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Tag Archives: God’s word

Revival – Getting There

SpeedRevival. Some Christians are praying for it. Many are hoping for it. But do we really understand what it will take to bring it about?

Throughout this blog I’ve shared what I believe the next great awakening of the church will look like. It will be about God’s people listening for, hearing and obeying God’s voice. Unfortunately, the “how” and the “when” are a mystery.

Getting from here to there is what the church should be majoring on right now.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
Psalms 127:1

As an engineering student, I had to take a lot of math courses. I learned very quickly from Geometry, that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Well, that may work on paper, but in life it’s never that easy.

What’s the quickest way to get from Boston to New York? That all depends. Are you driving a car or flying in a plane? There are highways, rivers, cities, and other obstacles to think about.

In driving, the shortest route is not always the quickest. It’s the just like our spiritual walk. The difference is that only God sees the whole map. We have to trust Him to set the route for us.

In looking at the verse above, we don’t always think like that. Many times God gives us the blueprint, and we rush off and try to build the house without Him.

When God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle in the wilderness, He didn’t stop there. The Lord told Moses who would do the work, where to get the supplies, how to move it, and how to use it.

Faith is all about letting God have His total way in our lives. In Hebrews, chapter 11, the Faith Chapter, it says this about Abraham leaving his home at God’s request.

For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:10

When we look to the Lord for our future, He doesn’t only want to be involved in the planning. What He wants to do in our life is too big for us to accomplish. God wants to be in on the building of it as well.

So, in talking about revival, it’s great to know where He wants us to get to. But it won’t come to pass without God’s working and power in our lives. That’s why we need to spend the time necessary to seek Him.

Spending time in the Holy Spirit doesn’t just reveal God’s plan to us. It opens the door for God to do a supernatural work in us and through us. That’s what a spiritual awakening is all about.

Question: How much time do you spend listening in God’s presence?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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The Word Works

BibleI’ve been posting about the Word of God and how it imparts life to us. In my last article we saw how the Word of God will only benefit you if it’s received with faith. Faith itself is brought to us by the Word of God. How can I position myself to receive from the Lord?

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13

God is a co-worker with us and it’s His job to confirm His Word with signs and wonders. When receiving the Word of God, that’s the mindset I must bring with me. I want to hear from God. He’s using a human being to distribute this Word, but I want what God has for me.

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Corinthians 9:10

This verse explains what God provides for us. Even though the context is talking about finances, Paul makes it clear that the scope is far greater by calling it the harvest of your righteousness.

One major principle is that God provides bread for food. That’s the logos of God. It’s the Word that can give you immediate benefit. It’s readily digestible and palatable.

There’s also another major truth found here. It deals with sowing. If you’re a sower – you want the long-term benefits of the Word of God – then you’re seeking rhema from God. God is willing and able to drop the grain of rhema into your spirit.

The key is that you must be seeking this blessing. It doesn’t happen by accident. You need the attitude that says, “Sure, I hear Pastor Nick preaching, but I want to receive a Word from God.”

God desires to give His Word in all of its forms to anyone that will listen and receive. By the power of His Spirit, He gives both at the same time. God sends the digestible logos of preaching right along with the raw rhema from the mouth of God Himself.

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Galatians 3:5

This question that Paul asks summarizes the entire scope of this teaching. Paul literally asks how does God fully supply you with His Spirit and activate His miraculous power in you? That’s the question of the hour. It’s what the church desperately needs to learn and lay hold of. It’s what the world is dying to see in operation.

I believe that it’s this truth that will usher in the end time harvest of souls before the coming of the Lord. The answer that Paul gives is that the Spirit is given and His power is activated in you by the hearing of faith.

This is where the power of God resides. It’s not a work of the law. It only comes as I hear His voice and let it inspire faith in me. This is the foundation for the miraculous. God and I as co-workers.

He’s looking for someone who’ll listen for His voice. It’s time for the church to enter that intimate place with the Lord. Only then will we see the glory of God released through His people.

Question: What’s your mindset while hearing the Word preached or taught?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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Receiving God’s Word

BreadI’m posting about giving and receiving the Word of God as spiritual seed. I’ve talked about preaching and teaching being like a baker making a loaf of bread for those who listen. Jesus had something to say in this regard.

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1

On different occasions Jesus told His disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. At that time they didn’t understand what He was saying to them. Later on they realized that the Lord was speaking about their hypocrisy.

This was not a warning that only applied to the disciples. We need to take care not to add our own baggage into the mix. If so, then we will corrupt the pure Word of God with our own pet doctrines. What we mix into the Word determines the spiritual climate of our churches.

For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Hebrews 4:2

This verse speaks to us about the similarity between us and Israel. It warns us about how we receive the Word. It literally says that the logos of their hearing did not benefit them. The only way it will is if we combine it with faith in the process of receiving it. The Word of God must be combined with your faith in order for it to be of benefit to you.

