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Following Christ – But How Far?

Following Christ – But How Far?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 4:1-2

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

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

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

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

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Driven

Driven

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. In the last few posts, we’ve talked about the ministry of John the Baptist. It’s at this point that Jesus Christ came on the scene.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22

In the past, I’ve posted about the anointing of God on our lives. We receive God’s anointing when we’re chosen by God for a specific task. We’re then anointed to complete it.

What we see from Scripture is that the Spirit follows the anointing. At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in power. That was His anointing for ministry.

At the same time there was a voice from heaven (The Father) confirming this calling. My question is; how did He get to this point? The answer will help me in my walk with God.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52

Wisdom is the application of what you’ve learned. Stature speaks of physical growth. The word favor is the grace of God. These are very important points for us to understand.

Have you ever thought about it in these terms before? Jesus had to grow in grace. But the key word is grew. That Greek word literally means to drive forward as if by beating.

Jesus was driven to grow in grace and wisdom. Of course He did have an advantage over us. He was perfect and He had a photographic memory. The Lord only had to hear the Scripture once and He remembered it.

The key is that when He heard Scripture He was driven to enter into the grace of it. This should be the same for us.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:14-15

Paul tells Timothy, a young pastor, to be diligent and give himself totally the callings that were placed upon his life. Paul literally says, so that your driving forward may be a light to all.

We must drive ourselves to secure the anointing. To walk in our callings will take drive and determination. It will not just happen by accident. It’s a spiritual battle. But, through the power of God, we will be victorious.

In the above verse from Luke, there’s a second important phrase. Jesus was well pleasing to God. That’s an important principle.

Do you make an effort to please God? Do you know what that means? I’m not talking about God loving you – He loves everyone.

I’m not even talking about God accepting you. We’re made righteous and acceptable to God in Christ. Pleasing is on a different level. It means that God actually enjoys what you’re doing. The Bible talks about it.

Just like Christ, we must be driven to set our hearts on what is well pleasing to God. Only then will He release His power in us to secure our anointing. It should be important to us to find out what well pleases the Lord.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

This is the starting line. Pleasing the Lord requires faith. That should come as no surprise. But let’s seek the understanding of what this means.

Many say, “I’m a faith person.” Is that enough? It’s not just about believing He exists. We must also have faith in the knowledge that He rewards those who seek Him.

“I will earnestly seek Him…tomorrow.”

If I’m going to please God, then I need to be diligent and press in immediately. It’s not something that I keep putting off for a more convenient time. In all likelihood, there will never be an easy time to press in to God’s will.

The time is now to diligently seek a faith that goes beyond just being acceptable to the Lord. Go for the “well pleasing” kind of faith.

Questions: How are you driven to be well-pleasing to God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2021 in Anointing, Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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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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Seeking God’s Approval

In my last post, I talked about the fact that we need to be approved by the Holy Spirit in order to use the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  They are too powerful to be used by infants or the unfaithful.

Now I want to go into this truth in a little more detail.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is an important verse to understand.  Here’s what the verse says in the Greek language: We speak as men who have been tested and approved by God.  He trusted us enough to allow us to use His Gospel.

I don’t believe that every single Christian should be sharing the Gospel.  I know there are some who would get mad at me for saying this.  But the truth is that there are certain believers that I don’t want anyone to know that they’re a Christian.

When they share about Jesus, they’re doing more harm than good.  Their lives don’t testify to God’s grace.  They actually make people not want to choose Christ.

We need to understand that the Gospel is the Word of God.  If we’re going to spread it with life-changing power, then it has to be done on God’s terms and not ours.

That’s why Paul makes it clear that the true Gospel is about pleasing God.  Too often we try to spread the Gospel with a message designed to please men.  We try to make the message more palatable.

That’s not how we should be operating.  It should be our goal to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit, then speak that to those who will listen.  This is the sword that there’s no defense against.

For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:18

This verse says it all.  We need to take it to heart.  We need to seek God’s approval.

