RSS

Tag Archives: deception

Are You Wandering?

The last exhortation from the book of James is very important. He deals with an issue that’s prevalent in our generation. It’s about those who wander from the truth.

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20

James is dealing with a number of issues in this passage. The first is the fact that a Christian can wander from the truth. The word, wander means to roam or rove around.

In the natural, wandering takes place when we get distracted by something. When I’ve gone hiking, there have been times when I’ve gotten distracted and missed a turn in the trail. A couple of times I had to do a fair amount of backtracking before I got to where I should have been.

That’s why this Greek word can also mean deception.   Deceit is when I knowingly try to distract you from the truth. The question is; how does this wandering manifest itself in a spiritual setting?

One day, Jesus explained this very concept to the Sadducees, who were trying to prove to the Lord that there would be no resurrection.

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
Matthew 22:29

The word, error, in this verse is the same word wander that James used. Jesus was telling these priests that they had wandered from the truth because of two problems. They’re the same two things that cause modern believers to miss out on God’s best.

The first, was not knowing the Scriptures. This was an interesting thing to say to the Sadducees, since they had huge portions of Scripture memorized. They had to know all the books of Moses by heart just to qualify for the priesthood.

The problem was that they only knew about the Scripture. The word that Jesus used was a knowing by experience. These priests knew what the Bible said, they just didn’t want to apply it to their lives. Without the application of Scripture, we’re merely wandering around hoping to stumble upon God’s best for us.

The second thing that causes us to wander is not knowing the power of God. That’s probably the greatest hindrance in our generation. In many church circles we’re relying upon secular corporate models or clever programming to grow our churches.

In many cases, if the Holy Spirit showed up on Sunday morning, we wouldn’t know what to do with Him. In some churches He’d be escorted out the door, in others He’d be told to sit quietly in the corner. The last thing they want is to see the power of God active in their services.

I believe that the goal of God’s people is to see, and experience the power of God actively in their lives. In my opinion, that’s what the world needs to see. More than structures or programs, it’s the power of God that will bring them to repentance and salvation.

I want to see a new move of God in my generation. But for that to happen, we need to stop being distracted by the world around us. In other words, we need to stop wandering from the truth.

By focusing on experiencing the truth of Scripture and experiencing the presence of God we can once again see the Lord’s best manifest in us. As a result, there will be a great harvest of souls when they see the hand of God actively working in our lives.

Question: How much time do you spend actively applying Scripture to your life and seeking God’s presence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Last Days – Don’t Do These Things

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’m taking a few posts to look at what our attitude should be like in the last days. Specifically, we’re dealing with the principles given to us by Jesus in Luke chapter 21.

First, I want to talk about three things that the Lord told us NOT to do.

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”
Luke 21:8

His first command to us is, don’t follow them. We are to ignore those who claim, “I am he.” We should already know that one. Jesus said that at His coming every eye would see Him. It will not be a private return. In spite of this warning, many have come claiming to be another incarnation of Christ.

The second statement that the Lord made was a little more subtle. He said not to follow those who come in His name claiming, “The time is near.”

Please understand, I believe that the coming of the Lord is near. The difference is that this is only a small part of my message. Christ is talking about those whose whole focus is on the soon coming of the Lord and the signs surrounding it.

Remember what I told you in my last post. In Scripture, the Second Coming is never the main focus – it’s always the reason for living correctly. You have to be very careful when you see a whole ministry based upon “the time is near.”

“When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”
Luke 21:9

The next thing Jesus tells us is don’t be frightened. You’re going to hear various bad reports. The world may be full of problems, but one thing remains true through the ages; Christ is still on the throne.

No matter what’s happening around us, Christians should never fear the future. The Holy Spirit is always with us. He leads and guides us. More than that, we know that He gives us the grace to stand strong in spite of the current situations.

Many people are predicting catastrophe for the United States. We don’t know what the future holds for our country. But I know the answer – Jesus Christ is Lord.

“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”
Luke 21:12-14

The Lord’s final general statement is; do not worry…how you will defend yourselves.

“What if it becomes illegal to be a Christian?”

It’s happened before and God brought His people through victoriously. In the Book of Acts Paul was headed to Jerusalem. Churches were telling him not to go because of prophecies that spoke of his arrest. He said he was not only willing to be arrested, but to die for Christ.

