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Category Archives: Power of God

Grace Under Pressure

Right now, the world is reeling under the threat of the Corona Virus.  People are scared.  Whole sections of grocery stores are sold out.  All public venues are closed down.  How do we respond to all of this?

The Apostle Paul had pressures in his day as well.  Listen to his insights.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia.  We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us.  On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10

It’s my hope and prayer that you’re never in a life-threatening situation.  I’m also trusting God to keep us safe and healthy in spite of all that’s going on around us.

I know, however, that weather, accidents, and natural disasters can come when least expected.  It seems like every day there’s something going on in the United States that could have tragic results.  If and when that occurs, you will be faced with a choice – do you despair and give up or do you continue to put your hope in God?

I’ve been in that kind of situation.  I know what it feels like to be trapped by an unforeseen incident with no way out and no help in sight.

At one point, I was on a solo hike in the backwoods of Maine.  I had an accident that resulted in a severe sprain.  I could barely walk and I was miles from the nearest road.

At about the same time, a huge thunderstorm hit the area.  I can tell you that at a time like this there’s a great temptation to just give up.

I praise God that the Holy Spirit within me was there to encourage me.  I continued on, even through the pain, and was miraculously brought safely out of the wilderness.  I say “miraculously” because this was before I had the use of a cell phone.

It’s truly in those times of need that God proves Himself faithful.  I can say, without hesitation, that God has never abandoned me to my problems.

We’re facing many challenges right now in our society.  The question is; how will we respond to the pressure?

The key to making it safely through a problem, either present or future, is to make the choice now, that whatever happens, you will not abandon your trust in God.  You’ll find that He’s always there with you to help you in your time of need.

The main thing that helped the apostle was the ability to look back and see how God had been faithful in the past.  As you remember what God already accomplished in you, it’s easier to trust Him with your future.  Because God showed Himself strong in my past challenges, I can expect Him to show up in my present situation.

In your prayer time today, reaffirm your trust in the Lord to take you through the hard times.  Place your life fully in His hands.

Question: What challenges has God already brought you through in the past?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2020 in Encouragement, Faith, Power of God

 

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Spiritual Warfare – The Personal Struggle

In many instances in the Scripture, our personal spiritual walk is described as a battle.  Light vs. darkness; Heaven vs. hell; good vs. evil.  We need to know how to live with this truth.

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

In this verse, Paul is talking about the authority and power of God.  He wants to work these through us.  There’s a battle raging on the earth right now.  Unfortunately, many don’t even care about it.  Do you?

The last sentence of this quote is very important.  It literally says, attending to this with all persistency and petition around all the saints.  The emphasis is that this is encompassing all the saints.

The battle is all around you whether you want it or not.  That’s why the apostle uses such strong language in his exhortation.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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 6:10-13

Think about the church today.  Picture the body of believers as an army standing before hell’s gates.  Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church.  The question is; are we that victorious church that the Lord was talking about?

We should be, and in some areas, there are local churches that have the enemy on the run.  But that’s not the case everywhere.  Are all the believers in their spiritual armor?  Are all believers even willing to fight this spiritual battle?  I don’t think so.

What about the enemy’s kingdom?  Are they ready?  Absolutely.  They understand what’s at stake and they’re in it for the long haul.  They won’t give in without a fight.

Right now the arrows of the enemy are flying all around us.  If you remember, I’ve said that arrows are the first strike weapon.  The truth is that you don’t have to be in the fight to be hit by an arrow.  That’s why believers are encouraged to take the spiritual armor seriously.

How do you take the stronghold from the enemy?  First, you put on the armor and pick up your shield.  Behind the gates are the prisoners that need to be set free.

Understand this, as you approach the gates the fight goes from general to personal.  It gets to the point where it’s one on one.

Paul is not talking to all believers in this letter, but to the faithful.  That’s who I’m talking to as well.  The believers who want to make a difference in the world around them.

For the next few posts, I want to talk about this personal spiritual battle that we face on a daily basis.  I’ll use Christ as our example of how to live an overcoming lifestyle.

Question: How is your life affected by the spiritual battle?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Our Victory is in Christ

Now that we’ve seen the war against the flesh and the world, we’ll move on to the final battle.  We’re in a war against the spiritual forces of the kingdom of Satan.

