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Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Truth about Mountaintops – Clarity

 

ViewIn my last post I talked about how to climb to a spiritual mountaintop. You don’t just magically wake up there one day. You have to be intentional about doing the daily things that you know to do.

Today I want to expose another myth many people have about these spiritual peaks. They usually equate a mountaintop experience as an emotional high – a very happy time. As I said last time, you need to understand the physical to grasp the spiritual.

I’ve climbed many mountains, but I haven’t always been happy when I got to the top. I remember one time in particular when I fell and got a bad sprain on the trail. The only way back to the nearest road required me to continue up and over two mountains.

When I made it to the summit I was tired, hurting and very frustrated. In spite of this, what I found on the top was still the same as always. There’s something that happens that causes you to stop and take it in.

The defining characteristic of a mountaintop is this – clarity. Usually you get an unobstructed 360 degree view that goes on for miles. This is what being on the mountaintop is all about.

It’s the same for the spiritual. As we go through our daily routines, as boring and monotonous as they are sometimes, suddenly the view opens up. We hear from the Holy Spirit. We get a vision of where God is taking us to.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

The revelation talked about here is not for those who simply live for themselves with no thought to the spirit walk. God reveals His plan to those who through their daily walk with Christ climb this mountain of revelation. They’re the ones who see God’s plan for their lives.

There is one catch, however. When I stand on a mountaintop I can see the next few mountains that the trail will cross. What I can’t see is the trail itself. In spite of the great view, I don’t know the exact route I’ll take to get there. All I know is that if I stay on the trail, I’ll get to my destiny.

Another plus of mountaintop clarity is that you can see where you came from. There are times when we think that God is taking us the wrong way. But looking back from the peak I can see that there was a lake that I had to go around – that’s why it took so long. It’s always good to realize why God took you the way He did. It inspires faith for the future.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

God’s will is for all believers to live at this level of spiritual insight. This clarity in the spirit is a wonderful thing. Once you’ve experienced it, you don’t want to lose it. So remember, mountaintops are not about being happy, but having a clear vision of where the Lord’s bringing you to.

Question: How clear is your vision of your destiny in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Revival

 

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The Truth about Mountaintops – The Grind

MountainHave you ever heard people say, “Some days you find yourself on the mountaintop, and other days you’re in the valley?” What they mean is that there are good days and bad days. It also shows that they don’t really understand what it means to be up on a mountaintop.

I’ve told you before that I’m a hiker. I love going out on the trail for days at a time. This summer I plan on doing a two-week section of the Appalachian Trail. It allows me to have a lot of uninterrupted prayer time.

I’ve learned a great deal about how hiking in the natural parallels our walk in the Spirit with Christ. In my hikes I’ve been to the tops of many mountains. These summits are interesting places. I want to share a few things that I found as I listened to the Holy Spirit relating to spiritual mountaintops.

The first thing I want to do is to dispel one of the biggest myths about spiritual mountaintops. In all my years of hiking – hundreds of miles and many nights on the trail – I have never once gone to sleep in a valley and woke up on a mountain. It just doesn’t happen that way, even though I wish it would.

There’s only one way to find yourself at the summit. You have to put one foot in front of the other and continue walking uphill. There’s a natural resistance to your efforts that’s called gravity.

But it’s more than that. You have to continue this repetitive motion, step after step, indefinitely until you reach the top. It can become a boring, monotonous grind even if you enjoy hiking.

To make matters worse, every so often you come to a false summit. Up ahead you see what you think is the top of the mountain. Then when you get there you find out that it’s only a place where the trail flattens out for a bit.

What does this have to do with the spiritual?

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:7-9

This is a great spiritual truth. If we want to see the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives, then we have to continue to do the things we know to do. This is true even when we don’t feel like it, or it’s not convenient.

It continues on day after day, week after week. Sometimes it feels like you’re not making any headway. Sometimes the resistance of our flesh has to be dealt with. But if we want to see the outcome God’s promised, we have to continue on.

I’d love to tell you that there’s an easier way. Just pray this simple prayer and you’ll wake up on the mountaintop. It doesn’t work that way.

Reading, confessing and meditating on the Word of God. Prayer in the Spirit and praying with your understanding. Fellowshipping and worshipping with other believers. These are a part of the sowing that is required for us to reap.

Step by step we approach the summit. Sometimes it doesn’t look like we going very far at all. Then, all of a sudden, there it is. We’re on top of the mountain. But we didn’t get there by magic. It took a determination to reach the top and a consistent walk with the Lord.

In my next post I’ll talk about what exactly it is to be on a spiritual mountaintop.

Question: What are the daily steps you’re taking to reach the summit God has for you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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An Invitation to the Wedding

DinnerI’ve been posting about the Bride of Christ. Not all believers will be a part of the Bride. Understanding this truth is foundational to receiving all that Christ has for us.

Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 19:9

Listen carefully to the true words of God. There’s a blessing upon those who are invited to the wedding supper. Think about it. The Bride is not invited as a guest.

