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Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Call to the Mighty

ClockAs I read the life of King David, I see a lot of parallels with our present generation. In waiting for God to fulfill His promise to make him king, it seemed like everything was going against him. But it was at this time in David’s life that God started to bring people to his aid.

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.
1 Samuel 22:1-2

This is one of the lowest points in David’s life. God had called to be king in place of Saul. He had accomplished victories over giants and armies.

Yet, at this time he was being pursued by King Saul – hunted like animal. His calling was to restore Israel to greatness, yet he was alone and outcast.

Many in Israel had no clue about the issues that were occurring throughout their nation. It was almost like the church in USA right now. We are badly in need of an awakening.

So David decided to go to a place called Adullam. It was a cave in the side of a cliff, surrounded by wilderness. It was near a cool, clear spring so there was plenty of water. It had a system of caverns that could hold 1000 men comfortably. Eventually 400 to 600 would come and join with David here.

In the same way, it’s time for God’s people to rally together. So many believers are “serving God” yet going nowhere. Where do we start?

Maybe where God starts. In David’s life it was his father’s household, his immediate family. That’s us – the church.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:10

The work God wants accomplished in our generation starts with us. God is calling the church family together.

But it also says his brothers. The Hebrew word used is relatives in the most general term. There are many people who are a part of the body of Christ who have distanced themselves from their churches. It has been for various reasons. It might have been the results of hurts, laziness, disappointment, offence, or any number of issues.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 4:17

The word judgment is simply the word decision. It’s time for decisions to begin here, among God’s people. We want the world to decide for Christ. How about if we decide first. It’s time to give up the excuses.

I’ve been in church for my whole life. My deepest hurts have come from church people. Even as a pastor I’ve endured hurts, betrayals, and other problems. Yet on the lowest day of my life, I would choose God’s people over the world.

I want to take a few posts to show how David’s mighty men came together. God brought people to David to bring about His plan for Israel.

In the same way God is calling His people to do a great work in our generation. But it won’t be accomplished by big names or televangelists. It will be normal, everyday people who have heard and obeyed the call of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Question: What is your place in the Body of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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Victory vs. Our Abilities

TrophyI’ve been posting about giving yourself as a gift to God. That means that we give up all personal rights over to His will. Paul understood what this meant.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58

The context of this verse is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul goes into great detail explaining the importance of His rising from the grave.

Paul concludes this section by talking about our victory in Christ. The resurrection is the foundation for our victory in this life. We know that the victory is ours in Christ, no matter what the situation may look like right at the present moment.

So in this passage, Paul uses the word therefore. It’s because we know that Christ is victorious – past, present, and future – that we can give ourselves fully to God. We already know the outcome, so we can give ourselves willingly.

The problem is that willingly and fully are two very different things. I can willingly serve God with only part of my life, time, and resources. The real victory comes when I willingly give all to Christ.

Jesus Christ is returning soon. The clock is ticking. God wants to do great things in our generation. The question is; do I want to be a part of it, or simply watch what happens in the lives of others?

Please understand that this has nothing to do with your abilities. It has everything to do with your willingness to fully commit your life to God. The Macedonian churches are a great example of this in the Scripture.

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5

This is one of the most miraculous verses in the Bible. How can you ever give beyond your ability? I don’t know; but that’s Paul’s testimony of what they did.

I believe that the key to all this is found in verse 5. Paul said that they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.

Your first calling is not to a church or a ministry. It’s to God Himself.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t commit yourself to a church. What I am saying is that committing yourself to a church without first giving yourself to God is counter-productive.

It’s only when you first give yourself to God, that you can accomplish something beyond your ability. That’s when people notice that it’s God working in you. Only then will God get the glory from your life, and people will be attracted to the Gospel.

Question: How fully committed is your life to God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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The Cross and our Rights

Cross SunsetI’ve been talking about giving yourself as a gift to God. In my last post I talked a little about carrying the cross.

“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:27

What did Jesus mean by that? I’ve heard people use this in a lot of different ways. Sometimes they’ll use this term in talking about an ongoing illness, or even their spouse.

“That’s my cross that I have to bear.”

Is that what it’s all about? I don’t think so. Carrying a cross is a sign that you’re about to die. Very soon you’re going to be laying down your life.

