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Prepared?

Prepared?

We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. Jesus now tells the crowds about the rich man and Lazarus. You may want to read Luke 16:19-31 before going further in the post.

The Lord has been talking about the difference between living under the Law of Moses and entering the kingdom of God. It’s the difference between following rules and cultivating a relationship with God.

Christ said that those who enter the kingdom have to put forth an effort. It requires conviction and zeal to find that “narrow gate” which leads to the life in the spirit.

He concludes this teaching by talking about the rich man and Lazarus. There are many who believe that this is not a parable. They think it’s an actual event Jesus is talking about. They believe this because Jesus doesn’t give anyone an actual name in His parables.

Whatever the case, we need to hear what the Lord is saying to us. It’s not simply about being saved.

The Lord starts with the two main characters. The first is a rich man, who according to Christ, radiated rejoicing every day.

Then there was a poor beggar who was thrown down at the rich man’s gate every day. He watched the house and wished that he could eat the crumbs that the rich man threw away. This beggar was covered in sores that he allowed the dogs to lick in order to keep them clean.

The Lord then describes what happened after they both died. We need to remember that this description is about death before the resurrection of Christ. At that time everyone went to a “holding area”, waiting for the salvation that Christ would purchase.

In this holding area, there were two sections. One for those who were lost, and one for those were looking forward in faith to the Messiah.

It’s very interesting the way the story unfolds. One thing I see, is that attitudes and perceptions don’t change, even after death. Look at the request that the rich man asked of Abraham.

So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’”

Luke 16:24 NIV

Do you hear the attitude? The rich man still sees himself as superior to Lazarus. He expects Lazarus to tend to his needs. Abraham explains that this will never happen.

When he sees that his condition will not be improved, the rich man begins to think about his family. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to tell his brothers about this place.

Abraham tells the rich man that his family already knows about this. They have the Scripture warning them about the afterlife.

The rich man says that they need a miracle to convince them. They need to see someone rise from the dead.

Abraham counters with a very important statement.

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Luke 16:31 NIV

That raises an important question we need to ask ourselves. What will it take for us to wholeheartedly follow God’s Word? We all need to come to grips with this.

In this story, I see so many parallels with the generation we’re living in. Yes, I know that we’re now living under grace and not under the Law. I know that in Christ, our sins are covered, and we stand in the righteousness of God.

However, there are still things that please and displease the Lord. There is still going to be a final judgment where we receive, or don’t receive, rewards for our service to Christ.

Many believers live in luxury, with no thought to those who are dying around them. Many powerful ministries are starving for the resources that could multiply their ability to reach the lost. What side of the kingdom are you sitting on?

This story should force us to think about our eternal future. Set aside spiritual riches for the kingdom. Prepare now for your future with Christ.

Question: How prepared are you for your eternal life in the kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Humility and Hospitality

Humility and Hospitality

We’re continuing through the book of Luke. Jesus is at a banquet in His honor, but the Pharisees are watching closely to find something with which they can accuse Him. The Lord takes the opportunity to teach them some valuable lessons.

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable:

Luke 14:7 NIV

There’s one thing I’ve noticed about us as human beings. We’re so self-absorbed sometimes. We don’t stop and think about who’s around us. Jesus tells us to step back and use some restraint.

When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests.”

Luke 14:8-10 NIV

When we have a self-important attitude, it blinds us to everything going on around us. I’d like to think that there’s no one more important than me. But, that’s foolishness, plain and simple.

It’s not about what I think of myself. It’s about how God and others see me. I need to take the blinders off, and walk in humility.

Remember, humility is not about putting myself down. It’s exalting others above my own interests. Allowing others to be blessed is walking in true humility.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14:11 NIV

This is the guiding principle. Where do you want your praise to come from? Self-exaltation is worthless. But, when God exalts you, then He gets the glory from your life. It puts you in a much better position.

However, pride is not only seen in your struggle for a popular position.

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12-14 NIV

Sometimes our pride can be seen in how we brag about the people we know. Dropping a well-known name here and there might impress some people. It can be seen in who you invite to your get-togethers.

According to Christ, if that’s your motivation, then you’ll have no future reward. Jesus advises us to lay up treasure in Heaven. We do so by showing kindness and humility, inviting those who cannot repay us.

Jesus makes it clear that at the resurrection of the righteous there’s going to be rewards. He’s just as clear that our rewards will be based upon how well we follow His precepts.

Knowing this, we should be constantly aware of our attitudes. Our desire should be to please the King and to be found faithful at His return. Who are you trying to please? Are you trying to become a legend in your own mind?

Maybe you’re trying to impress the world with your greatness. Instead, we should we trying to live like Jesus did. It’s time for us to wake up and become “God-pleasers” instead of “man-pleasers.”

