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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Sowing and Reaping in the Spirit

agricultureIn my last post I talked about receiving God’s power through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I realize that this is a controversial teaching in the body of Christ. There are many who don’t believe that it for all Christians.

Many say, “I don’t want it.” They choose not to receive this gift of God. The truth is that this gift is vitally important for the church to do its job. That’s why the enemy would do anything to convince us that it’s not for the church today or not for you personally.

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

Prayer in the Spirit is vitally important to our spiritual health. I believe that this is how we receive the seed of God’s Word in us. It’s needed to conceive the seed God wants to place into our lives.

In the above verse we see that your mind can’t conceive what God has planned for you. That word is how the translators handled two words in this passage. They are the words placed upon and rise up.

Think about how seeds work in field. The seeds are placed upon, sprinkled over the soil. Then the water and sun work to activate them so that the new plant rises up from the dirt. It happens the same way in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Spending time in the Spirit allows God to plant His seed in us. Things we could never even imagine that He has planned for us. They enter into the good soil of our hearts. Some of these seeds can only be activated by prayer in the Spirit.

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.
Galatians 6:7-8

We need to understand that there is a sowing and reaping in the spirit. Prayer in the Spirit is not just for the conception of the seed. It must be continued so that the harvest may be brought forth in due time.

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 6:8

That’s why I’m such a proponent of prayer in the Spirit. I’ve seen what it’s done in my life and in others who practice it regularly. There is no substitution for this work of the Lord in us. It’s the power of God actively working in us to bring about His plan for us.

I don’t know how anyone could fully serve God without it. I couldn’t imagine my life without this gift. Don’t neglect it. Spend time praying in the Spirit and allow the seed of God to germinate and take root in your heart. It will change everything.

Question: How has prayer in the Spirit changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

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Receiving God’s Power

LightningFaith is very often misunderstood in Christian circles. It’s sometimes described as a mental exercise. We’re simply trusting that everything’s going to turn out okay. That’s not Biblical faith.

True faith is putting your trust in a person – Jesus Christ – and what He says is truth. Look at the example of Scripture.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Hebrews 11:11

To understand this verse we need to look at the NKJV, which I believe is a more accurate translation in this case.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Hebrews 11:11 (NKJV)

This verse tells us that through faith Sara received. This is an important concept for us to lay hold of. Faith is always a choice. We choose to receive by faith.

God can hold something out to you, but unless you choose to receive it, it’s never more than a promise. It’s like that with everything God has for us as His children.

What is it that Sarah received? According to the above verse, she received strength. Above all, we need to receive God’s strength. That’s the Greek word dunamis – God’s miracle working power.

There should be a progression in our lives. We spend time with the Lord, talking and listening to Him. As we do this, we become aware of His calling upon our lives. Then, having heard His call, we choose to obey and follow His leading.

It’s at this point that many believers get into trouble. That’s because what God calls you to do cannot possibly be completed in your own strength. You need His power working through you.

Think about the example of Sarah and Abraham. They had no strength to obey what God was calling them to do. The only way this promise was completed in them was through the Lord’s intervention.

It’s the same for us. Many Christians choose to obey God. But they try to accomplish the work in their power. Maybe it’s because we don’t understand God’s power. Or sometimes it’s because we don’t like God’s method.

The above verse said that Sarah received power. That’s the exact same wording that’s found in the following verse.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

This is a part of receiving God’s power into your life. It’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you’re saved. But the baptism is the immersion in the Holy Spirit.

I believe that this is one of the most important steps in the Christian walk. It opens us up to the power of God working in us. If we want all that God has for us, then we need to actively seek this baptism.

But it doesn’t end there. Once we’ve received our prayer language, we need to cultivate it through daily prayer in the Spirit. In this way we will, by faith, receive the strength we need to complete God’s work in us.

For the next few posts I’ll look at this important part of our Christian walk.

Question: How often do you pray in the Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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Sharing Fellowship

meLyRzsThe Bible talks a lot about the fellowship that we share as believers. Fellowship is an interesting word. We throw it around a lot in Christian circles. Usually we just mean that we get together for meetings. I believe that we need a deeper understanding of it.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

This verse talks about what it was like in the early days of the church. These are the things that the Christians of that era devoted themselves to. One of the things mentioned was the fellowship.

The word fellowship in this verse is the Greek word koinonia. It meant a sharing or a participation. That’s different than what some people think. Many times we assume that just because we come together for church meetings we’re having a fellowship. Many churches even use the word fellowship in their names.

The reality is that without any sharing or participation there can be no true fellowship. It’s when God’s people come together and participate in each other’s lives that true koinonia takes place. It’s giving and receiving help, encouragement, love and strength.

Even in the English language this word fellowship has a much deeper meaning than most church people realize. It actually comes from an Old English word. It has two parts. Fell, which means property, and low, which means to lay down. All together it means laying your property down. How often do we think of fellowship in those terms?

