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Category Archives: Worship

Worship Calms the Storm

ReflectionIn my last post I talked about being transported before God’s throne as we worship Him. That’s a wonderful place to be. That’s why we should all be worshippers. Look at where the Spirit brings us to.

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
Revelation 4:6

In the book of Revelation and throughout the Bible, the symbolism of the sea speaks of nations. These are the saints of all nationalities worshipping Christ before His throne. But this sea is as calm as glass.

That’s because the place of worship is a place of peace. James talked about the negative reality of this truth.

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.
James 1:6

Doubt and unbelief puts us in a troubled sea of confusion. That’s not God’s will for us. The Lord wants to calm our sea. How does that happen?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

The word prayer in this verse literally means to draw near. When anxiety, worry, and confusion try to stir up our “ocean”; there’s only one remedy. We must take the time to draw near to God. The next verse tells us that the results are supernatural.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

This peace is ABOVE your understanding. When we come near to God in worship the things that should be causing anxiety melt away in God’s presence. I’m reminded of a chorus we used to sing many years ago.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full on His wonderful face,
And the things on earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

That’s the place of worship. But we have to set aside the time for this. That’s usually our problem. We have plenty of time to wallow in confusion and doubt. But the very thing that will calm the storm just doesn’t fit into our schedule.

We need to get our priorities straight. I find that I’m much more productive when I’m operating in the peace of God. I think you will too.

Draw near to God with the things you’re anxious about. Let the place of worship bring peace to your storm.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit brought peace into your life in the past?

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©Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2016 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Worship – The Spiritual Transporter

ThroneThe ability to worship Christ is one of the greatest gifts that we’ve been given. In the past I’ve talked about true worship. It takes place when we enter God’s presence. It doesn’t matter where we are on earth; it’s our position in the spirit that counts.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect…
Hebrews 12:22-23

When we begin to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth, it’s like we’re being transported before His throne. As we enter into worship, we find that we’re a part of two groups.

First, we’re a part of the church of Jesus Christ on the earth.

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
Colossians 2:5

We find that it’s through worship that the body of Christ is brought into unity. That’s why Scripture calls it the unity of the spirit. When we pray in the spirit, we’re united with the Holy Spirit. Of course, if we’re united with God’s Spirit, then we are also united with each other.

But there’s another group that I find myself with when I worship. According to the above verse, I’m with the spirits of righteous men made perfect. I believe that it’s talking about those who have passed on and are now in the Lord’s presence.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

We are worshipping with the saints on earth and in heaven.

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
Revelation 4:4

When I come before God’s throne to worship Him, I’m together with believers from both the Old and New Testaments. It’s a mind-blowing thought – that I can enter the universal chorus of worship that surrounds the Lord’s throne.

Some people are just waiting for the day that they can be a part of this heavenly worship. Little do they know that they can enter it right now, wherever they are.

Take advantage of this great gift. Enter the Lord’s presence in spirit and truth. Allow yourself to be caught up in the unity that only comes from being with Him.

Question: How often do you set aside to worship Christ in the spirit?

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© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Prayer in the Spirit, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Are You Thankful?

ThanksgivingHow thankful are you for all that God has done? Luke 17:11-19 has some interesting insights to help us answer that question.

In that portion of Scripture, a group of ten lepers went to Jesus for healing. He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. As they obeyed His command, they found they were healed along the way.

One former leper had a great response.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
Luke 17:15

The first thing he does is to come back to Jesus, yelling praises on the top of his lungs. He must have attracted a lot of attention, but he didn’t care. He wanted to praise God for what happened to him. That’s the first thing we see…

Thankful people live loud for the Lord. We must learn to have a lifestyle of praise. It’s time that God’s people come “out of the closet” with their thankfulness.

That’s because this is a normal response to the hand of God at work. It doesn’t mean that you have to yell all the time. But I am saying that God’s work should be abundantly evident in your life. But there was more…

He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:16

Next thing we see is this man throwing himself at Jesus’ feet. This is the position of worship.

Thankful people live a life of worship. Because we’re thankful – we worship. Worship acknowledges God for who He is. We’re simply grateful because He allows us to come before Him anytime we want, clothed in His righteousness.

But that verse also said that he thanked Jesus.

…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20

Are we to thank God for everything? The actual Greek says over everything. I need to thank God over everything I receive. (I don’t receive sickness, etc.)

Thankful people thank God over everything. We know the source of life and blessing. Of all people, we should be the ones who are constantly thanking God for the good things we see in our lives.

But there’s one more aspect of thankfulness that we need to look at. It comes from Jesus’ reaction to the healed man.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Luke 17:17-18

This question gives us insight into the heart of God. We all want to be loved and appreciated. Where do you think that comes from? I’ll tell you – we were created in the image of God.

