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Category Archives: Power of God

Four Kinds of Glory (Repost)

Over the next week or so I’m going to be away, visiting family.  So during that time, I’m reposting some of my more popular articles.

We use the word glory quite a lot in Christian circles. But what does it mean when we say, “Glory to God!”?

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

I don’t know if you can really define glory.  All you can do is see how it’s used.  I want to talk about four uses – 2 from the Old Testament and 2 from the New.

Glory is the visible manifestation of God.

This is probably the most well-known.  In the tabernacle and temple, there was a visible ball of light as bright as the sun.  This was called The Glory.

Glory is the weight assigned to God.

How much weight do you give to what God says vs. what the world says?  What Christ says vs. what the doctor says?

Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalms 29:1-2

We must give God the weight that His name deserves.  His ways, His will, and His Word are more important than anything else.  How much priority do you place on the Lord’s will for you?  That’s the glory you give Him.

Glory is an opinion expressed about God.

What’s your opinion of God?  That’s the glory you give Him.

“He’s nice; I talk to Him once a week.”

How do you affect the opinion others have about God?  Jesus looked at it this way…

I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
John 17:4

We give glory to God in our service to Him.  Standing in church with your hands lifted doesn’t raise people’s opinions of God.  It’s what you do out there on the street.  I can tell your opinion of God, by how you serve Him.

Glory is the visible sign of God at work.

This is probably the most important one.  When others see God’s work in us, it brings the focus to Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

We’re the clay pot that houses this glory.  Should His glory be in a clay pot?  I don’t think so, but God planned it like that.  He wants His glory to be seen in us.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Do everything so that people see how much weight you give to God.  And how high an opinion you have of God.  But mostly, so they can see God at work in and through you.

Question: How have you seen God’s glory in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2020 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Power and the Spiritual Weapons

We’re continuing our look at the qualities Paul saw as essential to the ministry.

…in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
2 Corinthians 6:7

First of all, you have to understand that the punctuation was added by the translators.  They try to make it as readable as possible.  But sometimes we lose a little of what the original is saying.

What Paul literally wrote is, in the power of God through weapons of righteousness on the right and on the left.

That verse tells me a lot.  It means that I can walk in the power of God.  But the only way to access this power is through the spiritual weapons that God has given us.

The Lord wants His people to walk in His power.  He made it clear when He was preparing His disciples for His departure.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

The way we receive this power is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This is different than when the Holy Spirit fills us when we are saved.

The word, baptism, means immersion in something.  We are filled with the Spirit at salvation.  We are immersed in the Spirit when we receive the baptism.

When I speak about being baptized in the Spirit, I’m talking about praying in tongues – your heavenly language.  I know that this can be very controversial in the body of Christ.  I’ve also experienced the truth of what I’m saying.

Paul understood this intimately.  He had a very rich prayer life in the spirit.  He was writing to let others know the power that was available to them.

The fact is that prayer in the spirit and the spiritual armor are linked throughout the Scripture.  Paul tells us that we receive the armor of God through prayer in the spirit.  For a detailed discussion of this, click here.

God had made available to us everything we need to defeat the enemy.  It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about our own flesh, the world, or the devil’s kingdom.  We’ve been given the tools to overcome in this life.

That’s the essence of true ministry.  To set captives free through the power of God.  We want to see lives changed and transformed into the image of Christ.  That only happens as we spend time praying in the spirit.

I believe that in these last days before the return of Christ, God is calling His church to once again walk in the fullness of this power.  Let’s spend time seeking God through prayer in the spirit.

Question: How often do you pray in the spirit?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Big Lie – I Can’t Change

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this past January?  Are they still going or have you given up on them?  The Apostle Paul talks about what our attitudes should be.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
2 Corinthians 5:16

That includes how we look at ourselves.  We can’t see ourselves from a worldly perspective.  We need to see ourselves in Christ.

A number of years ago I read a book called Changeology by John Norcross, Ph.D.  He talked about some myths we’ve bought into about change.  I’ve noticed them in the lives of many believers, so I’m adapting them for this blog.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

As Christians, our faith is in Christ as the agent of change, making us more like Him.  We can’t afford to buy into the lie that change is beyond our grasp.  Have you listened to the enemy’s deception in this area?

“I can’t change on my own.” This one is partly true.  If you take God out of the equation, then change is a lot tougher.  But the simple fact is that you have to start the ball rolling.  It all begins with your decision to change; then God has your permission to act on your behalf.

“I can only make insignificant changes.” The deception in this is that no change is ever insignificant.  Sometimes the smallest change has the greatest effect.  On the side of a mountain, the smallest gust of wind can start a huge avalanche. If God can change something small in your life, then you can trust Him for something greater.

