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Author Archives: Revzacc

About Revzacc

I pastor a church in Watertown, Massachusetts. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, and enjoying new places and experiences.

Thinking Like a Soldier

Whether you know it or not, the world is a spiritual battle zone right now. Unless you have the right mentality, you could become a casualty of this war. That’s why it’s so important to know how the Bible says for us to live.

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

As I’ve posted in the past, this verse is talking about the authority and power of God. The Lord wants to work this through us.

My question is; if we know we’re in the battle zone, then how should we live? The last sentence of this passage literally reads attend to this with all persistence and petition. The fact of the matter is that there’s a battle zone mentality.

The first thing we’re told is that it requires us to be alert. The Greek word there means to be sleepless. We must be awake and alert in the battle zone.

We’re told in this same chapter of Ephesians that our enemy isn’t flesh and blood. They don’t take a day off. Does that mean we don’t need to rest or take a vacation? No, but we have to stay spiritually vigilant no matter what’s happening in our lives.

“There’s not much going on in my life right now. I don’t need to pray today.”

That kind of thinking can destroy you in this battle. Look at how Jesus put it to His disciples.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

Watching – staying spiritually alert – and prayer goes together. According to Jesus, it’s so that you will not enter into a test, a time of proving.

In the battle zone, there are traps and ambushes. You must be alert. Like someone who’s walking in the middle of a minefield. At that point, you’re in the test.

Did you know that many of the tests and temptations of life can be avoided? I wonder sometimes how many of these battles are of our own making. Or maybe we’ve just walked blindly into them.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

This is how the enemy works. In the natural, it’s the oldest, weakest lion that does the roaring. The strong, young lions wait on the other side of the prey. When the prey hears the roar and runs away from it, they run right to the lions waiting for their dinner to arrive.

It’s the same with our spiritual enemy. He’s trying to get you to head into a trap. We have to keep spiritually alert at all times. That only happens as we watch and pray. It will help us to avoid many of the problems that are before us.

Stay alert!

Question: Can you think of a time that you were tested or tempted because you weren’t spiritually alert?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Power of the Rhema – Word

I want to continue my discussion from the last post.  I was dealing with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the rhema – Word of God.  We need to understand just how powerful this Word is.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:3

The word, command, in the above verse, is the Greek word rhema.  This tells me that the rhema of God created the universe – everything there is – visible and invisible.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Hebrews 1:3

That word is used again in this verse.  The universe, both the visible and invisible, is sustained by the rhema of His power.  We need to see that the rhema – Word of God is the power of God.

This Word is also the power of God in me.  I must be hearing from God and acting on it.

Please understand that quoting Scripture didn’t create the world.  Quoting the Bible doesn’t sustain the world.  It’s His Word of power, the rhema of God that formed these atoms.  It’s the rhema of God that keeps them arranged the way they are.

In the same way, the rhema of God can rearrange them.  When I hear from God and say “Be healed” by the rhema of God, cancer cells become healthy cells.

You might be thinking right now, “That’s good for a pastor or minister, but not for me.”

Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees.

“He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
John 8:47

Jesus literally said that he who belongs to God hears the rhema of God.  Do you belong to God?  If so, then this is for you.

But what does it say?  “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
Romans 10:8

In context, “It” is our righteousness by faith.  The righteousness that we stand in tells you that the rhema is near you, it’s in your heart and mouth.  This is the rhema of faith.

We should know by now that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  We should be spending quality time with God, praying in the spirit.  As you do, He puts His rhema in your heart, and then it overflows from your mouth at the right time.

The church has yet to learn to use this powerful weapon.  The early church used it to turn the world upside down.  That was before they had any Scripture.  It was before CD’s, DVD’s, TV, radio, or internet.  They did it with only the rhema of God.

I believe the next revival in the church will be God’s people laying hold of this.  We can’t fulfill God’s plan without hearing and obeying God’s rhema – Word to us.

