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Tag Archives: hearing from God

Prepared in the Spirit

Prepared in the Spirit

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, it’s now the day of the Last Supper. The disciples have no idea what’s about to take place during this feast. All they know is that the Passover needs to be celebrated.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

Luke 22:7-12 NIV

To understand the importance of this passage, you must first understand the relationship between Christ and His disciples. At that time, the role of Jesus to His disciples was the same as the Holy Spirit is to us today.

Remember that Jesus told His followers that He would send another Counselor to lead and guide them. The Holy Spirit wants to lead us in the same way that the Lord led His disciples. That’s why it’s so important for us to develop sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit.

It’s sad that so many Christians think that God no longer works in this way. I personally believe that the Holy Spirit still desires to operate through the church. It’s the manifestation of the Gifts of the Spirit that will draw unbelievers to a saving knowledge of Christ.

In this instance, Jesus is functioning in the gifts of Prophecy and the Word of Knowledge. Notice how specific His instructions are. I believe that the Holy Spirit will be just that detailed with us, if we’ll place ourselves in a position to hear Him.

What was the response of the disciples to this astounding instruction?

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

Luke 22:24 NIV

This simple statement shows the trust that had developed between Christ and His followers. There was no question or hesitation. They just went and did exactly as they were told.

So often we find two different extremes in the body of Christ these days. The first is that some Christians come up with elaborate stories of what the Holy Spirit “told” them. Then, a few days later the “spirit” tells them something that sounds just the opposite.

On the other hand, I’ve heard people who feel impressed to do or say something. They don’t follow through on it. Then, when it’s too late, they realize that they’d heard from the Holy Spirit and missed the opportunity for a blessing. (I’ve been guilty of this more than once.)

We need to spend quality time in the spirit. That’s where trust and sensitivity are developed. I believe that’s why the disciples had an easier time hearing from the Spirit once Christ had ascended. They simply transferred their focus to the voice of the Spirit.

Spend the time necessary to learn to hear and obey the Spirit. I believe that’s where the Lord is leading His church in this generation. It’s through hearing and obeying that we’ll see the end-time harvest of souls before the return of Christ.

Question: What can you do to develop a listening ear in the spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Last Days Testimony

Last Days Testimony

I’ve been posting from Luke’s Gospel about how we should be living in the last days. In my last article I talked about what not to do. The last exhortation was, not to worry about your testimony. I believe this a vital piece of knowledge that we need in these last days.

Listen to what the Lord tells His disciples and us about standing before those who oppose us.

This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.

Luke 21:13-19 NIV

We live in a culture that is becoming increasingly more hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians look like they’re becoming more low-key in their proclamation of the Word of God.

Many believers are worried. “What do I say? What if someone from the LGBTQ+ community calls me out? I don’t want to be labeled a ‘hater’.”

The problem, as I see it, is two-fold. First of all, many modern believers have become lazy and scripturally illiterate. They go to church to be spoon fed from the Bible.

We have to realize the times we’re living in. Whether you want to accept it or not, living in the United States today as a Christian, is like living on the mission field. We need to know the Scripture and live it in order to survive, spiritually.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

When we allow the Holy Spirit to take us through God’s approval process, there’s no need for shame. Christians who get embarrassed about their faith show that they’re still in their spiritual childhood. It’s not a bad thing, but they need to get into the Word and grow up.

The second part of the problem is a little deeper. There’s an assumption in the words of Christ. He told His disciples that He would give them words and wisdom that none of their adversaries would be able to resist or contradict.

This assumes that God’s people know how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to them. That’s the number one problem in the church today. We’ve lost the ability to hear from God.

We try in our own intelligence to reason and debate with the world. We try to convince them that our way of thinking is correct. The result is that they resist and contradict us at every turn.

Then, when that doesn’t work, we try to give them a list of quotes from the Bible. We want them to see what God thinks about the subject. But, what we find, is that the last thing they want to hear is the Bible. Please understand – people of the world don’t believe the Bible.

We have to come to the realization that, today, we’re in the same position as the early church. We’re in a society like the Roman Empire. They were mildly religious, but ungodly. They need to hear a Word from God. That’s what will make the difference.