“I don’t have enough willpower to change.” It’s not about willpower, it’s about faith.  Willpower places trust in yourself to do the work.  You need to put your expectation in the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.  The simple fact is that your flesh will never change itself.  Time in God’s presence is the most effective means to see God’s hand upon your life.

“I can’t change who I am.” The Scripture above exposes this fallacy.  In Christ, your past never determines your future.  Personality, family traits, and even bad habits are not outside the power of God.  The Lord can heal hurts and bitterness of the past.  You need to open your heart to the Great Physician to do the work that only He can do.

“I’ve tried to change in the past and failed at it.” The Bible is clear that we might experience failure in our lives.  The key is to not wallow in it.  You may fall, but keep getting up.  Perseverance is the key to victory.  One great success will wipe out all the sadness of past mistakes.  Let God strengthen your heart for the path ahead.

Maybe you’ve fallen victim to one of these insidious attitudes.  If so, then it’s time to lay them down and choose the path to your destiny in Christ.  Decide today to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power.  Let Him work with you as you walk step by step to your high calling in the Lord.

Questions: What do you want to change in your life?  How can you allow God to be a part of this process?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Mature View of Pressure

As we continue through the epistle of Second Corinthians, we’re seeing Paul’s attitude toward the ministry.  He views the challenges that he faces as a way to see God’s power at work in his life.

This power then becomes a source of life for those he ministers to.  He stays focused on the benefits rather than the struggles.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

What really speaks to me about his attitude is the first part of his statement.  He describes the pressures as light and momentary.

From my perspective, some of his troubles seemed to linger on and on.  How could he call them momentary?

I believe it was because he turned them over to Christ daily.  He let them go.  So, each new day was viewed as a brand new pressure.  We need to follow that example.  I think that it would go a long way toward changing the bad attitudes that we get sometimes.

Instead of the problems, Paul focused his attention on the glory that was being accomplished in him.  He makes an interesting comparison.  Temporary troubles; eternal glory.  Light pressure; far heavier weight of glory.  The apostle found that it was worth the trade-off.

The question is; how does this really work?  The answer to that question is a little hidden in the English translations.  By adding the word, “so”, it sounds like we fix our eyes on the eternal because of the glory.

That’s not really what it says.  The original is all one sentence.  It says, in effect…

Our pressures are working in us an eternal glory, not as we look to the seen, but the unseen.

That tells me that the only time pressures are working for my good, is when I focus on the eternal.  When I keep looking at the troubles, they’re wearing me down.

We need to take this truth to heart.  Keep the Word of God before you.  That’s what works God’s glory in you during the challenging times.

Problems and challenges are going to continue to come my way.  But the realization is that if I can see it, then it can be changed.  It’s the unseen things – the things of the spirit – that remain eternal.

The Apostle Peter understood this as well.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 Peter 5:10

Look to the unseen, eternal truths of God’s Word.  That’s what will sustain and strengthen you during these challenging times.

Question: How do you stay focused on the eternal?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Matter of Life and Death

We find that there are many paradoxes in our Christian walk.  As we continue through Second Corinthians, Paul talks about one of these that are a part of the ministry.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:10-12

This is one of those parts of the ministry that no one wants to talk about.  But it’s a vital part of being effective for Christ.

You’ll never understand how the life of Christ is working in you until you first understand His death.  Paul knew and embraced this truth.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:10-11

The true path to a powerful ministry is learning to carry the death of Christ within you.  What do I mean by that?  Do we walk around with a sad look on our face like some kind of spiritual Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh)?

Absolutely not!  The death of Christ is an inward realization.  We carry the death of Christ so that His life can be revealed in us.  Carrying His death, yet revealing His life – that’s one of the great paradoxes of ministry.

As believers, we love to focus our attention on Jesus and His resurrection.  The power that was revealed on that day sealed our redemption.  That truth is beyond question.

What we fail to realize sometimes, is that the resurrection is the Good News for those who are without Christ.  The cross, on the other hand, is Good News for the church.  Paul explained this in his first letter to the Corinthians.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

Without the resurrection, we couldn’t be saved.  But, without the cross, we couldn’t walk in the power of God.  We need both to be effective for Christ.

I once posted a series on the power of the cross.  To read it, click here.

Paul understood the value of carrying the death of Christ in his daily life.  It was the foundation for the power he walked in.  That’s what he’s referring to in the last line of the original passage we looked at above.

Please understand that he’s talking about himself and his ministry team.  It’s because they allow the death of Christ to do its work in them, that they can reveal the life of Christ to the church.  The Corinthian church is walking in the life of Christ because Paul and his team were obedient to the call to die to self.

We need a new revelation of the cross of Christ.  Then we’ll see the power that was manifest in the early church.