In the next few verses in Luke (verses 28-32), Jesus talks about counting the cost of becoming His disciple. He doesn’t make it sound easy.

It’s like a contractor determining the cost of a building before he starts the construction. You wouldn’t build the foundation only to realize that you don’t have the funds to complete it.

Jesus also said that it’s like a king who’s at war. He must come to a decision as to whether or not he can hold off the force that’s coming against him. If not, he must seek terms for peace before the fighting starts.

After giving these examples, the Lord comes to a conclusion.

“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:33

That’s what carrying your cross means. It’s giving yourself as a gift to God. We have to realize that a gift gives up all of its rights.

That’s why Jesus went on to say…

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke 14:34-35

Back when this was written, salt had a higher percentage of impurities than we have today. If it got wet, the actual salt would wash out and you were left with the dirt. You wouldn’t want to use that on your food.

In the same way, there are believers who want to serve God. But at the same time they want to retain their rights to determine what they want to do or not do. That doesn’t work out too well in the Kingdom of God. It’s like putting dirt on your sandwich.

As a matter of fact, most fights and disagreements start over a perceived violation of our personal rights. Living for Christ requires a whole different mindset.

We must give up our wants and desires, as good and noble as they may be. In their place we take on God’s great purpose for our lives. That’s how we will step into the destiny we were created for.

Question: What has God called you to accomplish for Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2016 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Giving – It’s Not What You Think

presentsUsually people associate the term giving with money. That’s not what I’m going to talk about. As a matter of fact, money is one of those things that we’re the most willing to give.

There are things that are easier to give than others. After watching mankind for centuries, Satan came to a conclusion about us.

Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life.
Job 2:4

According to his testimony, we’ll give anything before we will give our lives. But that’s just what we’re called to do. Jesus made it clear to His disciples that this was the case.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

The truth is that a person will sell everything in order to save their life. It’s clear that there’s no greater prize than a person’s life. That’s why the greatest gift you can give to God is yourself.

It’s also the toughest thing we can do. We’d all like to remain in control of our lives. But the Lord tells us that the only way to preserve your life is to turn it over to Him.

“It’s my life. I’ll live it the way I want.”

That’s the cry of this generation. Unfortunately this attitude has crept over into the church. When we accepted Christ as our Savior, everything changed.

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
John 6:37

In our act of surrender to Christ, the Father is giving us to Him. Jesus will never refuse anyone who comes to Him.

That’s a comforting thought. No matter what my condition is when I come to Him, the Lord will begin His work in me just the way that I am.

In the salvation process, God gives me as a gift to Himself. All the while He knows the deepest part of my soul. He knows all about my personality, my likes and my dislikes. The Lord knows what makes me different from everyone else.

That means that my life is like a gift-card for God to use as He wills. Every card is different. Some are for restaurants, others are for clothing stores.

In the same way, Jesus knows what we’re best suited for in His kingdom. Only He can use us to the best of our abilities. He can do more through us than we could ever imagine.

But before that can happen I have to willingly position myself in His hands. I want to talk about this for a couple of posts. We need to understand what it means to surrender our lives to His will.

Question: What does taking up His cross mean to you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s Endgame

ChessThere’s a lot of talk about where God is bringing us to in His church. I believe that knowing where we’re headed is as simple as reading the end of the Book. Look at the last exhortation we’re given in Scripture.

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 is the last word of the Holy Spirit to the church. Everything after this is a warning about not changing the Word that was given. This statement reveals the heart of God, and where He desires to bring us to.

In this short verse we see four groups of people. There’s the bride, those who hear, those who are thirsty, and those who want the gift.

The last two groups are easy to recognize. They’re the world without Christ. They’re spiritually thirsty. Nothing in this world can satisfy the hunger within. They need Jesus.

It’s up to God’s people to call them to salvation, and a life that’s overflowing in Christ. Unfortunately, we live in a generation that seems to be satisfied simply giving God two or three hours a week. We were created for so much more than that.

Please be warned. I haven’t heard many people teach what I’m about to tell you. But if I wasn’t convinced that it’s absolutely Scriptural, I would never write it.

I don’t believe that all Christians will be a part of the bride of Christ. I DO believe that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and in the kingdom. It’s just that being saved and being part of the bride are two different issues.

For an in-depth teaching on this subject, click here for my series on The Bride, which I posted last year. You’ll see that in many places the Bible talks about distinct levels of rewards (or no rewards at all) given to believers.

