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Meeting Together

Meeting Together

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. I think it’s interesting that it comes as we’re entering into the holiday season. I didn’t plan it that way, but it worked out great.

Today’s post will deal with Luke 1:39-45. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this article.

Soon after the angel met with her, Mary journeyed to Elizabeth and Zechariah’s house. They were her relatives.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:41

Mary probably felt the need to get away from her village and the questions that would certainly come up about her pregnancy. Elizabeth and Zechariah provided her with a safe place.

When Mary arrived at their home, it’s obvious that God showed up as well.

In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Luke 1:42-43

In the spirit, she recognized the mother of Messiah, even though she had no way of knowing it in the natural. But, it was in this moment that she asked a question. “WHY?” We miss this sometimes.

In our fellowship, the “why” is important. That’s a question we rarely ask. Why do we meet together?

We have a few stock answers: Because Jesus told us to. Because that’s what the early church did.

These are true, but not the right answers. There’s an epidemic of believers who stay away from church these days. The pandemic has become an excuse for many to forsake in-person meetings.

I think that in many cases we get the wrong idea of what church meetings are for. “Because we learn the Bible. Because we need ministry. Because we like each other. Because we agree with everything. Because the church meets my needs.” All of these reasons set you up to stay home.

Look at what happened when Mary arrived at the house. This is how Elizabeth described it.

As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

Luke 1:44

Why did she say this?

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:41

Think about the excuses we use. Could the Holy Spirit fill Elizabeth without Mary being present? Yes.

Could John have leapt for joy in the womb without Mary? Yes.

Would those things have happened without their meeting? No.

That’s what we have to learn. God does unique things in our fellowship. There’s a special move of God that He reserves only for those times that we are together. That’s probably because there’s a greater focus on what God is doing when we meet in-person.

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Luke 1:45

Mary was blessed because she believed. This verse literally says that there will be a performance of what was told her. We have to see that the private and the public work together.

Mary was told something by the angel in private. Now she gets public encouragement. That’s because we’re encouraged in our fellowship.

Zechariah was told something in private. He shared it with his wife. Now she’s in her sixth month of seeing the “performance.” Elizabeth is in the perfect position to encourage Mary to continue trusting God.

We have to learn that the private can never replace the public. Just like the public can never replace the private.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

God has a work for us to do. We may hear His call to us in private, but we need the public to spur us on. It gives us the boldness we need, to do what God has called us to.

Don’t let the times we live in rob you of the blessings that can only come from our in-person fellowship.

Question: How often do you meet in-person with other believers?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Luke’s Gospel – Christ Our Example

Luke’s Gospel – Christ Our Example

In my last post, I finished our study in the book of Romans. Those who have followed this blog for a while know that my goal is to go through the New Testament in the order it was reveal to the church. That means the next book, based upon my studies, is the Gospel of Luke.

To review, it seems to me that the Holy Spirit had a plan in how He inspired the New Testament to be written. He started with the foundational books of James, 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, and Mark. The next group dealt with what I personally need to know to serve Christ. These books are 2 Thessalonians,1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, and Luke.

After that, we’ll go on to the books that deal with our corporate walk with Christ. But for now, we will start with Luke’s Gospel. Here’s how he introduces his message.

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke 1:1-4

In this post, I simply want to introduce you to Luke. Who was he, and why did he write this Gospel? Luke was the physician who traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys. He was probably a Gentile who was saved at Antioch about 15 years after Pentecost.

After his salvation, Luke became a friend and associate of Paul. He was highly educated and as a Greek speaking Gentile, he had a high literary ability.

When we read through the Gospel of Luke, it’s obvious that he’s writing to the Gentiles of his day. He rarely references the Old Testament and explains Jewish customs. God was able to use him because as a companion of Paul, his ministry was to the Gentile people.

What we find is that each of the four Gospels has their own purpose and theme. So far, we’ve only looked at Mark, which was basically a short outline of the Life of Christ. Now, Luke comes along and is writing in the style of the Greek culture.

This means that he uses a lot of descriptive language as well as prayers and sermons. His goal was to have a specific order to his book for people who liked to think about what they read.

We also need to realize that when he says that he’s writing an orderly account, that does not mean chronologically. It means that he’s writing with a definite plan. Many times Luke quotes a sermon Jesus gives and then gives us some examples from His life that illustrates what He just taught.

