs to be straightened out – quickly. Time is short. Now is the time. We are the people God is calling to turn this nation around.

Question: Why is our time so hard to turn over to the Lord?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2023 in Revival, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Redeemed

Redeemed

Continuing in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, we see a revelation of the calling we’ve been given. This is about who we are in Christ.

…to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Ephesians 1:6-8 NIV

It’s all about the grace of God. He doesn’t hold back. He gives to us freely and abundantly. Why? Because God sees us in Christ – the One He loves so dearly.

This verse shows us more of our “in Christ” realities. First, we have redemption because of the blood of Christ shed for us. That’s an important concept for us to grasp.

The word, redemption, means to gain back by paying the full ransom that’s demanded. We were sold to the kingdom of Satan by our ancestor, Adam. There was no way for us to gain our freedom on our own.

But God, in His love and justice, took our place as Christ Jesus. The shedding of His innocent blood was the payment needed to set us free. Now we are able to enter the kingdom of God. I can now serve God in a way I could never do on my own.

But, if that was all the Lord accomplished, then I would still have the black cloud of my sin hanging over my head. I would be weighed down by the guilt and shame of it all. Praise God, Christ even dealt with that.

This passage says that our sins are forgiven. That word means to pick up and permanently throw away. I don’t need to think about them or grieve over them anymore. They are done and gone.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalms 103:11-12 NIV

It’s a good feeling to know that God will never bring up my past once it’s under the blood of Christ. We’re the ones who do the remembering and think we’re no good. We need to start seeing ourselves as the Father sees us.

This was all a part of God’s plan for humanity. In His foreknowledge, He knew that Adam would fall short of God’s expectations. So, before the world was ever created, God had a plan to rescue and redeem us back to Himself.

According to the above verses, the Lord did this with all wisdom and understanding. Wisdom is the application of knowledge in order to solve a problem. God knew what would happen, and His wisdom came up with a solution before it ever became an issue.

He also saved us by His understanding. This is a word that means to think deeply about your plans and opinions.

God didn’t just save us as one of many things on His agenda. The whole of His being – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – were all actively striving for the goal of man’s redemption.

Never think that you’re of little importance to God. He loves you with everything He has and is. He thinks more highly of you than you think of yourself. That’s why it’s so important for us to see ourselves the way He does.

Never lose sight of this fact. You’re a part of the body of Christ on earth. You’re a member of the One He loves dearly.

That’s why I like the book of Ephesians so much. You can’t read it without seeing how great the power of God is that’s at work in us.

Question: How do you keep your past failures from affecting your future?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2023 in Encouragement, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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In Christ Realities

In Christ Realities

We’re continuing our walk through Ephesians. Paul is introducing us to the theme of his letter. He wants us to see the calling and mission of the corporate body of Christ.

In my last post we looked at the fact that the Lord has already stored up all spiritual blessings for us in heavenly realms. Now he moves on with that thought.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Ephesians 1:4a NIV

This one verse contains so much truth. We see God, choosing us before we were even thought of. When He laid down the foundations of the earth, God looked ahead in His foreknowledge. In eternity past, He saw my choice to serve Him and He made a place for me in Christ.

He also looks for me to be holy in His sight. That means to be set apart for God’s personal use. That amazes me.

After all I’ve done to further my own wants and desires. In spite of all my sin. Yet God in His love and mercy, places me in Christ. Now, when He looks at me, He sees the holiness of Christ Jesus Himself.

The word used for in His sight, literally means directly in front of Him. He doesn’t just see me as a part of the crowd. In Christ I’m in His direct line of sight.

But the holiness of Christ is not the only thing He sees. The Lord also sees me as blameless. That means to be without fault, blemish, or flaw. This is me we’re talking about! I don’t know about you, but that description is not even close to how I would describe myself.

But that’s the glory of our “in Christ” reality. Who we are in Christ is not based upon our performance or good works. It’s based upon the work of Christ on the cross.

As good as this is, it doesn’t even end there.

In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:4b-6 NIV

Again, in God’s love and God’s foreknowledge, He predestined us to be adopted into His family. One note here – you women shouldn’t get upset about the masculine terms used. It’s actually for your benefit.

In that culture, women were excluded from the family inheritance. The word, adopted, literally means to be placed as a son. So, as a woman, you have been placed as a son in that culture. In other words, Paul is saying that you have the same full inheritance rights as a male in God’s kingdom.

