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Spiritual Bootcamp – The Unseen Enemy

I’m continuing to post about the spiritual battle we’re in.  I think that the church gets in trouble when it loses sight of this.  If we don’t understand the battle, then we’ll never walk in victory.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

The Scripture is clear.  The battle takes place in the unseen world.  My fight is not against people or even the issues that I can see with my eyes.

The people around me are the casualties – prisoners of war held captive in unseen detention centers.  Sometimes they don’t even want to be set free because the deception feels so good at the moment.  My job is not to try and convince them to join me.

The role of the church is to fight the unseen enemy.  Tear down the invisible walls.  Then turn the light on in the prison cells so that the captives can see the truth of their situation.  Only then will they run to Christ the Savior.

But this seems to be the hardest thing to get believers to understand.  Our struggle is not in the physical world, but the spiritual.  It’s not us vs. the world.  I’m not trying to get them to change sides.  That will never bring about the desired results.

I want the same mindset that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8b

We need to know that there’s a spiritual world, and that’s where our battle is being fought right now.  But how many of us really understand what that means?  While many believers can quote 2 Corinthians 2:4the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world – we don’t seem to get the whole picture.

We don’t use physical weapons, but does that mean that the war itself is any different than a natural war?  The enemy’s kingdom is very organized.  The verse I started with talked about many levels of authority in their ranks.  It’s time that the church gets organized for battle as well.

Do you realize that Satan has never personally attacked you?  He has probably never even planned anything to come against you.  We only face the lower levels of the dark forces; the rulers and authorities.

That’s why when you step up in ministry there’s a shift to a more intense battle.  You find yourself moving up the ranks and facing tougher opponents in the spirit.

That’s also why I started this series.  In one of the first posts, I said that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years.  Here’s what I meant.  In all that time there’s been no organized attack by the church on the territory of the enemy, especially in the USA.

It’s time for the church to wake up.  Not just a few local congregations here and there who are making a little headway.

We need a revival.

Question: What needs to take place for the church as a whole to wake up?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Spiritual Bootcamp – Armed and Ready

I’ve been talking about the spiritual battle that we’re involved in.  The problems we face and the people who annoy us are not the issues.  The real fight is with the unseen world around us.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:11

We’re told to put on the armor.  I’ve heard many believers talk about it, but do we understand what this means?  Do we even know what the armor really is?

First and foremost we need to realize that this is the armor of God.  It’s not my armor; it belongs to God.  Actually, it’s God’s personal suit of armor.  It was talked about back in the Old Testament.

At one point Isaiah got a prophetic picture of God getting himself ready for battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

Because of the Lord’s outer garments of vengeance and zeal, Isaiah could only see the helmet and breastplate.  But that’s enough to know who the armor belongs to.  The point is this – it’s not made to fit us, but God.  That’s why being found in Christ is so important.

The fact is that we’re told to put on the full armor of God.  If I have to put it on, then I’m not automatically fully clothed.  Putting on the armor is something I need to do.

I also believe that “confessing the armor on” or “praying it on” is not enough.  While I do believe in confessing and praying the Word of God, there’s more involved here.

For instance, if you’re not walking in faith, you haven’t picked up your shield no matter how many times you confess that you’re holding it.  It’s the same with truth.  If you’re not walking in the truth of the Word of God, then no amount of praying will put the belt on you.

In order to be protected, we need to be using the armor daily.  We need to be walking in truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God.  Only through practice can a warrior get good at using his armor and weaponry.

There are no overnight successes.  We either use it or there’s no victory for us.  The devil is playing for keeps.  He’s not going to back down simply because we claim to have armor.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8-9

The enemy’s looking for an easy victim.  It’s not his first choice to mess with someone who’s fully armed.  This verse literally says that he’s looking for someone he can gulp down in one bite.

Given the choice, do you think he’d rather take on a naked believer who thinks that their armed or a spiritual warrior fully clothed and trained for battle?  The answer is clear.  Don’t be a meal for the enemy’s kingdom.

