RSS

Tag Archives: faith

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

As we continue through Romans, Paul is giving us a list of things that should be in place in the life of a mature believer. Remember, these are very frustrating to accomplish without first going through the “boot-camp” of chapters 8-10.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

It’s amazing that there’s so much to learn from such a short verse! There’s a lot of truth contained here.

First, we should be joyful in hope. That literally means that you cheer yourself up by your hope. So, the question is; what is hope?

In our modern culture, we’ve defined hope as a strong desire. “”I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain.” That has nothing to do with the scriptural concept of hope.

In the Bible, hope is what you expect, based upon God’s Word. God says something, and because we trust Him, we expect that what He said will happen.

So, let me ask you; what do you expect from God? Do you meditate on it and what the Word says about it? Do you use this expectation to build yourself up emotionally?

Next, we should be patient in affliction. I don’t like the sound of that. It literally means that when under pressure, we remain patient while staying under it.

I have to tell you that this is easier to do when you’re rejoicing in your expectation. The fact is that we’ll always have pressure. Furthermore, you can’t do anything about the pressure anyway.

The best way to weather it is to put your expectation in God. Find out what He says about your situation. Then, trust the Lord to bring you through it.

Our human nature is to stop looking to God and to start looking for the way out. In most cases that’s not helpful because we don’t have the ability on our own. The best course is to look for guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to bring about the victory.

Finally, we are to be faithful in prayer. That phrase literally means to be strong toward prayer. This means that you press into the place of prayer even when you don’t feel like it. We see this exemplified in the life of Moses.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Hebrews 11:27

The word, persevered, in this verse is the same as faithful, above. Moses remained strong toward God. I believe that’s done by staying strong in prayer.

Think about these three exhortations. They all work together. You really can’t separate them if you want a successful Christian walk.

It’s like a great circle of faith. You can’t be patient under pressure unless you’re joyful in your expectation. Then again, you can’t be strong toward prayer unless you have a patience to endure. And, you can’t have a full expectancy from God unless you’re faithful in prayer.

This is why we should be striving toward maturity. It’s like a snowball of grace, rolling down a hill and growing as it goes.

In his letters, Peter talked about a number of things that should be growing in a believer’s life. I believe that what he said about them could also be applied here.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8

Our goal should be daily growth in Christ. I realize that most of the time it’s too slow to even notice. But, it’s taking place just the same, if we follow the Lord’s plan.

Question: How have you seen these three qualities at work in your life?

2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 6, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Have a Heart of Mercy?

Do You Have a Heart of Mercy?

In today’s post, I’m talking about the last of the Motivational Gifts found in Romans, chapter 12. It’s the heart of mercy.

…if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:8c

This is probably the most misunderstood of the gifts. That’s because, in our generation, we have no concept of the biblical meaning of this word, mercy. It’s actually a very involved concept.

Let me try to explain it briefly.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites…you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness.”

Matthew 23:23

This is actually a poor translation of what Jesus said. In the Greek, this literally says judgment, mercy, and faith. According to Jesus, these are the most important aspects of the law.

We understand faith and judgment. Faith is the basis for pleasing God – we need to trust Him. Judgment is what you get if you displease Him by breaking His law. In a nutshell, mercy is God’s reward for your faithfulness.

A few years back I wrote a series on mercy. If you want a more detailed explanation of mercy, click here.

Getting back to the heart of mercy, someone with this gift finds their joy in rewarding faithfulness in others. They want to see that people who put forth an effort receive a blessing.

Like I said, they’re sometimes misunderstood, and they’re accused of being too compassionate and forgiving. Sometimes it seems like they’re blessing those who don’t deserve it.

But, this is because of their unique perspective. They have a God-given ability to see the potential in a person who others reject. As they do this, someone with a merciful heart will sometimes bless this person based upon what they see as future faithfulness in Christ.

The Apostle Paul saw this aspect of God’s mercy in his own life. God looked ahead to what Paul would become in Christ.

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:13

Someone with a heart of mercy will see what people could become and reward that. However, this could lead to problems. That’s why Paul exhorts a person with this gift to exercise it with cheerfulness.

The challenge is that unlike God, we can’t see the future. Sometimes a merciful heart is wrong about where the other person is headed. They’re told to be cheerful, because many times they can be disappointed by the outcome.

We need this perspective in the body of Christ. We need to be reminded that what people look and act like now doesn’t always reflect what they could become in Christ.

As a matter of fact, all of these gifts that I’ve talked about over the last few posts, are important in God’s kingdom. All of them are necessary to fulfill God’s calling on the church.

