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Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Bodyguard

HandsThis will be my last post in a series about spiritual warfare as seen through the eyes of David’s mighty men. In my last article I talked about Abishai, who was a giant killer, just like David. Now we’ll learn a little more about him.

He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
2 Samuel 23:23

He wasn’t the same type of fighter as The Three. He probably didn’t hang out with them. They liked a good battle with uneven odds. He liked to go one on one with a giant. The good news is that we don’t have to all be the same.

When David saw his ability, he put Abishai over his bodyguards. And that’s the last big point I want to make. The mighty in spirit protect their leaders.

In the body of Christ, it seems like we’ve picked up the world’s spirit. Many times we treat church leaders the way we treat government officials. We gossip and joke about them. Sometimes we out rightly ignore them.

I believe it’s because we don’t understand the body of Christ. In reality, a pastor or church leader is not a commander, a president, or a king.

Personally speaking, when I hear from God, usually it’s when I’m minding my own business. I never wanted to enter the ministry when I was young. But when I wasn’t expecting it, the Lord spoke to my heart.

“Son, I’ve given you a gift of being able to take my Word and explain it with simplicity. You make My Word accessible to a lot of people. So I’m going to wrap you up as a gift to My church to help them attain to my calling on their lives.”

It wasn’t my plan. It’s actually all about your call and abilities. God has called me to encourage you, through the Word, to fulfill God’s calling. That’s all I’m able to do. That’s all any church leader is able to do.

What you do with me is totally up to you. You can choose to listen, ignore, blame, or talk about me. Of course you could also choose to receive my counsel and to pray for me. My prayer is that you decide on the second route.

That’s because those who lead are under greater attack from the enemy. People in church leadership need intercessors to go to war for them. It’s vital that there are those who are committed to protect their leaders daily in prayer.

We need spiritual bodyguards. It’s time to get some back at their posts in this generation. Are you a mighty bodyguard? Do you pray regularly and consistently for those over you in the body of Christ?

Where do you fit in as a mighty one? After all, you’re all called to be one. Are you content to simply be a part of the 600? Or do you aspire for more – to be part of the 30, the three, or the one?

Question: How often do you pray for church leadership?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Giant Killers

stonesI’m posting about spiritual warfare and using David’s mighty men as our examples. Today I want to talk about someone named Benaiah.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
2 Samuel 23:20

Benaiah was special. He wasn’t like the others. He was at his best when the fight was one on one.

But when I read about his encounter with the lion, I don’t think that was planned. I think that it was simply a snowy day. He hit a patch of slippery ground and slid into the pit.

Did you ever have a day like that? It’s snowy, it’s cold, and just when you think it couldn’t get any worse you slide into pit. Then you look around only to find a mad lion at the bottom. It’s a day that just keeps going from bad to worse.

In our situation we know that the enemy roams around like a roaring lion. You need to understand what that means. When a pride of lions are hunting their prey, they have a system. The young, strong ones silently circle around in front of the intended victim.

But it’s the oldest one – not as strong and maybe missing some teeth – who stays in the rear. There’s one thing he can do, and that’s to let out a huge roar. That scares the prey so that they run straight to the waiting pack.

In Abishai’s case, if he had tried to run away he would have been dead. The only course open to him was to fight the lion.

In our struggles, it’s the same thing. Never run scared from the enemy’s roar. The name of Jesus is more than enough to bring about the victory.

This is how we’re to behave. The mighty never run from the enemy. They go on the offensive in a battle.

And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.
2 Samuel 23:21

Abishai was a giant killer just like David. We need to pick up that same spirit. One of the enemy’s most frequently used tactics is to make the problem look overwhelmingly large.

We look at the challenge ahead and compare it to our abilities and resources. We start to fear and get anxious over how we’re going to get through. That’s a certain recipe for disaster.

We have to come to the realization that Jesus Christ is bigger that any situation we’ll ever face. We must keep our eyes fixed on Him, knowing that all the resources of Heaven are there to back Him up.

Question: What are some giants that the Lord has helped you overcome?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Be Wise

EmeraldI’m posting about how David’s mighty men are an example to us of spiritual warfare. I’ve been talking about The Three. Today I’ll move on to a man named Abishai.

Abishai the brother of Joab was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. He was doubly honored above the Three and became their commander, even though he was not included among them.
1 Chronicles 11:20-21

Abishai did the same things that the three did. What made him so different that they decided to put him in the lead? I believe that it was the wisdom that they saw in him.

