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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

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

 

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God Confirming His Word (Repost)

God Confirming His Word (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks vacation. While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles. 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.

I firmly believe that the power of the early church was based upon their hearing from God. God spoke to them, they obeyed, and God confirmed His Word.

Here’s an important verse. Remember, the events that took place in this Scripture occurred BEFORE the New Testament was written.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

Scripture says that the Lord confirmed His Word with the signs – healings and miracles – that accompanied it. What’s our problem? Do we serve a different God? Of course not. Is He still on the throne? That’s a dumb question.

We serve a God who’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. Then what’s the problem? It should be clear to us. We’re trying to get God to confirm the Bible verses that we’re preaching, when all along He wants to confirm the Word that He speaks to us.

He never told us to go out and read the Scripture to people for them to be saved – He tells us to proclaim His Word. I submit to you that our society has heard enough Scripture – it’s everywhere.

They’re sick of hearing Scripture. Many unbelievers can quote as much of the Bible as some Christians. What the world is desperate for, is a Word from God. That’s what’s going to change their lives. They can argue with the Scripture, but the Word of God will cut straight to their heart.

In our exuberance over the enormous availability of Scripture, we’ve taken it too far. It doesn’t seem to matter what anyone says. As long as there’s a Scripture verse attached to it, we call it the Word of God.

It doesn’t take much listening to Christian radio or cable channels to see that many preachers are using Scripture to support their own teachings and philosophies. Hear me well. They may be preaching Scripture, but they’re NOT proclaiming the Word of God.

In these cases, God is under no obligation to confirm what they’re preaching. God doesn’t have to confirm a quote from the Scripture; He only endorses His Word – what He wants to be said at that particular time and place.

Please don’t think, based upon what I said, that I have no respect for the Scripture. I cannot live without it. Daily, I read, memorize, study, and meditate on the Scripture. I use it prayerfully. I expect and seek God to speak to me through the pages of my Bible.

The difference is that now I’m also listening for God to use other means as well. I want to hear God’s voice – however He wants to speak to me. I believe that this was the basis for the power in the life of Christ and in the early church. One of my goals in this blog is to share how this works in a practical way.

Question: How strong is your desire to hear a Word from God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Word in Your Heart

God’s Word in Your Heart

In my last post, we saw from the book of Romans, that an immature believer will begin to agree with God’s law. They’ll see it in contrast to the sin that continually enters their life.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law…

Romans 7:21-22

We have to realize that we’re not responsible for the desires of the flesh. They’ll always be there. But, as we begin to delight in God’s Word, we possess the keys to victory over the flesh.

The second sentence in this verse says that, I rejoice with myself over God’s law in my inner man. What’s Paul talking about here? He mentions it elsewhere in his writings.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

In the context of Second Corinthians, chapter 4 (check it out), Paul is talking specifically about himself and his team. Unfortunately, this verse is not true of all believers.

We know from his writings that Paul spent time in the spirit each day, renewing the inner man. We have to come to the realization that our inner beings are important. Too many believers ignore this basic fact.

The pharisees had this same problem. Jesus rebuked them for it.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Matthew 23:27-28

As God’s people, we can’t just let the flesh be the strongest part of our being. We live in a society where our flesh is being fed and nurtured on a daily basis. We must also strengthen our inner man.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…

Ephesians 3:16

It’s through the Holy Spirit that our inner man is strengthened. This power flows from the Holy Spirit to our spirit to our heart. This is what we need to overcome the flesh and the sin nature.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11

This is more than simply memorizing Scripture. We need to spend time in the Lord’s presence hearing a Word from Him. That’s where change comes from.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Hebrews 8:10

The important question is; who will do the writing on our hearts? The obvious answer is, God, by His Holy Spirit, not me by my memorizing.

So, getting back to Romans, I rejoice with myself on the inside. My heart and spirit rejoice together as God by His Spirit writes His law on my heart. That may not stop the flesh from wanting something different. But, it gives me new strength to walk in victory.