We are all created unique and different. That’s a good thing. Yes, sometimes our differences bring challenges. Sometimes we don’t understand the thinking of those with a different heart-gift.

Some find others gifts annoying. Sometimes we’ll envy the gifts of others. But, simply put, we need each other. And, we need to be what God created us to be.

I believe that’s why Paul opened this section by explaining that we are all the parts of a body (Romans 12:4-5). We were made to work together as a unit.

Be the blessing to others that you were meant to be.

Questions: Do you have a heart of mercy? Who do you know with this gift?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Do You have a Prophet’s Heart?

Do You have a Prophet’s Heart?

In my last post, I started to look at the grace gifts that each of has. These speak of the different motivations we use to distribute God’s grace to those around us.

I personally believe, based upon my observation of God’s people, that each of us has only been given one of these gifts. It’s the filter through which we see the world and our ministry.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

Romans 12:6

The first gift Paul mentions is prophesying. Remember, this is not the ministry of a prophet, but a “prophet’s heart.” This motivation is a heart that desires to speak for God.

This is probably the motivation that’s the easiest to spot in someone. A person with a prophet’s heart will manifest a very dogmatic personality. There are no gray areas with them. Everything is either right or wrong, black or white; there’s no middle ground.

What we need to realize is that each of these motivations can be mishandled. None of us are perfect. If we’re not careful, we can get carried away by the directions of our heart and cause conflict with others of a different heart.

Many times you’ll find someone with a prophet’s heart getting in trouble for what they say. People can easily misunderstand them and think that they’re too legalistic.

The fact is, this grace gift is motivated by a desire to see people reach their fullest potential in Christ. When they see someone missing the mark, they feel the need to warn them. Not to be mean, but to help them live their best life.
The fact is that we need dogmatic people in the body of Christ. They help keep us straight when we’re tempted to leave the path.

I know this from experience. My wife, Cheryl, has the motivation of a prophet’s heart. I find it a blessing to my spiritual walk. However, there have been those who’ve accused her of being mean because they don’t understand what she’s really trying to accomplish.

A great example of this in the Scripture is the apostle, Peter. He definitely walked in this grace gift. Look at his response to Jesus when the Lord tried to wash his feet.

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

John 13:8-9

Peter was that person with no middle ground. His first response, thinking that this act was beneath the Messiah, was that it would never happen. Then, once Christ explained what He was doing, Peter jumps in “whole hog”, and tells Jesus to give him a bath. These are the responses of a prophet’s heart.

That’s why Paul exhorts this person to use this heart in proportion to your faith. Having already told us that faith comes by hearing through a Word from God, it gives us the foundation for this grace gift.

Someone with this gift needs to be careful to only be adamant about what they know they received from God. We have to rely on what God says as truth. That’s the only true foundation for our faith.

If not, we become dogmatic about the laws of men. Being hard-headed about the doctrines of man can cause a lot of unneeded drama in the body of Christ. This causes many to be accused of being self-righteous Pharisees.

Used correctly, this motivation is very much needed in the church. If it’s your gift, cultivate it as the Lord leads you to speak and act on His behalf. It brings God’s grace to keep His people on track with His will.

Questions: Do you have a prophet’s heart? Who do you know with a prophet’s heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gifts of Grace

Gifts of Grace

Now that I’m back from my vacation, we can continue our walk through the book of Romans. Paul is now using the illustration of a physical body to show our placement in the body of Christ.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Romans 12:4-5

In this section of Scripture, he’s talking about placement in the body. Every part does something different, and that’s by design.

It’s all about grace. It’s about what we’ve received from God, according to our faith by the Word. That’s how God places us where we were designed to be.

Please understand that we’re all members of the same body. There’s not a Baptist body and a Presbyterian body. We’re all one in Christ Jesus. That’s why it’s so important to keep receiving and growing in the Word.

But as I said previously, we’re all designed by God to be different. We all have unique functions in the Body of Christ.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.

Romans 12:6a

This verse tells us that we receive gifts according to the grace given us. But, to get the full impact, you really need to see it in the original Greek. Paul tells us that we receive charismata (gifts) according to the charis (grace) given us.

Now it’s easy to see that the words gift and grace both come from the same root. These are not gifts in the sense of Christmas presents that you can do whatever you want with them.

These are gifts that flow from God’s grace to you. That means God still retains control over how you use these gifts. It’s like the Lord is telling you, “I’m giving you this to use according to my wishes.”

The apostle now goes through and lists these “Grace Gifts”. They’re all different and everybody has one. The Grace Gift you possess defines how you distribute God’s grace to those around you.

