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God’s Word Without Yeast

God’s Word Without Yeast

I’m continuing to post through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus has just finished rebuking the Pharisees and teachers of the Law for their blatant opposition to His teaching. They simply refuse to listen to the Word of God.

On top of that they’re doing everything in their power to stop the Lord from continuing His ministry.

When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.

Luke 11:53-54 NIV

In spite of this opposition from the religious leaders, the people continued to listen to the Lord’s teaching.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1 NIV

On different occasions Jesus told His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. At that time they didn’t understand what He was saying to them. Later on they realized that the Lord was speaking about their hypocrisy.

This was not a warning that only applied to the disciples. We need to take care not to add our own baggage into the mix. If so, then we’ll corrupt the pure Word of God with our own pet doctrines. What we mix into the Word determines the spiritual climate of our churches.

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Hebrews 4:2

This verse speaks to us about the similarity between us and Israel. It warns us about how we receive the Word. It literally says that the logos of their hearing did not benefit them. The only way it will is if we combine it with faith in the process of receiving it. The Word of God must be combined with your faith in order for it to be of benefit to you.

So, here we are. I’m doing my best to present you with the pure, clear, logos of God in this article. I want to give you life and nourishment through the Word of God. This is the logos of your hearing. There’s only one way that it will accomplish what was intended. That’s for you, the reader, to combine it with faith. But wait a minute! Where do you get this faith which you’re to combine with the Word?

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

Most of us have this verse memorized. Faith comes by hearing the Word. What it says in the Greek is that this faith comes by hearing the rhema of Christ. What is this? Is it a “catch 22”?

I present the logos to you, but the only way it will benefit you is if you combine it with the faith that only comes through rhema. What kind of circular logic is this? Actually, it’s a picture of the infinite wisdom of God. It’s better than anything you could ever imagine.

In actuality God wants to give you both logos and rhema at the same time. BUT, you have to be expecting Him to do this. God won’t just hit you over the head with His Word.

That’s why when you go to a meeting, or hear a godly speaker on TV or the internet, you need to be ready to receive from God as the message is coming to you. There actually can be times when God speaks to you something totally unrelated to what’s being preached.

You just need to be open to the Lord’s voice. But remember, don’t mix your “yeast” with the message. Too many people add their opinions, ideas, and prejudices into the word that they hear. That will water down God’s Word and make it unprofitable to you.

Spending time in the presence of the Lord helps you to develop a listening ear in the spirit. Then you can hear and guard the pure Word of God in your heart.

Question: When have you heard a Word from God while listening to a human speaker?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Full of Light

Full of Light

We’re continuing in our study of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is teaching on the importance of hearing and obeying God’s Word.

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”

Luke 11:33 NIV

I believe that the Lord is speaking about Himself in this verse. Many times He referred to Himself as the Light of the world (John 8:12).

The religious leaders were making an effort to subdue this light. They wanted to silence Jesus to keep His Word from going forth.

Jesus explains to them that His purpose is for all to see His light. God has sent Him into the world to give spiritual sight to those who will listen.

Then, the Lord makes a very interesting statement.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.”

Luke 11:34-35 NIV

What He says really catches my attention. Recently, I felt the Holy Spirit directing me to do a study of light and darkness in the Scripture. Along with that, since my background is in science, I did a study of light in the physical world.

Light is actually made up of sub-atomic particles called photons. Biblically speaking, these were the very first things God created when He said, “Let there be light!”

I was recently reading about some cutting edge research. They wrote that it has been discovered that every cell in our body contains structures that harness and direct the flow of photons.

It’s very possible that our cells communicate through a type of fiber-optics rather than simple electrical impulses. However, this research is still in its infancy. Be that as it may, we know that our brains are full of photons – these particles of light.

We also know that in the natural, our bodies need light to function properly. That’s why there are seasonal disorders. We get depressed in the winter if we don’t get enough sunlight.

You may be asking what does all of this have to do with what Jesus said. I believe that many times things in the spiritual work like they do in the natural.

