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Kingdom Squatters

Kingdom Squatters

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. As Jesus approaches the time of His crucifixion, the opposition of the religious leaders is on the increase. They tried to discredit Him by showing that the Lord had no credentials from any earthly source.

Jesus proved that their attacks were all motivated by the desire for political power. Now He turns to the crowd to teach them, in a parable, the truth of the present situation in Israel.

Of course, there are some things we should get out of this teaching. We need to be thinking about our responses to God.

What’s your purpose for being a part of God’s kingdom? Are you fulfilling that purpose? Jesus gives this parable to explain God’s priorities.

Today I’ll be looking at the Parable of the Vineyard as recorded in Luke 20:9-18. You may want to read it in Scripture before continuing with this post.

In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who owned a vineyard and rented it out to some farmers. According to the terms of the lease, the owner was to get a share of the harvest as payment. This was a normal agreement for property owners in those days.

It’s interesting to see that the owner did all the work to set up the vineyard. All the farmers needed to do was move in and start harvesting.

How does this relate to the kingdom of God? Simply put, the Lord is looking for fruit. It’s not about our church attendance, Bible reading, or even our tithing. He’s looking for the fruit of our relationship with the Holy Spirit that He placed within us.

During His ministry with the disciples, Jesus made this abundantly clear to them.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 NIV

What we have to understand is that this is not our kingdom, but God’s. Everything we have is owned by someone else. Even our very lives belong to the Lord.

Because of this, God is well within His rights to demand anything He wants from us. We know right from the outset that He’s looking for the fruit of the Spirit.

Please understand that the fruit of our relationship with Christ is for the benefit and refreshing of those around us. The fruit of the Spirit are not merely for my personal gain.

The tenants in the parable didn’t understand this. They wanted to keep everything for themselves.

We live in a society where we’ve been taught that in most places – restaurants, stores, etc. – it’s all about what I want or need. Somehow we’ve transferred this mindset into our spiritual life. When it comes to being a part of a local church; I base it on what I can get from it.

What services do you offer me and my family? Do I like the type of music and the length of the worship service? Do I enjoy the way the Pastor delivers his sermons?

Wait a minute!!! Why does God have me in His kingdom? Is it purely for my comfort and enjoyment? No! I serve at the Lord’s good pleasure.

The tenants in this parable made a great mistake. They figured that if they could get rid of the owner’s son, then they could take over the vineyard. After all, squatters have rights.

Too often, I’ve seen this attitude in God’s people. The Bible refers to it as godlessness. Yes, there are many godless Christians.

To be godless simply means that God and His will don’t figure into any of your decisions. You’re living as if there’s no God. These are the squatters in God’s kingdom. They’re living on God’s property as if it belongs to them.

If you’ve been guilty of this attitude, then it’s time to repent. Get back to the purpose you were saved for. We need to be producing the fruit of the kingdom.

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:8 NIV

Question: What are the fruits of the spirit that you have produced most recently?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Finding the Kingdom

Finding the Kingdom

In my last post, I talked about the rich, young, ruler who came to Jesus. He wanted a deeper walk with God. The Lord told him his next step – selling everything and becoming a disciple.

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 18:23-25 NIV

Jesus comments to the disciples that it’s very hard for the rich to come under the rulership of God. The word, hard, in this verse, means a picky, finicky eater. It’s someone who’s very hard to please.

Someone with great wealth usually is used to getting their own way. They want to set the terms of their service. In the kingdom, it has to be done God’s way.

Remember, this encounter comes right on the heels of Jesus talking about entering the kingdom as an infant. You have to start over. You can’t come to the Lord thinking that you’re an asset to His kingdom. We have nothing to offer Him, He has everything.

In my last post, I started to talk about the difference between salvation and the kingdom of God. The kingdom is the place of obedience, blessing, and fulfillment. There are many who have received salvation but have yet to walk in the fullness of Christ.

