RSS

Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Master’s Investment

Our Supply in GodI’m posting about Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. In my last article we saw the instructions that the Master gave to His servants.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master’, he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master’, he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
Matthew 25:19-23

Everything seemed to be going well. There was increase. Both of the servants ended up with twice as much as they were given. They had used the money they were entrusted with wisely. Their Lord commended them. Now they could expect the reward that they earned.

Finally, the last servant showed up.

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master’, he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’”
Matthew 25:24-25

This servant took what was given to him and instead of using it and putting it to work, he just buries it. The worst part of this whole scenario is that he knows his master is expecting him to increase it.

He has no excuse. The servant even said, “I know you expected me to work with it and to make more because that’s the kind of person you are.”

Listen to the attitude. It’s heard throughout the church today. It’s the cry of those who have bought into the lie of the enemy concerning their lives.

This servant has the audacity to accuse the master of harvesting where he hasn’t planted. It was the master’s money he was entrusted with. The master was planting his own money into the lives of his servants.

I’ve seen this exact attitude in the church. “What has God ever done for me? I’m going to take care of myself first. If I have any leftover time, then I’ll worry about serving Him.”

The Lord gave them the very life in their body. They belong to Him. He has sown so much into their lives, yet they act like they’ve been given nothing and now have to make their way on their own.

Our attitudes play a big part in how we serve our Lord.

Question: What has Christ sown into your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Taking the Easy Way

CrossesThis will be my last post in the series about spiritual warfare. I’m looking at Christ as our example.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Matthew 4:8-9

This was probably the greatest attack the enemy could have aimed at the Lord. Jesus knew that God’s plan called Him to buy the world with His blood on the cross. This would be an easy way out of that suffering. But if He took the deal He would have lost it all.

It’s clear that the final attack is aimed at the world. Why the world? Remember the goal…our goal is not personal comfort or the safety of the church. What we’re fighting for is to set the captives free.

That’s why we pick up the shield and advance forward toward the enemy’s camp. It’s to save souls.

The battle must go from personal to kingdom. What I talked about in my last two posts was just a defensive battle. Now you’re at hell’s gates. Now you’re taking something from the enemy.

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”
Matthew 4:10

Jesus saw through the devil’s deception. It was all about worship. The Lord was being tempted to pay homage to the ruler of the world.

We fall into that trap when we decide that we want to impress the world. You can’t do both; you can’t impress them and free them at the same time.

We are here to impose God’s freedom on the enemy’s kingdom. But we lack understanding if we think it’s like opening up a jail or a prison camp. It’s not like that. It’s more like an opium den. The people we’re trying to set free are all addicts to sin. Just like you and I were. It’s destroying them, but they don’t want freedom.

By the power of God, the church is out to break down the strongholds of the enemy. In the eyes of the world it’s like we’re removing their supply of drugs. It’s the sin they’re addicted to that we’re attacking. That’s why we’re so hated much of the time.

But that’s why we’re in the battle. It’s to save lives. The real question of all this is; are you willing? Are you ready and able to go to spiritual war? This generation of America is at stake.

The Lord is looking for the faithful. He’s calling to assemble His army. You’re needed on the front lines.

Question: What role do you play in this war to set the captives of sin free?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, Worship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I Deserve It

TowerI’m posting about the spiritual battle that we have to contend with as believers. I’m using Christ as our example. In my last post I talked about the devil attacking who we are in Christ. The next attack is more subtle.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”
Matthew 4:5-6

Remember that I said it’s not about mindlessly quoting the Bible. That doesn’t bring about the victory. In this verse we see the reason for that. The devil has the Bible memorized. He can quote it better than we can sometimes.

What is this attack? By using the Bible, Satan is trying to attack the church. He wants to go through you to bring down other believers.

If you’re a warrior, then the enemy needs to go through you to attack the church. That’s what the verse meant that said that the battle entails persistency and petition around all the saints. (Ephesians 6:17-18)

Other Christians aren’t really watching the battle. Many times they’re off in “praise land,” never realizing that they’re being protected. There are those whose ministry is interceding for them – protecting them.

Why would the devil have told Christ to jump from the temple? The angels would have protected Him and it would have fulfilled a prophecy from Malachi.

“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
Malachi 3:1

Had He jumped off the roof, Christ would have appeared suddenly in the Temple. The people would have flocked to Him. But what would they be following? In a word – sensationalism.

God doesn’t want us following the spectacular.

“He’s on TV, he must be spiritual.”

This attack asks; am I going to build God’s kingdom? Am I going to protect God’s people? Or am I going to live for self? This attack happens after a victory in another area. I’ve overcome temptation to sin, now I want the fame, recognition, and money that I deserve.

This attack is all about whether I want to advance myself or God’s kingdom. Many choose to exalt self. The body of Christ is not a place for self-advancement. It’s got to be the Lord who exalts us. Christ’s answer to this attack was simple.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Matthew 4:7

This is making God the focus of our examination. The fact is, God doesn’t have to prove He’s going to bless me before I serve Him. I obey Him because He’s God. He’s done so much for me already; the Lord has nothing He needs to prove to me.

It’s when we need something more than what Christ has already provided that we fall victim to this trap. Instead of testing God, our goal should be simply to hear and obey Him.

Question: What are some of the things we chase after that are unneeded in our Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Battle Tested

mhXQFuII’m taking a few posts to talk about the spiritual battle we’re a part of. I believe that the church needs to develop a warrior mentality. In the natural world, soldiers don’t live with civilians. They live set apart, and they see themselves as set apart.

