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Offering of Thanksgiving

Offering of Thanksgiving

Here in the USA, we’re going to be celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow.  Many people are spending today in preparation for it.  I want to take this post to give some inspiration as we look forward to it.

Leviticus 7:11-15 talks about the Jewish Law concerning the sacrifice of thanksgiving.  It was one of the voluntary fellowship offerings that they could bring to the Temple.  You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

It turns out that the Thanksgiving offering was a meal shared with the priests.  They brought their sacrifice; it was cooked, and then eaten at the Temple.

So in a way, their Thanksgiving was just like ours.  Did you know that a meal can be worship?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Eating together is a sign of fellowship.  When the Lord is involved, it’s a part of our worship.

This is something that we need to get back to in our present day.  I encourage you to make this a part of your celebration.  Make a point to mention this at your dinner table, “This meal is an act of worship.”

Why is that so important?  Eating involves fellowship.  In the Old Testament reference from Leviticus, the root of “fellowship” is the Hebrew word, Shalom.  It’s what we normally translate as peace.

However, it’s much more than that.  Shalom speaks of fullness of life, wholeness, prosperity, safety, and peace with God.  What we need to realize is that Thanksgiving is the celebration of God’s gift to us of shalom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

That’s why Jesus came – so that we could enter into a covenant with Him.  The result is Shalom – fullness of life.  The Thanksgiving meal should celebrate what God has done for you.

Another aspect of the Thanksgiving Offering in the Old Testament was that this offering was not to provide union with God.  It was not used as a guilt offering.

This one simply acknowledged God’s presence.  We need to remember that Thanksgiving is joyfully sharing in God’s presence.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20

It should celebrate the gift of joy and fellowship because we’re in the family of God.  The Thanksgiving holiday should be all the more joyful because God is with us.

It’s interesting to note that this sacrifice was always listed last in the Scripture.  Rabbis referred to it as the “concluding sacrifice.”  It’s usually the same with us.  We look back and say God has been faithful.

However, that’s not all there is.

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

Psalm 50:23

Thanksgiving is not only the final part of a blessing.  It’s also the first part of the next blessing. Make your Thanksgiving meal an act of worship this year.  Not by religious show, but with the attitude of worship.  This is a meal celebrating shalom…in God’s presence…finalizing God’s blessing…and preparing for the next.

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Battle for Peace

In my last post, we looked at the opening of the title deed to earth (Revelation 6:1-2).  According to the deed, Adam was the first owner.

We then saw how when Adam was created he was given authority to rule the earth.  He had a spiritual bow and arrows.  He could defeat any enemy from a comfortable distance.  He had the high ground, so to speak.

What happens next was totally off-script.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.  To him was given a large sword.
Revelation 6:3-4

There are those who don’t like my interpretation of the seals in Revelation.  They don’t like the fact that I say they’re already past – a compressed view of the earth’s history.

But simply reading this passage should be enough to convince you.  This person on a red horse has the power to take peace from the earth.  There’s only one point in the history of the world when that was possible – before the fall of Adam.

Ever since Cain killed Abel there has been no peace on earth.  Right now, at this moment, no one can take peace from the earth.  There’s no peace to take.  This seal could only be a picture of Satan entering the scene with Adam.

The color red always stands for sin in the Scripture.  The enemy is seen as the one bringing sin into God’s perfect creation.

What we need to understand is the objective of the enemy.  Notice that he didn’t come to steal money, health or joy away from Adam.  He came to steal PEACE.

We know from Scripture that one title of Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 6:7).  He’s the Ruler of Shalom-Peace.  If you have this peace, then you have everything you need.

The word, Shalom in the Old Testament is rich in meaning.  It includes health, growth, prosperity, safety, fulfillment, rest, peace, protection, and more.  It implies “nothing missing, nothing broken.”  It includes everything God has for you.

That’s the prize the enemy was after.  If he could steal peace, then he’s got everything else.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Luke 19:41-42

This is what the Messiah wanted to restore.  It broke His heart when they rejected His attempts to restore to them His peace.

But there’s good news.  The story doesn’t end there.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

When you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior you also receive His peace.  The peace of God, that passes all understanding, has been restored to us (Philippians 4:7).

The problem is that most Christians have no idea that this is the prize.  This is the objective that the enemy is trying to steal.  If he can rob your peace then he’s got everything else.

Once you know the enemy’s objective, it’s easier to fight the war.  Protect the peace that the Lord has given you.  Or…if you’ve already lost it, then stand your ground to get it back.  It’s God’s will that you walk in everything that Christ won for you on the cross.

Question: How active is the peace of God in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Results of Resting in Christ

GrapesI’ve been posting about resting in Christ. In my last article we saw the symptoms of not resting in Him. Now I want to see what the Word says about what we can expect if we live in Christ.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.
Isaiah 32:17-20

Here are the symptoms of a heart that is at rest in the power of the Lord:

A quiet life. This is not talking about the level of noise that’s around you. Living a quiet life means that there’s nothing that comes your way that disturbs your peace of mind. Do you have a peace that surpasses understanding? This is what the Lord wants for His people.

Confidence.   This is the opposite of fear. It’s an assurance that you’re protected no matter what comes your way. It’s the knowledge that God is out for your best, and He knows the way to bring it about. Are you walking in the assurance that God has your life in complete control?

Safety. This is the word shalom. It’s the peace of God. It’s the knowledge that there is nothing that can rob from you. This word is full of meaning. It encompasses every area of your life – nothing missing and nothing broken. Are you able to look at yourself as safe in the arms of the Almighty?

A refuge. This is speaking about a hiding place from the enemy. We can rest in the knowledge that the Lord will not let anything into my life, except that which will bring about His plan for me. Do you know that the enemy can’t touch you, except for what the Lord allows? And if the Lord allows it; that means that it will be for your benefit?

An undisturbed place of rest. This means that you can rest and sleep without disturbing thoughts. Many people can’t sleep because of racing thoughts. Regrets about the day behind them. Anxious thoughts about tomorrow. Do you have a peaceful rest in spite of all that’s going on in your life? This is how the Holy Spirit wants to work in you if you rest in Him.

Sowing is a joy. When you rest in Christ, giving is not a chore to you, but a blessing. You can easily devote yourself to lifting others up because your needs are not front and center. If I know that God’s got me covered, then I can be a blessing to those around me. Do you find it easy to give to others? Are you a cheerful giver?

Freedom of ministry. This is the last section of the verse. You do what you know to do no matter what it looks like around you. Do you perform your ministries even when it looks like it will have no effect?

When it seems like the world is crashing down around you, you’re able to keep moving forward in Christ.

If these phrases describe you, then you’ve entered the rest that God has provided. It’s unfortunate that many believers miss out on the blessing of resting in Christ. We must not be like Israel. They never saw the complete rest God had for them because they didn’t walk in faith toward it. Let us strive to understand and enter what the Lord has for us.

In my next post I’ll begin looking at how to enter this resting place in the Lord.

Question: How does the world view someone who’s resting in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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