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Are You in the Family?

At one point in the Lord’s ministry, His family thought that He was pushing Himself too far.  They decided to have an intervention.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.  When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Mark 3:20-21

They obviously had no understanding of the Holy Spirit’s leading.  Sometimes there are assignments that go beyond your normal abilities.  It’s during those times that you receive supernatural strength for the moment.

Look at the Lord’s response.

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived.  Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.  A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:31-35

There is a truth here that not a lot of people want to hear.  We’d like to assume that as long as you prayed the sinner’s prayer, all believers are equal.  But that’s not what the Bible teaches.  We achieve certain levels based on the criteria laid out in Scripture.

One of those titles is sons and daughters of God.  We want to believe that this applies to everyone.  It doesn’t.  Jesus makes it clear that whoever does God’s will is family.

This implies something.  It means, first of all, that you seek God’s will for your life.  Then, you spend the time it takes in God’s presence to hear and know the Lord’s will.  Finally, you walk in obedience to what you’ve heard.

Maybe you think that I’m just taking this verse out of context.  On the contrary, this truth is taught throughout the Scripture.  Paul understood this very thing.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Romans 8:13-14

You have to be pursuing this in the spirit.  It’s not a work you can do by simply deciding that it’s true.  It requires us to remain in Christ.  In that way we allow the Holy Spirit to complete His work in us.

Our problem is that we don’t want to remain.  We want the freedom to live for Christ some of the time, and for ourselves at others.  We want to go in and out as we please.

Jesus talked about this in another place.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.
John 8:34-35

The original language of this verse reads, the servant does not remain in the house forever.  You can’t serve two masters.  When you try to serve both yourself and the Lord, you end up going in and out of the house.  You miss out on God’s best – the blessings of sonship.

Make it your goal to seek, hear, and obey God’s will for your life.

Question: What’s the next step in God’s plan for you right now?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Prayer, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Are You Plugged in to Christ? #powerofGod

PlugI have been posting about how to walk in righteousness and the power of God.  It should be obvious by now that we must rest, remain, abide in Christ.  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 chord 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 also is becoming more and more like Jesus.

We’ve also noticed that if the TV isn’t working, then the lamp isn’t 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 the battery power of the law.  We preach that the 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 the excuses start as to why there are 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 to Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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Are You a Disciple of Christ, Really? #discipleofChrist

ClassWe use the term disciple very casually these days.  Many are of the opinion that just being a Christian automatically makes you a disciple.  It that the truth?  Let’s see how it worked for the first disciples who came to Christ.

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.  When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” 

They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
John 1:35-39

There are some things that this passage can teach us about what it means to be a disciple.  We see two men who were following John the Baptist.  Then they were pointed to the Messiah.  That’s when their lives were changed.

A disciple follows Christ.  There’s no way around that.  The word follow implies that they took the same road as Christ. Many teach that a disciple is a student.  I’ve attended enough classes to know that not all students aspire to be like their teachers.  A student wants to learn what’s being taught.  A disciple wants to become what the teacher is.

A disciple comes near to Christ.  Jesus asked these men, “What are you seeking?”  Their response, in the original Greek, was amazing.  They replied, “Where is your dwelling place?”  Being a disciple is all about what you’re seeking.  Many say that they’re pursuing God.  But in reality they’re only after the things God can give them.  A disciple simply wants to be near Christ.

A disciple wants to experience Christ.  These men went to the Lord’s house and spent time with Him.  Hearing about Him isn’t enough.  What are you seeking?  Facts and figures about what God has done?  Or do you want to meet with Him and experience His home?

A disciple lives in Christ.  This is what truly defines a disciple.  Do you want to live in Him?  Jesus made this point very clear.  When most Christians are asked about it, they usually reply, “Of course I’m a disciple.”  The real issue is; what are you seeking?  Anything other than His dwelling place and you’re not a disciple.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:31-32 NKJV

Abide in Him.  Let His word abide in you.

Question: What steps are you taking to be a disciple of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Encouragement, Revival

 

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Power is Agreement with Christ #powerofGod

LightningMy last post talked about positioning yourself to flow in God’s power.  It all comes down to the truth that agreement with Christ is the place of power.  Do we always agree with Him?  Or do we make excuses?

“You can’t know God’s will for certain.”  “He may not want to heal.”  After all it can’t be our fault.  We feel there’s nothing wrong on our end so it must be God’s decision not to manifest His power.

In some cases we’re more like the Pharisees than we want to admit.  Jesus explained their problem to them.  I believe that it’s our problem as well.  We need to hear the Lord, and meditate on His words.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 5:39-40

Many believers spend a great deal of time pursuing the study of Scripture.  There are radio and cable channels devoted to the study of the Word of God 24/7.

Just like Jesus said to the Pharisees, many of us think that by them we possess life and power.  We believe that if we just know the Word enough, it will increase our faith to the point where nothing will be impossible for us.

The Scripture is given to testify about Christ.  It was NOT given to grant us access to power or life.  Jesus Christ is the grand focus of the Word.  It’s IN HIM that we have power and life.

Our problem is that we refuse to go to Christ to have access to power and life.  Jesus said, “I have come that you would have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)  Power rests solely in Christ.  If we don’t abide in Christ, then we don’t have access to the power.

The very Scriptures that we recite, confess, and memorize are telling us who Christ is and what He’s done.  This should cause us to run to Him.  Instead, we embrace the Word and think that it will give us power.  It’s so much easier to live for ourselves and quote promises, then to abide in Christ.  That requires spiritual effort, and we like to look for the shortcuts.

This is the instant generation.  We want everything now without any waiting.  By constantly using our credit cards we will give away our future for a momentary pleasure.  We have to have everything now.

Well, this is something that’s impossible to get instantly.  It requires the work of an intimate relationship with God.  Power flows from Christ to us if we’ll do what it takes to position ourselves to receive it.  It’s time for the church to wake up and view relationship with Christ as the priority of the hour.

Question: Are you willing to wait in God’s presence rather than seek for instant success?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Power of God, Revival, The Church

 

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