As believers, we’ve all been given the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of sons in the family of God. That’s a lot to live up to. We definitely need the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill this calling.

Why did God choose to do this? It’s important to understand this because it’s a recurring theme throughout the book of Ephesians.

It all comes down to His good pleasure and His will. They are both an important part of what God accomplishes in us.

Most of the time we talk about God’s will. That speaks of what He has determined to do. It’s the Lord’s plan that He’s carrying out in the world, with or without our involvement. I found that it’s always better to be a participant in what He’s doing.

But there’s another side to this. He also adopted us according to His good pleasure. We don’t talk about that as much. It speaks of what satisfies and delights Him.

Whether you realize it or not, it brought joy to the Lord’s heart to adopt you and me. We sometimes get the idea that God carries out his plan with no emotion. That’s simply not the case. We’re created in His image. That means we serve an emotional God.

He takes pleasure in us as His children. My highest goal should be to bring God the most joy that I can. That’s one of the keys of a fulfilled Christian life.

Question: How does your life add to God’s pleasure?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Pass It On

Pass It On

In my last post, we started going through Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church. Now the Holy Spirit will emphasize us, corporately, as a body of believers.

This next verse is one that I’ve heard many people quote and talk about.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 NIV

What does it mean to be blessed? We use the word a lot, but do we really understand it? More than that, do we understand why God wants to bless us?

We use the word bless very loosely in the body of Christ.

“God blessed me with a parking space close to the store.”

We seem to think that anything good that happens is a blessing. That’s the modern church definition. But when you read the Bible, that thought will hide the truth about what a blessing truly is.

Let’s start by defining it. What exactly does the word bless mean? In the Old Testament it’s the Hebrew word Barak. It means to kneel, which emphasizes the receiving aspect. In the New Testament, the Greek word Eulogeo is used. It means a well-spoken word; and relates to the giving of a blessing.

One thing that we have to realize is that the blessing is always spoken. The actual word, bless, means to endue with power for success.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.

Psalm 118:26 NIV

If you have the name of the Lord, then you’re already blessed. It’s an event that has taken place when you made Christ the Lord of your life.

The verse from Ephesians tells us we have every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST. We have been given access to His name. We are blessed because we come in the name of the Lord.

However, the verse in Psalms takes it to another level. Mature believers don’t just seek to be blessed, but to be a blessing. It’s a choice that has to be made. It’s by faith that we choose to be a blessing to others.

That’s a tall order – to be a blessing to someone. How can I do that? In Scripture we’re told to do everything in the Name of Jesus. It’s in His powerful name that we have what we need to bless others.

The good news is that I don’t have to seek out God’s blessing. According to these verses, He has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heaven in Christ.

We know Scripture tells us that we can do all things through Christ. We have to remember this. We’ll never get that done on our own. We are blessed in order that we might be a blessing to others.

I want to get back to a point I made earlier. Now that we know what a blessing is, we can understand it better. A good parking space is not a blessing – it’s actually the result of the blessing that’s upon our lives.

The important thing to ask is; what am I doing with this blessing. It’s not all about me. I truly believe that God always blesses us with someone else in mind.

We must be sensitive enough to see the needs around us. That means we should be spending time in the Lord’s presence so we can follow His lead. God wants to bless those around us. And He wants to use us to do it.

To walk in this kind of blessed lifestyle, I need to know who I am in Christ. I must understand who I am and what I’ve been given access to in Christ Jesus. Only then can I pass on those gifts to others.

This is the basis for blessing those around me. I can only bless others if I know that I am truly blessed. It takes blessed people to bless people.

Question: How has the blessing of God been evident in your life lately?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Power to Witness

Power to Witness

This will be my last post from the Gospel of Luke. He ends his view of the life of Christ with some important words. It’s the great “take away” from his Gospel.

You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Luke 24:48-53 NIV

Here we see the final interaction between the Lord and His disciples. The torch was being passed. It was now up to the apostles to bring the message of repentance and forgiveness to the world.

They were to go out and tell of everything the saw and heard under the Lord’s ministry. That’s a big assignment. They probably felt unprepared for such a task. Just like we do sometimes.

I like the fact that at His departure, Jesus blessed them. But it’s more than that. As He ascended into heaven, Christ continued to bless them. That tells me that the blessing is continual – even to us – as we proclaim the Good News.

