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Monthly Archives: December 2019

The Anointing – Right Place, Right Time

In my last post, I started talking about the Old Testament custom of anointing with oil.  Specifically, I was looking at David’s anointing as the King of Israel in I Samuel, chapter 16.  When Samuel approached David’s family, they thought that they were merely being called to a public sacrifice.

In reality, they were called to an anointing of power for kingship.  At some point, Jesse must have said to David, “It’s not important that you be there.”

That was probably fine with David.  As a teenager, he didn’t want to attend a boring church service anyway.  He’d rather watch the sheep.

Please understand this point.  The whole reason for the meeting was so David could receive the anointing as king.  Yet, both he and his father thought it wasn’t important for David to attend.

This should be a sobering thought.  Your invitation to the anointing of power will come wrapped in an envelope that looks like junk mail.  You didn’t know that God had planned to give you an anointing to heal the sick this Sunday at church.

All you knew was that an invitation somewhere else was more important to you.  After all, “I’ve attended faithfully for a while.  I deserve to miss a week.”

The calling to the anointing will seem very unimportant in comparison to what we want to do.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:6-7

As a pastor, I want to find the ones in my church who are called to lead ministries.  But I have to be careful.  The first to arrive is not always the one God wants.  Maybe God’s choice is still in bed.

Don’t miss receiving the manifestation of God’s anointing upon your life.  Be faithful to show up where you’re supposed to be.  Don’t let the excuses and distractions of the world disqualify you for service in the Kingdom of God.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not condemning you for missing church.  There are many legitimate reasons we can’t make it.  God is big enough to work in us during those times.

I’m talking about not meeting with God’s people in order to please the desires of our flesh.  That’s where you run the risk of missing God’s anointing in your life.

If you remember, when I talked about the Shoes of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace; that was the key.  Our preparation for battle is tied to our connection to the body of Christ.  If I have no connection to God’s people, then I’m not prepared for the work that I’m called to accomplish.

Don’t miss out on the good things that God has prepared for you.  Show up where God is calling you to be.

Question: What’s the difference between missing public worship for the right and wrong reasons?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Calling and Anointing

I’m posting for a while on how to walk in our anointing and how it relates to our approval before God.  In my last post on this subject, we saw that the power of the Holy Spirit follows the anointing.  Today, I want to start getting into some details that we may have missed along the way.  If I can find the key to the anointing, then the rest will fall into place.

It’s interesting to note that anointing is only mentioned 13 times in the New Testament.  Of those, it’s only referred to as a spiritual anointing for us 6 times.

There’s a reason for so little mention in the N.T.  It comes from an ancient practice in the Old Testament.  If we can understand that usage, then we’ll have a good foundation for understanding the anointing in us.

Anointing was a ceremony of pouring oil on something or somebody.  It was used for a lot of things.  Personally, I don’t care about how to anoint cooking pots.  What relates to us is the usage with prophets, priests, and kings.  I want to know how anointing brings power.

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem.  I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
But Samuel said, “How can I go?  Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’  Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
1 Samuel 16:1-3

God told Samuel to go and anoint a new king over Israel.  He gave Samuel a Word – Go to Bethlehem.  He told Samuel that He would show him what to do when he got there.

Once in Bethlehem, Samuel went to the house of Jesse as instructed.

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
1 Samuel 16:5

According to the Word of the Lord he was given, Samuel invited – called them – to come to the sacrifice.  In actuality, he was calling them to come to the anointing of the new king of Israel.

It should be clear from this passage that anointing involves calling.  The two go hand in hand.  To reject your calling is to reject the anointing God has for you.

God has called you to do a great work for Him.  The anointing is what enables you to walk in the power to fulfill that calling.  The anointing is not a license to do whatever you want with God’s power.  It equips you to fulfill God’s plan in your life.

That’s what the approval of God is all about.  We have the spiritual weapons at our disposal.  God wants to see them used against the enemy’s kingdom.  We’re the ones who need to be prepared for the spiritual battle.

You may be called to bring about God’s plan, but have you submitted to how God wants to bring that about?  I’m going to deal with these issues in the next few posts as I continue to clarify how the anointing works.