Just like our physical bodies need sunlight, our spiritual beings need the light of God’s Word. Many Christians have a “seasonal disorder” because of a lack of exposure to the Word.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105 NIV

If we want our spiritual man to be full of light, then we need to be walking in the light of God’s Word. Take this to heart. We don’t want to be walking with inner darkness.

See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”

Luke 11:35-36 NIV

This verse literally say that we need to make it our aim, our focus, not to let the light in us become dark. Keep the light intense. Focus on the Word of God.

In that way we’ll be able to clearly see the path before us. Don’t be like the foolish leaders who didn’t like what they saw when the light shined on them. Allow it to change you into who God desires you to become.

Spend time in the Word. Let it fully light up your life.

Question: How has God’s Word brought you spiritual light?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2022 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Spiritually Selfish

Spiritually Selfish

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. For the last few posts, I’ve been talking about the Lord’s Prayer.

At one point, I talked about our daily bread, and I related it to receiving God’s Word on a daily basis. As we continue in this chapter, Christ now gives a parable concerning bread. I want to continue that discussion.

We’re going to do that by looking at a parable which few ever teach about. We need to see how the bread of the Word applies to our daily lives.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

Luke 11:5-6 NIV

This parable brings to light an incredible truth. Listen carefully to what the man is asking for. He’s seeking bread. But the important fact is the reason he wants it.

Is he hungry? Does he have no money to buy bread? Absolutely not! These are not the reasons he needs bread so desperately.

According to the man, a friend of his was on a journey and has come near to him. He opened his home to the friend, but has no bread to place before the friend.

According to Scripture, every human is on a journey. We’re all traveling from total spiritual darkness to maturity in Christ. We’re all at different places along this path.

What this man was saying is, “My friend’s path brought him into my sphere of influence. I need to help him become what God wants him to be.”

The man was not seeking the bread of the Word for himself. He was seeking a Word that would meet the need of someone else. This is something the church needs to hear. It seems that much of the time we’re self-absorbed.

Many times we find that we’re seeking things for ourselves. We seem to think it’s all about my healing, my prosperity, and my blessing. What we really need to do is to follow the example of Christ. Most of what He sought the Father for was bread that He could give to others.

Notice the humility. My friend has come to me and I have nothing of my own that could meet his needs. This is an admittance of our total dependency on God.

I’m trusting God to meet someone else’s need. But I want Him to send the supply through me. This requires us to admit our inability apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

I believe this is what James was talking about in his book.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 NIV

James gives us this exhortation in the context of healing. We need to admit the areas for which we need prayer. But then, we also need to be in prayer for one another.

In the context of the above parable, James is saying that we should be constantly seeking bread for others. Praying for other people is a way of asking God the Father to supply us with the Word needed to bring healing into someone else’s life.

If all I ever pray about is my own needs, then I’m being very spiritually selfish. God wants us to be more than just a Christian organization. He wants us to be an organism – the body of Christ. In that way every part can be a help to all the other parts.

When you spend time in the presence of the Lord, remember to think of others. Listen for a Word that could be a help to them as well as yourself.

Question: How have you helped others along their road to maturity in Christ?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Ministry, Prayer, The Church

 

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The Bread of Life

The Bread of Life

At one point in their time with the Lord, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. So, Jesus gave them a foundation, a framework, around which to build their prayers. We call this the Lord’s Prayer.

For the past couple of posts, I’ve been going through this prayer. It should help us to understand how we should approach God in our times with Him.

“Give us each day our daily bread.”
Luke 11:3 NIV

It’s clear that God is concerned about our everyday needs. He actually knows what we need before we ever ask Him. What we must see, is that asking is a form of humility before the Lord.

Too often, especially in the United States where we feel entitled to these necessities, we look to our bank account or the government. What we need to realize is that no matter how these things come to us, they ultimately come from the hand of God, our Provider.

This should inspire gratefulness in us as His children. We serve a good God who loves and cares for His children.

However, this prayer of Jesus is not only applicable in the physical, but also in the spiritual. If earthly bread is necessary for life, how much more is the Word of God needed to nourish our inner man? God is looking for a people who will feed daily upon His spiritual bread – the Word of God.