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20 NIV

This is an important statement for us to hear. No one can deny that the Pharisees and teachers of the Law followed the Law of Moses to the letter. They did everything according to the teaching of Scripture.

By that definition, before the resurrection of Christ, they were saved and on their way to heaven. Yet, Christ clearly said that they didn’t enter the kingdom. That’s because they never submitted themselves to God’s way of doing things.

They were missing out on God’s best for them. Of course, if they continued on this path after the resurrection – rejecting Christ as Messiah – they no longer had a place in God’s family. That’s because they would have rejected salvation under God’s New Covenant.

As Jesus spoke of the kingdom, the disciples didn’t understand these principles.

Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Luke 18:26-27 NIV

Jesus makes it clear that it’s not impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom. The power of God is able to change a life. But that person must be willing to let the Holy Spirit do His work in them.

At that point Peter interrupts.

Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

Luke 18:28 NIV

As usual with Peter, I think he was looking for some praise from Jesus. Unfortunately, what he said wasn’t that accurate. We know from Scripture that Peter didn’t leave everything to follow Jesus. After the death of Christ, Peter was able to go back to his fishing business (John 21:1-3).

Jesus was very gracious to him. He ignores the untruth.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

Luke 18:29-30 NIV

The Lord summarizes everything here. If you give up all for the kingdom, you receive the kingdom blessing. On top of that, you get the eternal blessings as well.

It’s a great deal. We give up the temporary to gain the eternal.

Question: How have you placed everything into God’s hands?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Salvation and Rewards

Salvation and Rewards

As we go through Luke’s Gospel, we see Jesus teaching the crowds. In my last post, He talked about entering the kingdom of God as a child. Upon hearing that, someone in the group was prompted to ask a question.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'”

Luke 18:18-20 NIV

We have to remember that Jesus lived and ministered under the Old Covenant. This young man wanted to be sure of his salvation. He asked the Lord about it.

Jesus gave him the only way to eternal life at that time. In simple terms, He said to follow the Law of Moses. That was the road to life.

“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

Luke 18:21 NIV

The young man was given what he asked for. According to the words of Jesus, this man already possessed eternal life. He was on his way to heaven.

However, Jesus could see by his response, that this man wanted more than just salvation. He wanted a fulfilled life. His desire was for more than simply life after death.

The Lord saw into his heart and answered the real question that was driving him. He wanted to know how to advance spiritually in his walk with God.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Luke 18:22 NIV

Jesus was basically telling this man that possessing eternal life is not enough. It was time for him to start accruing eternal rewards. It was time for him to start following the plan of God for his life.

There are a couple of things that we need to realize about this passage. First, the Lord operated, back then, in the same role that the Holy Spirit has for us now. Also, these instructions were a specific Word of God for this man in particular. It’s not a rule for all believers.

Jesus was telling this man that the next step in his spiritual development was to sell all and become His disciple. That would start him down the road to a fulfilled life. His riches were holding him back.

That’s because he had more than just a lot of money. According to the words used in Scripture, he had a large estate. He probably spent all of his time tending to the issues of maintaining and increasing his holdings.

This is where God’s plan for him was leading. Would he take the next step in the journey?

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Luke 18:23-25 NIV

Here’s where a lot of people get mixed up. You have to realize that the kingdom of God is not the same as salvation. The kingdom is the rule of God. It’s the place of blessing based upon obedience.

The truth is, you can be a citizen of a kingdom, yet be living someplace else. You lose out on the blessings of being at home in the kingdom.

You may not want to hear this, but not all believers are walking in the kingdom of God. They’re saved, but they’re missing out on the kingdom blessings. Paul talked about this to the believers in Antioch.

…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Acts 14:22 NIV

These are hard words to accept. Paul told the believers to remain steadfast in hardships. That’s what it takes to enter the kingdom. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.

Question: What’s the next step God has for you in your spiritual walk?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2022 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Entering the Kingdom

Entering the Kingdom

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In chapter 18, we come to an event in the life of Christ that’s largely overlooked. However, I think that it’s important to understand its significance to us.

