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Are you a Transient Christian?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn my last post I talked about the differences between the power of the law and the power of the Holy Spirit.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

There’s another big difference between the law and the Spirit.  When you walk by the Spirit, you are totally dependant upon the Spirit.  The law, on the other hand, allows you to be self-sufficient.  All through Scripture we see this truth.  If we are to minister for Him, then we must work in His strength.  There is no other way to operate in the Spirit of God

The law gives you the appearance of self-sufficiency.  That is, until the batteries die.  That’s why it’s so hard to reach people in legalistic churches.  They know what they’ve done to keep the law – to live right.  They know the effort they’ve put forward.

“I’m okay because I’ve served God faithfully for forty long years.”

That brings us to the final difference that I want to cover.  It’s actually the same as the last one, but from a little different perspective.  To understand this we could look at the whole of the Gospel of John, chapter 15.  Instead, I’ll only look at a few verses that emphasize the point I’m trying to make.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:7-8

REMAIN IN CHRIST!  That’s the crux of the whole matter.  In order to be entrusted with the power of God, we must remain in the Spirit of Christ.  This is what trips most of us up.  We don’t want to remain.

The law is a little more lenient, it allows you to be transient.  What’s transient?  Now there’s a word you don’t hear very often, but it describes the situation exactly.  Let me explain it to you.

My parents used to have a summer home in the state of Maine.  It was in a trailer park in the woods.  We used to have a lot of fun going up there each year.

My parents spent most of the summer and fall there.  They knew all of their neighbors and had a wonderful time living there.  While my family and I visited, we heard about another section of the park, with a different sort of people.  That was the “transient section.”

The transient section of the park was reserved for those who would come for only a week and then leave to go somewhere else.  They didn’t remain there permanently, as my parents did.  Instead, they wanted to come and go as they saw fit.  This seems to be a problem of epidemic proportions in the body of Christ today.

We don’t want to remain in the Spirit.  We want the freedom do what we want and have the blessing of God on our lives.

According to Christ, it is as we remain in Him that we enter the place of power.

Question: Why does remaining in Christ sound so difficult to this generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Power of God

 

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Are you Asking the Right Questions?

Question MarkWe live in an age of hero worship.  It seems that people are more inclined to follow those with the most glitz and showmanship.  It has, unfortunately, carried over into the body of Christ.

When it comes to the teachings we accept, how do we decide who to listen to?  We need to be asking the right questions.  This was something that was clearly portrayed in the ministry of Christ.

The following is taken from the Scriptural passage found in the Gospel of Luke 4:16-40.  You will want to read that first to understand what I share in this post.

In that section of Scripture, Jesus preaches at two different synagogues.  One was in His hometown of Nazareth, and the other in Capernaum.  In both cases He preached the same message.  Knowing that it was the Lord, I am assuming that both messages had the same level of anointing.

In spite of these similarities, only one of the towns, Capernaum, received a blessing out of the visit.  It is clear to see from the narrative, that the reason was the questions that they asked themselves as Jesus was ministering.

This is important to us because we are guilty of the same type of attitudes that these people had.  I believe that we have missed out on countless blessings because our attitudes got in the way.  What makes the difference?

Verse 22 shows the question the people of Nazareth were asking.  It demonstrates what they were focusing on.

They spoke well of Him.  They were amazed at the words from His lips.

“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

They were concentrating on who was speaking – was He all that they were expecting?

Capernaum was a different case altogether.  Verse 32 and 36 make it clear that they were amazed at His teaching.  They recognized that His Word had power and authority.  Who He was and what He looked like didn’t figure into their acceptance of the Word.

As a result, revival fell in Capernaum that day.  Demons were cast out and all the sick that lived in that area were healed (Verse 33-40).

We need to learn this lesson.  Sometimes the biggest show has the least anointing.  On the other hand – there are times God wants to perform great miracles through His “unknown servants”.

We need to be asking, “What is the anointing, authority, and power upon this Word.”  How big a following someone has shouldn’t figure into it.  It’s all about the spirit behind the message, not the person God is using.

If we keep this in mind, then we’ll find the blessing of God in some of the most unlikely places.  We will also open ourselves up to the miraculous.

Question:  Have you ever received a blessing from God’s unknown servants?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Revival, The Church, Word of God

 

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The Importance of a Word from God

ChristIn my last post I talked about how Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (and us) for using the Scripture superstitiously.  In effect, Jesus told them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess healing.  Yet you refuse to come to Me, the Healer.”

The Lord could say the same thing to us, these days.  “You think that by Scripture you will possess prosperity, yet you refuse to come to Me, the Provider.”

Please understand what I’m saying.  The Holy Spirit can speak a Word of healing to me through the Scripture, but He’s not limited to this avenue.  All that I need for life and godliness is found in Christ.