Question: What part does the cross of Christ play in your daily walk with God?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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God at Work

As we’ve been studying Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we’ve seen that God wants His glory to reside in us.  He wants the world around us to be drawn to Christ by watching how we live.  This is an awesome responsibility.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7-8

This brings us to the greatest question of all.  Why would God ever want to place His glory into clay pots?  We may never fully be able to answer that.

But the truth is the truth.  God has placed His glory in us for a reason.  He wants all of creation to see His glory at work.

More than that, it’s proof that God’s power is at work in us.  The word translated as all-surpassing is a Greek word that means to throw beyond.

It’s an athletic term.  In a competition like a javelin throw or the discus, all the competitors achieve about the same distance.  Then someone throws far beyond all the others.  That’s what this term all-surpassing means.

The power that God wants to work in us is so far beyond anything we could accomplish on our own.  It becomes obvious that there’s a God who loves us and operates in us.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Paul talks about the evidence he sees of God’s power at work.  Everyone faces difficulties and challenges.  It’s what results from these times that makes a difference.  He lists four proofs of God at work.

Hard-pressed but not crushed.  That literally means that sometimes we seem to be crowded, but we cannot be boxed in.  Nothing the enemy does will be able to stop God’s plan.

Perplexed but not in despair.  This means that sometimes there seems to be no way out.  Yet even in those times, we don’t give up.  We expect God to make a way through, and our faith is rewarded.

Persecuted but not abandoned.  This means that sometimes it seems like we’re being pursued, chased, or hunted.  In our society, during times like this, it’s every man for himself.  But, in God’s kingdom, we’re never deserted or forsaken.  We can always run into God’s presence to receive His grace.

Finally, struck down but not destroyed.  This is just like it sounds.  I think about the Rocky movies.

The enemy gets in a solid punch.  We go down and it looks like the fight is over.  Then, before the count reaches 10, we’re on our feet again.  That must totally frustrate the enemy.

Never give up your trust in the Lord.  Even when things look the worst, God is at work in you.  Expect to see the power of the Holy Spirit bringing you through the tough times.

Question: How have you experienced the power of God work in you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Blinders

I’m continuing my series through the book of 2 Corinthians.  Paul is talking about his ministry.  It’s a ministry of power because the Holy Spirit is working through him.

It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that gets the attention of the world around us.  That’s how we become a “light in the darkness”.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  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 4:3-4

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 light 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. During some seasons, 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 realm 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.

Satan makes full use of this effect.  He uses this discomfort with the light, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to get unbelievers to close their eyes to the truth.

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.

That’s why our ministry can’t be done in our own strength.  Time in the presence of the Lord is what will empower me to cut through the blinders of the enemy.  Only then will they see the glory of the Gospel of Christ.

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

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2020 in Ministry, Power of God, Revival, The Gospel

 

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Ministry Without Power

As we continue to go through Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we can see that the apostle relies on the power of God for his ministry.  He also knew that the church could see this reliance.

Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 4:2

Compared to the early church, we live in a generation that barely sees the power of God at work. As a result, we need to use other methods to promote God’s kingdom. Do you know what these powerless methods look like?

I believe that if God’s people would spend time with the Holy Spirit, and then obey what they hear, we would see society changed. Instead, we rely on human plans to try and do God’s work. It’s sad, but I think that we’ve simply gotten used to ministry without power.

In another of his letters, Paul described what was NOT true ministry.

For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.
1 Thessalonians 2:3

The first word he uses is error, which means wandering. This word literally means to stray because you’ve left the right way and are now simply roaming around.

It’s very easy to leave the right path if I never seek God’s will to begin with. Ministries with this problem are always trying something new because they saw it work somewhere else. They wander from new program to new program, hoping for something that works.

The goal should be to seek the Lord’s will for my life, then walk in it. That will keep me from wandering around, hoping to someday stumble upon God’s plan for me.

The next issue is that of impure motives. The reason behind the ministry is as important as the ministry itself. There are some ministries that seem like their only goal is to exalt themselves.

We live in a society where many of the advertising and political campaigns are based upon negativity. It’s not about what I’m doing right, but what you’re doing wrong. Unfortunately, we’ve carried this kind of thinking into the church.

I believe that I should be able to do what God has called me to do without having to put down any other ministry. The fact is that making someone else look bad, doesn’t make me look any better.

The final issue Paul talked about was trickery. It’s believed that this Greek word means to set up a decoy or bait in hunting. It’s unfortunate that there are ministries that view believers as prey.

To make things worse, the decoy or bait they use is the Scripture. Please understand me; I’m not saying that all televangelists are bad. Most of them are trying to do God’s will. But there are some who, I believe, only study the Bible in order to find a Scripture verse that will convince you to take money out of your wallet and put it into theirs.

