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Testing and Remembering

CrossI’m posting about Abraham and what he learned about being tested by God. God tests us by allowing us to go through challenges that bring out what’s in our heart.

King Hezekiah of Israel learned this.

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
2 Chronicles 32:31

The word left in that verse means to loosen. Basically this means the God let him make his own choices without any further guidance. The Lord had already given Hezekiah all that he needed to make a right choice.

From our natural perspective it looks like God has stopped speaking – God left. This begins our wilderness experience. When God is quiet; that’s when stuff starts to come up from our heart.

Throughout the years people have come up with many names for this type of experience. Many call this the “dark night of the soul.” Others call it “the death of a vision.” It happens in the lives of all who desire to move forward with God.

We see it happening with Joseph, Moses, and Abraham. If we’re going to go through this testing victoriously then we must get through it as Abraham did.

What came from his heart?

Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:19

The verse says that Abraham reasoned or literally took inventory, estimated that God was powerful enough to raise Isaac from the dead.

Contrast this to how the nation of Israel went through their wilderness experience.

Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power– the day he redeemed them from the oppressor…
Psalm 78:41-42

It’s during these times that we’re tested concerning our memories. Will we remember God’s power? Do we truly believe that God is able to perform what He promises in our lives?

But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes. Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.
Psalm 78:56-57

What an illustration! A faulty bow breaks under pressure. The goal of a bow and arrow is to destroy the enemy. We are that bow in the hands of a mighty God.

He pulls back on the string. The pressure increases. Sometimes in my weakness, I feel like I can’t take it. But if I continue to persevere; suddenly there’s a TWANG!!! – and I’m rejoicing again as the arrow of God’s promise flies true.

During the test, when it seems hopeless, can we give the promise back to God? Let Him resurrect it. Let Him reveal His glory in due time. I realize that it’s not easy to lay the promise of God back on the altar.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

In this phrase, think about also means to estimate, take inventory. It’s thinking on these things that will bring us through the desert without testing God. Offer your future to God for His glory.

Question: What was the last big test that you went through? What did you learn by it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Faith – Past, Present, Future

Jet Plane to NowhereI’m posting about receiving God’s power through prayer in the Spirit. I’ve found that there’s always a problem created by accessing this power. Once the Lord begins to work in us, we find that the power of God changes EVERYTHING it touches.

The problem is that we know this and resist sometimes because we don’t want to change. It takes the power of God for us to do and become what God wants for us. How do we receive this power?

It has a lot to do with attitude. We started by looking in Hebrews chapter 11.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Hebrews 11:11

That’s an interesting statement about Abraham. He considered Him faithful who made the promise. We receive when we consider God faithful.

The word consider is important for us to understand. This is a belief that does not rest upon feeling, sentiment, or emotion. Instead, it’s based upon careful and deliberate consideration of everything you’ve experienced so far. It involves weighing and comparing all of the facts.

Think about how God dealt with Abraham. He became 100 times richer during a time of famine. With only 300 men, he defeated a great army. The question was; can this God make good on His promise? The answer was a resounding YES!!!!

Remember what David said when he faced Goliath. God had helped him overcome a lion, then a bear, now this giant would be no different.

The disciples got a rebuke from Christ for not understanding this principle. At one point Jesus was upset as they got on a boat. The disciples discussed why the Lord might have had this attitude. They came to the conclusion that it was because they had forgotten to bring bread.

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
“Twelve,” they replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”
They answered, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Mark 8:17-21

We don’t want to be like them. We must look back at what God has already accomplished in us. Then, use that to bolster our faith for what lies ahead.

There may be a problem looming on the horizon. It might even be bigger than anything we’ve ever faced before. That’s not a problem for the God we serve.

The big issue is – will we remember. Remember how God saved you. Remember what He’s done for you in the past. Look at all the riches of His grace that have already been poured out upon you.