Question: What is God calling you to do at this point in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Guess Who’s Coming to Town

Today is Christmas around the world.  I want to take a post to give you something to think about this holiday.  I’ll get back to the anointing in my next post.

The countdown started well before Thanksgiving and with each passing day, the excitement and preparations for its arrival have been accelerating.  Lights and decorations have been put up, stores are full, and music is filling the air.

A lot of people, especially children, were eagerly anticipating a very special event that takes place today! Truly, it’s a very busy time of the year!

And it’s all in preparation for what?  Well, any child can tell you – “A visit from Santa Claus, of course!”

And remember, “He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! You better not pout, you better not cry – you better watch out, I’m telling you why – Santa Claus is coming to town!”

Well, maybe for some, but not for me.

The One I’m waiting for won’t be coming from the North Pole and riding in a sleigh.  Instead, He’s coming from Heaven, and arriving on the clouds of the sky!  Millions all over the world are waiting.  And He’s got gifts based not on how good I’ve been, but His grace.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Take the time today to consider Jesus…to get excited about His coming.  Children are excited about the coming of a round man in a red suit with toys tucked under his arm.  You and I can be excited about the coming of our King dressed in all His radiance and riding the clouds of heaven.

In 2 Peter 3:11-12 we’re told to look forward to the Lord’s return.  The Apostle also asks; what kind of people should we be?  We should have a childlike enthusiasm and excitement.

I’m excited for you this Christmas because many of you will get what you want.  But I can assure you of one thing, whatever you get is going to wear out.  It may wear out because you use it a lot.  It may wear out because you get bored with it and never pick it up.  But I assure you that everything you get this Christmas is going to wear out.

When Jesus gives gifts they never wear out.  He has come to give us eternal life, the privilege of sharing eternity before His glorious throne for all time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited that He is coming to town.  I don’t know the hour or the day.  But there’s one thing I know – He’s coming to town!

He’s coming back for those who’ve received Him as King and Lord of their life.  When He comes back there’ll be no mistaking Him.  He won’t be riding on a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, He’ll be riding the clouds of Heaven and His radiance will flood the universe.

Where is your excitement level this Christmas?  Are you overburdened by your list of things “to do” which seems twice as long as your children’s “wish list?”  Are you excited about seeing what you’ll find under the tree on Christmas morning?  Are you excited to see family & friends that you haven’t seen in some time?

Question: Are you excited because the Lord is coming to town?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2019 in Encouragement, Return of Christ

 

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Jesus Christ – Anointed and Approved

For the past couple of posts, I’ve been talking about the approval needed to use the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  Our concern should be, with positioning ourselves to receive it.

At one point in His ministry, Jesus fed a crowd of over 5000 with just a few fish and a couple of pieces of bread.  The people were amazed.  Look at what the Lord said to them.

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
John 6:27

Jesus is our example in ministry.  If we see how He positioned Himself for God’s approval, then we can follow His lead.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19

Christ’s ability to walk in the power of God was brought about in three major events.  These were His baptism, temptation, and His announcement of ministry.  This verse shows us His entrance into the public ministry.

After reading this portion of Scripture, the Lord announced that it was being fulfilled in their presence.  I believe that this holds the key to positioning ourselves.  It’s all about the anointing.

We’ve heard a lot of teaching on the anointing over the years.  Unfortunately, some of it has been a little off base.  Where was it wrong?

First, let’s look at where we were right.  The anointing removes burdens and destroys yokes.  That’s a true statement based upon Isaiah 10:27.  Furthermore, that was Jesus’ whole ministry in a nutshell.

Another part is that the word, Christ, encompasses the Anointed One and His anointing.  Since that’s true, it’s also the case that as Christians, that name means little anointed ones.

The final truth that we must embrace is that we all have an anointing from God.  Scripture is clear on that point.

With all of this truth, then where are we off?  My question is this; with this entire teaching being proclaimed, why are burdens NOT being removed and yokes NOT being destroyed in much of the church?  Why are captives NOT being set free?  Why are the gates of Hell NOT being prevailed against?