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Luke 18:15-17 NIV

In this passage, three groups of people were coming to Jesus. There were parents, infants, and children. These parents simply wanted the Lord to declare a blessing over their children. However, the disciples weren’t too happy about this.

Jesus tells them clearly that this isn’t an annoyance. Receiving the children was a wonderful thing to the Lord. We can learn a lot from this encounter.

First of all, the Greek word for baby in this passage is very important. Its primary meaning is an unborn child or fetus. That tells me that, in the womb, a child is capable of receiving a blessing. Of course, we know that’s true because when Mary visited Elizabeth, John the Baptist leapt for joy in her womb (Luke 1:44).

Jesus had no problem holding the infants and blessing them. He used this opportunity to teach the disciples some important truths associated with life in the spirit.

Jesus went a step further. He started calling the other children who were standing nearby. “Hey kids! Come over here so I can bless you!” I’m sure the disciples felt a little embarrassed because of this.

Here’s where it starts to get interesting. The Lord begins to use this situation as a teaching moment for the disciples.

He tells the disciples not to stop them from coming. This is because these infants and children are the sort of people that make up the kingdom of God.

I’ve heard a lot of sermons preached about this, but in my mind, they fall short of what the Lord was saying. He’s talking about receiving the kingdom. You can’t receive something unless it’s given.

So, to understand how to receive, we need to see how the kingdom is offered. Jesus was clear about this throughout His ministry.

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

John 3:3 NIV

If you think about it in the natural, it should become pretty obvious. What’s the easiest way to become part of a kingdom? The simple answer is that you’re born into it.

What’s the easiest way to become a United States citizen? It’s to be born in the United States. That may sound too simple, but the greatest truths usually are.

Jesus makes it clear to the disciples, the only way in, is to be born into the kingdom of God. You have to be willing to start from infancy – spiritually speaking.

Our problem is that many of us were already indoctrinated in the world system before salvation. We think that we know how things work. Unfortunately, the kingdom of God works on a whole different level.

We must start from a position of infancy. We must leave everything behind that we thought we knew.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV

Life in the kingdom of God requires a whole new mindset. That’s why the first order of business is to renew our minds by the Word of God. Only then can we truly begin to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom.

Question: Where are you along your spiritual journey with Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Profitable in the Kingdom

Profitable in the Kingdom

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about the subject of obedience. Many Christians want to hear Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But do we really know what kind of obedience Jesus looks for in a servant? Listen to what He tells His disciples.

Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?”

Luke 17:7-9 NIV

Christ shows us a servant, working in the fields. He comes home tired and hungry. Just as he sits down to eat with his family, he hears the master arrive.

Does he have the luxury of finishing his meal first? Of course not. He must immediately get up and tend to the needs of his master. That’s the life of a servant.

After he has served, he can go back to his meal. After all he did, does he now expect a bonus? No, he’s only done what’s normally expected of a person in his position.

God expects more from us than we expect from ourselves. In the passage above, the Lord goes on to ask a very fearful question. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I tremble at the implications.

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

Luke 17:10 NIV

That’s a very deep question. Should you, as a servant, do as you’re told and then expect to be thanked? The word thanked means to be blessed, tipped or given a special reward. Actually, a servant is supposed to do what he or she is told.

If all we do in our ministry is what’s expected or normal for our kind of ministry, then we’re not operating in the excellent. As a matter of fact, Jesus calls us unworthy servants, meaning unprofitable.

There are always things that we must do or that we’re expected to do. The word unworthy is derived from a Greek word that means, not ought.

The thought is that you are not what you ought to be. To break into the realm of the excellent you must break through the “musts” and enter into the “oughts.”

Those who are not only doing what they have to do, but have found a way to do what they ought to do, are considered to be walking in excellence. When a person goes beyond the expected in his or her walk with the Lord we marvel at their spirit of excellence.

