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Understanding the Times

Understanding the Times

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. Having talked about our debt to love one another, Paul now shows us its importance.

He causes us to ask an important question. Do we know where we are in the history of the church? It’s vital that we understand the times we live in.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

We need to know where we are on God’s timetable. I think we can all agree that we live in a very treacherous times. There are many things happening that that are difficult to go through.

I don’t like saying it, but the truth is that past generations of believers could “sleep” through their Christian walk. Not us. We live in a dangerous generation.

The Apostle Paul continues talking about this.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans 13:12-14

In this generation we need to lay aside the things that are a part of the darkness. In their place, we must put on the armor of God.

We must live carefully and clothe ourselves with Christ. And as I focused on in my last post, we need to show the love of Christ to all those around us. That’s how we keep alert spiritually and fulfill God’s plan.

This requires us to stay spiritually strong.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

This verse literally says that we must keep watch with all persistency. That word persistency means to be strong toward, to be diligent. We must be diligent in the times we find ourselves in.

When we say that we need to be strong toward something, it speaks about a goal, a direction. We sometimes use the term “press in.”

In a battle, there are places that are hard to get to. There are houses you can’t enter until you bind the strong man. It isn’t easy to press into the miraculous. If it was – everyone, every church, would have it.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:42-43

Was it any easier back then, in the early church? Did those believers have all the time in the world to do all these things? I don’t think they were any different from us. It was as hard for them as it is for this generation.

If we want God’s best, it takes diligence. It will cause us to leave our comfort zone. But the spiritual rewards will be worth it.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult about pressing in to God’s presence?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

The Love Debt

The Love Debt

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Romans, he now talks about the debt we owe to one another.

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Romans 13:8-9

Paul makes it clear that we shouldn’t be in debt. However, there is a debt that will always remain in our lives. That’s the love debt that we owe to each other.

He goes as far as to say that this love actually fulfills the requirements of God’s law. This goes right along with what Jesus taught in His ministry. At one point the Lord was asked which of the commandments was the most important. Listen to His answer.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31

These are the two debts that we will always be living under. Our debt to love God and our debt to love others.

In both verses, we’re told to love others as we love ourselves. That’s an important concept. There are many people who haven’t learned to love themselves, so they find it hard to love others.

This principle of love is hard for many people to grasp. They don’t realize that this love has nothing to do with our emotions. It’s a choice we make to participate positively in someone’s life.

That includes myself. If I’m not making choices to make my life and relationships better, then I don’t really love myself. Many of us live very self-destructive lifestyles. This lack of self-love spills over into our treatment of others.

Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Romans 13:10

I would even say that those who treat others badly, are showing that they actually hate themselves. That’s why we need to understand how God sees us, and take up that same attitude. Even with all of my frailties and imperfections, I’m exactly who God says I am.

Having that attitude helps me to treat others with love and respect. This last verse tells us that love does no evil to his /her neighbor. You can’t say “I love them,” and then treat them badly.

That’s why love fulfills the law. Love for God, self, and others gives me the ability to fulfill God’s will for my life.

But there’s a deeper reason why we must love. The Lord told this to His disciples just before He went to the cross.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

Jesus makes it clear that our love is a part of our witness to the world. When we walk in the love of Christ, those around us see something they don’t understand. It opens the door to hearing our testimony.

Walk in God’s love, and fulfill your destiny in Christ.

Question: How have you showed the love of God recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Authority and Conscience

Authority and Conscience

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul sums up his teaching on God-given authority.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Romans 13:5

As far as believers go, we don’t submit to our authorities because we fear wrath or punishment. According to Paul, our consciences should be telling us it’s the right thing to do. We need to learn to listen to the inner voice of our conscience.

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 1:12

Our conscience is a very important part of our being. God has given us a conscience to work with our spirit and God’s grace. It’s important to understand how it functions.

Our conscience puts together what we know from God. It then applies it to our present situation. As it continues to operate, it either tells us that our actions are right or wrong.