Having said that, I also believe that it’s God’s greatest desire that everyone be a part of the bride. Unfortunately, not every believer wants to do what’s necessary to prepare themselves for the coming of the Groom.

The above verse tells us that the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” There’s no hesitancy, no pause. The Spirit and the bride say the exact same thing at the exact same time.

That’s where God wants to bring His people. To speak and move in perfect step with the Holy Spirit.

Of course there’s the other group. They believe God’s Word and are walking in His salvation. But they need to be prompted. Some time after they hear, they say, “Come.”

They’re obedient to what the Spirit is saying. It just takes them a little longer to decide to follow through.

We need to do what it takes to be found in the first group – the bride. That will take spending time in the Lord’s presence, communing with the Holy Spirit. Of course, that’s what engaged couples do – they spend enormous amounts of time with each other.

Question: How serious are you about hearing and obeying the voice of the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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Shining Like Stars

GalaxyI’m posting about how we show the light of Christ to the world around us. The enemy would try to blind their spiritual eyes to the truth. But he can’t stop the power of God.

That’s because the light takes many forms. The prophet Malachi foresaw this day.

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

He saw righteousness rising like the sun. Have you ever seen sunbeams breaking through the clouds? In the ancient Hebrew culture, they called them the “wings” of the sun. So Malachi saw healing beaming out from righteousness.

That’s a part of the light that we shine. That’s why we pray for the sick, especially for an unsaved person. When God brings healing, that’s the light of Christ breaking through to them.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

But we always have to remember, it’s not our light but His. Peter talked about having the Word in you and allowing it to grow and produce fruit in your life. In speaking about this fruitfulness…

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
2 Peter 1:9

Peter calls unfruitful Christians blind and nearsighted. He says that you’ve forgotten about your past being cleansed by the blood of Christ.

That’s because this person is blind to what God is doing. They’re also nearsighted; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They major on the temporary things of this world.

We need 20/20 vision in the spirit.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12

It’s interesting to see the contrast here between deeds of darkness vs. armor of light. That’s because the armor is all about action.

Truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith – all of these things must be visible. It’s up to us to make the light accessible to the world.

We’re the ones looking into the light. We should be walking in it, letting it change us.

…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…
Philippians 2:15-16

How do we shine like stars? As we hold out the Word. The Word is the light. We hold it out. Not everybody wants it; but some people are touched and changed by it. We need to live in such a way that the light is seen.

Question: How have people seen the light of Christ in your life lately?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Healing, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Fear of the Light

BeamI’m talking about how we, as believers should be reflecting the light of Christ to the dark world around us. The Bible says that those in darkness hate the light. What does that mean?

Sometimes if they see the life of Christ clearly in us, it may make them uncomfortable.

Those who have been reading this blog for any length of time know that I’m an avid hiker. I’ll go out for a week at a time.

The first time I went on a solo hike, sleeping alone in the woods, it was a different experience. I set up my tent and when the sun went down I went to sleep. I had no clue that this would be one of the strangest nights of my life.

Around two o’clock in the morning I woke up startled. It was as if I was in the center of a huge spotlight. The full moon was directly over me. I could see right through my thin, nylon tent as if it wasn’t even there.

I could see the trees, rocks, and everything around me as clear as day. I felt exposed and uncomfortable as I looked around. I’m very glad that there were no large animals near the tent!

This is the same effect as what happens in the spiritual when we reflect Christ. When you’re used to living in spiritual darkness, the light makes you uncomfortable. It exposes things that you’d rather not see. It shows you your true condition.

Of course, Satan has a plan as well.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Please take note of the fact that the enemy is called the god of this age. That means that there’s a time limit on his ability to act.

This verse tells us that unbelievers are given blinders if they want them. The Scripture says that if they persist in their unbelief, the enemy will give them blinders so that the light will not beam out to them.

This light is coming from the Good News of Christ – the Anointed One. The light is the glory of His presence within us.

Unbelievers are blinded to the light if they choose to believe the lies of the enemy. That’s why it’s now our job is to get them to take the blinders off. That’s a big assignment. It can only be accomplished in the power of the Spirit.

In my next post I’ll show how the Word says that this takes place.

Question: How have you experienced unbelievers becoming uncomfortable in the presence of the truth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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