Then take that into consideration. Base your faith on the Word of the Lord who has never failed His people. Look to Christ with the knowledge that He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

That’s the attitude that prepares you to receive God’s power. Now you’ll see God’s intervention on your behalf. But you must also remember, once God’s power is active in your life – everything is subject to change. It’s based upon His destiny for your life. He’s working out all things for your good. The Lord wants to give you a hope and a future.

Question: How has God worked His power in your life in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Faith, Power of God, Prayer in the Spirit

 

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Are You a “High-Voltage” Christian?

In my last two posts I’ve been talking about the power of God at work in us.  We have seen that spiritual power relates very closely to natural power.  Just as power in the physical universe produces change, God expects His power to change us and those around us.

We also saw that the first component of this power is love.  This relates to voltage in the realm of science.  Love is the spiritual pressure placed upon us to produce change.  It was what compelled Christ to minister the way He did.

Actually, I can’t think of any more powerful force in all of life other than love.  For the love of God, or another person, we will do things that we might never have done under ordinary circumstances.  Love is a driving force in many of the things we do.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:5-6

Here is the source of our spiritual power.  The same love that drove Christ forward is now placed within us.  When we had no power, God saved us by the death and resurrection of Christ.  He has plugged us into His power source.  The very love that pressures Him can now drive us forward to bless others.

As I said before, our power can be measured. Let’s use our spiritual volt-meter.  Do you feel a pressure that drives you to reach out to the lost?  Does love compel you to be a blessing to those around you even when you don’t feel like it?  Do you have a compassion for those who are in need?  If not, then you haven’t tapped into the love of Christ.

It’s so easy to say, “I love the lost and I want to see them saved.”  But if there is little or no pressure to do something about it, then that’s a sign that there’s little or no love voltage.  The verdict is simple, no love, no power.

If you want to see this principle in action, just look to the early church in the book of Acts.  Spiritually speaking, they should’ve had a sign over their door which read “Danger High Voltage”!  They felt the pressure of God’s love to the point where they were willing to die, if necessary, to bring salvation to those around them.  We must do what it takes to live in intimacy with the Lord.  Only in this way will His love increase in our hearts.

Question: Do you ever feel the pressure of Christ’s love within you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Power of God

 

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How Can you Measure Spiritual Power?

We have been talking about the nature of God’s power in your life – how His Spirit produces change in us and in those around us.  We also saw that in nature, power is composed of two components, voltage and current.  How about spiritual power?  Scripture gives us some insight into this.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

It’s obvious from this passage that the Lord doesn’t want us operating in fear.  What He desires for His people is a spirit of power.  It seems that the more I meditate on this verse, the clearer I see it.  I believe that this verse is telling us that the spirit of power is evidenced by two component parts – love and self-discipline.

The natural power law says that power is voltage times current.  It’s a known fact that in the natural, power is always measurable.  I believe that if you know the Word of God, you should be able to gauge your level of power.

The first component of power we’ll look at is voltage.  In the natural realm voltage is electrical pressure.  It’s the force that’s pushing the electrons through the wires in your home.  How does this translate into the spiritual?

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14

It’s Christ’s love in us that compels us to work for the Lord.  By using the word compel, Paul means that it’s the love of Christ that puts pressure on us to minister for the Lord.  This verse makes it obvious that love is the spiritual equivalent of voltage.  It’s love that puts pressure on us to serve God, to reach out, and to help others.

Jesus Christ walked in more power than anyone who ever walked the earth.  Do we see the evidence of this love putting pressure on His life?

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:14

This incident in the life of Christ happened just after the death of John the Baptist.  Jesus had recently been told that Herod had beheaded John.  Not only was John a colleague in ministry, he was also a family member.  If you read through Matthew chapter 14, you’ll find that Jesus went to a remote place to get away from the crowds so that He could mourn the death of John in private.

