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Category Archives: Word of God

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re seeing how Jesus interacted with His disciples. He asks them some important questions. In this post, I’m talking about Luke 9:18-27. You may want to read through this before continuing.

Jesus had taken His disciples off to a private place to pray. The Lord did that pretty often, and He wanted His disciples to learn this practice. It would become an important part of their ministry someday.

As He was praying, the Holy Spirit prompted Jesus to ask the men who the crowds thought He was. It turned out to be the same as what Herod had thought.

It’s interesting that most of what people thought revolved around dead prophets who had come back to life. This speaks to the miraculous power that was evident in the Lord’s ministry.

After that discussion, Jesus brought the conversation around to the most important question.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Luke 9:12

More than what the crowds thought about Him, Jesus wanted to hear what the disciples thought. Peter, as usual, was the spokesman for the group. He immediately answers that Jesus is the Christ – the long awaited Messiah of God.

This statement showed that they were finally starting to understand what was happening. They were witnessing the fulfillment of the entire teaching of Scripture.

Once Peter makes this confession, the Lord is able to take them a little deeper into His confidence. He begins to share about what would take place in the future.

Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Luke 9:21-22

The first thing He does is to warn them not to tell anyone this truth. That’s because accepting Jesus as Messiah has to be a personal choice made by faith.

This is in stark contrast to the many individuals who have falsely claimed that title down through the years. Most of them publicly declared this claim in an effort to seduce masses of people to follow them – and give financial support.

Also, at this point, Jesus begins to clearly state the fact that He is to die at the hands of the Jewish leadership, and then rise from the dead three days later. I’m sure the disciples had no idea that He was speaking literally. They probably thought the Lord was speaking in parables again.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:23-27

But clearly, the most important thing they needed to learn, was now that they knew the truth, they were responsible to live it out. There was no more sitting on the fence. Trusting Christ as Lord is an all or nothing proposition.

The Lord made it clear that this is not a one time thing. It’s a daily decision to follow Christ over and above your own wants and desires. We must identify with Him no matter where that road leads.

That’s the key to seeing the kingdom of God manifest in your life.

Question: Who do you see Jesus Christ as in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2022 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

What are the priorities of ministry? What can we learn from the way Jesus handled the day to day logistical challenges?

In my last post, we saw the disciples going out and ministering in the power of God. When they returned, the Lord wanted to take them away for a rest break.

When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Luke 9:10-11

Jesus intended to get away for a time of refreshing away from the crowds. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The people followed Him to this remote location.

Instead of telling them to go away and let Him rest, Jesus ministered to their needs. This speaks volumes about the love of Christ.

Then, as it starts getting late, the disciples talk to Jesus.

Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

Luke 9:12-13a

The first thing that happens is that the disciples see and recognize the need. That’s the easy part. Ask anyone what’s wrong with the church and they’ll tell you what it needs.

But, they didn’t see it as their problem. The people needed to fix it. If they were hungry, then the crowd needed to go out and find something to eat.

That’s the attitude of many people today. “If they would do what they were supposed to do, the church would be better.”

Notice how Jesus turns that whole attitude around.That’s the response of a good leader. Turn the responsibility over to the ones who are sensitive to the need.

“Pastor, this church needs a Men’s Ministry.”

“I totally agree. When do you plan on starting it?”

I don’t think the disciples were prepared for that type of answer from the Lord. It caught them off guard.

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish — unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)

Luke 9:13b-14a

Here’s where most ministries lose sight of the true vision. The disciples immediately make it a resource problem. Their first reaction was to throw money at it to make it go away.

But first – here’s an aside for those who think ministers of the Gospel should live in poverty. The disciples DID NOT say, “We don’t have the money to feed them.” They asked if Jesus wanted them to spend that much cash on the crowd.

In our economy, think about how much it would cost to buy 5000 fast food value meals. Jesus had that much money on Him at the time. But I digress.

According to Christ, it wasn’t a money problem, but a Word problem. How did the Father want this need met? Too often we ask for money before we seek the Holy Spirit to provide a miraculous solution.

