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The Word – Good News and Bad News

The Word – Good News and Bad News

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just finished looking at the Parable of the Sower. In that section of Scripture, we saw the different responses to the Word of God as we receive it. Now Jesus comments on the overall effects of the Word.

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Luke 8:16

The Lord is still talking about the results of God’s Word in a person’s life. The Word is like a light in a dark place. It illuminates large areas of our lives. We know this from other parts of Scripture as well.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105

As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us insight into many things. He prepares us for the road ahead. He gives us instructions to carry out. He also warns us of sin and faults that we need to repent of and turn from.

The only reason for turning on a light is to see your surroundings better. Lighting a lamp, and then covering it up, is both illogical and foolish.

It’s the same with God’s Word to us. So many believers want to know God’s will for their lives. They ask how to hear His voice speaking to them. Then, once they hear from the Lord, many times they choose to ignore His Spirit.

The best approach is to commit to follow the Lord’s leading before you ever receive His Word. The only acceptable answer to Him is, “Yes, Lord!”

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17

However, there’s both good news and bad news in hearing God’s voice. The good news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open. Of course, the bad news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open.

I don’t believe Jesus is talking about revealing your deepest secrets to the world. He’s talking about disclosing things to you about yourself that you’ve hidden away.

Many times, in God’s presence, I’ve learned things about myself that I had no clue about. In those times I had a choice. Either I deal with the issue, with God’s help, or ignore it and continue walking toward that spiritual cliff.

I’d love to tell you that I always made the right choice. However, that would be a lie. But, I am learning to obey the voice of the Spirit more and more as He sheds His light on my path.

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke 8:18

As in most areas of life, attitude is everything. The Lord shows the result of either decision we make when His light shines on our lives.

In this verse, the word He uses is “holds”. Whoever holds on to it, will be given more. When I embrace God’s Word to me, I prepare myself for more to come.

In contrast to that, I can choose not to hold on to the Word I’ve heard. I can say, “I’m doing okay. I don’t need to change anything right now. Maybe in the future.” In that case, I actually begin to lose ground in the spirit.

We need to be spending quality time in the Spirit, listening for God’s voice. But, that comes with a warning. Once you’ve heard from Him, don’t ignore what you’ve heard. Obey the Lord’s instructions no matter how difficult you think they are.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Don’t Miss God’s Best

Don’t Miss God’s Best

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we now come to one of the more popular sections. It’s when Jesus teaches the parable of the sower and the seed. The parable itself is contained in Luke 8:4-15. You may want to look it up and read it before going on with this post.

There are a lot of important truths in this section. So I’m going to spend a number of posts on it. Apparently the disciples didn’t understand the meaning of the parable. Later, when they were alone with Jesus, they asked Him about it.

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’”

Luke 8:9-10

To understand what Jesus is saying here, we need to know His role in the lives of the disciples. Christ was to the disciples then, who the Holy Spirit is to the church right now. He was the One leading, training, guiding and teaching them. So how the Lord worked with the disciples is how the Holy Spirit works with us.

The goal of Jesus with His disciples was to bring them into an understanding of the kingdom of God. His words are spirit and life. Jesus tells us that by not accepting His Word, there are three consequences. Unfortunately, I see these very things at work in much of the church today.

Seeing but not seeing. The word used for seeing is the generic word, to look at. I believe the Lord is talking about those who see what’s happening, but never apply it to their own lives. He’s talking about those who learn what God has done for them, but never experience it.

There are many Christians who spend lots of time confessing their position in Christ. But they never do what it takes to cross over into the manifestation of it. It only comes about by hearing and obeying the Lord’s voice.

Hearing but not understanding. Hearing simply means to listen with your ears. That’s the easy part. Plenty of people do that every week in church services.

Understanding is on a higher level. The word literally means to put together. That’s where we usually miss out. I need to know how to apply what I’ve heard to the area of my life that needs it.

Again, that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. If I’m not listening for His instruction, then I’ll never see the changes take place that will move me forward in my Christian walk.

Mark’s Gospel records Jesus as ending this talk with an important summation.

…otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”

Mark 4:12b

This is obviously the most important part. But it’s totally dependent upon seeing and understanding. What exactly does this mean?

The word, turn, means to turn around and start walking in the opposite direction. That’s good, but it’s the forgiven part that most of us miss the depth of. Our understanding of forgiveness is very shallow compared to the Scriptural concept.

When we think of being forgiven, it means that we did something wrong and now it’s okay. This is not what the Greek word indicates.

The word, forgive, in the Greek, means to pick up, remove, and throw away. This brings a whole new view of what’s happening in this verse.

When we see, understand, and obey a word from God, it causes us to turn around. Then, at that point, things start dropping off and being removed from our lives. Things like habitual sins, sicknesses, lack, and depression.

Hopefully, as we continue looking at this parable, we’ll learn to walk in this truth and experience God’s best for us. If you haven’t yet subscribed to this blog, take the opportunity now so that you won’t miss an installment.

