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Monthly Archives: October 2019

The Start of Spiritual Warfare

For the past few posts I’ve been talking about the first spiritual battle between Adam and the devil.  We saw that Adam was given all the authority he needed to defeat the enemy.  Instead, he allowed the devil to use words in order to deceive him into disobeying God’s Word.

In that defeat, there were some important changes that happened.  First and foremost, Satan became the legal owner of planet earth and everything in it.  Mankind became slaves.

There was another event that most people don’t realize.  If you remember, Adam was given a bow and arrows as his spiritual weaponry (Revelation 6:1-2).  When he was defeated by the enemy, he was stripped of these weapons.  It’s clear from Scripture that they are now in the enemy’s hands.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

This verse is especially important knowing that these arrows originally belonged to Adam.

That tells me that in the garden, when Adam fell, mankind was stripped of all spiritual armor and weapons.  Humanity was defenseless against the spiritual forces of evil.

A third result of Adam’s defeat was the entrance of sin into the world system.  When Adam knowingly chose to disobey God, he picked that which was imperfect.  At that moment he stepped out of God’s perfect will for his life.

In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible the word, sin, literally means to miss the mark.  Perfection, what we were created for, is the bullseye.  No matter how hard we try, we miss the target.  That’s the word picture of what sin is.  It’s missing the mark of God’s will.

That brings me to the start of the ongoing spiritual war that we find ourselves in.  Our number one battle is not against the enemy, even though that’s a part of it.  The toughest battle we face is within our own being.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we’re at war against sin.  It’s that part of human nature that wants to do something other than God’s will.  Our flesh always seems to want to choose the imperfect.

This explains a lot about the Old Testament.  People often ask why there were so many sins that had the death penalty attached.  The answer is simple.  With no spiritual weapons, the only way to fight sin was in the natural.

How do you stop the spirit of adultery from spreading?  Under the Old Testament we would have no way to combat it in the spiritual realm.  The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to put to death the adulterer.

That also explains why whole nations had to be totally destroyed.  The nation of Amalek, for example, had sold itself out to the enemy.  In that case, their sin had to be eradicated by a physical war.

This is why we have to be careful in how we apply Old Testament Scriptures.  Things have changed since then.  That’s why I feel that God is leading me to talk about the history of spiritual warfare.

We need to understand where we are today.  There are some principles that we can learn from the Old Testament, but our battle is on a different level.

Over the next few posts I hope to explain not only where we’ve come from, but how we can walk in the victory Christ has won for us.

Question: What is your biggest difficulty in your battle against sin?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – Know Your Enemy

I’m continuing to look at the conflict between Adam and the devil.  It’s recorded in the title deed to earth (Revelation 6:1-2).  In my last post, we saw that the objective of the enemy was to take peace from the earth.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.  To him was given a large sword.
Revelation 6:3-4

As I’ve said previously, red is the color of sin.  Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfect will.  This is the enemy’s mode of transportation.  Questioning God’s will is the way he does things.  That’s his way of fighting the war and we need to be ready for it.

The Scripture tells us that he has some weaponry.  It’s a large sword.  Throughout the Bible, we find that words are a sword.

Please understand that the enemy’s sword is NOT living and active.  It’s not the sword of the spirit.  It has no authority behind it to pull down strongholds.

All the enemy starts with is a large sword – big words.  All he has is words.  No power, no authority, just talk.  On the surface, it doesn’t sound like he has much to work with.

As a matter of fact, when you compare it with what Adam was given, spiritual bow and arrows, the devil should have no hope of victory.  Adam has the authority of God to shut down the enemy before he even gets started.

Think about it.  We have a contest between two warriors.  One has a bow and arrows.  The other is approaching from the distance with only a sword.  Who would you expect to come out on top?

Personally, I would put my money on the archer every time.  However, a quick look at Genesis, chapter 3, will show that things don’t always turn out as they should.

Adam foolishly let the enemy get close enough to use his words.  The Scripture makes it clear that Adam was with Eve when the enemy attacked (Genesis 3:6).  Yet during the entire exchange, he kept his bow out of sight.

The enemy went to work questioning God’s Word and will for mankind.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:2-5

At that moment, through Adam, mankind succumbed to the enemy’s lies.  We’ve been caught in the consequences of that act ever since.

Know your enemy.  Understand his way of attacking.  We’ve been given life and victory in Christ.  Don’t let him convince you otherwise.

If the devil can convince you that the blessings of God are not for you, then he can steal your peace and everything else that goes with it.  Find out what God says about you and meditate on that.  It will give you the strength you need to walk in victory.

Question: What lies has the enemy used to try and stop you from receiving God’s best?

©2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2019 in Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Battle for Peace

In my last post, we looked at the opening of the title deed to earth (Revelation 6:1-2).  According to the deed, Adam was the first owner.