Verses 14 through 17 of Luke, chapter 9, tell us of the way Jesus heard from heaven, and met the needs of over 5000 hungry people. This is how we should be ministering to those around us. We must spend time in the Spirit, and then walk out what we’ve heard from the Father.

Too many times I hear, “If we don’t get the donations, then we can’t do what God has called us to do.” Personally, I serve a God who’s bigger than the donations. He can make a way with or without the money.

We need to learn to be listening for His voice. That way we keep in step with not only what the Lord is leading us to do, but how exactly He wants it accomplished.

Questions: Has God ever worked His plans through you without money? How did He bring it about?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Healing Faith

Healing Faith

For the last couple of posts, we’ve been talking about the Synagogue ruler whose daughter was dying and the woman who needed healing from her bleeding. Jesus agreed to go with the ruler to heal his daughter but was interrupted when the woman touched Him and was healed.

This incident is recorded in Luke 8:40-56. It might be helpful to read through that section of Scripture before proceeding with this post.

This passage is a great example of what it takes to have faith for healing. In times past, people were told that if you just had enough faith, you’d be healed. That made it real simple. As a minister, I could blame you if you’re not healed when I pray for you.

“Come back when you really have faith.”

That kind of thinking does great injustice to those who are seeking to be set free from their sickness. The problem is that healing faith is always Word based. It’s not about me summoning up enough belief to be healed.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17

In order for the sick to be healed, someone has to hear a Word from God. Then, as they move in faith – received from that Word – the healing takes place. Even in the Old Testament this was the case.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Psalms 107:20

A Word from God will inspire faith for healing. Once it’s acted upon, the healing takes place. That’s one of the reasons I like this section of Scripture. It shows the power of this truth.

The woman in the above passage heard from the Holy Spirit that if she could just touch the edge of Jesus’ clothes, she would be healed. Jesus confirmed this by saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”

The synagogue ruler is the one who heard from God in that part of the story. He knew in his spirit that if he could get Jesus to come to his house, then his daughter would be healed.

Sometimes it’s the faith of the one praying. Remember the leper who came to Jesus and said, “If you are willing you can make me clean.” It was the Lord’s faith that prompted Him to say, “…be healed.” (Luke 5:12-14)

In another part of the Bible, we read about some men who heard from the Spirit that if they could just get their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus, he’d be healed. They ended up cutting a hole through a roof to fulfill this Word. Scripture records that when the Lord saw their faith, He healed the sick person. (Luke 5:17-25)

In all of these cases, and many more, somebody had to hear from the Father and walk in the faith they received. It could be the sick person, the minister, a friend, or a family member. That’s because healing faith is received through a Word from God.

That’s why it’s so important that we spend time in the Spirit. We need to develop our sensitivity to the voice of the Lord. I believe that only then will we see the power that was manifest in the life of Christ and in the church of the book of Acts.

Hearing from God. That’s where the Lord is bringing His church to in our generation. Let’s walk with His plan and cultivate our intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

Question: How many other Scriptures can you find that show this principle of receiving healing faith through a Word from God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Word of God

 

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First Things First

First Things First

“Stick to what you’re working at. Concentrate on what you’re doing. Don’t get side-tracked.”

That sounds like good advice. And it is…most of the time. However, we have to come to the realization that good advice doesn’t always line up with the will of God for you. And, God’s will doesn’t always sound like good advice.

That’s what happened from time to time in the ministry of Jesus. I’m talking about an incident that took place when He got off a boat near the Sea of Galilee one day.

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, Jesus ministered to a demon possessed man by the Sea of Galilee. Now the Lord has sailed back across the sea.

You can find it in Luke 8:40-56. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

Luke 8:40-42

At this point in His ministry, the Lord was gathering crowds wherever He went. Today was no exception. But these were not simply people who were following Him. They were expecting something from Him. They wanted Jesus to heal them or set them free from demonic oppression.

I don’t know how I would have been able to handle it. Crowds of people suddenly running up to me, screaming for my immediate attention. Yet Christ was able to keep His composure through all of it.