Thankful people are sought out by God. Thank offerings were not required by the Law of Moses. God wanted the hearts of the people to prompt them to be thankful. When we’re thankful it opens the door for a richer walk with the Lord.

This Thanksgiving, in spite of all the other activities you may be involved in, take the time to be truly thankful before God.

Question: What are some of the biggest things you are grateful for?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Idolatry – Worship on my Terms

MirrorIn my last post I started talking about how we relate to God. It needs to be on His terms and not ours. In the book of Genesis, Cain learned that lesson the hard way and ended up angry and depressed.

That happens when we try to approach the Lord on our terms.

“After all, God should respond the way I want Him to no matter what the situation is.”

When this doesn’t work, we get upset. It’s just like what we read in the Psalms.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:5-6a

The Sons of Korah ask a very insightful question in this Psalm. It literally asks why is there a war raging inside me? The answer was simple.

“Your hope is not in God.”

Cain wanted a relationship based upon his desires and not God’s. It’s what we do many times. In ministry and in life, we cut corners, show up late, and pursue our priorities over God’s. We portray the unspoken attitude that “this should be good enough for God.”

We think that we should be accepted by God simply because we performed some task for Him. Unfortunately, that will never happen. We want to work for God’s approval. Then we can boast about how good we are, and how much more we do than others. It’s all about us.

In fact, it should be all about the Lord and His work in us. That’s the crux of the conflict between Cain and Abel. As a result, Abel became an innocent victim of Cain’s desire to approach God on his own terms.

It was also the start of a new trend that has carried on through the ages. Mankind wanted a god who was there when, and only when, they needed him. They didn’t want him to mess with their lives the rest of the time. They wanted a god who would help bring rain when their crops were dying. Make a sacrifice for rain and that’s it – a rain-god.

Oh, yes, and when I want a child, I may need a fertility god. On and on it went throughout the generations. What Cain did was the start of idolatry – worship on my terms.

There was a king of Israel who learned this the hard way. Saul was told what God’s will was, but he decided to do things his way instead.

“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:23

Why is arrogance like idolatry? It’s because by our arrogance we reject the known Word of God. We know what God has said, yet we do it our way and continue to expect His blessing on our lives. We say, “That should be good enough.”

This is one of the big problems of the modern American church. It seems so obvious to me when I compare our experience to that of the Book of Acts. The early church lived to do God’s will – all else was secondary.

Now our prayer is, “God use me, when my schedule is open. Maybe next Thursday at 3:00, if nothing else comes up.”

We need to make the will of God the highest priority in our lives. Then we can fit everything else in once we submit our whole schedule to the Lord.

Question: How often do you seek God’s leading when filling your schedule?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Worship in Spirit and Truth

DoveIn this post I’m continuing to talk about the encounter between the woman at the well and Jesus. He told her that He could give her living water. She replied that she wanted it so that she wouldn’t have to keep coming back to this well.

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:16-18

We usually miss what’s happening here because we live in a different culture. To us, having five husbands means that you must have low morals. In that culture it probably meant that she couldn’t bear children.

When each new husband realized that she couldn’t produce an heir, she was sent away. She was also under the stigma that if you can’t bear children, then you’re under a curse from God.

Jesus was showing her that God knew everything about her, and he loved her anyway. She was still a candidate for a blessing.

The woman was floored by that thought. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to bless you”, if you don’t know me. But to know everything about me and still love me enough to bless me; that’s overwhelming…let’s change the subject.

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:19-24

This is the key to what John wants to teach us by this encounter. The highest relationship with God is accomplished only in the spirit. The Lord is talking about being baptized in the spirit and continuing the relationship by praying in the spirit.

The natural is alright – but the highest and best is accomplished in the spirit. You can’t worship in spirit and truth simply using your flesh and your soul. As a matter of fact, you can sing, clap and dance without even thinking about it – it’s automatic sometimes. There are other times that I can think deeply about what I’m praying for. Those things are good and acceptable.

But the truth is that God desires a relationship with your spirit.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
John 4:25-26

Christ then reveals Himself to her. In this discussion we see God’s heart for us. He wants us to relate to Himself on a level that’s deeper than our minds can fathom. He wants us to communicate in the spirit. That’s why prayer in the spirit is so important. Don’t neglect this great gift.

Question: How often do you spend time praying in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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Are You Walking with God?

BeamOne of the most important concepts for any believer to grasp is walking with God. The fact is that God wants relationship. Do we respond to the Lord on that level?

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

We see this all through the Bible – in both the Old and New Testaments. God wants to walk and converse with His people.