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 NIV

You do understand that when this was written there was no New Testament. Christians had no Bibles. The only thing they could do was to pray and receive a Word from the Holy Spirit. They had no choice but to hear God’s voice.

Today, we have Scriptural overload. We’ve replaced time with the Holy Spirit with Bible reading. Please hear me – Bible reading is very important. I read the Word every day. But it’s no replacement for time with the Spirit.

The only hope for our society is a group of believers who hear from the Holy Spirit. This generation needs to hear from God. Only then will they hear a message that they can’t resist or contradict. That alone will draw them to the cross of Christ.

Question: How much time do you spend with the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Listen to God’s Messenger

Listen to God’s Messenger

I’ve been posting about the Lord’s rebuke of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. This is found in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11. Both of these groups of religious leaders are steeped in tradition. They’ve lost their love for God or the people.

Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs.”

Luke 11:47-48 NIV

Jesus judges these leaders by their actions. He comes to them declaring the pure truth of God. But, these men hate Him for it. They try to silence and discredit the Lord’s message at every turn.

So Christ points out that they decorate elaborate tombs for the prophets merely as a show. They want people to be impressed by them. In actuality, they would have agreed to kill these very prophets because they spoke the same message that Jesus is preaching.

The truth is clear. If they hate the message of Christ, they would have hated the message of these holy prophets. However, the Lord shows them God’s mercy.

Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’”

Luke 11:49 NIV

It’s never God’s desire to leave people in their ignorance and sin. In spite of their obstinate behavior, He continues to send those who will speak out on behalf of God’s truth. The door is always open for repentance. But in His foreknowledge, the Lord knows that the message will go largely unheeded.

Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.”

Luke 11:50-51 NIV

The Lord concludes this rebuke with a grim warning. Because the religious leadership rejects Christ and His apostles, a great calamity will come upon Israel. It comes upon the whole nation because, for the most part, all of the Jewish people followed the lead of their rulers.

In saying this, Jesus makes some interesting points. Most people don’t know that Abel was the first prophet. He was actually killed by Cain because Abel was the prophet – the only one designated to bring offerings before God. And, Cain refused to go through his brother in giving the offering.

The other thing you may find surprising, is that Zechariah is listed as the last prophet to be killed. That’s because the Bible that Jesus used was in a different order than our Old Testament.

The last book in the Lord’s Bible was 2 Chronicles. Zechariah was the last martyr in that Book. So Jesus was saying that this generation would be responsible for the first to the last martyr.

After this prophecy, the Lord makes one more point.

“Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”

Luke 11:52 NIV

I believe that Jesus is speaking about Himself and His ministry in this verse. Scripture teaches that true knowledge is hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:2-3).

These leaders rejected Christ and the knowledge He preached. On top of that, they tried their best to hinder or stop the people from receiving this gift from the Lord.

We need to learn the lesson these religious leaders failed to grasp. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you in whatever way He chooses.

Whether you like the vessel or not is immaterial. Look for the truth of God’s Word and allow it to take root in your life. This will bring the growth and maturity you need to live out your faith.

Question: What wisdom and knowledge have you found in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

What are the priorities of ministry? What can we learn from the way Jesus handled the day to day logistical challenges?

In my last post, we saw the disciples going out and ministering in the power of God. When they returned, the Lord wanted to take them away for a rest break.

When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Luke 9:10-11

Jesus intended to get away for a time of refreshing away from the crowds. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The people followed Him to this remote location.

Instead of telling them to go away and let Him rest, Jesus ministered to their needs. This speaks volumes about the love of Christ.

Then, as it starts getting late, the disciples talk to Jesus.

Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

Luke 9:12-13a

The first thing that happens is that the disciples see and recognize the need. That’s the easy part. Ask anyone what’s wrong with the church and they’ll tell you what it needs.

But, they didn’t see it as their problem. The people needed to fix it. If they were hungry, then the crowd needed to go out and find something to eat.

That’s the attitude of many people today. “If they would do what they were supposed to do, the church would be better.”