From the above verse, it’s clear that he’s writing to someone who already had a basic knowledge of Christ. He now wants to give that person a more grounded knowledge of who Jesus is.

What does that mean to us? As we go through this Gospel we’ll be looking to Jesus as our example of how to live for God. We know that He was fully God and fully man.

To live in this world, the Lord chose to lay aside the power He had as God. Then, He lived as we have to live. He served God with His humanity, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide Him the same way that we have to.

That’s what we’ll be concentrating on as I move forward with these posts. Yes, Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but He’s also the Son of Man. I can look to Him as the greatest example of the victorious life.

Hopefully you’ll come along with me on this journey. It’s a lengthy book, but the rewards of studying it will be great.

Question: What are you expecting to receive from the Gospel of Luke?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2021 in Encouragement, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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My Plan vs. God’s Plan

My Plan vs. God’s Plan

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. At this point we’re in the final stretch to the end. But, Paul still has some important insights for us.

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.

Romans 15:20-22

In this verse we get a glimpse into Paul’s heart for ministry. His great desire is to make Christ know where He was formerly unknown.

Speaking as a pastor, this is my heart as well. I never wanted to take people away from their church. My overwhelming desire is to see believers grow in Christ, and to live out their faith to the fullest.

However, there’s another insight into grace that Paul gives us here. Sometimes we have to put our desires on hold because of the grace we’ve been given.

The apostle very much wanted to go to Rome and fellowship with the believers there. But God had other plans. There were cities where the Gospel of Christ hadn’t reached yet. The Holy Spirit was sending Paul to the places he was most needed.

We need to remember this in our Christian walk. Many times we pray for things that we desire. But, we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes the answer is a resounding “NO!” But, there are other times when God is simply telling us to wait, because it’s not time for that yet.

For the next seven verses (Romans 15:23-29), Paul talks about his plans for the future of his ministry. I suggest that you read this section and compare it to the last eight chapters of the book of Acts. It’s interesting to see what Paul is planning versus what God had already mapped out for him.

His agenda was to go to Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentile churches in Greece and Asia. Little does he know that he will be arrested when he gets to Jerusalem. He will then make it to Rome, but as a prisoner headed to trial.

Most Bible scholars believe that this was his first trial in Rome. He was eventually acquitted, and made his journey to Spain. Then, later in his life, he was tried and executed in Rome.

We need to see that even though Paul knew the outline of his future ministry – Jerusalem, Rome, Spain – he didn’t know all the details that the Holy Spirit had in store for him. We face the same challenges in discovering God’s will for our lives.

We pray and seek God for His wisdom. The Lord then imparts the outline for His plan into our spirits. Then, many times, we run off, thinking that we know how to get to the goal line. It’s only after bumping into a few closed doors that we find the true path God intends for us to follow.

In all of this, Paul understood the key to reaching the finish line.

I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 15:30-33

Paul calls out to the church with an important request. He asks them to join the struggle with him through prayer. We have to realize that most people pray for their own concerns. He wants them to take up a concern for those yet to be reached by Paul’s ministry.

We know from the book of Acts, everything that Paul is about to face. We also know that God took him through it victoriously. A large part of this victory was the churches who stood by him in prayer.

Make sure that you stand in prayer with your leadership, missionaries, and other ministries (like mine!), to see God accomplish his will in our generation.

Question: What is God’s outline for your life right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2021 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Revenge is Mine, Or Not

Revenge is Mine, Or Not

As we continue through Romans, Paul is encouraging us to live peacefully with those around us. This even includes our enemies.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:19-20

This verse clearly tells us not to take it upon ourselves to punish or retaliate against someone who has wronged us. That’s a hard instruction to live out.

Instead, we’re told to leave an opening for the passion, wrath, of God. This goes against our very human nature. We want to feel like we’ve vindicated ourselves. We have a need to prove that we are right and they are wrong.

Paul brought out an example of this in his dealings with the Corinthian church. If you remember, the people of Corinth had a pastime of going to court. It was great entertainment for them.

This even spilled over into the church. Fellow believers were taking each other to court and suing each other for the smallest of problems.

Paul had some strong words for them.

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

1 Corinthians 6:7-8

Paul makes it clear that when we pursue our own vindication, in our own power, we’ve completely failed right from the start. We’re defeated before we even start to fight the battle. Instead, we should seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this may involve legal means. But there are many times that it will be something less confrontational.