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

In our generation, most of the church has been ignoring the sword.  It’s time to pull it out and use it to drive the enemy back.

Question: Why do God’s people seem to ignore hearing God’s voice?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Rhema – The Key to Victory

In my last post, I talked about prayer in the spirit as the key to spiritual warfare.  It’s through prayer in the spirit that we receive the helmet and the sword.

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

As we’ve already seen in this series, the helmet and sword speak of the authority and power of God working in us.  God wants to show His power through us in order to bring the Good News of Christ to the world.

We need to understand how our weapons work.  Specifically, I’m talking about the sword of the spirit – the rhema – Word of God.  For a detailed discussion of the word, rhema, click here.

Remember, we’re talking about the armor of God.  That means this is the sword of the Lord.  Our knowledge of this got watered down over time.  We have used this weapon less and less since the advent of the printing press.

You may not want to hear this, but the Bible is not our sword.  The sword is a spiritual weapon.  As a matter of fact, the devil doesn’t fear the Bible.  He has it memorized.  There are even times that he uses it against God’s people.

It’s the rhema – Word of God that’s our spiritual weapon.  But does that mean I don’t need the Bible?  Absolutely not!  We are to study in order to show ourselves approved to use the rhema.

Look at what Jesus said to the Pharisees.

“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
John 5:46-47

Literally, the Lord said, “If you don’t believe what was written, how will you believe my rhema?”  The rhema is the revealed Word of God to me…and to you.  This is the greatest weapon of the church; God speaking to us.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

Christ brought us the spiritual weapons that we would use to fight the enemy’s kingdom.  The Sword of the Spirit was just what we needed for victory.

Under the Old Covenant, they had no spiritual weapons.  All their battles had to be fought in the natural.  That’s why the Law of Moses had so many death penalties.  The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to kill those who were controlled by it.

After Christ died and rose again, everything changed.  Now there’s nowhere in New Testament that tells us that God will fight the battle for us.

We now have a weapon that the enemy cannot defend against.  He can debate the Bible with you.  But a sword that pierces the spirit, he has no defense against that.

That’s why it’s so important that we understand, not only what the Word of God is, but how we use it against the enemy’s kingdom.  God wants His people to hear His voice and act on it in obedience.  That’s the key to our victory.

Question: Why is a Word from God so destructive to the enemy’s kingdom?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Equipped by Prayer in the Spirit

In my last post, we saw that we receive the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit as we pray in the spirit.  In today’s post, I want to show that this is not just a singular occurrence in Scripture.

We are in a spiritual struggle against unseen forces.

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.
Ephesians 6:12

Contrary to how some people act, our fight is not against people.  As followers of Christ, we’re not struggling against political parties, social issues, or those we see as “sinners”.  The real enemy is the spiritual kingdom that enslaves those in the world system.

We’re in this battle whether we want it or not.  So, we’re told that we need to be spiritually prepared for the struggle.  We’re given the explanation of the armor and Paul concludes in verse 18 by giving us the means by which we arm ourselves – prayer in the spirit.

However, this isn’t the only section of Scripture that talks about our warfare.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 3

Jude was one of the early leaders of the church.  He was a half-brother of Jesus who became a believer after the resurrection.

In this short letter, he explains that he simply wanted to write a brief word of encouragement.  He wanted to bless and uplift those who would receive it.

Instead, once he sat down to write, the Holy Spirit grabbed his attention and caused him to speak of the spiritual battle.  Jude felt the urgency to warn them to diligently contend for the faith.

In Ephesians, Paul was contending against demonic forces.  Jude is contending against false teachings.  But in both cases, they equipped themselves for battle the same way.

Look at Jude’s concluding remarks.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Jude 20

It’s important to note here that the word, “and”, does not appear in the original Greek text.  It should actually be translated, build yourselves up in your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit.

We face battles every day.  There are many directions that the attack may come from.  It could be our flesh, the world system, or the demonic kingdom.

