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Hope, Patience, and Prayer

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

As we continue through Romans, Paul is giving us a list of things that should be in place in the life of a mature believer. Remember, these are very frustrating to accomplish without first going through the “boot-camp” of chapters 8-10.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

It’s amazing that there’s so much to learn from such a short verse! There’s a lot of truth contained here.

First, we should be joyful in hope. That literally means that you cheer yourself up by your hope. So, the question is; what is hope?

In our modern culture, we’ve defined hope as a strong desire. “”I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain.” That has nothing to do with the scriptural concept of hope.

In the Bible, hope is what you expect, based upon God’s Word. God says something, and because we trust Him, we expect that what He said will happen.

So, let me ask you; what do you expect from God? Do you meditate on it and what the Word says about it? Do you use this expectation to build yourself up emotionally?

Next, we should be patient in affliction. I don’t like the sound of that. It literally means that when under pressure, we remain patient while staying under it.

I have to tell you that this is easier to do when you’re rejoicing in your expectation. The fact is that we’ll always have pressure. Furthermore, you can’t do anything about the pressure anyway.

The best way to weather it is to put your expectation in God. Find out what He says about your situation. Then, trust the Lord to bring you through it.

Our human nature is to stop looking to God and to start looking for the way out. In most cases that’s not helpful because we don’t have the ability on our own. The best course is to look for guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to bring about the victory.

Finally, we are to be faithful in prayer. That phrase literally means to be strong toward prayer. This means that you press into the place of prayer even when you don’t feel like it. We see this exemplified in the life of Moses.

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

Hebrews 11:27

The word, persevered, in this verse is the same as faithful, above. Moses remained strong toward God. I believe that’s done by staying strong in prayer.

Think about these three exhortations. They all work together. You really can’t separate them if you want a successful Christian walk.

It’s like a great circle of faith. You can’t be patient under pressure unless you’re joyful in your expectation. Then again, you can’t be strong toward prayer unless you have a patience to endure. And, you can’t have a full expectancy from God unless you’re faithful in prayer.

This is why we should be striving toward maturity. It’s like a snowball of grace, rolling down a hill and growing as it goes.

In his letters, Peter talked about a number of things that should be growing in a believer’s life. I believe that what he said about them could also be applied here.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:8

Our goal should be daily growth in Christ. I realize that most of the time it’s too slow to even notice. But, it’s taking place just the same, if we follow the Lord’s plan.

Question: How have you seen these three qualities at work in your life?

2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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My Fight with Legalism

My Fight with Legalism

In my last post, I looked at Paul’s teaching on legalism in his letter to the Roman church. It’s actually what separates all other religions and Christianity.

Think about it. In the book of Acts, the early church had no phones, radio, New Testament Scripture, or anything like the resources and knowledge we have today. Yet they walked in the power of God that’s unrivaled in our modern generation.

As I thought about it, I also realized that my grandparents couldn’t read and had no formal education to speak of. Yet there was an incredible manifestation of the power of God in their lives – what happened?

There are some sneaky ways that legalism creeps into our lives. We have to be careful not to fall victim to them.

Here’s where we ended in my last post.

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
Romans 7:9-10

This verse is very clear. God saved me apart from the law, when I trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through this finished work I was made alive apart from the law.

Then the commandment came, which the Scripture says is the power of sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When this happens, death begins its work in me.

Let me explain how God used this truth to minister to me. One day, as I was driving, praying, and meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit started to speak to me. I had been going through a rough time financially.

I had done everything that I knew to do. I had stood on all I’d been taught about prayers and confessions. I’ve always been a tither. I always remind the Lord what His Word says and that I’m standing on His promises.

At this point in my life I clearly heard God speak to my heart and ask me, “What are you basing your expectation on?” Immediately my thoughts turned to the Scripture. I’m basing my hope in the Word that tells me to tithe.

If I’ll tithe, then You will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of Heaven. I give special offerings when You lead me to, so that I’ll receive the blessings of the seed of faith.

The Lord then asked me a question that floored me. He said, “So you’re basing your expectation upon the law?” I was speechless. I had no response to this.

On the inside I felt like defending and justifying my actions. But deep down I knew that the Lord had hit upon the very root of the problem, even though at that point I had no clue how to get out of it.

I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment. Trying, in your own power, to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism. I had to learn how to walk in the Lord’s freedom.