But, as I read the verses from Romans, it seems that it’s more about attitude than anything else. It takes a complete change of perspective to do good to those we consider our enemies. Of course there are those who deceive themselves and say, “I don’t have any enemies.” It’s an attempt to get around God’s command.

I get it. You don’t have any “enemies”. You just have people that you avoid being around, or speaking to, because you don’t like them. These are the very people that you need to go out of your way to show the kindness of Christ to.

According to Paul, we don’t do what’s expected. Our good actions will cause a pain in their head. The more our enemies think about it, the more confused they become. The Holy Spirit will use that to draw them to Christ.

We want to be vindicated. The big question for us is; what’s our goal? Are we after our vindication or a soul that’s saved and in the kingdom of Heaven?

We think that if we’re not vindicated, then we’ve lost. Actually, the real victory is a changed life. That’s a sign of the power of God at work through you.

Let God have His way in the lives of those around you. Walk in the love of Christ and don’t seek your own agenda. See the victory that can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How have you seen the power of these principles at work in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2021 in Fellowship, Relationships, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Sincere Love

Sincere Love

As we continue to study through the book of Romans, we’ll begin to see a shift in Paul’s focus. Up until this section, the apostle was writing about our personal growth. Now he begins to show how the church grows as a body.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Romans 12:9-10

As he begins to talk about life in the body of Christ, it’s no wonder that Paul starts with love. It’s the Greek word, agape. This is the choice to show love to others. It has nothing to do with any emotions.

He tells us that this agape-love must be sincere. It literally means to be given without falsehood or hypocrisy.

This brings up a very important point that needs to be discussed when reading this section of Scripture. Peter does a good job of explaining it.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.

1 Peter 1:22

Notice how Peter begins talking about this subject. He makes it clear that he’s writing to mature believers who have purified themselves in the truth. When we’re cleaned up by the Word, brotherly love is born.

Brotherly love is the first word for love that Peter uses in this verse. It involves the emotions of friendship and camaraderie.

Then he goes on to the second word for love, which is agape – just like Paul did. Peter also uses the same word for sincerity. Why is all of this important?

We must understand this because, according to Peter, this type of love is only possible after the purifying process has begun in your life. This is written to those who are pursuing a mature walk in Christ.

What we have to realize is that from Romans, chapter 12 on, Paul is writing to the mature believers. It’s those Christians who can understand and follow these guidelines.

Both Peter and Paul make it clear that our agape-love must be mature and sincere – not faked (like baby agape). That’s because your heart has been changed by your submission to the Holy Spirit’s work in you.

Getting back to the passage in Romans, we’re told to utterly abhor, hate, be disgusted by evil. How do you do this if you haven’t gone through God’s maturing process?

Some people look at the second half of Romans as a rule book to be enforced. That’s not the case. The only way you can fulfill the message from Romans 12 on is to go through the work described in chapters 8-10. Otherwise, you’ll only end up feeling frustrated and guilty.

Paul tells us that you’re not only to hate evil, but to glue yourself to the good. Please remember that this is good by God’s standards, not ours. We have a very low opinion of good compared to God. That’s why we must be transformed to think like God thinks.

Then, Paul talks about the emotional brotherly love. The word, devoted, is interesting. It means to have an emotional affection like that of a natural, immediate family. That’s how we should feel about each other in God’s kingdom.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household…

Ephesians 2:19

Of course, if you see others as part of your immediate family, then you’ll honor one another before yourself. In other words, don’t wait to be honored before you give honor.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6:10

Question: What areas of growth have you seen in your personal walk with God?

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2021 in Fellowship, The Church

 

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Speaking Grace

Speaking Grace

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

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

Romans 12:3

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

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

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

Ephesians 4:29

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

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

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

“It’s all about me!!!”

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

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

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

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

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

Titus 2:11-13

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

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

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

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

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Finding God’s Will

Finding God’s Will

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul is reviewing the walk of the spirit. In my last post, I talked about establishing God’s pattern in our lives. That involves prayer in the spirit – standing beside the burnt offering and becoming a living sacrifice before God.

As I spend time with the Holy Spirit, I begin to hear His voice. My mind is being renewed as God’s Word enters my heart. The next question is; now that I’m hearing God’s Word in my spirit – what do I do with it?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

There’s still a choice to be made. This is where, according to Christ, the thorns and thistles of distractions could choke it. We need to be careful about what our heart dwells on.