In all cases, we prepare for this struggle in the same way.  Both Paul and Jude talked about their battles.  They were two different people in two different struggles.  Yet they both concluded that it was prayer in the spirit that would prepare them for victory.

I don’t know how anybody could read this and say that the gift of tongues is not for today.  We can’t win the victory without it.

They try to justify it by saying that they can pray in the spirit in English – or whatever their native language is.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:14

Paul makes it clear that praying in tongues is praying in the spirit.  If you’re using your mind to come up with the words, you’re not praying in the spirit.

Prepare for the battles you’re about to face.  Spend some quality time praying in the spirit.

Question: How much time are you spending in prayer for 2020?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Receiving the Spiritual Weapons

Over the past weeks, I’ve been writing about spiritual warfare.  I’ve talked about it in general and then specifically about the armor of God.  In my last few posts, I’ve explained the anointing, God’s approval process in our Christian walk.

Now I want to try and bring it all together.  There are some practical things that we need to know if we’re going to walk in the power of God.

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

I’ve already talked about the helmet and sword.  They’re the pieces of armor that are issued after we’re properly trained and approved.  If you remember, the word, take, actually means to receive or accept.

Now the question is; how do we receive these powerful spiritual weapons?  To answer that, we need to understand the Greek language of these verses.

First, let me say that I’m grateful for the translators who have given us the Holy Bible in the English language.  I’ve met some of them and I know that most of them are sincere in their service to Christ.  The time and dedication that they gave is a wonderful gift to the church.

That being said, there are some inherent challenges when you translate a text from one language to another.  Depending upon your experience and/or your spiritual baggage, sometimes your own thoughts can unknowingly color the translation.

This is especially true when dealing with prayer in the spirit – praying in tongues.  We know that the Apostle Paul had a very rich experience praying in the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:18).  He had an understanding of this discipline more than most believers, even in our generation.

The problem comes in when a translator who has never even experienced the gift tries to figure out what Paul is saying.  They look at the Greek words but have no understanding of how to apply them.  They then make their best guess at how to align the translation in a way that also works with their own personal experience.

On top of all that, the Greek language allows for what we would call some huge run-on sentences.  Sometimes two, or even three, English verses are actually all one sentence in the original Greek text.  In order for the passage to be more understandable to modern readers, the translators have broken them up for us.

This is the case in the above section of Scripture.  The clue to this is when you see verse 18 starting with the word, and.  That should tell you that verses 17 and 18 are actually all one sentence.

In the original text, the word translated, and, is actually the Greek word, diaDia literally means through or by means of.  That one change brings a whole new meaning to this verse.

It literally reads, “Receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God by means of prayer and requests, always praying in the Spirit.”  The apostle makes it clear that we receive these weapons through our prayer in the spirit.

I know that there are those in the body of Christ who don’t believe that this gift is still active and available.  Unfortunately, that’s the result of some translation issues that I’ve outlined above.  So, over the next few posts, I’m going to specifically write about prayer in the spirit (tongues) as it relates to spiritual warfare in Scripture.

God’s people need to be spending quality time in the spirit if we’re going to see the end-time harvest in our generation.

Question: How much time do you spend praying in the spirit?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Path to the Anointing

This is the last post in a series I’m writing to explain what walking in the anointing of God means.  It seems that the church is under the impression that just because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the same anointing as Jesus.

Hopefully, based upon my last few posts, you understand why that’s not the case unless you go through the same process He went through.  We need to seek God’s approval to walk in His power.

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

We’re now in a position to understand what Paul was telling Timothy in this verse.  Do your bestbe diligent – to present yourself to God as one anointed.  When you’re approved before God there’s no need to be ashamed.

This is a big problem among God’s people in our generation.  We’re full of boldness when we’re in praise and worship.  But on the job or at school it’s a different story.  We keep our faith inside, not wanting to “offend” anyone.  That’s foolishness since every other group will openly declare what they believe to be true.