My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ once again rises up in the Lord’s strength.  Not just a few little groups here and there, but a majority of God’s people.  That’s why this blog exists.

Don’t be the enemy’s next victim.  Take your stand in the full armor of God.

Question: What’s the greatest challenge that you’re facing right now?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Bootcamp – Strength for the Battle

I’ve been posting about the spiritual battles that we find ourselves in.  We need to be prepared for them.  We’re going to face hardships whether we’re ready or not.

It’s unfortunate that many Christians wait until they’re in the middle of a spiritual firefight to learn how to be victorious.  You can’t wait for a fight and download the Karate program.  It doesn’t work like that.

How do we prepare for the challenges ahead?  The same way a soldier does.  Bootcamp consists of two aspects – knowledge and work.

For us, it’s knowledge of the Scripture and God’s voice.  Then we have to work at implementing what we know to do.

You may be thinking, “That’s not an easy thing to do.”  You’re right.  In most cases, it turns out to be beyond our ability.  But that’s why understanding the spiritual battle is so important.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I’m glad that we’re not told to psych ourselves up and power our way through the challenges.  I don’t want to have to rely on my willpower.  I’ve got an advantage that the world doesn’t have.

I’m told to be strong in the Lord.  Sometimes this goes against our nature.  We want the ability to brag about our accomplishments.  We want to say that our intelligence or strength was what it took to overcome the obstacles before us.

That’s why so often we make our plans then ask God to bless them.  Wouldn’t we be much better off if we asked the Lord for His plan right at the start?

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.
1 Peter 4:11

The fact is that it’s not about my glory, but His.  If I were able to lay hold of my own destiny, why would I need Christ?  The work before me is too much for me by myself.

When we finally learn to admit this truth, life gets so much more enjoyable.  Not that I can sit back and let God do all the work, but I know He’s there to cover my weaknesses.  I don’t have to worry about whether I can handle the problem or not.

If I’ll draw on His strength and listen to the Holy Spirit, then there’s nothing that can stop me.  We need to rest in God’s ability and not our own.

For a few posts, I’ll be going through the section of Ephesians, chapter 6, which talks about the armor of God.  The Apostle Paul understands what it takes to walk in victory.  We need to apply these principles to our lives.

We know that we’re going to face struggles.  The time to prepare is now.  Don’t let life take you by surprise and knock you down.  Do what it takes to get yourself ready for the road ahead.

Question: What are you going through right now that’s too big for you to handle?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Warfare – What it is and isn’t

I’m posting about the spiritual battles that we find ourselves in.  Having explained the difference between the conflict in the Old and New Testament, I now want to concentrate on how we walk in victory.

The fact is that we’re in a battle.  Not against people, but unseen spiritual forces.  Do we really understand the nature of this conflict?

I’ve heard Christians use the term spiritual warfare in many different contexts.  Does our teaching line up with Scripture?  That’s what matters.

After watching many self-proclaimed spiritual warriors get flattened by the enemy, I have to ask myself what exactly is this about?  We need to base what we’re doing in the Scripture if we want success.

The Bible is clear.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:1

Unfortunately, many take this verse too far out of context.  Then the church ends up looking like an army of clowns going off to do battle.  They’re unarmed and untrained in this spiritual war.  Then we wonder why the church is so devastated.

At one point the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and made a statement I found hard to accept.  What I heard on the inside was, “Do you realize that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years?”

How can this be true?  I hear people say they’re doing spiritual warfare all the time.  We sing about it.  We preach about it.

Eventually, I was able to understand what the Spirit of God was trying to get across to me.  The keyword is warfare.

In the above verse, the phrase wage war literally means to serve in a military campaign.  This is where our definition of spiritual warfare falls short.  Our skirmishes are not warfare.

According to the Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary, war is “a contest between or among nations…carried on by force or with arms.”  That’s where we miss it.  War is between nations, not individuals.

For instance, what if I got upset about some things that Canada is doing (I’m not!).  What if I then covered myself in weaponry, Rambo style, then walked to the border of Canada and declared that I was going to war against them.  How long do you think that “war” would last?