Please understand that this is NOT talking about our ministry. These gifts actually have no relation to what our ministry gifts are. These gifts deal with the “how” of what we do for the Lord.

These gifts explain how grace flows from your heart to the lives of others. They are the different ways that we relate, respond and react to others. That’s why sometimes people will refer to these gifts as “hearts”. (Like prophet’s heart or giver’s heart)

One of the problems we sometimes face is when we think that someone else’s way is better, so we try to copy them. Or, sometimes we think that our way is the best. The truth is that we’re all different and unique in our own way.

As I said before, these “hearts” don’t define or determine our ministry. Ministry is based upon God’s calling. For example, I can have a giver’s heart, and yet be called to the ministry of teaching.

These Grace Gifts also explain what motivates us to fulfill God’s calling in us. That’s why in some circles they’re also called the Motivational Gifts.

But, whatever you call them, these gifts deal with how you administer God’s grace to those around you. Depending on your heart, you fulfill your ministry in a different way.

I believe that an understanding of these gifts are important to our spiritual growth. It brings greater awareness of who we are as unique individuals. They also help us to understand and accept the differences in others.

Over the next few posts, I’ll explain each one in more detail. My hope is that it will be a blessing to you as you see God’s hand upon your life and ministry.

Question: What is your motivation for serving Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 18, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Righteousness Brings Healing (Repost)

Righteousness Brings Healing (Repost)

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.

A number of years ago, I wrote a series on divine healing. In that series, I said that God wants to remove all sin; and sickness is a part of that package. To see that series, click here.

When God removes something, He always replaces it with something else. What’s the opposite of sin?

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

It’s clear from Scripture that the opposite of sin is righteousness. You can read all of Romans, chapters 5-6, and see how God replaced sin with His righteousness.

The fact is that I can’t be righteous on my own – it has to be a work of God’s power.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

On the cross, Christ became sin so that we might become righteousness. This is a divine truth, but how does it apply to healing? If you can grasp this it will set you free.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24

This recaps everything that we’ve been saying. Sickness is a manifestation of the sin nature. In the same way that sickness is a part of the sin package, healing is a part of our righteousness.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

I’ve heard this verse preached in the past. Usually the preacher or teacher will transform the word sun into the word son and speak about the Son of God. Christ is the Healer, but there’s more to it than that.

In order to really lay hold of what the prophet is saying in this verse, we must understand the ancient Hebrew mindset. Think about what it looks like when the sun rises on a new day. Maybe there’s a small cloud or two in the sky.

As the light of the sun breaks forth, you see the rays of light emanating from the sun and reaching to the earth. We call these the rays of the sun or sunbeams. The ancient Israelites didn’t use this terminology. They called these rays the wings of the sun.

The prophet Malachi saw a day when the Messiah would usher in God’s righteousness. He saw it rising like the sun in all of its glory. But he saw something else that should make us rejoice.

Emanating from that righteousness, like the rays of the sun, was healing for all who came into its light. What an incredible truth to lay hold of! Healing emanates from righteousness.

Just as sickness is a part of the sin package, healing is a part of the righteousness that Christ purchased for us. Healing is not something that God decides to do or not do on a case by case basis. It was provided once and for all at the cross.

The church needs a fresh revelation of Christ the Healer. When that happens, His righteousness will bring the healing we seek.

Question: What else has Christ provided through His righteousness?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 11, 2021 in Faith, Healing, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , ,

God’s Seed in You (Repost)

God’s Seed in You (Repost)

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.

In many of my posts, I talk about the relationship between the Word of God and the Scripture. The Bible is the written Word of God. But we also need to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit. This is where the power of God intersects with our lives.

I want to write about how the Word of God relates to us. The Bible teaches that we must correctly handle the Word of Truth. In order to do that I must be studying the Scripture – the written record of God’s Word – so that I can handle the Word I receive from God today.

In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Acts 19:20

The Bible uses many terms in relation to the Word of God. It uses language such as spread, increased, grew, reached and multiplied. In the above verse, we’re told how. The verse says in this way. If you read through this nineteenth chapter of the Book of Acts you’ll get a taste for the effects of the Word.

We see the gifts of tongues and prophecy being manifested. There was boldness in preaching. Handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were taken to the sick and they were healed. Demonic spirits were confronted and expelled. There was widespread repentance such that a group of new believers burned the equivalent of $5,000,000 worth of satanic sorcery books.

That’s the way the Word of God is described as growing. Literally, the above verse says that the Word became a force to be reckoned with. The Word of God is alive and it grows. That’s the aspect that I discussed in a series of posts. For that original series, click here.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:23

We’ve been saved by the living Word of God. That Word is a seed that’s growing inside of us. It will never decay or diminish. It’s there forever.