It seems that many Christians go to church for what they can get out of it. Does the church have everything I’m looking for? Does it have childcare, great music, and a comfortable sanctuary?

That’s not the attitude of fellowship. Fellowship is all about what I can contribute to the whole. What can I put in that will make the church better.

No, it’s not just about money. It’s about ministry, encouragement, leadership and a whole lot more that you’ve been gifted with. You’re blessed with the talents and resources that others need. That’s what you bring with you into the body of Christ.

We shouldn’t be trying to find the church that can best fulfill our wants and desires. Instead, we should be looking for a body of believers that will be blessed by the things that God has placed in us. We need to be sharers rather than just consumers.

We are not to live and act like the world does. Attending a church should not be like choosing a restaurant to go to or finding a daycare for our children. It’s a local manifestation of the Kingdom of God where I can plug into for mutual edification.

Be a part of the church in the true spirit of fellowship. Seek to be a blessing to others.

Question: How are you a blessing to the church you attend?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2015 in Encouragement, Ministry, The Church

 

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Healing 201 – Let the Crumbs Fall!

CrumbsIn may last post I talked about healing as the children’s bread. I said that this was talking about healing under the covenant we have with God. This is how Jesus healed the sick in Israel.

There were times Jesus healed a sick person even when doubt was there. Some came to Jesus not being sure that He was willing to heal them. But in the end they left healed. Jesus never told them to come back when they had more faith.

The fact is that bread is the right of children. Through Christ I have been adopted into the family of God. As a result, He has agreed to feed me. Those are not my rules, but His.

“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

How much plainer could the Lord have made it? It’s clear that in the Jesus’ mind the Father is obligated to feed His children. The teaching that God only heals under special circumstances or for great faith is man’s teaching, not God’s.

Think about what the woman said to Jesus. How does this apply to the church today?

“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Matthew 15:27

Think about the implications here. Having raise three children from infancy I understand the truth of this statement. Crumbs are only falling when the children are eating.

If there’s not much healing taking place in the church…then there are fewer crumbs falling. If fewer crumbs are falling…then there’s not much miraculous healing taking place in the world. All because the children aren’t eating.

We need churches where the table is set. We need pastors and churches who are willing to serve the bread. Then the children will eat and the crumbs will fall.

You may not like what I’m saying or even agree with it. But it’s God who made the rules, not me. He says that if I go to the Lord I will get bread.

Stones and bread. We’ve heard that in another place in the Bible. Jesus was tempted by the devil to take a stone and turn it onto bread. Jesus’ response was, “No, the Father gives bread.”

Satan is the one who gives stones in place of bread. It’s God the Father who give good gifts to His children. You couldn’t ask for a better parent. How could we even imagine that an earthly parent would treat his children better than the Lord? God, forgive us for our unbelief!

Jesus paid for our healing with the stripes on His back. He is the bread of Life. We celebrate this every time we partake of the communion bread. We need a fresh revelation of Christ the Healer.

Spend time in His presence. Look to Jesus, knowing that in your covenant is everything you need for life and godliness. He’s provided the bread, we just need to see the Lord as our Healer and receive what He’s already provided.

Question: What would the church look like if it were walking in this to the extent that Jesus did?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, The Church

 

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Healing 201 – Our Covenant of Healing

BreadI’ve been posting about the healing that Christ purchased on the cross for us. We saw that sickness is a part of the sin package and that our healing is a part of our righteousness. We will now turn to an incident in Jesus’ ministry.

This encounter was recorded in both Mark 7 and Matthew 15. These two sections together give us the whole picture.

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
Matthew 15:21-22

Here we see that a Canaanite woman had a daughter with a demon, manifesting in sickness. We know that she begged Jesus to do something about it.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
Matthew 15:26

In Jesus’ response, the Bible literally says it is not proper etiquette, not right in appearance to give her the children’s bread. Of course God never worried about surface appearances. Jesus had no problem eating with tax-collectors and prostitutes.

‘Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Matthew 15:27-28

We always use this for an example of supernatural healing, but there’s more going on than meets the eye. Some teachers look at this and say that the daughter was healed because the woman had great faith. So, therefore, it takes great faith for healing. NO!!!! We miss the whole point.

According to Jesus, healing is the children’s bread. In this response we can see God’s priority.

“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
Mark 7:27

Did you hear what the Lord said? First fill up the children with all they want to eat. In other words; first heal the church, then the world. So in this statement of Christ we see two kinds of healing.

The first is a covenant healing which is by right. I’m not trying to be arrogant when I say this. He calls us His children. Parents obligate themselves to feed their children. God decided to do it this way. It’s all a part of a normal faith relationship.