As crazy as that sounds, that’s what many believers do in the spirit.  Then they call what they’re doing spiritual warfare.

We need to realize that true spiritual warfare will not take place until the church wakes up from its sleep.  Then, in the spirit, we must begin to pull down the strongholds of Satan.  This is not just the job of one or two bold Christians.  It’s something that the Lord is calling us all to take part in.

We can either spend our time complaining about our society or do something that will make a difference.  Time on our knees before God will bring great change on the earth.  Prayer, fasting, intercession, and prayer in the spirit are what it will take to bring revival to our land.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about how we prepare ourselves for the spiritual struggles ahead.  It’s all about knowing how our attitudes, weapons, and armor work together to bring the victory we need.

Question: What’s your part in this spiritual battle?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Battle Changes

In talking about how spiritual warfare has progressed throughout history, we need to see the change from the Old to the New Testament.  Most Christians are misinformed about our battle.  They’re trying to use Old Testament principles to fight their present warfare.

Reviewing what we know so far…before Christ, God’s people had no spiritual weaponry.  The battles had to be fought in the natural.  Even as far as their walk with God.  It was all about following the rules, not the ability to change themselves permanently.

Spiritually speaking, the enemy held all the cards.  That’s why the only way to fight the battle was to follow God’s plan and let Him fight for you and protect you.

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem!  This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”
2 Chronicles 20:15

The problem is that many believers have picked up this attitude.  “I’m going to let the Lord fight my battles.”  We even sing songs to that effect such as the old chorus The Victory is Mine when the Battle is the Lord’s.

You might get mad at me for speaking this truth.  But the simple fact is that there’s no place in the New Testament where we’re told that God fights our battles for us.  On the contrary, over and over again we’re exhorted to fight the good fight.

Why is that?  How did such a change take place?  It’s all because of the work that Jesus Christ accomplished for us.  He even told His disciples what He was going to do.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

Jesus made it clear that part of His work on earth was to give God’s people a powerful weapon.  Because of His victory on the cross, Christ put a spiritual weapon in the hands of the church.  It’s the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.

What we need to hear is that we can no longer sit back and tell God to fight our battles for us.  That’s not going to happen.  The Lord has placed everything we need for victory firmly in our grasp…if we’re willing to use it.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4

It’s crystal clear from the Scripture.  We wage war.  We fight.  God has already accomplished everything we need for victory.  It’s now up to us to walk in it.

Many of us may need to be retrained with this new information.  Over the next few posts, I’m going to be talking about the New Testament concept of spiritual warfare.  Especially if you were one of those who thought that God fights your battles, you need to keep reading these articles.

If this resonates with you, you may want to subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss any of these important posts.  My hope is that all who read them will walk in the blessing and victory that the Lord has won for them.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re currently facing in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Warfare – Avoiding Battles Through Obedience

I’m taking a couple of posts to glean some principles from the Old Testament.  Even though their fight was in the natural, some of the things they learned can be applied to us.

One of the things I’ve always wondered about is why God seems to make it so hard to obey Him.  God told Israel that He was giving them the Promised Land.  But, in order to claim it, they had to fight giants and other mighty warriors.

Actually, it turns out that there’s more to the story.  It’s a lesson that we should take to heart in our generation.

After the flood of Noah’s day, God’s blessing and anointing were passed on through his son, Shem.  32 years after the flood, Shem had a grandson named Shelah.

When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
Genesis 11:14

The name, Shelah means the spear of attack.  Interesting name…his parents must have seen great things in his future.  Actually, we know that Shelah had a deep relationship with the Lord. God spoke to him just like He called out to many in this family line.

Long before Abraham was called, Shelah was given the same orders as Abraham.  He was told to leave his home to follow God’s leading.  The difference is that he never left everything to follow God’s voice.

How do I know this?  Instead of leaving his home, he named his son, Eber – which means the land across the river.  He must have reasoned, “I can’t go, but I’ll have my son obey God’s call.”  It turns out that Eber didn’t leave home either.