As I’ve already written about, the people around us are not the enemy.  They’re prisoners of war in the spiritual battle.  They’re being held captive by the world system under the control of the devil.

It’s up to us, God’s people, to set them free and bring them to the cross.  That’s where they can find true salvation for their souls.

In order for that to happen, there are some things that we need to understand.  We can’t go into this battle with only half the information.

The first thing that we have to realize is that Christ has already won the war.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

Jesus Christ has once and for all won the victory over all the power of the enemy kingdom.  However, that doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped.

Just like in WWII, when the Axis powers collapsed, the Allied forces had to mop up the remaining troops.  They had to enter the concentration camps and free the surviving prisoners.  That’s where we are in the spiritual war today.

The trouble is that even in defeat, the enemy is dangerous.  He wants as few people as possible to be set free by the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just how do we thwart the devil’s plans?  The Lord already took care of this.  Look at what Christ said to His followers.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Luke 10:19

The same power over the enemy that the Lord walked in has been conferred upon us.  We have authority over the enemy’s kingdom.  Of course, the devil would like that to remain a carefully guarded secret.

As long as we look to the future for our victory, we’ll never see the enemy kingdom back down.  We must learn to walk in the authority of Christ that we’ve already been given.

We need to see a God’s-eye-view of the spiritual war.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:18b

We have to come to the realization that the gates of Hell don’t move.  They don’t attack the church.  These gates are fixed around what the enemy already possesses and he’s trying to keep hold of.

The gates of Hell are around our centers of education.  They surround our political systems.  They’re also around our entertainment industry.

What we need to see is that it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.  The gates of Hell – all the power of the enemy – cannot withstand an attack by God’s people walking in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Too often we try to infiltrate these areas of society using the rules of the world.  That’s why we only achieve limited success.  We need to learn to take this battle into the spiritual realm.

I’m going to take a few posts to talk about what God has given us in order to walk in the victory that Christ has already won for us.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re facing right now?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Surgical Strike against the Flesh

I’ve been posting about our spiritual war with our old sin-nature. In my last post, I said that water baptism was the first step in this process. Through it, we identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Here Paul tells us that in the same way we trusted Christ in baptism, we must count or literally inventory ourselves dead, indeed, to sin.

This goes right along with our baptism. In verse 3 of Romans chapter 6, we were baptized into His death. Now in verse 11, there’s something that Paul is hoping you’ll move into by faith. Paul describes this step to the Colossian church.

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Colossians 2:11-12

This is what we want to concentrate on – the putting off of the sinful nature. According to Paul, this is a surgical procedure that can only be done by Christ.  So, in terms of warfare, you could call this a surgical strike against the flesh.

It isn’t a work I can perform on my own. It doesn’t matter how much will-power I put forth. Only Christ, Himself, can bring it to pass in my life. I must submit under the blade of the divine Surgeon.

There are two prerequisites to this surgery. The first is baptism and the second is faith in the power of God. This means that I can’t look to myself and how well I can obey God. It’s all about how much I trust His power working in my life. How much am I willing to surrender to Him?

It’s the same as in the natural world. If I don’t trust the surgeon in a medical procedure, then I will not allow them to put me under the anesthesia.   I’ll only let someone I trust have that much power over my body. Do we trust Christ enough to consent to His life-changing work in us?

No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
Romans 2:29

There’s another key point to this work of Christ in us. It can only be done in the spirit. It’s not something that I can physically accomplish. Neither is it a choice that I make in my mind.

The change is required in my heart. The old self has to be removed. How can my sin-nature remove itself? It would never willingly choose to do that.

To get the old sin nature out of our heart requires outside assistance. That’s why it’s a work that only Christ can do, and it must be a spiritual work.  It’s for this reason that an understanding of the Word of God as a sword is so important.

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

The sword of the spirit is the scalpel that performs the work in our hearts. In the past, I’ve emphasized that the things of the spirit can only be received through prayer in the spirit. This is the work that needs to be done in us. It’s a work that must be done in the spirit. It’s only prayer in the spirit that will accomplish the change that’s necessary in our hearts.

In order for God to do this work in us, we must yield ourselves to Him. As in any surgery, we must willingly go under the knife if our healing is to take place. This is true for our spiritual surgery as well.

Question: How has Prayer in the Spirit changed your life?

© 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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Posted by on January 15, 2020 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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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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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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