The other healing is for those outside the covenant, by special faith. This is because it originally takes faith to enter the covenant. A majority of Jesus’ ministry was covenant healing.

The sick person came to the Lord, He laid hands on them, and they left healed. There was no stirring up of their faith required – He just did it.

That’s because healing was a part of the covenant that God’s people had entered into. A quick search of the words heal and healing will show the many places that God promises to heal His people in the Old Covenant.

At this point, we have entered a Better Covenant. Through the blood of Christ we have the fulfillment and not just the shadow. How much more does the Lord desire to bring healing to those who are in Christ? In my next post I’ll take this a bit further.

As I’ve said before, the church needs a greater understanding of Jesus Christ the Healer.

Question: How do you see the New Covenant as being better than the Old?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Faith, Healing, The Church

 

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Healing 201 – Righteousness Brings Healing

BeamIn my last post I started talking about God’s provision to heal His people. But let’s take this a step further. I said that God wants to remove all sin; and sickness is a part of that package.

When God removes something, He always replaces it with something else. What’s the opposite of sin?

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Romans 6:13

It’s clear from Scripture that the opposite of sin is righteousness. You can read all of Romans, chapters 5-6, and see how God replaced sin with His righteousness.

The fact is that I can’t be righteous on my own – it had to be a work of God’s power.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

On the cross, Christ became sin so that we might become righteousness. This is a divine truth, but how does it apply to healing? If you can grasp this it will set you free.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24

This recaps everything that we’ve been saying. Sickness is a manifestation of the sin nature. In the same way that sickness is a part of the sin package, healing is a part of our righteousness.

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Malachi 4:2

I’ve heard this verse preached in the past. Usually the preacher or teacher will transform the word sun into the word son and speak about the Son of God. Christ is the Healer, but there’s more to it than that.

In order to really lay hold of what the prophet is saying in this verse, we must understand the ancient Hebrew mindset. Think about what it looks like when the sun rises on a new day. Maybe there’s a small cloud or two in the sky.

As the light of the sun breaks forth you see the rays of light emanating from the sun and reaching to the earth. We call these the rays of the sun or sunbeams. The ancient Israelites didn’t use this terminology. They called these rays the wings of the sun.

The prophet Malachi saw a day when the Messiah would usher in God’s righteousness. He saw it rising like the sun in all of its glory. But he saw something else that should make us rejoice.

Emanating from that righteousness, like the rays of the sun, was healing for all who came into its light. What an incredible truth to lay hold of! Healing emanates from righteousness.

Just as sickness is a part of the sin package, healing is a part of the righteousness that Christ purchased for us. Healing is not something that God decides to do or not do on a case by case basis. It was provided once and for all at the cross.

The church needs a fresh revelation of Christ the Healer. When that happens, His righteousness will bring the healing we seek.

Question: What else has Christ provided through His righteousness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, The Church

 

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Healing 201 – Sickness is not a Friend

PowerlessLast year I did a series of posts titled Healing 101. In it I talked about God’s provision of healing for His people. One of the important points was the fact that sickness was a part of the package we call the sin nature. Sickness misses the mark of the health we were created to enjoy. To read this teaching click here.

In this series I want to take that teaching a little further. Healing 101 was important because you need to know that God treats sickness like any other part of the sin package. He hates it and wants it removed.

As a matter of fact, God wants the church today to flow in the healing anointing like Jesus and the early church did. We have yet to grasp Christ as Healer to that extent.

God has provided all we need. He told us sickness misses the mark – It’s a manifestation of the sin nature. We know that God wants to remove sin in all its forms. It was demonstrated in the lives of Jesus and the disciples.

The question is; how do we deal with sickness? The answer: just like any sin.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:1-3

I realize that in context Paul is talking about evil sin. But because the Holy Spirit used the generic word sin, this can apply to all the forms it takes, not just evil. This verse tells me not to get comfortable with it even though God can give me the grace to cope with it.

I’ve talked to some people with medical conditions who said that they had decided not to seek God for their healing. They said that God was giving them the grace to work for Him in spite of their sickness. Paul is saying here, “Shall we continue in sickness so that grace may increase? By no means!” We shouldn’t get comfortable with our sickness even though the Lord’s helping us cope with it.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
Romans 6:4-5

Christ wants His resurrection power to flow though us.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:6-7

In Christ we’ve died to sin and sickness. Therefore we must hate it as we would any other form of sin. Remember I said in the past that we don’t get sick because of our sin. Rather sickness itself is a form of sin – missing the mark of God’s perfect health.

So when we ask is healing for me; we’re really asking the wrong question. The right question is; is sickness for me? God answers a resounding NO! Sickness is not our portion. It’s never God’s will for you to be sick.

Over the next few posts I want to talk about God’s provision for our healing.

Question: Can you think of some other forms of sin that aren’t necessarily evil?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, The Church

 

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