Notice how Jesus turns that whole attitude around.That’s the response of a good leader. Turn the responsibility over to the ones who are sensitive to the need.

“Pastor, this church needs a Men’s Ministry.”

“I totally agree. When do you plan on starting it?”

I don’t think the disciples were prepared for that type of answer from the Lord. It caught them off guard.

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish — unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)

Luke 9:13b-14a

Here’s where most ministries lose sight of the true vision. The disciples immediately make it a resource problem. Their first reaction was to throw money at it to make it go away.

But first – here’s an aside for those who think ministers of the Gospel should live in poverty. The disciples DID NOT say, “We don’t have the money to feed them.” They asked if Jesus wanted them to spend that much cash on the crowd.

In our economy, think about how much it would cost to buy 5000 fast food value meals. Jesus had that much money on Him at the time. But I digress.

According to Christ, it wasn’t a money problem, but a Word problem. How did the Father want this need met? Too often we ask for money before we seek the Holy Spirit to provide a miraculous solution.

Verses 14 through 17 of Luke, chapter 9, tell us of the way Jesus heard from heaven, and met the needs of over 5000 hungry people. This is how we should be ministering to those around us. We must spend time in the Spirit, and then walk out what we’ve heard from the Father.

Too many times I hear, “If we don’t get the donations, then we can’t do what God has called us to do.” Personally, I serve a God who’s bigger than the donations. He can make a way with or without the money.

We need to learn to be listening for His voice. That way we keep in step with not only what the Lord is leading us to do, but how exactly He wants it accomplished.

Questions: Has God ever worked His plans through you without money? How did He bring it about?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Healing Faith

Healing Faith

For the last couple of posts, we’ve been talking about the Synagogue ruler whose daughter was dying and the woman who needed healing from her bleeding. Jesus agreed to go with the ruler to heal his daughter but was interrupted when the woman touched Him and was healed.

This incident is recorded in Luke 8:40-56. It might be helpful to read through that section of Scripture before proceeding with this post.

This passage is a great example of what it takes to have faith for healing. In times past, people were told that if you just had enough faith, you’d be healed. That made it real simple. As a minister, I could blame you if you’re not healed when I pray for you.

“Come back when you really have faith.”

That kind of thinking does great injustice to those who are seeking to be set free from their sickness. The problem is that healing faith is always Word based. It’s not about me summoning up enough belief to be healed.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17

In order for the sick to be healed, someone has to hear a Word from God. Then, as they move in faith – received from that Word – the healing takes place. Even in the Old Testament this was the case.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Psalms 107:20

A Word from God will inspire faith for healing. Once it’s acted upon, the healing takes place. That’s one of the reasons I like this section of Scripture. It shows the power of this truth.

The woman in the above passage heard from the Holy Spirit that if she could just touch the edge of Jesus’ clothes, she would be healed. Jesus confirmed this by saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”

The synagogue ruler is the one who heard from God in that part of the story. He knew in his spirit that if he could get Jesus to come to his house, then his daughter would be healed.

Sometimes it’s the faith of the one praying. Remember the leper who came to Jesus and said, “If you are willing you can make me clean.” It was the Lord’s faith that prompted Him to say, “…be healed.” (Luke 5:12-14)

In another part of the Bible, we read about some men who heard from the Spirit that if they could just get their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus, he’d be healed. They ended up cutting a hole through a roof to fulfill this Word. Scripture records that when the Lord saw their faith, He healed the sick person. (Luke 5:17-25)

In all of these cases, and many more, somebody had to hear from the Father and walk in the faith they received. It could be the sick person, the minister, a friend, or a family member. That’s because healing faith is received through a Word from God.

That’s why it’s so important that we spend time in the Spirit. We need to develop our sensitivity to the voice of the Lord. I believe that only then will we see the power that was manifest in the life of Christ and in the church of the book of Acts.

Hearing from God. That’s where the Lord is bringing His church to in our generation. Let’s walk with His plan and cultivate our intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

Question: How many other Scriptures can you find that show this principle of receiving healing faith through a Word from God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Word of God

 

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First Things First

First Things First

“Stick to what you’re working at. Concentrate on what you’re doing. Don’t get side-tracked.”