We see it in the life of Adam; the first man. God would meet with him and they would walk together in the garden. Even after all these years, God is still looking for someone who’s willing to walk with Him.

I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
Leviticus 26:12

This is the cry of God’s heart. It’s one of the greatest privileges that we have as Christians. To be able to relate to the Creator of the universe.

And yet, only a small percentage of people avail themselves to this great offer. It’s probably because in our human nature we want things our way. Oh, yes, I want the blessing of God on my life. But I want them on my terms.

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?
Amos 3:3

This is the big problem of walking with God. It happens over and over in our Christian experience. Walking together requires agreement.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m walking with other believers or the Lord Jesus. The two of us have to be in agreement. The thing about God is; He’s not going to change His attitude about anything. I’m the one who’ll have to change in order for us to agree.

That’s why it’s all about relationship. It’s a growing process. There has to be a level of trust that’s only built up over time.

I don’t learn to trust God by hearing one sermon and making a decision. It only comes through quality time spent with Him in His presence. It’s developed as we do life together – the Lord and me.

There’s a lot we need to understand about relationships. They’re always a learning experience. Relationships grow and mature over time. When it comes to relating with God, there are aspects to it that only He can teach us.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Psalms 86:11

The more we allow Him to show us, the closer our walk with Him becomes. But for this to take place we have to give Him our undivided attention. Time spent in the Spirit is never wasted. It reaps eternal dividends.

I want to talk about this important concept for a couple of posts.

Question: What are some things that you’ve learned in your walk with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Temple or Marketplace?

Fake MoneyThere were a number of things that Jesus was passionate about in His ministry. Do we have a passion for those same things? Or do we spend our energy on things that aren’t important?

At the start of Jesus’ ministry He went to Jerusalem for the Passover. He had an interesting encounter with some men in the Temple area.

In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
John 2:14-16

I’ve heard some pretty animated discussions about this passage. People use it to teach about the evils of having a church fair or flea market. I’ve heard others say it’s a sin to have a church bookstore.

Through all of this I think that they’re missing the whole point of what Jesus is saying. We need to understand what was really going on. It was all about greed on the part of the priests.

There were some provisions in the law to make it easier for the people to tithe. If I lived far away from Jerusalem, I could sell the sheep I was bringing for a tithe. Then I travel to Jerusalem with the money, and buy more sheep when I get there. In that way it was less of a burden on the people.

Unfortunately, religion changed all that. The priests made a rule that you could only buy specially inspected animals at the Temple for an inflated price.

On top of that, you could only use specially minted Temple coins to buy these animals. These coins were purchased from the money-changers at a high rate of exchange.

The result was – if I started at home with 100 sheep as a tithe; by the time I was through with this process I might only be able to afford 50 to offer at the Temple. So the priests and salespeople were getting rich while the people and God were being robbed. Jesus was reacting to the thievery that He was witnessing.

But the real question is; how does this apply to us? In the above Scripture Jesus said to take this stuff out of the Temple area. More importantly, My Father’s house is not an emporium.

So, religious people get hung up about church flea markets or fairs. First of all – a church building is not my Father’s house. Right now – I am my Father’s house and you are too. We are the dwelling place of God’s Spirit.

The bottom line for them – and us – is greed. It’s about what your house is based upon. Are you an emporium – a marketplace? Is your life revolving around stuff?

Are you truly the house of God – a place of worship? Can people see by your life that your whole being is devoted to the worship of the Lord? Do all the parts of your life revolve around Him?

Everything starts with an attitude – what’s ours?

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:17

Do you hear what the Holy Spirit spoke to the Apostles about this matter? Zeal for YOUR HOUSE will CONSUME ME. Our zeal to be a place of worship should consume all that we are. Think about that in relation to our lives.

John the Baptist said, “I must decrease – He must increase.” This should be the attitude of all believers. I am not all about the temporary, material things of this world. I must maintain the integrity of the living temple where God reigns supreme.

Question: What are some things you do to keep your Temple a place of worship?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in Legalism, Ministry, Revival, Worship

 

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Remember the Sacred Mountain

MountainThe apostles Peter, James and John had a special relationship with Jesus. Because of this, they saw and heard things that the other disciples missed out on.

One time in particular they went up on a mountainside with the Lord. They witnesses some amazing events that day. They saw Christ take on the glory He had in Heaven.

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Matthew 17:2-3

That must have been an unforgettable experience for them. They had a new revelation of who Jesus was. This was a mountaintop that would forever change their lives.

Many years later, after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, Peter still recalls that day. He recounts what happened in one of his letters to the church.

For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
2 Peter 1:17-18

Here Peter is remembering back to the time when he and the two other apostles received a special revelation up on a mountaintop. Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes. He became robed in the majesty that was His before the foundations of the world. Peter calls that place the sacred mountain.

