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Monthly Archives: October 2014

What’s God Looking For?

BinocularsThis is the last of my series of posts dealing with the subject of personal revival.  David has shown us the progression it takes.

Starting with seeing ourselves as needing a touch from God, we then receive the forgiveness and purifying from the Lord’s hand.  After we have been changed, we allow the power of God to spill over into the lives of those around us.

The final part is the attitude that permeates revival.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17

We’re sometimes lead to believe that following God is all about working, serving and giving.  While these things are a part of our Christian walk, they’re not the main things that God is looking for from us.

There are some who feel that once they’ve attended church and given their offering they’ve fulfilled their obligation to the Lord.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Revival brings us to the realization that it’s not about the things we do, but about relationship with the Father.  I have to come to the point where I see that God is not after my money or my stuff.

He wants ME!  All of me.  He wants everything that I am, just the way that I am.  He wants my weaknesses as well as my strengths.

Don’t ever get the idea that you’re not good enough to be intimate with God.  You can’t make yourself more acceptable to God.  He loves you just the way you are.

He wants to begin His work in you from the ground up.  How foolish we are to think that we can impress God by our striving after Him.

Let the truth of David’s experience with the Lord speak to us.  The church needs revival – right here and right now.  It will only come about in God’s way, not ours.

It’s time to lay our lives down before the Lord in submission and humility.  Stop the striving and just allow the Holy Spirit to do the work in you that only He can do.  Prepare yourself for the revival fires of the Lord.

Question: What’s your first step toward a personal revival in your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Spreading the Fire

FireI’m taking a few posts to talk about personal revival from David’s perspective.

What is revival?  I experience revival when I’m open and honest about the condition of my life.  Then I go to the Lord to be forgiven and changed by His presence as I spend time before Him.  The Psalmist David tells us the next stage in the process.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.  Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51:13-15

After you’ve started experiencing God’s renewal in your life, your desire is to see this same spirit of revival catch on in the lives of others.  That’s the way it should be.  The change God’s working in me brings such joy, that I want others to experience the same thing.

Unfortunately, in many cases, we cause problems by doing things our way.  We haven’t changed.  The power of God is not working in us.  And yet we try to get others to change what they’re doing.  That’s when we’re accused of being hypocrites, and rightly so.

When it comes to producing change in a life, I’ll never be as powerful or effective as the Holy Spirit.  It’s actually kind of arrogant to think that I’m able to change someone for the better.

That is not what we’re called to do.  The best we can hope for is to introduce people to a God who is abundantly able to transform their lives.  It has to be done God’s way – from the inside out.

I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to see what you need to change, yet so hard to look at my own failures.  No matter, in Christ the change needs to start in me before I can ever get it to reach out to you.

We need to stick to the Lord’s plan.  Let Him work His renewal in us first, then lead others into His life changing presence.  That’s the way personal revival can spark a revival in the church.  Make this your prayer.  “God, send revival.  Start the work in me.”

Question: How have you seen the Holy Spirit change you over the years you’ve served Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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Change Where it Counts

PowerlessI’m taking a few posts to approach the subject of personal revival.  We’re using the example of David in Psalm 51 as our guide.  So far we’ve seen that we need to examine ourselves, and go to God for His forgiveness and cleansing.  But the work doesn’t stop there.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12

According to Scripture, it isn’t enough just to wipe the slate clean.  Especially if you head right back into the pigpen.  What we need is to change our direction.  In order to do this, the renewal must take place on the inside.

All my wants and desires spring from my heart.  That’s where the purifying work of the Lord needs to access.  I must allow Him to make my heart pure – that His desires would become my desires.  That’s the only way to achieve lasting changes.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:4

I’ve heard people comment on this verse.  They said that whatever you desire, the Lord will give you.  That’s not what the Psalmist is trying to convey to us.

What he’s saying is that if you delight in God – if you take pleasure in Him – then He will place the desires into your heart that line up with His.  I want to desire the same things that God desires.  So I let Him do the work in my heart.

There’s another work that must be done as well.  I need to feed my spirit on the Word of God.  Only when my inner man is healthy and strong can I maintain the purifying work of God in my life.  My spirit is the greatest ally I have against the flesh.  It’s with my spirit that I can access the Holy Spirit and the power of the Lord.

