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Tag Archives: direction

The Place of Clarity

Many people ask how they can get direction and insight from God.  The fact is that God always wants to speak to us; we just need to be in the position of hearing Him.  As we continue in Mark’s Gospel, we’ll see how Jesus heard from the Father.

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Mark 6:45-46

As I read the Gospels, I find that Jesus loved the mountains.  He went there often to seek solitude and to pray.  I don’t think that the disciples ever realized the importance of this part of the Lord’s ministry until after the resurrection.

There were many times where the best thing for Him to do was to dismiss the crowds and to send away His disciples in order to be alone with the Father.  This was one of those times.  He had just ministered to thousands of people.  That can be very draining no matter who you are.

When the Lord took on flesh and blood, He chose to live as one of us.  Because of this, Jesus was bound by the same physical limitations that we are.  He learned that you can’t just keep giving out to others.  You must also take something in that can recharge your own spiritual batteries.

It was in these mountains of prayer that Jesus was able to renew His Spirit.  He would seek the Father’s face and by the Spirit, hear the plan for the road ahead.  In that way, He could fulfill the work He was called to do without burning Himself out doing it.

How do I know that the Lord would hear from God in this way?  Scripture makes it clear.

When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.  He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
Mark 6:47-48a

I think that we miss the importance of this verse sometimes.  This was a direct communication between the Lord and the Father.

It had gotten dark.  The disciples were a couple of miles away, in a storm, and it was night time.  Yet the Bible clearly says that Jesus saw the disciples straining at the oars.  If it were daylight, He might have seen a tiny dot out on the lake.

This was obviously something shown to Him in the Spirit.  That’s what happens in the place of solitude and prayer in the spirit.

What most people don’t understand about this is that being alone in the presence of God is the mountain of clarity in the spirit.  As a matter of fact, if you read through Scripture, the defining characteristic of mountaintop experiences is clarity of vision.

Jesus had to climb to get there.  It involved work.  It’s the same for us.  It’s not easy setting aside a regular time to seek the Father.  But the rewards are a clear view of the Lord’s plan for our lives.

That needs to be a lesson for us.  If Jesus needed this time with the Father, how much more should we be seeking the presence of the Lord in our daily lives?  Take the time necessary today to renew and refresh yourself in the presence of the Lord.  You’ll be glad you did.

Question: What’s the last thing God showed you when you spent time in His presence?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Start By Seeking the Lord

FinishThe beginning of the year is a good time to seek direction from the Lord. Because of that, I’m setting aside this week for personal fasting and prayer. Fasting should be a normal part of your Christian experience.

Scripture tells about some people who were working in a church in Antioch. They were involved in teaching and helping out for years. They also understood the truth about fasting and prayer. I’m going to be talking about it for a few posts.

In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
Acts 13:1

Because he’s listed first, we see that Barnabas was the one in charge of this ministry. Last on the list was a guy named Saul. He had his 5 minutes of fame while he was persecuting the church. Now he’s pretty much forgotten.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Acts 13:2-3

In the middle of their meeting they heard from God. That made all the difference. According to Scripture, they were performing public service to God and fasting.

Throughout the day a few different people heard the same thing from God. Separate Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them.

We have to come to grips with the fact that fasting prepares you to hear from God. The truth is that God always desires to bring you from glory to glory. He wants to cause growth in your life and ministry.

The more you hear from the Lord, the more specific your calling becomes. The path you’re walking becomes more and more narrow.

During His time on earth, Jesus talked about asking, seeking and knocking. He said that if you knock, the door will be opened for you. What door was He talking about? He went on to say…

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14

I don’t believe that He’s talking about salvation here. This verse is about asking the Father for direction and wisdom.

There’s an easy way that leads to loss and ruin. Many people – Christians included – are running after the temporary. But there is another way that’s easier to miss. You have to seek and ask just to find the gate.

Then you have to knock, keep on knocking, and push through. Very few even find it. That’s because they don’t want to seek and ask. But Barnabas and Saul were seeking. They were prepared to hear.

This is the gate of fasting and prayer. I invite you to come on in and see what the Lord has for you this year.

Question: How important to your Christian walk is fasting and prayer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Fasting, Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk

 

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Having Vision Means Change is Ahead

SpotlightI’m posting about entering this New Year with vision. It comes from spending time in the Lord’s presence. Then, having heard from the Holy Spirit, you begin to see what could be – what should be – what must be.

Vision is the destination. It’s where God is bringing you. But it comes with responsibility.

As soon as you see your destination, this vision requires movement and direction.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3

We are probably all familiar with this verse of Scripture. Many times in the past I’ve posted about the need to write down what God speaks to you. This brings clarity of purpose.

When you have spiritual vision, you can move forward more quickly. Those two words I mentioned – movement and direction – speak of CHANGE. That’s what usually scares us.

In Ezekiel’s day there was a proverb among the people.

“Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: ‘The days go by and every vision comes to nothing’?
Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.’ Say to them, ‘The days are near when every vision will be fulfilled.’”
Ezekiel 12:22-23

The problem is; if you don’t move forward with God’s plan, then nothing happens. God doesn’t do anything without a channel. By seeing where God wants to bring you, it should motivate you.

It should be our desire to move forward in the Lord’s grace. So we spend quality time hearing His voice to the church. Then, we set our course to accomplish what we’ve already seen. That’s how Jesus operated.

It should be our goal for 2016, to do whatever it takes to bring about God’s plan for our lives.

Question: What do you know that the Lord wants to do through you this year?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Change Where it Counts

PowerlessI’m taking a few posts to approach the subject of personal revival.  We’re using the example of David in Psalm 51 as our guide.  So far we’ve seen that we need to examine ourselves, and go to God for His forgiveness and cleansing.  But the work doesn’t stop there.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12

According to Scripture, it isn’t enough just to wipe the slate clean.  Especially if you head right back into the pigpen.  What we need is to change our direction.  In order to do this, the renewal must take place on the inside.