You should notice that this prayer is not in the form of a question. Christ is not asking the Father for bread. Bread, in this context, is something that’s already supplied and on hand.

It’s a grocery item that’s already in the cupboard. When my children get up in the morning, they don’t ask my permission to eat.

“I’m going to eat breakfast now.”

That’s the adult attitude. You’re up. You’re going to work. You need a good breakfast before you leave the house. When you’re ready to eat you go to the pantry, the place of supply, and get what you need for the day.

It’s the same in the spiritual. God’s Word to us is always available. He expects us to seek Him daily for a Word from Him.

When Jesus taught this prayer, He also taught the truths that it encompassed. Different Gospel writers recorded the various teachings. Matthew and Luke gave us what the Lord taught concerning the bread.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Matthew 7:9-11

This is the attitude that the Father has toward a child who asks for bread. Further on, in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, we’ll see this same teaching, but Luke uses the Holy Spirit as the gift.

There’s no question in the mind of Christ. If you ask God for a daily Word, you’ll receive.

This is the desire of God’s heart. He wants His people derive their nourishment from His hand. We have the ability to go to the presence of God each day for the Word we need to live victoriously. That’s what Jesus did.

Questions: Did you go to God for your spiritual breakfast today? What did you receive from Him?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Who Am I?

Who Am I?

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re seeing how Jesus interacted with His disciples. He asks them some important questions. In this post, I’m talking about Luke 9:18-27. You may want to read through this before continuing.

Jesus had taken His disciples off to a private place to pray. The Lord did that pretty often, and He wanted His disciples to learn this practice. It would become an important part of their ministry someday.

As He was praying, the Holy Spirit prompted Jesus to ask the men who the crowds thought He was. It turned out to be the same as what Herod had thought.

It’s interesting that most of what people thought revolved around dead prophets who had come back to life. This speaks to the miraculous power that was evident in the Lord’s ministry.

After that discussion, Jesus brought the conversation around to the most important question.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Luke 9:12

More than what the crowds thought about Him, Jesus wanted to hear what the disciples thought. Peter, as usual, was the spokesman for the group. He immediately answers that Jesus is the Christ – the long awaited Messiah of God.

This statement showed that they were finally starting to understand what was happening. They were witnessing the fulfillment of the entire teaching of Scripture.

Once Peter makes this confession, the Lord is able to take them a little deeper into His confidence. He begins to share about what would take place in the future.

Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Luke 9:21-22

The first thing He does is to warn them not to tell anyone this truth. That’s because accepting Jesus as Messiah has to be a personal choice made by faith.

This is in stark contrast to the many individuals who have falsely claimed that title down through the years. Most of them publicly declared this claim in an effort to seduce masses of people to follow them – and give financial support.

Also, at this point, Jesus begins to clearly state the fact that He is to die at the hands of the Jewish leadership, and then rise from the dead three days later. I’m sure the disciples had no idea that He was speaking literally. They probably thought the Lord was speaking in parables again.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:23-27

But clearly, the most important thing they needed to learn, was now that they knew the truth, they were responsible to live it out. There was no more sitting on the fence. Trusting Christ as Lord is an all or nothing proposition.

The Lord made it clear that this is not a one time thing. It’s a daily decision to follow Christ over and above your own wants and desires. We must identify with Him no matter where that road leads.

That’s the key to seeing the kingdom of God manifest in your life.

Question: Who do you see Jesus Christ as in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2022 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Word, Faith, and Testing

The Word, Faith, and Testing

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we find that Luke has set his narrative up to be topical. He’s not concerned with a timeline as much as showing what Jesus taught, and how it applied to a personal walk with God.

So far in chapter 8, the Lord has been emphasizing the Word of God. He’s taught the people how to receive it, respond to it, and obey it. Luke now shows how it worked in the Lord’s life.

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Luke 8:19-21

I believe that Luke included this incident to give us a summary of what Jesus has been teaching so far. There’s a family-like intimacy with the Father when we hear and obey God’s Word to us.