I’ve also heard it taught that the Holy Spirit is our anointing.  That’s where we’ve misunderstood the Scripture.  Look at the above verse carefully.

Jesus clearly said, “The Spirit…is on me BECAUSE he has anointed me.”  What we’ve missed is that the Spirit follows the anointing.

This is a different work than salvation.  Yes, the Holy Spirit lives in me when I receive Christ as Lord.  But the anointing for the power of the Holy Spirit is a different thing.  That’s why there are so many believers in the body of Christ that live powerless in this generation.

We need to understand exactly what the anointing is and how to receive it.  Then, like Christ, we can walk in the power and approval of the Holy Spirit that this anointing opens up.

After my Christmas post, I’m going to take the next few to try and explain how this works in our Christian walk.  If you haven’t subscribed to this blog yet, you should do it now so that you won’t miss any of these vital messages to the church.

Question: What is the current level of power evidenced in the church today?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Seeking God’s Approval

In my last post, I talked about the fact that we need to be approved by the Holy Spirit in order to use the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  They are too powerful to be used by infants or the unfaithful.

Now I want to go into this truth in a little more detail.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is an important verse to understand.  Here’s what the verse says in the Greek language: We speak as men who have been tested and approved by God.  He trusted us enough to allow us to use His Gospel.

I don’t believe that every single Christian should be sharing the Gospel.  I know there are some who would get mad at me for saying this.  But the truth is that there are certain believers that I don’t want anyone to know that they’re a Christian.

When they share about Jesus, they’re doing more harm than good.  Their lives don’t testify to God’s grace.  They actually make people not want to choose Christ.

We need to understand that the Gospel is the Word of God.  If we’re going to spread it with life-changing power, then it has to be done on God’s terms and not ours.

That’s why Paul makes it clear that the true Gospel is about pleasing God.  Too often we try to spread the Gospel with a message designed to please men.  We try to make the message more palatable.

That’s not how we should be operating.  It should be our goal to hear a Word from the Holy Spirit, then speak that to those who will listen.  This is the sword that there’s no defense against.

For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:18

This verse says it all.  We need to take it to heart.  We need to seek God’s approval.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

I talked about this verse a couple of posts back.  At that point, I emphasized the fact that we need to be approved.  Now I want to concentrate on the first part of the verse.

That phrase, do your best, literally, means be diligent or prompt.  In other words, stop putting off your approval process before God.  It should be a main priority of your life.

The verse goes on to say that we should desire to present ourselves to God in this way.  The words used in this verse are a word picture of standing beside yourself in order to present yourself.  There are times we need to take a step back and view our life from God’s perspective.

Then, we need to do what it takes to seek God’s approval.  This will require us to submit under the Holy Spirit’s training program.

Our flesh will definitely try to rebel against this plan.  But if we want to walk in the supernatural power of God, then this is the only road.

Question: What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do for the next step in your training?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Helmet and Sword – A Lethal Combination

Over the past few posts, I’ve talked about the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  I looked at them individually in order to understand what they are and how they operate.

But if you remember, when I first talked about them, I said that they were given to us as a set.

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

After we lift up the Shield of Faith, the next step is to receive, accept, the helmet and sword.  As I’ve said, these are the two pieces of armor that God bestows on us once we’re sufficiently trained.

You may not like this teaching.  Most others preach that these are ours to use simply by faith.  However, I think that a quick look at the church today will prove that relatively few believers are victorious over the enemy and his kingdom.

Personally, I want to see results in my Christian walk.  To do that, I need to trust what Scripture says and not a good sounding preacher.

I need to first prepare myself for battle.  I take up the belt, breastplate, shoes, and shield.  I submit myself to the training of the Holy Spirit.  Only then am I in a position to receive the helmet and sword.

To review, the Helmet of Salvation is the authority of God working through me.  The Sword of the Spirit is the power of God.  This is a lethal combination against the enemy’s kingdom.

Authority is the permission you need to carry out your calling effectively.  Power is the ability to see it accomplished.  You can’t complete your assignment without both of these ingredients.