Somewhere along the line, somebody spoke God’s Word to you. It doesn’t matter whether they used the Bible or not – you heard a Word from God that changed your life.

It might have been a Bible verse, a word of prophecy, or a statement of divine truth. Either way, it grew inside of you, and eventually, you received Jesus Christ and were saved.

That’s how the Word of God starts its work in you. The fact that you’ve established Christ as your Lord and Savior is proof that the Word has taken residence in you. Now, what we do with that seed is up to us.

Question: What was the Word of God that brought salvation into your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Speaking Grace

Speaking Grace

Continuing through Paul’s letter to the Roman church, the apostle shows us what the walk of righteousness looks like.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Romans 12:3

Paul opens this section with the phrase, “Speaking through the grace I’ve been given…” We really need to grasp the importance of what’s being said here. This needs to be our passion.

We get into trouble when we get out of our “grace spot.” Everything we do, and especially what we say, should be motivated by God’s grace working in us.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

One of the goals in our communication should be the building up of others. We must understand who we’re talking to and how our words will affect them. We want to be a positive influence on those around us.

The phrase, benefit those who listen, literally means giving grace to the hearers. That’s the big question we all need to ask ourselves. Am I giving God’s grace to others through my words?

Moving forward, we need to ask; what is Paul saying to us through the grace given him? The best translation from Greek says, don’t over think yourself. Our tendency is to put ourselves at the center of everything we talk about.

“It’s all about me!!!”

Instead, he tells us to use a sound mind. But, we are to do this according to the measure of faith God has given us. Please understand what Paul is saying in this verse. Over the years, I’ve heard many people preach this out of context.

He’s talking about how you think about yourself. We are to think soundly, in proportion to our received faith. Remember, faith comes by hearing the rhema – Word of God. (Rhema being the Word you hear from God in your spirit.)

So, the question is; how much Word have you received, not how much Bible have you memorized. That question should keep us on track. That’s why we need to understand what he’s already written to get to this point.

My sound mindedness is based upon the Word I’ve received. And, that’s based upon how much quality time I’ve spent with the Holy Spirit.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…

Titus 2:11-13

This is what keeps us straight in the crooked world around us. The Word I receive from the Lord keeps me on the path I need to walk. It keeps me from being distracted, especially living in the Last Days.

That’s why Paul tells us to think of ourselves in relation to the Word we’ve received. That’s where our “measure of faith” is. It’s this measure of faith that places you in the body, in the right spot.

In my next post, we’ll see that Paul talks about this placement using the body and its parts as the example. Spend time in the presence of the Lord, so you have a deeper understanding of the faith and grace that’s been given to you.

Question: How would you describe the faith and grace that God’s placed within you personally?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A Call to Remain

A Call to Remain

In my last post we looked at Paul’s illustration of the root and branches. We’re told that as Gentiles, we’ve been grafted into the holy root.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.

Romans 11:19-20

Sometimes we get the wrong perspective, as believers. We concentrate on the fact that they were broken off so that we would have a place in God’s kingdom.

The problem is that when I take that view, it makes me the center. In actuality, they were broken off because of their unbelief. It had nothing to do with whether or not I would be grafted in.

On the other hand, we as Gentile believers, remain by faith. So Paul tells us not to have a lofty mind. We’re no better, just because we trusted God. Instead, there should be some holy fear mixed in.

This is how Jesus put it.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

John 15:1-4

The simple fact is that we remain in Christ – the holy Root – by faith. Otherwise we wither and die, spiritually. That’s where this fear comes in. We need to understand that fear is not always a bad thing. The right kind of fear is essential to our Christian walk.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Hebrews 11:7

Scripture is clear that by faith, Noah…feared. This fear came when he was warned about unseen things. Yet by his faith – fearing to miss out on God’s best for him and his family – he obtained righteousness.

In Romans we see the kingdom of God as a living olive tree. That testimony brings condemnation on the withering branches lying on the ground. It’s a sobering call to remain in Him. Please understand, we don’t fear Him, but we fear the possibility of losing out on this life-giving Root.

For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Romans 11:21

The question is whether I trust Him or not. It’s not about doing or saying the right things. It’s understanding the character of the God we serve.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:22

Throughout the pages of Scripture we see the twofold character of God. One part is His kindness. If you remember, this is one of the fruit of the Spirit. It speaks of the fact that God is good to the undeserving.

The other side of the coin is God’s sternness, or literally, sharp decisiveness. God has the ability to make the hard choices immediately.