Question: How have you experienced an increase of God’s Word written on your heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Trusting God’s Word

Trusting God’s Word

As we continue our study of the book of Romans, we’re seeing Abraham as the father and example of our faith.  It’s because of this faith that we receive blessing and righteousness from the Lord.

In my last post, we saw how he trusted God even though all the facts of his situation pointed in the wrong direction.

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Romans 4:20-21

The Scripture says that Abraham did not waver through unbelief.  That word, waver, is important for us to understand.

Taken literally, it’s a word that means judgment.  Abraham didn’t try to judge, based upon all of the facts, whether he should believe God or not.

This is something that we, as believers, need to get a grasp on.  God is beyond our finite judgment.  His Word is true no matter what any other facts look like.  It’s not up to me whether God should be believed or not.

Like Abraham, we need to be fully persuaded that God has the power to do whatever He says He’s going to do.  We need to constantly be checking ourselves with these questions.

Do I believe God has the power to do what He said?  Am I fully persuaded that He will accomplish it?  And what exactly does it mean to be fully persuaded?

That phrase has a double meaning in the Greek language.  Yes, it means to be fully persuaded.  But, it also means to be fully carried out.  This explains a lot about Abraham’s walk with God.

Some say that having Ishmael was a lack of faith on Abraham’s part.  Actually, God didn’t see it that way.

Abraham was fully persuaded that God was going to give him a large family.  So, in his limited ability, he was trying to fully carry out God’s plan.

He had been faithful to his wife, Sarah, for 80 years.  It took what he thought was a Word from God to do otherwise.

The Lord did not see that as a weakening of his faith.  God simply came to him again and said, “That’s not how I want to accomplish it.  I’m going to give you a family through Sarah.”

So often we get worried that we’re going to “miss God” if we make a wrong decision.  I’m so grateful that He’s bigger than that.  God is fully able to work in, around, or through our mistakes.

It’s my job to simply be convinced that He’s well able to do what He says he’ll do.  Then I need to walk in any instructions He gives me.  That’s being fully persuaded and ready to carry out God’s plan.

That’s why the reading of Scripture is so important.  The more we know God’s Word, the more persuaded we become of His ability to fulfill it.

I encourage you to make that a daily habit in this New Year.  Read the Scripture each day.

Let me give you a gift to help you accomplish this.  Recently, the Lord took me on a journey through the New Testament.  As a result, I came up with a daily reading plan that takes you through the New Testament in the order that the Holy Spirit revealed it to the church.

It’s my prayer that you have a blessed, prosperous, and healthy New Year!

Question: How is your life affected by your Bible reading?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2021 in Faith, Power of God, Word of God

 

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Weak vs. Strong Faith

Weak vs. Strong Faith

We’re continuing to look at the example of Abraham.  He’s Paul’s illustration of how we should walk in faith.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Romans 4:18

This is one of those amazing verses in the Scripture.  To fully grasp it, we need to understand what the meaning of hope is in the Bible.

When we use the word, hope, it usually means that we’re wishing for something good to happen.  “I hope I win the lottery.”

That’s not what this word means in the context of Scripture.  It actually means to look forward to with expectation.  “I place my hope in the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow.”

With this knowledge, we can see how Abraham operated.  He was in a situation where, logically, there was nothing to expect.  Yet, by placing his faith in God’s Word, he fully expected to have a multitude of offspring.

Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.

Romans 4:19

This is the tough part.  I talked about not walking in denial in my last post.  That’s the key to this kind of faith.

The verse literally says that Abraham fully observed the facts of his situation.  He was almost 100 years old and considered himself already dead.  He understood that under no circumstances could his wife, Sarah, have any children.

As a matter of fact, he had already picked out an heir for his estate.  He chose one of his most trusted servants (Genesis 15:2-3).

What amazes me is that even though he had all of these facts before him, he didn’t weaken his faith.  But that brings up an interesting question.  He already had an heir picked out that was not in his family.  How can you say that he didn’t weaken his faith?