It all comes down to power.  I want to say to those I work with, “God loves you.  He’ll change your life.  He’ll heal you and bless you.”  But I worry that if they let me pray with them, nothing will happen.

Furthermore, what if I’m not healed and my life isn’t blessed?  What if they ask me about that?  I’d rather just keep quiet and avoid the embarrassment.

The church needs to be on its knees seeking approval for ministry.  Then, when the anointing is upon us, we’ll not worry about what the world or our friends think.

I believe that the next great revival will involve the church coming to an understanding of this truth.  But we’ll have to attain a certain level of intimacy before the Lord will manifest His anointing in us.  This is probably going to be the hardest move for the church to enter into.

I don’t think it will come as a wave, but as individuals begin paying the price for God’s approval.  Then, they must show up at the place and time of their anointing.  It could be a big or small meeting.  It won’t matter as long as it’s God’s appointed place.

Do what it takes to secure your anointing.  Follow the example of Christ.  Seek intimacy with the Father.  Then, as the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart, walk in obedience to His voice.

Understanding this truth gives us more insight into the spiritual battles we face.  We need this approval in order to wear the helmet and wield the sword.  Too many Christians are entering this struggle with no spiritual weapons.

It’s time for God’s people to submit under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  We need to allow Him to bring us through His training program.

It’s only when we can correctly handle God’s Word that we’ll be entrusted with true power.  Over the next few posts, I’ll talk about this in more detail.  My desire is to see the church rise to the level God is calling us to.

Question: What could happen if the whole church walked in the anointing of the Lord?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Anointing is Approval

I’ve been posting about David’s anointing as king and how it relates to our spiritual approval process.  It’s surprisingly similar to what we go through in the church today.

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.  Samuel then went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:13

It’s clear from this verse that the Holy Spirit and power follow the anointing.  That’s what Christ was referring to when He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me BECAUSE He has anointed me.” (Luke 4:18)

I believe that this is a special move of the Holy Spirit to work with signs and miracles.  It’s not the same as the Holy Spirit simply being in us because of salvation.  It’s the power of God, present to confirm His Word.

If you’ve been following these posts, you may remember I said how little the word “anointing” was used in the New Testament.  If you check it out, except once by Paul, all the usage was Jews writing to Jews.

Paul wrote most of the New Testament to Gentiles.  What would a Greek know about the Hebrew anointing?  Paul wrote to people who had no knowledge of it.  How did he describe it?

To understand it, let’s talk about the priesthood in Israel.  To become a priest, you didn’t just walk up to the temple and say, “I’m a Levite and I want to be a priest.”  ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

To be anointed as priest, you had to attend and graduate a school of the law taught by a Rabbi.  Then you had to prove that you’ve memorized the Pentateuch (The first five books of the Bible).  You had to show your family records proving priestly lineage.  Then you would strip and every inch of your body would be inspected by a board of priests who were looking for any defect that would disqualify you.

Only when you had passed every test would you be robed in priestly clothes and the oil of the anointing was poured on your head.  Being in the right family was only the beginning.  It wasn’t until you were tested and approved to be a priest that you could be anointed.

In reality, our spiritual anointing involves being approved by God.  That’s the word Paul used throughout his writings to the Gentiles.  They wouldn’t understand anoint but approve they could grasp.

The Greek word that Paul used is translated as approve, commend, chosen, or election depending upon the context.  But these words were used by Paul the same way in which anointing is used in the Old Testament.

What we miss sometimes, is that we can be saved, but not approved to walk in the power of God.  We think that just because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we have the same authority as Christ.  We have to be approved to walk in God’s authority.

It’s that approval which gives us access to the pieces of issued armor.  If you’ve been following my posts then you know I’m referring to the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit.  With these, we receive power and authority.

I believe that this is what’s ahead for God’s people.  The next move of God will be to bring us into the fullness of this work.  When this happens, we’ll see the greatest harvest of souls since the Book of Acts.

That’s the true anointing of power.

Question: What does it take to be approved to walk in the authority of the Holy Spirit?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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