All at once, the sea of people parted. Someone who was well-known and respected by the community was coming forward. The elder in charge of their local synagogue was in desperate need of a healing for his daughter.

Jesus agrees to go with him and they start heading in that direction. Then, as they’re proceeding, an interruption takes place. People are pressing in all around Him, yet the Lord stops and looks around.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Luke 8:43-45

“Wait a minute, Jesus. Let’s do one thing at a time. There’s someplace else we need to be.”

That might have been my thought when this happened. But then, I would have been out of the will of God. There was a bigger purpose than I could see.

The reason that Jesus could go through situations like this, unflustered, was because of His intimacy with the Father. Time spent in God’s presence allowed Him to have a great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

That might be one of the reasons why we get ourselves into trouble when unexpected things pop up. We react with the best of our understanding. Many times it’s our limited knowledge that fouls things up.

The Lord could hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, even in a stressful situation. He could know which requests to accept, and which to ignore. This was true even when from the outside it looked like the wrong plan of action.

We know, from the end of this passage, that Jesus was proven right by His decisions. He remained in God’s will through the whole encounter. We need to cultivate this same intimacy with the Holy Spirit. I believe it will help us to see God’s plan unfold on a daily basis.

I will probably be talking about this passage over the next few posts. There are some good lessons that we can glean from it.

Question: How do you cultivate personal intimacy with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Word, Faith, and Testing

The Word, Faith, and Testing

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we find that Luke has set his narrative up to be topical. He’s not concerned with a timeline as much as showing what Jesus taught, and how it applied to a personal walk with God.

So far in chapter 8, the Lord has been emphasizing the Word of God. He’s taught the people how to receive it, respond to it, and obey it. Luke now shows how it worked in the Lord’s life.

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Luke 8:19-21

I believe that Luke included this incident to give us a summary of what Jesus has been teaching so far. There’s a family-like intimacy with the Father when we hear and obey God’s Word to us.

The Lord was told that His mother and brothers were desiring to meet with Him. That’s important to Jesus’ response. Do you have a desire to meet with the Lord? The solution is to hear God’s Word and do it.

The disciples were listening. How well did they hear and do it?

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.

Luke 8:22

The disciples seemed to start out correctly. They heard the Word of the Lord and set sail in that direction. So far, so good.

As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

Luke 8:23

Now we see an illustration of exactly what Jesus said would happen when the seed falls on the rocks. I’m sure the disciples were joyfully starting out on their journey across the lake.

However, Jesus said that there would be a time of testing whenever you receive a Word from God. He even took a nap so that they would be free to show what they learned.

Then it arrived. The disciples were tested by a squall that suddenly came up. They were in a dangerous situation. Would they continue in faith or “quickly fall away”?

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Luke 8:24-25

The outcome is that they gave up without even a fight. They went to the Lord totally ignoring His Word to them and announced definitively, “It’s all over, we’re destroyed.”

The first thing Jesus did was to show them the power of His Word. Even the elements of the weather are under His control. He quieted the storm and then dealt with his disciples.

The big question He asked them was, “Where is your faith?” They had heard His voice. They should have trusted His Word. Yet they failed to see the power He had placed in their hands.

Their hearts were still rocky. They didn’t get it. Jesus asked about their faith, yet they asked each other, “Who is this?” They should have been asking, “Why couldn’t we do what He told us to do?”

Obviously, Jesus intended for them to quiet the storm. The problem was that the Word had not yet taken root in their lives.

This is why time with the Holy Spirit is so important. The more time we spend in His presence, the deeper our roots grow. Then, in the times of testing, we’ll find ourselves walking in the power of God.

Question: How deep is your spiritual root system?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Word – Good News and Bad News

The Word – Good News and Bad News

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just finished looking at the Parable of the Sower. In that section of Scripture, we saw the different responses to the Word of God as we receive it. Now Jesus comments on the overall effects of the Word.

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Luke 8:16

The Lord is still talking about the results of God’s Word in a person’s life. The Word is like a light in a dark place. It illuminates large areas of our lives. We know this from other parts of Scripture as well.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105

As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us insight into many things. He prepares us for the road ahead. He gives us instructions to carry out. He also warns us of sin and faults that we need to repent of and turn from.