Unfortunately, many of us have learned to ignore our conscience. We find ways to justify what we want to do, even though we know it’s not God’s will for us.

There are times when we’ll blame others. They give us godly advice and in response, we get upset at them. “Why are you trying to make me feel guilty.”

Most of the time it’s because they care about us. They’re not trying to put guilt on us. It’s just that our conscience agrees with them. Instead of fighting it, we should learn to listen to the voice of our conscience. We could avoid a lot of trouble that way.

If you continue to ignore your conscience for too long, there’s a terrible effect that this has on your life.

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:2

People in this condition are walking in hypocrisy. They say that they love God and are serving Him. Yet, it’s obvious from their life that this is far from the truth.

I said all that to reinforce the fact that we need to listen to our consciences in regard to submission to our God-given authorities. It’s a normal part of life. Paul gives us some practical applications.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13:6-7

Paul makes a clear statement. Because of our understanding of authority and submission, we should pay our taxes. That’s because there are those giving their full time to governing. They’re our public servants.

You may not like the person in office or the public officials you have to deal with. That’s not the issue. It’s all about what’s right, and listening to our inner man.

He makes it clear that we need to pay all that we owe. Paul uses different words to describe these debts. Taxes and revenue are what we pay on property and income. Actually, they tried to trip Jesus up with this question.

The word translated, respect, is literally the Greek word for fear. From my perspective, God is the only one fear is owed to. This covers what Jesus answered about taxes. Give Caesar his portion (money) and give God what belongs to Him (fear).

Finally, honor is the value you place on someone. Without value there’s no honor. We need to value each other. This is how we stay in the flow of God’s authority.

Question: How well do you follow the voice of your conscience?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Don’t Ignore Your Sword

Don’t Ignore Your Sword

We’ve been looking at the concept of authority in the book of Romans. So far I’ve talked about the chains of authority as seen in our society. However, there’s a spiritual side to this as well.

Last time, we left of in this verse of Paul’s letter to the Roman church. He is talking about the person in the position of authority.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Romans 13:4

This verse contains a deep spiritual truth that we often miss because we usually apply this only in the natural. Think about what the apostle is saying here.

He’s talking about those who have been given authority by God. Have you been given authority from God? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!!!”

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Luke 10:19

Because of the work of Christ on the cross, we have authority over all of the enemy’s kingdom. We don’t have to fear them.

Another question to ask yourself is; are you God’s servant to do good to those around you? Again, the answer to that one should be a “yes.” We are all God’s servants, if we’re in Christ.

But, now we get to the important phrase; he does not bear the sword for nothing. Do you have a sword? That’s the big question.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17

We definitely have access to a sword. However, are we using it? Why has God given us the ability to take up this weapon?

God has given us the sword of the spirit. It’s the rhema-word of God. That requires us to be listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The fact is, if you’re in Christ, then you are God’s servant. You’re in a position of authority. You have not been given the sword of the spirit simply for show. There’s a divine purpose for it.

As God’s people we’ve been given the assignment to clean things up spiritually. It’s just like in the old western movies where the Texas Ranger arrives at a lawless frontier town. Everything gets put in order.

We’re supposed to be wreaking havoc on the enemies’ turf. Isn’t that what the Lord told His disciples?

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew 16:18

The gates of hell should not be prevailing against us. Where are the gates of hell? They surround the enemy’s strongholds. This verse is a call for us to walk in the offensive power of the spirit.

Unfortunately, many Christians bear the sword for no reason. Actually, a large number of us don’t ever pick it up.

According to the verse in Romans, we’re literally called punishers. Our goal should be to bring down God’s wrath upon the enemy’s spiritual kingdom right now. We should be putting fear into the hearts of demonic forces around the world.

But, that will require us to spend quality time in the Holy Spirit’s presence. It’s all about prayer in the spirit, meditation on God’s Word, and obedience to His voice. The body of Christ, in our generation, needs to wake up to this truth.

