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Spiritual Bootcamp – The Unseen Enemy

I’m continuing to post about the spiritual battle we’re in.  I think that the church gets in trouble when it loses sight of this.  If we don’t understand the battle, then we’ll never walk in victory.

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

The Scripture is clear.  The battle takes place in the unseen world.  My fight is not against people or even the issues that I can see with my eyes.

The people around me are the casualties – prisoners of war held captive in unseen detention centers.  Sometimes they don’t even want to be set free because the deception feels so good at the moment.  My job is not to try and convince them to join me.

The role of the church is to fight the unseen enemy.  Tear down the invisible walls.  Then turn the light on in the prison cells so that the captives can see the truth of their situation.  Only then will they run to Christ the Savior.

But this seems to be the hardest thing to get believers to understand.  Our struggle is not in the physical world, but the spiritual.  It’s not us vs. the world.  I’m not trying to get them to change sides.  That will never bring about the desired results.

I want the same mindset that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8b

We need to know that there’s a spiritual world, and that’s where our battle is being fought right now.  But how many of us really understand what that means?  While many believers can quote 2 Corinthians 10:4the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world – we don’t seem to get the whole picture.

We don’t use physical weapons, but does that mean that the war itself is any different than a natural war?  The enemy’s kingdom is very organized.  The verse I started with talked about many levels of authority in their ranks.  It’s time that the church gets organized for battle as well.

Do you realize that Satan has never personally attacked you?  He has probably never even planned anything to come against you.  We only face the lower levels of the dark forces; the rulers and authorities.

That’s why when you step up in ministry there’s a shift to a more intense battle.  You find yourself moving up the ranks and facing tougher opponents in the spirit.

That’s also why I started this series.  In one of the first posts, I said that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years.  Here’s what I meant.  In all that time there’s been no organized attack by the church on the territory of the enemy, especially in the USA.

It’s time for the church to wake up.  Not just a few local congregations here and there who are making a little headway.

We need a revival.

Question: What needs to take place for the church as a whole to wake up?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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What are we Fighting For?

JailI’m posting about the spiritual battle we’re in. I think that the church gets in trouble when it loses sight of this. If we don’t understand the battle, then we’ll never walk in victory.

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

The Scripture is clear. The battle takes place in the unseen world. My fight is not against people or even the issues that I can see with my eyes.

The people around me are the casualties – prisoners of war held captive in unseen detention centers. Sometimes they don’t even want to be set free because the deception feels so good at the moment. My job is not to try and convince them to join with me.

The role of the church is to fight the unseen enemy. Tear down the invisible walls. Then turn the light on in the prison cells so that the captives can see the truth of their situation. Only then will they run to Christ the Savior.

But this seems to be the hardest thing to get believers to understand. Our struggle is not in the physical world, but the spiritual. It’s not us vs. the world. I’m not trying to get them to change sides. That will never bring about the desired results.

I want the same mindset that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8b

We need to know that there’s a spiritual world, and that’s where our battle is being fought right now. But how many of us really understand what that means? While many believers can quote 2 Cor. 2:4 – the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world – we don’t get the whole picture.

We don’t use physical weapons, but does that mean that the war itself is any different than a natural war? The enemy’s kingdom is very organized. The verse I started with talks about many levels of authority in their ranks. It’s time that the church gets organized for battle as well.

Do you realize that Satan has never personally attacked you? He has probably never even planned anything to come against you. We only face the lower levels of the dark forces; the rulers and authorities.

That’s why when you step up in ministry there’s a shift to a more intense battle. You find yourself moving up the ranks and facing tougher opponents in the spirit.

This is also why I started this series. In the first post – The Truth About Spiritual Warfare – I said that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years. Here’s what I meant. In all that time there’s been no organized attack by the church on the territory of the enemy, especially in the USA.

It’s time for the church to wake up. Not just a few local congregations here and there who are making a little headway.

We need a revival.

Question: What needs to take place for the church as a whole to wake up?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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Are You Armed?

SwordI’ve been talking about the spiritual battle that we’re involved in. The problems we face and the people who annoy us are not the issue. The real fight is with the unseen world around us.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:11

We’re told to put on the armor. I’ve heard many believers talk about it, but do we understand what this means? Do we even know what the armor really is?

First and foremost we need to realize that this is the armor of God. It’s not my armor; it belongs to God. Actually, it’s God’s personal suit of armor. It was talked about back in the Old Testament.