We need to understand exactly what is meant by weak faith.  There’s a clear verse about it.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:1-2

What is weak faith?  It means that you don’t trust God to complete His work in you.  You feel that you have to establish rules to follow so that you won’t accidentally sin.  Weak faith has the idea that if I follow these rules, then I’ll please God and receive His blessing.

Abraham picked out an heir without weakening his faith.  That tells me that I do what I need to do as if nothing special will happen.  But, at the same time, I fully expect the Lord to intervene on my behalf.

I can see my doctor, take my pills, and pay my bills.  At the same time I trust God for my health and provision.

Some people think that they’re operating in faith by never seeing a doctor.  It’s actually a sign of weak faith because they can’t trust God to manage what the doctor might tell them.

Weak faith has to set rules and boundaries so that we can deny any problems.  Strong faith can look straight at the problems and trust God for the solution.

Question: What are you facing right now that requires faith in God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Faith, God's Provision, Healing, Word of God

 

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The Promise

The Promise

In our journey through the book of Romans, we’ve been seeing that we can’t work for righteousness.  It can only come as we put our faith in Christ.

Paul uses the life of Abraham as an example to us.  He is aptly called the father of our faith.  Now Paul brings us another step further along this path.

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Romans 4:13

The apostle now uses a new word.  This is the first time, in the book of Romans, that Paul mentions the promise.

This is an important word.  It literally means an announcement.  However, a promise from God is not like a promise we’re used to receiving.

For us, a promise is based upon mistrust.  You don’t believe me so I try to gain your trust by saying, “I promise.”

God, on the other hand, makes an announcement of His intentions (We call it a “promise”).  It is absolute truth.  It’s now up to you whether you believe His Word or not.

The good news is that now, all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29

Because of His work on the cross, Christ has fulfilled the requirements for the promises.  This teaching is carried on throughout the New Testament.  It’s not just a verse pulled out of context, but a scriptural theme that has been all but ignored by the church.

Paul continues with this thought.

For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And where there is no law there is no transgression.

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all.

Romans 4:14-16

This is a foundational passage in our knowledge of how the promises are obtained in Christ.  The blessing is received, not by my working to do the requirements, but by faith in the One who has already fulfilled them.

This truth is not only given to us by Paul, but also by Peter as well.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4

The phrase, through these, obviously refers to the glory and goodness of God, not our works of righteousness.  According to this verse, the reason God blesses us is so that we might actually be participants, sharers, in His divine nature.  You will not find the call for us to fulfill the requirements of the promises anywhere in the New Covenant.

If that’s true, then what are the promises for?  We can look at it this way; each promise has two halves.  There are the requirements and the blessing.

According to the New Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the promises.  Because of His finished work on the cross, we receive the blessing of the promise because we’re in Him.

Question: Why is it so hard for us to accept that Christ has finished this work on the cross?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2020 in Faith, God's Provision, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s Armor – Using the Sword of the Spirit

In my last post, I explained that the Sword of the Spirit is a special Word that you’ve received from God.  You get it by spending quality time in His presence.  The Holy Spirit trains you before giving you this gift.

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

This truth is hard for us to accept sometimes.  The true Word of God is alive and active.  It has a life and will of its own.  I can speak it, but I can’t control what it does.

We sometimes think that if God would speak through us, we’ll have such a great time.  That’s not always the case.

Think about Elijah.  He heard from God and then spoke to a king saying that it wouldn’t rain for a few years.  Because of that Word, Elijah had to live by a brook for his water.  Later, the brook dried up and he had to go to a widow for provision.

When God’s Word is invoked over a situation, that Word has its own plan.  Scripture makes it clear that it will accomplish what God ordained it to do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Even more than that, once God’s Word goes forth, nothing can be protected from it.  It can totally change every area of your life.  The writer of Hebrews continues with this thought.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13

When this verse says that everything is laid bare, it uses a special Greek word.  It literally means to expose the neck of a victim so that they can be killed.  This is a powerful spiritual weapon.

