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Love Pressure

Love Pressure

In my last few posts about the book of Romans, I’ve been talking about the power of God at work in us.  We’ve seen that there’s a process that begins when it’s initiated by our faith in God.  It brings us from faith to an experience of God’s glory.

Paul continues this thought.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:5

Paul now brings us to the greatest power in the universe – love.  That’s the place the Holy Spirit is bringing us to.  His desire for every believer is for us to walk in love.

Love is the spiritual pressure placed upon us to produce change.  It was what compelled Christ to minister the way He did.

Actually, I can’t think of any more powerful force in all of life other than love.  For the love of God, or another person, we’ll do things that we might never have done under ordinary circumstances.  Love is a driving force in many of the things we do.

God’s love that He pours into our hearts is the source of our spiritual power.  The same love that drove Christ forward is now placed within us.  When we had no power, God saved us by the death and resurrection of Christ.  He has plugged us into His power source.  The very love that pressures Him can now drive us forward to bless others.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

It’s Christ’s love that should empower everything that we do.  We need to take inventory of what drives and motivates us.

Do you feel a pressure that drives you to reach out to the lost?  Does love compel you to be a blessing to those around you even when you don’t feel like it?  Do you have a compassion for those who are in need?  If not, then you haven’t tapped into the love of Christ.

It’s so easy to say, “I love the lost and I want to see them saved.”  But if there’s little or no pressure to do something about it, then that’s a sign that there’s little or no manifestation of God’s love.  The verdict is simple, no love, no power.

If you want to see this principle in action, just look to the early church in the book of Acts.  They felt the pressure of God’s love to the point where they were willing to die, if necessary, to bring salvation to those around them.

In my last post, I talked about our faith being proved as genuine.  I believe that walking in the love of God is one of the proofs of a genuine faith.

We don’t talk very much about God’s approval of life and ministry.  We seem to think that we can just do what we please and ask God to bless it.  After all, we’re doing it for the Lord.

No.  On the contrary, it’s God’s standards that we need to aspire to.  It’s found again and again in Scripture, if we look for it.

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

We must do what it takes to live in intimacy with the Lord.  Only in this way will His love increase in our hearts.

Question: How much of the pressure of Christ’s love do you feel within you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2021 in Anointing, Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our First Calling

Our First Calling

We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome.  In the introduction of this epistle, he talks about the goal of his writing.

And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:6-7

The first thing Paul does is to make it clear who’s doing the calling.  He literally says that they are called by Jesus Christ.  That brings me to an important point.

Most people read Scripture without ever thinking about the words being used, or the order we find them.  For instance, many believers think that the names “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus” are synonymous and interchangeable.

While I agree that they both refer to the same person, it’s also important to understand their differences.  They speak a lot about what the writer is trying to get across to us.

The name, Jesus, speaks of His earthly body, while Christ refers to His eternal divinity.  So when they’re put together an important union is formed.  It’s all about the Lord’s high priestly office.

Usually, the name Jesus Christ is used when the writer is emphasizing something that’s directed from man to God.  The name, Christ Jesus, directs the emphasis from God to man.

In this passage we are called by Jesus Christ.  That tells me that the emphasis is man to God.  Jesus is calling us so that we can approach God through His work in us.

That’s what this letter to the Roman church is all about.  Paul is taking them on a journey from the outskirts of God’s grace to the inner circle of maturity in Christ.

The next two things Paul talks about are applicable to all people.  That’s the fact that they’re all loved by God and they’re all called to be holy (saints).

This is important because God’s calling is based upon His love for us.  God loves everyone and desires all to come into His salvation.  Unfortunately, not everyone accepts His invitation.  But that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord loves them anyway.

Everyone is also called to be holy – set apart to God.  I explained that term a couple of posts back.  The Lord wants everyone to be a part of His household.  That’s because we’ll never truly be satisfied until we discover our true purpose for living in Christ.

That brings us to the final two parts of what the book of Romans is majoring on.  Paul wants to see them operating in the grace and peace of God.

These are two very important aspects of our walk with God.  Grace is the vertical portion.  We look to God by faith in His Word.  The Lord then responds to our faith by pouring out His grace upon us.

Peace is the horizontal aspect of our spiritual life.  There are many believers who don’t understand this concept.  Peace is that open relationship between God’s people.

It also deals with all the blessings God has provided for me.  This includes, but isn’t limited to, healing, provision, encouragement, and protection.  What we don’t understand about this is that all of these blessings come through other people – the horizontal.