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

I talked about this verse a couple of posts back.  At that point, I emphasized the fact that we need to be approved.  Now I want to concentrate on the first part of the verse.

That phrase, do your best, literally, means be diligent or prompt.  In other words, stop putting off your approval process before God.  It should be a main priority of your life.

The verse goes on to say that we should desire to present ourselves to God in this way.  The words used in this verse are a word picture of standing beside yourself in order to present yourself.  There are times we need to take a step back and view our life from God’s perspective.

Then, we need to do what it takes to seek God’s approval.  This will require us to submit under the Holy Spirit’s training program.

Our flesh will definitely try to rebel against this plan.  But if we want to walk in the supernatural power of God, then this is the only road.

Question: What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do for the next step in your training?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Why Do You Seek God?

That’s an interesting question to ask.  Some may even say that the answer should be obvious.  But is it?  I think it’s important to know if you’re seeking God for the reasons He wants to be sought.

Jesus had a way of getting to these core issues when dealing with people.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mark 10:17

From the outward appearance, this man was seeking Christ for a changed life.  It’s like we pray sometimes.  “Lord, I’ll do whatever it takes to please you.  Just help me out of this situation I’m facing.”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.  “No one is good — except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”
Mark 10:18-19

Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter.  He asks the man why he’s asking this question.  Does he really know the One he’s seeking help from?

When we seek the Lord, are we seeking Him as Lord?  Or are we just asking Him to give us something or to do something for us?  That makes a difference.

Jesus starts by giving him the primary answer – do what the Scripture tells you to do.  That’s the entrance into the kingdom.  Of course, they were under the Old Covenant so it meant following the Law of Moses.

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him.  “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”
Mark 10:20-21

Based on the words of Christ, this young man was saved and on his way to Heaven.  He was fulfilling the requirements of the Law.  The problem was that he was still spiritually unfulfilled.  He was longing for a deeper walk.  That’s why he came to Jesus.

There’s something important to understand.  Before Jesus gives him the instructions, we’re told the Lord discerned or looked into him.  Having done that, we’re also told that Jesus loved him.  He knew about the genuine longing in this young man’s heart.

Basically, the Lord tells him that if he wants to progress to the next level, spiritually, he needs to remove all his earthly possessions and start new as a disciple of Christ.

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mark 10:22-23

The word picture in this verse is that of a cloud coming over the conversation when Jesus spoke.  The young man was grieved because he had a large estate.  So that’s what this is about; an estate.

The young man had inherited an estate from his family.  Jesus was calling him to give up his earthly inheritance for a heavenly one.  After all, that was his original question.

He was probably well known and respected because of his family’s wealth.  Jesus was calling him to give it all up and to start fresh in the kingdom of God.

When we seek the Lord, are we looking for His counsel and direction or do we simply want Him to give us something?  Attitude makes all the difference.

I’ll continue this thought in my next post.

Question: What should our attitude be in approaching the Lord?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Preparation is Everything

When you think about the ministry of Jesus, what’s the picture you get in your mind?  Do you think that He simply wandered around Israel with no objectives, preaching as He walked along?  As we continue to study the Gospel of Mark, we’ll start to see the logistics involved in the Lord’s ministry.

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.  Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.
Mark 6:6b-7

Jesus’ work in Israel is starting to grow.  Larger crowds are coming to hear Him speak.  At the same time, the number of disciples is increasing.  At this point, the Lord probably has about 20 people in His group all traveling with Him.

We sometimes get the idea that life was somehow easier in the ancient world.  In actuality, they had some of the same challenges that we have in our modern society.

It’s always easier when one or two people are traveling together.  Food and lodging aren’t too tough to find along the way.

But now Jesus is moving around with a group of twenty.  Think about it.  That’s not something that could just be done without any prior preparation.

After all, there were no restaurant chains along the highway.  There were no big name hotels with 800 numbers to book in advance.  They had no arenas that could schedule a huge event with advanced ticket sales.