That’s why it’s important to understand how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and death.

Question: Are there Scriptural promises that you find yourself legalistic about?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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Righteousness in My Account

Righteousness in My Account

We’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Roman church.  He’s been using Abraham as the example of how we’re to look to God in faith.  We’re to fully trust in His power to accomplish anything that He speaks to us.

Abraham heard from God and believed what he was told.  We’re shown the result of this type of faith.

This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:22

It was because of his faith that God inventoried righteousness into Abraham’s heavenly account.  That was great for Abraham, but what does that mean for us?

The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Romans 4:23-24

So, when Scripture talks about the Lord crediting Abraham with righteousness, it’s for our benefit.  It’s so that we can understand the process.  God wants to put His righteousness in our accounts as well.

The good news is that having this righteousness in my account is not based upon how good I am.  It’s not how well I read the Bible or pray.  It’s solely based upon my trust in the One who raised Christ from the dead.

Anything else is worthless legalism.  There’s nothing I can do to earn this great blessing.  Paul makes this clear by explaining the process to us.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Romans 4:25

Two things are happening in this verse to win our accounting of righteousness.  The first, being that Jesus was delivered over.

That literally means the He was surrendered.  The word, “death”, is not in this verse.  Actually, He surrendered himself to more than just death.

He surrendered himself to being born as one of us.  He lived a life as one of us, feeling the same pains, hunger, frustrations, and everything else that life on this planet throws at you.

Why did the Lord do this?  Paul tells us that it was for our sins that He surrendered himself.  The word Paul uses for sin is not the normal one.  This one means a side-slip – it could be something that’s either intentional or unintentional.

It was my sin that brought Him here.  Because of my mistakes, the Lord lived a human life and died a cruel death on the cross.

But, Praise God, that wasn’t the end of it.  He didn’t stay dead.  He was raised back to life again for our justification.

That’s a big word.  Many people don’t understand all of its implications.  Justification means that because of what Jesus Christ did, I’m now declared “Not Guilty.”  And that’s even before I go to trial!

In God’s eyes, because I’m now found in Christ, I’m innocent of all wrongdoing.  Is that fair?  Absolutely not!  But God found a way to save me (and you) through the surrendering of Jesus Christ to all that He went through.

Don’t let it be in vain.  Trust the Lord for the righteousness that only He can give you.

Question: How has the work of Christ changed your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Promise

The Promise

In our journey through the book of Romans, we’ve been seeing that we can’t work for righteousness.  It can only come as we put our faith in Christ.

Paul uses the life of Abraham as an example to us.  He is aptly called the father of our faith.  Now Paul brings us another step further along this path.

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

Romans 4:13

The apostle now uses a new word.  This is the first time, in the book of Romans, that Paul mentions the promise.

This is an important word.  It literally means an announcement.  However, a promise from God is not like a promise we’re used to receiving.

For us, a promise is based upon mistrust.  You don’t believe me so I try to gain your trust by saying, “I promise.”

God, on the other hand, makes an announcement of His intentions (We call it a “promise”).  It is absolute truth.  It’s now up to you whether you believe His Word or not.

The good news is that now, all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:29

Because of His work on the cross, Christ has fulfilled the requirements for the promises.  This teaching is carried on throughout the New Testament.  It’s not just a verse pulled out of context, but a scriptural theme that has been all but ignored by the church.

Paul continues with this thought.

For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And where there is no law there is no transgression.

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all.

Romans 4:14-16

This is a foundational passage in our knowledge of how the promises are obtained in Christ.  The blessing is received, not by my working to do the requirements, but by faith in the One who has already fulfilled them.

This truth is not only given to us by Paul, but also by Peter as well.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:3-4

The phrase, through these, obviously refers to the glory and goodness of God, not our works of righteousness.  According to this verse, the reason God blesses us is so that we might actually be participants, sharers, in His divine nature.  You will not find the call for us to fulfill the requirements of the promises anywhere in the New Covenant.

If that’s true, then what are the promises for?  We can look at it this way; each promise has two halves.  There are the requirements and the blessing.

According to the New Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the requirements of the promises.  Because of His finished work on the cross, we receive the blessing of the promise because we’re in Him.

Question: Why is it so hard for us to accept that Christ has finished this work on the cross?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2020 in Faith, God's Provision, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Abraham’s Example

Abraham’s Example

We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church.  He’s laid a foundation by explaining the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ.  He now gives us an example of how this works.