That sounds like good advice. And it is…most of the time. However, we have to come to the realization that good advice doesn’t always line up with the will of God for you. And, God’s will doesn’t always sound like good advice.

That’s what happened from time to time in the ministry of Jesus. I’m talking about an incident that took place when He got off a boat near the Sea of Galilee one day.

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, Jesus ministered to a demon possessed man by the Sea of Galilee. Now the Lord has sailed back across the sea.

You can find it in Luke 8:40-56. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

Luke 8:40-42

At this point in His ministry, the Lord was gathering crowds wherever He went. Today was no exception. But these were not simply people who were following Him. They were expecting something from Him. They wanted Jesus to heal them or set them free from demonic oppression.

I don’t know how I would have been able to handle it. Crowds of people suddenly running up to me, screaming for my immediate attention. Yet Christ was able to keep His composure through all of it.

All at once, the sea of people parted. Someone who was well-known and respected by the community was coming forward. The elder in charge of their local synagogue was in desperate need of a healing for his daughter.

Jesus agrees to go with him and they start heading in that direction. Then, as they’re proceeding, an interruption takes place. People are pressing in all around Him, yet the Lord stops and looks around.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Luke 8:43-45

“Wait a minute, Jesus. Let’s do one thing at a time. There’s someplace else we need to be.”

That might have been my thought when this happened. But then, I would have been out of the will of God. There was a bigger purpose than I could see.

The reason that Jesus could go through situations like this, unflustered, was because of His intimacy with the Father. Time spent in God’s presence allowed Him to have a great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

That might be one of the reasons why we get ourselves into trouble when unexpected things pop up. We react with the best of our understanding. Many times it’s our limited knowledge that fouls things up.

The Lord could hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, even in a stressful situation. He could know which requests to accept, and which to ignore. This was true even when from the outside it looked like the wrong plan of action.

We know, from the end of this passage, that Jesus was proven right by His decisions. He remained in God’s will through the whole encounter. We need to cultivate this same intimacy with the Holy Spirit. I believe it will help us to see God’s plan unfold on a daily basis.

I will probably be talking about this passage over the next few posts. There are some good lessons that we can glean from it.

Question: How do you cultivate personal intimacy with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Solitary Prayer

Solitary Prayer

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, we saw how Jesus began His public ministry. People’s attitudes were an important part in how they received His ministry. It was a ministry of power by the Holy Spirit.

How was He able to operate on this level? Is it something that I can tap into?

I believe that Jesus is the example for how we should approach the ministry. We need to see how He prepared Himself for the days ahead of Him.

The Lord Jesus was God in the flesh; yes, but He limited Himself to operating as a man led by the Holy Spirit. Christ didn’t operate in a vacuum. He didn’t do anything that the Holy Spirit hadn’t shown Him. The next question that arises in my heart is this; how did He hear from the Spirit?

Obviously, the Lord didn’t just decide “on the fly” what He was going to do. He had to go to the Father first, and then see what was coming up in His ministry.

Only then was the Lord prepared for the work He was about to do that day or that week. If I can get a handle on this aspect of His ministry, then it can revolutionize mine. The fact is, the Scripture is clear as to how He saw the Holy Spirit working.

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Luke 4:42-44

Many times Jesus would leave a house to find a solitary place to pray. Most of the time, He would leave while it was still dark. I’m sure that He didn’t even tell anyone He was leaving. It must have been much later when the disciples and others started their search.

He was there alone in the presence of the Father – away from the crowds and the demands of the ministry. This is what Jesus felt He needed to do to clearly hear the voice of the Spirit.

How do I know this? It’s clear from the passage. When the searchers arrived, I’m sure that they were upset they had to go looking for Him.

They made it clear that they wanted the Lord to continue working in their area. People were being healed and set free from demonic oppression. They wanted to keep their revival going.

Notice that He ignored their statements. Instead, He simply said, in effect, “I know where we’re going next and what we’re going to do when we get there.”

How did He suddenly know this? How could He ignore the pressure placed upon Him to stay where He was? He had heard from the Spirit.