Always remember that God loves us with an everlasting love.  He’ll never leave or forsake us.  If we want His cleansing process in our lives, then He’ll be there to do the work.  After all, He’s the only one with the ability to totally change our lives.

Let Him do that work in you today.  Give the Lord free reign to rearrange your life and priorities.  Let Him give you new purpose and direction.  Say “yes” to the life changing power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How do I open my heart for God to place His desires in me?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, Word of God

 

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God doesn’t Need to Cool Off

MeditationThis continues the subject of personal revival which we started in my last post.  The road to revival begins by taking a long, hard look at your life in comparison to Jesus.

Once you see your condition, you’re ready for the second step.  David describes it to us in Psalm 51.

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Psalm 51:6-9

The next logical step, after self examination, is to run into the presence of God for forgiveness.  Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that God is mad at you.

It’s never too soon after a failure to go to Him.  Our Heavenly Father doesn’t need any “cooling off time”.  He loves you as much right now as He ever will.  As soon as you’re aware of your fault, seek out His presence.

That was one of David’s greatest character traits.  When he was confronted with his sin, he was quick to repent.  We need to follow his example.

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

That’s where true forgiveness can be found.  Remember, it’s God’s forgiveness that can totally wash us clean of our sin.  Don’t try to rely on good intentions, will power, or turning over a new leaf.  Let God work His cleansing power in you.  Lay your sin under the blood of Christ.

That’s the joy and gladness that David talks about.  We’re not just going to try harder.  We’re going to the Lord for Him to clean us by the Holy Spirit.

There’s no need for a guilty conscience.  There’s no need to work extra hard to get God to accept you again.  When God does the work, it’s done and final.

Elsewhere in Scripture it says that God throws our sin into the sea of forgetfulness.  He removes it as far as the East is from the West.  Those are powerful statements about God’s ability to remove the stains of sin.

If you see places of fault or failure in your walk with God – take the time to seek Him for His cleaning process.  Let Christ totally wipe the slate clean.  Then you’re ready to continue your walk toward personal revival.

Question: Why do we sometimes feel that God is mad at us?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Power of God, Prayer, Revival

 

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Revival Starts with Me (and You)

 

LightningRevival – a lot of people talk about it, but few understand it.  For the most part we like the idea of revival, but lack the drive to see it through.  Like it or not, if we want to see revival in the church, then it needs to start in the individual.

For the next five posts, I want to go through David’s experience with revival as recorded in Psalm 51.  I believe that it will give us the understanding we need to head in that direction.  The desire is up to you.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Psalm 51:1-5

The conditions surrounding the writing of this Psalm are very important.  David was the king of Israel.  His word was law.  One day, from the rooftop of his palace, he saw the wife of one of his generals taking a bath.  He was infatuated with her and eventually they had an affair that got her pregnant.

Since the general was away at the front lines, this would be an awkward situation unless it was taken care of quickly.  After a few failed attempts at a cover-up, David had the general assassinated.  He then took the “grieving widow” as one of his wives.  Now everything was fine and they could live happily ever after…or could they?

The prophet, Nathan, was given a Word from God about the situation.  He confronted David with the truth.  This Psalm is David’s response.  I’m glad to say that David was able to turn around and renew his walk with God.  By writing it in a Psalm, we can see the principles of personal revival.

In order for us to experience the joy of a personal revival, it always starts in the same place.  We must see the condition of our lives from God’s perspective.

Please understand me.  I realize that we’re righteous, by position, in Jesus Christ.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m looking at the day to day condition of our physical walk with God.  Are we where we should be?  Am I living up to the high calling of God?

It seems that one of the most dreaded exercises for most Christians, is to take a long, hard, look at themselves.  We must be brutally honest in our assessment – comparing ourselves with the example of Christ.  No whitewashing, no excuses, and no justifications.  I can’t compare myself with anybody else – after all, I can always find someone doing worse that me.

This, then is the first step toward personal revival.  Taking inventory of your spiritual walk as a believer.  Finding and admitting those areas in which you fall short of your calling to walk as Christ did.

Only then can you truly seek God’s power to change you.  Let this be your prayer.  “God, help me to see myself as I really am before you.”  Then take the steps necessary to bring the revival of God into your life.