Actually, the word, Hebrew, comes from the name Eber.  It means, from the family of Eber.

Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
Genesis 10:25

Eber had a son around the same time that God destroyed the Tower of Babel.  The Lord divided the nations and people dispersed throughout the world.  So Eber named his son Peleg, which means, divided.

Why is all of this important?  It’s so we can understand the reason for immediate obedience to God.

The enemy knew about God’s call upon the family of Shelah.  I’m sure they talked and even argued about it on more than one occasion.

The devil knew the beautiful land that God wanted to give to this family.  That’s where the Messiah was to be born.  And with Him, the enemy’s ultimate defeat.

So the devil strategically placed his most fearsome, brutal warriors in that part of the world.  He reasoned that “if you want your people to have this land, then you’re going to have to fight me for it.”

The fact is that God called His people to inhabit that land long before the nations were divided.  When God called Shelah, there were no giants in the land.  They could have walked in and taken possession with no resistance.

This is why obedience to God’s voice is so important.  Once we know God’s will, we need to walk it out.  We must take the “high ground” before the enemy can get assembled.

When the devil knows what you want to do for God, his goal is to stop you.  The longer you take to obey God, the more resistance can be prepared against you.

Please understand, the enemy can’t stop you from fulfilling your calling.  But, he can make it more difficult than it would have been if you’d obeyed immediately.

Don’t play into the enemy’s hand.  Find your calling in Christ and then quickly begin walking in it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Question: What’s the next step God is calling you to do?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2019 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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The Start of Spiritual Warfare

For the past few posts I’ve been talking about the first spiritual battle between Adam and the devil.  We saw that Adam was given all the authority he needed to defeat the enemy.  Instead, he allowed the devil to use words in order to deceive him into disobeying God’s Word.

In that defeat, there were some important changes that happened.  First and foremost, Satan became the legal owner of planet earth and everything in it.  Mankind became slaves.

There was another event that most people don’t realize.  If you remember, Adam was given a bow and arrows as his spiritual weaponry (Revelation 6:1-2).  When he was defeated by the enemy, he was stripped of these weapons.  It’s clear from Scripture that they are now in the enemy’s hands.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

This verse is especially important knowing that these arrows originally belonged to Adam.

That tells me that in the garden, when Adam fell, mankind was stripped of all spiritual armor and weapons.  Humanity was defenseless against the spiritual forces of evil.

A third result of Adam’s defeat was the entrance of sin into the world system.  When Adam knowingly chose to disobey God, he picked that which was imperfect.  At that moment he stepped out of God’s perfect will for his life.

In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible the word, sin, literally means to miss the mark.  Perfection, what we were created for, is the bullseye.  No matter how hard we try, we miss the target.  That’s the word picture of what sin is.  It’s missing the mark of God’s will.

That brings me to the start of the ongoing spiritual war that we find ourselves in.  Our number one battle is not against the enemy, even though that’s a part of it.  The toughest battle we face is within our own being.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we’re at war against sin.  It’s that part of human nature that wants to do something other than God’s will.  Our flesh always seems to want to choose the imperfect.

This explains a lot about the Old Testament.  People often ask why there were so many sins that had the death penalty attached.  The answer is simple.  With no spiritual weapons, the only way to fight sin was in the natural.

How do you stop the spirit of adultery from spreading?  Under the Old Testament we would have no way to combat it in the spiritual realm.  The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to put to death the adulterer.

That also explains why whole nations had to be totally destroyed.  The nation of Amalek, for example, had sold itself out to the enemy.  In that case, their sin had to be eradicated by a physical war.

This is why we have to be careful in how we apply Old Testament Scriptures.  Things have changed since then.  That’s why I feel that God is leading me to talk about the history of spiritual warfare.

We need to understand where we are today.  There are some principles that we can learn from the Old Testament, but our battle is on a different level.

Over the next few posts I hope to explain not only where we’ve come from, but how we can walk in the victory Christ has won for us.

Question: What is your biggest difficulty in your battle against sin?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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