However, there’s more that we need to see in this event. Luke gives us more details about it in his second volume – the book of Acts.

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 1:4-5 NIV

The Lord makes it clear that something had to be done in their lives BEFORE they could go out and evangelize the world. They needed the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the baptism, or immersion, in the Holy Spirit.

We sometimes get confused by this. The truth is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is different from the infilling of the Holy Spirit. This is evident in the fact that the disciples were already filled with the Spirit before they were baptized (John 20:22). This took place after the resurrection and before the ascension.

Just before He left this earth, Jesus once again made this clear to the disciples.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

This is a part of receiving God’s power into your life. It’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you’re saved. But the baptism is the immersion in the Holy Spirit.

I believe that this is one of the most important steps in the Christian walk. It opens us up to the power of God working in us. If we want all that God has for us, then we need to actively seek this baptism.

I know there are some who teach that this is no longer necessary for us as believers. But that doesn’t seem right to me.

The apostles walked with Jesus Christ for over three years. They heard His intimate teachings. They watched His life in public and in private. Yet, even they needed something more than just the teachings of Scripture.

How much more do I need the manifestation of the power of God in my life. Here I am, 2000 years after these things took place. I need the power of God activated in me. That’s what will get the attention of the world. It will draw them to the life changing power of Christ.

Question: How much of God’s power does it take to be a true witness of who Christ is?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Repentance is Begun

Repentance is Begun

As we near the end of Luke’s Gospel, we see the ministry of Christ after the resurrection. This was an important part of His work on earth.

We sometimes get the impression that the story of Jesus is all about the resurrection. As important as that is, it’s only a part of the whole picture of Christ. The work of the Lord definitely culminated when He rose from the dead. But we need to understand the entire revelation of God’s plan.

He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Luke 24:46-47 NIV

The whole work of Christ on the cross was needed to bring us repentance and the forgiveness of sin. Do we really understand what this means? Or have we watered this down in our desire to get on with what we want to accomplish with our lives? I need to know how the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord affects me.

The first word that catches my attention here is repentance. In the vocabulary of our present society it simply means to say, “I’m sorry.” Many times we throw out this phrase and never even mean it. We only want to placate the one we’re apologizing to.

Biblical repentance is a whole other matter. It’s about desiring a change of direction in your life. I don’t like where I’m at. I have all this baggage that I’m carrying with me – the guilt and regrets of the past. It’s like I’m stuck with a heavy backpack full of junk that I’d just like to shake off.

The problem is that this backpack is locked onto me. I can’t shake it. I’ve tried so many times to remove it in the past but nothing works. I want a new life. This is the spirit of repentance. It’s all about the desire to change.

The next word we have a bit of trouble with is forgiveness. We read into it the definitions given to us by our society. When we talk about repentance and forgiveness the truth gets lost in our preconceived ideas.

We do something wrong and say, “I’m sorry.”

The person we wronged replies, “Don’t worry about it. I’m okay with you now.”

Our misunderstanding comes from the fallacy that sin is only evil. The fact is that sin means that we’ve missed the mark of God’s perfect will. Of course, evil falls into that category. But there are other things that are sin as well. Not doing the good work that the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do is a form of sin. Sin is only evil when it’s done on purpose.

When we talk about forgiveness, we’re not talking about God saying to us, “I’m okay with you now. Try harder next time.”

The word, forgive, in the Bible literally means to pick up and throw away. God’s work of forgiveness is the total removal of the sin from our lives. That’s why a true understanding of repentance is so important. If all you want is to “make God happy with you,” then you’re not really repenting. True repentance is the desire for true forgiveness – the removal of sin and restoration to purity in Christ.

It’s like what the trash man does at our curbside every week. He shows up and removes our trash completely. When he’s done his work, you never see that trash again. Think about what life would be like if he took it back to your house the next week just to remind you what you threw away.

The blessing of serving our God is that the removal of sin is permanent.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Psalms 103:11-12 NIV

This is what the cross and the resurrection are all about.

Question: How does a repentant heart today change how you live tomorrow?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2023 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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An Open Mind

An Open Mind

As we’re nearing the end of our study through the Gospel of Luke, we’re seeing the events surrounding the risen Christ. In my last two posts, I talked about His encounter with some of the disciples along the road.

They returned to Jerusalem to tell the others that Christ had risen. You may want to read Luke 24:33-45 before continuing.