When He arrived at what He thought would be a secluded spot, Jesus found that the crowds were waiting for Him.  What would we do in that situation?  We know what Christ did.  Scripture says that He was moved, pressured by compassion to minister to the people in spite of His grief.

Question: Have you ever been pressured by the compassion of Christ to go beyond your normal boundaries?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Power of God

 

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Kingdom Power

1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

Paul’s words to us are very clear.  When it comes to power in the kingdom of God, we better do more than just talk.  The problem is that most of what is called power in the kingdom today is just that – talk.  The first step toward walking in the power of God is to understand what true power is all about.

Let’s start by looking at things from a natural perspective.  When we talk about “power” it is usually in the context of electrical power.  We use phrases like power lines, power plant, and power outages.  We think of electricity as being a form of power.  This can help us to understand spiritual power.

Very simply put, the definition of power is the same whether you’re talking about electricity coming into your house, or the power of God to heal the sick.  The International Edition of the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines it in the following way:

“Power is the ability to act.  It is the property of a thing that is manifested in effort or action, by virtue of which that thing produces change.”

Let me boil it down for you.  True power is the ability to produce change.  That’s the key word.  It takes power to transform water at room temperature into hot water for a cup of tea.  It takes power to get a one-ton car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour.  It takes power to transform a body from sickness to health.  It takes power to change a liar into a saint.  It take power to replace guilt with innocence.

If we understand this correctly, then the verse above should bring new understanding.  It’s our assignment in the Kingdom of God to produce change.  It’s not about how well you can speak about it.  Change is the priority.  Is the church producing change?

You have to remember that this passage was written when Christians were the people who were “turning the world upside down”.  In light of this, how powerful is the kingdom of God today?  In order to answer that we must ask, how much change is being produced in the church today?  The unfortunate answer is – not much.  In most churches around the country not many are being healed, set free from sins, or seeing great growth in their spiritual lives.  It seems that we have become masters of talking as if there’s power in our lives.

We say things like, “That was a powerful message.”  Or, “We had a powerful service last night.”  I have also heard, “She has a powerful anointing to sing.”  Speaking of singing, one of the biggest areas in which we fall short is in our songs.  We come to church on Sunday mornings and sing a host of songs about the power of God.  Then we sit back and think that because we just sang about it, somehow that means we are walking in it.  What I have found in actuality is that most of our “power” is usually just words.

If no one leaves the service changed, then there was no power manifested in the service.  There are plenty of unsaved actors and singers that can evoke an incredible emotional response from their audience, but that’s not power.  People weeping during the service is no indication of any power.  We have learned to cover over our powerlessness by calling emotionalism power.  The bottom line is – no matter how many people wept, no matter how many chills ran down your spine, no matter how many people were slain in the spirit – if no one was changed, then there was no power.

Do you want to walk in the true power of God?  Then you need to stop talking about it, and admit your lack – if that is the case.  We need a true, Biblical knowledge of what it is and how to use it.  We need to seek God for a touch from His hand.  That’s where true change – true power – originates from.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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God’s Possession

Psalm 95:3-6
For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Everything we see in all of creation is the Lord’s.  Every mountain, valley, and stream is the work of His hand.  It is the incredible variety of the Creator, however, that amazes me.  Sometimes when I am driving, I see all the mountains on the horizon, yet no two look the same.  Each one can be recognized for its own individual features

Not only that, but the Lord knows each one intimately.  Every tree, every trail, and each animal are well known to Him.  He created the entire majestic realm of nature for His good pleasure, yet He provides this bounty for our enjoyment as well.

It’s easy to feel close to God when in the presence of His handiwork.  When we look at Creation through the eyes of the spirit, it becomes a reflection of the Creator.  It gives us insight into the awesome power and love of our God.

Take the time today to thank the Lord for the beauty of the earth.  Thank Him that He has allowed us to share in the wonder of it.  As you approach the throne of Christ, remember that all the wonders of Creation are but a dim reflection of His eternal majesty.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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