Question: How do you view God’s authority operating through you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God-Given Authority

God-Given Authority

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re looking at God’s authority structures. We need to learn godly submission, if we want God’s best for us.

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

Romans 13:3

Under normal circumstances, those in authority don’t strike fear in the ones doing good. It’s those who are breaking the law that fear.

It’s like the people who are in their cars, speeding down the highway. Then, suddenly, when they see a police cruiser parked on the side, they jam on their brakes.

Paul asks and answers a simple question. Do you want to be free from this fear? Then do what’s right.

At this point, Paul gives us an important spiritual key.

For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Romans 13:4

The apostle makes it clear that the one in authority is God’s servant to do you good. That’s an important point.

We understand that all authority in heaven and earth is God’s. Any authority that someone has is ultimately from God. What we have to do is separate the authority, from the individual who’s in authority.

Authority is a place, a position that someone occupies. We have to realize that God has established the position so there will be order.

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Hebrews 13:17

This includes kings, presidents, governors, senators, etc. We are to respect the position as a part of God-ordained authority. Who is in that position is immaterial, and that’s the hard part.

In my last post, we looked at this next verse. God was addressing King Saul.

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

Saul was in the position of king, but God had rejected him. Yet, for years he remained in the office.

At one point, David was being hunted down by Saul, for no reason but jealousy. In the wilderness, David had a chance to kill Saul in his sleep, but he didn’t.

This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’”

1 Samuel 24:10

Here we can see David’s heart. For years the wrong man was in the position of king. The nation was in turmoil. But the position had to be respected.

Our God is a God of order. It’s through God’s order that we can live good and productive lives.

The fact is that no matter who is in the position of authority, there will be those who don’t think he or she should be there. That’s immaterial to the discussion. We respect and pray for our leaders because of the position.

Question: What’s your prayer for our leaders, in both the church and in government?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Flow of Authority

The Flow of Authority

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Today we’re starting chapter 13. In this chapter, Paul begins to talk about authority and our relationship to it.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God

Romans 13:1

The first thing we need to do is define what authority is, exactly. There are many people who confuse authority and power. Although they function together, they’re not the same thing.

Authority is basically the permission or freedom to do something. This permission must come from someone higher up the chain of authority. Power, on the other hand, is the ability to carry out that which you have the permission or freedom to do.

Paul begins by establishing the basis for authority. As I’ve said, there’s a chain of authority. It all flows from the throne of God. There is no authority (permission to use power) except what comes from God.

We also need to realize that all authority has been arranged by God in an orderly manner. That’s because God is a God of order.

Please understand – God has established all the authority structures. However, not every person in those positions of authority were placed there by God. It’s the structure that is God-ordained.

This is the reason that we must submit ourselves to those in authority. That’s the only way for authority to flow to me.

The word, submit, means to arrange under. It’s a choice I make to arrange myself under the chain of authority God has called me to be a part of. When I submit myself in His plan, I have God’s authority flowing through me.

That brings us to the next important concept – rebellion.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:2

The Greek word for rebel in this verse means to oppose the arrangement. It tells us that if we rebel against authority, we’re standing against what God instituted. In other words, we are opposing the way God chooses to work through us.

The Word is very clear on this point. If you do this, you’ll receive a guilty verdict. Without submission, we have no authority. Without authority, we have no permission to walk in the power of God.

This is how it worked during the ministry of Jesus.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17

The disciples understood how their authority functioned. It wasn’t their natural ability. In the same way, we must be clear where our authority comes from. Never think that it’s because of your own goodness.

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

This is the opposite of how God’s kingdom works. Sorcery wants to have power without God’s authority. This is how demonic forces operate. That’s also why those who walk in God’s power and authority have nothing to fear from the devil’s kingdom.

We must learn to submit ourselves to God’s authority structures. That’s the only way to walk in the power of God.

