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Praising God in the Storm #praiseHiminthestorm

StormThen the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm…
Job 40:6

From time to time I try to get away to the wilderness and get alone with God.  A couple of weeks ago I felt a prompting of the Spirit, so I spent three days hiking on the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire.  I’m glad that I did.

The presence of the Lord was very real during that trip.  I had some great prayer times with Him.  But there is one thing that happened that I want to share in this post.

My plan was to start out early and park my car at the ending point of the hike.  I had made arrangements with a taxi company to meet me there and take me to where I was to start.  As I sat in my car, waiting for the cab to arrive, it started to lightly drizzle.

According to the weather, it was only a 20% chance of rain first thing in the morning, then clear skies later.  Since there was no cell phone reception to call off the taxi, and I figured it would clear up soon, I decided to go forward with my hiking plans.

I put on my rain gear and took the taxi to the start of my hike.  It started off fine.  Under the cover of the forest, the slight rain didn’t even make it down to where I was walking.

However, the further I hiked up the mountain, the less cover there was.  Then it happened – the sky opened up and I found myself in a torrential downpour.  I had to scramble across slippery rocks, on the edge of a cliff, in the rain.

At one point the trees cleared for a bit giving me an incredible view.  (That’s the picture I took at the top of this post.)  It was at that moment that the Spirit of the Lord became wonderfully real to me.  I had no choice but to stop, right where I was and worship God.

As I looked around, standing on the rocks on the side of a mountain, dripping wet in a rainstorm, I had the funniest thought.  I told the Lord, “God, You even make rainstorms magnificent!”

It was an experience to remember.  The sound of the rain and wind in the mountains.  The sight of the clouds racing past me as I stood level with them.  The expanse of the mountains and trees around me.

It all combined to inspire awe toward my Creator.  I realized in that moment that I was experiencing something that few people ever will.  Actually, few people would ever choose to be there!

In our Christian walk, if you desire to do great things for God then you will go through a spiritual storm.  But in the middle of that challenge, know that the Holy Spirit is with you.  If you turn the downpour into a chance to praise God, you’ll know the wonder of His presence with you.

Questions: Are you going through a spiritual battle at this time?  Will you choose to give God praise during the tough times?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 

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Jehovah Jireh – The Mountain

TrailThis is the final post about how Abraham positioned himself to receive God’s supernatural provision.  At this point we find him with the knife raised, about to sacrifice his only son.

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.  “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Genesis 22:11-12

Abraham was able to come through this time of testing victoriously.  But there was something that always puzzled me.  God said, “Now I know that you fear God.”  I thought God knew everything, so why would He say that?

The Hebrew word for know is Yada, which means to know by seeing.  What God said was that now Abraham’s faith could be seen.  His fear of God was now obvious to everyone.

That’s the reason for trials and testing.  We may have faith quietly tucked away in our hearts.  Without works, it’s not yet a living faith.  It must be proved genuine.

It’s the trying of our faith that causes it to be seen by those around us.  That’s why Scripture tells us over and over again that without trials we’ll never become mature in Christ.

It was when his faith was tested, and proved genuine, that Abraham’s eyes were opened to the provision of God that was before him.

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns.  He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.  So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide.  [Jehovah Jireh]  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
Genesis 22:13-14

Jehovah Jireh – the God Who provides.  There are many who think this name is a promise of unbridled wealth.  They think that it’s all about their physical comfort.  What they fail to see is that Jehovah Jireh is a place of supernatural provision in Christ.

As I said in the first post of this series, it’s a spiritual mountain that must be climbed.  To get to that place in God, it will require the same thing from us that it did of Abraham.

It will take a life of immediate obedience to God, perseverance, speaking our faith, and a decision to give up everything for the cause of Christ.  That’s the real mountain that Abraham had to climb.  The physical mountain was easy in comparison.

As with all things in Christ, God has already provided everything we need for life and godliness.  The problem is that we need to position ourselves to receive the provision of God.