All my wants and desires spring from my heart.  That’s where the purifying work of the Lord needs to access.  I must allow Him to make my heart pure – that His desires would become my desires.  That’s the only way to achieve lasting changes.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalms 37:4

I’ve heard people comment on this verse.  They said that whatever you desire, the Lord will give you.  That’s not what the Psalmist is trying to convey to us.

What he’s saying is that if you delight in God – if you take pleasure in Him – then He will place the desires into your heart that line up with His.  I want to desire the same things that God desires.  So I let Him do the work in my heart.

There’s another work that must be done as well.  I need to feed my spirit on the Word of God.  Only when my inner man is healthy and strong can I maintain the purifying work of God in my life.  My spirit is the greatest ally I have against the flesh.  It’s with my spirit that I can access the Holy Spirit and the power of the Lord.

Always remember that God loves us with an everlasting love.  He’ll never leave or forsake us.  If we want His cleansing process in our lives, then He’ll be there to do the work.  After all, He’s the only one with the ability to totally change our lives.

Let Him do that work in you today.  Give the Lord free reign to rearrange your life and priorities.  Let Him give you new purpose and direction.  Say “yes” to the life changing power of the Holy Spirit.

Question: How do I open my heart for God to place His desires in me?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Power of God, Revival, Word of God

 

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Hearers and Doers of What?

Letter“Don’t just be a hearer, be a doer.” I’ve heard that exhortation many times, and in many situations. What does it really mean? It was first spoken by a pastor hundreds of years ago.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
James 1:22-24

James was the Pastor of the church in Jerusalem at the very start of the church age. Hundreds of people were being saved every week and the body of Christ was growing at an incredible rate.

I believe that he wrote this book as a sort of handbook for new believers. It was something they could continue to refer to as their walk with Christ matured.

I also believe that this was the first New Testament document to have been written. Before any of the Gospels or the letters of Paul, we have the book of James. But that’s where my questions begin. What does he mean by the term Word of God?

Over time, we’ve come to assume that when the Bible says Word of God, it’s talking about itself. Is that a correct assumption? After all, the New Testament wasn’t written yet.

On top of that, the normal believer of that day had no access to the Old Testament. It wasn’t until the invention of the printing press that the Bible became available to the average Christian. This brings me to my original question – hearers and doers of what?

The answer to this is also the destiny God has for His people right now. I’m talking about hearing a Word from God Himself. The early church had no other choice for knowing what to do. They had to seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

The key here is the word listen. James isn’t talking about reading the Bible. He’s assuming that God’s people are spending time in the Lord’s presence listening to Him. The word he uses is actually an intense form of listening – giving your total attention to the one speaking.

One of our biggest problems in this generation is that we’re not even listeners yet. James is not talking about listening to a great sermon and then trying to be a good person. He’s looking for someone to deepen their relationship with the Father.

We can’t be a doer of God’s Word until we actually spend some time listening to the Holy Spirit. The Lord has so much He wants to share with us. There’s a great deal we need to hear if we would just take the time in His presence.

This is the lesson that the modern church needs to learn. God wants to speak to us. He wants us to hear a Word from His Spirit. Then we can walk in it and know that we will see God’s hand at work in us and in those around us.

We need to spend time listening – then doing.

Question: What would the church look like if we truly listened to God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Revival, Word of God

 

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Effective Leadership = Clear Vision

transportIn my last post I talked about the need for leaders to have God’s vision for their ministries. This is not just a game we’re playing. It’s the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It can’t be broken down into rules and formulas. Eighty percent of it is relationship. We must be able to communicate and hear from Christ, the Head. Good leadership means hearing from God, and knowing the direction to be heading into.

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

When the leader has no vision, no clear revelation from God, then there’s no clear direction in which the church should travel. At that point it becomes “every man for himself.” There’s no force holding the church together as a unit. There’s no goal ordering the people to march together in one direction.

When there’s a clear plan from God, the people are restrained from running off in all directions. Your resources can be targeted at the specific task ahead.

That’s where the spirit of excellence is born; in the realm of vision. Vision, knowing God’s strategy for your life and your ministry, is the deciding factor in whether or not you walk in excellence. Most of the ministries that are a part of the “normal pack” are just going by trial and error, hoping that someday they’ll stumble over the secret to success.

They look around for a ministry that’s growing and try to incorporate those methods into their own schedule. Most of the time, it simply turns the ministry into a conglomeration of disjointed programs with no clear goal in view. Personally, I would much rather know the direction of success before I start out.

Once I know God’s plan for my ministry, then I can see where my personal life vision fits into it. The Holy Spirit will see to it that the vision of the local church will be completed in the sum total of each individual vision of the members. Excellence must work on both levels.

Without knowing the overriding vision of the church, there’s no clear direction. But the church is the people. Without a people who know their personal vision, then the church can never move forward into the excellence God has prepared for it. Vision is required on both the corporate and individual level.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3

Vision is something that must be plain and clear. It can’t be so general that no one understands how he or she fits into it. Some will say, “The vision of our church is to win the lost.” That’s great, but how do you intend to do that?

Is there a specific group of “lost people” that you’re called to win? What are you going to do with these lost people once they’re found? The vision needs to be clear and specific. It needs to be personally tailored for your life and ministry. It needs to show what makes you unique and different from everyone else who’s serving the Lord.

This is important because it’s only after you have a clear vision from God that you can focus your efforts. You won’t be distracted by other activities which are good, yet don’t bring about God’s plan in your life.

Questions: Do you know God’s vision for your life? What is it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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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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