I will never obtain God’s blessing through my works – not even through intensive study and memorizing of the Bible.  Healing will come by the Word of God – no matter how God chooses to send it to me.

We need to hear a Word from God.  That Word will only come from time spent in His presence.  When I study the Bible instead of cultivating intimacy with the Lord, I’m going to lose out.  That’s the very problem that the Pharisees had.

…and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior…
Titus 1:3

In this passage, Paul tells Titus that the Word of God is made visible by the command of God.  It is God’s Word made manifest in God’s time.  That’s why time spent with the Lord is so important.  I need to be quiet and listening to hear His voice.  Hearing from God is actually the greatest theme of the New Testament.  It’s the foundation for everything we need in our walk with God.

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

This is one of the greatest misunderstandings that we have in looking back to the early church.  We think that they were just like us.  On the contrary, they knew the importance of seeking a Word from God.  They spent time in His presence listening for His voice.

What I’m saying is this – the study of Scripture and hearing from God are not replacements for each other.  We need both, in order to have an abundant life in the Lord.  In our generation, the study of Scripture has been elevated out of proportion to listening for God’s voice.  That’s why my message is so strong for the church to spend time listening to God.

Question: Have you ever been guilty of seeking blessings from Scripture rather than Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2013 in Revival, Word of God

 

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Guidance for the New Year

20132012 is over.  We’re now in new territory!  What does this new year hold for us?  There is a way to safely navigate the unknown that lies before us.

Society is taking a dim view of the future.  With talk of fiscal cliffs and higher taxes, many are worried.  There are those who fear an increase in violence and unpredictable weather patterns.  Where can we turn to for answers?  The same place the truth has always been…

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

Our God didn’t get stuck in 2012!  He is with us today.  He knows all about the latest technology – before it’s even invented.  He is well able to bring though to a victorious new year.

It’s a blessing to know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. According to this verse,  He’s the Guide that never fails.  He can find water in the driest desert.  He gives strength in the time of trouble.  If we rely on Him, we will be just like a spring whose source never fails.

Many times people look at us and wonder what’s the secret of our strength.  There seems to be nothing special about us.  On the outside we’re as weak and mortal as everyone else.

What they don’t know is that our strength comes from far below the surface – deep within – where we have tapped into the presence of an Almighty God.  This is the secret to the abundant life.  We must learn to remain in the presence of the Lord.

Because of the hand of God upon our lives, we seem to have an ability to move forward in ways that others cannot comprehend.  This only happens when we take a spiritual drink from the springs of living water that come directly from the Lord.  This is the road to victorious living.

Spend time with your Guide today.  Let Him empower you for the year ahead.  Become that “well-watered garden” in His presence.  That is the only way to assure an outcome of fulfillment and joy throughout 2013.

I pray God’s richest blessing upon you in the coming year!

© Nicolas Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Encouragement, Faith

 

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The Transforming Power of Music

In my last post I started talking about music as a spiritual force.  Did you know that music has the power to transform your life?  It can lift you up, or bring you to your knees.

The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy was Moses’ last exhortation to Israel before he died.  In it he made some very interesting comments as he was led along by the Holy Spirit.

It also includes what happened in the last few days of his life.  As he was nearing the end, he had a very interesting encounter with God.

At that point, the Lord summoned Moses and Joshua (his second in command) to the tent of meeting.  They were to appear before the presence of God for some instructions.  Joshua was to be commissioned to lead Israel after Moses was gone.  This is all found in Deuteronomy, chapter 31.

When they came to the tent God spoke to them out of a pillar of cloud.  He told Moses of his soon departure.  Then the Lord spoke of the future of Israel.  He said that very soon after Moses was gone, the Israelites would begin to worship some of the gods of the peoples around them.

Because of their condition, they would lose the blessing of God upon their nation and face many devastating hardships.  This must have been frustrating news to Moses, knowing that he was about to leave and could do nothing about it – or could he?

God gave Moses a special instruction that would bring the people back to repentance.

“Now write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it, so that it may be a witness for me against them.”
Deuteronomy 31:19

What can a song do to help?

And when many disasters and difficulties come upon them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants.
Deuteronomy 31:21a

The Hebrew phrase, testify against them, literally means to announce in their face.  God would use this song to bring conviction and repentance upon the nation of Israel.  God knew that the only way to turn a backslidden nation around was to transport them back to a time when they were under His blessing.

That’s what the force of music can accomplish.  There are times when I’m in the mall and suddenly I’m transformed into a teenager on summer vacation – because that’s when I first heard the song.  If that’s what a secular song can do, just think what godly music, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit can do.

Spiritual songs have the power to hit the “reset button” in our lives.  That’s why we should surround ourselves with the music of worship and praise.

Question: Has God ever used a song to bring you to repentance?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Music, Power of God, The Church

 

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