What does that mean to me? I must stop saying, “I ought to have…”, “I ought to do…”, or “I ought to be…” then with the next breath say, “But I have so much I need to do; I can’t.” When you develop the spirit of excellence, the Holy Spirit is now free to work in you to accomplish what wasn’t expected.

As excellence starts its work in you, you can tap into God’s excellent power, His excellent grace, and His excellent love. You’ll find out that God has all the resources you need to fulfill the call to excellence that He’s placed inside of you. That will bring glory to His name.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

II Corinthians 4:7

The word all-surpassing is the Greek word hyperballoexcellent. This excellent power does not come from our own strength. Don’t ever take the credit for the excellence in your ministry. The glory belongs to God.

Walking in the spirit of excellence is one of the earmarks of the power of God in your life, showing that you hear from God and are obeying His voice.

Question: What are some of the marks of God’s excellence in your life and ministry?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Legalism is a Dead End

Legalism is a Dead End

We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is talking to His disciples and the crowds about the kingdom of God.

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

Luke 16:16 NIV

In the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus, a new focus has emerged. The Law and the Prophets were the main points of religious teaching until that time. Now there’s an emphasis on the kingdom of God.

The religious leaders are not too happy about this. They could get around some of the Law of Moses. They were experts in the loopholes allowing them to do as they pleased, all the while keeping the facade of holiness.

The kingdom of God is about relationship with God. It’s not about a set of rules made by men. The Law is a set of unchanging commands.

It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.”

Luke 16:17 NIV

The Law of Moses is unchanging and impersonal. It doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t make any exceptions because of your situations, weaknesses, or what you happen to be going through at the moment.

The Law doesn’t have the power to help you. It doesn’t give you any support to live an overcoming life. It’s just there to point out the sin that you’re wrestling with on a daily basis.

Jesus gives the Pharisees an example.

Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Luke 16:18 NIV

This seems to be a random verse, stuck in here for no reason. But, there’s a truth that Jesus is trying to get across to the Pharisees. The Law doesn’t care about your situation.

At one point the Pharisees came to Jesus and questioned Him about the issue of divorce. I covered this a while back as we were going through the Gospel of Mark. The details are in Mark 10:1-12.

The religious leaders enjoyed this “divorce loophole”. The Law allowed for a husband to give his wife a certificate of divorce. That was the Law. What was God’s view?

That was clear throughout Scripture.

“I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the Lord Almighty.

Malachi 2:16 NIV

That’s the difference between serving God by following the rules and life in the kingdom. We all want to know the rules. Rules are easier than maintaining a relationship.

There are Christians who live this way. They’ve boiled Christianity down to a set of man-made rules. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, go to church, give your tithes, etc. They follow the rules, then live for themselves the rest of the time.

A relationship with God is harder to maintain. In any relationship there’s shared responsibility. I have to find out what my partner likes or doesn’t like. My goal is to live in such a way that we grow together.

That’s what the kingdom of God is like. It’s not about rules. I must seek what pleases God and what displeases Him. I need to allow His Holy Spirit to work in me. I must hear Him, trust Him, and obey Him.

This is why many marriages break down. They don’t cultivate relationship. They think that as long as they’re doing what they’re supposed to do (following the rules), then the marriage is strong. They realize too late that when the relationship breaks down, the marriage soon follows.

Don’t turn your Christian walk into a set of rules. Legalism is a dead-end street full of frustration and guilt. Cultivate a strong relationship with Christ through the Holy Spirit. That’s the key to fulfillment.

Question: How strong is your relationship with Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2022 in Faith, Legalism, Relationships, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Spiritual Violence

Spiritual Violence

In my last post, Jesus concluded with a comment about finances. He said that you couldn’t serve both God and a desire for riches. The Pharisees heard it and continued in a state of denial.

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”

Luke 16:14-15 NIV

This section of Scripture shows just how hardhearted the Pharisees had become. By their actions, they clearly loved riches and power. When Jesus talks about the love of money, they openly ridicule Him.