Jesus went on to accomplish incredible things throughout Israel. What made the difference? Jesus had, by the Spirit, seen the Father accomplish these things already.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude. When you’re alone you can see the way ahead more clearly. Walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method most Christians use. “I’ll try going forward, if the door closes I’ll try another direction.” You usually only end up with a sore nose!

When you spend quality time with the Lord, seeking His will for your life, you don’t have to waste your time on all these dead-end paths that lead nowhere. Jesus knew where He was going before He was surrounded by the crowds of people. They couldn’t sway Him from His path by their persuasive arguments. It’s that level of guidance you should be seeking from God.

Do you need to know the next step in your life? If Jesus needed to seek God in this way, I assume the same has to be true for us. We desperately need a Word from the Father to complete our task.

Find that solitary place today. Go before the Lord in the stillness that surrounds you and open up your soul to Him. Spend some time just listening for His still, small voice to your heart. Then, answer the call in obedience to His will.

Question: Where is your solitary place?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Continuing in the Power of God

Continuing in the Power of God

I’ve been posting through the Gospel of Luke. In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about how Christ was tempted in the wilderness. He is the perfect example of victorious living.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, He overcame all the assaults of the enemy. But there’s more to the story than just the devil’s defeat.

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
Luke 4:13-14

The story goes on. After the devil had done everything he knew to do, he was finished. The enemy’s battery was totally drained. He had to leave for a while to recharge.

Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t miss a beat. He’d been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. Then the Lord experienced a spiritual battle the likes of which we’ve never seen in our lives.

Was He drained? Did he have to recuperate? Absolutely not! Jesus Christ came out of the wilderness experience just as powerful as when He entered 40 days before.

We need to walk in this kind of power. But in order to do this we must let go of our reliance upon the promises and start acting like spiritual adults. We need to truly tap into the full potential of the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work within us.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16

Without a doubt, this is the key – the Holy Spirit living within us. Being led by the Spirit is the earmark of a son or daughter of God. We must remain in Christ if we are to access this potential. Christ is our example.

I don’t know why we’ve turned it around and made it all about us. As if we have the power to change anything. We think that if we find the right promise or confess the right Scripture verse, then a miracle will happen. Maybe if we put together the correct formula of words in a prayer, the power will manifest.

What’s the secret of how Christ consistently walked in the power of the Spirit? It wasn’t confessions or formulas. It was the time He spend remaining in the Father’s presence. He prayed, He listened, and He obeyed.

So often we think that if we say the right words in the right order, we’ll see a miracle. That’s not how life in the kingdom of God works. The Scripture makes it abundantly clear.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

1 Corinthians 4:20

For too many of God’s people, It’s all talk and no power. They talk about faith, they mindlessly recite Bible verses, but they walk in defeat. The only way to break this cycle is to spend quality time listening for God’s voice.

It’s time for us to learn this lesson. We need to stop looking for an easy way to tap into the Spirit while continuing to live for ourselves. We need to submit to the Lord’s agenda for our lives. Time in the presence of God is the only thing that will bring about this transformation.

But, hearing from God is only half of the equation. Once I hear from the Holy Spirit, I need to obey what He’s told me. That’s the key to an abundant, victorious, life.

Question: What would have to change in order for you to spend more time in the Lord’s presence?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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What Are You Trusting God For?

What Are You Trusting God For?

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. At this point, I’m posting about how Christ walked in the power of God. In my last one, I started talking about His time in the wilderness as He faced the devil.

It’s now the end of the Lord’s forty day fast. I can only imagine how the Lord was feeling at the end of this time. But at this point it’s over; He could eat now, according to the rules of fasting.

It’s interesting to see how the devil attacks Jesus. This is how most of our temptations are based. It will give us insight into how the enemy works against us as well.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Luke 4:3

Think about Jesus’ teaching. Specifically how He taught on prayer. In what we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer,” He prayed, Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

This prayer is a Son praying to the Father. If you look closely at this line, it’s not a request. Jesus is assuming that daily bread is the right of a son. He doesn’t say that God promised it to Him. He simply lays claim to what He wants, knowing God’s provision for His sons.