Jesus needed some of His disciples to do the advance work in the cities He was heading to.  They needed to let the towns know that the lord was on His way there.  Then they had to report back as to where they would sleep, get food, and what would be the best place to preach when they arrive.

Later on in His ministry, as the team grew to over a hundred, Christ had 72 workers who did this job.  (Luke 10:1)  Jesus never had the attitude of, “We’ll just figure it out when we get there.”  It’s sad that many churches and ministries have no vision other than to hold meetings, and then just see what happens.

The Lord never took that approach.  He even instructed the disciples as to how they were to accomplish their objectives.

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff — no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.  Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.  Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.  And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.”
Mark 6:8-11

Contrary to what some teach, this is not Jesus laying the groundwork for a poverty mentality among His ministers.  This was the vetting process for the towns Jesus was about to pass through on His intended course of travel.

By taking nothing with them, they were testing whether or not a town was ready for the full ministry of the Messiah.  If they were not willing to supply the needs of two lone travelers representing Christ, then they weren’t worthy of the tremendous blessing that would be given to their town when Jesus arrived.

That’s why it’s important to pray, seek God’s direction, and make plans for how your ministry will progress.  It doesn’t just happen by accident.  You have to put some legs on the dreams and visions God has placed in your heart.

Question: What’s the next step you have to do to prepare for what God has in your future?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2018 in Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are We Pursuing God – Really?

JogLast week I mentioned our pursuit of God. Many believers are convinced that they’re pursuing God. But is that what’s really happening?

I want to take a few posts to talk about the pursuit of God. Over and over again in the Scripture we see God saying to His people, “Seek Me, follow Me and come near Me.” One of the most important jobs of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into the Lord’s presence.

The fact is that God wants to be pursued – He wants to be sought after – and He wants to be found. The question I have is; are we pursuing God the way He wants to be pursued?

The Nation of Israel learned this lesson the hard way.

Here are two verses that don’t sound like they go together.

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.”
Isaiah 58:1-2

The first verse talks about showing the people their rebellion. In what way are they rebelling?

The next verse sounds like just the opposite. Day after day they seek out the Lord. They are eager to know His ways. They are asking for God to come near them.

This verse should actually cause us to stop and think. It sounds like much of the church in our generation. We are seeking, asking, studying, and desiring the presence of God to show up.

And yet, the Lord calls it rebellion. What was the problem? Actually, it was a very subtle one. The beginning of the next verse gives us the answer.

“‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’”
Isaiah 58:3a

They’re error was that they weren’t really pursuing God. They were trying to use fasting, prayer, going to church, and studying the Bible as a way to get God’s attention. In actuality, they were trying to get God to pursue them.

I believe that many of us in the church today are falling into the same trap. We’re trying to get God to come after us.

This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Isaiah 66:1-2

In effect, God is saying, “What could you possibly offer that I would pursue you?” This verse literally says that the one God looks intently atthe one who gets His attention – is the one who humbles himself before God.

I want to take a couple of posts to look at this aspect of pursuing God.

Question: How do we show either pride or humility in our pursuit of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Start By Seeking the Lord

FinishThe beginning of the year is a good time to seek direction from the Lord. Because of that, I’m setting aside this week for personal fasting and prayer. Fasting should be a normal part of your Christian experience.

Scripture tells about some people who were working in a church in Antioch. They were involved in teaching and helping out for years. They also understood the truth about fasting and prayer. I’m going to be talking about it for a few posts.

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
Acts 13:1

Because he’s listed first, we see that Barnabas was the one in charge of this ministry. Last on the list was a guy named Saul. He had his 5 minutes of fame while he was persecuting the church. Now he’s pretty much forgotten.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2-3

In the middle of their meeting they heard from God. That made all the difference. According to Scripture, they were performing public service to God and fasting.

Throughout the day a few different people heard the same thing from God. Separate Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them.

We have to come to grips with the fact that fasting prepares you to hear from God. The truth is that God always desires to bring you from glory to glory. He wants to cause growth in your life and ministry.

The more you hear from the Lord, the more specific your calling becomes. The path you’re walking becomes more and more narrow.

