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The Mountaintop Experience

So many people are hungering to see a manifestation of the power of God.  That’s the Lord’s will for us as well.  It’s something that you have to seek and pursue.  Jesus told His disciples about it.

And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”
Mark 9:1

Three of the disciples were about to witness the power and glory of the kingdom of God.  The Lord was taking them on a special trip.

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.  There he was transfigured before them.  His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.  And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Mark 9:2-4

Many times during His ministry, Jesus would go off by Himself to a remote location and pray.  He would spend time in the Father’s presence, hearing what His next assignment would be.

Now, the Lord takes His three closest disciples with Him up a mountain.  They are about to learn from a mountaintop experience.  It should speak to us as well.

The first key to a mountaintop experience is the fact that they were all alone.  There were no distractions.  They could concentrate on what was happening with Jesus.  We need to get to that place of an unhindered focus on the Lord and what He’s speaking to us.

It was in that place that they had a revelation of the glory which Christ possessed from eternity past.  That’s the defining characteristic of a mountaintop, at least in Scripture.  It’s all about clarity of vision.  You can suddenly see clearly what God wants you to see.

When you’re on top of a mountain, above the tree line, you have an unobstructed view in all directions.  You can see clearly both where you came from, and where you’re going to.  And even more than that, you get a fresh revelation of Christ.

In that place, you have a greater understanding of who Jesus is and what He wants to accomplish in you.  It’s a place of spiritual clarity.

The disciples didn’t know how to handle it.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
Mark 9:5-6

Here we see one of the biggest problems of our flesh in the Lord’s presence.  Why do we always think that we need to say or do something?  Why can’t we just stay quiet, listen for His voice, and drink in His Spirit?

We need to learn to just be still in the Holy Spirit’s presence.  It’s what the Father told the disciples.

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love.  Listen to him!”
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Mark 9:7-8

If we will quiet our hearts before God, we could have this type of mountaintop experience.  Not with our physical eyes, but in the spirit.

The results are well worth it.  We will “no longer see anyone but Jesus.”  That’s the change that can only happen in the spirit.

Question: Have you ever had a mountaintop experience and what did you learn from it?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Are We There Yet?

Do you ever get impatient because things seem to take longer to accomplish than you expected?  I’ve found that to be especially true in my spiritual life.  Why is that?

In my last post, I finished my look at the Fruit of the Spirit.  Now we’ll move on to the rest of the book of Galatians.

In this letter, Paul says something that I think we never fully understand what he’s implying.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:24

The Apostle Paul makes this statement or others like it, throughout his writings.  But do we understand what he’s telling us?

We read that our sinful nature (also called our old self or the flesh) has been crucified.  Because of that truth, some have said that their old nature is dead.  But that’s not entirely true.

The trouble is that being crucified is not the same as being killed.  Crucifixion is a long, slow, agonizingly painful process.  It’s not as simple as being shot in the head.

To say that our old self is crucified means that it’s still hanging on to life.  It still has hope that you’ll change your mind and take it down from the cross.

Another problem we find is that the flesh, even while it’s being crucified, never stops talking.  It continues to try and exert influence over your actions.  Dealing with the old nature is never a one-time decision.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5

The phrase put to death in this verse literally means to deaden.  This speaks about the process of making something dead rather than death itself.  Dealing with our flesh is an ongoing project.  It’s not something you can accomplish overnight.

I only wish that there was one prayer I could recite and be done with it.  The truth is that it’s an ongoing battle that will-power or good intentions alone will never win.  Then where does the victory over the flesh come from?

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…
Romans 8:13

This verse also talks about the process of putting something to death.  You can never kill the misdeeds of the flesh, but you can deaden them by the spirit.

Victory over the sinful nature can only be won in the spirit.  That’s one of the reasons that prayer in the spirit is so important.  The more time spent in God’s presence, the deader the influence of the flesh.

It’s unfortunate that so many people teach the will-power method.  They tell you to just choose not to do what the flesh wants.  You can usually tell who these people are.  The older they get, the more permanent the frown is on their face!

I, personally, want to be free from my sinful nature – but I want to walk in the joy of the Lord at the same time.  The answer is the walk of the spirit.  That’s why Paul sums it all up with the following statement.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25

Cultivate your spiritual walk.  That’s the only way to beat the sinful nature.

Question: What’s your experience with the walk of the spirit controlling the flesh?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
 

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Why Prayer in the Spirit?

FireI talk a lot about praying in the spirit. I believe that it’s an important part of the Christian walk. Sometimes it can be a controversial subject. I want to take a few posts to talk about why God chooses this method.