We then saw how when Adam was created he was given authority to rule the earth.  He had a spiritual bow and arrows.  He could defeat any enemy from a comfortable distance.  He had the high ground, so to speak.

What happens next was totally off-script.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.  To him was given a large sword.
Revelation 6:3-4

There are those who don’t like my interpretation of the seals in Revelation.  They don’t like the fact that I say they’re already past – a compressed view of the earth’s history.

But simply reading this passage should be enough to convince you.  This person on a red horse has the power to take peace from the earth.  There’s only one point in the history of the world when that was possible – before the fall of Adam.

Ever since Cain killed Abel there has been no peace on earth.  Right now, at this moment, no one can take peace from the earth.  There’s no peace to take.  This seal could only be a picture of Satan entering the scene with Adam.

The color red always stands for sin in the Scripture.  The enemy is seen as the one bringing sin into God’s perfect creation.

What we need to understand is the objective of the enemy.  Notice that he didn’t come to steal money, health or joy away from Adam.  He came to steal PEACE.

We know from Scripture that one title of Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 6:7).  He’s the Ruler of Shalom-Peace.  If you have this peace, then you have everything you need.

The word, Shalom in the Old Testament is rich in meaning.  It includes health, growth, prosperity, safety, fulfillment, rest, peace, protection, and more.  It implies “nothing missing, nothing broken.”  It includes everything God has for you.

That’s the prize the enemy was after.  If he could steal peace, then he’s got everything else.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.
Luke 19:41-42

This is what the Messiah wanted to restore.  It broke His heart when they rejected His attempts to restore to them His peace.

But there’s good news.  The story doesn’t end there.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

When you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior you also receive His peace.  The peace of God, that passes all understanding, has been restored to us (Philippians 4:7).

The problem is that most Christians have no idea that this is the prize.  This is the objective that the enemy is trying to steal.  If he can rob your peace then he’s got everything else.

Once you know the enemy’s objective, it’s easier to fight the war.  Protect the peace that the Lord has given you.  Or…if you’ve already lost it, then stand your ground to get it back.  It’s God’s will that you walk in everything that Christ won for you on the cross.

Question: How active is the peace of God in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Warfare – A Strong Start

As I said in my last post, I’m beginning a series on the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in.  There are a number of things that we misunderstand about it.  Hopefully, I can help to clear up some of these issues.

To start this subject, I want to take us through the history of spiritual warfare, as recorded in Scripture.  To do that, I’m going to look at some verses that people don’t normally associate with this topic.  I just ask you to stick with me; it will become clear as we go along.

The first place I want to take you is to the throne room scene in Heaven.  In the book of Revelation, we see Christ (the Lamb) taking up a scroll that’s sealed with seven seals.  That’s found in Revelation, chapter 5.

I believe that this scroll is the title deed to planet earth.  Christ is given it as a call for Him to return as King since He paid for it with His blood on the cross.

As with any deed, it should record the major events of the property in question.  It would contain the owners, liens, and rights of way that have been enforced during its history.  The deed to earth is no exception.

That being said, in Revelation, chapter 6, we see the Lord breaking these seals and opening the scroll.  What’s recorded on it is very important to our discussion.

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals.  Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”  I looked, and there before me was a white horse!  Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Revelation 6:1-2

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of conjecture about this verse.  Some say that it’s talking about Christ, the church, or the devil.  Unfortunately, if you read the description carefully, you’ll find that none of these will match perfectly.

There is one person, however, that fits all the requirements of this verse.  Look at the description.

He carries a bow.  In the ancient world, that was the “first-strike” capability of any army.  The archers could do a lot of damage before the enemy even got close.

He was also given a crown.  That’s talking about God-given authority.  Along with that, he had a destiny to conquer something.  And don’t forget that he rides a white horse – that stands for purity.

With all of these descriptions, I think that the single most important fact is that he’s the first person listed on the title deed to the earth.  As far as I can see, there’s only one person this could be.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Genesis 1:27-28

Here we see the start of it all.  Adam is created perfect, pure, and righteous.  He has authority to rule and is commissioned to subdue, or conquer, the entire earth.  He’s to bring everything on earth under the rulership of God, the Creator.

As the first created human, he’s also in a unique position.  Because of his authority under God, he can protect the earth from any invader.  He has been given “first-strike capability.”

In Adam, the human race was given a strong start.  Things looked very promising.  There’s no enemy that could defeat God’s anointed ruler.  At least that’s what it looked like in the beginning.

In my next post, we’ll see how that turns out.

Question: How are we like Adam, with the authority God has given us in Christ?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Battles – A New Direction

Now that I’ve finished going through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, I feel a change is coming.  At least for a while, I’m going to interrupt my walk through the New Testament.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is leading me to deal with some issues that the church of our generation needs to hear.  God is leading His people into a new level of ministry.  We need to prepare ourselves.  But if we don’t know what’s coming, how can we be ready?