The key is that if you’re called to go through persecution or martyrdom, then you’ll receive the grace to stand firm. So – don’t worry about it now – the Lord will give you what you need when you need it.

Question: What is the result of following these commands the Lord gave us?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Return of Christ

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The End-Time Deception

103_A_BonusPhotoWhat did Jesus teach His disciples about the end-times and His return? That’s the subject of this series of posts. I’m dealing with Christ’s teaching in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13.

When we finish this section of Scripture, there will be no doubt as to what Jesus taught about His return. This will be interesting to see because at this point, most American Christians believe that the saints will be resurrected seven years before Christ reveals Himself to the world.

I made up my mind to believe Jesus no matter what He reveals, which should be your attitude as well. If you’re prepared to believe Jesus over anything that man might say, then read on!

The first thing that Jesus does is to give the disciples the short version.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in may name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”
Matthew 24:4-5

The initial warning that Jesus gives us is about deceivers. The word deceiver in the Greek literally means those who cause others to leave the path. People will come who make it their goal to remove you from the path of following Christ wholeheartedly. Their methods may vary from time to time and from place to place, but the outcome is the same.

These imitations claim to be the anointed one, which is what Christ means in Greek. They want to convince you that they have the lock on God’s power or His anointing. Many Christians are all too willing to follow these signs from revival to camp meeting to healing service. They never seem to want to settle down under godly teaching.

Please realize that I’m not knocking the revival meeting. I love being a part of the move of God. What I’m saying is that every believer must be plugged-in to a local church body where they’re constantly being fed from God’s Word.

If not, they’ll end up remaining a baby Christian their whole life. Of course, some prefer it that way since they never have to take on the responsibility of ministry. Then, they can just go from place to place getting fed their spiritual bottle.

If deception is a big part of living in the Last-Days, then how do we guard ourselves?

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13

It’s through the mutual encouragement of the body of believers that we keep from being deceived. That’s one of the benefits of being connected to a local church.

But wait! The writer of Hebrews also said…

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:25

This verse explains why there is such deception in the Last Days. Believers will be attending church less and less frequently. One of the reasons I feel we’re close to Christ’s Return is because this is an epidemic in the body of Christ right now.

Don’t open yourself to the deceptions of this age. Be an active part of a local body of believers.

Question: Why is church attendance by Christians in such decline in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s a Lie: “I Can’t Change.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you made any New Year’s Resolutions?  Are they still going or have you given up on them?

I recently read a book called Changeology by John Norcross, PhD.  He talked about some myths we’ve bought into about change.  I’ve noticed them in the lives of many believers, so I’m adapting them for this blog.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

As Christians, our faith is in Christ as the agent of change, making us more like Him.  We can’t afford to buy into the lie that change is beyond our grasp.  Have you listened to the enemy’s deception in this area?

1. “I can’t change on my own.”  This one is partly true.  If you take God out of the equation, then change is a lot tougher.  But the simple fact is that you have to start the ball rolling.  It all begins with your decision to change, then God has your permission to act on your behalf.

2. “I can only make insignificant changes.”  The deception in this is that no change is ever insignificant.  Sometimes the smallest change has the greatest effect.  On the side of a mountain, the smallest gust of wind can start a huge avalanche. If God can change something small in your life, then you can trust Him for something greater.

3. “I don’t have enough willpower to change.”  It’s not about willpower, it’s about faith.  Willpower places trust in yourself to do the work.  You need to put your expectation in the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.  The simple fact is that your flesh will never change itself.  Time in God’s presence is the most effective means to see God’s hand upon your life.

4. “I can’t change who I am.”  The Scripture above exposes this fallacy.  In Christ, your past never determines your future.  Personality, family traits, and even bad habits are not outside the power of God.  The Lord can heal hurts and bitterness of the past.  You need to open your heart to the Great Physician to do the work that only He can do.

5. “I’ve tried to change in the past and failed at it.”  The Bible is clear that we might experience failure in our lives.  The key is to not wallow in it.  You may fall, but keep getting up.  Perseverance is the key to victory.  One great success will wipe out all the sadness of past mistakes.  Let God strengthen your heart for the path ahead.

Maybe you have fallen victim to one of these insidious attitudes.  If so, then it’s time to lay them down and choose the path to your destiny in Christ.  Decide today to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power.  Let Him work with you as you walk step by step to your high calling in the Lord.