The only reason for turning on a light is to see your surroundings better. Lighting a lamp, and then covering it up, is both illogical and foolish.

It’s the same with God’s Word to us. So many believers want to know God’s will for their lives. They ask how to hear His voice speaking to them. Then, once they hear from the Lord, many times they choose to ignore His Spirit.

The best approach is to commit to follow the Lord’s leading before you ever receive His Word. The only acceptable answer to Him is, “Yes, Lord!”

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17

However, there’s both good news and bad news in hearing God’s voice. The good news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open. Of course, the bad news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open.

I don’t believe Jesus is talking about revealing your deepest secrets to the world. He’s talking about disclosing things to you about yourself that you’ve hidden away.

Many times, in God’s presence, I’ve learned things about myself that I had no clue about. In those times I had a choice. Either I deal with the issue, with God’s help, or ignore it and continue walking toward that spiritual cliff.

I’d love to tell you that I always made the right choice. However, that would be a lie. But, I am learning to obey the voice of the Spirit more and more as He sheds His light on my path.

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke 8:18

As in most areas of life, attitude is everything. The Lord shows the result of either decision we make when His light shines on our lives.

In this verse, the word He uses is “holds”. Whoever holds on to it, will be given more. When I embrace God’s Word to me, I prepare myself for more to come.

In contrast to that, I can choose not to hold on to the Word I’ve heard. I can say, “I’m doing okay. I don’t need to change anything right now. Maybe in the future.” In that case, I actually begin to lose ground in the spirit.

We need to be spending quality time in the Spirit, listening for God’s voice. But, that comes with a warning. Once you’ve heard from Him, don’t ignore what you’ve heard. Obey the Lord’s instructions no matter how difficult you think they are.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Thinking Like a Farmer

Thinking Like a Farmer

Over the past few posts, we’ve been in Luke’s Gospel, looking at the parable of the seed planted in different soils. The message Christ was focusing on should be clear. In order to prepare my heart for a great harvest, I must come to the realization that the Word of God must be the single crop in my heart.

This is what Scripture means by being single-hearted. When you have a single crop of the Word planted in your life, you’ve set yourself up for a plentiful harvest.

We have a spiritual epidemic across our nation. There’s an abundance of the Word of God, with very little fruit being produced. It’s time to weed out these distractions from the good, rich soil of our hearts. What we need is the mindset of a farmer when it comes to the Word of God.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Luke 8:15

It’s clear from this verse that in order to see the harvest, I must hear the Word with understanding – seeing that it applies to my life. I have to go beyond the person who lives too close to the road.

Mark records this in a little more detail.

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

Mark 4:20

When Jesus tells us to retain it, He literally means that I must hold it down fast; keep it secure in my heart. It has to take root deeply in my life. I must go beyond those who have rocky soil.

According to Mark’s Gospel, we have to accept the Word. This means to associate with, delight in. If you delight in a crop, you’re going to keep it free of weeds. You don’t want anything choking it out.

The bottom line is that you must persevere. In actuality it’s never easy to keep a farm or a garden. It always requires tending.

I must come to the point where I acknowledge that the Word of God is everything to me. It’s the same principle as in the physical world.

In the past I’ve had a garden. The fresh tomatoes, peppers, and squash were a welcome sight throughout the summer and fall. I could proudly say, “This eggplant came from my garden.” Here’s the difference – I wasn’t a farmer. I enjoyed the fresh vegetables grown in my garden, but I didn’t need them in order to survive.

A true farmer, on the other hand, lives by what he grows. His livelihood is tied to the crops that he produces. His new car is a result of the crops he harvested. The renovations to his home are a result of the harvest. Everything he has is tied up in his ability to produce a bountiful crop.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4

We must pick up this same mindset in regards to the Word of God. We live by the Word. Everything we need for life and godliness is all tied up in the Word. How I relate to the Word determines my destiny.

Hopefully, you can see by Christ’s teaching that it’s not just a matter of getting the seed into the ground. You can be planting huge amounts of seed and never see a single piece of fruit if you’re not following the basic principles of spiritual farming.