So, here we are. I’m doing my best to present you with the pure, clear, logos of God in this article. I want to give you life and nourishment through the Word of God. This is the logos of your hearing. There’s only one way that it will accomplish what was intended. That’s for you, the reader, to combine it with faith. But wait a minute! Where do you get this faith which you’re to combine with the Word?

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

Most of us have this verse memorized. Faith comes by hearing the Word. What it says in the Greek is that this faith comes by hearing the rhema of Christ. What is this? Is it a “catch 22”?

I present the logos to you, but the only way it will benefit you is if you combine it with the faith that only comes through rhema. What kind of circular logic is this? Actually, it’s a picture of the infinite wisdom of God. It’s better than anything you could ever imagine.

In my next post, which will finish this series, I’ll show how God wants to impart both logos and rhema into His people. But, more importantly, what we need to do to receive them.

Question: When have you heard a Word from God while listening to a human speaker?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Faith, Ministry, Word of God

 

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The Word of God as Wheat

Wheat field against a blue sky.

In my last post I talked about the Word of God in its different forms. These are emphasized by the Greek words graphe, logos and rhema.

We have seen that graphe refers to the written Word of God – the Scripture. To see the differences between logos and rhema, we need to understand the Scriptural illustration of the Word of God as a seed or grain of wheat.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Isaiah 55:9-11

The two purposes that God determines for His Word are seed for the sower and bread for food. It’s just like the function of wheat in the natural. You can find wheat all over the world in literally millions of forms.

Grains of wheat, wheat berries, flour, crackers, and bread; it’s all wheat, just in different textures, shapes, and consistencies. Mankind lives on wheat products.

But the real question is; which form of wheat would you prefer to eat, given a choice? Which form is easier to digest? Which is more palatable to you? Personally, I love a fresh loaf of Italian bread, hot out of the oven.

In the same way, the Word of God comes in many forms. All of them are powerful and life giving. We need understanding to discern the differences and how they relate to us.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15

The word in this verse is logos. The logos of God needs to be handled correctly. As a matter of fact, throughout the Scripture we find that logos can be distorted, nullified by tradition, peddled for profit, and spoken vainly or carelessly. This means that we must use integrity when dealing with logos.

Based upon a careful study of Scripture, I believe the following: Rhema is the raw, unadulterated Word that God Himself has spoken. Logos is man’s attempt to express the Word that God has spoken.

Let me use myself as an example. As the Senior Pastor of a church, I’m responsible to spend time in the presence of the Lord, listening for His voice. When I hear from God, that’s rhema to me. It’s the raw grain of the Word that God plants in my heart. I then study and meditate on the rhema I’ve received. As I work on it, I’m grinding up the Word into spiritual “flour”.

Along with that I also study the Scripture. In essence I’m adding the flour of the Apostles Matthew, John, or Paul to the mix. In my studies it’s as if I am mixing and baking the Word into a loaf of bread that I can then present to my congregation for their nourishment.

Of course, along the way I’m adding my personality and preaching style into the mix. That’s why it’s important for pastors and teachers to be careful how they form their spiritual bread.

The Word that I present the congregation with is the logos of God. It’s the same Word, but in a form that’s more digestible to the general group of church people. This is what they’ll feed upon for their edification.

In my next post I’ll explain how this Word from God can be life-giving to those who hear it.

Question: Why will God judge preachers and teachers more strictly than others?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Ministry, Word of God

 

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The Word of Life – Its Three Forms

Bible1Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

We know from Scripture that the Word of God is like seed received into our hearts. How do we receive this life? To answer that question, we’ll go to the beginning of the Gospel of John.

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.
John 6:47-48

This is vital to our understanding of how to receive life. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life. That’s the theme of the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. The Lord sums it up in this way.

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
John 6:63

This is the bottom line. In order to walk in the abundant life we must live by every Word of God. Christ is the Living Word – the personification of the Word of God. His Word is spirit and life. It’s a life that can only be received by the spirit. This is the foundational truth of how the Word works in us.

First, we must understand the key to grasping the Word of God. I’m speaking of the two Greek words, logos and rhema. These two words are both translated as “word” in the English, which makes it very hard to see the contrasts without a basic knowledge of the original language. My goal in this series is to bring out the truths contained in these two important words.

A lot of teaching has gone forth in the Faith Movement concerning logos and rhema. Some of it has been good, and some has been a little off. I want our foundation to be solid, so I ask you to read this with an open heart.

Some have mistakenly taught that logos refers to the written Word while rhema is the spoken word. In actuality, the Greek word graphe refers to the written Word. It’s usually translated “writings” or “Scripture”.

In the Bible, both logos and rhema are only referred to as spoken. They’re never read. Graphe is always read and never spoken.

What you’ll find in a careful study of logos and rhema is that they’re almost always indistinguishable from one another. According to Scripture, both of them are alive. Both endure eternally. Both contain creative power. Both are referred to as the sword of the spirit. Both logos and rhema can manifest the power of God.