In talking about wisdom and understanding, Solomon said…

Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
Proverbs 4:8

He had ability in the area of understanding that they recognized. He was probably someone they went to for counsel and advice. In any case, because what they saw in him, they were willing to follow him.

That shows me that the mighty are people of wisdom and understanding.

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
1 Timothy 5:17

This sounds the same as what we see in the life of Abishai. Double honor is even found in the body of Christ. That’s why we must spend time in the Lord’s presence to seek wisdom and understanding. That’s the only place it can be found.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

Without God’s wisdom we’re flying blind. Many times in ministry we come to important decisions. That’s when we must seek the Lord. Very often we find that the most logical choice is not what God wills.

It turns out that human wisdom and the mind of Christ can be worlds apart. The question is; do we want man’s best, or God’s best? I would much rather God get the glory for an outcome that I could never have accomplished on my own.

To be mighty in spirit is to operate in wisdom and understanding. We need to let the Holy Spirit work His plan in us.

Question: How has God’s wisdom helped you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2017 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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But I Wasn’t Asked

Question MarkI’ve been posting about David’s mighty men. They have a lot they can teach us about spiritual warfare.

I shared about the greatest of this group. They were simply known as “The Three”. Men named Josheb, Eleazar, and Shammah. But with these three, it wasn’t just about boldness. It was their heart that made the difference.

Here they are at a place called Adullam, with David. David’s home town, Bethlehem, was under Philistine control. Israel’s enemy actually had a military post there. Soldiers were housed there.

At one point, David starts to get homesick.

David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!”
2 Samuel 23:15

He was simply musing about his home. But it didn’t end there.

So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD.
“Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.
2 Samuel 23:16-17

Do you hear the heartbeat of these men? They weren’t ordered to do this. No one asked them to do it. There was no memo – “If anyone has some free time…”

David didn’t need this water. He was just talking – “You know what I miss, the water of Bethlehem.”

I can picture the looks on the faces of The Three. They probably didn’t have to say a word to each other as they quietly slipped away during the night.

How many things need to be done in the kingdom of God these days? When asked, some reply, “I just don’t feel called.”

Other times you ask why something went undone. You hear things like, “Nobody asked”; or, “I don’t like the way I was asked.”

I think that it’s funny sometimes when we look at incredible international ministries and successes. Many times we find that they’re being done by people who started small, just meeting a little need that they came across.

“I could have done that.”

But you didn’t.

“I didn’t know it would grow that big.”

They didn’t either. Do you think these mighty men said, “If we bring David this water, we’re definitely getting our names in the Bible.”?

It’s clear from the Scripture that the mighty take the initiative. They don’t need to be asked, begged, or coerced.

Too many good people were clueless in Israel. Others were content to be in the 600. But to be one of the mighty requires more. Is that your goal?

Spend time in the presence of the Lord – then do what He impresses upon your heart. That’s the start of greatness.

Question: What is God prompting you to do for Him?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Ministry, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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Don’t Let Go

SwordI’ve been sharing about David’s mighty men from the Old Testament. They’re an example to us of the warrior spirit that we need in order to fight our spiritual battle.

The next person I want to talk about is a man named Eleazar.

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
2 Samuel 23:9-10

Apparently there was a time when David’s army started making fun of the Philistines. Israel decided that it wasn’t a good idea to provoke them and they took off. David and his men stayed. In the course of the battle, Eleazar’s hand froze to his sword.

Think about what happens in the body of Christ today. It’s easy to taunt the enemy while we’re safe in church with other believers. What about in the middle of the attack when we’re on our own?

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

We’ve been given the most powerful spiritual weapon anyone can use – the Word of God. It’s the sword we need to defeat the enemy. Does your hand freeze to the sword in the spiritual struggle?

Remember the early church. At one point they were commanded not to speak in Jesus’ name anymore. What did they do? Run and hide? Did they compromise to as not to offend?

They had a prayer meeting, praying in the spirit.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31

The middle of the battle is when you cling more tightly to the sword. Only then can the victory be assured.

You need to realize that I’m not just talking about reading the Bible. Even though that’s important to our spiritual growth, it’s the Word we hear from God in our prayer time that makes the difference. Even David understood this.

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Psalms 138:3

There’s a boldness that only comes when we’ve heard God’s voice speaking to us. Then we know that there’s no weapon that can defeat us. It’s time for the church to press in and hear from Heaven. Then we must walk in obedience to the Lord’s will.