As they talked together, the Lord appeared in the room with them. They were still confused and doubting what was happening. Jesus explained that everything was foretold by Scripture.

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

Luke 24:45 NIV

The word understand in this verse literally means to put together. The Lord opened up the minds of these disciples to put together all that was happening. This included the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ, as well as the Scripture that foretold it. They had to walk in a supernatural understanding in order to grasp what was happening.

We need this ability of the Holy Spirit in us to put together – understand and apply – all that’s in the Scripture. If I don’t cultivate my spiritual prayer life, then where will all of this understanding come from? We can receive these blessing nowhere else but from the Spirit.

Paul understood this and tried to make it clear to his readers. In the following verse, the apostle is taking an Old Testament verse and revamping it for a spiritual people.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV

What this verse actually says in the Greek is, “Who has known the mind of the Lord well enough to be knit together with Him.” But we hold, possess the mind of Christ.

What an incredible truth! In the spirit we have access to the mind of the eternal God. The big question is; will we lay claim to this gift by the Spirit?

It’s clear that the Holy Spirit is needed in order to renew our minds. But this renewal is more than just accessing God’s knowledge. It’s much deeper than that.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…

Philippians 2:5 NIV

This means that the direction of our minds should be the same as Christ. This is evident in our current church experience. So many of our prayers seem to go unanswered. We think we’re praying “in the will of God.” But we don’t see anything happening.

Many times, we don’t receive when we pray because we’re headed in a different direction than Christ. We want the blessings of God. We just want them for a different reason than He does.

We need to direct our mind like Christ. When the Lord walked the earth, His mind was directed by the Spirit. That’s what renewal is all about. It’s not just changing what we think about, but how we think.

This is a difficult thing to do in the natural. Actually, it’s pretty close to impossible. Trying to get the mind to renew itself is a losing proposition. Instead, the best way is to activate our spirit in order to keep our mind Christ-centered.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2 NIV

This would be quite a challenge for us to do in our own power. I know I can accomplish this temporarily. I wanted to see how long during the day I could make myself think about the things of God. I found it to be a lost cause. The littlest things would distract me and refocus my attention on the things of earth.

Prayer in the spirit, however, allows you to zero in on things above for an increasingly longer time. Your mind will begin to follow the lead of your spirit. You will begin to understand the things of the spirit like never before.

In this way your mind will start to become reset and refreshed. When this is taking place, it goes a long way to changing how the outward man reacts to life. If we’re going to win the battle of the mind, then we must pray in the spirit regularly.

Question: How have you noticed your prayer life affecting your thought life?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Lighting the Fire

Lighting the Fire

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post I started talking about the followers of Christ in Luke 24:9-32. They were discouraged and double-minded concerning Jesus’ death. After encountering the risen Lord everything changed.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:32 NIV

They said that their hearts burned within them. In order to understand what happened we need to go back to that point. According to the men, it was when Jesus talked with them on the road. Let’s look at what He said to them.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27 NIV

As they were walking along the road Jesus explained the Scripture to them. What would you give to have an experience like that? The Lord, Himself, explaining the Scripture to you. It turns out that you can.

The word explained that’s used in this verse is very special. It’s the word that’s normally translated as interpretation; as in the spiritual gift of interpretation. This explanation that Jesus gave them was no boring lecture. It was an anointed Word straight from the Spirit of God.

That’s what will ignite the fire, not only in those early saints, but in us as well.

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”
Jeremiah 23:29 NIV

God declares to us that His Word is like a fire. That’s the Word that Jesus proclaimed to these men on the road to Emmaus. As He spoke to them, the Lord lit a fire in their hearts.

We can have this same experience today. As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, we must have a listening ear. When we hear a Word from the Holy Spirit it will ignite a fire in our heart.

My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue…
Psalms 39:3 NIV

God’s Word to us starts the fire burning. But as we meditate on it, the flames increase until it is all consuming. That’s a part of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church today. He brings a Word from God to our attention – if we’re listening.

That’s the key. I’ve heard people pray for God to “send the fire.” It’s not a matter of Him sending it, but of us receiving it. We need to hear a Word from God to get it kindled in our heart. Then meditate on that Word in order to heat it up.

That means we need to develop a sensitive, listening ear in the spirit. And that only comes as we spend time in the presence of the Lord. I’m talking about intimate times where we’re not doing most of the talking.