God is also doing some new things in me, personally.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of these.  Hopefully, as you stick with me, this blog will continue to be a blessing to you.

The first topic I want to tackle is that of the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in.  I don’t think that we fully understand the scope of this struggle.

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 6:12-13

We’re told in Scripture, that we’re in a spiritual battle.  The struggle is real.  Yet many believers choose to ignore this warning.

All too often we wait until the enemy knocks us down before we try and activate our spiritual weapons.  By that time it’s usually too late.  Then we fall to our knees, crying out to God, to save us from the situation we find ourselves in.

It’s time we realize that the kingdom of the enemy doesn’t take a holiday.  The devil doesn’t look at you and say, “Oh.  You’re on vacation.  I guess I’ll leave you alone this week.”

We need to be constantly aware of our spiritual life.  Serving God is a 24/7 activity.  Paul describes it perfectly to Timothy, his son in the ministry.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer.
2 Timothy 2:3-4

How often do we view our walk with the Lord in these terms?  When I bowed my knee to Christ, at that point, I was no longer a “civilian.”  I was now a part of a kingdom that is structured much like the military – only on a spiritual level.

Chasing after the world is the same as getting involved in civilian affairs.  It takes our focus off the marching orders that the Lord has given us.  We need to be under the command of the Holy Spirit.  That’s where our allegiance should attach itself to.

I believe that understanding the spiritual war we’re in is an important aspect of being a Christian.  Beginning with my next post, I’ll be talking about this subject.  I’m going to speak about this in great detail.  I’ll even deal with the history of this struggle from Adam to the church.

My desire is that you’ll be prepared for any attack that the enemy might bring against you.  Our victory is found in Jesus Christ alone.  Never forget that the battle has been won before you even step foot on the field.

Question: What spiritual battles have you faced in the past?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Encouraged to Grow

As Paul nears the end of his first letter to the Corinthian church, he gives a series of exhortations.  I think that we would do well to live by them.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

These five simple statements are the foundation for a growing walk with the Lord.  If we would make it a point to see these activated in our lives, we’d be a lot better off.

Be on your guard.  This literally means to stay awake.  I think that too many Christians are spiritually asleep in this generation.  What do I mean by this?

When you’re asleep, you’re unaware of what’s happening around you.  Spiritual sleep is the same.  There are Christians who are totally unaware of the spiritual aspects of their life.

They think that everything revolves around what they see in the natural.  It’s all about satisfying their wants and desires.  They never ask, “What’s God’s will for my life?”

I need to seek what God has destined me for.  Then, with His strength, I can start heading in that direction.  I want my spiritual eyes to be open.

Stand firm in the faith.  This simply means that once you know what God’s Word says, you don’t waver or move from believing it.

Believing means taking action.  If I believe something is true, then I’ll act on it.  If I believe that a chair is strong enough to hold me, then I’ll sit on it.  If I believe that God’s my Provider, then I’ll move forward in what He’s called me to do.

Be men of courage.  This is the second step of faith.  If I believe that something’s true, then I won’t be afraid to let people know that I believe it.  I think that all too often, courage is the missing ingredient in many of our lives.

We are a part of a culture that tells us that it’s offensive to believe in Jesus Christ as a Savior.  So in order to accommodate them, we keep silent.  At the same time, every other belief is allowed to take center stage.

We need to be vocal about what we believe, while at the same time being sensitive to walk in love.

Be strong.  This actually means to be strengthened.  We shouldn’t be stagnant in our spiritual growth.  There are things we can be doing to build ourselves up.

Prayer in the spirit, meditation on the Word, and fasting are just a few ways to become stronger.  Just like in the physical, we can’t neglect our spiritual health.  If we do, then the consequences could be devastating.

Do everything in love.  This is the one that ties everything else together.  Our lives should reflect the love of Christ in all that we do.

This is the agape-love.  It’s the non-emotional desire to treat others as if you like them, no matter how you actually feel about them.  And also, whether you know them or not.

This love is a choice that we make to walk like Jesus did.  Our love is what will draw people to the cross.  That should be the goal of all that we do.

Question: How well is each of these characteristics visible in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Apologies

Good morning!

I need to apologize for a couple of mess-ups that you may have noticed.

Over the past week or so there was a day when no post was published.  Then, this morning, two appeared at the same time.

Usually, I check to make sure everything is being published in order.  That didn’t happen as planned.  But I have now taken care of the situation.

The New Direction post should not have published until Monday.  It’s been redirected to do that.  So if you try and access it, it will be unavailable until then.

The missing post will be scheduled to publish on Friday even though it will be out of order with the rest of the First Corinthians Series.

Monday, when the New Direction article is republished, everything should be back on track.

Again, I apologize for the mix-up and any confusion it may have caused.

Thanks for subscribing to this blog.

May God richly bless you as you continue to follow Him!

Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2019 in Newsletters

 

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