Allow the Holy Spirit to test your attitudes. Go before Him and let Him speak to you and change you, if necessary. We need to be walking in the true humility of the Lord. That’s how we’re exalted in His kingdom.

Question: What’s your attitude toward yourself and others?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2022 in Fellowship, Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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Looking for Convenience?

Looking for Convenience?

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, today’s post finds us starting chapter 5. You may want to review Luke 5:1-11 before reading this post.

Jesus has now started His public ministry. He’s traveling around Israel, teaching as He goes. This section of Scripture finds Him at the Sea of Galilee.

As the Lord begins speaking, a large crowd forms around Him to listen to the Word of God. Seeing some fishermen nearby, Jesus asks them if they could take Him out on the water a little way. This is because the lake acts like a natural sound amplifier, so the people could hear Him better.

There’s some background that you need to understand about this encounter. This is not the first time Simon (Peter) has met with Jesus.

Andrew, Simon’s brother, was a disciple of John the Baptist. After hearing the testimony of John, Andrew met with Jesus. Realizing that He was the Messiah, Andrew took his brother, Simon, to meet with the Lord. It was at that meeting that Jesus began calling Simon by the name Peter. (John 1:35-41)

Now, getting back to the present events, we find Peter and his business partners washing their nets. They had just spent the whole night fishing, with no results. Peter were tired, frustrated, and probably not in the best mood when Jesus came to him with this request.

One more thing. Here’s a spiritual nugget for you. When you read the Gospels, you have to realize that Jesus had the same ministry to the disciples that the Holy Spirit has to the church right now. We can gain a lot of insight as we read it this way.

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is instructing us to do something when we don’t feel like it. We need to learn to get over our attitudes and simply obey Him. We must think like Peter and agree with the Spirit.

I don’t know how long Jesus taught the people. The Scripture doesn’t say. However long it was, I’m sure Peter was anxious to get home to rest.

Finally, Jesus finishes His teaching to the crowds. Peter is ready to return home. But that doesn’t happen.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Luke 5:4

Jesus has another request. Isn’t that just like the Holy Spirit. There are times the Spirit wants you to do things when it seems most inconvenient.

There have been times I was tired, frustrated, or just in a bad mood. It seems like that’s the time the Lord picks for me to minister to someone to help meet their needs. I have to pick up Peter’s attitude in these instances.

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Luke 5:5

“Lord, I really don’t feel like helping anyone right now. But, because You say so…I’ll do it.”

The results of obedience are amazing. In Peter’s case, they got a haul of fishes beyond anything they could have imagined.

It cut Peter to the heart. He saw that Jesus was operating in the power of Almighty God. As he reflected on all of his bad attitudes and internal complaints, he fell to his knees. He realized his need for a life-change.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

Luke 5:10b

It always strikes me that true repentance brings a confirmation of God’s love. Peter was truly changed that day. And not just him, but his whole fishing company.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John all laid down their nets that day. They left all to follow Christ and obey His words. We need to walk that same road, and we’ll see the same results.

Question: How have you obeyed the Holy Spirit’s call when it was inconvenient?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our Glorious God

Our Glorious God

In my last post, I started talking about the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth. This occurred when they both became pregnant after hearing a message from God. Elizabeth was carrying John the Baptist, while Mary was pregnant with Jesus.

We saw that when they met together, God showed up. He overshadowed their time together. Elizabeth was given a revelation of who Mary would give birth to – the Messiah. Now Mary is overcome by the presence of the Lord and she begins to prophesy.

This is found in Luke 1:46-56. You may want to read this passage before continuing with this post.

She begins with a revelation of who she is, and the magnitude of what God is doing in her.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name.”

Luke 1:46-49

It’s important to see her attitude here. She understands that it’s all about God, and has nothing to do with how good she is. She sees God as her Lord and Savior. Her blessing is from Him alone.

We need to learn this lesson. There’s nothing we can do to work for, or earn the Lord’s blessing. It’s all a part of what Christ accomplished for us on the cross. All we can do is accept the blessing of His salvation.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.”

Luke 1:50-51

God alone is merciful and mighty. It’s important for us to understand what that means. We get a skewed understanding of mercy sometimes.

In our modern generation we use the word, mercy, incorrectly. We think it means to give someone a second chance after they’ve wronged us. We sweep their sin under the carpet. That’s not the Biblical idea.

Notice that God extends mercy to those who fear Him. That’s because God’s mercy is His reward to those who are obedient to His covenant. It’s the added benefit you get for being part of the family.

To fear God means that you humble yourself before Him. These verses reinforce the fact that pride hinders our relationship with the Lord. It’s all about our attitudes.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”

Luke 1:52-53

Ruling, humble, hungry, and rich are all attitudes. They’re choices we have to make. Am I in charge of my life (ruler) or is God in charge (humble)? Do I see my need for the Lord’s help (hungry) or do I think I can make it without His help (rich)? How we answer these questions determine the amount of grace we receive.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”

Luke 1:54-55

I especially love this last part. This blessing is forever on the descendants of Abraham. That includes me.