The fact is, we all have these places of special significance in our spiritual walk. These times with the Lord shouldn’t be lost in the past. They need to be remembered and brought with us into our destiny.

Where are your sacred mountains? Where are those special places where God’s Word to you changed your life?

Of course, because I like to hike, some of my most significant times with God actually occurred on mountains. I remember powerful times with the Lord on Mt. Major in New Hampshire, Stratton Mt. in Vermont, and Easter Mt. in Connecticut.

The problem I have is that my memory is so short. It’s easy for me to forget these deep encounters with God. Unless I record them, I will eventually lose the impact of my meetings with Him. I need to take the time to record these life-changing moments in my journal.

That’s why it’s so important for you to make note of these awesome events in some kind of journal. You can use paper and pen or one of your electronic devices. It doesn’t matter, as long as you keep a record of your important meetings with the Lord.

We must find a way to remember these special times. Make sure you keep a journal and record your encounters with the Lord. Years later you’ll be grateful that you did.

Question: What was one of your most memorable moments in the Lord’s presence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2016 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Cain – Repentance Breaks the Curse

CrossesI’m posting about Cain’s experience. He murdered his own brother because he thought that it would allow him to worship God on his own terms. It didn’t work.

He found himself away from his calling, and hidden from God’s presence. He even feared that he would be killed for his actions. But God did something surprising.

But the Lord said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
Genesis 4:15

God gave Cain the world’s first tattoo. It read, “Kill him and answer to Me – signed – GOD.”

Why would God do such a thing? Throughout His Word the Lord has said that murder is punishable by death. The answer is in His mercy.

Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, “God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.”
Genesis 4:25

This is a very strange statement for Eve to make. At this point she already had over 100 children. Why did she see the need to specifically replace Abel? The name Seth means to place in as a substitute.

Here’s where we see God’s mercy.

Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the Lord.
Genesis 4:26

What this verse tells us is that something happened when Seth was old enough to have children. The Bible literally says that calling on the name of the Lord was opened up. (The word men is not in the original Hebrew)

Why did God not allow Cain to be killed? The Lord wanted Cain to see the day when a new prophet would rise up. Seth could now offer the sin-offering for Cain’s forgiveness. I’d like to think that Cain took God’s offer of a second chance. I believe that we’ll see him in Heaven.

Remember – Cain’s curse was that he would be a restless wanderer.

Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
Genesis 4:17

Do you hear that? Cain built a city. He’s not a wanderer anymore. It sounds like the curse was broken over his life. I believe it’s because he took God’s offer of forgiveness.

What can we learn from all of this – the way of Cain? I can’t worship God on my own terms. It’s an epidemic of our generation of believers.

Many people say that they’re pursuing God. The truth is that I can only pursue God the way God wants to be pursued. Anything else and I’m just a spiritual wanderer.

We must worship God the way He wants to be worshipped – in spirit and in truth. Anything else misses the mark.

Question: What curses has God broken from over your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Cain – Worship On My Terms

WomanI’ve been posting about the offerings of Cain and Abel. What we’ve seen is that Abel was God’s designated prophet. If Cain’s gift was to be accepted, he had to bring it to Abel. This would have required Cain to humble himself.

“You mean I have to go to my little brother for God to accept my offering?”

The truth is that there’s only one way to worship God acceptably – God’s way. Cain had a problem with that.

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Genesis 4:8

The result was that Cain killed Abel. Cain’s thinking was that God wanted him to worship through the prophet. But what if there was no prophet? Then God would have to accept an offering from Cain’s hand.

Cain wanted to worship God on his own terms. He thought that God would have to accept his offering regardless of how he brought it. But that wasn’t the case.

Cain became the world’s first murderer. He was cursed for this sin.

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Genesis 4:10-12

What was Cain’s response?

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Genesis 4:13-14

Cain said that his punishment would be unbearable. Why? Not only was he driven from the land, but he would be hidden from God’s presence.

Does that sound like an angry, hardened reprobate to you? I don’t see any of that as he stands before God.

He is starting to understand his situation. He can no longer fulfill his calling – being driven from the land. He can’t find forgiveness in the presence of God. The only advocate that he could have gone to – Abel – is dead. It even dawns on him that he deserves death.

His answer to God sounds sorrowful to me. He sounds more humble that Adam and Eve did when they sinned.

This shows the mercy of God. The conversation between Cain and God still sounds like the interactions of a father and a wayward son.

We serve a God who always desires restoration over judgment. The outcome of this event is no different. Cain was sorry for what he had done. God had a remedy.

In my next post you’ll see how the story ends. It’s probably different than you think.

Question: How has God’s forgiveness affected your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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