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?  If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about — but not before God.

Romans 4:1-2

Paul brings us back to the start of a legacy of faith.  Even though people like Noah believed and obeyed God, Abraham was considered the father of God’s family on earth.

It seems clear that Abraham was the first to trust God and walk that faith out in a way to bring others along with him.  In that sense you could say that Abraham discovered the faith-walk.  Each new day seemed to bring him a new discovery about walking with God as a friend.

So, in his walk with the Lord, how was Abraham justified before God?  Was it because he worked hard at being good?  Not according to Scripture.

He did have some incredible works.  By faith, he left his ancestral home.  He even offered up his firstborn son.  But, even in all of that, he would have only been able to boast about it to other human beings.  God would not have been impressed.

What was it about Abraham that got God’s attention?

What does the Scripture say?  “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Romans 4:3

To explain it, Paul quotes a verse from Genesis 15:6.  This should be the foundation for all that we understand about walking with the Lord.  Everything else is further along the path.

In Genesis, the Hebrew word used for credited means to think about or regard.  Immediately, when Abraham decided to trust what God spoke to him, God regarded that as righteousness.  That happened even before Abraham did anything to walk in it.

I like the way Paul translates that word (credited) for us in the Greek.  He uses a word that means to estimate or take an inventory.

I see it like this.  When we have faith, it’s directed towards God.  So Abraham sent his faith off in God’s direction.  When He received it, God listed it, in Abraham’s heavenly inventory, as righteousness.

This is an awesome truth.  When we have faith towards the Lord, He takes it and converts it into righteousness which He then places in our account.

Too many believers spend their lives trying very hard to purchase righteousness to send to God.  The unfortunate thing is that God will never accept that kind of righteousness.  We’re only spinning our wheels trying to please God in that way.

The only righteousness that God accepts is that which is found in Him.  The only way to purchase this righteousness is to direct our faith toward Jesus Christ.  There’s no other way.

Our good works are only a basis for boasting toward each other.  They hold no attraction with God.  We need the righteousness that can only come by faith.

Don’t spend all of your time chasing a losing cause.  Place your hope fully in the completed work of Christ on the cross.

Question: Why is righteousness by faith the best road to change in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2020 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Shaken, not Stirred (Repost)

I thought this was good to repost based upon the times we’re living in.

As I was sitting in church a few months back, I received a thought from the Lord. It was a quote from a movie franchise.

Many people are familiar with the secret agent, James Bond. In his movies, he likes his drinks shaken, not stirred. That may be okay for 007, but that’s not what the Lord is looking for in His church. Let me explain.

As I began studying this out in the Scripture, I found that being shaken is not a part of God’s plan for us. As a matter of fact, when God’s people are shaken, it’s a sign that they’re not trusting Him fully. They’re looking for help and security apart from His presence.

In talking about those who reject God, the Psalmist Asaph says…

“They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.”
Psalm 82:5

If the world is where your hope lies, then you’ll find yourself shaken whenever you hear bad news. Lately, that comes to us pretty often. The world is in chaos right now. No one seems to have the answers.

Contrast that to life in the Kingdom of God.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29

If we’re firmly grounded in Christ, and His Word, then we will not be shaken no matter what happens in society around us. We should, however, be stirred up.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:10-11

When the Lord is present, hearts are stirred. We need the stirring presence of the Holy Spirit to move through the church. That’s when great things begin to happen.

When Israel returned to the Promised Land after their captivity, they were apathetic about the things of God. Then something happened.

So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God…
Haggai 1:14

When the Holy Spirit stirs up His people, the miraculous takes place. We start to see the Kingdom of God built up. We see souls coming into the kingdom. We see people being delivered from the chains of demonic oppression.

We need the stirring power of the Holy Spirit to be released in us. The church needs to be stirred, not shaken. Seek the Lord for His move to take place in us.

Question: How would the church look if we were truly stirred by the Spirit?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Weakness – Qualified for a Miracle

I’m posting from the first letter to the Corinthians.  We’ve been seeing that the message of the cross – Christ crucified – is a message of God’s power and wisdom for the church.  It’s something that needs to be a greater part of our spiritual walk.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
1 Corinthians 1:25

Is God ever foolish or weak?  Absolutely not!  But it does appear that way sometimes.  When Christ went to the cross, it did appear to be a weak and foolish move on His part.  Of course, that was only until the resurrection, when the full wisdom and power of God was revealed.