Remember, from the book of Romans, that as Gentile believers we’ve been grafted into the family of Abraham. Genetically, I have no part of this heritage, yet because of Christ I can claim the full rights of a son of Abraham. And, you can too if you’ve bowed your knee to Jesus Christ.

This whole exchange was just the first few minutes of Mary and Elizabeth getting together. I can only imagine what the next few months were like. The mutual encouragement must have been incredible. This is what life in the family of God should be like for all of us.

Question: How is your knowledge of God increased by your meeting with other believers?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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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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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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Squatters in God’s Kingdom

Squatters in God’s Kingdom

Over the next couple of weeks or so I’ll be on vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost some of my most read articles that I feel are important. Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already. If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

What’s your purpose for being a part of God’s kingdom? Are you fulfilling that purpose? Jesus gives some parables to explain God’s priorities.

Today I’ll be looking at the Parable of the Vineyard as recorded in Mark chapter 12, verses 1 through 12. You may want to read it in Scripture before continuing with this post.

In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who owned a vineyard and rented it out to some farmers. According to the terms of the lease, the owner was to get a share of the harvest as payment. This was a normal agreement for property owners in those days.

It’s interesting to see that the owner did all the work to set up the vineyard. All the farmers needed to do was move in and start harvesting.

How does this relate to the kingdom of God? Simply put, the Lord is looking for fruit. It’s not about our church attendance, Bible reading, or even our tithing. He’s looking for the fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit that He placed within us.

During His ministry with the disciples, Jesus made this abundantly clear to them.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

What we have to understand is that this is not our kingdom, but God’s. Everything we have is owned by someone else. Even our very lives belong to the Lord.

Because of this, God is well within His rights to demand anything He wants from us. We know right from the outset that He’s looking for the fruit of the Spirit.

Please understand that the fruit of our relationship with Christ is for the benefit and refreshing of those around us. The fruit of the Spirit are not merely for my personal gain.

The tenants in the parable didn’t understand this. They wanted to keep everything for themselves.

We live in a society where we’ve been taught that in most places – restaurants, stores, etc. – it’s all about what I want or need. Somehow we’ve transferred this mindset into our spiritual life. When it comes to being a part of a local church; I base it on what I can get from it.

What services do you offer me and my family? Do I like the type of music and the length of the worship service? Do I enjoy the way the Pastor delivers his sermons?

Wait a minute!!! Why does God have me in His kingdom? Is it purely for my comfort and enjoyment? No! I serve at the Lord’s good pleasure.

The tenants in this parable made a great mistake. They figured that if they could get rid of the owner’s son, then they could take over the vineyard. After all, squatters have rights.

Too often, I’ve seen this attitude in God’s people. The Bible refers to it as godlessness. Yes, there are many godless Christians.

To be godless simply means that God and His will don’t figure into any of your decisions. You’re living as if there’s no God. These are the squatters in God’s kingdom. They’re living on God’s property as if it belongs to them.

If you’ve been guilty of this attitude, then it’s time to repent. Get back to the purpose you were saved for. We need to be producing the fruit of the kingdom.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8

Question: What are the fruits of the spirit that you have produced most recently?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2021 in Anointing, Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Form of Religion

The Form of Religion

In my last post we started looking at Paul’s view of religious people.  We saw that it’s foolish to rest on a set of rules rather than the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul continues…

…if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth…

Romans 2:19-20

Remember, when talking about religious people, I’m referring to those who choose religion over relationship with Christ.  They’ve convinced themselves about a number of things.

They see their lifestyle as superior to those around them.  They view others as blind, in the dark, mindless, and infantile.  On the other hand they view themselves as a guide, a light, an instructor, and a teacher.

That’s the unfortunate attitude of legalism.  By constantly judging the lives of others, you have a huge blind spot concerning your own walk.

Let me say this to all the godly teachers reading this.  There’s nothing wrong with being called to teach or guide others into the truth.  It’s all about your attitude.

My calling is to be a pastor and teacher in the body of Christ.  But, I’ve learned over the years that there’s a fine line that I have to walk.

My job is to help people to know and understand God’s Word.  I endeavor to show how the Scripture applies to your life.

That’s as far as it goes.  I have to realize that I cannot change anybody’s life.  It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to do that.  If anyone is blessed, it’s because of the Lord working in their life through the Word.

I might be the one you see speaking or writing.  But, I want it to be the Spirit teaching and guiding you.  Like I said, it’s all about the attitude.