At one point Isaiah got a prophetic picture of God getting himself ready for battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

Because of the Lord’s outer garments, Isaiah could only see the helmet and breastplate. But that’s enough to know who the armor belongs to. The point is this – it’s not made to fit us, but God. That’s why being in Christ is so important.

The fact is that we are told to put on the full armor of God. If I have to put it on, then I’m not automatically fully clothed. Putting on the armor is something I need to do.

I also believe that “confessing the armor on” or “praying it on” is not enough. While I do believe in confessing and praying the Word of God, there’s more involved here.

For instance, if you’re not walking in faith, you haven’t picked up your shield no matter how many time you confess that you’re holding it. The same with truth. If you’re not walking in the truth of the Word of God, then no amount of praying will put the belt on you.

In order to be protected, we need to be using the armor daily. We need to be walking in truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Only through practice can a warrior get good at using his armor and weaponry.

There are no overnight successes. We either use it or there’s no victory for us. The devil is playing for keeps. He’s not going to back down simply because we claim to have armor.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8-9

The enemy’s looking for an easy victim. Not one that’s fully armed. This verse literally says that he’s looking for someone he can gulp down in one bite.

Given the choice, do you think he’d rather take on a naked believer thinking that their armed or a spiritual warrior fully clothed and trained for battle? The answer is clear. Don’t be a meal for the enemy’s kingdom.

Take your stand in the full armor of God.

Question: What’s the greatest challenge that you’re facing right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Strength for the Battle

GlovesMy last post talked about the spiritual battle that we’re in. We need to be prepared for it. We are going to face hardships whether we’re ready or not.

It’s unfortunate that many Christians wait until they’re in the middle of a spiritual firefight to learn how to be victorious. You can’t wait for a fight and download the Karate program. It doesn’t work like that.

How do we prepare for the challenges ahead? The same way a soldier does. Boot camp consists of two aspects – knowledge and work.

For us, it’s knowledge of the Scripture and God’s voice. Then we have to work at implementing what we know to do.

You may be thinking, “That’s not an easy thing to do.” You’re right. In most cases it turns out to be beyond our ability. But that’s why understanding the spiritual battle is so important.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I’m glad that we’re not told to psych ourselves up and power our way through the challenges. I don’t want to have to rely on my willpower. I’ve got an advantage that the world doesn’t have.

I’m told to be strong in the Lord. Sometimes this goes against our nature. We want the ability to brag about our accomplishments. We want to say that our intelligence or strength was what it took to overcome the obstacles before us.

That’s why so often we make our plans then ask God to bless them. Wouldn’t we be much better off if we asked the Lord for His plan right at the start?

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:11

The fact is that it’s not about my glory, but His. If I were able to lay hold of my own destiny, why would I need Christ? The work before me is too much for me by myself.

When we finally learn to admit this truth, life gets so much more enjoyable. Not that I can sit back and let God do all the work, but I know He’s there to cover my weaknesses. I don’t have to worry about whether I can handle the problem or not.

If I’ll draw on His strength and listen to the Holy Spirit, then there’s nothing that can stop me. We need to rest in God’s ability and not our own.

Question: What are you going through right now that’s too big for you to handle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Get Your Zeal On!

 

Fire DangerWe’ve all heard of the armor of God in Ephesians, chapter 6. Many people talk about the need to put on this holy armor. But do you know that there’s one more piece of clothing available to us that covers it all?

Paul the Apostle was a Bible scholar. He knew the Scripture better than most others of his day. What we fail to realize, is that he didn’t come up with the teaching of the armor of God on his own. It was actually from the book of Isaiah.

In Isaiah, chapter 59, we see God Himself putting on the armor – at least the helmet and breastplate. This is His personal armor – it was made to fit Him. That’s why I need to abide in Christ for it to fit me. But that’s another teaching…

I want to talk about something else that Isaiah saw as the Lord was preparing for the spiritual battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

The reason that Isaiah could only see the breastplate and helmet was because God put on some clothes over the suit of armor. Did you know that one of these is available to us today?

It’s not the garments of vengeance. We know from Scripture that vengeance is His alone.

I believe that part of our problems stem from the fact that we want the armor but still fail to fully clothe ourselves. It’s the zeal of the Lord that covers it all. That’s one of the things that the church is lacking in this generation. Paul puts it this way…

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Romans 12:11

When should we be seen without the cloak? NEVER!! But what is zeal?