The Lord was told that His mother and brothers were desiring to meet with Him. That’s important to Jesus’ response. Do you have a desire to meet with the Lord? The solution is to hear God’s Word and do it.

The disciples were listening. How well did they hear and do it?

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.

Luke 8:22

The disciples seemed to start out correctly. They heard the Word of the Lord and set sail in that direction. So far, so good.

As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

Luke 8:23

Now we see an illustration of exactly what Jesus said would happen when the seed falls on the rocks. I’m sure the disciples were joyfully starting out on their journey across the lake.

However, Jesus said that there would be a time of testing whenever you receive a Word from God. He even took a nap so that they would be free to show what they learned.

Then it arrived. The disciples were tested by a squall that suddenly came up. They were in a dangerous situation. Would they continue in faith or “quickly fall away”?

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Luke 8:24-25

The outcome is that they gave up without even a fight. They went to the Lord totally ignoring His Word to them and announced definitively, “It’s all over, we’re destroyed.”

The first thing Jesus did was to show them the power of His Word. Even the elements of the weather are under His control. He quieted the storm and then dealt with his disciples.

The big question He asked them was, “Where is your faith?” They had heard His voice. They should have trusted His Word. Yet they failed to see the power He had placed in their hands.

Their hearts were still rocky. They didn’t get it. Jesus asked about their faith, yet they asked each other, “Who is this?” They should have been asking, “Why couldn’t we do what He told us to do?”

Obviously, Jesus intended for them to quiet the storm. The problem was that the Word had not yet taken root in their lives.

This is why time with the Holy Spirit is so important. The more time we spend in His presence, the deeper our roots grow. Then, in the times of testing, we’ll find ourselves walking in the power of God.

Question: How deep is your spiritual root system?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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The Word – Good News and Bad News

The Word – Good News and Bad News

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just finished looking at the Parable of the Sower. In that section of Scripture, we saw the different responses to the Word of God as we receive it. Now Jesus comments on the overall effects of the Word.

No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Luke 8:16

The Lord is still talking about the results of God’s Word in a person’s life. The Word is like a light in a dark place. It illuminates large areas of our lives. We know this from other parts of Scripture as well.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalms 119:105

As we spend time in the presence of the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives us insight into many things. He prepares us for the road ahead. He gives us instructions to carry out. He also warns us of sin and faults that we need to repent of and turn from.

The only reason for turning on a light is to see your surroundings better. Lighting a lamp, and then covering it up, is both illogical and foolish.

It’s the same with God’s Word to us. So many believers want to know God’s will for their lives. They ask how to hear His voice speaking to them. Then, once they hear from the Lord, many times they choose to ignore His Spirit.

The best approach is to commit to follow the Lord’s leading before you ever receive His Word. The only acceptable answer to Him is, “Yes, Lord!”

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

Luke 8:17

However, there’s both good news and bad news in hearing God’s voice. The good news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open. Of course, the bad news is that everything is revealed and brought into the open.

I don’t believe Jesus is talking about revealing your deepest secrets to the world. He’s talking about disclosing things to you about yourself that you’ve hidden away.

Many times, in God’s presence, I’ve learned things about myself that I had no clue about. In those times I had a choice. Either I deal with the issue, with God’s help, or ignore it and continue walking toward that spiritual cliff.

I’d love to tell you that I always made the right choice. However, that would be a lie. But, I am learning to obey the voice of the Spirit more and more as He sheds His light on my path.

Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke 8:18

As in most areas of life, attitude is everything. The Lord shows the result of either decision we make when His light shines on our lives.

In this verse, the word He uses is “holds”. Whoever holds on to it, will be given more. When I embrace God’s Word to me, I prepare myself for more to come.

In contrast to that, I can choose not to hold on to the Word I’ve heard. I can say, “I’m doing okay. I don’t need to change anything right now. Maybe in the future.” In that case, I actually begin to lose ground in the spirit.

We need to be spending quality time in the Spirit, listening for God’s voice. But, that comes with a warning. Once you’ve heard from Him, don’t ignore what you’ve heard. Obey the Lord’s instructions no matter how difficult you think they are.