Question: Why do we hesitate to take spiritual inventory of our lives?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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The Victory of the Cross

JesusThis is my final post in my series about the cross. I want to remind you of a verse we looked at when we first started.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
Galatians 3:13

The Messiah had to go to the cross – it was a law hidden in the mind of God from eternity past. It was also a law that whoever hung on a cross was under a curse. So, Jesus had to take a curse with Him to the cross.

One of the greatest truths I can think of is this – He had no curse of His own, so Christ took our curse to the cross with Him that day. On top of all that, He took our transgressions with Him as well. What a glorious day that was! The devil had no clue what was about to be unleashed in that hour when Christ declared, “It is finished.”

We are now restored to right fellowship with God, because of the work done on the cross. I only need to accept it by faith in Jesus Christ. I don’t need to work for it or do anything to make up for my past. It has all been washed clean by the blood of the Perfect Sacrifice.

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Galatians 3:14

The Lord didn’t only provide forgiveness and restoration for His people, the Jews. He provided a way of salvation for the entire human race. Even though I was born a Gentile – apart from the promises of God – I can now enter into the covenant of Abraham. Now, because of the cross I can stand as a child of God, washed clean by His blood.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15

Along with our transgressions, the Lord took the entire addendum to the covenant. The law of Moses, that had blocked the way to God for so long, was finally dealt with. Christ, Himself, fulfilled all the terms of that additional provision and left it hanging on the cross for all of Heaven and hell to see.

The Bible is clear that the power of sin is the law. That is the only foothold that the enemy can use against us. It was now done away with. There is now no basis for a charge of any kind against those who are in Christ. The entire kingdom of the enemy now stands powerless against those who know what was accomplished by Christ on the cross.

So many powerful events surrounded the crucifixion of Christ. The sun went dark as earthquakes rumbled throughout the earth. The veil that sealed off the Holy Place of the temple ripped completely in half. The ground opened up and many saints who had died were seen walking about during the next few days. We cannot even fathom the power that was released when Messiah was killed according to the plan of God.

We need a deeper revelation of the cross. Rather than a place of pain and weakness, it has become, to us, a monumental victory. If only we could understand and embrace the power that was released that day.

Question: How has the cross changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

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Why the Cross?

cross 2I’m posting about the power of the cross of Christ. In my last two posts I talked about the curse and transgressions. The cross speaks of both issues. According to Scripture, it’s because of a curse and a transgression that a person is killed on the cross.

But there is a mystery here that the enemy never understood until it was too late. What happens if you put someone on the cross that was not under a curse and never transgressed the law?

Jesus was taken before Pilate for trial by the Jewish leaders. Pilate examined Christ thoroughly and found Him not guilty of any crime. He found no basis for any death penalty. He then presented Christ before the people and publically pronounced Him not guilty.

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
John 19:6

The Jewish leaders refused to accept Pilate’s answer. He tried to explain that they had no basis for a charge. Jesus had done nothing worthy of the death penalty. It’s at that point that the Pharisees say something very interesting.

The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
John 19:7

Jesus is not under a curse. He had no transgression in Him. But they had a law! According to that law, Christ had to die. Why? What was this law that insisted that the Lord of Glory be put to death?

According to the Jewish leaders, “He made Himself the Son of God.” We must understand that to the ancient Jews the term Son of God was equivalent to saying God in the flesh. They understood what Christ was saying about Himself.

God took it upon Himself to clothe Himself in our weaknesses and live among us. He made Himself one of us. That truth is very clear throughout the Scripture.

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

“He made Himself…” “He humbled Himself…” This was all His work. He needed no one else’s assistance. The God of the universe took on flesh and lived among us.

It turned out that the Jewish leaders were marching right in step with God’s plan. There was a great mystery hidden in the mind of God. God had a law. According to that law, the true Son of God must be put to death on the cross.

The fact is that Jesus had tried to tell this to His disciples over and over again. They were just too unbelieving to grasp it. They kept thinking that when the Lord spoke about His death, He was being allegorical. The cross had been a part of God’s plan since before the universe was created.

The cross was not an accident or an unforeseen tragedy. It had been the Lord’s plan all along.

On the cross of Christ a work was done that we could never totally fathom. In my next post I will close this series with what I think is a great part of this mystery.

Question: Why are you thankful for the cross of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

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