This is why the Holy Spirit must train us to use it.  God will never entrust it to an infant, the unapproved, or fools.  It can totally destroy the work of the enemy in someone’s life, in a city, or in a region.

As believers, we should desire to enter the spiritual battle.  Our goal should be to set the captives free from the influence and control of the enemy.

In speaking about those with God-given authority, Paul made an interesting observation.

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

I know that in its context, this verse is talking about people in authority, such as the Police Department, who are authorized to keep the peace.  But there’s a greater application.

Are you God’s servant?  Do you desire to do good?  If so, then this verse could be applied to you in a spiritual sense.

This verse tells me that there’s a reason why the police carry a gun.  In the same way, the Lord doesn’t issue the Sword of the Spirit for no reason.  If you have no reason to bear the sword, you will not be issued the sword.

What’s the reason that we’re given this sword?  To explain it, I’m going to give a word by word translation of the last sentence of the above verse.  In essence, God’s servant is a punisher, who repeatedly carries out justice against evil, while motivated by a violent passion.

Please remember – I’m ONLY talking about attacking the devil’s kingdom IN THE SPIRIT.  I’m not talking about any physical attack.

With that in mind, if you have no intention of attacking the enemy’s kingdom with a violent passion, then you’ll have no reason to be given the Sword of the Spirit.  To put it another way, God will have no reason to give you a special Word from Him.

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to train us.  Our generation needs more believers who can handle this sword.

Question: How passionate are you about seeing God’s will done on earth?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – The Belt of Truth

Our Supply in GodNow that I’ve talked about the spiritual battle that we face, we need to know how to prepare.  To do this, the Lord has given us access to His personal set of armor.  It will take me a number of posts to cover them in detail.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
Ephesians 6:14a

The first piece of armor that we’re given is the Belt of Truth.  We’re told that it needs to be buckled around our waist.  Literally, the belt is buckled around our loins.

In Scripture, our loins speak about our seed.  Not to be too graphic, but that’s where our reproductive organs reside.  Our seed needs to be protected.

We’re told throughout the Bible that we need to be bearing fruit.  That’s not going to happen without a good supply of seed.

First, I want to deal with some misconceptions concerning our seed.  Some think that a few bad seeds mixed in don’t matter.  That’s not true.  Weeds grow and spread without any help at all.

Another wrong thought is that anything that we plant will grow.  That’s not true either.  Galatians 6:7-9 explains that you reap what you sow IF you don’t give up.  It also matters where you sow your seed.  They need to be planted in good soil.

With that understanding, we can talk about the seed that we want to see grow in our lives.  How do we protect our precious, spiritual seed?

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13

Peter understood this concept.  In this verse, the phrase, prepare your minds for action literally reads, gird the loins of your mind.  Spiritually speaking, your loins, the storehouse of your seed, is your mind.

The reason for this is because your mind should be where you’re placing the truth.  Every time you memorize Scripture, you’re placing good seeds in your storehouse.

The real question then becomes; how well do you protect your seed?  It’s really easy to complain when nothing seems to be growing.  We need to keep our seed from being nullified.

Jesus communicated this in His prayer to the Father.  He wanted the disciples, and us, to bear much fruit.

Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:17

We’re talking about the truth of God’s Word, not man’s word.  The only way to protect your seed is to walk in the truth of God.

When we walk in doubt, fear, presumption, hearsay, or our own habits, we nullify God’s Word in us.  We need to operate in the truth – “Thus sayeth the Lord.”  Our goal should be, “I’m doing this because God said…”

We get into trouble because many times we plant a lot of unprotected seed.  We need to learn the lesson from airport security.  “Has your suitcase been away from your control?”

Please understand that this is not just a prayer you make in the morning.  You can’t just confess the Belt of Truth when you get up, and then feed the spiritual pigeons the rest of the day.

We have to protect our seed if we want to see it grow.  That means allowing the truth of God’s Word to saturate all that we do.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how to actually use the Belt of Truth in our daily lives.