Question: What’s the last thing you heard from the Holy Spirit?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Thinking Like a Farmer

Thinking Like a Farmer

Over the past few posts, we’ve been in Luke’s Gospel, looking at the parable of the seed planted in different soils. The message Christ was focusing on should be clear. In order to prepare my heart for a great harvest, I must come to the realization that the Word of God must be the single crop in my heart.

This is what Scripture means by being single-hearted. When you have a single crop of the Word planted in your life, you’ve set yourself up for a plentiful harvest.

We have a spiritual epidemic across our nation. There’s an abundance of the Word of God, with very little fruit being produced. It’s time to weed out these distractions from the good, rich soil of our hearts. What we need is the mindset of a farmer when it comes to the Word of God.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

Luke 8:15

It’s clear from this verse that in order to see the harvest, I must hear the Word with understanding – seeing that it applies to my life. I have to go beyond the person who lives too close to the road.

Mark records this in a little more detail.

Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop — thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

Mark 4:20

When Jesus tells us to retain it, He literally means that I must hold it down fast; keep it secure in my heart. It has to take root deeply in my life. I must go beyond those who have rocky soil.

According to Mark’s Gospel, we have to accept the Word. This means to associate with, delight in. If you delight in a crop, you’re going to keep it free of weeds. You don’t want anything choking it out.

The bottom line is that you must persevere. In actuality it’s never easy to keep a farm or a garden. It always requires tending.

I must come to the point where I acknowledge that the Word of God is everything to me. It’s the same principle as in the physical world.

In the past I’ve had a garden. The fresh tomatoes, peppers, and squash were a welcome sight throughout the summer and fall. I could proudly say, “This eggplant came from my garden.” Here’s the difference – I wasn’t a farmer. I enjoyed the fresh vegetables grown in my garden, but I didn’t need them in order to survive.

A true farmer, on the other hand, lives by what he grows. His livelihood is tied to the crops that he produces. His new car is a result of the crops he harvested. The renovations to his home are a result of the harvest. Everything he has is tied up in his ability to produce a bountiful crop.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4

We must pick up this same mindset in regards to the Word of God. We live by the Word. Everything we need for life and godliness is all tied up in the Word. How I relate to the Word determines my destiny.

Hopefully, you can see by Christ’s teaching that it’s not just a matter of getting the seed into the ground. You can be planting huge amounts of seed and never see a single piece of fruit if you’re not following the basic principles of spiritual farming.

It’s all about getting the right seed into the right ground, then persevering to make sure that the seed can grow and produce fruit unhindered.

Question: How do you cultivate a “farmer’s mindset”?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Seed in the Weeds

Seed in the Weeds

As we go through the book of Luke, we’re continuing to look at the Parable of the Sower. I’m posting about the different kinds of soil that Jesus said was contained in our hearts.

Today’s post is about someone with very good soil. It produced bountifully. The problem was that it wasn’t producing fruit.

Instead, it raised a great crop of thorns and thistles. Then the few good plants that sprung up were choked out before they produced anything.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.

Luke 8:14

These believers get further along than the other groups. They believe the Word and actually let it take root in their lives. Their problem is that they let other things grow right along next to it.

The first weed Jesus mentions is distractions, in the original Greek. What a description of the modern Christian – DISTRACTED! We get so distracted by what the world has to offer.

It’s not that we’ve turned our backs on God. On the contrary, we want God’s best – His Word and His grace. The trouble is that we want the world’s best as well. We’re getting distracted by the things of the world. Many of these things aren’t bad in and of themselves, they just take our focus off of Christ and His work in us.

Another weed the Lord talks about is wealth. In Mark’s Gospel, the Lord calls it the delusion of wealth. When we think of wealth, it tricks us into believing that it can supply all of our needs. The truth is that wealth can only obtain material possessions.

Wealth can never satisfy the longing of our souls. If it could, you’d never hear of a wealthy person committing suicide. The thing we need to put into perspective is, only the things that come from the Word of God are truly able to fulfill our lives.

The third weed that grows next to the Word is simply pleasures of this life. What the verse implies is that this is a desire for the things that were given up in order to follow after God.