Question: Who do you submit to in the chains of authority God has placed you in?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Power of God

 

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Overcoming Evil with Good

Overcoming Evil with Good

We’re continuing our walk through Romans. Paul is exhorting us to walk in maturity. Of course this is impossible without first implementing his teachings in chapters 8-10. He now makes a very important statement that we should consider carefully.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

Is this verse true? Can evil be overcome with good? The answer is a resounding YES! The principles of God’s Word bring victory over evil. Look at the example of Scripture.

In the early church of Jerusalem thousands of people a month were being saved. Jesus was being preached. Also during this time the apostles were arrested and brought before the religious leaders for questioning.

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Acts 4:18

This was the outcome of their meeting. Does it sound familiar to you? It should. This is the attitude of society in the United States today. They tell us that we can do whatever we want – just don’t mention Jesus.

What was the response of the church in Jerusalem to this kind of attitude? Did they go out and preach some more? Hold a Jesus concert? Put a referendum on the ballot? Absolutely not.

They called a prayer meeting. This is what they brought before the Lord at that time.

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30

Considering that they were told not to use the name of Jesus, here’s their request. First, they asked for boldness. Then they asked for healings, miraculous signs and wonders. But the important point was that they wanted all these things to be accomplished in the name of Jesus.

They didn’t just want to preach in His name, they wanted the world to see the power of the name of Jesus. This is the forgiveness principle at work – it’s the power to arrest and destroy sin. It’s all done by the power of the Spirit.

Wait a minute, what does forgiveness have to do with overcoming evil with good? I’m glad you asked. This brings me to a verse that I’ve heard preached many times about our nation. It’s only the power of God – not politics – that will turn our nation around.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Do we want our land healed? Then sin must be forgiven – removed – arrested and destroyed. The only way this will happen is for the church to get on our knees. There needs to be intercession made for our nation.

Not praying for a better president or leaders. Not praying for new laws. We must cry out for God to give us the boldness to speak His Word. We must intercede for the Lord to send miracles, healings, signs and wonders. All of this so that the name of Jesus can break sin.

After all, it’s so much easier to win the lost if the battle is won first in the heavens. In order for us to overcome evil with good, we need to do what it takes. It will require consistent times in God’s presence.

Questions: Why is it so hard to get people to intercede for our nation? Are you willing to “pray the price” for revival?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2021 in Ministry, Power of God, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

Revenge is Mine, Or Not

Revenge is Mine, Or Not

As we continue through Romans, Paul is encouraging us to live peacefully with those around us. This even includes our enemies.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:19-20

This verse clearly tells us not to take it upon ourselves to punish or retaliate against someone who has wronged us. That’s a hard instruction to live out.

Instead, we’re told to leave an opening for the passion, wrath, of God. This goes against our very human nature. We want to feel like we’ve vindicated ourselves. We have a need to prove that we are right and they are wrong.

Paul brought out an example of this in his dealings with the Corinthian church. If you remember, the people of Corinth had a pastime of going to court. It was great entertainment for them.

This even spilled over into the church. Fellow believers were taking each other to court and suing each other for the smallest of problems.

Paul had some strong words for them.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

1 Corinthians 6:7-8

Paul makes it clear that when we pursue our own vindication, in our own power, we’ve completely failed right from the start. We’re defeated before we even start to fight the battle. Instead, we should seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this may involve legal means. But there are many times that it will be something less confrontational.

But, as I read the verses from Romans, it seems that it’s more about attitude than anything else. It takes a complete change of perspective to do good to those we consider our enemies. Of course there are those who deceive themselves and say, “I don’t have any enemies.” It’s an attempt to get around God’s command.

I get it. You don’t have any “enemies”. You just have people that you avoid being around, or speaking to, because you don’t like them. These are the very people that you need to go out of your way to show the kindness of Christ to.

According to Paul, we don’t do what’s expected. Our good actions will cause a pain in their head. The more our enemies think about it, the more confused they become. The Holy Spirit will use that to draw them to Christ.

We want to be vindicated. The big question for us is; what’s our goal? Are we after our vindication or a soul that’s saved and in the kingdom of Heaven?

We think that if we’re not vindicated, then we’ve lost. Actually, the real victory is a changed life. That’s a sign of the power of God at work through you.