Those without faith fell immediately. But, those who trusted in Christ were immediately shown kindness. That’s why there’s a warning for us to continue to remain in Him. This is especially true in these last days.

Question: What does it take to remain in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 9, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Trap of Tradition

The Trap of Tradition

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Paul is talking about God’s dealings with Israel. They’re still a part of God’s plan, but they enter salvation the same as all people. It must be though faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The history of the Jewish people needs to be a lesson to us. We cannot allow tradition and self-righteousness to short-circuit our walk with God.

What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened…

Romans 11:7

We see from Scripture, that what the nation of Israel as a whole intensely craved and sought for, it did not obtain. But, the few who entered by grace obtained it. These are the people who confessed the Lord Jesus Christ and believed that God raised Him from the dead.

According to Paul, the rest were hardened, literally, petrified – turned into stone. The apostle now quotes some Old Testament prophecies.

…as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.”

Romans 11:8

The Greek word for stupor, in this verse is that prickly feeling you get when a body part falls asleep. It’s numb and you have a hard time using it correctly.

It’s what happens to us spiritually, when we get caught up in religious traditions. We have eyes that don’t see what they should see, and ears that don’t hear what they should hear. God rebuked the Israelites for this on many occasions.

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them: Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.

Deuteronomy 29:2-4

When I read this, it seems that the Lord is almost being sarcastic with them. It’s like He’s asking them, “Did I really have to give you a supernatural mind to understand what I was doing?” It shouldn’t have taken a seminary degree to see that God wanted to work out His plan in the Jewish people.

But this is not just an Old Testament trap. If we’re not careful, we could fall into the same mindset. Isaiah warns us about it.

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”

Isaiah 29:13

It’s unfortunate, but this rebuke could be said of many churches throughout the world today. Many people who call themselves “Christian” are merely following a set of rules that have been laid down for them.

It’s clear from this verse that using religious terminology is not enough. Simply saying, “Of course I love God, I go to church every Sunday” is not enough. We have to bow our knees to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Paul goes on to quote David.

And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”

Romans 11:9-10

The people of Israel got all messed up by what should have helped them. They got tripped up by their traditions. Don’t let that happen to you.

We need to seek intimate relationship with Christ. Spend quality time with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What are your private prayer times like?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 30, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

God’s Heart for Israel

God’s Heart for Israel

I’m continuing my study through the book of Romans. In my last post, we saw that by opening salvation to the Gentiles, God was hoping to provoke a spiritual jealousy in Israel. Paul now summarizes how this happened.

And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Romans 10:20-21

This is how God is working His plan. He started by revealing Himself to those not seeking Him. Then, through the faith of the Gentiles, He’s trying to get Israel interested in following Him. Because of this, it turns out that the Gentiles profited by Israel’s rejection of God’s love.

As I started saying in my last post, the Gentile church started rejecting God’s plan in many instances. They started pushing Israel further away. Many taught that Israel was totally rejected by God.

Listen as Paul speaks to this issue.

I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 11:1

Paul asks the question; did God cast away His people? The answer – Absolutely not! Paul uses himself as proof that God is still in the business of calling the Jewish people to Himself.

Paul now takes us to the important issues in God’s dealings with Israel.

God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah — how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

Romans 11:2-4

The key words in this passage is that God did not reject His people whom He foreknew. God, in His infinite knowledge, knows beforehand who will turn to Him in faith. There are many of the Jewish people who will look to their Messiah in faith, trusting Him for their salvation.

Paul uses the example of Elijah to make his point. This Old Testament prophet interceded with God against Israel. This occurred right after his victory on Mt. Carmel. His life was threatened by the queen, Jezebel, and he went off and had a pity party.

You can read it in detail in 1 Kings 19:9-14. Even with a revelation of God, Elijah had a one-track mind.

“It’s all their fault. Just be done with them. Destroy them all.”

God’s answer to Elijah is very important. He told the prophet that there were still 7000 people who were faithful to God. The Lord still had a remnant.

Where were they? They obviously weren’t very bold in their service to God. Why weren’t they supporting Elijah while he faced the prophets of Baal single-handedly?

But, that’s not the point. There’s always a front line in this spiritual battle. The fact is that Elijah was not alone in his service to God.

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Romans 11:5-6

For Paul, this is an example of God’s mercy in the present time. There’s a remnant selected by grace and foreknown by the Lord. That’s why as believers, it should be part of our prayers that Israel should turn back to God wholeheartedly as a nation.

Question: What is your prayer for Israel like?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2021 in Faith, Israel, The Church, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,