They’ve gotten to the point where they’ve rejected Him and His teaching. Now, their goal is to publicly discredit the Lord.

As usual, Jesus brings their hypocrisy to the surface. He exposes the fact that they’re always justifying themselves before men. They had a great way of twisting Scripture to make them sound holy while doing evil.

What they seem to forget is that God is not like any human judge. He doesn’t give any credence to a fine sounding argument. The Lord looks straight at what’s going on in their hearts. That’s what He bases His verdict on.

We would do well to remember this. Humanity places a high importance on the temporary. That’s especially true when it comes to personal pleasure. In God’s eyes, it’s the unseen – the eternal – which is the most valuable.

Just how bad are these temporary things that we run after? This translation uses the word detestable. This is one of those words that the translators had to be careful with, knowing that the Bible will be read in church with the Sunday morning crowd.

This Greek word comes from a root that means to pass gas silently. That’s why Jesus felt the need to expose where this foul spiritual smell was coming from! That’s what God thinks about us when we chase after the world and try to justify it by Scripture.

Jesus continues.

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”

Luke 16:16 NIV

Jesus warns the Pharisees that they’re out of step with what God is doing. Until John the Baptist came on the scene, the Law and the Prophets were the main emphasis.

The Pharisees enjoyed that. Any good lawyer could get around the teachings of the Law of Moses. They knew all the loopholes.

Now, since the beginning of John’s ministry, it’s the kingdom of God that’s being focused on in anointed preaching. The kingdom doesn’t deal with laws, rules and loopholes. It looks at the hearts and minds of individuals.

You don’t enter the kingdom of God by well thought out arguments. You have to force your way in by overcoming the natural inclinations of the flesh.

A fire has to ignite in your soul. Another way to say this is that you need the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Then, in response to this work, you must accept Christ in total opposition to the desires of your sinful nature.

We need to realize that making a decision to ignore the flesh is an act of spiritual violence. Throughout our whole lives to that point, our body and soul were in complete agreement. Then, suddenly, the Holy Spirit plants a seed of dissension in this relationship.

Now, body and soul don’t totally agree. Eventually you came to the place where your soul made the choice to bow its knee to Christ. The flesh lost its place on the throne of your life. That’s a spiritual rebellion against the established order of your very being.

Praise God for His life changing power in your life. That’s what gave you the strength you needed to see this change through to its completion.

Question: How did the power of God change your life?

©2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2022 in Faith, Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s Rule and Mustard Trees

God’s Rule and Mustard Trees

We’re studying through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, we saw Jesus getting into trouble because He healed a crippled woman on the Sabbath day. As a result, the Lord made a point of exposing the hypocrisy of religious thinking.

Now, to reinforce what He said, Jesus gives the crowd a couple of parables to think about. He wants to give them an understanding of the kingdom of God. This should also help us to understand how the kingdom of God should be growing.

Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.”

Luke 13:18-19 NIV

First, let me say that unless you know the region, this parable can’t be understood properly. There are a few different species of “mustard” that are common around the world. The one that can grow into a tree is not the one where we get the yellow goop for our hot dogs.

Jesus wants to let us know some attributes of the kingdom – God’s rule on earth. We know that the kingdom of God isn’t visible right now. It’s established in the hearts of God’s people.

The word, compare, in the above verse means to be similar in character and appearance. So, when we look at this parable, we’re getting a pretty good description of God’s kingdom at work in the world.

You need to understand that the seed for the mustard tree is tiny. This speaks of the small origin of the church. Jesus Christ was one man. But He wasn’t just a man. He was God made flesh.

When He was planted; the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection birthed an eternal kingdom. But that’s only one of the keys. For this plant to grow, it has to be planted under just the right conditions. That’s why Jesus had to emphasize over and over that in His ministry, everything had to be fulfilled according to the Father’s plan.