Let God have His way in the lives of those around you. Walk in the love of Christ and don’t seek your own agenda. See the victory that can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How have you seen the power of these principles at work in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2021 in Fellowship, Relationships, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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One With the Body of Christ

One With the Body of Christ

We’re continuing our walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. In this section of the epistle, he’s talking about the walk of maturity.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Romans 12:16

This next verse deals with how we see ourselves in God’s kingdom. That first sentence literally says, be the same toward one another. We need to realize that in Christ, none of us are any different from one another.

According to our human way of thinking, little things make big differences to us. However, these petty differences mean nothing to God.

Things like where we’re from, what we look like, money, position, and education are all immaterial to God and should be to us. We’re all the same in His eyes.

This means that bigotry and self-interest have no place in the church. That includes race and gender, as well as political preferences. We’re here to serve one another, no matter what.

Then, Paul tells us not to place our focus on high things. Instead, focus on the humble, and get carried away with them. Humility is an important part of the Christian walk. Paul isn’t the only one who talks about it.

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:5-6

I like the way Peter explains this. We’re to put on humility like a piece of clothing. It can cover over all the junk that may be going on inside of us.

But more than that, it comes with a blessing. Humility brings a covering of God’s grace with it. As we humble ourselves, we open our lives up to a release of God’s power. One of the best ways to walk in God’s grace is to live humbly with others.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, Paul’s last statement is very interesting. The original Greek reads, do not become skillful at revolving everything around yourself.

Sometimes it seems that this is how we view the Scripture and our walk with God. “God and the Bible exist simply to bless me.” Absolutely not!! God’s highest goal is to make me a blessing to others. That includes those who do not act kindly toward me.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Romans 12:17

This is another exhortation that needs the power of God to fulfill. Don’t give back evil for evil.

Instead, we’re told to be careful. That means to consider in advance. In other words, we must prepare ourselves to do what’s good in the sight of all men – even those who hate us.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

Wow! This is a big “if”. It literally says that if you have the power to bring it out of yourself, have peace around all men.

Remember, this is the fruit of the spirit of peace. It grows in you as you plant the seed of the Word and let it mature in the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

This is the peace we must live in. It’s an attitude that must be cultivated in God’s presence. This is one of the surest ways of judging maturity. It’s about how well we live with those around us.

Question: How well does your life reflect these qualities?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Being a Blessing

Being a Blessing

As we go through this last section of Romans, there are some tough exhortations. But remember, this part of Romans assumes that you’ve applied chapters 8-10. This gives you the ability for what’s ahead.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Romans 12:14

The teaching here goes against our very human nature. This is impossible to do apart from the strength of the Holy Spirit.

This is more than just ignoring those who persecute you or putting up with them. The word, bless, means to speak well of them. To do that, requires us to see through God’s eyes. We need to see what they could become in Christ.

In this verse, Paul even repeats himself with emphasis. He tells us to bless them and don’t curse them – literally, don’t speak doom over them.

To accomplish this requires quality time with the Holy Spirit.

Another thing we must learn, according to Paul, is identification.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Romans 12:15

We must learn to be happy in the midst of happiness and mournful in the midst of mourning. So often we miss this characteristic of Christ.

Jesus sent out 72 of His followers to do what He was doing. They got amazing results.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Luke 10:17

They returned full of joy. What was Jesus’ reaction?

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Luke 10:18-21

The phrase, full of joy, literally means to jump and dance around with joy. I can picture the Lord giving them all high-fives as they arrived.

Then again, when Lazarus died…

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

John 11:33-36

The fact is that Jesus didn’t need to weep. The Lord knew that He was going to call Lazarus back to life. But, He identified with those who were in mourning.

When we identify with others, it shows them that we care about what they’re going through – either good or bad. Many times that will open their hearts to allow us to speak the truth of the Word into their lives.

To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

We need to follow Paul’s example.

Question: How have you been a blessing to someone else recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2021 in Ministry, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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