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Memorial Day – Our Assignments from God

FlagcrossWe’re living in troubled times; that’s beyond question. In spite of this, I still believe that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth in which to live. I’m very grateful to God for the privilege I have to live here.

Memorial Day is the day all Americans should reflect upon the price that so many men and women have paid for our freedom. As I think about this, I can see what our role as believers should be.

There are so many complainers who gripe about what’s going on around us. There are Christians pointing fingers and blaming various groups for the problems we face. That’s not the Biblical response that we should take.

When Israel was defeated because for her sin, and went into captivity, Godly Jews were affected. What were they told to do?

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:7

First and foremost, we must pray for our nation. Complaining doesn’t solve anything. All it does is to bring division and more problems.

As a matter of fact, I can’t think of anything that will work effectively in the natural. There has never been a vote that brought about lasting change. There’s no candidate that will turn our nation back to God.

The only solution is for God’s people to get on their knees and pray. Then we’ll see the results that only the Holy Spirit can orchestrate. As believers, we need to be found doing what only we can do – interceding for our country.

As we do our part, God will see that we’re taken care of, no matter what’s happening around us. When these things came upon Israel, they were in the same position. Listen to what God spoke to the faithful.

Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
Isaiah 3:10

There is also a second assignment that we’ve been given from the Lord. It’s an outgrowth of the first. As we spend time in prayer, the Lord will show us His heart. We’ll hear from heaven concerning what we need to do and say.

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”
Ezekiel 3:17

As we spend time in the spirit, we must warn our nation of what lies ahead. I believe that God informs His people about things that will happen in the future. He wants us to be prepared for what’s coming – good or bad.

It’s not the time to sleep or party, spiritually speaking. We must become the laborers in the fields that He’s called us to be.

These are important days in America. We’re placed here by God for this time in history. Don’t let it be said of us that we let the enemy have our nation without a fight.

This Memorial Day, thank God for the service men and women who help protect our freedom. But more than that, take some time to pray for our nation. Seek the Lord’s spiritual healing for America

Question: What can you do to fight the spiritual battle for America’s heart?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Posted by on May 30, 2016 in Encouragement, Prayer, Revival

 

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What is Fellowship?

CrossMost believers have no understanding of what fellowship is all about. I want to take a few posts to talk about it.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:3-7

Our fellowship is in two directions. We have fellowship with God, as well as with other believers. We can’t live a healthy spiritual life without it.

It’s the basis of a joyful ministry and a fulfilled life. It’s how we tap into everything God has for us. Unfortunately, many Christians have no clue what fellowship entails.

The word itself, koinonia in the Greek, means partnership or participation. It comes from a root that means shared or common.

The Bible talks a lot about what we have in common. There’s our common salvation and our common faith. All of us who are in Christ have reached out to God – which is our common faith. We have all received from God – our common salvation.

The fact is, we’re all in this together. We’re all the same at the foot of the cross. But how do we view these things? Am I a part of something that’s much bigger than myself? Or do I view this walk as all about me? These are important questions.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

This verse talks about the attitude of the early church. It tells us the things that they were devoted to. The word devoted literally means to be strong, steadfast toward. These were the things that the New Testament church majored on.

We would probably agree with most of them. Hearing the teaching of the Word of God. Going to church and celebrating the communion service. I don’t think anyone would question the need to pray.

But fellowship; what about that one? Do we really need to be strong and steadfast toward that aspect of our Christian walk?

We are all a part of the body of Christ. Fellowship should be one of our main emphases. Without it our spiritual lives would shrivel up. We need to understand the function of fellowship in the believer’s life.

That’s the basis of this new series.

Question: How do you view fellowship in your spiritual walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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The Spirit and the Bride

 

DoveIn my last post I showed that not all believers are residents of the New Jerusalem, and therefore, are not part of the Bride of Christ. The understanding of all this is found in the characteristics of the Bride.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 22:17

This verse shows us the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Bride of Christ. The first thing I notice is that the Bride is listening to the voice of the Spirit. Do all Christians listen to the Spirit of God? Absolutely not. But the Bride hears the voice of the Holy Spirit.

And more than that, the Bride speaks what the Holy Spirit is speaking. What I find amazing is that there’s no lag time. Their words are totally in sync with each other.

When the Spirit says, “Come,” the Bride is proclaiming the exact same thing. There’s a connection between the Spirit and the Bride.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:18

Let’s talk for a moment about our spiritual birth. We know that we were given birth – born again – by the Word of God. Christ, Himself, is the Living Word. Obviously He’s the Father. But for a birth to occur there has to be a mother. Spiritually speaking, who’s our mother?

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul talks about the difference between self-righteousness and the salvation of God. As he explains this, he makes a surprising statement.

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Galatians 4:26

I’ll try to not be too graphic. We were given birth by the seed of the Word, planted in the Bride. These two must be combined for a birth to take place. The Spirit is calling, “Come!” The Bride is calling, “Come!” We have been given birth by the Holy Spirit and the Word operating through the Bride.

The Bride is made up of the overcomers in Christ. It’s the Bride that’s manifesting the Kingdom of God. That should make it abundantly clear to us that it’s the Bride that’s producing the fruit of the Kingdom. If you’re saved, it’s because the Bride of Christ declared the Word of God to you. That’s how you entered the Kingdom.

Then the choice is up to you. You can join the Bride or remain one of the attendants. But there’s one more characteristic of the Bride that’s important to us.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7

The Bride prepares herself for the wedding day. Why? Because it’s important to her. She wants to give herself to the Groom. She wants to be pleasing to her husband. So she dresses up in the finest clothing available to her.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Revelation 19:8

It’s not her clothing. She could never present herself to her husband dressed in the filthy rags of her own righteousness. This wedding gown had to be given to her. It was a work of God. The bottom line is that even though she was given this treasure – she had to prepare herself by putting it on.