If I’m in need of resources and pray to God to supply my need, these things don’t just fall out of the sky.  They come from other people.

So if I build walls between myself and other Christians, I’m cutting myself off from potential supplies.  I’m also destroying my chance of passing on God’s blessings through my life to others.

We’re all called to come near to God.  That’s where we receive the grace and peace needed to fulfill our earthly ministries.

Question: How have you seen God’s grace and peace at work in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Walking with the Shepherd

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes we get the idea that we have to set the agenda for our lives. But that’s not the right way to live. It’s the Lord who should be choosing the path we’re on.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1-3

Green pastures, quiet waters and right paths – what else could you ask for in a Shepherd? He knows the way ahead and he knows the needs of our hearts. There’s no one who’s more worthy of our trust than the Lord is.

In the real world sheep don’t get to choose their shepherd. They belong to whoever owns the flock. It’s not up to them to decide to leave one shepherd for another. But because of the work Christ did on the cross, we have the privilege of choosing Him no matter what our background might be.

The blessing is now ours to be led in the best possible way. We can walk along paths that will restore us rather than harm us. We have something that can feed our hungry souls and living water to refresh us.

Trust the Shepherd of your soul. He’s worthy of that trust. Realize that He wants the very best for you if you’ll just open up and receive it. There’s no greater place to be.

Of course there will be problems

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalm 23:4-5

The valley of the shadow of death – it definitely sounds like a place I’d rather avoid. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also the enemies. Sheep are defenseless against such predators as wolves and lions. The world can be a very evil and dark place sometimes.

Praise God that we have a Shepherd who knows the dark paths we must take. He’s been there and has come through victoriously. When I don’t know the road ahead, I can rest assured that He does.

I can be free from the fear of enemies. His rod and staff will be my protection. As a matter of fact, my enemy will have to watch as I feast at the table of the Lord. The Shepherd will bring me through, in spite of the enemy’s best-laid plans to destroy me.

When the burdens of life start getting me down – when I start getting discouraged – He’s right there to anoint me with the oil of His joy. He knows just how to refresh and invigorate me.

If you’re going through a hard time today; turn the problems over to Jesus. Let Him comfort, refresh and renew you.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6

His goodness is unmatched. He wants the best for your life. His plan for you is greater than you could have ever asked or imagined.

His love for you is deep and unchanging. Never think for a moment that you have to win, earn or work to receive His love. He showers it on you freely.

If you have never given Christ your all, then today is a good day to surrender. Commit everything you are and everything you have into His hands. He only wants the very best for you. Take the time right now to bow your heart and place your life in the hands of the Chief Shepherd.

Question: How has Christ been a Good Shepherd to you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, God's Provision

 

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Are You a “High-Voltage” Christian?

In my last two posts I’ve been talking about the power of God at work in us.  We have seen that spiritual power relates very closely to natural power.  Just as power in the physical universe produces change, God expects His power to change us and those around us.

We also saw that the first component of this power is love.  This relates to voltage in the realm of science.  Love is the spiritual pressure placed upon us to produce change.  It was what compelled Christ to minister the way He did.

Actually, I can’t think of any more powerful force in all of life other than love.  For the love of God, or another person, we will do things that we might never have done under ordinary circumstances.  Love is a driving force in many of the things we do.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:5-6

Here is the source of our spiritual power.  The same love that drove Christ forward is now placed within us.  When we had no power, God saved us by the death and resurrection of Christ.  He has plugged us into His power source.  The very love that pressures Him can now drive us forward to bless others.

As I said before, our power can be measured. Let’s use our spiritual volt-meter.  Do you feel a pressure that drives you to reach out to the lost?  Does love compel you to be a blessing to those around you even when you don’t feel like it?  Do you have a compassion for those who are in need?  If not, then you haven’t tapped into the love of Christ.

It’s so easy to say, “I love the lost and I want to see them saved.”  But if there is little or no pressure to do something about it, then that’s a sign that there’s little or no love voltage.  The verdict is simple, no love, no power.

If you want to see this principle in action, just look to the early church in the book of Acts.  Spiritually speaking, they should’ve had a sign over their door which read “Danger High Voltage”!  They felt the pressure of God’s love to the point where they were willing to die, if necessary, to bring salvation to those around them.  We must do what it takes to live in intimacy with the Lord.  Only in this way will His love increase in our hearts.

Question: Do you ever feel the pressure of Christ’s love within you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Power of God

 

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