Question: How much of God’s Word have you stored in your mind?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Repairing the Body of Christ

I’m continuing my series through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church.  He’s writing it in order to give them practical advice on remaining faithful to Christ.

I think it’s beyond question that our God is faithful.  What He’s looking for, is faithful people.  The Lord wants to see believers who walk wholeheartedly with Him.  How is that possible, unless we walk faithfully with each other?

Because of this, we’re not called to live solitary lives.  In Christ, we’re part of a body.  We need each other.  Without the local church, we can never reach our greatest potential.

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

Fulfilling this will require us to walk in agreement.  Agreement is a place of power in the Holy Spirit.  In the above verse, the word, agree means to speak the same thing.  The only way that will happen is if we’re all speaking the Word of God.

It takes time in the Word to bring about agreement.  It’s not about me convincing you that I’m right.  It’s when we both come into agreement that God’s way is right.

The Lord wants us to unite in mind and thought – with no divisions. The simple truth is that this will never happen if we all do our own things. There has to be a coming together for fellowship around the Word of God.  That’s what church is all about, or at least it should be.  The Word should be central to everything we say and do.

The result is that if we all agree with God’s word, then we’re in agreement with each other.  Along with that, we’ll all be speaking the same thing.

I want to emphasize that among God’s people there should be no divisions.  This means that there are no splits or gaps between us.

Instead, we must be perfectly united with one another.  The word Paul uses in this verse is very interesting.  It literally means to be repaired or mended together.  It describes us as going through a process that joins us together.

This is what we’re to strive for. To be perfectly united in mind and thought requires more than just good teaching.  It means that I’m spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It also means that you’re spending time in the Spirit.

Being united in this way is a choice.  It’s unfortunate that when some people pray for the unity of the church, what they’re really praying is, “God, please make everyone else think like me.”  That’s not true unity.  It’s us choosing to work together as the Holy Spirit makes us begin to think like God.

As we allow the mind of Christ to take over our lives, we’re setting the stage for the unity of the Spirit.

The more you and I begin to think like Christ, the more unity we’ll walk in.  This is how the fellowship and unity of Christ can be manifest in His people.  Make that your goal as we minister together for the Lord.

Question: What are you doing in order to come into agreement with God’s Word?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Transmitting the Truth

In my last post, we saw how the Thessalonian church pressed into a mature walk with Christ.  It’s something that we need to learn in our present generation.  Paul commends them for it and exhorts them to continue.

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15

Paul tells these believers to stand firm and unmovable in the truth that they’ve received.  The word translated, teachings, is a special word.  It means something that’s been transmitted or passed down from one to another.

The things that they were taught were not invented by Paul.  They were transmitted from God the Father to Christ, then Christ to His apostles, and finally from the apostles to the church.

The unfortunate thing is that, in many cases, we’ve either stopped teaching them or watered them down in our generation.  Personally, I want to see them restored in our lifetime.  That’s the goal behind this blog and my ministry.

Notice that this passage tells us that the church received this through both the spoken and written Word.  This will require us to spend time in the Lord’s presence.  As great as the Scripture is, we need both God’s written and spoken Word to fulfill our calling in Christ.

I like the encouragement that Paul gives at the close of this passage.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

We’re told that if we stand firm in the Lord’s grace, we have eternal encouragement.  That’s important.  It’s speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

The word, encouragement, is the same word Jesus used in calling the Holy Spirit the Comforter.  In our modern terminology, it means to be a coach.  If we remain in God’s presence, we have an eternal Life-Coach.

Here’s some more good news.  This Coach does not only deal with your physical life, but He can coach your heart as well.  I don’t know about you, but I need the internal coaching more than the outer.

Because of this, our words and our actions will be produced by an overflow of God’s grace working through us.  I believe this is what the world desperately needs to see in the church.

This is what will draw people to the cross of Christ.  It’s only when the Holy Spirit is active in us that the Gospel is energized to that extent.  We need to get back to the pattern that was originally transmitted to the church.

Question: What differences do you see between the early church and our modern church experience?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2018 in Encouragement, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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