Question: When have you been made bold as a result of being in prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Standing Your Ground

DifferentIn my last post I began talking about David’s mighty men. I want to show you how they relate to us as spiritual warriors in our generation.

The first of David’s men that I want to look at were simply called “The Three”. Their names were Josheb, Eleazar, and Shammah. According to Scripture, Josheb was the chief of “The Three.”

These are the names of David’s mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.
2 Samuel 23:8

Think about what it would take to kill 800 soldiers with a spear. He was the type of a person who didn’t run from a fight. God is looking for people who won’t back down. That’s hard to do when it looks like the enemy’s kingdom is better equipped than you are.

That’s why we need to learn to rely upon the Lord’s strength within us. We can’t look to our own resources. We must come to the understanding that our equipment can’t be seen in the physical.

Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory.
2 Samuel 23:11-12

This is another amazing encounter. This man, Shammah, defended a field full of lentils. There wasn’t a town. Their families were not at stake. Why would he risk his life over such a small thing?

Israel’s troops fled. They felt that it’s not worth the struggle. It’s only a field of lentils.

But that’s the first thing we need to understand about being strong in the Lord. The mighty don’t let the enemy take ANY ground.

Think about how we got to where we are today in our nation. In its infancy, many believers felt that the television industry was ungodly anyway, so they let the devil have it. And as far as our schools go; it’s too much work to win that battle.

What about our government? More than once I’ve heard the excuse for Christians to keep out. “If you’re not corrupt when you start, you will be when you finish.”

Now, as a result of our hands off approach, we live in a society that’s largely humanist, ungodly, and lawless.

We have a choice. We can continue in that direction with the attitude that says, “I don’t like them anyway, let the devil have them.” Or we can take a page from Shammah’s playbook and declare, “There’s no way I’m going to let the devil get this.”

We have to get to the place where we’re mad about the existing conditions. The fact is that comfortable people are not mighty in battle. They want things to stay the same.

I hate to say it, but I think the Lord’s going to begin making us more and more uncomfortable with the status quo. We need to stir up our righteous anger over what the enemy has taken. We need to be on our knees before God, asking Him where our place is on the battlefield.

Don’t let the enemy take another step forward. Be who you’re called to be in Christ. Stand your ground in the Lord’s strength.

Question: What are you standing your ground for, right now, in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Called to be Mighty

strongTough times call for tough people. That’s especially true in the body of Christ. More than ever we need to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about God’s plan in our nation.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I am prompted to meditate on David and the men who were drawn to him as he was being hunted by King Saul. It was quite a group who joined him.

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

According to the Bible, the men who came to David were basically fed up with the way things were. They were distressed, in debt, and discontent.

The fact is that God is still looking for some angry people. He needs people with attitude.

“This is not the way it should be.”

That’s what God is doing in the church right now. He’s cultivating this attitude. This nation needs to change. The church needs to change. I need to change.

I want to take a couple of posts to look at some of the men who came to David. The ones termed his mighty men.

Of course, that was for a physical battle. Right now we’re in a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of those around us. It goes without saying that the Lord needs mighty women as well.

By the way, maybe you disagree with that statement – and don’t believe that it’s a woman’s place to be mighty. If that’s you, then please note that in Proverbs 31, the word usually translated virtuous, is the exact word mighty used with David’s men.

Out of the 600 or so men who eventually joined with David, only 30 were called mighty. Think about it; 600 people knew what God was doing in Israel. 600 aligned themselves with God’s plan. These men joined David’s fight, and committed themselves to see God’s will carried out.

But of all those men, only 5% were termed mighty. When it comes to God’s kingdom, I want to be on the cutting edge. I want to be in the mighty category. It’s my hope that you want that distinction as well.

Most of Israel was clueless as to what was happening around them at that time. It’s the same in our generation. Much of the church has no idea about the spiritual climate, or what God is planning on doing.

Then again, many are like the 600. They’re onboard with what God is doing, but they’re just following orders. Then there were the 30 mighty men; but even with them we mostly only know their names.

We’re only told the details about five of these men. That’s less than 1%. That’s where we should desire to be. We should strive to be in the upper echelon of God’s warriors.

When my time on earth is done, I want my angels to talk about me. I want them to have some exciting war stories to share with their friends.

“Let me tell you about the guy we were watching. More than once we had a fight on our hands. It was always exciting being with him.”

In my next post I’m going to begin talking about what it takes to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Who are these mighty men, and what did it take for them to accomplish great things?

Question: How far are you willing to go to advance the cause of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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