It’s the same with us.  Sometimes we feel like we have nothing to offer to God.  We don’t have the strength, resources, or wisdom to do the work we’ve been called to do.  But that’s okay, our limitations don’t affect God’s calling on us.

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

Paul is bringing this message to normal people, just like you and me.  We have our weaknesses and struggles.  But that puts us in a good place.  We’re now candidates for a move of God’s power in us.

If you’re feeling unqualified to serve the Lord, then I have a message for you…

“God wants you strong in spirit.”

“It’s time to hear a Word from heaven.”

Right now, the church needs an influx of spiritual warriors – and this is where it starts.  God is calling believers who feel like they don’t measure up.  Maybe you look at your past and think that you have too much baggage.

Why would God ever want someone like that in ministry?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The word trouble in this passage is actually the Greek word for pressure.  Pressure qualifies us for ministry.  When we can endure pressure, we can help others who are undergoing the same things.

Whatever you’re going through, God can and will bring restoration.  Then, He’ll use the experiences that you’ve had, both good and bad, to help others.

That’s the wisdom and power of God.  Jesus Christ went through the cross, the burial, and the resurrection.  Sometimes you may feel like your life is over.  All your plans are dead and buried.  All that means is that you’re in a position to see the resurrection power of God manifest in your life.

Then, you can use what you’ve gone through to bring others into that place of power.  You just have to walk by faith, trusting that God will complete His plan in you.  Remember that it’s not about what you have to offer to God, but what He’s already done for you.

Question: What are some challenges that God has already given you the victory over?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2018 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God

 

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The Rise of Lawlessness

In our study of Second Thessalonians, we’ve been talking about the lawlessness of mankind being uncovered in the Last Days.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?  And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.  For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
II Thessalonians 2:5-7

It’s clear from this section that Paul’s merely reminding them of the things he taught when he was with them.  He apparently told them what was holding back the lawlessness.

It’s also clear that the secret power of lawlessness was already at work 2,000 years ago.  What Paul literally says is that the secret power of lawlessness was already energized.

I’m reminded of a parable of Jesus (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43).  He said that the church and the world were going to grow up together.  These two kingdoms would grow in power and mature side by side throughout history.  The seeds that were planted by the enemy already had lawlessness working in them.

According to Paul, there’s something holding back the full force of this lawlessness.  Most of the modern translations add a lot of preconceived ideas to the text.  What Paul literally said in verse 7 is the restraining will continue until it is removed from the midst.

I believe he’s talking about the laws that govern us.  Back then; they had a system of government where if you disobeyed the law, you paid the penalty for your actions.  But more and more, around the world, it now seems that laws don’t mean anything.  The lawmakers tell us that it’s how you interpret that law that matters.

My wife, Cheryl, was called for jury duty a number of years ago.  She was selected to hear a drunk driving case.  It was clear from the testimony that the man was drunk, and he was driving.  He could have very easily killed somebody.  Thank God, he was caught before he did any damage to himself or others.

As they were discussing the case in the jury room, an interesting thing started to happen.  All of these jurors started seeing themselves on the stand.

“Well, I drink sometimes, and I’d hate to have a policeman take away my license because I got caught.”

“Maybe we should let this guy go because nothing happened and nobody was hurt.  After all, there was no accident and no damage.”

Those who know Cheryl understand that she has a very prophetic ministry.  If you can imagine how Elijah would’ve responded to all this, you’d be pretty close to what actually happened.

Cheryl’s response was that the question is not what we would do.  It’s not even about what we would want to happen if we were caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

The question is; was he drunk?   Was he driving?  If so, then he’s guilty, whether or not you do it as well.

They did find him guilty.  But please understand that if there wasn’t a Christian on the jury, then the outcome might have been very different.

Lawless man says, “I know what the law is, but I wouldn’t like that law if I were the one driving.”  What we will find is that this what it’s going to be like more and more in the last days.

Yes, there might be laws, but they’re going to be followed less and less.  Paul is saying that lawless man is going to be uncovered for what he really is.  In the last days, we’re going to see an increase in lawlessness the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

That’s why, more than ever, we need to trust the Lord for our safety, protection, and provision.