Zeal itself is a very strong emotion. It’s when you desire to possess some quality or possession of the one you’re zealous for. It’s actually the same as jealousy – only the positive side of that quality.

But I’m talking about being zealous toward Christ. This is a passionate, consuming zeal that’s focused on the Lord. It drives us toward the accomplishment of His will and the maintaining of His honor.

All of this is done in the face of whatever is happening in the world around us. It doesn’t matter whether we’re in the middle of good or bad circumstances.

Christ must be the focus of our zeal. We need to get emotional about our God. We need to stir it up.

That’s what warriors do before a battle. They would hold council the night before they met the enemy. They’d tell stories of former victories, sing, chant victory slogans, and raise the war cry. All of this was to stir up the emotion of zeal.

In the spiritual struggles we face, there’s no difference in the way we achieve victory. God wants us to put on His zeal before we enter the heat of battle. We must take up this attitude: “I live for the honor of Christ!”

Question: How often do you get emotional about the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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Give Me My Mountain #happynewyear

2014Welcome to 2014!!  There’s no going back – no do-overs.

As we look forward to what’s in store for us, we must keep our minds fixed on the road ahead.  We have a great destiny in the Lord.  Here’s a wonderful quote from an Old Testament saint.

“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert.  So here I am today, eighty-five years old!  I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.  Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day.  You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Joshua 14:10-12

You would think some young soldier spoke these words.  Maybe someone fresh out of boot camp and ready for a battle.  The hill country of Israel is rough terrain, especially when in a war for the possession of it.

But Caleb, the man who spoke up, was 85 years old.  His attitude is remarkable.  He wasn’t content to let someone younger do the work.  He wasn’t one to say, “It’s time for me to sit back and relax.”

On the contrary, Caleb was ready to fight for what was promised to him.

I’m glad that there’s no age limit in the Kingdom of God.  We need to see that we will not be put out to pasture when we reach a certain age.  I want to serve God faithfully with every breath I have.

As someone in their 50’s, I see each new year as a blessing that must not be squandered.  That being said, if you’re younger, then time should be even more precious to you.

Caleb didn’t sit on the couch for 70 years then finally get up ready for a fight.  He was actively walking in the plan of God his whole life.  We need to cultivate the same attitude.

Obtaining the blessings and promises of God require faith, patience and consistency.  Knowing this, we must harden our faith now – so that when we reach our elder years, we’ll continue on spiritually stronger than when we started.

Take the time at the beginning of this new year, to establish the path of your life in the direction God has for you.  Commit your future to the Lord and purpose in your heart to finish the race strong.

We may not know what’s ahead of us in the coming year.  But we do know the God that we serve, and the exciting path He is sure to lead us on.

Have a blessed New Year!!!

Question: What are you trusting God for in this new year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Encouragement, Faith

 

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Are You Positioned for the Anointing? #anointing

OilWhen all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.  And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22

In the past, I have posted about the anointing of God upon our lives.  We receive God’s anointing when we are chosen by God for a specific task.  We’re then anointed to complete it.

What we see from Scripture is that the Spirit follows the anointing.  At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in power.  That was His anointing for ministry.

At the same time there was a voice from heaven (The Father) confirming this calling.  My question is; how did He get to this point?  The answer will help me in my walk with God.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52

Wisdom is the application of what you’ve learned.  Stature speaks of physical growth.  The word favor is the grace of God.  These are very important points for us to learn.

Have you ever thought about it in these terms before?  Jesus had to grow in grace.  But the key word is grew.  That Greek word literally means to drive forward as if by beating.

Jesus was driven to grow in grace and wisdom.  Of course He did have an advantage over us.  He was perfect and He had a photographic memory.  The Lord only had to hear the Scripture once and He remembered it.

The key is that when He heard Scripture He was driven to enter into the grace of it.  This should be the same for us.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:14-15

Paul tells Timothy, a young pastor, to be diligent and give himself totally the callings that were placed upon his life.  Paul explains to Timothy the reason for this.  It literally says, so that your driving forward may be a light to all.

We must drive ourselves to secure the anointing.  To walk in our callings will take drive and determination.  It will not just happen by accident.  It’s a spiritual battle.  But, through the power of God, we will be victorious.

Question: What does it mean to drive yourself forward in grace?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Anointing

 

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