This verse literally says; don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. Instead, let the Word renew (renovate) your mind.

If you want a life that’s well-pleasing to God, it will require a renewed mind. It’s the renewed mind that will transform your walk. That word transform is the Greek word metamorph. It’s how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

It’s only when we’re allowing the Word to renew our mind that we’re able, have the power, to test and approve God’s well pleasing will.

Many people have asked me, “Pastor, how do I know God’s will?” The truth is that you will never know God’s will before you do it. It’s by faith.

I get my faith approved. Then I stand beside body praying in spirit to hear God. I allow God’s Word to renew mind.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

Through prayer in the spirit, we have access to the mind of Christ – that’s the renovation process that we need. It causes us to think His thoughts. Then, because His mind is working in us, we can test and approve God’s will.

As I live out my faith, opportunities arise. I feel a stirring on the inside of me, “I believe God wants me to do this.”

I now have the power to test and approve God’s will for my life. I step out. By faith, I expect either a miracle to confirm what I’m doing or the intervention of the Holy Spirit to stop me from doing it.

Paul understood this and tells us the bottom line.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Romans 14:17-18

To be well pleasing to God, it’s not about the rules you place on yourself. It’s a life lived in the spirit. That’s what God finds well pleasing. Because the flesh can never fulfill God’s perfect will.

Simply put, a well-pleasing life requires a spiritual walk.

Question: What do you believe is the next step in God’s plan for you right now?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Living Sacrifice

The Living Sacrifice

As we go through the book of Romans, we’re beginning chapter 12. This is where Paul starts his concluding remarks.

What we have to realize is that you can’t understand this section properly, without a grasp of what he taught in chapters 4-8. We need to walk by the spirit to receive the power to fulfill what he’s about to bring to us.

The last chapters of Romans can never be accomplished in our own strength. But, first, Paul summarizes what he’s talked about so far.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

This is one of those verses that we wished wasn’t in the Bible. But it is, so we have to follow it. It says that there’s something we can do that’s holy and well pleasing to God.

The word offer means to stand beside your body. Paul is talking about something that can only be done in the spirit.

In the spirit I can stand next to myself and look at my flesh as the enemy – my greatest weakness. Only then can I offer it to God on His altar.

The original Greek says that it’s a burnt offering, living, holy, and to God – well pleasing. Wait a minute; we are to be a living burnt offering? Yes! There’s really no other way to say it.

Pleasing God requires sacrifice. But what exactly does that mean to us? Most people use the word sacrifice to mean they’ll try harder. They think it tells them to fast on holidays, eat according to the Old Testament food laws, dress like the 1940’s, and talk King James English.

That’s not what God is looking for. If you read the epistle to the Romans, you find that Paul writes about the walk of the spirit. If that’s in place, then you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. But how do we get there?

We need the fire of God to consume the sacrifice. In the book of Acts we see tongues of fire on the heads of those praying in the upper room. We’re also told (I Thessalonians 5:19) not to quench the Holy Spirit’s fire. Paul told his spiritual son, Timothy, to fan into flame the gift that was within him (II Timothy 1:6).

Paul was a man who had a rich experience of prayer in the spirit. He assumed that those he was writing to also knew how to pray in the spirit. When you pray in the spirit, you’re standing beside your body as a burnt offering.

The last part of the verse in Romans could be modernized as, logically – this is what you signed up for. We’re living out a spiritual walk. You can try harder, stumbling around in the flesh without Christ. But if I’m to be well pleasing, it will require a spiritual work.

In the first part of Romans, Paul showed us that righteousness could only be achieved by a walk in the spirit. That’s accomplished through a rich prayer life of praying in the spirit. As I pray in the spirit, I stand beside the burnt offering.

Remember, I’m not talking about whether or not you’re saved, or even acceptable to God. You’re all those things, and more, in Christ. I’m talking about going beyond acceptable and into the realm of well-pleasing to God.

This should be our desire if we want to see a move of God in our lifetime.