We read about the start of this in the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit descended upon the church.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:4

Jesus had prepared His disciples, telling them that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit if they waited in Jerusalem. Then it happened on the day of Pentecost. There was a sound like wind, fire rested on each person’s head, and then they started speaking in unknown tongues.

Please realize that the word tongues was the old English word for languages. Somehow the name stuck even though we don’t use it that way today. We’re really talking about the gift of languages.

Why does God choose to use this gift? First of all, the gift of tongues is the proof of the baptism in the Spirit. We see this throughout the book of Acts.

It was that way when the Gentiles first received salvation.

The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Acts 10:45-46

This was the proof the Jewish believers needed to know that salvation was opened to the Gentiles. They understood it because the Gentiles received the same gifting.

At one point Paul was ministering and met some men who had only received John’s baptism. He then preached to them the fuller revelation of Christ. They believed Paul’s testimony and were baptized.

On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Acts 19:5-6

This is the proof that the early church had of the baptism of the Spirit. What about the other things, like prophecy or healings? I’ve heard some people teach that these are valid proofs as well. I don’t agree with them because all of the other spiritual manifestations were seen in the Old Testament without the baptism.

I believe that this gift of tongues is the only evidence of an immersed life – it’s the start of our prayer language. But a reasonable question many ask is; why tongues? Why not fire, wind, or something else?

Speaking in an unknown language seems so foolish. Then again, foolish never bothered God. If something that looks foolish brings about the results God wants – He’s okay with it.

So I want to take a couple of posts to deal with the issue of; why tongues? What is it about our prayer language that makes it important for us to use regularly? I believe this series will be a help to those struggling to understand it.

Question: How often do you use your prayer language?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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Relationship – The Foundation of Authority

BeamI’m posting about how our relationship with God has been revealed throughout Scripture. We started with this verse from John.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24

If you read the first three chapters of Genesis, you’ll find that Adam never needed to speak to God out loud – it was all by the spirit. It was a perfect relationship on God’s level. It’s what we were created for. It wasn’t until sin entered the picture that this union with God was ruined.

…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7

God caused His breath – or literally the Spirit of life – to enter into Adam’s being. This was what made him come alive to God. Adam became a soul that could enter into a relationship with the Creator of the universe.

God spoke to Adam by His Spirit. Adam worshipped God by his spirit. Adam then obeyed God’s Word. Everything was the way it was designed to work. No words needed to be spoken out loud – it was all in the spirit.

That’s why the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought death. If you’re hearing from God in your spirit, and obeying what you hear, then there’s no need to recognize good and evil. Your life is simply about hearing and obeying.

I believe that this is the type of relationship that God wants to restore in us. This is the life giving flow of the Spirit. Unfortunately, we live on this side of the fall, and all of our experience before Christ is apart from the Spirit.

It was in the garden that Adam would meet with God, probably under the shade of the tree of life. It was his sanctuary. The tree of life is all about relationship. It was the visible symbol of Adam’s relationship with God.

It amazes me how hard we try to obtain a walk of power and authority. All the while we never stop to realize that these can only flow from a relationship with God. The place of relationship is the place of authority.

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
Genesis 2:19

Now that’s authority. God and man working together for a destined outcome. Whatever Adam called the creature – that was its name. This was because Adam functioned perfectly in the spirit. He said what he heard from God. God’s authority was flowing through him to the world around him. This carried over into all aspects of his life in the garden.

This is the kind of relationship we need to cultivate with the Lord. Only then can we walk in the authority of the Spirit.

Question: Why does walking in authority require hearing from God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Sowing and Reaping in the Spirit

agricultureIn my last post I talked about receiving God’s power through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I realize that this is a controversial teaching in the body of Christ. There are many who don’t believe that it for all Christians.

Many say, “I don’t want it.” They choose not to receive this gift of God. The truth is that this gift is vitally important for the church to do its job. That’s why the enemy would do anything to convince us that it’s not for the church today or not for you personally.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Prayer in the Spirit is vitally important to our spiritual health. I believe that this is how we receive the seed of God’s Word in us. It’s needed to conceive the seed God wants to place into our lives.

In the above verse we see that your mind can’t conceive what God has planned for you. That word is how the translators handled two words in this passage. They are the words placed upon and rise up.

Think about how seeds work in field. The seeds are placed upon, sprinkled over the soil. Then the water and sun work to activate them so that the new plant rises up from the dirt. It happens the same way in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Spending time in the Spirit allows God to plant His seed in us. Things we could never even imagine that He has planned for us. They enter into the good soil of our hearts. Some of these seeds can only be activated by prayer in the Spirit.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8

We need to understand that there is a sowing and reaping in the spirit. Prayer in the Spirit is not just for the conception of the seed. It must be continued so that the harvest may be brought forth in due time.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:8

That’s why I’m such a proponent of prayer in the Spirit. I’ve seen what it’s done in my life and in others who practice it regularly. There is no substitution for this work of the Lord in us. It’s the power of God actively working in us to bring about His plan for us.

