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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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How Careful is your Faith?

DiamondI’ve been posting about the faith of Noah as recorded in Hebrews, chapter 11. In my last entry I talked about the fear of the Lord. I said that it didn’t mean to be afraid of God.

The Greek word in that verse actually comes from a compound word that means to take care. We must be careful how we live out our faith.

It’s a lot like a diamond cutter working on a costly gem. They will sometimes study a diamond for months before they ever make the first cut. It’s not that he’s afraid to cut the diamond. It’s because the stone is so valuable, he wants to make sure that he makes it the best possible shape.

The diamond cutter will “take care” how he cuts. Because done correctly, the stone could be worth tens of millions of dollars. Done incorrectly, he could reduce the value to 100 times less.

Our spiritual life is like the diamond cutting process. Done carefully – in the fear of the Lord – our walk with God is glorious. Done incorrectly and we may lose out on much of what the Lord has planned for us.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Hebrews 5:7

The words reverent submission in this verse are the same words taking care that we’ve been talking about. Jesus took care in His walk with God. That’s why He was able to fulfill the destiny to which He was called.

This should be the mark of faith in our lives. If we truly believe what God says, we’ll take care.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29

Reverence and awe is all about taking care. Why? Because God is a consuming fire. What does that mean? If I take a step out of line, then He’ll consume me in judgment?

Absolutely not! What it does mean is that everything that’s not of Him in my life is destined to perish. If I build my life on chasing after the things of the world, then I will eventually find myself with nothing to show for all my efforts.

If, on the other hand, I take God’s Word to heart and build carefully on those principles, then I’ll see God’s hand at work in my life. I’ll see those things come to pass that the Lord has promised me.

Even after my time on earth is finished, I’ll have an everlasting reward in the Kingdom of God. This is how we need to look at life. It’s not about what will make me happy right now in this moment. The question is what will be important to me one million years from today?

Question: What is an area of your Christian walk that you need to take care in?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Faith, Power of God, Word of God

 

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Listen to God’s Warning

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’m posting a series about Noah’s faith as recorded in Hebrews 11. In my last post I talked about how faith causes you to build upon the foundation of Christ.

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

The verse says that Noah was warned. But here’s the challenge. The things that God warned him about had not yet been seen.

It’s easy to prepare for the things that we see coming. A snow storm, a tax bill, or a new car purchase. The problem is that there are things we have yet to experience that the Lord warns us about.

In those times we build simply because of God’s warning. God’s Word warns us of many things. Some of them are good, and some are bad. Many of them are things we have not seen yet.

We don’t know God’s whole plan for us. On the other side, the effects of sin, living for self or chasing after the world aren’t always seen immediately. The problems start only after we’ve been off track for a while.

There are also other issues. Many times we start building on God’s Word, and then we go back to our old ways. We get impatient looking for the return on our spiritual investment.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”
Luke 14:28-30

Many believers are in this condition – unfinished, yet the project is abandoned. The work has stopped. They seem to be comfortable where they are and don’t want any more growth.

That’s a sad position to be in. I want to see growth in my life. I want to change and become more like Christ. That’s the only way that the world will be drawn to the Spirit of Christ in me.

How do you persevere? How do you keep allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life even when there’s not a lot of obvious evidence of anything going on?

We need to go back to the example of Noah in the above verse. It says that he moved in holy fear because of the warning he received. Because he believed God’s warning, it instilled a fear of the Lord in him.

It’s this fear of the Lord gives us perseverance. That’s where the ability to keep going in the hard times – or even the daily grind – comes from.

One of the problems is that so many people don’t have a correct understanding of the fear of the Lord. We must have this understanding if we’re going to continue the building process in our lives.

For now, I’ll simply say that fearing God has nothing to do with being afraid of Him. That’s not a holy fear. In my next post I’ll deal with what the fear of the Lord actually means.

Question: In what ways does your life show the fear of the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Faith, Word of God

 

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