Question: What is your current level of experiencing God’s best in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2022 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Word Works (Repost)

The Word Works (Repost)

For the next few posts, I’m going to repost my series about God’s Word. I’ll be back in about a week. I hope this is a blessing to you.

I’ve been posting about the Word of God and how it imparts life to us. In my last article we saw how the Word of God will only benefit you if it’s received with faith. Faith itself is brought to us by the Word of God. How can I position myself to receive from the Lord?

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

1 Thessalonians 2:13

God is a co-worker with us and it’s His job to confirm His Word with signs and wonders. When receiving the Word of God, that’s the mindset I must bring with me. I want to hear from God. He’s using a human being to distribute this Word, but I want what God has for me.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

2 Corinthians 9:10

This verse explains what God provides for us. Even though the context is talking about finances, Paul makes it clear that the scope is far greater by calling it the harvest of your righteousness.

One major principle is that God provides bread for food. That’s the logos of God. It’s the Word that can give you immediate benefit. It’s readily digestible and palatable.

There’s also another major truth found here. It deals with sowing. If you’re a sower – you want the long-term benefits of the Word of God – then you’re seeking rhema from God. God is willing and able to drop the grain of rhema into your spirit.

The key is that you must be seeking this blessing. It doesn’t happen by accident. You need the attitude that says, “Sure, I hear Pastor Nick preaching, but I want to receive a Word from God.”

God desires to give His Word in all of its forms to anyone that will listen and receive. By the power of His Spirit, He gives both at the same time. God sends the digestible logos of preaching right along with the raw rhema from the mouth of God Himself.

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Galatians 3:5

This question that Paul asks summarizes the entire scope of this teaching. Paul literally asks how does God fully supply you with His Spirit and activate His miraculous power in you? That’s the question of the hour. It’s what the church desperately needs to learn and lay hold of. It’s what the world is dying to see in operation.

I believe that it’s this truth that will usher in the end time harvest of souls before the coming of the Lord. The answer that Paul gives is that the Spirit is given, and His power is activated in you by the hearing of faith.

This is where the power of God resides. It’s not a work of the law. It only comes as I hear His voice and let it inspire faith in me. This is the foundation for the miraculous. God and I as co-workers.

He’s looking for someone who’ll listen for His voice. It’s time for the church to enter that intimate place with the Lord. Only then will we see the glory of God released through His people.

Question: What’s your mindset while hearing the Word preached or taught?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Revival, Word of God

 

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Truth Hurts

Truth Hurts

In this post, we’re continuing to look at the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Luke’s Gospel. It contains some important principles on righteousness.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh…Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”

Luke 6:21, 25

This is one of those truths that doesn’t sound good, but is actually very important. Remember that Jesus is addressing these statements to His disciples – the future leaders of the church.

He tells them that in the “now”, there should be weeping. What could the Lord possibly mean by saying that?

What we need to realize is that spiritual truth, sometimes, goes completely opposite what we’ve learned in the world. The disciples were hearing from Jesus the principles of the kingdom of God. This means that in many cases they had to make an 180 degree turnaround from what they thought was right.

The fact is that truth brings change. And, more than that, change is uncomfortable. The disciples were being taught that it was better to accept the spiritual principles of Christ and deal with the sorrow of change. Later on, as they experience the results, they’ll walk in the joy of the Lord.

This has always been how embracing God’s truth works. Initially sorrow – then the joy His blessings bring (Psalm 30:5).

This is a real problem for those who only want to see blessings and never want to change. Eventually they’ll experience loss, with the grief and mourning that accompanies it. I find it better to submit to the Lord’s process of change right from the start.

Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.”

Luke 6:22-23

Not only is there pain in receiving the truth, sometimes it hurts when you speak the truth. Not everyone wants to hear the message of Christ.

Here the Lord lists a number of things that will happen when people reject the Gospel of Christ. Many will hate you. That’s a choice to treat you in an abusive way.

Jesus also says that they may not invite you to participate in their events. You’ll be excluded because just seeing you causes them to feel guilty.

The word, insult, in the above verse means to defame you. It’s not just an insult to your face, but they’ll even talk about you when you’re not around. This could even include spreading lies about you.

Jesus doesn’t want to see His disciples hindered by these things. That’s why He’s warning them, and us, in advance. That’s how it’s always been with those who stand their ground for the Lord.

There is, however, another warning that we’re given.

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.”

Luke 6:26

Jesus tells them that they need to take stock if everyone speaks well of them. The message of Christ will always make somebody upset. As a matter of fact, in this society, I sometimes receive a look of disgust simply by sharing with someone that I’m a minister.

We need to realize that the truth hurts. Sometimes it hurts us, when we need to be changed by it. Sometimes it upsets others who hear it. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His gift of salvation must continue to be preached to all who will listen.

Question: How have you dealt with the discomfort of change from hearing God’s Word?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2022 in Encouragement, Ministry, The Gospel, Word of God

 

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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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