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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

 

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Look at Me when I’m Speaking to You

BeamI live in the Boston area. Maybe you’ve heard what our weather’s been like lately. Last week we had two feet of snow and now they’re calling for another foot this week.

Needless to say, I’m ready for spring. I love to go out into the woods to hike and pray. It’s a great way to meet with the Lord.

Did you know that this was a large part of Jesus’ ministry?

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4:42-44

Very frequently Jesus went off alone into the wilderness. Usually He would go to pray and to meditate on the Word while seeking the Father’s will for the days ahead. Many times He wouldn’t even tell anyone where He was going. This caused the people and especially His disciples to become annoyed on more than one occasion.

Most people don’t understand the power of solitude with the Lord. When you’re alone in God’s presence, you can see the way ahead more clearly. This is because there are less distractions around you.

I’ve been driving in the car with friends and talked with them the whole way to where we were going. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that those conversations aren’t very deep. I can talk and keep my eyes on the road if I don’t have to think very hard.

Intimate conversation, on the other hand, is very different. If what I’m saying is important, then I want you to make eye contact with me. I want to know that you’re giving me your full attention.

It’s the same with the Holy Spirit. We can pray and praise the Lord no matter what we’re doing throughout the day. That’s fine and it keeps our minds focused on Him.

But there comes a time when we need to enter a more intimate time with Christ – worship. This requires an undistracted heart. I’ve found that the outdoors provides just such an experience. It allows me to “make eye contact” with the Lord.

From the example of Christ, we see that walking in the Spirit is a lot more efficient than the trial and error method many Christians use.

“I’ll try going forward; if the door closes I’ll try another direction.”

When you spend quality time with the Lord seeking His will for your life, you don’t have to waste your time on all these dead end paths that lead nowhere. Jesus knew where He was going before He was surrounded by the crowd. Then they couldn’t sway Him from His path by their persuasive arguments. It’s that level of guidance you should be seeking from God.

If you’ve never tried it, spend some time with the Holy Spirit in the outdoors. Of course, you may have to wait until the weather breaks. Unless you’re like me and can’t wait. (I have a good pair of snowshoes!)

Find a nice solitary place that you can come undistracted into the Lord’s presence. You won’t be disappointed.

Question: Where do you go to seek God with no distractions?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Prayer, Times in the Wilderness, Worship

 

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How to Live in Dangerous Times

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIn my last post I said that we are in spiritually dangerous times. How do we live in light of this? Christ gave an important exhortation. In talking about the last days, Jesus said…

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.”
Luke 21:34-35

His first words are, “Be careful.”

“Pay close attention to what you are doing.”

That sounds like good advice to a rock climber. The words that Jesus used literally mean hangovers, intoxication, and distractions of this life.

So many believers are caught up in what the world have going on. Others are distracted watching what the world is doing. These things can knock you out of the race, in spiritually dangerous times.

You would never think of climbing in this condition. Yet, right now, there are believers on the edge, not prepared for the dangers of this age.

What are we to do if we want to avoid disaster? Christ gives the answer.

“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Luke 21:36

“Watch and pray in all times”.

God has certain times appointed for certain things. But now is always the time to pray. It doesn’t matter what else is going on – now is the right time.

We must keep watch – pay attention and pray. That’s the foundation for everything else. We must do this so that we can prevail against, flee away from, and stand. Because of a rich prayer life we can prevail against demonic forces. We can flee away from temptation. And we can stand in the face of severe pressure.

We especially need this in our generation. Paul explains it.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

This is almost the exact same line that Christ used. We are to pray in the Spirit in all times. We have a more powerful prayer weapon than they had under the Old Covenant.

By praying in the spirit we can build up our faith. It opens our heart to hear from God, laying the groundwork for the supernatural. By it we gain wisdom for discerning the times that we live in.

Prayer in the spirit is our greatest advantage in overcoming the dangerous times we live in. Don’t let this great gift go unused in your relationship with Christ.

Question: How has prayer in the spirit strengthened your walk with God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Prayer, Prayer in the Spirit, Revival

 

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Do You Know You’re in Danger?

ClimberI’m taking a few posts to talk about understanding God’s timetable. Do we really understand the times we’re living in? In my last post I talk about Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees about not understanding their times. Are we guilty of the same problem?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1

Paul literally wrote to Timothy that he needed to know this truth. In the last days – that’s us – there will be dangerous times. What does that mean?

This word terrible comes from a root which means lowering down into a chasm. I have watched rock climbers going up the face of a sheer cliff. That’s what this verse is talking about.

Serving God in the last days is like repelling off the edge of a mile high cliff. We live in dangerous times.

No, they’re not physically dangerous – at least here in America. But they are spiritually perilous.

If we are going to live a victorious Christian life, then we need to know this and act accordingly. We need the spiritual discernment of the Holy Spirit.

You wouldn’t think of going off the edge of a cliff without training and the right equipment. Think in those terms about being a believer in this generation.

At this time, many are living for self. It’s as though they’re “flying by the seat of their pants” in their Christian walk.

This is not the generation to do that. In times past you could get by just attending church on Sundays and doing your own thing the rest of the week. At the present time we don’t have the luxury of “floating along in Christ.”

That brings me back to a verse I looked at in my last post.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

“WAKE UP!!!”

Rock climbers have to concentrate on every move. They can’t afford even a momentary lapse in judgment. Many have been severely injured or even killed because of a distraction during their climb.

This is not the time for God’s people to be distracted by the world. We need to turn our attention and focus back to Christ. We must seek His will, and what He wants accomplished in and through our lives.

Don’t become a victim of the dangerous times we’re living in.

Question: How is this present time spiritually dangerous?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 

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