However, I think there’s an important point that we miss in the above passage.  It has to do with the words that were used in translation.

When Paul says, you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, it gives the wrong impression.  The word, embodiment, is actually a word that means a form or appearance.  Following a set of rules only appears to be a logical way to serve God.

Unfortunately, we’re told that it’s not the best way.  In talking about what people would be like in the last days, Paul makes this comment about them.

…having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:5

Simply following a set of religious rules is a form without the substance.  These rules are like a jail cell.  Can we say that a car thief has changed just because he’s in jail?  Absolutely not!  It’s just that there are no cars available for him to steal.

It’s the same with a set of rules.  As long as my will-power is intact, it appears that I’ve changed.  However, when opportunity and weakness get the better of me, I show what’s really on the inside.  I need the true change that only comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in me.

Don’t allow empty religion to get the better of you.  Spend some time becoming more intimate with the Lord through His Holy Spirit.

Question: how do you overcome the temptation to be religious?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Sowing and Reaping

As we continue through the book of 2 Corinthians, Paul gives us more principles concerning the grace of giving.  He will now deal with some truths that have a greater application than simply your money.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
2 Corinthians 9:6

Here we have the principle of sowing and reaping.  It’s taught a lot in the body of Christ.  We mostly hear it before offering time.

In the context of Paul’s letter, he’s definitely applying it to money.  But we have to realize that it has a much greater range than that.

I think that one of our problems is that much of our teaching centers around the English reading of this verse.  Most of what I’ve heard can be boiled down to “if you plant a lot, you’ll reap a lot.”

However, that’s not what I get when I read it in the original Greek.  The word for sparingly means to keep back, avoiding excess.  It also means to be cautious and wary.

Contrast that with the word for generously.  It means to have a blessing attitude.  It implies that you give in such a way that it’s a blessing to the one who receives it.

This verse on sowing and reaping is more about your attitude in giving.  It has nothing to do with the amount you give.  Jesus brought this truth to light when He saw a widow put a penny into the offering.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:43-44

The word Jesus used for more, means more in amount.  Effectively, what the Lord said was that this widow planted more seed then the others who put in more money.  It was her attitude that made the difference.

That’s because it’s all about obedience.  I never want anybody to give simply because there’s a need.  I want you to pray and then give what the Lord prompts you to give.

It’s all about what the Lord wants you to invest in His kingdom.  When He urges me to give, how could I ever be cautious about it?  Why would I try and hold something back?

I want the blessing of God in my life.  I want to see a return on what I invest in God’s work.  Granted, it’s not always in the form of money, but it’s always good.

Some might complain about my attitude.  They say that I shouldn’t give expecting a blessing in return.

The fact is that I would give in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading whether He blessed me or not.  But, because the Lord tells us that we’ll reap, I’ll look for His hand at work in my life.  Then, when I see the harvest of what I sowed, I’ll give God all the thanks and the praise.

Question: How have you experienced sowing and reaping in your spiritual journey?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2020 in Faith, God's Provision, Spiritual Walk

 

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Character is Everything

In my last post, we looked at the purpose of God’s grace.  It brings about God’s will in us.  What is that will?  It’s to bring the message of His salvation and favor to the world.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”  I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2

This is God’s priority.  Bringing the message of salvation to the world we live in.

But what about us?  Is this our priority?  There are so many other things that we want to do and experience.  To some, God’s will is inconvenient.

Paul is getting to that.

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
2 Corinthians 6:3

This is something that every believer has to come to grips with.  How people view our ministry is based largely on how they view us personally.  Paul is literally saying that he doesn’t want to create an offence that would cause the ministry to be blamed.

That’s why we need to be constantly working on our character.  It’s the character of the minister that determines the perception of the ministry.

Unfortunately, there are those who think it’s just the opposite.  They feel that people should think highly of them because of what their ministry is accomplishing.

We have to understand that how we live is a reflection of Christ.  The world judges the Christian message based upon what they’ve seen in the believers they’ve met.  Sometimes they’re left with a negative opinion.

We need to accurately reflect the love of Christ no matter what we’re going through.  Paul now goes through a list of these qualities.  I think that it’s important for us to hear them.  So I’m going to take a couple of posts to explain what he’s saying to us.

And yes, some of them sound very inconvenient.

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses;
2 Corinthians 6:4

The key is, Paul wants everyone to know that he’s a servant of God.  He doesn’t serve his own needs or wants.  He doesn’t serve the world or even the churches.  He serves God.

That has to be the foundation of our attitude.  We live and act at the Lord’s good pleasure.  We’re in the service of the King of the universe.  We want His kingdom to be accurately represented.

We serve with that in mind.  We desire the character of Christ to shine through us.  That’s the only way to draw people to the cross.

Question: How does your character reflect your service to Christ?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2020 in Leadership, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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