That’s the point.  Why do we want God’s blessing?  To accomplish His will or ours?

If you want Christ to be exalted in you, then you’re in a position to receive.

I ask everyone who reads this post to pray and believe God for those who respond to the following question…

Question: What is God calling you to do that you need His supernatural provision for?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Faith, God's Provision, Prayer

 

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Wandering

Psalm 107:4-9
Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.  They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.  Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Many times I read the news of someone who is missing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Being lost in the wilderness is a frightening experience.  When this happens, there is no course of action that is worse than wandering aimlessly.  The best thing to do is either to stay put and wait for help, or to walk downhill and down stream.

As we look around at our society, we see many people who are wandering aimlessly with their lives.  Without a compass or a direction for their soul, they live and die without ever reaching their destiny.  It should be the number one priority to find your purpose in life.

This is why quality time with the Creator is so important in the life of a believer.  It gives you the chance to set your heading with the Word of God and through prayer.  Only by finding your God-given destiny will you be assured of living a life that means something.

Don’t allow yourself to live a life of wandering.  Go before the Lord today and seek His plan for your life.  Obtain vision from His hand.  Live a life that reaps eternal benefits.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Mount Zion

Hebrews 12:22-25
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.  You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks.  If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

In the pages of Scripture, Mount Zion was called the Mountain of God.  It was a place where the presence of God was felt very powerfully.

I’m so glad that the presence of the Lord is no longer confined to a specific place.  That being said, there have been times in my life when I have encountered the Holy Spirit in a powerful way.  Other times He spoke with a “still, small voice.”  When we come to Him in an attitude of expectation, He will speak to our hearts.

There is one thing I have learned in these encounters.  When I hear His voice I must be quick to say, “Yes, Lord!”  Sometimes He speaks a hard word – a word that calls for change – as He did many times in Israel’s history.  Change is never easy, but when ordained by God, it’s for the best.

Seek to spend quality time in the presence of the Lord.  But more than that; when He speaks to you, be the one who is ready and willing to agree with His plan for your life.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Reflection of God

Exodus 34:29-30
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD.  When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.

Having spent time on a mountaintop with God, Moses’ face began to shine with a radiance like that of the sun.  It was so bright that it caused the Israelites to fear even being near him.  There was no doubt about it.  Moses was changed, inside and out.

When you spend quality, intimate, time with the Lord, people will begin to notice a change in you.  Your face will probably not begin to glow.  But just like Moses began to reflect the glory of God, your life will begin to reflect Christ in a new and more powerful way.  As a matter of fact, you may not notice the change as much as your family and friends will.

We all have areas in our lives that need change.  Sometimes we try to do it on our own.  Usually we fail – we are not strong enough.  Lasting change comes from a deep work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The kind of work that requires a freedom from distractions.  This means that you must have a “secret place” to get alone with Christ.

Spend some time with the Lord today.  Open up your life to Him so that He might work in you.  Yield your desires to the Lord that He might shed His transforming power upon your heart.  Let lasting change begin today.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Mountain of the Lord’s Temple

Isaiah 2:2-3
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

When the temple was established in Jerusalem, no gentile could ever enter it, no matter how devout they were.  Temple worship was the exclusive right of the nation of Israel.

Things are different now.  Because of what Christ has done, all nations may now enter the invisible, holy temple of God.  We can now climb the heights to His very presence.  What was formerly impossible is now accessible by grace.

It is now possible to sit at the feet of the Lord and allow Him to teach you His ways.  Even when the temple was open to Israel, only the priests had that privilege.  Now, because of the cross, we can all experience the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Make that climb today, to the top, to the mountain of God’s temple.  Approach the majestic presence of the Creator of all things.  Worship at His feet, for He is worthy to receive it.  Wait on Him, for His Spirit to move upon your heart.  Lives are forever changed up on that mountain.  Let yours be one of them.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Come Down

II Kings 1:9-10
Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men.  The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!'”
Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!”  Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

There is a peace that comes from being on a mountaintop, or even a hilltop.  It seems easier to seek the Lord in these places.  The sights and sounds all combine together to make your spirit more open to God.  Elijah was in such a place.  He realized that the place of prayer was a place of power before God.