I don’t know how anyone could fully serve God without it. I couldn’t imagine my life without this gift. Don’t neglect it. Spend time praying in the Spirit and allow the seed of God to germinate and take root in your heart. It will change everything.

Question: How has prayer in the Spirit changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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Worship and Spirit

PowerlessI’m posting a series about true worship. It’s amazing to me how many things we call “worship” that really don’t qualify.

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
Revelation 4:2

This verse shows us an aspect of worship that few teachers ever emphasize. Worship is a function of the spirit. This is an import truth that God’s people need to understand.

We label a lot of things as worship. When we go to church on Sunday morning, we call it a worship service. Then when it’s time to sing we call it praise and worship. Somehow we’ve redefined it in such a way that the fast songs are praise and the slower ones are worship.

Actually they are simply fast and slow praise songs. When you understand true worship from Scripture, you see that all the functions of our flesh and our mind are a part of our praise to God.

When Jesus talked with the woman at the well, He explained it to her this way…

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

That’s the underlying truth – God is spirit. This word, worship, speaks of intimate relationship. How do you have intimacy with a spirit? There’s only one level of interaction, and that’s in the spirit.

That’s why daily prayer in the spirit is so important. It’s the vehicle by which we have intimacy with the Father.

For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh
Philippians 3:3

Do we really put no confidence in our flesh? Especially when it comes to our relationship with God, many believers are driven by their flesh. We’re proud of our trained voices and our professional sound. We want to be moved emotionally by our corporate experiences.

Please understand me. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things – if you’re talking about praise. But this post is about true, scriptural worship.

In worship, we put no confidence in our praise, our singing, how long we practiced or even our obedience. The only confidence we have is in Him. That’s why most of what we do in church is actually praise.

Praise can be done loudly and in a group. As a matter of fact, the bigger the group, the more stirring the praise – usually.

Worship is different. It’s intimate. It’s personal – one on one, just me and God. Even if I’m with a crowd of believers, I have to zone them all out and just focus in on the Lord.

The easiest way to do this is to begin praying in the spirit. That’s how our relationship with God is built, spirit to Spirit. It’s time for God’s people to stir up the spirit of worship within them. Let’s stop calling everything we do in church “worship”. It’s time to simply bask in the presence of a holy God and spend some quality, intimate time with Him.

Question: How often do you worship God in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in Prayer in the Spirit, Worship

 

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Alive to God! #prayerinthespirit

Garden PathIn my last post I showed that God’s definition of death is an inability to communicate.  In the same way, Adam didn’t die according to our modern definition.  He died in God’s definition.

From that point on God could no longer fellowship with Adam and Eve on the level He desired.

God wanted an interaction in the spirit, but this was no longer possible because of sin.  Therefore, to God, Adam and Eve were dead.  God could no longer communicate to them on the level of the spirit.  He would now have to use other means.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8

Notice the wording that’s used here.  The man and the wife heard the sound of God.  This is the first place in Scripture where it specifically says that God made a sound.

This is emphasized because Adam and Eve had never before heard with their ears, God making a sound.  Before that, they always communicated by the spirit.  This new experience inspired fear.

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Genesis 3:10

We can hear it from Adam’s own mouth.  The two things that caused fear in him were hearing God, and seeing his nakedness.  At that point, as a race of people, mankind was cut off from spiritual communication with God.

Please understand, our spirits are still active.  This is how mediums, witch doctors, and spiritists can communicate with familiar spirits.  They can still interact in the spiritual realm, they just don’t understand the dangers of this practice.

As far as communication with God is concerned, mankind’s spirits can not talk to God because of sin.  After the fall, God could only communicate to man by very limited means. God could speak bodily, through angels, a donkey, a voice, or by taking on flesh.  He could speak inwardly, directly to our mind.  He could also “move upon” someone, which literally means that He “put them on like clothes” and spoke through them.

This was the sad condition of the human race until Christ came on the scene.  He really was “God with us”.  The Gospels record the work He did for us on the cross.  Because of His death, burial, and resurrection we can now enter into a salvation that we could never experience in our own strength.

Now, if we receive His great gift, the Holy Spirit takes up residence on the inside of us.  This means that communication lines are open once again between us and the Lord.  According to God’s definition, we are now alive to Him.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
Romans 8:10

It’s clear from Scripture that your spirit is now alive to God!!!

Question: How important to you, is the knowledge that God’s Holy Spirit lives in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Prayer, Prayer in the Spirit

 

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