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Category Archives: Spiritual Walk

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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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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The Anointing – A Divine Appointment

In talking about the anointing that we have in Christ, there’s a subject that needs to be addressed.  I’m getting to the point where I cringe when I hear another sermon or teaching about our position in Christ.

It’s not that I think they’re unscriptural.  Far from it.  I believe that I’m “the righteousness of God” in Christ Jesus.  I believe that I’m holy, healed, prosperous, and anointed in Christ.

The problem I see is that if all we concentrate on is our position in Christ, we miss out on seeing the manifestation.  I want to live out all the things that Christ paid for me to possess.

One of these is our anointing.  We are all called to an anointing in Christ.  I want to see it manifest in us.  That takes more than just sitting back and confessing it by faith.

For a few posts, we’ve been looking at David’s anointing as king.

Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.”
1 Samuel 16:10

Here we can see the problem in some of our teachings on the anointing.  We’re all called to an anointing.  The problem is that all of us are called, but few are chosen.  When you talk about walking in the anointing, it involves being chosen by God.

The anointing is not just about calling.  The progression is: called, chosen, and anointed.  The simple truth is that you can be called from now until Jesus returns and never see the anointing manifest.

That is if you never do what it takes to be chosen.

Look at what had to happen in David’s case.

So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent and had him brought in.  He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.  Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”
1 Samuel 16:11-12

“I told you, that your whole family needed to be here.”

These words strike anger and resistance into the hearts of God’s people.

“Who are you to tell me that I need to be at these special meetings?”

When your church has a guest speaker and you see that as an opportunity to take the day off – do you know what you’re missing?

“I have something important that needs to be done.”

There are times and places that God may want to meet with you.  Your prayer time, Bible study, a church meeting, or some other “holy appointment” could be a potential encounter with the anointing of the Lord.

God may have a pinpoint anointing for you.  But you have to be at the right place, at the right time, where God has expected to meet with you.  Don’t miss that appointment.

In my next post, I’ll show how the anointing and God’s approval go hand in hand.

Question: How could this be a source of the lack of power and effect of the church in America?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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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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