It’s the differences, however, that I’m going to focus on. The first principle of the Word is found in Matthew 4:4 above. The word used in that verse is rhema. We must live on rhema. This is the source of our life.

The next important truth is found in John 6:63 above. That verse also uses the word rhema. Only rhema is given and received in the spiritual realm. It’s the form that spiritual life takes in order to be transferred from one to another.

You may be wondering why this study of linguistics is so important. I’m now going to put it all together for you so that you can see the beauty of God’s Word in all of its forms. We’ve heard the teaching that the Word of God is like a seed. Think about it as a grain of wheat. In the world, wheat is called the “staff of life.” That makes it a wonderful illustration for the Word.

In my next post I’ll use this view of the seed to explain how God uses His Word to impart life to His people.

Question: How much time do you spend listening to the Holy Spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Power of God, Word of God

 

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God’s Word – The Sword

SwordI want to take a few posts to talk about the greatest weapon that we’ve been given. Without it we’ll never overcome the enemy. Unfortunately, many Christians have never even picked it up.

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17

This verse is talking about the authority and power of God. He wants to work this through us. In order for that to happen, we must use what He’s given to us. The greatest gift we could be given is the sword of the spirit – the rhema- word of God.

Remember, we’re talking about the armor of God. This is His personal armor and weaponry. That means that this is the sword of the Lord.

Our knowledge of this got watered down over time; especially since the advent of the printing press. With the proliferation of Scripture we have come to assume that whenever we read word of God, it means the Bible.

Please don’t turn me off before I explain this next statement. It may come as a shock to you. You might even think that I’m in error. But the fact is that a careful reading of Scripture will bear me out.

The Bible is not our sword of the spirit. The sword Paul is talking about is a spiritual weapon that wreaks havoc on the enemy.

It’s clear from the Bible and our experience that the devil doesn’t fear the Bible. He actually has it memorized. He even does his best to use it against us. He tried to use it against Jesus – and failed miserably.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”
Matthew 4:5-6

The devil doesn’t fear to hear or use the Bible. According to the verse from Ephesians it’s the rhema of God that’s our spiritual weapon.

Does that mean I don’t need the Bible? Absolutely not! We’re to study to show ourselves approved.

“If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
John 5:46-47

In the literal Greek of this verse, Jesus said, “If you don’t believe what was written, how will you believe my rhema?” It’s the knowledge of Scripture that gives us the foundation we need to hear, trust and obey God’s word to us.

That’s what the sword of the spirit is all about. The Greek word Rhema is the revealed word of God to me…and to you. That’s the greatest weapon of the church – God speaking to us.

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:16-18

Christ is building His church on the rock of the revealed will of God. It’s that word of God that brings the victory. The gates of hell can’t stand against it. It’s this revealed word of God that I want to talk about for a few posts.

Question: How has God spoken to you personally in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Word of God

 

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How Persuaded are You?

Bible 2We sometimes tend to treat the things of God very lightly. We say things like, “Of course I’m trusting God.” But are we really? How far would we let our faith take us? That’s the real test of our belief.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews talked about some Old Testament saints who stood their ground in the spirit.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:13

This Scripture says that they saw the promises of God from a distance. Obviously Christ had not arrived on the scene yet. They had to wait for the fulfillment. They went to their graves fully trusting God for the outcome He promised.

There’s actually more to it than that. The word saw in the above verse literally means to become persuaded. These believers become persuaded about God’s power.

How persuaded are you? They were convinced in God’s ability to accomplish what He said He would do. What’s the confession that people hear from your mouth?

It should be: “God can heal.” “God can restore broken homes.” “God can provide for needs.” “God can change people’s lives.”

Not only were these Old Testament people persuaded by God’s abilities, the verse says that they welcomed His promises. That word welcomed means that they embraced those promises even at a distance.

Are you embracing the Lord’s Word for yourself? It’s not enough just to agree that God is able to do something. You need to make it personal.

“God can heal me.” “God can restore my home.” “God can provide for my needs.” “God can change my life.”

We all have to come to the point where we understand that we serve a very personal God. Christ didn’t just go to the cross for the sins of the world. He went to save ME from MY SIN. I need to see Him as the One who is presently working in my life.

That will lead me to the next thing that these bygone saints were known for. They admitted, literally confessed, that they were aliens and strangers on earth. That word, in Greek, means to speak the same as. I need to speak the same Word that the Lord speaks.

I’m an alien here on earth. I’m a part of the heavenly kingdom. I have access to more than our society does. It changes the way I talk.

“God is my Savior.” “God is my Healer.” “God is my Provider.” “God is my Restorer.”

This is where our strength comes from. It’s not from how good I am, but how good my God is.

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

That word confident is the same word persuaded from the verse above. How persuaded are you, not only that God can do the work, but that He will complete it in you? It’s not about us. It’s all about what He has accomplished for us. Let the Word of God fully persuade you to put your whole trust in the Lord.

Question: What are you trusting God to accomplish in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
 

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