The Bride and the groom are the reason for the supper. My question is; who are these people that are not the Bride, yet are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb?

This thought should overshadow all others in our walk with the Lord. Am I a friend, or a part of the Bride? Am I overcoming, and producing the fruit of the Kingdom? Or am I content to watch others?

Please realize – this is the job of the wedding attendants – to watch, enjoy, and comment on what’s happening between the Bride and the Groom.

“Look at how they love one another.”

“They look great together.”

Or we could put it this way, “Look at how sold out to God they are.”

“Look at what they’re doing for the Kingdom. I couldn’t live like that. I’ve got too many other things to do.”

Are we watching the commitment of others and enjoying what they do for the Lord? That’s fine if it spurs us on to deepen our walk with Him. But if I decide that my goals and plans are more important, it shows that I just want to show up at the wedding.

So often we think that we don’t have to do anything for God. After all, we attend church most weekends. We give into the offering to support the work they’re doing. Actually, we’re merely giving a wedding gift to the Bride to help her get ready – more proof that we’re only attending.

I apologize if I sound harsh, but there’s a world full of people in desperate need to hear the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” It’s time for the sleeping church to rise to its feet and declare the Gospel of Christ. For too long we’ve believed the watered down message telling us that all believers get rewards, are a part of the Bride, and live in the New Jerusalem.

I want you to receive the full benefits of what Christ paid for you on the cross. That will only happen if God’s people take the Word of God seriously. We need to prepare ourselves the way the Spirit directs us and not through our own desires.

In spite of all this, being an attendant is not a bad thing. The Scripture above says that they’re blessed – supremely happy. They’ve made it, by the grace of the Lord, into His presence. They’re saved, joyful, and have received their resurrected bodies.

But the Scripture is clear that we’re to set our affections on things that are above. If your goals are high, you’ll have a higher walk. If your mind is on the earth, you won’t progress very far in the Kingdom of God.

Make it your goal to be a part of the Bride – to be an overcomer by the power of the Holy Spirit. Enter in to all God has for you.

Question: How focused are you on the God’s calling?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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The Spirit and the Bride

 

DoveIn my last post I showed that not all believers are residents of the New Jerusalem, and therefore, are not part of the Bride of Christ. The understanding of all this is found in the characteristics of the Bride.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17

This verse shows us the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ. The first thing I notice is that the Bride is listening to the voice of the Spirit. Do all Christians listen to the Spirit of God? Absolutely not. But the Bride hears the voice of the Holy Spirit.

And more than that, the Bride speaks what the Holy Spirit is speaking. What I find amazing is that there’s no lag time. Their words are totally in sync with each other.

When the Spirit says, “Come,” the Bride is proclaiming the exact same thing. There’s a connection between the Spirit and the Bride.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:18

Let’s talk for a moment about our spiritual birth. We know that we were given birth – born again – by the Word of God. Christ, Himself, is the Living Word. Obviously He’s the Father. But for a birth to occur there has to be a mother. Spiritually speaking, who’s our mother?

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul talks about the difference between self-righteousness and the salvation of God. As he explains this, he makes a surprising statement.

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Galatians 4:26

I’ll try to not be too graphic. We were given birth by the seed of the Word, planted in the Bride. These two must be combined for a birth to take place. The Spirit is calling, “Come!” The Bride is calling, “Come!” We have been given birth by the Holy Spirit and the Word operating through the Bride.

The Bride is made up of the overcomers in Christ. It’s the Bride that’s manifesting the Kingdom of God. That should make it abundantly clear to us that it’s the Bride that’s producing the fruit of the Kingdom. If you’re saved, it’s because the Bride of Christ declared the Word of God to you. That’s how you entered the Kingdom.

Then the choice is up to you. You can join the Bride or remain one of the attendants. But there’s one more characteristic of the Bride that’s important to us.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7

The Bride prepares herself for the wedding day. Why? Because it’s important to her. She wants to give herself to the Groom. She wants to be pleasing to her husband. So she dresses up in the finest clothing available to her.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Revelation 19:8

It’s not her clothing. She could never present herself to her husband dressed in the filthy rags of her own righteousness. This wedding gown had to be given to her. It was a work of God. The bottom line is that even though she was given this treasure – she had to prepare herself by putting it on.

Question: What does it take for the church to make herself ready?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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The Overcoming Bride

WeddingIn my last post I talked about how the New Jerusalem is described as the Bride of Christ. That’s where the golden streets and the pearly gates are mentioned. I also said that many Christians think that this is where everyone who’s saved will live after the return of Christ.

But that’s not entirely true. Even a quick look at the Word will show us that not everyone is a permanent resident of this city. Revelation, chapter 21, is too long to quote the whole thing here, so I’ll give you a synopsis.

In both verse 2 and verses 9-10, the New Jerusalem is called the Bride. Verse 7 is clear that only the overcomers will inherit this residence.