During His time on earth, Jesus talked about asking, seeking and knocking. He said that if you knock, the door will be opened for you. What door was He talking about? He went on to say…

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14

I don’t believe that He’s talking about salvation here. This verse is about asking the Father for direction and wisdom.

There’s an easy way that leads to loss and ruin. Many people – Christians included – are running after the temporary. But there is another way that’s easier to miss. You have to seek and ask just to find the gate.

Then you have to knock, keep on knocking, and push through. Very few even find it. That’s because they don’t want to seek and ask. But Barnabas and Saul were seeking. They were prepared to hear.

This is the gate of fasting and prayer. I invite you to come on in and see what the Lord has for you this year.

Question: How important to your Christian walk is fasting and prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Fasting, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Entering the New Year with Vision

2016As we start this New Year of 2016, I wish God’s best for you. As the people of God, we know that we have His blessing and favor upon us. But we need to continue walking in His vision for our lives.

I want to take a few posts to talk about our spiritual vision. It’s important to spend quality time in the Lord’s presence to understand where He’s taking us and what He wants us to accomplish.

The Jewish leader, Nehemiah, knew some things about vision as he helped the children of Israel to return to their homeland after the Babylonian captivity.

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 1:2-4

Nehemiah saw what was presently happening in Jerusalem. He knew that what was happening was not God’s best. The broken down wall and burned out buildings needed to be restored.

What was his response to this news? He spent time with the Lord. That’s where vision is born.

It’s especially easy to receive God’s imparted vision when you’re dissatisfied with what is. That’s because vision is the burden that comes when you see what is in contrast to what could be.

Vision always demands change. So Nehemiah mourned, fasted, and prayed. He did this so that God could work the necessary changes in him first of all.

That’s why not everyone wants the Lord’s vision for their lives. Vision calls for change and that change must work on me first.

I cannot accept this work of the Holy Spirit until I want to see a change. If I’m content with my present circumstances, then I won’t seek God with fervency. That’s what it will take to be a child of God with vision.

Question: What do you see that needs to change in your life personally and in the church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Look at Me when I’m Speaking to You

BeamI live in the Boston area. Maybe you’ve heard what our weather’s been like lately. Last week we had two feet of snow and now they’re calling for another foot this week.

Needless to say, I’m ready for spring. I love to go out into the woods to hike and pray. It’s a great way to meet with the Lord.

Did you know that this was a large part of Jesus’ ministry?

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:42-44

Very frequently Jesus went off alone into the wilderness. Usually He would go to pray and to meditate on the Word while seeking the Father’s will for the days ahead. Many times He wouldn’t even tell anyone where He was going. This caused the people and especially His disciples to become annoyed on more than one occasion.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude with the Lord. When you’re alone in God’s presence, you can see the way ahead more clearly. This is because there are less distractions around you.

I’ve been driving in the car with friends and talked with them the whole way to where we were going. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that those conversations aren’t very deep. I can talk and keep my eyes on the road if I don’t have to think very hard.

Intimate conversation, on the other hand, is very different. If what I’m saying is important, then I want you to make eye contact with me. I want to know that you’re giving me your full attention.

It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. We can pray and praise the Lord no matter what we’re doing throughout the day. That’s fine and it keeps our minds focused on Him.

But there comes a time when we need to enter a more intimate time with Christ – worship. This requires an undistracted heart. I’ve found that the outdoors provides just such an experience. It allows me to “make eye contact” with the Lord.

From the example of Christ, we see that walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method many Christians use.

“I’ll try going forward; if the door closes I’ll try another direction.”

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

If you’ve never tried it, spend some time with the Holy Spirit in the outdoors. Of course, you may have to wait until the weather breaks. Unless you’re like me and can’t wait. (I have a good pair of snowshoes!)

Find a nice solitary place that you can come undistracted into the Lord’s presence. You won’t be disappointed.

Question: Where do you go to seek God with no distractions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Prayer, Times in the Wilderness, Worship

 

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