It’s all about getting the right seed into the right ground, then persevering to make sure that the seed can grow and produce fruit unhindered.

Question: How do you cultivate a “farmer’s mindset”?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Seed in the Weeds

Seed in the Weeds

As we go through the book of Luke, we’re continuing to look at the Parable of the Sower. I’m posting about the different kinds of soil that Jesus said was contained in our hearts.

Today’s post is about someone with very good soil. It produced bountifully. The problem was that it wasn’t producing fruit.

Instead, it raised a great crop of thorns and thistles. Then the few good plants that sprung up were choked out before they produced anything.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Luke 8:14

These believers get further along than the other groups. They believe the Word and actually let it take root in their lives. Their problem is that they let other things grow right along next to it.

The first weed Jesus mentions is distractions, in the original Greek. What a description of the modern Christian – DISTRACTED! We get so distracted by what the world has to offer.

It’s not that we’ve turned our backs on God. On the contrary, we want God’s best – His Word and His grace. The trouble is that we want the world’s best as well. We’re getting distracted by the things of the world. Many of these things aren’t bad in and of themselves, they just take our focus off of Christ and His work in us.

Another weed the Lord talks about is wealth. In Mark’s Gospel, the Lord calls it the delusion of wealth. When we think of wealth, it tricks us into believing that it can supply all of our needs. The truth is that wealth can only obtain material possessions.

Wealth can never satisfy the longing of our souls. If it could, you’d never hear of a wealthy person committing suicide. The thing we need to put into perspective is, only the things that come from the Word of God are truly able to fulfill our lives.

The third weed that grows next to the Word is simply pleasures of this life. What the verse implies is that this is a desire for the things that were given up in order to follow after God.

These are the things that used to make us feel good, temporarily. When we start looking back at these things with longing in our hearts, it’s a sure road to failure.

Please understand that it’s not doing the former things that causes the trouble, it’s the desire to do it.

The biggest thing that the Christians of this generation need to realize is that you can’t have it all, no matter what any televangelist will tell you. You can’t have the power of God manifest in you, as well as everything your flesh desires.

It’s a well-known principle of farming. When weeds and valuable crops are allowed to grow in the same space, it’s the weeds that will win out every time.

But when our life is unfruitful, we’re so quick to blame God.

“Oh God, I planted the Word. Why is there no harvest? Why have you failed me?”

I’m here to inform you, it wasn’t God who failed. Everything grew as God ordained it to. It was the weeds in your life that choked out the Word before it was able to produce fruit in you. That’s why there was no harvest.

Part of the farming process is to keep the ground free of weeds. Intimate time spent in the Spirit is what’s required. That means a repentant lifestyle.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

As I spend time in the presence of the Lord, He can show me places in my life that need change. As I repent of these things, the Holy Spirit is able to clean up my heart. Then the ground will be free and clear. At that point you can expect an abundant harvest from the Word planted in you.

Question: How are you keeping your heart free from the weeds?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Seed on the Rocks

Seed on the Rocks

We’re continuing in our study of Luke’s Gospel. I’m currently posting about the different “heart soils” in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15). Today I’ll deal with the rocky soil. This is about rocks with only a thin layer of dirt to cover them.

The seed germinates and springs up quickly. But just as quick, the sun comes out, scorches the plant because there’s no moisture, and it withers and dies. Jesus explained the spiritual application this way…

Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

Luke 8:13

This verse literally says that these people receive the Word in the middle of joy. It sounds like camp meeting to me. There’s excitement in the air. The whole atmosphere of the meeting is charged with a heavenly joy. It’s easy to believe in a place like that.

Statistically, decisions that we make in the heat of emotion, tend to be short lived. Emotion and excitement can’t sustain us for very long. We need more than that to go the distance in the face of the problems of everyday life.

We’re not talking about people who don’t believe what they hear. Even though the decision was emotional, they believe that the Word they heard is for them. The problem is, that what has sprung up so quickly, also withers just as quick. What is it that withers?