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Revelation 21:7

That also goes along with Revelation 3:12, which states that only overcomers will bear the name of the New Jerusalem on their clothing.

What happened to the rest of the Christians – those who just made it into the kingdom but have no rewards to show for it (I Corinthians 3:12-15)? This chapter of Revelation also answers that question. According to verses 22-27, there are kings and nations living on the earth. They bring their glory and wealth into the city – so they have temporary access.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 21:27

The Scripture is just as clear that only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life can enter the city. So there are saved people living on the earth who come to the city, they just don’t have a home there.

We need to take this truth to heart – not all believers are permanent residents of the New Jerusalem. Therefore, not all believers are a part of the Bride. This may be a hard pill for some to swallow, but the rest of the teaching on the Bride of Christ will bear this out.

Please remember that at that point the earth has been totally renewed. It will have the same perfection as when it was first created. It will be a glorious place to live. Even so, I’d rather live in the New Jerusalem.

Now let’s continue our look at the New Jerusalem as John describes it to us.

The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Revelation 21:14

Here we are told about the foundations of the Holy City. There were twelve of them. Each foundation was one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. Somewhere in their walk with Christ they made that transition from being an attendant of the Groom, to become a part of the Bride.

This brought up a question in me. Can you be a friend of God and not a part of the Bride? The answer found in Scripture was startling to me. I’ll share that truth in my next article.

Question: What does it take to become an overcomer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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Bride of Christ – New Jerusalem

BrideA lot of believers talk about being a friend of God. That’s great, but there’s an even deeper walk. The Scripture talks about the Bride of Christ in many places.

I have to warn you. What you’re about to read in the next few posts has been all but lost in some Christian circles. We’ve watered down the teaching of the Bride so that in our generation, it means anyone who’s recited the sinner’s prayer.

We have to be very careful to put our hope in the revealed Word of God, and not some man’s interpretation of it. I believe that what I’m writing is straight from the pages of Scripture. If I’m wrong, then I pray for God to show me my error. But if I’m correct, then there are some areas that the church needs to grow up into.

As I’ve read and meditated on the Bible, there were some scriptures that caused me to question what I believed about the Bride. For instance, when Jesus was asked why His disciples didn’t fast like the disciples of John the Baptist or the Pharisees, He told them this…

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:15

I found that interesting. The Lord didn’t call the disciples part of the bride at this point. They were merely guests of the Bridegroom.

Another thing to note is how John the Baptist answered when he was asked if he was the Christ. He stated emphatically that he was not the Messiah. Then he continued…

“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”
John 3:29

John is clear that he’s neither the Groom nor the Bride. Then who exactly is the Bride?

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Revelation 21:9-10

The Apostle John is given a view of the end-times. In it he is shown a picture of the Bride of Christ. When he looks up to see her, he watches as the New Jerusalem descends from Heaven. That’s the Bride – or at least the dwelling place of the Bride.

The Bride of Christ are all those who live in the New Jerusalem. Here’s where we’ve departed from the truth of Scripture. It’s this Holy City that’s described as having streets of gold and pearly gates. Many believers have the idea that this is where everyone who’s saved will live after the resurrection.

In the next few posts I’ll show, from the pages of Scripture, who will live in the New Jerusalem. This will also clarify the truth about the bride of Christ. Please read them with an open heart and mind. Also, know that my heart and motives are pure before God. I only want to see God’s people rise up to their full potential and true destiny in Christ Jesus.

Question: Who do you believe will live in the New Jerusalem?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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Body Agreement

 

meLyRzsWe are not called to live solitary lives. In Christ we’re part of a body. We need each other. Without the local church, we can never reach our greatest potential.

God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:9-10

I think it’s beyond question that our God is faithful. What He’s looking for, is faithful people. The Lord wants to see believers who walk wholeheartedly with Him. How is that possible, unless we walk faithfully with each other?

This will require us to walk in agreement. Agreement is a place of power in the Holy Spirit. In the above verse the word agree means to speak the same thing. The only way that will happen is if we’re all speaking the Word of God.

It takes time in the Word to bring about agreement. It’s not about me convincing you that I’m right. It’s when we both come into agreement that God’s way is right.

The Lord wants us to unite in mind and thought – with no divisions. The simple truth is that this will never happen if we all do our own things. There has to be a coming together for fellowship around the Word of God. That’s what church is all about, or at least it should be. The Word should be central to everything we say and do.

What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
1 Corinthians 14:26

This means that we regularly meet together as the church. But to do that correctly, I have to come prepared. The church is not a place I come to with all my baggage and expect “them” to bless “me”. I need to arrive prayed up, built up, and ready to be a blessing to someone else. Of course, in the process I end up being blessed as well.

That’s what church is all about. Everyone coming with Christ as our focus. If we expect Him to be present and the Holy Spirit to direct the service, then we can be certain that we’ll grow together in unity. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to grow in the Lord and in fellowship with one another. Make sure you’re an active member of the body of Christ.

Question: What do you do to build up your local church?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Ministry, The Church

 

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