Question: What does it take for the church to make herself ready?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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Bride of Christ – New Jerusalem

BrideA lot of believers talk about being a friend of God. That’s great, but there’s an even deeper walk. The Scripture talks about the Bride of Christ in many places.

I have to warn you. What you’re about to read in the next few posts has been all but lost in some Christian circles. We’ve watered down the teaching of the Bride so that in our generation, it means anyone who’s recited the sinner’s prayer.

We have to be very careful to put our hope in the revealed Word of God, and not some man’s interpretation of it. I believe that what I’m writing is straight from the pages of Scripture. If I’m wrong, then I pray for God to show me my error. But if I’m correct, then there are some areas that the church needs to grow up into.

As I’ve read and meditated on the Bible, there were some scriptures that caused me to question what I believed about the Bride. For instance, when Jesus was asked why His disciples didn’t fast like the disciples of John the Baptist or the Pharisees, He told them this…

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
Matthew 9:15

I found that interesting. The Lord didn’t call the disciples part of the bride at this point. They were merely guests of the Bridegroom.

Another thing to note is how John the Baptist answered when he was asked if he was the Christ. He stated emphatically that he was not the Messiah. Then he continued…

“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.”
John 3:29

John is clear that he’s neither the Groom nor the Bride. Then who exactly is the Bride?

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Revelation 21:9-10

The Apostle John is given a view of the end-times. In it he is shown a picture of the Bride of Christ. When he looks up to see her, he watches as the New Jerusalem descends from Heaven. That’s the Bride – or at least the dwelling place of the Bride.

The Bride of Christ are all those who live in the New Jerusalem. Here’s where we’ve departed from the truth of Scripture. It’s this Holy City that’s described as having streets of gold and pearly gates. Many believers have the idea that this is where everyone who’s saved will live after the resurrection.

In the next few posts I’ll show, from the pages of Scripture, who will live in the New Jerusalem. This will also clarify the truth about the bride of Christ. Please read them with an open heart and mind. Also, know that my heart and motives are pure before God. I only want to see God’s people rise up to their full potential and true destiny in Christ Jesus.

Question: Who do you believe will live in the New Jerusalem?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Return of Christ, Revival, The Church

 

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America Needs the Gospel

FlagcrossIt’s hard to believe, but in reality the United States can no longer be called a Christian nation.  Yes, there are pockets of Christian majorities on various parts of the map, but overall the influence of believers is almost gone.  I believe this is because we have lost sight of the true message of the Gospel.

I was recently reading a post about 5 issues the church will have to deal with over the next ten years.  It was by Ed Stetzer, the President of Lifeway Research.  In it he made some startling statements that I may comment about from time to time.

The issue that caught my attention, was that the church of this generation needs a clear understanding of the Gospel.  It wasn’t many years ago that the flames of renewal and revival were sweeping across many parts of our nation.  How have we fallen so far from the message of Christ?

Where has the Gospel of Jesus Christ gone?  In many churches we are taught how to be “good people.”  There are messages on how to live a great life – overcoming depression and other negative qualities.  It’s almost as if the modern church has become a group emotional-therapy session.

Paul’s words should bring us a much needed wake-up call.

2 Timothy 2:8
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…

We wonder why our impact on society has diminished.  This just might be the key.  The Gospel is not about New Year’s resolutions or turning over a new leaf.  It’s not even about wanting to be a better person, spouse, or parent.

The true message of the Gospel is not about what I do.  It’s all about what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.  He died, was buried, and He rose back to life on the third day.  The Lord accomplished this so that we could receive His life and become a new person in Him.

Anything less than that is not the Gospel.

In his post, Ed Stetzer made a statement that I have turned into a question in order to check myself.  As a pastor, I’m responsible for the message received by the people under my care.  I’m going to be accountable for what I preach to them each week.

The question I must ask myself is this: Would the message I’m preaching still be true if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross?  If so, then I’m not proclaiming the Gospel.  It might be good and helpful to the listener, but it isn’t the Good News of the Bible.  The Gospel is life-changing.

The church in America needs to return to the true Gospel message.

Question: How do you perceive a need for the Gospel in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Revival, The Church, The Gospel

 

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Do You Know the Two Anointings of Music?

Did you know that the Bible speaks about how we should aim our singing?  There are two goals we should direct our music toward.

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Psalms 96:1-2

The first should be pretty obvious.

Our music can be directed toward God in the praise of His glory.  This is an important part of our relationship with the Lord.  Singing His praises transports us into His presence.

I get so upset when believers view the praise and worship time as merely the “warm-up act” for the pastor’s preaching.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As we sing praise and thanksgiving to God, we are brought into a deeper spiritual place.  We become more open to the move of the Holy Spirit.

Praising God in song is an important part of a spiritual walk.

The second aim of music may surprise some of you.

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…
Ephesians 5:19

Our music can be directed toward each other.  There are many people (and I used to be one of them) that dislike the use of songs that are not directed toward God.  This verse clearly shows the necessity of both types of music.

There are times when we need to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another.  Why is that so important?

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16

It’s through music that the Word of Christ can live richly in you.  Singing music that’s directed at each other is a form of teaching and admonishing.  As we sing, we learn.

This is an incredible truth.  When my children were small, they learned all the states and their capitals because they were put to music. How much more important is it to get the Word into our hearts?

Through music, the Word of Christ can enter our lives and stay with us.  That’s why I’m so adamant about not singing songs that contain bad doctrine.  Too many Christians believe error because they learned it in their music.

We give praise to our God.  We teach and admonish each other.  Both of these can and should be done through the music of God’s people.

Question: Is there a song that opened up your eyes to a spiritual truth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Encouragement, Music, The Church, Word of God

 

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