Question: How have you seen a rise in lawlessness over your lifetime?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2018 in Faith, Return of Christ

 

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I Can’t Believe It!

Why do we find it so hard to believe God’s Word sometimes?  We trust Him for our salvation.  But what about other things like healing, provision, and protection?  Why do some obstacles look bigger than others?

When Jesus rose from the dead, we find that the disciples struggled with the same issues that we do.  You may want to read Mark 16:1-14 before continuing with this post.

The morning that Jesus rose from the dead, some women went to the tomb to finish the embalming process.  When they arrived, they found that the stone was rolled away from the entrance.  Even more astounding was the angel that was sitting inside the tomb, apparently waiting for them.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”
Mark 16:6-7

They received one of the most glorious messages in history.  But instead of the joy it should have brought them, it only made them afraid.  As a matter of fact, the next 6 verses tell of the most doubt-filled, unbelieving time in the lives of the Lord’s followers.

The women, themselves, were too afraid to tell anybody about what the angels had told them.  Mary Magdalene actually saw and talked to the risen Lord.  Yet no one would believe her.  Others saw and spoke to the risen Christ, but nobody believed them either.

Why is it so hard to believe that God can do the impossible?  It’s probably because we look at things through the eyes of our experiences.  That’s why we find it easy to believe God to heal our headache, but cancer seems too big an issue.

The Lord had something to say about it to the disciples.

Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
Mark 16:14

Jesus rebuked them for two things.  The first was unbelief.  That’s normal for us as humans.  There will always be a level of unbelief that resides in our flesh – even when we’re trusting God.

The key is in the next word that Jesus used.  The phrase, stubborn refusal is literally hard-hearted in the Greek.  They had closed their hearts to the truth.

We know that faith comes by hearing God’s Word.  The problem was that when they heard the Word of testimony from those who saw Christ, they refused to let that truth enter their heart.  If they had, it would have produced the faith that could overcome their unbelief.

We need to learn this lesson.  Open your heart to God’s Word.  Even if it sounds impossible.  Even if your experience tells you that there’s no way for God to accomplish it.  Put that Word into your heart and let it grow and produce the fruit of faith in your life.

Our God can do the impossible – we simply have to trust Him for it.

Question: What have you seen God do for you that you originally thought was impossible?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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Faith from the Word

In my last post, we saw how Jesus upset the religious leadership by clearing out the marketplace that was set up in the Temple.  It angers people when you mess with their cash-flow.

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.
Mark 11:18-19

Jesus and His disciples then went to Bethany for the night and returned to Jerusalem the next morning.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.  Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look!  The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
Mark 11:20-21

Two posts ago (What’s Your Season?) I talked about Jesus cursing the fig tree.  Now we see the result of what Jesus did that day.  The disciples were amazed at how the tree had died so quickly.

It’s important for us to understand the explanation that Jesus gave to the disciples.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:22-24

This is one of those verses that are often misunderstood.  I’ve heard people reading into it.  They make it sound like Jesus is saying that God will give you whatever you want as long as you can believe you’re going to get it.  That’s not what Jesus is saying here.

His first and most important statement is – HAVE FAITH IN GOD!  The Lord always has to be the object of our faith.  My faith cannot be toward what a preacher says (and that’s coming from a preacher!), or what you read in a book.

Listen carefully, because I’m about to make you mad at me.  We are not even to make the Bible the object of our faith.  It’s the Word of God that points to God as the object of faith.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

When I hear God’s Word, it inspires me to trust God.  When the Scripture tells me that by the stripes of Jesus I’m healed…my faith is not in that Bible verse, it has to be toward Christ my Healer.  Too often our faith is misplaced.  It has to be toward God.

Another thing we misunderstand is that Jesus is talking about hearing from the Holy Spirit.  He didn’t curse the fig tree because He was in a bad mood that day.  The Holy Spirit instructed the Lord to do that for an object lesson for His disciples.

Jesus clearly said that this faith, or doubt, is in your heart.  He’s not talking about you simply deciding that you want a new car, so you start believing that you’ll receive it from God.  The Lord is talking about believing Him for a desire that God has placed in your heart.

True faith will always come from a Word from God and will have God, Himself as the object.  Then you’ll see the manifestation of your request.

Question: How is faith in your heart different than a “head-faith”?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Faith, Power of God, Prayer, Word of God

 

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