Sometimes, in our Christian walk, we experience a spiritual mountaintop.  It is a place where God gives us special clarity about what’s ahead.  It is an intimate place with the Lord and usually we don’t want it to end too quickly.

In this verse the king ordered Elijah to come down from his mountaintop.  He even sent a contingent of soldiers to move Elijah off of his God-given assignment.  Unfortunately for the captain and his men, the power of God worked to remove the distraction from the prophet’s path.

In our daily lives, it is the distractions of society that order us out of the presence of the Lord.  We need to learn to remain on the mountain (at least in our hearts).  If we can continue our focus on the Lord.  Then, even when we must leave the place of prayer, His peace still remains.

Take the time today to find that place of peace with the Lord.  Spend quality time in His presence, then continue to meditate upon Him throughout the day.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Water Walk – Part 1

Mark 6:45-47
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.

As I read the Gospels, I find that Jesus loved the mountains.  He went there often to seek solitude and to pray.  I don’t think that the disciples ever realized the importance of this part of the Lord’s ministry until after the resurrection.

There were many times where the best thing for Him to do was to dismiss the crowds and to send away His disciples in order to be alone with the Father.  This was one of those times.  He had just ministered to thousands of people.  That can be very draining no matter who you are.

When the Lord took on flesh and blood, He chose to live as one of us.  Because of  this, Jesus was bound by the same physical limitations that we are.  He learned that you cannot just keep giving out to others.  You must also take something in that can recharge your own spiritual batteries.

It was in these mountains of prayer that Jesus was able to renew His Spirit.  He would seek the Father’s face and by the Spirit, hear the plan for the road ahead.  In that way He could fulfill the work He was called to do without burning Himself out doing it.

That needs to be a lesson for us.  If Jesus needed this time with the Father, how much more should we be seeking the presence of the Lord in our daily lives.  Take the time necessary today to renew and refresh yourself in the presence of the Lord.  You will be glad you did.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Reaffirming the Covenant

Joshua 8:30, 34-35
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel…
Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law – the blessings and the curses – just as it is written in the Book of the Law.  There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.

Moses left instructions for the Children of Israel to complete after he died.  Joshua was to take them to Mt. Ebal.  As they came into that area they were to climb the sides of two mountains that faced each other.

The words of the entire law of Moses were then to be read aloud to them.  In this way they were to hear the law again and reaffirm their commitment to God and to His law.

It is always important to review what God has called us to.  From time to time we must come to a point in our lives where we can remember what was spoken to us.  Then, with faith rekindled, we reaffirm our commitment to see it through.  Sometimes all that is called for is a quiet, out of the way place to review where we have been and where we are going.

Is there some unfinished business between you and the Lord?  Go to Him today.  Let Him know, once more, that you are standing firm and will see your calling accomplished.  If you have been ignoring it, now would be a good time to pick it back up again.  Take some quality time today to talk with God.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Worship on this Mountain

John 4:19-24
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The Jews and the Samaritans worshipped God on two different mountains.  The woman speaking to Jesus in this verse was starting to get uncomfortable with where the conversation was heading.  She thought that she could start an argument about which was the right place.  Fortunately the Lord was not distracted from His objective by her question.

Jesus answered that God is Spirit.  He knows no physical limitations as to time and place.  He explained to the woman that anywhere you worshipped God was the right place.  This is a great blessing to us.

Worshipping God is one of the greatest experiences you could have.  It doesn’t matter where you set aside the place.  The key is that we come into His presence in spirit and in truth.  To be alone with the Lord is something you cannot afford to miss.

Take the opportunity today to worship in His presence.  Worship Him in spirit and truth, as He calls us to.  You will find it to be one of the high points of your day.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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