If you want to feel the fire of the spirit, then you must learn to wait upon the Lord to hear His voice.

Question: What has the Lord spoken to you lately by His Spirit?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2023 in Anointing, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Hearts on Fire

Hearts on Fire

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. At this point we’re in the final chapter. Christ has risen from the dead. The women went to the tomb and had an encounter with some angels who told them of the resurrection.

We can learn some important truths from what happens next. You may want to read Luke 24:9-32 before continuing with this post.

At this time, Christ began showing Himself to groups of His followers in various places. At one point two of them were walking from Jerusalem to a town called Emmaus. They had an encounter with the risen Lord, only they didn’t know who it was.

Jesus acted like He didn’t know what had happened in Jerusalem. The disciples shared their grief with Him.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Luke 24:25-27 NIV

It wasn’t until Christ vanished that they knew who He was. Later, once they knew who they’d been with, they discussed it.

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Luke 24:32 NIV

The key point is that their hearts were burning. So, let’s start at the beginning. If this is about their hearts, then how did they begin the process? This is an important question.

As I said before, they didn’t know at first that they were talking to Jesus. He asked them why they looked so sad. They were amazed that there was a person who had no idea of what had just taken place in Jerusalem.

“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.”

Luke 24:19-21 NIV

This is one of the most amazing confessions of faith AND unbelief that I’ve ever seen! On the one hand they saw in Christ the power of the Word of God. They were inspired to place their hope in Him as the Redeemer of Israel.

Yet at the same time they were walking in defeat, believing that there was nothing more to hope for. It was over. The chief priests and rulers destroyed the dream.

In this condition, they were what James called double-minded.

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

James 1:6-8 NIV

Being double-minded doesn’t mean that you doubt everything. You’re trusting God for some things, while doubting others. You may trust God to save your soul, yet not believe that He wants to provide for your needs.

That’s the place that many Christians find themselves in today. They know what God’s Word says, yet they have no idea how to apply it to their lives. They’re hoping that God will do something in them, while at the same time they expect nothing to happen.

This is where the burning hearts come in. In my next post we’ll see the Lord’s remedy for this double-minded dilemma.

Question: When have you found yourself both trusting and doubting God at the same time?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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What Are You Preparing For?

What Are You Preparing For?

As we continue our journey through the Gospel of Luke, we’ve just witnessed the death of Christ on the cross. He was buried and laid in the tomb for three days. Now we’ll see the best part of the story.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24:1-3 NIV

Recently, I noticed this gem in the Scripture for the first time. I was reading my Bible and the words seemed to jump out at me. The women who had followed Jesus’ ministry were very faithful to Him. They worked to support the ministry while He was alive.

When Jesus went to the cross, they were devastated. But they continued to serve Him the best that they could. This verse says that they prepared spices for His body.

Because Jesus’ crucifixion took place so close to the Sabbath, they were not able to go through the normal embalming process when He was placed in the tomb. It was only after the Sabbath was over that they could proceed with it.

This was quite a bit of work on the part of these women. It involved grinding the spices to a fine powder. Then they had to crush a resin in a mortar and pestle. Only after this was done and the spices mixed, could they go to the tomb.

The problem was – all that work was for nothing. Jesus Christ had risen from the dead! Embalming spices were not necessary. The Holy Spirit started to speak to me about our walk with God.

How often do we give up on something – a plan, dream, or ministry – because it doesn’t seem to be working. We just want to put it out of its misery. So we go through all the work of preparing for its demise. Then, to our surprise, God supernaturally brings life to it again.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” Then they remembered his words.

Luke 24:4-8 NIV

We have to heed the words of the angels to the women. “Remember how He told you…” That was the key for them, as well as us.

We need to remember the things that God has spoken to us. That’s why we should have a prayer journal of some sort. We should always be able to go back and remind ourselves of the interactions we’ve had with the Lord.

Sometimes it looks like the things we heard will never happen. Circumstances, situations, and setbacks can rob us of our vision. But thankfully, God is not bound by circumstances.

We need to remember that we serve a God who can raise the dead. Never give up on a God-given dream. It may go through a “death cycle.” But God is not bound to how things appear on the surface.

Don’t waste your time preparing for defeat, when the Lord’s plan is for your victory. Let Him have the final say in your situation.

Question: What are some God-given dreams that you’ve laid aside?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

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