Another thing about this plant – it germinates quickly, but grows very slowly, but steadily. God’s kingdom is unstoppable. Many have tried to put an end to it, without success. That’s because it’s a kingdom born and nourished in the spirit. God is at work in the lives of His people.

As I said earlier, this isn’t the mustard we think of in talking about condiments and seasonings. However, the leaves and fruit of this tree are edible and have a slight, mustardy flavor. So animals and people can derive nourishment from it.

That brings me to my last point. This mustard-tree plant is very hardy. Once it takes root, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Because of this fact, the mustard tree is used throughout the Middle East and Africa for land reclamation.

Because it thrives in hot, arid climates; it can turn deserts into habitable places again. And, isn’t that one of the mandates of God’s plan? We are to bring life to the dead places around us.

Of course, not everybody sees it that way. Because it’s so hard to remove, people either view the mustard plant as a beneficial tree or a troublesome weed. Some people spend a lot of time and resources to remove it.

That’s how the church is described sometimes. Paul had this to say about it.

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV

That’s the kingdom of God – some people hate it, while others couldn’t live without it. There are those who have dedicated their lives to extinguish the work of God on earth. Talk about a wasted life.

As for me, I’m grateful to be found in the kingdom of God. As I continue in the Lord’s way; I look forward to seeing His grace, power, and blessing that he desires to manifest through His people.

Question: How have you experienced the unstoppable growth of God’s kingdom?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Kingdom and God’s Will

God’s Kingdom and God’s Will

In my last post I began talking about the Lord’s Prayer as found in the Gospel of Luke. We saw that the foundation was addressed to the Father in Heaven. Now we turn to what should be our greatest desire.

“‘…your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’”

Luke 11:2b NIV

Our highest aim should be the furtherance of God’s kingdom on earth. This is not something to be taken lightly.

That’s because this verb, “come”, is in the imperative. When we pray like this, we’re literally calling for the kingdom of God to manifest on earth. But that begs the question; do we actually want this?

We need to understand this word, kingdom – king-dom. We’re talking about the domain of the king. That means the region in which his rulership and authority is supreme.

Jesus Christ is King of kings. That’s beyond question. But, have I allowed that kingdom to manifest its reign over my entire life?

So often we retain little sections that we want to keep control over. We allow the Lord to rule over most of our life, but not all of it. That creates a big problem in our walk with Him.

The Bible refers to Christ with words such as, Lord, Master, King, and Sovereign. These titles allow no room for our will to take the spotlight.

“No, Lord” is an impossible statement. If He is Lord, then you can’t say “no”. If you can say “no”, then He’s not really your Lord.

That’s why we need to be constantly assessing ourselves. We must desire that the rule and reign of God has first place in us.

Along with this, we must also seek to walk in the will of God. This takes the kingdom of God to a higher level in our lives. That’s because the Lord’s will for my life is something specific.

Here’s our problem…in order for God’s will to be done, I need to first know what that will is. I have to be a person who hears the voice of the Holy Spirit. This requires seeking, and seeking requires time.

Many believers want to know how to find God’s will for their lives. The fact is that it’s not hidden. The Lord wants you to know it, but there is a process.

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. 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 12:1-2 NIV

The key is time. We need to spend quality time in the presence of God, laying down our own agenda for the priorities of the kingdom. Along with that, we spend time in the Word, allowing it to change the way we think – renewing our mind.

As that happens, God’s will becomes second nature. When things come up in my life, I’ll be able to judge what God’s will is in that situation. Then, I can find myself walking in that will.

When it comes to the will of God, the pattern may not seem logical to our human way of thinking. We need to commit to walk in the Lord’s will BEFORE He’ll tell us what that will is. That’s what faith is about. I trust that His way is right before I know which way He’s leading.

That’s how the heavenly beings operate. God speaks and they move. My goal should be that I’ll obey in the same way while I live on the earth.

That’s what it will take to see the blessings of the kingdom of God manifest in my life.

Question: What is God’s will for your life today?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2022 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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