These are the things that used to make us feel good, temporarily. When we start looking back at these things with longing in our hearts, it’s a sure road to failure.

Please understand that it’s not doing the former things that causes the trouble, it’s the desire to do it.

The biggest thing that the Christians of this generation need to realize is that you can’t have it all, no matter what any televangelist will tell you. You can’t have the power of God manifest in you, as well as everything your flesh desires.

It’s a well-known principle of farming. When weeds and valuable crops are allowed to grow in the same space, it’s the weeds that will win out every time.

But when our life is unfruitful, we’re so quick to blame God.

“Oh God, I planted the Word. Why is there no harvest? Why have you failed me?”

I’m here to inform you, it wasn’t God who failed. Everything grew as God ordained it to. It was the weeds in your life that choked out the Word before it was able to produce fruit in you. That’s why there was no harvest.

Part of the farming process is to keep the ground free of weeds. Intimate time spent in the Spirit is what’s required. That means a repentant lifestyle.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

As I spend time in the presence of the Lord, He can show me places in my life that need change. As I repent of these things, the Holy Spirit is able to clean up my heart. Then the ground will be free and clear. At that point you can expect an abundant harvest from the Word planted in you.

Question: How are you keeping your heart free from the weeds?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Seed on the Rocks

Seed on the Rocks

We’re continuing in our study of Luke’s Gospel. I’m currently posting about the different “heart soils” in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15). Today I’ll deal with the rocky soil. This is about rocks with only a thin layer of dirt to cover them.

The seed germinates and springs up quickly. But just as quick, the sun comes out, scorches the plant because there’s no moisture, and it withers and dies. Jesus explained the spiritual application this way…

Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.

Luke 8:13

This verse literally says that these people receive the Word in the middle of joy. It sounds like camp meeting to me. There’s excitement in the air. The whole atmosphere of the meeting is charged with a heavenly joy. It’s easy to believe in a place like that.

Statistically, decisions that we make in the heat of emotion, tend to be short lived. Emotion and excitement can’t sustain us for very long. We need more than that to go the distance in the face of the problems of everyday life.

We’re not talking about people who don’t believe what they hear. Even though the decision was emotional, they believe that the Word they heard is for them. The problem is, that what has sprung up so quickly, also withers just as quick. What is it that withers?

For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

1 Peter 1:24-25

What withers is the glory of man. This type of person hears the Word and believes that it’s “all about me.” That’s why there’s all the joy and excitement.

They think that the Word is for my blessing, health, and prosperity. Forget about what God’s ultimate purpose is. It’s me that’s important.

The Lord says that in this rocky heart there is some faith exhibited for a while, but it doesn’t last long. Eventually trials and testing will come. When this happens, Jesus literally says that they will stand off or remove themselves. Why does Christ use this description?

When I go through a time of testing, I realize that it’s not all about me. I get offended that I’m not the center of all the attention. I don’t want the spotlight on Christ and what He’s trying to accomplish in me. I want the priority to be my comfort and happiness. The result is that I get offended and remove myself from the Lord and His plan for my life.

If I want my heart prepared for an abundant harvest, I must assume that the Word of God spotlights Jesus Christ. I must desire to know His heart.

I once heard a preacher say that many believers treat the Bible like a photo album. When we look at pictures, we’re always looking for the photos with us in it. We look for where we were and what we were doing.

It’s the same with some believers. There are many who read the Bible and pursue God only for what they can get from Him. The big question on their minds is, “What’s in it for me?”

Instead, we should be focusing on God’s eternal purpose – to draw all humanity into His kingdom. The blessings of God are great, but they’re not an end in and of themselves.

God has promised us prosperity, but it’s to finance the spread of the Gospel. God has promised us health and healing, but it’s so that we can minister the Good News of His love to the best of our ability.

All the promises of God should be viewed through the filter of God’s will and God’s plans. That’s what’s missing in the shallow faith of rocky soil. We need to keep our hearts clear of the rocks of self-centeredness.

Question: How is God working through you to bring about His purpose?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2022 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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