For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

1 Peter 1:24-25

What withers is the glory of man. This type of person hears the Word and believes that it’s “all about me.” That’s why there’s all the joy and excitement.

They think that the Word is for my blessing, health, and prosperity. Forget about what God’s ultimate purpose is. It’s me that’s important.

The Lord says that in this rocky heart there is some faith exhibited for a while, but it doesn’t last long. Eventually trials and testing will come. When this happens, Jesus literally says that they will stand off or remove themselves. Why does Christ use this description?

When I go through a time of testing, I realize that it’s not all about me. I get offended that I’m not the center of all the attention. I don’t want the spotlight on Christ and what He’s trying to accomplish in me. I want the priority to be my comfort and happiness. The result is that I get offended and remove myself from the Lord and His plan for my life.

If I want my heart prepared for an abundant harvest, I must assume that the Word of God spotlights Jesus Christ. I must desire to know His heart.

I once heard a preacher say that many believers treat the Bible like a photo album. When we look at pictures, we’re always looking for the photos with us in it. We look for where we were and what we were doing.

It’s the same with some believers. There are many who read the Bible and pursue God only for what they can get from Him. The big question on their minds is, “What’s in it for me?”

Instead, we should be focusing on God’s eternal purpose – to draw all humanity into His kingdom. The blessings of God are great, but they’re not an end in and of themselves.

God has promised us prosperity, but it’s to finance the spread of the Gospel. God has promised us health and healing, but it’s so that we can minister the Good News of His love to the best of our ability.

All the promises of God should be viewed through the filter of God’s will and God’s plans. That’s what’s missing in the shallow faith of rocky soil. We need to keep our hearts clear of the rocks of self-centeredness.

Question: How is God working through you to bring about His purpose?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Sowing Seeds in the Street

Sowing Seeds in the Street

In today’s post, I’m continuing to talk about the parable of the sower found in the Gospel of Luke. The disciples didn’t understand it when Jesus gave it to the crowds. So, when they were alone, they asked Him about it.

This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.”

Luke 8:11-12

In His explanation of the parable, Jesus makes it clear that He’s talking about ministry. Specifically; sowing the Word. The Word He’s talking about here is the Greek word, logos. Logos refers to the Word that is spoken in preaching or teaching. For a detailed post on this truth, click here.

The Lord is giving an in-depth look at what happens when the Word is ministered. There are various groups of people who hear the Word. The effect is different in each group.

The first group Jesus deals with is what He calls those along the path.

Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”

Luke 8:12

The question is; who are these people? The path is a ribbon of hard-packed earth. It has been trampled by generations of traffic. It’s dry, hard, and unyielding.

These are people who have absolutely no interest in hearing from God. They just happen to be in earshot of someone who’s speaking on God’s behalf. The message isn’t directed at them, but they happen to hear it.

Why is this the case? Simply put; there’s not a farmer on earth who would intentionally sow his seed on the road. That should be the case in the spiritual realm as well.

That’s why understanding the different types of people in this parable should be important to ministers of the Gospel. There should be some discernment that goes along with the ministry of the Word.

I know that there are those who feel they need to preach to everyone within earshot. But that’s just the opposite of what Jesus taught. The seed of the Word is precious. It shouldn’t be wasted on unproductive ground.

Listen to how the Lord explained it.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

Matthew 7:6

That being said, what CAN we do about people in this condition? I’m in no way saying that we should write them off as unreachable.

The fact is that a road can be turned into a fruitful field – but it requires a lot of work. The Bible teaches that something needs to happen before they can receive the Word.

This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.”

Jeremiah 4:3

The hard packed soil of their hearts needs to be broken up. This calls for a powerful work in the spirit. That means much time spend in the presence of the Lord.

These people need to be prayed for. But I’m not talking about a simple, “God, please open their eyes. Amen.”

In order to make them ready and able to receive a Word that could save them, they require someone to intercede for them. This may include spiritual warfare to break up their hardened heart. Turning a path into good soil requires time and effort.

The church needs willing intercessors who can take on this responsibility. Are you one of them?

Questions: Who do you know that may be a person on the path? How can you pray for them?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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