That’s what life in the family is like. My children would ask, “What are we having for supper?” They didn’t ask if I was going to feed them. The assumption was that the food was theirs. I don’t see anything wrong with that type of thinking.

I believe that Satan based his attack upon this prayer. However, the enemy worded it in the form of a promise. He said, “If you are The Son of God…” He challenged Jesus to prove it by claiming the promise for daily provision. The sad thing is that we would have taken the bait, and we do regularly. Then we say that the Holy Spirit told us to do it.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”

Luke 4:4

Jesus’ response is clear. The fast was over. It was perfectly in order for Him to eat. But that wasn’t the issue. Jesus wasn’t there in the wilderness for the purpose of eating. He was there to hear from the Father.

In His answer to the enemy, Jesus quotes a verse from Deuteronomy.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

There is so much truth to be found here. The reason for fasting was to humble Himself before the Father. Jesus caused Himself to be hungry in order to feed His spirit.

It’s also important to see that in the context of this verse, Israel’s hunger was relieved by a miraculous provision of bread. That’s what the enemy was trying to get Jesus to copy. But the Lord didn’t take the bait.

The reason for His time in the wilderness was to hear a Word from the mouth of the Father. Jesus wasn’t there simply for recreational purposes.

Jesus was telling Satan, “I didn’t come here for bread; I came to hear a Word from the Father.” If the Lord wanted to eat, He could have brought food.

This is a classic strategy that Satan uses over and over again. Sadly, we continue to fall victim to it. We can be tempted to “over-claim” the promises.

In America we already have too much stuff and we’re constantly “believing God” for more. It seems that Christians are always “trusting God” for bigger houses, better cars, and more toys. Then, we get discouraged when our “faith” doesn’t pay off.

I believe that it’s time for God’s people to grow up and act like mature sons and daughters of God – like Jesus.

Question: What should we be trusting God for?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Following Christ – But How Far?

Following Christ – But How Far?

I’ve been taking us through a study of the Gospel of Luke. In my last post we saw how Jesus Christ was driven to fulfill His calling before the Father. Now we’ll see the start of His earthly ministry.

In Luke 3:23-38, we see that Jesus has just turned thirty and was beginning His ministry. Luke then goes on to record the earthly ancestry of Christ all the way back to Adam.

Then, we’re shown the very start of all He accomplished.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert…
Luke 4:1

The first thing that we see is that the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be led by the Spirit. He was brought to the wilderness where He was about to encounter His greatest enemy. That means that this meeting wasn’t an accident. This event was part of the strategy for victory over sin.

The victory that started here, in the wilderness, was carried on throughout the Lord’s lifetime.

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:37-38

This was the theme throughout the ministry of Christ. Whoever sought help to escape the enemy’s grasp was set free by the Lord. The reason He could accomplish this is because His anointing was based upon the power of the Holy Spirit. By the way, this is the same Holy Spirit who now resides in us.

So, the big question is; why was He able to heal? Was it because of the Old Testament promises that spoke of healing? No, it was because God, the Holy Spirit, was with Him.

What we need to come to grips with is the fact that God wants to heal. He doesn’t want anyone bound by the power of the enemy.

So we can see clearly that Jesus’ power was from the Spirit, not from the law. It’s vitally important that we understand this truth. This is the key.

To aid in our realization of this we’ll look at the best example that the Gospel record gives us. We will go to the section of Scripture where the devil and Jesus have their first battle – in the wilderness.

I’m going to take my time in going through this section of Luke’s Gospel. It’s very important to us as it’s the foundation for living on the level that Jesus walked.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Luke 4:1-2

When Jesus went into the wilderness His intention was to meet with the Father. His desire was to fast and pray for the ministry He was about to begin. In order to do this, Jesus fasted for forty days.

This brings up an interesting question. How important to us is walking in God’s power? How far are we willing to go to obtain it? Are we willing to do a long term fast? Spend time in the wilderness, away from all distractions, seeking God? In most cases I see believers who live for themselves and are simply “trusting God for a breakthrough.”

If we want to see the results of Christ, we need to walk His walk.

Question: How far are you willing to go to walk in the power of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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