I truly believe that if I’m doing God’s will, then God will provide my needs. Yes, He will use people to give into my ministry. But I won’t need to make them feel guilty or use any other form of trickery or deceit.

We need to be looking at the fruit of the ministries that we want to support. We should only give into those works that are proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ.

Question: What are the marks of a ministry operating with integrity?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Mercy and Power

In my last post, I talked about how it’s the power of God that brings both the walk of righteousness and the miraculous into our Christian walk.  Here’s the last verse we looked at…

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

This is the power of God that changes us day by day if we’re submitted to it. As good as this verse is, that’s not the end of it. We usually miss the point because there’s a chapter break right after that verse. The original has no such break in the writing. This thought continues into the next verse.

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2 Corinthians 4:1

What we need to realize is that it’s through the power of mercy that we have ever-increasing glory manifest in our lives. We need to understand that our tiny view of mercy is inadequate to explain the great depth of this truth. The best part is that we can approach the throne of grace to lay hold of this mercy. I want to show you what this means.

Since it brings the power of God into our lives, we know it’s not by the law. It’s interesting to note that two times were recorded in the Gospels where Jesus made the same statement to the Pharisees. In both cases, they were condemning Him for what He was doing. He did things like eating with “sinners.” The Pharisees were thinking, “How can the power of God work in you if you do that?”

Jesus had a stern rebuke for them.

“If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.”
Matthew 12:7

This statement was directed at the Pharisees, But I have to admit that when I began studying about mercy I had no idea what He meant by it. I had always quoted the verse “to obey is better than sacrifice.” This view of the mercy of God was new to me.

The first thing I notice is that this is a desire of God. It’s not a command or a law. This means that the obtaining of mercy is optional. It’s not something that you need to have for salvation, or even for your growth in the Lord.

As a matter of fact, it’s very rarely used in the body of Christ because in this generation we strive to live by the promises. I’m here to tell you that living the walk of mercy is above the promises.

In the past, I’ve posted about God’s mercy in detail.  To read my full series on mercy, click here.

The walk of mercy is a higher walk in the spirit.  According to Paul, it’s the understanding of God’s mercy that allows us to minister for Him.  God’s mercy also keeps us from becoming discouraged.

We need a fresh revelation of the mercy of God.  Walking in it will change your life.

Question: How have you experienced God’s mercy?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Plugged Into the Power

I’ve been posting from 2 Corinthians about how to walk in righteousness and the power of God.  It should be obvious by now that we must rest, remain, and abide in the presence of God.  That’s the place we receive His power.  Once we have the power we need, we’re able to live righteously.

When I’m saved, I’m made righteous by an impartation from God.  He does this so that I can receive His power by the Holy Spirit who now resides in me.

By drawing upon that power I can now live righteously before Him.  Without the power of the Spirit, I have no hope of ever pleasing the Lord with a walk of righteousness.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

I can’t make myself walk in righteousness.  My flesh will never be able to fix itself.  My only hope is in the power of the Spirit.

I want to sum up the truths that we’ve learned with an illustration the Lord gave me.  Think about a living room with a TV and a lamp.  There’s also an extension cord with a power strip on it plugged into an electrical outlet.

The extension cord will represent our relationship with Christ.  If the plug is attached to the outlet, we’re remaining in Christ, if not then we’re on our own.

The TV is the miraculous – healings, provision, etc.  The lamp is our righteousness – living rightly before God.  Both of these items must be powered by our relationship with the Lord.  They are both plugged into the power strip.

We’ve noticed that if the lamp works, then the TV works as well.  A life that has the miraculous in operation is also becoming more and more like Jesus.

We’ve also noticed that if the TV isn’t working, then the lamp doesn’t work either.  The TV and the lamp always work together, so we assume that it’s the lamp that’s running the TV.

This is why so many Christians assume that it’s the walk of righteousness that brings the power for the miraculous.  The fact is that both are powered by the same plug – our relationship with Christ.

So, do we try to increase our intimacy with Christ?  No.  Instead, we try to artificially power the lamp through obeying a set of rules.  We preach that people need to live right to see the miraculous.  We tell them that it’s because we’re not living up to the rules that the church has no power.

By doing this, we actually get the lamp to appear to be lit.  What we don’t realize is that it’s not the power of the Spirit that’s working, but our own self-righteousness powered by the law.

Since the power chord of our relationship is not plugged into Christ, the manifestation of God’s power through healing and miracles does not exist.  That’s when all of our excuses start as to why there’s no healings, signs, or wonders in the church anymore.

In order for the power of God to flow into your life, you must be intimate in your relationship with Christ.  The flow of power does not depend upon how good you act.  It’s your intimacy with Christ that will bring about both the miraculous and the walk of righteousness that the Savior has called you to manifest.

Question: How intimate is your relationship with Christ?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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