The concept of “issued armor” is not only a spiritual truth.  It works this way in the physical as well.  Think about what it takes to become a Police Officer.

First, they have to undergo classroom training.  They need to learn the law, tactics, and procedures.  Then they need weapons training.  After that, they need to practice their fieldwork.  If they pass all their training, they can graduate from the Police Academy.

However, even then, they can’t hit the streets and start arresting criminals or issuing tickets.  There’s one more important step.  They need to be accepted and hired by a police force.

Let’s say that a graduate from the academy is hired by the NYPD.  Only then are they issued their two most important pieces of equipment.  I’m talking about their badge and their gun.

The badge tells the city they work for, their rank, and the authority they have in the department.  The gun gives them the power to enforce the authority that’s been given to them.

The Scripture teaches that it’s the same way in the spirit.  We need to be issued a helmet and sword.  Unfortunately, because of a lack of teaching about this, there are many believers trying to battle the enemy hand-to-hand.  We were never called to do that.

On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.  We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
1 Thessalonians 2:4

We get into trouble when we ignore verses like this.  Paul clearly taught that God has an approval process before He’ll entrust you with His Word of power.  It’s the Holy Spirit that does the testing.

This concept is found all through the New Testament.  We would do well to understand it and walk in it.  Only then will we see the power and authority of Christ affecting the world around us.  I believe that this is the next step on God’s agenda.  He wants to train His church to live and minister as Christ did.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to talk about this approval process.

Question: How does the spiritual helmet and sword increase the effectiveness of our evangelism?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Armor – Using the Sword of the Spirit

In my last post, I explained that the Sword of the Spirit is a special Word that you’ve received from God.  You get it by spending quality time in His presence.  The Holy Spirit trains you before giving you this gift.

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

This truth is hard for us to accept sometimes.  The true Word of God is alive and active.  It has a life and will of its own.  I can speak it, but I can’t control what it does.

We sometimes think that if God would speak through us, we’ll have such a great time.  That’s not always the case.

Think about Elijah.  He heard from God and then spoke to a king saying that it wouldn’t rain for a few years.  Because of that Word, Elijah had to live by a brook for his water.  Later, the brook dried up and he had to go to a widow for provision.

When God’s Word is invoked over a situation, that Word has its own plan.  Scripture makes it clear that it will accomplish what God ordained it to do. (Isaiah 55:11)

Even more than that, once God’s Word goes forth, nothing can be protected from it.  It can totally change every area of your life.  The writer of Hebrews continues with this thought.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:13

When this verse says that everything is laid bare, it uses a special Greek word.  It literally means to expose the neck of a victim so that they can be killed.  This is a powerful spiritual weapon.

This is why the Holy Spirit must train us to use it.  God will never entrust it to an infant, the unapproved, or fools.  It can totally destroy the work of the enemy in someone’s life, in a city, or in a region.

As believers, we should desire to enter the spiritual battle.  Our goal should be to set the captives free from the influence and control of the enemy.

In speaking about those with God-given authority, Paul made an interesting observation.

For he is God’s servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

I know that in its context, this verse is talking about people in authority, such as the Police Department, who are authorized to keep the peace.  But there’s a greater application.

Are you God’s servant?  Do you desire to do good?  If so, then this verse could be applied to you in a spiritual sense.

This verse tells me that there’s a reason why the police carry a gun.  In the same way, the Lord doesn’t issue the Sword of the Spirit for no reason.  If you have no reason to bear the sword, you will not be issued the sword.

What’s the reason that we’re given this sword?  To explain it, I’m going to give a word by word translation of the last sentence of the above verse.  In essence, God’s servant is a punisher, who repeatedly carries out justice against evil, while motivated by a violent passion.

Please remember – I’m ONLY talking about attacking the devil’s kingdom IN THE SPIRIT.  I’m not talking about any physical attack.

With that in mind, if you have no intention of attacking the enemy’s kingdom with a violent passion, then you’ll have no reason to be given the Sword of the Spirit.  To put it another way, God will have no reason to give you a special Word from Him.

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to train us.  Our generation needs more believers who can handle this sword.

Question: How passionate are you about seeing God’s will done on earth?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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