By looking at the example of Christ, we can see what this battle is all about.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1

In my last post we saw that we’re to fight this spiritual battle with all persistency and petition around all the saints. The fight is not in the center of the saints where the “praise party” is going on. It’s on the edges – in the prayer closet – in the private places.

Notice that Jesus was not in the city or with His disciples when the devil attacked. It was in the place of prayer and fasting. That’s the true place of warfare.

So often I’ve heard worship leaders, in the midst of a great time of praise and worship, proclaim, “We’ve got the enemy on the run!” Far from it. During those times the church is in the mess hall, far from the battle. Warfare occurs when we’re in private.

The Scripture is clear that Jesus was tempted by the devil. It’s important to know what this means. We think of tempt as Satan trying to get us to fail. The actual Greek word means a test, proof, or examination.

Temptation is merely asking, “Are you the real thing?” When you pick up the shield of faith, are you for real? Are you just repeating something you heard, or does it come from your heart?

This is important for believers to understand. Whenever we grasp a new concept in Christ it must be added to our faith. It can’t simply be something we give lip service to. We have to be willing to live it out.

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4:3-4

We need to see that the first attack is personal. Who are you in Christ? Are you going to cater to your flesh or to the spirit?

This is why you need your helmet and sword. You have to walk in the authority of your position in Christ. You must understand the power of the Word of God in you. That’s the only thing that will counter this attack.

That’s why you need to know who you are in Christ. What’s your calling in the kingdom of God? The battle is all about who you’re going to trust for your needs. Of course, that means we know the difference between wants and needs.

Jesus could have answered “Yes” to the devil’s challenge. The question is; where did the Lord’s response come from? Was it the Bible that said “no”? Was Jesus merely quoting Scripture?

No, this came up from His Spirit. It was the overflow of a heart that was full of God’s Word. That’s where we get the strength for overcoming the enemy’s schemes.

The fact is the Word is more important than bread. We have to come to grips with this. What’s the Word more important than in your life? It might not be a bad thing that you have to push aside in place of the Word of God to you. It’s this response from our heart that proves we’re the “real thing” during the times of testing.

Question: How have you been tested lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Warfare

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In the Battle – Like it or Not

SwordIn many instances in the Scripture our spiritual walk is described as a battle. Light vs. darkness; Heaven vs. hell; good vs. evil. We need to know how to live with this truth.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:17-18

In this verse, Paul is talking about the authority and power of God. He wants to work these through us. There’s a battle raging on the earth right now. Unfortunately, many don’t even care about it. Do you?

The last sentence of this quote is very important. It literally says, attending to this with all persistency and petition around all the saints. The emphasis is that this is encompassing all the saints.

The battle is all around you whether you want it or not. That’s why the apostle uses such strong language in his exhortation.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13

Think about the church today. Picture the body of believers as an army standing before hell’s gates. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. The question is; are we that victorious church that the Lord was talking about?

We should be, and in some areas there are local churches that have the enemy on the run. But that’s not the case everywhere. Are all the believers in their spiritual armor? Are all believers even willing to fight this spiritual battle? I don’t think so.

What about the enemy’s kingdom? Are they ready? Absolutely. They understand what’s at stake and they’re in it for the long haul. They won’t give in without a fight.

Right now the arrows of the enemy are flying all around us. Arrows are the first strike weapon. The truth is that you don’t have to be in the fight to be hit by an arrow. That’s why believers are encouraged to take the spiritual armor seriously.

How do you take the stronghold from the enemy? First, you put on the armor and pick up your shield. Behind the gates are the prisoners that need to be set free.

Understand this, as you approach the gates the fight goes from general to personal. It gets to the point where it’s one on one.

Paul is not talking to all believers here, but to the faithful. That’s who I’m talking to as well. The believers who want to make a difference in the world around them. For the next few posts I want to talk about this spiritual battle that we face on a daily basis. I’ll use Christ as our example for how to live an overcoming lifestyle.

Question: How is your life affected by the spiritual battle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Obedient Faith

BlurI’ve been posting about the Holy Spirit as the one who nourishes our spirits. I talked about Jesus speaking to the crowd who had been miraculously fed by the loaves and fishes.

The Lord told them that He was the living bread from Heaven. They got offended at some of His words and many began to leave Him. As He was left alone with His disciples, they told Jesus that His teaching was hard for them to understand. So He said the following…

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
John 6:63

He explained to them that He wasn’t talking about His physical flesh. Christ was talking about His Spirit – the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is sent from heaven He will give life.

At that point in history, Jesus fulfilled the role of the Holy Spirit to His disciples. That’s why He could tell them to believe His words and receive life – the living bread.

But understand; right now it’s the job of the Holy Spirit to give life. If I want this in my life I must feed on His word to me. Hearing and believing the Holy Spirit is the key to everything we need.

But the real question is; do you truly believe if you don’t obey?

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:17-18

What kind of faith is James talking about here? Some ethereal faith, believing it will all turn out good in the end? Absolutely not!!

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
James 2:20-23

We must have faith in the instructions God gives us. How? By the Holy Spirit. Why did Abraham offer his son? Because God had said to do it

That’s righteousness – our spiritual food. Believing that what God speaks to you is the right thing to do. That’s the same spiritual food that Jesus ate. That’s the life that the Holy Spirit is offering to us right now. But in order to see this manifest, I must spend time with the Holy Spirit – the giver of life to the church.

Question: How have you been obedient to the Holy Spirit lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Faith, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,