Question: Why do some believers find this sacrifice so difficult?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Paul’s Praise

Paul’s Praise

We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Paul has been looking forward, prophetically, to the salvation and restoration of Israel. At the end of chapter 11, he bursts out in praise to God, quoting Isaiah and Job.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Romans 11:33

He loosely bases his praise from Isaiah 40:13-14. Paul starts by expressing his awe at the wealth of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Of course, God is omniscient – He knows all things. But because He exists outside of time, the Lord knows all things past, present, and future.

The word, judgment, speaks of God’s decision making ability. It’s far beyond anything that we could imagine. And, His ways are beyond our ability to figure out.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

Romans 11:34

We will never fully understand how the Lord thinks. His goals and ways are so complex that they’re unsearchable to us.

The fact is that the Lord doesn’t need our advice. But, that doesn’t stop me from trying to convince Him that I know what I’m talking about. Then, He kindly lets me know who’s in charge of the universe. Eventually, I have to admit that his way is the best.

Now Paul gives us a quote from the book of Job.

“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”

Romans 11:35

God doesn’t owe anyone anything, no matter what we give to Him, or give up for Him. He created it all, so it all belongs to Him already.

This truth should keep us all from becoming greedy. Nothing is actually mine, even my own life. Everything belongs to the Lord and I’m just a caretaker of what He’s allowed me to have.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:36

Paul concludes this section by exclaiming that everything in all creation is from Him, through Him, and for Him. And that’s a comforting thought. Because of this, I have nothing to fear or be anxious about. It’s all in His very capable hands.

But, remember this. Even though God’s wisdom, knowledge, ways, and decisions are far beyond our limited understanding; we still have access to them. We can walk in the glory of God.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

It’s all accessible in the realm of the spirit. As I pray in the spirit, my spirit and the Holy Spirit interact together to endow me with all that I need for life and godliness.

That’s the power of a walk in the spirit. It’s a life led and directed by the Holy Spirit. That should be the goal of every believer.

Please don’t get me wrong. I haven’t arrived there yet. Even as I write this, I pray to God for a greater intimacy with Him. I want to see the church, and myself, walking in the power they had in the book of Acts.

Hopefully, you want to come along with me on this journey. To that end, I’m going to be adding to this website. My goal is that very soon I’ll be starting a podcast that will deal with how God is waking the church in these Last Days.

Pray for me and this ministry to complete what God has for us.

Question: How has the Holy Spirit been leading you forward lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Revival

 

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The Early Church – Holy Dough

The Early Church – Holy Dough

We’re continuing to look at the relationship of Israel to the church. Paul is explaining it in the book of Romans. He gives us his perspective.

For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Romans 11:15

He literally tells us that their rejection caused the world system to be restored. Since that was the case, then their readmission into God’s kingdom will be life from the dead. So it’s obvious that Paul considers the nation of Israel, without Christ, spiritually dead.

The apostle now give us an illustration.

If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:16

He uses a lump of dough as an example. He tells us that because the firstfruits are holy, set apart to God, everything else you make from the crop is holy. In talking about firstfruits, it’s possible that he’s referring back to James.

James wrote his book long before Paul wrote Romans. James wrote his epistle to the saved Jews all over the world.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

James 1:18

At the birth of Christianity, James calls them the firstfruits of God’s created systems of order. He wrote this without even knowing that Gentiles would someday enter the mix. But the salvation of the Gentiles had its beginnings in saved Israel.

Originally, Israel was set apart as holy to God. After the resurrection of Christ, a remnant remained true to the Lord. These original Jewish believers accepted the Good News by faith in Christ.

I believe that these are the firstfruits both James and Paul are referring to. Then the Gentiles are mixed into the batch of holy dough. However, there’s more to this example.

When giving bread as an offering, leaven was allowed in firstfruits and tithes. Then they would hold back a little to leaven the next batch. It wasn’t like now where yeast is its own thing.

In those days it was fermented dough that was added to the new batch. We must ask then; what is the Kingdom of God about?

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Romans 14:17

Look at what Paul said earlier about firstfruits.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23

Jesus also said something along those lines.

Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Luke 13:20-21

Yeast, in this context, is the old dough from the firstfruits that’s now fermented. We can look at the large amount of flour as the Gentiles. Now the Holy Spirit has penetrated all peoples. Righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit can flow to all races, generations, and peoples.

The fact is that there would be no chance at salvation for the Gentiles without the Jewish nation. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their part in keeping the Word of God pure.

Question: What’s our part in the plan of God towards Israel?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2021 in Israel, The Church, The Gospel

 

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