Questions: What do you want to change in your life?  How can you allow God to be a part of this process?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Faith, Power of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have You been Bought Off?

PeopleWe call Satan “the enemy.”  But in many cases, it looks like regular church people have accepted payment from him to ignore the work of God.  Are you one of these individuals?

God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
Romans 1:9-10

In this verse, the word serve literally means to serve as a hired menial.  So Paul is saying that he considers himself hired by God for a purpose.  He understands that there’s a payment, a reward that he will receive from God for a job well done.

How do we handle this?  In our modern American culture there’s not a lot of job loyalty anymore.  People are constantly keeping their resumes tuned up in case a better position opens up in another company.  It’s unfortunate, but this same mindset has spilled over into the church.

Satan tries to capitalize on this thinking.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Matthew 4:8-10

In this verse we see Satan trying to give Christ a better offer.  It was promised that the Messiah would one day rule over all the kingdoms of the world.  But by God’s way, the Lord would have to suffer and die in agony to receive it.

Satan is giving Christ the chance to bypass all the pain.  By a simple act of devotion, He could receive the reward without the pain of the cross.  I’m so glad that Jesus saw through the deception, and carried out God’s plan as it was meant to be done.

Satan tries to buy us off all the time.  He holds out to us all the pleasures, entertainments, and activities of the world.  He tells us to just play with these toys for a little while.

“They’re not sinful, and nobody will be hurt by them.”

But there’s a price that’s being paid.  The work of the kingdom is being ignored by a large segment of believers.  There are souls not being saved, prisoners not being set free, and lives not being healed.  There’s a calling that only you can fulfill.

If you’re looking for a better offer, Satan will give it to you; he just won’t follow through with it.  It’s time for the church of Christ to rise to its feet.  We must throw off the distractions of the world and complete the assignments that we were call to do.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
Hebrews 12:28

Our wages from the Lord are well worth what we are called to do.  We are hired by God for a purpose.  Let’s give all and do great things for God!

Questions: How has the enemy tried to buy your time?  How have you answered his offer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Ministry, The Church

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Last-Days Deception

103_A_BonusPhotoThis post is the last in a series about our relationship to the Word of God.

The Book of Revelation mentions synagogues of Satan (Revelation 2:9).  These are places where the teaching of Scripture was done by satanic influence.  I need the Holy Spirit to help me interpret the Bible.  Yet, there are those who listen to the demon’s view of it.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Timothy 4:1

There are those who teach the Bible, but not the Word of God.  This is a great deception.  Of course no one would listen if a minister got up and said, “Satan says to do this.”  But if he reads a Scripture verse and puts a demonic twist to it, the church seems to fall for it most of the time.

Just because someone quotes Scripture doesn’t mean that what they’re preaching is of God.  I need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to protect me from false teaching.  How can I tell the difference between Satan’s teaching, man’s teaching, and the true Word of God?

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

This verse literally says that the Lord was a co-worker with them.  They did their work – proclaiming the Word of God.  God did His part – confirming the Word that was proclaimed.  Miracles were commonplace.  As the disciples went out, the Word of God spread, and there were signs and wonders everywhere they went.

When Satan quoted the Bible to Jesus (Luke 3:9-11), he used it to try and convince the Lord to jump off the highest point of the Temple.  If Jesus had jumped, would God the Father have confirmed that “word”?  Of course not.

Just because I quote the Bible, it doesn’t put God under any obligation to confirm it.  Even if I’m preaching from a text on healing, there’s no confirmation unless it’s a Word God wants preached at that moment.

There are questions I need to ask myself.  Is God working with me?  Am I proclaiming the Word of God for these people?  If the answer to both of these is “yes”, then I can expect a move of God.

We may not like it, but the truth is plain and simple.  If there are no signs following, then it wasn’t the Word of God that was preached.

When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
Acts 8:6

Scripture is very clear as to relationship between the preaching of the Word, and the response of the hearers.  When the Word of God is confirmed, there is a supernatural manifestation that draws people’s attention.

America needs a revival of hearing the Word of God.  It will only come from those who have received and planted the Word into their lives.

Questions: How hungry are you for a revival to sweep our nation?  Are you willing to seek God for it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Revival, The Church, Word of God

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,